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Album review: The Album About Nothing – Wale

BY NICOLE WEINSTEIN

Wale has released the third installment of his series of Seinfeld-inspired projects.  The Album About Nothing presents a unique contrast between Jerry Seinfeld’s comical intro on each song and the slow, trap-influenced tones of the songs themselves.  Sonically, the album features strong, cohesive production and the drowsy, dark style that has been popular in hip-hop lately (see Drake’s If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late).  Lyrically, Wale touches upon many topics including his roots, wanting to quit hip-hop, race, and personal relationships.  Overall, the album is most notable for being unique and set apart from most hip-hop albums today.

Best tracks:

  • “The Pessimist” ft. J. Cole- This track is Wale’s chance to express his views on current racial issues, which he does in a mature and tasteful manner.
  • “The Need To Know” ft. SZA- SZA’s vocals almost outshine Wale’s rhymes, but the two make a good team on this smooth alternative R&B jam.
  • “The Bloom (AG3)”- This one sticks out as a fun, upbeat track among an album otherwise filled with heavier, more somber songs.
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Music Charts for the Week of April 18, 2015

BY NICOLE WEINSTEIN

Billboard Hot 100 Top 10:

  1. = Uptown Funk! ft. Bruno Mars- Mark Ronson (20 weeks; 14 weeks at no. 1)
  2. = Sugar- Maroon 5 (12 weeks)
  3. +1 Love Me Like You Do- Ellie Goulding (13 weeks)
  4. +1 Earned It- The Weeknd (15 weeks)
  5. -2 Thinking Out Loud- Ed Sheeran (26 weeks)
  6. = Trap Queen- Fetty Wap (11 weeks)
  7. = Style- Taylor Swift (17 weeks)
  8. +1 G.D.F.R. ft. Sage the Gemini and Lookas- Flo Rida (21 weeks)
  9. -1 FourFiveSeconds ft. Paul McCartney and Kanye West- Rihanna (11 weeks)
  10. +74 See You Again ft. Charlie Puth- Wiz Khalifa (3 weeks)

how it works

Billboard 200 Top 10:

  1. The Album About Nothing- Wale (debut; 100.2k; 88.2k pure sales) (read the review)
  2. Furious 7 Soundtrack
  3. Ludaversal- Ludacris
  4. To Pimp a Butterfly- Kendrick Lamar
  5. 1989- Taylor Swift
  6. In the Lonely Hour- Sam Smith
  7. Southern Style- Darius Rucker
  8. Kintsugi- Death Cab for Cutie
  9. Fifty Shades of Grey Soundtrack
  10. Carrie & Lowell- Sufjan Stevens

how it works

sources: hitsdoubledaily.com, billboard.com, NielsenEntertainment

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Review: IB Play #5 – “Labels”

BY KYLE NOGUERA

This next play was a little different from the other thus far. For one, it did not take place on the same night and venue as the first four plays. It took place a few weeks later, in Mr. Reid’s room. The unorthodox change in setting seemed unnecessary at first, but it adds to the feeling and the charm once the play begins. “Labels” is a play written by Hannah Griffis and directed by Danny Neuburger. This production centers around a group of high schoolers in a classroom, who all in one way or another, have a secret they hold close.

The play starts with a darkened room, where Cole (Andrey R) the typical high school jock, is crouched by a single grave. We learn from a conversation between him and his girlfriend Chelsea (Sam Micheals) that boy had just died in an accident the night before, where he was run over by an unidentified person  in the middle of the road. The next day, Cole and his girlfriend, along with the other 4 students in class, are sitting class. Their teacher Mrs. Smith (Megan Guiney), in an attempt to get the students to be more open, in loo of one of their student’s death, assigns each student a partner in a school project. The students are less than thrilled with this, as most of them do not get along with each other in the slightest. But as they work through the project with their partners, they began to relent and share bits and pieces of their personal lives, to the point where they start to become friendly again. At the end of the day, the teacher’s plan worked, as the students are much more friendly and understanding to one another. They become even more united after they find out Mrs. Smith was the person who ran over Cole’s friend, but I digress (spoil warnings are for the weak).

It’s a shame that “Labels” was only offered with limited seating, because I thought it was a very strong play. What I thought really selled the experience was the intimate setting, along with the acting. The feelings and situations the characters experienced throughout the play felt authentic. I felt empathy to characters like Peter (played by Joseph Kim) who feels like a nobody and Cole, a character riddled with guilt. All the actors had something unique to them, something interesting to share to the experience. “Labels” is a hidden gem that is much more than meets the eye.

Read all of the IB Play reviews

  1. Wanda’s Visit
  2. Written in Blood
  3. The One in the Paper
  4. MAD
  5. Labels
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Review: IB Play #4 – “MAD”

BY KYLE NOGUERA

The clowns bow a final time, and the last play is set to begin. The lights dim and we open to the first scene, where a very eccentric looking Haberdasher sets behind his desk. A lady enters the store, a girl named Jane (played by Julia Kahn) and  talks to the clerk behind the counter, a man named Jervis (played by Noah Rosenburg). Jervis, in a gentlemanly fashion, offers Jane deals on clothing and what not. While the intentions may seem harmless, we later learn that Jervis, is quite mad.

“MAD” (written by Chris Torres and directed by Logan Nelson) centers itself around Jane and Jervis, the main problem that Jane finds Jane to be the spitting image of a girl he used to know, named Alice. He begins to push clothes that Alice used to wear onto Jane, who wears more and more of her stuff. During this, Jervis’ mind fights against the good and evil intentions in his mind, with them being embodied as the White Queen (Sarah Brauer) and the Red Queen (Jaime Parraga). Meanwhile, Jane’s boyfriend Anthony (Cristian Ramieriz) is worried about this new developing relationship between Jane and Jervis. Eventually, after confronting Jervis, the boyfriend is kidnapped along with Jane. In horrific fashion, Jervis slays both Jane and Anthony, submitting to the Red Queen. The play ends as it begins: with a new girl entering the store, which Jervis mistakes as Alice.

What I really enjoyed about “MAD” was the unique twists they put on aspects of Alice in Wonderland. Many people like the MadHatter as a character, but they never question how he would feel after Alice left Wonderland. Clever twists on classic tales kept “MAD” interesting and creative. The acting was overall very solid, and the directing was done well. I especially liked the costume design for the some of the main characters like the Red Queen and Jervis; the superb design of the costumes really showed that a lot of love and care went into the play. “MAD” was a great way to cap off the first night of performances.

Read all of the IB Play reviews

  1. Wanda’s Visit
  2. Written in Blood
  3. The One in the Paper
  4. MAD
  5. Labels
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Review: The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water

BY KYLE NOGUERA

When the Spongebob Squarepants movie came out in 2004, a sound was emitted through the catacombs of the universe. It was the sound of thousand upon thousands upon THOUSANDS of kids screaming their heads off in joy at the idea of Spongebob getting its own movie. Massively successful, it grossed over $140 million on a $30 million dollar budget,and garnered generally positive reviews online. It became an example of a t.v. show that successfully adapted to a movie. It was entertaining. It was hilarious.  And then, in February of 2015, a sequel was released, titled The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water.

The basic premise of  the movie is as follows: The movie starts with Antonio Banderas (aka BurgerBeard) finding a magical book on an island, allowing anyone who writes in the book to have what they wrote inside it come true. Meanwhile, SpongeBob and Mr. Krabs are fighting off Plankton, who is once again trying to steal the Secret Formula. Burger Beard writes in the book, saying he wants the Krabby Patty Secret Formula for himself. It disappears, and Plankton and SpongeBob are blamed for its disappearance. It’s up to Spongebob and Plankton, and unlikely duo, to bring order to  a chaos filled Bikini Bottom, find the formula, and bring it back. I won’t give away anything else for anybody who really wants to see it, but I will say, time travel is involved.

Now, let’s get one thing clear right off bat: I do not think the movie is bad. The movie is peppered with lots of genuinely funny parts and ideas, and the movie feels very relaxed and happy, which works  for the target audience. However, and this is a big HOWEVER, the movie feels flawed. The new movie loses the charm that it had captured in it’s original movie. The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie did a fantastic job of keeping true to the show’s origins. It felt like someone was watching the show, but even better. That’s one of the common praise that the South Park: The Stick of Truth commonly gets; Namely, that the art style and humour match between the game and the show. But this becomes the big flaw with the new SpongeBob movie. Halfway through, SpongeBob and friends go up to the surface, where the animation stylings become completely  different. Not only that, but the  movie also ends in a cliche action movie sort of showdown between the opposing parties over the formula. The change in animation, combined with the formulaic action movie ending, makes the climax feel out of place. The movie throws you for the curve, but I  don’t feel it  was rewarding enough to out-weigh the costs. The ending feels predictable, and forced.

Final Thoughts: SpongeBob SquarePants: Sponge Out of Water gets a 6.5 out of 10 (whereas the very first movie gets a 8 out of 10). While the Sponge may have not hit all its marks, it was certainly not a wash out. It’s a fun, enjoyable movie, but hardcore fans may be slightly disappointed. Go in with a open mind and a good sense of humor.