By Emma Korstanje
After ringing in the New Year, the singles of the world have approximately one and a half months before their own proverbial D-Day.
This day, which, ironically enough, has fairly morbid origins, is commonly known as Valentine’s Day. For some, it is a day for elementary-aged students to passively hint at interest in others with various foil stickers and heart-shaped lollipops while those in a relationship plan extravagant evenings involving far too many contrasting shades of red and pink.
On the other end of the spectrum fall those who the Roman god, Cupid, failed to nail successfully with one of his infamous mind-altering arrows. This demographic is more likely to view the holiday as an unfortunately lonely day preceding the day when a ton of previously overpriced, sugar-filled goodness goes on sale—likely a welcome distraction from the events of days prior.
This month’s playlist is set to take a different course than those before it by not focusing on undiscovered tunes and instead on a Valentine version of comfort food, in music form. The following lineup contains songs appropriate for both the jilted lover and the eternally single, focusing first on those wallowing in solitude before transitioning to those thriving in independence.
Each year, right around the same time that peppermint mocha regains its status as a household name and facial tissues—with lotion—become an important ally in the war on head colds, an interesting phenomenon begins to work its way through the human race. This phenomenon usually gets its start with catchy jingles used to make holiday sales appear even more irresistible and is made blatantly obvious once radio stations switch their song rotations to a more festive lineup.
The event I am referring to here is the natural division of the human population into two distinct subgroups: those who love Christmas music and those who sport sound-proof earmuffs to avoid it. The classic case of Frohmeyers versus Kranks, or Whoville residents versus the Grinch
Regardless of music preference, during the holiday season these tunes are as unavoidable as those long-time-no-see distant relatives and as hard to get rid of as garland glitter. Due to this, it is time to change up the playlist and close the divide.
The following lineup features a variety of unconventional holiday songs, with a few unique covers of the classics thrown in. With a playlist featuring these tracks, it is once again possible to please both the carol-loving and carol-hating partygoers this season.
Music is most powerful at night, because there are less distractions. During the day there are sounds of life, people talking and machines working. But at night things begin to get quieter. That moment is the best time to blast your music loud and the absolute best place to do that is in your car driving. Everyone has a different idea of what night driving music should be so that was the hardest part of making this playlist, creating a cohesive idea of what the night sounds like to me. And of course different music could be applicable to different speeds or locations of driving, but for my purposes I’m going to run with the idea of driving down a highway late at night with the street lights passing you at maybe one too many miles per hour over the posted limit.
After countless hours of unwarranted self-deliberation I decided that the best night driving music always hits three big points: big almost overbearing lead vocals with background choral elements, heavy percussion and an overall spacey ethereal vibe.
Big vocals grab your attention and speak for you: from the gentle seductive melodies of Frank Ocean to the forceful drive behind Ben Thornewill of Jukebox the Ghost, there is a definite presence in voices. Similarly, background vocals have an incredible effect on the overall feel of a song: Bombay Bicycle Club uses background vocals elegantly, not only adding to that spacey vibe I mentioned but adding multidimensionality to the music and facilitating some deep night contemplation...or something.
Night music needs a beat, lest you fall asleep. However for driving it’s not about having a crazy intense rhythm but rather an upbeat one that metaphorically keeps the car rolling. Vampire Weekend is a band driven through percussion so even in softer songs there exists a certain level of energy. In this playlist I definitely favored more of an acoustic drum sound, but electronic deep bass music would be another great direction for curating your own night drive playlist.
“Space vibes” sounds made up, and it probably is; it’s when the song doesn’t feel like it’s coming from the speakers, but rather, you’re wrapped up in the middle of it. Reverb and echo effects balanced with the aforementioned background vocals really create a space that the music moves in. Songs like “Punching in a Dream” and “Amazing” do this really well and are excellent with their layered sounds.
Most of these tracks aren’t explicitly happy or sad and can really match any mood. You could take them for a ride to celebrate a promotion or take them out when you’re remembering that one really embarrassing thing you did in middle school. Lord knows that’s what I’ve used them for.
So if you want to give it a whirl, here’s a link: http://spoti.fi/1LL2b23. But keep an eye on the speedometer. With the windows down and this on full blast it might be hard to keep the car below the legal limit.
By Emma Korstanje
Upon wandering into the majority of Halloween events, a few consistencies quickly become evident: there will almost always be at least one cat costume in attendance, as well as a healthy dose of food coloring and sugar cleverly shaped as corn kernels. Pair that with a plethora of smiling squashes and plastic skeletons just dying to have a good time, and the event can almost be considered a smash hit.
One other consistency will most likely be present: the playlist. As an often unchanged constant, this can easily make or break an event. With songs that seemingly date back to the days when Halloween was still referred to as “All Hallow’s Eve” and the words “Trick or Treat” did not directly translate into a request for sugary goodness, the idea that the playlist could use a tune-up is not that farfetched.
Not intended to insult the usual lineup—because if I am being honest I can do the awkward neck twitch when there’s a thrill in the air and I definitely can bust ghosts with the best of them—but it has become a bit too commonplace for comfort. Though the songs represent all that is great about October 31st and the creatures that come with it, a playlist consisting of only overplayed (regardless of how delightfully cheesy they are) classics can cause an event to rest in peace in no time.
That being said, I decided to do a little digging into the world of ghostly songs (which can get quite spooky when you get into the throngs of Marilyn Manson and the Misfits) and have emerged victorious, uncovering a few songs that were previously undiscovered in regards to Halloween jams. Use these tunes to spice up your surely already ghoulish playlists for the season and you’ll have a mix to rival that of the Boogie Man.
Athens-based college radio station, WUOG 90.5, helped Ellen Hardin discover a new favorite band: Fake Flowers.
In her first two months of college, Hardin has been directly exposed to multiple Athens-based bands. “The first three weeks of school, I went to two shows—I saw Fake Flowers, Scooterbabe, Wieuca and Stay at Home Dad. I went to the 40 Watt and the Caledonia Lounge.” Hardin says she would not have gone to these venues if it were not for volunteering at WUOG.
WUOG is owned by The University of Georgia, but is completely staffed, operated and funded by UGA students out of the Tate Student Center.
According to the WUOG website, the station is supported “mainly through student activity dollars,” and the radio station’s budget is “supplemented by underwriting from local businesses as well as donations from alumni.”
Hardin, 18, is a freshman biological science major from Woodstock, Georgia. She first heard about WUOG at the UGA Orientation Student Activities Fair last summer. She said that after orientation, she received an email from someone on staff at the station, and decided to attend a meeting to see if she was interested.
“I missed the first meeting, but my friend told me I really had to go, that I’d like it, so I decided to go to the second one,” said Hardin. She ended up at the Local Music staff meeting on the second Monday night of the school year.
“After the meeting, I really wanted to do Local Music specifically. It seemed a lot more personal and genuine, than just generic music,” Hardin said. “The group for Local Music was a lot smaller than the other groups, and the people seemed to know each other better,” said Hardin.
New WUOG volunteers are immediately immersed in the Athens music scene. “When freshmen start off at WUOG, they review bands for a semester,” said Hardin.
Local Music Director, Jonny Williams, chooses which albums and artists the volunteers review each week. “We have to listen to the albums a few times through and check for curse words,” Hardin says. “Then we write a paragraph or two about each album—some information and recommended tracks to play— and send it to Jonny.”
The station’s music philosophy, found on WUOG.org, says WUOG is “designed to help new and independent artists gain exposure on campus, in Athens, and throughout the nation.”
WUOG has monthly Live in the Lobby programs featuring local bands chosen by Williams. The bands set up in the WUOG lobby to perform a live show that is also featured on air. Reptar and R.E.M., both popular bands that gained momentum in the Classic City, have performed for the program.
“A lot of subdivisions of WUOG can go toward raising awareness of local bands,” said Hardin, “Everyone there is always boosting local shows and concerts, always saying, ‘Go check out this or that band.’”
Her experience at WUOG so far has even affected her daily music routine. “Now I find myself searching Athens bands on Spotify, and looking up shows for bands I review for the station,” said Hardin.
All UGA students are eligible to volunteer for WUOG if they are full-time students, or part-time students who have paid the semester student activities fee. For more information on joining the Local Music staff at WUOG, contact the Local Music Director, Jonny Williams (email@example.com), or attend the weekly meetings on Mondays at 6:15 p.m. in the WUOG lobby on the third floor of the Tate Student Center.
By Jared Dangremond
Autumn brings about a certain nostalgia for the acoustic guitar. Not the kind you hear down your dorm hall picking a half-hearted “Blackbird” or strumming a slightly out of tune “Wonderwall,” but the gentle kind that reminds you of the outdoors and makes you feel earthy. Maybe it’s the falling leaves or the cool autumn breeze but something about the season makes an acoustic sound very appealing.
Acoustic music is more of a style than a genre and it exists on an impossibly wide spectrum. From a large folk sound like Mumford and Sons to stripped-down ethereal vocals like Imogen Heap, acoustic music has something for everyone. It’s always a crowd pleaser, but it is a dish best served in a casual setting, probably at night. I’ve also found it is paired best with pleasant company and deep, existential conversation.
I gave the following songs a test run on a backpacking trip in the North Georgia Mountains this past summer. Don’t get me wrong, I can “nae nae” with the best of them, but unwinding to these songs after a day of hiking with a small fire going was something beyond compare. I invite you as well to take a listen to these acoustic tunes that breathe the very essence of the season.
You can check out the Spotify playlist here: http://spoti.fi/1KAIfye
Making his second debut in Athens in six months, Michael Ray took the stage this time around with his name as the headlining act at the Georgia Theatre. A crowd of university students and people from around the Athens area filled the Georgia Theater to see the show. As each concertgoer walked into the venue, they were greeted by a foggy stage with Michael Ray’s name glowing in the background. Not much time passed before the high-ceiling room acquired the pungent smell of alcohol— a smell that I’ve fondly begun to associate with concert venues.
The John King Band, a music group out of Demorest, Georgia, opened the show. Singing songs about 5-inch high heels and letting your hair down, the John King Band set the night off on the right note. Although it was apparent many of the concertgoers didn’t know their music, John King, the lead singer, knew how to work the crowd, especially the ladies. His smile sent all the girls around me screaming and rushing to the stage in a frenzy trying to touch his hand—more often than not knocking me and several other people into the side railing, a trend that would continue throughout Michael Ray’s portion of the night as well.
If you were able to survive that, the band’s music was quite humorous with all the talk of high-heeled shoes, but their performance, despite all the good, had its flaws. In comparison to Michael and his band who had more ease in their movements on stage, it was noticeable that the John King Band was still finding out who they are when it comes to working the stage. Several of the band members were stiff and did not interact with the crowd at all; however, the crowd didn’t seem to mind. In fact by the end of the band’s set, the majority of the crowd was singing along regardless of if they had known of the band for a year or 20 minutes.
When Michel hit the stage, the atmosphere in the room immediately intensified; finally, the person everyone had been waiting all night to see had arrived. The moment Michael stepped out on to the stage, the crowd was singing along, not missing a beat the entire night whether the song was about heading south, running away or driving all night. The first portion of his set list for the night consisted of a more upbeat song selection from his album—in other words the party anthems. The prominent drumbeat, electric guitars, and Michael’s full range vocals, create the contemporary country sound that is embodied in the majority of Michael’s music. These are the songs that have the crowd singing at the top of their lungs and Michael working his way across the stage.
However, some of his songs do have a more classic country sound from 10 years ago; these songs are slower and the lyrics hold more weight. These are his acoustic songs, and they create an opportunity for vulnerability. When it’s just Michael on stage with the microphone and his guitar, his music has a stronger connection around it, because it’s him putting himself out there in front of everyone. “You really get to connect to him because he shares pieces of his life and what got him to where he is,” remarked Hannah Allison, a sophomore Management Information Systems major from Lawrenceville, Georgia. This version of his music is very reminiscent and story like. It’s more intimate. It’s rawer. It’s his way of saying “This is who I am.”
With his own music mixed with covers and his stage persona, Michael Ray easily captivated the crowd. “The whole night was a spontaneous adventure for me. I didn’t decide to go until an hour before the show, but I’m glad that I did,” said Hannah Zenas, a freshman cellular biology and business management major from Alpharetta, Georgia. “Michael’s stage presence and his voice were incredible. I was taken aback when he hit all the low notes perfectly. I thought he brought justice to all the covers he did too. My favorite had to be his tribute to “Should’ve Been A Cowboy”.” Michael would occasionally point out people in the crowd who were dancing along and would invite others to sing along. Through this personal touch that Michael added to the night, you felt like you were fully involved in the concert experience and not solely a bystander.
Before the night ended, Michael carried on a UGA tradition, which was the calling of the dogs. Ray Drew, a player from the UGA football team, joined Michael on stage to lead the cheer. Everyone eagerly joined in while Michael watched from the side of the stage. A couple songs later, Michael finished his last song of the night, his #1 chart topped song, “Kiss You In the Morning.” The crowd had connected so much throughout the night to Michael though that they didn’t want him to leave and demanded an encore from him. Encores are something that he does not normally have the opportunity to do, so it was no surprise when he took the stage again for the night. Overall, Michael put on a phenomenal show. There wasn’t a dull moment, and he touched my hand, so I can’t really complain.
She’s a mix of Stevie Wonder and David Bowie. Her incredible talent matches her energy performing. She’s young and she’s pretty, she is a Covergirl after all. She has performed with legends like Prince and Erykah Badu. Her audiences range from the President to Saturday Night Live. Despite this, Janelle Monae is still not considered a popular artist.
Monae, while seemingly not mainly popular, she has become one of the most successful R&B artists. She rubs elbows with the likes of Beyonce; she was one Solange’s bridesmaids. Her cover of Shirley Bassey’s Goldfinger for President Barrack Obama was one of the best I’ve heard. She started with a series of albums beginning with Metropolis and leading to the ArchAndroid and last year’s Electric Lady. Before that, Monae was featured on Fun.’s “We are young.” Monae has also worked with artists like Estelle, B.O.B., Big Boi, and Athens’ own Of Montreal.
Back in February, Monae officially started her record label, Wondaland Records, in a deal with L.A. Reid CEO of Epic Records. The label will feature five different acts under Monae’s guidance. Jidenna who collaborated with Monae before, appearing in Monae’s music video for her song Dance Apocalyptic. Deep cotton is made up of Nate Wonder, and Chuck Lighting who were featured on Monae’s album The ArchAndroid. Alex Belle and Isis Valentino form the music duo St. Beauty. Valentino previously provided background vocals for Monae. Completing the label is singer songwriter Roman GianArthur, who wrote the overtures for Monae’s album suites.
The first act of Monae’s Wondaland Society is the release of a collaborative LP featuring all of the performers and Monae herself. The first single released was Jidenna’s “Classic Man” featuring GianArthur. The second was released with its video earlier this week with Monae and Jidenna, “Yoga.” These songs and others will add to complete the LP called the Eephus.
Last week, every social media outlet was blowing up with news of the Justin Bieber Roast on Comedy Central hosted by the comedy king himself, Kevin Hart. Still, the fun didn’t stop there. Kevin wasn’t the only one dissing the young star. Alongside Kevin were celebrities such as Snoop Dogg, Ludacris, Martha Stewart, and Shaquille O’Neal to name a few.
During the roast, some major shade was thrown along with insults that were downright savage. Though it was Bieber’s choice to subject himself to the public humiliation one has to ask, “Where do you draw the line?”
I’m all for a little good-natured abuse; Bieber could use a few stabs to his ego, but some of the jokes were right at that line if not over it.
Nothing good ever goes down once you bring someone’s mother into a roast. Jokes were also directed at the teen heartthrob’s former on and off girlfriend, Selena Gomez, which was to be expected. However, some digs in particular were extremely harsh. I’m sure if you watched the show you know exactly the ones I’m talking about. Furthermore, many jives were just socially insensitive, but I guess we should’ve seen those coming too.
I’ll admit, I laughed A LOT that night. The two-hour program was comical to say the least, but I really have to give props to Bieber. It was clear that some jokes hit him harder than others, but he took them like a champ, nonetheless.
Overall, I was the most impressed by his heartfelt apology at the end of the show for his regrettable behavior in recent years. It seems like the kid is finally growing up.
Last week, One Direction member Zayn Malik announced his departure from the British boy band, turning the five-man band into a somber foursome. Since the announcement Zayn has only done one interview with The Sun in which he explains his reasoning for leaving the band:
“You know, I did try to do something that I wasn't happy doing for a while, for the sake of maybe other people's happiness. And that was mainly the fans. I only ever tried to do it for the fans, and it was only ever for them. And basically, I'm only upset cause I feel like I may have let them down in some sort of way."
Days after the release, Zayn was seen at a recording studio sparking rumors of a potential solo career in the making.
Many fans have taken to social media (myself included) to express their disappointment and anger, but also their support for the young artist’s decision. However, the remaining band members Harry, Liam, Louis, and Niall have assured the fans that they will continue on as One Direction.
But hey, there may still be hope for us boy band lovers. Ringo Starr left The Beatles only to return a few months later. It’s a stretch, but it’s one I’m willing to hold on to.
All in all, what’s important is Zayn’s overall health and well-being. He’s still young and has a full life ahead of him and honestly if he wants to live a different life he doesn’t really owe anybody any justification. I mean having frantic screaming girls follow you around for 5 years has to be extremely exhausting so really who could blame the guy?
I don’t think anyone could have said it better than Gabriella Montez in High School Musical 2. Sometimes you gotta go your own way.