Musically Open Minded

I was not thrilled last semester when I heard that The Pussycat Dolls would be performing on Slope Day. I have no desire, however, to resurrect the long and painful battle that ensued prior to the performance between the Doll lovers and haters. I simply want to use this scuffle as a basis to lay out my intentions. Or, more precisely, to explain what my intentions are not.

Test Spin: The Decemberists

The Decemberists’ recent work, Hazards of Love, somehow does not get tiresome. This normally wouldn’t be such a feat, but most albums are not 17 tracks long. It’s not that The Decemberists failed to do some editing, however. They just included everything — ballads, angry rants, even an opening track, “Prelude,” of only instrumentals.

The Anatomy of Success

Tony Phelan wanted to be a professional actor. Unfortunately, one of his acting professors at Yale, where he was getting his undergraduate degree in theater and medieval history, told him, “You will never be an actor. You’re just not good enough.”
It is probably safe to say that at Cornell, a majority of the study body has probably felt as though they weren’t good enough. But how many students have actually had a professor say it to their faces — maybe I’ve just had nice professors — but I’m guessing not that many. It’s gotta hurt. Thankfully, all was not lost for Phelan. His professor suggested the possibility of directing, and then he landed the job as the co-executive producer, writer and director of the hit television show Grey’s Anatomy.

Student Artist Spotlight: Steady State

The members of Steady State are an eclectic group of Cornellians with majors ranging from communications to chemistry, and interests ranging from crew to chess. In fact, the band originally started up in the most unlikely of contexts — the crew team. Members play multiple instruments; one, Gretchen Craig ’11, even playing an instrument not typically found in most bands — the cello. Daisy Glazebrook ’11 is responsible for the lead vocals and also plays the guitar. Mike Meubusch ’11 does vocals as well and can be found on the drums, guitar or even the tambourine. Neal Murphey ’11 plays the piano. Deke Hill ’11 does vocals and plays the bass as well as guitar.

Test Spin: The Doves

The Doves’ newest album, Kingdom of Rust, is definitely not for everyone. It is a cacophony of minor, at times difficult-on-the-ear sounds. That being said, it is likely to be one of the most intriguing, original albums you’ve heard in a long time. The entire album has a strange, almost electronica-like aura, perhaps most notably displayed in the track, “The Outsiders.” It is a little creepy at times, but in general makes for an overarching sound that is both indie and at times reminiscent of classic rock. “House of Mirrors” is probably the most interesting track of the album, constantly changing the prevalent rhythm and tempo while spontaneously adding sound effects and featuring incredible guitar instrumentals.

And All That Jazz

People grabbed partners to dance, bump and grind in the aisles. Those who were too shy to get up and show off their moves had their eyes glued to the stage, watching as if in a trance. Remind you of anything? T-Pain? Ludacris? Actually, the grinding that took place this Saturday at Bailey Hall was not the result of intoxicated collegians and the mesmerized faces were not ones of horror but of amazement. In fact, I have yet to attend a Cornell event filled with a more passionate, eager or enthusiastic audience than the one that came together on Saturday to witness a performance by Eddie Palmieri’s Latin Jazz Band.

The Neverending Story

I’m going through a TV crisis right now and I blame it all on Scrubs. Well, not really just on Scrubs, but on the prevailing belief that the longer a television show runs, the better the show. Think about it. Friends, for instance, will be forever known as the sitcom that ran for ten seasons. But really, Friends could have ended after its eighth season. It would have been remembered just as fondly, perhaps more so.

Let's Be Real, Usher

I don’t intend to rant about our hooking up culture, the idea of “friends with benefits” (has anyone besides parents actually ever used that term?), or how nobody dates anymore. All I want to do is point out that the music we listen to endorses this culture — a culture in which when two people are attracted to each other, they are expected to hook up, not go on a date. Please don’t be like, “What! I don’t do that.” I’m not saying that everyone does it. I’m also not saying that people didn’t randomly hook up in the ’80s, or the ’60s, or the 1800s for that matter. I’m just saying that today, the music we listen to adds to this culture.

Oscar Nominated Short Films Surprise and Inspire

As someone who hasn’t even gotten around to seeing Slumdog Millionaire, Milk or The Curious Case of it Benjamin Button — no, not even one of its 165 minutes — I can say that I was very wary of taking time to watch the 80th Academy Award nominees for Best Live Action Short Film (you probably know them as the part of the ceremony during which you flip through the channels).
However, after viewing the nominated shorts, I can now say that these films are phenomenal — not perfect, but definitely worth anyone’s time (plus all five of them take up 65 less minutes of your time than Benjamin Button does, not to mention one of them is not even half the time of an episode of Gossip Girl!).

Test Spin: Lily Allen

The title of English singer-songwriter Lily Allen’s new album, It’s Not Me, It’s You, is reminiscent of every track within it — brutally honest. Yes, the album is catchy. Yes, it’s artistically unique. But the honesty is what will hook any listener. Allen doesn’t hesitate to jump right into this forthrightness, crooning in the opening stanza of the opening track, “Everyone’s At It,” “I’m not trying to say that I’m smelling of roses / But when will we tire of putting shit up our noses?” Right away, the listener gets the feeling that Allen is not singing “Why can’t we all, all just be honest?” without doing exactly what she is preaching.