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Nestled in a heavily residential area, Hardena’s quaint location at the corner of Hicks and Moore streets conceals its significant impact on food and social justice. The restaurant’s drive and passion for sharing Indonesian culture and cuisine extends well beyond its local South Philly community, reaching every corner of America and the world. With almost 20,000 followers on Instagram and visits from well–renowned foodies like Guy Fieri, Hardena is a pioneer in blending activism, social media, and delicious meals.
College students can’t live without music. We require our daily fix of euphoria–filled pop or somber, nostalgic folk for densely packed parties or late–night study sessions, and most of our music consumption is dominated by huge platforms like Spotify and Apple Music.
Easy to make but hard to master, pop–punk has its fair share of vocal critics for being overly generic and juvenile. Avril Lavigne is one of few artists who not only knows the genre’s ins and outs but also has the ability to craft undeniable hits without sacrificing artistic integrity. In her prime, Lavigne was cranking out chart–toppers like “Girlfriend” and “Complicated,” songs that are as catchy as they are relatable. Like her pop contemporaries though, Lavigne eventually drifted away from the sound of her early years. Christina Aguilera found a home in Spanish music on La Fuerza, Nelly Furtado transitioned to indie pop on The Ride, and Lavigne herself tried her hand at more stripped back production on Head Above Water. However, in the wake of pop–punk's surge, Lavigne is going back to her roots. Twenty years later, she makes a return to the realm of teen angst and rebellion on Love Sux, though without the boldness or fearlessness we would typically expect from the artist.
“It’s a love story, baby, just say ‘Yes.’ ” A very optimistic statement, but one that won’t always come true.
Much like writing a book or directing a movie, crafting a flawless song is a complex, collaborative effort. What we hear and perceive as music goes through many rounds of editing until perfection, which makes it easy for listeners to ignore all the steps necessary to get to the final product. Although we immediately recognize the main vocalist—your Justin Bieber's, Ariana Grande's, and Beyoncé's—and the instrumental accompaniment of a song, the co–writers, producers, and vocal engineers behind the scenes can go unnoticed. Their legacy lies in small print on the credits page, just another name that only the most passionate music connoisseurs would pay attention to.
In the early hours of a warm Thursday morning, Philadelphians woke up to submerged roads, flooded sidewalks, and a brand new canal. What started as a typical late–summer thunderstorm became a billion–dollar disaster and major harbinger of a world, and city, rattled by the effects of climate change. Penn even canceled classes and suspended operations as a result of the unprecedented damage.
CDs and cassettes are quickly going out of style, but vinyl sales have skyrocketed. Resurgence in this music format seems at odds with the simultaneous explosion in streaming service popularity, but vinyl holds a special place in the hearts of music enthusiasts and represents a nostalgic artifact from the twentieth century. The combination of renewed interest and supply chain issues resulting from the pandemic has led to demand far exceeding supply. As a result, major artists have a monopoly on vinyl supplies, resulting in limited opportunities for smaller artists.
By now, ABBA owns the number 17, just like Taylor Swift’s association with 13 and 22. But their chokehold on the music industry is more than the resurgence of “Dancing Queen” on birthdays. No other act comes close to ABBA’s role in shaping the pop music we know and love today, and it’s not hard to think that their legacy will continue for decades to come.
Following the release of his widely praised All My Heroes Are Cornballs in 2019, Barrington Hendricks, better known as JPEGMAFIA, delved even deeper into his rap niche. In the next two years, Hendricks dropped two extended plays (EPs), appropriately titled EP! and EP2!, that experimented further with the already inventive genre. His fourth album LP!, combines the melodic nature of his more recent output with his signature avant—garde production to create one of his most expressive and unique works yet.
When “Scars To Your Beautiful” blew up overnight in 2016, Alessia Cara faced a dilemma that had plagued many in her path: develop a strong fanbase and cruise to constant success, or fade into irrelevance once the next one–hit wonder appears. But unlike artists such as Meghan Trainor, Carly Rae Jepsen, or Iggy Azalea who chased more hits, Cara was content with making music that was personal to her. The music video for her early single “I’m Yours” perfectly showcases her humble personality. Instead of choreographed dance sequences or high–budget CGI effects, the video is taken with a selfie stick and includes only Cara and her brother strolling through a suburban neighborhood.
Humans crave approval. For some musicians, this may be in the form of commercial success, sold–out global tours, or widespread media attention. For other artists and a select group of fans, appreciation comes in the form of overly favorable reviews. Publications such as Rolling Stone and Spin have reviewed and rated albums for decades, and some seek validation for their accomplishments through their approval. Good scores can lead to bragging rights and appearances on Grammy campaigns, while a poorer reception can cause an artist to find new inspiration in their music. Although these reviews have been a staple in the music industry, the purpose they serve now is flawed and inconsistent.
Step foot in a Trader Joe’s and you’ll likely find yourself in the middle of shopping rush hour like in any other grocery store. While this may seem like a detriment to consumer satisfaction, Trader Joe’s accepts and even embraces the chaos. From the densely packed store size and bright sky blue walls embellished with vintage decor to complimentary coffee and free samples, Trader Joe’s has optimized every part of the shopping experience. By investing in the customer through their eccentric persona, assortment of unconventional products, and cult status, they stand out from the average Walmart or Aldi. But sometimes, their catering to the customer goes one step too far. When it comes to the labeling of ethnic foods, Trader Joe’s prioritizes white audiences and encourages the use of misleading cultural stereotypes.
To dedicated fans of Little Simz, the title of her fourth studio album might come as a surprise. Simz’s third album, the Mercury Prize–nominated GREY Area, brought mainstream attention to the London–based rapper; her unswerving, no–frills flow distinguished her as a promising and confident lyricist. By exploring personal themes such as the tumultuous time of Simz’s 20s, GREY Area exhibited an artist in the midst of finding herself. On Sometimes I Might Be Introvert, Simz reveals another part of her intricate self by further inspecting her vulnerability. The result is a monumental record that will undeniably be remembered for years to come.
From going viral after penning a Haylor parody song to gaining sudden mainstream attention after being featured on The Chainsmokers's “Closer,” Halsey’s unique journey to pop stardom underlies their complex role in the music industry. Halsey describes themselves as an “anti–popstar,” but their music isn’t indie enough to be classified as alternative—yet isn’t quite top 40 radio fodder either. They recently gained some chart–topping power with the number one single “Without Me,” but their main focus has been crafting whole albums and not quick singles.
There are only a few artists that can transcend genres, styles, and languages with their influence, and Aaliyah is undoubtedly one of them. From Rihanna and Monica to HAIM and Jessie Ware, Aaliyah has inspired some of the biggest names in the music industry today, whether they make indie pop or alternative R&B. Her distinguished reputation has been well–established, yet her legacy has been threatened due to tight control over her discography. After a 20–year legal battle between Aaliyah’s former label Blackground Records and her estate that is still not completely resolved, her diverse catalog is finally on its way to old and new listeners.
For the past two years, the Jack Antonoff blueprint has been inescapable. He appeared on everything from commercially successful projects such as Taylor Swift’s Lover to critical hallmarks including Lana Del Rey’s Norman F*cking Rockwell!. Antonoff made his presence as a respected producer loud and clear, joining the ranks of Max Martin, Timbaland, and Pharrell Williams as 21st–century prodigies. But hidden behind his renowned collaboration work is a solo discography just as large and diverse.
All eyes are on Generation Z to play their part in preventing the spread of COVID–19. Even though the vaccine is currently widely available, less than 40% of those under 24are vaccinated. While this number may be surprisingly low, some important factors can explain this statistic; for instance, minors must have parental approval to get the vaccine, which they weren’t even allowed to get until May.
Before Instagram, TikTok, Myspace, or Facebook, there was no such thing as a hashtag or a virtual timeline. The internet was dominated by forums and instant messaging programs where people with similar interests congregated. As tech companies began to shift the focus toward the individual, more and more personalized services populated the increasingly crowded social media market. YouTube and Twitter began to recommend videos or tweets that they thought the users would enjoy rather than forcing people to actively search for content they preferred. Hashtags were created that allowed people to promote their content to a specific market. With more and more users engaging with these suggestions, Big Tech finally had the data to create something unprecedented at the time: algorithms that could mimic human behavior.
In less than one week, the American women’s and men’s gymnastics teams will set out for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics—the culmination of a season that has been rife with controversy and hardship for USA Gymnastics (USAG).
When one thinks of disco, clubs and endless dancing immediately come to mind. A complex layer of instruments is needed, involving everything from heavy synths to playful violins to create that indescribable magical feeling. Careful attention must be paid to every measure since one misplaced note could ruin the entire musical atmosphere. Under the producer pseudonym dj blackpower, MIKE merges the rules of disco with cloud rap, successfully using samples to make his point clearer. With the precision of a surgeon, MIKE crafts a world on Disco! where every beat plays a meaningful role.