Baggy is back (soon), but not like this

by Jacob McKay

NSFW: Extremely ugly

“Come gather around people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone
And if your breath to you is worth saving
Then you better start swimming or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changing”-Bob Dylan

…………….But NOT LIKE THIS.

 

I was shocked and appalled  to see that GQ published an article last week announcing that JNCO is back with the 40″ Mammoth Jean. These things are suitable for literally nothing, and from what I can gather this was in sometime in the 1990’s. For all you nostalgic 90’s people still watching “Friends” reruns, this was the 90’s too. Those of us born in ’96 or later seem to gloss over or totally forget about the bad parts of that entire decade, and this is one of them.

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Apparently, the millennial #retro #90s craze made the people at JNCO think that now was a great time to roll these bad boys back out onto the market and it’s our fault. Baggy is in, but THIS hopefully doesn’t make a return until a new dominant species walk the face of the earth. If this becomes a trend in any facet of society than 2017 isn’t only going to be worse than 2016, it might be worse than when people thought monacles made any sense what so ever. Maybe this is God punishing us for are obvious lack of foresight or empathy when it comes to popular opinion on sociopolitical issues concerning the future of the human race. I just don’t want to see people wearing extra wide boot cut anything. Boot Cut jeans do nothing for anybody except identify them as a person who is just like every other person ever. Just a guy, or gal, who puts clothes on every morning just like the rest of us without knowing or caring what the clothes really say about them. People who were in to shuffling or shopped at Hot Topic wore black, baggy versions of these a few years ago. And we can’t blame them. Their Moms were right, it was just a phase. Hopefully the lunacy that is America right now is also just a phase. One that I might have to sleep through.

 

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Post Malone Album Review: Stoney

by Joe Mitchell

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Post Malone, a 21 year old rapper from Grapevine, Texas whose birth name is Austin Richard Post, released his first debut studio album Stoney early last month.The album features artists such as Justin Bieber, Kehlani, Quavo and 2 Chainz. Malone first gained national recognition in the rap game in 2015 with his hit single “White Iverson” and shortly after signed a record deal with Republic Records. Between his first hit single White Iverson and his debut album he also released a mixtape called “August 26th” which also gained popularity quickly. Austin’s recent album, “Stoney”, is in my opinion one of the best debut album’s I have ever heard. There are very few albums that I listen to once and am attached to automatically. This is one of those few. It’s exactly what Post Malone needed to be respected from other top-notch rappers and gain popularity from a large Hip-Hop audience. Not only though is this album a solid album through and through but also each song is unique and it’s not strictly Hip Hop material. Malone mixes in some soft rock, RnB style beats and hooks that make the album really attractive to a lot of different people. Every one of the songs on this album I genuinely love listening to and not skipping over when they come on shuffle. There are songs such as “Feeling Whitney” on the album that feature an acoustic guitar sound and don’t appear to be related to Hip Hop at all but are great songs. There are also songs on the album such as “Congratulations” which feature Quavo that do have a solid Hip Hop foundation behind them. “Déjà vu” is a song on the album that features Justin Bieber that gives a mainstream pop RnB feel that sounds great and sill fits perfectly with the rest of the album. The variety on this album is what I believe makes this album special and gives it the edge to consider this a great album instead of just a good album. I would 100% recommended this album to anyone and encourage not only fans of Hip Hop to listen to this album but also fans of all different kinds of genres.

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Interview: Daniel Nielsen, photographer

by Lucas Reiman

Daniel Nielsen is an aspiring photographer from Des Moines. I went to school with Daniel for four years of high school and grew up playing youth sports with him. His ability with a camera after taking photography seriously for only four years is inspiring and drives me to continue my own photography. I am incredibly proud to know him and am proud to be able to share a bit more about him. I sat down with him during this winter break to get his journey in photography  and to listen to some of his opinion on the photography world.

 

26: Give us a little Background about yourself.

D: I am 18 years old and I am from West Des Moines, Iowa. I graduated high school from Dowling Catholic in West Des Moines and I currently attend the University of Northern Iowa.

26: What are you studying in school?

D: I am currently an environmental science major and I plan on adding a photo journalism minor in the spring.

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26: What got you interested in photography/filmmaking?

D: I have always been really into making videos since I was in middle school. I would try to make short films with my friends. I always had a camera on me in those days and it led me to go and buy my own personal DSLR. I bought a Canon T3 and I used it for photos and short films. Once I got the Canon, that really inspired me to pursue more of photography.

26: Was it easy for you to learn or was there a slight learning curve?

D: Transition from film making to photography wasn’t easy. My film making past made the technical side of operating a camera easier but I had so much that I still needed to learn. It took me a while to get really confident in my work.

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26: Do you think too many people are photographers?

D: I don’t think there are too many photographers but I do feel like there are a lot of people who give up too soon.

26: Do you feel there is often a stigma against people trying to get into photography?

D: Yeah I feel that sometimes new photographers are knocked for trying to get into the field. Some photographers react this because they may feel threatened that a new photographer could steal their style. I honestly don’t get it though because every photographer at one point was new to it. I feel that photographers should try and be mentors to new photographers.

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26: Do you wish you would’ve had a mentor through your growing process?

D: Yes, to an extent because I could’ve grown quicker but I learned so much on my own. All the information I’ve learned on my own has been incredible and I’m glad on the way I got here.

26: Opinions on people doing photography just for the sole purpose of being popular/liked?

D: I’m not going to judge but sometimes I feel that people forget about the art of photography and use it as a way to get popular. I’m not going to bash on people who enjoy it for the attention, that just isn’t the reason I’m in photography.

26: Do you feel good equipment is super necessary or should the technique come before the gear?

D:  Passion I think should come before gear. You often can get away with having good equipment even with poor technique.

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26: Advice for new photographers/filmmakers?

D: Take lots of photos. I did a project where I took a photo every single day for an entire year and I learned so much about how to take quality photos in that year.

26: Favorite shoot?

D: I did an engagement shoot at it was a lot of fun. Capturing all of the emotions between the couple was incredible.

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26: Would you ever do something even more emotional like a wedding?

D: Definitely not at the moment because it is a huge responsibility to capture something that important. Maybe in the future but I don’t really have any interest in doing any weddings.

26: Favorite photo?

D: It was a photo taken early morning at clear lake. I just thought it was such a cool shot with the amount of fog blocking out any view of the actual lake but the color of the dock just makes everything pop out. I am always asked how much touch up was done to the photo and all that was done was a bit of color touch up on the dock. That’s why this photo is my favorite because I didn’t have to do a lot to it.

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26: Instagram, Twitter or VSCO

D: Instagram

26: Dream destination to do one shoot at?

D: Alaska is a huge dream of mine. I don’t think it is photographed enough and I would love to explore the state and photography my trip.
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26: Favorite photography social media accounts?

D: Jason Charles Hill, Matt Cherubino, Andrew kearns, Ben Brown, Rj Bruni, Sam Kolder, Eric Pfohl (friend from UNI), just to name a few off the top of my head.

26: Where do you see, photography taking you?

D: At this point it is just a hobby but I want to take it with me into my career. I would love to use photography and videography over the environment to make every day citizens more aware of Earth.

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Thank you to Daniel for taking the time to do this interview with me. Please go support him by sharing his work or just follow him on his social media pages.

 

Website: nielsenvisuals.com

YouTube: Daniel Nielsen

Instagram: @danielsen02

Twitter: @danielsen02

 

Poetry Review: We Walk Alone

by Mollie Ryan

This book will appeal to anyone who finds beauty in heartache. With its narrative being one of love and loss, We Walk Alone evokes a sense of nostalgia in its readers through the use of imagery and emotion. The book centers around the idea that although we may share the same road as others, we ultimately find ourselves alone in the end. The book as a whole is about how each of us longs for a sense of individuality while remaining a part of a whole. Wilson has stated that this message is perfectly exemplified in her poem We Walk Alone (26) (shocking, I know), which speaks on how we all wish for an outside source, especially a lover, to make us feel as though we have a companion for life’s journey, someone to overwhelm us with emotion in the best of ways. This poem then shifts, abruptly taking the reader to a dark place, a place that many see as being reality. Wilson’s final message in this poem and in this book as a whole is that although there are people who stand beside and light fires inside of us, at the end of our journey we find ourselves alone. However, finding oneself alone is not necessarily a bad thing. On the contrary, there is much beauty and value to be found in one’s solitude.

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Many of Wilsons poems are reminiscing over times where things felt good, whether that has to do with a lover, a toy, her childhood, or otherwise. In this book Wilson has mastered the art of capturing big concepts in small packages in a way that causes the reader to stop and think about the hidden complexity of her writing. Not only are some of the most powerful poems in this collection also the shortest (Thank You, Come Again (19) for example), but she manages to sneak big ideas into poems which on the surface may seem quite flavorless. Wilsons poems often come off as being very simple, but after rereading her poems a few times, I found many interesting similarities between them. A few themes that I noticed Wilson repeating were that of memories, the idea of consumption, temporary pleasure, finding pleasure in suffering, and last but certainly not least, loss.

Nearly every poem in this collection has to do with loss or memories, specifically memories that come back to haunt or memories of times when life seemed simple. Wilson often writes in past tense, assisting the reader in experiencing the memory as being in the past rather than the present or future. In The Devil Plays a Tune (49), she speaks of the devil in a feminine manner, and how the devil repeatedly unearths old pain which Wilson thought she had overcome or buried. The devil in this poem is romanticized by Wilson in a way that paints elegant and beautiful the ways in which the devil drowns you in your aching. Another example of Wilson romanticizing painful memories is in You’re Not Here (12), where she briefly recalls in a sleepy haze the memory of a lover who made her feel warm and happy, but in the end left her feeling empty, which is exactly how she felt upon waking from the dream. Wilson is constantly romanticizing painful memories and people, so much so that it almost leads the reader to think that she feeds off of self-destructive experiences, or that she did at points in her life. I believe that this is something that she knows many of her readers can relate to, with self-destructive behavior being a common thing that those who are heartbroken engage in. This can be exemplified in her poem One Night (46), where Wilson writes about her experience of the pleasure and excitement of a one-night-stand while admitting that this occurrence was an act of weakness. She says that the heat in that moment seemed to chase her demons away, but failed to keep them away. Many women (and men) use the pleasure of hook-ups and one-night-stands to temporarily rid themselves of their sorrows, allowing another to consume their body, ignoring the idea that afterwards they may find themselves feeling just as empty if not more so than they did to begin with. Wilson brings a sense of universal sorrow into her writing by romanticizing her pain and suffering, all the while remaining somewhat mysterious. She finds a way for her poems to relate to her readers, believing that “in everyone’s heart there is a soft, lonely tune that plays”. Some poems in this collection are like that of Girl on a Tire Swing (50), where she reminisces over her innocence as a child, her ability to be carelessly happy and unworried, with others such as The End of Daydreams (35) being about the end of such innocence and the emergence of the idea that one must live with themselves rather than rely on the company of others.  Many others, being most of the poems in this collection, are about lovers. These poems often contain happy as well as sad emotions, emphasizing that the pleasure that a partner brings to you is usually temporary and does not heal existing wounds, but may create new ones.

Throughout this collection of poems, the reader is made to feel nostalgic about times in their life which could be easily romanticized. Although the image of being alone in a room full of crowded people is quite cliché, Wilson captures this feeling in a way that doesn’t cause the reader to want to roll their eyes. While reading this collection, I noticed a good deal of the poems beginning in a light and happy tone, sometimes coming across as unrealistic and other times simply optimistic, before changing the tone to one that sometimes comes off as being realistic, and other times quite pessimistic. Wilson does a good job of keeping her reader alert and prepared for the revisiting of themes and shifts in her writing. I personally really enjoyed reading We Walk Alone, and plan to keep it tucked away for a day that I find myself needing to feel. Wilsons style of writing, with its ability to evoke intense emotion, is part of the reason I liked it so much. Another reason being Wilson’s willingness to touch on topics which many other authors choose to leave alone.

Album Review: Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin’

by Jacob McKay

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This album is probably something I shouldn’t be allowed to write about because of my stance when it comes to how I feel about it’s creator. Kid Cudi has been an instrumental part of my upbringing, and he’s been a musical fixture in the lives of most people I surround myself with. I remember the first time I heard Day N’ Nite. I had a connection to that song before I realized that so much of it was just like me. All of Cudi’s work comes from a place of such deep feeling and emotion that he raised the bar for the level of emotion I expect out of what I listen to. That’s how I gauge music, the amount of feeling it’s able to illicit. Cudi has made albums that do that beautifully,The Man on the Moon albums probably best so. With his brief foray into WZRD he was still able to produce a song that I return to every so often because of it’s palpable emotional content, “Teleport 2 Me”. Cudi’s last album showed an artist who lost his way to much of the outskirts of his fanbase. I was troubled by the last project. It spoke of an artist very much lost in the miasma of his own mind. Speedin Bullet 2 Heaven was not a masterpiece by any means, I think that has to be acknowledged to appreciate this new work. It was experimental though, and people didn’t give it enough credit for that. Cudi did a brave thing there. And I think he knew that most people wouldn’t understand it, but I think he made it for himself, or at least where he was at the time. The title track off of that album is the lone bright spot for me, and a track that I listened to almost every single day last year when I was going through my own issues. Cudi communicated hope, and the immense effort it takes at times to wake up every morning and simply smile. Even at his most unfocused he’s still capable of connecting, and this new album is a much more focused effort to connect. Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin’ isn’t a happy album, as the title should suggest. It fits. It is an incredible journey through the mind of a genius, who even at his darkest points is still immensely relatable. The second song on the album, “Swim in the Light”, sets the tone for the project. The repeated refrain is, “You can try and numb the pain but it’ll never go away”.

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Not a happy place to start from, but a fitting one for the subject matter. The majority of this album was assumed to be finished before Cudi’s short stint in rehab, and you get a darkly beautiful sense of where his mind was at. That second song contains such rich instrumentation that you immediately get lost, and thats when the album takes you for a ride. Cudi’s hums are all over this thing, and in the best way. He uses the hum to help his lyrics convey the appropriate feeling, almost as if it’s additional instrumentation. This album also showcases some of Cudi’s best collaborative work ever, in my opinion. “By Design” featuring Andre 3000 is an upbeat turn that helps balance out the more brooding tracks at the front of the album. The beat is incredible and 3 stacks absolutely rips it, and the hook and bridge are incredibly catchy. ” When you think too much you’re removing what’s moving,” Andre croons. “Rose Golden”, which some were surprised to learn features Willow Smith, features incredibly powerful harmony on the hook from both artists. Jaden Smith also does background vocals on “Kitchen,” which may be my second favorite song on the album. The Smiths are huge fans of Cudi, as is most of the teenage population that thinks outside of every box in the way that those two do. My personal connection to this album peaks with “Does it”, a solo track in the middle of the project. Cudi goes in about how he feels unrecognized and under appreciated by the industry and by people as a whole for doing, “music, TV, and movies”, but the point of the song isn’t to simply complain about that. It’s a self-affirmation anthem over a beautiful instrumental backdrop, with a healthy dose of Cudi hums. For anybody who has realized they have some level of talent, but has struggled with confidence, this is your song on this project. Cudi “Does It”, and his confidence emanates from the song. It’s infectious, and proves once again how he expertly communicates feeling through his music. The Passion is most evident here, as well as the demon slaying. The pain is evident too, and it’s amazing how accurate the name of this album is for the songs that comprise it. The darkness in this album is necessary. It’s been a dark year, for many, especially for Scott Mescudi. His personal darkness is relatable on another level, when there seems to be a cloud over a generation. Cudi’s heart and soul are in this one. It’s impossible to do it justice in my own words. This is an album I thought about simply not reviewing because of that. I’ve sat on my hands all week just absorbing myself in it. It’s beautiful and some of it cuts so deep that it hurts. But it feels so good by the time you’re done. It’s like crying and then realizing that you needed it. It’s not important to rank this on any list, whether it’s his best albums of all time, or even the best albums this year. This album, for me, is a master stroke of somebody who knows he holds a very unique sonic brush. Nobody sounds like Kid Cudi. Still. Even after all these years. And he’s still providing new twists to a sound entirely his own. I guess, one could say, he just does it.

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Album Review: Awaken, My Love!

by Josh Cook

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I’m in love when we are smoking that la-la-la-la-la.

I’m in love with this album.

As a person who loves Donald Glover and would defend him to my grave, I’ll admit that I’m biased when it comes to his work because of the respect I have for him as an artist. So if you’re looking for an unbiased album review…you’ll never find it.

The album is relatively short, so I’ll keep this sweet.

Even though it’s only 11 songs and 49 minutes, this album is exactly what I wanted to see from Donald. And I don’t mean that I wanted him to not rap. He made what he wanted to make, and it’s art. I mean I love 3005 just as much as the next person…but this album is wildly groovy.

With my own opinion set aside, I’ve heard two things said about this album: 1) “No I haven’t listened to it yet, but I heard it’s fire.” And 2) “Wow the new Gambino is lit! Have you heard it yet?”

Of course I have, and I agree. The album starts with a banger, sprinkles in the feels and smooth jams, and ends with a ballad. That is a recipe for success, and Donald cooked up a special meal for our ears.

Despite not being a typical Gambino album chalked full of banging beats and top-notch clever bars, this album finishes in my top three from him with Royalty and Because the Internet. Personally, I love the sound and the funk vibes, and advise that you give it a listen.

My three favorites from the album are Redbone, Me and Your Mama, and Baby Boy – in no specific order. If you don’t like any of those three, listen to the others—Zombies is also awesome. If you listened through it once and didn’t like it, listen to it again. My experience with all ‘Bino music is that it grows and grows on you.

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If you’re still struggling with your own ego and displeasure that Donald made something besides rap, here’s an article I recommend you read before listening again. à http://www.okayplayer.com/news/how-i-got-over-myself-and-learned-to-love-childish-gambinos-new-album.html

 

So smile when you can.

Keep on your dreams, keep standing tall.

If you are strong you cannot fall.