Last updateWed, 14 Oct 2020 1pm


Janelle Monáe Falls Short of Expectations

R&B isn’t an easy genre to stand out in these days, but for a singer as hard working and charismatic as Janelle Monáe, it’s kind of impossible not to. With a powerful voice, wild imagination, and restless creative spirit, Monáe has made some very exciting and inventive pop music since bursting onto the scene, with her debut album, 2010’s “The ArchAndroid,” being quite an artistic achievement.

Despite her talent, however, her latest record, “The Electric Lady,” shows that even she is still susceptible to one of the biggest curses in the music world: the sophomore slump.

Can you blame her, though? You try following up an album like “The ArchAndroid” – a dense, kinetic, sci-fi-themed odyssey that blended R&B with more genres and styles than I can count on one hand while never losing sight of its infectious pop sensibilities. The fact that something so overly ambitious worked the first time is a miracle in itself. What do you possibly do to follow such a monster?

Monáe was certainly up for the challenge as “The Electric Lady” is still a very ambitious record that clearly comes from the same warped mind as before. But while “The Electric Lady” is still a unique record by modern R&B standards, I can’t help but feel that something is missing this time around.

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Alumnus Spotlight: Slick Chops

Some graduates leave the University and never look back while others seem to linger around until they realize they have to leave. Rapper Slick Chops seems to have found the happy medium between the two. The 2013 graduate is currently recording his next album and interning in New York, but he remains connected to The Music Alliance, a club dedicated to giving those interested in the music industry professional opportunities.

His musical roots, unsurprisingly, started in childhood. His father introduced him to the music of the 50s, 60s and 70s early on, but it was a little later that hip-hop came along.

“I was introduced to Eminem when I was around 9 years old and ever since then, I’ve been writing raps…I started recording music freshman year in high school after meeting another hip hop artist who was already recording. He showed me the ropes to recording and since then I’ve been recording consistently,” Slick said.

As a teenager, Slick used to participate in cyphers with another rapper at his local mall on a weekly basis. Eventually, the high school students attracted a crowd of over 200 people and the cops shut them down. Since then, Slick has moved on to local hangouts such as Brighton Bar and The Saint as well as Brooklyn staples like Public Assembly.

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Fall Brings Wonderful New Televison Shows

Fall means sweaters, pumpkin-flavored everything and, most importantly, new television shows. Last year, a good number of shows were picked up, leaving us with a smaller number of pilots this year. Still this fall brings us many comedies, a couple dramas and one Avengers spin off.

In the way of comedies, we have “The Crazy Ones.” This multi camera comedy features comedian Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle Gellar, and it’s a big deal for both of them. Aside from a handful of guest spots, an “Aladdin” cartoon and one mini-series, this marks Robin Williams’ first starring role in a television series since “Mork & Mindy” (which aired from 1978-1982).

Gellar returned to television with the now defunct “Ringer” last year, but this will be her first attempt at a comedy series. She’s familiar, though. “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” had plenty of comedic elements, and she did create some laughs as Daphne in “Scooby Doo.”

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Artist Zuan Lee Astounds Students

The Rotary Ice House Gallery celebrated its first art exhibition of the year with a reception hosted at 5 pm on September 12. This collection was created by the artist Zaun Lee and will be on display until November 15. Numerous professors attended with their classes, though other patrons were simply curious students eager to see this new display. Refreshments were served until the event ended at 7 pm.

Entitled “My No-Man’s Land,” this was a series of paintings, drawings and multimedia works depicting a combination of geometric grid shapes and the exposed muscle or bone structures of the human body as well as other nature-themed images.

According to literature distributed by the Monmouth University Center for the Arts, these were designed to “highlight the role senses of emotion” and show “a journey into the trans-dimensional dynamic of one’s own understanding on the internal logic of senses in decomposed narratives.”

Upstairs, one can see a series of large, overlapping images painted on translucent Mylar sheets, showing the geometric nature of the human body. Some images included a circle of six hands, drawn so that the muscle and bone was visible, all stretching away from the center, as well as numerous power symbols and lines arcing off into the distance. Smaller pieces were a variety of shapes drawn on a nature-themed color scheme, paint running down from the top.

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“Glee” Deals with Sorrow

Around midnight on July 13, my Tumblr and Twitter started blowing up with rumors that “Glee” star Cory Monteith died. Everyone from Justin Bieber to Britney Spears has been rumored dead on the internet at some point, so these things aren’t taken all that seriously anymore.

However, around 1 am the Vancouver Police Department announced via livestream what thousands of “Glee” fans were hoping wasn’t true: Cory Monteith was found dead in a hotel room. The next days were filled with questions of why he died (heroin and alcohol), how on and off-screen girlfriend Lea Michele was handling the tragedy and what the fate of “Glee” would be.

There was brief speculation that the show would be cancelled. Maybe they would do a special to wrap up the loose ends before leaving. Then it was rumored that “Glee” would just take a huge hiatus, taking a winter or spring premiere. Then the shocking announcement was made: the fifth season premiere of “Glee” would be pushed back only one week to September 26.

Showrunner Ryan Murphy made one thing very clear: Michele was calling the shots. Michele’s Rachel Berry is the central character on the musical dramedy, even though it has a large ensemble cast. Rachel and Finn (Monteith’s character), known affectionately as Finchel, have been the main love story since the pilot. Murphy publicly acknowledged in various interviews that if Michele decided to call it quits, the show couldn’t really go on.

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Woods Theatre Offers Professional Summer Opportunities

Every year, the University’s professional theatre, Shadow Lawn Stage, performs a show in the summer. This year, they produced “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” but it wasn’t just professional actors involved in the production. Multiple University students and alumni earned parts in the play, helping them boost their resume and gain experience in a professional setting.

Taylor Bogan graduated with a degree in theatre arts last May, and within a couple weeks she found herself back in Woods Theatre for “Spelling Bee” rehearsals as Olive Ostrovsky. For Bogan, the real perk was her co-workers.

Bogan explained, “The benefit of performing in a professional summer show is getting the chance to work with equity professional actors. When you work with a more experienced team of actors it makes you work harder.”

Two members of Actor’s Equity Association (AEA) were in the play. AEA members are considered professional actors, and being a member is how most actors can earn professional jobs. First, though, they have to gain membership, and “Spelling Bee” helped put student and alumni actors on track to getting their Equity membership.

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Fruity Game is Suprisingly Sweet

With a rather puny library of games and disappointing quarterly sales, it would be a vast understatement to call the Wii U’s first year a rocky start. While the Nintendo consoles lineup will prove to pick up steam later this year, the console’s “killer app” might already be here in the form of “Pikmin 3.”

Developed by legendary game wizard Shigeru Miyamoto (Mario, Zelda, etc.) and hotly anticipated for years, “Pikmin 3” is the kind of polished, unique and engaging experience the Wii U desperately needed, the kind of truly enthralling adventure that sucks you into its world like few other games in its class.

The game centers on three space explorers (Alph, Brittany and Charlie) who venture to the fictional planet PNF-404 on a quest to find food for their home planet of Koppai. There, they gather hoards of tiny, vegetable-like creatures known as pikmin and use them to gather fruit, fight intimidating beasts and locate lost ship parts to ensure a safe, and fully stocked, trip home.

Fans of the series will feel right at home with “Pikmin 3,” as the core mechanics of the game really haven’t changed. For those who are uninitiated, “Pikmin 3” is essentially a strategy game with a unique adventure/puzzling twist. Players are required to complete a variety of tasks within a set time limit each day, from building bridges and gathering fruits to fighting giant bosses and hauling their dead carcasses, utilizing a variety of pikmin with different abilities and weaknesses.

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Student Spotlight: Joe & Box

Maybe you don’t think of the University as a place to foster the education of the next superstar of the rap world, but you might be wrong. Junior Andrew Boxman has been rapping for well over a decade, and hopes to be able to make a living off it one day.

The music industry major is known as Box, one half of the rap duo Joe & Box. He describes their music as “fresh and in your face, with many creative metaphors with interesting flows, [and] some knocking punchlines! We make it as true to us as possible.”

Box met Joe Urso back in fifth grade, and the childhood friends have been creating rhymes for the majority of their friendship.

Box said, “It was around fifth, sixth grade when, on occasion, I would write rhymes, no more than 16 bar verses about nonsense! In middle school, Joe and I would write songs together, comical rap songs about how much we loved food under the name ‘Fatty and the Funky Bunch.’”

Once they started high school, the two wanted to get serious about their art. “When freshman year in high school came around, we began to rap daily; writing verses and free-styling and it we really grew from there,” Box said.

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Spring is Here, but Winter is Coming:

Game of Thrones Returns for Season 3

GoTGame of Thrones opened its third season Sunday night with “Valar Dohaeris.” The title of the episode translates to “all men must serve” from the language of Braavos.

Send a raven to all corners of the realm- Season three is off to a fast start and I’m already counting the hours until the second episode airs.

The 9:00 pm premiere was picked up by 4.4 million viewers, according to Deadline.com, which is a record for the original airing of any episode. After two replays at 10:00 pm and 11:00 pm, the show totaled 6.7 million viewers, despite competing with the third season finale of The Walking Dead.

The beautiful sights that we have grown accustomed to are back. The vast frozen land of the wildling camp, the beautiful view of Blackwater Bay from the heights of King’s Landing, and the scenic shores of Astapor in the east prove that we are in for a visual treat all season long.

As great as the scenery is, the plot is what keeps HBO as rich as a Lannister.

North of the Wall, Samwell Tarly (John Bradley) and the Night’s Watch, along with Jon’s direwolf Ghost, burn a white walker and realize that winter is FINALLY coming (We’ve been waiting for it since Ned Stark (Sean Bean) said the Stark words in the first episode of the series). The Lord Commander (James Cosmo) warns that, if the white walkers are not stopped, “Everyone you’ve ever known will be dead.”

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Pine Barons Prove Strong On Debut Album

“Children of the Forest; Conceived by the root. Lived by vascular contraptions.” So describes Pine Barons, an up-and-coming indie rock band from South Jersey. Oh wait, maybe they’re talking about the forest. OK, now I’m confused.

Indeed, the band does take its name from the dense, expansive woodlands close to their home territory, but the band has much more to do with the forest and the description above than location. The groups self-titled debut album is a rustic, sprawling affair that fits comfortably amongst the weathered bark and towering leafy canopies of their namesake.

It’s clear that Pine Barons present themselves as a big “nature” band, and, to this respect, the group’s sound appropriately conveys this.

The group’s debut is packed front to back with dense arrangements and open, reverb-soaked guitars.

Although their name is rooted in the forest, Pine Barons’ music travels across wide open ranges and some rather rocky terrain, offering an interestingly mixed, yet fully organic, bag of influences and surprises.

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Monmouth Catches ‘Spring Fever’

The Spring Fever Tour made its one and only NJ stop at the University on Saturday, April 27 in the sold out concert at the  Multipurpose Activity Center (MAC).

Crowds lined up hours before doors opened, wrapping around the building, to get a good spot to see their favorite pop punk bands live.

The first band was You Me at Six, a bunch of boys from the UK who started before the whole line was even in the venue. They have a huge fan base in the states and were able to charm the non-fans in the crowd with their British accents between songs.

Mayday Parade took the stage to play a more emo, soft rock set, but that didn’t stop the crowd from dancing. Lead singer, Derek Sanders, with his signature long hair and bare feet, kept the crowd’s energy high by jumping around and throwing the mic.

The crowd was singing louder than the speakers during Mayday’s song “Jersey.” They serenaded the crowd with a cover of Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know” and were joined on stage by Pierce the Veil (PTV) singer, Vic Fuentes.

With a jaw-dropping stage design full of neon colors, spinning gears and fat monsters,  PTV’s entrance was greeted by thousands of screaming fans.

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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
Email: outlook@monmouth.edu