Last updateWed, 30 Sep 2020 1pm


Bella and Edward Return In Midnight Sun

Bella Edward 1The year of 2005 created a divide between who was Team Edward and who was Team Jacob, thanks to Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series. The borderline between teen romance and obsession was tested. The fandom around a vampire-human love story blossomed.

Now, 15 years later, Stephanie Meyer has returned, publishing the fifth novel of the Twilight saga, coined Midnight Sun.

However, this book has a little twist that many die-hard fans may not be expecting.

Despite the four previous books in the series, Midnight Sun is now told from Edward’s perspective rather than Bella’s. Meyer did an incredible job of retelling a story that fans have been encapsulated with, without making it seem drawnout or overdone.

Readers and fans see a more intimate side of Edward and his infatuation with Bella than they ever have before. From first glance, to the first words spoken to one another, Edward’s internal feelings are both invigorating and unnerving, all same time.

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Are Livestreams the New Concert Experience?

Livestreams 1Since March of this year, the whole world has been turned upside down. So many of the things we love to do are now changed, maybe forever. Restaurants were only allowing people to eat outside. This was great in the summer, but now as we reach fall and winter, it may not be as desirable.

Concerts were all canceled and small venues were closed. Another option for concerts has been the livestreaming option. Artists can use social media or other streaming services to broadcast their shows to a big audience, but everyone can stay right in their homes- maybe even in their pajamas. Will this become the new “normal?” Do people even have interest in watching livestreams of concerts, let alone paying for these?

The New York Times wrote a story in July, examining the changing world of concerts. At this time, there were many examples of artists who had used the Instagram platform and the “live” feature to broadcast some music to their fans. It was a more casual feel, where artists were just strumming a guitar and singing. After more casual broadcasts, though, there is the question of concerts in a more traditional way- big stage, lots of lights, back up dancers, the works.

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Eighty Sixing The Kardashians

Kardashians 1Keeping Up With The Kardashians is officially wrapping up after 14 years on the air.

Kim Kardashian announced through Instagram earlier this month that her family has decided to end their extremely successful reality television series. The final episodes are to air in 2021, concluding the series after 20 seasons. 

A source told Entertainment Tonight that there is no particular reason for the show ending. The family is continuously growing, with each sister (besides supermodel Kendall Jenner) having families of their own. It is becoming increasingly difficult for the family to film as a whole or get enough footage separately. 

Kris Jenner recently sat down with Ellen DeGeneres, being one of the first guests to appear on The Ellen Show following the controversy behind Ellen mistreating her staff.

Jenner revealed, “It was kind of sudden. I think we were talking about signing up for another couple of years with our network, and suddenly just all came to the decision as a group that the whole family felt it was just time. It just sort of came to us, and we thought, 20 seasons, 14 years, hundreds of episodes and lots of spinoffs.” 

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Artists vs. Spotify: CEO Encourages More Music from Artists

Artists SpotifySpotify has been in the spotlight continually this month. From employees trying to get complete editorial control over podcasts to CEO’s angering artists, there has been quite some backlash toward the company as a whole. Is said backlash justified? You decide.

Daniel Ek, co-founder and CEO the music streaming service Spotify, stirred up the discussion of changing the pay formula for artists. He gave an interview with the website Music Ally, discussing the impact COVID-19 has had on the music industry. With a large portion of incomes coming from live touring and shows, there has obviously been a decrease in the money being brought in, especially for artists themselves. 

Because of this lack of revenue, artists have had to turn almost entirely to streaming services to profit off their music.

Ek states in his interview, “I feel, really, that the ones that aren’t doing well in streaming are predominantly people who want to release music the way it used to be released.” He goes on to say, “You can’t record music once every three to four years and think that’s going to be enough.”

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Disney’s Mulan Under Fire

MulanIt is no surprise when someone says that Disney movies are some of the best movies made today. Between Marvel films and the countless other movies they have created since the beginning all, for the most part, have held high standards. With the recent release of Mulan, Disney’s recent live-action recreation, people have been taken back by the low reviews and confusion among fans. 

Fans have stated their opinions on social media and on news outlets and from looking at it, it has not been good. I recently watched the film myself with an unbiased, open-minded opinion, and where there are many points of the film where I found it beautiful, it was a little rough to sit through. 

The biggest problem that people have been seeing with this film isn’t the $30 premium access copy on Disney+ (which comes as a shock) but the controversy behind it. A lot of viewers have been questioning how Disney, an overly successful company in which many of us, including myself, know and love, could have messed this up so badly. Mulan is one of the most beloved Disney films. With timeless music, beauty, meaning, and an appealing sidekick, Mulan was something many fans were struck by when they found out Disney was writing it as a new live-action film. 

It wasn’t the lack of music and similarity that struck a chord in fans, but the lack of diversity on the team that created the film. As a refresher, Mulan follows a woman who wants to replace her sick father in the fight against the Huns. She disguises herself as a man until the climax of the movie. The original film really brings light to wonderful cultural aspects of China through these years in our world history. 

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Vinyl Refuses To Die, Again

Vinyl Refuses 1For the first time in 34 years, vinyl records outsold CDs. Outsold isn’t the proper word, though.  A more fitting term should be “destroyed.”

The Recording Industry Association of America reported vinyl records created over $230 million in revenue in the first six months of 2020 alone, whereas CDs only sold $130 million. CD sales have seen a 48 percent decrease in revenue, and vinyl has seen a 4 percent growth. I guess you could say records have had a record breaking year. 

This comes after a tumultuous start for the music industry in 2020. With record stores and other businesses being largely shut down because of COVID-19, physical sales dropped 23% overall. Many record stores, including Holdfast Records in Asbury Park, NJ, could not survive the absence of eager audiophiles and were forced to close.

Additionally, one of the two remaining vinyl producing plants in the world burned down in the Apollo Masters fire in February. This factory in Banning, CA produced the lacquer needed to create master plates, which would be cut into vinyl records.

Rolling Stone reported Apollo Masters Corp. was responsible for “70 to 85 percent” of the world’s lacquer plates needed for production. The only other factory of its type is MDC in Japan. As the recording industry scrambles to find an alternative to lacquer pressing, this could mean inflationary costs on each record sold.

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The Emmys: Who Won and Lost in The COVID-19 Simulcast

EmmysThe entertainment industry, in many ways, has struggled to adapt to the lifestyle permitted by COVID-19. In spite of this, the 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards took place last Sunday, with multiple records being broken throughout the ceremony.

Perennial host Jimmy Kimmel started off the socially-distanced ceremony live (but remotely) from Los Angeles’ Staples Center, also a perennial favorite arena for the showrunners. Kimmel’s monologue poked fun at critics who claimed that the show being held in 2020 was frivolous, and all the nominees were in attendance from their respective broadcast locations.

Forbes reported that only 6.1 million viewers watched the awards show. This is an all-time low for the Emmys.

Limited series Watchmen was the most-nominated show of the night, with 11, and dramas Succession and Ozark followed with ten and nine nominations. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and RuPaul’s Drag Race won for Variety Talk and Competition series respectively. One shock of the night included the absence of any awards for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Amazon Prime’s flagship Emmy’s contender, even out of eight total nominations.

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Alicia Keys Returns with Her Best Record Yet

AliciaAlicia. She’s a musician so renowned, you know her by first name alone.

Mrs. Keys has returned with her seventh record and her second namesake album, ALICIA. Released on Sept. 18 from RCA Records, this 54 minute-long record is a daring return to her R&B side.

Now for some heartbreaking news. Alicia Keys is rumoring retirement at age 40. Being she is currently 39, I’m hoping that is just a rumor.

Alicia Keys was born in Hell’s Kitchen in 1981 and fell in love with music early on. As a classically trained pianist, she composed her first song about her departed grandfather after seeing the film Philadelphia at 12 years old. Keys was then signed to Columbia Records at a mere 15 years old, and became a hot commodity for the recording industry.

A bidding war between Arista and Columbia Records ensued for Keys’ talent. After a tennis match of contract litigation, Keys was negotiated out of her Columbia contract with help from Clive Davis. After being outed from Arista, Davis formed J Records, and signed Alicia immediately.

Her debut album, Songs in A Minor, was a highly anticipated record. Keys had performed her single “Fallin’” six weeks before the album release on Oprah, The Tonight Show, amongst others, and her record debuted at #1 on the charts, where it stayed for six weeks. In the first week alone, 236,000 copies were sold, but it has since sold 18.6 million copies worldwide. Keys was nominated for six Grammys, winning five, including Best New Artist and Song of the Year because of Songs in A Minor. Fifteen Grammys and 64 million global record sales later, Keys is unstoppable.

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Fanfare for Taylor Swift's folklore

Taylor SwiftTaylor Swift is probably the only artist who can write and release a chart-topping, surprise album in quarantine.

Her eighth studio album, folklore, was announced on July 23 for a next-day release, shocking her millions of fans around the world. It came just eleven months after her 2019 album Lover, and the summer her “Loverfest” tour was scheduled to begin until it was postponed due to COVID-19.

Listeners can appreciate the mature, piano-filled songs and poignant lyrics across folklore’s entire track list. It resembles the indie-folk essence of Safe and Sound, her 2012 song that was featured on the Hunger Games soundtrack. In fact, the album is reminiscent of Taylor’s earlier music and the storytelling talent that she is best known for. For folklore, Swift traded in her brand of pop for more ethereal songs, resembling the sound of Joni Mitchell.

folklore is a cohesive album consisting of tales that Swift brings to life with divine vocals and raw instrumentation. It’s a powerful array of wistfulness, regret, and nostalgia. Produced by The National’s Aaron Dessner, Bleachers’ Jack Antonoff, and Swift herself, this record is T. Swift’s songwriting at its most stripped down.

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Book Review: Behind Closed Doors

A9Rza031v 38h47z 8foWhether you indecisively stare aimlessly inside your local Barnes & Noble’s aisles while sipping a caramel macchiato, or find it nearly impossible to get your hands on a good read that hooks your interests without knowing the ending three chapters deep, finding a decent novel can be tricky to say the very least.

However, that’s where a little help pops in. There isn’t a genre of books that are secluded to someone’s interests.

On this week’s bookshelf, we have Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris is a must for any thrill-seeking, plot-twist fanatic. Library Journal calls it, “A can’t put down psychological thriller.”

Everyone knows a couple like Grace and Jack, the protagonists of this novel; inseparable, seemingly have it all. White picket fence, charm, wealth. Exquisite dinner parties. But what happens when the quests leave and the door locks behind them?

This book is an easy and quick read, and you’re not going to want to

 put it down. Paris speaks to the reader in a way that encapsulates them straight into the story. He has written this book allowing his audience to empathize with some characters, and despise others. Each with passions that are so raw. And even when you think you’ve got it all figured out, the twists are as quick as the pages turn.

Sit down and pick this book up. It makes you feel like you are a detective, infatuated with the red flags that arise from the pages. Throughout the chapters, Paris ricochets the reader back and forth between present day and years past, keeping your anticipation level at an all-time high. The more that is uncovered, the more realistic and less blurred the lines become.

Paris makes us wonder: Is the person you have loved really all they seem to be? Behind Closed Doors wasn’t coined an instant New York Times and USA Today Bestselling debut psychological thriller for nothing. Although it is a few years old, Paris’ tale of perfect appearances is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It is thrilling up to the very last page.

IMAGE TAKEN from Barnes and Noble

The Center for the Arts is going Virtual!

The RiverWith the COVID-19 pandemic, entertainment has been radically changed. In-person concerts have rarely been held, movie theaters are just reopening after months of being shuttered, and movies and television shows cannot shoot with a full cast.

Although it may seem bleak, the world has shown innovations in providing content for the people who need something to take their mind off this new, bizarre, and sanitized world.

The University’s Center for the Arts is also adapting to this new method of providing safe and enjoyable amusement for the campus community. They will be offering virtual lectures, film screenings, and art demonstrations for the fall 2020 semester for your consideration.

The University will continue its popular Tuesday Night Record Club series with some classic albums. It’s like a book club, but instead of discussing the book of the week, it’s a discussion on classic albums. This semester, the albums being discussed are Bruce Springsteen’s 1980 success, The River, on Sept. 29, Stevie Wonder’s Songs in the Key of Life on Oct. 13, Joni Mitchell’s melancholic Blue, and lastly, John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Double Fantasy on Dec. 8. These discussions are free and open to the public and will be held via the Zoom app. Registration is required.

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Contact Information

The Outlook
Jules L. Plangere Jr. Center for Communication
and Instructional Technology (CCIT)
Room 260, 2nd floor

The Outlook
Monmouth University
400 Cedar Ave, West Long Branch, New Jersey

Phone: (732) 571-3481 | Fax: (732) 263-5151