Utah scones, Utah Valley

<< back to foods in Utah Valley

A classic Utah scone, deep-fried dough dusted in sugar, with a side of honey butter.

Scones in Utah are not like scones anywhere else, so erase that image of the dainty British baked good typically spread with jam for afternoon tea. Utah scones are a deep-fried, puffy bread, eaten with powdered sugar and honey and butter, usually, more akin to a Native American fry bread than anything else. (To this former Jersey girl, they also seem related to the fried-and-sugared boardwalk funnel cake, but also think beignets.) They are, plain and simple, fried dough served with indulgent fixings. And they’re delicious.

Interestingly, they seem to fall more often within the purview of casual restaurants than bakeries, where cookies, sweet rolls, and pastries rule.

Where: Our scones, pictured in a to-go container, are from Chubby’s (multiple locations including 336 S. Main St., Pleasant Grove, map), a place otherwise known for its burgers and Cajun food. But the sides menu lists scones, and while we have a hard time imagining these besides a main meal—they seem better off as a tasty dessert or even an indulgent breakfast—in Utah they list these besides fries and mashed potatoes.

When:Mon-Thurs, 11am-9pm; Fri, 11am-10pm; Sat, 11am-9pm  

Order: Scones ($3.29) as a side dish, although we ate ours as a dessert to go (and leftovers for breakfast!). These scones were delicious, circular pillows of hot fried dough, dusted with powdered sugar and served, by request (because a local filled me in), with honey butter as a dipping sauce. Oh my goodness. If you can imagine liquefied butter shot through with honey, well, that’s honey butter. It was amazing.

Alternatively: If we’d had more time, we would have driven down to Leslie’s Family Tree (77 W. Main St., map) in Santaquin, as every local we met recommended the enormous scones there. The restaurant is also known for its supposed paranormal activity tied to a bloody local history.

In a similar vein, in Provo, there’s the popular Native American Southwestern restaurant Black Sheep Café (19 N. University Ave., map), where you can try fry bread (and green chile stew) as well as Navajo tacos, which tops fry bread with beef brisket and black beans.



The love HAWA explores in her music is messy, carnal, and risky. In her newest single, “IPHONE,” it might be unrequited as well. “IPHONE” opens with delicate piano and guitar strums—soothing production that disguises the anxiety of her pleas. “I just wanna know if you’ll be all mine/I can take it slow, I don’t really mind,” she croons.

The New York-based HAWA has said that her character in “IPHONE” is trying to be the best partner she can, but a close listen tells a more complicated story. Hawa spends the second verse boasting about her lover’s public devotion, but there’s little suggestion of what she has to offer in return. “You say you’re sick of all the lies/I don’t know why I keep on lying,” she sings at one point. While introspection may be the first step to change, there’s no indication that she will follow through. When Hawa receives a phone call as the song closes, it’s easy to imagine a critical lover on the other end of the line. “Fuck,” HAWA finally mutters, as though realizing that pretty songs and shallow promises can’t mend a broken heart.

[embedded content]

Photos: 340 JPS students receive free dental care during Give Kids a Smile

Published on Monday, February 10, 2020

School of Dentistry students and faculty welcomed and treated nearly 400 elementary school students from the Jackson Public School District last Friday during the 14th annual Give Kids a Smile event.

The children received free dental treatment in the form of cleanings, fluoride treatments and sealants, and dental students, in return, got needed experience and a chance to give back to their community. Plus, they had fun: many School of Dentistry students dressed up as tooth fairies and wore colorful costumes to amuse the sometimes nervous child.

The American Dental Association began the Give Kids a Smile program in 2003 as a way for dentists to join with the community to provide dental services to underserved children. In 2017, the School of Dentistry incorporated Give Kids a Smile into a new, weeklong effort providing care to underserved and uninsured adults and veterans from across the state called Dental Mission Week.

Girl in yellow dental glasses looks at her teeth in mirror.

Ivori Williams inspects her newly cleaned teeth.

Dental student brushes girls teeth.
Ali Bounds, a fourth-year dental student, brushes Tamyra Austin’s teeth.
Close up of dental student working with patient in foreground.

Justin Starnes, a second-year dental student, finishes a cleaning.

Dental student looks on as her professor checks out a pediatric patient.

Lakymberya Buckner, a third-year dental hygiene student, watches Dr. Bill Boteler, an assistant professor of dentistry, prepare to check Williams’ teeth.

Two dental hygiene students lean out of interior office window.

Emily Revette, left, and Ashtin Hunter, fourth-year dental hygiene students, await the arrival of more JPS students.

Close of up patient with dental tools in mouth.

Cortez McGee receives a fluoride treatment.

Man in blue scrubs, center, looks at child and dental student in foreground.

State Sen. Hillman Frazier, a regular attendee and supporter of Dental Mission Week, observes a child being treated during the Give Kids a Smile event.

A patient, center, looks up at Dr. Woodward as she chats before two dental students on the left and right begin work.
Dr. LouAnn Woodward, standing center, UMMC vice chancellor for health affairs, gives a few words of encouragement to Ja’Niya Flemmons before getting the JPS student gets her teeth cleaned by Lien Huynh, left, a fourth-year dental hygiene student, and Ashlynne Baney, a third-year dental hygiene student.
Student in a gold hat laughs.

Louis Montgomery III, a fourth-year dental hygiene student, shares a laugh with his fellow students.

Two dental students lean over a pediatric patient while working.

Brandon Bouldin gets a cleaning with the help of Montana Mills, left, a fourth-year dental hygiene student, and Alexis Hollingsworth, a third-year dental hygiene student.

Girl in gold cape.

Jackie McGrath, a first-year dental student, entertained and played with JPS students in the dental clinic’s waiting room.

Dental hygiene student with pediatric patient.

Rebecca Jenkins, a fourth-year dental hygiene student, finishes McGee’s cleaning.

Two dental students work on pediatric patient between them.
Brooke Barnes, a dental assisting technology student at Hinds Community College, and Trent Johnson, a third-year dental student at UMMC, work on Christopher Bouldin’s teeth.
Dental students high five elementary students.
First-year dental students, from left, Will Allen, Julianna Woodward, Kaeton Long and Codi Ballard give high-fives to Johnson Elementary School students.
Two women pose for portrait in front of dental clinic doors.

Jessica Edwards, left, community relations liasion for Garner Dental Group, and Shirley Hamm, marketing director for Garner Dental Group, show up in support of Give Kids a Smile. Garner Dental Group donated $20,000 to GKAS this year.

Syndicated RSS Feed

Justin Bieber: “Intentions” [ft. Quavo]

“Heart full of equity, you’re an asset”—is this a Justin Bieber lyric, or a Jeff Bezos sext draft? The pop star’s latest single, “Intentions” ft. Quavo, is a loving tribute to his wife that reads like an eerie mishmash of corporate slogans. Taking a page from “natural beauty” campaigns, Bieber croons “picture perfect, you don’t need no filter” over equally uninspired ringtone beats. Not only are his platitudes reheated leftovers from the likes of One Direction and Drakehey ladies, did you know you’re beautiful?—they’re also easy to dispense when the 23-year-old you’re talking about has modeled for Guess, Ralph Lauren, and Tommy Hilfiger.

In the “Intentions” music video, Hailey Bieber is notably missing. Instead, hedge fund jargon and feel-good clichés narrate the success stories of three women of color affiliated with Alexandria House, a Los Angeles-based transitional shelter that supports women and children experiencing financial hardship. (The video ends with an announcement of a $200,000 donation from Bieber, only slightly more than he’s paid for years of dumb stunts, like egging his neighbor’s house.) A noble cause to be sure, but whatever Bieber’s original intention, his presence risks turning charity into spectacle. The white millionaire dances with black and brown children and proffers empty advice to a foster care advocate. The attempts to center himself make “Intentions” feel more like a self-serving PR campaign for Bieber than an actual act of generosity.

[embedded content]

Soda in Utah, Utah Valley

<< back to foods in Utah Valley

Two sodas from Swig N' Sweets, a popular Utah soda shop chain.

Soda is everywhere, you may think; how’s it a Utah thing? Soda in Utah reaches new heights: The majority Mormon population does not drink alcohol, so soda is often the drink of choice for a night out. (Never mind the fact that drinking soda frequently  is very detrimental to one’s health, and a leading contributor to type 2 diabetes and obesity—as one local who quit soda told me, “We trade one drug for another.”)

Restaurants and groceries like Harmons stock up on specialty sodas, and in recent years a handful of newfangled soda shop chains in Utah have exploded onto the scene, at which you can customize your soda with all sorts of add-ins. (Want it with a shot of coconut flavoring? Order it “dirty.”) Soda is big business in this state.          

Where: At Swig n’ Sweets (multiple locations including 1325 E. Main St., Lehi, map), one of several popular soda shop chains, sodas and cookies are the name of the game. Here you can order your oversize soda dirty (i.e., with coconut), or as a cocktail of sorts, with various fruity, colorful add-ins.  

When: Mon-Thurs, 7:30am-9:30pm; Fri, 7:30am-10:30pm; Sat, 8am-10:30pm

Order: Whatever appeals to you on the colorful menu, from 16 oz ($1.25) to a whopping 44 oz ($1.99). Pictured are a Dirty Dr Pepper (the original soda plus coconut flavoring, which didn’t make it taste all that different, actually) and a hot-pink Hula Girl, pairing Sprite with light lemonade, mango, pineapple, strawberry, and coconut cream. That last one proved to be a bit too saccharine for us, but we’re not soda drinkers period, so perhaps not the best judges. I did appreciate the small balls of ice, however.

You can pay a few cents extra for more flavorings and more fruits, or add a puree, cream, or “popping pearl.” Diet sodas are available too, but let’s be real—if you’re really dieting, you probably shouldn’t come near this place. The traditional accompaniment to your soda? A cookie. People love their sugar cookies around here (here it’s made with a cream cheese icing), but we tried the chocolate chip, and though we were put off by its cold temperature, it tasted pretty good.

Alternatively: The other big-name soda-shop chains in the area include Sodalicious, Fiiz Drinks, and Sip-N Spot, where the tagline is “Get it spiked!” (with a puree, cream or flavoring, that is). Beyond that, there are more grownup soda options on offer at hip restaurants like Station 22 (22 W. Center St., map) in downtown Provo, where you can get tasty root beer on draught and spicy ginger beer (among a whole “Soda Wall” that highlights specialty brands) in a bottle.


Eye care providers can often spot the unexpected during routine exams

Published on Thursday, February 6, 2020

By: Ruth Cummins, [email protected]

When a third-grader has trouble seeing the board at school, a routine visit to the eye doctor likely will end with a new pair of glasses.

For Ridgeland resident Grace Thaggard, however, the appointment revealed something much more life-changing. Dr. Kimberly Crowder, now chair of the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, saw significant inflammation that immediately concerned her.

“Dr. Crowder pulled my mom aside and said, ‘I see something, and it’s worth checking out,’” said Thaggard, now a 21-year-old chemistry major at the University of Alabama-Birmingham

Portrait of Grace Thaggard
Grace Thaggard of Ridgeland is a junior at the University of Alabama-Birmingham.

Crowder referred Grace to pediatric ophthalmologist Dr. Nils Mungan, a professor in the Department of Ophthalmology. The diagnosis: Grace was positive for HLA-B27, a protein on the surface of white blood cells that places you at a higher than average risk for autoimmune diseases such as inflammation of the bones of the spine and arthritis.

Grace also was diagnosed with bilateral iritis, a swelling and inflammation in the colored ring around the pupil of the eye. That condition is often found in people who develop certain autoimmune diseases that have a possible genetic association.

A blood test pinpointed Grace’s HLA-B27, which can be genetically passed down. “I wondered if it had come from me,” said Grace’s mom, Carol Thaggard. “I knew I had something rheumatological.”

Grace’s father and Carol Thaggard’s husband, Dr. Anson Thaggard, is an associate professor in UMMC’s Department of Radiology.

Carol Thaggard was being treated by Dr. Vikas Majithia, UMMC division chief of rheumatology, for the autoimmune disorder mixed connective tissue disease. “He tested me, and I had HLA-B27,” she said. Years later, Crowder diagnosed her with iritis.

Other than the inflammation that she never felt, Grace had no symptoms when Crowder first examined her. HLA-B27 is just one example of conditions that an ophthalmologist or optometrist can detect or suspect from a routine eye exam, Crowder said.

“I don’t think that I will ever stop being amazed that I find the unexpected on eye exams,” Crowder said.

Patients can learn for the first time they have one of an array of conditions or diseases – diabetes being a frequent one – thanks to an eye exam. High blood pressure, autoimmune diseases, sexually transmitted diseases and some cancers are among conditions that can come to light during an exam, in addition to warning signs that a patient may be at high risk for stroke.

The eye is the only place in the body where a doctor has an unobstructed view of blood vessels, nerves and connecting tissue without performing surgery. They use special instruments and powerful lenses to examine the front and the back of the eye, looking carefully for conditions that can affect each of those areas.

It’s why the American Academy of Ophthalmology on its website calls an eye exam “a window to our soul and body’s overall health.”

Portrait of Roya Attar

Dr. Roya Attar, an optometrist and assistant professor of ophthalmology, remembers examining a healthy patient who was experiencing vision changes. As Attar peered into the woman’s fundus, or the back part of the eye, “I noted that she had a unique bleeding pattern in her eye,” Attar said. Retinal hemorrhages with a white center, known as Roth spots, are relatively rare.

Concerned, Attar referred her patient to UMMC retinal specialist Dr. Brian Tieu, assistant professor of ophthalmology. Following that retinal consult and a medical workup, the patient was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a serious blood cancer. Because the eye exam resulted in the cancer being discovered early, Attar said, “her survival rate improved dramatically.”

In many cases, patients don’t seek out an eye professional unless they’ve noticed a change in their vision or have significant eye irritation or pain, Attar and Crowder say. “And unfortunately, the majority of patients don’t have regular annual eye exams, despite the universal sentiment that sight is our most treasured sense,” Attar said.

Patients also may not realize that blurred vision, eye irritation and redness can’t always be remedied by glasses or over-the-counter eye drops, Attar said. They can be clues that a patient has a far more serious eye or other health condition, such as diabetes, one of the most common causes of blindness worldwide. Diabetic retinopathy, a complication of diabetes, is the top retinal vascular disease.

Signs a patient could have diabetes include sudden shifts in a patient’s eyeglasses prescription or sudden blurred distance vision. Attar advises such patients to see their primary care physician for an evaluation of their blood sugar and other diabetic markers before their eye care provider prescribes glasses.

In Grace Thaggard’s case, the partnership between Department of Ophthalmology providers and those in other Medical Center specialties was critical to her treatment, which continues today. Grace also saw Majithia, who placed her on medications to control the autoimmune issues associated with HLA-B27.

Make no mistake: An eye exam should never replace the need for patients to regularly see their primary care provider, Crowder said. “I am not a primary care doctor, and I will never have that knowledge and expertise without going back to repeat residency training,” she said.

If Mississippi is going to make an impact on chronic diseases like obesity and diabetes that place the state “in the top 10 on all the wrong lists,” Crowder said, primary and population health programs must vastly improve.

“If I’m diagnosing diabetes in an adult, then the system is very broken, because once I see diabetes in the eyes, the patient has had the disease undiagnosed for quite some time,” she said. “The focus has to be shifted to prevention. I agree with appropriate referrals to eye doctors for many disease processes, but it upsets me to see the current system is failing our population.

“The answer is not, and never will be, ‘Get more eye exams.’”

Her parents’ diligence in ensuring she get good eye care, however, made all the difference for Grace.

Being diagnosed in elementary school “was a lot,” she said. “Your main fear as a third-grader is going blind. It was overwhelming at first, but I knew that if it had been untreated, you could have degenerative effects.”

She managed her condition with steroid drops until they eventually caused problems with the pressure in her eyes. On her current medications from Majithia, “I haven’t had a flare-up in three years, and I haven’t had to use the drops.”

A UAB junior, Grace is studying German and forensic science in addition to chemistry, with plans to pursue her doctorate in inorganic or environmental chemistry.

“The good news is it doesn’t hurt,” she said of her condition. “The bad news is that my body isn’t going to give me warning that something is wrong. That’s why I go to the eye doctor every six months and have bloodwork.

“But had I not had problems seeing the board as a third-grader, I don’t know when we would have figured this out. The main problem had nothing to do with my eyes.”

Syndicated RSS Feed

Moses Sumney: “Cut Me”

Moses Sumney has long been fixated on the detachment that comes with personal or political isolation. To that end, Sumney has called his upcoming album græ a “conceptual patchwork about grayness,” exploring statelessness, the shades of meaning in between, the feeling of being displaced from absolutes. The fourth single from the album, called “Cut Me,” lingers in the masochism of constantly learning things the hard way. The weight of the message is made nearly imperceptible by Sumney’s graceful touch. His surgical falsetto makes precise incisions in the air. He sings of hurt as both motivating and life-affirming, of a need for some kind of friction to create a spark in his soul.

“Well, if there’s no pain/Is there any progress?/That’s when I feel the most alive/Endurance is the source of my pride,” he concludes, his voice dissolving into harmonies as the beat builds. Piano keys and bass open up into buzzing synths and snapping drums, and a horn section swells into focus with Sumney’s voice during the hook. Eventually, this arrangement becomes a gorgeous play on dynamics, exhibiting its musical components individually and as a whole, with Sumney never straying from its center. “Sure, I could do better than this/But I don’t, I won’t, I don’t,” he yelps. As a frayed Sumney pushes through the pain, you’re left only with an intense euphoria.

[embedded content]

Utah craft beer, Utah Valley

<< back to foods in Utah Valley

A tasting flight of local Utah beer at Strap Tank Brewery in the Utah Valley.

Despite the predominant Mormon culture, and famously arcane alcohol laws that until recently required bars to put up visual barriers on bars to shield diners from seeing behind the bar (to thwart temptation among minors, apparently), Utah is fast becoming a good place to grab a locally brewed craft beer. Like everywhere else in the U.S., craft breweries are popping up across the state, especially in Salt Lake County, but even in famously conservative Utah County too. Here’s what to know about buying and drinking beer in Utah.

About those liquor laws: While changes seem to happen all the time, two things to know about beer in Utah include: At least until later in 2019, when the law may shift again, if it’s beer sold in a grocery store or on tap in a bar or most restaurants, it must be at or below a certain percentage of alcohol (3.2 percent alcohol by weight, which is 4 percent ABV), meaning it won’t wipe you off your feet. (We did see some full-strength bottles, however, that were much higher in alcohol.) And also: If you’re at a restaurant and want a drink at the bar, or even at a brewpub that’s also a restaurant, you must order food too. Oftentimes places will have small inexpensive appetizers, like popcorn, on hand to satisfy that requirement.

Liquor stores, of course, are closed on Sundays. And it should go without saying, but do not drink and drive in Utah! Herein lie the strictest DUI laws in the nation, with a legal limit of .05 percent.

Good to know: Whiskey drinkers can get in on the Utah drinking action too: In 2008, the state’s first distillery since 1870, High West, opened in Park City, followed by New World Distillery in Eden and Sugar House Distillery in Salt Lake City.

Where: In Springville (and just opened in Lehi), Strap Tank Brewery (596 S. 1750 W., Springville, map) was the first brewery to open in Utah County since Prohibition … and it opened in 2016. (Expect that space to get crowded soon!) The mini-chain features big beautiful, industrial-feeling spaces with a vintage motorcycle theme and full-service restaurants.

When: Mon-Thurs, 11am-10pm; Fri-Sat, 11am-11pm; Sun, 10am-9pm

Order: Pictured is a tasting flight (75 cents per), and you better believe we had to order some chips and salsa to go along with it. (We also had to order these just two at a time, which we did several times, and sit at a counter located a few feet in front of the actual bar, because we had kids with us.) But we were able to taste quite a few of the beers here, and we liked a bunch of them, including the Flathead American lager, the Laser Shark pale ale, and the Frank schwarzbier.

Alternatively: Ask for Utah-brewed beers wherever it’s being sold; we also found that the Harmons grocery chain had a great selection of Utah beers. We tried several beers from Uinta Brewing (1722 S. Fremont Dr., Salt Lake City, map), and loved them all, particularly the Baba black lager. If we’d had more time, we would have hit up the brewery circuit in Salt Lake City. Among those recommended to us, besides Uinta, are Epic Brewing, Fisher Brewery, and Proper Brewery, but there’s lots more to taste.


Nursing alum receives national award for diabetic peds work

Published on Monday, February 3, 2020

By: Kate Royals, [email protected]

Dr. Katelyn Armstrong has a particular passion for the patients she works with as a nurse practitioner at the University of Mississippi Medical Center – because she’s been in their shoes.

When the UMMC Center for Telehealth approached Armstrong and her colleagues in the pediatric endocrinology clinic, she saw an opportunity. Armstrong, who has been working with diabetic patients in the clinic since 2014, translated the partnership into her project while in school for her Doctor of Nursing Practice degree.

That project, “The Impact of Remote Patient Monitoring on Pediatric Patients with Diabetes,” made her the only D.N.P. student in the nation to receive the American Association of Colleges of Nursing’s Excellence in Advancing Nursing Practice Award this year.

Armstrong has plenty of personal experience with diabetes. At 16, she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. As a child, she watched her father cope with the disease. 

The firsthand knowledge makes her an exceptional, and unique, provider, and is the reason she enrolled at the University of Mississippi School of Nursing for her Bachelor of Science in Nursing when she was 20 years old. Over the next 11 years she continued her education while working and received all three of her degrees from UMMC.

“I just felt like having been there, I could help other people … I think especially for a younger patient, coming from someone who’s been through what you’re going through (is different) than someone just saying  ‘You should do this, you should do that,’” she said. “I try to level with them.”

From left to right, AACN Board Chair Ann Cary, Katelyn Armstrong and AACN President and CEO Deborah Trautman share a smile as Armstrong displays her award.
Ann Cary, left, AACN board chair, and Deborah Trautman, right, AACN president and CEO, share a smile with Armstrong after presenting her with the award.

But Armstrong is also aware that working with her patients is about more than just making sure they know what to do.

“With diabetes, you have to have a passion for it … it’s easy to just say, ‘if you don’t do these things then too bad, I can’t help you,’” she explained. “But it’s a lot more than the patient knowing what to do. It’s figuring out what the barriers are in their life.”

For example, a teenager who may not want his friends to know he has the disease.

Or a young child whose family struggles to afford healthy foods.

“There are lots of different things you have to consider when you’re managing diabetes – and you’re working with the whole family unit,” Armstrong said.

In her project, Armstrong looked at two years’ worth of data from the partnership with her clinic and the Center for Telehealth in which 89 diabetic patients received a glucose monitor that connects to an iPad. The iPad communicates blood sugar readings to the Center for Telehealth and also contains educational modules for patients. 

The results showed the tool worked.

Overall, there was a decrease in hospital and emergency room visits and a decrease in patients’ hemoglobin A1C levels, which measures a person’s average level of blood sugar over the past two to three months.

While patients were using the iPads for remote-patient monitoring and sending in their information, nurses and staff at the Center for Telehealth had a protocol for when to call Armstrong and other providers and when to recommend an emergency room visit or to call 911.

The system also allowed Armstrong and her team to intervene in a preventative way.

“Even if we just noticed a trend in (a patient’s) blood sugar being higher or lower, we could look at it and make insulin adjustments in between visits” every three months, she said.

Portrait of Michelle Palokas

Dr. Michelle Palokas, assistant professor and director of the DNP program, is one of the faculty members who nominated Armstrong.

“She improved care for the diabetic patients she sees in clinic,” said Palokas.

And although the project is complete and she graduated with her doctorate, Palokas doesn’t expect Armstrong to ever quit trying to improve how she cares for patients.

“I think she’s going to be very influential and always look for things that need to be changed or improved – and she will lead those changes. I really believe that,” Palokas said.

Armstrong said she is indebted to the School of Nursing for the education it offered her.

“I feel like I kind of grew up here,” Armstrong, who received her bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees at the School of Nursing, said. “The faculty at the SON is so wonderful. That’s so important when you’re in school, to have people who support, guide and help you.”

Armstrong received the award at the AACN’s Doctoral Education Conference on Friday in Naples, Fla.

Dr. Ann Cary, chair of AACN’s Board of Directors, called Armstrong’s work “groundbreaking” and “innovative.”

“AACN is pleased to recognize Dr. Katelyn Armstrong from the University of Mississippi with the 2019 Outstanding DNP Project Award for her groundbreaking work in the area of remote monitoring of pediatric patients with diabetes,” said Cary.  “Her innovative work serves as a model for other DNP students who are working to translate the latest scientific evidence related to safe patient care into contemporary nursing practice.”
Syndicated RSS Feed

Porter Robinson: “Get Your Wish”

For three years, Porter Robinson was trapped in a protracted bout of writer’s block. After pivoting away from mainstream dance music to forge his own path as a multivariate electronic artist in the mid-aughts and becoming one of the most visible artists in the genre along the way, the North Carolina producer was unsure of what to say next. “It was impossible not to ask: Even if I do finish new music, what am I hoping is gonna happen?” he recently disclosed. “What is it I want that I don’t currently have? Am I gonna be happy then? Why am I not happy now?”

On “Get Your Wish,” the onetime Skrillex protégé grapples frankly with that depression. Robinson obscures his voice with pitch-shifting and other effects, as if to shield himself from the vulnerability of his own lyrics, which meditate on hope and ego death, sounding like reminders to his future self. “One day you choke, your urges overflow, and obsession wears you down,” he croons amidst gleaming synth pads. “But don’t you waste the suffering you’ve faced—it will serve you in due time.” Elsewhere, rock drums and lush electric piano lend additional dynamics to his usual rollercoasters of euphoria, while snippets of naturalism (a click track here, a bird whistle there) anchor his alien vocals to reality. Gone are the days of imagined universes and EDM meta-commentary; “Get Your Wish” is a joyful return for Robinson, one that expands the scope of his music while bringing him back down to earth.

[embedded content]