Opinion

Will Taylor Swift “Shake Off” New Lawsuit?

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Credit: Taylor Swift and VEVO

The haters really are going to hate.

Taylor Swift has now found herself in a legal battle over her hit song of off her album 1989, “Shake It Off”.  According to the BBC, Swift is being sued by American R&B singer Jesse Graham to the tune of $42 million. Additionally, Graham is suing for his name to be added as a co-writer on the song. He claims that the phrases “haters gone hate” and “playas gone play” are both copyrighted by him.

15 Songs by Jason Mraz You Have “Absolutely Zero” Reasons Not to Know

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You’ve heard “I’m Yours” and “I Won’t Give Up,” and maybe you even remember “The Remedy,” but my guess is most of you reading this haven’t truly come to appreciate the musical prowess of Jason Mraz—and trust me, you need it in your life. Exploring Mraz’s lesser-known tracks is the best way to hone an understanding and admiration for his touching, idiosyncratic lyrics and tremendous vocal range.

The gaping hole in your soul shall be no more—I’ve compiled a playlist of 15 songs that will fill the void you didn’t know was there and change the way you think of Jason Mraz, the world, and perhaps even yourself. Most of the featured tracks are recordings of live performances, because Jason Mraz’s music is best experienced live. Since I can’t give you all tickets to his show tonight in Australia, I’m giving you the next best thing. Enjoy!

I Just Love Earth / Flood Out Your Wrist: Playboi Carti & 21 Savage

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Listen to “Peepin,” Atlanta icon Gucci Mane’s commemorative track for THEBURRPRINT.COM, and you’ll hear two of the city’s youngest and brightest rising talents. Playboi Carti and 21 Savage represent some of the best of the “New Atlanta” wave, a sorta shaky label that seems to get more and more nebulous. A better descriptor would probably just be “underground rap” but even this conjures up images of dusty cyphers and grimy dudes with backpacks and NYC golden-age obsessions. It’s best to just say that this versatile group is solely doing their own thing on their own time, which is fine because they’ve kept the city laced with talent for a while now. I’m gonna name names now: Key!, Rich The Kid, Two-9, Peewee Longway, Tk N Cash, K Camp, Bankroll Fresh, and Hoodrich Pablo Juan have been making hits for a minute now and frankly, it’s glorious. Add them to Father and the rest of Awful Records and you start to realize how bountiful good rap is in the city (same city that has Young Thug btw). These artists may not be running the radio game as well as the gawds Future, Migos and Rae Sremmurd (yet) but their presences are definitely felt.

How To Lose Fans and Alienate People By Janet Jackson

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Recent concert goers expected to have a fun night out at Janet Jackson’s “Unbreakable” tour when their memories were stolen from them as Instagram deleted not only content, but also whole user accounts for copyright violation. Although Jackson issued an apology and revised the policy, she made it clear she had full intentions of protecting her intellectual property in the future asking fans to forgo the use of long clips.

Hank Williams Biopic Presented at the Belcourt

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Photo courtesy of Carolyn Sloss

Just this past Saturday, the biopic I Saw the Light was presented at the Belcourt Theatre. The movie follows the life of famed country music star Hank Williams from his marriage to his first wife Audrey through his untimely death in the back of his car on his way to perform in Canton, OH. Given the iconic status Hank Williams occupies in the realm of country music it is no surprise that I Saw the Light was screened here, in the home of country.

Good Country People: Elvis Depressedly’s Quiet Growth

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The south is strange and everyone’s always known it. Maybe that’s why some of the best music has always bubbled up from it. People have their own ways of dealing with things, which isn’t exclusive to the south of course, but southern people don’t like change, as the cliché goes. As music generally does, southern music takes on a lot of the characteristics of the environment it’s created in. Think of the twang of old country, the sparse emptiness that can stand in for anything from countryside desolation to sheer heartbreak. Screwed and chopped rap, pitched to the point where every lazy bass rattle thumps with its own measured certainty. The unabashed euphoria of D4L, of New Orleans bounce music, of Soulja Boy and the great tradition of the barbecue. There’s a reason NYC rappers shunned melody in rap for so long while Future and Young Thug practically warbled their way into other dimensions. The south is aware of its strangeness, and it doesn’t make amends of concessions for it.

When I Discovered My Favorite Songs Aren’t My Favorite Songs…

While I was on a road trip with my girlfriend this summer, I bravely ceded control of my iPod. Flipping through my playlists to find one she liked, she asked me if I wanted to listen to my Top 25 Most Played playlist–a playlist automatically assembled by iTunes and which I had no idea existed. What followed was a surprising series of mini-revelations as to what my favorite songs actually were.

I think that sometimes one gets so caught up in popular and critical opinion that it’s easy to fall in love with the idea of a song more than the song itself, or that you may love one song on an album so much you forget the songs around it that you listen to just as much. So color me surprised when, looking at my music library sorted by plays, The Decemberists didn’t crack the top ten. Nor did The National, or Arcade Fire, or many other bands that I love more than Rufus Wainwright, whose “Poses” is the 6th most played track on my iPod. And my two “favorite” Modest Mouse songs, “3rd Planet” and “Night on the Sun”? They weren’t there either. Looking at “Gravity Rides Everything” sitting atop the list, I realized that “Wow, that actually might be my favorite song.” It’s a strange bit of cognitive dissonance that results from this, triggering the realization that beliefs don’t always match actions. I may claim that “PDA” is my favorite Interpol song, but the facts disagree–and such was my experience with other bands.

With perhaps one exception, I didn’t anticipate any of these songs to be here–and yet they are. They’re the favorite songs that hide in plain sight; the unsung heroes; the crushes that you never notice until someone points it outThe end result is that the next time I’m asked what my favorite songs are, I may have to see if perception matches reality.

Next time you need a playlist to listen to, peruse your Top 25; maybe you’ll be just as surprised as I was.

In the meantime, here’s what I was surprised about: my top 10 most played songs.

WHAT A TIME TO BE ALIVE

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In a twitter blur, the world became aware of an approaching collaborative album between Future and Drake, two rappers who have been collectively running this year. Now, it’s important to note the considerable difference in each rapper’s dominance this year. Future has put in a decidedly inhuman season of being literally the best rapper today whose not named Jeffrey Williams. Seriously if you don’t know by now, you need to listen to the canon (56 Nights, DS2, Beast Mode, Monster). Drake has also been doing well in his own lane, releasing an album (IYRTITL), questionably silencing ghostwriter allegations, and a few songs and remixes here and there. I’m going to come clean though, I haven’t paid much attention to Drake of late, simply because Future and Young Thug exist. But, regardless, Drake, well he’s out here.

Taylor Swift Covers Come Just In Time For Fall

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Just kidding,  technically it’s not fall until Wednesday. It’s pretty darn close though.

So here’s the deal: in October of last year Taylor Swift released her most recent album, 1989. It was a runaway success, selling the greatest number of albums in its first week since The Eminem Show released in 2002 according to MTV. Swift has since gone on an incredibly successful tour which will be swinging by Nashville on the 25th. I’d remind all Taylor Swift fans to buy tickets, but let’s face it-at this point they’re over $200 and you probably should have picked them up months ago. However, I’m not here to write about Swift’s upcoming show. Instead, I want to talk about the recent 1989 cover craze.

Best Coast Brings California Vibes to Exit/In

Bethany Consentino, Bobb Bruno (far right) and band members
Bethany Cosentino (center), Bobb Bruno (far right) and band members bringing California to Nashville

Although I had heard of Best Coast prior to coming to college, ironically, it wasn’t until I left the west coast that I started to listen to them. Whether it was an actual appreciation for their music or just the nostalgia I felt about my Southern California hometown that piqued my interest, I do not know. Best Coast is technically a duo between lead singer/guitarist Bethany Cosentino and guitarist Bobb Bruno with a few other band members brought in seemingly just for touring. Formed in Los Angeles in 2009, almost every other song they make is an ode to the stereotypical Southern California lifestyle.

Celebrating the End of Classes with Smallpools, Grizfolk, and Vinyl Theatre at Exit/In

Last night Smallpools played Exit/In for the second time in the past six months, this time promoting their new album LOVETAP!
Last night Smallpools played Exit/In for the second time in the past six months, this time promoting their new album LOVETAP!

At 3pm yesterday, I turned in the final assignment of my college career. Partially to celebrate and partially to distract myself from the terror of facing the adult world, I headed over to Exit/In with my friend Sparling to see Smallpools rock the joint. My sister loves the band and had turned me on to their music, so making her jealous was another great reason to go to the show.

We arrived at 7:30 to find the half-full floor dominated by people without the over-21 hand stamps. Any illusion I had of being able to escape feeling old vanished immediately. Pitying the venue for what promised to be a slow night of alcohol sales, I grabbed a Shiner Bock and snagged a spot in the crowd just behind a couple of girls taking selfies. Naturally, Sparling and I photobombed as many as we could.

We are all Modular’s People

Upon finding out that Tame Impala had released a new single for their upcoming album (whose name remains unknown), I just had to jump at the chance to see them (again) on their new tour. A friend asked me, how did you know about Tame Impala so early on? I thought about it for a little bit until the light bulb went off on my head. My answer was: Modular People.

Britpop is Barely Breathing

A recent article on Pitchfork was published with the bold title “Britpop is Dead: Why Blur’s Comeback Isn’t One.” Blur was once a popular Britpop band, from, you guessed it, Great Britain. As Britpop raged on in the early 1990s, it has steadily declined, but apparently is making a comeback. Using the article as a reference, I intend to examine what the state, or lack thereof, of Britpop really is.

New Digs: Discovering Music in the Internet Age

Music hunting is something we all do. Though you might not actively pursue it (but you probably do since you read this blog), you had to find your favorite music somewhere. Whether it came from your friends or from the depths of the internet, your music taste is something you’ve crafted from years of exposure to different sounds and styles.

In the digital age, hunting for music is barely a hunt at all. Whether you turn on the radio, open up your favorite Spotify playlist or Shazam what’s playing on the speakers of your local Starbucks, discovering new music is something everyone can do with ease. With wider exposure to new artists than ever before, anyone has the ability to find songs they love but may not have otherwise found. In recent years, accessibility to new artists and genres is at an all-time high; most of the time, we are inundated with so many new names it’s hard to keep them straight.

“Their Older Stuff Was Better” and The Bethesda Effect

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Last year, Interpol released their El Pintor, an excellent album filled with hooks, grooves, and some surprisingly daring vocals from Paul Banks who I’ve previously mentioned in my articles has a love for singing in an ALL CAPS MONOTONE. It was, by all accounts, a good album, and certainly their most critically successful since they released Antics ten years prior. Yet a cloud hung over the album, a phrase that was spoken with a casual grace that belies it’s endemic presence in today’s music culture: “Their older stuff was better.”

The Hype, The Chance, The Rapper

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“What did you think of the Rites lineup?”

This question has reverberated around Vanderbilt’s campus since February 11, 2015. Rock purists celebrated the appearance of Young, the Giant at the top of the bill. Fans of psychedelia and indie rock were surely excited to see Portugal. The Man make the trip. Music fans of every walk of life are singing the praises of T-Pain’s inclusion.

However, the first name on the bill has generated the most buzz. Chancelor Bennett, known to the world as Chance the Rapper, whose profession, as it turns out, is in fact rapping, has taken the hip-hop community by storm over the past two years. His rise to fame has been exponential, and his headlining position at Rites should not come as a surprise.

Azealia Banks’ Island of One

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Open up Twitter, type in “azealia banks”, and witness the 23 year-old rapper-singer-songwriter’s solitary crusade against any soul that she sets in her sights. A lot of artists talk huge game about being above caring about the public’s opinion of what they do or say but make no mistake, they, like many of us, shiver when they hear the phrase “did you hear what Azealia Banks said this time?” She utterly embodies the term “outspoken”; her Twitter is essentially a platform through which she unleashes barrage after barrage of unfiltered passion.

Banks is seemingly inexhaustible when it comes to her unflinching hostility, and the list of targets who have been unfortunate enough to come under her heat reads like a who’s who of key music industry figures and past and current stars. There’s T.I., Lil Kim, Diplo, Nicki Minaj, Rita Ora, The Stone Roses (?) and of course, Igloo Australia, whom Banks reserves a singular hate for. No one is too large for her to size up and attack, proved most recently by her brief spar with Erykah Badu, an indisputable hip-hop/r&b/soul/black music dignitary. Her long list of enemies made in her short career garnered Banks the reputation of an unproductive troublemaker during the period of time in which Banks’ debut Broke With Expensive Taste languished in label hell. As Hazlitt writer Sarah Nicole Prickett notes, Banks had been seen as more famous for her acidic insults than her actual music.

The Legend of the Seagullmen: First Impressions

Fans of metal are most likely very familiar with Mastodon and Tool, two bands that have created loyal fan bases centered around rather unique sounds and styles.  Just today, Brent Hinds, lead guitarist for Mastodon, and Danny Carey, drummer for Tool, have made their new project, The Legend of the Seagullmen, known.  After releasing two songs via their website (theseagullmen.com), immediately music news sources began to speculate as to the long term goals of the new supergroup.  The band is nautically-themed, as evident by their name and the names of the first two released tracks by the band, and they also include OFF! frontman Dimitri Coats in the lineup.

Brent Hinds of Mastodon
Brent Hinds of Mastodon

Gentrification is taking the Music out of Music City

12th and Porter is the latest victim of gentrification in the Gulch.
12th and Porter is the latest victim of gentrification in the Gulch.

Nashville calls itself Music City; it’s the moniker that supposedly separates our home from Charlotte, Minneapolis, and every other up-and-coming metropolis, and it’s a huge part of the reason I chose to come to Vanderbilt. So the news that the locally beloved venue 12th and Porter will be closing its doors at the end of February disturbs me greatly—and if you care about preserving the cultural integrity of Nashville, it should disturb you too.

According to The Tennessean, the property will be redeveloped to “enhance the North Gulch.” If the South Gulch is any indication, that means we’ll see 12th and Porter replaced by luxury condos, a couple boutique clothing stores, and another Bar Louie or an Irish pub. Instead of seeing a great local band or marginally more to check out an established act like Kings of Leon or Neil Young (both have played 12th and Porter), you’ll get to overpay for dinner and drinks at a generic nightspot devoid of personality. This is gentrification at its finest: the conversion of a “run-down” area into an upscale neighborhood through the replacement of its businesses and residents and raising of rent.

Left Shark or Right Shark? The Music of Super Bowl XLIX

Walking into class this afternoon, my professor proceeded to explain that today she was feeling more left shark than right shark. If you don’t understand the reference yet, get excited because a lot of strange and awesome (music) things happened this Super Bowl that we are going to get to discuss.

If you’re reading this from quite possibly anywhere in the United States, I am going to assume that you are aware of the major sporting event that occurred just this past Sunday. For those of you who are unaware though, Super Bowl XLIX was this Sunday, and as always, it was quite the event. To be completely honest, I did not watch the entire game but I did manage to glean a couple of important facts from it. First, apparently there was some kind of upset towards the end of the game. I’m not really all that concerned with it. Secondly, apparently Nationwide killed a kid in their commercial. That’s also not something I’m going to go into here. Instead, I figured why not talk a little more about the important parts of the Super Bowl?

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