The Ladies of Jazz Music

By Jacob Winkler

Jazz music has been a staple of American and world culture for years. While there are lots of male jazz-artists, there are also several very talented female-singers in the field of jazz music. Ella Fitzgerald, Eva Cassidy, Billie Holiday, Aretha Franklin, and Etta Jones are some of the best and most well-known female, and over-all, jazz artists from the 20th century (which is when their careers began and/or lasted). I’m going to talk about these five jazz legends and give a run-down of their careers. 

Ella Fitzgerald (1917-1996)

(Fitzgerald pictured in the 1950s/1960s)

Ella Fitzgerald is one of the most recognized and well known singers in music history. Fitzgerald, born in Newport New, VA in 1917, performed at Amateur Nights at the Apollo Theater in NYC as a singer, and won first place. One of her earliest hits was a jazzy version of the children’s nursery rhyme “A-Tisket, A-Tasket”, followed by a slew of hits released through-out her career, such as “Summertime”, “Dream a Little Dream of Me”, “Cheek to Cheek”, “How High The Moon”, “Someone To Watch Over Me”, and “Blue Skies”. She sadly passed away at her home in 1996 due to a stroke, and was buried in Los Angeles after a private funeral.

 Eva Cassidy (1963-1996)

(Cassidy pictured in 1988)

Eva Cassidy was a guitarist, pianist, and singer from Maryland. Known outside of the DC/Maryland area through-out her life, she didn’t rise to stardom during her lifetime, she didn’t release a chart topping album or a platinum selling single in the span of her life-time. She simply sang for her community. She sang from her heart. Eva unfortunately developed and soon died from cancer in November of 1996, at her family’s home in Maryland. After her death, her first album of previously recorded material, was released in September of 1997. Titled Eva by Heart, the album was positively received, but a compilation album of songs recorded by Eva, released in 1998 and titled Songbird, was a hit. From then on, several albums of previously recorded and unreleased material from Cassidy (including covers of hits like Time After Time, Somewhere Over The Rainbow, Kathy’s Song, Imagine, and Coat of Many Colors) would be released, cementing Eva as a jazz legend. 

Billie Holiday (1915-1959)

(Holiday pictured in 1957, laying down a track at a New York City recording studio)

For nearly thirty years, Billie Holiday entertained the world with her jazz music. Her career might not have lasted as long as the other women on this lust, but she still cemented herself as an amazing singer and jazz artist. Billie is known for hits such as “Strange Fruit”, “Blue Moon”, and “I Cover the Waterfront”. She unfortunately passed away due to pulmonary edema and heart failure in 1959, cutting her musical career far to short.

Aretha Franklin (1942-2018)

(Franklin photographed by Michael Ochs in the 1950s/1960s)

Aretha Franklin is arguably one of the most well known singers of all time. She has turned out multiple hit singles and albums over the span of her more than sixty-year career. Several songs from her repertoire include “Call Me”, “Jump to It”, “Freeway of Love”, “Respect”, and “(You Make Me Feel Like a) Natural Woman”. On August 13, 2018, she was reported to be gravely ill, and she died at her home three days later. A memorial service was held another three days later, with celebrities such as Ariana Grande, Queen Latifah, Stevie Wonder, and Gladys Knight in attendance.

Etta Jones (1928-2001)

(Jones pictured on the cover of her 1995 album, At Last)

South Carolina native, Etta Jones, recorded many hits over the span of her over 50 year career, including songs like “Don’t Go to Strangers”, “Save Your Love for Me”, and a cover of “At Last”. Jones has not only turned out amazing material on her own, she has also worked with legends such as Houston Preston, Buddy Johnson, and Leonard Feather. Jones received three Grammy nominations for three of her albums “My Buddy” (1998; dedicated to Buddy Johnson), “Save Your Love For Me (1981) and “Don’t Go to Strangers” (1960), the latter being inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2008. She passed away at the age of 72 in New York.

There are many more influential, legendary, and exceptionally talented jazz artists, both male and female; but I had to narrow it down to some of my personal favorites. Jazz is a very important piece to the America-Music puzzle, and it plays a big role in musical culture and the culture of the twentieth-century as-a-whole. There are many people with varying opinions on jazz music, but I’m sure that everyone can agree that these five singers are some of the best artists of the jazz genre. 

SpongeBob BFBB Review

by Mitch W. Sequeira III
Edited by Will Delancy

DISCLAIMER: There will be two versions of this review. A quick to the point article version, and a more in-depth video version.

With the remake of the game only getting closer and closer, no better time than now to review the game licensed games a new name, SpongeBob SquarePants Battle for Bikini Bottom.


Well it’s a SpongeBob game, so the story isn’t gonna be the most in-depth or amazing story.

Deep in the laboratory of the Chum Bucket, Plankton has created a machine called the Duplicatotron 3000. A machine that make robots that will cause mayhem and destruction at his command. But for some reason the machine has a Do Not Obey setting, and the machine is already set to that. Cutting to the pineapple under the sea, SpongeBob and Patrick are playing a game of Robots and Racehorses. Eventually they get bored of the game, and wish to play with real robots. Patrick then drags out a “magic wishing shell,” and the two “wish” for real robots. Overnight, the robots from the Chum Bucket wreak havoc across the entire town of Bikini Bottom and many other places, including SpongeBob’s house. The next morning, the battle for Bikini Bottom begins.

The story, albeit not the best of stories, matches the tone and pace of the first few seasons of the show perfectly. It’s almost like you’re playing an episode of the show. The story also doesn’t have many plot-holes, the only one I can think of is the creation of the surprise antagonist, Robot Plankton. Overall, the story gets a 7/10.


The game itself is a collect-a-thon similar to Super Mario 64 or Banjo-Kazooie, and you have three characters to go through this journey with. SpongeBob, the default and character with the most attacks. Patrick, can do certain things SpongeBob and Sandy can’t do. And Sandy, as previously mentioned. Sandy’s unique feature is she can glide and swing across gaps. Throughout the entire game is 100 Golden Spatulas for you to collect, similar to that of the Power Stars from Super Mario 64.

Winning a Golden Spatula

Some are simply at the end of a level’s pathway. Some are rewarded from doing simple tasks, like bungee jumping. And some make you want to snap your controller in 2. However, there are only three challenges in the whole game that will make you want to do that, and once you figure out how to do them, you can blaze past 2 of them in less than 10 minutes. The game has technically 15 levels with 8 Golden Spatulas to earn (with the exception of boss battles. The difficulty of the game is adaptive. Little to no spikes. The only difficulty spikes are in one level, but I’ll talk about those in the review video.

While not exactly relating to gameplay. The way the game explains certain things… like explaining how your health works.

Health Tutorial

Overall, I mostly wasn’t disappointed.
The gameplay gets a 9/10.


The music sounds like it’s ripped right out of the show. Every song also fits with the area they’re made for. Jellyfish Fields feels bouncy, Rock Bottom sounds ominous, SpongeBob’s Dream sounds like an LSD trip, like the level. I could go on really.
The music gets a 10/10.
Here is a playlist of the entire game’s soundtrack, if you are interested.

Overall the game gets a 26/30.
Probably one of the best licensed games I’ve ever played, and that’s saying something as most of them are pretty bad. Battle for Bikini Bottom is what a licensed game should be. A fun experience that matches the spirit and tone of its source material, and I’m not the only one who thinks the same way. Some people’s entire YouTube channels are known because of this game.

Speedrun by SHiFT (Clip 1)
Speedrun by SHiFT (Clip 2)

As to what version I recommend, if you want an easy way to play it, the GameCube version, it’s the version you can find the most, and if you have a Wii and GC controller, you can play it on the Wii. However, if you’re willing to spend a few extra bucks, get the original Xbox version. The loading times are shorter, the lighting is better, some “missing” audio clips actually play, and the audio mixer is miles better than the GameCube version. Play this game at least once, you most likely won’t regret it.

If you are interested, here is a more in depth version of the review

The Rise of BTS

By  Jesseca Raney

BTS stands for Bangtan Sonyeondan (방탄소년단), which in english means Bulletproof Boys. Is a seven member group With the oldest being Kim SeokJin (Jin), Min Yoongi (Suga), Jung Hoseok (J-Hope), Kim NamJoon (RM), Park Jimin (Jimin), Kim Teahyung (V), and Jeon Jungkook (Jungkook) being the youngest. The group officially deputed on June 13th, 2013 under BigHit Entertainment which at the time was a very poor company. Their debut album was called 2Cool 4 Skool with the main song being No More dream. 

BTS in 2013 as HipHop Idol group posted by 

At first BTS debuted as a Hip-Hop idol group with other celebrities mocking them and telling them that they had no chance of lasting as a group. In the first few years while the group was receiving more hate then love, many “fans” would go on and tell the group that RM, the leader, and J-Hope that they should leave the group, that they had no talent and where the ugliest members of the group. At one point Bang PD-nim, CEO of BIGHIT, had asked RM if he would like to leave the group and become a solo rapper. This was aa slight test to see where his loyalty lied with his members for that the other six were able to watch the video of RM, known as Rap Monster at the time, thought hard on the decision. His choice odvislelly ws to stay with the group as he is still the leader of the group has of present time. 

2017 bbmas BTS won top social artiest image poted from 

With many people working against the boy group, they never gave up hope. They came close to giving up many times throughout the years but they have kept going and pushing through the hardships. These seven boys in the recent years have preformed at many huge US music events like in 2018 BTS preformed their song Fake Love. 


Other US activities they had done where, preforming and talking on Ellen and on the Late Late Show with James Corden. While in the US, the boys also got the chance to become great friends with quite a few American artists that they collaborated with.

Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

In 2019 BTS made a collab song with Halsey called Boy With Love. One of the rappers, J-Hope, also in late 2019 bought the old song Chicken Noodle Soup where they mixed not only English and Korean into the song but a good bit of Spanish. In a snippet video of Billie Eillish ,she asked her fans if she should collaborate with BTS. A lot of her fans yelled saying no don’t but in the video Billie looked genuinely offended by this and went on to say how mean they were and saying that BTS are such nice people and really cool people. 

Getty images

During mid 2019 the boys had taken a well needed vacation enjoying time to themselves and getting a chance to just be young-adults instead of idols. Although the group had decided to come back early and are now working tours, being with their fans and getting prepared to release new music to their fans. These seven men have been through thick and thin since 2013, but have become one of the biggest groups in the world. Through the next years, BTS will hopefully continue to make waves with their music and bring joy to those who listen to it. 

BTS is ‘a phenomenon more interesting than the music at its centre’. Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage 

Love+Fear: Acoustic Review

By  Jacob Winkler

Love+Fear (Acoustic) is an EP album released by Welsh singer-songwriter Marina Diamandis (Know professionally as MARINA, and previously as Marina and the Diamonds) on September 13, 2019. The EP features 5 tracks, all of which are acoustic versions of songs previously released on MARINA’s 4th studio album Love+Fear, which was partially released on April 4, 2019 and entirely on April 26, 2019 (The first 8 tracks of the album, which make up the “Love” aspect of the album, was released before the rest of the album, un-announced). 

The album’s track listing includes acoustic versions of “Orange Trees”, “Superstar”, and “Karma” which are 3 of Love+Fear’s 5 singles, as well as acoustic versions of “True” and “No More Suckers”. I really enjoyed Love+Fear, so I had high hopes for this EP, especially since all of the songs selected for the EP are some of my favorites. I must admit, I was not disappointed. So, here is my honest opinion of each song on the album.

Track Number 1- True (Acoustic)

The first track on the EP is “True”. This upbeat and inspirational bop was written by Diamandis, Jonnalis Parmenius, Oscar Holter, and Oscar Gorres (Also known as OzGo). The song talks about being true to yourself and not listening to the standards and expectations society has set. The song has a beautiful message behind it and MARINA’s vocals are stellar. The acoustic version of the song is slightly slower and less-upbeat than the original, but it is still just as beautiful as the original. 

Track Number 2- Superstar (Acoustic)

The EP’s second track is the second single from “Love+Fear”, “Superstar”. Written by Diamandis, Benjamin Berger, Ryan McMahon, and Ryan Rabin, “Superstar” is a great song that talks about the singer’s great relationship with her partner, whom she calls her superstar (hence the name of the song). Both the acoustic and the original versions of the song are great, but the acoustic version just has a certain tone to it that I love.

Track Number 3- Karma (Acoustic)

The third track on the album and my favorite song from “Love+Fear”, “Karma” is an amazing song written by Diamandis, Jack Patterson, Berger, McMahon, and Rabin. The opening instrumental part is absolutely stunning. Starting with an airy twinkling sound (which is simply programing), it then stops and is replaced with a guitar, mandolin, or ukulele (I’m not sure which one is used, unless all three are) accompanied with twinkling bells, before transitioning into the first verse. When it comes to the verses, chorus, and backing-instrumental, not a lot has changed. You still have Diamandis’s beautifully haunting background vocals, nice lead vocals, and the guitar/ukulele/mandolin backing. The only thing that seems to have changed it the drum mixing and pop programing has been removed. This adds a certain rawness to the song, that just adds to the hunting quality of the song. 

Track Number 4- No More Suckers (Acoustic)

The EP’s fourth track is the next-to-last track on the “Fear” side of “Love+Fear”, “No More Suckers”. Written by Diamandis, Alex Hope, and James Flannigan, the original isn’t exactly the biggest hit on the album (Love+Fear). I personally enjoy the song, but it isn’t the best. Now, as for the acoustic version of the song, it is superior in my opinion. Now, is it the best on the EP? Wel…no. However, in my opinion, it is better than the original. One of the most notable differences between the original and the acoustic is that the chorus has been changed from featuring mostly high notes, to lower notes. In fact, most of the lead vocal section is lower than the original. 

This, mixed with the techy-pop programing being replaced with guitar and what sounds like piano adds a more serious tone to the song, which helps to better convey the song’s message about people taking advantage of you all the time and you finally stopping them. Out of all the songs on this EP, I’d have to say this is my favorite. 

Track Number 5- Orange Trees (Acoustic)

The fifth and final track on the album is the third single from “Love+Fear”, “Orange Trees”. The song was written by Diamandis, Kaj Hassel, Jakob Jerlstorm, and Gorres. In the acoustic version of this song the guitar (and possibly ukulele) are more pronounced, which adds to the overall tone of the song.  The song doesn’t seem any less upbeat than the original, however without the percussion parts and all the pop music programing, it makes the song sound more passionate and slow. This adds a certain beauty to the song, that I personally feel makes the song better than the original. 

If I had to rank the songs on the EP, I’d have to say (from my favorite to least favorite):

  • No More Suckers
  • Orange Trees
  • Karma
  • True
  • Superstar

Obviously, all 16 of the songs from “Love+Fear” couldn’t become acoustic and make it onto the album. However, there are a few I would have liked to see as acoustics. “Handmade Heaven”, “Too Afraid”, “Soft to Be Strong”, “Emotional Machine”, and “To Be Human” are a few tracks I would have liked to see on the album. I feel like acoustic versions of these songs would have been a great edition to the album.

Of course, you probably want to know what other people think of this album. So, I asked a student to listen to the album and tell me what they thought of it. 

I decided to ask senior, Jillian Randolph. When asked about the album, and her opinion on it,  told me: “I really enjoy the album; it makes me think of summer. I don’t listen to that genre much, but I absolutely love it.” She also said her favorite song on the album was “Karma (Acoustic)”.

So, there you have it; my, as-well as a few other people’s opinions on Love+Fear: Acoustic by MARINA. 

Forgotten Cartoons

By Lily Ward

There are so many shows from our childhood that have been forgotten about. I want to bring light to all of the amazing shows that we watched as a kid and hopefully get you to remember why we loved them so much!

1. Pinky and the Brain

Pinky and the Brain is a cartoon that was made September 9th, 1995 and ended November 14th, 1998. The cartoon was about two lab rats named Pinky and Brain that try to take over the world. Brain is usually known to be self centered and Pinky is more good-natured. 

2. Johnny Bravo

Johnny Bravo was made March 26th, 1995 and ended August 27th, 2004. Johnny Bravo is a guy who has very high confidence. He assumes every girl loves him and he loves talking about himself, which is expressed in the quote, “Enough about you, let’s talk about me.”

3. Totally Spies

Totally spies started November 1st, 2001 and ended October 3rd, 2013. Totally Spies is about three teenage girls named Sam, Alex, and Clover. These girls have a double life, as they’re high school students that love fashion, but also work for the World Organization of Human Protection, also known as WOOHP.

4. My Life as a Teenage Robot

My Life as a Teenage Robot first aired August 1st, 2003 and ended May 2nd, 2009. It revolves around a robot called XJ-9 but goes by Jenny. Jenny was to protect earth but she also just wants to be a normal teenager. The fact that she’s more focused on being an average teenager instead of saving the planet can cause some problems, but she just wants to go to school and hang out with friends.

5. Astro Boy

Astro Boy is an old TV show but mostly known for the movie. The show started January 1st, 1963 and ended December 31s 1966. The movie was made October 18th, 2009. Astro Boy, also known as Toby, was a robot designed as a 12 year old boy that was made in a lab. Toby has super strength, X-Ray vision, and he can fly. He goes to find acceptance and finds a group of people that he can stay with. He has to pretend to be a human because they believe robots have no emotion and are dangerous. Once his secret is revealed, it puts Toby in danger.

All of these forgotten cartoons made our childhoods more enjoyable, and I say we start remembering them!

Undertale Review

By Mitch Sequeira


I already reviewed something that you might already know, now how about something you most likely DON’T know. A hidden gem, buried under a mountain of hate. This is a review of the game known as Undertale, created by Toby Fox.

Image result for undertale'


Reviewing the story is kind of hard since the story throughout the game can change depending on what you do. So instead I’ll be rating the hidden lore. 

Long ago, there were two races: Humans and monsters. One day, war broke out between the two races. After a long battle, the humans were victorious. They trapped the monsters underground with a magic seal at the top of Mt. Ebott.

Sometime after the battle, a child named Chara fell into the mountain. Injured by the fall, she cried out for help. Asriel, son of King Asgore and Queen Toriel, heard her call. He brought Chara back to the castle. Over time, Asriel and Chara became like siblings. The King and Queen treated the girl as their own. The underground was full of hope.

Then… one day… Chara became very ill. She had only one request: To see the flowers from her village. But there was nothing the monsters could do. The next day, she died. Asriel, wracked with grief, absorbed Chara’s soul, and transformed into a being with incredible power. With the human soul, Asriel crossed through barrier made to trap the monsters. He carried her into the sunset, back to the village of humans. Asriel reached the center of the village, and placed her body on a bed of golden flowers. The villagers saw him holding the body, and assumed he killed her. They attacked Asriel with everything they had, he was struck blow after blow. Asriel had the power to destroy them all, but he did not fight back. Clutching his sibling, Asriel smiled, and walked away.

Image result for undertale lore

Wounded, Asriel stumbled home. He entered the castle and collapsed, his dust spread across the garden. The kingdom fell into despair, the humans had once again taken everything from the monsters. Asgore and Toriel had lost two children in one night. The king decided enough was enough. He made a law stating that every human who falls, must DIE. With enough souls, the barrier can be shattered. Asgore migrated to a new castle, one by the barrier. His queen, filled with grief and disappointment, left him. She and her supporters stayed in the ruins of the old castle.

After six more children fell, everyone waited for a seventh. Asgore began to grow impatient and did not want to kill any more innocent children. He made his royal scientist, Alphys, experiment with a power, which human souls have, known as Determination. It was what allowed Asriel to cross the barrier when he fused his own soul with Chara’s. Alphys’ first experiment was the bed of golden flowers that Asriel’s dust was spread across. She injected determination into the first flower that bloomed after his death. At first it seemed like a failure, unknowingly to her, it did work… somewhat. Asriel’s conscience was in the flower, but his soul was not. Because of this, he lacked the concept of mercy and compassion, and became a physical embodiment of pure evil…

The lore is quite sad towards the end, but it is written decently. The story/hidden lore gets a 6/10.

Some gameplay of the ruins


The gameplay is your basic RPG game style. Overhead view, puzzles, exploration, random encounters, the usual. However, Undertale adds a uniqueness to formula. During an enemy encounter, you can either slay them, or give them mercy. This will somewhat change the ending. 

Kill anyone, you get the neutral ending (on your first playthrough, you will get this ending no matter what). Kill no one, you get the pacifist ending. Kill everyone, you get the genocide ending (which is very hard to get). Do the genocide route THEN the pacifist route, and you get the true genocide ending. 

Sans Battle (Genocide Route only)

The way combat works: Your soul (represented by a heart) is in a box, you move your soul to avoid attacks. If you are going for the pacifist route, you try to please your opponent to try to make their name yellow in the battle options. When their name turns yellow, you can spare them. If you are going for the neutral or genocide route, you use the fight button. (It is hard to explain, so finding how this works would be easier if you saw for yourself.)

The difficulty is just right throughout the entire game. You won’t experience any massive difficulty spikes, with a few exceptions. All three exceptions are boss battles, Photoshop Flowey, Undyne the Undying, and Sans. I won’t say anymore than that.

Overall, the gameplay is perfectly fine. It can be very fun if you’re looking to have a good time, and it can offer a challenge if you’re looking for one. The gameplay gets an 8/10.

Asriel Dreemurr Battle (Pacifist Route only)


The music is absolutely amazing (this may be a common opinion in my reviews). It fits the retro style of the game. Some of my favorites are “Bonetrousle”, “Waterfall”, “Another Medium”, “Spider Dance”, “CORE”, “Death by Glamour”, “Your Best Nightmare & Finale”, and the one and only “MEGALOVANIA.” There is not a single song I hate in the soundtrack. The music gets a 10/10.

Overall score

The total is a 24/30. Undertale is quite the experience. This is because every little decision can change the entire game. What I would recommend doing first is the pacifist route. The version I recommend playing? The PC version. This version can have the sound easily modified, and a mod that colors in the battle sprites. However, there are incentives to get the other versions instead. PS4 has a new room and the Nintendo Switch version has a new boss. Both versions are available for digital and physical purchase. The Collector’s Edition has the physical game, the Official Soundtrack with a few extra songs, a story booklet, sheet music, and a heart locket music box. So if you have the money to spare, I say get the game. You won’t regret it.

Ranking Albums: The Carpenters

By Jacob Winkler

Spanning over a 50 year period, the Carpenters have released a total of 15 albums (the most recent being a remix-compilation album, so technically 14). Comprising of brother and sister Richard (b. 1946) and Karen (1950-1983), I have been listening to the Carpenters since I was in 7th grade, and one question has always remained in my mind, which Carpenters album is my least favorite, and which is my most favorite? So, I decided to sit down and rank them. Not only will this answer my question, but it will also hopefully introduce the Carpenters to a new audience.

Now, before I begin, let me get one thing straight. In my opinion, all of their albums are great, but some are better than others. Anyways, without further-ado, let us begin. I will put a link to a play-list of each album under their respective spot on the list. 

(Note: I will be ranking from my least favorite, to my most favorite.) 

#14 – Ticket to Ride: Originally released in 1969 as “Offering” (Re-released in 1970)
(Image from

The first album released by The Carpenters, Ticket to Ride (originally released under the name Offering) is a great first start. Obviously, it being their first album, they didn’t have a lot of experience before-hand, they didn’t quite know what worked and what didn’t. Originally released on October 9, 1969 as offering, then on November 10, 1970 as Ticket To Ride, the album features several good songs such as “Ticket to Ride”, which was originally recorded by The Beatles, and “All of My Life”. Not every song on the album is a winner, but it is still a good album, and a good first-try.

(Click here to listen to the album on Youtube:

#13 – As Time Goes By: Released in 2001 (Japan)/2004 (World-wide)
(Image from

As Time Goes By is a-bit of a mix-matched album. It features amazing songs but there isn’t a very organized style. Most of the songs are either songs or medleys from their three non-Christmas television specials, while all the others are previously un-completed demos, album outtakes, and work-leads. The reason I consider this album mix matched is how many of the songs were recorded so far-apart from each other (time-wise), they sound like they are sung by different people (Yes, there are different people featured on some songs, but I mean when Karen is singing). Karen’s vocals changed and developed throughout her career, so a song recorded in the 1969 to 1971 time frame sounds different from songs and medleys recorded from 1976 to the early 1980s. For example, you may be-able to tell that demos like “Nowhere Man” and “California Dreamin’” were recorded rather early-on in her career, and medleys like the “I Got Rhythm Medley” and songs like “The Rainbow Connection” were recorded in the 80s. I am not saying Karen’s vocals are bad in any of the songs, I’m just saying that there are too many jumps from the 19-20 year old Karen’s vocals to the 29-30 year old Karen’s vocals for my taste. However, the album still features several amazing songs. 

(Click here to listen to the album on Youtube:

#12 – An Old Fashioned Christmas: Released in 1984
(Image from

The second Christmas album released by the Carpenters, An Old Fashioned Christmas is essentially a compilation of album outtakes from their first Christmas album, the 1978 “Christmas Portrait”. The album features several classic Christmas songs, such as “Do You Hear What I Hear?”, “O Holy Night”, a version of “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town”, and two medleys including hits like “Happy Holidays”, “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”, “Rudolph The Rednosed Reindeer”, and “Frosty The Snowman”. It is a great Christmas album and features several great classics. 

(I could not find an official album-playlist on Youtube, my apologies)

#11- Christmas Portrait: Released in 1978
(Image from

Recorded from 1977 to 1978, Christmas Portrait is the first Christmas album released by The Carpenters. This album features Christmas classics such as “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”, “Sleigh RIde”, “Christmas Waltz”, “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town”, and the Carpenters hit “Merry Christmas Darling” (which was originally released in 1970 as a  single). At Least 30 songs were recorded for the album, 16 of which made it onto Christmas Portrait. The other 14 (Or more, depending on how many songs were recorded) were released after Karen’s death. 

(Click here to listen to the album on Youtube:

#10 – Now & Then: Released in 1973
(Image from

At number ten is The Carpenter’s fifth studio album, “Now & Then”. Released on May first, 1973, “Now & Then” has several interesting songs, and a rather limited b-side (atleast, for the vinyl record version). While the a-side of the record (the first 5 tracks on CDs and digital platforms) features songs like “Sing”, the Hank Williams hit “Jambalaya (On The Bayou”, and the beautifully composed jazz-ballad “This Masquerade”. Meanwhile, the b-side is a …waste. While it does include the beautiful “Yesterday Once More”, the rest of the side is just a medley of old classic songs, and a reprise of “Yesterday Once More”. The medley is great, but I feel that there could have been something else in-place of the medley. Other than that small issue, the album is amazing, from cover to record, and it truly is a must-listen. 

(Click here to listen to the album on Youtube:

#9 – A Kind Of Hush: Released in 1976
(Image from

The ninth album on the list is the 1976 album A Kind of Hush. Although labeled sub-par by both Richard himself and fans, I do enjoy the album. Obviously, there are several way better albums, but this album does feature some solid hits. Tracks like “Sandy”, “Boat to Sail”, “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do”, and “There’s A Kind of Hush (All Over The World)” (Which reached number 1 on the “US Billboard Easy Listening” chart), are great songs in my opinion. Meanwhile, other songs like “One More Time”, “I Have You”, and “You” could have been much better. Many people blame this album’s 1976 single “Goofus” on the Carpenter’s decline in popularity. I do agree with them, but I also think that it is a great song. I just think it shouldn’t have been released as a single. The rest of the album is fine. It isn’t horrible, but it also isn’t number one hit material. 

(Click here to listen to the album on Youtube:

#8 – Lovelines: Released in 1989
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The second of three Carpenters albums released after Karen Carpenter’s death, Lovelines features songs from their television specials, album outtakes, and (a special treat for super-fans), four songs from Karen’s (at the time, unreleased) solo album, which were remixed by Richard. This album’s wonderful track-list includes the beautifully written title-track “Lovelines”, which was recorded by Karen for her solo album, the hauntingly-beautiful “The Uninvited Guest”, and the enchanting “Little Girl Blue”, which was featured on their 1978 television special, “The Carpenters…..Space Encounters!”. The album is a great example of Richard’s talent as a composer, and it has a-little something for everyone. 

(Click here to listen to the album on Youtube:

#7- Carpenters: Released in 1971
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Coming in at number seven is the Carpenter’s third album, simply titled Carpenters. Recorded from 1970 to 1971, Carpenters was a certified hit, and their most successful album to-date. This might be due to the album’s great track-listing, including songs like “Rainy Days and Mondays”,”Superstar”, and “For All We Know”. The other tracks on the album are great too, but are overshadowed by those three great tracks. Another thing, the original album cover was simply and oversized tan-colored envelope with “Carpenters” written on it. Basically, the (original) album cover is ugly and all the tracks are overshadowed by the three great tracks (all of which were on the a-side of the vinyl record). 

#6 – Close To You: Released in 1970
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Close to You is the second album recorded by The Carpenters, which was released on August 19, 1970. Although it was only certified platinum in the US, the album features the two hit singles, the smash-hit “(They Long To Be Close to You”, and the 1970s’ wedding-anthem “We’ve Only Just Begun”, as-well as several other great songs like “Love is Surrender”, “Baby It’s You”, and “Mr. Guder”. The album truly is great, and it is the album that really catapulted their career and cemented them as music legends and icons for the decade. 

#5 – A Song For You: Released in 1973
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Charting at number 5 on the list and number 5 on both the Canadian RPM Album Chart and Japanese Oricon LP Chart is 1973’s A Song For You. This LP is a great work of art. Featuring great tracks like “A Song For You”, “I Won’t Last A Day Without You”, and “Top of the World”, “A Song For You” is a great album and I believe you will enjoy it just as-much as I do. 

(Click here to listen to the album on Youtube:

#4 – Horizon: Released in 1975
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At number four is Horizon, the Carpenter’s sixth studio album. Released on June sixth, 1975, Horizon features several amazing tracks, including the hit single “Please Mr. Postman” ( a cover of the Marveleete’s 1961 hit), the melodic rock-pop ballad “Solitaire” originated by Neil Sedaka in 1972, and the up-beat love song “Only Yesterday” (which was written and composed by RIchard Carpenter and John Bettis). This album is a very good example of an album gone right, and features multiple beautifully-written songs.

(Click here to listen to the album on Youtube:

#3 – Made in America: Released in 1981
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After a brief two year hiatus, during which Richard went to rehab for his Quaalude addiction and Karen recorded her solo album in New York City, Made in America was released on June 16, 1981. Recorded from June of 1978 to September of 1980, the album features ten tracks of different varieties. From the slow-dancing tune “Touch Me When We’re Dancing” to the 1962 hit “Beechwood 4-5789”, “Made In America” is a great album with several great songs.

(Click here to listen to the album on Youtube:

#2 – Passage: Released in 1977
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Our number two album is 1977’s Passage, the last non-christmas album released by the Carpenters in the 70s. Featuring only eight tracks, opposed to the usual ten or twelve, this LP is nothing short of a masterpiece. Featuring tunes such as “All You Get From Love Is A Love Song”, “Two Lives”, “Sweet Sweet Smile”, and a cover of “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina” from the 1978 Andrew Lloyd Webber hit-musical “Evita” (the song was originally recorded in 1976 by Julie Covington for a concept-album and later used in the musical). Although not receiving massive success in the United States, it was certified Gold in the United Kingdom. I consider this album one of the greatest albums they recorded, but not the absolute best. 

(Click here to listen to the album on Youtube:

Karen and Richard didn’t just make music together, but they also did separately. With Karen’s amazing vocal power and Richard’s amazing arranging and composing skills, they were great as a duo, and great as individual artists. Obviously, people saw this. So, combined, they made 3 solo albums. Richard made 2, and Karen made one. Before I reveal the number one pick (aka my favorite Carpenter’s album), here are the 3 solo albums, in a non-specific order). 

“Karen Carpenter: The Unreleased Solo Sessions”: released posthumously in 1996
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Originally recorded from May of 1979 to January of 1980, the self-titled solo album is truly something special. This solo album includes several amazing songs like the disco-style track “My Body Keeps Changing My Mind”, the rock-pop love song “Still In Love With You” and the jazzy ballad “If I Had You”, which features a saxophone solo by the late great jazz saxophonist Michael Brecker (1949-2007). The album was shelved before it’s original 1980 release. However, it was eventually released on October 8, 1996, over 13 years after Karen’s death. It truly is an amazing album, and it shows just how talented Karen is when it comes to singing different genres of music. 

(Click here to listen to the album on Youtube:

“Richard Carpenter: Time”: Released in 1987
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Released on October 11th, 1987, Time is the first of currently two solo albums released by Richard Carpenter. The album features appearances from singers such as Dusty Springfield, Dionne Worwick, and Scott Grimes. The album features several great songs including “Say Yeah!”, “Something In Your Eyes”, “When Time Was All We Had” (which is dedicated to Karen), and the title-track “Time”. This is a great first attempt at a solo album, but fails to reach the same quality of Karen’s solo album (in my opinion). 

(Click here to listen to the album on Youtube:

“Richard Carpenter: Pianist, Arranger, Composer, Conductor” released in 1998
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Released 12 years after Time, Pianist, Arranger, Composer, Conductor is the second of two solo albums released by Richard Carpenter. The album features songs recorded with Karen as “The Carpenters” as-well as a brand new instrumental prelude and a musical piece titled “Karen’s Theme”. It’s a good album, but it really is more of a compilation album, since it mainly features songs that he and Karen recorded together.

(Click here to listen to the album on Youtube:

#1- Voice of The Heart: Released in 1983

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At number one on the list is the first album released after singer Karen Carpenter’s (pictured on the album cover) death. Titled Voice of The Heart, this ten track LP has many beautiful songs, including Karen’s last two recordings “Now” and “You’re Enough”, more melancholy songs like “Two Lives”, “You’re Baby Doesn’t Love You Anymore”, and “At The End of A Song”, and more upbeat tracks such as “Sailing on the Tide” and “Prime Time Love”. All tracks were recorded between 1976 and April of 1982, and remixed by Richard mere months after Karen’s death. It was officially released on October 18, 1983 and was certified Gold in both the United States and Canada. This is an absolutely amazing album and I love it with all of my heart (get it, because heart is in the title? Sorry, that was really corny). Anyways, Voice of The Heart is my favorite Carpenters album to-date, and I think it might become your favorite too. 

(Click here to listen to the album on Youtube:

So, there you have it. After lots of deep thought, hard decisions, and multiple album re-listens, I have finally ranked the Carpenters albums (Not including 2018’s Carpenters w/ The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, since it is a compilation album of remixed previously-released songs) from my least favorite to my most favorite. It really was hard to choose what album made it to which spot, but I think I finally have it down. I hope you enjoyed this article and I hope you now know more about the Carpenters then you did just a-few minutes ago. Now, go out and get yourself a Carpenters album.

IT: Chapter Two (2019) Review

By Decklynn Johnston

For quite some time, everyone has been buzzing about the sequel to IT: Chapter One. Chapter Two came out on September 6th, 2019. I went to see it with some friends on September 9th, and I can say I was not disappointed with the movie. IT was originally a novel written by an author named Stephen King, who is known for his horror-themed novels. There was a popular original film made in 1990 with a sequel as well.

If you’ve seen IT, then you know it’s about a demonic clown that terrorizes a group of friends. One of the group’s members, William “Bill” Denborough had a little brother named Georgie who got eaten by the demonic clown, Pennywise. The story then sets itself in motion. In the end, the self-proclaimed Losers fight off Pennywise for good, and make a blood oath that if IT, Pennywise, ever returns to the town of Derry, they would come back to destroy IT again.

In Chapter One, they’re all in the 12-14 age range, now fast forward to Chapter Two, 27 years later. They’re all grown up, and leading their own lives for the most part. However, IT returns to Derry and Mike, the only member of the Loser’s Club that stayed behind in Derry, calls all of his old friends to give them the terrifying news. Now, we all know that their childhoods were traumatizing, mainly because of Pennywise but also because of personal things that were happening in each of their homes. However, despite these traumatizing experiences, the ones that left Derry don’t remember most of it until they return to their hometown. 

The best part about this movie is that they connect all of the complicated backstories. With seven main characters, you’d think it would be difficult to successfully be able to have each character’s story line fit appropriately into the story,  but the producers do a very good job at it. Not to mention its relevance to the book. The remakes (2017 & 2019) are more of an accurate representation of the book, including more of the book’s events and the storyline than the 1990 version did. The graphics were good and the plot was planned out very well, and the movie progressed smoothly. All in all, the move was made really well.

Another thing that makes the movie amazing is the comedy mixed in with the horror. Most movies that mix these genres overdo it to the point where it gets a tad bit annoying. However, IT Chapter Two has its comical moments, but it still serves its purpose as a horror movie very well.

And lastly, let’s talk about the character development and actors. All of the characters go through changes that benefit the story. Chapter Two loops around to connect the characters to their adolescent selves, childhood events and not to mention the actors they picked out were fabulous for the job. The cast did an amazing job at portraying the characters in a similar way the cast did in Chapter One. 

Overall, IT: Chapter Two exceeded my expectations and was an excellent movie, and is even a movie you could watch more than once without getting bored with it. This movie lives up to its big reputation. IT has the perfect mix of horror, comedy and drama, so in all, this movie won’t let you down.

The Growth Of BlackPink

By Jesseca Raney

BlackPink is a korean-pop group which debuted on August 8, 2016 under the company YG Entertainment. The girl group consists of four girls named, Jisoo, Jennie, Rosé and Lisa. After just three short years, the girls’ popularity has spread all over the world. BlackPink even got the chance to perform on Good Morning America back in February earlier this year with their song Dududu dududu.

But the question is, does BlackPink really deserve this fame/popularity? Or is the fame they have earned because of their company and past groups that are also associated with the company?

BlackPink’s Debut Stge in 2016

BlackPink is only the 2nd girl group to ever come out of YG Entertainment, with the first being 2ne1, who debuted back in 2009 but sadly disbanded back in November of 2016, only 3 months after BlackPink debuted, with the same girl crush concept as 2ne1.

BlackPink’s fan base is called Blinks which is just a combination of the group’s name. The girls seemed to have gained its fan base overnight with their debut song Boombayah siting at 732million views after three years. Their recent song Kill This Love, which came out only six months ago, already has 634million views. Songs with this much popularity have given these girls the ability to show their talent, which has allowed them to win 10 awards already, with their first win just 13 days after their debut.

BLackPink from their song, Whistle. Picture posted by 

With BlackPink having been together for only three now, some of the members have also been active in their own activities as well with one member, Jennie have her own debut song called Solo which has about 385 million views after a year being released on their youtube channel alone. Lisa going a dance cover to Swalla by Jason Derulo and lastly Jisoo with her song Clarity. Sadly one member, Rose has not had any solo activist. The next years BlackPink will have more activity and Rose will have her own solo just like others an all four will have more growing success.

BlackPink on Good Morning America, image posted by abcnews.

BlackPink in 2019 posted by