The end of music history? ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’ and the inimitable genius of Kanye West

2010 was a big year for popular music. Katy Perry released ‘California Girls’ with Snoop Dogg as a feature rapper, Lady Gaga and Beyoncé released the music video to ‘Telephone’, and the Black Eyed Peas released their sixth studio album ‘The Beginning’, after releasing their fifth album ‘The E.N.D.’ (Energy Never Dies) under the same … Continue reading The end of music history? ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’ and the inimitable genius of Kanye West

The birth of the moral state: On the politics of social strength

The market state is a private state; politics for some. The moral state is a public state; politics for all. The market state destabilises basic necessities, weakening the commonwealth and strengthening private wealth. The moral state stabilises basic necessities, strengthening the common wealth by weakening the wealth of private interests. Lycurgus of Sparta, who founded … Continue reading The birth of the moral state: On the politics of social strength

A critique of cathedralism: Why conspiracy theory doesn’t make sense of contemporary capitalism

It is popular in universities to denounce conspiracy theories as inherently evil descendants of twentieth-century totalitarianism. I don’t wish to make a judgement on this specific point, because each side is polarised to the point that they deal in different narrations of history. To overcome this empirical war, I suggest philosophy can bring conceptual peace. … Continue reading A critique of cathedralism: Why conspiracy theory doesn’t make sense of contemporary capitalism

Billie Eilish Concert Review: Hiding in the Spotlight

‘I don’t like your tilted stage,’ a song in 2017 went, in a pointed critique of the Saint Pablo tour by Kanye West. The songwriter was Taylor Swift, whose 2018 reputation tour I had the good opportunity of seeing in Wembley Stadium, London. It was a novel experience, fusing musicality and theatricality into a stunning … Continue reading Billie Eilish Concert Review: Hiding in the Spotlight

Why so satirical? Against the cult of shallowness

I’m starting to notice something, about the way we behave in the 21st century. And it’s not OK. George Herbert Mead, the sociologist and father of the theory of ‘symbolic interactionism’. Historically, people have interacted in all sorts of ways. Symbols of gods and kings and angels and fairies abound in human history, and often … Continue reading Why so satirical? Against the cult of shallowness

The banality of sociality

Hannah Arendt’s seminal Eichmann in Jerusalem famously describes Nazism, personified in the Holocaust administrator Adolf Eichmann on trial in Jerusalem, as ‘the banality of evil’. In The Origins of Totalitarianism, Arendt considers the alliance between ‘elite’ and ‘mob’ underpinning totalitarian politics. If the totalitarian elite is characterised by a sinister banality, a strange coupling of … Continue reading The banality of sociality

From Bach to Born: A philosophy of music

Recently I’ve been writing about music. The study of music from a philosophical perspective is often ridiculed, as it is traced to the work of critical theorist Theodor Adorno, who preferred Bach and Beethoven to Mozart and jazz music (preferring not to comment on the decrepit condition of popular music). Adorno played the piano, but … Continue reading From Bach to Born: A philosophy of music

Jacob Collier Concert Review: From Thriller to Filler

Jacob Collier is very clever. An inspiration to many (myself included), the proto-pop prodigy is on the edges of something great. At least, that’s what reviews have been saying for years now. But nothing seems to change. From Collier’s world tour, which I attended and enjoyed. I once defined music as a fusion of technique … Continue reading Jacob Collier Concert Review: From Thriller to Filler