On Sept. 25, Sufjan Stevens released his eighth studio album, “The Ascension.” This album uses Stevens’s beautiful vocals as another instrument that adds another level to the album to make it mesmerizing. Each track adds another level to the hypnotic feeling this record gives off. The album is incredibly dense, instrumentally and lyrically. “Make Me an Offer I Cannot Refuse” The record starts off incredibly strong with “Make Me an Offer I Cannot Refuse.” This track begins with calm instrumentals and vocals that feel like a dream. Stevens uses his vocals to mesh into a synthesizer sound just after the end of the first minute of this five minute song. The track features lyrics that strike the heart with every listen such as “Shall you abuse me? / Show me the grace of a natural king / Lord, I need deliverance.” Although these lyrics come across initially as religious, they can also be attributed to other life experiences. Society is meant to guide people along even if that means abusing them and exploiting them. Stevens is then asking to be set free of this cycle of abuse, which many ask for in their own lives in their own ways. “Landslide” The next track that stands out to me is “Landslide.” This five minute track is so quiet and calm instrumentally, which goes against the nature of the title. A landslide is a major natural disaster, yet Stevens uses this title for a song that feels so small and so big all at once. This song seems to be about a type of love that is almost forced. This relationship is evident in the lyric “I saw your body and I saw what I liked.” Instead of liking their body as is, he focuses only on the parts of their body that he did like. He also refers to this love as a “second chance,” which implies that this is something that he has done or seen before. He is familiar with this idea of a forced or fake love. “Sugar” “Sugar” stood out mostly for the instrumentals. This song begins the journey to the next dimension that the following track, “The Ascension,” delivers the listener to. The first few minutes of the song have no vocals, yet it feels like there is a story within it. Although this track continues the lyrical density of the rest of the album, this song completely encapsulates the idea of his voice as an instrument of its own. His vocals drive the song at times and others it is brought along by the beat. The lyric “come on, baby, give me some sugar” is pulled by the beat. While lyrics such as “stand up straight, now, stand real tall” and “is that the weight of the world on your back?” both move the song forward. In order to fully experience “The Ascension,” it is imperative to listen to the album in full in order. This album is one that is able to be listened to for hours on end.
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Podcasts are a way to pass time that also let you learn about random things. Obscure facts make or break a podcast, and these podcasts do that all too well. You’re Wrong About Co-hosts Michael Hobbes and Sarah Marshall are both journalists who are trying to change the way that people view the world. Hobbes is a Senior Enterprise Reporter at the Huffington Post. Marshall is currently working on a book about the Satanic Panic, which is a moral panic regarding allegations of satanic rituals. The best episode to start out with is the episode on the Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade. This episode features a special guest, Megan Burbank, and the three of them talk about the misconceptions around the Supreme Court case, such as the fact that abortion was entirely illegal before the case. This podcast will change your world view within one episode. They will debunk everything that you take as fact with humor. They will also talk about anything that relates to that topic and make you an all-around more knowledgeable human being. Call Your Girlfriend Call Your Girlfriend is hosted by two self-proclaimed feminists Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman. Sow is a cofounder of Tech LadyMafia, and she was listed on Forbes 30 Under 30 in Tech list. Friedman is a journalist and contributor to New York magazine, The Los Angeles Times and The Gentlewoman. The two talk about almost any topic, such as sexuality, pop culture and world events. They are long distance friends and use the podcast to keep in touch with one another. They recommend listening to their podcasts with a friend of your own. An episode I recommend to start out with would be the episode on the Women’s March organization. The episode is very informative and entertaining all in one. They use their wit to keep the listener intrigued with important topics. Timesuck with Dan Cummins Dan Cummins is a comic who has appeared on the Tonight Show. He has released five comedy albums. The comedy really shines through in this podcast. Cummins talks about listener-suggested topics once a week. His voice makes the podcast incredibly enticing, and the jokes keep it interesting. The best episode to get started with is on The Brothers Grimm, two German authors who wrote fairy tales. Cummins goes into the way that the brothers changed society. The episode starts out with an explanation of why people are so invested in stories. Overall, all three podcasts will help you learn something new and keep you listening for an hour or even more. The best way to enjoy these podcasts is with headphones in while on a walk. All three of these podcasts will help develop a broader view of the world.
Mercer University’s Women’s Soccer team was the first sport to play this year on Sept. 11. Mercer trailed the majority of the game, but a shot in the second half sent the game into overtime where Georgia State University defeated the Bears 2-1. The game was set to start at 7 p.m., but lightning delayed the game to 8:05 p.m. in Betts Stadium in Macon, Ga. Mercer went without a goal in the first half of the contest. “We were quiet in the first half,” Mercer head coach Tony Economopoulos said. “There was pressure on us to put on a good event, but our communication and intensity picked up in the second half.” The Bears took 15 shots while the Panthers took 13. Georgia State collected 12 fouls throughout the game. The first goal of the game was scored in the 14th minute of the game by Georgia State’s Liz Fogerty. She was assisted by Kelsee Holloway. The rest of the first half was back and forth between the teams running up and down the field. One more attempt was made by Mercer to tie before the end of the half with Nicole Icen taking a shot. The ball went to the left of the net. Georgia State led the game by a margin of 1-0 going into the second half. “In the second half, I feel like the team really stepped it up a notch,” Economopoulos said. “They did a fantastic job of making sure that if this is our last game, they are going to make sure it is the best game.” In the first 18 minutes of the second half, the Bears managed three shots. None went into the net. Aliah Kitchens scored her first career collegiate goal in the 70th minute of the game. She sent the ball into the bottom corner of the net after running past Panther defenders. Neither team managed to score another goal in the second half, sending the game into overtime tied at 1. “With overtime, everything is through the window,” Economopoulos said. “One opportunity ends the game. We were unlucky in that moment.” Georgia State's Brooke Hart scored the winning goal in the first three minutes of overtime, sending the match to end with a 2-1 score in favor of the Panthers.
This summer was a boon for fans of alternative music as artists worldwide dropped new albums. Here are four of the best records from summer 2020 to add to your playlist. “Sex Death and the Infinite Void” by Creeper English rock band Creeper released “Sex Death and the Infinite Void,” a concept album about the seven deadly sins, July 31. In contrast to their last album, “Sex Death and the Infinite Void” is influenced by pop and rock instead of punk. The record features gorgeous vocals from Will Gould as well as Hannah Greenwood. The album is captivating from beginning to end. Greenwood’s vocals at the beginning of “Four Years Ago” alone are enough to send shivers down your spine. Then you add the beautiful guitar riffs, and your mind starts to explore this beautiful world. A landscape of vivid reds and oranges starts to emerge. With eyes closed and headphones in, you will be placed into a world of sins. From song to song, there is no lull in interest on this album. Top three tracks to listen to: “Poisoned Heart,” “Four Years Ago,” “Napalm Girls” “Into the Raging Sea” by Broadside “Into the Raging Sea” was released by pop-punk band Broadside July 24. This record pulls at heartstrings and begs for tears. Broadside blatantly explores the pain of depression and the problems that depression brings into relationships. Ollie Baxxter, the vocalist, uses his voice to express such intense emotion. For example, the opening track of the album, “The Raging Sea,” ends with Baxxter screaming, met with an echo and silence. This moment sends chills down the spine and makes hair stand on end waiting for the next sound. Although “Into the Raging Sea” covers a lot of heavy topics, dancing along is inevitable. The music moves through your veins. The beat of the drum feels like your heartbeat, and the guitar riffs push everything forward. Top three tracks to listen to: “The Raging Sea,” “Overdramatic,” “Clarity” “Brand New Vision” by Point North Alt-pop band Point North released their first full-length album Aug. 21. “Brand New Vision” features beautiful vocals from Jon Lundin that make the album worth the listen alone. Each track brings a new subject that is so brilliantly crafted. From talking about the struggles in a long-distance relationship to issues with mental health, this record is one many can relate to. The album cover perfectly describes this album. It is full of color and wholly unique. The fusion of pop-punk with pure alt-pop puts Point North in their own genre that they are slowly creating. Bonus: Strawberry Lipstick by Yungblud Alt-rock and pop-punk vocalist Yungblud released a single called “Strawberry Lipstick” July 16. This song is a love song that dives into his vulnerability. The vocals are a beautiful mix of pop-punk and alt-rock.
Mercer University’s men’s lacrosse coach Kyle Hannan resigned Aug. 6, making Chad Surman the new head coach, according to Mercer University. Hannan was with Mercer University for the past eight seasons and has been coaching college sports for 34 years. In those 34 years, Hannan has led his teams to 287 wins. He has also seen 35 players earn All-American Honors, had nine scholar All-Americans, appeared in six national tournaments, won three national championships and received three Coach of the Year Awards. "The time has come for me to begin an exciting new chapter of my life in the business sector of lacrosse,” Hannan told Mercer University. “This is an amazing opportunity for my wife and two children." Hannan started at Mercer University in 2013 with a lacrosse program that had two wins in the first two years. In his first two seasons as a head coach, Hannan turned the program around and had 11 victories. Hannan is the winningest coach in program history. Last year, the Bears reeled off five consecutive victories to finish the season early with a 6-1 record. In 2020, the lacrosse team had 31 conference honor roll members with six student-athletes earning a 4.0 GPA. The Bears also spent 450 hours last season with volunteer opportunities. "While establishing Mercer lacrosse highs last season in both team GPA and winning percentage, I feel like I am leaving the program in a strong position for continued success," Hannan told Mercer University. "It has always been my goal to leave a program better than when I arrived. I am confident that this has been accomplished." In his first season on the sidelines, new head coach Surman helped the team compile a 5-8 record. Mercer defeated three of their Southern Conference opponents that year. Surman helped the Bears compile another 5-8 record in Southern Conference play in his second season in 2017. The Bears were ranked ninth in turnovers per game and 11th in man-up offense. “Working alongside him the past few years, I definitely learned a lot,” Surman said. “He was very instrumental in making this program.” The Bears will return back to the field in the spring of 2021.
Two years after the release of their last album “Connect the Dots,” Misterwives dropped an EP that allows the entire band to shine. Misterwives is most known for their songs “Reflections” and “Our Own House” from their debut album released in 2015. In 2014, Misterwives opened for Twenty One Pilots for their Quiet is Violent tour, which started a relationship between the bands that continued this year. After a year-long break following their Connect the Dots headline tour, Misterwives opened for Twenty One Pilots on their Bandito Tour. Their new EP, “Mini Bloom,” consists of five songs that show off the lead singer Mandy Lee’s vocal talent, while allowing the instrumentals to shine through. Drummer Etienne Bowler truly stands out, along with bass player William Hehir on this EP. The first track, “Coming Up for Air,” starts with a simple drum beat and a beautiful sound coming from the synthesizer played by Jesse Blum. As Lee’s vocals come in, she immediately shows her talent and range. She starts with a low raspy sound, and she then starts belting as the chorus starts. As the track continues, Bowler keeps the song upbeat. The drums drive the song forward and make it very easy to dance to. “Find My Way Home” also shows off the musical genius of the band. Their talent is evident as Lee belts during the chorus and Blum plays the trumpet in the background. The trumpet is a signature sound of Misterwives and is prevalent on all of their albums. The drums take the stage on this song as they follow up the chorus with dominance. Misterwives strayed away from their typical sound on the song “Find My Way Home.” The albums “Our Own House” and “Connect the Dots” both have a pop sound with simple guitar and drum beats and amazing vocals. Both have songs that stray from that mold, but their new EP is a different sound for Misterwives as they enter more into the realm of alternative music with heavy guitars and belting vocals. Lyrics have always been one of Lee’s strong suits, and this EP is no exception. “Stories” is one of the two songs on this album that show off the lyrical talent of this band. This track is about trying to forget the past because of the pain it bears. Lee talks about being in a hotel room as she is “singing myself to sleep with lullabies wrapped in lies.” The idea of having to forget the reality of the pain you are facing is a common theme in a lot of their music. It is also seen in “Reflections” and “Let The Light In.” The last song on the EP is cleverly named “The End,” and it is a beautiful example of the lyrical talent of Lee. This last track is all about getting over someone and accepting that it is not the end of your life. “The End” is also about accepting that “all good things come to an end.” Ends of one situation just lead to a “new beginning.” “Mini Bloom” as a whole is a beautiful EP, and it showcases the musical genius of the band.
Camping before a concert is one of the best parts of the experience, but it is also one of the hardest. It is very easy to slip up and forget some of the most important things until you get there, and you’ll have to pay a lot more for what you need. Since it is so easy to forget what you need, here are some tips in order to survive camping before a concert. Bring water and food from home Even if you are going to be in an area where you can buy food and drinks, you will want to bring it from home. Buying anything in an area around a venue is incredibly expensive, and it is also hard to get in and out of line closer to showtime. If you are sitting in line from three in the morning until almost seven at night, you are going to need a lot to drink and a lot to eat. The best thing to do is bring a case of water, sandwiches you made at home and a lot of snacks with protein. Make sure you stay hydrated in line; the pit will be extremely hot. Bring external batteries You are going to be outside all day; you are not going to be able to charge your phone anywhere. Bring a portable charger or three. Once the concert starts, if your phone is dead, you will regret not being able to take the photos or videos you wanted to. Bring games Instead of draining your phone’s limited battery all day, bring games to play in line. Playing games is also a good way to make friends with people around you in line. You are going to be surrounded by these people all day, so you should be friendly. Some of the best games to bring are games that you can play with a large group. Everyone around is wanting to pass time so that they can get to the show. Go to the bathroom Once you are in the official line, there is no leaving. Go to the bathroom way more than you think you actually need to. Losing your spot in line because you have to go to the bathroom is the worst nightmare of someone who has waited in line all day. In the pit, leaving to go to the bathroom will be almost impossible. So go to the bathroom right before the official line starts, and be prepared. Dress up, and have fun The most important tip to surviving camping is having fun. Camping is only worth your time if you enjoy it. The best way to do so is to enjoy the people around you, put on crazy makeup and keep your eyes off of your phone. Using your phone is the easiest way to pass time while sitting in line, but camping out for a concert is an experience that you entirely miss if you sit with your head in your phone. Spending time with other people so passionate about music is the best part of camping, and it makes sitting in line all day worth it.