Sierra Annie, a small-town Iowa girl turned Nashville contender, is at it again.
You may have heard her previously hitting hard against trash ex-boyfriends in "Famous" and "Roses," then taking a few shots at herself for her involvement with them in "Bad Habits." Now, she's trying her hand with slightly different subject matter. Keeping with her brusque country pop-punk style she's still putting out plenty of attitude, but this time with a focus on gratitude. This song places men as a footnote, and instead finds a place to focus on women. Ever autobiographical, this song, as the title suggests, is about Annie's mother.
Insistent guitar pounds while classic travelling country rock vocals put a story on the rails and the drums set it rolling. It's a pleasing ode to the maternal figures in our lives without the syruppy over-sentimentality that normally plagues songs like this. There's something empowering about giving moms a rock and roll song without patronizing them; telling their stories outside of tragedy and instead reflecting on their capability, tenacity, and strength of character. All of this is carried on a breezy chord progression, cheered on intermittently by the odd lick or smooth-toned solo. It's a strong assembly and an easy re-listen.
"I am a strong woman because strong women raised me" - Sierra Annie
There are hints of causticity in Annie's lyrics here, as if there is some regret underpinning what she's saying, but it's clearly directed inwardly. This speaks to the broader experience of being an adult and still having to contend with being someone's child. The recognition that the pangs of growing up didn't just affect you, they hit those around you as well; people who you realize gave more than they had to give; and not out of some sense of martyrdom or sacrifice, out of simple love.
As easy as it is to be angry and negative about the imperfections in ourselves and the world around us, we can't blame the people who did their best to shape us. As Annie points out, oftentimes they were giving us the space to shape ourselves. Looking back, we all see what we put our parents through. We can allow that knowledge to manifest as guilt, bound to our souls to weigh us down, or to set it free as gratitude. That's what "Mama" is: simple gratitude plus drums, guitar, and bass. A candid, non-hokey expression of love from child to parent. If you're making a Mother's Day playlist… you're welcome.
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Even to this day, "Dark Tournament" remains the defining shonen "Tournament Arc."
Oftentimes, it's impossible to separate the quality of the anime we grew up watching from the sense of nostalgia those series evoke.
Case in point: Dragon Ball Z. Historically, DBZ is likely the most influential anime series of all time, both redefining the shonen genre for every series that came after it and introducing an entire generation of Western kids to Japanese animation through the legendary Funimation dub on Cartoon Network's Toonami block. Chances are high that if you meet someone who loves anime and grew up in the late '90s or early 2000s, they'll have a deeply personal bond with DBZ.
At the same time, it's hard to argue that DBZ holds up in the modern day, especially for new viewers coming in with fresh eyes. The pacing of the original series is super slow, the fights drag out forever, and while DBZ created so many of shonen's most prevalent tropes ("This isn't even my final form!"), almost everything DBZ ever did has since been done better by other series.
About a year after being accused of selling furniture to ICE detention centers, e-commerce site Wayfair is in another controversy.
Wayfair, the e-commerce website beloved by millennials on a budget who don't want their apartments to look just like IKEA showrooms, is no stranger to controversy.
Last summer, employees of the company organized a protest after allegations surfaced that Wayfair had sold $200,000 worth of furniture to border detention facilities. Now, Wayfair is being suspected of trafficking missing children in their furniture.