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The Killers Inspire Hope When We Need It Most: “Imploding the Mirage” Album Review

By ReviewsNo Comments

Las Vegas born band, The Killers, returned after their long awaited mini hiatus since the release of their last album “Wonderful Wonderful” with their new record, “Imploding the Mirage.” Introducing a new album with their absent founding guitarist, Dave Keuning, the band released a record that epitomizes The Killers’s sound and brings a sense of hope during these awful and abnormal times. “Imploding the Mirage” is an album that takes The Killers back to their roots as seen on “Battle Born,” and it has their audience roaring with excitement. 

After the release of “Wonderful, Wonderful” and allegations of sexual misconduct from a crew member back in 2009, The Killers delayed the release of “Imploding the Mirage” even more than what the coronavirus already had. But despite the awful allegations and the hardships of an ongoing global pandemic, The Killers have returned, and they returned with a BANG.

During the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and even before that, we have experienced and been fed wonderful music content, but nothing is as good as The Killers “Imploding the Mirage” and its message behind it: hope. Introducing new 80s synth sounds with a mixture of their classic unique rock styles, the album created an entirely new sound. 

The album kicks off with the single “My Own Souls’s Warning,” starting off with an epic drum beat and followed by a lead synth that screams eighties arena concert. Lead singer Brandon Flowers sings the chorus, “cutting up the nights like a goddamn knife/And it got me thinking, no matter how far I just wanted to get back to where you are.” This song is a metaphor for Flower’s resilience and his struggles with faith, and introduces the theme of welcoming challenges. “I tried going against my own soul’s warning/But in the end, something just didn’t feel right,” Flowers sings, showing the story of himself struggling with faith and how he strayed away from God, thus causing him to feel some sort of void. 

Other highlights from the album include “Blowback,” “Caution,” and “My God.” The song “Blowback” is about a girl who is facing a battle with her inner self. However, optimistic lyrics appear, such as “it’s just a matter of time” before she is “going to break out” of the torturous cycle she is in. “Caution” is about a woman leaving her hometown seeking a better life. The song narrates Flowers’ own life through the perspective of a young woman who is having a hard time finding a career and struggling with depression and boredom: “If I don’t get out, out of this town I just might be the one who finally burns it down. I’m throwin’ caution.” Eventually, the young woman ends up taking a risk by leaving her town just how Flowers did. 

The track “My God” is probably one of the most religious songs on the entire album and it features American singer Weyes Blood. The song takes the listener on a spiritual journey of one becoming enlightened and establishing a strong relationship with God, singing, “My God, it’s like a weight has been lifted.” The person who was stuck in an unfavorable rut has now been relieved from the weight that was “dragging [them] down.” It’s a song that highlights Flowers’ growth as a man and within the band. At one point, Flowers’ strayed away from God as shown in “My Own Soul’s Warning,” but went back to God because he couldn’t stay away, it was a wrong decision choice and “My God” is about him finding divinity and becoming a more enlightened person. “My God” is a modern day gospel.

“Imploding the Mirage” is an album that is definitely worth the listen. The hope that the album displays is enough to give the nation some faith to look beyond all the hardships and struggles we have witnessed and are currently experiencing in 2020. “Imploding the Mirage” encourages people to keep on running and striving. The Killers have outdone themselves again with their new album, but this time they took a leap forward into a new generation of alternative rock.

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How To Be a Better Roommate: 5 Simple Tips That I Stand By

By LifestyleNo Comments

As a sophomore at UNR this year, I, like many others, decided to make the big move out of the dorms and into an apartment with some of my friends. After living with them for a couple of weeks, I believe that I have finally cracked the secrets to living with roommates. Whether living in a dorm with one other person or in an apartment with four, these tips are guaranteed to help you make the best of a new living situation. 

 

1. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Whether you are old friends or strangers, try getting to know your roommate(s) better. You don’t have to be best friends with them, but putting yourself out there is the best way to find out if you would like to progress the relationship further than just a roommate. Playing board games are a great way to learn more than what’s on the surface!

2. Set some ground rules. You might be afraid to be the first one to bring up the dreaded topic of “rules,” but in this type of situation it’s definitely better to be safe than sorry. This is the time to talk about boundaries and expectations. Make sure you are being heard and listening to everyone’s concerns.

3. Take time to cool off. The occasional misunderstanding or argument is bound to happen, the best thing you can do is take time to think out your response to it. In times of high tension, try and see things outside your individual perspective–take time to really think about how everyone in the situation is feeling and how best to go about carrying out a reasonable conversation about the issue. Don’t hide from your issues, but don’t rush into them without a thought, either. 

4. Treat everyone with the basic respect and kindness that they deserve. Respect means telling the truth, and honoring past agreements and conversations. Kindness can be subtle and may seem small to you, but could mean the world to someone else. If you expect your roommate(s) to treat you with respect and kindness, you must in turn do the same for them. 

5. Make the most of it! Whether it’s for one year or four, try to make the most of your living situation. At the end of the day, you should be able to say that you did the best you could. It won’t always be perfect but try to make each day count.

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Why ‘Pose’ Deserves Better

By OpinionNo Comments

In the era of COVID-19, it seems impossible that the Emmy awards are still set to premiere on September 20. Yet, the show must go on, and as nominations were announced this past week, people are already debating which shows and people deserved a nomination.

Fan-favorite comedies such as “The Good Place” and “Schitt’s Creek” walked away with several big-ticket nominations, and shows like “Watchmen” and “Succession” dominated the drama categories, with “Watchmen” receiving 26 total nominations.

Notable missing was the FX show “Pose,” which features the largest transgender cast to be on a scripted show. The only major nomination it received was for Billy Porter as Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, who happens to be a cisgender gay man.

Billy Porter’s nomination is certainly well-deserved, but the lack of the rest of the cast is a major indication of how trans women are treated by hollywood. Star of the show Indya Moore went to Twitter to express their frustration, saying “Something about trans people not being honored on a show about trans people who created a culture to honour ourselves because the world doesn’t.” Many other fans chimed in, saying how disappointing it was that stars of the show are constantly ignored, considering how monumental the show actually is.

Not only does the show have true transgender representation, but “Pose” is one of the few pieces of media that positively portrays them as more than just that, and reveals a culture that is too often hidden from the spotlight. The show follows Blanca, played by MJ Rodriquez, a strong business woman becoming the mother of a house, a term used to describe the chosen families of the African-American and Latin American LGBTQ+ community in the ballroom culture of New York during the 1980s. Each week, houses would compete at a ball with extravagant costumes and vogueing skills to allow a community that often didn’t feel welcomed to express themselves.

Amongst the glitz and glam of the ballroom comes deep-rooted issues within the LGBTQ+ community. The beginning of the AIDS/HIV crisis, a gay teenager struggling with being disowned, a young transgender woman aspiring to be a model in an industry that ignores who she is, and the constant discrimination that they all are forced to face daily. 

It’s this dichotomy that makes “Pose” so incredible. It celebrates and uplifts these strong women and portrays them as successful and driven, but also doesn’t ignore all the extra hardships that they must endure to achieve their dreams. Even more than that, the stories of this community is treated with absolute care, with the majority of writing and directing done by other trans women of color and people who witnessed ballroom culture unfolding in real time. It is this representation and hard work that needs to be recognized by awards shows such as the Emmys, to let the rest of the world know that these stories matter, that these stories must continue to be told and are deserving of being listened to.

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The Album We Didn’t Know We Needed: Taylor Swift’s ‘folklore’ Review

By ReviewsNo Comments

Taylor Swift’s eighth studio album was announced only 12 hours before its release on July 24th, taking people all over the internet by surprise. The singer was supposed to be touring music from her last album “Lover” this summer, however, due to COVID-19, she was not able to do so. Evidently, she took full advantage of the time at home, working hard to create her newest album, “folklore.”

Now on her eighth studio album, Swift has long since established her preferred music style as pop-inspired. Over the years, this is what the public has grown accustomed to hearing from her. Needless to say, it came as a bit of a shock that she had chosen to make a shift from that style. Falling back on her country roots, most of the songs on this album have a folky sound. Coming off of the high praise from her last album, this change in sound might come off a bit abrupt or odd. However, Swift enters this new era with so much grace and innovative artistry that it is almost impossible to question it. 

The album’s first single was “cardigan,” a beautiful song highlighting a relationship that didn’t work despite strong efforts. This song, along with “august” and “betty,” gained quick attention from fans for their suspected connection. The theory goes that hidden within the album is a “teenage love triangle.” Each of the songs takes the point of view of a different character, a risk that might not have worked if Swift’s talent for pushing the boundaries of songwriting wasn’t so remarkable. 

Throughout the album we see her move away from the traditional form of the first-person writing, a technique which adds another layer of depth to the album that might not have been there otherwise. Each song adds to the album’s overall plot and allure, coming together like chapters in an old book. They hold their place in time, while seamlessly coming together to tell her story. Some of my favorites from the album are “mirrorball” and “this is me trying,” for precisely that reason–they tell us her story. 

Swift has always been a natural storyteller, someone who effortlessly brings her memories and dreams to life through song. Over the course of her many years in the industry she has grown and adapted in a million ways, and we get to see that growth for ourselves in this album. Her ability to take risks with her style and pull it off is a testament to that like no other. Swift has been maturing in her music for years now, slowly growing up before our eyes, but it is in this album that we can see that maturity without a veil. She shed that layer of defense in the name of art, and what a beautiful thing that is. 

For me, these songs feel like reliving a faded dream. It doesn’t matter if that dream is fantasy or memory, nothing could make it less real. Her ability to make her listeners believe what she is saying is her power. Her ability to capture her humanity in words is why the album resonates so deeply with people. Swift used this power to give us her version of a storybook, one filled with fantasy and memory alike. The end of the album marks the end of this story, or perhaps the end of another chapter, leaving the possibilities endless for what is to come.

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Troye Sivan Drops ‘Easy’ and ‘Take Yourself Home’ Off Upcoming EP

By ReviewsNo Comments

Four months into quarantine, Troye Sivan came to rescue us all from our boredom with new music to match our low moods, while also catering to our want to go out again. This new era of music brought us a bright red hairdo, sad dance songs, and whispers of more new music to come. 

In April, Sivan surprised everyone with his new song, “Take Yourself Home.” The song itself did not veer too far off from Sivan’s usual theme of melancholy, yet upbeat songs–though one might say it seemed more candid than anything we have heard from Sivan before. The lyrics discuss his fear of looking back on his life to find only regrets and missed opportunities. Though the lyrics are well thought out, what I appreciate most about the song is the overall simplicity of Sivan’s vocal choices. This song highlights his voice in quite a beautiful way, while simultaneously creating a slow-building tension with a somber club beat. It set the stage for Sivan to release more new music, creating a buzz among his fans over what is to come. 

A few months after his release of “Take Yourself Home,” Sivan released his second song “Easy,” on July 15. Following the theme of sad lyrics with an upbeat sound, this song compliments his last single rather seamlessly. “Easy” is a dance song through and through. It’s use of autotune and a funky beat keep it from becoming just another ballad about a failing relationship. Telling the story of a crumbling relationship, Sivan once again finds a way to dive headfirst into a rather sad topic in a way that doesn’t feel forced. 

These two songs fall in line with Sivan’s long collection of synth-pop songs that have less than happy lyrics. Sivan has mastered the ‘sad at a party’ vibe that is becoming increasingly popular among young adults today, and he knows it. Why fix what isn’t broken, right? He does this by creating music that feels almost too personal, like the listeners are reading the lyrics right out of his diary, and it works for him. His sincerity and ability to open up in such a way surely helps him create music that continues to capture audiences all over the world. With promises of a new EP to be released on August 21, “In A Dream,” I can’t wait to see what he has in store for us.