Stress of School

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What comes to mind when you think of school? Teachers? Friends? Classmates? Homework? Tests? Projects? For most people, it would be a combination of all of these things. Of course, when you face all of these basically every day for almost seven hours a day, five days a week for ten months, that would pretty much be what you would think of when it comes to school. But there’s also something that comes to mind when you add all of this together. What is it? One word: stress.

With the amount of work being piled onto you every day for months, it’s not impossible to imagine the stress that is being brought upon you. For those that strive to do the best in school, they have work that is continuously piled onto them. As for those that struggle during the year, it’s also a load of stress. Think about it. Not being able to keep up with the work. Worrying about your grades slipping. Thinking it’s the wrong class for you. You can’t help being stuck in this spiraling tornado while wondering if you’re going to survive to see the light of another day. That’s an exaggeration but still, you really don’t know how to handle it.

What can you do to help relieve it? Is there anything that can be helped so you feel less stressed? Well first, take a deep breath. When you do, you get a clearer mind and understand what’s going on.

After you’ve calmed yourself down from all of that studying for a test you think you’re going to fail, stop thinking about it. The more you think of it, the more stressed out you’re going to be. And trust me, no one wants to see a kid pulling out their hair over a test during lunch when it was announced last week and you procrastinated because you were “busy” watching TV.

After your huge studying frenzy during lunch, walk into your test feeling confident about knowing the material and do your best. Knowing this, it may relieve the tension you feel about having to get a perfect grade on the test.

When the forty-eight minutes are up, hand it in and walk away knowing that you did your best. Don’t walk out of the room counting how many answers you know you got wrong. If you do, you’ll add to the stress that you already feel because of the test.

Stress is something everyone will feel no matter what you’re doing. But if you can find ways to control it and relax, you’ll feel ten times better, whether you’re in school or outside in the real world.

FOUR Review

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One Direction’s newest album, FOUR, is unlike anything they’ve done before. Prior albums have included mostly pop songs that stick in the listener’s head, but they lacked meaningful lyrics. Midnight Memories, their last album, showed signs of their growth. But it seems everything has fallen into place on this album.

FOUR includes songs that are heartfelt and meaningful. The members, Louis Tomlinson, Harry Styles, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, and Niall Horan, all wrote songs on the album. In a world where artists usually remix songs from other people, it’s refreshing for One Direction to have original pieces. And I think the originality really helps the album. The songs are from personal experiences, ones that fans, or even someone who just hears the song on the radio, can relate to.

With this album, I feel like they can escape their image. And by that, I mean people won’t just disregard them because “they’re just a boy band”. It shows another side of them, a side people who aren’t fans will like. I’m sure people will be surprised when they find out the new song they like that’s playing on the radio is sung by One Direction.

Tracklist:

  1. Steal My Girl

2. Ready To Run

3. Where Do Broken Hearts Go

4. 18

5. Girl Almighty

6. Fool’s Gold

7. Night Changes

8. No Control

9. Fireproof

10. Spaces

11. Stockholm Syndrome

12. Clouds

 

Exclusive Bonus Tracks:

13. Change Your Ticket

14. Illusion

15. Once in a Lifetime

16. Act My Age

Taylor Swift’s New Album Confesses Old Feelings For Harry Styles

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Taylor Swift’s new album, 1989, has just recently been released. Of course, it has caused a frenzy of people giving their opinion on her “new style”. The famous red-lipstick-wearing singer has abandoned her country flair (even though that happened a long time ago), and switched to full on pop. Like every other album, Swift mostly sings about her many ex-boyfriends.  She even confirms that in the second track on the album, “Blank Space” : “Got a long list of ex-lovers they’ll tell you I’m insane.”  Well, if you said it, Taylor!

But this album seems like it’s focused on one ex in  particular. One ex that’s in a band that contains the word “one”. Of course I’m referring to One Direction member and teenage heartthrob, Harry Styles. The clues that aim towards Styles are evident once you listen to the songs and look at the lyrics.

We’ll start with the song “Style”. I’m not kidding, the name of the song is actually Style. Swift talks about a “long hair, slicked back, white t-shirt” ex in the song. For some reason ‘hair’ comes up a lot in the album, such as in the single “Shake It Off” where she calls over a “fella over there with the hella good hair”. Well, Styles does have good hair. But, back to “Style”, it’s about Swift talking to her boy about cheating on her. At one point she screams “Take me home / Just take me home, yeah. Just take me home”. Hm, that’s funny, I think I’ve heard that before. Oh yeah, “Take Me Home” was the name of One Direction’s second album which was released in Nov. 2012, shortly before “Haylor” was official. Another poke at Styles, or just a coincidence?

But “Out of the Woods” might be the song most clearly about Styles. It talks about wanting to know if her relationship is official and if they can be seen together. She actually asks, “Are we out of the woods yet?” over 60 times. Even saying, “Looking at it now, last December we were built to fall apart, then fall back together.” Haylor’s first public outing was in Dec. 2012 in Central Park. And interestingly enough, Swift has a song called “Welcome To New York’ on the album, of course where Central Park is located. Somehow that song now qualifies her to be the new ambassador of NYC.  “Out Of The Woods” is most definitely about her at one point secret relationship with Styles.

But not every single song is about Harry. “Bad Blood” isn’t about an ex-boyfriend, but rather an ex-friend. Rumors have been flying that the song is about fellow female popstar, Katy Perry.

Swift told Rolling Stone this about Perry, “’Oh, we’re just straight-up enemies. And it wasn’t even about a guy! It had to do with business. She basically tried to sabotage an entire arena tour. She tried to hire a bunch of people out from under me. And I’m surprisingly non-confrontational – you would not believe how much I hate conflict. So now I have to avoid her. It’s awkward, and I don’t like it.”

Even though Swift claims her feud with Perry has nothing to do with a guy, it may have something to do with it. Perry was seen with Styles at Nobu restaurant in Malibu back in Sept. Could “Bad Blood” be a form of revenge? For some reason, everything always links back to Styles.

Although investigating and looking into the lyrics of 1989 is fun, the album isn’t a masterpiece. It does deliver songs that are catchy and will stick in your head for days, weeks, even months. But Swift always creates songs like that. If you’re a Taylor Swift fan you’ll love it, and if you’re a One Direction fan you’ll love laughing at it.

Where We Are Tour Concert Experience and Review

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One Direction has wrapped up their third tour, the  Where We Are Tour. The lengthy tour started in April 2014, in Colombia, and ended in early October, in Miami, FL. Unlike the prior tours, all the venues for this one were stadiums. Allowing there to be a lot more fans, and a lot more noise. Believe me, my ears will never be the same.

I attended the Aug. 4 concert at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford. I was awaiting the concert for many months, so I was a mixture of happy, excited, and nervous on the day of. The concert not only included One Direction, but my other favorite band, 5 Seconds of Summer. They were the opening act, which was much anticipated (They’re having their own tour this summer, which I will be attending, too).

We left at 5 p.m. for the 8 p.m. concert to make sure we got there in time. There was traffic getting to and into the stadium, which was a given. While waiting in our car we talked to a police officer who told us that Ashton Irwin from 5 Seconds of Summer had walked by him a little earlier. Then we approached the opening to the stadium, and a group of hundreds of girls started screaming and running towards the SUV next to us. The truck made a quick turn into the side of MetLife, while security kept girls from jumping onto it. It seemed we were next to a member of One Direction the whole time, and didn’t even know it.

As if that wasn’t enough excitement, we went into the stadium and found our seats. We were in the nosebleeds, but it wasn’t that bad. You were able to see the big stage clearly. We waited in the hot sun for a while, and then they showed a 5sos promo. The crowd went crazy. Then, “Highway to Hell” came on, indicating it was time. The band was great, and it showed as thousands of fans sang along to their songs. They were the best opening act (which they don’t deserve to be called anymore) that I’ve ever saw.

After that, there was a pretty long wait for the big show. But it was cool to see the darkness of the night come upon us as the stadium filled. Helicopters flew ahead getting shots of the crowd. They played music and everyone sang together and danced. At one point, everyone did the Macarena.

Finally, the big show started. Parts of the band’s songs started playing, and then a video of them appeared on the jumbotron as music blared. The video showed them all over the world doing different activities. Then, they finally appeared.

Throughout the show they sang new songs, and some of their old songs. It was a great atmosphere and as a One Direction fan, it really was great to see how they, and their music, have developed over the years.

Track List:

Midnight Memories

Little Black Dress

Kiss You

Why Don’t We Go There?

Rock Me

Don’t Forget Where You Belong

Live While We’re Young

C’mon C’mon

Right Now

Through the Dark

Happily

Little Things

Moments

Strong

Better Than Words

Alive

One Thing

Diana

What Makes You Beautiful

You and I

Story of My Life

Little White Lies

Best Song Ever

It was a great experience, and after that, I definitely want to go to another. One Direction’s new album, FOUR, comes out in November. And hopefully that means a new tour. I, for one, will absolutely be going.

Underground Spotlight: CoolBoi Av by Elijah Powell

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These days, EP rap projects are as weak as the small amount of songs they consist of. What an EP is supposed to be is a short but sweet collection of good music that makes you excited for the artist’s upcoming full album. It’s like an appetizer for a meal, but the problem is that most rappers only provide a light snack. Fortunately, the same cannot be said about CoolBoi Av’s latest release: the Now Until Forever EP.

 

The 24-year-old Jersey City native created this EP with the intentions of putting forth his best work that would be timeless for telling his story. Truly a product of New Jersey, CoolBoi Av’s project emcompasses his many experiences in the Garden State that influenced his attitude towards life. Reaching success and omitting all excuses for not doing so is a mentality I could definitely relate to, myself being raised in Jersey, the state many outsiders write off as an easy place to grow up in. Av said, “Jersey made me tougher and molded me into the person and artist I am now.” It’s just like what he raps on the EP’s final song 90’s Dream: “I see there’s no better time/ than the present to present what my mind has molded/ keep in mind this was my king dream imagine my plan in motion when my eyes are open.”

 

The song that stands out the most on the EP is Mighty Dolla. The instrumental is a modern take on an old piano sample used by many hip hop producers during the nineteen-nineties, and the lyrics relay a dark but truthful message concerning the greed money can harbor in people, as well as money’s effect on society. This was refreshing to hear in this era where most rappers promote the worship money.

 

“The message I’m trying to give to my listeners is just always be yourself. I was born and raised in Jersey City, New Jersey. We’re a part of the top five most dangerous cities in the state, so it could be easy for me to talk about clapping guns, selling drugs or whatever but that’s not who I am. I came from that environment and that’s not the route I choose to go. Even though if I did the city might love it. I feel the people that do support my music do so because they know this is really who I am,” says Av of his project’s directive. Nothing short of exceptional.

All in all, this was an EP superior to most and I applaud CoolBoi Av for taking an unorthodox  approach. I give the EP an 7.9 out of 10.

 

You can stream Now Until Forever here:

 

https://soundcloud.com/coolboi_av/sets/now-until-forever-epphoto

Underground Spotlight: Venomous 2000 The Ultra Emcee by Elijah Powell

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Underground Spotlight: Venomous 2000 The Ultra Emcee

 

Let me just start by saying that his new album is a classic, and not just because I’m featured on it. To be honest, at the time of recording my verse for Venomous 2000’s seventh track off of this album, I was not aware of the fact that I was going to be contributing to a collection of art of such a high caliber.

 

A Moment to Reflect 3 is a twenty six track album consisting of the music of Venomous 2000, The Ultra Emcee, and many other emcees from all over the world, including myself, recorded together over the span of three years. This is truly a worldly album, produced by different producers from many places including, but not limited to, New Jersey, London, France and Germany. All of the songs were mixed in Serbia by Trillian. This is just another testament to the reach Venomous’ music has, aside from the fact that the music itself is relatable to all walks of life.

An acapella quote sets the thought provoking mood of the album: “Take time to reflect. Take time…to reflect, and I’ve had to learn that because just taking time to reflect has taught me how to appreciate the hard work that I’ve already put in, to where I’m trying to be in my life, to where I’m already headed…”

 

I felt like my mind was forcibly opened to accept the art that was about to enter, and accept I did. While the album maintains the hard knocking sound that makes true hip hop music distinct from other genres (the loud kicks and snares that keep one’s head nodding, the cuts and vinyl scratches, done by DJ Priority, the down to earth soulful samples, etc.), the album still does take an experimental approach. This is apparent on songs like “Style In Here” (Produced by Repeat Pattern), where you can hear the sample in the background drifting in and out of of the auditory realm of the music, rolling in when Venomous and Mr. Fickle drop their punchlines, as well as “Certified Raw” (Produced by Phalo Pantoja) where the beat sounds like random piano keys and synths rummaged together.

 

As the songs continue to blast, one can understand the aggression from which this style of production stems from. While “Certified Raw” was my least favorite cut off the album, I appreciate Venomous for taking a leap with unorthodox production, especially now when most rap beats lack originality.

 

While each song’s amassed sounds pour into my ears I felt like the beats told the story with Venomous, aiding him in telling each story each track was intended to express. These stories spanned from informal (“You Don’t Know” produced by Handbook), to inspirational (“You” produced by Boogie Brown), and ominous and intriguing (“The 4th Kind” produced by MecStreem).

 

“The 4th Kind” is definitely a favorite, on which Venomous raps about being abducted by aliens looking for humans who are mentally strong, describing symptoms of markings on his body that can only mean aliens were observing him, visually dissecting him without Venomous being conscious of it. I won’t reveal the end of the story but I’ve never heard a story like it put into song form. This type of daring creativity defines this album as a classic. For real hip hop heads, I’m sure it takes us all back to a time when all of this originality was standard within hip hop, but for such a collection to be released at least that standard has the chance to resurface, forcing all mediocre rappers who listen to it to reevaluate their mastery on the art of emceeing.

 

The album’s recurring theme is one of positivity, promoting unity and elevation amongst humanity through informal and emotionally enriching lyricism. The album’s many features assisted Venomous in getting these points across, including myself when I rapped “The world got many problems, and I ain’t no superman/ But you ain’t gotta be Einstein just to understand/ That united is the only way our people stand a chance/ So I take a stand, making me the biggest threat to their plan” on “Wake Up” (Produced by Pejota).

 

On the tenth track, “You”, Thaione Davis sheds light on the misconceptions of black history when rapping, “It takes a nation just hold us back/Thats why they reshape facts, and write us out of the tales/ Like we never contributed or excelled before we pickin’ in fields”, and on the last song, “Rock After Them” (Produced by DJ Irs), Rhymageddon raps for the sheer sport of emceeing with lines like “Grow some cashews. / I cause a bloody snafu/ Couple jabs to land you and grant you with stab wounds in ya dome like shampoo/ For them damn Andrews and Benjamins-/ Don’t send em’ in!/” That’s just how I like my lyricism: Vivid and brilliant.

 

I asked Venomous about how he came to make such connections and his answer was, “I had the privilege to work with some amazing folks in France and Belgium during my first tour in 2012. That entire experience kind of opened me up to dealing with people from outside of the states on a much more consistent basis.  I sought to do work with everyone I like, anywhere they resided…I had a vision to work with certain emcees over certain beats and I sort of hand picked those people I thought would sound nice over certain production.  I was blessed to be surrounded by so many talented individuals.”

 

This album is a must for those who desire to enter or re-enter the world of underground hip hop in its truest form.
In my interview with him I asked him what message he ultimately wanted this album as a whole to tell the world. He answered by saying “The message is quite simple, I have a voice, thoughts, and something to contribute to the culture of Hip Hop.  I want this album to be another timeless project that people will appreciate more and more after listening to the album several times.  I want this album to tell people that I truly do live this musical experience and A Moment To Reflect 3 is a testament to that truth!”

 

From listening to all twenty-six tracks, I feel he was successful in this goal. Even though this album is the end to a trilogy, one does not necessarily need to listen to the two previous albums to fully understand this one. However, after listening to the album I am eager to check out Venomous’ past projects and I am excited for whatever the Ultra Emcee has in store. I am attracted to his passion as an artist, which he told me stems from “The Creator, The Creators, The Ancestors, my immediate family, and the Voice that is deep within me that says I can not stop doing this because there’s a message that needs to be heard!  I don’t claim anything, I’m just a vessel doing the work of forces that are much greater than me!”

 

I give this album a 9.3 out of 10, and I definitely recommend this album to anyone interested in real Hip Hop music, but don’t just take my word for it.

 

Go stream it here: https://soundcloud.com/venomous2000emcee/sets/a-moment-to-reflect-3-by-venomous2000

or purchase it here:

http://venomous2000.bandcamp.com/album/a-moment-to-reflect-3

Dear Mom…Love Nick

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Dear Mom,

I am so incredibly fortunate and thankful to have been brought into this world by such a wonderful mother like yourself. You are one of the strongest and one of the smartest people that I know. I admire how hardworking you are; no matter what obstacles come your way, you always make an effort to keep moving forward. You taught me to never give up and you gave me the strength and wisdom that I have today. No matter what, you always make it an appoint to put your children first and I can not thank you enough for that. I appreciate all of the things you have done for our family and all of the things you continue to do on a daily basis. Even if i don’t get a chance to say thank you, I truly am grateful and appreciative of everything that you do. The list goes on and on. I want you to know that you deserve nothing but the best, and that you deserve to be happy and healthy. I truly hope you enjoy this Mother’s Day because you deserve it. Happy Mother’s Day to the best mom that I could ever ask for. I love you with all my heart!

 

Love,

Nicholas