Entertainment

passion pit gossamer

Passion Pit’s CD, Gossamer, takes you on a musical journey you hardly hear anymore amidst the constant dance beats of 2012. Trust ME, their unique and subtle sounds will draw you in.

The album starts off with the new single, “Take a Walk,” which explores the story of immigrants trying to make their way in America. While the track is full of struggle, the beat and mood of the song is not as depressing as one would expect. The song has a quiet, cheery melody, and presents itself as a journey they must get through to get where they want to be.

This appears to be the theme of Gossamer. The lead singer of Passion Pit, Michael Angelasko, takes a walk himself with this autobiographical album. To fully understand the songs, one must know the life Angelasko leads.

Angelasko has been battling bipolar disorder for some time now and started self-medicating himself. It got to the point where he almost ended his own life, and the album almost never happened.

His dark lyrics leave the audience with a haunting vibe, while the techno and R&B feel to the beat leaves you wanting more. The contrast between the tortured lyrics and cheery beats is the music of a man who is suffering from battling his demons and perfecting good music.

Tracks like “Constant Conversations” and “I’ll be Alright” show off a distant side of Angelasko. In “Constant Conversations” he explains that “drinking doesn’t make me nice,” which shows his problem with self-medicating and the effect it has on his relationships.

However his expectations do not ring true as he has said he believes his fiancé keeps him alive. In the song “On my Way” he shows this feeling toward his fiancee. The lyrics beg for a woman to understand: just believe in me, Kristina. All these demons, I can beat them.” His pleas for help continue on Hideaway,” when he croons, “come and take my heart away, someday everything will be okay.”      

The cry for help is the underlying theme for Angelasko. His life is his music and this album showcases just the kind of issues he faces in his daily life. This broken man pours his heart out to the world. While his lyrics are sometimes hard to identify with because they are not straightforward, the album is an honest honest perspective of life’s twists and turns.

-Jenna Cusumano

no doubt settle down

After a 4-year hiatus—which allowed the band members to focus on their own solo projects—No Doubt finally released the first single off their newest album, Push and Shove, out on September 25th.

The music video for “Settle Down,” was directed by Sophie Muller, who had worked on multiple other projects for the band in the past. The music video follows the members of the band as they are traveling to their concert, where a wild dance party eventually erupts as the band performs their song.

 



If “Settle Down” is any indication of what Push and Shove has to offer, it is safe to say that this album is still very much what fans have come to expect from the band. In “Settle Down,” much like in their previous work, ska and reggae are heavy influences—an eclectic mix of sounds No Doubt made famous in the U.S.

Although fans will have to wait until September for the full taste of No Doubt’s latest album, they will have a little bit of flavor to tide them over with “Settle Down.”

Amy Lauren

girl reading at the beach

It’s finally time for you to pick out what you want to read without the pressure of having to be tested on it. So what are the hottest books right now to take down to the beach? Check out our must-read list.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

This thriller will have you on the edge of your beach towel. Everything is not always as it seems, and the story of Nick and Amy Dunne proves this. On their 5th wedding anniversary, Amy goes missing. While Nick is weird about the incident, people begin to wonder if he killed her. However, when Amy’s diary is found and a suspicious box in the back of her closet is brought to attention, everyone begins to question whether they ever knew her at all.

The Best Thing by Jennifer Weiner

Ruth Saunders leaves her hometown to achieve her dreams in California. Years after her arrival, Ruth’s screenwriter dreams come true when her T.V. show is picked up. Saunders learns the hard side of Hollywood once she reaches her dream and loses it all at the same time. Dreams may come true in Hollywood, but what price are you willing to pay to make them happen?

Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult & Samantha van Leer

Picoult is at it again but this time with another writer in tail: her daughter. Van Leer came to her mom with a story idea and together Picoult and van Leer wrote their first young adult novel. Between the Lines is a new twist on a fairytale romance. Delilah finds herself engrossed in a novel featuring Prince Oliver. However, when Oliver finds out that he can speak to Delilah, she tries to help him escape the doom of being trapped in his life.

The Diary of Darcy J. Rhone by Emily Giffin
       
Giffin’s new free e-novel introduces you to the young Darcy Rhone from Something Borrowed and Something Blue. It goes inside the diary of Darcy and shows you what she was like being best friends with Rachel before college and Dex. This prequel is just what Giffin fans are looking for in anticipation of Giffin’s new book, coming out at the end of July.

-Jenna Cusumano

aaron johnson

With a starring role in Savages (alongside young stars Blake Lively and Taylor Kitsch), Aaron Johnson is on fire! This cutie is no stranger to the movie scene, and is currently fine-tuning his resume with two more movies out this year—Anna Karenina & Kick-Ass 2. Let ME show you 10 things about this go-getter that you probably didn’t know; so take your eyes off of the picture of him (so.difficult.) and read on!


1. For 12 years he studied singing, acrobatics, tap, jazz, and of course, drama.

2. His favorite food group is fruits! He is a big lover of kiwi, plums, raspberries and blueberries.

3. Aaron Johnson had his first kiss at age 10 with a 13 year old girl—guess he likes them a little older! Which brings us into number four:

4. He’s married to a woman more than twice his age!  Sam Taylor-Wood directed Nowhere Boy, a film he starred in. At 20, Aaron decided to tie the knot with his then 43-year-old girlfriend.

5. His favorite movies include Pulp Fiction and Boogie Nights.

6. He has four children—two of his own and two stepchildren. They are all girls ranging in age from six months to 15! Whoa, buddy!

7. Johnson starred in R.E.M.’s “Uberlin” music video back in 2011, which was also directed by his wife.

8. Aaron’s older sister Gemma appeared in the movie Tom & Thomas as an extra.

9. His favorite actor is Daniel-Ray Lewis, who starred in his all-time favorite movie, There Will Be Blood.

10. If the acting career had not have worked out, Aaron was quoted saying he would have probably gotten a job scaffolding or he would have become a plumber.


-Kairi Coe

chris brown fortune

After listening to Chris Brown’s brand new album, Fortune, one word comes to mind: offensive. Ever since the Rihanna incident in 2009, Brown has had a rough time finding his way back into the Hollywood scene, a crowd that’s not so accepting.

Once “Turn up the Music,” the exciting and dance worthy single, made its way into the radio station rotation, I thought it was a great single to follow “YEAH 3X” and “Beautiful People.” The song had real promise and showcased Brown in the light he once used to be viewed in, a young R&B singer with great potential that made amazing club music.

However with Fortune, Brown proved otherwise. This album is Browns worst album yet. Songs like “Sweet Love,” “Strip,” “Biggest Fan” and “2012,” show that Brown constantly has sex on his mind and objectifies women to be the image of sex gods.
       
His raunchiness continues with “Bassline,” where his lyrics explain how girls will dance and take off their clothes just because they like his music. With explicit lyrics, Brown croons about not really caring who he offends. Yet, three tracks later in Don’t Judge, Brown pleas to a girl singing, “Please don’t judge me and I won’t judge you because this could get ugly before it gets beautiful.”
       
This just goes to show that Brown does not even know how he wants to be viewed in the industry, let alone what kind of direction he wants his music to take.
       
Over half of his album speaks of sex, drugs and alcohol and then all of a sudden songs like “Stuck on Stupid,” “Don’t Judge” and “4 Years Old” bring him back to the apologetic and thoughtful person we all once thought he was.
       
Fortune feels more like an identity crisis than an album, and Brown needs to take some time before he releases his next CD. Somewhere between his self-titled album and Fortune, Brown lost his way. Instead of bettering himself, he’s decided to lean on partying, sex and offensive lyrics to get him back into the game of R&B and this time it’s not working.


-Jenna Cusumano

Katy Perry performing

What’s behind those whipped cream jets and equally sweet pop songs? “Katy Perry: Part of Me” gives us that chance to take a glimpse behind the scenes where true character is shown.

The 3-D concert documentary follows pop-sensation Katy Perry’s international tour for her 2010 album “Teenage Dream” and takes us along for an exciting ride. The movie is exhilarating as the camera follows Katy from behind the curtains to the moment she steps onto the stage in front of thousands of screaming fans.


During the movie, the audience is shown the transition of how the girl named Katheryn Hudson became the iconic woman, Katy Perry. Many will be surprised to hear of her religious upbringing as shots of a 5-year-old Katy performs various gospel songs. Even as a child Katy was charismatic and eager to step out of her boundaries at every chance she could. Her desire to perform was awakened when she would watch her Pentecostal dad deliver sermons in strip mall churches.

Katy was 13 when she first asked for a guitar and soon after began singing her own music in front of church groups. The 15-year-old Katy is unrecognizable with her blonde spiky hair, tomboy nature and her songs about Jesus. Her family, friends, mangers and Katy herself give commentary of the various stages in the pop star’s life and the difficulties she had to attain in order to become a success.

Even die-hard fans will learn more about Katy in this one movie than they could by researching her for hours via the Internet. She allows the camera to capture truly vulnerable moments in her life as stress increases and her marriage with comedian Russell Brand slowly crumbles. It gives the world the chance to understand the true aspects of fame without all its glitz and glamor.

The confident and sexy Katy Perry makes herself up to be a true role model as she refuses to allow Hollywood to change who she is and how she depicts herself. She pursued her dreams, despite being let down time and time again, and did so with humor and passion throughout the journey. “Thank you for believing in my weirdness,” Katy says to her fans. It is that weirdness we fell in love with when we first heard “I Kissed a Girl,” and it is that weirdness we will continue to enjoy as she spreads happiness through her music.

—Ivetta Babadjanian


lana del ray patriotic

Ring in this Independence day with these awesoME patriotic songs!

 

“National Anthem” – Lana Del Rey

Controversy has followed Lana Del Rey since her album “Born To Die” dropped, but that hasn’t stopped her in the slightest. Her latest video, “National Anthem,” surprised audiences as it showcases the life of the Kennedy’s in a more modern fashion. She is known for having many slow songs but this is one of her more upbeat tracks with lyrics that you can sing loud and proud to on the 4th of July. “Red, white, blues in the sky, summer’s in the air, baby heaven’s in your eyes. I’m your national anthem,” Del Rey sings.


“Party in the USA” – Miley Cyrus

After the conclusion of her T.V. show and releasing a couple of albums, Cyrus now dedicates her career solely to acting with movies such as “The Last Song” and “LOL.” She has had many successful singles that gained worldwide recognition but none were as big as “Party in the USA.” It’s catchy, fun and promises an all-around good time. So be sure to get your hands up and nod your head like yeah while you “Party in the USA.”

“American Boy” – Estelle

A catchy song about an attractive American boy AND it features Kanye West? There’s no question why this song was an automatic hit. Raise the volume up and sing about great cities like L.A. and New York, commending the great sights we have to offer and the great men.

“American Honey” – Lady Antebellum

This Grammy award winning band has been accustomed to success as even their debut album became certified platinum. The appeal of the country/pop music comes from the two lead vocalists, Hillary Scott and Charles Kelley. “American Honey” has a sweet melody that gives the feeling of sitting by a fire and swaying along to the sweet lyrics such as “She grew up slow, she grew up good, like American Honey.”

“American Baby” – Dave Matthews Band

Get in the spirit of a true patriot as you listen to Dave Matthews Band’s “American Baby.” It’s a song of hope and faith that will make you remember the true beauty in being an American. Sing with your family and friends, “Stay beautiful baby. I hope you stay American baby.”

“Keep On Rockin’ The Free World” – Bon Jovi

You can’t be in the true American spirit if you don’t have Bon Jovi on your 4th of July playlist. It’s a song to rock out to as the sky is lit with fireworks and the crowds around you cheer with glee. A true classic for a historical day.

“Ragged Old Flag” – Johnny Cash

If you’re feeling truly patriotic then sit down and listen to the wise words of a true American icon, Johnny Cash. Although it’s a song a bit difficult to sing along to because of the overwhelmingly long lyrics, it’s still a great song to celebrate the country’s Independence Day. Pay close attention to his great storytelling with his appealing country twang that he’s revelled for.

“Born in the USA” – Bruce Springsteen

“Born in the USA” is categorized as a nationalistic anthem, and ranked as number 275 on Rolling Stone’s list of “The Greatest Songs of All Time.” The simple chorus makes it an easy song to sing with a crowd, so get everyone together to belt out the repeated lyrics “I was born in the USA.”

“Don’t Tread On Me” – Metallica

The heavy metal band Metallica starts off this song with the recognizable eight bar phrase from “America.” If you’re feeling a bit more angsty and want to prove to the world, or maybe just your neighbors, that you will fight for your country then this is the song to blare on your speakers.

“American Woman” – Lenny Kravitz

Although a cover song, Lenny Kravitz managed to leave his signature sound with the song “American Woman.” The electric guitar solos are iconic and are a sure-fire way to get your blood pumping. Finish off your Independence Day festivities with a bang and don’t leave Kravitz off your playlist.

maroon 5

Maroon 5 made their musical debut with “Songs About Jane,” which could be described as having more of an alternative rock sound while “Overexposed,” the band’s new album, has crossed over to more of the pop territory. Many of the songs on this album are potential hit radio regulars, but the quality of the music has plummeted.

The album begins with the band’s second single, “One More Night.” A hint of reggae and an upbeat tempo makes this song a catchy tune that’ll have you singing along whether you like it or not. The second song off the album and their first official single off this album is “Payphone” which features Wiz Khalifa. This song has already gained widespread success and a definite highlight of the album, with its unique sound and lead singer Adam Levine’s iconic falsetto voice.

 

A lot of the songs, such as “Lucky Strike” and “The Man Who Never Lied,” seem to blend together and it becomes hard to differentiate one from the other. The simple lyrics and the extremely fast tempo are cringe-worthy and disappointing. The only song that has a true hint to Maroon 5’s former rock foundation, the better days of the band, is the last song on the album, “Beautiful Goodbye.” It’s a slowed down song about heartbreak that strikes a chord and brings forth emotions from the listener, a concept lost on most of the other songs.

The incredible cover art, that includes a lot of pink and creativity, can’t delude from the fact that Maroon 5 will disappoint many fans with “Overexposed.” It’s a decent pop album that will more than likely generate a couple of number one hits, but this album lacks the quality music their past albums were known for.
 
Maroon 5 has abandoned quality lyrics and now have gone for the cheesy lyrics that Pop lovers crave for. If you’re a fan of Pop, then you’ll love some of the mainstream-style songs on Maroon 5’s new album. However, if you’re a fan of Maroon 5’s alternative rock sound, then hold on to your old albums because that sound you fell in love with when you first heard “Harder To Breathe” is long gone.

-Ivetta Babadjanian

linkin park living things

On June 26, 2012, Linkin Park released their 5th studio album, and to say it was filled with consistency, is an understatement. Loyal fans of the California band will be pleased with the new LP that contains 12 brand new songs. However, for those now checking out an entire Linkin Park CD, the music might be too much of the same for their taste.

Their new single, “Burn It Down,” showcases the band as a solid rock group that knows who they are as musicians. This song goes well with their past hit singles like “Numb,” “New Divide” and “What I’ve Done.”

However, once you hear the songs “Lost In The Echo” and “In My Remains,” it feels awkward that these three songs on the album all follow the same type of sound. Each song starts off with a mellow vibe to it and then once the chorus arrives it feels as if a screamo sound works its way into the music.

And the screamo effect does not stop there. In “Lies Greed Misery” and “Victimized,” Linkin Park suddenly sounds as if they are back in a garage trying to make it big. The hip-hop versus does not mesh well with the screaming and heading-banging chorus.

Linkin Park does have its moments on the album where they do sound like rock veterans. In the slower songs like “Powerless,” “Tinfoil,” “Skin To Bone” and “Castle of Glass,” they shine as a band. The voices are showcased and they leave out the hardness and screaming to these songs.

Yet while these types of music genres vary on this album, the songs that contain hip-hop and the slower songs are all way too consistent with one another. Many of these songs were hard to tell apart from each other while the album played along for its full 37 minutes.

Linkin Park fans will be pleased with this consistency since they have expected it after four albums but newer fans might find it to be a bit of a bore.

-Jenna Cusumano

easy a emma stone

Admit it: You’ve thought of what it would be like to have a celeb BFF. Granted, some stars might not be the best people to befriend, but there are still some fabulous IT girls that not only prove to be Hollywood’s A-list material, but also a potential best friend forever!

Selena Gomez

Selena Gomez has the world at her fingertips and still manages to keep her feet on solid ground. As a triple threat in movies, music and TV, Gomez is not only winning over Hollywood, but she is America’s new sweetheart. However, America must share her with pop star boyfriend, Justin Bieber and close friends, Taylor Swift and Demi Lovato. With these kinds of connections, being BFF’s with Gomez would guarantee you an invite to all of the coolest celebrity gatherings. While you might be a constant target for the paparazzi, this star will always make sure you’re protected while keeping it low key.

Emma Stone

As Emma Stone is trailblazing through Blockbusters and making an impact in the movie industry, you can bet that there’s always a laugh not far behind. Stone has blown away America with her acting abilities in The Help, Crazy Stupid Love and Easy A. She is one actress that has embraced her quirky ways and used them to an advantage. Stone is bringing back comedy roles for women, a role which is now quite rare. Being BFF’s with Stone will not only show you that its okay to be yourself, but it’s also okay to be stupid and laugh about it. And while she’s teaching valuable life lessons, she might be able to hook a friend up with Ryan Gosling along the way.

Taylor Swift

Country star Taylor Swift has everything you need in a friend. She has not only made her way to the top in the country charts, but also dominates pop music. With her versatile music style, she would always know the right people to introduce you too. Her song lyrics have always proven to be a comfort for teenage girls to rely on, so just imagine if you had the real Swift to lend advice to you. Being Swifts best friend will guarantee a solid support system.

Katy Perry

Katy Perry is one best friend that would always accept you for who you are. Growing up in a strict family, Perry experienced a sheltered lifestyle. Now, Perry takes her music and style to a whole new place and is finally able to break out of her shell. With her funky style and child-like attitude, Perry would be one friend that you can always be yourself around. She will help you break out and feel free.

-Jenna Cusumano

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