The Tangential

An Open Apology to Peanut Butter

Dear Peanut Butter, I’m sorry that I did not consciously realize until recently that you are actually made out of peanuts. Like by virtue of being called “peanut butter” you are a butter-resembling thing made out of peanuts, not general vague brown-ness as I had previously assumed. Usually you taste like sugar, not like nuts. […]


My 8-Year Relationship with Top 40

Age 14-18: In high school I claimed to hate Top 40. This was back when I was desperately trying to seem smart or interesting or whatever the fuck would make someone like me. My understanding of myself was mostly based on the impression I believed I left on others, so articulating a flimsy moral opposition […]

Kimberly Perry

I’m Just a Simple Country Boy, Kimberly Perry, and Your Highfalutin Metaphors Confuse Me

Look, Kim, I’m sorry things didn’t work out between us, but I’m darned confused trying to make heads or tails out of that song “Lasso” you wrote about it. I know you’re not talking to me and all, but maybe you could send me a text sometime helping me out with this stuff. The song […]

Celine Dion Las Vegas

Leisure Activities of Céline Dion While Recovering From Sinusitis in Las Vegas

Googling the word “sinus” while drinking a smoothie with chia seeds. Mani/pedi/acoustic jam in jammies night with Meat Loaf. Getting erotic nose massages from René. Visiting schools and giving chest-beating lessons as a public service. Contemplating killing self with neti pot full of brain-eating bacteria. Settling on a neti Martini instead. While under the influence […]

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I Love Country – And I Don’t Apologize for It

If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone describe their music taste as “everything but ___ and country,” I would not be slangin’ designer denim for my paycheck. No, sir – I would be lying on the Mexico beach next to Kenny Chesney sipping on margaritas. Because I fucking love country music. […]

David Bowie

A Haiku About Each David Bowie Album

David Bowie (1967) Oh, isn’t this cute He’s like Paul McCartney but Not shouting so much Space Oddity (1969) This is much better Lots of texture, some good songs Spaceman phase begins The Man Who Sold the World (1970) Nirvana song’s good Then the rest is prog rock prog Rock prog MAKE IT STOP Hunky Dory (1971) “Queen Bitch,” […]

Taylor Swift

Song Titles for the Next Taylor Swift Album

“Cardboard Girl (In Walgreens)” “I Guess One of Those Three Billion Girls Was Prettier Than Me” “Inevitable (for Justin)” “My Hair is Kinky, Like Me Now” “Can’t Believe You Checked Out Our Waitress” “Thinking About Dating Outside of My Race” “The Island of Misfit Toyboys” “Fighting in Iambic Pentameter” “I Can Be Pop, But You […]

69 Love Songs copy

Is the Magnetic Fields’ “69 Love Songs” the Best Album of All Time?

The Magnetic Fields’ 69 Love Songs is a long album, a three-disc set. On first listening, some of the songs grab you immediately, some float pleasantly by, and some annoy you. Try to excerpt the album, though—make a playlist or mix CD of just your favorite tracks—and you’ll find editing kills it. The songs you love […]


The Six Most Epic Christmas One-Hit Wonders

Trans-Siberian Orchestra If being frozen in time as the auteurs of a dangerously-bland style of heavy metal in the mid- to late 1980s is your idea of self-imposed dungeon of pop culture Gehenna, let me introduce you to that—plus the 1990s and only-Christmas music. No one ever accused Christmas of being adrenaline-starved, but one year […]

Ke$ha Warrior

The Best Quotes from Ke$ha’s “Warrior” Album Commentary

On “C’Mon”: “‘C’Mon’ is a really…fun song. That song…the lyrics…I’m like, really excited about it, because I get to say, ‘I’m feeling like a saber-tooth ti-GER, sippin’ on a warm Bud-wei-SER.’ That’s probably my favorite lyric of that song.” On “Thinking of You”: “It is a breakup song…and it’s kind of like a sweet song…except […]

Bruce Peter Ames Carlin

Peter Ames Carlin’s Springsteen biography “Bruce”: The latest, if not greatest, in Bossology

Though Peter Ames Carlin’s new Springsteen book Bruce isn’t technically an authorized biography, since Carlin didn’t give Springsteen the right to approve what he wrote, the Boss did cooperate with Carlin—the first time he’s cooperated with a biographer since Dave Marsh published Born to Run in 1979 and Glory Days in 1987. (Marsh’s two books were combined into a […]

Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen, I Believe In You Again

In retrospect, my retreat from Bruce Springsteen fandom seems like a necessary break in our relationship. We got too serious too soon, and I needed some space before I could commit to loving the Boss for the rest of my life. We got back together last night, at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul—my […]

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