12 Albums From 2017 You Should Check Out

12 Albums From 2017 You Should Check Out

Albums of all different genres from bands of all different locations!
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2017 was a fantastic year for music. There was an abundance of phenomenal debut albums, Rock N' Roll stars rising from the dead, and veteran musicians experimenting with their sound. In this article, I will be recommending 12 new albums from 2017! My list ranges from up and coming artists like RAT BOY to music icons like Liam Gallagher!

Liam Gallagher - As You Were

"As You Were" has been one of the most anticipated albums since Oasis' breakup, even with Liam refusing to confirm a solo career until 2016. This highly anticipated album was released on October 6th, 2017 and was named the fastest selling vinyl in the last 20 years. The first single released from "As You Were" was "Wall Of Glass. "Since the release of his album, Liam has been touring in both the US and UK performing both Oasis songs and songs from "As You Were." Gallagher has received a lot of praise for this album from critics and Oasis fans. Liam has also gained a lot of support from the majority of Oasis fans in the Noel and Liam feud as the two brothers have started to go at it again since the release of "As You Were." I would recommend listening to "Chinatown," "For What It's Worth," and "Come Back To Me."

RAT BOY - SCUM

"SCUM" is the debut album of RAT BOY, a new band from Chelmsford, Essex, England. This album was released on August 11, 2017, and has done very well in the United Kingdom. After releasing " SCUM," RAT BOY was invited to open up for Liam Gallagher on his UK tour giving the band more exposure. Their sound can be classified as hip-hop and punk influenced alternative. The band has listed artists such as The Clash and Beastie Boys as major influences. Blur and Gorillaz's lead singer, Damon Albarn is another big influence of the band as Albarn let lead singer, Jordan Cardy work in his studio while recording " SCUM." I would recommend listening to "SPORTSWEAR, "GET OVER IT," and "LAIDBACK."

Khalid - American Teen

"American Teen" is the debut album of the new and up-and-coming artist, Khalid. Khalid is a 19-year-old R&B singer from El Paso, Texas. "American Teen" was released on March 3, 2017. This album has done extremely well as it reached number four on Billboard 200 and was certified platinum after selling over 1,000,000 records. The young singer has listed artists such as Chance The Rapper, Kendrick Lamar, and Grizzly Bear as influencers. Khalid has toured throughout 2017 and just released another tour in May — June of 2018. I definitely recommend listening to this debut album including these songs: "Winter," "8TEEN," and "Location." Khalid has also done his fair share of features including a Marshmello, Logic, and Calvin Harris collaboration on songs, "Silence," "1-800-273-8255," and "Rollin'."

Phoenix - Ti Amo

On June 9th, 2017, the iconic French band, Phoenix released their 6th album, " Ti Amo." The ten track album is different than their previous five albums as it incorporates multiple languages and has a synth-pop and Italo disco influence. When asked about the album, lead singer, Thomas Mars said "Ti Amo" was about, "our European, Latin roots, a fantasized version of Italy " and the songs were about, "simple, pure emotions: love, desire, lust, and innocence." After the release of their album, Phoenix toured North America, Europe, and Asia. I recommend checking out "J-Boy, Role Model," and "Ti Amo."

Foster The People - Sacred Hearts Club

Foster The People released their third album, "Sacred Hearts Club," on July 21, 2017. Before the release of the album, Foster The People surprised their fans with three brand new songs and three new music videos in one day! These songs consisted of "SHC," "Doing It For The Money," and "Pay The Man." The band heavily experimented with their sound adding a bit of an electronic dance and hip-hop genre to their alternative rock sound. "Loyal Like Sid & Nancy" is an example of Foster The People's experiment with electronic dance, whereas "Pay The Man" and "Harden The Paint" are examples of a hip-hop influence. The album incorporates themes of love and politics. Mark Foster stated in the band's short documentary that the album, "will feature '60s-inspired sounds and a psychedelic influence." The band has definitely grown since their releases of "Torches" and "Supermodel. "I definitely recommend listening to this album, especially the songs: "Sit Next To Me," "Lotus Eater" and "I Love My Friends."

Weezer - Pacific Daydream

Weezer's new album, "Pacific Daydream," is the band's 11th studio album. "Pacific Daydream" was released on October 27th, 2017. This album has a different sound than the previous 10 and singer, Rivers Cuomo described the sound as, "reveries from a beach at the end of the world [... as if] the Beach Boys and The Clash fell in love by the ocean and had one hell of an amazing baby." Of the 10 songs on "Pacific Daydream," "Feels Like Summer," was the band's first single. I would also recommend "Happy Hour" and "Beach Boys," two awesome tracks from this stellar album! You can see Weezer in their 2018 tour with the Pixies all over North America.

ODESZA - A Moment Apart

Seattle's electronic duo really outdid themselves with their third album, "A Moment Apart." Not only has "A Moment Apart" been a hit with ODESZA's fans and a debut #3 on the Billboard 200, but the album was nominated for Best Dance/Electronic Album at the GRAMMY Awards. Their song "Line Of Sight" featuring WYNNE & Mansionair was nominated for Best Dance Recording. The album consists of great beats and amazing features! The duo has toured throughout 2017 and recently announced more tour dates for 2018. I would definitely recommend seeing the band as they are known for their live performances or listening to "Late Night," "Across the Room" and "Higher Ground."

The Maine - Lovely Little Lonely

The Maine released their sixth studio album on April 7th, 2017 through their own independent label 8123. The band experimented with their sound more on this record incorporating punk, alternative rock, and pop influences. The song" I Only Wanna Talk To You "has even been compared to an Oasis sound. The song collection on the album is very different but flows in the perfect manner especially with the addition of three instrumental songs, "Lovely, Little," and "Lonely" to help the flow of the record. To promote their album, The Maine toured the United States and later embarked on a World Tour in which they had pop-up shops in certain cities to interact with their fans and sell new merch. Later in the year, the band also announced a U.S. tour where the band performed" Lovely Little Lonely and " "American Candy" in whole. I recommend listening to "Taxi" and "Do You Remember (The Other Half of 23)."

Coin - How Will You Know If You Never Try

Coin is an indie pop band from Nashville, Tennesse. The band released their sophomore album, "How Will You Know If You Never Try" on April 21st, 2017. The first single from the band's new album was "Talk Too Much!" "Talk Too Much "has a similar sound to their first self-titled album, whereas their second single, "I Don't Wanna Dance" has a very different vibe. Overall, this album gained the band more attention in the states and all around the world as it had very good reviews. I definitely recommend listening to this album or seeing the band on their upcoming U.S. tour."

The Amazons - The Amazons

The Amazons released a self-titled album on March 26, 2017. The band is from Reading, Berkshire, England and has an alternative rock sound. Their debut album has reached a lot of attention in the United Kingdom. Their growing attention has led them to be included in BBC's "Sound of 2017" and MTV's "Brand New 2017" lists! The Amazons were also a band to listen to in 2017 by NME, The Independent, and BBC Radio 1. I would definitely recommend listening to "Junk Food Forever," "Something In The Water" and "In My Mind!"

Sundara Karma - Youth Is Only Ever Fun In Retrospect

Sundara Karma released their debut album, "Youth Is Only Ever Fun In Retrospect" on January 6th, 2017. The band from Reading, Berkshire, England has an alternative rock and indie pop sound. Sundara Karma has gained a lot of popularity in the United States and the United Kingdom since their album release and frequent touring! The band has been compared to both Arcade Fire and U2. Check this band out and listen to "She Said," "Lose The Feeling" and "Loveblood!"

Coasts - This Life Vol 1

Coasts, a band from Bristol, England released their sophomore album, "This Life Vol 1 "on August 18th, 2017. The band followed their hard to beat debut and self-titled album with an amazing and experimental second album. Their second album heavily experimented with a dance genre. "This Life Vol 1" reached number 17 on the UK charts compared to their debut album which reached number 38. I recommend checking out these songs: "Heart Starts Beating", "Tomorrow" and "Let Me Love You." Coasts will be touring with The Hunna in 2018 in the United States and the United Kingdom. Both bands put on a phenomenal show, therefore I recommend seeing these bands together! The Hunna will be releasing a new album in 2018 as well and has already released their new song, "Summer."

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Hernandez

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Dear Shondaland, You Made A Mistake Because April Kepner Deserves Better

"April Kepner... you're not average"
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I'll admit from the first time we were introduced to April in Season 6, I didn't like her so much. I mean we hated the "Mercy Westers" in the first place, so how could we see the potential in the annoying, know-it-all resident that was trying to compete with our beloved Lexie Grey.

But then, we saw her come face-to-face with a killer and thought maybe she had potential.


We then saw her surprise everyone when she proved to be the next trauma surgeon in the making and we were intrigued.

Notice how none of these stories had anything to do with Jackson Avery. Not that we didn't love her with Jackson, but for whatever reason you've chosen to end their very popular relationship. Suddenly, you think that April is not worth further exploration but you've forgotten one simple thing. We fell in love with her before "Japril" was ever in the picture.

We love her because her story was unlike the others and she had one of the best character developments on the show. She wasn't damaged like Meredith Grey or Alex Karev who have been on their journey to become all whole and healed, but she still had to fight hard to be taken seriously. Her story has so much potential for future development, but you've decided to throw it all away for "creative reasons."

I'm sorry, but there's nothing creative about doing the exact same thing you've done to all the other characters who have left the show. We've endured the loss of many beloved characters when you chose to write off George, Henry, Mark, and Lexie. We even took it when you did the unthinkable and wrote McDreamy out of the show - killing off one half of the leading couple. (WHO DOES THAT???)

But April Kepner? Are you kidding me?

She may no longer be with Jackson, but she was so much more than half of Japril. While most of us hate that Jackson and April are over, we probably could have dealt with it if April was still on the show. Now they're done and you think there aren't any more stories to tell about her character. Why? Because she'll just get in the way of Jackson and Maggie?

How could you not see that she was way more than Jackson's love interest?

She's so much more than you imagined her to be. April is the headstrong, talented trauma surgeon no one saw coming. The farmer's daughter started off an ugly duckling who became a soldier because she needed to be one and turned into one big beautiful swan who constantly has to fight for her coworkers and family to see her as such.

She's proven to be a soldier and swan on many occasions. Just take giving birth to her daughter in a storm on a kitchen table during an emergency c-section without any numbing or pain medication as an example. If she wasn't a soldier or a swan before, how could she not be after that?

Yet, you - the ones who created her - still see her as the ugly duckling of a character because she always had to take the backseat to everyone else's story and was never allowed to really be seen.

But we see her.

She's the youngest of her sisters who still think of her as the embarrassing little Ducky no matter how much she's grown.

This swan of a resident got fired for one mistake but came back fighting to prove she belongs. Not only did April Kepner belong there, but it was her talent, her kindness, her strength that made her Chief Resident. This simply wasn't enough for Dr. Bailey or her other residents so she fought harder.

She endured the pressure but always ended up being a joke to the others. When she was fired yet again, your girl came back a little shaken. She doubted herself, but how could she not when everyone was against her.

Despite everyone telling her she couldn't, she did rise and no one saw her coming because she remained in the background. She went off to Jordan broken and came back a pretty risky trauma surgeon.

We've watched for years as she was handed promising stories that we never got to see fully develop because she was in the background. We never got to see her rise. We get the beginning and the end, but hardly ever the middle.

I thought we were finally going to have an amazing story arc in season 11 when she loses Samuel, but what did we really get? Two or three episodes of her coming to terms with the loss of her baby and then April's disappearance from the show while she's grieving off screen so that Dr. Amelia Shepherd can shine her first season on the show. Where is April's life-changing surgeries? What does April get? She's background music.

Now what?

It's season 14 and we finally get the story we've been waiting 9 years for! We get Dark April and her crisis of faith. A story arc all Christians can appreciate. Here's the chance for real character development in the foreground, but wait...

Before her story is even wrapped up, you announce that this season will be her last. So we're forced to realize that the only reason we're getting this story now is that you're writing her off.

No matter how you end it, it's not going to do her story justice. If you kill her off to end her crisis of faith story, you're not reaching the many Christians who watch the show. If you have her leaving Seattle and taking Harriet with her, you didn't know April. If you have her leaving Seattle and abandoning Harriet, you really didn't know April. So anyway you choose to end her story, you lost out on one great character.

You messed up.

Both April Kepner and Sarah Drew deserved better.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube

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Shows Shouldn't Have To Rely On Sexist Or Racist Jokes To Be 'Funny'

Punchlines that come at the expense of female, plus-sized, LGBTQ, or other marginalized characters are too common
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Recently I’ve been trying to be a more conscious consumer. I bring old plastic bags with me to dining halls, religiously carry a reusable water bottle, avoid online shopping whenever possible, and buy clothing second hand. But while I try to have my environmental bases covered, I often forget to cover my moral bases.

After reading a New Yorker article by Molly Ringwald, I started to think about my role as a consumer of art and pop culture. Molly Ringwald, an actress known for her roles in John Hughes movies such as “The Breakfast Club,” “Pretty in Pink,” and “Sixteen Candles,” examines in her article the problematic aspects of the movies she starred in and whether those iconic films are or should still be relevant today.

While the #metoo movement has already brought some of these issues to the public eye, there is still much more to unpack. As allegations rolled out against men in Hollywood for their actions, the already present calls to boycott the films and projects of perpetrators such as Woody Allen or Kevin Spacey, have grown stronger. While many have their own opinions on whether this type of action is necessary or effective, I certainly see the merit in not contributing further to the fame and wealth of the people who committed these ugly acts.

However, the line gets fuzzier when the films, series, books, etc. are not produced by people who have done something explicitly wrong, but still perpetuate that same culture of misogyny and sexual exploitation. Prompted in part by the article, I thought back on some of the pop culture I personally have grown up on, and was disappointed, though not surprised, to realize how wrong some of the movies and shows I loved are.

A classic example is “How I Met Your Mother,” a T.V. show I have seen at least twice through (with that being a conservative estimate). And while I obviously never approved of the sexist and even openly rape-y character of Barney, a serial womanizer, it didn’t really occur to me to turn off the show and choose something else. Those same problematic punchlines that come at the expense of female, plus-sized, LGBTQ, or other marginalized characters are repeated over and over in almost any sitcom I’ve ever seen, from “Friends” to “That '70s Show.” The trend isn’t just T.V. shows either, but some of my personal favorite comedies and rom-coms. I try not to think too hard about how transphobic the whole concept behind “She’s The Man” is, for example.

Acknowledging that the movies and shows I love are sexist is bad enough, but a voice inside me resists condemning them totally. That voice whispers to me that comedy is supposed to be offensive, and it’s all just joking. But that voice is absolutely wrong. I may have to remind myself that occasionally, but funny doesn’t have to be racist, sexist, homophobic, or transphobic. Proving that are Trevor Noah, Sasheer Zamata, Kate McKinnon, and all the other talented comedians that can be genuinely funny without taking cheap shots at marginalized groups.

In her article, Molly Ringwald argues that despite their “blind spots” as she calls them, the movies she starred in are still valuable in the message of empowerment they gave to teenagers. But is the same true of sitcoms and shows with less artistic value? I don’t really know, but I think denouncing them totally probably won’t help. They are pop culture milestones that whether we agree with them or not, will remain relevant, at least for the foreseeable future.

While that may be true for older, already successful shows and movies for those still on the air or coming out now, we can make a choice. We can be conscious consumers and make a point that we demand jokes that don’t degrade others — comedy and art of a higher order. Because more and more, we see that it’s not just possible, but even funnier and more relatable.

Cover Image Credit: 20th Century Fox Television

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