My 2017 Playlist

My 2017 Playlist

Ring in new year with some new tunes

As 2017 comes to a close, I'm looking back on all of the old and new songs I heard for the first time this year. Whether the song was from the 1970's or they were released a month ago, they were brand new to me. Some songs stunk and other songs rocked my world. Ring in the new year with some awesome songs!

1. Ain't It Funny - Danny Brow

2. The Best Things In Life Are Free - Sam Cooke

3. Best Friend (feat. NERVO, The Knocks, & Alisa Ueno) - Sofi Tucker

4. Young Dumb & Broke - Khalid

5. Dairy Queen - PWR BTTM

6. Come Down - Anderson .Paak

7. Dear To Me - Electric Guest

8. Slow Hands - Niall Horan

9. Chronic Sunshine - Cosmo Pyke

10. Everyday People - Sly & The Family Stone

11. I Wanna Prove To You - The Lemon Twigs

12. Perfect Places - Lorde

13. Salad Days - Mac Demarco

14. Loving Is Easy - Rex Orange County

15. Everybody Wants To Rule The World - Tears For Fears

16. Hit Me Like That Snare - alt-J

17. Secrets - The Weeknd

18. Give It Away - Red Hot Chili Peppers

19. Seven Wonders - Fleetwood Mac

20. Sunday Candy - Social Experiment

21. REDMERCEDES - Aminé

22. Say It - Flume

23. Through The Late Night - Travis Scott

24. TOKYO - Brockhampton

25. Slide - Calvin Harris

26. Seasons (Waiting On You) - Future Islands

27. Redbone - Childish Gambino

28. Mellow Out - Nathaniel Rateliff

29. Golden Sun - Hotel Eden

30. Going Up The Country - Canned Heat

Enjoy the playlist! I certainly have and I can not wait to listen to all new music in 2018. More than anything, I can not wait find great songs from the past.

Cover Image Credit: thoughtco

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5 Must Hear Albums From 2017

2017 was filled with good music, but for me these five albums stood out.

2017 was filled with really good music. The year saw some great emerging talent as well as some veterans returning to reinvigorate their genre. I am a lover and follower of music – strictly for entertainment, please don’t expect a full analysis of the albums I’m about to discuss – so I was very pleased by the releases in 2017. Here are the five albums that I felt were the best of 2017.

1. Kendrick Lamar - DAMN.

Artist: Kendrick Lamar

Album: Damn.

Release: April 14, 2017

Favorite Song: XXX, featuring U2

If you are a fan of Kendrick Lamar, you know he was severely snubbed at the Grammy awards when his album "Good Kid M. A. A. D City" lost to Macklemore’s "The Heist", for Best Rap Album. Kendrick should have won, hands down. This year he has been nominated for six Grammy awards with his album and singles from "Damn". His single "HUMBLE." set the tone for his album and the rest of his song did not disappoint. The album ran the gamut of topics; from politics to other rappers, and even love. Kendrick’s album is a robust telling of his life and unlike some other rappers, he is not afraid to incorporate politics into his music. Kendrick is certainly one of the best – if not the best – rappers of our generation.

2. Khalid - American Teen

Artist: Khalid

Album: American Teen

Release: March 3, 2017

Favorite Song: Cold Blooded

Khalid makes you wish you were a teenager again; so you won’t feel so out-of-sorts singing along to songs explicitly about being in high school. Thankfully Khalid is graduated now and his next album should be a little more relatable to a slightly older generation. Despite the homage to high school, his album was amazing. His songs perfectly sum up what it’s like to feel like you’re in love only to have that emotion ripped away from you. He is young but he understands the human condition and how to condense it into a three-minute song.

His song "Cold Blooded", my favorite from the album, describes what it’s like to love someone even when they’re not great for you – and how hard it is to deal with their insecurities. He has been nominated for five Grammy awards. One of those – Song of the Year – is for "1-800-273-8255", a song he collaborated on with Logic and Alessia Cara.

3. MUNA - About U

Artist: MUNA

Album: About U

Release: February 3, 2017

Favorite Song: Do U Love Me Now?

MUNA is a girl band comprised of three members: Katie Gavin, Josette Maskin, and Naomi McPherson. They opened for Harry Styles on his first solo tour. Their music is probably best described as alternative-pop. The songs are lyrically brilliant and beautifully composed. The three members wanted to create songs that were relatable to the current societal climate. "Loudspeaker" is a strong tune that makes sure the audience knows MUNA isn’t apologizing for anything.

They’ll feel and act how they want. The song "So Special" discusses the consequences of slut shaming and the ridiculous standards we put on women to be “pure.” "I Know a Place" was played as a rallying cry after the terrorist attack in Orlando that killed many members of the LGBTQ community. MUNA is empathetic and unafraid to speak out against the political injustices of our time. I expect their next album to be just as relevant.

Side note: I got to meet this band when I attended a Harry Styles concert in October. They were extremely nice and humble and I am rooting for them.

4. Harry Styles - Harry Styles

Artist: Harry Styles

Album: Harry Styles

Release: May 12, 2017

Favorite Song: Ever Since New York

Harry Styles – yes, from One Direction – released his debut solo album in 2017 and it was really good. Styles went for a slightly different sound than what his fans had grown to expect. His self-titled album went across the board; it featured pop, rock, and even some country sounds. "Sign of the Times" his first single, was an alternative-rock anthem that sounded like it should have been played at a festival in the 70’s.

Styles really experimented with his sound and his creativity with his first album; like he was trying to test everything to see what stuck. For his sophomore album, I hope he nails down his sound and takes a few more risks lyrically.

5. SZA - CTRL

Artist: SZA

Album: Ctrl

Release: June 9, 2017

Favorite Song: Drew Barrymore

SZA, Solána Imani Rowe, is a talented singer and songwriter. Her album perfectly encapsulates what it is like to fall in and out of love in the current dating atmosphere. Ctrl garnered a lot of praise, along with a few Grammy nominations, after its release this past summer. "Love Galore" featuring Travis Scott, fit perfectly into the summer atmosphere and went platinum in the US.

Her album is vulnerable and enlightened; her song "Supermodel" discusses the artist’s insecurities. SZA is not afraid to be honest or controversial; "The Weekend" tells the story of sleeping with an already taken man. SZA has produced songs with Grammy winner Chance the Rapper and Grammy nominee, Kendrick Lamar.

Cover Image Credit: Malte Wingen

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We Need to Talk About YouTube

Things are taking a turn for the worse-- and that's not just clickbait

YouTube is a platform that has blown up over the last decade. I remember the days when YouTube consisted mostly of teenage kids making dumb skits or pulling harmless pranks and posting them. Particularly in the last few years, YouTube has become an actual career for many people-- content creators with enough views and subscribers get paid to have advertisements shown on their videos.

YouTube has gone from a mere hobby to a revenue stream and lifestyle. Fitness moguls like Whitney Simmons start entire brands from their channels, and this is not an anomaly. Many famous YouTubers have made serious cash off of merchandise, book deals, and even TV Shows (like Miranda Sings).

Although YouTube can be a great thing (I go on all the time to look at fitness, beauty, health, murder mystery, and conspiracy theories), the things content creators are posting and we as viewers are supporting tells a lot about where our society is headed. There are YouTubers, even ones that I admire and view, that have set up Patreon and the like so their fans can send them money. Part of the problem is Youtube's policies when it comes to which videos are monetized and which are not, but I can't speak much on this. All I know is that other artists who are working towards their career taking off (actors, writers, painters, etc) supplement their incomes with actual jobs, and for YouTubers to think they are above that is ridiculous.

But that is not what this article is about. I used to think the biggest problem about Youtube was that it created self centered people-- people who expect to make a living off of their content, have a camera on them constantly, and post vapid clickbait with catchy titles and cute screencaps. Some of the things that have happened recently show us that the problem is much bigger than that.

You would have to be living under a rock to not have heard about Logan Paul's latest stunt in Japan's Suicide Forest, in which he accidentally captured footage of a man who had very recently ended his own life. After a few seconds of stunned silence, the Paul brother actually laughs at the situation. I'll admit, in times of distress and trauma, our bodies don't always react the way that we want them to-- it is common to laugh at inappropriate times because of nerves or shock. What cannot be attributed to nerves or shock was Logan Paul's decision to edit the footage, keep the man's body in the video, and post it onto his channel. He has since released an insincere apology about the incident, and is receiving backlash from sponsors.

Not only are people outraged about the incident, they are outraged by what little responsibility YouTube is taking for what happened. After being screened (as every video posted to YouTube is) the platform allowed this video to remain on the site's trending page for days before speaking on the matter and taking the video down.

Logan Paul isn't the only YouTuber to royally mess up during his career. Other content creators have been guilty of using racist imagery and language in their videos (PewDiePie), and abusing their children on screen in what they call "pranks."

One of my favorite creators, Shane Dawson, has recently faced some very serious allegations regarding an old podcast he recorded 6 years ago. Another YouTuber edited the podcast and accused Shane Dawson of pedophilia-- a very serious implication considering the stories that have been surfacing recently in Hollywood. Dawson has opened up on his channel in the past about suffering from sexual abuse in his childhood, so he was especially distraught when these rumors started circulating. In an impassioned response, Shane Dawson apologizes for the offensive and "out there" humor and content that used to get him views, pointing towards a very dark and insecure time in his life. He also speaks about how much he has grown and changed as a person and creator, and how he now uses his channel to better himself and help others.

All of this-- posting a video of a deceased man (who probably had a family that was grieving him), showing abusive and horrible pranks played on your own children, and accusing another YouTuber of an unthinkable crime-- it all goes to show how far people will go to get views and have their piece of the YouTube fame. Not only that, but it shows how as viewers, we need to take a long hard look at the creators we are supporting and the content we are viewing.

Cover Image Credit: Wired

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