albums

The Sun’s Top 10 Songs of 2017

1) Bodak Yellow – Cardi B

Perhaps the most pervasive and noticeable facet of this song is the unapologetic delivery of Cardi B’s lyrics. The percussive nature of her articulation almost renders the background beat subservient to her artistic command. Supporting the lyrics is the repetition of a haunting melody which produces a sense of tension that despite being peripheral, is undeniably entrancing. Mesmerizing and captivating, Bodak Yellow is a beautifully hypnotic work. By Varun Biddanda

2) “Passionfruit” — Drake

“Passionfruit” is possibly the most confusing track on More Life.

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Does Coco Live Up to the Hype?

It’s been a long year for animation. While we’ve had a couple good hits here and there, there’s been a lack of quality in many titles. So I really needed Coco. The film opened in Mexico last month, unusual since American studios tend to release their films domestically first. Coco ended up becoming the highest grossing movie of all time in Mexico, and rave reviews heralded an upcoming splendor.

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How Does The Star Present Christmas?

When I heard that Sony Animation, the same studio that brought us The Emoji Movie, was going to be attempting a Biblical story, I prepared for the worst. I feared that it would only give us relentless pandering and cringe-worthy gags. I mean, the teaser has a bird shaking his butt at a couple of dogs, so I feel like I was justified in bracing myself. Finally The Star has hit theaters, and I find myself, thankfully, relieved. While it has several flaws, The Star manages to deliver its own take on the Nativity that feels sincere and has its own unique edges.

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DC Punches Back with Justice League

I’m writing this review disappointed and I’m surprised to say it’s not with the movie. To be totally honest with you I was ready to cash in this review (not that I’m paid for these). In a lecture today the professor said the specifics of the slides wouldn’t be on the final so like any upstanding, journalistically-ethical Cornellian I totally checked out, ripped a page out of the back of my notebook and hammered out my opening paragraphs. I had this whole thing written where I compared the Marvel and DC matchup to a football game where DC was being forced to throw it deep on first down. I expected DC settle for a field goal with Justice League after Wonder Woman put them squarely in the red zone.

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Funding Art is Important: A Defense of Cornell Cinema

Cornell is not a university specifically reserved for the STEM disciplines. We were founded under a proud cosmopolitan banner of “Any Person, Any Study,” and we differ from MIT or CalTech in that we claim to offer the highest possible level of instruction in any field a person might choose. As a former PMA/English major I can say I was never belittled on campus, but I noticed an unquestionable lack of interest in funding arts departments and activities, compared to the hard sciences. This comes with the territory — the arts students tend to be far fewer in number than the STEM ones — but there is a very real danger that eventually, History, Philosophy, Comp Lit and Comm majors will have a far less rigorous education than the name of Cornell promises. The Schwartz Center has seen this with its extensive budget cuts passed seven years ago, and with its folding of three majors into one.

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SWAN | ResKp and Universal Hip-Hop

In its initial conception, the music of hip-hop was not intended to drive any encompassing social message or lyrical commentary. Of course, as a diasporic musical form, it is inherently political, but in 1970 not many individuals were rapping in the modern sense of that word, let alone dropping verses that deal with police brutality or socioeconomic marginalization. The “invention” of hip-hop is not unlike the trope of accidental ingenuity that we love to attribute to the creation of all our most beloved things, like Edison and the lightbulb, or Wozniak and the Apple computer. The tinkering in this case took place not in a Palo Alto garage, but in the recreational room of a high-rise apartment building in the South Bronx, just off the Expressway. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aHL6iKpZ8hc

A young Jamaican-American DJ, with knowledge of the dance hall culture of the country from which he migrated, made the simple discovery that there are some songs, and more pertinently, certain instrumental breaks of some songs, to which people enjoy dancing the most.

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The Florida Project: Welcome to Moonee’s Magic Kingdom

The world was a much simpler place when we were six. Our imaginations ran free. Six-year-olds can find beauty and excitement anywhere, and make any setting their personal playground. It is fun to be reminded how happy the littlest things could make us when we were younger. The Florida Project gives us that opportunity by welcoming us to Moonee’s world.

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JONES | Louis C.K. and the Art/Artist Problem

Over the summer, I had an ongoing debate with a friend at work about whether it is worthwhile, useful or even possible to try to “separate the art from the artist.” It covered the predictable bullet points this argument usually touches: whether art “ascends” to somewhere outside of the human sphere of its creators or whether it always bears the sign of the creator’s human hand; whether or not it is harmful to continue consuming art that was created by (generally) male artists with odious and/or criminal backstories; and whether it is ever useful or informative to apply an artist’s biography to their work. I was firmly in the camp that the art and artist are inextricable, and the Hollywood revelations of the past few weeks have only made me more sure of this. The relationship of biography to art was always impossible to ignore in Louis C.K.’s FX show Louie, and this was the way that C.K. intended it. The show’s main character was a reflection of its creator that never pretended to be much different than the man himself, but with his baggage and misbehavior exaggerated (it seemed). Louie was critically adored for seasons, and often praised as an incisive interrogation of masculinity and gender norms. There were some voices of criticism about the ways it depicted sexual assault and harassment — more than one episode features Louis C.K.’s character enduring some form of sexual assault by a female character, and there is a deeply disturbing scene in which he pushes and drags his “love” interest Pamela around his apartment trying to kiss her, an action which has absolutely no repercussions for their storyline.

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Spinning Singles: “Walk on Water” by Eminem

Eminem is a walking contradiction, at once meticulous and utterly messy, both in character and in lyric. His politics are complicated, his rhymes often puzzling. The illustrious Marshall Mathers has without a doubt left behind a prickly portfolio that ranges from aggravating dark male anger to poppy bops to at times mind-bending twists of verse. He is, by most measures, one of the greatest and most problematic hip-hop artists of his era. Eminem has since more or less fallen out of the zeitgeist, nowadays reserved for workout playlists and the occasional surprise appearance on shuffle.

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Test Spin: Paranoid Void — Literary Math

When I first listened to all-female Japanese trio Paranoid Void, I learned of the existence of math rock. At first, it did not sound fun, as anything having to do with math is just not fun to me. Math rock, though, is a genre holding some similarities to post-rock that utilizes unconventional time signatures, rhythms and dissonance. Paranoid Void, composed of members Meguri, Yu-Ki and Mipow, is unlike most music I have listened to, and it became evident that the trio put endless effort into their first full-length album, Literary Math. On Paranoid Void’s website, the band describes Literary Math as a “three-dimensional composition of the sound and words that the female sensibility unique to women creates.” Additionally, on the album’s release date, the band published a blog entry explaining what they wanted the album to convey.