The Joup Friday Album: MTV Unplugged 2.0 – Lauryn Hill

Album cover of MTV Unplugged 2.0 by Lauryn HillAs a single, child-free woman, I’ve found myself with not one, but two, pregnant friends this summer. Both are expecting boys. And I cannot wait.

Childbearing is something I’ve never wanted or done. While many women experience the proverbial biological clock, or feel pangs of longing whenever they encounter babies, I’ve never been there. My role models were always older, child-free women with rich, fulfilling lives, complete with travel, careers, relationships, and adventure. Having a kid in the mix would do nothing but tie me down.

Yet I would take – and give – a bullet for my nephew.

The Joup Friday Album: Donny & Marie – New Season

dm recordMy fondness for Donny and Marie Osmond can be traced back to this Fisher Price record player, which I’m sure a lot of kids in my generation remember receiving for Christmas or birthdays in the early ‘80s. Matching red footie pajamas for my sister and I, up way before the sun and my parents, anxiously glimpsing beneath the silver tinsel Christmas tree. Would this be the year Santa caught onto our bullheaded brattiness and leave us empty-handed?

The Joup Friday Album – Queen Latifah ‘Nature of a Sista’ ‘

Nature_Of_A_Sista_album_cover 2There aren’t a lot of options for culture in Cowtown, circa 1990s. The Internet was still Telnet, and the dial tone determined whether or not you were going to be able to get your Furry-muck on that evening. But ’90s girls, please join me in a moment of silence for Sassy magazine. Sassy, giving today’s Teen Vogue its legitimate activism-lite marching orders. Sassy, which later evolved into the execrable Jane.

Digressions aside, as a white Midwestern gal of Gen X, Sassy was my window to a world beyond poof bangs and the vocational school rejects who mooed at me in the hallways. I devoured every issue, intent on filling my brain with activism, culture, and music.

The Joup Friday Album: Linda Ronstadt – Greatest Hits, Vol. I

lindaronstadtgreatesthitsIf I were to be totally honest, the last two weeks have been about escape. It’s my luxury, as a white woman – I own the privilege that allows me the momentary slip away from the gaping maw of hate, insecurity, shallowness, petty weaknesses, and detestable outcomes this country coughed up like a big, phlegmatic hairball come Election Day. Some say we did this to ourselves. Others say we did it to each other.

The Joup Friday Album: Traveling Wilburys – Vol. I

Album cover Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1In the supergroup pantheon, who really considers The Traveling Wilburys? Treated like a shameful secret among superfans of each of the group’s members (Roy Orbison, George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, and Bob Dylan), The Wilburys were an ‘80s “two-off” group that got together to spin folksy, watered-down Southern gothic kind of tunes that hovered around some of the easy listening stations of the time.

Abhorring anything Jeff Lynne and his omnipresent drum machine, my boyfriend Batdad Tu mocks the ever-loving shit out of this group. Granted, they’re not his beloved (fill in the blank of whatever superhero troupe Josh Homme is assembling at the moment), but my soft spot for – and defense of – The Wilburys shall remain unwavering.

The Joup Friday Album: Laurie Anderson – Big Science

Album cover to Big Science by Laurie AndersonWith the post-millennium lovefest surrounding everyone’s rediscovery and love of all things Devo, I’m kind of surprised and disappointed the same critical examination isn’t extending to Laurie Anderson.

“Big Science” was Anderson’s debut on Warner Brothers in 1982, and while she never found mainstream success in the United States, one of the singles, “O Superman (for Massenet),” reached #2 on the U.K. charts.

Avant-garde (read: uncategorizable): It’s not pop, disco, classical, rock, rap, metal, country, or even electronic. Anderson’s velvet alto offers random narration over most of the album tracks, which pogo from dark gothic weirdness to sparse synthesized space proselytizing.