Last updateFri, 22 Jun 2018 4am


Ed Sheeran Makes Comeback With Divide

Ed Sheeran ComebackAfter a year-long break, Ed Sheeran made a comeback with Divide, which dropped March 4. Since his 2014 release of X, Sheeran has accomplished a lot, including winning two Grammy’s. He has become one of the most popular male artists in the industry and has worked with big names like Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift and One Direction. His fans were impatiently waiting for any of his new material and he came back with one of his best works yet.

The highly-anticipated album ÷ (Divide) was named the best-selling album on 2017 within its first week of being released. This record is definitely different from his previous records because of its diversity. Each track individually unique, which makes sense with the album title being Divide.

With “Castle on the Hill” and “Shape of You” being the two singles, it was just a preview of how different each song would be. “Castle on the Hill” takes you back to the English countryside in Suffolk where Sheeran grew up with an incredibly catchy chorus, and “Shape of You” is perfect for pop radio with its fun and dance-y beat; it was originally intended to be written for Rihanna.

Read more ...

Teens Excel in Shakespeare at Two River Theater

Shakespeare Two River Theater 1When high school students are able to perform Shakespeare for young audiences and get them invested, that is a testament to the enduring quality of his plays. I was skeptical at first about the impact that Shakespeare’s plays can have on young people. My experience with reading Romeo & Juliet in high school was not a pleasant one, but after watching high school students perform in “A Little Shakespeare,” I underestimated the adaptability of Shakespeare’s plays which can be modernized and engaging to this young generation growing up today. It definitely speaks volumes about his artistic work imbued on posterity.

Two River Theater has been presenting “A Little Shakespeare” every year, apart from their regular scheduled productions, and it’s wonderful to see the outpouring of love and response to this endeavor for young people. I had the opportunity to see a talented group of high school students from around the Monmouth County area perform a 75-minute version of The Merry Wives of Windsor, which is currently running performances as well, except it has a cast of three actors. Thankfully, I was able to see both versions of this play -- one performed by adults and the other performed by teenagers. Although both versions are geared toward a particular demographic age group, it struck me that the humor in this comedy resonates with everyone who watches it.

Read more ...

Three Decades of Final Fantasy

Three Decades Final FantasyFinal Fantasy is one of the longest running series of Japanese Role-Playing Games (JRPG’s); the fact that the core series just released its fifteenth title is testament to this. Each numbered Final Fantasy title takes place in a unique world, with new characters and plot elements, yet most titles have a number of features tying them together. Final Fantasy games are all fantasy titles, typically rife with magic and arcane technology; recurring elements in the series include powerful magical crystals, Chocobos (birds which are ridden like horses) and the idea of a “hero of light” (the player character who brings salvation to worlds plagued by darkness).

Final Fantasy, the series’ first title, was released in Japan in 1987, however, it did not receive a North American localization until 1990, and only experienced moderate success. Final Fantasy IV was the second title to receive a western localization in 1991, and to avoid confusion, it was titled Final Fantasy II. Ironically, the protagonist and first memorable warrior of light, Cecil, was originally a dark knight in service to a cruel empire before he went on a journey of self-discovery and developed as a person. This was the first Final Fantasy game I ever played; while I personally was not infatuated with it, I did enjoy it enough to complete it, and I can see why many in the west consider it the series’ breakout title.

Read more ...

Final Fantasy XV is Worth the Wait

Final Fantasy XV Worth WaitFinal Fantasy XV is a game I, and many others, have been waiting to play for a very long time now. The game was originally announced as Final Fantasy Versus XIII way back in 2006, it spent about seven years in development before many elements of its core concept was scrapped and the title changed to Final Fantasy XV. FFXV released in Nov. of 2016, 10 years after it was announced. I guess at this point, the big question is, was it worth the wait? My answer would be yes, Final Fantasy XV is the core series first masterpiece since Final Fantasy IX.

Final Fantasy XV follows Noctis, the crown prince of Lucis, in a tragic story of brotherhood and loss. The story is multi-media, with parts being told via a movie, Kingsglaive, an anime webseries, and a demo (available for free via the Playstation store). The world of Final Fantasy XV is beautifully designed, and aside from linear narrative sections, the game’s experience is largely an open world one. At the start of the game Noctis’s father, King Regis, is killed, and his kingdom occupied by the Niflheim empire. Noctis had been on a journey to wed his childhood sweetheart, Lady Lunafreya, and establish a treaty with the Niflheim Empire, her captors. His father’s assassination changed the situation, forcing him to turn around and go on the offensive. Players spend most of the game traveling around, helping Noctis’s subjects and disrupting Niflheim in an open world environment.

Read more ...

Political Commentary: Is It Effective?

Whether you know it or not, politics heavily affect your life regardless of your age, religion, or personal beliefs. It can be frustrating at times when decisions are made that affect your life that are out of your control, people have developed coping methods and ways to express their opinions to others; political satire is one of these methods. It breaks down the confusing policies and complications in government and makes it easier for citizens to understand, while making light of crazy situations through comedy.

Last Week Tonight is an example of one show that does exceptionally well in this area. In increments of 30 minute-long episodes, John Oliver discusses politics on his late n ight talk show, which has exploded since its premiere on April 27, 2014.

Last Week Tonight just returned on Feb. 12 with its fourth season, with much catching up to do. As most of us know, there has been an extremely high amount of discussion in the news lately covering the policies President Donald Trump plans to implement/remove, along with other complications in government. To help us understand the madness, Oliver broke down some of these highly important topics.

The show has a specific structure to it. First, it discusses a few minutes of important news topics, followed by a brief intermission of a compilation of comedic clips, which transfers to the main story of the night.

Read more ...

An Interview with Zuzanna Szadkowski

Zuzanna Szadkowski is making her debut at Two River Theater in The Merry Wives of Windsor this month. The professionally trained theater and television actress talks about her love of acting, the experience of performing on stage and what is most endearing about Shakespeare.


What do you love the most about being an actor?

I love that, as an actor, my job is to connect to an audience and to move people. We explore how life feels and tell stories. It’s sometimes simple, sometimes complicated, often impossible. Actors play and surprise themselves, each other and the audience. It’s my heaven.

I had the pleasure of reading your television credits. Gossip Girl and The Knick were both great tv shows. Do you prefer doing television and film over theater or vice versa?

I love working in both mediums. Acting on screen is pretending like no one is watching - the people in the room aren’t supposed to be there, and the audience watches an archive of the event. You don’t really have to work to share your performance. That’s very freeing. Conversely, theater can’t exist in a vacuum - it lives and breathes based on the exchange between actor and audience. That’s very invigorating.

Read more ...

The Struggles and Successes of Local Bands

We all know that Bruce Springsteen truly believes that, “Down the shore, everything’s alright,” but, our local bands are what really make the Jersey Shore so cultured, lively, and all the more entertaining. While there is a significant amount of well-known artists and bands that have originated from The Garden State, being a local band is nowhere near as easy as it may seem.

Anthony Trilli, a junior health studies student and lead guitar for the band More Than Acquaintances, said, “I think what makes a New Jersey artist is staying true to your roots. NJ people have a lot of pride in their state and where they live. Whether it be North Jersey or the shore, we are prideful of where we live and it is shown through our music.”

Trilli’s band, More Than Acquaintances, is fairly new to the scene, starting up nearly a year and a half ago. After learning guitar, Trilli and his other bandmates decided their true talent was Red Hot Chili Pepper’s covers--and so the band was formed. But it wasn’t as easy as it sounds, Trilli said, “With none of us having any knowledge of music theory, we decided to just wing it. I would make something up on the guitar that I thought sounded good and then I would show Mike (Trilli’s younger brother) and he would make a bassline followed by Joe (Trilli’s other brother) coming up with the drums.”

Read more ...

The Emily Youth Project Releases Number 2

The Emily Youth Project is junior music industry students Mike Grant and Jon Bass, junior business student Justin Murray, and recent music industry graduate, Andrew Jackle.

The band began their music career when Grant, Bass, and Murray auditioned as Ice House Gallery for Blue Hawk Records’ (BHR) 4th compilation album with their track “Out of Hand” with junior music industry students, Owen Flanagan and Mike Hause. “Out of Hand” is a rock song with some Jack’s Mannequin (the band) vibes.

Since the compilation album in the fall of 2014, the band has experienced some big change in sound and lineup. EYP now: Grant on piano, Bass on bass, Murray on guitar, and Jackle on the drums, has been rocking the Jersey music scene for over 2 years now and have produced 2 EP’s (extended play).

Their first EP, self-titled The Emily Youth Project, was released in the summer of 2015. This whole EP is very fun and dancey with some silly lyrics and sampling from movies and shows. This EP also has some Jack’s Mannequin tones and some piano sections that remind me a little bit of Owl City. EYP’s biggest hit off here was “Saturday Night Done Right,” a song that everyone knows, if you’ve ever seen these guys play live.

Read more ...

An Inside Look at The Merry Wives of Windsor

If any avid theatergoers are curious about the process of making a stage play, I recommend going to see an open rehearsal at Two River Theater in Red Bank. Having free open rehearsals for upcoming productions has been a way to welcome the Monmouth County community. This is an event that Two River Theater has opened to the public in the past and this tradition continues.

Last week on Monday, I had the opportunity to see the director, cast and crew rehearse for The Merry Wives of Windsor play followed by a Q&A with the audience. The most rewarding thing that I learned from watching this rehearsal is that it takes a lot of time, patience and effort to put on a performance. It is incredible to see the kind of work ethic and dedication that actors, directors and crew members have because they do what they do non-stop. They live and breathe art and it shows through their passion for it.

The creative process of The Merry Wives of Windsor is interesting when you realize that only three actors, Nicole Lewis, Jason O’Connell, and Zuzanna Szadkowski, will be headlining the show. They will be playing several characters and switching between characters during scenes. The concept sounds pretty wacky, but the director Eric Tucker put the audience at ease by comparing his version of the classic play to a Coen Brothers film or a Quentin Tarantino film. In his words, “It takes place in a dingy, seedy motel room.”

Read more ...

Tyler Robinson Gets Signed To Blue Hawk Records

Tyler Robinson Signed BHRTyler Robinson, also known as Teddy, is the first rap artist to be signed to Monmouth University’s Student-Run record label, Blue Hawk Records. In the past four years that Blue Hawk Records has been operating, it has had a few rap artists represented on the various compilation albums. These artists included J Piff (James Porricelli, senior music industry student), Jax the Geenius (Jamier Gee, music industry recent graduate), and Trevon Bailey (sophomore biology student).

Blue Hawk Records has primarily been a label for indie rock bands and singer/song-writers based on the artists who have been on the past nine compilation albums. Robinson auditioned to be on the applied music industry class’ tenth compilation album a few weeks ago, and although the class did not see a place for him on the album, the e-board of the record label saw a great artist in the making.

“We are really excited to sign and work with someone who has already worked hard to make a name for himself as an artist,” said Dave DePaola, a senior music industry student and president of the record label. “We’re looking forward to advancing his career and marketing such a talented musician.”

Robinson is a sophomore music industry student and was a member of the MU basketball team last season; he was a big part of the iconic “Bench Mob” that became known nationwide. Robinson has played various events on campus since he began to focus on his career as a musician.

During his freshman year, Robinson was studying criminal justice and just recently changed his major to music industry. This new course of action was actually inspired by his inability to continue playing basketball because of his injuries. Music has always been a part of Robinson’s life. He said, “I’ve been writing forever and I grew up around music. When I told people  I wanted to be involved in music, they thought I was kidding.”

Read more ...

Joey Affatato Shares New Music on The Ramparts Rebel

Joey Affatato The Ramparts RebelJoey Affatato, senior music industry student and vice president of Blue Hawk Records, has been a part of the Monmouth University music scene since the beginning of his freshman year in the fall of 2013. Now he has some amazing music to share with us on his latest album. Affatato’s first band in college was The Ramparts Rebel, which included himself and his uncle’s band, Crypt Keeper Five.

This album is self-titled The Ramparts Rebel, and if you have ever had a chance to see Affatato play live, you will be blown away about how some of your favorite hits are re-created on this album. As a frequent goer of Affatato’s shows, I was honestly surprised and super pumped by the artistic magic that I heard in the songs that I often hear live at his shows.

While he explained how he composes his music, Affatato said, “When writing an album, I usually start off by writing songs stripped down on my acoustic then eventually, I’ll come up with a cool hook or catchy melody and I’ll go off that. Then, I’ll demo the songs out until they sound good enough to bring to the studio to record.” This album definitely sounds like it was carefully put together and well practiced.

The opening track begins with a Green Day-esque bass riff that brings you back to 2005 and makes you feel so angsty in the best way possible. This whole track is just angry and honest, which is very refreshing compared to the many happy, go-lucky, love songs that some people may be used to now a days.

The second track on the album is “Faults,” which is a go to song for Affatato when he plays out. The perfect example of a hooky, fun, but still angsty song. Sometimes you can’t help but scream the chorus at the top of your lungs and pronounce it, “ MY FAAA-AA-WALT!”

Read more ...

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