Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A Review of "Bad Blood" by Bastille

Allison Russo
News Editor

  Recently, it seems that American music has been experiencing somewhat of a repeat of the “british invasion”that took place  in the mid-1960s. Then, it was bands like The Beatles, The Who, and The Rolling Stones that topped the charts. Today, there are many more bands and solo artists bringing their music across the Atlantic Ocean, looking for the same kind of miraculous success. One pop rock band in particular is on track to make it big in the States: Bastille.
  The band’s debut album, “Bad Blood,” comes with an unnecessarily creepy name for what is rather a collection of honest songs about the different complicated aspects of the teenage experience. Overall, the album has a faster pace and a dangerous edge as it  tells a somewhat sequential story about love, growing up, and angst.
  The album opens up with “Pompeii” an upbeat, catchy song with background vocals that sound almost like a gospel-choir, without the religious connotation. The lyrics allude to the destruction at historical Pompeii and uses this to explain how familiar destruction feels even despite the visible change. While this song maintains a happy sound, the next song, “Things We Lost in the Fire,” continues with the idea of destruction. It opens slowly and has a contemplative tone throughout the verses. But once the chorus hits, it feels like a song that can be clapped along to.
  The next chapter in the story starts off with the title track “Bad Blood,” which is a bit more angsty. The opening of the song sounds almost foreboding. This song exemplifies the dangerous times, starting off with the line:  “We were young and drinking in the park.” The message is one of warning, until finally the next song, “Overjoyed” brings a feeling of recovery from the bad times. This song is beautifully simple in the beginning, with only the voice and piano. Later, the synthesizer adds another layer to the song, but, the song as a whole offers a calming feel after the tension of the previous song. “These Streets” closes out this chapter with a strong message of moving on. The tone of the song is confident, and the background vocals in the chorus seem to symbolize the strength of the message.
  These are only a few of the stories told on this elaborately crafted album. Other notable tracks include “Oblivion and “Flaws.” These songs are two of the best, despite their drastically different styles. “Oblivion” is slow and pleading, but the beginning is beautiful and simple. “Flaws” is more fun and upbeat; it’s a catchy song that would be successful especially as a single.

  Overall, I would recommend this album to people who are fans of groups such as Two Door Cinema Club, The XX, or Alt-J. Bastille is categorized as a rock band, but the songs overall also have an slight electronic feel.

Style and Savings

By Hannah Lelie
A&E Editor

Looking great doesn’t always mean you have to drain your wallet. This year it seems like everyone is sporting something from Goodwill. But supporting this foundation doesn’t just save you money, it also helps out your community. Some people have the misconception that only the impoverished should be shopping at Goodwill but that is where they’re wrong.
  Goodwill’s mission is not just to clothe people who can’t afford department names. Goodwill says their mission is “working to enhance the dignity and quality of life of individuals and families by strengthening communities, eliminating barriers to opportunity, and helping people in need reach their full potential through learning and the power of work.” Goodwill helps train people with disabilities, poor education, or other employment challenges with a custom job training program. Goodwill is not the only local non-profit organization supporting our local community, Impact thrift store, also helps local charities. By supporting these non-profit charities you not only get great style for less but help out your local community.      
  Goodwill and Impact are phenomenal options for a high schooler's budget. Not only will you save more but it can be something you can do will your friends or family on the weekend. It’s like a treasure hunt, finding little gems that you love. It’s also a great place to buy birthday presents or holiday gifts.
Some of the items found in these chain charity stores can look similar to items found in Urban Outfitters or other name brand department stores for a lot less. Each piece of clothing you find at these thrift stores is unique and a special find. You can get the style you love for a lot less and help out a great cause too.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

iTunes Radio

Katie Steele Staff Writer Many are calling it the new Pandora. Others are comparing it to Spotify, another popular digital music service. It’s a new free streaming radio, and in its first five days on the market, it attracted 11 million users. It’s iTunes Radio-- and it’s here. Much like Pandora, the eighth most-downloaded smartphone app in the world, iTunes Radio offers users customizable “stations” based off of particular songs, artists, or genres. iTunes Radio claims to go even farther than its competitors by building its selections around the music in your phone’s library. Based on what songs you have bought and play most often on your device, the service can choose similar songs to play on your set stations. But is iTunes Radio really beating out its competitors? Tabitha Liucci, a freshman at NHS and one of the multitude of users of Apple’s new service, says that she likes iTunes Radio “because you can add songs right to your iTunes Wish List.” If you like a song enough that you would want to buy it, iTunes has made it simple for you to purchase it. By clicking one button, you can simply buy the song or add it to your Wish List. Apple has also made their radio extremely accessible from essentially anywhere around your device. By integrating the play, pause, “play more like this” and “never play this song” as well as “add to iTunes wishlist” buttons right on the home screen, Apple has successfully consolidated the controls for the service in a simple way to navigate. iTunes Radio also has fewer advertisements than Pandora does so far; in fact, there are barely any at all. The new streaming service, however, lacks any social aspect, which is a major draw for users of Spotify, Rdio, Pandora, iHeartRadio, and other similar apps and sites. Because it is so new, iTunes Radio has less interaction with listeners and therefore lacks intelligence that many of the older apps possess. Apple has set about fixing that problem by using their users’ music library content to make inferences about what songs they would like. For now, it is hard to tell if iTunes Radio has a leg-up over its competitors. However, the usage within its first week on the market makes the future for iTunes Radio look extremely bright. Try it out and decide for yourself.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

iOS 7 is a Taste of the Future

Roland Massimino
Staff Writer

On September 18, 2013, Apple released iOS 7 for compatible Apple products. iOS 7 is a software update for Apple products and all iDevices. Updates come out every so often; usually iPhone updates appear in spring but were delayed until fall in this case. There was never more hype for an update then there was for iOS 7. So, on Sept. 18, most everybody took to their iPhones and iPads to obtain the new update. Although the update was different, this was overshadowed by the amount of time it took to load onto the phone.
  People waited for days upon days for the whole update to finish. Complaints were flying in left and right about the waiting. Connor Smith was one of many: “It took an hour for my phone to update, it was longer than necessary, but I think it was worth the wait.” While waiting for a phone to update was annoying and time consuming, the update met expectations and beyond. On the other hand Matt Steele was delighted with the time it took to update his phone: “It only took me about 30 minutes. It was definitely worth it for that amount of time, I'm very pleased.”  
  From the lock screen to the home screen, iOS 7 has a new look. First off, the icon for “slide to unlock” is changed and is no longer a bar, but just words. Also, the font for the time and date has changed and become thinner. As you open and close apps, the transition is different. Multiple people said that the update was “Droid like.” Comparing iOS 7 to a Droid this observation is false. “The Droid software is not as sophisticated, almost childlike compared to the iPhone,” says Matt Steele who is familiar with the look of the Droid. Overall there was a positive reaction to iOS 7 after all the wait. With new slide up and slide down menus, it is easier to navigate. This includes a flashlight built into the phone. Some students complained like Brendan Ondick who said: “I like it, but it seems to be a little slower than before.” While some bash the new system, New Hope-Solebury Ben Muzekari gives it praise saying “It’s amazing, futuristic.”
  Most people have adopted the new software on iPhones and iPads. Although there are complaints and compliments now, iOS 7 will soon become the standard and the old software will become obsolete. As time will pass, iOS 7 will eventually become outdated and new software will take the limelight. For now, we can only wonder what it will be.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Nothing Was The Same might be Drake's best yet

Kevin Lupo 
Editor and Chief

“Without me, rap is just a bunch of orphans” he rapped on the promotional single “5 AM in Toronto” back in March. Earlier this year, Aubrey Graham, better known as Drake released his hit-single “Started From The Bottom”. Since then Nothing Was The Same. Drake, who just released his third LP Nothing Was The Same on September 24th, has sold almost a million copies already and the LP is on it’s way to reaching Platinum status very soon. As an avid listener to the successful OVO rapper, I think this may be his best work. With two record-breaking albums and one of the most downloaded mixtapes of all time already in his repertoire, Drizzy (one of Drake’s nicknames) wanted to show us who the best MC really is.
The album starts off with “Tuscan Leather” which boasts Drake strengths on his rap side. It was a different start to a Drake album than Thank Me Later and Take Care he started off a little slower. With producer Noah “40” Shebib switching the beats on the track making it sound like three different songs, makes it a must listen as the album opens with a bang. “Furthest Thing,” the second track is definitely a Drake song if you know what I mean.  “I made every woman feel like she was mine and no one else’s” shows that Drake is still in touch with his emotional side and displays his love for woman. “Started From The Bottom” which I’m pretty sure everyone reading this has heard, was the first single off the album. It isn’t Drizzy’s best work but it went platinum just like his wristwatch.“Wu-Tang Forever” was one of the more controversial songs on the album. Wu-Tang is a very famous rap group who have that underground- hardcore rap vibe. Drake remixed one of their songs and made it slower and deeper in the sense of feelings.
“Own It” displays all of Drake, as he sings, raps, and killed the track. Drizzy is telling the girl he used to be with to “Own It” and live her life but his heart will always be hers. Drake borrows a few lines from Ma$e’s verse on “Mo Money, Mo Problems” for “Worst Behavior,” a song that has the 26-year-old rapper in his best form yet. By far, one of the stand-out tracks. After the most upbeat song on the album, “From Time’ slows everything down. Graham talks about his life growing up, love, and his most important person in his life: his mom. Jhene Aiko on the chorus kinda reminds us of “Take Care’ with Rihanna which didn’t disappoint. Arguably the most popular song off the album, “Hold On We’re Going Home” takes the middle of the album to a catchier and lyrically better “Find Your Love.” It’s a radio hit but it’s much different than ‘Started From the Bottom” it shows that Drake can do more than most out there.
The rest of the album finishes off just as great as it started. “Connect,” one of my personal favorites is as he would say it “Drake featuring Drake.” “I’m just trying to connect with something babe” just makes you think about past relationships. Another favorite of mine as the 10th track, “The Language” is about the wealthy and famous life Drake lives on a daily basis. “305 To My City” is my least favorite track on the album, otherwise known as Drake’s only blemish. Detail who is featured on the track doesn’t really have the talent Drizzy has. I mean it’s in my opinion, sounds like a DJ Khaled sound with dubbed down beats. The song “Too Much” featuring Sampha is another life story of Drake with Sampha using an R&B vibe on the chorus. “Pound Cake/Paris Morton Music II” was the most hyped up song leading up to Nothing Was The Same. The over seven minute track features wealthy hip-hop mogul, Jay-Z. The track lived up to expectations as “dolla bill y’all” is played in the background of the two kings. The two bonus tracks were also worth the extra couple dollars. ‘All Me” which was a promotional song for the album was one of the most popular songs on the album and “Come Thru” seemed like we were throwing it back to So Far Gone which surprised.
With a year full of new and exciting hip-hop/rap music, Drizzy showed us why he’s the best MC in the game right now and is contending for album of the year honors. Nothing Was The Same is by far, Drake’s best piece of work yet. “Without me, rap is just a bunch of orphans” he could not have been more right.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Madden 25 May Be The Best Yet

Clay Asplundh

The 25th Edition of Madden recently released, and it was one of the most anticipated releases in Madden history. Madden 25 is claimed to be the best Madden yet and has many new and improved features.
 Madden 25’s graphics are barely improved from last year, if at all. Madden also has an all new running game (which can be extremely overpowered at times) and the blocking is much improved compared to previous Maddens. One positive sign is that this year all the post-play glitches have been cut down, where in previous years at least every quarter it looked as if someone just completely broke everything in their body without even being touched.
 For the most part, Madden 25 does not have any new game modes. Connected careers, one of the most popular game modes in Madden, is about the same as last year but can still be very entertaining if you grab some friends to play a season with. Although no changes were made to connected careers, Ultimate Team had plenty of them. Now in Ultimate Team, you can participate in a season, going up against random online opponents. For every game that you win, you get moved up a level and you need a total of five wins to make the playoffs. Once you make the playoffs, you can start to earn virtual currency and each time you move up a level in the playoffs more and more currency is available for the taking. The eventual goal is to win the Super Bowl.
 Although no major improvements were made, Madden 25 as a whole was much improved compared to previous years. For all of that, Madden 25 deserves a respectable rating of 8.5/10.

Miley Cyrus has our attention

Allison Russo
News Editor

No longer the innocent girl in the blonde wig that plays normal girl by day and pop star by night, Miley Cyrus is back and doing whatever it takes to change her image. After her VMA performance featuring a certain foam finger and several giant dancing teddy bears, as well as a questionable move with Robin Thicke, the whole world has turned their eyes on Miley Cyrus, waiting anxiously to see what happens next.
 Surely enough, this attention has become the fuel to Miley’s fire, as immediately after the controversial VMA performance, her newest single, “Wrecking Ball,” shot up to the 5th spot on the charts overnight. Since then, “Ball” has easily crept up to the number one spot after the release of its music video, which featured a fair amount of nudity and garnered up 19.3 million views within twenty four hours. This is Miley’s first and only single to ever hit the top of the charts. Additionally, this feat broke the record for total views within twenty four hours, which was set just months before at 10 million views by none other than Miley’s own “We Can’t Stop” video.
 All the hype about Miley Cyrus’s new style seemed to kick off back in 2012 when she had her long, brown hair cut and dyed a platinum blonde. She tweeted “feeling so happy in my own skin” among other things, proving to the world that this new look came with a new attitude and a new Miley that would be here to stay.
 Following her change in look, she signed a new record deal with RCA Records and began promotion for her first single from her album, Bangerz, “We Can’t Stop” in June 2013. The catchy song quickly shot up on the charts, eventually making it as high up as the number two spot. Soon after, her music video was released, featuring many interesting clips of giant dancing bears and, of course, her favorite move, the twerk.
 This video was, quite possibly, the biggest turning point in her career in terms of her image. Miley was criticized for her new style, which included much more mature content. Her depiction of partying and sexuality was something quite alarming after her days as a Disney child star. In the end, however, the “We Can’t Stop” video proved to be a huge success as it raked in over 100 million views within thirty seven days, a second record set with just her first video.
 Since her success with “Wrecking Ball,” Miley has most recently been recognized for collaborating on Wiz Khalifa’s “23,” even showing off her rapping skills. Other recent collaborations include Snoop Lion’s “Ashtrays and Heartbreaks,” and will.i.am’s “Fall Down.” This recent work seems to be an important part of showing off her new bad-girl persona.
 Following the huge success of her two singles, it looks like Miley’s album Bangerz, which is set to be released in October, is going to be nothing short of a showstopper.

The Rivalry continues: PS4 and the XBOX

Ben Muzekari
Staff Writer
It's been several months since the announcement of the PS4 and the XBOX One, but now the release dates are coming closer and closer. The expected release for the PS4 is November 15th while the XBOX One is expected to come out a week later, November 22th. However, a big question gamers are asking is, "Which one should I purchase and why?". When comparing the two consoles, there will be many changes to both and figuring out which one to buy will certainly be a difficult task.
 The XBOX One is supposed to be an extraordinary improving from the "normal" XBOX360. The XBOX One will come with a second generation Kinect motion sensor. This motion sensor is new and modified from the old one is expected to be much easier to use because the console will be able to pick up on movements better. In addition, unlike the 360, XBOX One offers a Blu-Ray drive and a DVR for recording gameplay. The Blu-Ray will allow people to watch high definition movies right on their XBOX which is a large benefit compared to having a separate Blu-Ray player. “Its design has to make an appropriate statement that reflects its capability as an all-in-one entertainment system” said Ramiro Torres in an online article on CrossMap.com, who is Creative Director of design for the XBOX One.
 On the other hand, the PS4 is expected to create a change as well when it comes to the topic of the gaming world. Sony has also improved the Blu-Ray making it even more impressive than it previously was on the PS3. In addition, the PS4 is region free meaning that people can play PS4 anywhere in the world at any time, regardless of any other factors. In addition, it ships with 500GB HDD in the hard drive. This is already a large amount of space, but people have the option to upgrade the hard drive to even more space if needed. The CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment, Andrew House, recently said “true consumer ownership and true consumer struts are central to everything we do" when referring to the PS4 in an online article on MarketWatch.com
 With the release becoming closer every day, the anticipation is becoming great. They are both great consoles, however, the PS4 is priced at $399 while the XBOX One is priced at $499. We can only wait to see the outcome of these purchases due to the fact of price and logistics of the two futuristic consoles.

GTA expands the possibilities of gaming

Arian Behpour
Arts & Entertainment Editor

From the small details to the explosive cinematics, the creators of Grand Theft Auto 5 have really outdone every single aspect of their game. GTA 5 is one of the most well-rounded games ever made. Between flying a jet liner above the skyscrapers to practicing your topspin there is no detail unpolished. The storyline follows Michael, Franklin, and Trevor, three criminals that cross paths and decide to work together. The writing is top notch and the characters’ story arcs are well woven. Each character feels like another person, because of the different traits, abilities, and hobbies each possess. This helps make the gameplay more approachable from different angles since you can switch in a moments notice to another character during missions.
 The gameplay in GTA 5 has been tweaked tremendously since the last installment. The newest addition to the game is flying and swimming underneath water, this gives the world width and length. Also, this helps make storyline missions feel more diverse since you can be swimming, flying, and driving. Since you are able to switch characters in missions there is a heightened level of choice when interacting with missions. Now, you can play as Trevor from the rooftops from afar during a shootout or get close and personal on the streets as Michael. If there was one small flaw is that this gameplay ability is not  used to its full potential, because some missions I’d rather have Franklin driving but the game did not give this option. This is because Franklin is a great driver, Michael is a precise shooter, and Trevor is plain crazy. One other small complaint is that the bare handed fighting was lessened since the last game, because there is less choice in how to fist fight. Aside from storyline missions the game offers a vast world full of small details that bring it to life, like random robberies and crazy protesters.
 Los Santos is as close as a game can get to simulating a real breathing city. The city is based on LA and adds its own spin to the famous cities landmarks with jokes like the Vinewood sign. The graphics are top notch, from the scenery, lighting, and animations. Even though GTA 5’s worlds usually center around killing and stealing, this game focuses more on the classical fun and less devilish antics. Yes, the most enjoyable parts of GTA 5 may be flying over the city in a jet flyer or biking up a mountain. These moments are more enjoyable than most of the chaotic shootouts in GTA 5. Overall, GTA 5 made a statement with their new entry into the series and they backed it up with maybe one of the best games ever made.

Friday, October 4, 2013

New Hope Makes Its Own "Roar"

Jackie Gouris
Staff Writer

While you have been acclimating into the new school year, Chloe Lemunyan and Melanie Davis have been busy creating a music video that will feature the new hit single “Roar” to be entered in a GMA contest to win an in-school concert with the artist Katy Perry. Chloe and Melanie are working on the two minute video in and out of school that will promote anti-bullying.
The music video will showcase Melanie traveling throughout the school with makeup that resembles a tiger. She eventually ends up standing up to her bullies. Others working on the music video are members of Mask and Zany, Student Government, and Journalism classes, with makeup done by Erin Male and video equipment provided by Heather Borochaner. She hopes it will reflect self empowerment and motivate people to stand up for themselves.
“It’s a video about finding your voice and not letting bullies stand in your way. I really want people to identify with the video. The song is very strong and powerful, and I want the video to be like that too,” Chloe said. The best school’s video will win an in-school concert with Katy Perry that will be filmed live by Good Morning America. The deadline for video entries is October 1.
The concert would take place on October 25, which also happens to be Katy Perry’s birthday. To watch other school’s videos or check the results, visit goodmorningamerica.com. Stay tuned to watch the final cut of the video and find out the winning school. Go New Hope!

Justin Timberlake’s Experience

Justin Timberlake’s Experience
Hannah Lelie
Arts & Entertainment Editor

The 20/20 Experience is back. Justin Timberlake’s second part to his 20/20 Experience dropped Sept. 30. Just releasing the first part of the 20/20 Experience only seven months ago, he kicks off his five month tour of 20/20 this weekend in London.
 The 32-year-old singer has had quite a successful year having one of the best-selling albums of the year (the first part of the 20/20 Experience). On top of that, three songs from the most recent album have been top hits all around the world. Timberlake has also just recently won Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award and the Video of the Year (for ‘Mirrors’ from the first album of the 20/20 Experience) at MTV Video Music Awards.   
 Unlike Timberlake’s last album Future Sex/Love Sounds, which was “more of a club dance album”, the 20/20 Experience has a different sound. It’s a new take on old soulful jazz music of the 30’s and 40’s with a twist of young relatable pop/hip-hop style.
 His most recent song “Take Back the Night” from the second part of the 20/20 Experience sets the bar high for his newest album. This song is upbeat and smooth with a jazzy feel to it, giving listeners just a taste of what's to come in his new album.  

 Justin’s world tour comes to Philadelphia in November and then again in February. After watching the Justin Timberlake’s performance at the VMA in Brooklyn, his world tour should be the highlight of his career.