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  • They Both Die at the End – General Review
    Summer break is the perfect opportunity to get back into reading. Adam Silvera’s (2017) novel, They Both Die at the End, can serve as a stepping stone into the realm of reading. The pace is fast, action-packed, and develops loveable characters. Also, Silvera switches point of view each chapter where narration mainly focuses on the protagonists, […]
  • My Favorite Book – Freshwater
    If there’s one book that I believe everyone should read once in their life, it’s my favorite book – Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi. From my course, Queer Literature under Dr. Bill Albertini, I discovered Emezi’s Freshwater (2018). Once more, my course, Creative Writing Thesis Workshop under Professor Amorak Huey, was instructed to present our favorite […]

CD Reviews

Jimmy Eat World “Futures”


In their follow-up album from 2001’s “Bleed America,” Arizona-rockers Jimmy Eat World combine feel-good lyrics with a solid combination of pop-rock melodies and lethargic ballads of sunshine, love and drugs. Just don’t let the rock-hard harmonies of their first single “Pain” fool you into thinking you know what “Futures” really sounds like.

The band chose to make their newest CD snap, crackle and pop – way pop. The CD provides a perfect balance of get-on-your-feet drum beats and rocking guitar riffs with chants and harmonies that would make anyone consider indulging in some downtime.

With the first single “Pain” proving the rich, rough sounds of the CD, their up-and-coming single “Work” is pleasing to the ears of every pop-lover. And with a verse-chorus-verse format that rivals the sounds of Maroon 5 and Jason Mraz, Jimmy Eat World synthesize the two genres emerging from radios and CD players everywhere: pop and rock.

“Futures” will keep old fans coming back for more and attract a new wave of patrons at the same time. Along with “Pain,” key tracks such as “Kill,” “Nothingwrong,” and “Futures,” the song that spawned the title of their album, prove to be the backbone of raw energy and sound for the band.

After a three-year vacation from the music industry, Jimmy Eat World emerges back on to the music scene with a sound that has considerably matured since their last album.

Imagine the slow sounds of Modest Mouse, the poppy guitar riffs of Blink 182 and the hardness of your cliché rock band fused with Jim Adkins (lead vocals/guitar), and you’ve got a re-vamped, new-and-improved version of Jimmy Eat World.

– Jess Wagner

Leftover Salmon “Untitled”


Bling, Bling on banjos, guitars and mandolins begins the album by Leftover Salmon.

The band’s name does not sound exactly inviting, but once one listens to their new album, they will be impressed. The album is a little bit of country and bluegrass mixed together.

Although I’m not the biggest fan of bluegrass or country, I recommend this band for anyone who enjoys either of these genres.

Leftover Salmon are in tradition of bands such as the Grateful Dead, Phish and New Grass Revival.

The slow songs have a tinge of country. It represents all the sad times.

They are able to tell good stories about the load or people that have influenced them. As an example, Woodie Guthrie is one of the titles. The song asks about Guthrie. It details about how much he is missed, since he died very many years ago.

The lyrics are in memory. The chorus said, “Hey Woodie Guthrie where are you/ We could sure use you once more/ Hey Woodie Guthrie where are you/ The big dogs are back at the door.”

The band is able to accomplish their lyrical and musical talent. They are good at combining both.

There are two instrumentals “Lincoln at Nevada” and “Whispering Waters.” There amount of interesting instruments that reflect their amazing ability to entertain.

Although the name of the band may be deceiving, surprisingly enough they were impressive. They are able to convey their instrumental ability and talent to their audience. If country is not your thing, you will still be impressed by their use of instruments.

-Rachel Bobak

R.E.M. “Around the Sun”


I won’t lie, I’m not a huge R.E.M. fan.

I know their big hits like “Losing my Religion” and “The One I Love.” I’m a huge fan of “Everybody Hurts.” And based on my little R.E.M. knowledge, I like this CD.

The music is mellow and soft, which makes Michael Stipe’s voice stand out. R.E.M. seems to have slowed down a bit. They’ve come a long way from the upbeat and fast paced “It’s the End of the World.” All songs on this CD have slow tempos. Also, most of them have sad lyrics.

I like that the title song on the album was placed last on the CD. This encourages people to listen to the rest of the CD first. That way they don’t buy it for one song and skip the rest of the music. “Around the Sun” has a positive message. The chorus is about not giving up and hanging in there for another time around the sun. “Hold on cause you don’t know what’s coming/ How on world cause I’m not jumping off/ Hold onto this boy a little longer/ Take another trip around the sun.”

The song that stood out at me is called “The Worst Joke Ever.” After listening to the 10 mellow songs before it, I thought I would be listening to a little bit faster paced song judging from the title. That was not the case. However, after I listened to the song, the title made sense. It really was the worst joke ever. The intro lyrics are “You see there’s this cat burglar that can’t see in the dark/ He lays his bets on 8 more lives, walks into a bar/ Slips on the 8 ball, falls on his knife/ Says “I don’t know what I’ve done but this doesn’t feel right.”

So if you’re a diehard R.E.M. fan, you probably have this CD.. However, if you like slow and mellow music, this CD is calling your name man. It’s a bit slower paced than the R.E.M I’m used to but it’s still a good listen. Give it a try.

-Nichole Rominski

Tift Merritt “Tambourine”


Fans of Cheryl Crow with a hint of Leanne Rimes will dig the soulful grooves of singer/songwriter Tift Merritt. Her second record “Tambourine” reflects an easy go lucky tone. Bluesy, soulful, rockabilly is what Tift Merritt offers. Brass, slide guitar and full percussion add to the infectious sound of “Your Love Made a U-Turn,” with a Hammond backdrop. The song does not graduate out of a standard blues pattern but makes up for it in metrical harmony, which she writes.

“Late Night Pilgrim,” a straight up country hit, belongs on top 40 radio. Merritt’s sound will appeal to a wide audience, who like pop and rock. Reminiscent of Buffets’ Margaritaville, the song changes with the twangy down-home solo, picked with a woodgrain telecaster. The song talks about being lonely at night, and Merritt wants a Pilgrim to rescue her.

The title track jumps off the speaker complete with background singers and a pounding piano solo. “I am your tambourine/Shake it with your love tonight.” The chorus is upbeat and fun. Her smooth voice and playful song titles shadows Bonnie Raitt but one look and you will realize Meritt’s dynamic talent. Her lyrics talk about overcoming obstacles that might be just a “Shadow in the Way.” Real lyrics and an uplifting message are just two features of this great record. Merritt provides an escape from the mundane grind with hopeful words and music.

She bears her soul not afraid to confront love, death, life and the devil. She’s excruciatingly honest yet not too deep.

“Tambourine” offers listeners multitrack richness. Infused with an innocent shy quality, Merritt will no doubt keep cranking out album after album of country hits.

-Brian Pauline

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