Do We Owe Our Spouses Sex?


At some point over the past few years since becoming a mom, I became a subscriber to the popular Mommy blog Scary Mommy. By subscriber I mean I’m on their email list- I’m certainly not paying them. Anyway, here lately I’ve noticed a preponderance of posts about how women do not owe their husbands sex. Now this is a very complicated issue that has been weighing heavily on my mind lately, probably largely because most of the posts I’ve seen on this matter strike me as particularly one-sided. In other words, they all seem to come from angry, bitter women who are over-worked, over-stressed, & appear to have a bit of a chip on their shoulders. But even that is too simple of a summarization of such a complex topic. So I thought I’d create a space where we can have a frank discussion about something that really is incredibly important both to individuals as well as to society as a whole.

Before I go any further, I recommend reading these articles so you will better understand the context for why I’m writing this. As you will discover, I am much more inclined to agree with the Huff Post article.

Stop Making Married Women Feel Bad About Not Having Sex (scarymommy.com)

Married Women Don’t Owe Sex To Their Spouse (scarymommy.com)

Do We Owe Our Spouses Sex? | HuffPost Life

Sex in America is a strange beast. One the one hand, sex is everywhere. “Sex sells,” as the old saying goes- & it’s true. Sex is either implicitly or explicitly involved in so many aspects of our culture- everything from movies to music to advertisements to video games. It’s everywhere- & yet it’s not. Because when it comes to actually TALKING about sex we are curiously silent. As parents we are so afraid of awkward discussions that we often let our kids learn about sex from everyone & everything but us- a recipe for disaster if you ask me. Our society frequently depicts sex as both wonderful & horrible all at the same time, so is it any wonder teenagers are rushing to do it to figure out what they’re missing? Furthermore, our society often depicts sex as something that magically vanishes once a couple gets married or generally settles down together. I realize that IS the case for some couples & there are very valid & legitimate reasons for this, but at the end of the day we are animals- albeit very different from other species of course. But the fact remains that sex is a biological need. It serves both physiological & psychological purposes for us- both men & women- so to act like it’s healthy or normal for sex to disappear once you’re married (or generally committed to someone long term) is, in my opinion, an extremely unhealthy concept to encourage.

Don’t marry a man like this

Now one thing I do agree with the Scary Mommy articles about is that men absolutely need to step up to help their wives around the house, especially once children come into the picture. I truly believe one reason that my husband & I have maintained such a great sex life is because he consistently does his part around the house- WITHOUT BEING ASKED. Which is exactly how it should be. Sure, once in a while I might ask him to help with something but the vast majority of the time, he just does it. And frankly I doubt I’d have married him if he weren’t like that. I for one did not get married to take care of a man child. No way, no sir, no how. That life is not for me! I married someone who is my life partner, not someone to take care of like a child. That dynamic might work for some people but it would NOT work for me. And I absolutely believe we need to do a better job of raising our boys to know that housework is not just for women. If more men stepped up to help with the laundry, dishes, etc, I can almost guarantee American sex lives would be in a better spot.

Furthermore, I 100% agree that husbands should be invested in their wives’ pleasure. If your man doesn’t care if you’re orgasming or not, you’re with the wrong man. If your husband/partner is only interested in sex for his own pleasure, trust me when I say, he ain’t “the one.” End of story.

But where I disagree with these articles is on the idea that spouses don’t owe each other sex at all. Now I’ll admit I don’t like putting it in those terms but I’m not sure how else to say it. And this whole idea that “when I got married I didn’t sign up to meet his sexual needs” just makes zero sense to me. Um, yes- yes, you did. And he signed up to meet your needs too- both sexually & otherwise! Now by NO MEANS am I saying that women should be sex slaves to their husbands who have to say yes every single time. But when you marry someone, you’re promising to meet their physical & emotional needs, & yes, sex is part of that! We are animals after all! So if you’re going months or even years without sex, something is wrong- very, very wrong (unless of course both of you are truly ok with that- but I have a hard time imagining anyone, male or female, not wanting sex for that long- but maybe that’s just me). Anyway, the point is that while I very much believe that each person owns their own body & should not be FORCED into anything, at the same time, being married DOES mean you’ve promised to meet each other’s needs. This obviously applies to men too. I have read posts & articles with wives complaining that their husbands never want sex anymore & how hurtful that is to them. So for sure this goes BOTH ways.

Anyone who has analyzed divorce data even a tiny bit knows that a lack of sex is almost always involved. Have you ever wondered why that is? I suspect it’s because a lack of sex is usually symptomatic of a greater problem in a marriage. If you aren’t having sex, I have to wonder if you’re really emotionally close to one another. Now obviously there are exceptions here- people undergoing chemotherapy, women who’ve endured very traumatic childbirth, etc. But those are the exceptions, not the rule. My husband & I have always said that one reason we prioritize sex is because we can never be but so mad at each other if we’re having sex regularly. I know we are very different than a lot of people but I suspect that is true for most folks. Sex is an emotional experience for everyone, not just women, so it’s hard to do it regularly with someone & not have a good emotional connection with that person.

Lastly, when I read these Scary Mommy articles & ones like it, I can’t help but feel that these women are saying “men are so selfish & only care about themselves & their desires.” (Now I’m sure that’s true for some men- don’t marry that type!) BUT it also feels to me like these authors are also being quite selfish & saying they only care about their own needs & desires. Maybe I’m old school but two wrongs don’t make a right. As far as I’m concerned it is not healthy for anyone, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, to consistently deny their partner sex for ages on end (exceptional circumstances notwithstanding of course). That’s just setting your relationship up to fail, if you ask me. It’s setting both of you up to be miserable, to communicate poorly, & to resent each other.

Now I’m no expert, no sex therapist or guru or what have you. I’m just a normal 30-something wife & mom who enjoys dissecting difficult topics & discussing things most people would rather sweep under the rug. I in no way think that I’m a perfect wife, that my husband is perfect, that our relationship is perfect, or that I/we have all the answers. But I am saddened to see that the narrative on this subject seems to be mostly dominated by women who seem to have such a negative view of sex. I have to wonder if they just haven’t had good sex… Was that a sexist statement? Hmmm… Now I’m not saying there haven’t been times in my life, mostly in the first year or so of our daughter’s life when I was breastfeeding, that I didn’t feel particularly in the mood. Certainly there have been. But you know what? We found ways to make it work. I value my own sexuality, I value my husband & our relationship, & like anything else in life worth having, our sex life was/is worth fighting for.

The purpose of this post is not to make anyone feel guilty. And the purpose is certainly not to brag about my own sex life. But I think this is a very important subject that usually either isn’t addressed or is only addressed very one-sidedly. Of course the women writing those Scary Mommy articles probably argue that this subject used to only be addressed with men’s needs/desires in mind. And that is probably true. But again, two wrongs don’t make a right. We aren’t going to better our society by treating men like trash. That just isn’t the path to progress. We need to have an open dialogue about touchy subjects like this (pun very much intended). We need to communicate clearly with our spouses about everything, including of course sex. And that kind of open dialogue needs to happen long before someone becomes your spouse! I personally think sex before marriage is quite necessary to ensure that people are compatible. I know that goes against everything I was taught growing up, but nonetheless I truly believe it. Now I also believe that if people have a strong emotional connection the chances are very good that they will have a strong physical connection too. But sex is way too important to leave to chance, if you ask me.

I’m sure there’s an angry feminist somewhere reading this & screaming that I’m condoning marital rape. Let me assure you that I am not. But I also think we need to be honest with ourselves & admit that denying a partner sex consistently is not healthy. When it comes down to it, you’re denying YOURSELF pleasure too. Ask any sex “expert” & they’ll tell you that “sex begets sex.” There are times when it may not be perfect or the most romantic experience of your life, but if you stay off the horse forever you’ll never get back to the great rides you remember from the past (pun intended once again).

So, did I answer the question in the title of this post? I’m not sure. Even if I did, I suspect the answer will be different for everyone- & that’s fine. But it’s something you better be sure to communicate clearly with your own partner.

I’d love to hear others’ opinions on this matter. It’s always possible I’m just crazy. But I truly believe this is an important discussion that needs to be addressed from all angles- which in my experience is not being done.

Disclosure: if you’ve experienced rape or sexual assault, I realize your experiences may be vastly different, & this post may not be very relevant for you. I can only speak to my own experiences. If this article feels tone deaf, I apologize.

P.S. Feel free to private message me your thoughts if you aren’t comfortable discussing this in a public forum. I totally understand that.

P.P.S. I just looked at my phone & I had a notification from YouTube that one of my favorite country singers (Gary Allan) just posted a song called Sex. And yes, it is about sex. It even addresses the fact that our society is obsessed with sex & yet we don’t like to talk about it. Talk about timing….

Dear Sexual Harasser


I’ve recently discovered that the best way to attract an audience to my blog is to write about controversial topics, specifically race & sex. This is really no surprise of course because, as the saying goes, controversy creates cash. Not that this blog creates any cash for me- it definitely does not. But naturally as a writer, even a very amateur one, I do like knowing my posts are reaching a broader audience.

Well, today’s post concerns both sex AND race. Whether it will garner hundreds of views like my other recent (ish) posts on similar controversial topics remains to be seen. And frankly this post is not intended to reach a large audience. I’ve always tried to be very up front about the fact that everything I write here is primarily for my own benefit. Writing is one of my main therapeutic outlets- it’s how I try to make sense of my own head & the world around me. I have no pretentions of trying to save the world or change lives with my posts. Sure, I’d love if it my words spoke to someone & made a positive difference in their lives, but that isn’t my primary goal when I write. I for one have found that the art that speaks to me the most, that has most changed MY life- whether it be music, poetry, or books- is almost always written by someone with a similar mindset. When we set out to clear our own heads I think that is quite often when we DO reach the most people because we’re being our most authentic natural selves.

Anyway, that was a long tangent that really has nothing to do with today’s subject. This post was actually inspired by one of my Facebook memories that popped up this morning. As the memory reminded me, eleven years ago today I accepted a summer job as a student nurse/unofficial medical assistant for a doctor in a small town near where I went to college. I was so excited for that job & despite how things ended I don’t regret taking it. I learned so much about nursing from that job, everything from medication reconciliation to managing lab results to taking manual blood pressures. But I learned some other, darker life lessons too.

I’m not going to go into the specifics of what happened- the truth is NOTHING actually HAPPENED- but the end story is that after I left the job to return to school this doctor ended up asking me for sex more than once. He even invited me to dinner & because I had worked with both his wife & his mother at the office I assumed one or both of them would be coming too. Nope, turned out he was just trying to get me drunk & take me to a hotel- & even back then I wasn’t so naïve as to not know what THAT meant. I was way too smart to go along with such nonsense of course. But looking back I’m just amazed at his confidence- or should I say his gall? He seemed genuinely surprised when I turned him down! Keep in mind I was 22 at the time & he was easily twice my age, plus I was engaged & he was married!

One thing this doctor taught me was how good of actors some people can be. After all, the whole time I worked for him I never once foresaw anything like this happening. He had never ONCE made me feel uncomfortable in any way. I had NEVER gotten any kind of sexual vibe from him at all. The previous summer I’d had an assistant manager at a restaurant who did make some sexual remarks about me & even called me a bitch once to my face, at which point I very explicitly told him that I didn’t tolerate such behavior & that I expected to be treated with respect at work. And I never once had a problem with that guy again- we actually got along after that. The point is, I’d experienced sexual harassment at work before & it didn’t surprise me when it happened that time because I’d already gotten those vibes from the harasser. But THIS man- no, I had NEVER felt that way with him. I had admired him so much because I saw him as this great family man who was a pillar of his community. And in many ways he was. His wife & mother both worked at his office. He was on the school board for the county. He helped train medical students AND he helped coach his son’s football team (or whatever sport he played- I couldn’t swear it was football). He was also the first black doctor I ever knew. And because of that I respected him even more because I knew that he had probably faced obstacles that his white counterparts had not.

I’ve looked back so many times & wondered if I missed some kind of major red flag. I’ve always prided myself on reading people well- & the truth is the vast majority of the time I’m right. But I couldn’t have read him more wrong. I’ll admit there are two things that maybe I should have given more thought at the time. First, his previous medical assistant left VERY unexpectedly which is why he was looking for a nursing student to fill the role for a few months until he found someone more permanent. Now maybe that should have been a red flag. But I met this woman once when she came to pick up her last paycheck & frankly she was not young or particularly attractive. So the idea that she might have left because of sexual harassment never even crossed my mind. I probably should have asked more questions but it’s not like they would have told me the truth anyway. And it’s entirely possible that ISN’T the reason she left. I’ll never know. Secondly, I do vaguely recall being alone at the office with this doctor one time on a Friday because everyone else had left a little early. And I do remember having a very fleeting thought of “I probably shouldn’t be here alone with him too long.” So I very quickly wrapped up whatever I was doing & left. I could never put a finger on WHY I had that thought that day, & I still can’t. In fact, I felt very silly & even guilty afterward. Of course, later I realized maybe that was some kind of primitive biological instinct protecting me.

After all this happened I ran into one of this doctor’s patients during one of my nursing clinical rotations. She wasn’t a patient of mine- she was a staff member at the facility. She asked me if I was planning to work for this doctor after graduation & I guess the look on my face said it all because before I could say no, she responded with “Oh, I guess he got to you too.” She then proceeded to tell me how he had come on to her as a patient & had threatened her husband (who was also his patient). I was horrified because I had always really enjoyed this woman & her family when I knew them through his practice. But I was also relieved in a way because it let me know that I wasn’t the only person he’d approached inappropriately. It assuaged some of the guilt that I felt over potentially inadvertently tempting this man. It made me realize that the problem really was HIM, not me. In fact what he did to this woman was far worse than what we did to me & actually illegal. Well, maybe not illegal but certainly a breach of his medical license. Naturally this woman & her family found a new doctor. I wish I’d asked her if she’d reported him to the medical board but I think I was too flustered to think logically in that moment.

Months, maybe years, later I found out that this doctor was actually involved in a sexual harassment lawsuit during his time with the county school board. In fact that harassment started before I even worked for him, though I don’t think it was public knowledge at the time. I’m not sure what the end result of the lawsuit was, though if I dug really deep online I could probably find out, but the gist of the story is that a local woman applied for a leadership position in the school system & this doctor continually told the woman that the only way she would get the position was to have sex with him. She refused- & of course she didn’t get the job.

In the years since all this happened, I’ve often wondered if I should have reported this man. But to whom would I have reported him? Soliciting me for sex was clearly unethical but I wasn’t his employee anymore (nor his patient) so it wasn’t actually ILLEGAL. Sure, I could have tried to report him to the medical board for soliciting sex from a patient but that would just be hearsay. It wouldn’t hold any water in court. Furthermore I was so young, just trying to start my own career (& marriage), so the last thing I wanted was to call attention to myself. Even so, sometimes I wish I’d said something because my silence probably bought him another victim. My silence probably enabled him to find someone else to harass. After all, as history has shown us, these kinds of people rarely do this just once or twice. It’s almost always a serial thing, a pattern of behavior that happens again & again.

I have no idea where this doctor is today. A Google search leads me to believe he is no longer in the area where this happened, maybe not even in the state. But I really don’t know. I’m not naming him because I see no good that could be accomplished if I did. And I don’t want him coming after me for revenge if he somehow found this post (which I realize is highly unlikely). The truth is I don’t know what I’m trying to accomplish here other than to clear my own mind of painful memories, even though I realize I’m powerless to change them.

Now this doctor probably hasn’t thought about me in a decade because it’s been that long since I’ve had contact with him, & I have no illusions that there was anything special about me in his eyes. I was just another person he sought to control. There are times when I don’t think about him for months & months either. But when I do, I wish I could ask him a few things, namely:

Why? Why did you do this- to me & to others? Who else did you hurt along the way? What were you doing with those young, often beautiful, medical students who you mentored at your office? Were you taking advantage of them- or trying to anyway- knowing they’d be terrified to say no? What in the world made you think I’d be willing to have sex with you, especially since you knew that I was engaged (in fact you’d even met my fiancé once)? Did you really think I was so desperate for your approval that I’d do that? You wrecked havoc with my anxiety that year because for months I was terrified that you’d somehow find a way to tarnish my name in the community & make sure I never got a nursing job. Looking back on it now, I realize that a fair amount of the community probably knew what you were like so it’s probably best that I DIDN’T have a reference letter from you or that alone might have tarnished my name. Of course that brings up another question. If a lot of people in the community did know about your predatory behavior, why didn’t they speak up? Oh, the answer is obvious of course. No one wanted to make waves. No one wanted to be the “bad guy” to take you down. Everyone just wanted to move on with their lives. Which is exactly what I did. But I hope by now, wherever you are, the truth has gotten out & people have seen you for what you are.

I’d also like you to know that I haven’t allowed your deceit to overly influence my life. I could have used your treachery as an excuse to be prejudiced against black men, but I haven’t- because I know that would be as unfair to them as your own actions were to me. In fact there is a doctor in my clinic now who looks uncannily like you, but I don’t allow that to influence my feelings or actions towards him. Yes, you were a wolf in sheep’s clothing, & yes, you definitely taught me that people can be really wonderful in many aspects of their lives & really horrible in other aspects, but I refuse to give you so much power over my life as to allow your predatory behavior to unduly influence how I view other men. You obviously get off on the power you have & on abusing it, but I refuse to allow your unethical behavior to color how I view everyone. I might have been your victim once- mentally at least- but I’m not now. I’m not yours to control anymore- actually I never was.

Finally, I don’t allow you to take up enough space in my head to hate you, but nonetheless- with all due respect, **** you!

Dear White People, We Need to Do Better


“Ain’t got any of them black boyfriends, do ya?”

“You got a boyfriend?”  “No.”  “Ok, well as long as it’s not any of them black boys.”

“These afros & dreadlocks are so gross & disrespectful looking.  How do they expect anyone to take them seriously looking like that?  Especially with all those tattoos too!”

“Why do we need Juneteenth as a holiday?  This is silly.”

“This rioting is out of hand.  Why can’t they [black people] just be happy they aren’t still slaves?”

“Slavery has been over for 150 years.  Why are they [black people] still complaining?”

“The Civil War wasn’t actually about slavery.  It was about states’ rights.”

“You know they’re all on Welfare” [referring to black people, particularly black women].

“Police aren’t actually racist & never use excessive force.  These thugs just don’t listen & do what they’re told.”

“Those statues are our history!  I can’t see why anyone wants to tear them down” [referring to the removal of Confederate monuments].

“I’d prefer you stick to white boys but an Asian or a Hispanic boyfriend wouldn’t be as bad as a black one.”

“My granddaughter has a black friend. One isn’t so bad but the trouble is once you’ve got one, the whole lot of them wants to invite themselves over.”

“My parents told me I could be friends with black kids but I couldn’t spend the night at their houses & they couldn’t spend the night at mine.”

Does any of this sound familiar to you?  I hope not, but I suspect for some of you these kinds of conversations are all too familiar.  All of these are quotes that I remember from my own childhood or adolescence (NOT necessarily by my parents, to be clear) or that friends of mine have shared with me from their experiences growing up.  Or lastly they are things that I have seen posted on social media by family or acquaintances from my hometown or from other similar small towns. For the purposes of this post I will be writing everything in the first person to help the post flow better & to better preserve anonymity but do remember some of these are not actually MY OWN experiences, though some are. Furthermore, I am concentrating on white racism against black people because I am white & because I am confronting these mostly offhand remarks that I (& others) experienced during my (our) formative years that were mainly aimed at black people. However, I am well aware that other races struggle with their own share of racism & that even white people can be victims of racism. I even experienced a handful of unkind remarks because of being white as a child, but that isn’t the point of today’s post at all. Simply put, racism isn’t just a black issue or just a white issue, but as a white person I feel I am best suited to speak out about the racism I see being perpetuated against others from my own community.

Let me preface this by saying that if you’re reading this & recognize yourself in any of these quotes (even if they’re just things you’ve thought to yourself but never actually said out loud), I still love you. This post isn’t about shaming or embarrassing anyone. I can love people even when we disagree on things. But I do not love the attitudes these quotes reflect. And I have black friends, neighbors (literally next door & across the street), & coworkers who deserve so much better- which is why I can’t remain silent any longer. I regret my silence on this matter far too much already.

The past year in particular has forced me to recognize just how many racist attitudes unfortunately still persist in this country, particularly in small town America, even among people I know & love. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I am by no means perfect, & I make no claims to be.  However, over the past 10 years or so, particularly the past 5 years, I have made conscious efforts to confront my own internal bias & find ways to erase it or at least navigate around it.  Yes, the U.S. (& the world at large) has made great strides in the area of civil rights compared to decades ago, but even so, there is still work to be done.  And you know where that work starts?  It starts with you & it starts with me.  What the past year has made me realize is that the burden of erasing (or at least minimizing) anti-black racism cannot fall on black people. (I say anti-black racism because all races can be racist against any other race, as previously mentioned.)  After all, would women ever have achieved the right to vote & other such basic rights in society without at least some men standing up & fighting for those rights too?  Undoubtedly the answer is no. Those who are experiencing discrimination & racism cannot alone be responsible for ending it. If that were the case, don’t you think these issues would have been erased ages ago? It’s as completely backwards as saying that the onus for preventing rape falls only- or mostly- on women (oh wait, we all too often DO send that message in our society, but that’s a post for another day).

Again, this post is not about naming names or calling out anyone in particular.  It’s not even about sending anyone on a guilt trip.  This post is about me saying I refuse to be part of the problem. And that means I refuse to remain quiet & accept the “casual” racism that I all too often see & hear from some folks I know & love- folks who I know are in many ways truly wonderful, loving people. I’ll also be completely honest & admit that this post is largely intended simply to clear my own brain & to try to atone for some of the guilt I feel for not confronting this issue earlier. I’ll also confess that I’m a typical product of my generation & I find it easier to call out these attitudes online than I do in real life. What can I say? I’m an introvert, a born writer, & a work in progess…

I am also well aware that most of the people making these comments do not consider themselves racist & most would not DREAM of being actively rude to a black person to their face. But that doesn’t make these comments any less dangerous. As I stated in my previous blog post, sometimes it’s our most casual, offhand comments that reveal our true, underlying feelings & prejudices. Now- it’s time to examine each of the quotes from the beginning of this post & explore exactly why these things are problematic. I will group a few of them together since they’re on the same or similar subjects.

  • Ain’t got any of them black boyfriends, do ya?”  “You got a boyfriend?” “No.” “Ok, well as long as it’s not any of them black boys.”  “I’d prefer you stick to white boys but an Asian or a Hispanic boyfriend wouldn’t be as bad as a black one.”
    • Ah, yes, interracial dating/relationships.  This is a topic that the older I get, the more I truly cannot understand why anyone has a problem with this.  Now these quotes, I will confess, do come from some of my own family members (though I certainly know plenty of other white girls who were told the same things).  Not trying to throw anyone under the bus here, but yes, a few people in my family did in fact say these things to me (& probably to my sister too).  I was always so flabbergasted as to why anyone would say this nonsense that I never really responded much, partly because often it was asked when I was too young to have had a boyfriend at all, regardless of skin color.  Furthermore, my parents never made these kind of remarks so it didn’t make sense to me why others would say this- or even care.  Plus as a child I was too naïve to understand why anyone would ever feel this way.  Of course as I got older, I understood it a bit more but it always bothered me.  After all, the people who say this stuff almost always identify as Christians, & I can’t wrap my head around how they could think that God wouldn’t want his creatures to love whoever they love.  Don’t these people believe we all trace back to Adam & Eve anyway?  I actually asked a loved one once to explain how an Asian or a Hispanic boyfriend would be less problematic than a black one, & needless to say I didn’t get any kind of logical answer. Again, I promise I am not trying to make anyone look bad here.  But the truth of the matter is this kind of thinking is just gross. And if you persevere in this kind of thinking, frankly, you deserve to be called out on it. (This is the stuff that literally keeps me awake at night, trying to figure out how some people I love so much who are generally so kind can hold such antiquated, hateful attitudes.)
  • “These afros & dreadlocks are so gross & disrespectful looking. How do they expect anyone to take them seriously looking like that? Especially with all those tattoos too!”
    • I honestly think this comment stems from pure ignorance, from truly not understanding that black hair is in fact quite different from white (or Asian or Native American) hair.  I cannot believe it took me 30 years to truly grasp the fact that an afro is one the natural forms of black hair if left to grow & brushed out a bit.  Please forgive me for my ignorance, y’all, but I truly didn’t know that!  I suspected it but I just wasn’t sure & I was always too afraid to ask for fear of offending someone or looking stupid. Once I realized this I became so angry that anyone would ever discriminate against someone for a hairstyle that is quite literally 100% natural. Again, the people saying this stuff almost always identify as Christian, so I beg of you, if you think like this, please explain to me why black people wearing their hair in the natural way God made it is wrong?  Also, did you know that having black hair relaxed (to basically look “more white”) is not only expensive & time consuming but also damaging to the hair? As for the dreads, all human hair can naturally form dreads. So again, why is that gross or wrong? As for the tattoos- well, all I have to say is some of the nicest people I’ve ever known, some of the hardest working people I’ve ever known- of all races- have had tattoos. If you don’t like them, don’t get them. But let others do as they please & remember that physical appearance has zero impact on someone’s intelligence or ability to do their job well- OR their overall character.  End of story. P.S. If you think black people aren’t actually discriminated against based on their hair, then explain to me why we need to pass ordinances like this: https://www.wral.com/wake-commissioners-ban-discrimination-against-natural-hairstyles-for-county-workers/19587931/.
  • “Why do we need Juneteenth as a holiday? This is silly.
    • First of all, who in their right mind complains about getting an extra holiday?!  Especially if it’s paid!  But on a more serious note, the ending of slavery WAS a big deal.  It is most definitely something to celebrate.  Imagine if YOUR ancestors were slaves.  Wouldn’t you want to celebrate the fact that that ended & that you’re free now?  See, that’s what I thought.
  • “This rioting is out of hand. Why can’t they [black people] just be happy they aren’t still slaves?”  “Slavery has been over for 150 years. What are they [black people] still complaining?”
    • Sometimes I have heard these things word for word. More often though these messages are very clearly implied by the memes & posts shared by certain people. I am going to be brutally honest & even admit that these thoughts have crossed my own mind a few times in the past.  But what I have realized is that these kinds of statements send a very clear message- one that I absolutely cannot condone. That message is: “Black people aren’t really human. They’re not like everyone else. They should just be happy we aren’t treating them like total animals.” Again, if you say or think things like this & call yourself a Christian, please explain to me slowly how some of God’s creatures are better or more deserving than others.  Whether you’re religious or not, this kind of thinking is just absurd.  Put yourself in someone else’s shoes for two minutes & consider that not everyone has experienced the world the way you have.  And then extend some grace to your fellow man.  Let me be clear & say that I do not condone rioting or destruction of property, especially private property/businesses that have nothing to do with the subject of a protest. BUT if you’re more upset by rioting than you are by police brutality that leads to MURDERS, then please ask yourself why that is, & furthermore, would you feel the same way if the rioters or the victims of police brutality were white?  If the only thing you ever discuss in regards to racial justice is how bad rioting is, you’re sending a very clear message that racial justice doesn’t actually matter to you. 
  • “The Civil War wasn’t actually about slavery. It was about states’ rights.
    • This one came from a teacher of mine in high school, one of my favorites actually.  I hadn’t thought about this quote in YEARS but I suddenly remembered it recently & was appalled to think that a teacher had actually said this- especially knowing black students heard this too.  First of all, even though it wasn’t a history class, this statement is just factually inaccurate.  There’s just no way around that.  Sure, states’ right was part of it.  But what state right were they principally fighting over?  That’s right- the right to own slaves!  So, yes, like it or not, the Civil War was in fact about slavery.  Frankly, I think white people just say this to make themselves feel less guilty, particularly if they know they actually had ancestors who fought for the South.  My response to that is- so what?  Everyone has ancestors who did bad things.  No one is responsible for what their ancestors did, especially when it goes back generations.  Just admit it & move on.  That’s what we expect black people to do with slavery, right?
  • “You know they’re all on Welfare” [referring to black people, particularly black women].
    • Ok, first of all this is one is just plain false.  There are actually more white people on Welfare than black people.  Now of course there are also a lot MORE white people in the country than there are black people.  Is the percentage of black people receiving Welfare higher than the percentage of white people receiving Welfare?  Maybe.  But stereotyping like this isn’t helping anyone.  Furthermore, have you considered that these programs were designed & put into place largely by white politicians who may or may not have had the best interests of minorities at heart?  No one likes discussing this, but since the inception of mass welfare programs the percentage of single parent (almost always single mom) households has risen DRAMATICALLY in both black AND white communities.  And along with that we’ve seen many other negative societal outcomes.  It’s almost like maybe the nuclear family (however it’s composed) is actually important!  But that’s a post for another day.  The point is saying things like this doesn’t help anyone.  And if black children hear this kind of thing, it just further reinforces to them that they aren’t “meant” to be doctors, lawyers, nurses, teachers, scientists, engineers, etc.  So, please, just stop this nonsense.
  • “Police aren’t actually racist & never use excessive force. These thugs just don’t listen & do what they’re told.”
    • Really?  Then what do you have to say to U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Caron Nazario who was held at gunpoint, pepper sprayed, & put in handcuffs despite obeying police orders?  What do you say to Philando Castile who was shot & killed by an officer despite following police orders & having committed no crime? What do you say to Elijah McLain who was choked & given way too much of the sedative ketamine just for “acting weird” while walking outside, both of which almost certainly led to his death?  What do you say to the countless black men- many of whom are educated & have professional careers- who have still found themselves in unnecessary traffic stops where threats or intimidation were used?  Are they “thugs” too?  Even those who have broken the law deserve to be treated like human beings, especially when the offenses are non violent.  A traffic stop for anything should not lead to murder, even if the person isn’t 100% an angel the entire time.  When white mass murderers can be brought in without being killed but black men are disproportionately killed by police even over much more minor offenses, we need to ask ourselves what is going on here.  I know, I know- the cops you know are wonderful people who would never do such things.  And for most of them that is probably (hopefully) true.  But the fact of the matter is we have to admit that some of the “good ole boys” in our country’s police force aren’t really all that good.  Otherwise we wouldn’t be seeing a black man with a knee to the neck for 8 minutes till he died.  Furthermore, if all these good cops aren’t standing up against the bad ones, what does that make them?  I for one have called out bad practices when I’ve seen them in my own field.  There is no reason why police shouldn’t be expected to do the same.  (And I am grateful for those who do.)
  • “Those statues are our history! I can’t see why anyone wants to tear them down” [referring to the removal of Confederate monuments].
    • Now this one is a hard topic for many folks & it’s one that I’ll admit I’ve had a hard time with myself.  I love history & because of that of course I hate to see parts of it destroyed.  But what I’ve realized with the Confederate monuments is this: No, taking them down or moving them to museums isn’t going to magically end racism- it’s not that easy- BUT if I were a black person, yes, I do think I would find it both strange & hurtful to see all these monuments to people who quite literally fought a war to keep my ancestors enslaved.  Have you ever thought about it from that angle?  I think at the end of the day these monuments belong in museums or historical parks.  That way we can still learn from them but without making it seem like we’re honoring them as heroes.  Again, if you’re white & you know you have ancestors who owned slaves or fought in the Civil War, that’s ok.  It doesn’t mean that you’re guilty just by association.  I for one do not believe that sons should bear the sins of their fathers. But please consider that most of these monuments were not even erected until the late 1800s through the 1950s. Do you really think this wasn’t at least somewhat intended to intimidate black people & remind them of “their place” in society? That alone should give us pause.
  • “My granddaughter has a black friend. One isn’t so bad but the trouble is once you’ve got one, the whole lot of them want to invite themselves over.”
    • This one was said by a salesman when I was attempting to buy something from him. I’m ashamed to admit that I was too flabbergasted by such a blatantly racist & despicable remark to actually confront him about the subject. I just changed the subject & walked away. Looking back on it though it’s horrifying to realize that he just assumed I would agree with him & that I wouldn’t report him for his obvious racism. The sad thing is that I DIDN’T confront him about it, so in a way he was right. Trust & believe- if this kind of thing happens again, the person at fault will not be left unconfronted.
    • “My parents told me I could be friends with black kids but I couldn’t spend the night at their houses & they couldn’t spend the night at mine.”
    • Just for the record, this one comes from a friend, NOT my own family. But yes, these attitudes do in fact still exist. I don’t really think there is anything else to say here other than- WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU IF YOU FEEL THIS WAY?
  • Let me end this by clarifying a few things. No, I am not some “crazy liberal.” No, I do not feel guilty for being white.  None of us chooses our race after all. No, I do not believe in paying reparations. But yes, I do believe in decriminalization of drugs, especially marijuana, partly because drug laws are disproportionately enforced against minorities. Yes, I do believe in reducing the number of traffic stops for minor offenses & asking police to use more of their time building bridges with communities & focusing on serious, violent crime. Most importantly, I believe in understanding that we all have biases. It’s just human nature- biology if you will. It’s probably only natural that many of us feel most comfortable with or are most attracted to people who look like us (“birds of a feather flock together” type thing). But we need to be cognizant of that & most importantly we need to learn not to treat those who are different badly just because of our own internal misgivings or fears.  That of course goes for all people of all races. However, as a white person, my voice is probably going to resonate most strongly with other white people, for better or worse.  And I for one am saying that we as white people need to do better.  I’ve changed my mind about so many things over the years because of living in different areas, talking to different people, reading various books, etc. I’ve learned that my own first impressions of people can be wildly wrong & that quite often, if given the opportunity, people will surprise you in all kinds of wonderful ways. If I can do that by my early 30s, I truly don’t understand how some people who have lived twice as long as I have haven’t figured this stuff out.
  • If you know me in real life, you know I hate conflict.  I truly do not like arguing with people, hurting anyone’s feelings, or offending people.  But the older I get, the less I care about those things, at least when it comes to really important subjects.  And this is far too important for me to remain silent.  So if this post has offended you- sorry- but I’m not sorry.  You probably need to be offended.  That’s how I’ve learned about some things- sometimes that’s how we all learn.  Furthermore, I know there are plenty of things I’ve said or done, things I believe or don’t believe, that at least some, probably most, of my family would find offensive. And yes, that is hard for me; yes, that keeps me awake at night too sometimes. I hate knowing I’ve disappointed people I love (I’m not talking about drugs or anything at all criminal here, before anyone gets any wild ideas), but I also know that life is way too short to live my life just to please others, even those I love. But believe me, I feel the weight of that judgement too, even if a lot of it is more perceived than real.
  • So why did I write all this? Why did I bother putting myself out there to possibly be hated for saying things that make people uncomfortable? Well, as Edmund Burke said many years ago “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” And as the great Martin Luther King, Jr said “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” And this, my friends & family, definitely matters. So I will reiterate: if you recognize yourself in this post, I still love you. But I have black friends, neighbors, & coworkers I care about too, & frankly they deserve better. So, dear white people, I’m saying it now loud & clear- we need to do better.

On Teenage Sex & the “Good for him” Narrative


I overheard a conversation between two men yesterday that sparked a lot of discussion in my own brain, & almost as soon as it happened I knew it would end up being a blog post. I cannot share many details of the conversation for a variety of reasons but I’m going to sum it up as best as I can below.

Man #1. “So this 16 year old boy is making racist statements towards me & also regaling everyone with tales of his sexual escapades from years ago.”

Man #2: “From years ago? And he’s only 16 now?”

Man #1: “Yep.”

Man #2: “Well, good for him!”

Being the person I am I couldn’t help but butt into the conversation to say “Just imagine if the genders were reversed. You would NOT be saying that.” Neither man acknowledged my remark in the least, which is fine. I wasn’t really part of the conversation but because of our physical proximity at the time I couldn’t help but overhear it. But I do think it’s interesting that neither of them so much as looked at me to acknowledge my remark. Not sure if that means they immediately dismissed it as irrelevant or if they realized I’d actually made a good point! Whatever. I’m certainly not going to report either man for having the conversation because they didn’t offend me. They didn’t intimidate me. And they certainly didn’t harass me. But I do think the second man’s remark is indicative of some greater problems within our society. Let me explain further.

Now let me preface this by saying that I do not consider myself a modern feminist. I did not march on Washington wearing a vagina hat- & I’m never going to. You won’t find me screaming about abortion rights or a gender pay gap. I do not identify with those sorts of women. As a friend of mine recently said to me, unfortunately modern feminism has largely been taken over by people who are in reality misandrists. They aren’t calling for equal rights for women so much as they hate men & are trying to tear them down. I hate that this has happened because they have turned feminism into a dirty word when it absolutely should not be.

Having said all that, I am bothered by the conversation above for several reasons. First, the second man’s comment implies that sex is by default good for males. I can almost guarantee that he would not have made the same comment if they’d been discussing a teenage girl who’d already been having sex for years. No way! (And that’s why I couldn’t resist saying what I did.) So the implication here is that sex is good for males but bad for females. Now I’m not an idiot- I am not in denial of biology. Obviously sex is inherently more dangerous for women because of the chance of pregnancy. Furthermore, some STIs can be more dangerous for women (or at least have more damaging long-term effects). Not to mention rape of course. So yes, I understand & acknowledge all of that. But danger (or the potential for danger) does not have to equal bad or wrong.

I’ve never actually seen this movie, but it seems appropriate for this post.

Second, I do not think that sex is healthy for young teenagers, regardless of gender. Neither teen boys nor girls are emotionally mature enough to handle the potential emotional consequences of sex, much less pregnancy or STIs. Therefore it is not a healthy thing for our society to joke about teenage boys having sex like they’re winning at life. You see & hear these same types of comments whenever a female teacher is on the news for having sex with a student. There are always men coming out of the woodwork saying “Oh man, I wish the teachers had been like that when I was in school” or “Good for him.” Have I laughed at such comments myself at times? Sure. But in the end I realize they’re really very unhealthy. No one says those things when a male teacher is caught having sex with a female student. In both cases, quite often the student was more than willing. But that isn’t the point! The point is that regardless of gender, an adult- much less a teacher or someone in authority over a teenager- should never be exploiting an underage person because teenagers just do not possess the capability of making such decisions.

A case of a female teacher having sex with an underage male student was in our local news a month or two ago. And it did not receive nearly the same attention it probably would have if the genders were reversed. People just do not view female sex offenders as dangerous in the same way they do male sex offenders. In a way I understand this because biology dictates that a woman grabbing a random man off the street & raping him is nigh impossible. But that does not necessarily make female sex offenders any less dangerous. Considering that the average teenage boy is itching to lose his virginity to just about anyone, an adult woman who exploits that, particularly a teacher or someone in a position of authority, is just as disgusting as a man who does the same thing with a teenage girl. Why does our society act like boys cannot be emotionally scarred or damaged by sex that happens in bad situations just as much as girls can be? Of course they can’t get pregnant, but that isn’t the only issue at hand here. It’s like we’ve forgotten- or are in denial- that sex is an emotional experience for men just as it is for women. (And any man who argues otherwise is clearly having bad sex.)

I don’t believe in censoring art but this song is pretty disturbing when you think about it.

Here are a couple of metaphors for the “sex is good for men but bad for women” trope. Imagine a couple won the Olympic gold medal for pairs figure skating but only the man was actually awarded. Or suppose a football team won the Superbowl but only the offense was considered the winners & only they got the rings. Sure, the offense has the more glamorous job that usually results in scoring all (or most) of the points (don’t men love saying they “scored” with a woman?), but they still can’t do their job without the defense. It takes a team to win (or lose) a game. And when it comes to sex, it takes two to tango, as the proverbial saying goes. So it’s just plain inconsistent & illogical to say that sex is good for one person & bad for another when they are quite literally doing the same thing.

Feel free to comment with your own thoughts on this matter. It’s always possible I’m just overreacting. But I think it’s very important that we consider the underlying messages we send to our society as a whole by even our most “off hand” comments. One could argue such comments reveal our true, underlying values, even if we aren’t fully cognizant of them.

Moral of the story: watch what you say around me. You might end up in a blog post!

The Best Albums of 2020


It’s time for my annual album hall of fame post! This year I’m hopeful I’ll get this published much earlier in the year. Last year it was JUNE before I finally got my 2019 post done. Oops! While all three of my highly anticipated concerts for 2020 got corona-canned, the upside is there were still some really amazing albums released last year. These are in no particular order, other than the first two which I consider to be my favorites for the year.

Please keep in my mind that I am in no way a professional music reviewer. I’m just a 30 something mom, wife, & nurse who happens to really enjoy music- & writing about it & sharing it with others. But I in no way have access to hear all the new music that was released last year, even within my favorite genres. This is not meant to be an all encompassing list by any means- it’s really just my personal favorites for the year.

  • F8 by Five Finger Death Punch: Is the title “F 8” because this is FFDP’s eighth album, or is it just an abbreviation for the word fate? Or both? Anyway, this is the first FFDP album written with vocalist Ivan Moody completely sober, & it is every bit as amazing as you’d expect. Per the usual, lyrically there are some very dark themes here but they are addressed in a way that is much less angry than one usually sees from Ivan- at least some of them are. And yet the band has definitely not gone soft! I’m not sure I could pick a favorite track on this monumental album but one of my favorites is definitely Living the Dream (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eOkkWIOkWl8)- & yes, I loved it even more after the band released such an epic music video to go with it. Musically the most surprising song on the album is probably A Little Bit Off (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ve3fcInpKj0) which incidentally also has a neat music video- filmed at the height of quarantine in a ghost town Las Vegas. In case this song has you worried that the band has indeed gone soft, the last line of the song followed by the next song, the hard-hitting Bottom of the Top (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0q9aRCQvplE), proves they most definitely have not. However, two of the most touching songs on the album are the hauntingly beautiful rock ballads Brighter Side of Grey (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6JLv8FTO_R8) & Darkness Settles In (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pglKybM4yl0). I for one cannot wait to see what the futures holds for this band now that Ivan has truly addressed his inner demons & achieved sobriety, something that, to be honest, I never thought would actually happen. I am so glad he proved me wrong! Anyway, I’d be remiss if I didn’t also mention Full Circle (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xm_T_4Bp_aM), another favorite of mine. By the way, if you’re thinking this album was inspired by Covid & the associated lockdowns, it wasn’t. It was actually released before all that even happened, but it’s amazing how relevant some of the lyrics are to the worldwide situation that unfolded so shortly after its release.
  • Tickets to My Downfall by Machine Gun Kelly: A lot of people were surprised to hear MGK go pop-punk but if you listened to his last album, especially the final track with Yunglud, you probably sensed that this was coming. And what a glorious thing it is! MGK had an excellent response to those who accused him of switching genres. As he told Howard Stern: “I make a pop-rock record…. and everyone’s like, ‘you switched genres!’ To me, I just added on to the multiple things I’ve already done anyway, but sure, what a narrow-minded way to look at things.” (see https://www.billboard.com/articles/news/9454468/machine-gun-kelly-interview-howard-stern-eminem). Everything about this album is very intentional & well designed, including the insightful title which was inspired by the way Hollywood, the media, & celebrity culture in general build people up when they are rising stars but are just as swift to throw them away & celebrate their downfall, often only a short time later. The first song, cheekily entitled Title Track, (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BUBQ0_0Q7j0) is all about that concept. Now I could easily write about every song on this album but I’ll try to condense this to my favorites. Check out Bloody Valentine (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wSdT-SArM2Q) & the accompanying music video which features his real life girlfriend Megan Fox- although they were not yet officially dating at the time, it is pretty obvious they had a real connection beyond just the theatrics of the video. Another fun song with another fun video, both of which feature Halsey, is Forget Me Too (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0tn6nWYNK3Q). One of the most poignant songs on the album is Lonely (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4AJ6EI3uda4) which includes a recording of MGK’s dad talking about his son near the end of his life. (Background: MGK’s mom left him & his dad when MGK was just a child & thus he has no relationship with her at all. His relationship with his dad was fractured for many years but was restored somewhat before his father died last year.) On a more upbeat note, Concert for Aliens is a very catchy song that is very reminiscent of 2000s punk that also comes with another fun video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dANJlolAYyA). The album ends with the heartfelt tearjerker Play This When I’m Gone (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0kQJOSVwqwc). I could write so much more about this album but let me just sum it up by saying that I sincerely hope MGK & Travis Barker will continue working together because together they are magic.
  • Weird by Yungblud: If you are offended by bisexual men who have an affinity for pink socks & occasionally wear dresses on stage, then Yunglud isn’t for you, which is a shame because his music is truly wonderful. One thing I love about this album is that, like all of his work, the songs are nearly impossible to categorize. Is Yungblud a pop star or a rock star? Or both? Whatever he is, he’s a brilliant musician. The album starts with the slow-burning Teresa (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5mz9j3Bg3o), a song that I fall more in love with every time I hear it. Other favorites include the heart-wrenching Love Song (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FzKJ9-3MQBc) in which he croons about having trouble loving others because he wasn’t taught to love himself, & the inspirational God Save Me But Don’t Drown Me Out (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OSwiHeoYL34) in which he states “I won’t let my insecurities define who I am.” A similar message of reveling in your own weirdness is found in the final track The Freak Show (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXaZdp5byE8) which gives me slight Manson vibes & has quickly become a favorite of mine. One of the most powerful songs on the album is the title track (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NIWALAgvz2U) which was actually written before quarantine but was such a light for me & so many others during the height of the lockdowns last Spring. It truly is the perfect quarantine song. I also feel compelled to mention that I love the fact that Yungblud’s Yorkshire accent is often audible in his music, whereas so many other British musicians aren’t even noticeably British when they sing.
  • Who I Am by Cory Marks: I first came across Cory Marks because he featured Ivan Moody from FFDP on the standout track Outlaws & Outsiders (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PsHtLXIAEh0) from this album. The curious mix of country & rock immediately intrigued me, so naturally I dug further. Then I found the gorgeous duet Out in the Rain (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=awyPddDLzFc) featuring Lzzy Hale, & of course after that I had to have the whole album. Other standout tracks include Another Night in Jail (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZ-o_oS3ysg) which was definitely written about a literal night in jail but can also be taken to mean the jail of one’s own mind, which I find very clever, & She’s Hollywood (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2gjB_EsU2lg). Take note, this is not your grand-dad’s country! This is country by a Canadian man covered in tattoos who basically looks like a somewhat countrified version of Jax Teller from Sons of Anarchy. Ladies (or gents), do a quick Google search & you can thank me afterward. The point is, there are a few swear words & a lot more rock & roll sounding guitars than what most folks are used to in country music. But that’s at least part of what makes it so much fun!
  • CMFT by Corey Taylor: Ah, the long awaited solo album by Corey Taylor of Stone Sour & Slipknot fame! I for one was very disappointed to hear that Stone Sour are now on hiatus, especially since the concert of theirs to which I had tickets a few years ago was canceled due to a hurricane, so I’ve never gotten to see them live. An assuaging factor, however, is that Corey’s solo album is quite similar in style to Stone Sour, so I’m hopeful that when he eventually is able to tour for this album maybe he’ll throw in a few Stone Sour songs too. Anyway, my favorite from this album is the caustic & blistering Culture Head (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x5a6NQcDaE8). Other highlights include Everybody Dies on My Birthday (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SbIKWawcQ4I), Black Eyes Blue (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=og1RMTP2fYk), & the somewhat country-inspired Highway 666 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btM3xwtF9o8). For a lighthearted turn, check out the ridiculous CMFT Must Be Stopped which features rapper Tech N9ne (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BEPI69cx22E).
The cover art is one of Manson’s own water color paintings.
  • We Are Chaos by Marilyn Manson: After the accusations that have come out against Manson the past few days, I suppose it would be the “right” thing to do to delete this album from my list. But good music is good music & I stand by that, even if it was created by a very flawed man. Besides I still believe in innocent until proven guilty, though clearly much of our society does not. Anyway, Manson’s new work with Shooter Jennings is definitely a mature new version of this always talented & ever evolving musician. The title track on this album immediately reeled me in with its gritty darkness that is somehow still uplifting (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQJFP1INGxs). Other stand out tracks include Red, White, & Blue (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yKn_PxGKq7M), Perfume (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yKn_PxGKq7M), & Solve Caligula (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yTEW762-Ci0). The last lines of Solve Caligula are “I’m not special, I’m just broken, & I don’t wanna be fixed.” As much as I love Manson’s music I sincerely hope that isn’t a reference to being an abuser… I must say I find it suspicious that he & Johnny Depp are such good friends (they even have matching tattoos) & of course Johnny was recently painted as an abuser by his ex wife only for the truth to come out to be quite the opposite. Obviously I’m biased because I love Manson’s music, but it just makes me wonder. I know society today says always believe the victim & as much as my heart bleeds for abuse victims, I still think evidence is important & everyone should get a chance to tell their side of the story before “canceling” someone. Anyway, no matter what comes out, I still stand by this as an excellent album. After all, society still worships plenty of music by other less than perfect individuals…
  • Hunter Gatherer by Avatar: I first discovered Avatar when I saw them open for Trivium a few years ago. It was love at first listen, so naturally I was very excited for this album. While I enjoyed their previous two albums, I was glad to find that this one is a return to a darker, heavier sound, more akin to Hail the Apocalypse. Be sure to check out the creepy but fascinating video for the stellar track Colossus (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mLMCsFjawNU). First single Silence in the Age of the Apes (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBlb8TTO0c8) is also fantastic, as is God of Sick Dreams (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7tHlijWX21s). Lastly, don’t miss A Secret Door (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKqVB_e8u5w) which features an interesting cameo from the aforementioned Corey Taylor- trust me, it’s not what you’d expect. This is yet another album that was written prior to Covid & yet is so fitting for the current state of the world.

I’ll end this post as I often do by including my picks for my most anticipated albums of 2021:

  • Death By Rock & Roll by the Pretty Reckless (out 2/12)
  • The Phantom Tomorrow by Black Veil Brides
  • Heart & Soul by Eric Church (April)
  • TBA by Beartooth
  • TBA by Halestorm
  • TBA by Machine Gun Kelly (Yes, he is awfully prolific!)
  • TBA by Nothing More

Walking in a WAP Wonderland


I have to start this post by thanking Bad Wolves’s frontman Tommy Vext (not that he’s likely to read this) for posting about this subject on his Instagram story yesterday. Otherwise I might have missed this very interesting tib-dit of news. What’s the news, you ask? Oh, just that NPR named Cardi B’s WAP the #1 song of 2020. If, like me up until this morning, you’ve never actually heard the song, trust me when I say you haven’t missed much, both musically & lyrically. However, as soon as I googled the news to confirm that Tommy’s post was in fact real & not satire, I decided that this subject is actually extremely complex & very worthy of its own blog post, despite the fact that as a general rule I cannot stand Cardi B, both as a person & as a “musician.”

There are so many things I want to say about both the song itself as well as NPR’s decision to name it the #1 song of the year. I’ll begin with the latter since that’s less complex. Let me start by saying that I’m honestly not surprised that NPR gave it such an honor seeing as it is almost certainly the most controversial song of the year. Controversy is always newsworthy so that alone is worth something. Add to that the fact that the song is by two black women & professes to be about female sexual empowerment… Well, let’s just say that in today’s world of virtue signaling, extreme feminism, victim points, & cancel culture, NPR might be afraid to choose anything BUT this song. And if they chose it based on pure popularity, well, as much as it pains me to admit it, I have no doubt that it WAS one of the most popular songs of the year.

Honestly, I don’t care too much what NPR chooses as their song of the year. I don’t listen to NPR anyway & their opinion isn’t one I particularly value. But as someone who lives & breathes music, it does pain me to think of all the truly amazing music that was created this year that was overlooked in favor of WAP. But honestly that’s enough about that. In reality maybe I should thank NPR for choosing this song because it gave me a pretext for writing this post. This is a post I’ve been composing in my head off & on for months now, ever since I first read about this song. But life being as busy as it is, when I’ve had the time to blog I’ve found other more pressing issues to discuss. Now, however, I’ve got a pretext that just cannot be ignored any longer.

You have to admit that this song gave rise to a lot of great memes.

So, let’s dig in. I’ll admit my initial response when I read about Cardi B’s WAP was revulsion. I read the lyrics & never made it any further. In fact I’d never actually heard the song or seen the video until this morning. After all I don’t listen to the radio or follow rap as a genre. But I forced myself to listen to the song this morning & watch the accompanying video because I knew it wouldn’t be fair to write this post without doing so. Anyway, as I always try to do whenever something immediately repulses me, I took a step back & asked myself why. Why does this song repulse me? Why are so many women just as, or more, offended by it than men? Music about sex is nothing new. Not even remotely. What’s so different about this song?

A couple things come to mind. (Remember, this is all my opinion & I’ve never implied that my opinions are gospel.) First, the lyrics are not exactly eloquent, to be put it mildly. But it IS Cardi B & from what little I know of her other “music,” that’s pretty standard for her. Regardless, as someone who values grammar & eloquence, I can’t help but be annoyed by that.

Second, as much as I love sex, I’ll be the first to admit that I have no interest in a song about a big ass dick. Or a hard ass dick. Or whatever. Just, no- no thanks, I’ll pass. And I think the majority of women (& men) would agree with me on that. As much as I am not particularly bothered or grossed out by human anatomy- I am a nurse after all so I’ve seen A LOT of naked people as it’s just part of the job- I just don’t find songs about body parts all that interesting. I don’t necessarily find them GROSS like a lot of people do, but I don’t find them interesting either. I think a huge portion of society feels the same way & that in no way makes us prudes.

My third problem with this song is what is probably the most famous line from it: “I don’t cook, I don’t clean, But let me tell you how I got this ring.” Now, I realize this song was not aimed at little girls, but I cannot help but be troubled by this line, even as an adult. I certainly don’t think women should be chosen as wives (or men as husbands) based solely on their ability to cook or clean (those are life skills that frankly everyone should have anyway), but it shouldn’t be based just on sex either. What kind of message is that sending? I thought we as women had been fighting for millennia now to be seen as something more than sexual objects & I can’t help but see this line as placing us squarely back into that box. And I for one am not ok with that!

I’ll also be the first to admit that rap is my least favorite style of music, so I am perhaps a bit biased against the song from the very beginning. It just isn’t something that really speaks to me. I like a few rap songs here & there, mostly by MGK but also a few others, but in general it just isn’t my thing. Yet as much as I’ve heard that this song is so catchy, I have to admit when listening to it today I didn’t find it catchy or musically interesting at all. I’m also bothered by the constant refrain “There’s some whores in this house.” I’ve read that that line is a reference to an older rap song but if so, the reference is lost on me since I’m not a rap fan, & regardless I just find the line disturbing. But I’ll also admit that it could be Cardi B’s way of reclaiming the word, like women do with “bitch” or black men do with “n*****.” I might be giving her too much credit here, seeing as she was actually a stripper & has apparently bragged about stealing things from men- you read those things & it’s easy to dismiss anything she has to say- but the fact of the matter is she may be smarter than I’m inclined to give her credit for being.

Just in case you think I only criticize black women for sexually charged music, let me confess that I am not a fan of Halestorm’s Do Not Disturb. As some of you know, Halestorm is one of my all time favorite bands, but I just found that song musically & lyrically lackluster. (If you aren’t familiar with the song, it’s about a threesome.) Furthermore I am equally disturbed, perhaps moreso actually, by some other sexually explicit songs such as Bad Girlfriend by Theory of a Deadman, Blurred Lines by Pharrell Williams, Get Low by Lil John, & Candy Shop by 50 Cent. The latter two were extremely popular when I was in high school & it puzzles me that some people who loved those songs then are now bothered by WAP. I for one find “all you bitches crawl” & many of the other lines in Get Low far more disgusting.

And just in case you think I’m a prude & hate all music that is sexual in nature, here’s a list of songs that I love that are sexually charged, some more explicit than others, but all decidedly more eloquently written than WAP.

Wrecking Ball by Eric Church https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2gnoMAocnbs

Raining on Sunday by Keith Urban https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DgV7RG9Qgvk

Crazy Bitch by Buckherry https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJ6pLKlU-8Q

Strawberry Wine by Deana Carter (For my Appomattox folks, who else remembers hearing this song at AJ Skateworld?) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Up06CryWQpE

Cotton Candy by Yungblud https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDeIAllUAWc

Sexual Hallucination by In This Moment (featuring Brent Smith) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Fp4yRDEVyM

Contemptress by Motionless in White (featuring Maria Brink) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R26czZ9ToyQ

Apocalyptic by Halestorm https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1PXkCAiV0Ww

Breathe by Faith Hill https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yCmsZUN4r_s

Fast Friends by The Gallery https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nlRIczaovdw

Angel Eyes by New Year’s Day https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FHmSF-_6xlo (Sexy video!)

Song #3 by Stone Sour https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K73-hmaHPHY

Sex by Rammstein (Granted I’m relying on translations from German on this one) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FmHKMNk3Uhk

Para-noir by Marilyn Manson https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6c_PtrV80GU (A very incisive look at the many reasons why people have sex- which I do not take as Manson condoning all of those reasons. I actually take it as him highlighting how ridiculous some of these things are.)

Eternally Yours by Motionless in White https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TwO0zLLybQ0 (Sexy video!)

Now, here’s where it gets tricky. I’m sure a lot of people reading this have been nodding along this whole time so far. Some of you are probably about to stop nodding along- & that’s ok!

One of the most disturbing things I’ve encountered with this song is how so many women (& men) are so “grossed out” by it. Maybe it’s just because I’m a nurse & tend to view the world through a very scientific lens, but I really have to ask myself why so many people find their own bodies so gross. As I said before, I love sex but I am not interested in a graphic song that worships the phallus. But that being said, if such a song were suddenly topping the charts, I can guarantee you the average man would NOT be saying “Oh, that’s so gross!” It goes back to the fact that women are socialized to be ashamed of their bodies. In a world before birth control, I am much more sympathetic about the fact that this happened. You’re just ignoring the most basic biology if you don’t admit that sex is inherently more dangerous for women. [There are three main reasons for that: pregnancy, rape, & STIs (these are often more dangerous for women if untreated because of their negative impacts on fertility.)] In light of that, it’s really not hard to understand that society has always felt the need to control women’s sexuality more than men’s. It doesn’t make it right or fair- I never said that- but it’s not as illogical as some claim. Of course at the end of the day it takes two to tango, but that’s another blog post for another day.

Furthermore, I read an interview with Megan Thee Stallion, the other rapper featured on WAP, in which she stated that a lot of men find this song threatening because it’s all about female sexual empowerment. Now you can certainly argue that making yourself out to be a sexual object is anything but empowering- & certainly not original or unique- (I’m inclined to agree), BUT Megan does have a valid point. I’d like to think that the majority of men in the modern world appreciate, I daresay even WANT, a woman who is sexually assertive, not just some passive receptacle for their desires. But I do think there are plenty of men out there who still feel like they own sex & the ability to talk about it openly. Certainly I imagine there are plenty of male rappers or other entertainers out there who do not appreciate female rappers barging in on what they view as “their territory,” much less with a song like this. Additionally, in light of the sexually graphic nature of much of rap music, most of which seems to care little for what a woman wants (sexually or otherwise), maybe Cardi B’s WAP is reactionary- her way to try to flip the situation around so to speak. I’m not sure it rings true from someone with her history, but I cannot deny that it’s a valid concept.

Having said all that, there are far more eloquent ways one can express & even celebrate female desire than a song such as WAP. Just because some men have stooped to the level of writing incredibly graphic songs about their anatomy doesn’t mean women should be encouraged to do the same. Nor should men encouraged to keep doing it! Ella Fitzgerald, also a black woman, actually sung a very eloquent song about female sexual desire over sixty years ago (though I’ll admit she did not write it). Thanks to one of my closest friends for turning me on to this song because it’s perfect for this post (pun NOT intended!). You can check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1fzZ4l2H5-w.

At the end of the day, whether she intended to or not, Cardi B has certainly stirred up a lot of intriguing conversations about a decidedly complex & controversial topic with this song. And that alone is newsworthy. Would I choose it as the #1 song of the year? Absolutely not. But I cannot write it off as 100% trash either, as much as part of me wants to do exactly that. After all, I’ve often said that the best art is the kind that makes us ask deep questions about life & challenges us to broaden our horizons. And whether we like it or not, she has done exactly that…

Also, if anyone wants to continue the WAP trend, may I suggest the following?:

Big Ass Dick (BAD)

Hard Ass Dick (HAD)

Big Ass Titties (BAT)

I’ll stop before anyone takes these suggestions seriously.

The Moral Superiority Complex


This post isn’t aimed at any person in particular. Rather it is aimed at our society as a whole & the ridiculous self righteousness I’m constantly seeing these days. It happens every year but it’s always the worst during election years. Throw in coronavirus & of course that makes things even more intense (read: crazy) this year!

As a Libertarian, I have written many times about how I frequently feel isolated in this world, ever an outsider surrounded by many who seem to fit so neatly into the various political & religious boxes that society draws for us. In reality of course I know that many folks who do fit in those boxes are probably full of doubts & questions but just aren’t open or honest about them for fear of being rejected or losing social stigma. Particularly for my friends in small town America I fully understand that dilemma. But that’s a post for another day. (To be clear, even among Libertarians I am often a bit of an outsider because of some of my views.)

In any case, what’s really griping me lately is the smug sense of self righteousness & moral superiority that I see all over the media & social media these days. It comes from both sides, though probably a bit worse from the Left since they have such a massive influence on both the media & social media, but really it does go both ways. I am just sick of seeing folks virtue signaling & calling out anyone who disagrees with them as evil, stupid, ignorant, bigoted, sexist, racist, homophobic, heathen, or generally morally inferior.

I’ve got news for you, folks. Regardless of your political or religious beliefs, you haven’t cornered the market on compassion. You don’t have a monopoly on ministering to others. Your beliefs or political affiliations do not make you a better person- they just don’t! Like it or not, y’all, it’s just not that simple.

To those on the Left, have you ever considered that those of us who aren’t socialists & don’t support a massive welfare state feel that way because we truly don’t feel those things are serving the greater good? I’m sure there are some people on the Right who only care about their own pockets but most conservative people I know aren’t like that at all. Many of us truly believe that smaller government leads to greater freedom, prosperity, opportunity, & happiness for all. Many of us sincerely believe in equality of opportunity rather than equality of outcome.

And to those on the Right, have you ever considered that not everyone who supports keeping abortion legal is truly a baby-killer who wants to see infants murdered? Have you considered that many only want abortion kept legal because of cases of rape & incest or other such horrific conditions? Have you considered that this is indeed a much more complex issue than “Well, they should have just waited for marriage”? Furthermore, have you considered that abortion in some format has existed (& does exist) in every society in the world? While that does not make it good, it does mean that it’s never going to completely disappear.

I just wish that people would stop making so many assumptions about others. Stop assuming I watch Fox News because I diss CNN. (In reality I don’t have cable TV & wouldn’t watch either even if I did!) Stop assuming that your neighbor who’s a Republican hates black people or all immigrants. Stop assuming that your friend who’s a Democrat wants to kill all babies or rip apart every nuclear family. Just stop assuming you know all there is to know about a person! I see so many people claiming they are choosing a particular candidate because they care about others. That’s fantastic- but don’t assume that everyone who chooses differently than you automatically doesn’t care about others! Perhaps their interpretation of what is actually helping others is different than yours- & that is ok!

In reality I know lots of really wonderful people on all sides of the political spectrum, but I am just so tired of seeing folks on all sides make all kinds of negative assumptions & generalizations about those who disagree with them. Trust me, I know why it happens. We’re all guilty of it at times, if we’re being truly honest. We do it because it makes us feel better about our own beliefs; furthermore it makes us feel less guilty about any doubts we may have about those beliefs. It makes it easier to push away any conflicted feelings we have about issues that rip at our very consciences. And frankly I think it’s just human nature to paint the world in a very “us vs them” picture. But the truth is we are all losing when we do that. It’s only in recognizing the humanity in each of us that we can begin to see true progress in society.

As cliche as it may seem I will conclude this post with a quote that I think is a good starting place any time we feel the need to rip others apart & denigrate them as morally inferior to ourselves simply because they disagree with us. Namaste- the divine in me honors the divine in you.

I Get Off On the Pain


This post might be a little all over the place but I’m going to try to knock it out the best I can while Rachel is doing her afternoon “quiet time” (since she no longer naps). I’ve recently been reminded over & over again, because of the whole Covid situation as well as the upcoming election, among other things, of how incredibly frustrating it is to me that so many folks are frankly so one-dimensional. As I told one of my best friends recently, I am continually disappointed in how completely predictable so many people are. When I find those rare jewels of people whose opinions I cannot accurately predict on most every subject, I smile & retain at least a little hope for humanity. I’m not asking for everyone to agree with me on everything. What a boring world that would be! I just wish that more people weren’t so damn predictable!

I am often reminded of the Walt Whitman quote “Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.” I love that quote because to me it encapsulates the complexity of the human experience & how we are all at times hypocrites because we all contain so many complex emotions & ideals that often contradict each other. And that is ok- that is what makes us alive- & interesting!

I just wish more people realized that we don’t have to fit into the neat little boxes in which society tries to place us. And even if we do choose to align ourselves with certain groups, we aren’t obliged to always agree with those groups on every single issue. We can be individuals- we don’t have to have a herd mentality!

For example:

You can ascribe to most aspects of “gentle parenting” even if you don’t co-sleep, breastfeed for extended periods, baby-wear constantly, home-school, or partake in a vegetarian/vegan diet.

You can ascribe to a lot of moral ideas without actually being religious.

You can 100% support the concept of black lives matter without supporting the actual organization of the same name.

You can have tattoos &/or piercings &/or “crazy hair” & still have a professional job & be just as great at it as someone who looks more traditional.

You can love rock/metal music & not have any tattoos or piercings or dress in all black & that doesn’t make you any less of a “real” fan.

You can abhor gun violence but still staunchly support the 2nd Amendment.

Caring about the poor does not have to equate to being a socialist (or communist).

You can abhor drugs but still believe they should be legal.

Just because you don’t support a ton of government welfare programs does not mean that you don’t care about the poor or believe in helping them. (Government, after all, isn’t the only means for helping people. It’s often the least efficient method, but that’s a post for another day.)

Being a Democrat does not automatically make you anti-racist & being a Republican or Libertarian does not automatically make you racist.

Believing in the importance of the nuclear family does not mean you do not support other less “traditional” family structures.

You can believe that men & women are equal while acknowledging our differences & not seeking to tear down the opposite gender.

You can support the legalization of prostitution (for adults only, obviously!) while still believing that sex is best in the context of a committed, loving relationship.

You can support free speech & the right for women to say or do anything they please but still find Cardi B’s WAP to be straight trash. (Guess her WAP wasn’t so great after all, seeing as she is getting divorced due to her husband’s infidelity… Yep, I’m probably a bad person for laughing about that…)

How do I know all of these things are possible? Well, for the most part, I just described myself…

On a seemingly unrelated note, I have recently rediscovered my love for country music artist Gary Allan. I guess I never truly forgot about him but I haven’t listened to country radio in YEARS so he’d just kind of fallen off my radar since the only country singer I religiously follow is Eric Church. In any case, YouTube recommended Gary’s new song Waste of a Whiskey Drink a week or two ago & I’ve been hooked ever since. You could quite fairly call the song cynical & I’m sure there are some angry hard core feminists out there decrying it as the epitome of sexism, but I don’t care because I think you could reverse the genders in the song & it would be equally accurate.

Anyhow, that song led me to listen to a bunch of Gary Allan’s older songs, some of which I’ve known & loved for years like Watching Airplanes & his cover of Best I Ever Had. But I also came across a lot of others that I either never knew or had forgotten. May I just say that this man’s gravelly voice is perfectly suited to that particular brand of melancholy that only country songs can elicit? Off the top of my head three excellent examples of this are Today, Smoke Rings in the Dark, & It Ain’t the Whiskey.

Of course this post isn’t about country music or even my love for Gary Allan, though I could certainly do an entire post about him someday. But for some reason I felt compelled to explain the wormhole that led me to rediscover his song Get Off on the Pain & how that song seems to perfectly encapsulate what I’m trying to explain here today. Now superficially the song probably doesn’t seem to relate to my life very much- I’m not a man, a traveling musician, or someone who’s been in a bunch of bad relationships- but if you think about the broader meaning of the song I can relate to it in so many ways.

Because I am the “crazy Libertarian” that I am, I find myself constantly being told that I’m wrong, crazy, heathen, don’t care about others, & a lot of other things that I generally don’t believe are true. I frequently long to have a greater sense of belonging but any organized group I’ve ever belonged to has left me dissatisfied sooner or later. The truth of the matter is, like the song says, I think I get off on the pain. As much as I sometimes long to be more content with life, to not question things so much, to be more accepted by society, at the end of the day I don’t think I’d be happy that way. I’ve always been a bit of an outsider & that’s the way I think I’ll always be. It isn’t always an easy road to take but it’s the only one I’ve ever really known & it’s the one I’m going to keep on walking as long as I can.

P.S. I apologize for not including the YouTube links to the songs mentioned in this post like I normally do but WordPress has changed its blogging format & I’m still trying to figure out how to add links to posts. I never said I was tech savvy…

P.S.S. If this post seems to have lost steam half way through it’s because Rachel left her room & has been interrupting me constantly… #momlife

Pandemic Panic


This is going to be brain vomit because I’m working with a limited window of time here but I feel like I need to write SOMETHING for my own sanity. I don’t know about you but this pandemic, this whole year, has been absolute HELL for my anxiety. The older I’ve gotten the more I’ve realized that I have a baseline anxiety that really is a double-edged sword. It’s a big part of what makes me so driven & hard-working but it’s also the main reason why I struggle like hell to relax. Oh yeah, if curse words bother you, this might not be the post for you. Now that I’m in my thirties I’ve realized life is far too short to censor myself just because some people are “sensitive” over something as silly as four letter words. Please- be offended by poverty, by war, by child abuse, by systemic racism, by famine. If a WORD offends you, I kindly ask you to GROW UP.

Ok, sorry, that was an unexpected rant but ANYWAY, I guess I am just tired. I’m tired of coronavirus. I’m tired of masks. I’m tired of social distancing. I’m tired of society being so damn polarized about everything. No matter what the issue is, it seems that most people cannot find any middle ground. Or at least that is how the news media & social media paint things. In real life, I think many people are far more reasonable but social media & the news bring out the worst in us & seek to divide us further. I’ve about had it with all of it. As a Libertarian I am so tired of being told I’m too conservative for the liberals & too liberal for the conservatives. On almost every issue I find myself at odds with a huge portion of my “friends” & many of them are quick to tell me how terrible I am because I don’t agree with them. To those of you who can have rational conversations, thank you. You give me hope. I just wish there were more of you because I am becoming more & more cynical by the day & I know it isn’t healthy for me.

There isn’t any real point to this post other than to say I wish coronavirus were gone. I wish there weren’t an election this year. I wish I could wake up & know that I could hug my friends again without igniting fear. I wish the world weren’t so divided & so busy calling each other racists & sexists & fascists that no one can have an actual conversation of substance. I wish I could just have faith that everything will be ok & that normal life will someday, in the not too distant future, resume. But frankly I don’t have that faith right now. I see this going on for a very long time. I fear that my daughter will never have a normal school experience because of this virus. I fear that my anxiety will continue spiraling when just a few months ago, before all this started, I had it under better control than I had in YEARS.

I don’t miss being a kid. Or a teenager. Not at all. Let’s be real: my anxiety was already an issue back then so it wasn’t like I was the stereotypical carefree kid. Ha! Nope, not me. But right now I’m kind of tired of being an adult too. My anxiety isn’t even the “normal” kind that involves dreaming up every worst case scenario for everything. When it comes to a lot of stuff, I’m surprisingly chill. My anxiety has more to do with never being able to truly RELAX. My brain is just always going, going, going, like the damn Energizer Bunny. One of the reasons my husband & I connected so many years ago as teenagers is because we bonded over the realization that we both had this same “chattering squirrel” inside our heads that never shuts up or lets us fully relax. It sucks- plain & simple, it just sucks. It’s why we are so successful in so many areas of life but it’s also why we aren’t much good at enjoying that success.

This has been a very rambling post & I apologize that it is probably poorly written & may not offer much hope. I sincerely try not to pour negative energy into the world because there is way too damn much of that as it is. But I’m just not feeling a lot of positive energy these days so it’s hard to give that off. But I will share some songs that are serving as a lifeline for me these days. They give me hope & allow me to let off steam when nothing else seems to work. If you too are struggling, I hope they’ll do the same for you.

Times are Hard by Redlight King

You’re Not the Only One by Papa Roach

Come Around by Papa Roach

Get Up by Shinedown

Best Albums of 2019


Yeah, yeah, I know it’s halfway through June- almost halfway through the year, & here I am JUST NOW getting around to writing my annual best albums post for the previous year. But hey, that’s life with a very spirited, challenging 3 year old. (Then again what 3 year old isn’t spirited & demanding?)

Anyway, aside from my # 1 choice, these are really in no particular order.

P.S. It should probably go without saying but many of these albums are not for delicate ears/sensibilities. Many come with an explicit label- or would if they were actually sold in mainstream stores like Wal-Mart. Listen at your own discretion.

  1. Disguise by Motionless in White: I loved MIW’s third album Reincarnate so much that I honestly thought there was no way they’d ever top that one, for me anyway. But then came Disguise. Woah, just woah! Both lyrically & musically MIW really blew it out of the water on this one, but especially lyrically. Lead vocalist & principle songwriter Chris Motionless has stated that he really focused more on the lyrics on this album & it absolutely shows. It’s very hard for me to choose a favorite on this one but if I had to choose one, it would be Another Life. The words are hauntingly beautiful while the melody is truly infectious, making the perfect combination for a song that is sure to be stuck in your head for a long time. Other highlights include the title track, hard-hitting Thoughts & Prayers, & Undead Ahead 2 which is based off of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow & is also a follow up to a song on their debut album. Also don’t miss the sarcastic & witty Brand New Numb. But truly there isn’t a bad song on this album, not a single song that isn’t well written in every aspect. And that is why it’s my choice for #1 album of the year.miw disguise
  2. Untitled by Rammstein: Confession: this is actually my first Rammstein album. I knew a handful of their songs before this album but never liked any of them enough to actually buy a full album. But then I heard Deutschland on satellite radio & instantly I was blown away by just how raw & powerful it was. The music video, as usual, was controversial but in my opinion is a fantastic portrayal of Germany’s history. The piano part that ends the video (not the actual song on the album) is also hauntingly beautiful & I believe it actually comes from one of their earlier albums. Then there is the almost dance-like Radio which is infectiously catchy & will most definitely get stuck in your head. Other stand-out tracks include Auslander & the surprising ballad Diamant. I understand no more than maybe five words of German but this album is proof that music is universal. You don’t have to understand the lyrics to feel the power of the music & the emotions behind it.rammstein
  3. Gereg by The Hu: While we’re on the subject of international music in languages other than English, let’s discuss the break-out debut album from this Mongolian band. When it comes to most unique sound, this album definitely takes the cake. Mongolian throat singing combined with traditional Mongolian instruments & fused with rock & roll- you got it! If you think that sounds bizarre & unlikely to please the ears, you couldn’t be more wrong. Well, maybe it IS bizarre- but that only makes it all the more interesting. I first came across a remix version of Wolf Totem featuring Jacoby Shaddix of Papa Roach while listening to something else on YouTube while at the gym one day. That lead me to check out the original version & I was immediately in awe- & in love. Also be sure to check out Shoog Shoog & Yuve Yuve Yu.the gereg the hu
  4. What You See Is What You Get by Luke Combs: After the first three you might not have been expecting to see a country album on this list but Luke Combs is way too good not to mention. This album is chock full of great songs- 17 of them to be specific! From start to finish Luke’s second album is full of brutally honest lyrics & story telling that definitely channel the spirit of his idol & fellow North Carolinian Eric Church (who just so happens to be my favorite country singer). In fact there is even a song featuring guest vocals from Church. It’s very hard to pick favorites but be sure to check out the upbeat Beer Never Broke My Heart & Angels Working Overtime as well as the more somber Dear Today. All Over Again is another great one that gets stuck in my head all the time. There is something so truly “every man” about Luke Combs that you just cannot help but like the guy even if country music isn’t your normal taste.luke combs
  5. Who Do You Trust? by Papa Roach: The follow up to 2017’s Crooked Teeth is a real blend of the different variations this band has explored over the past two decades. The best testament to the strength of this album is that I heard three of the songs for the first time live & immediately fell in love with all of them- so much so in fact that I ordered the album from my phone right there during the concert! Those three songs, in case you’re wondering, are still some of my favorites off the album: Feel Like Home, Renegade Music, & Come Around. The title track is also incredibly relevant for our world today, perhaps even more so now than when it was released last year. Though it’s less than 1.5 minutes long, the very punk rock track I Suffer Well is a fun addition to the album, particularly in contrast to the more hip hop influenced songs like Elevate. While this album could perhaps be accused of being a bit disjointed & not “flowing” super well, it’s still a fantastic addition to the Papa Roach catalog. P.S. If you haven’t seen Papa Roach live, as soon as we’re allowed to have concerts again, DO IT. Nevermind that these guys are in their 40s now- they have more energy & intensity than many bands half their age.papa roach
  6. Hotel Diablo by Machine Gun Kelly: Ok, so you probably weren’t expecting a rap album on this list either but here it is. To be honest I wasn’t expecting a rap album to ever make one of my annual best albums lists, but then I discovered this jewel by MGK. Truthfully I’ve forgotten quite how I got into this album but I’m pretty sure it involved going down a YouTube wormhole which probably led me to the last song on the album which is actually not a rap song at all. That song, I Think I’m Okay, is still my favorite from this disc. Other great tracks include Hollywood Whore, El Diablo, & Death in My Pocket. Rap will never be my favorite genre by a long shot but there is a rawness, honesty, & cleverness to MGK’s lyrics that I can’t help but love. It probably helps that he actually plays guitar & clearly has an appreciation for rock. In fact he’s actually just made a pop/rock/punk album entitled Tickets to My Downfall & I for one can’t wait for its release next month.hotel diablo
  7. 21st Century Liability by Yungblud: I discovered this album as a direct result of the previous one on this list. MGK’s I think I’m Okay features Yunglud & after watching the music video for that song I was immediately intrigued by this obviously unique young man. By the way, it turns out MGK & Yungblud have actually become great friends & are absolutely hilarious together (search YouTube for some great videos of them). If you’re offended by outspoken British dudes in pink socks who occasionally wear dresses, then Yungblud definitely isn’t for you. But it’d be a real shame to miss out on the wit & charm that is Yungblud. Standout tracks on this quirky record include Die For the Hype, Polygraph Eyes, & the title track. yungblud album
  8. N.A.T.I.O.N. by Bad Wolves: The second album by Bad Wolves comes across as an even more polished version of this clearly talented group of men. Outspoken lead singer Tommy Vext has quickly become one of my favorite rock stars, largely because he is so impossible to pigeon hole. He is truly a man who thinks for himself & says whatever he wants, regardless of what anyone else may think. But back to the album: there are plenty of great heavier tracks like No Messiah & I’ll Be There but I think my favorite is the deeply personal & more somber track Sober. Vext’s soulful voice really shines on songs like this where the emotions are so strong they’re almost palpable.bad wolves
  9. I, The Mask by In Flames: Confession: I knew almost nothing about legendary Swedish metalers In Flames until I started hearing I Am Above on Octane & Liquid Metal last year. After that I was instantly hooked, bought the album, & even saw them live when they came to Raleigh. There isn’t a bad song on this album but some of my other favorites include the slow burning Stay With Me which starts off soft & gentle but builds into a real powerhouse by the end & Follow Me which follows a similar pattern. Call My Name is also excellent.i the mask
  10. Southern Hostility by Upon a Burning Body: UABB will always be among my top choices for underrated bands. These Texans deserve so much more attention than they get. This entire album makes for a great work-out soundtrack. I for one can’t wait to get back to jamming to this at the gym someday . . . Anyway, vocalist Danny Leal’s screams are in top form on this album. Be sure to check out Reinventing Hatred, King of Diamonds, & From Darkness.uabb southern

Honorable mentions:

  • Earth & Sky by Of Mice & Men
  • Walk the Sky by Alter Bridge
  • The Ghost of Ohio by Andy Black
  • Shades of Blue by Danny Worsnop
  • High Crimes by The Damned Things