Relatable Music // Meaningful Work

What makes music resonate?
Joey

Why is meaningful work so popular in today’s economy?
Aaron

References

For all the songs referenced through the first conversation, we made a playlist jam-packed with nostalgia, disco, and middle-aged saxophone.

The Soul Glo song from Coming to America.

A brief synopsis on silver coiffed Eric Erikson’s stages of pyschology.

That article Aaron' mentioned from The Outline on Red Dead Redemption 2. Now say that five times fast.

Celebrity // Moonshots

Is it fair that celebrity culture is derided when sports culture is glorified?
Ilana

Do big brands have a responsibility to help solve societal crises we’d typically rely on the government to address, like climate change?
Joey

References

Canelo Alvarez indeed receiving the highest paying contract in history: $365M. And no, even Lebron’s Lakers deal can’t compare, coming in at a cool $153M.

Though it’s hard to nail down precisely, we know pretty confidently that Jeff Bezos is trampling the billionaire competition, even next to compatriots Gates, Musk, and Zuckerberg. Also yes, Apple is valued at over a trillion. But no, $1T doesn’t equal $1T potential dollars in space rockets: costs are indeed a thing.

Oh, right, yes, Elon Musk is having a total meltdown.

That doesn’t mean that the rich can’t move the needle. Consider how The Giving Pledge signatories donate a majority of their wealth to charity, and generally, the wealthy seem to be more generous than ever.

Speaking on OP influence, the election is in two weeks, but what Ilana meant by Tay Tay getting people to vote: Taylor Swift single-handedly swayed voter registrations in Tennessee.

Experts // Awards Shows

What does becoming an expert look like in a world with limitless access to information?
Joey

What will replace the award show in the American cultural imagination?
Aaron

References

Shay Mitchell gives us the perfect example of unicorning. Also, it may be a sign we’ve hit peak unicorn when people apply a beauty product called Unicorn Snot to their faces.

You too can make like Joey and learn about the Black-Scholes model.

The full version of that masterclass with Pharrell and Maggie Rogers at NYU.

American Idol came out in 2002. For sure. And now you must relive that classic Kelly finale performance.

All of the Chuck Klosterman books, including X, his latest. Chuck, if you’re listening: Sylvain Labs is a big fan. Also, see for yourself the diversity of the New York Times Bestsellers.

The Moonlight moment and Lemonade moment that lost Aaron on awards for good.

Joey knows his food supplier conferences. Expo West, ladies and gentlemen.

We have no agenda to push any products or brands on our listeners. Aaron is just really THAT into the new Tomb Raider game on PS4.

Some data vis about the gap between Rotten Tomatoes Critics scores and Audience scores.

Drag Culture // Movie Sequels

Can drag culture survive the mainstream?
Aaron

How and when should we be making sequels of movies?
Joey

References

Sadly, Con Con is not actually a thing. But Comic Con happened over the weekend and they had a pretty dramatic “photo-booth.”

The latest viewership ratings of RuPaul’s Drag Race are astounding. Also, a brief history of ball culture.

For you New York listeners, no we aren’t the only ones with Alamo Drafthouse. Thanks, Texas. For those who haven’t been, get yourself to one ASAP with a large bowl of popcorn to share with exactly no one.

Joey quoting Matt Damon quoting movie studio heads when people stopped buying DVDs and they lost half their revenue.

Also, Joey and this list of 44 movie sequels and reboots.

That Godzilla trailer Aaron talked about that doomed the film:

A take from Time on why we have so much Spiderman (and why the latest was arguably destined to be better than its predecessors).

The “sistory” of The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.

Kanye // Depressed Futurists

Are we evaluating Kanye through entirely the wrong lens?
Joey

Why are today's futurists so depressed?
Aaron

References

Sometimes, we make references during the show that warrant explanation or deserve a link. For this and future episodes, expect to find those references, context around them, and other surprises, here!

Almost a requisite for this episode: have a listen to Kanye West’s Ye and his collaboration with Kid Cudi, KIDS SEE GHOSTS.

And per Aaron’s request, Carrie Underwood’s Cry Pretty.

Next time you’re in Amsterdam, we’d highly recommend a trip to the Van Gogh Museum. But if that’s not on the docket any time soon and you’re curious to learn more about Van Gogh’s mental health, the same museum has a pretty great digital “exhibit” on the subject to tide you over.

From the other side of the musical spectrum, this:

A brief and delightful backstory from the Thomas Jefferson Foundation on why we say the Senate cools the House as a saucer does tea.

A detailed report on the future of the labor market.

If you’ve been inspired to get into the full trilogy from Cixin Liu, here’s a shortcut to ordering the Three-Body Problem series.

The Hugo Award-winner Joey was talking about? Robert Charles Wilson’s Julian Comstock: A Story of 22nd-Century America. Also for your reading pleasure, a definitive list of novels that won both the Hugo and Nebula Awards for best science fiction or fantasy writing.

And if you too need more Robbie Williams in your life…