writing that'll make you feel smart, make you feel human, and make you boogie.
The track-by-track analysis that started it all.
I wrote this analysis as Senior Culture Editor of Affinity Magazine.
It did so well, reaching over 60k views and praise from the artist herself, I directed my team on launching Affinity's new campaign, becoming the place for incredible album breakdowns.
Affinity is now featured multiple times in the top Google results for "track-by-track analysis".
That SEO makes me boogie.
A bona fide synth-pop hit, “Eyes Closed” deserves its spot as a single. Mainstream pop is often criticized for lacking emotional depth and overusing superficial lyrics.
Halsey flips that idea on its head.
At first, “Eyes Closed” feels like another catchy pop song. But the single's lack of unique emotional connection mimics the lack of unique emotional connection Halsey had in these copycat rebounds.
In the blink of an eye, Halsey is “face to face with someone new.” And with closed eyes, each one is indistinguishable; they all feel “the same,” they are “nothing new.” She begs for an answer on “how to move on.” And decides she is willing to “trade” all of these insignificant, superficial lookalikes for her true ex-lover.
“Eyes Closed” may seem vain on the surface. But the more we listen, the more we hear true heartbreak and loss.
Does grilled cheese make us human?
This is a short reflection I wrote as part of my college application.
It is the one of the 2! essays I wrote that feature my undying love for grilled cheese.
I programmed a hologram. And yes, coding one red ball onto an augmented reality headset will make you question our entire metaphysics. In our digital world, what makes us human? What really makes me different than that ball? (Obviously, other than my affinity for grilled cheese.)
Well, I pondered, we think and communicate. But so does technology. If I code it to roll, that ball will find the quickest way to a point and share its data. Okay, so free will then? Robots actually have that: Two Facebook bots independently developed a secret language (which is so totally awesome and numbingly concerning). It has to be our flesh. Really? The fabric of humanity is defined by our cell makeup?
Come on, I know we’re more than that.
Our ability to reason about the unprecedented, my brain zealously answered. Which is logical, except there’s an entire field devoted to that: Through deep learning, artificial intelligence grows a neural network to solve unencountered situations.
I exhausted a grand slew of answers: love, emotions, morality. But I wasn’t satisfied: Computers can feign all those and if the difference is negligible, does a difference really exist? Artificial intelligence can mimic my infatuation for grilled cheese so well I’d never even know it wasn’t legitimate.
What makes us distinct is so elusive sometimes it feels maybe we aren’t. But I do believe one thing is innately human about us: our curiosity.
Computers aren’t currently philosophizing about what makes them computers... unless maybe they are.