Album Review: Yuna’s ‘Nocturnal’

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Yuna’s second album is finally here!

The Malaysian singer’s new album, Nocturnal, released on October 29th, 2013, has proven to be a step up for the artist. She’s back with some very sassy tunes just a year after the release of her first self-titled 2012 album, Yuna.

Yuna is an album characterized by very soft, sweet sounds with songs like “Lullabies” and “Tourist.” Nocturnal is definitely a slight turn away from the sweet innocence that Yuna brought to fans back in 2012.

Yuna opens the album with “Falling,” because she must assume that after hearing her voice for the first time, listeners will “keep falling” for her voice.

She’s right. You will.

The ballads on this album are “Lovely Intermission,” “I Want You Back,” “Call Everyone,” and “Colors.” The song “Colors” features profound lyrics, and the sentiment shines through beautifully as Yuna’s sweet voice sings “Don’t let all the colors fade away.” It is clear in this song that she is begging a lover to stay and continue to bring color to her life.

Some of the more upbeat tracks on this album include “Rescue,” “I Wanna Go,” “Bravest Thing,” “Come Back” and “Hanging On.” The track “Come Back” is medium tempo, with a beat held by the snare, sounding like a cute hand clap. “Hanging On” is one of the more interesting tracks on the album, as it features an oriental sound of bells and gongs in the background, intro, and outro.

Nocturnal also features two songs of the R&B genre. “Escape” and “Lights and Camera” are quite different from Yuna’s previous album. You can’t help but want to escape with Yuna’s voice as she sings “I could use an escape” on the track “Escape.”

“Someone Who Can” is a track that screams sassy. On this beautiful track with rapid violin melodies in between the chorus and verse, she sings about moving on to another guy since the one she’s with doesn’t treat her the way she knows she’s supposed to be treated. This track is also featured on NPR‘s “Fall Music Preview.”

You go, girl!

My absolute favorite on this album is “Mountains.” The ukelele chords have an intriguing Bollywood influence mixed with a Westernized violin melody. The way she sings the lyrics of the song are just so sassy!

Overall, I enjoyed Yuna’s new album, but I will admit that if I had to choose between Nocturnal and Yuna, I think I’d choose Yuna.

Enjoy the album on Spotify!

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This Week in Music: Taylor Swift’s “Sweeter Than Fiction”

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Taylor Swift has a new song featured on the One Chance soundtrack called “Sweeter Than Fiction”!

If anyone is going to write a sweet little song about life, Taylor Swift is your girl for the job.

The film about Britain’s Got Talent winner Paul Potts, directed by Simon Cowell, comes out in the UK on October 25th, 2013.

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One Chance Movie Poster

Luckily, the song “Sweeter Than Fiction” is already out for your listening pleasure.

“Sweeter Than Fiction” is a medium tempo tune with lots of guitar and drum beats.

The intro is a lovely melody of major chords that sound full of triumph and hope.

The instrumentation of the rest of the song is nothing out of the ordinary, but the lyrics are heartwarming.

The lyrics of “Sweeter Than Fiction” take listeners through the doubts and triumphs of success. The second part of the first verse is beautifully written, as she sings,

Seen you fall, seen you crawl on you knees (eh, eh)
Seen you lost in a crowd, seen you colors fade
Wish I could make it better
Someday you won’t remember,
This pain you thought would last forever and ever (Verse 1, Part 2)

The bridge of the song reminds us all why we love Taylor’s voice so much, as the beat slows down a bit and she drags some of the words out legato:

I’ll be one of the many saying
Look at you now, look at you now, now
I’ll be one of the many saying
You’ve made us proud, you’ve made us proud, proud

And when they call your name
And they put your picture in a frame
You know that I’ll be there time and again
‘Cause I you loved when… (Bridge)

The way the drum takes over in the instrumentation of the last few lines of the bridge brings a nice touch of sentiment to finale of the song, in which Taylor sings the first part of the first verse again.

I hope this song actually plays during the film and not just the end credits.

Or worse: I hope its not just for the soundtrack. That would be a shame to waste such a beautifully written song when it could well be played in the film itself.

Enjoy the track!

Hofstra Fall Fest 2013 and Aziz Ansari Comedy Show

Saturday, September 28th was a very exciting day at Hofstra University.

Fall Fest 2013

Even before the Fall 2013 semester began, there were rumors that Ke$ha would be performing at the Vibe Live concert on campus for homecoming.

I can imagine how happy Hofstra students were when Entertainment Unlimited finally released the full lineup.

As a commuter, of course the first thing that caught my eye that day was all of the cars parked in places that student cars don’t usually park. I was starting to worry that the shuttle wasn’t going to be able to let me exit at Hofstra USA to get my wristband.

Parade of Floats, Carnival, and Vibe Live

The day kicked off with the Parade of Floats, led by Kate and Willie Pride, the school mascots.

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Following them were the lovely cheerleaders, the nominees for homecoming King and Queen, and the movie themed floats.

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Later on during the festival, Justin Smith of Pennsylvania was crowned King and Rachel Elizabeth of Texas was crowned Queen.

Over on the intramural fields, the 2000 ride caught my eye. My friend Jessica was so determined to ride it as soon as we were allowed to enter at 2pm.

IMAG2545Jessica was the first to start screaming when the ride started to spin around in circles on a different axis after every 20 seconds or so. Chad and Mrs. Johnson were also screaming like mad, and I could not stop laughing.

After 2000, we went on the swings, hoping that we wouldn’t fly out and end up on the south side of campus.

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On the Swings
Front (l-r): Chad and Jessica
Back (l-r): Me and Mrs. Johnson
Photo Credit:  Jessica Johnson

The Vibe Live concert began with cover band Bon Journey.

If you haven’t already figured it out, they sing covers of Bon Jovi and Journey songs.

The lead singer had some trouble hitting the high notes. At times it sounded as if he were screaming.

Their cover of “Don’t Stop Believing” was very well orchestrated.

Next up on the lineup: Sugar Ray.

Cue moment when everyone born circa 1990 realizes that they’ve probably heard these songs before somewhere.

Lead singer Mark McGrath is so silly.

“You see this ring?” he said right before the band performed “Fly.”

“This is the no fun ring,” he said, referring to the band on his third finger.

I mean, if that’s how you feel after being married to beautician Carin Kingsland for only a year then…

And to the people in the crowd next to Jessica dancing in circles around a folded sweater:

WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU DRINKING? THIS IS NOT A FREAKING MOSH PIT!

After Sugar Ray, DJ Whatever tried very hard to stall until Ms. Kesha Rose Sebert decided she was ready to sing her little heart out for all of us Hofstrans.

The crowd danced to the “Party Rock Anthem” by LMFAO and the ancient folk song “Cotton-Eyed Joe,” circa Civil War.

I stopped the shenanigans when DJ Whatever decided to try to make us dance to “Gangnam Style.”

If you were on a blanket in the grass, I hope you danced. In the crowd, no. I’m not going to try riding an invisible horse when I have fourteen people breathing down my neck in desperation for Ke$ha.

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Ke$ha at Hofstra Vibe Live 2013
Photo Credit: Jessica Johnson

Ke$ha opened her performance galactic style with “Warrior,” the song that she named her 2012 album after.

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Ke$sha Performing “Warrior”

Other songs she performed included “Crazy Kids,” “Tik Tok,” “We R Who We R” and “Blow.”

Ke$ha Performing "Take it Off"

Ke$ha Performing “Take it Off”

For “Blah, Blah, Blah,” Ke$ha brought two special dancers onto the stage.

“You know, I have a fetish,” she said before bringing two ginormous eyeballs out for the crowd.

Ke$ha Performing "Blah, Blah, Blah"

Ke$ha Performing “Blah, Blah, Blah”

I can’t lie, Ms. Sebert, I like balls too.

She brought her mom onto the stage during the show, and even filmed some of her MTV documentary, My Crazy Beautiful Life.

Don’t even bother trying to find my face in the crowd when that airs. I’m way to short to be seen in that massive array of insanity.

After an encore, Ke$ha closed the Vibe Live concert with “Die Young.” The confetti cannons exploded everywhere.

When I got home that night, three pieces of the red confetti fell out of my shirt.

Way to go guys. I took your mess home with me.

After all the festivities and fireworks, it was time for some serious comedy with Aziz Ansari at the Mack Exhibition Complex.

Aziz Ansari, “Out Loud” Comedy Show, Dangerously Delicious Tour

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Yes, the guy that plays Tom Haverford on Parks and Recreation. No, Amy Phoeler did not get up on stage with him.

This guy actually got one of the VIP floor seated members to let him read her text messages.

The bar at Dizzy’s better have paid for that advertisement. Now we all know she invited a guy to one of the three bars on the strip.

On a night when those “girls was loooooooooose!”

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If there’s anything I’ll take from Aziz’s comedy show it was this: stop being so rude.

If you meet someone and they take your contact information, what are you going to do when they message or call you?

You can keep making excuses. You can lie to them. You can even get them to actually believe that read receipt you got at 8:49am was a Facebook glitch.

Or you can just be honest.

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Fall Fest 2013 was a blast. And so was Aziz Ansari.