The Berkeley Beacon

Mary Kate McGrath

Beacon Correspondent

McGrath can be reached at


Finding power in the limitless playlist

I hope in the face of new challenges, whether it’s years of political and societal uncertainty or industry-changing technology, music will still be a predecessor to progress. This stays true as long as music is kept a living, breathing force, even in the digital corners of the internet in playlists shared between friends.

“This world is bullshit”; finding inspiration in Fiona Apple’s fearless attitude

It is in emotion that Fiona Apple finds strength.

Forever Young: Pop music’s fascination with time

The desire to live forever is a pervasive concept with contemporary artists, and it’s ironic how the singers and groups destined to be one-hit wonders embrace it.

Fighting festival fatigue

Corporations treat music, and the festival built around them, like a commodity, and smaller record labels are trying to reclaim them for something more genuine.

Scene sounds and enviornmental folk music

The natural world has long been the inspiration of American folk music, which originated in the most rural corners of the country. Now, with modern recording, it’s become easy to physically incorporate nature into their work, rendering it in a way that’s tangible.

Ripped to shreds: the rise of horror rock

A simple cure for heartbreak is to cut open your chest, reach your hand in, and pull your heart out. If seeing someone is too hard, consider going blind. When you don’t want to have a run-in, maybe chop your feet off. When your body begins to fail, tear it into tiny pieces, and sew it back together again, stronger than ever. Suggestions like these are offered in some of my favorite albums of the last two years, which are simultaneously terrific and terrifying.

Pop punk's problem: gender inequality

If pop punk is going to stay relevant, it needs to address the real issues of exclusion that are driving its downfall.

The house that Bowie built

David Bowie thrust LBGTQ themes into the media, demanding more mainstream acceptance for work outside of the binary.

The deliberate nostalgia of DIY

Long obsolete formats like vinyl and cassettes live on in the world of DIY music.

Music criticism and the report card conundrum

When it comes at the cost of more in-depth reviewing, it is hard to not view grading systems as a symptom of the Internet's shorter attention span.

The horror: fearless composers take on scary movies

The scores of scary movies, perhaps more than in any other genre, are all reminders of how crucial the relationship between imagery and music is. These compositions are eclectic, intricate, and intense; without them the terrors on screen would fall flat.

When bands break up and break your heart

Favorite groups seep into all kinds of corners of life and are integrated into your identity. When they split up, it can be just as difficult for you to say goodbye.

Opening acts: the real cost of paying to play

When Andrew W.K. comes to town, he always brings the party. The performer’s stop in Boston last month was supposed to be a night of his punk party anthems and signature floppy-haired head banging.

Guilt-free pleasures: making peace with pop music

Try not to overthink your playlist—just follow your musical instincts.

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Noteworthy hits the high notes

A capella group Noteworthy gave their first performance of the school year this past Saturday night in the Cabaret.

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Holland Farkas: professional fangirl

Holland Farkas, an Emerson junior, takes the internet by storm with her geeky blog.