Music On The Brain

Music has a powerful effect that can change the world. As humans, we use music for many different purposes. We seek entertainment by going to concerts. Find joy in listening to a song or album that we particularly like. Music can also help us in ways we need. Who hasn’t cried to a good break-up song when you feel as if your heart has been ripped out of your chest?

Music helps get us through all of our problems and helps make life a little more tolerable.

Studying With Music

As a college student I find myself constantly listening to softer music when I am studying. It helps me put away the distractions. All over campus you will see students with headphones on, listening to music, trying their best to concentrate.

Have you ever noticed listening to music will help you relax and reduce stress? This can be a big plus when studying for a test, or finishing some big project that’s coming up.

The Mozart Effect

The Mozart Effect is a popular theory, that suggests that music can enhance your cognitive abilities. The effects can change depending on the person and type of music they are listening to. For many people listening to heavy metal won’t be ideal when studying but others enjoy loud and noisy music to help them concentrate.

I suggest more indie or classical musical. It relaxes you and can really get you in the zone for some studying.

The Brain and Music

In your brain you have your cerebellum. This is considered the mini brain because it breaks down the initial sensory stimulus. The stimuli then goes to the thalamus which interrogates the signals for any signs of danger. It does this by communicating with the hippocampus, the brain’s memory center, for stored historical sound/danger associations. The thalamus links to the amygdala to initiate an emotional response, e.g. fear if a danger signal is detected or tranquility if the signal is familiar. The amygdala works out how one feels about the sight of someone brandishing a knife compared to the sight of puppies. It is through this same interaction between the low-level and high-level processing units that the brain categorizes sound into music. 

Playlists for Studying

Here are some tunes on Spotify that might help you get that A.

https://open.spotify.com/user/spotify/playlist/0PRs1Xaui4zCv9LdIIt20X

https://open.spotify.com/user/spotify/playlist/37i9dQZF1DX8Uebhn9wzrS

https://open.spotify.com/user/spotify/playlist/37i9dQZF1DWXLeA8Omikj7

 

Utah Alumna Writes a Suspenseful Thriller Set in Utah

Discern is a fictional novella about the kidnapping of a wealthy teenager from Salt Lake City, Utah.  This suspenseful thriller is the first book written by Utah native, Emily Sneddon.  Sneddon graduated from the University of Utah in 2014 and currently lives in Nova Scotia with her family.

From the Author
Writing a book is hard work, but finding inspiration in Utah is not.  The culture alone is incredibly unique, but the diverse landscape throughout the state is incomparable. After growing up near Salt Lake City and attending the University of Utah, I felt like part of the tapestry that makes up the terrain. I considered myself born from the red dirt and raised by the mountains. Imagine my surprise when I met a man capable of convincing me to leave such a beautiful place. And while I’m grateful for the beauty and adventure that I’ve experienced since leaving, I will always be a Utahn at heart.
When I decided to write a book, I knew it was going to be set in Utah. I came up with the idea for this story during the summer before my wedding/relocation. So, this was my last chance to really immerse myself in thought about my home state. I also wanted to write a thriller because I’ve been fascinated by scary stories since childhood, but Utah has always felt like a safe place. So what would happen if something (or someone) sinister was lurking around the corner?
About the Book
 
The Avenues is an upscale neighborhood in the north-east part of Salt Lake City. Savannah Blake attends a prestigious, private high school nearby and is royalty among her wealthy friends.
One day, Savannah’s biggest concerns include which parties to attend and which boys to date. The next, she must fight for her own life.
Taken from her home. Taken from her friends and family. The last thing on her mind is which dress to wear to formal.
Discern was published on October 25th by Olympia Publishers and is currently available for purchase on their website: https://olympiapublishers.com/books/discern

New music wrap up: week of 10/29-11/2

This week has been crazy with all the releases that we’ve received. Some weeks are fuller than others, and this is definitely a full week. I’ve listened to quite a few of this new music already, so check below to see what I recommend you listen to from this week’s new drops!

Albums/Mixtapes/EPs

Chief Keef – Back From The Dead 3

Chief Keef is one of the more consistent artists in the rap game in terms of the amount of projects he releases. He’s back again with the newest installment in the fan-favorite Back From The Dead series. This project has 13 tracks with features from Tray Savage and Soulja Boy. Check this one out for your fix of that Chicago drill sound.  

TakeoffThe Last Rocket

After the release of Culture II earlier this year, Migos said that each of the three members would be releasing their own solo album. Takeoff’s project is the second of these to come out following Quavo’s Quavo Huncho last month. Takeoff is probably the least well-known member of the group, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t talented. Give this project a listen if you’re curious about his rapping abilities.

Vince Staples – FM!

Long Beach’s own Vince Staples returns with his latest project FM!, after releasing Big Fish Theory in 2017. This new project is heavy on the conceptual side of things, with radio skits running rampant throughout. It clocks in at 22 minutes in length over its 11 songs. Features on this project include Jay Rock, E-40, Kamaiyah, and others. This is a west coast project in the truest sense, so check it out if you love west coast rap.   

Metro Boomin – Not All Heroes Wear Capes

A few years ago, Metro Boomin was everywhere. He released numerous tracks with artists including Drake, Future, Young Thug, Kanye West, and many more. He took a bit of a break in 2018, but is back with his new project that features Travis Scott, Swae Lee, 21 Savage, Young Thug, and more. If you enjoy tracks with darker vibes, check this project out because it is full of them.  

 

Singles/Loose tracks

Nav – “Know Me”

Canadian rapper/producer Nav is back after a short break following the release of his debut album “Reckless” earlier this year. This is your typical Nav track on which he talks about his money, jewelry, and success. Check it out if you’re a fan of Nav and his unique voice and ear for beats.    

Tyga – “Dip” ft. Nicki Minaj

It’s 2018 and surprisingly, Tyga is relevant for something other than dating someone famous. He has had a strong 2018 thus far, with the super popular single “Taste” racking up over 400 million views on YouTube. This new track features his former Young Money labelmate Nicki Minaj.

Trey Songz – “Shootin’ Shots” ft. Ty Dolla Sign & Tory Lanez

Trey Songz is back with a brand new track after taking a short break following the release of his 2017 project Tremaine The Album. Take a listen to this track if you enjoy smooth crooning, because there’s plenty of it right here.

More new music

This isn’t a comprehensive list of everything that was released today simply because there is so much new music. If you want one check this link. Happy listening and check back for more of these posts in the future!

Hidden Gems of SLC: Crosswalk To Nowhere

Crosswalks are not a destination

After all, the chicken is simply trying to get to the other side of the road. Maybe you’ve got an “aesthetic” photo you really want to take, but as it stands, the middle of a road doesn’t have a lot to offer. It’s not terribly safe either. Anyone who’s used a crosswalk at the intersection below President’s Circle can attest to this.

Despite the danger, most people will brave crosswalks. Whether it’s to get to the brand new Publik by the University or the pizzeria four doors down, we use them to get to where we want to be. But what about when there is no destination on the other side? What if, for some absurd reason, a crosswalk you found lead you to nowhere? It seems as unhelpful and meanspirited as manipulating the boundaries of an electoral constituency to favor one political party over another.

The “Crosswalk to Nowhere”

To find it, drive up I Street until you reach 13th Avenue. Once you’re there, you’ll be greeted by a five-way intersection. On the right, there are two possible routes, 13th Avenue, which goes directly east, and Northcrest Drive, which veers uphill. Take Northcrest Drive, and almost immediately you will find the crosswalk, marked by a standard crosswalk sign and another sign with its “official” title.

While the sign in question looks professional, it’s made out of corrugated plastic, and one has to wonder if someone took it into their own hands to give the crosswalk a name. After all, why would the city name such a crosswalk? It connects one sidewalk of insignificance to a gutter and a bunch of bushes.

In all sense of the word, the “Crosswalk to Nowhere” is frivolous. It is because of this quality, however, that I find it appealing. In a world that seems to have stopped making sense (or never made sense to begin with), it’s oddly refreshing to find a place that so eloquently conveys the absurdity. In his time with the Talking Heads, David Bryne was the master of not making sense. I cannot think of a better song to compliment the “Crosswalk to Nowhere” then the band’s similarly titled “Road to Nowhere”.

 

 

 

Album review: Sincerely, Tokyo by Madeintyo

I first discovered Madeintyo a few years ago. You may be familiar with his track “Uber Everywhere”, which was released in 2016. The track got an official remix with Travis Scott. Even though that is currently his most popular song, Madeintyo brings much more to the table than just his slick-but-lazy sounding flow.

He’s released several projects so far during his short career, including Thank You, Mr. Tokyo and True’s World. These projects show off his tremendous flow, but I’m looking for more than that on this project. Seeing that it’s his debut album and he’s been working on it for more than two years, expectations are understandably high.

Enough talk, it’s time to get into Madeintyo’s debut album Sincerely, Tokyo.

First impressions

During my first couple listens through this project, the songs are all quality. There are 14 tracks, but they don’t drag on as the majority are between 2-3 minutes. The beats are fresh and experimental, which is always a plus.

Something that immediately sticks out about this project is the lack of different flows. This is something I really hoped Tokyo would experiment with on this project. This isn’t the worst thing in the world, but it makes the album a bit repetitive after a few listens.

Lyrics/Flow

Madeintyo is known more for his slick flow than his lyrics. He once again proves that on most of these tracks. He brings dope vibes to each project and all of the songs are ones that would be perfect for party playlists.  

While I’ll admit that his flow is dope on this album, it just gets a bit grating with the amount of times we hear the same thing. Tokyo has so much potential to make different sounding tracks due to the beats that he chooses, but he brings the same flow in most of these songs. That’s a no from me dawg.

  • Score: 6/10

Beats

If there is anything that is a clear-cute standout to me, it’s the beats contained on this album. Each song has a very distinct beat. It keeps the album fresh in that aspect, which I really enjoy for replayability reasons. Some of the producers on this album include Dwn2Earth, Ronny J, K Swisha, Hit-Boy, Wheezy, TM88, and many more. 

The only negative that I can say about this album’s beats is that they are too short on a lot of tracks. For example, the beat on “Moshi Moshi” is absolutely amazing but it only lasts about 1:15. The same problem is present throughout the project. While I respect shorter songs, I wish some of them were a bit longer.

  • Score: 8.3/10

Replayability

Not all albums are easily replayable, but this one definitely is. Sincerely, Tokyo clocks in at only 39 minutes. It is a quick listen that you can knock out and hopefully enjoy. I for one will be listening to this one for quite a while because most of the songs are enjoyable.

Even though the album is short and the beats are outstanding, Tokyo’s flows do get a bit repetitive. Not all of the tracks sound exactly the same, but a lot of the tracks near the beginning of the project sound kind of similar. But don’t let that turn you off the album as a whole, because you can shuffle through it and find something you like instead of listening in order.   

  • Score: 7.5/10

Standouts

Final thoughts

I expected a lot from Madeintyo on Sincerely, Tokyo. The album isn’t perfect, but he mostly met my expectations. Yes, he has proved that he isn’t only the guy who made “Uber Everywhere”, but did he prove anything else on this release?

Let’s be clear, the best things about this album are the beats. They are absolutely amazing and carry the project for me. Tokyo flows over them all so effortlessly, but that’s about it. His lyrical content is nothing to be amazed at.

Honestly, Sincerely, Tokyo is an album to listen to if you enjoy an artist that brings solely vibes to their music. I urge Tokyo to explore new flows and subject matter on his next project, simply because it’ll get people interested again. Madeintyo has released a fine project here, but not one that will go down as a classic by any means. The beats will remain fresh and the vibes dope, but otherwise most hip hop fans won’t remember this project.

Final Score: 7.3/10

Artwork owned by Madeintyo/The Private Club  

Professor ‘Rejects’ the Status Quo: A Case Study

The professor, who is she?

When she first walked in to teach Intro to Gender Studies, students knew she was going to be an engaging professor. She wears scarves in bright colors and prints–a shorthand for collegiate rebellion.

“We need to be critical of the status quo,” claims the white, straight professor. “That’s why, for this course, I’m banning a few words. ‘Society’ is one of them.”

Students, squished at desks that are too small for them, pencils poised, scrawl: “Society is a banned word” at the top of their notes.

Tearing Down the Institutions

Students, paying several thousand dollars to sit in this room, should know that Professor stretches their minds in new and exciting ways. She is only a little emblematic of the capitalist hell scape in which we’ve contained learning. She sends her children to private schools, because public schools–though good enough for everyone else–are not good enough for her precious babies.

Though she believes in free higher ed, she can’t do anything about it. She can only lecture at her students about their privileges. Her own lack of privilege–as a woman, as a white lecturer in a discipline that (necessarily) criticizes whiteness–exemplifies her teachings.

She knows that she strikes the perfect contrast to her student’s entitled attitudes.

Image result for gender studies class

(From The AAUW Gender Studies Symposium)

Inappropriate Student Feedback

Even a perfect professor, however, sometimes receives unnecessarily aggressive feedback. One problematic student, a black woman named Katherine, made the professor’s insides squirm with white guilt. Katherine once called the professor a hypocrite. In front of the class. 

The incident occurred a few months back, when the professor mentioned that she felt that white privilege erased the uniqueness of European cultures, making her feel directionless. “I just feel sad that…white culture is just a kind of void in America.”

Katherine, moved by thousands of years of colonial history and, indeed, facts, interrupted. “Wait. Your ‘white culture’ actively erases other cultures. It’s done that for hundreds of years,” Katherine said, staring at the professor. “…What are you teaching us?”

The professor replied, “Katherine, you’re thinking of this in the wrong way. I’m saying that racism hurts everyone.

“But it hurts some more than others, ‘professor.’ We’re a classroom of mostly white students in a mostly white state–should we maybe try to understand racism before we try to tackle white suffering?” Katherine countered.

“Let’s hear from someone else,” the professor suggested, glancing at the twenty or so white faces in the room.

Then came that word, that awful word, which cut the professor like glass. “You’re a hypocrite,” Katherine said, packing her bags. A few students, following Katherine’s example, exited too.

To the professor’s relief, Katherine dropped the class. Even the best professor can sometimes just have a bad student.

 

Rate Your Music dot com

Too Much Music?

In the vast untamed world of 21st century music it can be easy to feel lost. There are more artists and genres than ever before, yet we are still on a never ending quest of finding new music. Being overloaded with options can make it hard to find music that truly speaks to us. Internet radio stations are spotty. Discover weekly playlists never seem to show us anything new. Is there anything out there, made for the user, to navigate the infinite possibilities of music?

Rate Your Music

Let me introduce to you rateyourmusic.com. As a music enthusiast, this is your one-stop website when it comes to all things music. Rate Your Music has several useful features from album reviews to ways of discovering new music. If you want to make the most out of your listening experience and improve your music knowledge in general, Rate Your Music is for you.

When the website pulls up you’ll notice tabs in the upper left hand corner and a search bar in the upper right. The home page also includes a reviews, latest ratings, and new releases section. These can be useful in finding new music but honestly I rarely use them because they eliminate the greatest feature of rate your music which is specificity of searches.

Searching

For your journalist, the most used feature is the search bar. You may notice a drop down menu inside the bar. This changes the parameters of your search. Since it defaults to “artists” you have to enter the bands name when entering a search. If you try to enter a song title or album name you most likely won’t find what you’re looking for. Once you do find the band, click on their name to take you to the artists’ page.

Artists’ page shows when/where they formed/disbanded, members years active and instruments (click on their name to take you to that persons page), other names for the band, and genres (click on the genre to get more information about it). As you scroll down you’ll see their entire discography with a rating beside it. Albums are rated out of 5. Anything above a 4 is extremely rare and above a 3 is strong. The rating shown is an average of all reviews which come from critics and fans. These are also subject to change as more people like or dislike the album over time. This is why I feel Rate Your Music does a better job at ranking music than any other music review site.

You can then click on the album title to take you to that page. On this page you’ll find general album information including its rank for the year it was released and overall (yes, this is a comprehensive list). The most used features I use to get a taste of the album are it’s rating, genres, and descriptors. You can then form your own opinion about the album but it’s nice to have a place to start.

Charts and Lists

…are a great way to discover new music. The charts page allows you to search the top rated albums, eps, etc. from a specific genre. You can limit your search to a certain decade or specific year. If there is an album I particularly like, I’ll look at its genre and check-out the related chart. This has allowed me to sort through some of the classic music of that genre, in order to find the best, as well as discover more unknown artists that are highly acclaimed.

The lists page can also be useful for finding new music. This is essentially a page where users can compile playlists of similar artists or “best of” lists, etc. There are lists such as “1001 albums you must hear before you die” and some more random like “Worst album covers of all time”.

I’ve only scratched the surface of all the features this website has to offer. Go check out rateyourmusic.com and leave a comment below to tell me what you think!

The month in hip hop: October part 2

Oh you thought those were all the projects coming out this month? Not even close. The amount of new music that we’re getting this month is absolutely crazy. Check out the new projects that are arriving on October 19th and 26th!

Click here for part 1 of this post.

October 19th  

  • Future & Juice WRLD – WRLD on Drugs
    • Now this is the definition of a surprise album. After releasing the single “Fine China” earlier in the week, Future and Juice WRLD really went hard and dropped a whole 16 track album on us. The project is available now on streaming services and has features from artists including Young ThugLil WayneNicki Minaj, and Gunna among others.
  • Lil Yachty – Nuthin’ 2 Prove
    • Earlier in 2018, Lil Yachty released Lil Boat 2 which is a follow-up to a previous project called Lil Boat. Other than that, his musical output hasn’t been as prolific as it has been in the past. But a couple weeks ago he announced that he has another album titled Nuthin’ 2 Prove on the way. We didn’t have too much information about this project earlier in the week until Yachty tweeted out the tracklist. The project is available now on streaming services. Take a listen and let us know what you think in the comment section!  
  • Brent Faiyaz – LOST.
    • Many people have heard the song “Crew” by Goldlink. This song was released in late 2016 and became quite popular in large part due to the amazing hook that was sung by Brent Faiyaz. After listening to this song, I’d suggest checking out Faiyaz’s debut album Sonder Son. It is some high quality R&B music due to his beautiful voice and way with melodies. Even though he has had a quiet 2018 thus far, Faiyaz has finally announced his new project called LOST. The project will contain six tracks, and it’s looking to be a good one.    

October 26th

  • Madeintyo Sincerely, Tokyo
    • Even if you aren’t familiar with Madeintyo by name, you’ve probably heard some of his bigger tracks called “Uber Everywhere”, “I Want”, and “Skateboard P”. He has released projects every year since 2015, with True’s World in 2017 being the latest. This new project is titled Sincerely, Tokyo and will feature artists such as Roy Woods, Gunna, ASAP Ferg, and 24hrs. I’m very excited to see what Madeintyo can bring with this project. If you haven’t listened to him before, I’d suggest checking his music out before you listen to this album.    
  • Tory Lanez Love Me Now?
    • Toronto rapper/singer Tory Lanez is gearing up to release his second album of 2018, titled Love Me Now?. The project is supposed to have features from many artists such as Chris Brown, Gunna, 2 Chainz, and Lil Baby. It’ll be interesting to see how this project shapes up after we received Memories Don’t Die from Lanez earlier in the year. He’s already released “Talk To Me” featuring Rich The Kid and “Keep In Touch” featuring Bryson Tiller from the project.
  • Ty Dolla Sign & Jeremih MihTy
    • The duo of Ty Dolla Sign and Jeremih have collaborated on numerous tracks in the past, so their joint album should be something to look forward to for fans of R&B. Details about MihTy are scarce, but two singles have been released so far; “The Light” and “Goin Thru Some Thangz”. These are both quality tracks and should raise the level of hype for the project!
  • Mick Jenkins Pieces Of A Man
    • This project has been a long time coming. It seems like forever since Mick has released a project, but it’s only been about two years since he dropped his debut album called The Healing Component. We don’t know many details about this project yet, but Jenkins did release the first track from the album called “Understood”. Keep on the lookout for this project, it should be a good one.  

Stacked month

That’s about it for the hip hop world in the month of October. If I’ve missed any albums, please feel free to leave a comment on the bottom of this post and let me know!

Artwork owned by artists and their labels