We can’t stop

After “losing” her Hannah Montana-ish charm, Miley Cyrus has put on a whole new public image. She had her hair lopped and chopped and has been acting provocatively and sexually. Maybe she has been acting out because she wanted to break away from her Disney image. Would you want the world keep reminding you of your fourteen-year-old self when you are in your twenties? The song “We Can’t Stop”, along with its music video, is the latest pinnacle of maturity for Miley Cyrus. I personally do not identify with the lyrics and the craziness pictured in the video. There are unappropriated ideas and images that could cause controversy, especially given Miley Cyrus’s special status with teenagers.

The lyrics of the song are catchy and deliver a sense of hedonism. The main idea of the song is that “Life is a party and we can do whatever we want to. We can’t and won’t stop. We don’t care what others say about us.” Young, wild and frivolous, with supercilious attitude, Miley sings the song with the care-free attitude. Partying all day and caring about nothing else is the message the lyrics send me. There are several drug references in the song. “Dancing with Molly” implicates ecstasy and “Everyone in line in the bathroom. Trying to get a line in the bathroom” obliquely refers to cocaine. I don’t see much depth in this song. Yes, the song is one of the biggest hits of last summer and has a worldwide influence. But the question is: is the influence it has on people good or not?

The music video is what shocks me more. The video features the hard partying of Miley and a bunch of her friends. Some of the clips in the video seem to go too far. There is a scene depicting a girl gingerly cuts off their fingers about the knuckles, which begins oozing pink goo. And another clip I find that are kind of out of line pictures her crazy friends go wild with smoke bombs going off in their pants. A guy eating bread filled with cash, skull made of french-fries, all of which are a part of this crazy music video.  In addition, there are a lot of twerking and sticking tongue appearing in the video. This kind of video is a little hard for audience like me who is relatively conservative to appreciate.

I can’t expect wholesome entertainment out of Miley Cyrus but at least there can be less sex and drugs in her work. Something upbeat and positive is needed. Sometimes the meaning of lyrics can depend on the content of the music video. If some of the clips of this video were replaced with normal, mild party activities, the song could be less provocative and could be accepted by a larger audience. I bet the parents would not be pleased if they caught their kids mesmerized by the music video of the new Miley Cyrus style.

I appreciate the courage of Miley Cyrus to change herself and I admired what she has achieved so far. ‘We Can’t Stop” is a good pop song, but the meaning that the lyrics and the video convey is not that good and it needs some improvements.

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Sail Music Video’s suck

One song that I like that has a horrible music video is the song Sail, by Awolnation. Their song is great and it was a huge hit when it came out. I loved the melody and even though the lyrics get a bit repetitive, the song I think still holds up. The first time I heard the song was for a sports highlight video and I was really hooked. The video had everything synced up with the music. Each time a football player would make a huge tackle, it would be right when the song would say “Sail.” Everything was so in tune and perfect in the video, when I saw the actual music video, it was a really big let down. There are technically two music videos I have seen that have claimed to be “official” so I watched both.

The first video was about a man who was at first was running away from something, but you don’t actually know at first. Then as the video progresses, you find out that he is an Illuminati conspirer who apparently found out who they were, but is now going to pay with his life. There is a light that is trying to catch him, so he tries to drown himself before he gets caught. But the light catches him and he doesn’t get away. At the end of the video, you see him being lifted into what seemed to be an alien spacecraft. I personally think that this video is the worst music video of all time. First off, it has no correlation with the music itself. Even though with the few lyrics it is hard to correlate things to, you could at least do things in sync like the sports highlights did. With each big play or big event, the scene the change and the song would be going along with it.

The second video was about a girl just singing the song with “rain” falling. Then you find out that the “rain” that she was singing in was just the water from a hose that another girl was holding. Then they just get into a fight where the girl singing kills the girl who is holding the hose and then the video ends with the girl still singing and the girl holding the hose but she is dead. Nothing progresses. I feel very against this video because nothing is done in the video. No actual work is put into this video. Maybe some editing, and that’s it, you sync up the lyrics and there is the final product. That is why I hate this music video so much.

Overall, I love the song Sail by Awolnation whilst watching sports videos, but I absolutely hate the “official” music videos I see out today.

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Dead Week? What kind of music would you like with that?

As Georgia Tech’s semester closes, a student always thinks about finals and the hours upon hours of studying that comes with it. And thus comes the phrase “Dead Week”; the week before the Finals where no assignments are assigned. Thus, when many people study, music seems to be a tool in which people use to help them study. I would personally like to share some of the songs on my “Dead Week” playlist. Compared to others, it seems that the types of songs I choose are a bit strange.

My first song is “Time”, by Hans Zimmer. This one of the many famous Inception songs. The reason why I like this song so much is because it has enough music to keep me focused, but not loud enough to make me distracted. This is the main reason why many of the songs I choose are in this playlist. In fact, this playlist is titled, “Focus” in my Spotify. I often get distracted when there are songs with lyrics or high, upbeat melodies. That’s why many people find it strange when they look at my playlist. Most other people have at least songs with lyrics that helps them study for finals. Though I make a few exceptions. One song that has lyrics which I don’t really count as singing, but it is words. It’s the song “Now We are Free” by Lisa Gerrard, which is the famous song in the movie Gladiator. It has some Latin singing chorus that doesn’t seem to bother my mind when I’m focusing and trying to either do homework or study for a test. All of the songs I have on the list are only on the playlist if they are tested and shown that they don’t distract me. My third song is “Chronos” by Mark Petrie. I chose this song because my whole playlist isn’t just these low dragging, sort of depressing songs that I listen to when I study. This song is one of the many songs in this playlist that are considered “epic.” Now when epic and orchestral music are said in the same sentence, most people are going to think of Two Steps from Hell’s famous song “Invincible.” This is also one of the many epic songs that help me focus when studying for big subjects like chemistry or biology. Now to get the full spectrum, I have a few “happier” songs that I like to listen to when I study. One such song is the song “Up is Down” by Hans Zimmer. This is a song from the movie Pirates of the Carribean. I like this song to add some variety in this playlist so I am not listening to the same things over and over again. I think I can count this song as in a “Happy” song where it is more on the upbeat side but not enough to distract me from my work.

Overall, my playlist for “Dead Week” consists of primarily orchestral songs performed in movies like Inception, Pirates of the Carribean, or Gladiator. I find all of these songs very nice to study with and it helps me stay on task. “Dead Week” can truly be a hard week of studying and preparing for finals, but with music to help you focus, time can fly by while you study.

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Freedom Writing

Throughout the year, I feel that my writing has improved in a way that high school hasn’t prepared me at all. High school teaches you to have these organized, 5 paragraph essays with a whole skeleton structure and all of it goes straight to the teacher. Thus, as time goes on, you start to write like you are writing to the teacher. It becomes a mask of who you really are and your personality in your writing. In a way high school writing constricts your writing. Though it does give you the basics since you still need the organization skills to make a coherent piece of writing. At the start of the semester, we started with a blog about how gender roles influenced the music we hear and listen to today. I made a blog about it and wrote some things I believed in. Though even though it was my first attempt at trying to not write like a highschooler to a teacher, it was still very evident in my writings. As I look further on, I see that my writings have gradually become more “free” if you could call it that way. It was more informal but in a good way. It wasn’t a strict rubric essay where I was looking at a checklist to make sure I had the things I needed in my essay. Though I needed to talk about a certain topic, I wasn’t constrained by much. This is the way writing is most fun I believe. Free writings is the best because it lets the imagination do the writing instead of the brain after a long day of school or a night of no sleep. I have seen when I read back into my blogs, it is easier for me to read them and be more captivated because it doesn’t have the formalities of high school. Overall, blog writing I think has helped me do this and become a more “free” writer.

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Improvement Through Blog Posting

Why are we writing blogs? Probably because we have ideas and thought to express and blog is the idea platform to speak out. We post things on twitter, Facebook to express ourselves, but all of them are just some fragmented thoughts while the blog allows us to jotting down the ideas that pop up in your head and organize them in the post. We’ve been writing blogs for some time now and the blog writing experience is of great benefit to me in several aspects.

I’ve made great progress in English writing. Have rarely written in English, I consider the blog posting as a challenge. I had a hard time in finding the appropriate words to encapsulate my ideas in the first few blog postings. I would dwell on one word or one sentence for ten minutes and it would take my five or six hours to finish one blog while others could probably get it done in an hour or so. Nothing is difficult if you put your heart into it. Though there are still typos and grammatical problems, writing blogs are not as painful to me as it was then. Words come to me most of the time. To write you must write. The more you practice, the more it becomes second nature and the faster you can do it. Practice, eventually, makes perfect and I, still have a long way to go.

I start to learn and think. To write a blog, one need to have more than a rough understanding of the topic. I’ve never been a passionate writer because I always run out of things to say and I know the true problem lies in my lack of independent thinking and self-study ability. Music and gender, for someone who has no culture background, is a topic that hard to comprehend, let alone discuss and analyze it with your own interpretation. Another thing is that the audience of the blog can be anybody. To make someone who doesn’t know anything about the topic actually understand it takes efforts. I have to do some research on my own in order to write. Writing blogs is an effective way to stimulate you to think. Only through constantly brainstorming can you put forward unique and in-depth insights and blog things that have some thoughts behind them.

I improve my thinking through the blog postings. After browsing the blogs I’ve written throughout the semester, I realize that these blog postings record my learning process. Blogs reflect not only the result, but also the process of my thinking. Starting from scratch, I gain a better understanding of the topic after every new blog post. I develop my own interpretation and ideas of music and gender through blogs and I do see some improvement on the ideas the blogs convey.

You are thinking when you are writing. You improve every time you write. Keeping practicing, you’ll find you’ll grow insights in every little thing. The more blogs I write, the more satisfied I feel. It is the satisfaction of expressing my thoughts. Writing blogs has been good for me and I will definitely stick to it .

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My Dead Week Playlist

Dead week is waving at us with his hideous and malevolent smile. It is commonly seem that college students have the propensity to procrastinate until the last possible week and then pull desperate all-nighters to study for the exams. And I am no exception. I need some kind of stimulant and music can be a great helper to me when I am cramming for the finals. My dead week playlist is a pretty eclectic mix that incorporates metal, classical, rock, jazz,etc.

Classical music take up a big portion of playlist. I am easily distracted when I am reading and writing, so songs with lyrics are not an option for me. I can’t remember how many times I ended up humming the lyrics and that song just played over and over in my mind, which speak of the impossibility of effective study for the day. Classical music perfectly compensates for this shortcoming. Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, Tempest Sonata, 5th, 7th, 9th Symphony, Bach’s French Suites, The Well-tempered Clavier, Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons and Chopin’s Etudes, Preludes, Nocturne, all of which serve the purpose of  making me concentrate. The beautiful melody fills the air with a sense of tranquility and calms my mind and soul. The reading assignment become less boring with piano pieces and the melodies help me get in the flow of writing.

Heavy metal music is something I listen to when I am dealing with geometric or algebra problems. I’ve never thought of listening to heavy metal while studying until one of my friends suggested me to do so and it actually worked. The incomprehensible snarling and screaming block everything else out, making my head clearer and thoughts more organized. Paranoid, Hell and Heaven, Sweet Leaf by Black Sabbath, Prowler, The Number of Beasts by Iron Maiden, Holy War, Peace Sells by Megadeth and Angel of Death, Raining Blood by Slayer are part of my heavy metal collections that on my loop playlist. The loudness and inexplicability are the two traits that make heavy metal a great assistant of my study. I can’t and don’t need to understand the lyrics so I can stay focus on the problems I’m working on. Heavy metal would give you a greater peace of mind and make you more concentrated as long as you get used to the volume.

Everything else besides classical and metal fall into the same category and have the same purpose—setting me free from misery. These songs are the ones I listen to during study breaks. And my playlist for relaxation has a great variety. From Jazz, rock, indie to pop, from Norah Jones, Dio, Joni Mitchel to Pink Floyd, I enjoy the songs that connect to me. Little Lou, Ugly Jack, Prophet John, A Case of You, Comfortably Numb, Rainbow In The Dark, and the list could go on and on. Some of them are soft, some are upbeat and some are exhilarating. Only when I listen to these songs do I actually savor the music. The lyrics, the vocal, the meaning behind the song, I am absorbed in music and fully enjoy the guilt-free leisure time. The songs soothe my mind and revitalize my body so I can be better prepared for the next round of hard work.

Dead week is not that terrifying with music. My dead week playlist would make my study for the finals much more efficient and less dull. The long week is soon coming. Good luck to myself.

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Writing

My writing style and ability has dramatically changed throughout the course of my blog experience. I have written nine blog entries here to date, all of which dealt with music, gender, society or some amalgamation of the three. My writing began as a very robotic style that covered topics in a cursory manor. I had never truly developed my own voice. As I kept writing, I became more relaxed and comfortable with my own thoughts. Therefore, I was able to develop a more informal voice and convey my messages better. Writing is not a single acquired skill that one is born with. Writing skills must be developed over a lifetime. My writing has improved, but I am not yet at my greatest ability.

My writing was originally very rigid. My sentences followed a specific stencil that my English teaches in high school had forced upon me. My voice was not my own in my writing. It was that of my teachers. My high school emphasized perfect sentence structure as the key to “perfect” writing. This type of writing is essential in scientific papers, but it is not universally conducive to readers. My old writing focused on advanced, vocabulary and over analysis. I would write various sentences that described the same thing with different words. This left my writing as a stagnant description with no forward progress.

Writing must be as diverse as the readers that sift through the multitude of pieces on this earth. Occasionally very serious, dry writing is needed to demonstrate data to the scientific community. Sometimes repetitive, persuasive writing is needed to convince individuals of some important topic.  The intent of these blog posts were to catch the readers’ attentions and educate or entertain them. The message was how gender and music are involved in our society. This required a more personal, conversational voice. Otherwise, it would have been a boring lecture on the same views. This blog certainly required a specific voice.

In order to change my writing style, I employed a very simple tactic. Instead of meticulously planning my writing, I just wrote. I tried to develop all of my thought. Then I would sit and just write as if I was giving a speech. I sometimes would even say the sentence out laud as I wrote it. This was the best way I could truly express my voice in my writing. This allowed my pieces to be more fluent and readable. I feel that I will be able to convey my ideas to the general public better in the future as well by utilizing this writing style.

Our abilities to write are precious gift that must be used and developed into powerful tools. Nevertheless, no one tool can be used for every job. Different writing styles are necessary for unique purposes. My old writing style was good for formal, mechanical papers to convey data. The intent of this blog was to educate and inspire the public. Therefore, I had to develop a more personal, convincing voice. Overall, my writing repertoire is now more diverse than ever and I hope to continue to improve my writing skills.

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