Last updateWed, 09 Dec 2020 1pm


The Importance of Christmas Music

ImportanceAs I lay in my bed at night, final exams and the holidays approaching like a festive freight train, nothing calms my nerves quite like Spotify’s “Christmas Cocktail Jazz” playlist.

There’s something simple and beautiful about Christmas music. Almost every single Christmas song revolves around themes of gratefulness and joy. But hasn’t 2020, for lack of a better word, been pretty bleak?

Definitely. And it’s no secret that the holidays are the source of great anxiety and depression for many; this year, perhaps exceptionally so. So, to say that these bad vibes are understandable is an understatement.

This season is different, and a lot of people aren’t able to do the things they normally would; people can’t be home for Christmas, halls will be more sparsely decked, and it just doesn’t feel holly jolly. What is it, then, that makes Christmas music have that almost mystical feeling of happiness?

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Jay Electronica’s Act II: A Project Ten Years in the Making

default article imageFor ten years, Act II: The Patents of Nobility (The Turn) sat in Jay Electronica’s hard drive, remaining an elusive project that teased fans since his groundbreaking single “Exhibit C” was released.

Throughout that decade, the reclusive Jay Electronica did very little, and anything that hinted at an album release made the hip hop community talk. Only a small number of artists could’ve made the initial impact Jay Electronica did. His rise from homeless backpacker to hip-hop’s lyrical savior was meteoric, which gave him quite a brand to live up to. When a picture of Act II’s tracklist leaked on the internet in 2012, people started to murmur that an album was soon to be released. Over the years, it never was released and the buzz dissipated; ultimately the album was largely forgotten.

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AMONG US: How One Game Is Killing Boredom

Among Us 1This lockdown, we have been constantly searching for and craving respite from our increasingly monotonous lives.

Until recently, indie multiplayer game Among Us remained a relatively untouched title on Steam’s Store. The game, which is played with up to ten people (locally or long-distance, with friends or strangers), features a cast of differently-colored little spacemen whose goal is to resolve all their ship’s issues (or “tasks”).

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Taylor Swift to Re-Record Classic Albums

Taylor Swift2020 has been a big year for Taylor Swift, having released her eighth studio album folklore in July, directing and producing the documentary concert film Folklore: Long Pong Studio Sessions on Disney+ for November, and even posing casually with Paul McCartney on the cover of Rolling Stone’s December issue. Now, she is hitting the studio to re-record her first six albums.

Swift left her old record label, Big Machine Records, in 2019. Legal issues occurred when record executive Scooter Braun purchased the label that year, thus also purchasing Swift’s master rights and prohibiting the use of her old music, as Billboard reported.

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Bleachers Channel Springsteen in “Chinatown”

default article imageJack Antonoff, with his newest single “Chinatown,” has achieved the New Jerseyan dream: he made a song with Bruce Springsteen. Antonoff, known for being a member of fun. and being a producer for other high-profile acts like Taylor Swift, Lorde, St. Vincent, Lana Del Rey, and Kevin Abstract, has a history for creating songs for others.

But with his solo project Bleachers, he shifts gears. His focus on pop-anthems is still a priority, but with his songs as Bleachers, he puts a unique twist to it. Still in line with what Antonoff knows, Bleachers is bolder and more experimental. Everything that he usually does is still intact, but he adds grittier sounds that twist the songs he makes from folksy pop tracks to more experimental songs that can do more.

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2021 Grammy Nominees and Predictions: A Good Year for Women in Music

2021 GrammyThe nominations for the 63rd Grammy Awards have been announced, and—oh boy—there are a lot of them.

The host of the ceremony—comedian Trevor Noah—and the nominees were announced in a virtual presentation early in the afternoon on November 24 by a swathe of stars from within and without the music industry: Megan Thee Stallion, Dua Lipa, Gayle King, Sharon Osbourne, etc.

Beyoncé got nine nominations, including two for Record of the Year for her own “Black Parade” and her feature on Megan Thee Stallion’s TikTok hit “Savage.” Dua Lipa, Taylor Swift, and Roddy Ricch also garnered a not-disappointing six nominations each. Perennial favorites like Billie Eilish, Harry Styles, and Justin Bieber could also perform respectably at the awards, which take place Jan. 31, 2021.

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All Time Low Goes All Time Virtual

All Time LowI can now officially say that I’ve been to my first virtual concert of 2020. On Friday, Nov. 13, alternative rock band All Time Low streamed the second installment to their “Basement Noise” concert series on their website.

To promote the release of their latest album Wake Up, Sunshine in April, the band decided to stream five virtual shows, one every two weeks from October to December. The first show included a setlist comprised of all the songs on the album, while the next four setlists are curated by each of the band members; lead singer Alex Gaskarth, guitarist Jack Barakat, bassist Zack Merrick, and drummer Rian Dawson.

Each concert is priced at $15, but when the Student Activities Board (SAB) offered a limited number of free tickets, I jumped at the opportunity.

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Remembering a TV ICON: Who is Alex Trebek?

Alex TrebekOn Nov. 8, the TV industry and dedicated Jeopardy! fans incurred a serious loss with the death of Alex Trebek, the program’s omniscient and charming host. Trebek, who hosted the game show from 1984 until his death, succumbed to pancreatic cancer at 80 years old last Sunday.

I first read about Trebek’s passing about eight minutes after the Jeopardy! official Instagram page posted announcing it: “Jeopardy! is saddened to share that Alex Trebek passed away peacefully at home early this morning, surrounded by family and friends. Thank you, Alex.”

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Weakest Link Is Stronger Than You’d Think

Weakest LinkAs the proliferation of reboots, remakes, revivals, and spinoffs increases with time, it becomes easier and easier to make the case that there’s no longer any sincerity or authenticity on television.

Ever since The Virus™ became the center of our lives, dominating our media cycle, TV watchers have been more hard-pressed than ever for quality entertainment with personality.

One of my favorite formats of TV entertainment—and one I think is often criminally overlooked—is the game show. Game shows, at their core, are fully representative of the reason we watch television in the first place: to be entertained.

Is there a more pure, distilled way to experience entertainment than to watch people playing a game? I’d argue there isn’t. But there’s still an art to making a game show that I think one recent reboot in particular has really nailed.

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A New Generation of Gaming: What to Expect from the PlayStation 5

Playstation 5The PlayStation 5 (PS5), the next generation game console by Sony, launches on Thursday, Nov. 12, almost exactly seven years after the PS4. At the retail price of $499.99 (or $399.99 for the digital edition), it comes just in time for the holiday season, and will provide an abundance of new gaming opportunities when we’re stuck inside during the next few months of the pandemic.

There’s a bunch of new features to look forward to with the PS5. First off, the new DualSense controller will provide a “highly immersive gaming experience,” according to the PlayStation website, with features like haptic feedback and adaptive triggers. Haptic feedback allows for you to feel vibrations related to what you are doing in your game. Meanwhile, adaptive triggers allow for different levels of resistance when pressing down on the L2 and R2 buttons.

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Book Review: Bending the Universe

Book ReviewYou know a good book when it takes you a moment to realize your fingertips are laced around the edges of the page, your mind is gripping on to every word that dances on your lips, and the meaning of those words resonate with your life, whether it is your past, present, or future. 

Beautiful and brutally honest poetry has that effect on readers, and Bending the Universe by Alaskan artist Justin Wetch captured that ideology tremendously. Wetch is an idealist disguised as a pessimist through his writing. He published this book at 19, while he was a freshman at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

This international bestseller is a collection of 100 original pieces, broken up into five different sections; Society, Love, Life, Personal, and Nature. The handful of these uncover the true, raw morality of multiple aspects of life. The common thread running through his writing is thoroughness and perspective. Bending the Universe explores a range of topics, ranging from diversity to body image; from politics to love and heartbreak. 

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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