Tag Archives: music

Humans of Radford University

“Music is about the only thing that keeps me sane. Things like video games are fun to do, but you can’t zone out when you do it. When I play music, I can lose myself.”

 

 

“I play guitar and violin.  I played violin in the orchestra when I was younger. I haven’t played violin in about a year though ‘cause it’s at home and I’m here. But I have my guitar. If you don’t play an instrument, listen to music when you’re stressed and that will help you out. It’s different when you play music and listen to it though. It’s like if you work behind the scenes for a TV show, when you watch that show on TV, it’s going to be totally different, ‘cause you know how it’s made and what goes into making it.”

 

Fall Dance Fest 2016

How beautiful and amazing is it that we are always able to express ourselves in many ways, whether it be dancing, singing, playing an instrument, acting, painting, and any other forms of art. We never have to hold back what we are truly feeling, and our God-given talents and gifts can always be used, appreciated, and can draw in a few people or a crowd of people. We never have to hold back, and that is the beauty of expressing one’s self. After all, who really wants to hold back what they are feeling inside?

This past month I went to the Fall Dance Fest at Radford University. I used to dance competitively and I love to dance still, so when I was watching the performance, I wanted to be up there with the rest of the dancers. Dancing, in my opinion, through any particular song, can be another way of trying to let go of any obstacles we may face throughout our lives. So being able to express ourselves through a song and movement, I find, is very powerful in many different ways.

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Dance from Radford University’s Fall Dance Fest: “Waltz of the Flowers”. Photo Credit: Robert Simmons

One dance I particularly enjoyed was the jazz dance. Out of all the dances, the jazz piece was one of my favorites. The black long-sleeved shirts and red leggings were a great touch to the music and atmosphere during the piece. The music had a great beat, and the beat was different because of how calm it was. It’s like the music and dancers got their point across with the subtle beat here and there, more so than they would have if they had played a louder beat throughout the piece.

I’ve always found that one reason I love dance is because of how vividly it is always expressed. Whether someone is getting their hair pulled (as the dancers did portray in one piece) or someone is depressed and showing this through their movement, it is all very beautiful. I know the dancers touched many people who attended their show, and I myself look forward to coming to more performances in the future.

Nothing’s strange about wearing earplugs to a concert?

According to Everyday Hearing, “the most common cause of hearing loss is noise-induced hearing loss.” A common misconception about noise-induced hearing loss is that it takes a lifetime of going to concerts to cause any damage, but that’s incorrect. You can damage your hearing with just one concert or one event. In fact, 26 million Americans have noise-induced hearing loss that could have been prevented.

Normal, everyday conversations reach up to 65 decibels loud. Concert music, however, can extend up to 100 to 120 decibels loud. Hearing loss can begin at a level of 110 decibels and would only take two minutes to set in.

Concerts can be very loud. It's good to prepare. Graphic from Alf Img
Concerts can be very loud. It’s good to be prepared. Graphic from Alf Img

Like anything damaging, the longer you’re exposed to it, the more damaging it will be. If you plan on attending a two hour concert, your risk of hearing loss is significant. Now imagine going to an all-day festival. Your hearing could potentially be gone all together. Extremely loud music at concerts can cause serious permanent hearing loss or tinnitus, which is is ringing or buzzing in the ears.

Not only can loud music cause hearing loss, but the hearing loss itself can cause a major decline in your overall quality of life. Hearing loss can lead to lower cognitive function, depression, high blood pressure, and an increased risk of falling.

With all of these terrible side effects considered, you should most definitely wear earplugs to concerts in order to protect your hearing. However, in order for the earplugs to correctly protect your hearing, you need to find the right ones.

If you’re going to a concert, it obviously important that you find earplugs that allow you to hear the music with good quality, and don’t sacrifice the clear quality of the music you’re there to enjoy in the first place. Choosing the generic foam earplugs will lower the music quality, making it softer and muffled. Leave the drug store earplugs for sleeping.

If you’re attending a concert, you’re best option is to choose high fidelity earplugs. These allow you to hear the music clearly while also lower the sound making it safer to listen to. You can also get some custom made if you’d like but, naturally, they would be more expensive.

Musicians today are even wearing earplugs around their own music because they understand the effects loud music can have on their ears. If the musicians are wearing the earplugs, the fans should too.

5 chill covers to your favorite songs

Beside the usual YouTube covers which are often recorded very poorly, there are a lot of covers by professional artist who put a mellow twist to some of our favorite songs. Here are a few of your favorite songs with a bit of chill injected into them.

1. Chet Faker- No Diggity by Blackstreet

Faker’s cover to this classic song brings a sensual and mellowed out version of the song, which was featured in “Pitch Perfect.” The song by the original artist, Blackstreet, is pretty chill by itself, but Faker uses a bluesy sound to class the song up. This creates a bad-ass but relaxing feel to the listener. It’s definitely one of my favorite covers I’ve heard.

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Settle down with some Beyonce. Graphic from Wikipedia

2. Ane Brun & Linnea Olsson- Halo by Beyonce

The song, originally by Beyonce, has always had a very angelic feel. However, the soft vocals of this cover truly bring that dreamy feeling to life. While Beyonce’s vocals are very strong and heavy, the vocals of the cover are very soft and accompanied by soft harp and other string music. This takes the urge to belt out the lyrics as loudly as possible away and replaces a soft, sleepy version which is great for a night by the window watching the rain fall. The song was featured in one of my favorite movies, “If I Stay.”

3. Jack Savoretti- Ring of Fire by Johnny Cash

Savoretti takes this Johnny Cash classic, which is typically very upbeat, and uses soft acoustics and hums to give a sexy, smooth feel to the song. A version similar to this was used in a scene of ABC Family’s show, “Greek” during a scene in which the main character is reunited with her former lover as they lay together.

4. Justyn Dow- Power by Kanye West

This Yeezy classic is given a bluesy and 90’s R&B twist with this cover by Justyn Dow, who uses looping to keep the sound authentic. The reason I love this song is that it gives this very bad-ass, empowering feel. The slowed down rapping also brings the lyrics to life. Dow uses beat-boxing, an electric and acoustic guitar and clapping on his looping system to create the many layers of the song. This is a great song for background noise to a chill poker night with your friends.

5. Lilly Alhberg- Roses by The Chainsmokers feat. ROZES

I’ve been jamming to this song for the past month or so as it’s gained radio popularity. While the original version of the song can never be replaced, Lilly Alhberg, a YouTuber, does an amazing job with her acoustic cover of this song. She has a very Indy feel to her voice which stays true to the original vocals, while also pairing well with her acoustic guitar. Alhberg also does a great job in recording the song, although she used her video camera.

 

Almost every genre can be turned into a mellowed-out version of itself. While some may think it blasphemous to warp an artists original work, there are a lot of talked artists out there who do these popular songs justice, if not simply improving and highlighting some of the details of the music.

Free Kesha

Kesha lost her case on Friday against her producer, Dr. Luke, after accusing him of raping her in 2006 and then continuing to abuse her, mentally and physiologically. Kesha went to court in order to ask for a break of contract with the record company, Sony, so she could make music without Dr. Luke. The contract stated that Kesha must stay and make six more albums with Sony as well as Dr. Luke. The judge did not issue for her contract to be cancelled, which forces Kesha to work alongside her rapist and abuser for six more albums, that is, if she can mentally handle making more music with him.

Free Kesha from this ridiculous justice system. Photo from nydailynews.com
Kesha after losing her case against Dr. Luke. Photo from nydailynews.com

What kind of world do we live in where an artist, a woman, has to work with her rapist, has to be legally bound to a man who has ruined her life for the last ten years, because the law says so? Because there wasn’t enough “evidence” to prove Kesha’s story?

What kind of society holds money and power as more important than the wellbeing of a person, of a woman whose dream was to make music for a living and was taken advantage because of it? What kind of professional establishment, a record company, would force its employee to work with a man who raped her, simply because he makes the most money for the label? How does this happen to somehow who has done nothing but good and respectable things for this world? Where is the justice?

Sony claims to have offered Kesha a new producer, someone who can help her make her music that isn’t Dr. Luke; however, what they failed to mention is that if she did choose to changer her producer, the label would refuse to promote the album, which in turn, would make switching producers counterproductive and make it impossible for Kesha to make music in a safe atmosphere.

The legal and justice system has some updating to do. It’s ridiculous that she was denied her break of contract considering the circumstances, and the man who raped her is left off, his left barely affected at all. Kesha and all of the female artists out there who have been through the same situation deserve better than to be put below money and power on the importance totem pole. When it comes down to it, money will be worthless and power will be subjective. People are what matter and the owners of Sony and Dr. Luke need to be reminded of that.

Ladies, let’s get in Formation

Beyoncé’s new song and music video Formation has caused some extreme controversy in the political atmosphere. Formation talks about the authenticity of what it means to be a black person in today’s society. It touches on subjects such as Hurricane Katrina, police brutality, and all the different ways black people can be misrepresented. As usual, white people are angry about it. They’re going as far as calling Beyoncé racist because she didn’t have any white back up dancers, which obviously proves the point that white people are stupid and clearly missed the point of the entire song and music video.

Beyoncé is queen and I will gladly get in Formation. Photo from People
Beyoncé is queen and I will gladly get in Formation. Photo from People

People in the political world, specifically white people, are confused as to why Beyoncé felt the need to use the super bowl as a platform to talk about race and “attack police officers.” It amazes me how ignorant and misinformed people can be. Beyoncé has not nor will ever attack police officers.

She simply brought attention to the nationwide police brutality that has occurred over the last couple of years, mainly against black people. They wonder why she felt the need to use the Super Bowl to talk about race. Well, I think the answer is obvious. Racism has been a huge issue in this country, coming to a head with the recent murders of black teens. The Super Bowl obtains a huge audience and what better way to get the message out than to perform a song during the halftime show? I don’t see the problem with it nor do I care for how a couple of rich white guys felt uncomfortable that their racist behavior was being exploited.

The amount of criticism and racism that Beyoncé received after her performance proves that racism and sexism still occurs today as well as the justification of why she performed the song in the first place. It sickens me, the way people reacted to her performance.

If anything, people should be shocked by the immense racism that occurs in this country today, and should stand up with and be proud of Beyoncé for being proud of who she is and of the race she was born with. Bottom line, entitled white people are annoying and need to grow up and realize that they are not supreme nor better than anyone else. Come together to fight racism and be on the right side of history.

Watch this video of Jessica Williams explaining why Beyoncé is justified and why white people are confused

Creativity is never easy

How do you deal with wanting to be creative but not having any idea on how to bring your thoughts to life? You know when you have these great ideas for a song, a story, a drawing, or anything in between but you have no clue as to how to write them down or draw them out? Those are the kinds of struggles I deal with on a regular basis. Creativity is what drives my soul, my thoughts, my passion for life. Creating things from scratch, putting your own mark on something that you make is one of the create joys in this world. But what do you do when you’re stuck, when you don’t know how to create?

Never give up. Who know what will happen. Gif from Tumblr
Never give up. Who knows what will happen. Graphic from tumblr.com

When it comes to creating anything, you can’t be a perfectionist. My main issues when creating is hating almost everything I make, throwing it away, and then becoming frustrated with myself to the point where I just give up. That’s the exact opposite of what you want to do. In my situation, when I write, I hate it. I stop writing for weeks at a time because I become discouraged. However, the way to become better is to never give up, to keep writing and never throw anything you create away. Someone once told me that when you write something to never get rid of it because in a month or two from now, you’ll come back to it and maybe you’ll realize it isn’t as bad as you thought and you could, potentially, build on it and use it, resulting in something amazing.

When you create something, it’s never going to be easy and that’s the part I struggle with the most. I think that it should be easy, that I should be able to do this instantaneously and be able to whip out some song in the matter of minutes, but that just isn’t realistic. I don’t think any singer, writer, producer, director, artist, or anyone is field of arts has ever had it easy, has never been frustrated or mad at themselves. But, from what I know, the outcome is worth the pain and frustration you go through. You should never give up. I should never give up because what can happen with a little determination is incredible.

Rap battle: is the Earth flat or spherical?

While the ancient Greeks were among the first to perceive that the Earth is spherical, there were still individuals who thought that couldn’t be possible, the Earth had to be flat. Because the ground is level and clearly flat.

In this depiction of what a flat Earth would look like, Antarctica is represented as a layer of ice surrounding a disc-shaped Earth. Image from LiveScience.
In this depiction of what a flat Earth would look like, Antarctica is represented as a layer of ice surrounding a disc-shaped Earth. Image from LiveScience.

This “levelheaded” thinking is, relatively, what makes up more current flat Earth beliefs. In the last century an entire group — the Flat Earth Society — has grown up around it. The nineteenth century variant of this was called the Zetetic Society, which eventually disbanded.

A Twitter dispute among astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and rapper-singer Bobby Ray Simmons Jr. (known as B.o.B), raised the debate of the flat Earth theory, and it inevitably transformed into a full-out rap battle.

B.o.B initiated things on Monday when he began tweeting about how he truly knows the Earth is flat. He tweeted additionally regarding why he knows NASA is concealing the reality about the edge of the world. Also, he shared several futile charts about Earth including one about flight routes.

The rapper posted more than 50 tweets, including “I’m going up against the greatest liars in history … you’ve been tremendously deceived”.

Tyson logged on to Twitter, and reacted accordingly. He clarified why the Earth was round, in a brief chain of tweets.

Tuesday evening, Tyson’s nephew released his own track, called “Flat To Fact,” composed and rapped by his nephew, Stephen Tyson. He tweeted: “As an astrophysicist I don’t rap, but I know people who do. This one has my back.” Here’s the song:

“Very important that I clear this up / You say that Neil’s vest is what he needs to loosen up? / The ignorance you’re spinning helps to keep people enslaved, I mean mentally.”

I strongly encourage everyone to listen to both the tracks in full, and even check out B.o.B’s and Neil deGrasse Tyson’s twitter accounts.

Kanye vs. Wiz: The real winners and losers of Twitter

Twitter has become a favorite platform for celebrities to air out their beef with other celebrities. One of 2015’s favorite Twitter arguments was between rappers Drake and Meek Mill. Drake, whose albums “What a Time to be Alive” and “Views From the 6″ have been endlessly chart-topping, was called out by Meek Mill for allegedly using ghostwriters.  This social media drama resulted in both of the rappers producing “diss tracks” aimed at one another. Meek Mill’s track ultimately flopped, while both of Drake’s tracks gained huge popularity, especially Drake’s track titled, “Back to Back” which called out Meek Mill for his Twitter insults.

Although Meek Mill’s track was a failure, the beef generated hilarious memes featuring the two rappers. Drake even used a slideshow of some of the memes on a giant screen at the beginning of a concert.

Who will win? Graphic from YouTube
Who will win? Graphic from YouTube

While small Twitter cat-fights between Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift drew some attention, the newest Twitter beef that’s generating hilarious Tweets, Memes and Vines (oh my!) is between Wiz Khalifa and Kanye West. Kanye Tweeted a series of comments about Wiz, saying Wiz had disrespected him and that he was his “OG” and should be treated as such. Kanye even went as far as to imply that if he hadn’t ended his previous relationship with Amber Rose, the mother of Wiz’s child and his ex-wife, that he wouldn’t have his son. Kanye went as far as to say, “I own your child.”

Kanye eventually deleted the series of Tweets and told his followers that he was trying to focus on “positive vibes.” But these Tweets were only deleted when Amber Rose stepped in to call out Kanye for what could be considered odd sexual favors that he had once received from her. Twitter exploded with praise and, of course, insults directed at Amber Rose. However, a series of memes has begun to rise from the ashes of the Kanye vs. Wiz beef.

While Amber Rose’s methods of silencing Kanye are especially hilarious, the person really taking a loss on Twitter and with his music as of late is none other than rapper “B.o.b.”. B.o.b. took to Twitter saying that the Earth is flat, and he can prove it. The “Airplanes” rapper stated that if the Earth was round, you would be able to tell by looking at the Horizon. He even posted photos of himself with a sunset as a backdrop, stating that because the Horizon is flat from our view of it, that the Earth must also be flat.

B.o.b. even took his theory so far as to put it into a diss track aimed at astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson. The track stated that it was only “common sense” that the Earth is flat. B.o.b. goes on in the track to say that there is some sort of conspiracy and that globalists don’t want us to know that after all this time, the Earth has been flat. The song’s lyrics get even more inaccurate when B.o.b. asks, “Why’s NASA part of the Department of Defense?”

The song calls out Tyson with B.o.b. saying he needs to “loosen his vest.” Tyson’s nephew, Stephen Tyson replied in the most hilarious way by releasing a diss track of his own titled, “Flat to Fact.” The song is modeled after Drake’s “Back to Back” diss track, following similar rhyme patterns. In the lyrics, Tyson calls out B.o.b. for believing he is a “free thinker,” when really the idea that the Earth is flat is so old and so ignorant, the logic behind it is truly enslaving.

So who really took the biggest Twitter loss in the last year? In my opinion, B.o.B. definitely took the biggest “L” with his ancient and idiotic ideas of a flat Earth. Meek Mill can relax, as it seems the fingers are going to pointing at B.o.B. for the time being.

Christmas music: can you really overplay it?

As soon as November first rolls around, you start to hear it. It starts off  playing in drug stores and maybe the occasional Walmart, but as Thanksgiving gets closer, it becomes nearly impossible to so much as turn on a car radio without having the cheery Christmas hits fill your vehicle.

The verdict is split. Some people wish Christmas music would be kept safely in the confines of the week leading up to the big holiday, while others want to get their “Jingle Bell Rock” on the moment the leaves start to turn color. Those annoyed by the Christmas hits usually have the same complaint- it’s not that they dislike the music but it’s simply overplayed. They get annoyed by Christmas music the same way you groan every time you can’t escape Adele’s “Hello”, no matter how many times you change the radio station.

While I myself turn on the “all Christmas, all the time” radio station the second it starts up each year, I understand why those who find themselves cringing every time they walk into a department store in the November- December time period feel the way they do.

After all, Christmas music is essentially the same handful of songs on repeat just performed in different ways by different artists. Seriously, if you have one Christmas album, you have them all. Sure there are some original songs that are always enjoyable, but most of the time you can bet on hearing “Winter Wonderland” or “Rudolph the Rednose Reindeer” several times in one sitting.

For those of you who still can’t understand the plight of these tortured souls, imagine hearing today’s hits, “Sorry” by Justin Bieber, “Same Old Love” by Selena Gomez, or “Hello” by Adele played on an infinite, cheery loop, each recording played by a different artist who tries to change vocal inflections here or there but really never strays from the original track. Pretty gruesome sounding, right?

If you, like me, love Christmas so much that even Alvin and the Chipmunks’ versions of the classic songs don’t bother you, then great, but if you know people who are annoyed by the holiday music, maybe change up your playlist just a tad when you invite them over.

Bieber Fever in College

Bieber Fever was a term that was used while I was still in high school. I loved Justin Bieber when I was 16 and then, slowly, as I grew up he wrote and released less and less music. Everyone thought because of his voice change he was going to eventually stop making music all together and his only time to shine was his youth.

Little did they all know he was working on something huge all of those years. He was writing, and training, and putting in the hours of work and dedication it takes to release such a great and inspirational album like the one he just released. It may seem silly to some when you talk about being in college and liking Justin Bieber still but if you really think about it, it’s not all that weird. He is 21, after all, which is the age of some college students, and his songs range from upbeat to mellow and heartfelt.

I didn’t know he was releasing a whole new album but that same day someone mentioned it to me and when I went and listened to it I fell in love the second time. From his near perfect album to his beautiful live performances, Justin Bieber does a great job delivering to his fans and he makes it clear that his fans mean the world to him.

Having Bieber Fever in college seems childish and silly to some, but for people who think that they definitely have not listened to his new album. He really put dedication and commitment into the album and really loves and appreciates his fans. I am a junior in college and I’m begging my parents for tickets to his next concert closest to me. I’m not ashamed to say that I am 21 and I have Bieber Fever and I most likely always will.

Amazing songs that you’ve probably never heard

With so much music in the world, it’s hard to have been graced by every single fantastic song. To help you out, I’ve compiled a list of some awesome tracks that will make your life and hopefully introduce you to some bands you may not have heard otherwise.

radical face
“I recommend downloading Spotify.”

1) “Welcome Home” by Radical Face

I’m way too in love with this song. Having heard it for the first time about a week ago in Starbucks, I’ve been playing it on an endless loop ever since. It seems as if I’m not the only one obsessed as the song as been featured on multiple TV shows such as the hit show, “The Blacklist”.

2) “Waiting For An Invitation” by Benji Hughes

Benji Hughes’ voice is perfect for easy listening and his lyrics are always very raw and heartfelt. This particular song, I find so heartbreakingly beautiful, I could put it on repeat for days. It was featured on an episode of “How I Met Your Mother”, but that’s the only time I’ve ever heard it outside of my Spotify library.

3) “Lovely Bloodflow” by Baths

Baths is an extremely weird artist to get your head around. His lyrics are hard to understand sort of like Bon Iver, but his music is deeply entrancing. “Lovely Bloodflow” is the kind of song that you accidently stumble upon, but then can’t get out of your head for days. I strongly recommend it to anyone who is looking for music to write or read to.

4) “Paradise Circus” by Massive Attack

I find it hard to classify the band as one specific genre, but their music is fantastic and I have the worst time finding people who know their work. “Paradise Circus” has worked its way up to at least my top 20 favorite songs. It’s very dramatic and haunting.

5) “Ride” by Cary Brothers

This is the only song by the Cary Brothers that I’m familiar with and it’s the only song I feel the need to be familiar with. The song is so pretty and just sounds like the sound track to every romance movie ever, but I’m okay with that.

6) “Bloodstream” by Stateless

I’ve loved this song for years and I’m still trying to find the time to learn how to play it on the piano. From the melody to the lyrics there is nothing about this song that isn’t fantastic.

7) “Thousand Mile Wish” by Finger Eleven

An oldie, but goodie. Finger Eleven is best known for their club anthem, “Paralyzer,” but “Thousand Mile Wish” is my absolute favorite song of theirs.

Check out these songs and more! I recommend downloading Spotify if you don’t already have it. It’s a great resource for discovering new songs and bands to obsess over.

5 badass anthems every girl needs in her life

Adele is releasing her first album in 4 years on November 20th. She’s given the world an amazing preview with her song, “Hello.” The song has taken over the radio, YouTube, and even vine with funny, short parodies of the song. The song pulls at the heart strings as Adele sings of a past lover. A running internet joke is that “Adele has the kind of music that makes you miss a stranger you saw on public transportation 7 years ago.”

While I love Adele and routinely belt out her heart-felt ballads in the shower, I’m a little bit tired of sad love songs. If you’re anything like me and need songs that celebrate your independent, badass side I would highly recommend the following feminine tunes:

1.) Ex’s and Oh’s- Elle King

This fun Indy-rocker song is perfect for dancing around your room using a brush as a microphone or even for singing in the shower. The song is different from other lady-ballads because it’s from the perspective of a girl who knows she’s powerful and even a little promiscuous, in a good way. This is one of my favorite songs to jam out to in the car and it makes me want to wear 6-inch heels and do my best catwalk down the street.

lana
“There are definitely some feminist undertones in her music.”

2.) High By the Beach- Lana Del Rey

Pretty much every song by Lana Del Rey is a feminine dream come true. Although Lana doesn’t like to associate herself with feminism and often plays off the idea of the damsel in distress, many of her songs are really empowering. High By the Beach strongly embraces independence from a lover. In the song she sings about not needing her lovers money to get what she wants. I feel that many modern girls can relate to this because we’re expected, based on traditional gender roles, to depend on a husband to be the bread-winner.

Although Lana doesn’t want to be associated with this new wave of feminism, there are definitely some feminist undertones in her music.

3. Here- Alessia Cara

This jazzy song is a great mixture of new and old. The jazz-ish instrumentals mixed with lyrics very raw like Tove Lo‘s music make for a classy but badass feeling. This song is perfect for the anti-social independent girl. Talking about the drag that can be the club scene, Alessia Cara sings of her annoyance with being hit on at the club and her desire for a more intimate kick-back with her friends. She describes the crowded club with loud, trashy music and her negative attitude for those things.

This song is great for any girl who has ever found herself at a crowded party saying, “why didn’t I stay home?”

4. Gasoline- Halsey

This song is perfect for the badass babe who needs to explore the darker corners of her mind. Halsey reminds me of a darker Taylor Swift who’s very in touch with her crazy. While T-Swift’s girly songs may be fun, her over-optimism in her songs can get old for the girl who is no delicate flower. Halsey explores the dark side of society in this song while using dubstep-style instrumentals.

5. Gods and Monsters- Lana Del Rey 

As I said before, Lana doesn’t like to associate herself with feminism, but this song is very sexually empowering. Lana seems to describe herself as this innocent doe-eyed girl exploring her sexuality. This song follows her dreamy-style melodies while exploring a darker side of herself. In my opinion, Lana is describing herself as someone who is seen as an “angel” in a crowd of demons and chooses to dance with both the outer demons and her own inner demons. Jessica Lange, who is the epitome of all that is feminine grace as an older woman, covered this song for an episode of American Horror Story. Both versions are beautiful in their own way but Lange definitely brought out the ruggedness and desire of the lyrics.

Feminine power-ballads are few and far between in my opinion. Although there are plenty of female artists out there, there are few whose music reaches into the innermost depths of my soul. I hope after listening to these songs, you’ll feel some type of relief if you, too, needed some music to strengthen your inner goddess.

5 things that happen when you do something creative instead of watching Netflix

Twenty episodes into a new season of that show you’re addicted to, you start to feel a guilty sensation every time you press that “Next episode” button. So turn off the TV and put down the remote and do something creative like writing a story (or maybe a script for your own irresistible show) or reading a book or drawing a picture. Here are seven things that happen when you decide to hit “Power off” instead of “Ok”.

1) You have more energy

While watching Netflix is highly entertaining, it doesn’t make your brain work like being creative and using your imagination does. Netflix will lull you into a lazy mood, but doing something creative is like a work out for your brain. You know those amazing endorphins you feel straight after a great workout? Your brain gets those too. Being creative will make you more alert and feel far more productive.

Put creativity above your Netflix habits. Graphic by Katie Gibson
Put creativity above your Netflix habits. Graphic by Katie Gibson

2) It will defeat mental blocks

Netflix is an easy way to avoid writing when you have writer’s block or reading when you can’t focus. However, those are mental blocks that you need to work through, not put off. I tried to put them off one time and ended up going two years without writing a word or reading outside of school. Don’t let your brain get lazy.

3) You’ll be happier

I know, I know, nothing will make you happier than *insert favorite show here*. But think of all those days you spent staring at your TV without moving, forcing poor Netflix to make sure you were okay fifteen times. After days like that, you’re bound to feel pretty crappy. That’s just human nature. People want to feel like they’re getting stuff done. Do something with your brain will give you that sense of productivity and keep you from feeling miserable after a day of binge watching TV.

4) You’ll become more creative

If you run a mile every day, you’ll likely to be able to start increasing your distance and times. The same goes for your brain. That mental workout mentioned early, will help you generate creative ideas faster which will help you in all aspects of your life.

5) You’ll be a more interesting person

Next time you go out into the real world, keep track of how many people are talking about Netflix and TV shows. That’s completely cool, but it will make you seem far more interesting when people find out you can write a novel or draw a killer picture or compose an amazing piece of music. Personally, I feel like I’ve lost my “sparkle” in college mostly due to being overworked and stressed constantly. But I get a little bit of that “sparkle” back when I can talk about a book that I’m reading or a novel I’m trying to write rather than just discussing how subpar season two of “Orange Is The New Black” was in comparison to season one.

Once again, absolutely NOTHING is wrong with watching television. However, you will be a happier, more well rounded human being if you break that bubble every once and a while and shake things up.

Update on Camren

My shipper heart is dead. Not just dead, crushed and ripped to pieces. Trampled all over and then thrown into a burning hot fire never to be seen again. My OTP, my forever kind of love, my heart’s one true desire has finally crashed and burned and the worst part about it is I can’t do anything about it.

The two girls from Fifth Harmony, Camila Cabello and Lauren Jauregui, have finally called it quits on their fictional relationship. Well, it was as real as the grass is green for me but it’s much too soon for my broken heart to talk about it. These girls have been shipped together since the very beginning of their career, their auditions for X Factor three years ago and the love and shipping has only become more intense since.

Camila and Lauren have been best friends for three years, “instantly clicking the moment they saw each other” said Camila in a birthday post to Lauren.

At first the shipping was innocent. Lauren herself coined the ship name “Camren” to her twitter followers a few years ago. However, when their fans started to become very, let’s say, creative with the ship by creating fanfiction, fan art, Camren videos, etc., the girls started to become distant and awkward around each other. I think this was because the girls began to see those pictures and those videos and wondered themselves if there was something stronger than friendship between them. They were confused by the way that they looked at each other, unconsciously sneaking glances and attempting to discreetly touch each other when they thought nobody was looking. They weren’t ready to see what the fans were seeing so they distanced themselves from each other to prevent rumors.

I think management also had a part in their sudden end to their friendship in public eye. They have said before that “they aren’t allowed to talk about Camren” said Camila in an interview. That makes us Camren shippers curious about what else the management doesn’t want them doing or saying because of whatever reasons they have up their sleeves. The bottom line is, Lauren and Camila were fine with the ship, that is, until the truth started to surface itself with proof of lovestruck eyes and subtle hand holding behind their backs, until management saw it too and put it stop to as fast as they could.

Can you feel the love tonight? Do they look like just friends to you? Photo from tumblr
Can you feel the love tonight? Do they look like just friends to you? Photo from tumblr

Recently, Fifth Harmony have been touring in Europe. This tour brought Camren back to life like you wouldn’t believe. Camila and Lauren are the only girls in the group that can speak Spanish, other reason they are so close.

The girls had been interacting immensely and were giggling, laughing, and touching just like they use to. There was a video on one of the other members of Fifth Harmony snapchat’s that had Lauren speaking in the background, saying “I’m sitting next to Camila” in a loving tone. Something, which I’m sure just like every other Camren interaction, wasn’t meant to be recorded, but it was.

They were getting along great and becoming the girls they use to be. However, this honeymoon phase ended as quickly as it began. Lauren and Camila began to see the comments from the fans again, stating that Camren is alive and other Camren related topics that quickly ended their cute encounters and any chance of them sitting next to each other.

The final twist of the knife came yesterday when a snippet of their newest interview came out. Camila states that she gets upset when people that they are “linked to” romantically get hate from the fans because they say “Ugh, so gross. She belongs to Lauren.”

Yep. She said it. She actually brought up Camren and killed it brutally with the sharpest knife she could find. However, I still have some theories about this event. Camila is releasing a song with her rumored lover Shawn Mendes in three days. It’s a little convenient that three days before a new song is released she brings up Camren, which she never does. She has to promote this new song with her “boyfriend” and what better way to do that than to smash all rumors of another relationship, especially one that is within her own girl band.

Another point to make is the interview, in its entirety, hasn’t been released yet and there is still more to the story than what they gave way so my delusional shipper heart still has hope for what the girls are going to do and say next.

I don’t know about you but everything revolving around Camren has always been a bit suspicious and mysterious. Why would the girls feel they need to hide their affection if it was strictly platonic? Why would they address Camren and not the other ships within in the group?

There are so many questions that I, as Camren shipper, and all the other Camren shippers have, but I don’t think we’ll ever receive the answers to them and we’ll just have to deal with it. We will continue to ship these girls for what they show us and for what we see in their eyes when they look at each other. Nothing can change that.

Quiet hours

I tend to listen to my music throughout the day. While I get up and get ready, through doing my work, sometimes while walking to class, and even while getting ready for bed at the end of the day. It is something I have found to help me stay on time and motivated throughout the day.

I also tend to leave my door open when I’m in the room, and I’ve enjoyed seeing the variety of musical tastes from my neighbors along my floor. It’s entertaining to the shift in the genre of music throughout the day, and sometimes it’s surprising or can help me make a connection with the listener.

Sign-Quiet_Hours
“It’s always a bit shocking to wake up some mornings to Lil Wayne coming from down the hallway at full blast at six in the morning.”

One thing that does bother me though, is that sometimes people feel it necessary to blast their playlist at 11 pm or later, and in some cases extremely early in the morning.

I understand that you may be a night owl, or an extremely early riser, but could you please have your volume reflect the time of day?

It’s always a bit shocking to wake up some mornings to Lil Wayne coming from down the hallway at full blast at six in the morning. Or to be snuggled in bed and on the brink of sleep at 11:45, only to be jolted awake by Taylor Swift coming from the other end. Or maybe above or below. Some headphones, or even just taking it down a few notches would be great. We don’t all want to feel like our hall is at a concert with the music and bass blaring.

By all means, please do enjoy your music. But maybe be a little more aware of others around you during courtesy and quiet hours? Not everyone can start their day with some wall shaking rock, but rather quietly ease into it; or end their day with jolting dance, but to wind down with the night.

Follow your dreams

Have you ever dreamt about something great in life? About following your passion? About doing what you love, even though you’ve been discouraged by many? So have I. In elementary school, you’re taught to follow your dreams. You’re told,“You can be anything you want to be if you set your mind to it!”, no matter how out-of-the-box it might seem. As a little kid, you’d never think your dream would be crushed by reality, but once you enter high school and college, you see how ugly life can be.

Martin Luther King gives his "I Have A Dream" speech. Graphic from ABC News
Martin Luther King gives his “I Have A Dream” speech. Graphic from ABC News

Raise your hand if you put your dream aside to go to college and do what your parents and society thinks you should do. Are you raising your hand? Because I am. I always thought that having big dreams was a weakness, that wanting to do something that isn’t necessarily “realistic” was one of my biggest faults. That is, until I woke up and realized that wanting something bigger and better for myself was a gift, that being creative and artistic doesn’t have to take a back seat to science and math.

Having a passion is what gets me through the day. It’s what gets me out of bed in the morning and allows me to continue to do the things that I don’t necessarily enjoy doing. It’s the one thing that makes me understand why I was put on this earth and that reason is to create music.

Singing is the one thing that I really feel passionate about. Right now, it’s only a hobby but I hope one day to be able to create a career out of it. Of course, nowadays in the music industry, being able to sing is only the first step into making it. You also need to play at least one instrument if not more, read music, write songs, and so on.

It isn’t as simple as it used to be, but I don’t let the discourage me. I won’t let the “unrealistic career choice” statement affect me anymore.

It shouldn’t be about what other people think about your passion. It should be about what you think your purpose in life is, what your true calling is. Don’t let society run your life anymore.

My one piece of advice for you is this: follow your heart because in the end, only you have to live with the decisions you make. You can either be happy that you tried to follow your dreams, whether you succeeded or failed, or you fall asleep at night wondering what could have been. The choice is yours.

Blurred Lines scandal

Many songs sound the same, it’s unavoidable. Not every single artist can be 100% original and neither can their work. Years ago, teen pop duo, Aly and AJ, received criticism when they released their hit song “No One” because the chorus sounded a little too close to Avril Lavigne’s “I’m With You”. Another case occurred just over the summer, Sam Smith was forced to pay a good amount of money to Tom Petty because Petty thought Smith’s hit, “Stay With Me” was sounded vaguely like his song, “Won’t Back Down”. Now the late Marvin Gaye’s family is suing Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams for their 2013 Top 40’s chart topper, “Blurred Lines”.

 

 

blurred lines
“Now the late Marvin Gaye’s family is suing Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams for their 2013 Top 40’s chart topper, “Blurred Lines”.

“Gaye’s children insist that their father’s 1970’s song, “Got To Give It Up” was the victim of plagiarism for Thicke and Williams’ modern day track. While Pharrell Williams, the writer of the single, admitted to being a fan of Gaye’s music, he denied having stolen lyrics and/or instrumental parts for “Blurred Lines”.

This statement was contradicted several times by Robin Thicke declaring in interviews that the pair had found inspiration in Gaye’s song. When asked about these comments in court, Thicke admitted to having been under the influence of drugs and alcohol during most, if not all, of those interviews two years ago.

The lawsuit began upon the song’s release in 2013 and has finally been resolved with a judge ordering Thicke and Williams to pay a whopping $7.3 million to Gaye’s children.

Fresh off their victory, the Gaye children are now looking into another one of Pharrell Williams’ popular songs, “Happy” which they claim sounds a little too much like another one of their father’s hits, “Ain’t That Peculiar”.

If Williams really is taking inspiration from Marvin Gaye’s old hits, he may want to slow his roll. Gaye’s children are out and looking for blood when it comes to protecting their father’s legacy. While they haven’t announced another lawsuit yet, Williams should hope that the Gaye family will be content with the $7.3 million they just won rather than trying to race back into court to drain Williams’ bank account even more.