This week, Frank Ocean aired the third episode of “blonded RADIO,” on his Beats 1 show. On previous episodes of “blonded RADIO,” Ocean premiered his songs, “Chanel,” and “Slide,” featuring Calvin Harris and Migos. On this most recent episode, Ocean ended the show with his newest song, “Biking” featuring Jay Z and Tyler, the Creator.
Tyler, The Creator, who is now back on Twitter after a brief disappearance, tweeted his lyrics to his verse on “Biking,” on Saturday afternoon. Lana Del Rey Responded with, “who else’s lyrics could these be !” and I automatically had high hopes for this song.
I was not disappointed. I’ve always been a fan of Jay Z, an even bigger fan of Tyler, The Creator, and a disgustingly huge fan of Frank Ocean.
“Biking,” is a relatively mellow song, that for a reason I cannot explain, makes me feel the way I feel when I look at a painting by Vincent van Gogh.
Everyone interprets music in a different way, and every feeling is unique to the listener. And that’s the beauty in music.
With a slumbering sound and acoustic harmonies, “Biking” gives me a feeling of nostalgia for deep summer nights, and with summer just around the corner, this was great timing for Ocean to drop this hit.
Frank Ocean will always be one of my top favorite artists, and I strongly and whole heartily believe “Channel ORANGE,” and “Blonde,” are two of the greatest albums to have been produced of all time.
Ocean never lets us down with his music, and I can’t wait to hear what is yet to come from him.
The Gorillaz just released a new song called Let Me Out as I type this. My phone buzzed and everything. But more on that in a bit.
It took me a few days of listening to collect my thoughts on the four songs off Humanz we’ve witnessed so far. I’ve got mixed feelings about all of them, but they’ve only made me want to hear more. We know how the Gorillaz operate; the album is a message, so getting bits of it at various intervals isn’t satisfying. It’s like eating a steak dinner over the course of a week. But they put enough thought into their art to make it worth a six-year wait. And that’s why I love the Gorillaz.
We know we haven’t got the full story yet. Let’s recap:
–Hallelujah Money: 1/19/17
–Saturnz Barz: 3/23/17
–We got the Power: 3/23/17
–Let Me Out: 4/6/17
Hallelujah Money was released at an interesting time, all by itself. It drew tons of criticism for being “un-Gorillaz,” and its critics were further criticized for being critical. I have a few thoughts on this that you’ll likely want to hear, seeing as you’re reading my blog: The Gorillaz work hard to not have a typical style. In fact, their style is that they don’t have a style; they experiment outside of their genre. It adds mystique and rejects structured normativity and it’s what drives fans crazy with delight. All I can think is when fans listened to Hallelujah Money and thought, That doesn’t sound like the Gorillaz, they really meant was, That doesn’t sound like Plastic Beach.
My other opinion on this matter is that you can be a fan of something without loving everything about it. Example: I think the US is pretty neat, but I also wish we didn’t have a Cheeto as president. If you’re one of the people worried you’re not a Gorillaz fan because you don’t like what you’ve heard of Humanz, or if you’re on the opposite end telling others they’re not Gorillaz fans because they don’t like what they’ve heard of Humanz, cut it out.
But back to its release date: January 19th, 2017. The day before the presidential inauguration. The Gorillaz’ music has always been attune to what’s going on in the world at the time, and though it was written several months before the election, the creators admit that afterwards, the album took on a new meaning. I won’t badger you with my analysis of the significance of its release date and it’s lyrics; I’ll provide a few of my favorite lyrics here and leave that to you (and if you can tell me what the Spongebob wail at the end of the song means, you get bonus points).
Next up is Ascension. I’m not an EDM person, so I’m not a fan of this one, but it sure does have some killer lines. Albarn himself said in an interview that Humanz is a “party, club record,” but it has a “weird darkness about it.” Saturnz Barz is what really got me. The video was crammed with references to horror films, likely the work of Jamie Hewlett, who’s a huge fan of the classic thrillers. The main theme of the Clint Eastwood video and the ends of Rock the House‘s video are inspired by the horror genre. As it’s clear most of the visual budget was diverted to the Saturnz Barz video, I’d recommend watching it multiple times. There are tons of hidden gems in the details, the first being a creepy face in the basement window appearing only four seconds in!
We got the Power and Andromeda came next, judging by the corresponding music videos. Though similarly to Ascension‘s video, it’s clear the creatives didn’t invest as much as they did in Saturnz Barz. This is surprisingly common for the band. Tomorrow Comes Today‘s video was done in two weeks, as Jamie forgot he had a deadline for the project after animating other videos for their Gorillaz album.
I was intending to weigh in on Let me Out, but I’ve only listened to it three times. As any Gorillaz fan knows, that’s not nearly enough if you want to understand the song. Their music is so intricate and thought out, enjoyment comes with familiarization of each album.
This is why I’m excited for the end of the month. Three weeks doesn’t sound like too short, but stand by! Humanz will be released on April 28th.
If you’re reading this blog, you may know a little bit about my emergence into the world of k-pop, but if you don’t, be sure to check out my previous k-pop blog My K-Pop Awakening! In this series of my K-Pop Awakening, I hope to enlighten you in my discovery of K-Dramas and how they quickly took over my life, thoughts, and emotions, as well as recommend some really good (and some questionable) dramas for you to check out!
The ever-evolving k-pop void consumes me once again.
When we last spoke on this subject, I told you all about the ~*cultural awakening*~ I experienced back in mid-September, in which I discovered my now favorite k-pop group, EXO. I briefly mentioned my discovery of a K-Drama titled Scarlet Heart: Ryeo, which lead to my k-pop expert/friend/roommate Pearl to point out which actor is in EXO. What I didn’t mention was that I actually got into the show, and actively kept up with it until its completion.
And man, was it a wild ride.
When I found the initial 6-minute trailer for Scarlet Heart, I immediately knew it was going to be over the top and super dramatic (hence the key term “drama”). But my incessant need to lovingly troll my roommate fueled me to pursue the drama further and actually invest time into watching it.
For some context, as Pearl Girl explained to me upon my discovery of this trailer, Korean dramas were “unoriginal, over-dramatic TV crap with terrible casting and acting.” Naturally, this ignited the incessant troll in me and I couldn’t help but try to bug her more by watching the first episode and annotating each scene as she tried to hide *evil laugh*.
Somehow I managed to talk her into watching some of the episodes with me and, luckily, I dragged her down with me as all my free time became devoted to obsessively waiting for another new episode to post on my new best friend Drama Fever, a free online service where you can stream literally hundreds of dramas.
While it was my first official drama and holds a place in my heart, Scarlet Heart turned into a hot mess halfway through the series. The story was hard to keep up with, the main characters were doing inexplicable things that were beyond any comprehension, and I was immediately salty at the screenwriters following the death of my favorite character (who was arguably one of the best characters, if not the only one).
Was it trash? Yes. Did I love it? Heck yes. Do I hate myself for loving it? Slightly. Would I binge all the episodes in one go to get the nostalgia out of my system? Absolutely.
A short one this week, as (let’s be real) we gear up to take on more hours at work next week. That’s how we spring-break UIC style. This means I write about something I’m fascinated by, and don’t need to research, as I usually would. My main game is healthcare, so my odd interest this week is drug policy, e.g. the laws that govern our prescription drugs.
Ready for that nausea to lurch to full-on heaving? Let’s get to it.
-A drug patent in the US lasts ten years. The company of origin has a decade to market the absolute hell out of it before the recipe (ingredients AND quantity) are released. This is how generic drugs exist, usually comprised entirely of the active ingredient of the “designer drug.”
For example, Tylenol’s active ingredient is acetaminophen. You can buy Tylenol for 15$ a bottle, or get much larger bottle of just acetaminophen for about 6$ at Jewel or CVS. Benadryl’s active ingredient is diphenhydramine. It’s a mouthful, but you can just buy a generic “allergy relief” box of pills for $4, with the only ingredient being diphenhydramine–it’ll serve the exact same purpose with the same quality. Read your labels!
-“I did read the labels! And the drug I saw on TV has more ingredients, not just the active ingredient! That makes it better than its generic version!”
This accusation is half-right. Brands put more things in their pills, but these ingredients are usually inactive. It’s essentially to make people believe that their drug is more comprehensive.
-“Then why do branded drugs cost so much more?” Because they can. And because they spend billions of dollars on marketing. The US and New Zealand are the only developed countries that allow direct-to-consumer marketing by pharmaceutical companies. Those wacky ads featuring 60-year-old white couples fishing and going to a ball game? They’re illegal practically everywhere else, because they divert pharmaceutic money away from research and development, and the ads are often misleading. Just think of the super-fast disclaimer at the end.
But back to the “because they can” part. Ahem. IT IS ILLEGAL IN THE US FOR THE GOVERNMENT TO EVEN TRY TO NEGOTIATE DRUG PRICES WITH PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES. Not difficult; not uncommon; illegal. That’s why epi-pen prices were allowed to rocket to hundreds of dollars a year ago. Because the CEOs had no opposition. And big surprise! People with life-threatening allergies need eip-pens to live, so they’ll pay whatever the cost.
-“OH GOD, why can’t we stop this?” Because designer drug brands make lots of money this way. The more money they make, the more powerful their lobby is in DC. I’m sure you’ve heard of “Big Pharma.” They’ve got more lobbyists, more cash, and more power than the National Rifle Association.
It took one meeting with Big Pharma lobbyists to turn Donald Trump’s view from “hey people should be able to afford their drugs” to “more money for Pharma means more innovation and more jobs or something.”
Oh man, here I said that’d be short, and yet here we are. Next time you’re in CVS looking for allergy meds, headache relief, or researching a new birth control pill, look at the ingredients. Then find the generic that boasts the brand-name’s active ingredient on its box. If you’re curious about all the other ingredients, you’ve got a smart phone. Look ’em up! If the generic’s package says “Compare with [Brand Name Drug]” that means it’s identical, except the pills might be a different shade of blue, or come in a bottle rather than a box.
The only difference is marketing. Be an educated consumer. The only way these kind of lobbyists will back off is if we stop feeding them.
This past Friday, UIC Radio held its fourth annual Battle of the Bands at The Bar 10 Doors on Taylor Street. The lineup included UIC bands August Hotel, Lettucehead, Brian Sees Stars, The Red Flag Boys, Turbulence, and The Land Lines.
After an energetic set from all the bands, the top 3 winners included: 1. LETTUCEHEAD, 2. Turbulence, and 3. August Hotel.
UIC Radio sincerely thanks all the bands for their hard work and dedication to performing, and helping create a night full of music and fun for all who attended!
This past weekend, UIC Radio attended the 2017 Intercollegiate Broadcasting Systems conference in New York City. UIC Radio was nominated for 7 awards. Categories included: Best Specialty Show, Best Show Promo, Best Station Promotional Poster, Best College Radio Streaming Station (More Than 10,000 Students), Best Website, Best Blog, and Best Use of Social Media.
After an educational weekend filled with informative ways to improve your radio station targeted at high school and college students, as well as hosting a panel on blogging, UIC Radio walked away with the trophy for Best Website in the nation and finalist trophies for the six other categories.
From all of us at UIC Radio, we would like to thank all of our readers and listeners for all the support!
Inauguration Day was a tragedy of epic proportions. The largest attack on our nation’s soil since 9/11. This time, the terrorists are not operating planes or weaponry. They are grasping pens, sitting behind wooden desks, preparing to erode every last modicum of decency through detrimental legislation. This is a turning point. Do we succumb to evil? Or do we rise up and prove, once and for all, that this is a nation which values life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for ALL of its citizens? Time will tell.
One thing is certain: we cannot passively sit on the sidelines. Not anymore. They’ll come for your food. They’ll come for your internet rates and access. Your clubs, alcohol, fashion, music; all of it. They’ll design everything to enrich themselves and their corporate brethren until you and I can no longer afford the distractions that we used to ignore the steady weathering of our rights. This is not to say distraction is inherently wrong, but opting for the more immediately convenient route of escapism is not a path towards prosperity.
In the past we’ve comforted ourselves with defeated cries of, “Nothing will ever change,” “There’s nothing I can do.” Ignored the news while we binge watched, drank, ate. Many people have long existed in this country without being afforded these distractions to mask their suffering. We didn’t care. Now? It’s caught up to us. Sad that it took personal stake to galvanize the general population, but here we are. Joining them in the ranks. Gasping on our sandy islands of privilege as a tidal wave rises against a bright orange sky and washes away the false sense of security and paradise we once relished in.
The time for action is now. These are the days they will teach to generations. Where were you? What did you do? What side did you align yourself with? When your relatives flip through the photo album, will they embarrassingly hide the nature of your character? Or will they be proud of their heritage, proud of the legacy you left behind and proud to be Americans? The choice is ours.
Friends, I have a confession. Y’know how sports are the utmost reverenced and widely accepted pinnacle of American culture? Well, I have never cared for these competitive sportsball games, of any kind.
But this year I’ve learned there is one competition I can get behind, one where everyone ends up a winner (ish).
Donut Fest is an annual celebration—held in Chicago, New York, and Cleveland—which invites the best local restaurants and bakeries to bring their doughnut A-game in hopes of receiving the most votes to earn the title of “Best Donut.”
The most rewarding part about being a fan of this sport is its simplicity: you show up, you receive tickets, you give the tickets to the booths, you get donuts and coffee, and then, finally, you eat the donuts, release several satisfying moans and wonder why you haven’t been starting every morning prior to this very moment with donuts.
The worst part was definitely having to wake up at 6am on a Sunday, but it was a small price to pay to have been granted early access to donut heaven before the general public and earning the official title of “Donut V.I.P.” which, for the record, better be engraved onto my future tombstone.
This year’s Donut Fest featured 11 donut vendors including Chicago donut staples like Stan’s Donuts, Glazed and Infused, and Doughnut Vault and suburban underdog shops like B’s Sweet Bites (Des Plaines), DeEtta’s Bakery (Naperville), and Gurnee Donuts (Gurnee).
I wish I could say that I didn’t eat 80 percent of what is pictured above in one sitting—in addition to the donuts from 4 other vendors that I ate immediately because I sadly only have two hands—but I did. #Healthy #CleanLiving
However, as justification, it was for the greater good. As a Donut V.I.P., it was my duty to assess the flavors of each donut and cast my vote for the most deserving candidate.
I did my best to leave my predisposition for Glazed and Infused’s donuts far from my decision-making, and ended up casting my vote for Gurnee Donuts’ Buko Pandan, a young green coconut glazed donut inspired by a popular Filipino dessert.
The official judges awarded DeEtta’s Bakery of Naperville with a trophy for their Chocolate Sour Cream Old Fashion, while the crowd deemed Doughnut Vault’s Cookies ‘n’ Cream best in show.
As I write my blog post, I am currently in the middle of god knows where someplace in the countryside of Ohio. So almost anywhere in Ohio. I’m sorting through photos and trying to organize everything that happened this weekend. Above is a photo of a friend and I walking through Washington. I’m just writing down my thoughts as they come along so this may be a very disoriented blog post. What you need to know is that my journey started at 2:30 PM when I boarded a train at Union to Naperville. After there was an accident on the tracks, I hitched a ride from Lisle IL to a Walmart parking lot in Naperville and waited patiently for a bus that would take me on a 14-hour bus ride to Washington D.C. The reason for my journey? I was going to stand in solidarity at the Women’s March on Washington. Yeah I know I identify as a man, I know that this is a march for women, but at the same time, I know that women should not have to be having this march in the first place. It’s 2017 and people are still fighting for their right to exist. We are living in an age where we as American Citizens have finally reached the boiling point to change this melting pot for the better.
So here I was, Marching in D.C., Representing every nasty woman that I’ve ever known that did not have the opportunity to drop everything they had planned and spend a weekend across the country. Representing every woman that has ever made an impact in my life. Representing what it means to be a Feminist until everyone, including myself, don’t have to explain the concept of equal rights to their relatives at the dinner table.
So the march itself had a very Woodstock-like feel. Hundreds of thousands of happy people marching for what they believe in. Though there were downsides. The number of people was so enormous that you would have to wait for hours to use a bathroom or buy food anywhere near the vicinity of the march. You’ve seen the pictures online, you’ve seen the media posts. The march itself was one of the most peaceful protests that I have ever been a part of. I never saw anyone fight. I never saw any police engage, and I never saw any open space that was uninhabited by human beings.
It was amazing.
It was a surreal experience. The amount of people that were generating positive energy engulfed the crowd. The sea of protesters ebbed and flowed into every open crevice. Cheers started and ended like a relentless, sonorous tsunami in the waves of pink pussyhats. There were so many people wading through the streets that the march route became more than 4 separate streams all flowing towards the White House. From the trickle of marchers at 8 am at the capitol building to the storm of justice that overtook this nation’s capital just hours later, every single person who could feel change in the storms they conjured up.
I can’t fathom into words the experience that I had this weekend in D.C. The sheer mass of content that I experienced this weekend could fill a novel. I am cutting this blog post short, but I ask everyone reading this one thing. We, the people, have the power to generate change. If you are passionate about something, or know that there is injustice out there, go out and fight for what’s right. It’s up to us to do the right thing. There will always be someone out there to support your beliefs, just ask the 3.3 Million people who marched this weekend around the world.
For those of you who have been tuning in to my show Midnight with PearlGirl and Sonia Universe, it’s not a surprise that my buddy Sonia and I are now BIG fans of K-pop. For those of you who haven’t been tuning in, SURPRISE! We love K-pop!
Over the past few months, we’ve experienced a lot of emotions from getting sucked into the world of Korean pop music. We’ve listened to K-pop music nonstop at our apartment and on our show. We’ve obsessed over our favorite groups on tumblr, twitter, and facebook. We even started planning a potential trip to see one of our favorite groups, BTS (Bangtan Boys), perform when they come to the US for their Wings Tour.
It’s been a very happy three months of living and breathing K-pop. Now, it’s time for us to take the next step in our journey… by hosting a 4 hour-long K-pop show on Midnight!
Tomorrow, we will be dedicating our entire show to playing our favorite K-pop tunes and discussing K-pop with our friends. So join us from 2-6pm on UIC Radio to hear us geek out about our favorite groups, music videos, live performances, K-pop celebs, and Korean dramas on-air! What better way to end this crazy semester?
In case you’re in dire need of some K-pop right this second, here’s a few of our favorite K-pop (and other K-genre!) songs that you can check out below!