MUSIC

MUSIC | Ryan McCartan releases debut single "Changed My Mind"

The off-Broadway and TV star released this single off of his first solo EP "The Opposite"

"'Changed My Mind' is the premiere single off my debut solo EP 'The Opposite.' This is a massive passion project of mine, as every song was written, performed, produced, recorded and engineered all by me in my home studio."

In a world where we are constantly hearing break-up narratives from a million different artists, it's nice to hear something that's more raw that what we're given. I'm not saying these other artists don't share a lot with us and bear their soul - art always allows you to do that, even in its most commercialized form. Still, there's something about hearing an artist who has done everything himself - someone who has had complete control over everything from writing to production to release. There's a realness there, and I think that's what McCartan has given us with this new single.

For those who aren't familiar with this Broadway/TV darling, Ryan McCartan first rose to prominence in a recurring role on the Disney Channel TV show, Liv and Maddie. From there, he went on to play JD in the hit off-Broadway adaptation of Heathers, and even got the chance to play Brad Masters in Fox's recording of The Rocky Horror Picture Show! And while the latter wasn't the most well-received show ever, no one can argue that McCartan's voice wasn't electrifying.

Now, coming off of the break up of The Girl and the Dreamcatcher (which McCartan had formed with his ex-girlfriend, Liv and Maddie star, Dove Cameron), he is back to release a new EP. Ryan has this to say about his new release:

"'Changed My Mind' is one of five songs on the EP, which takes listeners through my convoluted and tumultuous grieving process following a horrific break up. Each song represents one of the five stages of grief, and 'Changed My Mind' is the final stage of acceptance. I feel blessed every day to be able to create and share my art with the world. I've never been happier in my entire life!"

I can't say which break up McCartan is referring to. Perhaps he's talking about his break up with Cameron? Or maybe there was another that wasn't necessarily in the spotlight. Regardless, what McCartan brings to the table is catchy and fun, that is charged with an emotional energy that doesn't seem manufactured or disingenuous. Is it the most groundbreaking single I've ever heard? No. But it is real, and you can feel it in the work that McCartan has put into this track.

Bottom line: It's fun, it's emotional, and to this writer, it's a great start, and I can't wait to see what more McCartan brings to us in the future.

What did you think of the song? Do you want to buy the EP? Do you want to follow this great artist on social media? Then you should follow him on his social media!

Follow Ryan McCartan on Instagram

Twitter

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And listen to the single on Spotify or Apple Music!


Shann Smith is a freelance writer, screenwriter, playwright, gamer, music lover, and film/TV lover. When he's not working on his columns for Popdust, he's doing his best to create and consume as much media as he can!


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CULTURE

Nazi-Chic: The Aesthetics of Fascism

Let's take a look at Nazi-inspired fashion.

Villains always have the best outfits.

From Darth Vader's polished black space armor to The Joker's snazzy purple suit, bad guys always seem to show up their protagonists in the fashion department.

Way more handsome than Batman. static.giantbomb.com

But could there possibly be a real world equivalent to the type of over-the-top villain fashion often found in fiction? It would have to be sleek and imposing, austere and dangerous. Probably black.

Maybe it's him. Maybe it's fascist ideology.

Oh, right.

Let's call a spade a spade. From an aesthetic standpoint, the Nazi SS outfit is very well-designed. The long coat tied around the waist with a buckle portrays a slim, sturdy visage. The leather boots and matching cap look harsh and powerful. The emblem placements on the lapel naturally suggest rank and authority. And the red armband lends a splash of color to what would otherwise be a dark monotone. If the Nazi uniform wasn't so closely tied with the atrocities they committed during WWII, it wouldn't seem out of place at Fashion Week. Perhaps not too surprising, considering many of the uniforms were made by Hugo Boss.

Pictured: A real thing Hugo Boss did. i.imgur.com

Of course, today, Nazi uniform aesthetics are inseparable from the human suffering doled out by their wearers. In most circles of civilized society, that's more than enough reason to avoid the garb in any and all fashion choices. But for some, that taboo isn't a hindrance at all–if anything, it's an added benefit.

As a result, we have Nazi chic, a fashion trend centered around the SS uniform and related Nazi imagery.

History of Nazi Chic

For the most part, Nazi chic is not characterized by Nazi sympathy. Rather, Nazi chic tends to be associated with counterculture movements that view the use of its taboo imagery as a form of shock value, and ironically, anti-authoritarianism.

The movement came to prominence in the British punk scene during the mid-1970s, with bands like the Sex Pistols and Siouxsie and the Banshees displaying swastikas on their attire alongside other provocative imagery.

Very rotten, Johnny. i.redd.it

Around this time, a film genre known as Nazisploitation also came to prominence amongst underground movie buffs. A subgenre of exploitation and sexploitation films, Naziploitation movies skewed towards D-grade fare, characterized by graphic sex scenes, violence, and gore. Plots typically surrounded female prisoners in concentration camps, subject to the sexual whims of evil SS officers, who eventually escaped and got their revenge. However, the most famous Nazisploitation film, Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS, flipped the genders.

The dorm room poster that will ensure you never get laid. images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com

Ilsa was a female SS officer and the victims were men. She spent much of the movie wearing her Nazi uniform in various states, sexually abusing men all the while. As such, Ilsa played into dominatrix fantasies. The movie was a hit on the grindhouse circuit, inspiring multiple sequels and knock-offs and solidifying Nazi aesthetics as a part of the BDSM scene.

Since then, Nazi chic fashion has been employed by various artists, from Madonna to Marilyn Manson to Lady Gaga, and has shown up in all sorts of places from leather clubs to character designs in video games and anime.

Lady Gaga looking SS-uper. nyppagesix.files.wordpress.com

Nazi Chic in Asia

Nazi chic has taken on a life of its own in Asia. And unlike Western Nazi chic, which recognizes Nazism as taboo, Asian Nazi chic seems entirely detached from any underlying ideology.

A large part of this likely has to do with the way that Holocaust education differs across cultures. In the West, we learn about the Holocaust in the context of the Nazis committing horrific crimes against humanity that affected many of our own families. The Holocaust is presented as personal and closer to our current era than we might like to think. It is something we should "never forget." Whereas in Asia, where effects of the Holocaust weren't as prominent, it's simply another aspect of WWII which, in and of itself, was just another large war. In other words, Nazi regalia in Asia might be viewed as simply another historical military outfit, albeit a particularly stylish one.

In Japan, which was much more involved with WWII than any other Asian country, Nazi chic is usually (but not always) reserved for villainous representations.

OF COURSE. i.imgur.com

That being said, J-Pop groups like Keyakizaka46 have publicly worn Nazi chic too, and the phenomena isn't limited to Japan.

In South Korea, Indonesia, and Thailand, Nazi imagery has shown up in various elements of youth culture, completely void of any moral context. For instance, in Indonesia, a Hitler-themed fried chicken restaurant opened in 2013. And in Korea, K-Pop groups like BTS and Pritz have been called out for propagating Nazi chic fashion. Usually such incidents are followed by public apologies, but the lack of historical understanding makes everything ring hollow.

Implications

So the question then: is Nazi chic a bad thing?

The answer is not so black and white.

On one hand, seeing Nazi chic on the fashion scene may dredge up painful memories for Holocaust survivors and those whose family histories were tainted. In this light, wearing Nazi-inspired garb, regardless of intent, seems disrespectful and antagonistic. Worse than that, it doesn't even seem like a slight against authority so much as a dig at actual victims of genocide.

But on the other hand, considering the fact that even the youngest people who were alive during WWII are edging 80, "forgetting the Holocaust" is a distinct possibility for younger generations. In that regard, perhaps anything that draws attention to what happened, even if it's simply through the lens of "this outfit should be seen as offensive," might not be entirely bad. This, compounded by the fact that Nazi chic is not commonly associated with actual Nazi or nationalistic sentiments, might be enough to sway some people–not necessarily to wear, like, or even appreciate its aesthetics, but rather to understand its place within counterculture.

Ultimately, one's views on Nazi chic likely come down to their own personal taste and sensibilities. For some, Nazi chic is just a style, an aesthetic preference for something that happens to be mired in historical horror. For others, the shadow of atrocity simply hangs too strong.