Mary Lambert Album Review

image“So what?” (A repeated lyric from Secrets)
Mary Lambert-that’s what. You know, that girl that sang Same Love with Macklemore & Ryan Lewis which was on the radio for like ever! (She is the perfect advocate for gay rights because she is homosexual herself.)
I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to watch and review the DVD-video to Secrets which is her first single. Boy, I was not expecting those lyrics…but it works.
Her first few lines are: “I’ve got bipolar disorder. My shits not in order. I’m overweight. I’m always late…” Definitely not the usual pop song. Yet, it kind of is something you can listen to on the radio. It’s revolutionary…
It is so refreshing to hear a song that is real and means something to both the artist and her audience. Add in the colorful costumes and a tune that sticks to the deepest parts of your brain and you got yourself a song you want to listen to over and over. And a video to match.
Mary, in general, is open about her experiences which have made her popular to those that support gay rights and/or are gay, have or had an eating disorder, abused drugs, had a traumatic childhood, is bipolar, ever went through a breakup, and so on. She generally covers anyone who has ever had in issue with themselves because of who one is. Eventually her experiences encompasses everyone because, just like her audience, she is only human. Sometimes, we forget that when we look at celebrities which seem to live in a realm unlike our own.
When my sister saw me watching the video, she stopped in the midst of her travel to the fridge and finished the video with me. “That’s catchy. Where did you get that video?” She asked me.
Like the rest of her album, this video and song makes her easy to know and fun. She wants to let the public know about her private life. However, it is not scandal or publicity she is looking for. She wants to be a “catalyst for somebody else to see something within themselves” Unlike most people in the world, she truly does not care if the world knows what her secrets are. And one of those secrets she left until the very end…she makes a very good opera-singing viking.
So check out her new song and maybe the rest of her album!

New Music Alert: Basic Vacation

basic-vacation-2013-650-430Do you need a vacation from your everyday life? How about a basic vacation? Well now you can, with a little music from a new band Basic Vacation. Basic Vacation is a band that met by chance, made a group by faith, and stays together for the love of music. This new band is something truly special. The group, Chris Greatti, Jon Paul, and Mike Montalbano, make songs that not only connect with themselves but could also reach out to others. Their hit song “I Believe” is not only a catchy tune but a story. The story of how this group had nothing but each other. No one else believed in them except themselves, and no matter what they were put through they kept at it. This song not only connects to the band but it can also connect to anyone. Anyone who needs a smile or someone who knows someone else that needs a little believing in. Take a listen to “I Believe” if in need of a little cheering up or just to jam out to. This song could be your song of the day, week, or even year. “I Believe” is a song that will never get old even on repeat.

This underdog group is making their way up the charts. With their new songs Jamie, It’s All Happening, and Worlds Collide, this group will be the hottest thing in no time. Basic Vacation is soon coming out with a full length album and this is surely not something to miss out on. Their music will take you to a different world. A world where dreams come true, and all it takes is a little faith in each other. If you are a person who loves fun and happiness this band will definitely be your favorite in no time. Or, if you like alternative pop-rock, Basic Vacation should be the next thing you look up on YouTube. One listen to this band and you will fall in love to their storyful songs and the sing alongable music. This music is made with love, for us, the fans of music.

If interested to learn more about Basic Vacation or their music you can find them at: www.basicvacation.com | www.twitter.com/basicvacation

 

Taylor Swift's 1989 -Review

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“I was born in Reading, Pennsylvania on December 13, 1989.” The first sentences introducing 1989 cannot get any simpler. Mega superstar Taylor Swift never fulfills her multi millionaire persona, does she?

Although she no longer lives on the Christmas tree farm on which she was born, and even though she’s progressed from her Nashville phase, Taylor Swift never completely shifts away from her roots. She’s classic, and that’s exactly what the classics do.

Taylor Swift had created the ultimate game plan to succeed, not only in pop culture, but in life categories including sophistication, style, and happiness. Taylor has found a new, inspiring way to live life. She shows girls, teenagers, and even adults that it’s okay to get mad at people sometimes, that it’s fine if you make mistakes, or dance strangely. Taylor doesn’t feel the need to be “hipster” or “sexy.” Instead, Swift shows fans that she’s comfortable in her own skin. She has an excited demeanor, ready to take on the world. This positivity is what keeps fans coming for Swift. She’s real. She doesn’t belong in a category. Her style, music, and character don’t contain boundaries either. When she’s in love, fairytales are real; when Swift is not, independence is the key. These little details tell us that Swift is relatable. Behind the red lipstick, sparkly dresses, and Grammy awards, Taylor is a twenty-something year-old who loves to bake and play with her cats.

Unlike other celebrities, Taylor Swift likes to carry an innocent identity. She doesn’t try to be sultry or dark; she’s simple. She’s brilliant in her art. What makes her so talented is that she’s an artist. She’s actually a true artist. An artist is someone who creates something from start to finish. Swift writes her music, sings it, performs it, behaves as a role-model, and attends to her fans.

1989 is Taylor’s fifth studio-recorded album. Selling 1.28 million copies in its first week, the album, released by Big Machine Records, became the best-selling album since 2002. The album was released October 27, following Taylor’s usual trend of album releases. She usually releases an album every two years, during the third trimester of October.

I’d like to point out that I love Taylor Swift more than anyone else in the world. I own all her albums, I’ve been to two concerts, and I try to get my hands on all her merchandise. I’m going to be truthful about my opinions on these songs, there are thirteen of them (Taylor’s lucky number,) I’ve had more than enough time to make up solid opinions on each individual song. My point, however, is that I won’t be bashing any of these songs, because I honestly don’t think anything Taylor does can be criticized, if this bothers you, I recommend that you go on with your day and do not read further. Thank you.

 

Welcome to New York

Moving to a New York City apartment was a big deal to Taylor, and her affection for the city is displayed explicitly in the first track off 1989, Welcome to New York.  The song opens up like a sort of anthem. It has a nineties melody, almost coming from an old Gwen Stefani tune. The words to the song are simple, and the beat is repetitive. It’s a song that is literally MEANT to be sung along to. At different parts of the song, you can hear simple clapping, and it actually sounds really, really good. Taylor’s voice is auto-tuned to sound almost techno, but it still sounds authentic and smart, something only Taylor can do. The message of the song is inspiring. It has an ‘I can conquer the world if I try’ theme. Listening to the song, you can almost picture glossy-eyed Taylor stepping into the big city for the first time, and spinning around as she gazes upon the skyscrapers. You would have no idea that the pop superstar is probably just as universally popular as NYC.

 

Blank Space

Blank Space is going to be popular, and it only takes one listen to know it. It’s the first song fans will have memorized word for word; I can swear on it. The song is catchy, with dialogistic lyrics that make you move your lips and point fingers. It carries a story of a girl who plays with guys on her fingertips. You know, the crazy, psychotic, obsessive girlfriend, the image Taylor is usually portrayed as.  In this song, Taylor almost gets back at all of those who carry this misconception. She actually played the role, and wrote a song in a-crazy-psychotic-girl perspective. She also made it sound incredible and addicting. Now everyone is singing this song that only a crazy-psychotic-girlfriend would narrate, but it doesn’t even sound like what she’s doing is that morbid. Ladies and gentlemen, that is the power of Taylor Swift.

 

Style

You guys this song is brilliant. It starts off sort of scary, like a break-up song. It actually feels like an emotional song until you hear the chorus. Gasp. It’s not. Gasp again. It’s not, at all.

The song opens up with a strumming electric guitar, and the string rhythm continues throughout the song. This repetition of beat is new for Taylor, and it goes hand in hand with her transition into pop. At the end of the chorus, Taylor is accompanies by a voiceover screaming the word, “OUT OF STYLE.” The screaming is something else one can associate with this album in particular. My only wish is that this song included an actual bridge instead of a repetition of the chorus. The bridge displays Taylor’s singing abilities; however, bridges that put her writing ability on display are my favorite.

 

Out of the Woods

Out of the Woods was released a couple weeks before the release of the album, and was an instant success. This one is Taylor’s favorite track on the record. (It’s mine, too.)

The song is a vintage; and no one in today’s industry has done that. It’s the perfect fall, hiking song. It’s dramatic, it’s interesting, and it’s meaningful. Like the previous songs, this one’s repetitive. The chorus is a repeated question, “Are we out of the woods?” But the words mean something. This chorus is metaphorically talking about a love that’s never shown in the light. It’s metaphorically speaking of a romance that’s always stuck in the woods. The bridge makes this song complete. It’s perfect. In the bridge, Taylor talks about a car crash. And the words are raw and deliberate, it’s beautiful.

By the way, Taylor proclaims that the bridge is not a metaphor! Amazing, right?

 

All you had to do was Stay

This track is another favorite of mine. This one has a high-pitched, auto-tuned “stay” in the chorus. The first time I heard it, I hated that part. Now, I look forward to it. Again, I wish the bridge was longer, but that’s only because I cannot get enough Taylor. I love the way Taylor recorded this one. In the second chorus the voice-over. Is. Perfect.

 

Shake it Off

This was Taylor’s first single off the album. Like all of her initial singles, it’s extremely pop. She writes them for the radio folks. What makes this one differ from WANEGBT, however, is that it almost sounds like it’s been pulled out of another decade. It’s classic.

This song is not significant in its wording or rhythm, but I don’t mind when it plays. And even though I thought it would be the song I always skip, it’s not.

 

I Wish you Would

This was another song that didn’t stand out to me after the first listen. Now it’s the most played song on my phone. The reason behind that is that this song has a great beat. Jack Antonoff did a wonderful job with this one. You can tell the focus is on the instrumentals and I love that.

 

Bad Blood

This song is wild. The rhythm is mad, angry even. Taylor sings directly to someone who made a very, very big mistake. I just feel like the words are too aggressive. I have to say this is one of the very first Taylor songs I can’t really relate, too. Her voice is beautiful in this song in particular, however. I’d LOVE to hear a version of this song sung acoustically.

 

Wildest Dreams

This one is classic. The words are beautiful, and Taylor’s voice is flawless.  “Say you’ll remember me, standing in a nice dress, staring at the sunset.”

“His voice is a familiar sound, ‘Nothing lasts forever.’”

It’s a breakup song written before the breakup even happens. Taylor is singing about a guy she knows she won’t end up with, but she doesn’t need to end up with him in order to be satisfied. All she needs is for him to remember her.

 

How you get the Girl

This is probably the only true pop song on the record. For this track, Taylor is addressing a man trying to get his girl back. To any girl, this song is beautiful. To Taylor fans, this song is incredible. For the first time on this record, Taylor sounds like the same girl she was 6 years ago, when she believed that love is everything. It would be great if guys fit the description and character depicted in this song. If only.

 

This Love

This. Song. Is. Breathtaking.

Taylor’s voice is finally stripped down. Taylor sounds like an angel, reading out someone’s dream. This Love is brilliant. You hear guitar, and it’s an acoustic guitar! The words are strong; Taylor’s voice is echoing which adds an amazing effect. The lyrics are well thought-out and meaningful.

The words are so simple. “This love is good, this love is bad.” It’s SO raw. Yet, before you know it, you’re crying as you listen. The bridge in this song makes you fall in love. There are not enough good things I can say about this song. I wouldn’t mind more songs like this from Taylor; This Love is a beautiful listen.

 

I Know Places

This song is haunting, addicting, and really, really good.

I love the rhythm, the words are easy and simple, and the chorus brings the song together effortlessly. It’s perfect. Taylor also scores for addicting with this track. In addition, this song sound nothing like any of her previous songs, making it stand out on the album.

She’s so good you guys, I cannot say it enough times. This song deserves as much attention as Shake it Off received at its release.

 

Clean

This is probably the most remarkable track on the record. Taylor goes deep with this one. It’s brilliantly written. The words are relatable. It’s inspiring. It’s majestic and lovely, too.

It hits you in a place you probably never thought Taylor couldn’t hit you in. Her voice just sounds so real. Her voice is soft, too. “I screamed so loud, but no one heard a thing.”

It gives you a sense of freedom. And the bridge is the best thing that’s happened on Earth. The bridge is stunning. Well done, Taylor. Well done.

Overall, this album is a show-stopper. It’s incredible, addicting, majestic, awesome, and well-written. Taylor hits all kinds of different odds and ends in the song-writing world. This album addresses breakups, relationships, love, and self-worth. The thirteen songs on this album make the perfect addition to Taylor’s already perfect list of songs. She’s brilliant. It’s that simple. Taylor is a musical genius.

 

 

 

Gwen Stefani's “Baby Don't Lie” -Review

gwen-stefani-baby-dont-lie-coverGwen Stefani’s new single “Baby Don’t Lie” was inspired by a reggae kind of sound that we have all grown to love. Gwen Stefani has not released a solo album since 2006. The song, ” Baby Don’t Lie” premiered October 19, 2014. After a long time of substituting music for starring on “The Voice” she has come out of her shell and is now expressing her love for music. Stefani’s single is upbeat and unexpected. Stefani is always one step ahead of the crowd. If it wasn’t for Stefani’s miraculous voice the song wouldn’t be much.  Gwen Stefani has a beautiful voice. Stefani can hit high cords and her vocals are always on key.  Gwen Stefani has written many of songs about falling in love with someone who has skeletons in his closet but this one is my favorite. Stefani took a risk by creating a song that sounds different from her usual sound, but it worked out well. Gwen Stefani’s song was inspired by the 2012 hit Diamond by Rihanna.

Bad Seed Rising- Young Band Ready for Success

Bad_Seed_Rising-2In Baltimore, a group of four kids got together to create a new phenomenon. All around the world you kids are starting bands, rock bands in particular. My favorite newly found rock band is “Bad Seed Rising”. The kids in the rock band are younger than me at the ages of 13, 12, 15, and 16. They are all very talented. Bad Seed Rising is the youngest band to be signed within 34 years. The lead vocalist has a beautiful voice and the boys on the instruments are truly amazing. There goes to show, don’t judge a book by its cover. Just because they are you glides does not mean they can’t be talented. These young kids were the start of a new trend all around the world. Now kids all over want to start bands, some of them good and some not so good. Bad seed rising has a rebellious, edgy kind of sound and it’s becoming very popular. The bands second album, “Charm City” released April 15, 2014 and sold well. Charm City was the bands first project for Roadrunner Records. This bad mouthing, rebellious band will definitely make it far in the rock n’ roll genera. 

Les Misérables- Review

Words can barely describe how incredible this play turned out. My heart was beating harder than the percussion. Seeing the movie and seeing the actual play are similar but incredibly different. Seeing Les Miserables was an amazing experience. I had chills the entire time. Seeing the play was different than the movie because you interact more with the characters. It felt like I knew the characters so well. While you get to know the characters so well, it makes it heart-throbbing when they die or sing an outstanding ballad. Speaking of the singing, wow, it was completely miraculous. Each and every character had an amazing voice. From the male low, deep voices to the female high pitched voices.  The combination of all the characters was heavenly. I never knew a human being could make such beautiful music as the cast of Les Miserables. From the time I got out of the theater I’ve been singing all the songs to myself. Les Miserables has always been one of my favorite books but seeing the play made me love it even more. I was not the only one that loved the play. I made quick chat with many people of the audience, almost all of them said they have seen the play more than once. The lady next to me said she had seen it 4 other times. It was truly an honor to meet the main character Ivan Rutherford, Jean Valjean, he is incredible. I would definitely recommend this play, it was perfect.

Forever Yogurt Opens in Norridge

forever_yogurt

Let me take you on a little journey… Forget the desk you’re sitting at right now, you know, the one you’re supposed to working at. Forget that project due tomorrow, or that write-up, or that test or that evaluation or whatever it is that is stressing you out… Just imagine this: You’re on a beach, your toes are comfortably burrowed into the warm sand, the soothing sound of the waves is all that’s on your mind and the hot sun is beating down on you. Hot. Hot hot hot. You can almost feel your face getting sunburned. Oh my. It’s summer in Chicago, what did you expect? So now transform this beach into Norridge, and add a couple tens of degrees of heat. Here we go, that’s more like it. You need something to cool you down, and stat!

Enter stage left: frozen yogurt. It’s creamy, it’s sweet, and best of all, it’s cold and refreshing! And wanna know the best part? It doesn’t even have to 90 degrees in the middle of summer to enjoy this treat. We now have a Forever Yogurt location opening at the HIP!

It’s springtime, the birds are chirping, the sun is remembering that its job is to heat the world, and when we’re all waltzing around Norridge, what better goodie to snack on than frozen yogurt?

In all seriousness though, frozen yogurt is arguably the champion of snacks. Since it’s made from yogurt, it has the healthy live cultures you find in yogurt, but in a user-friendlier ice cream-like version. It has tons more health benefits than ice cream, and way more than your average candy bar snack. Yogurt is chock full of essential vitamins, minerals and other nutrients, plus it supports digestive health. It also helps to maintain cardiovascular health. Not only is it good, it’s good for you.

forever-yogurt-adOn top of it all, Forever Yogurt believes in sustainability, community involvement and opportunities for employee growth. To build their locations, they use reclaimed lumber and biodegradable materials. It’s all modern, and it’s all good for not only you, but the community and environment as well!

So the next time you’re out chillin’ with your friends and want a chilly treat, stop by the newest location of Forever Yogurt — right between Chipotle and Panera at the HIP. Their grand opening is April 5th at 3 P.M., and in case the promise of delicious, creamy, eighth-wonder-of-the-world frozen yogurt isn’t incentive enough, they are also promising the first 50 people in line free froyo for a year and the next 50 free froyo for the day. See you there!

Chat with LitWorks author Dave Roman on Sat, Feb 22 at 1pm

litworks_2014_logoLitWorks is coming!  Work yourself up to our teen book fest by chatting with one of our authors online.  You can chat with graphic novelist Dave Roman this Saturday, February 22 at 1pm CST.  Links to the online chat will be posted on the RHS website.  Or join us in the 2nd floor conference room at Eisenhower Public Library for an Author Chat Party.  Music, food, and laptops available for your viewing and posting pleasure.  Need more info?  See Mrs. Gonzalez in the library.

 

Here is the link for Dave Roman’s chat

RHS Italian National Honor Society Members Pack Food for Ugandan Children

inhs-evelynIt all starts with food!  Three years ago, 18,000 children died per day due to starvation, but today that number is down to 6,200.  There is hope and a solution.  Through the work of humanitarian groups like Feed My Starving Children, that number can go down to zero. By providing only four ingredients — vitamins, vegetables, soy and rice — we can feed starving children around the globe. FMSC and its partners provide food to seventy countries around world.

Today, Ridgewood Italian National Honor Society members packed 62 boxes of food for starving children in Uganda. That translates to 13,392 meals that can feed 36 kids for a whole year. Two hours of work per student can feed one child for a year. It comes at a price, though, as the cost of the food packed is $2,946. Feed My Starving Children is looking for donations to keep up their cause. A donation of any amount will help feed the starving children of the world!

In Italiano:

Comincia tutto con il cibo. Tre anni fa, 18,000 bambini  morivano al giorno per la fame, ma oggi quel numero è diminuito a 6,200.  C’è speranza e una soluzione. Con l’aiuto di gruppi umanitari come Feed My Starving Children, il numero puó diminuire a zero. Dando solo quattro ingredienti- vitamine, verdure, soia e riso- possiamo dare da mangiare a bambini affamati nel mondo.  Feed My Starving Children e i loro soci danno da mangiare a 70 paesi nel mondo.

Oggi i membri del’ INHS hanno impaccato 62 scatole di cibo per i bambini affamati dell’ Uganda.  Questo significa che i13,392  pasti daranno da mangiare a 36 bambini per un anno.  Due ore di lavoro per uno studente puó dare da mangiare a un bambino per un anno intero. Peró, c’è un prezzo da pagare. Costa $2,946.00 per il mangiare che abbiamo impaccato oggi. Feed My Starving Children cerca donazioni per continuare questo programma importante. Apprezzano qualsiasi aiuto finanziario. Aiutiamoli!