The Song[sic] Daylight

The song “Daylight” by Matt and Kim makes my ears bleed and my spleen burst. Musically it is atrocious and simple; so simple a monkey could have written it by smashing on a keyboard and making cacophonous screeches. Sometimes a horrible song can be saved by an interesting music video. This is not the case with “Daylight.” Matt and Kim seem to have decided to follow up a horrible song with a music video that makes me want to put my fist through the screen when watching it. Although, this crime against humanity appears to be in disrepair, there might be a few things this group could do to salvage the song, the video and their careers. “Daylight” has gained fame due to its monotonous rhythm which to some is catchy, but I wholeheartedly believe it is a horrible song whose very existence makes humanity a little worse.

Firstly, I would like to state two things to show that I am not blindly attacking a random song with no musical background. One, I listen to all types of music, so I am not biased against the alternative genre with which Matt and Kim identify. Two, I have played the piano and cello for many years, so I can comment on songs musical content with some sort of accuracy. Therefore, let us begin examining this “song.” Right off the bat, “Daylight” begins with a horribly out of tune piano which sets off every not by almost a quarter step (that is a lot for those musical neophytes). I don’t know if this was intentionally done with aftereffects, or they were so lazy they just didn’t want to tune or record correctly. Then the song progresses with odd metallic electronic effects that sound like a robot puking.  Finally, the obviously and horribly auto tuned singing voice comes in accompanied by the drums. Then the song doesn’t change the lyrics progress into chaotic undecipherable noises and the piano repeats the same 5 notes. 5 NOTES. That’s it.  Very little if any musical thought went into creating this song.

The music video of the song “Daylight” gives me a headache, I have literally taken four ibuprofen just sitting watching it so that I can analyze it. As you begin to watch the video all seems normal. Present are the two members of the group playing their respective instruments and the male is singing. But then your brain begins to process both the music and the visual simultaneously. You realize that the drummer is blatantly off from the music. Your brain tries to process why the singer is being cut short although the lyrics progress. Finally, the singer who is also playing the keyboard begins just hitting random keys. Ultimately, a combination of the repetitive music and the visual disparity makes anyone with a brain want to throw their screen at a wall.

The question now is can this horrible piece be salvaged? Firstly, a few notes should be added to the song. Don’t get me wrong sets of notes can be repeated and produce great music such as in rap. Nevertheless, rap prides itself on the rhythmic shifts in the rapper’s voices. This song is monotone. To improve it, I would add some sort of musical construction. A chorus, verse, bridge or other specks that are not all the same notes and monotonic voice. Furthermore, it is not necessary but more than two instruments can only improve the song. Moreover, the music video could simply be improved by having the band members actually accurately perform their respective parts in a way that doesn’t make them look tone deaf. There are ways to improve this song that are quite elementary.

I don’t apologize if you happen to like this song. It is not lyrically, musically or visually pleasing in any way to me. I don’t find repetitive monotonic music enjoyable. I don’t listen to out of tune and off beat music for the pleasure of it. I would rather listen to white noise because it might have more musical value than “Daylight.” This song could be repaired, I mean even Berlin was rebuilt after World War II. I would add musical components to the design of this song, along with more instrumentation to improve it. Overall, I do not appreciate the song “Daylight.” I would not even call it a piece of art. I would call it a piece of something, but certainly not art.

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My Dead Week Playlist

Here at Georgia Institute of Technology we are approaching what we call “Dead Week.” This is the week before finals that involves a large amount of studying and finishing of semester long projects. It is stressful and a great playlist of songs is necessary to get through this mentally difficult time.  Music is vital to my and many other’s work ethics. It can be a motivating force or simply an empathetic voice. The way I study is by playing songs that perfectly reflect my mindset. This is not as pure and motivating as it sounds though. I don’t have the same mood throughout my studying process. My mood is actually more like a carnival ride. Therefore, my playlist for this time is quite interesting.

When I begin studying I am motivated. I sit at my desk with a Grande Frappuccino, in comfortable clothes with all my materials laid out. Because I already look like a stereotypical upper middle-class white teenage girl with my Frappuccino, I flip on the music video for Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off.” I’m ready to go. As Ms. Swift says the haters are going to hate, hate, hate but I’m going to keep studying. I make a great plan to complete all my work, but then I step back and actually see how much work I have to do. I have a lot of work ahead of me and I am on the edge of a panic attack. I am already in the T-Swift section of my I-pod so I put on “I Knew You Were Trouble,” because I am in a lot of trouble. This is too much work, how am I going to do all of this? Why can’t I just quite college and become Taylor Swift’s trophy husband? (Probably because I would have to be four inches taller and 50 pounds lighter with the body of Arnold Schwarzeneggar fifteen years ago, and a French accent). Maybe I can have a panic attack like Dave Chappelle and move to Africa? The song ends and I still haven’t begun my actually work.

Now I need motivation to power through the start of this Mount Everest of work. “’Till I Collapse” by Eminem & Nate Dogg begins blasting on my speakers. I crack open my book or turn on my computer. I begin vigorously studying. Yes, vigorously studying. I smash the keys on my computer, I highlight as fast as possible. My desk begins to shake and my computer starts to quake, my highlighter rips through the pages of my book. I quickly realize I need a less intense song when my keyboard begins to fall apart and my textbook is on fire from the friction of my highlighter. I put on “Alchemist” by Savant. For those who don’t listen to Savant, his music is similar to electronic video game music that is literally designed to make you concentrate. This makes me buckle down and get an immense amount of work done. My fingers fly over the keyboard like a prepubescent teen playing his favorite video game. I am getting so much work done. I black out. When I black in I have finished seventy five percent of my work, five Monster Energy Drinks, two coffees and the entire discography of Savant.

Now it’s late at night and not all my studying is done yet. All the Caffeine has worn off and I am once again panicking about my work.  My panic quickly deteriorates into a deep, dark depression. I grope the dark depths of my I-Pod to find “Creep” by Radiohead, a song that was too depressing, and suicidal to play on the radio in the nineties. I stare at my work and question my existence. “What the hell am I doing here, I don’t belong here” echoes through my ears and into my psyche. My attempts at studying are futile. Life is futile. Existence is useless. I immediately change the song before I hang myself with my computer’s power chord. If I can’t understand the powers against me I must resist them. Therefore, I turn on “Bulls on Parade” by Rage Against the Machine. I will fight the system by becoming the system. The loud, violent, anti-establishment music motivates me to finish. The last grueling hours are filled with me listening to other Rage songs like “Testify,” “Calm Like A Bomb,” and “Killing In The Name.” Studying becomes a fight between me and my work. I randomly curse out my textbooks and punch my keyboard, but my work gets done.

Finally, at the end of my all day and night studying session I look up to the sky and say “Tetelestai” in Greek, or “it is finished” in English (the last words of Jesus on the Cross). My dynamic playlist has driven me through this difficult study battle.  Music is the weapon I use to motivate me, yet it is the sword I fall on in harder times. In the end I find my favorite song “Santeria” by Sublime. The calming, heroin fueled voice of Brad Nowell sooths my spirit. It prepares me to calmly begin another day of studying or apply what I’ve learned. This song is the lullaby that caresses my mind into a well-deserved three hours of sleep.

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What I Learned From Blogging

Writing blogs was a completely new experience for me. I have heard about them, but never actively participated in them. I have to say it was quite an interesting experience. Some blogs were definitely boring to write, while others I enjoyed. I wrote about a variety of topics, each giving me a way to either voice my opinion or share my thoughts about a subject. Overall, I can definitely say writing blogs is completely different from the writing in high school assignments. It opened my eyes to a new perspective of writing.

Audience, talking to all you guys, is one of the key factors to be successful in writing especially for blogs. Blogs are not about writing to your teacher to impress them. It’s to just express what you want to say and get this through to your audience. For me, my audience was literally anyone on the Internet, but I would imagine most of my audience to be college students or people around my age. In high school, I wrote to impress my teacher and write in the way my teacher expected to receive a good grade. However, the purpose of the blogs was the total opposite. I had to write through my own voice not the impersonate voice I had in high school. Surprisingly, it was actually pretty challenging.

To be more specific, I had to make my writing sounds more colloquial; I wanted to sound like I’m having a conversation with the readers except I’m the only one talking (ha-ha). For example in the blog where I explained my top ten songs for Dead Week, I tried to explain why I chose those ten songs as if I was talking to my friends or people my age. I actually imagined myself face-to face with my audience. But I can definitely tell that I still have some traces of the “formal” writing style that I am trying to avoid. It is actually harder than I expected because I’ve been so used to writing in a voice that I would never say in real life that it became almost second nature to me to always write in this way. Basically, my English teachers had complete control over my writing.

Yea… English has never been my favorite subject. I’ve always hated writing for my English classes in high school. But writing these blogs wasn’t that bad at all. Although I explored many genres that I disliked in my blogs, writing about them wasn’t as bad as I expected. I actually had fun with a few of them and feel like I grew as a writer. I’ve kept in mind my audience and discovered many of my weaknesses. I suck at writing in detail and lack cohesion and fluency in my writing. I can tell though I’m improving in these aspects because I am aware of these weaknesses when I write and can also notice these mistakes when I reread my blogs now.

Writing blogs was definitely different from the way I traditionally write. It finally provided me a new perspective to writing. It emphasizes a deeper significance of keeping your audience in mind. The way you communicate to your readers is essential to express your points or share your thoughts. I am a computer science major, and communication is key when working with a team. All members must be on the same page and code should be easily decipherable to your teammates. I think blogging has helped me improved my communication, and I can take this with me when I actually enter the real world and have a job. I will be taking English 2 next semester, and I plan to take everything I learned from blogging with me as well to further improve my writing skills and communication.

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Good Boy

G-Dragon and Taeyang are popular Korean hip-hop artists. They recently came out with a music video for their single “Good Boy”, and I hate it. I enjoy some of the songs by them, but other songs, such as this one, I just find annoying. A lot of their songs and music videos are westernized. They include songs that are played in the club, such as EDM and many hip-hop-related songs. Personally, I don’t really like most of these songs. In addition, their visual performances of these songs also seem to be influenced by the western hip-hop culture. “Good Boy” is a perfect representation of a western-influenced song and music video that I generally dislike.

An excessive use of auto-tune is prevalent in hip-hop music, and I find the auto-tune in “Good Boy” to be obnoxious. It just brings a bad ring to my brain because the voice doesn’t even sound human anymore. The bass of the song and electronic instruments played in this music reminds me of “Turn Down For What”. Both have a repetitive pattern of electronic music and beats and become easily predictable once you listen to the first couple of minutes of the song, for they will definitely come up again later. You easily become sick of it. The lyrics of the song further demonstrates how this song is similar to westernized hip hop. The music talks about how “badass” they are and that all the girls will notice them because they are unique compared to other guys. They are the “Good Boys”. What also is pretty annoying is the amount of times G-Dragon says “Ay!” or “Oh!”, which many American songs tend to do as well.

The visual performance of the video is similar to westernized hip-hop culture, and because of this, I find many hip-hop music videos bothersome. In the beginning of the video, before they enter the club, they seem to be at a barber shop, where the barbers are shaving the customer’s hair to form writing on the back of their heads. For example, one guy had the word “Good” shaved on his head. The new hairstyles G-Dragon and Taeyang have are also quite strange. Their hairs do not resemble westernized hair-styles, but rather, they seemed to have created their own “unique” hairstyles that just doesn’t seem “hip” to me. However, similar to western culture, they sing/rap in an expensive fancy-looking car with no hood in one part of the song. Several girls are riding in the back, and it seems weird for there to be multiple girls when there are only two men in the car. I guess that’s the culture though in hip-hop music videos: having multiple ladies and nice cars at least once somewhere in the video.

What I found rather peculiar though is that in the club there are white and African-American women and literally no Korean women. They’ve been so absorbed in adapting to the western culture that they don’t even use Korean women to promote female objectification. Funny, right? In fact, many K-pop music videos are like this. I’m not a racist or anything, but shouldn’t a Korean music video at least include Korean women? I also find the bouncing dislikable. What I mean by bouncing is that their dancing includes waving their arms and making their bodies go down to the ground quickly and back up again. Even the camera movements are bouncy, swaying from side to side and up and down. This effect causes me to feel dizzy and makes me dislike the video even more.

As you can probably tell, hip-hop is not my favorite genre. This song in particular though has so many things wrong with it for me personally. I don’t like the repetitive electronic music patterns nor the bass. I don’t like the typical female objectification and cool-looking cars in the music videos. I don’t like the dancing, the way they dress, and the hairstyles. Nothing seemed right to me from my personal musical and visual perspective. The amount of times I’ve listened to this song to write this blog gave me a head ache, and I’m sure I’ll never listen to this song again.

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Top 10 Songs For Dead Week

It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for: Dead Week… This is one of the most stressful times for Georgia Tech students since the week right after is Finals Week. Play time is over and lots of studying shall be done. This is where most students go “Super-Saiyan” since this is the last test for their classes for the semester. For many students, this will be the test that ultimately decides their grade for each class, so they have to do well. This is the case for me. I always have trouble concentrating on my studies, so I came up with a playlist for Dead Week. I can’t focus that well when there are lyrics in a song or when the song is too “poppy”. That’s why my songs consist of more instrumentals and help listeners to concentrate.

Yup, I have classical music in my playlist. You guys probably have heard these songs and know how relaxing and motivating these songs can be. First up is Michael Silverman’s piano arrangement of “Canon in D Major” by Pachelbel. Right from the beginning, the song is amazing in that it tries to inspire you to do something great. The chords in the beginning are simple, yet the combination of them make the song so beautiful. Then, the awesome chorus starts, and you feel like you have accomplished something. This allows me personally to stay focused because I want to accomplish something at the end, and my goal is to ace my finals. Next is another popular song you guys may know: “River Flows in You” by Yiruma. The song starts with a very sad intro representing all the obstacles and problems you might have faced. When the chorus starts, you feel pumped up because it feels like you have overcame all the hardships you have faced, and this is exactly how I want to feel after finals. Next up is “Cello Suite No. I in G Major” by my boy, Bach. This song simply calms the body down. Whenever I listen to this song, I imagine myself on the chair when I’m at the orthodontist. This is the time period before the orthodontist arrives when you wait patiently for him. I would just close my eyes and listen carefully to this song calming myself before the brutal operation. These three songs represent the more formal and classical or classical-like songs of my playlist. They are simply beautiful and elegant.

“Kingdom Hearts” is my favorite video game series, for it includes characters that undergo a complex, yet amazing storyline. It also includes Disney characters and awesome OSTs (original sound tracks).  My favorite song is “Dearly Beloved- Reprise” from the Kingdom Hearts II sound track. This song is played during the introduction screen and shows the protagonist staring off into the distance. The song makes you feel like you’re doing the same exact thing contemplating what the meaning of life is. The song isn’t exactly depressing; I would say it’s more bittersweet. It’s a song about how life will get much better, and it certainly will be after finals. Next up is “Vector to the Heavens” from the Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD Remix OST.  To be concise, this song is when the main protagonist’s friend disappears for good. It was probably the climax and most upsetting moment of the game. This song is not necessarily about me being depressed but it’s such a good and beautiful song that portrayed the scene, so I had to let it be in my playlist because the song was that GOOD. “Musique Pour La Tristesse de Xion” is also from the same game. This song is a more hopeful version of “Vector to the Heavens”.  Basically, the protagonist, Roxas, and his best friend, Xion, are contemplating their existence. They are not humans and are “Nobodies” trying to find a heart to feel emotion. It’s complicated, but the main point is that the scene is really depressing, but hopeful that maybe one day they will be able to find a heart. This is also a touching song that I love. Personally, depressing and/or hopeful songs are my type of songs that help me concentrate. Last but not least from my video game section of my Dead Week playlist is “Winnie the Pooh” from the Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix. This song is relaxing and reminds me of the good old days when I was a little kid. This song is basically an instrumental and more calming version of the original “Winnie the Pooh” theme. The song is just simply relaxing and really cheerful. This song should cheer me up when I’m stressed out from all the studying.

Finally, the last three songs are from October, a Korean artist I discovered from a friend. These songs are my favorites beating even my favorite K-pop, alternative rock, and classic rock songs. The songs consist of mainly piano and some drums to drive the song. “Acacia” is another calming and hopeful song. It keeps you concentrated and as a bonus, it has a really catchy piano melody for a relaxing song. In the end of the song, you can sense a bright path ahead of you and that life will be better somehow. However, this song is “meh” compared to the next two song. “Time to Love” begins with a tranquil piano melody, and then, the drum enters. Here, you can feel yourself grooving with the melody. When you’re studying, you subconsciously do this, while your mind stays focus on studying. I find myself tapping my foot and at the same time able to study every time I listen to this song. “Cherry Blossom” is my all-time favorite. It just has the most beautiful melody I’ve ever heard in my life topping all classical songs, instrumentals, “pop” songs, and every other song. With this song, you feel so motivated to accomplish your goals. You stay focused and almost feel like you’re in a peaceful setting full of “cherry blossoms”. With this scenery, there is no way for your mind to get off track from your goal. It just completely ousts all the stresses you have once the piano starts playing.

Words can’t really describe these top ten songs. You really have to listen to them to really experience the wonders they can do for Dead Week. If you are the type that can only listen to peaceful, calming, and motivating music without lyrics, this playlist is for you. Acing your finals is the goal, so try out my playlist to get motivated and stay focused. If you also want to stay calm and not get stressed out too much, listen to these songs to keep your mind from going insane.

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Dead Week Playlist

Hell week is finally over, thank goodness, and now I have dead week and exam week to focus on. During dead week, I will be doing A TON of studying, and lately I have been studying with music. I’ve always studied and done homework with some kind of background noise, but I only started playing music as I work, in college. When I’m doing homework, I usually listen to upbeat, lyrical rap music and sometimes pop, but when I’m studying I like more relaxed, mellow music. My studying playlist for dead week will be a combination of relaxing and upbeat alternative, R&B and rap music

Most of my playlist will be alternative, I will definitely have Banana Pancakes by Jack Johnson and Who Says by John Mayer on there. These songs are good for studying because they aren’t very distracting. The instrumentals are very steady and the vocals are relaxing which makes the songs powerful enough to block out distracting background noise, but not so overpowering that the song becomes a distraction. Even though I like both of these songs a lot when I am studying they are sort of like white noise. A lot of the songs by John Mayer and Jack Johnson have similar sounds, so it is hard to tell when one song changes to the next. The consistency is helpful for focusing, which makes these songs great for studying.

When I need a little break from consistency I like to add in a little R&B. Although my playlist will be mostly alternative, I will also include some R&B songs like Teachme by Musiq Soul Child and Ordinary People by John Legend. Like Banana Pancakes and Who Says, these songs also have heavy instrumentals, but in the R&B songs, the vocals are noticeably stronger. The stronger vocals can be distracting if I am trying to read, so I find these songs to be best when I am taking a mental break, or when I am working on something technical. When I work on something technical like practice problems for calculus or chemistry my focus is less constant so these sort of songs are perfect.

Right before I take tests, I really need songs to pump me up, this is where rap and pop music on my playlist become useful. I am a strong believer in the power of positive thinking, so having good, energizing songs to get my mind in a positive place important. Lose Yourself by Eminem and Trophies by Drake will be on my playlist. These songs are motivating because of their beat and lyrics. The beats are very dominating and powerful, which empowers me when I listen to these and others like them. The lyrics are also motivating because they encourage seizing the moment and winning. The songs make me feel invincible, exactly what I need before taking a test.

So that’s my dead week playlist, Alternative with a bit of R&B. I guess it’s sort of a diverse mix, but everything on my playlist has its purpose. I guess I can only hope that it helps me focus and gets me pumped for my exams. Please, check out the songs that I mentioned and see if they would be good additions to your dead week playlist.

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Black Humor

With Halloween coming up so soon, it seems like a perfect time to discuss Goths. As natural simplifiers, we just love find ways to make life easier on ourselves by categorizing others, so how do we define the Goth category? I would venture to say that for most of us humorous was not a description that came to mind when we defined Goth, but why not? Who says Goths are completely serious all of the time? Don’t let the overabundance of black, heavy make-up and fancy clothing fool you, Goths do have a somewhat disturbing, and twisted sense of humor—black humor. Ironic right? Goths wear black clothing and black make up and even there humor is black, but in all seriousness, black humor is real and it shows up—in music, movies, and social media— in many different way even outside the Goth circle.

Voltaire an extreme example of using black humor in music. You may not know who Voltaire is, I didn’t until I began looking into black humor, but he is a Cuban-American musician who sings folk-like songs that have legitimate messages with a bit of humor thrown in. His music is funny in a dark, silly and disturbing way. For example consider his song Riding a Black Unicorn…. The chorus of this song is an example of black humor, “so tonight, you’re riding a black unicorn down the side of an erupting volcano and you drink, drink, drink from a chalice filled with the laughter of small children,”(Hernandez). The “black” of black humor comes from the hints at suffering and death— dark themes –in this song. If you’re riding down the side of a volcano that has erupted chances are you will die, and if your drinking from a cup with the laughter of children’s voices, the children are likely death or suffering and about to die. While to most of us—I hope—these seem like very sad, disturbing thoughts, the fact that these things will really never happen makes them funny. Balancing the disturbing with the absurd is one example of black humor, but there are many others.

Beetlejuice is an example of black humor in movies. You may not have heard of Voltaire, but I’m willing to bet you’ve seen or at least heard of the movie Beetlejuice. It is about these ghosts that try to exorcize the owners of their house. The “black” part of the black humor again comes from theme of death, but unlike Riding a Black Unicorn…, the humor comes from irony.  Usually it is humans that try to exorcize ghosts and demons from their homes and not the ghosts trying to get rid of the humans. The irony of this situation make the dark theme of death and exorcism, which are common themes in horror movies, more light-hearted. Besides being ironic the idea of ghost in general is very unrealistic which makes the movie much more of a light-hearted black comedy than a scary horror movie.

Black humor shows up arguably the most in social media. On social media, black humor is made by mocking. Goths mock themselves and gothic stereotypes. On twitter there is a feed called Goth Girl Problems that uses black humor in these ways. The blog includes posts like “Halloween is my Christmas. Every other holiday can f**k off,” “I hate this nice weather, but I love that I can wear my fishnets,” “My legs are dead today but starting weekly cemetery runs is so worth it #MausoleumMondays #gothgirlproblems,” These posts make fun of the typical gothic stereotypes like hating the light, feeling happiest on Halloween, and hanging out in cemeteries, but they also make fun of us. By pretending to conform to these stereotypes, are mocking us for being so simple-minded as to believe that these things are what make them Goth.

Goths are not all darkness and gloom, and their black humor exists everywhere and in many forms. The stereotypes you thought of at the beginning of this post are proof that even you contribute to Goth’s black humor.

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