The First Concept Album — In the Wee Small Hours

Frank Sinatra is often recognized as one of the most notable singers of the 20th century. Selling over 150 million records, he stands amongst the best selling artists in music history. His popularity and fame, however, weren’t always so secure. Decreasing popularity, an unstable marriage, and a battle with depression would lead Sinatra to nearly end his entire career (and some say his life) before it ever took off. These dark times would be used as fuel for Sinatra to create what is now widely considered as the first concept album ever made: In the Wee Small Hours.


“Time is all you have and you may find one day that you have less than you think.”

Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

For the majority of my life, death had always seemed like some abstract concept as opposed to a realistic inevitability. All I had ever known was living and being. This notion that one day the living will cease and I will no longer be was just too foreign of an idea to ponder. And even if I did stop to ponder it from time to time, the whole thing seemed rather dark and not worth giving…


Has the human condition ever truly changed?

As technology advances and our species progresses, it becomes easier and easier to distance ourselves from our ancient ancestors. After all, we are now capable of communicating instantly from across the world, leveling cities in an instant, and even venturing into space. It makes it seem as if the hunter gatherers of the past are a different species altogether. But despite how vastly different the landscape around the modern man is, have humans actually changed over the years?

We often see ourselves as more informed, intelligent, and enlightened compared to our ancestors. This notion is only perpetuated when we begin…


Amidst the political climate of today, many might reminisce of past movements and those who led the charge. The names of leaders such as Douglass, King, Tubman, and Malcom will continue to ring out throughout history whenever civil unrest and oppression emerge in society. Among these leaders is another who rarely garners consideration when discussing such influential activists, but has justified his presence alongside them all the same: Bob Dylan.

Dylan has become widely recognized as one of the greatest lyricists to ever live. His music revolutionized not only the folk scene of the 1960s, but the entire industry itself…


There are times in all of our lives where, despite our true desires, we bend ourselves to the will of society and its expectations. Whether it’s being persuaded out of a dream that seems ridiculous to others or withholding your true opinion in fear of mockery, we all experience these boundaries instilled upon us by the people around us. At a certain point though, we must be careful not to completely give up on who we truly are, or want to be, in order to fit the mold society has shaped for us.

There is one character from literature who…


When Benjamin Franklin told of the only certainties in life, he failed to mention what is arguably the most important: suffering. It does not matter your background, upbringing, or circumstances in life, suffering will surround you in one form or another.

Whether you experience it through the loss of someone you love, a sense of helplessness, or even the infliction of physical pain, everyone must face the hardships of life and the tumultuous burdens put on them. But despite what most people strive to do, this suffering is not something we should avoid and diminish. …


In all of my reading, dystopian novels have become a favorite of mine. To see the prescient views of geniuses from the past can be both impressive and frightening: Orwell’s depiction in 1984 of a government that eliminates privacy and keeps constant surveillance on all of its citizens; Fahrenheit 451 envisioning a world where literature is replaced by television shows revolving around nothing of meaning long before the days of reality TV. The list goes on, but none have had as lasting of an effect on me as Aldous Huxely’s Brave New World.


We are all held accountable for the actions we take and the beliefs we hold, but how much of this is actually the result of our own doing? The existence of free will has been questioned since ancient Greece, but it was brought largely to the forefront with the rise of rationalism, materialism, and atheism during the 18th century. Since then, it has often been argued amongst theists, philosophers, and scientists. In this article, I will expound upon each side of the debate. I then propose a way to use this idea of free will to help us all be…


The deepest questions surrounding our morality and meaning are often the ones that trouble us most throughout life. When philosophies and ideas like rationalism and atheism become widespread, they tend to bring about beliefs of nihilism or materialism. Suddenly, people start to ponder questions such as: Without eternal damnation and divine consequences, will all righteous men disappear? Are the Napoleons of the world justified in standing atop the skeletons of their adversaries in order to accomplish great feats? With pure reason being the only way of looking at life, what is to stop someone from seeing the world in a…


Few things can change the mood of a family dinner or first date quicker than a disagreement on politics or religion. In such areas where we feel so strongly, it can be difficult to be understanding of opposing views. When we have debates on such topics, many will begin to argue based more on emotion than reason. The people who strongly disagree might even see the other side as irrational and immoral. Is the world really so black and white to the point that one side is right and the other wrong?

In this article, I will attempt to answer…

David Thurman

I write about philosophy and how we can use it to better our lives. Email me at: dthurmanwriting@gmail.com

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