5 Albums To Buy For The Music Lover In Your Life

5 Albums To Buy For The Music Lover In Your Life

2017 blessed us with so much new music, it's hard to just pick five albums!

This year was a big year across the board for the music industry. Numerous artists emerged from their hiatuses and blessed the world with new music. Many new artists have also come into the spotlight and shaken up the industry in the best way possible. In 2018, numerous artists are also taking their music on the road. To celebrate the many masterpieces released this year, here are five albums that would make perfect gifts for the music lover in your life!

1. All We Know of Heaven, All We Need of Hell by PVRIS

PVRIS (pronounced 'paris') has been dominating alternative music charts for the last two years. The trio, Lyndsey Gunnulfsen (better known as Lynn Gunn), Brian MacDonald, and Alex Babinski formed the band in 2012 and released their debut album "White Noise" in 2014.

One year later they won the 'Break Through Band' category at the Alternative Press Music Awards and in 2017, Lynn, the band's lead singer, won best vocalist. "AWKOH AWNOH" is PVRIS' highly anticipated second studio album which was released in August 2017.

They've been touring around the world since its and in February 2018 they embark on their North American Tour.

2. The Thrill of It All by Sam Smith

"The Thrill of It All" was released in November 2017 and is Sam's second studio album. His first record, "In The Lonely Hour," won four Grammy's in 2014. He has also won an Oscar and a Golden Globe. This album was highly anticipated as he disappeared from social media and the spot light for a year or so while creating this record. He has said that this album is grittier and even more raw than the last. Sam recently released dates for his 2018 World Tour.

3. The Peace and The Panic Neck Deep

Neck Deep is a UK based punk band who has toured around the world numerous times. They were a part of Van's Warped Tour for numerous years and toured as support for bands such as All Time Low.

This is their third record which landed then number four on the Billboard 200 in August 2017. "The Peace and The Panic" documents the band's growth and experiences since their previous album, "Life's Not Out To Get You." In 2018, they embark on their headlining North American tour.

4. American Teen by Khalid

"American Teen" is Khalid's debut studio album, which debuted in the top ten on the Billboard 200. The overall visuals of his album come from El Paso, Texas; he relocated to the boarder city with his mother, who was in the military, while he was in high school. He won MTV's Video Music Award for Best New Artist and has been nominated for five Grammy's. Khalid has released dates for his Roxy Tour across America.

5. Lust For Life by Lana Del Rey

"Lust for Life" is Lana's fifth studio album and features collaborations with The Weeknd, A$AP Rocky, and Stevie Nicks. This album is not as dark as her previous ones and she's smiling on the cover, which isa detail that shook the fandom to its core. Lana has said that this album celebrates life and hope for the future. "Lust For Life" has landed her a Grammy nomination; she also begins her tour in 2018.

Cover Image Credit: Vanya G.

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'Fifty Shades' Isn't A Love Story, It's An Abuse Story

Fifty Shades is not "empowering" or a "beautiful" love story, it is abuse.

In the midst of all the buzz about #metoo, I find it surprising that many of these people who are standing up for women who have been sexually abused and exploited are also going to see "Fifty Shades Freed."

I have not and will never go see or read any of the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy. Beyond my own standards of what visual content I think is right or wrong to watch, I won't watch it because I do not think I should take part in something that normalizes and romanticises abuse.

I'm not the only one who thinks this. Check out #fiftyshadesisabuse to see what other people are tweeting. The National Center on Sexual Exploitation considers Fifty Shades to be abusive. Cosmopolitan, Fight the New Drug, The Independent UK, and Huffington Post all have also published articles on the abusive nature of Fifty Shades.

Dawn Hawkins, the Executive Director for the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, made this statement about 50 Shades:

"The popularity of Fifty Shades of Grey among women sends a message to men that this is what women really want. Even more dangerous, it also sends the message to women that they can “fix” violent, controlling men by being obedient and loving.

A warning to the women lining up to see this film: There is nothing empowering about whips and chains or humiliation and torture.

Women as a group will not gain power by collaborating with violent men. Women would be serving only as an agent to further their own sexual degradation, handing themselves on a silver platter to exactly the sort of men who want to use and abuse them, and take away their power."

As you can see, the Fifty Shades trilogy is no love story. It makes abuse seem normal and puts women into a submissive, weak, and degraded place. According to Fight the New Drug, Fifty Shades does these things, as compared to healthy relationships:

The Journal of Women's Health says, "Emotional abuse is present in nearly every interaction " in Fifty Shades and that Anastasia reacted like a typical abused woman. These abusive instances include:

1. Stalking

2. Intimidation

3. Isolation

4. Sexual Violence

Not only does Fifty Shades normalize abuse, it correlates to having negative effects on consumers.

In fact, there was a study done that traced the effects of reading Fifty Shades to young women's health. They found that women who had read Fifty Shades were more likely to have a verbally abusive partner, fast/diet, have more than five sexual partners, and binge drink.

Fifty Shades also teaches some pretty bad lessons, such as:

In light of the #metoo movement where women are standing up against sexually abusive and manipulative relationships, rape, and other forms of sexual harassment, "Fifty Shades Freed" should have sold zero tickets at the box office.

But that is not what is happening. People are flocking to the movie. In fact, as of right now, it is the #1 movie in the world.

It's not OK to view abuse through this movie or other forms, and then post about standing up against it through the use of #metoo. Either you are fine with domestic and sexual abuse, or you are not. If you want sexual abuse to stop, stop giving money to people or organizations like the Fifty Shades franchise who normalize it.

Fifty Shades is not "empowering" or a "beautiful" love story. It is abuse.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube

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Help, I Haven't Left The Couch Since The Olympics Started

Like any addiction, the first step is admitting you have a problem.

There were many strange things about my upbringing, but one of the strangest is that I did not grow up watching commercial television. I’ve never seen an episode of "Spongebob." I never watched the Disney Channel or Cartoon Network or Nickelodeon. My TV experience came in the form of episodes of PBS Kids shows, lovingly taped by my grandfather. My first encounter with reality TV came in the form of "The Biggest Loser" when I was 14. My family’s cable TV blackout was total — in all respects except one. Every two years, for two weeks, I glue my ass to the couch and my eyes to the screen to watch impossibly athletic humans perform feats of speed and skill in order to earn disks on ribbons made of precious metals. Yes, I’m talking about the Olympics. The Olympics have ruined me.

The Summer Olympics are fine, for the most part, since they’re in the summer and I’m usually free of responsibility at that time of year. During those two weeks, I cease to leave the house, leaving the couch only to go to the bathroom and to obtain more food. If my Summer Olympics watching habits were a sport, it would be Extreme Couch-Potatoing, with points awarded for the longest time elapsed between shifts in position and the largest drops in resting heart rate. I have a system for the Summer Olympics. The system works. The Winter Olympics, however…

With the 2014 Games, I got lucky, as my typically temperate hometown was snowed in for a decent portion of them. Not compelled to leave the house for school, I entombed myself on the couch and watched them almost straight through. This year I’m not so lucky. I’m hovering on the edge of real adulthood. I have school, and worse than school, I have work. There are myriad responsibilities preventing me from achieving my ultimate goal: to become one with the furniture as I cheer on whichever country seems likely to win a particular event. There’s no such thing as country loyalty for me when it comes to watching the Olympics. Patriotism is nonexistent in my attempt to consume as many sports as possible over two weeks to make up for the rest of the time when I consume no sports at all.

We’re not even a week into the Winter Olympics, and the cracks in my respectable public façade are already beginning to show. My eyes twitch unnervingly. I steer clear of social media, living in fear of spoilers for events that haven’t even happened yet. Instead of asking my coworkers and classmates if they had a good weekend or how their classes are going, I demand “Did you see _____ event at the Olympics last night?” and shake my head and cluck my tongue when they say no. I am a purist. I am obsessed. I make other people nervous.

Like all true and good things, however, the Winter Olympics will come to an end at some point — most likely in two weeks, at which time I will lurk around my apartment in varying stages of withdrawal. In time, the symptoms will fade. But the disease will lurk somewhere in the back of my mind, ready to spring out in summer 2020.

I am a marathon Olympics watcher. I am unstoppable.

Cover Image Credit: BLazarus / Pixabay

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