Let’s Talk Music #4: ‘LM5’ Album Review

Little Mix, an underrated and under appreciated British pop girl group, has dropped their highly anticipated album: LM5. The album itself holds strong powerful themes such as female empowerment, self empowerment, friendship empowerment, and the ever important message of “men aren’t shit.” I strongly believe that for these themes alone and its wig snatching vocals, well-written lyrics, and strong production and beats this album deserves all the awards and recognition that Little Mix has deserved for so long. In this essay I will-

Basing off of the first paragraph alone, we already know that I strongly feel that this album has been a strong improvement for Little Mix showcasing even more their growth as vocalists, song writers, and mature grown powerful women taking the narrative back and rewriting the rules in a male-dominated society.

The album starts right away with the thirty second track, “The National Manthem.” First off, can we just talk about the fact that they started the entire album with the lyric, “she is a bad bitch,” and then on top of that slightly elevate their harmonies on the word honest so effortlessly? I just want to say that is how you start an album artists. Take note. There is not too much else I can say as it set the MOOD for the album and it also left behind a smooth fade and transition into Woman Like Me ft. Nicki Minaj. Like their minds are just powerful.

As someone who used to suffer from depression and insecurity about the way they look, I instantly connected to the lyric, “insecure but I’m working with it.” In a society where we everything we do online is curated and carefully crafted, we don’t often see the bad that comes with the good, leaving us to think that we are in competition to look the best in which are only other competitor is really ourselves.

And then let us talk about that beat and how it just picked up and snatched me dead? I don’t know about you but truthfully I actually love that “boop boop boop” trumpet sound that is sprinkled in the song as well. It added a little something to the song with being overbearing or distracting. A little over two minutes within the song, we then start hearing Nicki Minaj’s feature. I think it fit into the song at the right place and it definitely brought something to the song, with the beat in Minaj’s verses seeming to correlate exactly how Little Mix’s first verse picking up and leaving me dead at first listen.

This song was also the first in three music videos to be released during this new era of music for Little Mix, and let’s just say this video enhanced the song. With fierceness, chair choreography, and incredible looks, it showed off Little Mix breaking down stereotypes of what a women is “supposed” to be by changing from their victorian like dresses and their 1950’s domesticated lifestyle to being the bosses that can do it all and even more.

The third and longest track on the album is the song, “Think About Us.”  This song imposes that teasing question to a former lover of, “Do you think about me when you are in the club and I’m over you hanging out with my girls?” This is the first of many songs on the album where the club itself becomes a metaphor for cheating, which morphs the meaning and evolves it through some other songs on the album such as American BoyForget You Not and Told You So. It does have some good harmonies through out the song and one exceptionally strong high note, but lyrically it is a bit too repetitive making it feel like a filler track in the album for me.

And now we head into the fourth song of the album, the self-confident body loving ANTHEM of the year:  Strip ft. Sharaya J.  First off, this song GOES OFF and I definitely recommend adding this song onto your workout playlist. Much like Woman Like Me, it has fantastic production beats in the background that sound like a battle march of confidence that don’t take away or distract the song at all. And for the lyrics themselves, they talk about embracing your “flaws” and loving them, which for most people it is hard to do now a days with what wee see in the media and society.  Favorite lyrics include: “up in the mirror I’m like oh yeah,” “they either love it or they don’t,” and the very highly underrated gay-friendly lyric: “love who you want don’t give a damn if it is a man or woman.”

Now let us talk about who they chose to collaborate with for the song, which is rapper Sharaya J. I don’t know about you, but before this song was released I had no clue who she was and now after this song…I’m a fan. Like her verse just went off. Coming with this song, we have a black and white music video that is probably my favorite piece of work that they’ve created. It starts off with the girls being primped and polished by makeup artists and hairdressers and then cuts off to shots of them with no makeup celebrating their natural beauty and “imperfections” – as if they had any to begin with. It then cuts to a still of them laying bare naked with their “imperfections” written on them- which that in itself is POWERFUL to witness and see. To go off that, as if Little Mix wasn’t already serving us a self-confident bop off of that alone, the longer into the video we are then introduced to all these diverse women in the background celebrating their natural themselves. Like yes. Little Mix created the kind of art that most clothing stores, makeup companies, and fitness empires can only dream of and should embrace in their work.

Monster In Me is probably the most grown up song on the album filled with sexual innuendos everywhere in the lyrics like, “Touch me. Why do we kill each other slowly?”, “I love the way you make me scream,” and “The monster in me loves the monster in you.” It talks about something good that has happened for two lovers that turn from soulmates to acquaintances to enemies. It is honestly a very beautiful song and does a really good job showcasing the ranges of the girls, as highlighted in the vocals and silences in the song, but for me and don’t come at me… I just couldn’t connect to it as much. It is also to note the power it leaves behind towards the end with the fading sound of the lyrics, “haunting me, haunting you…” which left me quite haunted and showcased the song to be that way.

We go from haunting and sexual to the twerking self-confident club track in the next song Joan of Arc, which is honestly a BOP. I literally can do a whole forty-five minute workout to this song, Strip, Wasabiand Motivate alone. Now if you don’t know who Joan Of Arc is, let me just insert a hyperlink for you to read up on her, because she was THAT ICONIC BITCH, as was the other ruler they sing about briefly: Ms. Cleopatra.  With the beginning lyrics of, “Want to fuck in the club? Everybody watch me,” it is made clear that Little Mix has the most ICONIC song openings of anyone within these past couple of years. Also can we just talk about the level of confidence it takes to sing the words, “stanning myself, fanning myself, love me so much I put my hands on myself?” That is some boss attitude that I can only aspire to have one day.  It is made clear that they are strong independent women themselves letting the unannounced male of the song know that she is only loving him because “she can,” not for attention or because she’s desperate, and that she is a GODDESS. I mean what other song would you rather have belting in your ears in the morning when you are struggling to get those last couple of squats done at the gym?

The second club-inspired cheating song of the album comes in the form of the reggae-inspired salsa sounding dance track number seven Love A Girl Right. This song is a lament to a fuckboy to not mess with a group of girls best friend and honestly this is what female empowerment should be sounding like in 2018, so thank you Little Mix for this track. I also wasn’t expecting the background male voices AT ALL in this song, so much like most- if not all- tracks on the album this only enhanced the quality and production of the song. It actually sounds distinct from anything I’ve listened to recently and I also wrote down on my first listen that this song tells a STORY, so I honestly believe that this song deserves a music video [most likely in the summer].  American Boy picks up from where Love A Girl Right leaves off and starts us off with the introduction of a boy and girl who met in California, had a relationship that didn’t end up well, with the boy telling lies and being defensive and singing about another girl when he plays guitar. I think the song is very catchy but lacks a little bit of lyrical content towards the end of the track, feeling like a filler song.

I just want to say that the next song Told You So is NOTHING compared to anything I’ve ever heard at all in my life. This is the first slower and sadder sounding song on the album that is the sequel to the end of a bad relationship, where a girl is consoled by her best friend with “wine and make up wipes and a kettle of tea,” to talk and cry it all out. The lyrics are soothing and pick up throughout the song reminding the girl that the boy isn’t the one as he isn’t funny, has a hotter best friend, and that he won’t love her like they do. I also love the gradual build ups throughout the song and the vocal quality that just gives this lullaby quality to the track. I really want this song to have a music video with it or have an amazing mashup with another song on tour.

Wasabi is the next track on the album and it is honestly THAT song that just gives the big double middle fingers to the haters. It is that catchy anthem that you will have you feeling ready to take on anyone that doubts you. It also tackles some rumors that the band have been taking on for years head on, such as the way they dress and the band’s separation rumors, with lyrics like,

“The shit the papers write about me
(Oh-oh) I fold it up like origami
(Oh-oh) Like, “She ain’t wearing no clothes”
(Oh-oh) “When she goin’ solo?”
(Oh-oh) “I bet they gonna break up”
(Oh-oh) But what the hell do you know?”

This song is a gentle and polite reminder that anyone who says something ugly to you most likely doesn’t have the guts to actually say something to your face and to stay strong and remain unfazed by the haters. At first listen, I thought it lacked some lyrics and now I just want to apologize to Ms. Wasabi as it is now in my top three songs on the album. This song then transitions to the third collaboration on the album More Than Words ft. Kamille.

More Than Words is the one of the most authentic songs and one, if not the best collaboration they have ever done. It is raw, revealing, and showcases their powerhouse vocals. While personally this song hasn’t really hit me or connected yet, I do strongly believe it will be one of their most underrated and underappreciated songs of all time. I also didn’t know who Kamille was before listening to the track but I do love her voice and the angelic sense of wisdom that it carries throughout the song and the video. THE VIDEO. Let us talk about the video. It had very stunning visuals that were haunting and carried the vocals. Let me just say that I need more words to talk about the beauty that is the song More Than Words.

This songs then transitions us into the highly energetic and upbeat Motivate Me. With an album of songs that stem from the concept of not needing a man and sticking with your friends, this song doesn’t seem to fit in with the rest especially with the lyrics, “When he’s with me b****es hate me.” Now don’t hate me, because I really do love this catchy bop and the way the song transitioned over from More Than Words, but it seems a little interesting to include this as it seems to go against the message of the album. Regardless, I still love it as it is catchy, grown up in the lyrical content, and it does talk about finding someone that inspires you to be the best boss version of yourself- even though it is to have others hate you.

The next track Notice seems to be the sequel to Motivate Me where the relationship seems to go beyond the face value of what others see into what happens within the relationship, with the guy not noticing the girl even if she is wearing something that is very sexy and her singing, “I don’t think you notice. What is the point of wearing something if you don’t notice the sex in the air?” This song is basically saying if you don’t pay attention to me the same way I pay attention to you I will leave. At first listen, to me, it felt like a filler song but after much further examination it has actually become a little bit of grower and it does have an importance to this album of this is the final straw song. This is echoed in the lyric, “I’m going to take off if you don’t notice,” which she does leaving the guy behind to find her self-confidence again in The Cure

The Cure is a beautiful angelic sounding realization of that feeling when you finally find your worth and not just a fake recognization of it- the true pure moment when you can say, “I was a little messed up but I’m not anymore.  I don’t need anyone else. Happiness was always inside of me but lord it took a minute to find me.” The lyrical content alone is beautiful on it’s own, but the overlapping of the voices especially around the 2:30 mark of the song sound heavenly. What can I say? Little Mix are actual angels with this track that provided us the soundtrack this year of finding your worth. Forget You Not is that last song on the regular album that takes the whole album full circle as it talks about the girl being fully confident with her friends and a new man in the club. Like THAT IS AN IMPACT using the one place that broke your heart as the setting for happiness and reminding the boy that she won’t forget him. It is also one of the catchiest songs on the album with the, “bada bang bang,” beat that is infused throughout the chorus and multiple parts of the verses enriching the song and adding a tropical vibe to the song.

The three bonus songs included on the deluxe version of LM5 are Woman’s World, The Cure (Stripped) and Only You ft. Cheat Codes. The first song Woman’s World speaks on the struggles that women are experiencing everyday in the workplace and society, with references made to the irrefutable pay gap between men and women in the office in addition to the stereotypes of the way a woman “has to dress and speak” in society. It is very highly elocuted with the lyric, “she’s overworked and unpaid because of how her body is made ain’t that insane…” and yes it quite frankly is. Even though I can’t personally relate and connect to these struggles, it is the most truest and most unfair thing I get to see and witness everyday. The Cure (Stripped) is the second bonus song on the album, which is just if you take a portion of The Cure and completely strip it back and it honestly sounds so perfect especially around the forty second mark. My only problem with it is that it isn’t longer.

The third and final bonus track, ending the album is the EDM dance song Only You with the duo Cheat Codes. It tells about this relationship where they had all it and then they lost it, falling out of love and only having the memories left of their time together. It is an okay song with catchy lines and it also tells a story, but I’m not quite sure how I feel about it listening to it as the last song on the deluxe. I think it was good that they didn’t take away any of the songs from the main album, but i think it would have been better fitted in the album toward the beginning or the middle kind of before Think About Us or American Boy to make it sound more cohesive with the tone of the album.

I do apologize for the late posting of this album review, but after giving it a couple of weeks of listening to the album I do believe that it is Little Mix’s best work. I think it is confident, empowering, and honestly features some of their best vocals and strongest cases of superb songwriting abilities that Little Mix has ever given. Let us hope that this album finally gives them recognization that they deserve here as artists in the United States.

Overall grade: 4.6 out of 5 stars
Favorite songs: The National ManthemWoman Like Me ft. Nicki Minaj, Strip ft. Sharaya J, Joan of Arc, Love A Girl RightTold You So, Wasabi, The Cure, Forget You Not and Woman’s World.

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Franchesco Ferruchi | First Collaboration

I am happy to announce that I am now a visionary for the brand Franchesco Ferruchi! It all started like any other day… I was going through my Instagram feed and thought, “Damn I post way too many selfies on here.”

So in an effort to detract the “selfie content,” I had decided to make a separate secondary Instagram page, not thinking anything would come from it, and deciding to name the page @lewisblookbook. [Disclaimer: we love self promo so if you are not already following you totally should for all your affordable mens fashion inspiration]

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One day into making the page, and right away I was already spamming it with photos of myself that I taken earlier that week from shopping, earlier that summer, last school year, and from my study abroad experience. I was also following accounts, using all the appropriate hashtags I can think of, and also tagging all the brands in the pictures to generate views and increase traffic.

It was later that day that I had gotten a message, underneath a photo of me at The Cliffs, which is a popular Juniata location within just a five to minute radius from campus. The message had stated, “P. Franchesco Ferruchi would love to collab or work with you. Send our Instagram page a direct message if you’re interested.”

I typically never take messages like this seriously, as I haven’t had the best experience in the past with a prior collaboration, but this one felt different. I checked out both the instagram page and the website, and I really liked the quality and look of the products, so I messaged back and got my discount code to place an order for a Maroon Tee and a gold Verona ring.

“Franchesco Ferruchi is an exemption of myself. It is a brand that is inspired by Italian Renaissance roots, and a vintage monotone feel. The website is filled with a collection of handcrafted leather bags, minimalistic jewelry, and timeless fabrics.” –Paolo Franchesco

Just a couple of weeks later, I have received my Maroon Tee in the mail and was instantly surprised where the ring was. I messaged back Mr. Ferruchi on Instagram and we instantly was able to work the whole thing out, receiving an additional ring back for free due to a delayed shipping time. I must say I was quite impressed with the customer service of the brand for making me feel like I was just more than a “promoter.”

I had then gotten straight to work taking photos of myself in the shirt. I must say that I really like the fit of the shirt, as I am someone who is quite small and does not get the best look in small t-shirts, so I am quite impressed in how I looked in the product with it accentuating both my arms and chest. In addition to that, I also really liked the overall design, with the font of the choice of the double FF logo as well as the size and proportion of the logo not swallowing the shirt as a whole.

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I definitely recommend these products to anyone who is look for high quality duffle bags, bookbags, shirts and hoodies, and rings and bracelets at an affordable cost. Check them out here at @franchescoferruci or at the website franchescoferrucci.com! If you like what you see, make sure to use my code LewisB13 for a special 30% off of ALL products!

 

 

AUGUST SUMMARY | SEPTEMBER GOALS

“Wake me up when September ends…”

That’s right! It is officially the start of the new month (as well the time where the outdated Green Day song reference rises up from the grave)!

I honestly want to know how are we in September already? It literally feels like this year just started yesterday and now we only have THREE months left.

“Your greatest resource is your time.”  -Brian Tracy

So How Did I Use My Time This Past Month?

Work. That is literally what I have been doing for the majority of time lately. As I wrote in my last blog post, I recently gotten a job working as a customer care representative for the company iQor. As of this moment, I am just about my third week of training and I really like it. My hours are from 1-10pm, Sundays through Thursdays, so the days can definitely feel LONG but I have made some pretty great friends in my class who are just make these days feel fun.

One of the biggest worries that I had coming into work was that I would be the only person my age in my class, but luckily that’s not the case. There is twelve of us in training together, with the majority of the ages ranging from 18-25, so it has been pretty easy making friends in such a short time. We also get two fifteen minute breaks a day and one hour for lunch, so we get to use that time eating in the breaking room or in the employee lounge having VERY competitive air hockey tournaments (to the point where we are worried that the puck is going to fly off the table and smash the window). We have also bonded in our mutual agreement to take the rest of pizza and cake from the break room, that no one was going to eat, so it is safe to say that we are all besties for life.

When we’re not in break, we spend the rest of the time in the classroom learning how to troubleshoot with customers, operate the programs that we will use out in the production field, and listen to our amazing teacher sprinkle in some stories about her time working at the company. It has been an overall fun experience so far and I can’t wait to see what’s to come!

Outside of work, I haven’t really been doing anything. That’s because when I come home I’m already so tired from sitting all day that I just put on pj’s, watch Netflix in bed, and fall asleep around 12:30am. Totally not how I was in my college days at all, but I guess getting good sleep happens when you get older and you don’t have five plus hours of homework a day in addition to clubs and work?

Speaking of college, I have also been having an interesting time readjusting to not going back. Don’t get me wrong. It does feel good to be done, but as someone who tries to keep themselves constantly busy I’ve been struggling to entertain myself in my free time. After eighteen years of school, having to self-teach myself feels different and don’t even get me started about reading for fun. I could literally go all day about that. I also miss acting. A LOT. Ever since graduating, I haven’t had the chance to audition for shows or take the time to read plays or memorize monologues and it just feels wrong. I would love to be on campus right now auditioning for the fall play, and taking classes, going to karaoke and fifty cent beer nights, going to club meetings, and also partying on the weekends, but right now I can’t do any of that anymore and it just feels different.

I’ve also listened to a lot of music! My favorite albums this past month were Bloom by Troye Sivan and Sweetener by Ariana Grande. This playlist also has gems from the bands :PM, Makeout, Eighty Ninety, duo Cape Lions, and singer Ruel. It is also filled with throwbacks from Mariah Carey, Shania Twain, Aly & AJ, and Maroon 5. Enjoy!

Click here to access my playlist for August!

As a blogger, I have been trying my hardest to create content with and share it out on social media: from linking my posts on my instagram and twitter, towards commenting on other blogger’s posts and following their blogs, as well as sharing recent links on threads. I wrote two posts this month! One of which is a post I wrote about my last four years of college titled, “A Letter To The Class of 2022” and a review of Ariana Grande’s new album Sweetener.

I am happy and delighted to announce, when I checked my stats, I have nearly doubled in views and visitors from early to mid-30’s to the 60’s. Now I know this doesn’t sound like a lot, and even though I didn’t start this blog to become a world famous blogger and make tons of money from it (although that would be nice… lol), it amazes me that anyone would take the time to read my posts so I like to thank you so much for reading this blog and following along in my life.

Anyways…What Were My Goals For August?

Ever since last month’s post, I’ve set some new goals for myself. And here they were:

1.) Blog at least ONCE a week. I actually didn’t get to do this one but I will be changing this one accordingly to work with my current time.
2.) Read TWO books next month. I’m going to switch this to one book a month.
3.) Devote THIRTY MINUTES a day towards memorizing monologues, reading plays, or writing and creating work. I’m going to keep this as it is as I feel like this goal is actually obtainable.
4.) Exercise THREE times a week for THIRTY MINUTES. I have not been keeping up with this goal and I really value my health, so I am going to fix this immediately.
5.) Drink WATER and not SODA. I actually did this one! Go me! This is honestly really easy to do as well, and after a while you honestly don’t even miss the taste of soda anymore.
6.) Go to bed by 12:30am. I’ve mostly followed this one! I’ve stayed up later on nights when I don’t have work the next day, but that’s allowed and even then I wake up around 7:30 am anyways.

What Are My New Goals For September?

1.) Read news articles for fifteen minutes a day. I have a lot of news apps on my phones and a lot of articles that have gone unread. I will change this.

2.) Workout at least three times a week. I’m talking an hour a day of moderate to intense sweating.

3.) Devote THIRTY MINUTES of time to acting a day. I’m talking memorizing monologues and reading the plays I’ve bought in May that have gone unread. I have been taught the materials towards being a better actor, and I will utilize them and not let my talents diminish.

4.) Read one book this month. I’m not talking about a magazine. I’m talking twelve font Arial print in a book with no pictures and at least three hundred pages of content with a storyline.

5.) Blog at least once a week. I almost accomplished this one last month, but I fell short. Not anymore. I have a bunch of ideas to post; however, including a lookbook of outfits that I got last month and have never posted yet, a tour of my room, and much more.

 

So…That is it for August! So…What music did you listen to this month? What are your goals for September? Hear any good quotes or knock knock jokes recently that you want to share?

 

Let’s Talk Music #3: Sweetener (Album) by Ariana Grande

Hi everyone! I’m back with music review blog segment titled “Let’s Talk Music,” and this time I will be posting my review to Ariana Grande’s newest album Sweetener. [If you are new to the blog, and are interested in reading music reviews, I also wrote about the albums Camila by Camila Cabello and hopeless fountain kingdom by Halsey.]

Ariana Grande’s Manchester Arena concert in May 2017 was making headlines, but in all the wrong ways as a bombing left at least 22 people dead and many more injured. This coupled with her split from rapper Mac Miller and new romance and engagement to comedian Pete Davidson leads to the release for her fourth album, Sweetener.

The album has fifteen songs total, collaborations with Pharrell Williams, Nicki Minaj, and Missy Elliot, in addition to Grande working with Williams as well the team of Max Martin and Ilya in producing a majority of the album.

It starts right away with a thirty-eight second song called raindrops (an angel cried). I honestly love it as it shows off Grande’s raw and pure vocals. It is the first in many songs on the album that reference the bombing in Manchester, and it is just a beautiful intro to the album.

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This then transitions into a tropical sounding R&B based song called blazed, featuring singer Pharrell Williams. I would have to say that I really like this song, as it definitely shows off a completely new sound that seems unrecognizable and incomparable to anything that Grande has done before, much like most of the album. This song is a cute little bop and my favorite part has to be the catchy chorus that Grande and Williams share:

“There is somethin’ between us, I can see it right now
Your magnetic demeanor, that’s something can’t be found
I thought that I was dreamin’ ’til my love came around
Now I just come on over, show you how we get down
Shorty you can get blazed”

Some people on Twitter have said that this song can best be compared to elevator or retail store music, and I’ll admit that isn’t entirely wrong, but if that is the case then it seems like I stan bopping along to elevator songs.

We then transition into another sound as we listen to into Grande’s promotional single for this album, the light is coming featuring rapper Nicki Minaj. I’m going to be honest in saying that I want to hate it, but this album has successfully succeeded in creating sweet beats that will literally give you a toothache from overindulging in listening to it.

It starts right away with Minaj’s verse, before then transitioning into Grande’s voice singing the playground cult-like words of “the light is coming.” This song is probably one, if not the weakest song on Sweetener, as it showcases an annoying background ad-lib of a man shouting in Pennsylvania about Obamacare. It is very transparent to anyone that even though blazed and later in the album, R.E.M., have excellent production, Williams overdid it in this song, The song, to me, despite being catchy, felt “empty?” and in desperate need of another verse from Minaj.

Another theme that we see sprinkled if not splashed throughout the lyrics of Sweetener is love, the type that you feel towards another person and the self-love that feel for yourself. R.E.M. is the fourth track in which showcases a confident Grande proclaiming her love for Pete Davidson, whose name is also an interlude track later on in the album and whose voice is featured in this track as well. This love is no secret and she is proud to show that, especially in lyrics like:

“I love you”
Who starts a conversation like that? Nobody but I do
But you are not a picture, I can’t cut you up and hide you
I’ll get you out my mind, mhm, I tried to
But I just want to stand and yell
I will never dare to tell
Think I heard some wedding bells, shh, keep it to yourself
Is this real? (Is this real?)

Transitioning from R.E.M. is the second single from the album, God is a woman, and if I must say that Ms. Grande just might be that woman this year. No matter how many times I hear this song, I will never get tired of it. The track is just empowering and inspiring for women (and men) everyone as it celebrates the wisdom, talent, and success behind women. It also plays on a sexual and religious motifs that can with sex, marrying the two together and even implying that Grande is so good at having sex that you will think you just been touched by God himself… or in this case herself.

My favorite lyric: “And I can be all the things you told me not to be
When you try to come for me, I keep on flourishing”

[If you haven’t yet watched the video, you totally should because to quote Youtuber Dante D’Angelo, “I’m watching money.”]

The next two songs on the album are sweetener and successful. Listening to the title track, it talks about how Grande found someone that she isn’t just emotionally and mentally attracted to, but is also physically attracted connected with.

“And then you get it, get it, get it, get it (ayy)
Hit it, hit it, hit it, hit it (ayy)
Flip it, flip it, flip it
You make me say oh, oh (sheesh, sheesh)
Twist it, twist it, twist it, twist it
Mix it and mix it and mix it and mix it
Kiss it, kiss it, kiss it
You make me say oh, oh (sheesh, sheesh)”

Listening to the song, I automatically get a old school black and white video vibe from it which is only amplified from Grande’s clear vocals and the background beat, but overall, the song to me just felt like a filler in an album of much more standout songs. It could be because of the “Bop It” game sound in post-chorus, but what I do know is that the next song doesn’t sound like that game at all.

If there was any song to listen to when you are pretending to drive down the highway in a Lamborghini like you are a millionaire in your fancy shades, when in all actually you drive a Prius and have $20 in your bank account, it would be successful.  While a new and daring push for Grande to step out of her comfort zone and try a new R&B sound, this song much like sweetener wasn’t really successful in capturing my attention and honestly kind of just blends into the album as a whole.

Standout lyrics: “tonight I’m a baller babe.” “it feels so good to be so young and have this fun and be successful.”

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Next up on the list are my favorite two songs on the album, everytime and breathin. This first song is the ear catching upbeat R&B dance track everytime. My first words to describe this song are BOP BOP BOP, which is the perfect adjective for this track.

This song is all about running back to an ex-boyfriend who is just toxic and unlike some of the other tracks on Sweetener, Grande does an amazing job at expressing at telling that story within lyrics, such as:

“I get drunk, pretend that I’m over it. Self-destruct, show up like an idiot. Why, oh, why does God keep bringing me back to you?”

In the song, Grande describes the relationship as being “something out of Shakespeare” and honestly Shakespeare is shook because this song is a 10/10 and needs to have its own music video, even sounding like it could definitely excel the radio charts much like previous hits Into It , Bang Bang, and Break Free.

IMG_9285We then transition into the second standout song of the album, breathin, where I honestly couldn’t breathe because Grande has snatched my wig with her vocals and that BEAT in the background

This song is another introspective song about fighting through the hard times to see the light at the end of the rainbow. With her raw vocal chords and honest lyrics, Grande does that effortlessly in this song, finding herself and her self-worth in the process and reminding us that as long as we are breathing we are fighting through those hard times as well.

Also, how does one turn a song about breathing into a motivational anthem? UGH HER MIND.

Standout lyrics: “Some days, things just take way too much of my energy. I look up and the whole room’s spinning. You take my cares away. I can so overcomplicate, people tell me to medicate

Feel my blood runnin’, swear the sky’s fallin’. How do I know if this shit’s fabricated? Mmm. Time goes by and I can’t control my mind. Don’t know what else to try, but you tell me every time.”

[If you haven’t watched the video, click here to see Ariana Grande invent the concept of dancing through the corridor and doing gymnastic tricks on stairways.]

We then transition into the more upbeat motivational dance-song of the album, No Tears Left To Cry, which peaked at No. 3 on the Hot 100 and No. 1 on the Mainstream Top 40, because it is a HIT. It picks up where breathin has left off, leaving behind a much more self-confident Ariana Grande. Honestly, there is nothing else I can say about this song than the fact that it is incredible.

The Missy Elliot featured collaboration borderline is next up and truthfully, I’m a little underwhelmed by it. I mean don’t get mean wrong, it is a bop that’s starting to grow on me, but it’s a ARIANA GRANDE and MISSY ELLIOT collaboration and they could’ve KILLED it but instead the track feels a little lukewarm. It is just one of those songs that I wanted more [ANOTHER MISSY ELLIOT VERSE], but like how Minaj’s verse in the light is coming started way too early, Elliot’s verse in the song started way too late and was only twenty second long.

“I’m better off without him, I’m better off being a wild one,” Grande sings in her twelfth song better off. This song is the sadder version of everytime in which Grande finally realizes that this man that she let in her life who smokes and drinks isn’t the one. Also, she sings about she is mainly still in the relationship for his body and not even for half of his heart. This song is very underrated and in my opinion the one to bring everything on the album together to make it cohesive, by putting together all these new things that Grande has been experimenting with in this album from her vocals, to her production, and the overall sound together into one song.

goodnight n go is the next song on the album, in which Grande covers a song of the same name written by singer Imogen Heap, who is best known for the song Hide and Seek. Grande gives the song an updated R&B twist by changing one of the verses and ending it with a fantastic falsetto finish. I’ve never heard the original to judge this harshly, but I think this is a lovely take on the original and I don’t think Heap will be offended by it any time soon. It didn’t personally grow on me, but again this is a very good cover.

At just over a minute long, Grande devotes an interlude song to her engaged man Pete Davidson, aptly titled pete davidson. When I first heard about their relationship, everything just screamed, “this is going FAST,” but as this song shows Grande isn’t just rushing into a relationship for the fun of it.

“I thought you into my life, whoa
Look at my mind, yeah
No better place or a time
Look how they align
Universe must have my back
Fell from the sky into my lap
And I know you know
That you’re my soulmate and all that”

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The album concludes with the song get well soon, which was first teased to us all on her Instagram on New Year’s Eve, in which she addresses on Twitter that it is about her anxiety.

“I felt like I was floating for like 3 months last year and not in a nice way.” -Ariana Grande

It can also coincide with the bombings in Manchester, that left Grande broken and suffering with anxiety and PTSD. This can explains the lyrics:

“They say my system is overloaded
(Girl, what’s wrong with you? Come back down)
I’m too much in my head, did you notice?
(Girl, what’s wrong with you? Come back down)
My body’s here on Earth, but I’m floating
(Girl, what’s wrong with you? Come back down)
Disconnected, so sometimes, I feel frozen and alone”

It is just overall a really beautiful ending with the powerful moment of ending with forty seconds of silence to commend the people who lost their lives that day, making the song length of 5:22 link up with the concert date. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: UGH her mind!

I am going to rate this album a solid 4.25/5, for showing her not being afraid to take new risks with her sounds (some that worked and some that didn’t) as well

My “Top Five” Songs (which is actually really hard to say): everytime, breathin, get well soon, god is a woman, no tears left to cry, and either blazed or better off.

So… what about you? Do you agree with my review of the album? Did you like the album? Did you not like the album? What did you think could be better? What were some of your favorite songs? Let me know in the comments below!

A Letter To The Class Of 2022

Hi everyone! Can you believe that we are in August already? Summer just seems to be flying right on by… or is that how it seems to me?

Anyways, now that summer is coming to an end in a couple of weeks I wanted to write a post about something that has been featured in a lot of my posts here on this blog, and that is COLLEGE.

If you’ve read my posts, then you know that I graduated last May and that I sadly won’t be returning back to college this upcoming semester. I found this old blog post that I written and decided that I should update it, as I wrote it before starting my junior year, and share it with you all, so here it is….


Hello future freshmen,

First off, I want to start this letter by saying, “Congrats! You did it!” You survived high school. You took the SAT’s. You finished your AP exams. You managed to survive your junior year of high school. You’ve walked across that stage, diploma in hand, and now you are getting ready to embark on this new journey in your life. I would like to start by telling you that no matter how you’re feeling, whether it be excited, nervous, or anxious, that it is okay.

College is like nothing you have ever faced before and something that no movie can 100 percent capture, in my opinion.

As someone who graduated, I can personally say that college is stressful but also incredibly rewarding. Coming into my freshman year, I was a little anxious but overly peppy and overjoyed to have this chance to leave my hometown and attend a college that I personally felt suited me and what I want to do with my life, which was to be a famous actor.

I applied to many colleges my senior year, and after spending money to go on a five-day senior year music department field trip to Myrtle Beach, I was blessed to have received a financial aid letter giving me enough money to be able to attend my top choice school, Juniata College, to study Theatre Performance and Communication.

 

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Inbound Day One. Leaving The Parents. Time To Start College!

 

I had visited the campus at least three times, fell in love with the theatre department, admired the beauty of the campus, loved the fact that I can create my own “major”, which is called a POE (Program of Emphasis), and have also met professors and faculty who genuinely care about me and are willing to help me but at the same time not “coddle” me.

Entering freshman year, I had hung out with friends that I had made at Orientation and Inbound, got involved in Student Alumni Association, and was also incredibly honored to have been cast in The Glass Menagerie. I was on cloud nine.

I also attended my first college party, as early as my first weekend, and I didn’t fall in love with the party scene right away. It was loud, sweaty, and there were drunk people EVERYWHERE. I ended up also trying my first sip of beer that weekend, as well. Overall, not really a rewarding experience. “Well, at least I have Netflix,” I thought to myself. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Flashback to that first Sunday night, I had my first realization on how hard college was as I was sitting on my bed surrounded by work to do: a prompt for an essay to start for my CWS class, an IA module that needed prompt submission by midnight, and about 30 or more pages to read for Intro To Human Communication. I didn’t finish the reading assignment for my communication class, and I just told myself I would double up on workload and tackle it along with the next assignment.

Lesson number #1 future freshman: don’t think like this because there is a strong possibility that you won’t actually have the chance.

The upcoming weeks just kept getting harder. Reading assignments went unread, classes were skipped, rehearsals ran from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. at least three days a week, and I was honestly just trying to make it to the weekend, where I developed special skills in beer pong and crafting the perfect pregame playlists. I even created this belief in my head that as long as I wasn’t failing, I could go out to parties on the weekend, and then eventually just going out regardless of my grades or responsibilities.

Midterms week was creeping up, and I ended up getting a C+ on my Intro To Human Communication test. I was stunned and even shocked. I knew I missed one or two things, but I was completely in shock when I saw that my grade didn’t reflect the ones of my fellow peers.

Lesson number #2: You have to abandon that high school thought that you can cram for an hour the night before and ace any test.

Coming off of a year of high school, where I was basically getting straight A’s in all of my class, I was sure that I had just been pelted by a dodgeball in gym class. I took this grade as, “Oh, I suck at Communication. Time to make it a minor instead.” I did that.

Lesson number #3: Just because you get one bad grade in a class that is your major, that doesn’t mean you aren’t going to be good in that career field or that it’s not for you.

Do switch majors, however, if you fall out of love with what you’re learning or you can’t see yourself working in that field. I did eventually re-fall in love with the communication field later on in the semester and then switched my POE back to majoring in both Theatre Performance and Communication.

A little over a month in, I still wasn’t doing any better at the student part that comes with college. I was heavily procrastinating on doing my laundry, not even hanging the clean clothes up and just leaving them in the hamper. I was also pulling at least two all-nighters a week, and developing a new love for Starbucks frappuccinos to get me through the day and Smirnoff to help me “get ready” to party on the weekend.

I got taken out of The Glass Menagerie just two weeks before its opening, rightfully so for not having my lines memorized. This was extremely difficult to tell my parents, who were immensely excited to see me act in my first college production, blaming my removal on stress and omitting the part about alcohol and parties. I also stressed myself to the point where I asked one of my professors if I could have an extension on one of my essays, which was allowed, after explaining how stressed I made myself.

Lesson number #4: If you see yourself in this position, get help. Also, don’t tackle too much in your first semester of college, unless you 100 percent know that you can handle it.

My first semester ended, and my grades reflected this lackluster performance that I had put into college so far. “I will fix this,” I said to myself as I entered into the spring semester. I had a plan to do better, and it was going to happen. I had gone into the semester with a newfound inspiration to add English as a major, taking the literature route later on, so that would now make my POE: Theatre Performance, Communication, and English Literature.

My plan that I had to do better this semester was nothing short of an idea. I still went to parties, I still skipped the occasional class, and I was still in the same mindset that I had first semester of college, with grades even plummeting worse than what they were last semester, and I even failed my first class that semester.

Flash forward another semester, and I was still making mistakes. I had moved into the party dorm and became even more involved with the college party lifestyle if that was even possible. I just couldn’t bear the thought of actually staying in my dorm room, and actually missing a party. That option, to me, was unbearable. “I will find that balance of being a good student and partying,” I told myself. Nope.

Even though I was meeting people on the weekends, I let myself not enhance and further develop the friendships I already had my freshman year and lost touch with people, succumbing to just having them as acquaintances and not the friends I was having weekly movie nights with. I eventually told my parents the truth about the problems I was facing in college, moved out at the end of fall semester, decided to move into a single bedroom next semester, and went to talk to a counselor.

Eventually, I had finally dragged myself out of this problem I had developed in the past three semesters and took the time to work on myself. Long story short, it paid off. I stayed in a little more, I got involved in the school paper, wrote a solo play, and had finally solidified my major  after changing it ONLY FIVE times: Theatre & Media Writing.

I still had fun, but I have finally achieved that perfect balance of having fun whilst still being responsible. This semester paid off, as my GPA went up by half a letter grade, almost making Dean’s List.

There may have been a lot of bad, but college has come with a lot of good.

In just over four years, I have written my own senior capstone play, studied abroad, been on a trapeze, written for the school newspaper, wrote and performed my own theatre solo play, been involved with many clubs on campus, immensely improved my GPA,  learned a lot about myself, expanded my mind in ways that can’t be learned in a classroom and most importantly, made friends who have deeply impacted my life in ways that I can’t even explain.

I hope this happens to you. I hope that you have a wonderful first year of college. I hope that you make friends, who will change your life for the better. I hope that you have classes, that make you happy for your future, and/or even help make up your mind on what you truly want to do with your future.

I hope that you make mistakes, and learn from them. I hope that you have fun at that party, but remember to study hard and make good grades. I hope that despite the stress, you will reap the rewards. I hope that you survive studying for your finals. I hope your four years stay just four. I hope these years are filled with incredible experiences. I hope that you remember to take photos of it all.

Most of all, I hope that you attend a college that you fall in love with and inspires you to find and tackle your dreams.

Sincerely,

Someone Who Was In Your Shoes Four Years Ago

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College Graduation. The Last Day. What? I Have To Leave Now And Be An Adult? You Mean I Can’t Renew My Four Year Membership? 

So are any of you reading this post apart of the class of 2022? If so, what college are you attending and what are you studying? Are you excited? Nervous? Anxious? Let me know in the comments or feel free to reach out to me at lewisboob621@gmail.com with any concerns you may have!

JULY SUMMARY | AUGUST GOALS

Is it really the end of July already? I can honestly say that this month went really fast.

Ever since creating this blog, I have been experimenting a lot with what I want to do with it and what I want to get out of it. This has included topics, such as travel, my study abroad semester, my senior year of college, album reviews, and in my last post, my first  mens fashion post on summer attire and music.

For this post, I have also decided to do something else new… and that will be… to make a monthly “summary and goals” series.

“If a person has a big enough why, they can do anything.” -Marc Von Musser

What has happened in July?

I got a JOB! After what seemed like many rejection emails and failed interviews later, I had got a call offering me a position as a customer care representative at iQor, in which I will be working to resolve people’s cable issues. I start this upcoming Monday and honestly… I’m excited… and a little nervous/anxious. I had my interview last Wednesday, in which I got to tour the building and sit in on a call, and it was lovely. The building is really big, and it even has it’s own gym, game/library/relaxation type of room, and kitchen, which is quite promising to see. I can’t wait to see what happens!

I had also spent a insanely amount of time actually getting to relax and watch movies and shows this month. Popular favorites included: Sky High, Scooby Doo: The Mystery Begins, The Princess Diaries and of course Mamma Mia. I still need to watch the new one though. I am also almost finished with the newest season of Orange is the New Black, as well as Netflix originals: Kiss Me First and The Rain, among trying to multitask rewatching Pretty Little Liars, The Office, and 90210. 

In terms of music, I have been bopping along In My Feelings to Drake’s newest album Scorpion. Other popular favorite songs, for me, this month included:

God Is A Women by Ariana Grande
6 Minutes by The Jonas Brothers
Take My Hand by Charli XCX
-Obsessed by Mariah Carey

Check out my Spotify playlist for July here!

In terms of this blog, I have been working hard to promote it: linking it in twitter blogger threads, following other bloggers, and subscribing to their blogs. I hope to even do this more in the following month. I had also changed the overall layout of it by learning how to add things to my sidebar, such as archive tabs and following buttons, which I really like how it looks, in addition to adding a sense of professionalism to this blog.

What Are My Goals For August? 

1. Blog at least ONCE a week. I haven’t blog much this past month, and that was honestly due to me being in an emotional slump.
2.  Read TWO books next month. Does anyone else buy books with the intention of reading them, but just setting them on your bookshelf and forgetting about them? I honestly thought that since graduating that I would read for fun more, but I haven’t read anything yet. I definitely want to start changing that.
3. Devote THIRTY MINUTES a day towards memorizing monologues, reading plays, or writing and creating work. As someone who wants to be a professional actor someday, I haven’t done ANY of this since graduation and quite frankly, I’m disgusted in myself.
4. Exercise THREE times a week for THIRTY MINUTES. I haven’t been exercising that much, probably only a couple times in the past three months, since I have been going to the doctor’s office for appointments, regarding my sciatic nerve pain and herniated disk. I had to reschedule my last appointment to the end of this month, so I basically have been doing daily stretches, but I am starting to feel a lot better after light workouts.
5. Drink WATER and not SODA. I honestly haven’t had the healthiest options for food, since returning home, but I need to continue eating healthy and putting only the best foods into my body. Think of it this way, “If you think about your body as your dream car, why would you purposely put the wrong gas in it and think that it will start?” (or something like that…I completely forgot the quote, but lol I hope you know what I’m trying to say.)
6. Go to bed by 12:30am. I say I’m going to this, and then I wake up in bed with my phone perched by my face at 11pm, because I fell asleep at 2am, completely ruining my day. I am going to redirect my brain to think of the positives towards waking up early and hopefully do that, even though I’m not a morning person.

That’s all for now! So, what did you accomplish this past month? What are you goals for August? Let me know in the comments!

My Summer Style And Soundtrack

So let me start out my first fashion post of this blog by saying that despite the constant rain that keeps pouring outside of my window this past week, it is in fact summer time. And do you know what that means?

That means it is time to put our bulky hoodies, comfy sweaters, and heavy winter coats into the back of our closets and exchange them for our tank tops, shorts, and our sweetest pair of shades. Now let me give you a look into some outfits that I having been wearing this summer, how you can also rock these looks, and provide you the links to these outfits as well.

Look #1: BASKET BALLER

Street Style: Look One

My first style trend- a classic summer piece of my wardrobe that I love is silky basketball shorts. They just have an overall look that is cool to wear and are practical to wear underneath the hot summer sun.

Now I know this look might look basic on it’s own, but to elevate my summer style I have coupled it with a slick red bomber jacket and also added some accessories including gold chains, a gold watch, and a gold bracelet.

[Disclaimer: I bought the jacket and shoes from Bershka, but since they are no longer available I have attached links to other products to match a similar look. I also don’t know where I purchased my gold chains, bracelet, and watch, so I posted similar links to products that are similar to them as well.]

Shop This Look

Red Bomber Jacket|Mens Red/White Tanktop|Red Basketball Shorts|Sky Polarized Sunglasses |Gold Chains|Gold Watch|NIKE AIR FORCE 1 ’07|

 

Look #2: PREPPY PINK SHORTS MEETS REVEALING BLACK TANK TOP

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The second summer style trend that I have been starting to experiment with is pink shorts. The common thought that is often associated with pink shorts is that they have to be worn with a button-up shirt and a blazer to achieve a preppy look for a day’s worth of activities that often include sailing around the harbor and playing golf at the city’s resident country club.

I decided to go beyond this stereotype of the preppy pink shorts look and match them with another summer style trend that I’ve seen recently- extreme racer tank tops. I bought this tank top from ASOS and I honestly have grown to like it. While I admit, it does feel a little baggier than I expected, when I put it on, it is a lot more comfortable and actually quite cooler when the weather is really hot out.

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Shop This Look

ASOS DESIGN tank with extreme racer back in black|Coral Plain Chino Shorts

 

TAN PINK

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I just want to stay that I hope you don’t actually tan pink, because that would mean that there is something severely wrong with you and you might want to get that checked out by a doctor immediately, unless you’re an alien then you might not want to let anyone else know about your special talent.

All jokes aside, my last summer style trend is to mix the colors of tan and pink together. I bought the tank top at Boohoo and the jean shorts at Kohl’s. What I really like about this look is the contrast of the colors together as well at the fit of the tank top, making it look like my muscles are more defined then what they really are thus making it one of my most favorite things that I’ve ever worn in the summer. I also accessorized my outfit with a pair of gold-framed aviator style sunglasses, that I got on the Wish app for only $3.

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Shop This Look

Coral Basic Vest|Arizona Jeans Khaki Casual Shorts|Gold Sunglasses

MY SUMMER JAM PLAYLIST

And now that I’ve shared some of my personal trends for the summer, I would also like to share a list of songs, both throwback, current, and some undiscovered gems that you should be having on your radar for your summer time playlists. This playlist has music from every single genre of music out there, as well as some songs that aren’t well known yet, so enjoy.

Click here to access my extensive Spotify summertime playlist that’ll continue to grow and expand as time progresses!

Whether or not you are just laying by the pool, driving down a country backroad, or partying in the club until 4am, this collection of songs is perfect for you.

For when you just want to relax by the pool, “Alexa, play…”
La Da Dee by Cody Simpson
One Way Ticket by Carrie Underwood
The Lazy Song by Bruno Mars
Sangria Wine by Pharrell Williams and Camilla Cabello

Better Together by Jack Johnson

For when you are driving down the road with the windows down, “Alexa, play…”
Good Directions by Billy Currington
Hot In Herre by Nelly
Shades On by The Vamps
Lush Life by Zara Larsson
Summer Nights by “Grease” soundtrack

For when you want to go out and party like a rockstar, “Alexa, play…”

Break The Rules by Charli XCX
I Like It by Cardi B, Bad Bunny, and J Balvin
Wild Thoughts by DJ Khalid, Rihanna, and Bryson Tiller
Stir Fry by Migos
Look Alive by Drake and BlocBoy JB

For when you need to find a new summer song that no one else is listening too, “Alexa, play…”
Peach Jam by 88rising, Joji, and BlocBoy JB
Barcelona by Max George
Beach Break by Julietta
Forever Stuck In Our Youth by Set It Off
Rockabye by Clean Bandit, Sean Paul, and Anne-Marie

I just want to thank you so much for reading this post! Hope you enjoyed it! So what did you think? Is there any other mens fashion trends for this summer that I should be aware of or is there any other songs that I should add to this list? Let me know in the comments!