The Radio Killed That Song, but So Did I

Back in sophomore year of college, my roommate had a bad break up with a guy that she had been on and off with for two years.  During the first three months of their break up all she would play is Wake Me Up When September Ends by Green Day, on a constant loop.  I wish CDs or records were popular then because I would have smashed it into bits after the first month of her playing it nonstop.  Unfortunately, Limewire and iTunes were blowing up during that time, so everything was digital.  Needless to say, my other roommates and I had to endure the pain and the slow death of this great song for months.  As Billie Jo Armstrong’s soft spoken lyrics and hypnotic guitar chords rang throughout our fifth floor dorm room, we beat our heads in with pillows every time it came on.

Why do we feel the need to play a song so much on repeat till we can barely stand it anymore?  It is because we connect with it in some way, but to someone else it becomes a song they can never listen to again.  Think about the radio.  When a song first comes out and you hear it for the first time on the radio, you just can’t wait to hear it again.  So, you switch stations until you find another station that is playing it.  Ultimately, it becomes popular, gets numerous requests, and becomes a song you can’t stand anymore that you turn off the radio every time it comes on.

What happens between the time you hear the song and the time you can no longer stand the song?  I’m going to let you in on a secret – Your life changes.  Last year, I was obsessed with the songs Blank Space (Taylor Swift) and Steal Your Heart (Ross Lynch – Austin & Ally).  I think back to this time last year and realized that a boy had re-entered into my life that wanted to get into a serious relationship with me.  I had no interest in getting serious with anyone as I had plans to move to Los Angeles by the end of the year.  So, my love life became a game instead where I could “steal your heart” and “…I got a blank space baby And I’ll write your name.”  Do I listen to either one of those songs currently?  Nope.

Now, my new obsessions are Stitches (Shawn Mendes) and Black Magic (Little Mix), but not for the reasons you think.  Yes, these songs reflect images of love, but to me, love can be for anything or anyone.  I have been feeling a little broken lately, and these two songs make me think of being whole again.  As friends get married, have babies, move out of state, or make career adjustments, it becomes difficult to stay in touch.  You miss people that use to always be there that you took for granted.  You question your own choices like you are doing something wrong.  I’m not making excuses for anyone because if you truly want to stay in touch with someone you will make an effort.  Even if it is a phone call two years later, or a text message that says “Remember the time we were singing La Vie Boheim in our dorm room with mops and throwing pixie stick sugar at each other?  Those were good days!  I miss you!”  Needless to say, these two songs remind me that anything can be mended with time, a good friend, or having your family closer.  To those who feel a little broken, know that you are stronger than you feel, you will mend quicker than you think, and that those people who have always been there, will always be there; even if it is just a memory.  Sometimes, you need to kill a song or two to get to a good place.

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Open Letter to Mills College President

Dear Mills College President,

It is with great sadness that I have come to hear about Mills College fading out their undergraduate dance program.  I’m not writing this letter to yell, or cause a riot, but to make you consider a world where every major dance university decided to cut their dance programs to make their college “more contemporary and competitive.”  As a past college student at College at Brockport in upstate New York, the importance of a liberal arts college that encompasses a dance curriculum of technique, composition, and critical engagement is a rarity. Many programs focus on technique, style, and performance as they are more conservatory based, and push their students in the direction of becoming a performer.

College at Brockport taught me to have a passion in my choreography, to critically evaluate and analyze my performances, and to be able to utilize theory based arguments in my writing.  So, I have three questions for you.  One, are you going to deprive the next generation the option to receive this kind of education from your distinguished dance professors?  Two, are you ready to explain your decision of fading out the dance program to generations that you have deprived of the next Trisha Brown, Molissa Fenley, or Nora Chipaumire?  And three, how do you expect to continue to grow your graduate program if there is no undergraduate program to inspire, collaborate, and drive one another?

We need to change education.  To bring back the importance of the arts.  Dance is in numerous basic subjects that are studied such as anatomy, math, and english.  The impact dance has on individuals is more than just a class at a college, but prepares students to understand collaboration, creativity, and focus.  I urge you to reconsider your decision and think about your children, grandchildren, and other young people who are important in your life.  Would you deprive them of such a dance college program that has been around since 1938?  Remember that our lives are full of choices, our actions affect more than just ourselves, and dance is the closest thing we have to magic.

Sincerely,
Chantel

Sign the petition today here – https://www.change.org/p/mills-college-save-mills-dance-major

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Album Review: Marianas Trench – NEW Album – A Goonies Adventure

1600x1600srI’m sure you have heard about 5 Seconds of Summer’s new album, the new single by Ariana Grande, and are waiting patiently for the next Justin Bieber album.  During all of that, Marianas Trench has yet again slipped under the radar with their fourth studio album Astoria.  Josh Ramsay, Matt Webb, Mike Ayley, and Ian Casselman bring a mix of the decades with the deep baritone voices and harmonies of the 50s, the swinging beat of the 70s, and the modern sounds of today’s pop, combined with a little 80s soundboard mixing.

The album brings the listener through a 17-track storyline of an adventure of love, loss, and an end of a life chapter.  The storyline theme is roped in their last two albums, Masterpiece Theatre and Ever After.  In this album it seems to be an end of an era.  They combined elements like the shortened instrumental sections connecting the major tracks like in Masterpiece Theatre, and lyrics that reflect songs from Ever After.

Ramsay as always, is on point and in “Burning up” he is all over the vocal scale with the backing of 80s sounds like drum machines, heavy synthesizers, and a nice electric guitar hook.  The opening lyrics is full of metaphors that connect to the style of music that is heard throughout the album like “Been dead as a disco” or “Baby I’m new wave.”  He continues to tie in other musical references, but to the lyrics of his own music, like in “Dearly Departed” where he takes song titles from his last two albums and ties them into an entire verse as a simple ukulele is strummed in the back ground with a light vocal harmony:

“Every masterpiece I’d write again
You’ll always be my porcelain
I crossed my heart
But I stuttered too
So truth or dare
Was I good to you
Haven’t had enough of you all to myself
Still right beside you
In sickness and health
For ever after
You will be my home
And there’s no place like home”

He brings back the Jackson 5 style in “Shut Up and Kiss Me” through lyrical repetition and iconic opening instrumental of a piano key swipe like in Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back”, which he mimics with strings.  The emotion in Ramsay’s voice is full of energy, youth, and honesty as a chorus of singers lend in harmonies inspired by the original soul brothers of the Jacksons.

The way a Marianas Trench album can go from the life of the party to a basic acappella sound in perfect harmonies is talent you don’t hear in most albums today.  Their lyrics make you think, question the past, question life, and question your choices that have brought you to your current life point.  The last song in the album “End of An Era” brings a close to a chapter with a huge orchestra sound as the band of guitars and rock n’ roll drums fall into place at the close of the album. Marianas Trench ends a chapter on saying goodbye to something or someone and as the listener, I have said goodbye to a chapter in my life by starting a new in Los Angeles which has been less than easy. Sometimes you need to take a leap and hope you land on your feet, especially when you feel like you are standing still. So in the words of Marianas Trench:

“I’m so afraid of trying something new
Cause every start begins
With saying goodbye to you
Our heart divides an unrequited view
But my heart is overdue”

Check out their new album here!