There Is Good Hip-Hop Out There

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As of recent, I have been seeing many individuals complain about Hip-Hop and how it is in a very bad state currently. As the genre continues to get bigger, of course there will a lack of diversity in most popular songs and can be easily shown by just looking at the Billboard Hot 100.

Continue reading “There Is Good Hip-Hop Out There”

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Meditations: Leonard Leauge

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I regret making this.

Ok, I think it’s been long enough… i’m just going to say it. Are you ready? Alright, here we go…. (inhale)… the Justice League movie sucked.

Granted, it wasn’t as bad as Batman vs Superman or Suicide Squad, but the there’s no denying that the two hours of pedestrian acting, obnoxious CGI, and weird story decisions that made up the movie could suck a golfball through a straw. That’s not even mentioning the fact that the film underperformed at the box office, which I guess isn’t correct on my part because I just now mentioned it.

It’s all a damn shame too, because I genuinely enjoyed Wonder Woman.

Despite all this though, Justice League give me something that I would never in a million years expect it would give me; a newfound love and appreciation for the works of Leonard Cohen. Yeah, I couldn’t believe it either.

It all started when I went and saw the film with a few friends during my first few days back home for Thanksgiving break. Ironically, while the film is a bit of a dumpster fire, I do remember it having a very well crafted opening credits sequence. A montage of how nations around the world dealt with the tragic (yet ultimately meaningless) death of Superman, the sequence did a good job of painting a world that had lost its protector (but it’s OK he comes right back about halfway through the movie). While the imagery of black flags bearing Superman’s insignia and a sad looking Ben Affleck were powerful, what really makes it all work is a cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Everybody Knows” by Norwegian pop artist Sigrid.

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Batman and Flash watch as their box office and Rotten Tomatoes score plummet.

It’s one of the better covers I’ve ever heard, and I was humming the tune long after the film was over. I actually at first believed that the cover was an original song by a talented and clever up and coming pop artist. Once I went to check her out Spotify however, the weird Norwegian pop that started playing quickly reminded me that I still live in the modern music industry.

It wasn’t until I watched Red Letter Media’s Justice League Half in The Bag Episode that I found out who actually wrote the song. During the review, host Mike Stoklasa, mentions off hand that he knew he was in for a bad time time when the opening credits of the film were accompanied by a  crappy Leonard Cohen cover.From there, things made a lot of more sense, and I immediately went digging for the original version.

Up until that point, I had only really known Leonard Cohen as the hallelujah guy who “probably died or something”. Once I finally got a chance to pick through his discography and read up on the man. It took only a few days for me to quickly fall in love with the man and his discography. His songs were contemplative, thoughtful, and could genuinely make me feel really emotional times. Cohen’s low and almost conversational vocals and silky smooth classical guitar playing was a hypotonic combination, and during those first few days I remember listening to songs like “Suzanne” “Chelsea Hotel No. 2” and “Who by Fire” on almost near constant repeat.

Then there are those lyrics… those sweet, sweet leonard cohen lyrics.

Those were the reasons and that was New York. We were running for the money and the flesh, and that was called love for the workers in song, probably still is for those of them left,” you don’t get that anywhere else.

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The man himself.

The timing was also pretty good, as I was already going through the obligatory college freshman folk/americana singer songwriter phase, so adding Mr. Cohen to my Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Tom Waits, and Warren Zevon filled playlists was a very natural choice.

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Aquaman is still lame.

The whole thing has me a little frustrated if I’m being honest. It made me realize how narrow minded I can be when it comes to music, which can be a little problematic considering that I pride myself on being a music aficionado. I could name you every Pink Floyd or Beatles song, but somehow it took watching a lame superhero movie for me to come to appreciate the discography of one of the great american songwriters. It’s a little embarrassing actually.

So what’s the moral here? Same old crap really: have an open mind, try new things, don’t put all of your eggs in one basket  blah blah blah…

But in all seriousness though, you would do well to keep your ears open. Who knows, maybe the opening credits of Fifty Shades Freed will be just as life changing.

 

 

Songs To Dedicate To That Person For Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is almost here. Love is in the air. It’s the time when everyone rushes to get their crush, boy/girlfriend, significant other, fiancé, husband/wife a gift to show them how much they mean to them. However, if you’re short on money there is a way to show them how much you mean to them, making a playlist of songs that you can dedicate to them. If you’re a fan of Hip-Hop you’ll love this list of songs.  Continue reading “Songs To Dedicate To That Person For Valentine’s Day”

New York Hip-Hop Back on Top?

New York Hip-Hop hasn’t had its shine since the early 2000s, because of the feuds that many of the rappers had with each other, and the South started gaining popularity that they have been dominating Hip-Hop for the most part; however, can 2018 be New York’s year back on top with acts like Cardi B, A Boogie wit da Hoodie, and 6ixNine, A$AP MOB, Pro Era, Flatbush Zombies, and The Underachievers. Continue reading “New York Hip-Hop Back on Top?”

The Daily Blend’s January Top Ten 2018

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Halleloo everyone, I’m back! There literally have been so many new albums this year already, and they’ve all been AMAZING! Every single new release this month (that I listened to) is on this list in some way, shape, or form. Believe it or not, though, even with all the new music this year, this probably has to be my most difficult blog to date. Probably because I was listening to the same three songs over and over all month, BUT LET’S NOT THINK ABOUT THAT! LET’S THINK ABOUT ALL THE WONDERFUL THINGS ON THIS MONTH’S BLOG!

Continue reading “The Daily Blend’s January Top Ten 2018”

Trash Talk: New Year, Same-ish Trash

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Accurate…

2018 marks the beginning of a slightly more polished version of Trash Talk. Consider this semester the start of Trash Talk season 2. We had an awkward and rough go of things in the first season, but now we’ve sorted out most of the kinks.

As we enter into a new semester, time slot and year of the show we want to list a few expectations we have for the show:  Continue reading “Trash Talk: New Year, Same-ish Trash”

2018’s “Little Dark Age” (Also MGMT concert in Chicago!)

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I’d like to begin this article by saying welcome back to another glorious semester here at University of Illinois at Chicago; as usual, I ushered in the new year by being incredibly lazy, and I’m sure you had the same response.

Whatever. Let’s talk about MGMT who is releasing their 4th studio album on February 9, 2018. 

This marks MGMT’s fourth studio album, and a lot of the aesthetic of the album pertains to the Gothic medieval era, similar to the album’s namesake. The themes are very apathetic, evil, and has the typical trippy vibe of MGMT. “When You Die” is my favorite single on the album, and it is a very warm and tangy song for how dark its lyrics truly are. Just watch the music video and you’ll understand what I mean:

Continue reading “2018’s “Little Dark Age” (Also MGMT concert in Chicago!)”

Meditations: John Adams Strikes Again

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Look into my eyes and tell me that John Adams isn’t our sexiest president. Photo courtesy of  HBO.com

Picture yourself in the palace of Versailles in France during the revolutionary war. An ornate carriage makes its way through the gold plated gates and into a large stable. The side door opens, and onto the precisely crafted brick road walks a plain looking figure that would spark a feel of deja vu in anyone who has seen Big Fat Liar.

He looks tired, and by the way he walks you can tell that his shoes barely fit. His triquarter hat and wig hangs awkwardly to the side while his vest and and coat do their best to stop the advance of a ravenous beer gut.

Greeting our friend is a man ten or so years his senior with some very distinct looking circular glasses. Pleasantries are past over in favor of business, as our hero is eager to sit down and get to work after a long harrowing journey across the sea.

His colleague stops him mid sentence, and breaks the news that most of the work our man had intended to get done during the trip had already been finished while he was traveling. Although you can’t hear it, you can almost feel a sad trombone go off in the background.

Continue reading “Meditations: John Adams Strikes Again”

Troye Sivan Releases An Apologetic Lullaby – The Good Side

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A week ago I posted an article on Troye Sivan’s first single, My My My! from his upcoming Sophomore album.  Today, Troye released another new song  (co-written by Leland, Bram Inscore, Allie X, and Ariel Rechtshaid   ) and this time, it hurts in the most bittersweet way.

The new single, The Good Side, shows the most tender side of Troye that we have been able to see throughout his music career so far. The acoustic song plays out the apologetic side of growing out of a relationship, and falling in love with someone new. Serving us a much more organic production and honest intimacy within the lyrics, it’s almost impossible to not fall into your feelings while listening to this one. 

Troye offers up a lullaby of an apology to his ex-boyfriend with lines such as, Found arms to fall right into, I know how it looked, it wasn’t the plan, and some day I hope that you’ll understand that I sympathize, and I recognize, and baby, I apologize that I got the good side, the good side of things,” and the most heart-wrenching part, “I’m sure we’ll meet in the spring and catch up on everything, I’ll say I’m proud of all that you’ve done ,you taught me the ropes, and you taught me to love.

This gentle syrupy song was a side of Troye that I was not expecting to hear, but I am so here for it. With the whimsical acoustic guitar chords and the soft vocals, The Good Side, is reinvigorating to breakup anthems everywhere. While most breakup songs stand bitter and angsty, this one reaches for closure, growth, and healing.   

Again I say, I will always be inspired and awed by Troye’s talent. I can’t wait to sob all night with The Good Side on repeat. 

You can watch Troye perform his new singles live this Saturday on SNL.

 

My name is Tara and I put out articles for UIC Radio every Thursday. I’m a communication and professional writing major at the University of Illinois at Chicago. If you want to keep up with my saucy life you can follow me here:

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Kendrick Lamar and Top Dawg Entertainment To Produce ‘Black Panther: The Album’

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2017 was easily a successful year for Top Dawg Entertainment.

With SZA’s rise to stardom with her debut album “CTRL” that as an album, showcased a woman’s growth throughout to becoming an individual that is more independent and requiring less validation from others. Many of the songs did very well on the charts and SZA is now on the forefront for the label with great potential to be a great artist. Also with legendary artist: Kendrick Lamar dropping his 4th LP: “DAMN.” that solidified the artist’s ability to delivery from all forefronts of Hip-Hop. “DAMN.” was easily his most successful album in terms of sales to date with many tracks such as DNA, LOVE, and HUMBLE charting very high on the Billboard Hot 100. The way Kendrick was able to appeal to a more mainstream audience without sacrificing his quality of music was incredible.

Continue reading “Kendrick Lamar and Top Dawg Entertainment To Produce ‘Black Panther: The Album’”