By Brooke Jackson-Glidden, Features Editor
Let’s be honest: MTV has sort of lost its spark. Maybe it’s because mainstream music generally falls flat once you enter college (or leave the eighth grade). Maybe it’s because MTV rarely plays music anymore.
Regardless, the mtvU Woodie Awards, which celebrate the music “college students love,” may revive MTV’s image in the eyes of the pop-apathetic 20-somethings who haven’t watched an MTV music video since The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus and Lupe Fiasco dominated the airwaves.
The Woodies, a “people’s choice” anti-VMAs, will feature acts that are hard to disregard, including hip hop goddess Iggy Azalea and hipster gospel preacher Jack Antonoff. Azalea was nominated for her video “Bounce,” in which she tours the streets of Mumbai in ornate saris and gold spandex atop an elephant.
“It’s a very surreal video,” Azalea said in a phone interview. “Because the song didn’t have a narrative element to it, I wanted that escapism.”
Azalea released the music video for her song “Fancy” Tuesday, and is set to release her next album next month.
Azalea has been on the scene for the last two years, after moving to Miami alone when she was 16 and emerging as the girlfriend of rapper A$AP Rocky. The artist exposed her past in her single “Work,” released last year.
“It’s my journey into adulthood in that song,” Azalea said of “Work”. “That’s the part of my life being chronicled.”
“It’s about desperately wanting to get better at stuff,” Antonoff said. “I think that’s a more clear version of happiness that people can relate to. It’s not exactly being happy, but wanting to be happy…My only hope for Bleachers is that [he] reaches the people who need it.”
Azalea and Antonoff join artists like Bastille, Childish Gambino, James Blake, Disclosure and Lorde at the award show, which will air on March 16 for national audiences. Voting is still open for all of the categories including best college radio station, for which BU’s own WTBU is nominated.
By Hannah Landers, Staff Writer
Awards season is the shining beacon of glamour and celebrity in an otherwise dismally dull late winter. With the pinnacle of the season – the 86th Academy Awards – happening Sunday, it’s getting harder to keep the excitement and ardor over who will win (and, equally important, what that winner will be wearing) in check. Keeping in mind that that excitement often turns to disappointment as the Academy inevitably chooses to bestow their honor on someone who (in your humble opinion) just isn’t up to snuff. Here are the official Muse Oscars predictions:
Best Writing – Adapted Screenplay
Ridley’s heartbreakingly compelling adaptation of Solomon Northup’s 1853 memoir blows all other competition out of the water. Plus, Ridley just bagged the USC Scripter award, which has predicted the Oscar sceenplay winner for five of the past six years (Sorry, “Up in the Air”).
Best Writing – Original Screenplay
With all of the powerhouses competing for Best Picture, Bob Nelson’s quiet little black-and-white story of the tumultuous but loving relationship between an aging alcoholic father and his adrift middle-aged son will, unfortunately, be lost in the shuffle—all the more reason it warrants the Oscar for its screenplay. Jonze will likely take home the prize, however, after wins at the Golden Globes and the Critics’ Choice Awards.
Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Who Should Win: Lupita Nyong’o for “12 Years a Slave”
Who Will Win: Lupita Nyong’o for “12 Years a Slave”
There is so much misery and suffering in Steve McQueen’s slavery drama – and rightly so – but the most captivatingly tragic figure is the young slave Patsey, played by Lupita Nyong’o with achingly terrific force.
Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Leto has swept the other awards in this category and most of the other contenders – with Fassy being the only possible exception – don’t hold a candle to his groundbreaking role and electric performance.
Best Actress in a Leading Role
Adams’ fiercely desperate performance was a highlight of over-hyped “Hustle,” but Blanchett has taken home pretty much every award she’s been nominated for, so an Oscar win for her is almost a certainty.
Best Actor in a Leading Role
Alright, alright, alright – There’s no stopping Hollywood’s favorite surfer from dominating the award shows this season, although veteran actor Ejiofor certainly deserves some kind of recognition for his heart-wrenching breakout performance.
“Gravity” was a stunning feat of technical brilliance and Cuarón earned his right to recognition for the film that required months of preparation, consultations with space experts and a shooting process that basically involved a more high-tech version of Photoshop-ing the actors’ faces and movements into a pre-animated sequence.
What Should Win: “12 Years a Slave”
What Will Win: “12 Years a Slave”
There’s been some buzz about “Gravity” for this category, but McQueen’s excruciating tale of free man-turned-slave Solomon Northup packs the kind of filmic impact that only makes an appearance every few decades.
By Joe Incollingo, Staff Writer
Speaking of swallowing until you burst: Tuesday night, Detroit Golf Club chef Kyle Hanley served a 10-course tasting menu to only 36 participants at the Elizabeth Theater above Detroit’s Park Bar. To make things more interesting, the food choices are based on and accompanied by Radiohead’s 2000 album “Kid A.”
It seems like Hanley was inspired by New York restaurant Brucie after they came up with a Beyoncé themed Valentine’s day menu earlier this month. Contrary to Brucie’s menu, Hanley’s was less about a play on words and more about the moods one might think of when listening to the sounds of Radiohead.
Costing $125 a seat, the meal begins with “pan-seared diver scallop with yuzu fluid gel, fried cellophane noodle, lemongrass ponzu and chili oil” set to “Everything in Its Right Place,” and wraps up with a “mousse duo with blackberry pâte de fruit” to accompany “Motion Picture Soundtrack”
Hanley’s already hinted that he wants to make this a regular event with other albums every month, but if you can’t wait, then here are some other meals you can eat to your favorite album:
1. Simon & Garfunkel’s “Sounds of Silence“: Black coffee and chicken soup
2. Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.“: A patty melt on rye with fries and a Coke
3. Beyoncé’s “Beyoncé“: Diamond-crusted tuna tartare, followed by 22 days of hummus
4. Vampire Weekend’s “Vampire Weekend”: Bodega potato chips, paired with an ironic cocktail “invented” by your friend Levi
5. Cobra Starship’s “¡Viva la Cobra!”: Ultra Blue Monster Energy drink and spicy ramen
6. The Beatles’ “Revolver“: Piping-hot beef Wellington from the England section of Epcot
7. The Smiths’ “The Queen Is Dead“: Cold beef Wellington from a dark, dank Manchester pub, served with a side of cigarettes
8. Kanye West’s “Yeezus“: Gorilla steak au poivre, paired with a 1978 Henri Jayer Richebourg Grand Cru ($19,767.79/bottle)
9. Daft Punk’s “Discovery“: Bagel Bites
By Brandon Kesselly, Staff Writer
What comes to mind when you think of Kanye West? Do you think of “Stronger” or “Gold Digger”? The time he criticized President George W. Bush for his supposed lack of efforts for the victims of Hurricane Katrina? The Taylor Swift incident and the ensuing memes? Or maybe you really enjoyed South Park’s portrayal of him.
Monday marked the 10th anniversary of West’s debut album, “The College Dropout.”
The title was blunt and true: West did drop out of college in order to pursue his dream of music. The album’s tracks detailed his story of struggles with work (“Spaceship”), his dance with death (“Through the Wire”), and his cynical criticism of the college system through a series of humorous — albeit, in your face — skits. West also explored his socio-political side with tracks like “All Falls Down,” “We Don’t Care,” “Never Let Me Down” and “Two Words.”
It is hard to imagine that it has been only ten years since West entered the limelight. Many people who don’t listen to hip-hop or don’t know West’s music tend to ask: “What’s so great about Kanye West?”
Let me tell you: “The College Dropout” changed the genre.
Released roughly one year after 50 Cent’s debut, “Get Rich or Die Tryin’,” “Dropout” was different: it was not an album glamorizing blatant criminal activity like a majority of the genre’s high profile artists at the time. West had crafted a project that told stories appealing to the masses, discussing the struggles of a man trying to make his dreams come true despite going against the grain of society.
Dropout paved the way for artists like Drake, J. Cole and Wale to find success, and for artists like Common to return to the spotlight. In short, nothing was the same since “The College Dropout” dropped. Congratulations, Mr. West.
By Brooke Jackson-Glidden, Features Editor
Teatime is upon us: When the cold weather rolls in with the turn of the semester, there’s nothing like grabbing a fuzzy blanket, opening your laptop and curling up with a hot cup of tea.
Tea is a magical product. It can wake you up or calm you down. It can make your stomach ache go away or relieve your headache. And unlike its cousins, hot chocolate and apple cider, it happens to be calorie-free. One sip and you’re off to your happy place.
We’ve compiled our favorite teas of the season for any tea-worthy occasion, from breakfast to bedtime. So whip out your favorite mug and start brewing.
1. French Breakfast Tea
Brand: Mariage Frères
Tip: Mariage teas are loose-leaf, so make sure to steep using a tea strainer. Spitting out little twigs will ruin your morning zen.
2. Darjeeling Tea
From: United Kingdom
Tip: Let this tea steep for five minutes and then remove the bag. Otherwise, it will become too strong. Also, don’t add milk – it will cloud over the delicate flavors of this classic blend.
3. Earl Grey
Brand: Kusmi Tea
Type: Black (also available decaffeinated and infused with citrus)
Tip: Make sure you buy this tea in bags – they use the old-fashioned method with mesh bags, which is as close to loose-leaf you can get without the hassle.
4. Yorkshire Gold
Brand: Taylors of Harrogate
From: United Kingdom
Tip: Make sure you let this bold tea hang out for five minutes and then add just a splash of milk. It can hold up against a little bit of cream and it will taste just smashing.
5. Chai Tea Latte Concentrate
Tip: Heat up a cup of this Portland classic with just a bit of milk: It’ll taste a bit like the Chai Latte you pick up at Starbucks.
6. Gypsy Rose Organic Tea
Brand: Zhena’s Gypsy Tea
Tip: Rose and honey are naturally a nice pair, and a simple spoonful will mellow out the bite that comes from over-brewing black tea.
7. Raspberry Quince
Brand: The Republic of Tea
Tip: Even though this tea is technically black, it tastes milder and more robust, like a red tea. With just three minutes of brew time, you’ll have a very mild, easy-to-drink tea.
8. Cinnamon Spice
Brand: Harney & Sons
From: New York
Tip: This tea is available for purchase with convenience points at the Barnes and Noble bookstore. Its complexity of flavor comes from orange peel and licorice, paired with the aforementioned cinnamon.
9. Peppermint Tea
Brand: Celestial Seasonings
Tip: No need to add additional sweetener to this peppermint tea – mint has natural sugars which mature as the tea steeps. It tastes particularly delicious with a cookie, however, and it happens to be Girl Scout cookie season!
10. Sleepytime Vanilla Herbal Tea
Brand: Celestial Seasonings
Type: Blend (decaffeinated)
Tip: Sleepytime tea, which combines chamomile, lemongrass and vanilla for a sweet, mild flavor, is perfect for curling up at bedtime. Feel free to leave the bag in – this tea hardly ever gets too strong.
By Ross Hsu, Staff Writer
If you’re not already excited for Boston Calling, you can go ahead and get out of my face. For the upcoming festival this May, they’ve extended the festival from two to three days, which is awesome enough in that the fun will last longer. But the real benefit of the additional day is that more bands will be there!
The announcement was made via “Find the Vinyl,” a scavenger hunt that started on Monday, Jan. 27 at 8 p.m. and ended on Tuesday, Jan. 28 at noon. The acts were listed on 10 vinyl records (neat!) hidden around the city, and hints were distributed via Facebook and Twitter the day before. The winners scored three-day general admission tickets to the festival, as well as the jealousy of their entire city.
Admittedly, the announced acts are slightly underwhelming compared to September’s varied mix of indie rock and electro-pop and last May’s procession of alternative sweethearts.
And would somebody explain how Jack Johnson takes top billing on a list featuring Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros? How does that even…screw it, who can stay mad when the next two names are Death Cab For Cutie and Modest Mouse?
The top of the poster should actually read “A Festival For Kids Who Were in Middle School During the Early 2000s.” There are plenty more obscure artists, too—alongside the dynamite live acts already mentioned are newcomers The Neighbourhood and The Head and The Heart, as well as the eclectic Tegan and Sara, the ever-soulful and mysterious Cass McCombs and a tantalizing banner that reads “Announcing Soon!” Who could it be? I’m on edge of my seat, holding my breath in anticipation.
Boston Calling will take place May 23-25 in City Hall Plaza. Tickets are available via the festival’s website.
By Olivia Shur, Staff Writer
This year’s Grammy nominees are a competitive bunch, judging from the list that includes everyone from veteran winners like Tony Bennett to up-and-coming artists like Lana Del Rey. Here are a few predictions from five of the most anticipated categories.
A band that was little known a year ago has quickly risen to the top of the charts. “Radioactive” is one of their smash hits, and with its unique pop-rock sound that is impossible not to head-bang along to, its a solid candidate for this category.
Song of the Year: “Same Love,” Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
With its powerful lyrics and bittersweet melody, this song soon became an anthem for the gay rights movement. The hit single has some tough competition as it goes up against Katy Perry’s “Roar” and Lorde’s “Royals,” but it truly deserves this award out of all the other nominees.
Album of the Year: Red, Taylor Swift
This one will probably cause some groans and eye-rolls, but let’s be honest: It’s Taylor Swift. She’s won Grammys in the past and received a tremendous amount of praise for this album’s diversity, all while successfully transitioning into the pop world and still holding on to her country sound. If T-swift’s album doesn’t win in this category, it’s sure to win for Best Country Album.
Best New Artist: Ed Sheeran or Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
This is a tough one. Both artists are equally talented and have made a name for themselves this year, but with completely different sounds. Sheeran wooed crowds with his gorgeous vocals and flawless guitar playing, while Macklemore & Ryan Lewis have produced both meaningful tracks and bumping club hits. Either one could take the award.
Best Pop Vocal Album: Pure Heroine, Lorde
At just 17 years old, Lorde would be one of the youngest artists to win this award. She’s skyrocketed to fame this year, wowing everyone with her incredibly mature voice. Her song “Royals” was a smash hit, and the rest of the album is equally good. She totally deserves the win.
Catch the 56th Annual Grammy Awards this Sunday, Jan. 26th at 8 p.m. on CBS.
By Hannah Landers, Staff Writer
Dear Musies and Freepers alike,
Welcome to 2014: Year of the Muse (if you want to get technical, 2014 is the Year of the Horse). A new year always brings to mind the phrase “out with the old, in with the new” and, though it does apply here in a superficial staff sense, that’s not really what this semester of Muse is about. In fact, Muse is turning instead to the old, in a way, and we’re excited to do so.
One of the biggest changes of 2014 for Muse is that we’re only publishing one day a week now, on Thursdays. Diehard Musies jonesing for their arts and entertainment fix need not fret, however, because now Muse will be publishing one story online every day from Monday to Friday. This ultimately means more Muse. Who wouldn’t want that, right?
The Muse staff is also working on developing beat contacts within the BU and larger Boston community. This will allow writers to form a stronger bond with that which they’re covering, giving the Muse more of a personal touch and strengthening local coverage. The Daily Free Press is a college newspaper, after all, and its arts and entertainment section should be covering the exciting things that students and student groups are doing nearly every day on campus.
Ultimately, more of this in-depth coverage will build a stronger foundation for the Muse within Boston University and Boston. Sure, it’s fun to read a review of the latest Sandra Bullock movie or coverage of that electronic concert you went to last night, but that’s the kind of content you could find on just about any news site. Muse is special because it’s an integral part of BU, responsible for making the arts a prominent part of this university’s culture. In 2014, we want to get back to our roots by celebrating what the hard-working and multi-talented students of BU have to offer.
Cheers to a new year of Muse!
Your Muse Editor,
By Olivia Shur, Staff Writer
When thinking of artists that pour their heart into their music, Britney Spears is usually not at the top of the list. However, with the release of her newest album, “Britney Jean,” that is soon to change.
Regardless of her rocky roller-coaster ride through the past 14 years, Spears has never failed to release catchy, bass-pumping, roll-all-the-windows-down pop bangers. However, that’s all they really were: formulaic pop songs sure to rake in the millions. Add some controversial music videos with intense dance numbers and lavish sets, and the sell is guaranteed.
“Britney Jean,” however, reveals a more emotional, personal side of Spears that listeners haven’t really heard before.
For the first time, Spears co-wrote every single track on the album, as opposed to 2011’s “Femme Fatale” in which she contributed to a whopping total of zero tracks.
Spears’ newfound voice is evident in songs like the ballad, “Perfume,” in which Spears sings of still longing for a lover that is now in-love with someone else. Spears adds bitterness to the song, making it more personal but still with her trademark sassiness.
Spears also shows some sisterly love on the track, “Chillin’ With You,” in which she collaborated for the first time with her younger sister, Jamie Lynn.
Other collaborations on the album include “It Should Be Easy,” with pop guru will.i.am. The song itself has more of a dance vibe than classic pop, while the song’s lyrics are simple and sweet, and not as vulgar as some of Spears’ lyrics usually are.
On the opposite side of the spectrum is “Tik Tik Boom” featuring rapper T.I. The song, with a slow back-beat and blatantly sexual lyrics, will have listeners turning it down whenever their parents are slightly in earshot.
The fierceness that is expected out of a pop queen like Spears is also evident in the album’s smash hit, “Work B**ch.” The song is an ode to Spears’ long journey as a pop sensation.
If fans are disappointed with the lack of lavish sets and dance-heavy videos, then no fear. With sharks, hot cars and tributes to many of Spears’ former dance numbers, the video for “Work B**ch” makes up for it.
For Spears’ first time co-writing each and every track, the album isn’t necessarily bad. While it’s lovely to get a glimpse into Spears’ personal thoughts and feelings, the songs do fall a bit flat. One possibility is Spears simply does not have the vocal strength that rival pop-stars, like Beyonce and Christina Aguilera, possess; both of whom have the ability to bring audiences to tears with their ballads. Both have also released songs that are more stripped-down, like Aguilera’s classic tear-jerker “Hurt” and Beyonce’s “If I Were a Boy.”
Though Spears’ vocal abilities have a reputation for being everywhere from non-existent to barely acceptable, no one truly knows if the superstar has the ability to hit the notes – and this album could’ve been Spears’ opportunity to do so.
Watch Britney Spears’ “Work B**ch” below:
By Katie Bernatchez, Staff Writer
Holocaust movies are often shown as heartbreaking stories of oppressed Jews versus ruthless Nazis. These may be the polarized extremes of World War II, but German families, neither fighting the war nor suffering in camps, lived in constant fear, poverty and eventually, a deadly war zone.
“The Book Thief,” directed by Brian Percival, is about a pre-teen girl who avoids Nazi culture, finds her voice and faces the harshest reality of life: death itself. It’s the classic coming-of-age tale in the cruelest of circumstances.
Sophie Nélisse stars as Liesel, a 12-year-old put into foster care when her mother is punished for being a communist. She is welcomed into the modest home of Hans and Rosa Hubermann, played by Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson. Although initially bullied for her illiteracy, reading and writing eventually shape the events of Liesel’s childhood, which occurs in a time of book burning and censorship in Nazi Germany.
The talented cast, music by John Williams and an authentic backdrop bring the story of Markus Zusak’s novel to life. Nélisse gives an impressively mature performance, but Watson and Rush are the true standouts, able to evoke complexity in characters that could easily become caricatures. Nico Liersch embodies childhood naivety in the role of Rudy, Liesel’s best friend, and Ben Schnetzer is captivating in his unfortunately few moments as Max, a Jewish refugee living with the Hubermanns.
The most powerful scenes occur when this Nazi-defying family comes face to face with their society’s expectations. The effects of Nazi brainwashing are felt when Liesel and Rudy must watch books burn and sing the national anthem, and these effects grow stronger as full-scale war draws nearer.
The final scenes, however, feel rushed and choppy with a strange narration by Death personified. As with the story’s theme itself, words, rather than events or scenery, are the most moving. “I want to grow up before I die” is one especially heartbreaking line from Rudy.
Thankfully, it’s not a two-hour long sob-fest. Rudy’s romantic pursuit of Liesel and the Hubermann husband and wife banter provide genuine laughs.
Tackling events the size and importance of the Holocaust is no easy task, but “The Book Thief” is successful, portraying the impact of the war on both large and small scales. The expectations of Nazi culture are pervasive, and when they invade the lives of the characters we care about, the film becomes a moving experience.
The filmmakers also made editing choices in adapting the original novel, which may upset fans of the book, but the film itself feels complete. Including every minor detail would detract from the hope, despair, love and friendship at the heart of the story.
“The Book Thief” is a fresh perspective on the event that has compelled and horrified us for decades. The film is suitable for viewers as young as the main characters with a PG-13 rating but ultimately “The Book Thief” balances the heaviness of the era with the lightness of adolescence.