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The Secret World After 9/11

When I was in the sixth grade my whole world changed on September 11, 2001. As parents rushed to pick up their children from school, I waited patiently  in my junior high school auditorium for my parents. Only eleven years old and confused as to what was really going on, I turned on the television for answers. What did I know about the War on Terror? Weapons of mass destruction? I gathered the information pouring in through  the media and tried to make sense of the madness that took place on September 11, 2001 and after. Over a decade later, millions of Americans still question the reason behind the war. We have no real insight on the actions that our government has taken, how much of our tax money is dedicated to “fighting the war on terror” and what is to come.

“The gloves are off after 9/11” was an expression that Coelffer Black used to describe the actions taken by the CIA and government. Black spoke briefly of the investigations that took place post 9/11 and what was the world like prior to 9/11? If there was an issue with terrorists in the Middle East, why wasn’t there already a plan? If a few hours after 9/11 the government met at CIA to resolve the issue at hand.

While the CIA and government dug a deeper hole in the homeland of terrorists, the American society dug for the truth. Are we truly fighting for the protection our of people? Was the war pinned on the terrorists to distract us from the real reasons behind the war? There are no actual facts or reasoning besides the attacks on 9/11 as to why we invaded these countries. The American society is being fed lies through the media, however documentaries like such can open our eyes to the truth. Our friends, family members and tax dollars keep on giving to a war that has gone on far too long. As the public, we are kept in the dark as to what truly goes on in this war overseas.

 The more I became engaged in the facts that the documentary was presenting, the more I became shocked. I recall one government official had said “It’s just war, its not different than going to the store to buy eggs – it’s just something you just got to do..”. This was very disheartening to hear, as the issue at hand is so much more deeper than a trip to the supermarket. As a society we have become so involved in the war, whether it be sending our sons and daughters off to fight or working hard to have the government take away for the war from our tax dollars. The issue at hand is much more than a trip to the supermarket, this is something our society is involved and we haven’t even been granted with answers to date. If you let something carry out so long without questioning the actions taking place, we will never be granted with real reasons of war. The documentary “Top Secret: America” has opened my eyes to the secrets held by our government and the truth behind the war on terror. Watching scenes in the documentary of street bombings I couldn’t help but think to myself that “people live there!”. The incident that took place on September 11th was only a glimpse of the everyday lives of the people living in Afghanistan and Iraq.
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Who is CANT? (TA POST #2)

Chris Taylor

 

There’s a new guy in town that I’m interested in and his name’s Chris Taylor also known as CANT! Not only is he from Brooklyn, NY which is a GREAT thing in my book but he is also a bassist, vocalist, producer and the list goes on! He is the guy that plays every instrument you can name in Grizzly Bear. Martin Luther King Jr. wasn’t the only one that had a dream, Chris Taylor did too! When Chris is not out touring or producing for his band Grizzly Bear he worked on side projects that eventually lead to his own solo album debut as CANT, Dreams Come True, which was released on September 13, 2011. Chris started his own record label called Terrible Records in 2009 and two years later, BAM!, dreams came true! His first solo album was released. Now that I’ve learned a little more about CANT I think I understand the titles and the songs a little bit better. Here comes this brilliant guy that can play a million instruments in a band that has to work as a group and compromise most of the time with ideas and skills that can conquer the music world. Who needs a band when you can create amazing-ness on your own? I actually appreciate him more now because Dreams Come True is all Chris Taylor, aside from some help from George Lewis Jr. of Twin Shadow, it’s all Chris. His thoughts, his ideas, his production skills, his creative songwriting, his construction of funky beats all reside in this album.

In college, Chris majored in Jazz and played Jazz shows for a long time until deciding that that wasn’t the path he wanted to take anymore. He realized he wanted to play music for his peers and for the audience he wanted to connect with. Jazz isn’t the first type of music most people want to hear these days so Jazz wasn’t for him anymore. He wanted to create music his friends liked to listen to. He wanted to make music ”fun” so he switched from Jazz to the audio engineering department since he knew nothing about recording. Eventually after learning all that he needed to he created an album most people would call brilliant and creative. I find myself writing positive feedback as I learn more about CANT. He’s different, who doesn’t like different? Who wants to blend in when we were all born to stand out? Chris Taylor stands out with his sounds and electro pop funky versatility as a songwriter.

“One time he put the microphone at the top of the stairwell and had our amp in the other room and recorded a really distant, hot signal and had a lot of white noise with it,” Droste marveled, to Coke Machine Glow. “There’re a lot of different techniques that he had that I was totally clueless about.”**

His Grizzly Bear band member Ed Droste opened my eyes to what kind of artist Chris is. He is a true artist. He actually creates ways to master a beat and uses different techniques to get that unique sound. Dreams Come True is just that. There’s weird, strange, upbeat, slow songs and etc. A perfect mix for all. There are songs that make you want to cry and songs that make you want to get up and do ten push-ups!

Would I play a couple of the songs on the radio? Maybe one or two. If I were to pick a station it would probably be 95.5 PLJ because I call that station the ”emotional” station. I’d play track 3”The Edge” on 95.5 PLJ because I feel like it would fit perfect in that station I love when he says ”Each time you said you loved me Each time you said you care Each time just say you love me Just love me, just like you said”. I feel like it’s about a girl that he’s no longer with and is trying to remind her that she once loved him and she said it herself. I pictured a guy looking back on the happy times of his relationship and then realizing love isn’t enough.

I don’t know if other stations would play this album. I’ve never heard this song on the radio. I think that because it’s so different it shouldn’t be on the radio. The radio is constantly playing the same songs over and over. Songs that people love to listen to. The songs that they hear at the club,  jam out to in their car, or the artists that are ”IN” right now. My bestfriend’s boyfriend is an amazing guitarist. He is so good that so many people want him in their bands but he won’t join any of them. He plays the guitar because that’s what he loves to do. He loves to play and even though he knows he’s talented and could probably go really far in the music industry with his skills that’s not his dream. He doesn’t want to play music for the money or the fame, he plays it for the fun of it. He doesn’t need one of his songs on the radio. I guess that’s why I think CANT is too good for the radio and why I can’t see myself placing him in any station besides the 95.5 PLJ station for that one song which probably doesn’t even make sense why I put it there now.

As I’m slowly becoming more attatched to this album, I’m seeing a change in the way I look at this album. I’m slowly becoming a fan of CANT. He’s not this crazy emotional guy to me anymore. He’s an artist.

Album Rating : 4+ (I’m starting to develop a crush for the guy…shh!!)

Sources:

http://musicremedy.com/c/chris-taylor/album/

http://www.spinner.com/2011/09/23/grizzly-bears-chris-taylor-cant-dreams-come-true/

http://altmusic.about.com/od/artists/a/grizzlybear.htm

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HELLO CANT, NICE TO MEET YOU …. I THINK? (TA POST #1)

Album cover

Dear CANT, Who are you? (Before listening to CANT) :

You can tell a lot about a person with their taste in music. For instance, I like music that has to do with love, heartache, romance. Although every song tells a story, I personally like LOVE stories! I’m a hopeless romantic. I have a sweet side for country music which is why I was a little skeptical at my Blog TA album, Dreams Come True by CANT. I’m generally open to all kinds of music whether it’s Rap, R&B, Pop, Country, Rock, etc. I’m also a  girl very into meaning (thanks Christin for pointing that out!) and I don’t know how to attack this album what so ever.  First of all, I have never even heard of this artist until now. I thought to myself, ”How am I going to write about music I probably would NEVER listen to and most likely SKIP if it were to ever come up on Pandora?”. I was at the gym and thought to myself, ”Hey let me listen to ONE song while I’m here just to get a head start and see what I got myself into this semester” so I listened to the song ”Too Late, Too Far” for about 30 seconds and immediately started sweating even more on the treadmill! I felt like I was in over my head and started to freak out as the song went on. I couldn’t even finish the song. I got right off that treadmill due to the anxiety, I’ll tell you that much! My favorite artist is Taylor Swift for crying out loud! I’ll be honest, I’m kind of scared of CANT! I believe I avoid music like CANT because I feel like I won’t get the same feelings or connection I would as if I were listening to a Taylor Swift Song. When I listen to songs, I look for quotes or lyrics that just connect with me. I like the metaphors and all those lines that get stuck in your head that are just so good like ”In case you haven’t heard, you’re just another picture to burn!” (Picture To Burn by Taylor Swift). The cover of the album is unique and interests me the most. Fireworks? Reminds me of that Katy Perry song! Will the album,Dreams Come True, contain anything like the song ”I Kissed A Girl”? We shall see. I’m hoping the music in this album is as electric as the cover. CANT will open my eyes to something different I hope. As I read the titles of the songs on the album, I got some hope that I’ll discover a new favorite love or heartache song. I’m actually really looking forward to hearing track 8 called ”Dreams Come True” because that is the title of the whole album. Everybody has a dream and wants them to come true one day. I wonder what this song will make me feel. Will it make me want to stop whatever I’m doing and make a dream of mine come true?  I have faith in CANT and I am going to welcome this album with open arms this time around and NOT listen to it at the gym but in the comfort of my own home.

Chris Taylor, lead singer

I like you but I CANT be your friend just yet! (After listening to CANT) :

I’m actually really impressed with myself for listening to the whole album without skipping because I really felt that I was going to be one of those people that just couldn’t handle it. CANT is a really different artist and I have never listened to this kind of music in my life. Chris Taylor uses the name CANT as his moniker. I believe Chris is very emotional but I think his voice is perfect for the kind of music he makes. His voice is soft but funky, very different from other artists I listen to. CANT brings a new kind of sound to my ears that emphasizes mostly on the instrumentals and less on the vocals. The cover fits perfect for what’s inside of the album. I feel like Chris Taylor is telling his story from beginning to end about going solo and leaving his band, Grizzly Bears. Throughout the album, there is a lot going on and a lot of hurt that’s being expressed. He is somewhat broken yet strong at the same time and you can tell from his lyrics. From his very first song on the album, Too Late Too Far, you can automatically tell that he is very into instruments and sound. I felt like I was listening to an ”African ritual”, if you will. I could barely understand his vocals. His sound provides a dance vibe but somehow maintaining a relaxed tune. In this track, the first line is ”Feeling fallen like a stone”. He introduces us to what he’s feeling and what the album is going to consist of. Which is a lot of mixed emotions. Chris starts off the album with ”Too Late, Too Far”, a strong ”ritual like” song that had me kind of nodding my head and then ends it with the song “Bericht” that fits perfectly for an ending of this album. Track 10 and Track 1 are so different. It’s a transition from beginning to end. ”Bericht” is like a fare-well to the album. He sings “No one said to survive” and but I did. I survived the album and was left with Chris Taylor’s voice stuck in my head.He has a catchy and unique voice, I’m not going to lie! I was looking forward to listening to track 8 ”Dreams Come True” and I have to say it was probably the one song on the album that I would consider putting on my Ipod. It’s kind of a motivating song. I could totally use it for the gym to get me in the ”zone”. My dream is to lose weight so when he sings ” dreams come true you’re the right thing” I became inspired but does that make me a fan? I don’t know. I can’t tell if I developed a connection with this album because something’s there but I wouldn’t go out of my way to listen to CANT in the future. I didn’t know what to expect from this album to be honest. What’s challenging for me is trying to understand what the artist is really saying in his lyrics. I’m having a hard time deciding if I like the album or not and that’s really frustrating! I’m the kind of person that automatically knows whether I like or dislike something. I’ve had days when I hated a song the first time I listened to it and then heard it again several times and developed a love for the song. As of now, I rate this album a 3 because I feel like there is potential that this album will grow on me. They haven’t won me over just yet. Time will only tell, CANT it?

Album Rating : 3+ ( The plus is just because he’s a blonde cutie and I do like his voice!)

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Huckleberry Finn Controversy

 

In today’s society, everything is ‘offensive”. You can offend a person without even knowing you offended them.We live in a society that has become so emotional it makes me want to SCREAM. Something that was normal to say in American history is now thought to be ”offensive”. Many of us have had the priviledge of reading The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn written by Mark Twain that was published in 1885 during our highschool years. Kids today will no longer be able to read the version I read. As we know, after watching the Jon Stewart video clip, Mark Twain wrote the ”n” word SIX times on ONE page.OH MY GOD. The horror. A man from the 17th CENTURY has hurt my feelings….NOT. Many schools are choosing to take the novel out of the curriculum because of the use of the ”n” word throughout the novel, which was a total of 219 times ( Okay someones good at math, we get it). Because of this, a newer version is being published MINUS the ”n” word. Replacing the ”n” word will be the word SLAVE. Excuse me while I go have a laugh attack. I really did laugh when Larry Wilmore said ”huge upgrade from nigger to slave”. I love that Larry Wilmore, an African American himself, was joking about it! How can you replace the ”n” word with the word slave? I don’t get it! Those are two DIFFERENT words that have two DIFFERENT meanings!!!!

According to the Jon Stewart video, editors of the new version are trying to make the book more accessible so that it’ll make the students feel more comfortable without reading the ”n” word. In my opinion, kids use offensive words all the time and replacing the ”n” word to slave is a WASTE OF TIME. First of all, personally I don’t even remember the book and I read it in highschool! How about them apples?! Most of the kids in highschool probably won’t even read the old or the new version. A genius out there invented Sparknotes for a reason! Honestly, Larry Wilmore couldn’t have said it any better when he said ”Emphasize that word …Pimp the cover!”. My advice to the editors of the new version, if you’re going to change the book to ”make kids feel comfortable reading it” at least make it more interesting for them. In other words, change it and MODERNIZE the book. If that doesn’t work for you then don’t change it at all. Don’t FIX what isn’t BROKEN. Who wants to read about ”slaves” in English class? There’s enough of that in History class! ”Mark Twain put that word in for a reason”, Larry Wilmore said and I agree. Twain wasn’t using the word to refer to a ”working person”. He was using it for ”name calling”. He used the ”n” word because that was normal back in the 1800’s. OH MY GOD! People used the ”n” word! The publishers are acting like it’s a big deal, it is in TODAY’S society but in the 1800’s, come on. Give Mark Twain a break. Who knew in the year 2012 our President would be black and we would have rappers that make MILLIONS of dollars that have songs using the ”n” word? In my opinion, someone should give Mark Twain a dollar or two. Why not?

According to Larry Wilmore, ”The ”n” word speaks to a society that casually dehumanizes black people, slave is just a job subscription”. Two DIFFERENT words. Two DIFFERENT meanings. I agree with the fifth estate and I think that they did an excellent job at covering this story. Jon Stewart and Larry Wilmore tell the truth, they face the facts in a funny way to make light of the offensive word at hand, the ”n” word. During the video clip Stewart mumbles the ”n” word and says ”It’s uncomfortable!”. Wilmore responds with ”IT SHOULD BE!” I completely 110% AGREE with that comment. IT REALLY SHOULD BE. We are teaching kids about the past, about American history. How African Americans were treated back in the 1800’s, how African Americans were spoken to back in the 1800’s. You can’t replace the ”n” word to slave, and make a kid reading the new version forget about the dehumanizing ways of the past.

This is our history. America needs to face reality and reality is that we were not nice back in the day. We were mean to African Amerians, we owned slaves, we stole land, we had wars with each other and so on. It was what it was. The ”n” word was written once, twice, TWO HUNDRED AND NINETEEN times, Yes. But that was then and this is now. I don’t believe changing it makes a difference. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was written in the PAST. Who are we to go and change the past?  We CANNOT change history, so why are people trying to?

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”The Daily Mail”

Music has become such a big part in society today that there’s all different kinds of music. There are all types of songs for each and every one of our emotions. Songs that make you want to cry, songs that make you want to dance and songs that make you want to throw a punch or two and so on. For the first time in my 21 years I listened to a Radiohead song today called ”The Daily Mail”. My first impression was ”Oh my god, I already love it. Bring on the love song”. Boy, was I wrong about that one. Listening to the beginning of the song I thought of a love story right off the bat because of the instrumentals. The beginning of the song gave me the impression that it was going to be about a heartbreak from hell. A kind of heartbreak that made a person crumble to pieces. I heard the word ”lunatics and asylum” and thought about how his love made him go crazy and how that is taking over his life. ” You made a mistake” stood out to me the most because it wasn’t mumbled or in a low tone. He sang that line with such attitude which made me think that there was a woman involved that might’ve made a mistake and let him go. I did catch a little part of the lyrics later in the song that said ”To keep your prices down, feed you to the hounds to the daily mail together together”. To me, that felt like he was talking about his ”ex-girlfriend” that fed him to the hounds which I interpreted as ”Yeah, break up with me, feed me to the dogs, I’m worth nothing without you so kill me”. As the song went on the words seemed unclear to me because then the  music overpowered the lead singers voice. 

On a daily basis, I listen to music on youtube and post up videos WITH lyrics on my facebook just for fun and to express how I’m feeling at that moment. I believe the lyrics help understand the song and figure out what it really means. As I went on and listened to ”The Daily Mail” this time WITH lyrics and my whole perspective, idea and scenario of the song changed. The song now reminded me of the song we listened to in class called  Harrowdown Hill by The Eraser. The minute the lead singer started singing I knew the love story was gone and a bigger issue was being told once the lyrics were shown. I could now hear and visualize the frustration and anger in the lead singers voice. The song I thought I knew was about a heartbreak is now a song about how the world we live in today can be so cruel and decieving and make up stories for entertainment purposes. I went a little further and did a little research about the song and found out that ”The Daily Mail” is a British tabloid that tells crazy stories about people in today’s current events. I also learned that the band Radiohead is originally from England which gives reason as to why they would write a song about a British tabloid. I went on the actual website for The Daily Mail and saw some things I probably wouldn’t want to read or believe. From reading about Kim Kardashian’s fake tan diaster to Jamie Lynn Spear’s experience of embarrassment to ask her doctor for birth control pills just made me a little sick to my stomach. Who calls that ”The Daily Mail”? Who thinks that those articles are worth reading? As I scrolled down to view some of the articles I thought back to the lyrics from the song ”Where’s the truth?” and thought there is no truth in this British tabloid. These articles can possibly be rumors for all we know.

What is ”news” worthy for us in society today? Are tabloids a form of escapism? I think so! Most people want to know what celebrities are up to rather than who is up for President next? Tabloids treat celebrities as if they are the most important people in the world. I think that’s what Thom Yorke is trying to say in this song. It made me realize that I am guilty of following this form of escapism. I like to know what’s going on in the media world rather than the ”real” world which is the economic and politic side. I think that I enjoy reading about a celebrity news rather than a war on terror because celebrity news is not depressing or sad.People LIKE seeing the lifestyles of the rich and the famous. They LIKE knowing what’s ”in and out” what’s ”hot and not”. People LIKE seeing celebrities do right and wrong. I guess it makes them feel better about themselves, it’s always like that.

 If you ask me who Taylor Swift (Who doesn’t even know that I exist) is and what’s her greatest album? I’ll tell you she is the most amazing country artist today, I love her so much and that Speak Now is her best album yet! But on the other hand, ask me who this Romney guy is that’s trying to win the election to run for PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES (my UNITED STATES that I LIVE in!)? And I’ll tell you that I don’t even know his first name!  That’s how crazy the world we live in today is. Why are the unimportant things so important to us? Who knows? I guess that’s whyThom Yorke is so angry with all this attention that entertainment news makes front page news that captures the eyes of all while worldy news such as politics gets thrown to the side as if it doesn’t even matter. I remember I looked at the front cover of a news paper and said to myself ”Why is that front page news?!” I think it was about a celebrities wedding or something and the next day there was a War on Terror cover and it just drove me wild because just the other day front page news was celebrity entertainment!

Thom Yorke, the lead vocalist and song writer of the band gets his inspiration from war, politics and other current events happening in the world. I read an article that quoted Thom Yorke and it said

 ”This beautiful scenery around me, some lunatic from the Bush administration talking in my ear. Out in the middle of nowhere, the media is really amplified — it’s like being permanently on drugs. I guess I was worrying about what’s going to be there when I’m gone and Noah is left.(Sutcliff, Phil)”.

That quote couldn’t have made the song any more clearer to me. Yorke was describing a day he was having with his 8 year old son Noah listening to the news on his radio and the stuff that he was hearing triggered his fatherhood. He was now inspired to write a song about the world not only he was living in but his innocent little 8 year old son as well.In today’s society, the ambition to fight and protest against government is always let down due to the lack of time and effort most of us have in our lives. What better way to ”speak out” than writing a song about it, right? During that interview, I noticed he mentioned THREE things that were mentioned in the song. ”Lunatic”, ”Ear” and ” Bush administration”. In the song he mentions ”The LUNATICS have taken over the asylum”, ”You made a pig’s EAR” and ”PRESIDENT (which made me believe that was meant for Bush) for life, love of all ”. The love song about heartbreak I thought I knew was now a song about corruption and the messed up world that we live in.

As I listened to the song over and over again, just so I can really connect with it, I ended up actually liking the song. This, coming from a girl that’s obsessed with Taylor Swift, country music and love songs! The song opened up my eyes to what I was blinded to before. I was blinded by what the media has done to society. The media controls us and what we see is important in the world. I don’t like that feeling of being empowered. I don’t like that something has already been decided for me. I feel like this song has put my guard up a little. I don’t want to gossip about celebrities anymore. Thom Yorke kind of  ”embarrassed me” a little. I know nothing about what’s going on in current news. I don’t know the names of the men who are running for President this year. I should know these things but I don’t. 

Songs are meant to reach out and connect to you unconditionally. A wise Professor once told me that ”Every song tells a story”. My first impression of the song was ”I love it already! It’s going to be so meaningful. Awesome!” After researching and listening to it several times, was the song what I thought it was? No. Do I still have the same opinion about the song? Yes. You want to know why I do? Because after listening and finding out the reason for Yorke writing the music that he writes I could put myself in his shoes for a second that day he was listening to the news on the radio with his son. I could empathize on his experience and allow myself to actually listen to the message he trys to tell us in the song. What’s that message you ask? Yeah, I don’t know either but keep trying, you’re not right!

Work Cited

Sutcliff, Phil (8, June 2003). ”Radiohead Heeds The Alarms”. The Los Angeles Times

 (http://articles.latimes.com/2003/jun/08/entertainment/ca-sutcliffe8

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