Tag Archives: Lizzo

2019 Year End Kafe with John

The thing about breaks is that you sometimes miss things when you are away. Sometimes, that is a good thing if the things you are missing might cause stress or might be tasks you want to avoid. At times, though, you might be sad that you didn’t catch something as it came out. This is the case with the year end Katy Kafes with each of the band members. I saw that they were released but I certainly didn’t have a chance to listen. I figured that I might not be alone in missing these as December is a super busy for lots and lots of people. So no one will be upset if I listen and blog now, right? I’ll start in the beginning with John’s Year End Kafe as it was released first on December 12th. As always, this blog post will just share my reactions to some of what he talked about. If you want to hear the whole thing, I recommend becoming a member of DuranDuranMusic and listening yourself.

If you are new to the Year End Katy Kafe, a lot of the focus is on band member’s favorites. Similarly, you can read their lists of favorites on the band’s official website. While I like reading the list, there is something about listening to why they made these choices that bring it to life for me.

Favorite Movie:

John’s choice was Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. He described as a “tender movie about male friendships.” That is not what I would think of with a Quentin Tarantino film but I’ll trust John on this one.

Favorite TV Show:

John split his vote on his one. He first mentioned The Crown. He finds the episodes very moving. Apparently, it is changing his sense of British history and how he views the royal family. As a historian, I enjoy the show as well. (No spoilers–I just started season 3). He also liked the show, Chernobyl, about the nuclear accident that happened in 1986. He mentioned other shows like Succession and Euphoria but he feels like the first ones are more “important” and “historical.” Again, I have to appreciate that.

Best thing listened to this year:

John called 2019 the year of Lizzo. He found her album brings a lot of joy. (A lot of my students really like her, too!) One part that I found super interesting about his comments was his prediction that she would win a lot of Grammys, which would actually “paralyze” her. I would have loved to have a follow up on that one. What exactly did he mean there? Would that create too much pressure?

Best Duran moment of 2019:

If I had not read the year end lists, I would have assumed that he would have mentioned the NASA affair, but instead he mentioned Simon’s 60th birthday bash which took place on a boat trip. Apparently, it was a lot of fun with lots of dancing. (I wish I could have been a fly on the wall for that!)

What John Is Looking Forward to the Most in 2020:

John would like to see a change in politics. He described both the US and the UK in political “deadlock”. According to him, he thinks that both countries need someone amazing like “Obama or Thatcher (God forbid).” He would love to see people coming together rather than be at odds with each other. Since this Kafe took place before the election in the UK, he did say that he was going to vote but was not certain who even though he voted against Brexit. (This part of the Kafe very much grabbed my attention. I would love to have a conversation with John about this as someone super involved in politics. I don’t know that I would describe the current political situation in the US as a “deadlock,” but I get where he is coming from. I, too, would love to see the country come together and agree with him that leadership for that is needed.)

The Kafe finished with a brief discussion about favorite book and what his plans were for the holidays. One thing to note. He is probably going to be back in the Kafe in January, maybe answering fan questions. You might then want to get some ready!


The Best Songs of 2019

The onslaught of Best Of lists for 2019 are coming quickly in December and it’s often an opportunity to find some great new music that slipped under your music radar. As I look back at the year in music, it has a definite book-end feel with a lot of great stuff arriving early and then late in the year. Much will be written about Lizzo and Lana Del Rey and deservedly so. Del Rey’s Norman F*cking Rockwell is a career-defining moment for her and belongs on everyone’s Best Of list. It also reinforces the power of women in music this year. Without any doubt, female artists are creating the most interesting, and important, songs of these turbulent times.

As we await the arrival of a new Duran Duran album in 2020, there is plenty of time to explore some new artists and this Best Of playlist probably has at least one or two artists you haven’t heard of (maybe?). For fans of jagged, post-punk fun, Shopping manages to sound as fun as the B-52’s while dispensing their politics with the fervor of Gang of Four. If you’re a hopeless romantic, The Regrettes have you covered with an album full of pop-punk goodness that unfolds like a fuzzy John Hughes film. It blows my mind that singer-guitarist Lydia Night was born in 2000. She sings with the wisdom of someone older than me.

Bang Bang Romeo’s debut has finally arrived and it justifies the faith P!nk showed in them when choosing the band to support her European stadium tour. I saw Bang Bang Romeo supporting Spandau Ballet (sans Tony Handley) in 2018 and they have honed their soulful anthems into something special. A Heartbreaker’s Guide to the Galaxy will be on a lot of radars in 2020.

A few 80s and 90s mainstays are scattered through the playlist. As much as the Madonna album left me a little, bleh, “I Don’t Search I Find” captures the energy and excitement of her best work. Meanwhile, Morrissey, despite the issues with, well, everything he says, provides a beautiful cover of Jobriath’s “Morning Starship” that deserves your attention. And while Sleater-Kinney might have unravelled in the wake of their latest album, the album itself is an absolute beauty. St. Vincent’s production work gives a modern sheen to their music that sparkles.

If forced to choose only one album from 2019, it would be Lily & Madeleine’s beautiful Canterbury Girls which sounds like a lost classic dug up by archaeologists in Laurel Canyon circa 1977. The sister’s weave succulent harmonies around some of the most memorable melodies of the year. It’s the perfect album for slow mornings over a cup of coffee pondering the meaning of where life has taken us. Let me know what some of your favorite songs of 2019 were in the comments and on the socials!