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On July 24, 2018, news broke that Demi Lovato was rushed to the hospital due to an opiod overdose. Almost three years later, she makes her triumphant return to music with a full-length studio album titled “Dancing with the Devil...The Art of Starting Over” and a four-part documentary titled “Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil.”
The walk to Grounds was once a commonplace, mundane and for some, a dreaded task during a normal school year. Now, in the presence of virtual learning and tight gathering restrictions, it is a rare and treasured activity. There is something magical about the sound of feet to pavement, especially after hours of listening to professors bemoan the struggles of using Zoom. So the next time you make the trek to Grounds, grab a pair of headphones and blast these thematically selected tunes!
2020 has been a rollercoaster for Megan Thee Stallion, who faced everything from the legal drama surrounding the release of her EP, “Suga,” being shot by Tory Lanez — and consequent victim-blaming and gaslighting from the general public — and receiving immense backlash and controversy for her sex-positive collaboration with Cardi B — “WAP.” After such a tumultuous year so early on in her career, Megan Pete — known professionally as Megan Thee Stallion — could have retreated from fame and the music industry. No one would have blamed her. Instead, she returned with her debut album, “Good News” — a rightfully boastful and triumphant celebration of her empowerment and resilience.
“You know you sound dumb / so maybe you should shut up,” Ariana Grande croons on the opening track of her sixth studio album, “Positions.” With the release of her new album Oct. 30, “shut up” is exactly what Grande makes her detractors do. She once again proves she can sing any genre — pop, broadway, Christmas and now R&B. With only a week between the lead single of the same name and the album, the LP was released with little fanfare. Its lowkey release is emblematic of the album itself. Consisting of 14 tracks and clocking in at 41 minutes long, “Positions” is a mellow, cohesive body of work.
Throughout her 30-year career, Mariah Carey has gone by an array of monikers and conditions. She’s been Chick, Honey B. Fly, Bianca Storm and Mimi. She’s been a metaphorical butterfly, and she’s been emancipated — not once but twice! To coincide with the release of her memoir, “The Meaning of Mariah Carey,” the singer put out a new album, “The Rarities,” on Oct. 2 — a compilation album consisting of previously unreleased tracks, fan favorites and live recordings. With the album, Carey once again lets fans and critics into a glimpse of her true self, particularly the R&B siren that masqueraded as a tight-laced girl-next-door during her reign in the ‘90s. “The Rarities” is prime Mariah without the glitz, glamour or melodramatic flairs that shot her to fame.
Following the murder of George Floyd by Minnesota police, America erupted into a furor and outrage. People rushed to protest, demanding change to an intrinsically racist justice and police system. Somewhere in the midst of this righteous anger is a conversation to be had about the place of activism within the music industry, particularly for white and white-passing musicians.
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, musical artists are questioning whether or not to release new music. With all the chaos, sadness and uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, two schools of thought are forming surrounding releasing new music — some artists are pushing back release dates to when putting out music feels more appropriate. Others are choosing to continue releasing their works of art.
Valentine’s Day is an inescapable holiday. It is everywhere, from the heart-shaped chocolates in grocery stores to the cringeworthy and saccharine Valentine’s Day posts soon to be plastered on everyone’s Instagram feeds. However, not everyone has caught the love bug. Falling into this category can make it an isolating holiday. Here are nine songs that encapsulate the feeling of being exhausted with Valentine’s Day.
The release of Kesha’s fourth studio album — “High Road” — coincides with the singer’s 10th year in the music industry as a solo artist. After 10 years of music it seems the world has yet to understand Kesha — by no fault of her own. The industry was intent on pigeonholing the singer from the beginning of her career. Kesha was initially perceived as a party animal, but the release of "Rainbow," her third studio album, proved her to be an artist “finding her own voice.” The reality is that the “We R Who We R” singer has always had a voice. Although oftentimes stifled by her rapist Dr. Luke, the image of Kesha as purely a reformed party girl is wrong. “High Road” is Kesha telling critics she refuses to be boxed in.
Throughout her entire career, Taylor Swift has presented herself as the relatable girl next door. As a country star, she wrote songs every highschooler could relate to, she had celebrity crushes — see the song “Superstar” — and she loves cats and baking. To be one of the biggest stars in the world, Swift has managed to feel more down to earth than most, but her relatability was superficial. With her new documentary — “Miss Americana” — she lets the world in on what makes her tick, her fears and her insecurities.
Earlier this month on Jan. 16, Deborah Dugan, the CEO of the Recording Academy, was placed on administrative leave for an incident of alleged misconduct. Following this, Dugan filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claiming favoritism and corruption in the Grammy nomination process, as well as emphasizing the Academy’s lack of racial diversity in its awarding.
It seems as though America knows everything about Ariana Grande, from her PTSD after a terrorist attack at a 2017 Manchester show to her highly publicized breakup with comedian Pete Davidson. The one thing the public has yet to figure out? Her race.
On the opening track of her second solo album back in 2015, “Revival,” Selena Gomez speaks the lines, “I dive into the future / But I’m blinded by the sun / I’m reborn in every moment / So who knows what I’ll become.” Almost five years later, with the release of her album “Rare” on Jan. 10, it is clear what Gomez has become — a genuine artist. Long gone are the generic pop songs of her first two albums, 2013’s “Stars Dance” and “Revival.” Now, her lyrics are honest and her production original and cohesive. On “Rare,” the singer is resilient, self-assured and confident.
Up-and-coming singer Tinashe has struggled to find her footing in the music industry even after the release of her critically acclaimed debut album “Aquarius.” She released a string of unsuccessful singles and her former label RCA Records refused to promote her second album “Nightride” and cancelled her 2018 album “Nashe.” In February 2019, Tinashe left RCA and signed a management deal with Roc Nation. Finally free of her old label, Tinashe is flourishing musically, and it shows on her fourth album “Songs for You.”
Céline Dion has done the unthinkable — she has reached her artistic peak, 40 years into her career. With five Grammys, four number-one Billboard singles and two diamond albums, it would seem there is nothing left for Dion to do but rest on her laurels. However, the “Because You Loved Me” singer lets listeners know there is one thing she has not done — bare her soul. On her twelfth English-language studio album “Courage,” she does just this. The past three years for Dion have been tumultuous and transformative. In 2016 she lost both her brother Daniel Dion and her husband and longtime manager, René Angélil, to cancer just days apart. Dion takes her experiences and channels them into the album, crafting her most personal project to date.
Shortly after the release of her critically acclaimed debut album “When We All Fall Asleep, Where do We Go?”, Billie Eilish has returned to the music scene with a new single — “everything i wanted.” The song is an ode to the relationship she has with her brother, Finneas O’Connell, who also doubles as both her co-writer and producer. While Eilish returns to familiar lyrical themes in the song, sonically it is a departure from the trap influences on her first album.
The past year and a half has been eventful for up-and-coming singer-rapper Doja Cat. In summer 2018, she rose to prominence with the release of her cow-themed song “Mooo!,” quickly becoming an internet meme. Following this, her 2019 song "Juicy" with Tyga scored her first Billboard Hot 100 entry. With the recent release of her sophomore album — “Hot Pink” — Doja Cat is on the fast track to rap fame and solidifying herself as a legitimate contender in the rap game.
The Virginia Film Festival presented the short film "What if Black Boys Were Butterflies" and the documentary "Always in Season" Sunday at the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center. The short film, directed by DaeQuan Collier, portrays the polarizing existence of being a black man in America.
“Cuz I Love You,” which dropped April 19, is the third studio album — and first with a major record label — from songstress and flautist Lizzo.The force of a major label shows as Atlantic Records paired her with a number of hitmakers, namely Oak and Ricky Reed. Despite these pairings, the album is a somewhat underwhelming effort. While there are a few shining moments, the lack of lyricism and distracting production overpower the positive elements.
On April 14, 2018, Beyoncé became the first black woman — and third woman ever — to headline the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. Her performance — which her fans aptly named “Beychella” —was an ode to black culture, from the costumes she wore to the dancing and songs interpolated into the setlist. Beyoncé headlining broke records, becoming the most viewed Coachella performance and the most streamed live event of all time. A year later, Beyoncé teamed up with Netflix to create a documentary titled “Homecoming” along with a live album. “Homecoming” allows diehard fans to watch the entirety of Beychella in HD, while also showcasing the effort required to pull off such a gargantuan production.