The Ultimate Break Playlist

With Thanksgiving done and winter break fast approaching, everyone is getting in the holiday spirit, finishing up finals, and gearing up to go back home for the time off.

I decided to make a playlist this month with some music that represents winter to me in various ways. From psychedelic rock to alternative grunge to indie, the winter to me is a more angsty time for music, a time to explore new eerie tunes that go well with the colder weather. It is simultaneously a time to find cozy holiday music, songs, and albums of nostalgia and warmth.

I decided to combine these two winter moods into a collective playlist that can be listened to at any time, one of all different moods. These 20 songs, go over a musical experience of grunge and hardcore but also slower acoustics as well as alternative upbeat songs.

Your Cat” – Slaughter Beach, Dog

Ollie North” – Donovan Wolfington

So Tired” – Crumb

I Always Wanna Die (Sometimes) – The 1975

Home” – Sean Ono Lennon

Revolution” – The Wrecks

Pendulum” – Bay Faction

Rolling Stoned” – King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard

Note To Self” – Mild High Club

666” – Sugar Candy Mountain

Squish” – On Drugs

Colours” – Grouplove

Stay Away” – Nirvana

Uneasy Hearts Weigh The Most” – Dance Gavin Dance

Lighterless” – Microwave

drip bounce_7_24_18” – Toro y Moi

” – Stephen Fretwell

Rango” – Catfish and the Bottlemen

High Pressure” – Turnstile

Casper” – Sports Team

These songs overall represent my winter mood this year going into December. I’ll definitely have them on repeat for the rest of the year. Whether you are listening to this walking around campus, on your way home, or just in the comfort of friends, I hope to pass the vibes on to whoever listens. Enjoy this playlist and have a happy winter break!

Written by: Jesse Miller
Photo by: Jesse Miller

Electronic House Music: A Concept

In this week’s blog, I am going to focus on my favorite sub-genre of Electronic Dance Music: House Music.

Most of you know of house music from parties, clubs, or festivals. It has a catchy beat that you can’t help bobbing your head or moving your arms to. Others know how to shuffle to this music (I am still learning but I am impressed with everyone who can break out in shuffle).

House music originated in Chicago at a club called The Warehouse in 1977. Frankie Knuckles, who opened The Warehouse, mixed old disco classics and new Eurobeat pop together. Many of these music experiments took place there, and House became the first descendant of disco.

House music is funny to me because there’s usually a couple of words in the song followed by a beat to dance to. It is repetitive, but that’s what makes it fun. It is usually in a range of 115-130 bpm (beats per minute). I know whenever I hear house music in public places, I can’t help but dance to it.

My featured image for this post shows my favorite house DJ, Tchami, during his back to back set with ZHU. This happened this summer at Hard Summer Music Festival. I was in the crowd for this set and it was a huge moment. ZHU and Tchami had never shared the stage before so everyone got to hear their iconic sounds combined.

Tchami usually shares the stage with Malaa, who I saw at EDC Las Vegas last year. I first saw Tchami in 2017 at the Brooklyn Bowl in Las Vegas — I fell in love with house music and I hope to see him five thousand more times.

In this post, I’m going to highlight some of the different types of house music. I will name some artists associated with the each type and some song suggestions to listen to.

Some different types that I am familiar with are Deep House, Bass House, Big Room House, Tech House and Future House.

For some popular house music titles, most of you probably know of these artists and their songs:

Deep House

This type of house music tends to have a lower bpm (around 120 bpm) and has greater influences from soul, jazz, and funk. I intertwine Deep House with Progressive House because they are both very similar. They are closely related to Trance music, as it has long accelerating peaks and troughs that progress throughout the track.

Bass House

Bass house has more baseline while also containing house music elements. It goes much “harder” because of the bass, and is usually around 145-150 bpm.

Big Room House

This is the more mainstream House music. It has lengthy build-ups and releases.

Tech House

This form of house music combines techno styles with house. It has more techno sounding beats with the rhythm of house music. I don’t listen to much tech house but here are some examples I came up with.

Future House

Future house emerged in the United Kingdom around 2010. It fuses deep house, garage house and other elements of electronic music into it. Garage house is known to have pitch-shifted and time-shifted vocals.

These are just a small amount of the many types of House music. This shows how vast the electronic music genre is. I’m still constantly learning about each one and I love to hear the differences. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Written by: Alexandra Gex

Lennon Stella, 5 Seconds of Summer, and the Chainsmokers at Viejas Arena

Lennon Stella, 5 Seconds of Summer and the Chainsmokers put on a stellar performance at Viejas Arena on November 24th, 2019.

Lennon Stella

The opener for the show was Lennon Stella. I had absolutely no idea who she was before the show, so I decided to Google her. I learned that she and her sister Maisy were Maddie and Daphne Conrad in the show Nashville, and that is how they got their start. Lennon recently signed to RECORDS and Columbia Records. She then released her first solo EP last year, called Love Me, and also has done collaborations with  Jonas Blue, Liam Payne, and the Chainsmokers.

Lennon Stella had the crowd in awe when she came out. There was a single spotlight on her as she sang her first song. She performed a total of eight songs, including “Breakaway,” “Feelings,” “Bad,” “Kissing Other People,” “Like Everybody Else,” “Fortress,” “BITCH (takes one to know one)” and “La Di Da.” She moved from one side of the stage to the other, constantly engaging with the fans in the crowd. Her voice is breathtaking, and hearing her perform live was incredibly amazing. My favorite song of hers that she performed was “Kissing Other People.” If you have never listened to her music, please take this as a sign to do so!

5 Seconds of Summer

If you would have told me when I was 13 that at the age of 20, I would be photographing 5 Seconds of Summer, I, most likely, would have laughed in your face. But here I am, 20 years old, and doing something I never thought I would do. I was a die-hard fan of 5SOS in high school, and after seeing and shooting this show, it revived my love for them.

I sadly was not one of the lucky people who got to see 5SOS and One Direction perform on the same tour, and let me tell you why. At that point in my life, I was emo. I thought that I was too cool to go see One Direction perform. I missed out on the best tour of my life, and yes, I regret it every single day of my life. 

They performed a total of 15 songs, including “She Looks So Perfect,” “Easier,” “More,” “Valentine,” “If Walls Could Talk,” “Talk Fast,” “Moving Along,” “Ghost of You,” “Amnesia,” “Waste the Night,” “Why Won’t You Love Me,” “Jet Black Heart,” “Teeth,” “Want You Back,” and “Youngblood.”

Getting to hear “She Looks So Perfect” while being a mere few feet away from the band was just absolutely amazing. I am always the photographer in the photo pit that is singing along to every single word from behind my camera.

Once I left the photo pit, I got to watch the rest of their set from the crowd. Every single person in Viejas Arena was standing, dancing, and singing along. There were two moments of the show that were my favorite. The first being when Calum introduced every single member of the band. He went around introducing Ashton, then Luke, and then said, “and last but not least, I’m Calum.” He totally skipped over Michael, and it had the crowd laughing. Later in the show, Ashton decided to tell the crowd about, in what order, his favorite members of the band were for the night. This is apparently a thing that he has done at all the shows on this tour. He listed them in the following order: Calum, Luke, and then Michael. Again, Michael was put last, which made everyone in the crowd laugh. Ashton gave his spiel on why Michael was last, and it was because he felt like he had been giving Michael too much attention lately. Again, that made the crowd laugh.

This was my first time getting to see 5SOS, after being a fan since 2013. I had super high expectations for their show because I always hear amazing things about them. This show surpassed my expectations. Their music, somehow, sounds even more beautiful and raw live. The vocals, the instruments, the stage presence, everything. It was an amazing show, and if you were not there, you missed out.

The Chainsmokers

The headliner for the night was the Chainsmokers. Shooting this show was very different than what I am used to. It was a challenge, but it was a really fun challenge. For the Chainsmokers, all the photographers shot this portion of the show from the soundboard. To be quite honest, I have not used my long lens since I first purchased my camera almost seven years ago. This kind of set up really pushed me out of my comfort zone when it came to shooting the show, but I am very happy with the outcome.

The Chainsmokers sang a total of 30 songs, including “Takeaway” (which was performed with Lennon Stella), “Roses,” “Under the Bridge” (a Red Hot Chili Peppers cover), “Paris,” “Push My Luck,” “Cream,” “Call You Mine,” “Don’t Let Me Down,” “Shout” (a The Isley Brothers cover), “Mo Bamba” (a Sheck Wes cover), “Siren Get Ready for This” (a 2 Unlimited cover), “Everybody Hates Me.”

There was a break for an insane drum solo, then the songs continued with “Sick Boy,” “P.S. I Hope You’re Happy,” “Hope,” “Beach House,” “Split Say My Name” (a SAY MY NAME. cover), “Something Just Like This,” “The Grimm” (a John Christian cover), “Hard” (a Swen Weber & Jewelz cover), “Somebody,” “This Feeling,” “Kernkraft 400” (a Zombie Nation cover), “Olè” (a dabow cover), “Save Yourself,” “Who Do You Love” (which was performed with 5 Seconds of Summer), and “Closer.”

The stage set up for this show was so cool. There was the main stage, then a walkway connected that went all the way to the back of the stadium. It really allowed the band to connect with fans in every single part of the arena. The crowd was going absolutely wild for the Chainsmokers, dancing and moving along to every single song. This really was a concert you did not want to miss. 

Written by: McCaeley O’Rourke
Photos by: McCaeley O’Rourke

Why BTS Deserves a Grammy

Perhaps the most anxious group of people awaiting the 2020 Grammy Nominations on the morning of November 20 were the millions of fans of global superstars BTS.

ARMYs, as the fans are called, anxiously but patiently waited for 8 AM EST, only to be met with disappointment. After months of anticipation after BTS was first recognized by the Grammys; with an invitation to present at the 2019 Grammy Awards (where they did receive their first nomination for Best Recording Package), being photographed by the Academy’s official winners-only photographer, and even being invited to become voting members of the Recording Academy; the seven member Korean pop group was not given a single nomination.

Among those nominated were Beyonce, Billie Eilish, Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, and other huge names in music. All who were outsold and outperformed by BTS this year in both album sales and touring. So why were they left out of the nominations?

The most obvious arguments to make are cases of xenophobia and a disrespect for the K-pop genre and overall “boyband” world.

Comparisons to the absence of Grammys for groups like NSYNC, Backstreet Boys, and most recently One Direction are made against the argument of xenophobia/racism, but are still warranted. America especially has a notorious history with looking down upon the culture of boybands and their “crazed teenage girl” fans. The stigma around these artists creates a barrier that prevents most people from seeing their true talent and powerful place in the music industry. Those who are close-minded jump to the conclusion that popular artists only achieve their success through obsessed fans. But why are fans “obsessed” to begin with?

BTS is so much more than a “manufactured” group of attractive young men made to sell to teenage girls.

Take one dip into BTS’s discography and you will find many critically acclaimed songs spanning multiple genres, and a lot with beautiful lyrics and messages, such as “Reflection,” “Intro: Persona,” “Paradise,” and “Spring Day.” Go further and you’ll fall into the intricate “Bangtan Universe”: a series of cinematic music videos and short films that began with album The Most Beautiful Moment in Life Pt. 1 in 2015 that encompass an entire storyline beyond the music itself, which now includes a webtoon and a book to expand on the story. Some may say that this is all a ploy to make more money, but it is undeniable that this level of artistry and thought is rarely seen. 

BTS at the press conference for Map of the Soul: Persona from Big Hit Entertainment.

There is truly no one doing it like BTS.

One of their most recent achievements is releasing their third number one album this year alone, Map of the Soul: Persona, which was a record held only by The Beatles before BTS. Every member of BTS has a hand in writing/producing their music, as well. This record is not to be shrugged off with the notion that their songs are crafted for profit and mass consumption. BTS achieves what they do through their talent and dedication, and of course with support from ARMYs. 

Their Love Yourself: Speak Yourself world tour in support of Persona just wrapped up last month in Seoul and had an overall earning of $116.6 million. The sold-out stadium concerts came complete with a set design of giant panthers, a bounce house, and a full fireworks show

In the midst of celebrating their sixth anniversary with various special releases and fanmeetings/concerts, their single with Halsey “Boy With Luv” became their second song to become certified platinum. From the release of Persona in April to now, BTS’s entire discography has charted on iTunes three times, with the most recent being in response to the Grammys snub. Everywhere you look, BTS is achieving something new and continuing to make history.

BTS puts an insane amount of hard work and devotion into their art, which they have done since they first began (debuted) in 2013.

Even at home in South Korea, it took two years for them to receive recognition with a win from Korean music shows. The BTS members, and ARMYs, are no strangers to waiting for the recognition and appreciation they deserve. For years they have been overlooked, and while they have been awarded a few titles such as Top Duo/Group at the 2019 Billboard Music Awards, they deserve more.

BTS continues to prove that they deserve their spot as one of the top artists of all time and hopefully next year we will see that officially recognized by the Grammy Awards.

Written by: Emerson Redding