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Showing posts from June, 2020

Everything I Learned About L.A. I Learned From 'Melrose Place'

It's been eighteen years since I booked a one-way ticket to L.A. after graduating from college. It's been eighteen years since I left my native New York as the umpteenth, hopeful, naive twentysomething who was looking to pursue a successful career in the entertainment industry. Up until that point in my life, Los Angeles, to me, was the fascinating jewel crown of the West Coast, a glimmering city full of beautiful people and fabulous places where beautiful people mingled with each other and, yes, slept with other beautiful people. This impression was mostly informed by a steady and possibly unhealthy diet of Aaron Spelling dramas ( Beverly Hills, 90210 , Models Inc .,  Malibu Shores , Pacific Palisades ,  Titans ) throughout my formative years. But none had affected me as much as the 90s pop culture phenom that was Melrose Place . Now, for the random GenZ-er who may be reading this, Melrose Place was a nighttime soap that ran from 1992 to 1999 for a head-spinning to

Revisit "Prom Night" with The Midnight's New Nostalgic Single

I was admittedly late to the party when I came across The Midnight back in 2018 and first listened to "Los Angeles," their gorgeous anthem for the City of Angels that I tend to play on repeat should I find myself on a late-night drive down Santa Monica Boulevard. ( I regrettably missed their stop in L.A. during last year's North America tour as well .) That said, the track is essential listening for anyone who wishes to channel their inner  Andrew McCarthy or Jami Gertz circa Less Than Zero . Now, the synthwave duo (a.k.a. Tim McEwan and Tyler Lyle) have a new album on the neon horizon ( Monsters , July 10). And after releasing "Deep Blue" and "Dance With Somebody," two singles with enough saxophone bridges to transport you back to the late 80s, they have dropped "Prom Night," a track packed with plenty of smooth vocals and nostalgic vibes that should have music supervisors of future teen rom-coms on Netflix scrambling to license.

The Summer of Synth: An Escapist Playlist

Bonus Summer Playlist Alert! This compilation may sound like a mixtape from 1987, but it's really a collection of songs from 21st century  synthwave artists you need add to your digital library...especially those of you who'd like to temporarily escape the horrors of 2020 and be whisked away to a neon-tinged time filled with euphoric soundscapes an an occasional saxophone riff.  Kicking things off is FM-84's "Running in the Night," an epic track from 2016 that is elevated by emotional vocals from UK singer Ollie Wride. Since discovering it late last year, the highly repeatable single has become one of my all-time favorite songs, perfect for nighttime drives and everywhere else. Other highlights include "Lightyears," a recent drop from Dream Fiend featuring September 87 (check out the awesomely retro sci-fi music vid ) and "Sunset" from duo The Midnight, a synthwave staple. @TheFirstEcho

Black Voices Heard: 4 Song Recommendations

Four songs (and artists) I can’t recommend enough: 1. “Forever Tonight” by Kelechi:  An 80s-inspired track designed to inspire anyone who thought love was “just a fairy tale.” Favorite lyric: “kiss me like we’re out of time.” This one continues to be on heavy rotation ever since I added it to last year's Fall Playlist . 2.  “The Worst In Me” by KAYTRANADA feat. Tinashe:  The Haitian-Canadian DJ provides a well-deserved four-on-the-floor groove for the R&B singer. 3. “Be Me” by VINCINT: A sparkling, uplifting anthem just in time for Pride season. 4. “Boys!” by Bronze Avery: A silky-smooth, synth-laden summer jam produced for poolside lounging. @TheFirstEcho

#ShareBlackStories: 4 Book Recommendations

I cannot recommend these books enough: Hunger  by Roxane Gay : a raw memoir about the culture critic’s painful childhood which led to an experience living in a body she calls “wildly undisciplined.” This Is Kind of An Epic Love Story  by Kheryn Callender : The non-binary author dedicates this story about a Seattle teen who falls in love with his childhood best friend to “#QPOC everywhere.” Dinner for Two by Mike Gayle : A 30something music journalist loses his job and becomes an advice columnist for a teen magazine where he receives a letter from the teen daughter he never knew he had. Becoming by Michelle Obama : The former First Lady beautifully details her life before and after becoming a part of a historic and groundbreaking chapter in American politics. @TheFirstEcho

Songs of the Month: June 2020

Usually, around this time of year, I find a song that will end up being prominently featured on my summer playlist, a current poolside bop that makes me feel alive. One of those tracks that will dominate the season, forever associated with life between May and August. However, the Summer of 2020 – hell, the entire year – is unlike any I've ever experienced in my life thus far. It's proving to be the most challenging, stressful, and emotionally draining, and there are no words right now to articulate how I'm dealing with what is going on in the world as I write this. Therefore, I'm traveling back in time to revisit one of my all-time favorite songs, "Everybody Wants to Rule the World," by Tears for Fears, taken from their iconic album Songs From The Big Chair (and from the opening credits of one of my favorite British films ). Thirty-five years after its release, it still hits all the right marks and could very well be a theme song for these gut-wrenching