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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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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Musical Lineage: Cardi B

Cardi B and Mamie Smith

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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Meditations: Talking about David Byrne’s “American Utopia” and New Music by Old People

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David Byrne is one of many musicians currently suffering from the rare condition called “old age”

People often dismiss new music put out by older acts and artists, arguing that these projects are nothing more than sad attempts by old people to recapture their former glory.  While not always wrong, putting on this mindset can make you a bit oblivious to some of the great tracks that these aging veterans have been able to put out.

For example, Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour and Roger Waters both released some of the finest material of their careers just in the past couple years.

Gilmour’s “Rattle That Lock” (2016) was a fantastic showcase of incredibly solid tracks that covered a lot of musical ground from psychedelic funk to jazz, all while featuring some vocal and guitar work that rivaled even his most celebrated Floyd moments.

Waters’s record, “Is This The Life We Really Want” was released the following year and was just as solid; serving less as a conventional album and more as one long suite that eloquently tackled the issues plaguing our society with his now signature razor sharp lyrics and emotional delivery.

These are just some of the many records released in the last few years by aging rockers that have broken through this stereotype with flying colors. That being said, there is still reason that this stereotype exists.

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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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Anatomy Of A Playlist (Noteworthy 02-05-2018)

Ivan from Noteworthy here again (Mondays 6PM-8PM). I’m back with another edition of Anatomy Of A Playlist, which is a great way to pull back the curtain and show you the thought process of putting together a 2-hour show.

Things stay pretty eclectic on a weekly basis, so in order to keep things smooth while varied, I take special care into making sure the playlist feels cohesive while also hitting on some topics and themes that caught my attention from the previous week. Just look at how I began things for this show.

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If you recall, the day of the Super Bowl LII was deemed #JanetJacksonAppreciationDay on social media as a response to Justin Timberlake being chosen as the halftime show performer, despite his involvement with the “wardrobe malfunction”  seen ’round the world. Count me in as one of those who felt that his inclusion at this year’s Super Bowl was problematic. Janet Jackson, one of the great pop icons of our time, was demonized to the point of practical invisibility as Timberlake managed to keep his career and image intact while absolving himself of any culpability in the incident until the damage had already been done.

I carried on with #JanetJacksonAppreciationDay at the beginning of my show since I strongly feel that her window of impact would have been extended a few more years without the controversy and her discography is among the most influential of the past three decades.

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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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