I guess I’ll start off by offering a bit of an explanation for my 6-month long absence. While the first semester of grad school offered moments of respite, the second was unforgiving, and that’s about the whole of it. This shift in pace all but led me to stop listening to music for joy. I stuck to a rotation of the same 25+ songs on my treks to and from campus and lo-fi beats while I read and wrote, mostly to push against the deafening silence that is being a working-class PhD student at an elite university. The less time my mind spent on the things that made me happy, the more time I had to fill my head with all the information this strange environment was throwing at me, in the classroom, in my interactions with other people, trying to shape me into someone that would fit in. In conclusion: Trying to play this role was a drag. Reflecting on this experience recently during a phone call with Amber and in conversations with fellow grad student friends, I decided that I don’t want to live like that…that I will not make it the next five years if I allow myself to live like that. If I’m going to do this (which at this point I have little choice but to do it) than I’m going to go my own way, which includes giving myself space to listen to music and watch videos made by awesome people. The truth is that as trivial as it seems to pick an artist and a song to highlight each week, the exercise provided me with a clear and manageable goal. It also motivated me to stay curious. It might be selfish to continue running this for those reasons but I’m beyond trying to explain why I do the things I do…Imma just do.
So, why am I yelling this into the internet void? Simply, to hold myself accountable. If I ever ask to see the receipts of this promise to myself, here it’ll be.
Without further ado, happy music martes!
By now writing anything about the Spanish genre-blending sensation is just a formality. Rosalía is quickly reaching that level of superstardom that is usually reserved for English-speaking (and mostly U.S.-based) entertainers, and I am all for it (as long as you can hold off on telling me how you’ve suddenly realized that Spanish is actually, like, such a beautiful language…I mean, I know, but also, no me hables)!
Let me set the scene: March 2019. Somewhere in Queens. Some time past 12am. Bathed in warm light, drunk on vinho verde and “Amber’s Tonic” (patent pending), and far down the Youtube rabbit hole, Amber played “Malamente.” I would not understand the impact this moment had on me until the following day when I couldn’t get Rosalía’s smooth, hypnotic voice out of my head. From then on I was completely won over. Her music (including the ridiculously fun track she released with J Balvin, “Con Altura”) broke me out of my strange spring semester funk just long enough for me to realize that something needed to change. Who doesn’t love a good soundtrack to their existential crises/epiphanies?
So, really the purpose of this week’s feature is simply to ask you all to join me in becoming heart-eyed emojis as we listen to El Mal Querer and watch her videos on a loop.
Picture of me whenever I hear “¡La Rosalía!“: