Author: Kelsey McKinney

  • Fighting the Darkness That’s Always There

    Each depressive episode is a battle in a war that will never end. Sometimes, you can see the enemy coming, its march toward you set up in straight lines like a British military exercise, and you have time to fortify yourself, to build up your habits and your friends and your resources to protect you. […]

  • 5 Great Debut Novels to Help Get You Through This Summer

    Summer is the messiest season. Sand crunches between your teeth and infiltrates your bikini. Melting popsicles and watermelon juice run down your arm, leaving a sticky trail behind. The salt of the ocean encrusts your hair. The sweat never stops. Summer feels so exciting, so alive, so much fun often because it is such a tangible, […]

  • String Theory: Mary Lattimore Makes the Harp Cool

    With all due respect to David and the secret chord the biblical hero played to please the Lord, the harp has never exactly been the coolest of instruments. There is a softness, a celestial kind of gauzy, lilting harmony we’ve come to expect from the harp. But Mary Lattimore’s compositions, with their half-dozen layers and […]

  • Janelle Monáe Is Coming for the Throne

    Spring is a season of blooming flowers and new beginnings. Or, if you’re Janelle Monáe, spring can be a time to don Georgia O’Keeffe–esque vagina flower pants. In the video for her newest single, “Pynk,” Monáe hops around in these pants — the head of her rumored girlfriend Tessa Thompson poking through the layers of […]

  • Celebrating a Year of Women in Music

    “Stop talking about women’s involvement and creation of rock music as if it is brand new phenomena, or their appearance on Billboard rock charts as a new incursion and not one happening regularly in the 40ish years of Rock Chart history,” Jess Hopper, music critic and author of The First Collection of Criticism by a […]

  • Scotland’s Newest Export, ONR., Is Pop Music With a Purpose

    For Robert Shields, something clicked in that old, beat-up, battered van. There was no iPhone hookup. The van only took CDs, which in the summer of 2016 felt like relics of another time, old-school, and Shields had only one of them. So, for the entire summer, as he drove to gigs around the United Kingdom, […]

  • Aiming for Redemption, Justin Timberlake Flirts With Irrelevance

    Justin Timberlake is fine. He’s good, even. Like the Centennial bulb in California, he’s always on: Give Timberlake a stage, and he’ll give you a show. In the fifteen years since he split from *NSYNC, Timberlake has had eighteen singles reach the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100, or seventeen more than the four […]

  • Why Kesha’s Grammy Performance Was Actually a Major Bummer

    All the headlines say the Kesha performance was powerful. Here she was, dressed all in white, surrounded by a congregation of women. But when I watched her perform, I didn’t feel power. I felt deep, guttural sorrow. “Praying,” the song she sang to an audience of 20,000 at Madison Square Garden and millions more at […]

  • Have the Grammys Finally Fixed Their Voting Problem? We’ll Find Out Sunday

    For the first time in the 59-year history of the Grammys, there’s not a single white man nominated for the biggest award of the year. Instead, the Album of the Year category is stacked with diverse names: Childish Gambino, Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar, Lorde, and Bruno Mars. And that diversity extends across the board. Jay-Z leads with eight […]

  • What Do We Want From Justin Timberlake in 2018?

    Justin Timberlake released a new single last week, and it’s about…something. Maybe it’s about sex, or partying, or love. What I definitely know is that there is not a complete thought to be found. “Filthy,” released Friday as the first single from Timberlake’s upcoming album, Man of the Woods, is not breaking any walls down. There’s […]