From the Juggalo March to LaVar Ball, 2017 has been filled with enough iconic moments to fill a decade. With the new year only a few days away, it's time to also look back on all the music released these past 365 days to figure out what stood out and what fell flat. Album of the Year Japanese Breakfast - Soft Sounds From Another Planet Lorde - Melodrama Nearly four years after her hit debut album Pure Heroine, the New Zealand pop star did not disappoint with this record. Melodrama builds off of the unique sound she's created while also expanding into uncharted territory. After clearly maturing over the last four years, this time around she opts for taking the listener on an emotional journey. The ingredients of honesty and emotion combine to not only create a great album but make Lorde easier to relate to. With every sound perfectly in place, the production is also made flawless. My top tracks from this album are “Sober”, “Homemade Dynamite”, “Liability”, “Writer in the Dark”, and “Perfect Places”. It has no weak tracks, which cannot be said of many 2017 albums and makes it one of the best of the year. -Jake Mappes Tyler The Creator - Flowerboy If you told me that Tyler the Creator would deliver one of the best hip-hop records of the year, I would’ve asked if you were feeling okay. Tyler is not a new face on the scene, from his Odd Future days to his solo projects, but before Flowerboy, Tyler could hardly be taken as a serious artist. With his discography littered a lot of duds and only a few gems, this album finally gives us a complete project that feels like he put blood, sweat, and tears into every song. He does not compromise his sound, as he is still the Tyler of old with his aggressive, loud style. This happy medium is no easy feat, which is one of the reasons Tyler has since received a 2018 Grammy nomination for Best Rap Album. My top songs on this album are “Where This Flower Blooms”, “See You Again”, “Pothole”, “Boredom”, “911 / Mr. Lonely”, and “Glitter”. -Jake Mappes Best Music Video Charli XCX - Boys Jay Z - The Story of OJ MGMT- Little Dark Age Most Disappointing Album Father John Misty-Pure Comedy Gorillaz- Humans The Front Bottoms - Going Grey Best Collab Lil Yachty & Carly Rae Jepsen Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile 21 Savage, Offset & Metro Boomin’ In a year plagued by collab albums, this one stood out. Combining two of the most popular rappers of the year with a producer who seemingly touched every major project, it definitely did not disappoint. Let's try and keep the collab albums to a minimum in 2018 unless your name is Kanye and Jay-Z. Best Live Performance LCD Soundsystem Solange Flaming Lips Most Underrated Album Iglooghost - Neo Wax Bloom (Julian) Lil Pump- Lil Pump Charly Bliss – Guppy Best Pop Culture Moment Oscars Mix Up New Lion King Cast The Juggalo March on Washington This always seemed like the premise of a bad skit: rapping clowns and their fans protesting their classification as a criminal organization by the FBI. A sideshow compared to the media circus that was 2017. But underneath the black and white greasepaint and frosted tips was not a comedy, but a tragedy of Pagliaccian proportion: outcasts and misfits who found solace and belonging in music, only to be prosecuted by the federal government for the mere “crime” of enjoying an artist. Despite this, the Juggalos came together for a peaceful reaffirming of their status as “A Family, Not a Gang,” with pizza and Faygo flowing freely. Not to mention that they blew the neo-conservative “Mother of All Rallies” out of the water in both media coverage and attendance. In a way, the Juggalo represented the human essence in its many contradictions. Beauty, in their inclusiveness despite their “ugly” image; humor, which they were able to find in an otherwise sad situation; and hope, for understanding and peace despite despair. This carnival ride of emotions was a microcosm of everything bad and good about last year, truly making it the greatest pop culture moment of 2017. -Dan Lee Best Beef Fox News vs. Radiohead Jake Paul vs. Everyone Trump vs. Lavar Ball Best Social Media Julian Epp Young Thug Moonpie I only believe in one universal truth: there are no good brands. While this also applies to their Twitter presences, there is, occasionally, a good intern. This is someone who can cut through the brand landscape that is mostly made up of memes that took 37 hours to make with short, sweet messages that often have nothing to do with the brand at all. One of these interns is locked in an office and forced to work for Moonpie, the chocolate and marshmallow snack cake that continues to own unsuspecting consumers on their timeline. It is no coincidence that they only achieved this after dunking on the Hostess account during the eclipse earlier this year. My current theory is that some ancient, cosmic energy was channeled into the intern at that moment, turning them into the force we see now.
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Though the song is called "Monster", there are some artists who never mention a single monster. Because it’s Halloween, here is the definitive ranking of which artist on the track knows the most about monsters. 5. Bon Iver After listening to the song for over 8 years, I have figured out that Justin Vernon of Bon Iver knows virtually nothing about monsters. His lyrics, on the intro and outro of the song, mention approximately 0 monsters. He spends the whole time talking about light and going home. I do not know why he was chosen for this song. 4. Rick Ross Finally, we have someone who knows a little bit about monsters. Ross drops the first monster reference right off the bat with the word “monster” and then again calling himself a “no-good blood-sucker.” While he could be talking about a tick, which is just a small arachnid and not a monster, one could also make the argument that he is talking about a vampire. Because of that ambiguity, he is placed at number 4. 3. Nicki Minaj After the seventh anniversary of MBDTF, Nicki spoke out to say that "Monster" almost didn’t make it on the album. She said that she had fought Kanye to keep it on, presumably because she wanted everyone to know how much she knew about monsters, mainly that many of them have “teeth and fangs.” She also mentions Chucky, a movie monster who is also a doll. She also mentions Willy Wonka for some reason, who is not a monster, just purple. In any case, her knowledge of monsters in this verse successfully cemented her as the Queen of Rap. 2. Kanye West Kanye provides the hook to the song as well as his own verse, probably because he couldn’t fit all the monster references he wanted into just one. His opening monster reference is to the Devil, also known as the first monster. He also talks about pharaohs and a sarcophagus, the two ingredients in making a mummy, another classic monster. Yeezy also mentions “profit” throughout the song, making reference to capitalism, the worst monster of them all. 1. Jay Z There’s no question on why Jay deserves the number one spot. The first line of his verse is just a list of all the monsters he knows. “Sasquatch, Godzilla, King Kong, Loch Ness Goblin, ghoul, a zombie with no conscience.” It is clear that he just wanted to show off his knowledge of monsters, and it worked. No one else even comes close to listing as many monsters on this song.
New year, new blog squad. To kick off the semester, all of us have decided to compile our favorite guilty pleasure songs for your enjoyment and our torment. These are the songs we might jam out to by ourselves but maybe not so much in public, so get to know the new blog squad a little better by listening, from Carly Rae Jepsen to Johnny Cash. Morgan Hunt: "Boy Problems" by Carly Rae Jepsen. CRJ is a guilty pleasure artist as a whole. I once waited 4 hours in Chicago to see her at an m&m's sponsored show. Julian Epp: "In The Summertime" - Mungo Jerry. This song is so weird. I don't understand any part of it. Half of the percussion is him beatboxing. The sound of the summer for sure. Matt Hamilton: "Lanzarote" by Lindstrøm & Todd Terje. This is a song that's undeniably goofy. Nonetheless, it puts me in a 'driving into the ocean' sort of mood. Yes, driving INTO the ocean. Gillian Paxton: "Tainted Love" by Soft Cell is 80s one-hit wonder garbage but it has always reminded me of my childhood. My parents used to play me all their favorite 80s songs and this one just stuck with me. Jake Mappes: "Rock Lobster" by B52s. Weird as hell and the music video is only fitting to the outrageous lyrical content. "There goes a narwhal. Here comes a bikini whale! Naari Jeong: "Awesome" by Lil B. Lil B's signature goofy persona and killer one-liners make this track a true source of endorphins. Who would have guessed that looking "like a dolphin" would be something that I'd come to want for myself Claire Pittenger: "Goodbye Earl" by the Dixie Chicks. What's better than young women rallying together to kill an abusive man? Coady Raab: "Roxanne" by The Police. Not only is it fun to pretend you're Sting when singing it, but it gets even more as the song progresses. Robert Iannuzzo: "Teenage Dream" by Katy Perry. The guitar riff that kicks off the song holds up so much nostalgia and longing for me. It’s a really sweet and genuine song that I will ALWAYS dance my ass off to. Dan Lee: I like to listen to any given Johnny Cash song and reminisce of the rugged white upbringing I never had. Anna Ortega: "Gasolina" by Daddy Yankee. You wanna talk about the song that popularized Reggaeton for Americans well here it is. Catch me DROPPING it to this song, even if I'm crying. Sanjeev Rao: "Toxic" by Britney Spears has a legendary string sample and an all-time classic music video. It's dangerous.
I am not a morning person. If I can get away with not waking up before noon, I will. There aren't many things that can change that. A couple weeks ago, my mom tossed 3 bags of chips at me after I had worked late the night before. I glanced at them, chuckling at the novelty of chips named after various rappers, and had more questions than answers. What are rap snacks? Where did they come from? Is this the next big thing for hip-hop? After going to their website, I popped them open one by one and slowly had my questions answered. FABOLOUS' NEW YORK DELI CHEDDAR: I started with one of the more tame-looking bags before I moved onto the spicier flavors. Having never eaten cheddar cheese from a New York deli, I wasn't exactly sure what to expect, but just looking at the packaging, the flavor seemed promising. Immediately after trying them I wanted more. It wasn't necessarily out of love how they tasted, but more out of curiosity. A mix of cheddar, sour cream, and sugar, it was not at all what you would think a traditional chip would taste like, or what a New York deli might sell. My guess is that Fabolous threw a New York shoutout on top of his flavor as a proud Brooklyn native, which might have gotten him a key to the city. Or not. Either way, the chips are good. LIL BOOSIE'S LOUISIANA HEAT: Next, I decided to go for what looked like the hottest chip out of the three. I've never been to Louisiana, but I expected the flavor to be what it advertised- straight up heat. I got that, and more. Like the other chips, this one seemed sweet, but with the added bonus of a chili kick. After eating a bunch of them in a row, the temperature does start to build, but it's worth it. The chip focuses on the heat without sacrificing flavor, which is hard to do. Not as good as Flaimin' Hot Cheetos, but still good. FETTY WAP'S HONEY JALAPENO: I saved what looked like the best for last. This one looked like a good combo of the first two, plus it had Fetty Wap's face on it. After trying all of them, the title of it seemed to be the most accurate of the three as it tasted exactly like Honey Jalapeno and the sweetness of the chip was not a surprise. If I had to rate Rap Snacks like an album, with each flavor being an individual track, I would give it a 5/7- a really funny idea that just needs a little more polishing. Apparently, there is also a Migos one that I will be buying in bulk as soon as I find them. Lil Romeo also has a flavor that I tried but I forgot to get a picture of it, but I'll just say it was also good. If nothing else, Rap Snacks knows how to make a unique flavored chip. Anyway, 5/7. Find them at a gas station near you.
In a time where rap is dominated by single artists and groups have fallen by the wayside, Migos manages to defy expectations and carve out their space as a trio. Instead of celebrating that, this quiz will tell you what individual Migo you are- Quavo, Offset, or Takeoff. QUESTION ONE: You're heading out for the day. What shoes do you put on? Answers: A. Human Race NMD B. Yeezy 350 Black/White C. Yeezy 350 Black/Red QUESTION TWO: You just won a free car. What do you choose? Answers: A. Audi B. Lamborghini C. 'Rari QUESTION THREE: You see a hotdog on the side of the road. Wyd? Answers: A. Eat it- you can't waste it. B. Throw it away. Littering is bad. C. Nothing. Keep walking. QUESTION FOUR: You get to the family reunion. Who do you talk to first? Answers: A. Your uncle B. Your cousin C. Your nephew QUESTION FIVE: What's on your chain? Answers: A. A spaceship B. Your name C. Yourself and Remy the rat QUESTION SIX: You're at Waffle House. What are you ordering? Answers: A. Waffles and crispy bacon B. Steak and eggs C. A sandwich QUESTION SEVEN: What's your real name? Answer: A. Kirshnik B. Kiari C. Quavius RESULTS: Time to add up your score. A answers = 1 point, B answers = 2 points, C answers = 3 points. Got it? 7- 11 Points: TAKEOFF Ouch. You got the third Migo, Takeoff. He's the Ringo of the group, or possibly just the 5th Beatle. He didn't even get a verse on Bad and Boujee. 12-16 Points: OFFSET Nice. Offset is a solid Migo. While you aren't as established on your own as Quavo, at least you aren't Takeoff. 17-21 Points: QUAVO You did it. You are The Migo- Atlanta's Beyoncé. The unequivocal Quavo. Congrats, king.
If you are headed to Culture Shock this weekend, you definitely need to check out F L A C O, an experimental hip-hop artist from Indianapolis. The rapper was recently at SXSW where he did an a cappella freestyle for Pigeons & Planes. He moved and danced with the signature energy that he has during his live performances. After his summer hit, "New Things," F L A C O recently released his newest project, Sleepinginjeans, featuring tracks like “Ice Close” and “Quick” that have hooks that will get stuck in your head for days. Natives from Indy probably already know him, but if you don’t, you can watch the music video for “Ice Close” below. He'll be performing a hip-hop set with other Indianapolis artists, Drayco McCoy and Mathaius Young. Come to Culture Shock to see F L A C O in person on April 15 in Dunn Meadow. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1u7xPGW0W4g You can listen to more of F L A C O's work here.
It is a question that's on everyone's mind nowadays--what song will my family decide to play at my funeral? Well, with this short quiz you can figure it out. Just pick your answers and add up all of your points as you go. A answers = 1 point, B answers = 2 points, C answers = 3 points, and D answers = 4 points. Good luck! QUESTION ONE: Cathy has six pairs of black gloves and six pairs of brown gloves in her drawer. In complete darkness, how many gloves must she take from the drawer in order to be sure to get a pair that matches? Answers: A. 2 B. 17 C. 17 Again (The movie with Zac Efron) D. 13 QUESTION TWO: What is your idea of a truly romantic evening? Answers: A. A night in with the bros B. A night in alone C. Just two people and their boat D. Just two boats and their people QUESTION THREE: What is your biggest weakness? Answers: A. My neck B. My back C. My ankles D. I take online quizzes QUESTION FOUR: Are you right or left handed? Answers: A. Yes B. No QUESTION FIVE: Which temperature is ice cream best at? Answers: A. Cold B. Medium Rare C. Soup D. 17 Again, Again QUESTION SIX: What is your biggest pet peeve? Answers: A. When Greg from next door won’t stop emailing your wife B. When you have your phone on the charger all day and it explodes C. When the water is all gone D. When someone licks all the chocolate off the peanut M&M’s and then puts the leftover peanuts in a bag and shakes it next to your ear while you sleep QUESTION SEVEN: Which Balkan country is your favorite? Answers: A. Greece B. Bulgaria C. Bosnia and Herzegovina D. That little part of Turkey that is in Europe and is technically a Balkan country QUESTION EIGHT: What food do you eat while crying alone in the middle of the night when your heart is barely able to contain its emotions knowing that someone you love left you and you haven’t felt the loving, caressing touch of another human in months and you probably never will again? Answers: A. Hamburger QUESTION NINE: What “bad” thing did you do as a kid that your parents never found out about? Answers: A. Arson B. Bank heist C. Professional protesting D. Respecting your elders QUESTION TEN: What is your sign? Answer: A. Scorpion B. The one with the bee C. Whichever one Trump is D. Stop Now for the results. Add up all your answers. Remember, A answers = 1 point, B answers = 2 points, C answers = 3 points, and D answers = 4 points. Got it? Good. Look down below. BETWEEN 10 AND 19 POINTS: Your family didn't even plan your funeral. No one showed up except Greg from next door. He brought his iPod shuffle and a cooler full of root beer. He played Thin Lizzy’s “The Boys Are Back In Town” on loop for 6 hours until he passed out on the cardboard box he was using as a casket. Nice job. BETWEEN 20 AND 29 POINTS: Your death was so sudden that your dog also died and your family planned his funeral on the same day to save money. Your dog's favorite song was "Everybody's Working For The Weekend" but no one had it. Your cousin brought a burnt CD with Thin Lizzy’s “The Boys Are Back In Town” and that was good enough. Very cool. BETWEEN 30 AND 39 POINTS: You died listening to Thin Lizzy’s “The Boys Are Back In Town” because it was so good. Your family honored your final wishes by hiring a cover band to play Thin Lizzy’s “The Boys Are Back In Town” for your entire funeral and while they lowered you into your grave. They even gave you a Bluetooth speaker so you could listen forever but the battery died. Excellent. 40 POINTS: The mayor came to your funeral and gave you a key to the city but you were too dead to hold it. They played Thin Lizzy’s “The Boys Are Back In Town” and your sister threw the key in the trash. Cool.
Rating: 3/7 Drake released his long-awaited, 22 track project More Life this week, which he has stuck to calling a playlist rather than an album, less than a year after his last. Views, which boasted lines such as “I can GPS you if you need addressing,” sold 852,000 copies in its first week, and it seems like More Life has followed in its footsteps. Drake has managed to cultivate a sound into a brand from instrumentation, to flow, to most importantly, his lyrics. From the beginning of his career, Drake’s writing style has followed a certain pattern. I like to call it the “Started from The Bottom Formula,” named after his 2012 hit in which he describes his life from nothing to stardom. Other names for this phenomenon include the “Aubrey Equation” (or Aubreyquation) and the “Graham Effect.” But no matter the name, the formula remains true; even though Drake started out as an actor on Degrassi: The Next Generation, five years before his first mixtape, he insists that he started his career as a struggle rapper and people don’t question it. Just look at the first verse from the opening track, “Free Smoke”. This follows the equation perfectly, with the added bonus of his classic, forced pop culture references. Okay, I lied- this screenshot is fake. But the fact that you might have thought it was real shows that a line like this isn’t that far-fetched, minus the appearance of self-awareness. The actual verse is “Yeah, I couldn't get a bill paid…Almost gave up on the music thing. But we all so spoiled now. More life, more everything” which is less funny, but still proves my point. The only thing more obnoxious than Drake insisting he has lived a ‘rags to riches’ story is the way he pronounces smoke as “shmoke.” Like a Tim Horton’s coffee maker, Drake is a Canadian machine. Four projects in 2 years isn't Future level, but it’s still a lot of music to be making in a short amount of time. Naturally, some of the songs on More Life fall flat. This makes Drake the most versatile rapper of our time if versatile means going from trash to banger within minutes. “Lose You,” which is fighting for the worst song on the album, is somehow only two spots away from “Glow” featuring Kanye, which shows Drake at his best- not rapping. More Life is saved by this and a few other songs, making the project worth listening to until the next one comes out in 6 months. Favorite Tracks: Glow (feat. Kanye West) Portland (feat. Quavo and Travis Scott) Ice Melts (feat. Young Thug)
The theme for this year's TEDxIndianaUniversity conference is All Too Human, named after Friedrich Nietzche's book of the same title. This is the second iteration of the event and will feature seven speakers whose goal is to explore what it means to be human through the lenses of their respective fields. One of these speakers, Robert Walker, is President of the Population Institute and specializes in the history of populations. Walker will be discussing our world's future as the population continues to grow and resources shrink. Another speaker, Simon Dedeo, a professor at Carnegie Melon, will be showing how technology shapes our society. Adam J. Fisch is an IU alumnus, university lecturer, and award-winning author. He will be discussing deep-learning, neurobiology, and long-term memory. Speakers Anantha Shekhar and Leah Savion are currently faculty at IU. Shekhar is IU’s Associate Vice President for Research and Director of the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute, while Savion is a senior lecturer of Philosophy and will be speaking about mental equilibrium tools, or the self-deceptive tricks we play on our minds in order to keep us sane. Alexander Karagiannis is the Current Foreign Service Officer for the State Department and has spent his entire career in various roles for the State Department in the US, UK, and Turkey. Drawing on his own experiences, Karagiannis will be addressing the structure of diplomacy, difficulties in dealing with sovereign powers, and cultural barriers. Euna Lee will be telling her own story, where she was detained in North Korea after entering the country in an attempt to film a documentary. After former President Clinton visited the country, Lee was pardoned and released. Through this experience, she still managed to find the humanity in those who held her captive, and hopes that those who listen to her story will see people and not enemies. Check out one of last year's talks, Steve Fleischli's Living on a Water Planet: TEDxIndianaUniversity will be this Saturday, October 29th from 7 to 10 p.m. at the IU Auditorium. Tickets are $25 for students and $45 for non-students.
Rating: 3/7 In 2007, YouTube was a lake of primordial internet soup, and Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” was a fish that grew legs. It crawled onto land, gasping for clicks and relevance, and along the way it formed some lungs. It was rough, but it was all we had. If “Never Gonna Give You Up” was a person, I would lease an apartment with it. After marrying, we would settle down in the countryside with our two kids and medium-sized dog, before slowly drifting apart. Eventually I would remember that it was my original love and that nothing could replace it, and would come right back. “Never Gonna Give You Up” is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, and the rainbow itself. Listening to “Never Gonna Give You Up” is like thinking of a simile when you thought you had run out of ideas. This song taught me more about life in its three and a half minutes than the timespan of my birth through 4th grade combined. I divide my life into two distinct stages- before I had listened to “Never Gonna Give You Up” and after. In order to provide a balanced and accurate review of Astley’s newest album, 50, I must first review these two time periods. 1996-2007: At the beginning of this period, I spoke my first word. Content. I didn't know what it meant, but I felt a primal craving for it. When I was two, the internet was only used by government officials, nerds, and Koko the Gorilla. I was approximately none of those things. My second word was "void". Overall, this period of my life was a 2/7. 2007-2016: I listened to “Never Gonna Give You Up”. My life finally had meaning. 6/7. The title, 50, comes from Astley’s current age. It is also the amount of times in an average day that Rick Astley is asked to sing “Never Gonna Give You Up”. 50 is how many milliseconds I listened to each song on the album before realizing that they are not as good as “Never Gonna Give You Up”. If I had 50 cents for every time somebody told me they didn't like Rick Astley, I would have 0 cents. 50 is also the total number of US states where Rick Astley is a cultural icon. Rick Astley has permeated our hearts, our memes, and our political conventions. But his newest album, 50, is kind of boring. He has ditched the funky beats of the 80’s, instead relying primarily on his voice, which is not very meme-y. 50 is actually 45 minutes long, and could be better spent listening to “Never Gonna Give You Up” 12.8 times through. Favorite Songs: Pray With Me
Rating: 6/7 "It's Friday the 13th," I said in a spooky voice. "Chance's Coloring Book comes out today," I said in a slightly less spooky voice. This was no ordinary coloring book, however, as it was not a coloring book at all, but rather a mixtape. "It's a good thing this was released for free, or else he would most likely be sued for false advertising." Three years and fourteen days after his last project, Acid Rap, I pressed play on Chance 3. The music started and I felt like I was on an ultralight beam, which is a Kanye reference. Speaking of Kanye, he did the hook for the first track, "All We Got." Chance combined this with an accompaniment of children's choir, a Beyoncé name drop, and a verse about making tea. "This album is an instant classic," I said only 3 minutes in. Then came "No Problem," which got me more hype than I thought was possible. 2 Chainz exploded onto the track with the line "school of hard knocks, I took night classes," which inspired me to sign up for a night class on Shakespearean poetry right there so that I could fully realize Chainz' symbolism. Lil Wayne followed up with his first verse in four years that I actually liked. "Overall, it's a banger," I typed into a comment section, adding five flame emojis directly after. The third song, "Summer Friends," quickly reminded me that I had no summer friends, as I was having a one-man listening party. Tears streamed down my face as I whispered "Be strong. It's what Chance would want," and resumed the album. Francis & The Lights led the intro, which opened into a calm verse that held a flow similar to "Chain Smoker," mixed with the themes of "Paranoia," both of which were cuts from Acid Rap, and neither of which could stop my tears. "Blessings," the fifth song on the album, was performed live before the album's release, so I had heard it a few times already. But because I was forced to watch Jimmy Fallon in order to listen, I held a lot of animosity toward it. Now I could play it Fallon-free, and it immediately became one of my favorite tunes on the album because of big band feeling and Chance's staggering wordplay. A line like "ain't no Twitter in Heaven" would usually upset me. "How good could Heaven be without memes and tweets from Jaden Smith?," is probably what I would have said if anyone but Chance had said that paradise is Twitterless. But instead of being agitated, I was entranced by the upbeat vocals and message. Next was "Same Drugs." Filled with piano and hand-claps, this song was all about how Chance doesn’t do the same drugs that he used to, and instead partakes in a different drug. That drug is called life, or maybe God. All I know is that the only real reference to a coloring book on the whole album came from that song. After 23 minutes I had made it to track seven, "Mixtape." The track features Young Thug, aka the GOAT, and Lil Yachty, aka The BOAT. It had overwhelming Atlanta vibes, as well as a reference to the first Kanye album, which was not a mixtape. I let it slide because of the Da Drought 3 reference just seconds prior. I yelled at my computer, "I care about cover art, Lil Yachty," but my cries went unheard. Because it came out in October, I had already listened to "Angels" a total of 64 times before the album was released, according to my iTunes statistics. I was on the hunt for new music, and this was pretty rinsed, so I just skipped it. "Juke Jam" marked the second time Canadian Justin Bieber and Chicagoan Chance had linked for a track, the last being in 2013 on "Confident." For this round, Justin only said sixteen words. As a Belieber I was pretty bummed out, but as a Future fan I got a nice pick-me-up later on with "Smoke Break," where, during his feature, he subtly called out Desiigner. "Neat." After crossing the "Finish Line" with T-Pain, Kirk Franklin, Eryn Allen Kane and Noname, I came to the final song of the album, "Blessings." "Is that a typo?," I thought. "Why are there two tracks named 'Blessings'?" If Chance said the intro was the entrée, this was like a Fourthmeal from Taco Bell. "It's kind of gimmicky and is exactly like something else, just later on." And just like a Fourthmeal from Taco Bell, I loved it. I had finished the album, full of nitpicks, but I promptly disregarded them. "This piece of art was shared with me for free. How dare I criticize it? I owe Chance nothing but a 6 out of 7 rating on wiux.org," I typed, finishing my album review. I set the timer on my phone for 2019, and began the wait for Chance 4. Favorite Songs: "All We Got" "No Problem" "Summer Friends" "Angels" "Smoke Break"
Yesterday at the March Apple Keynote during the company's opening speech, it was announced that U2 is back with a follow up to their 2014 album, Songs of Innocence. "We heard your complaints about the last U2 album release, and we promptly disregarded them", Apple CEO, Tim Cook said while grasping the cracked skull of the late Steve Jobs. "We know how hard it was to get it off of your devices, but that wasn't enough for us. Here at Apple, we strive to be innovative in every way. That's why this time, the album will be impossible to delete." Along with this news, Apple set a legal precedent within the courts, as the FBI personally asked the company to remove the album from their iPhones. "We tried shooting missiles at it, but it only made the phone stronger", said James Comey, director of the FBI. It was a very personal case for many Apple customers, because after updating to iOS 9.4, the U2 album is automatically downloaded to a user's library. If your phone is full and does not have enough space, they simply delete your Top 25 most played songs in order to make room. The update doesn't stop with U2's release, as there are many visual and internal improvements made as well. One of the most talked about features is your number getting added to Bono's contact list, so that he can call you at 3 a.m. to earnestly inquire about your favorite song on the album. Apple has also adjusted Siri so that she sends the user an hourly reminder until they listen to the album, and if they refuse, she just plays it at maximum volume out of the phones external speakers. Tim Cook concluded his speech saying "we owe it to our loyal customers. We know that people hate getting a different charger and case for every new phone they buy, so we thought we would give them the smallest feeling of permanence possible. What better way to evoke that than with a U2 album? I'm proud to say that as of tonight, the album has reached 500 million downloads, making it the most popular release of all time, with five times more copies than Michael Jackson's Thriller." Bono later sent out two tweets, one thanking Apple, and another saying "Ha ha more like pro Bono. Bc it's free lol." If you don't have an Apple device, you can stream U2's newest album We're Still Relevant here.
Released: 1/29/16 5/7 I first heard Sia back in 2013 with her Diplo-produced single, "Elastic Heart". I loved it, and between being featured in the Hunger Games soundtrack and gaining an eventual remix from The Weeknd, it looks like everyone else did too. The song made a second wave with its music video, which featured Shia LaBeouf, fresh off of the whole "I'm not famous anymore" stunt, dancing around a cage with a 12-year-old. Sia was not only an amazing singer, but also an artist who was unafraid to step out of comfort zones, unafraid of backlash, and deeply possessed the ability to get weird. These were the thoughts I had on Sia going into her newest album, This Is Acting, a 12 track experiment in which she took the rejected projects she had written for other artists and recorded them herself. They say never to judge a book by its cover, but that doesn't apply to albums. Just by reading the titles of each song, you are able to tell that this is more of a "traditional" pop record than Sia is known for. She compares herself to a "Bird Set Free" and a "House On Fire" on tracks one and eight respectively, as well as claiming that she would "take one million bullets" for someone (on an aptly named "One Million Bullets"), while also questioning if they would do the same for her. These are not exactly new ideas when it comes to pop lyricism, and that begs the question of, "Is this why these tracks were rejected by A-list pop stars in the first place?" It bears repeating that Sia's voice is incredible, yet even in this instance we are greeted with too much of a good thing. In every song, it takes one minute or less for her to get to the chorus, a.k.a. the point of the track where she bellows and belts extremely high notes for the rest of the song. We have one minute of chill singing and piano to prepare ourselves before she pulls what Drake would say is going from "0-100 real quick". In "Move Your Body", she only gives us 38 seconds before she gets into this zone, where you have to quickly turn the volume down in your headphones before your roommate asks why you are listening to Sia at three in the morning. She is serving me the five-star, steak dinner entrée, while I'm still stuffing the free breadsticks in my pockets. Let me eat my salad, Sia. You can come back and check on me in a bit. I will still be here. "Sweet Design", my favorite song on the album (which was also easily the weirdest), is also the shortest on the whole project. For an artist that cast a leotard-clad Shia LaBeouf to co-star in one of her music videos, I would assume that she would continue to stray from the norm, yet this album is Elastic Heart's antithesis. It does prove that she is an incredibly gifted vocalist, but each song struggles to show why it is different from the pack. If This Is Acting was a Jenga tower, you would be able to pull a few tracks out without it toppling. By this, I mean that the whole is still good and safe without these parts. Overall, it is a solid pop album, but one that refuses to take any chances or break the mold that pop has created for her. But maybe the point of the album is to do exactly what I have been complaining about. Perhaps This Is Acting is supposed to let Sia thrive in a space that isn't naturally hers, and that by sticking to the standards, she is effectively out of place. One can see where she came up with the idea for the title of the album. These songs were not meant for her to sing. These are not her words. By successfully making a record meant for A-list pop stars, Sia has proven that she is one herself. Favorite Tracks: "Reaper" "Sweet Design" "Unstoppable" "House On Fire" Check out the video for "Alive" below: