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A 'Sandstorm' epilogue and some 2008 bangers
Some details from the chronology of Sandstorm that didn't fit into the Ole Miss de-bunking and a brief meditation on the supremely weird year in music that was 2008.
Sometimes I derive profound enjoyment from watching, reading, or listening to things completely unrelated to South Carolina athletics. When that happens, I share them here — in The Friday Mix. (And sometimes The Friday Mix comes out on Saturday because we’ve decided to make childcare unaffordable in this country.)
I’ll close out today’s newsletter with a playlist that I put together to get me in the headspace for writing about the year 2008, the setting of a story I published on Wednesday.
In case you missed it:
But first, I wanted to highlight a few notes from the Sandstorm timeline that didn’t quite make their way into the story.
Feb. 2, 2010: Lattimore signs with USC
Marcus Lattimore attended the 2009 Ole Miss game with fellow Byrnes High School star and future Gamecock Nick Jones. Sandstorm made such an impression on Lattimore that he incorporated it into his Signing Day announcement ceremony, blasting it through the sound system at Silver Hill Memorial United Methodist Church as 300 congregants went wild.
Marcus Lattimore signing with USC was, for the future of the football program, a bigger moment than beating an overhyped Ole Miss. This was true both in terms of what it meant for Lattimore’s future contributions to the team and in terms of what it meant that the Palmetto State’s best were bucking a decades-long trend of fleeing to states Peach and Sunshine.
As far as Sandstorm was concerned, Lattimore incorporating the song into his ceremony ensured that every newspaper covering the event featured the word “Sandstorm” in their story, further cementing the song’s growing cultural cachet.
Summer 2010: the baseball team’s run in Omaha
Ray Tanner’s first College World Series title run meant we got Sandstorm at baseball games, including the 2010 regional at Carolina Stadium (as it was then called). When the team arrived at their hotel in Omaha, the staff was decked out in USC gear and blasting Sandstorm.
Travis Haney’s sandstorm count
For those of us unable to attend games during this time, our experience of Sandstorm was heavily mediated by television and Twitter. I can still recall the first time I was prompted to ask myself, “Wait what is this Sandstorm thing?”
I was at a Halloween party in 2009 (wearing a white tank top splattered in red ink — guess who I was) when I looked at my phone and saw a confusing Travis Haney tweet.
Soon after, it became commonplace for Haney to keep track of the number of times Sandstorm had been played.
Maybe these updates seem trivial — but I’d argue it gave those of us experiencing games over TV or streaming (or still in those days there was the occasional game not televised at all) a sense of the scale of Sandstorm’s influence we wouldn’t have otherwise had.
Todd Gurley never wants to hear Sandstorm again
By 2014, Sandstorm had already long been a fixture at Williams-Brice. Still, nothing secures a song’s legacy like opposing players complaining about it. After Georgia’s bizarre, rain-delayed loss to South Carolina in 2014, Todd Gurley said:
This place is unbelievable. This place has one of the most crazy environments I’ve ever been in. Once you give the fans something to get excited about, it’s hard to shut them up. I hope I never hear that song (Sandstorm) again.
Now, if you’ll allow me a single paragraph to indulge in some navel-gazing. I am absolutely thrilled with how Wednesday’s Sandstorm story turned out. From the fact that the idea for the story came from a reader question, to interviewing fans and USC employees about their experiences, to reading your reactions to the piece — it had so many elements that made it completely unlike a story you would see anywhere else.
To that end, TTFA exists because of the support of readers like you. Without your support, people might still think Ole Miss ‘09 was the first Sandstorm game. So if you’re able, please consider becoming a paid subscriber.
Often, much of the reason I am going to a restaurant in the first place is a desire to disconnect from the routines and devices that set the structure of my daily grind. It’s the rare opportunity for my wife and I to have a conversation uninterrupted by non-sequiturs from our five-year-old (“hey dad, did you know that my knee is made out of bones?”). The absolute last thing I want is to be pressured by QR-code menus into carrying into the restaurant a device that interrupts me even more often than Hugo does (“hey dad, did you know that 5 people viewed your LinkedIn profile this week?).
A new-ish album from Feist: Multitudes
One of my favorite things about on-campus living in the mid-aughts was having access to MTVU. That’s where I first saw the video for a song called “One Evening” by a then-obscure Canadian artist called Feist. Before long, I was a big-time Feist-head, downloading unreleased tracks from her MySpace page and getting my copy of her debut album signed at Lollapalooza in 2006.
Then “1234” and the iPhone commercial happened and suddenly she was kind of a star. But in true Canadian fashion, Feist used her fame not to create more Apple-wave but to make increasingly spare and weird songs about birds and being sad. So anyway, she released some more of those in April on an album called Multitudes, and it’s good.
A good post about how surprisingly difficult it is to pack a pre-schooler’s lunch and the weird sadness you feel when your child stops needing you to perform certain tedious, repetitive chores
Artifact keeps adding good features
I have written previously about my enjoyment of the social news app Artifact, and in the past month they’ve just kept adding new features that have made the product even better. First, they added the ability to follow specific writers. Then, they added the ability to mark certain articles as clickbait and to reduce the amount of stories you see from a particular outlet or about a particular topic.
I’ve found that as my time spent using Artifact goes up, my use of Substack’s app goes down. Part of the story here is, I think, that Substack has not continued to ship meaningful improvements to its Notes feature — at least not nearly at the same speed that Artifact is moving. Bad news for me, as a Substack author, but good news for me as a news consumer.
In a gaze following paradigm, we showed that palaeognaths engage in visual perspective taking and grasp the referentiality of gazes, while crocodylians do not. This suggests that visual perspective taking originated in early birds or nonavian dinosaurs—likely earlier than in mammals.
Now, for those 2008 bangers
I make a lot of best-of-year music playlists, an interestis at least partially responsible for cultivating. I was surprised to see that I didn’t yet have anything set up in Spotify for 2008, so when I started putting my 2008 playlist together (within a few hours it went from zero to 175 songs or 11 hours long), I noticed something: 2008 was a very weird year in music.
The album was still holding on as the base unit of music, but it was — thanks to iTunes and, later, Spotify — well on its way out. Top 40 artists were still programming content for the radio and the dance club, but “viral songs” were starting to become a thing (in May, Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em released the final single from his debut album, which was simply titled souljaboytellem.com) and people were really into mash-up artists, as evidenced by the popularity of and critical acclaim afforded to Girl Talk. (Remember Girl Talk?)
Kanye West released the AutoTune-inflected 808s & Heartbreaks, an abrupt left-tun for West (previewing, perhaps, his abrupt right-turn) and, at the time, his most divisive album to date (how quaint!). In hindsight, it feels most like an album bridging two eras of West’s career — a logical stepping stone between his early-career backpack rap and the genius of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.
In this way, 808s feels like a microcosm of the slightly awkward — but nevertheless enjoyable — transition happening throughout the industry. And so the music of 2008 feels of its time in a way I haven’t often seen in other best-of-year playlists.
(I haven’t yet had time to properly sequence this playlist, so for now it’s best enjoyed on Shuffle.)
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