“Take Off Your Shirt!”: Rethinking Boundaries of Concert Attendees

When I go to concerts, I always end up next to really annoying people. At first, I thought it was just me having bad luck or that I like artists that tend to have younger fanbases. While both of these things might have a role in it, I think a lot of it is a lot of people having absolutely no respect for musicians/ artists/ celebrities as people. When I attended the Mitski show at the Ritz Raleigh, the people standing next to me were hellbent on being comedians, although it just came off as extremely disrespectful. 

Mitski, a carefully private and composed person, who has expressed many times that her fans don’t know her, has tried to draw clear boundaries between her as a person and as a performer (in both her art and in interviews). And yet, as she gracefully performed every choreographed movement in animated and exaggerated forms, the people next to me laughed, yelled and willfully misinterpreted the artistic moves she was making.  During certain songs, Mitski would collapse to her knees, lie on the ground, or otherwise make herself completely vulnerable; in response my concert neighbors would yell things like “Get up Mitski!” or “What is she doing right now?!” These two people were blatantly ignoring all of the vulnerability she was offering and cringing at it, mentally closing themselves off from what she had to offer them. 

When going to shows, I feel it’s important to recognize the artist’s comfortability with the audience, and truly contemplate whether your actions draw some sort of false familiarity between you and the performer(s). Last September when I attended the Phoebe Bridgers show, again there were people completely unaware of how disrespectful they were being, and Bridgers is a lot more comfortable with that kind of stuff. From signs that read “Hey mommy!” to hooting and hollering during “Punisher,” a song notably about deceased Elliott Smith, most people there seemed to think that somehow they were entitled to friendship with her. Think about how utterly dehumanizing it must be to want to share art about some of the most intimate parts of yourself, and to be made a laughing stock. 

I understand why and how it happens; people relate to the music that an artist makes and feel like the artist knows and understands them. In turn, this leads to people thinking that because they feel understood, they must also understand the artist. While in some cases this could true, for Mitski it ultimately isn’t. It’s embarrassing to witness. 

Phoebe Bridgers is not your “bestie,” she doesn’t know you. Just enjoy the music, dance with your friends, take pictures and let loose.

– Caitlin

Miscellaneous Playlists

Fight Scene Soundtracks of “The Umbrella Academy”

With a new Instagram post celebrating the 3-year anniversary of season 1’s release, “The Umbrella Academy” fans are getting excited for season 3. Unfortunately, there’s still very little information from the showrunners themselves, but that can’t stop fans—myself included—from speculating on the release date. Recently, I’ve been rewatching the show to ease my anticipation, and the rewatch has reminded me just how incredible the soundtrack is. One of my favorite parts of the soundtrack is the unexpected yet strangely fitting songs in the fight scenes. So, I’m here to share some of my favorite fight scene sounds of “The Umbrella Academy.”

“Istanbul (Not Constantinople)” by They Might Be Giants (S1 E1)

This being the first big fight scene of the show, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I went into it. I knew that I was dealing with a 58-year-old-man in a child’s body who had powers of teleportation, and I knew that I was dealing with trained assassins attacking a donut shop. What I didn’t know was that “Istanbul (Not Constantinople)” would be playing in the background, and that it would quickly become one of my favorite fight scenes in any piece of media.

“Sinnerman” by Nina Simone (S1 E3)

This is the first time you see the family of superheroes fight together, and it is quite an incredible display. This song adds just the right amount of weirdness, highlighting the dysfunction between the siblings.

“Sunshine, Lollipops, and Rainbows” by Lesley Gore (S1 E9)

When I hear this song, the first thing I think of definitely isn’t two highly trained, time-traveling assassins fighting each other. But that’s exactly what I got. I love it.

“My Way” by Frank Sinatra (S2 E1)

With caution not to spoil anything, I can say that this scene is the most epic display of the siblings’ powers and ability to act as a team. Who other than Frank Sinatra could play in the background of such an important moment?

“Polk Salad Annie” by Tony Joe White (S2 E7)

This song plays in perhaps the most gruesome scene of the entire show; it definitely doesn’t fit the murder spree vibe. Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if the showrunners included it to ease some of the brutality of the scene, but no matter their reasons for including it, it works.

These songs make up only a few of the incredible song choices in “The Umbrella Academy,” both in fight scenes and in the rest of the show. If you’ve seen “The Umbrella Academy” before, I hope you enjoyed reminiscing over some of these iconic fight scenes, and if you haven’t, I hope this list has convinced you to give it a shot. Either way, happy viewing.


My Favorite Blogs My Peers Have Written

To no one’s surprise, I spend a lot of time on the WKNC blog. Apple computers don’t give a screentime report like their phones do, but if they did I would certainly have a ridiculous number of hours spent on WKNC’s website. I go to the blog looking for inspiration, entertainment and of course, to support my fellow content creators. So, if you’re new to the WKNC blog, an old friend or are just looking for some music-related content to consume, you’ve come to the right place.

Without further ado, let me tell you (just some) of my favorite blogs my peers here at WKNC have written.

“The Power of the Playlist” by Erie: Everything Erie writes is full of deliberate and careful thought, but this blog by her is my favorite. They delve into the importance of a good playlist and compare/contrast the things playlists have to offer in opposition to albums.

“WKNC’s Top Tracks of 2021” by Maddie: If there’s one thing Maddie is going to do, it’s take on a passion project. This tradition started in 2020, and it consists of Maddie polling DJs and other WKNC staff of their favorite releases from that year. Then, she writes a blog and compiles a playlist. I often frequent that playlist to discover new music. I highly recommend checking both the blog and the playlist out.

“Why Independent Radio Matters” by toad maiden: Working at a radio station, you’re constantly surrounded by an amazing community of listeners and peers who love radio and understand its importance. toad maiden breaks down some of the many reasons why indie radio is so important and delves into some of its history.

“‘Work It’ Lives Rent Free in My Head” by Delusional Melodrama: Delusional Melodrama is always making topics I don’t necessarily have a big interest in be super interesting. This blog is just one of many where he shares all of the fascinating and niche information he has on a topic. Like, did you know “Work It” by Missy Elliot samples “Heart of Glass” by Blondie?

“North Carolina Museums and the Songs They’d Be” by dj mozzie: dj mozzie loves to incorporate her personal interests in the blog, and she loves museums. This blog is a fun thought experiment and also a great reminder to support our local museums when possible. 

“Hopscotch Music Festival 2021 Series: Bag Tour” by Silya Bennai: Silya absolutely killed it with the Hopscotch Music Festival content and this blog was my favorite of her Hopscotch series. Silya is a concise and honest writer, and I always look forward to her playlists as well.

“Zoom Rave 101” by Emma Sutich: The featured photo and first sentence alone are reason enough to check this one out. Emma explains her experience at a Zoom rave and how it compares to a normal, in-person rave. 

I had such a hard time narrowing this list down but I hope this gave you a good look into some blogs you could read if you’re interested in doing so.

Happy reading,


Blog Miscellaneous

The Music of “Ted Lasso”

At the beginning of 2022, I opened my iPhone to be treated with a surprise: 3 free months of Apple TV+. While that came as a welcome surprise, I didn’t really know what was good on the platform, with the only name I had heard of being “Ted Lasso.” I gave it a shot and was rewarded with a uniquely charming, funny, and engaging show that also had, and this is relevant for WKNC blog readers, a killer soundtrack.

Pop culture references are the language the show is built on, and there are often mentions of artists by the characters such as Elton John and Robbie Williams. It’s definitely populist, often using tracks that it expects the audience to be familiar with. A moment where lifelong fans of soccer team Richmond AFC finally getting to stand on the field has Queen’s “We Are The Champions” playing triumphantly over it, while the titular character enters England to “God Save The Queen” by Sex Pistols. It’s clearly a very expensive show and casually flexing songs from that caliber of artist adds to the production value. 

And in my opinion at least it does it well; when a lot of shows use really obvious musical cues it feels like a symptom of poor writing and a cheap emotional play, but “Ted Lasso” strikes this interesting balance where it uses familiar songs as a way to bring everyone to the party in a way. It’s like how when you’re at a club, super popular songs you would never admit to listening to on your own time become danceable bangers just because you’ve heard them before. There’s a particular episode where “Never Gonna Give You Up” is used as a plot point, and how a connection to that song helps a character overcome grief, taking what is a very played out song by this point and adding emotional resonance to it.

One other way I thought songs were used in an obvious but creative way is through very on the nose lyrical choices. The line “strangers to friends, friends into lovers” is sung over a quasi-montage of two characters going through that exact arc, while Gilbert O’Sullivan’s “Alone Again (Naturally)” plays over, naturally, a character being alone again. This is a technique that always results in cringe, and yet although it’s maybe one of the weaker elements of the show, it genuinely works with “Ted Lasso” in a way I rarely see. Maybe it’s because those songs are often slow and subtle so it’s not very in your face, but I think it’s more of a tonal phenomenon: the show is wholesome in a way where obvious gestures add to the appeal. That’s why I wanted to talk about it today, it’s a wholly unique experience even at the sonic level and I’m really glad it’s been seeing the awards success and viewership that it has been getting. Season 3 is set to start filming soon and it’s probably my most anticipated show right now. And of course I can’t wait to hear it as well, with inspired song choices and musical motifs being such a cornerstone of the experience.



“Crying in H Mart” by Michelle Zauner (of Japanese Breakfast): Book Review

For a while I had seen both the band Japanese Breakfast and the book “Crying in H Mart” float around in the different spheres of the internet I occupy. One day, a couple months ago, I finally had the realization that Michelle Zauner of Japanese Breakfast was the same Michelle Zauner who authored “Crying in H Mart.” Who would have thought? After hearing the umpteenth glowing review of this memoir, I finally decided to read it.

“Crying in H Mart” is a story of grief, specifically revolving around the passing of her mother and how her mother’s life and death is the throughline in her journey on this earth. Zauner is particularly skilled at putting the reader in her shoes, giving you every detail down to the food she ate and what she was wearing. Food is the hallmark of Zauner’s relationship to her mother, because of the connection it gives her to her Korean heritage. Zauner communicates the permanence of loss, never searching for the silver linings but rather describing the concrete ways that grief sticks with you.

The book, published in 2021, originally began as an article Zauner wrote for the New Yorker in 2018, which now serves as the first chapter of the memoir. The article/chapter ends with the following disclosure: “Within the past five years, I lost both my aunt and mother to cancer. So, when I go to H Mart, I’m not just on the hunt for cuttlefish and three bunches of scallions for a buck; I’m searching for their memory. I’m collecting the evidence that the Korean half of my identity didn’t die when they did.” The remainder of the book explores the memories she is on a hunt for.

Michelle Zauner is a spectacular and versatile writer. It shouldn’t have been surprising to see that an excellent songwriter was also an excellent storyteller in other mediums, but for some reason it caught me off guard. She is the narrator of the audiobook (which is how I elected to read this book), and she makes every word feel important.

“Crying in H Mart” is deeply personal to Zauner, but also deeply telling of the human experience. Kristen Martin, in her review of the book published on NPR, sums it up perfectly when she says: “What Crying in H Mart reveals, though, is that in losing her mother and cooking to bring her back to life, Zauner became herself.”


The Beauty of “I Don’t Wanna Be Funny Anymore” by Lucy Dacus

I’ll admit, I have yet to do a deep dive into Lucy Dacus’ entire discography. Despite this, I have listened to a good bit of her and “I Don’t Wanna Be Funny Anymore” is my favorite of hers. It’s core theme comes across in the title, the desperate wish to be anything other than the “funny friend.” 

The lyrics describe a feeling I’ve felt many times, as I’m sure many have: the feeling of being on the sidelines and wanting to be valued outside of being the butt of the joke. In the lyrics, Dacus considers all of the ways she can escape this role, asking if she can be “the cute one,” a member of a band, a gossip, the smart one and many other roles. The song caps off with the lyric “That funny girl doesn’t wanna smile for a while.”

This track is the first track and first single on Dacus’ debut album “No Burden.” In 2015, she told Fader in an interview that whilst constructing this song she was considering: “how stressful it is to be pegged as a certain type of person and feel the need to always live up to that identity people assign to you, especially if you’re the ‘funny one.’” This taps into something I’ve felt often, a feeling of being socially trapped into one role. 

Dacus has poignant lyrics in other songs about not being valued in the way she deserves. In “Brando,” the ninth track on her 2021 album “Home Video,” she laments: “You called me cerebral / I didn’t know what you meant / But now I do, would it have killed you / To call me pretty instead?” It’s heartbreaking to be undervalued.

However, “I Don’t Wanna Be Funny Anymore” is my favorite example of this from Dacus. It taps into a very real feeling in a simple way, and I love that in a song.

Here’s to freeing yourself of situations that don’t value you,



The Issue with Spotify Wrapped

I like Spotify Wrapped. I have enjoyed the fun graphics and data breakdown since its inception and sharing it, along with seeing everyone else’s on social media, is a fun way to cap off the year. 

However, knowing your data is being collected and is going to be packaged up into a graphic you’re going to want to share can skew your listening habits. At least it does for me.

The same goes for other streaming data-collectors like There have been times I have gone out of my way to not listen to something or stream it on a different platform so that it wouldn’t count as a scrobble. If you’re not insecure about any of the music you listen to, this may be a non-issue for you, but I know that I, and many others, are insecure about listening to certain artists, bands or genres.

These fun ways to track your data and find out interesting facts about the music you listen to (like, for instance, last year one of my top genres was Weirdcore), should be lighthearted and fun. But, with the increasing pressure to share your Spotify Wrapped or follow your friends on, the music we listen to has become a performance for others.

Obviously, the competitiveness of music-listening has been around for ages, and didn’t begin with these stream-collecting platforms: but it has increased my personal awareness that every part of myself, even the music I listen to, can be curated as a performance for others rather than for my own personal enjoyment.

In 2022, here’s to listening to what we want, when we want, even if it involves Glee Cast being in your top five artists. 

Listen to the music that fuels your fire,


Blog Miscellaneous

2022 Predictions: Music Edition

I am not necessarily qualified to give music predictions, but as a WKNC employee, I can pretend that I am. Therefore, listed below are my top music predictions heading into the rest of 2022. 

I predict that…

  • Rap/Hip-Hop songs will play a bigger role in general music charts.
  • A$AP Rocky and Rihanna will put out a single together.
  • Electronic music will begin its take over of traditionally indie local DIY scenes.
  • Grunge music will make an even bigger return.
  • Paris Texas will blow up.
  • Tik-Tok will continue to dictate music trends.
  • Ski Mask the Slump God will put out an incredibly divisive mix. 
  • We will see the rise of more female rappers. 
  • Boy Harsher will continue to move back their tour dates until the eventually cancel them all.*

*This one is not really a prediction but perhaps a personal expression of sadness.

I look forward to seeing how accurate (or inaccurate) this list may become in 2022.

Here’s to making semi-educated guesses,

Silya Bennai

Blog Miscellaneous Playlists

Spotify Wrapped 2021 Reflection

I understand that some people only cared about Spotify Wrapped 2021 the day (and maybe day after) it dropped. That being said, I still care. Elliott Smith was my top artist but sixty-four of my Top 100 Songs on Spotify were rap. As the Assistant Underground Music Director, this makes sense. Which rap songs you may ask? I’m not going to list all of them, but here are some favorites:

  1. “Baby I’m Bleeding” by JPEGMAFIA
  2. “New Slaves” by Kanye West
  3. “Just How It Is”  by Young Thug
  4. “girls like drugs” by Paris Texas
  5. “EAST” by Earl Sweatshirt
  6. “Ghost (In the Shell)” by MAVI
  7. “Throw Dem Gunz” by Lil Ugly Mane
  8. “Campbell” by redveil
  9. “Primma Donna” by Vince Staples (feat. A$AP Rocky)
  10. “Please Forgive” by Powers Pleasant (feat. Denzel Curry, IDK, Zombie Juice & Zillakami)
  11. “Jailbreak the Tesla” Injury Reserve (feat. Aminé)

Here’s to rap music being the most transformative and flexible genre,

Silya Bennai


Finals Season Solidarity

It’s finals season, and I just wanted to offer some solidarity in this wild portion of the semester. No study playlist, no tips, just solidarity.

I’m also a student and it’s a very grueling thing to be: a lot is expected of us all at once. It is extremely difficult to work, do school, extra-curricular activities and have friends. People will hear this statement and brush it off by saying “such is life.” Yes, but that doesn’t make this time any less difficult.

I sincerely hope that everyone’s finals are going well thus far and that everything works out the way you need it to. I hope that professor is lenient with their grades, you get a curve on your toughest exam and that your hard work pays off. More than that, I hope you’re taking care of yourself to the best of your ability (you need sleep)! 

I am not even supposed to use exclamation marks in these posts, and I should be using them sparingly but ideally not at all… that’s how much I want you all to be getting sleep during finals.

Encouraging tidbits can seem shallow and empty, but just know this is all very sincere from me.

I have three projects and two tests this finals period, all due within a 72 hour period. Needless to say, I’m also a bit stressed. But, it’ll all get done. It always does.

Best of luck,