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Ariana Grande’s Sixth Studio Album Is Her Sexiest One Yet: ‘Positions’ Album Review

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It’s been over a year since Ariana Grande has released a new album (besides her tour album “Bye for Now”), and “Positions” is her hottest album to date. In the past her music style has been pop with an R&B influence, whereas this one is much more R&B with a pop influence, something I was excited to hear from her. She usually stays in an upper range showing off her higher octaves and keeps things more PG to PG-13 when it comes to lyrics. In her last two albums, “Sweetener” and “Thank u, Next,” Ariana gets a lot more personal when it comes to her personal life and how she dealt with the ending of her relationship and death of Mac Miller. There was a slight hint at a more slowed down style and a sexually personal album. “Positions” doesn’t disappoint, giving us a hint to what her coronavirus quarantine was like.

“Positions” consists of 14 tracks that are all very sexual but in the best and classiest way possible. The album doesn’t waste any time having the most sexual song in Ariana’s discography at the top with “34+35.” It wasn’t until I listened to the first couple of lines that I realized what the title meant and if you still haven’t caught on by the end of the song, she clarifies it for you at the very end. This is a playful song in both lyrics and vocals, switching octaves and breathiness often. Other songs that are on the same wavelength are “My Hair,” “Nasty,” and “Positions.” “Positions” is very relaxed in tone and fun, being the perfect option for the first single and a great way to show the direction of the album. “Nasty” and “My Hair” are two of the most R&B influenced songs being jazzy and sexy in vocals and beat. “My Hair” also features the most impressive vocals of the album with Ari singing “run your hands through my hair” in a whistle note. We heard her first whistle note in “Imagine” off of “Thank U, Next,” but this is the first time she’s sung lyrics in a whistle note, which is quite impressive. 

From there, things stay sexual but are tame compared to “34+35.” Ari gives us a trio of features at the top half of the album leaving the back-half feature free. “Motive” keeps up the upbeat vibe that the last two songs had. The song itself is fun and relatable, asking a guy if he’s there for a hookup or a relationship. Ari plays with runs giving it a “Dangerous Woman” era vibe. Then the song goes a bit downhill with the addition of Doja Cat. It’s hard to tell if she’s trying to rap or sing in certain parts of the verse and her breathing is choppy and kills the song a bit.  We’re then given the best track on the album and one of Ariana’s best collabs to date with “Off the Table” featuring the Weeknd. This is like a sequel song to their previous collaboration, “Love Me Harder,” on her second album “My Everything.” It’s more of a loving song compared to the others, being very R&B and emotional. Their voices blend seamlessly creating a beautiful harmony throughout the song. Then, we’re given another great collab with Ty Dolla $ign in “Safety Net.” The lyrics and vocals are simple, letting the melody and harmony carry out the emotion of the song.

The rest of the tracks all have something different to offer. “Just Like Magic” is vibey and empowering, explaining how she keeps in a positive mindset. “Love Language” and “POV” are very different in style, the former being much sexier in vocal style. However, they share similar messages, with “POV” saying she sees how the guy loves and appreciates her and “Love Language” being the opposite, with her saying how she loves him. The last four tracks “Shut Up,” “Six Thirty,” “West Side,” and “Obvious” are all good in their own way, some being better than others, but don’t have anything distinctive about them that sets them above the rest. “Shut Up” and “Obvious” are the best of those four, giving us some fun runs and vocal switch ups. 

Overall, the album’s a hit. Is it the best of Ariana’s six albums? No, but it is up there on the list. The track list gives us a lot of smooth sexiness with beautiful harmonies throughout each song, a classic Ari signature style, harmonizing with herself. Her back up vocals are where she plays around the most leaving the main vocals simple and relaxed with some vocal tricks thrown in. The album is a 1980s meets 2020 R&B version of her last three albums, taking style and vocal tricks from each to make a new sound. 

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13 Spooky Movie for the Easily Frightned

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As someone who has always loved Halloween, but hated scary movies, I know how odd this time of year can feel. However, over time I have comprised a list of movies that will help you get in the spooky mood, without leaving you with horrible nightmares for weeks. The list is ranked from least to most likely to genuinely scare you, if you are easily frightened like me. These are some of my favorites, so I hope you like them too!

 

  • It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown: This 1966 classic follows the Peanuts gang as they celebrate Halloween. 

  • Corpse Bride: Victor Van Dort and Victoria Everglot find themselves in an arranged marriage, but after running into the woods to practice his vows in peace, Victor finds himself married to a dead bride.  

  • The Nightmare Before Christmas: Jack Skellington, Halloweentown’s pumpkin king, grows tired of seemingly doing the same thing for Halloween every year, so after stumbling upon Christmas Town, he forms a plan to make Christmas his new project. 

  • Edward Scissorhands: After a scientist dies, leaving Edward (his creation) alone, a kind woman finds him and decides to take him home with her. However, this is no ordinary boy, he has scissors for hands–which makes life quite difficult for him.

  • Ghostbusters (1984): After a group of scientists stop working at a university in NYC, they decide to become ghost hunters. 

  • The Witches (1990): While staying in a hotel with his grandmother, a young boy ends up spying on a convention full of evil witches who don’t want their secret to get out.

  • Beetlejuice: After a young couple dies in a car accident, they are forced to watch an eccentric family move into their home. 

  • Young Frankenstein: In this 1974 comedy, the grandson of the scientist Dr. Frankenstein is invited to Transylvania, where he soon discovers the process that can reanimate a dead body.

  • Monster House: When a neighborhood is being terrorized by a haunted house and its creepy old man, three kids take it upon themselves to get to the bottom of the situation.

  • Coraline: When exploring her new home, Coraline discovers a secret door that transports her to a parallel world of her own, but things are not as they seem. 

  • Jennifer’s Body: After the failed sacrifice of a teenage girl named Jennifer, she is reborn as a succubus with an extreme craving for the blood of boys, especially those that hurt her. 

  • The Craft: When Sarah moves to a new school, she meets three girls who claim to be witches; and It just so happens they need a fourth member. 

  • Scream: After the death of a local girl, the town of Woodsboro is sent into a frenzy trying to figure out who the masked killer is, especially when the killer seems to target one girl in particular; Sydney Prescott. 

 

 

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Declan McKenna’s New 80’s Sound Compliments His Political Lyrics: ‘Zeros’ Album Review

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“What do you think about the rocket I built?” cheekily asks a 17-year-old Declan McKenna on the opener of his new album “Zeros.” In his sophomore album, British singer-songwriter, McKenna strays away from the indie rock as seen on his debut album and produces a concept album that explores dystopian 80s rock sounds. He becomes experimental with this album and most importantly, he showcases his political critique, but in rock style. 

In an interview with NME magazine last year, McKenna claimed he “[wouldn’t] really describe [himself] directly as a political musician.” “I think I have an opinion on a lot of things, and I guess I’m someone who wants to share that and wants to make a point about certain things I think are right and wrong.” “Zeros” leaves the current indie tunes behind for something less radio pop and delivers futuristic-dystopian lyrics. Even with funky retro tunes, McKenna finds a manner to make political songs sound upbeat, creative, and fun. 

On “Zeros,” McKenna highlights weightier topics such as climate change, online radicalization, and surveillance capitalism. Song “Sagittarius A*” criticizes industrialists for their deluding thoughts of avoiding climate emergency and fleeing to Mars. “You think your money’s gonna stop you getting wet. Noah, you best start building.” In recent years the melting of the glaciers has become a major world occurrence that intensified during the 20th century and has left the world iceless, and rumor has it that those with money don’t have a care about these issues. But, those with wealth are also affected deeply, and this song is a cry for help for people to become more aware and cautious of saving, taking care of, and knowing what is happening to our earth. McKenna is expressing his concerns for the planet and is telling everyone to listen and take care. 

Following “Sagittarius A*,” comes another political rock anthem and the first lead single off the album, “Beautiful Faces, which is a song about surveillance capitalism. McKenna Describes this song as a “brave new anthem for doomed youth,” wherein he sings of the modern day struggles young people are facing. He emphasizes the idea that people are constantly being watched and the notion that technology is impacting inequality. This preconceived notion of always being watched through social media and the way technology is rapidly improving and is getting more savvy is going to harm the youth even more than it already is. “Beautiful faces smiling over us, lift your hands up and lead us back home,” highlights the way attractive people are portrayed in reality TV and social media. It’s almost condescending in the sense that the phrase “smiling over us” feels threatening in nature. It’s a metaphor for the “power dynamics between the general population and the celebrities as well as the power they hold ‘over us.’” McKenna stresses his worry in this song that the “beautiful faces” will hold even more power to the point that we cannot get away from their looming presence. “Beautiful Faces” is a personal favorite of mine and in my opinion the best track off of the album.

In “Zeros” Declan McKenna has more to offer as far as storytelling goes. McKenna produced a solid second album and is bursting with new, creative, inventive images and sounds that are enough to entertain the youth. Albeit, the album couldn’t have been written without the ill’s of today’s society, but underneath all the glitter and glam, McKenna is still able to master a beautiful melancholy masterpiece.

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The End of an Era: ‘Keeping Up With the Kardashians’ Ending After 20 Seasons

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After 20 drama-filled seasons, spanning 14 long years, “Keeping Up With The Kardashians” is coming to a surprising end. The cast made this announcement out of the blue on Tuesday, Sept. 8–shocking many fans in the process. “KUWTK” will now join the likes of “Jersey Shore” and “The Simple Life,” being remembered as hilariously pivotal shows that shaped pop culture in the early 2000s.  

First making its debut in 2007, “KUWTK” has been around for a large part of my life. Though I would never call myself a die hard fan, as I can only account to watching the show a handful of times, The Kardashian-Jenner family are kind of hard to miss. By inviting viewers into their homes and lives they have created a brand and fan base that will live with them forever. Enjoy them or despise them, it can’t be denied that the Kardashian-Jenner family are some of the most recognizable people in the world today. They did this not only through their show, but also by branching out into their own separate endeavours. In the 14 years since creating the show, each member of their family has made their mark in some way. Whether it be modeling, making cameos in music videos, or starting a fashion line, each family member has found their niche and dominated it. 

Despite rumours of the show’s cancellation or growing tension because of Kanye’s presidential run, the family is keeping a united front. In their official statement, they made it clear that the show’s end was a decision everyone agreed on. No matter the rumors circulating about the show’s end, the fact still remains that come 2021, the show will be no more. Even with the show’s end, it is unlikely that this is the last any of us will see of the Kardashian-Jenner family.

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Michaela Coel’s “I May Destroy You” is the Most Honest Show on Television

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As soon as I watched the first episode of “I May Destroy You,” I knew that I wanted to write a review of it. The initial reasons are simple: it’s incredibly well-written, the cast is impeccable, and it’s beautiful direction proves that Michaela Coel, the show’s creator and star, is a force to be reckoned with. But after finishing the first season last week, I realized that there’s something unique happening with this show. Despite dealing with a topic as hard to wrestle with as sexual assault, “I May Destroy You” shows every moment of true trauma, from the dreary and grey to the odd moments of joy weaved between.

“I May Destroy You” shows a glimpse into the life of Arabella, a millennial writer with everything she could ever dream of: a bestselling book, a hot Italian boyfriend, and endless love and support from her friends. Nothing could possibly go wrong- until she finds her drink spiked at a club on a night out with friends. The day after, she begins slowly recounting memories of what happened, piecing together that she was sexually assaulted by an unknown man. 

Throughout the series, Arabella finds herself questioning everything: her career, her lovelife, and the friends that she thought she trusted. She buries everything under her bed, both metaphorically and literally, with her evidence bags containing the clothes she wore that night being hidden away and ignored.

But Arabella doesn’t sit still with her trauma, she pushes it into corners and under covers because she doesn’t know where else to put it, and ends up struggling to deal with herself and the trauma. In one episode, she accidentally becomes a social media figurehead for survivors of sexual assault, with thousands of people finding hope in her, sharing stories, praising her for speaking up. And yet, it doesn’t help Arabella at all. She has hardly learned to grapple with her own assault and hardly learned the right avenues of “coping” to walk down. 

In the second half of the show, Arabella continuously goes back to the club in which she was raped, convinced that “criminals always return to the scene of the crime.” She needs to find him, the split-second picture of the man who assaulted her at this bar in order to come to terms with her trauma. And in some endings of the show, she does.

In the finale, Arabella sees the man of her visions and confronts him, enacting a plan of revenge with her best friend, Terry, and the leader of her sexual assault support group, Theo. The girls lure him into the bathroom and inject him with the drug he used against Arabella. He’s left a stumbling mess on the streets, and the girls follow him in order to rid any evidence he may have on himself. He eventually passes out in an alley, and Arabella, in all of her rage, beats him to a bloody pulp. A dead man, she takes his body home with her, shoving him under her bed with the rest of her trauma.

But we quickly realize that this isn’t the only ending, as Arabella herself continues to rewrite different ways to end the story, with each scenario even more complicated than the last. They are dreamlike and idyllic, but also coldly, intensely realistic. It’s the complex weaving of these stories that prove that there is no one ending that helps Arabella deal with her trauma. This is something that she has to learn to deal with on her own; she is the only one equipped to drag the secrets out from under her bed and face them.

What Michaela Coel depicts is more than complexity, it’s truth. Trauma isn’t a one-size-fits-all, it’s messy and unusual, it’s quiet and loud. Perhaps what makes “I May Destroy You” so interesting and praised is the process of Arabella going through it all: every unheard moment of trauma that doesn’t always get shown in the media. She attempts to get her old life back, and in the process realizes that going back to the past won’t fix anything for her. She also messes up several times and does things that hurt the people that she cares about, including herself. But, despite her flaws, she learns. She acknowledges the pain she feels and the pain she gives to grow to be better. And really, isn’t that the best that we can do?