On May 5th, Logic, a rapper from the DC area, released his third studio album, Everybody. Teasing the album release with singles like “Everybody”, “Black Spiderman”, and “1-800-273-8255”, all of which helped listeners decipher what the album would be about. Logic has focused on varying topics about his life like the drug addiction of his parents, his biracial identity, etc. on his previous albums, Under Pressure and The Incredible True Story. On Everybody, Logic raps about major issues of the country like Trump, anxiety, suicide, and racism. His lyrics push his listeners to be open-minded and become more progressive in order to fix our nation’s problems. For example, in “Black Spiderman”, Logic challenges listeners’ views on Jesus’s race and the role race plays in people’s identity. He was originally going to title the album “AfricAryan”, the title of one of the songs on the album. However, he decided Everybody was a better fit since he raps from everybody’s viewpoint on the album. He tries to appeal to a large base of listeners and the pain that they feel on a daily basis, whether that’s depression, anxiety, oppression, etc.

One of the most interesting things about Logic’s story is his mother is racist, yet his father is black. He grew up having to deal with her calling him racial slurs. This didn’t help him as he was growing up, trying to figure out how to maneuver being biracial in America. But because of this, it makes Logic one of the most unique rappers in the game, and his ability to speak on issues like mental health and intimate life, subjects not all rappers are comfortable with, allows him to connect with his fans on another level.

Studying with music

The concept that someone can engage in more productive study through listening to music, has always been beyond me. Personally, I struggle to study effectively in the presence of any noise at all, let a lone music that is being directed straight into my eardrum. Despite my own hesitations towards the idea, science seems to argue that in certain ways there is a truth to the notion that music can improve the intake and memorization of information.

While the argument is very situational, studies do appear to show that listening to music while performing math study, or non-lyrical music while undergoing study that involves the writing of words, can be beneficial; beneficial in the sense that the mind is more consistent with its attention towards the task at hand. If the study does involve writing then it seems music that is of the more classical and/or acoustic genre is preferred. Specifically, studies have suggested the music that is played in movie scores gives one of the highest levels of increase of “productive study”; where the most information is retained.

This concept of “musical studying” has become much more of an interest for myself with the knowledge of Bohlman’s concept of Epistemology; how music gains meaning through association with activity, in a specific cultural context. In this instance, the concept of epistemology obviously revolves around the connection between music and academic performance, which I view as a very Western linkage.

I have learnt a number of things from Bohlman’s writings and this idea of listening to music in study. Most of all, I feel that majority of Bohlman’s writing focuses on the scrutiny of Western perception of music, where we do “not understand” the meaning of music or what music is in other “Non-Western” regions. With this constant focus, it is easy to forget that this idea is reciprocated for these foreign cultures with regards to their intake on our cultural music. The way in which a generation of academics have fused advances in musical technology to their act of study, seems to have come about through spontaneity and perhaps a growing urge for constant stimulation. The concept of Epistemology was broadened for me in this way, where activity association with music also applies to my own culture, and through much more subtle ways than I first anticipated.


Music and the deaf

I recently came across an interesting idea posed by a friend who was questioning how the deaf “learn” about music. At first I thought it was pretty trivial, like people who are deaf understand music but just can’t hear it. Although, the more I thought about it, this idea of “understanding” music and what its purpose in society is, is much different to just hearing music.

I guess inherently through constantly listening to music and experiencing it in different settings and cultures, one begins to understand how music plays a role in society and how influential it can be as an emotive force. Having said this, if I were to try and explain music to someone I wouldn’t know where to start. Maybe you could describe the nature of music in how it is fundamentally done and/or created, but it is much more than just a description of action. To try and capture its emotive quality is a much more difficult task.

This act of trying to “explain” does not even take into account the issue of interpretation. The way that people have their own perceptions of music and what it does for them is embedded in the definition of music’s “role” in society. The way that music is so simply understood and can transcend cultures/languages/religions etc. but simply cannot be defined is baffling to me.

Success in Music

It seems as though the music industry, in Western culture anyway, is in constant search for the “new” thing, of which, less and less people are aspiring to provide. There seems to be a number of reasons for this, as presented by Vince Neilstein in his article “Why it’s harder to become a musician than ever before”.

Neilstein outlines certain trends that are emerging in the music industry that are contributing to this steep climb for modern music artists. He attributes the increase in competition, greater ease in recording your own music, and a drying up of the “talent pool” all towards what seems to be a dying music culture. An interesting aspect Neilstein focuses is the increasingly individualized nature of musical pursuit i.e. where have all the bands gone?

I thought this was an interesting insight because it is almost counter-intuitive. The formation of a band is inherently unique and you can make your own stamp on the music industry. Everything about it makes it seem like the way to go in if you are looking for musical success. Bands are often subject to much more scrutiny with regards to how much they tour and perform live, which is perhaps the reason for the lack of interest.

All of this is reflective on our skewed Western intent around music. After reading “Making a musician”, it is clear that music in our culture acts as an avenue for success or popularity. In other cultures it is the celebration of music that is important; focussing on the process of the creation of music as opposed to the outcome.

Why It’s Harder to Be a Successful Musician Than Ever Before

If Music left us…

The thought of a world without music is a very bleak one, in my opinion anyway. It’s an interesting thought given the number of articles out there with questions aimed at the “purpose” of music: “what does music do for you?” or “how do people relate to music in different ways?”. In some ways, a more comprehensive view point to find out these answers is to ask the question of what life would be like without music.

Friedrich Nietzsche was famously quoted in saying “Without music, life would be a mistake” and I am in complete agreement with this statement. One way in analyzing this thought for me was to see where music is relevant in every day life and look at the consequences. Besides the obvious removal of music making as a profession, on a more emotional level, people would be void of identity and in many cases a form of memorable nostalgia.

As a keen music listener, I find my personal tastes in music give me not only a musical identity, but these personal preferences also form part of my personal being and can reflect back to have an influence on how I view the world. For example, the way I enjoy slower, acoustic music, makes me feel as though I have a more authentic appreciation for other art forms such as dance. I hold a close personal relationship with regards to the nostalgic value of music, just because I feel like many of my long terms memories are accessed through old music I experienced growing up. Old radio songs from my mum’s 90’s radio station, for example, are stuck in my memories of driving to soccer practice. The two memories are completely fused together and either one reminds me of the other, which holds a nice nostalgic quality and feeling every time I experience the memory.

In this way, life without music allows us to see that what music serves, in its current role, is a way to reveal and enhance your own personality as well as having a nostalgic function that inactively maintains many of our personal associations.


The recent release of a remixed version to Luis Fonsi’s “Despacito”, that features Justin Beiber, has put the song to an even higher level of popularity than it already was. When I first heard this song with Justin Bieber singing in the opening, I found myself downloading an originally foreign song that I would otherwise not have taken a second glance at. Once I realized how big Fonsi’s “Despocito” already was, prior to the remix featuring Justin Beiber, I became very interested in the motive of Bieber to want to feature. More largely, I found myself questioning how this incorporation of songs, in foreign language, into mainstream Western music can have implications towards the process of globalization.

The aspect of interest, in this case, seems to be the degree to which a well liked artist (relating to personal taste) can influence your perception of a song. For me, Justin Bieber is an awesome artist and I really appreciate his music. So, the fact that he featured in the song gave it that something extra which influenced me to download it. It was a matter of 30-40 seconds of one of my favorite artist singing, while the rest of the song is unchanged, for me to appreciate it. The implications of this process have become clearer to me the more i’ve listened to “despacito”, as I have found myself learning the spanish parts and somewhat vibing to other spanish music, one other of late includes Chris Browns “as I am”. Perhaps, the more that foreign cultures (to one another) can collaborate in music, the more potential we have for appreciating each other’s cultures.

Future of music

The future of music is a mystery and a problematic term itself, given the constantly changing nature of the industry. People often try to guess what the future of music will be without giving context to the term “future”, with regards to what that means in a time and place. Popular music has rapidly changed, especially in the last decade with the increasing advances and playful element of electronic music. The highest trending songs in the world now consist of electronic “drops” that transition and intertwine a melodic vocal section, build up and of course a “drop”. The New York Times has suggested that electronic music will have no place in our future popular music, which is interesting to see right now given its prevalence in our present day society.

Road Trip Playlists

This weekend I learned that being in charge of making a playlist for a long car ride is apparently very serious business. I went to Charleston for a formal, and the ride was a little under four hours. I rode down with one other girl and three guys, and the guy driving was the one who made the playlist.

Before we left, the driver told us that the 4 hour Spotify playlist he made was eclectic, and at the time no one thought anything of it. However as time went on, the two other boys in the backseat were getting increasingly exasperated with the song selections. What made the two boys and the driver have the different opinions concerned what each of them wanted out of the playlist.

The driver’s main goal was to focus on the road ahead, so he chose some of his favorite songs from a wide variety of genres to help him do that. Each song was different, so it was easier for him to concentrate on the road with the different stimuli from the music. The other two boy’s main goal in the car ride was to get hyped up and rowdy in the backseat, so they wanted EDM music and hip-hop/rap songs with upbeat tempos. The two boys loved the playlist when it played songs like HUMBLE by Kendrick Lamar and It Wasn’t Me by Shaggy, but hated the playlist when it played songs like Cups from Pitch Perfect (I’m honestly surprised that this song was in there) and Sedona by Houndmouth.

When the song Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked by Cage the Elephant came on, that was the breaking point. The two boys complained and complained for the driver to change the song, but he stood his ground. He made the argument that it was his car and he was the one driving, so he got to choose the music. I was surprised at how much the music affected the two boy’s behaviors. Both of them are fairly laid-back people, but they were adamant about changing the playlist. The music that was playing was very important to them.

During formal weekend, there were many jokes about the driver and his bad playlist, how he shouldn’t ‘DJ’ anywhere, etc. But I didn’t think it was that big of a deal, in fact, both girls in the car ride enjoyed the playlist. We wouldn’t have liked it if only rap songs played.

What was also interesting to note was that on the way back, when everyone felt pretty worn out from the festivities, almost no EDM or fast rap songs played. This was likely because no one was trying to get ‘hyped up.’ Instead, more alternative 2000’s music was the preferred genre, maybe ending on a happy/sad nostalgic note as our first year of college is coming to an end. No one complained when I Miss You by Blink 182, and Meet Virginia by Train came on. We pulled up to Davidson with the windows down blasting Dirty Little Secret by the All American Rejects.

13 Reasons Why

Music has the power to evoke feelings in, almost, all human beings. The way  in which media outlets use music to incite audiences can be either masterful or disastrous. Don’t worry, this post is gonna be about what I think is one of the best chosen soundtracks: the one from 13 reasons why.

I have to start with the song that gave the idea of writing this post. “Young & Unafraid”The 80s vibe this track gives me is simply amazing.


This second song was playing while Hannah’s mom was thinking about her now dead daughter. I think the track depicts with such gusto that sense of emptiness.


“The Night We Met” is probably one of the most popular songs in this soundtrack since it is played several times throughout the series. It takes us back to the night Hannah and Clay realize they like each other.


Now I have to finish with one of the songs that stayed in my head long after I was done watching the series. As Hannah is preparing to commit suicide the song Vienna by Ultravox is played. “It means nothing to me” hard-hitting words.


This mix of current songs with 80s hits make for an unequivocal soundtrack. Bravo!!


Release Radar

There have been many perks to paying the extra $5 a month for Spotify premium: playing music without blowing through data when I’m not connected to wifi, not having to deal with the endless commercials the ‘normal’ Spotify had, or the Spotify running feature. To say the least, the investment was well worth it and I definitely get my money’s worth (currently listening to my Spotify as I’m writing this blog post).

One of the features I just learned about was the “release radar”, which keeps you updated with new songs and releases from favorite artists. The songs on the playlist are based on the types of music I most frequently listen to. The result is a mixture of all my favorite genres, styles, and artists mixed together. Release radar exposes me to new music that I may not have otherwise come across on my own. Release radar is new every Monday, then Friday is the premier of “New Music Friday”, which is a playlist of more recent music.

According to an article published on “The Verge”, Spotify utilizes audio research and has hired musicologists to listen to new music and categorize it (https://www.theverge.com/2016/8/5/12380816/spotify-release-radar-personalized-discovery-curation). Since there is not substantial information about how people will react to the new album or what the “vibe” of it is, these people must figure out a way to sort it accordingly. This allows it to then be sorted to best fit people’s interests and tastes. It’s interesting to think about the logistics behind how the music ends up on my Release Radar. It is easy to overlook the intricate and complex process that categorizes and places music into certain personalized playlists.

A few songs on my Release radar this week that were especially engaging this week were “In the Blood” by John Mayer and “Thunder” by Imagine Dragons. I am a fan of both of these artists, but haven’t heard new music from them in a while. I would recommend listening to either of these songs, as they are catchy, but also mellow and relaxing.