What I’m Into: February 2019

Nearly two years ago, I created this blog to share my gaming experiences and opinions with others. Since then, I’ve seen a handful of other bloggers within the community dedicate a monthly post to what they’re currently playing, reading, watching, and listening to, so I figured it’d be a good idea for me to do the same. Here’s what I’m currently into:

What I’m playing:

God of War – PS4

god of war valkyriesHaving completed the story a while back, I decided to pick up God of War again to finish some endgame stuff, particularly the side quest “Prove Your Valor” where you’re tasked to track down and defeat 8 Valkyries and their queen. At first, it was looking pretty grim because the first two I faced took me an hour each to beat. Thankfully, all of the others that followed felt like a cakewalk in comparison. I’m not sure if they were actually easier or if I’m getting better. I still have one remaining before facing the queen, whom I hear is a fucking nightmare. Wish me luck because it sounds like I’m going to need it.

Hitman 2 – PS4

Another game I decided to revisit, mainly because of the Snow Festival Mission that was just released. While my initial intention was solely to hop back in to play the new content, I couldn’t help but revisit all of the missions again. There are so many different ways you can approach each hit that the replay value is nearly infinite. Since IO plans to release more paid and unpaid DLC for Hitman 2, I see myself coming back to it a few times this year.

Super Smash Bros Ultimate – Switch

This is my go-to when I’m staying over at my girlfriend’s house or traveling for work. Since I’ve finished World of Light, I’ve been focused on trying to beat Classic Mode with each character. When I get bored of that, I test my skills online. I do alright, but am by no means good. Thankfully, I still find Smash Bros. games fun even when I’m getting my ass handed to me.

What I’m listening to:

Safe in the Hands of Love – Yves Tumor

Safe in the Hands of Love is absolutely phenomenal and would’ve made my five best albums of 2018 list if I had gotten into it earlier. The production on this thing is really special, blending together a mixture of tranquil and aggressive instrumentals to evoke a variety of emotions in the listener. There hasn’t been a record I’ve connected with on an emotional level quite like this in a long time. The catchy, upbeat “Noid” contrasts energetic instrumentals with dark, powerful lyrics about being afraid to go outside and not being able to trust the police. “Recognizing the Enemy,” another standout, leverages a soothing guitar riff and some impressive vocal layering to create a haunting sound while Tumor bellows about losing love and the anguish that results from it. It’s leagues above anything he’s done to date, and I highly recommend you check it out ASAP.

Lush – Snail Mail

Initially, I wasn’t the biggest fan of this album. I think I was so enamored with two of its lead singles, “Pristine” and “Heat Wave,” that the rest of its songs felt lackluster in comparison. Now that I’ve revisited it with a clearer head, I’ve come to love Lush almost in its entirety. I still find “Let’s Find an Out” to be pretty boring, but all of the other tracks have really resonated with me as of late. Particularly, the last two songs, “Deep Sea” and “Anytime,” have a calming, melancholic sound that make them perfect for listening to before going to sleep.

Double Nickels on the Dime – Minutemen

I always try to have a classic album in my rotation, and as of late, this legendary and influential punk masterpiece has been on repeat. From the spastic, energetic “The Glory of Man,” to traditional punk sound of “Two Beads at the End” to beautiful instrumental “Cohesion,” Double Nickels on the Dime is filled with a variety of ideas not commonly found in punk music. It’s a tragedy that vocalist and songwriter D. Boon died shortly after the release of this record because Minutemen could have gone on to be one of the most influential bands of the 80s. Who knows what great heights they could have reached? Perhaps they would be known for much more than having one of their best songs used as the theme for Jackass.

Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared – Deerhunter

Recently, I wrote about this record and why I recommend you listen to it. It’s not Deerhunter’s best effort. In fact, it might be my least favorite album they’ve ever put out. Be that as it may, it’s still really good. Highlights like “Death in Midsummer,” “Element,” and “What Happens to People” will satisfy long-time fans, while poppy delights “Plains” and “Futurism” indicate a shift to a more accessible sound for the once experimental Georgia-based band.

Music Has the Right to the Children – Boards of Canada

I was really into this album around this time last year, too. There must be something about the dead of winter that makes me want to listen to extremely progressive and experimental electronic music. As one of the most peaceful and calming records I’ve ever listened to, I frequently put on Music Has the Right to the Children when I’m trying to get some work done or wind down before going to sleep. The synth-heavy “Roygbiv” is just flat out cool, and the psychedelic “Aquarius” is a watery, mind-expanding trip. “Pete Standing Alone” is a beautifully withdrawn and haunting number, and “Rue the Whirl” is a rhythmic, hip-hop-inspired jam that I can’t help but nod my head to. The album is phenomenal in its entirety and is best listened to from start to finish. It’s a spacey, meditative journey that inspires a great deal of introspection and self-reflection.

Pavement – Their Entire Discography

I’m always listening to Pavement. It never stops.

What I’m watching:

The Two Killings of Sam Cooke

A fantastic documentary on one of the greatest musicians in American history. The Two Killings of Sam Cooke takes a deep look into the life and career of one of the most successful soul singers of all time, as well as his tragic and untimely death. Some great interviews from people whom knew Cooke best, or have extensively studied him, provide greater insight into the legendary soul artist’s personal life and what inspired his music. My only complaint is that while the title is The Two Killings of Sam Cooke, the documentary doesn’t explore Cooke’s deaths and the multiple theories around it as much as I would’ve liked. It’s basically a Sam Cooke documentary with a five-minute segment dedicated to his murder and the many questions surrounding it. Regardless, there is a ton of great information and old footage, so if you’re a fan of Sam Cooke, I highly recommend you watch.

Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

marvelous mrs maisel standupDelightful is the word that best describes this uproarious comedy about a housewife turned stand-up comic. Rachel Brosnahan is immaculate in the role of Miriam Maisel, beaming with an endearing energy and spunkiness that makes it impossible to not love her. Tony Schalhoub is also incredible as Abe Weisman, Miriam’s no-nonsense father, and Alex Bornstein shines as the rough, tough Susie Meyerson, a comedy club employee that notices Miriam’s talent and eventually becomes her manager. Most impressive are the scenes where Miriam actually performs her stand-up act. The bits are hysterical and there’s a certain authenticity to them that I’ve come to appreciate; they just feel so real. I’m about halfway through Season 1 right now and am looking forward to binging the rest over the next few weeks. I need to catch up before Season 3 releases.

Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes

While they are despicable and diabolical human beings, serial killers have always fascinated me. So any time a documentary about one is released, I’m all over it. This one is particularly intriguing because it features real taped conversations with one of the most deplorable murderers of all time. After watching all four episodes, I’m fully convinced that Ted Bundy wasn’t human, but some sort of demon from hell. The footage and recordings of him nonchalantly and convincingly denying his crimes, knowing full well the heinous acts he committed, is unnerving to say the least. It’s horrifying to think there could be more people out there like that.

Are you currently into any of the above? If not, what are you into? I’m always looking for recommendations, so please share in the comments!

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