All posts by Alanna McAuliffe

Alanna is a twenty year old New Yorker studying journalism and political science. Even though she is technically an adult, she owns an inordinate number of socks with tiny pictures of cats on them. She is strangely okay with this. She’s a collector of odd facts and figures and a proponent of quirks, oddities, and eccentricities. Powered by caffeine and an inability to sit still, her hobbies include reading, writing, manically playing air guitar while belting out off-key renditions of classic rock songs, and penning slightly awkward, self-deprecating biographies in third-person.

From One Alien to Another: Remembering David Bowie

When I was thirteen, I made a MySpace account. It was a clandestine affair, a hush-hush site kept secret from my folks that made me feel grown-up, hip, cool. In actuality, I spent the entirety of my time on this social media platform avoiding the “social” aspect all together; I was more into altering the design of my page, which became near habitual. I changed my profile song like the weather, flitting from Sonic Youth to Britney Spears depending on whether or not I ate lunch alone that day, a barometer of loneliness or disconnection or youthful exuberance, all the swinging emotions that accompany being a newly minted teenager with a cowlick and a Beanie Baby collection. My mood statuses were always vague, hinting at angst, self-indulgent little nothings, passive aggressive and purposeless.

The one thing that rarely changed was my bio. At any given moment, a friend could scroll through my page and read the phrase, “When words fail, music speaks.” And though I certainly have outgrown tYp3in liek dis for some sort of quasi-cute effect or idolizing Hello Kitty and Jeffree Star as if they were deities, those five words still ring true, echoing in the hollows of my heart. For me, there has always been a visceral connection to music, as if my veins had been rewired and hooked to an internal stereo, my brain driven by beats and echoes, lyrics sprawled on skin with Sharpie seeping through my pores and into my blood.

Continue reading From One Alien to Another: Remembering David Bowie

“We Are Not Things!” – The Flaw in the Strong Female Character™

On a sweltering day this past June, I tumbled from the darkened aisles of the cinema and into the blinding sunlight with tears streaming down my face. In dark, smoke-y lines down my cheeks, streaked eyeliner and mascara, the back of my hand stained with the smeared remnants of my painstakingly applied wingtip. An elderly woman passed me by, concerned, hanging her head, probably wondering what movie currently showing had left me in such distress.

Perhaps something about an ill-fated family pet? (I still haven’t forgiven you for Marley and Me, motion picture gods! Or I Am Legend, for that matter. Will Smith, why?!? We trusted you!)

Or maybe a tragic love story? (Yeah…despite attending many a slumber party in my single-sex education life, I have yet to finish the Notebook, no matter how devastatingly handsome Ryan Gosling happens to be. I was only able to skate by throwing some lines out about being a bird or writing letters. Hell, for all I know, that movie was centered around carrier pigeons.)

Continue reading “We Are Not Things!” – The Flaw in the Strong Female Character™

Retrospective Reviews: The Problem With Duckie Dale, the Original Fedora

When I was in middle school, I had a particular fascination with updating my name on Facebook to something absolutely ridiculous once every couple of weeks. These spanned from “Sashuh Fyerce” (a title I oh-so-cleverly spelled incorrectly on purpose to spite Facebook for telling me that the moniker of Beyoncé’s alter-ego was not a legitimate name) to the delightful “Ferocia Couturia” (because Season Four of Project Runway was an incredibly influential presence in my young adult life).  Continue reading Retrospective Reviews: The Problem With Duckie Dale, the Original Fedora

Album Review: Downers – Noose

With dreamy distorted riffs and an atmospheric faraway drone, the distinguished melodies of shoegazing alt-rock are thought to be early nineties relics, nostalgia-tinged tracks that have since outgrown radio play. In their newest August 2015 EP Noose, however, United Kingdom grunge quartet Downers have infused far-out noise with new-found energy and vigor, dropping three tracks that ensure the longevity of the era of ambience with an indie nu-rock twist.

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What to Do When Your Streaming Service Acknowledges That You’re Total Trash: A Rundown and Review of Apple Music Customization

“So what’s your favorite band?” 

That’s it, the only question that can cold-clock me into a fugue state where my knees feel as if they’re composed entirely of off-brand Jell-O and sweat drips from my forehead so furiously that anyone standing beneath me may experience a sensation not entirely unlike straight waterboarding. The fact of the matter is, while I’d like to say I’m proud of my music taste, I am, in part, admittedly pop-punk trash who also dabbles in mid-nineties to early two-thousands novelty hip-hop. When I put my iPod on shuffle at a party, there’s a strong likelihood that the seminal classic “Ms. New Booty,” by legendary hit-maker Bubba Sparxxx may interrupt a steady stream of emo ballads from the earliest days of the new millenium.

It is what it is. This is my lot in life. The final step is acceptance.

So when Apple announced a free trial of their personalized streaming service (aptly, though perhaps not overly creatively, called Apple Music), I was equal parts ecstatic and apprehensive. Would Apple Music have the sentience to see through my self-inflated musical ego and judge me?

Continue reading What to Do When Your Streaming Service Acknowledges That You’re Total Trash: A Rundown and Review of Apple Music Customization