Sunday, October 4, 2020 - 3:07pm
Being a Stan means supporting everything — and I mean everything — they d

This article is a part of the Arts b-side on Icons. For a full look at our b-side pieces exploring this theme, click this link.

Growing up, one of my favorite songs of all time was Eminem’s hip-hop classic “Stan,” which tells a twisted tale from the perspective of a genuine superfan (or perhaps “stalker-fan”). Stan as depicted in the song is not the kind of fan anyone would want to identify with — he doesn’t get a happy ending.

Sunday, September 13, 2020 - 4:22pm

By the time I reached 3rd grade, I was in the internet trenches. Deep in the trenches. I’m talking roleplaying “Pokémon” on fansite forums, watching Naruto fan flash animations on Saiyan Island, trying to learn the dance from “Caramelldansen” and consuming dozens of Strong Bad emails on Homestar Runner. According to the record books it was June 21, 2007 when I logged into RuneScape for the first time. I spent the first of what would become thousands of hours glued to the computer. If “Pokémon” roleplay and Naruto fan flashes were the trenches, “RuneScape” was my 9th layer of internet hell.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020 - 5:41pm

COVID-19 has given the phrase “bedroom pop” a whole new meaning. High profile musicians across the world have flocked to video conferencing and streaming platforms like Zoom and Instagram Live to perform and chat with fans more than ever before, often from the comfort of their bedrooms. British singer and experimental-pop superstar Charli XCX took this ascending intimacy between artist and listener and cranked it up to the max.

Monday, April 20, 2020 - 5:12pm

Before her debut, Rina Sawayama was the kind of low-key singer you’d come across on Spotify and think, Holy shit, she is going to have a career. Her first EP, RINA, remains one of the best musical projects of 2017. She burst onto the scene with a fresh pop sound that was in-your-face, uniquely undiluted and over-ornate. Her writing was breathtaking, her voice was sublime and her beats were out of this world — thanks to her producer, Clarence Clarity. He brought the best out of her, and she brought the best out of him: a musical match made in heaven.

Thursday, April 9, 2020 - 3:03pm

There’s no better time to play “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” than when you’re trapped at home with little to do. The same can be said for most video games, but especially so for “New Horizons”; no better game could have been released on March 20, 2020.

Thursday, March 26, 2020 - 5:39pm

I played video games as much as any other kid growing up in the GameCube era. My earliest memories of video game music come from playing “Sonic Adventure 2” on the Dreamcast, where you could listen to the original soundtrack from an extras menu. I was particularly fond of the hip-hop songs that played during the Knuckles stages; God only knows how many times I listened to the Pumpkin Hill theme song.

Monday, March 16, 2020 - 4:19pm

New Orleans rapper Jay Electronica is one of the greatest enigmas in the history of hip hop. He first came up in the mid-2000s with hits on MySpace. He then started dating singer Erykah Badu; the eccentricity of her partners after dating her has been the subject of memes in the hip-hop community.

Thursday, March 12, 2020 - 3:38pm

New York City 8-bit band Anamanaguchi doesn’t seem like a recipe for mass-appeal music. You can explain their genre by saying “If you like video games and anime, you’ll love Anamanaguchi.” But when I try to imagine a band that takes those mediums as its main influences — not to knock on video games and anime — I imagine niche tunes that only meganerds like myself would enjoy. Definitely not thoughtful, multilayered or widely appealing music. But [USA] is all of the above.

Sunday, February 23, 2020 - 4:41pm

Sometimes, when you pair up a producer and a rapper who each have their own signature sound, you can immediately imagine what their collaboration might sound like. If I said Metro Boomin and Lil Wayne were dropping a single, anybody familiar with both artists could already hear the hazy, southern rap banger forming in their head.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020 - 6:52pm

During a drive to Ann Arbor with three other people in my car, I asked each of my companions to queue two songs on Spotify for us to listen to along the way. Two were quick to add their songs, but one of my friends was hesitant to add something to the queue. “I don’t know what to add, just skip me,” she insisted, but I demanded two songs from her. So she reluctantly queued two songs.