Look at the Light: Thirteen Songs for 2013

Arcade FireGuest Post by Joel Heng Hartse

I’m writing my dissertation right now and for once I am trying to be bold, to not worry about whether what I am arguing has been substantiated by someone with more knowledge or status than myself. This is probably what is called for.

Sometimes, though, it is nice to shut up and let the wise ones have their say. This is my sixth annual end-of-the-year playlist for Good Letters, and unlike previous years, I am not going to offer any commentary on the songs I’ve chosen; instead, I offer these songs paired with excerpts of books, articles, or other things I have read recently (or not-so-recently) which resonate with me and, I hope, the songs. [Read more…]

Home is the Place: Twelve Songs for 2012

Guest Post by Joel Heng Hartse

Robert Frost wrote, “Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.” I’ve only recently begun to realize that I’m becoming the “they” and not the “you.” Two things made me start thinking that this year: first, we had a kid, and second, we moved again, for about the fifth time in eight years. This move was just a few blocks down the street, but has been the most stressful, in some ways.

Why are we doing this again? When will we just stop? Will this ever be our home? I sit here at the Wired Monk, I watch the snow fall, and I try to figure out a way to make a home.

These are twelve songs released in 2012 that seem to fit that rubric, more or less. The usual caveats: I don’t pay that much attention to new releases, I mostly listen to records by white guys with beards, and I only have about five favorite bands, whose new songs always end up on these lists. (Perhaps they make me feel more at home?) [Read more…]