Ryan Foley

Ryan Foley

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Soundtracking a Soul-Cleansing Trip to Ireland

In the Irish town of Recess, there is a monument that proclaims: "On this site in 1897 nothing happened." I've never visited Recess during what has essentially become biennial excursions to Ireland; I've only passed by during bumpy bus rides from Galway to Clifden and back.

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Jarvis Cocker: Britpop's Thinking Pervert

Ex-Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker recently allowed scientists to measure the physical effects playing music has on his body. He performed with onetime bandmate Richard Hawley for the PBS documentary The Music Instinct: Science and Song, and afterward people in white lab coats prodded the singer's gray matter.

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How Do You Explain the Suicide of Joy Division's Ian Curtis to a Kid?

My 11-year-old son, beginning to understand that pop music is much like his first love, professional sports, and that part of its enjoyment arrives from tracing an artist's career arc, once asked me: "So what is Joy Division doing now?"

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Listening to the Music of Home: Diddy, Deerhunter, and the Field Mice

The last moment I spent at my childhood home was essentially a re-enactment of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show"'s final scene: I smiled regretfully at an empty room, flicked off the lights, and quietly closed the door. Life's weighty moments demand significant gestures on our part. I guess mine aren't so significant; they're just lifted from ones originally performed in sitcoms.

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Deconstructing Adele's Sanity-Preserving Video for "Someone Like You"

It's humiliating to be imparted a thuddingly obvious life lesson by an individual 14 years your junior. They've circumvented the familiar doctrine that age brings wisdom. In the new video for her massive hit "Someone Like You" (at 7.9 million YouTube views and counting), English soul singer Adele traverses the Pont Alexandre III in Paris.

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Rock Music Is Too Serious, Or Why We Still Need the Vaselines

If the U.S. was an emoticon, it would be that frowning, teary-eyed yellow face. If it was a meme, it would be "Sad Keanu."

According to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, which measures overall national contentment, Americans are becoming increasingly miserable. The index scores the well-being of each state on a scale from 0 to 100. The most recent national average was 66.2, down from 66.8 the previous year.

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What Is Dad Rock, Exactly? One Dad's Opinion

In a segment from a Season One episode of The Cosby Show, the sitcom's namesake delightfully illustrates how pop music can function as a generational wedge. "I thought it had come down the hallway," Bill Cosby says in reference to the deafening music playing on daughter Sondra's stereo, "and went into my room and I thought it was going to eat me up!"

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Angst vs. Acceptance: Easing Midlife Malaise with Indie Rock

Desperate Bicycles, a '70s punk act largely known for its boastful autonomy when it came to releasing music, isn't a group I typically turn to when in need of clarity and counsel. I mean, these are guys that wrote songs titled "I Am Nine" and "A Can of Lemonade." Profundity is really not their thing.

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Harry Chapin's "Cat's in the Cradle" Is a Father's Nightmare -- And We Need More Songs Like It

‚ÄčA father's fears generally fall into two loosely defined, ever-expanding categories. There's the keep-you-up-at-night, bite-your-nails-to-the-quick worries that focus on money, job security, and child safety. Meanwhile, there's the slightly less hardcore stuff: meetings with school principals, base-loaded strikeouts in final at-bats, that sippy cup full of milk that hasn't been seen in three months.

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The Summer Anthem: Does It Get Better or Worse with Age?

We pop music critics are wired in such a way that articulating a love for Aja and Scott Walker is significantly less difficult than articulating the love for the person we share a toothbrush with. We're a revolting phylum, I know.

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Children's Artists Smile Way Too Fucking Much

For me, seeing children's artists perform live is akin to watching footage of horrific sports injuries (like Shaun Livingston). I am tormented, yet equally transfixed. So behold "I Gotta Go Potty!" by Moey's Music Party.

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Billy Joel's Roadmap to Success: Five Pieces of Advice He Never Gave, But Could Have

Say what you want about Billy Joel. Just know that the man has your best interests at heart.

Throughout his lengthy career, the singer-songwriter has held Q&A/cocktail sessions at intimate venues, offering folks the opportunity to ask him questions around mouthfuls of scallops wrapped in bacon.

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On Hair Metal, Siberia, and Learning to Love Terrible Things

Lately, I've been listening to a lot of '80s hair metal, and when I listen to said hair metal, I frequently find myself thinking about Siberia.

Okay, let me explain.

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Do You Love Nick Drake? Then Thank His Parents

Over a six-year stretch beginning in 1994, Jason Creed published 19 issues of Pink Moon, a fanzine dedicated to the life and music of deceased English folk singer-songwriter Nick Drake. Pink Moon featured interviews with primary characters in the Drake narrative, as well as dispatches regarding his burgeoning pop cultural presence.

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Nostalgia and the Curious Collector of 78 RPM Children's Records

As I get older, nostalgia has become an adversary I frequently want to bind with rope, coat in honey, and leave to the insects. "Guess what / nostalgia sucks," goes that NOFX song. Blunt, yet astute. Of course, that couplet is followed by, "But I miss the days of Reagan punk," a clear acknowledgment that no matter how unsavory nostalgia may be, its pull is fixed and inescapable.