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music

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By Alec Matuszak
Arts & Entertainment Editor

Two album releases by the same artist one week after another? Seems unlikely, right? Not so for rapper Future (born Nayvadius Wilburn). The 33 year-old Atlanta native released his self titled album “Future” digitally on Apple Music and other music platforms on Feb 17, 2017 and followed up with another full-length album titled “HNDRXX” just a week later. While the self-titled project featured more of the same from the trap-style rapper, “HNDRXX” strays a bit off the beat and path and is more R&B influenced than his last project (with some help of auto-tune and pitch correction, of course).

Cover of Future’s Newest Album.
Cover of Future’s Newest Album.

Future is known for his long stretches of consistent releases. He released three mixtapes (unofficial free albums) in 2015 and an album in 2016 with rap superstar Drake. After a lengthy tour with the Canadian rapper that spanned almost the entire United States, Future went back to work in the studio in preparation for another tour. In the music industry some may say “you’re only as good as your last hit record”. Luckily for Future, he has enough hit records to keep the royalty checks coming in for quite some time. With this type of work ethic, one begins to understand why Future (or “Super” as he sometimes calls himself) prefers to rap about the bundles of cash that he blows away on a seemingly everyday basis.

Aside from the typical subjects of drug use and a hardcore street upbringing, Future gives fans a sense of his vulnerable side on this album, speaking about his past relationship with R&B singer Ciara, and their child. The rapper’s cadence and flow on this album is something rap fans will appreciate. A lot of times with       hip-hop, what you say isn’t as important as how you say it. Of course, lyrics are a part of any great song, but the delivery Future brings on this album is a mix of aggressive and heartfelt. Even on the songs with a more melancholy feel, Future still manages to make it fun and braggadocios. “Gucci on sight / Rollie on ice,” Future raps, referencing his expensive designer handbag and his flashy Rolex watch.

The overall production and instrumentation on this album is something to highlight. Gone are the usual producer tags that come in right before the beat drops. Unless one looks at the credits, there are no audible production tags to be heard on this album. This gives the album a more clean, polished feel. Just because the producer’s names aren’t embedded in the songs doesn’t mean they don’t shine themselves. The beats are as polished and spacious as I’ve ever heard on a Future project, and that’s saying something when considering the talent that he has at his disposal. The instrumentals have a more experimental and dark feel to them, but differentiate themselves from what many rap fans are used to hearing from Atlanta at the moment.

Senior broadcasting major Drew Abrahams is a Future fan. “The fact that the guy released two albums in [two] weeks is unheard of,” he said. “On [this album] he is trying to show that he can go double platinum with no features,” he said. “I think he will”. “He showed how much he can do with his voice,” Abrahams said. “All he has to do is grunt, and it’s music,” he said.

 

 

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By Kristina Huderski
Features Editor

The 59th annual Grammy Awards took place on Feb. 12 in Los Angeles, CA. Millions of viewers across America tuned in, including many students. Some students liked the Grammys while others thought the show could have been much better. Whether it was Adele winning Album of the Year or Katy Perry’s “controversial” performance, students across campus had something to say.

Photo Courtesy of Nick Tangorra
Photo Courtesy of Nick Tangorra

Adele opened the Grammy Awards with her popular song, “Hello.” Later in the show, she paid tribute to George Michael, who died on Dec. 25, 2016, by singing his song, “Fastlove.” She asked to restart the performance after a rocky start. “Only Adele would be allowed to restart her performance,” Irene Spanos, a senior childhood education major, said. “It made her look real and showed that everyone makes mistakes. I give her a lot of credit.”

Adele won five Grammy awards, including Album of the Year. During her acceptance speech, Adele said that Beyonce should have won the award for her album, “Lemonade.” “I was so mad that Adele did that,” Kaitlin Veygel, a senior broadcasting major, said. “I feel like she took the spotlight away from herself. Beyonce did have a good album, but Adele worked really hard and definitely deserved it.”

Beyonce also performed at the Grammy’s, after announcing to the world [the week before] that she was expecting twins. Her performance referenced the Hindu goddess, Kali; African American water goddess, Mami Wata; and Roman goddess, Venus. Some students did not appreciate the performance. “I think Beyonce’s performance was overrated and that she’s a hypocrite,” Taylor Brodsky, a freshman, said. “She is very talented, but I think she makes her performances too political.” She later won two awards and gave a powerful speech about the need for positivity in the African American community.

Katy Perry performed her new song, “Chain to the Rhythm,” while wearing an armband that read “Persist.” Many believe her performance was political because of the armband and the words, “WE THE PEOPLE” from the Constitution, on the screen behind her. “I love Katy Perry, but was very disappointed that she had to make her performance political,” Spanos said. “I feel that some things need to be left alone and an award show should be one of those things.”

Lady Gaga proved that she is proud of her body, showing up to the Grammy’s in a braless outfit after receiving hate during her Super Bowl performance because her body type did not fit her outfit choice. Gaga performed with Metallica singing, “Moth Into Flame.” Vegel said, “I am obsessed with Lady Gaga. Her performance with Metallica proves that she can sing any style music and kill it.”

Tributes were paid to The Bee Gees and Prince. Demi Lovato, Tori Kelly, Little Big Town, and Andra Day sang “Stayin’ Alive,” “Tragedy,” “How Deep Is Your Love,” and “Night Fever” to honor The Bee Gees. Bruno Mars paid tribute to Prince, who died April 21, 2016, and sang “Let’s Go Crazy. The Time also paid tribute to Prince, singing “Jungle Love” and “The Bird,” two songs co-written by Prince. Many students, including Nick Tangorra, a sophomore public relations major, enjoyed these performances. “Out of all of the performances, the tributes to Prince and The Bee Gees really stood out to me. The stars that honored them on stage did an incredible job,” Tangorra said.

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By Michael Themistocleous
Staff Writer

After releasing EPs and singles, touring constantly, and making a name for themselves since 2006, indie-pop band Haim has recorded their first-full length album “Days are Gone.” The album was released on Sept. 30 through Polydor Records. Four positively received singles were released before the album, building up anticipation. Haim did not disappoint. “Days are Gone” is easily one of the best indie-pop albums of 2013.
Sisters Este, Danielle, and Alana Haim, with Dash Hutton, formed the band in 2006. Since then, they have honed their craft, mixing the sounds of Fleetwood Mac with artists and bands like Destiny’s Child, Madonna, and Pat Benatar. It is an eclectic mix, and forms the basis of who Haim is: a fun-sounding and enjoyable band.
Vocally, the Haim sisters and Hutton really complement each other. The vocals are not drowned in reverb like plenty of indie-pop bands, and it is quite refreshing. A great mix of lead and backing vocals is quite apparent on the single, “The Wire.” The vocals work into the music very well.
The music doesn’t sound over-done or ruined by the arrogance of one member. As stated previously for vocals, each member and their instrumentation work well together in a unified way. What really ties all of the wonderful qualities together is the production, done primarily by the three sisters and James Ford. Ford is a brilliant producer, working for the likes of Simian (his own band), Arctic Monkeys, The Last Shadow Puppets, and Klaxons. His production is definitely not cheap and it’s fresh to hear his production quality over others such as Rick Rubin or Jay-Z (whose label signed Haim).
Ford’s work in Simian and Simian Mobile Disco really helped the quality sound of the indie-pop Haim has created. Ford found critical acclaim in his work with the bands, and I hope that his work with Haim continues. Haim, while proving themselves as good producers, could always use the back-up, and Ford is the man to find the help in.
As for the album as a whole, it is one of the catchiest released recently. “Days are Gone” is an album that can be played again and again without getting old. Haim has really created a masterpiece, reminiscent of the breakout releases such as “Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not” by Arctic Monkeys, as well as “Is This It” by The Strokes. If their debut is any indicator, Haim have a very bright future ahead of them.
I recommend this for indie fans, fans of female vocalists, someone looking for a good new pop album, and fans of talented musicians and lyricists.
Key Tracks: “The Wire,” “Don’t Save Me,” “My Song Five,” and “Running If You Call My Name”
Rating: 9/10

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Rebecca Martelotti Staff Writer

Christina Morgera
Christina Morgera

Music students signed a petition against a proposed policy that would prevent them from taking lessons in multiple instruments. However, “No decisions have been made regarding a change in policy,” said Noel Zahler, Dean of the School of Vi- sual and Performing Arts.

The proposed lesson policy would allow students to take a lesson each semester on their applied instrument. Students may also take a lesson in composition or conducting, should they wish. However, this would be restricted to one instrument at a time.

According to Jennifer Miceli, chairperson of the Music Department and the director of Music Education and Vocal Jazz, the policy has not been instituted and the administration is taking under advisement the lesson policy.

“We are looking at best practices at colleges and universities similar to LIU Post, as well as colleges and universities that we aspire to be like,” said Zahler.

Samantha Komaroff, who graduated LIU Post in 2011 and is now a graduate student studying Music Performance with a concentration in Woodwind Studies, created the petition against the proposed policy. “Putting a restriction on the number of lessons students can take sets us up for failure,” said Komaroff. “The lesson program is meant for students to further their education and obtain the skills to work in music. In order to obtain a job, we must know how to play multiple instruments.”

Undergraduate students in the Music Department are able to major in Music, Instrumental, Vocal Performance, or Music Education. Both undergraduates and graduate students are able to choose from seven areas of specialization: brass, guitar, jazz, percussion, piano, string, or woodwind studies.

According to Miceli, “Each student has a major applied instrument such as clarinet, piano, voice, etc. It is expected [under the proposed policy] that students will take a lesson each semester on their applied instrument and may also take a lesson in composition or conducting, should they wish,” she said. “Traditionally students have been able to take additional lessons of their choice.”

Several Music professors declined to speak with The Pioneer about the proposed lesson policy.

Music Department students have freely expressed their opin- ions. “It’s a real shame for all of us. Our career largely entails the ability to play and teach multiple instruments, but with this cut it

stops us from fulfilling this requirement,” said Joe Donnolo, a freshman Music major. “As a performance major, I will be put at a disadvantage when I audition for performance groups (that require the capability of playing multiple instruments). This program cut will ultimately be a setback in the job market and I feel may stop me from getting a job,” he added.

“What the current adminis- tration is doing is absolutely abhorrent,” said Shekinah MacMillian, a 2007 undergraduate and 2009 graduate alumnus of LIU Post. “Undergraduates being limited to their main instrument and one additional choice of conducting or composition will in no way prepare them for the competitive job market.”

All music students, according to Komaroff, are not only com- peting against each other, but as well with others who have years of experience and the capability of playing multiple instruments. “Without the lesson program, I wouldn’t be the musician I am today,” said Alexander Sherry, a senior Music Performance major. “Touring the country and being hired by Juillard School would have been impossible.”

“For musicians who desire to go beyond their craft and explore the world of other instruments, the lesson program is a gateway to that desire,” said Scott Genovese, a 2011 LIU Post alumnus and current graduate student in Music Theory and Composition. “By limiting the lesson program, that exploration or desire is nothing short of lost.”

“With the talk of lessons being pulled, it makes me have to look into other colleges that are striving to make their music program better, not destroy it,” said Christian Olive, a freshman Music Education major. “LIU Post is where I would truly want to stay because of the caring atmosphere and professors who want to help you grow as a musician.”

“All we want is to learn music,” said Komaroff. “The Department of Music is a part of this school and we represent our school in a positive way in our concerts and our recitals.” The students of the Music Department always play at the LIU Post Com- mencement Ceremony in May and have played at top venues such as Carnegie Hall.

The written petition was created on April 8 and already has more than 95 signatures. The electronic version has 44 signatures. Students have also created a Facebook page, “Save the lesson program of LIU Post Department of Music” as well. “I am planning a meeting where I will speak about what is happening to the Music Department and discuss how administration is not being com- municative with the students,” said Komaroff.

The meeting will be held on April 17 at 5 p.m. in the in Hillwood Commons on the third floor. According to the Facebook page, 380 students have been invited to the meeting, and 47 have already indicated that they plan to attend. “We need as many supporters to attend this meeting as possible,” said Komaroff. “We need to save the music department.”

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Paul Kalis
A&E Editor

Photo: Eric Ryan Anderson
Photo: Eric Ryan Anderson

The Pioneer recently spoke with A Rocket to the Moon lead singer Nick Santino. The pop-rock group consisting of Justin Richards on guitar, Eric Halvorsen on bass, and Andrew Cook on drums released its new EP “Wild & Free,” which features 13 new tracks including “Whole Lotta You,” “Somebody Out There” and “If I’m Gonna Fall In Love.” The band’s sophomore album was released on March 26, 2013, and is available for download on iTunes. You can follow A Rocket to the Moon on Twitter @ARTTM.

The Pioneer (TP):  “Wild & Free” is set to drop March 26. How did you choose the album title?

Nick Santino (NS): “Wild & Free” is something I had written in my iPhone notes for about three years now. For some reason, I always liked the idea of music being wild and free. I thought it was a good way to sum up our album in two words.

TP: Which of the new 13 tracks is your favorite and why?

NS: “If I’m Gonna Fall In Love” is one of my favorites. It has an awesome groove, the lyrics are fun and the overall vibe of the song is just fun.

TP: You immersed yourself in the Nashville scene to create “Wild & Free.” How does the actual Nashville scene compare to the one depicted in ABC’s TV series “Nashville”?

NS: Nashville is a great place. I’ve only watched a few episodes of the show. I liked how the locations in the show were accurate. It was cool to watch and see places that I knew and would go to. TV shows always take things a little too far but I’d say they did a good job at it. But Nashville is a place you have to experience on your own.

TP: The EP was produced by Mark Bright who worked with Rascal Flatts, Carrie Underwood and Reba McEntire. What new elements were incorporated into your music from Bright?

NS: Mark is an amazing producer and an even better person. He brought a sense of freedom to the recording process. He had amazing ideas and would make us feel so comfortable about everything. He is a blessing to this band.

TP: The music video for “Ever Enough” features Disney star Debby Ryan, who is seen in a much different light than on the kid-friendly network. How was it working with Ryan?

NS: Debby is my best friend. We talk about everything together. If one of us has a bad day, the other one knows. She is a great person and so easy to work with. It was a comfortable video to make and we had a great time doing it.

TP:  Where do you find your inspiration?

NS: Everything. Just everyday life. Friends, family, love, regret. Everything.

TP: You started in a bedroom by posting a few songs on the Internet. What advice do you have for college students who want to get ahead or break into the business?

NS: You can’t give up. You never know when you’ll break. You could literally be a day away from the biggest day of your life and you’ll have no idea. If you give up, you’ll be missing out on the biggest thing to every happen to you.

TP: Tell us about one of your YOLO (you only live once) moments.

NS: Touring. I’m so grateful to be doing what I do. I’m 24 and I’ve seen so much of the world and I’ve gotten the pleasure to meet thousands and thousands of people that believe in what I do. It’s a truly great feeling.

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Rebecca Martelotti Staff Writer

Paul Kalis

Elizabeth Wollman, a music professor and published author, shared her career advice and experiences with Post students on Thursday, March 7 at the “Food for Thought” lecture series.  She studied adult musicals for the majority of her career as a writer and published two books on the topic.  At the lecture, she gave advice on how to find your passion as a writer and how students could get their thoughts published.

Wollman began her career interning at Rolling Stone magazine and was also the Broadway editor of Playbill.  Her first book, The Theater Will Rock: A History from Hair to Hedwig, based on her college dissertation, was published in 2006.

Currently, she is an Assistant Professor of Music in the Fine and Performing Arts Department at Baruch College at the City University of New York (CUNY).

When researching her first book, Wollman became intrigued with adult musicals that depicted incredibly intimate sexual songs and acts.

“As a writer, you never know when inspiration will hit and in what form,” she said on why she decided to write a book about a time when many musicals were pornographic in nature.  The topic became the theme of Wollman’s second book, Hard Times: The Adult Musical in 1970s New York City. Many of the “adult musicals” she wrote about in the book dealt with the sexual revolution, feminism and gay rights.  However, many of the off-Broadway plays, such as musical Hair and the long-running Oh! Calcutta! received mainstream successes, but others like Let My People Come were not as popular.

“While writing this book, I had to learn to deal with a particular brand of embarrassment,” said Wollman.

A piece of advice she gave was that as a writer, you sometimes have to reassure sources that you will respect their privacy.  As a writer, everything is a learning experience, especially when you are investigating something that you don’t understand or know much about.

“I have always been sort of a freak in my career choices,” said Wollman.  Her fascination with local New York theater, music and culture began in college when she was an English major and Music minor.  In graduate school, she studied ethnomusicology, which is “basically an anthropological approach to music.”

Wollman said that she always had a strong interest in music as a cultural force: how it functions in society, how music differs in other places, how it’s used in society, and the way people make music.  She recalled that these intellectual interests began with the death of John Lennon of the Beatles, when she was 11 years old.  She said she was curious as to why his death impacted the lives of so many people.

Additional advice she gave to the Post students was to find what interests you and what your passion is and then write about it.  As a writer, according to Wollman, you need to focus on what intrigues you and what you think is worth writing about even if other people disagree with you.  “My parents never wanted me to be a writer”, she added.

“I thought she was a great presenter. Almost theatrical in her delivery, yet very real,” said senior Journalism major, Anna Scheblein.

According to Matthew Applewhite, a senior Broadcasting major and Journalism minor, this was one of the top lectures that he has attended in the series.

“I really enjoyed her speech.  It was very entertaining and she was extremely honest in what she was saying,” said Sang Geun Yoon, a senior Journalism major. “I think her field of study was more interesting compared to others [lectures] and she gave valuable advice on how to write about your passion.”

While discussing her experiences writing her books, Wollman stated that the absolute best question to ask someone you are interviewing is for additional sources to contact.  She stressed that most of the time writers get other sources through word of mouth.  She applied her advice as a book author to the journalism students in the audience.  “As a journalist you shouldn’t shy away from everything,” said Wollman. “Strange things can present opportunity.”

For those interested in writing a book, Wollman spoke about the changing business of publishing.  The best way to get a publisher, she said, is to make a list of your dream publishers and send your book to each one.  She stressed the importance to constantly and consistently write because it will be easier to your particular voice.  “Her advice was real because she has gone through the process of publishing books and having to re-work so much of the stuff she wrote and love,” said Applewhite.

“I thought she gave a lot of insight into journalism and writing,” said Potoula Anagnostakos, a sophomore Journalism major.

According to Scheblein, the anecdotal stories Wollman used to share her experiences both as a student, a writer and as a professor were very insightful.

Through stories about the various experiences she has had as a writer, she informed the students that they could do it all.  “It was nice for a professional to acknowledge the hardships writers confront,” added Scheblein.

Wollman is currently working on an idea for another book, but she said that juggling family, students, teaching, and her writing can be difficult.  “When it’s time, just jump in and do it,” Wollman said.  “Things balance each other out and it doesn’t matter how long it takes you to finish a goal, as long as you finish it.”

Wollman’s speech was the final lecture of the semester in the Media Arts Department’s “Food For Thought” series.