Tag: music

Hot Take: Post Malone’s new album gets a 9 out of 10

Breanna Hill, Arts & Entertainment Editor

Post Malone has risen to the top of the charts on numerous occasions and continues to make musical history. He recently just dropped a new album on September 6 of this year titled ‘Hollywood’s Bleeding’. It features collaborations with Ozzy Osbourne, Future, Halsey and a few others. 

Post Malone has been one of my favorite artists since he emerged not too long ago. I found his music to be quite refreshing, not just because of the beats and the rhythms he used but because of the truth he shares within his lyrics. He has always been quite open about his past relationships, which are described time and time again within several of his number one hits. He makes himself vulnerable to the world in order to release music that everybody is able to relate to at some point. 

As soon as this album was released, I took the time to listen to each and every one of the songs. I was shocked by some of the collaborations that were within the album. I mean, honestly, who saw the whole Ozzy Osbourne thing coming? Definitely not me. I believe that this album is definitely some of his best work. I always love when artists collaborate on projects with other artists, but I love it even more when it’s something totally unexpected. 

The quality of the music is phenomenal. Post again makes himself vulnerable with most of the songs. I find myself realizing that his comfort zone is speaking out about relationships, love and heartbreak in general because most of his songs are related to those subjects. I know others can find the repetition of certain subjects in an artist’s journey to be quite boring and predictable, but I don’t believe that to be the case in this situation at all. He was also able to create other songs that had to do about his views on certain issues that the world is facing and dealing with today, like the Internet which is the title of one of his songs on the new album. 

Though I find myself jamming out to most of the album, there are a couple of songs that I stray away from just because of personal interest and my individuality which is okay. Everybody interprets music differently and not everybody likes the same thing. I definitely have my favorites from the album that are on constant repeat. The one I find myself playing first every single time I open the album on Spotify is “Take What You Want” featuring Ozzy and Travis Scott (shocker, huh?). Another favorite of mine is “Circles” because of the beat. It gives me hippie vibes and it genuinely makes me happy, despite the not-so-easy message the song conveys. If you’re a big fan of the times that Post Malone shows off his rapping skills in his songs, I definitely recommend listening to “On The Road” featuring Meek Mill and Lil Baby. They all show off their talent in this fast paced tune.

The album has something for everybody. It has various subjects littered throughout the songs. It has upbeat tempos and slower tempos and it shows off Post Malone’s ability to change things up a bit. I highly recommend listening to the entire album because of the good quality music it produces. I rate it a 9/10. Let me know what you guys think.

Billboard releases new top 5 hits

Breanna Hill, A&E Editor

As of September 9, the Top 5 songs on the Billboard Hot 100 are as follows: “Truth Hurts” by Lizzo, “Senorita” by Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello, “Bad Guy” by Billie Eilish, “You Need to Calm Down” by Taylor Swift and “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X, featuring Billy Ray Cyrus. 

The last one is definitely a shocker, isn’t it?

As someone who commutes to JSU for class, I spend a lot of time in my car listening to music and most of the time it tends to be the top hits genre that I feel drawn to. I honestly find myself not surprised by the order of the songs this week. 

All of the artists who hold these spots on the charts are big names and widely known. Their catchy, relatable lyrics seem to draw in the public as much as the bass that seems to dictate the musical aspect of the tune. 

Lizzo seemed to just appear out of nowhere, and honestly I had not heard of her until “Truth Hurts’’ was on the top 100. 

Lizzo’s chart toppers are so popular because of the message that she portrays in them so clearly. She spreads body positivity in every hit she puts out. I enjoy every one of her songs because of that reason. It makes me feel good about myself and helps with my self-esteem. I urge everyone who hasn’t heard of her (all two of you) to look her up and listen to her incredible songs. 

Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello have been on the top 100 before, time and time again. With the Latin influence becoming the norm in pop music today, the song title was enough to send us all to YouTube to hear the collaborative piece ‘Senorita’. 

Despite the hype, I find myself classifying it as an average song. Yes, it has an upbeat tempo but none of the lyrics really speaks to me. It’s just an average pop song in my opinion. I believe that the reason it’s so popular is because everybody is rooting for anything to do with the two of them together. Billie Eilish being in the top five is definitely not a shocker to me. She has become an iconic artist in today’s society because she is unlike anything the music industry has ever had before, especially the pop genre. 

Though her music videos made me scratch my head, I find her voice to be soothing. Not to mention her incredible lyrics and killer bass. I have to admit, I’m a sucker for good bass. ‘Bad Guy’ is one of her most popular hits and the musical aspect of it is undeniably unique. 

When it comes to Taylor Swift I can’t help but listen to all of her jams, even the ones dating back to the early 2000s. She made a smooth transition from country to pop, proving that she’s able to get out of her comfort zone. 

Swift recently released a new album titled ‘Lover’ which features the song that has climbed to the fourth spot on the Billboard top 100, ‘You Need to Calm Down’. I believe the song is incredible, and I’m thrilled about how the music video turned out. I believe everyone should see it. The plot of the video is inspiring, and it features Katy Perry and Taylor Swift making up. Hello, what more could you need?

The fifth song generally makes me roll my eyes now. I am all for Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus, but the song has been played over and over again on dozens of stations, and there have been who knows how many remakes and additions to the song that it has grown tiresome. 

It reminds me of when Pharrell’s song ‘Happy’ would play all day, every day. I appreciate the boundaries that the song pushed, but there’s only so much of it that I can take and I’ve about had enough. Maybe I can listen to it once every six months. Maybe.

Overall, the songs by all of the artists in the Top 5 are great songs. I enjoy all the instrumental aspects in each song. I appreciate the time and effort that the artists and songwriters put in to making them. Pop music has definitely come a long way, and I’m eager to see what comes next.

Photo courtesy of Jeff Kravits/Getty Images

Hot Take: Has Kidz Bop ruined popular songs?

Miranda Prescott, Arts & Entertainment Correspondent

Popular music in today’s times play one of the most influential roles in creating the culture and society our generation grows up in. 

This role has gone on for as long as the music in this sense has existed. From Mozart’s classical pieces to modern-day hit songs from artists such as Taylor Swift and many others, music has held power for centuries. 

This week, however, we are only going to focus on the last five years, as I listen and give my opinion on each of the top songs from the past half-decade. Fair note: these songs come from Billboard’s Year-End Top 100 list from each year. Also, this is strictly my opinion, and it is not here for anyone trying to defend these songs, because, let’s be honest, there is no defending them. 

2014: “Happy” by Pharrell Williams 

Oh boy, where do I begin? I honestly believe that not many people are truly happy while listening to this song. Mainly because they hear it during one of two scenarios. The first one is when a five-year old has it on repeat on an iPad. And it’s a six-hour car ride. And it’s not even this version. It’s the one from Kidz Bop. The second one is the same five-year old watching Despicable Me 2 on repeat on the same six-hour car ride. The only upside to this scenario is at least it’s not Kidz Bop. 

2015: “Uptown Funk!” by Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars 

While looking this one up, I was praying that this list would get better. As a result, it did get slightly better. Don’t get me wrong, I love Bruno Mars. He is one of my favorites. This song, however, is not one of my favorites. Yes, this is a very catchy song, and yes, the music video for it is very well produced. However, after a while, this song gets old very quickly. Overall, a better song than the year prior, but it is still not one of my favorites. 

2016: “Love Yourself” by Justin Bieber 

I am going to get a lot of heat from saying this, but it needs to be said: I’m not a fan of Justin Bieber. I admit it. I never had “Bieber Fever” or whatever it’s called. Just thinking about this guy makes me cringe most of the time. However, this song is rather good. Is it better than the other two on the list? Probably not. As I’m writing this, it stands in second place amongst the three we have listed. So, hey, good for you Justin. You made me like one of your songs. That’s the biggest achievement you’ll ever have. 

2017: “Shape of You” by Ed Sheeran 

And the light at the end of the tunnel has been swiftly put out by this song. For me, it’s a combination of 2014 and 2015: I like Ed, but this song is also in the same boat as the first scenario as “Happy.” I firmly believe Kidz Bop has a strong power of ruining everything it touches. Especially this song. Honestly, this review is a bit shorter than the others because I didn’t expect it to be this song. I thought I was going to review “Despacito.” There’s a whole other article on that one. 

2018: “God’s Plan” by Drake 

Thank you, Drake. Thank you. This song has re-lit the light that Ed Sheeran took out last year. It’s an iconic song overall. The best thing is, Kidz Bop can’t ruin it. Yes, they made it worse, but that’s just their branding. Also, if Kidz Bop has magical powers to ruin music, Drake has the power to keep music from being ruined like this. It’s a song you can never get tired of and earns high marks from me. 

There you have it. Was this a review of songs from the last five years or Kidz Bop? I’ll let you decide. However, the only question we have left to answer is who will join the list this year? More importantly, will it get ruined by other people? Will it be a song that future generations look back upon while doing research similar to this and like it? The only judge for this is time, and time we shall give it. 

JSU officials target spring reopening for Mason Hall

Scott Young, News Editor

Officials at Jacksonville State University’s Capital Planning and Facilities office said they are targeting for Mason Hall construction to be completed by the end of the year and for the building to be ready by spring 2020.

David Thompson, director of capital planning and facilities, said they hope for the building to be completed by that date but that he couldn’t “guarantee that date.”

Mason Hall, home to the music department and the Marching Southerners, was heavily damaged on March 19, 2018 by an EF-3 tornado that affected the city of Jacksonville and the campus of Jacksonville State University.

Since then, classes at the JSU music program have been dispersed across nine different buildings on campus, including Meehan Hall, the School of Business and Industry, Ayers Hall, Houston Cole Library, the RMC JSU complex and others.

“Not having Mason Hall as a home base for the band program has been extremely challenging,” said Ken Bodiford, director of university bands and a JSU assistant professor of music. “We are completely at the mercy of other departments around campus.”

Membership in the Marching Southerners has grown to 551 for the 2019 school year, which is a 39 percent increase since the year 2008. Of those 551 members, 191 of them are freshmen. 

Bodiford illustrated the importance of having a music building with record band membership.

He added that the kinesiology department, athletic department, housing and events department, the Jacksonville Community Center and the Baptist Campus Ministries have all provided space for band rehearsals to take place.

“At a minimum, the band needs 12 large rooms for the individual sections to hold sectional rehearsals,” said Bodiford. “In addition, we have to have one large room (at least the size of a gym) to hold all of the wind players for full band music rehearsals.”

Bodiford said that the department has been promised a building with soundproof practice rooms and studios, a soundproof band room and a recital hall.

“For over four decades, the music faculty and music majors have been fed broken promises of a new building,” said Bodiford. “I remember being told back in 1983 as a freshman music major that the next building to be built on campus will be a music building and performance hall. Well, 36 years later I am still waiting to see this happen. Needless to say, I am very excited to see the broken promises of the past come to an end.”

The JSU David L. Walters Department of Music is selling seats in Mason Hall’s new recital hall which includes an engraved plaque that the donor may personalize.

A premium seat goes for $300 for a seat in the middle section of the recital hall or a standard seat for $250. The proceeds are used to pay directly for the seat.

Thompson says that furniture has not yet been ordered for Mason Hall, and that the university is working to reopen Mason Hall as soon as possible.

“They want to get back in the building sooner rather than later, but they want to make sure things are done right,” said Thompson.

Story photo provided by Ashley Stephens/Chanticleer.

Local rock group to release new music

August 29, 2019

Kaitlin Fleming, Editor in Chief

A local rock band is set to release new music on Friday, August 30.

The Sunsets, a band that can only be described as an alternative, new wave, post punk pop, rock group, will release “Space Love” on all major streaming platforms and the band members are excited for the public to hear what they have been working on.

The group, made up of two brothers and some friends, released their first full album, Heartbeat Massacre in July of 2018 and released their first EP, Fatal Attraction, in 2016, just one year after the band began.

The two brothers are lead vocalist Torsten Dryden and drummer Breihan Dryden and the friends are bass guitarist Jack Vermuth and guitarist Trent Johnson, as well as saxophonist Quincy Chapman.

“This is the strongest incarnation the band has ever had,” said Torsten Dryden. “We’re taking a more collaborative approach.”

Every member of the band has given some of themselves to the music in some way or another.

“This is the first [bass guitar] part that I wrote with The Sunsets,” said Vermuth.

Johnson said the group makes every song feel like “you’re a part of it” and that each member has “split duties”

In fact, anyone who has seen a live performance by this band will know that there is sometimes a shuffling around on stage and trading of instruments. People who have been to any show recently would also know that “Space Love” has been a work in progress for some time now.

The funky sci-fi jam titled “Space Love,” which is all about exploring the unknowns of a new relationship, has seen several musical changes.

“We originally wanted ‘Space Love’ on Heartbeat Massacre but we just weren’t happy with it yet,” said Torsten Dryden.

To pay for studio time and mastered songs, the band has been playing at local venues and selling merchandise. They also play for charity events, like the recent “Bands for Bri” benefit concert, which helped pay medical bills for a lady who was accidentally shot and paralyzed.

The group has a “busy fall” according to Torsten Dryden. Apart from playing at local gigs, there are some exciting things in the works, like music videos, new songs and a new EP coming later this year, possibly in November.

As far as videos for “Space Love” goes, there will be a lyric video dropping with the song release this Friday. Jason Lugo created the lyric video and Dylan Baugh created the artwork for the release.SPACE-LOVE text.png

The song, and a few others that are under lock and key for now, were recorded in Nashville with WireBird Productions. Brett Ryan Stewart mixed and mastered the recordings.

“Brett is good at getting things right, right out of the gate,” said Breihan Dryden.

For more information on The Sunsets, check them out on social media by searching @thesunsetsrock on all major platforms. If you can’t wait for the newest song, you can always stream the Heartbeat Massacre album on Spotify, Apple Music and more.