Your roundup of tech, culture, and nostalgia for

October 24, 2023 // Web version //

TimeMachiner. Tech, culture, nostalgia. By Aaron Crocco
Inside Today's Issue:
The Inescapable TayTay

Read to the end for a post about Botany Horror.

I don't know why, but I feel the need to preface this post with this fact: I am by no means a "Swiftie" but I am someone who listens to almost every genre of music. I appreciate the art and can acknowledge talent even if it's in songs or areas that I don't listen to too often.

Taylor Swift has dominated 2023. I want to say that's overstating things or a generalization but her music is everywhere. Every. Freaking. Where. Her Eras tour, as expected, is a massive event and for her fans it must be an experience getting to see her live. The tour is a jaw-dropping 44 song set spanning three hours. I have been to dozens of concerts in my life and only one was even close to that level of depth.

Her tour has been filmed and it's playing in theaters right now. This live performance grossed $73 million its opening weekend. Because that's Swift's power. She's on TV. She's on streaming. She's on the big screen. You cannot escape her.

This past week I saw a featured new release on Apple Music called "Cruelest Summer". This was a 3-song EP by Swift but really just two remixed tracks accompanied by the studio version of Cruel Summer off her Lover album. Now, I'll say that Lover is a good album. I like it. I even own a copy on vinyl. The production is solid (Jack Antonoff was a major contributer too) and the songs are catchy. Cruel Summer is interesting in that the song's bridge has a catchy cadence but also repeats a second time. I'm a sucker for lyrics that continue for 2-3 words into the next verse. Pair that with "Summer's" melody and you've got a winner.

I listened to the two remixes and thought they were good. Then I moved on with my day. A few hours later, the studio version came on. Then in the afternoon in my car it came on both FM and XM stations I'd been flipping through. That's a LOT of a single song in a single day.

When I took a weekend getaway a couple weekends ago, my fiance and I noticed that every shop we stopped in had a Swift song playing. It wasn't even subtle. Browse in a small store and one track was audible. Minutes later in a different shop a different song was on. It was constant. And this wasn't the radio either. This was likely streaming music because no DJ voices were heard.

I guess this is a huge nod to Swift's work ethic. Who in their right mind decides to rerecord all their past work because of a business dispute? Who could even fathom performing 44 songs for multiple hours on a tour that will last over a year? Who has made Travis Kelce a household name by simply being at a football game?

You don't have to like her music. You don't have to care about her social life, tour, gossip, or anything else. But when it comes to dominating mindshare, nobody currently beats Taylor Swift.

I hope you have a great week.

-Aaron

PS: If you're enjoying my work here on TimeMachiner, please forward this email to a friend who'd like it too. It helps me grow. Thank you. 😊



Apple’s Problem With Jon Stewart
It’s no secret I’m an Apple fan and generally support what the company does. Today is certainly not that day. Buried in the plethora of Apple TV+ content is the fantastic show The Problem With Jon Stewart. It’s a topical half-hour show that’s a cross between the Daily Show and Last Week Tonight. Stewart doesn’t pull any punches, as is his personality. But it seems there’s a line that was crossed... by Apple. Charles Pulliam-Moore at The Verge has more. Along with concerns about some of the guests booked to be on The Problem With Jon Stewart, Stewart’s intended discussions of artificial intelligence and China were a major concern for Apple. Though new episodes of the show were scheduled to begin shooting in just a few weeks, staffers learned today that production had been halted. According to The Hollywood Reporter, ahead of its decision to end The Problem, Apple approached…
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The NACS Have It
More dominoes have fallen in the auto industry's switch to NACS, the Tesla plug for EVs. Toyota, who has basically zero EVs, has joined the club in adopting the North American Charging Standard in 2025. Of course this means future Toyota cars will also get access to the supercharger network too. Umar Shakir at The Verge has more. One of Toyota’s first vehicles to include a NACS connector is a future three-row SUV it is planning for 2025, which will be assembled at the automaker’s plant in Kentucky. Toyota is currently light on EV options compared to most other automakers and has only released the mediocre bZ4X and the Lexus RZ 450e. The Verge You have to hand it to Tesla. It played the long game to heavily invest in building a reliable charging network and when the time was right, opened it up for any companies wanting to come aboard. Combine that…
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