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Hi, again!

I'm as surprised as you that I managed to draft a second newsletter.  But here it is!  Success!

No news on my end- which aside from the whole "no job" thing, is good.  I've made a lot of sacrifices this summer which hasn't been easy.  I haven't seen anyone from my entire family all summer, and if I've seen friends locally, it's been with masks on.  That's why I am really struck by this graph tweeted out from the New York City government's official Twitter account about cases in my age group- not only are the numbers jarring, but they are the result of an issue that's not being addressed here.  The reason why I am unemployed is that I declined to return to my barista job- not only wanting to move on in my career but also for the sake of my health.  Of course, so many people my age don't have a choice in this matter- they can't afford to not work, or maybe food service is their career that they want to continue- and in a similar way, can't afford to let that go.  

I often find myself conflicted with supporting small businesses while also refusing take-out food aside from a few take-out coffees.  For me, it's not only budgetary but also for my own health- I am afraid that the workers of a take-out establishment that I can't see might be sick.  I can't tell you how many times I've worked sick over the past decade of working in jobs like this.  Colds, stomach issues, menstrual cramps- you name it, and if I'm not in the hospital, I'm usually hauling my ass to work.  This standard needs to change, and I'm not sure if it will.  Restaurants are bulking up their health policies, but I wonder how many of those will come with a guilt trip from a manager, like the ones I've gotten so many times over the years after reporting my illness?

I'm hoping as things start to re-open, we consider the issues service workers face every day.  Maybe if the service is a little bit slow or the server seems rushed, we can forgive them for being understaffed instead of huffing and puffing about it.  Maybe it's time to promote fair, living wages and eliminate tipping- something being in food service has made me a very strong supporter of, as I believe tips are unfairly weighted on the worker's physical appearance and a customer's inherent biases, and the customer-worker relationship would greatly improve without them.

As we return to our "normal" lives, whenever that is, if ever, I hope we continue to keep this in mind- we have the opportunity to change the way our relationship with the service industry works, and it's never been a better time to change, too.

In this Issue:

Five Things:

1. The New Yorker Crossword: Published three times a week, perfect for my very open schedule.
2. Sufjan Stevens - "My Rajneesh":  I cannot believe this is a b-side.

3. DIY: Macrame Double Spiral Bracelet - Tutorial: Something about the lack of speaking and the Real Estate-ripoff soundtrack makes this video very eerie to me, but I learned something anyway.
4. Partners Coffee - Jumpstart Blend: Just made my first batch of cold brew with this, a nice medium Latin American blend that is great iced for summer. (Thanks Haley!)
5. One Piece on Netflix: Need something to watch during quarantine?  What about an anime that's been on since the 90's and is still going?
Click & Read: A Teenager Didn’t Do Her Online Schoolwork. So a Judge Sent Her to Juvenile Detention.

What Do We Gain When We Give Abusers A Platform?

I've been troubled to read recent headlines spotlighting musicians who have been accused of serious abuse.  A glowing profile of PWR BTTM's Ben Hopkins on Billboard Magazine's website and widespread coverage of Ryan Adam's non-apology are both equally unacceptable attention-giving.  While neither of these people have been convicted of crimes, they are both accused of long-time abuse against partners- something that is not typically taken to a court of law but should be taken seriously nonetheless.  

What do we gain from this in our music community?  Of course, these websites gain clicks and discussion across their platforms and social media- which is apparently the only thing that matters anymore.  We are constantly forced to remember people who should be erased from our cultural zeitgeist just because they made a tweet, or want you to listen to their music again.  Why are more people not putting their foot down and saying no to this kind of coverage?

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote here about the music media's failings in the coverage of artists of color and the diversity of the indie genre.  To now read coverage of both of these incidences - along with the absolutely disgusting act by the TODAY show to ask Mandy Moore about her ex-husband comments on live TV- has me even wondering what these outlets have learned.  Almost every music blog I know of has covered one of these two stories.  I refuse to believe that this is "fair" journalism when so many other artists get little to no coverage just for not being popular enough.  

It's time to say "NO!"  If your website can only survive on clicks from stories about controversial people, then maybe you have a larger problem.
Click & Listen: Illuminati Hotties - "will i get cancelled if i write a song called, "if you were a man you'd be so cancelled""

Margo Price - That's How Rumors Get Started

Country music has just as rich of a history as any genre, and it's taken many forms over the years.  Unfortunately, the version that hit the mainstream radio over the past couple of decades or so has given it a less than stellar reputation amongst fans of pretty much any other genre.  A lot of people now associate Country Music with those who sing that we'll "put a boot in your ass, because that's the American way." It may be true to a certain extent- mostly because the powers that be in the Country Music Industry want it to be that way.  For proof of this, look no further than the drama surrounding "Old Town Road" by Lil Nas X.

Enter Margo Price.  As signee on Jack White's Third Man Records, more of an indie rock label than anything, she released Midwest Farmer's Daughter to critical acclaim.  Her third LP, That's How Rumors Get Started, proves it even more- she's an artist for the kind of country music that not only keeps the spirit of the genre's roots but also doesn't actually give a shit about what "kind" of country it is.

Another artist who encapsulates this recent movement is Price's longtime friend Sturgill Simpson, who provides production on the album, and the two are a perfect musical match.  The record has more explosive moments like "Hey Child"- which at some points, gives the record a more rock-and-roll feel than her previous two that had a more acoustic feel on most tracks.  The addition of a gospel choir as her backing track really asserts her point on ballads like this and "What Happened To Our Love," another ballad with a booming end.

Price's lyrics are as strong as usual, one of the best being "Twinkle Twinkle," which tells her struggle to become the recording artist she is today. "If it don't break you/It might just make you rich/You might not get there/And on the way, it's a bitch"  Margo Price has never been one to not talk about the journey she's gone through just to get a recording deal.  She's never one to not talk about anything, saying on a recent performance on the Grand Ole Opry: "You know, Lady Antebellum has had a platform here. I think it would be really wonderful if y’all invited Anita White — the real Lady A — here to come and sing. You know, country music owes such a great deal of what we have to Black artists and Black music, and there's just no place for sexism, racism in this music."  She's unafraid to use her new platform to continue to talk about what she believes in, whether it be her words or her lyrics of songs like "Pay Gap" from her last record, All American Made.

That's How Rumors Get Started is Margo Price's best record for sure- just for the growth it demonstrates.  Her honesty not only in her personal life, but also in her songwriting makes her a trustworthy musician- you know whatever she does, it's going to be good.  The directness of her lyrics are not just timely- they're relatable.  It doesn't matter what country music "really" is- it's that people like Margo Price are making it.
Thanks for reading!
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