Art

Soundtracks Make the Best Playlists

I am terrible at making playlists. I have weird (or nonexistent) taste in music, so it’s useless to craft anything more specific than the seven-hour “songs I like” playlist that is practically the only thing in my Spotify. Also, it’s boring to me to sort songs, which is why my sole playlist still contains songs I liked in 2015. And why I spend more time skipping songs than listening to them. Luckily, there is no need for me to force myself to be better at the fine art of playlist-making, because movie soundtracks exist.

Movie soundtracks make for a better-curated, more aesthetic-y, overall more fulfilling and inventive music listening experience than any playlist you could make yourself. To prove this point, I have collected here some of my absolute favorite movie soundtracks. Click the album art for a link to the music!

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Opinion

Tips for Managing Anxiety As a College Student

Coming into college, I experienced some of the worst anxiety of my entire life. The tiniest of problems set me off, sending me spiraling into a fray of worry. I start to sweat, and my heart begins to beat so fast that I feel like I’m running a marathon. Even as the semester comes to an end, I still worry about minor things like whether or not I’ll get to class on time, if I’ll have enough time to do all of my work, and if the library printer is going to have paper (which is a valid worry here at Emerson to be honest).

Some days are worse than others. At times, I’ll spend an entire day almost anxiety free. These are usually the days when I feel most in control of my life, when everything goes exactly to plan. However, there are those days when almost everything falls apart, and I spend every waking hour panicking, a slave to my brain’s irrational worries.

For chaotic days like these, I’ve come up with three foolproof “hacks” that help me manage my life, and thus my anxiety. Please note that these tips won’t work for everyone, and that if you’re dealing with a serious form of anxiety, consult with a medical professional or therapist. However, if you’re looking for some simple ways to try and reduce moderate anxiety throughout your day, keep reading!

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City

Hidden Secrets of the BPL

Let’s face it: Emerson College’s Iwasaki library is not the quietest place to work. From archaic printers churning out hundred-page movie scripts, to students complaining that Emerson doesn’t have access to any source materials worth using for a thesis paper (the struggle is truly real), there’s really no place to procure some quiet time. Even if you don’t go to Emerson, I’m sure you can relate to the struggle of being unable to find a serene space on-campus.

Keep calm, fellow Emersonians! There’s a place close to campus where you can go and not only do your work but grab a bite to eat and get cultured as well: The Boston Public Library.

The BPL is on Boylston Street, and is just a fifteen-minute walk from Emerson’s campus (perhaps a bit longer for you poor souls who live in paramount). This means you can get in your exercise without having to go to the gym; yay physical activity! On the way to the BPL, there are also a surplus of places to eat, so if you get hungry on the way, you can always stop by Panera or Chipotle for a quick food break.

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Opinion

The Formula for the Perfect Party Playlist

Have you ever been to a party where the atmosphere was amazing, the pigs in a blanket were cooked just right, you and your friends were having an awesome time laughing and making fools of yourself… but the music sucked? There’s nothing worse than a party playlist that sounds like it was made by the DJ at your middle school dance. Everyone’s just standing around awkwardly, sipping “punch” in an effort to keep from cringing. If you’re worried that your next party is going to be like I just described, have no fear: I’ve come up with the formula for the best party playlist that will be sure to please everyone, even the host yourself! You can also make this playlist for your friend who thinks Jake Paul’s “Everyday Bro” is appropriate party music (don’t come for me Jake Paul stans, it’s just the truth).

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Art

How Musical Theatre Shaped Who I Am

I started theatre at the age of nine and continued with it until the age of 18. I always felt happiest up on stage in front of an audience. Theatre forced me to become comfortable in front of large amounts of people very early on which boosted my confidence more than I ever knew.

I never really had dreams of being on Broadway, my goal for each show was to do my personal best. I love going back and watching old DVD’s because my stage presence gets significantly better every show. Theatre is an amazing way to boost self confidence because the audience gives so much reassurance about what you are doing. It is not easy as a nine-year-old to remember choreography, song lyrics, and lines, but I have seen so many young kids perfect their performance in the end. It’s impossible to tell what you’re capable of before your first performance but once you leave it all on the stage you feel an instant wave of relief and accomplishment.

The Spring after my freshman year of high school I was nominated for EMACT’S (Eastern Massachusetts Association of Community Theatres) Best Young Actress award which was a high point of my theatre career. It was for my role as the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland. The nomination came as quite a surprise to me and I felt elated to attend the award gala and see many other talented actors. 13-year-old Hannah did not exactly feel at place in a room surrounded by much older actors  who had been performing longer than I had been alive. Looking around me and realizing that I was being recognized side by side with so many other amazing people made me hold my head up a little higher and smile a little brighter. Although I did not win the award, being recognized for doing what you love is always an achievement in itself. The nomination showed me that what I was doing was meaningful not only to myself, but to others. I had always felt a little different being a theatre kid and never getting involved with sports so this source of validation made a big difference in my social development in high school.

Through the Easton Children’s Theatre I was able to perform for nine years as well as become an assistant director for about five years. I helped out with two musicals during the year and over the summer I was a counselor for a four week camp that resulted in a completed musical. This opportunity allowed me to choreograph many shows and help young actors between the ages of 9 and 15 sharpen their acting skills and gain confidence on stage. It is amazing how much a young actor can change between their audition and opening night. The amount of joy I feel watching a completed show has brought me to tears multiple times because I feel so much pride in the actors. I wouldn’t trade my theatre experience for anything in the world and I would do anything to relive every show I directed one more time.

Flash forward to my senior year of high school, I knew that my theatre career was coming to a close. My major was declared at Emerson and I wasn’t too sad about my final curtain call at my high school musical. Theatre was the right choice for me throughout high school and I did not regret any of the late night choreography sessions or stressful dress rehearsals. To all of the theatre kids out there, you are making the best decision by sticking with it and performing on a stage. You will carry the skills and confidence with you for the rest of your life and it will bring you many, many opportunities (theatre related or not) in the future.

Because of musical theatre, I am now able to speak in front of crowds, hold myself with poise, and watch young actors grow  with my guidance. When I start to reminisce on my theatre experience I miss it more and more. There is absolutely nothing else like live theatre which makes the feeling irreplaceable in my heart. I hope one day I will step foot on a stage because I really do still hear it calling my name.

Art

Being a Non-Music-Major Pianist

I’ve been playing music for as long as I can remember. My childhood was more so a series of staffs, black notes and complex finger patterns than it was words or steps. I learned music as a third language (after English and Tamil), and it brought me a type of simultaneous joy and frustration that nothing else in the world brings me. It’s the fire that lights my every move.

I was 5 years old was when my parents drove me to my first piano lesson. I’d be lying if I said I remembered it like it was yesterday because I don’t recall it at all. I prefer it that way; it wasn’t some huge moment in my life. Instead, it was just what was meant to happen, simple as that. I’ve had 3 piano teachers in my life, each one growing in difficulty and sternness as I, too, grew. Although I don’t remember these first few piano lessons, I will never forget that rush when I’d struggle through a piece and make it through without a single false note. That rush started in my belly and glowed all the way up my esophagus. It was a pride like none other.

After those many years of youth piano books, I finally got into the good stuff. Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, and, my favorite of all, Tchaikovsky. I wasn’t anywhere near being a perfect pianist. Every piece I learned was tough, and I suffered through misplaced fingers, misread notes and misunderstood key signatures. I was so beyond frustrated. All I wanted was to be a piano maestro, taking one look at a page and playing it as fluently as I can speak a passage of the English language. All my friends were playing pop music in their lessons, and I craved the ease of Adele’s chords under my fingertips. I lost sight of the treasure that was classical piano.

What had always discouraged me from being the best pianist I could be was the fact that I knew deep down I didn’t need to be, even if I wanted to. I wasn’t planning on majoring or minoring in any music-related fields. Music was my past and present, but it was sadly not my future. So the hours when I should’ve been practicing my concertos and sonatas, I was instead grabbing iced coffee with my best friends, scribbling out my Calculus homework or researching about and applying to colleges. I had lost my innate passion for music and, rather, treated it like an annoying chore. I instead focused my energies on playing simple chords to my favorite radio songs and singing along to them with my friends. I spent most of my high school career partaking in open mic nights and talent shows, always accompanying myself and my friends on those trusty keys.

It had been a long time since I had played my classical pieces, and I mean really play them. I quit piano lessons by the end of my senior year of high school, preparing for the inevitable move to Boston. My beautiful, rich piano books began collecting dust in the corner of my living room at home, aching for their pages to be turned and set up against the piano stand. But I was a Marketing Communications major, now, and I had no business playing piano.

It was a few weeks ago when I came home for a weekend and went over to my living room (a.k.a. The music room). I play piano often when I come home, but typically Ingrid Michaelson or Ed Sheeran sheet music that I pull up on my laptop. This time, however, I picked up my favorite piano book, Tchaikovsky’s The Seasons. It’s a collection of twelve pieces for every month of the year. I set open the book to January: At The Fireside and began stumbling through the notes. That rush from my belly to my esophagus returned instantaneously. I felt alive.

The point is that music should never have a life sentence. Music lessons are not for children and young adults, until they frolic away to college. Music is not just for the Music majors. There is something so soothing and electrifying about really playing music and forcing yourself through those tricky pieces. I feel the best musician when my eyes glaze over staring at the measures of black notes, sharps, and flats and when I have to keep restarting a measure. It’s when I am the most determined, confident, and focused. It has shaped every aspect of my life, making me a more attuned person. Even though I am no professional maestro, I know I am still a pianist.

Art

Songs To Add To Your Summer Playlist

Whether you’re cruising down the highway with your windows down, relaxing on the beach with your friends, going on wild adventures or just chilling in your room, a summer playlist is always a must. The radio is a good fallback but what about when you’re not in the car (or when you get tired of hearing the same few songs over and over again?) I recommend that for the moments when you don’t want to leave the soundtrack of your summer up to chance, you add these songs to your playlist:

Replica – The xx
Genre: Indie

After years of hiatus, The xx’s I See You marked their highly anticipated return to music. I’ll be the first to admit my unpopular opinion, which is that I couldn’t seem to fall in love with this album as much as everybody else. This song stood out to me, though, and will definitely be my first choice for a chill song.

Drive (Los Angeles) – Lolawolf
Genre: Electronic

The first time I heard this song was in the movie 6 Years (which made me ugly cry way more than I’d want to admit.) But, after separating my (probably over the top) emotions from this soundtrack, I realized I needed to hear it again. What I like most about it is that you can sit back and relax to this song without falling asleep, making it the perfect late night driving song.

Don’t Leave ft. MØ – Snakehips
Genre: Electropop

Last year, Snakehips gave us “All My Friends” featuring Tinashe and Chance the Rapper. Now, the duo is blessing us again with “Don’t Leave.” Basically, this song is a foolproof way of bringing the life to any party and MØ’s voice is no joke.

In Cold Blood – Alt-J
Genre: Alternative

Few people are more excited about Alt-J’s upcoming album RELAXER than me. This will be their first album release since 2014, and I’ve been patiently waiting. “In Cold Blood” is just one of the few singles they’ve released early, and it definitely will help pass the time until the June release.

Glazin’ – Jacuzzi Boys
Genre: Indie

When this song came up on my Spotify Discover playlist a few weeks ago, I knew I had heard it somewhere (I was guessing it was in one of the ~cool movies I had watched recently). After scouring the internet, I realized that I had actually heard it in an episode 90210. Take that as you will. But regardless of how you feel about early 2000s teen dramas, definitely give this song a chance this summer.

Cut Your Bangs – Radiator Hospital
Genre: Rock

I can’t even count the amount of times I’ve jammed out to this song with my sister in the car. It’s short, sweet, and to the point with catchy lyrics and an even catchier guitar riff. This song was released in 2014 and still hasn’t gotten old, so that probably means it never will. It’s officially time for everyone to jump on the bandwagon and add this song to their summer playlists.

I’m The One ft. Justin Bieber, Quavo, & Chance the Rapper – DJ Khaled
Genre: Hip Hop

Okay, I know I said I’m tired of Top 40, but just let me have this one. “I’m The One” is an infectious mix of different voices and sounds, and even the biggest hipster has to admit it’s the song of the summer.

Art

BTS at the Billboards

Was I screaming in joy Sunday night when K-Pop group BTS won their first American Award at the Billboard Music Awards? Yes. Yes I was. Loud enough to frighten my dog actually. Not only was this a major win for BTS but this marks the first time a K-Pop group has even been nominated for anything at the Billboards.

So here are some basics on the new K-Pop sensation; there are seven members, Jin, Yoongi, J-Hope, Rap Monster, Jimin, V and Jungkook. They’ve been active since 2013 in BigHit Entertainment, one of the smaller and lesser known music companies in South Korea. BTS’ widespread fame really picked up within the past year with songs like “Fire,” “Blood, Sweat & Tears” and “Not Today”. While their lyrics are stunning, their music videos are equally impressive.

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Campus

Challenging the Literary Canon

After years of being assigned books to read for school, have you ever wondered why the same authors find their way onto every English teacher’s syllabus? I can still remember most of the books I was assigned in high school, throughout my years of Honors and AP English classes. As a freshman, I can recall reading Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck and Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. My sophomore English syllabus emphasized Shakespeare, Hemingway, and Victor Hugo. Junior year was my AP Language course, which consisted primarily of analyzing speeches from great men of times past, such as John F. Kennedy and Abraham Lincoln.

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Art

Adventures in Creating New & Differentiated Identities

We all know that every company in existence has a certain brand – a look, a message, a name, a logo which are components of the brand’s identity. However, brands can go even further than companies: almost every music artist has created their own specific brand identity that coincides with their musical identity.

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