Ariana Grande Releases First Single Since Manchester Tragedy — No Tears Left to Cry

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After the bombing that took the lives of 22 people at Ariana Grande’s Dangerous Woman concert in Manchester, one can imagine the amount of tears and pain that has come from Grande and her team. Now almost a year later, Grande is back with rainbow prisms, upside down aesthetics, and the liberation of moving forward with No Tears Left To Cry (NTLTC), her first single since the tragedy.

Fans were speculating to hear a mournful ballad after listening to the teaser of NTLTC that was posted onto Grande’s social media before its release. However, after hearing the full track, it is clear that Grande is over the tears and is moving on to a state of optimism and happiness. “Ain’t got no tears left to cry / so I’m pickin’ it up, pickin’ it up / I’m lovin’, I’m livin’, I’m pickin’ it up” the 24-year-old sings.

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Meditations: Judging by the Cover

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Badlove (1999)

If you were an album sitting in a record store up until about 1995, the only thing that got you out of the door and into the hands of some bell-bottom wearing teenager that wasn’t the quality music, but whatever the hell was displayed on your cover. Didn’t matter if you were the Rolling Stones or Engelbert Humperdinck; all were at the mercy of whatever the hell the artist had decided they wanted their potential customers to see decorating their records.

Still, dozens of artists broke this rule like it was going out of style, and you can find about a million awful covers with a quick google search. While taking a deep dive into that rabbit hole of awful fringe album covers would truly be magical, I’d actually like to look at a few records that I think are great as far as the music is concerned, but leave a few metric tons to be desired as far as the visuals are concerned.

But before diving into this, what qualifies as a “good” album cover? Some of you might respond by saying that “all art is subjective and up to interpretation”. Some of you are stupid.

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Battle of the Bands 2018

 

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UIC band New House rocking the stage in the South Terrace.

On March 16, UIC Radio held the Battle of the Bands, which is a competition against local bands for a spot to play in next year’s Spark in the Park. The event was held in the East Terrace from 6 p.m. -9 p.m.

Man. Spark In The Park has had some fire lineups in years previous. We had Nick Jonas and DRAM this year. 2015 had Twenty One Pilots, 2014 had J Cole, and 2013 had both Kendrick Lamar and Chance the Rapper. These are just a few of the notorious artists and bands that have performed here in UIC’s backyard.

Imagine opening for one of these artists as a performer or band in your own right. Sounds amazing, right? Well, local band New House was the winner for this year’s Battle of the Bands.

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Event Review: GAS at the Art Institute

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Live ambient music has a tendency to come off as underwhelming. I’ve always found watching a producer manipulate tracks on their laptop insufficient to warrant the title of “live” performance. However, every once in a blue moon I’ll see an ambient performance that proves all of my assumptions wrong. Last week’s performance by producer Wolfgang Voigt’s GAS alias was one of them.

I’d like to make note of the way his performance highlighted the importance of setting when viewing live electronic music. GAS’s music at home is primarily a headphone listen, where you are completely sucked in to the music’s world. In order to replicate this feeling live, it needed to be experienced in “wide-screen” so to speak, and this is exactly we got. The months leading up to the show, I worried we would be stuck seeing GAS perform on a make-shift sound system, forced to stand for 90 minutes in a tiny room shoulder to shoulder with fellow techno nerds. Luckily we got the opposite, as the Rubloff Auditorium at the Art Institute proved to be the ideal venue for Voigt’s soundscapes. The audience was able to sit down while taking in both a massive video projection and immaculate sound thanks to the theater’s excellent PA and acoustics.

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The Daily Blend’s March Top Ten 2018

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Yo, people of the internet! I am BACK for the month, and I’m so excited for this blog. March is one of my favorite months of the year, and this year’s March just happened to be an amazing month for music!

With everything that is played on my show, you all probably think I have way too much happening in the skull area of my body. So, I want to give everyone a little insight as to what’s going on in my brain, without having to look at the “Recently Played” section on my Spotify. The solution I came to was to tell everyone about the hidden (and not so hidden) gems in my music library for the month. Some of the music I post will be at the top of charts, some of the music won’t be your style, some will be a band’s biggest hit that I’ve just been happening to listen to a lot, and some will be completely unknown to you!

So, to start it off, here’s just a couple of my favorite artists for March, a little bit about them, and some song suggestions:

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Noteworthy 1st Quarter Check-In (Jan. – Mar. 2018)

Ivan from Noteworthy here again (Mondays 6PM-8PM).  I refuse to believe it, but the calendar doesn’t lie: we’re already 1/4 of the way in to 2018. My internal musical clock is usually stuck on trying to discover stuff that slipped through the cracks from the previous year for the first few months and it really isn’t until spring that I turn my mind on for the current year. While past 1st quarters might have been the dead zone between the holiday rush to get music to consumers and the spring, where the seeds for summer dominance are planted, we’re now in a year-round culture our need for quality content never goes on hiatus.

As we leave March, I feel great about what 2018 has offered us so far, so I’ve decided to count down my ten favorite singles from the 1st quarter. If you’ve been listening to Noteworthy, some of these songs here won’t surprise you. Side note: I included some December 2017 tracks here since songs and albums released that late in the year can only have so much impact if they’re limited to a time frame of just a few weeks.

#10. N*E*R*D feat. Kendrick Lamar – “Don’t Don’t Do It”

The melody here is one of those classic, gliding Neptunes chord progressions that have made me a stan for nearly two decades. Not sure if it’s because it feels so familiar, the topicality of it, the addition of Kendrick Lamar or a combo of all three that’s kept me coming back.

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Musical Lineage: Cardi B

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This is a continuation of my musical lineage series. The purpose of this series is to trace the musical lineage of popular, modern music artists and rappers. I use the website allmusic.com to track musical influences and gather biographical information on the artists.

Since this is National Women’s History Month, I’ve decided to trace the musical lineage of Rapper, Cardi B. You may be familiar with her appearances on “I Love Hip Hop: New York” and her debut hit that hit #1 on the Billboard Charts, “Bodak Yellow”.

Remy Ma

One of Cardi B’s cited musical influences is Remy Ma. You may remember her from such songs as “Ante Up (Remix)”. “Lean Back”, “Conceited”, and “All The Way Up”. Remy Ma has also been a featured cast member of “I Love Hip Hop: New York”.

Roxanne Shante’

One of Remy Ma’s cited influences is Roxanne Shante, another female rapper from the Bronx. Pharrell was recently quoted as saying that Roxanne has paved the way for female rappers.  Roxanne Shante, who’s real name is Lolita Shante’ Gooden, hails from Queens, New York, New York. She was a member of the “Juice Crew” and first recorded a song titled, “Roxanne’s Revenge” a response to the U.T.F.O’s “Roxanne, Roxanne”. There is also a biopic about her career titled, “Roxanne, Roxanne” which was co-produced by Forest Whitaker, Pharrell Williams, and directed by Michael Larnell.

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In Defense Of Pop Music — Pop Music Isn’t Boring, You Are

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You can learn a lot about a person from their favorite music. For example, if you look through my March ‘18 Spotify playlist, you can learn that I’ve been repressing my latest existential crisis with excessive partying. Shuffling through Marina and the Diamonds, Are You Satisfied? to Tyler, The Creators, I Ain’t Got Time! to Lorde’s, Liability, and back around to Charli XCX’s I Got It, clearly I’ve been on a rollercoaster of highs and lows this month.

A lot of that stems back to being in a creative rut. The hard part about being a visionary with absolutely no talent is feeling the need to create and put out into the universe, but not feeling confident enough to actually put out the work. It’s a cycle of feeling frustrated that I’m not expressing my creative needs, creating something to express it, hating it, throwing it out, and then going back to phase one of frustration. And instead of sitting myself down and forcing myself out of this rut, I’ve just been becoming bff’s with four lokos.

luv feeling like im 16 again < 3

But my current love-hate relationship with creating music isn’t the point of this post. Going back to my first statement, you can learn a lot about a person from their favorite music.

Over the past weekend I hung out with a new group of people, just to find out that they all completely despise any form of pop music. Including Lorde and Charli XCX. tragic.

I love pop music. Pop girls especially. A pop girl could breathe and I’d be like ‘okay, wig

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The Daily Blend’s February Top Ten 2018

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Hey guys! So, uh, sorry in advance for the lack of variety in this month’s edition of good music. It’s been kind of a pain to put this together because I’ve been REALLY into like three bands all month, so I was definitely scrambling to get all of my eggs together for the month (did you see what I did there??). Regardless, I would never leave you guys hanging; I promise, I’ll always have some good music on here, and I won’t just put stuff on here to fill the blank spots. BUT ANYWAY, let’s get into the prerecorded message for every single one of my blogs!

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Flatbush Zombies New Single

Flatbush Zombies are about to drop their very anticipated second studio album in April 16th, “VACATION IN HELL.” Today they released a single from their upcoming album called “Headstone.” The Flatbush Zombies never disappoint in the music they make. The group consists of Erick Arc Elliot who’s the producer of the group and also raps, Zombie Juice who’s voice is higher pitched and Meechy Darko who has a very raspy voice.
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