All My Stars (39)

By: Joanne McNeil
September 29, 2016


One in a weekly series in which Joanne McNeil recommends books, films, exhibitions, and more. You can also subscribe to the All My Stars newsletter here.


I’ve been thinking about campaign songs and what they reveal about a candidate. Like that awful “Fight Song” — that if it wasn’t part the HRC campaign trail soundtrack, sounds like it would play when the credits roll in a Jenner sister remake of Thelma and Louise. Or the several dad jamz on Obama’s iPod in 2008 like “City of Blinding Light.” I’ll never run for office, but the song that is basically my Peter and the Wolf theme is “Love and Anger” by Kate Bush. I can’t even count how many times I’ve played it because it’s sometimes a dozen times in a single day and that’s over the past several years.


If I’m frustrated because there’s too much traffic on the highway, I play it. If I’m excited about an upcoming vacation, I play it. Getting ready for an evening out. Nervous about public speaking. Stuck in my writing. Taking a break to look out the window. The power of this song is that it amplifies my feelings back or soothes. If I’m happy, sad, in or out of love, whatever.

Part of it is how catchy the song is, but another part is the song lyrics contain the oldest life lesson in the book: a celebration of being present in the moment.





Ten years ago, “The Morning Fog” served the same purpose. I used to listen to it every day on my commute from Lakeview down the Magnificent Mile to my office. I couldn’t imagine loving a song more than that one or a life other than what I had. I thought I’d live in Chicago forever, 35, 45, 55, 65 years old still taking the same crowded bus down Michigan Ave. Still listening to “The Morning Fog” and nothing would change. The song is about surviving a near-death experience and finding renewed appreciation of life. Listening to it now makes me think how far I’ve come from that feeling of stuckness.

I hope it continues where I feel the deepest affinity for Kate Bush songs when my age most closely corresponds with hers at the time of writing it. And look forward to jamming out to “King of the Mountain” and “Wild Man” in my 40s and 50s.



CURATED SERIES at HILOBROW: UNBORED CANON by Josh Glenn | CARPE PHALLUM by Patrick Cates | MS. K by Heather Kasunick | HERE BE MONSTERS by Mister Reusch | DOWNTOWNE by Bradley Peterson | #FX by Michael Lewy | PINNED PANELS by Zack Smith | TANK UP by Tony Leone | OUTBOUND TO MONTEVIDEO by Mimi Lipson | TAKING LIBERTIES by Douglas Wolk | STERANKOISMS by Douglas Wolk | MARVEL vs. MUSEUM by Douglas Wolk | NEVER BEGIN TO SING by Damon Krukowski | WTC WTF by Douglas Wolk | COOLING OFF THE COMMOTION by Chenjerai Kumanyika | THAT’S GREAT MARVEL by Douglas Wolk | LAWS OF THE UNIVERSE by Chris Spurgeon | IMAGINARY FRIENDS by Alexandra Molotkow | UNFLOWN by Jacob Covey | ADEQUATED by Franklin Bruno | QUALITY JOE by Joe Alterio | CHICKEN LIT by Lisa Jane Persky | PINAKOTHEK by Luc Sante | ALL MY STARS by Joanne McNeil | BIGFOOT ISLAND by Michael Lewy | NOT OF THIS EARTH by Michael Lewy | ANIMAL MAGNETISM by Colin Dickey | KEEPERS by Steph Burt | AMERICA OBSCURA by Andrew Hultkrans | HEATHCLIFF, FOR WHY? by Brandi Brown | DAILY DRUMPF by Rick Pinchera | BEDROOM AIRPORT by “Parson Edwards” | INTO THE VOID by Charlie Jane Anders | WE REABSORB & ENLIVEN by Matthew Battles | BRAINIAC by Joshua Glenn | COMICALLY VINTAGE by Comically Vintage | BLDGBLOG by Geoff Manaugh | WINDS OF MAGIC by James Parker | MUSEUM OF FEMORIBILIA by Lynn Peril | ROBOTS + MONSTERS by Joe Alterio | MONSTOBER by Rick Pinchera | POP WITH A SHOTGUN by Devin McKinney | FEEDBACK by Joshua Glenn | 4CP FTW by John Hilgart | ANNOTATED GIF by Kerry Callen | FANCHILD by Adam McGovern | BOOKFUTURISM by James Bridle | NOMADBROW by Erik Davis | SCREEN TIME by Jacob Mikanowski | FALSE MACHINE by Patrick Stuart | 12 DAYS OF SIGNIFICANCE | 12 MORE DAYS OF SIGNIFICANCE | 12 DAYS OF SIGNIFICANCE (AGAIN) | ANOTHER 12 DAYS OF SIGNIFICANCE | UNBORED MANIFESTO by Joshua Glenn and Elizabeth Foy Larsen | H IS FOR HOBO by Joshua Glenn | 4CP FRIDAY by guest curators