This is just McKenna and his acoustic guitar. The melody is great and his guitar playing is good too. His singing voice reminds me a lot of the guy from the Arctic Monkeys. Although there’s moments in this version where he really seems to be straining/affecting his voice, which would probably work in a rocking song but which sound kind of rough in this little lullaby version—especially since his normal singing voice is really nice.
I was really surprised when the song switched to the third part (the Brazil part). It switches the tone of the song quite a bit and he does some nice falsettos too. “Playing the beautiful game in Brazil” is quite different from “The guy who lives down the river with six cars and a grizzly bear.”
Okay I just listened to the proper song–it’s much poppier with all kinds of harmonies. The song is much hookier this way. His vocals work better, although I’m not sure I’m sold on them entirely. In fact, when I was watching the video of the song, one of the comments (NEVER READ THE COMMENTS!) says, “Settle down McLovin” and, yes, that’s it, he sounds like Christopher Mintz-Plasse straining, and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to unthink that. And now, neither will you.
[READ: February 10, 2016] “On Being a Stepparent”
The August 2015 Harper’s had a “forum” called How to Be a Parent. Sometimes these forums are dialogues between unlikely participants and sometimes, like in this case, each author contributes an essay on the topic. There are ten contributors to this Forum: A. Balkan, Emma Donoghue, Pamela Druckerman, Rivka Galchen, Karl Taro Greenfeld, Ben Lerner, Sarah Manguso, Claire Messud, Ellen Rosenbush and Michelle Tea. Since I have read pieces from most of these authors I’ll write about each person’s contribution.
I don’t know Ellen Rosenbush’s work (she is an editor of Harper’s so I don’t know how much else she has “written.” Rosenbush talks about the pros and cons of being a stepparent.
She married her husband when his children were older (nineteen and fifteen). When one asked if they had to call her “mother” she said “No, Mommy Dearest.”
She says that although she expected the boys to compare her to their mother and find her lacking, she was able to win them over.
But she says the biggest advantage to being a stepparent is that you can take your children as they are–there is no baggage (good or bad) to attach to them. Of course this is also a bad thing, but in terms of big decisions, it helps to have a clean slate. She felt like a friend and confidante. And now that they are older with families of their own, she hopes she helped them along.