Best and worst of summer 2017

SATURATION

I & II

By Andrew Willoughby

Arts & Features Editor

In 2015, high school friends Kevin Abstract, Ameer Vann and Dom McLennon moved into a rented house in L.A. with a handful of friends they met on the internet.

Shortly after, they released their first mixtape “All-American Trash” under the group name BROCKHAMPTON. This summer, the self-proclaimed “boy band” released two full-length albums, “SATURATION” and “SATURATION II.” While neither differs much from the other, they both stand out as some of the best hip-hop music of the summer, if not the year as a whole.

The styles on these two records run the gamut of what’s popular in rap today – from the aggressive and loud-as-hell opener to “SATURATION I,” “HEAT,” to the Frank Ocean-esque “WASTE.” Each listener is sure to find at least a few songs they’ll love.

Each of the seven prominent members has his own distinct personality and style – Merlyn Wood’s wacky delivery, Kevin Abstract’s commentary as a gay man in the rap industry and JOBA’s falsetto singing voice, just to name a few.

With the third and final installment in the “SATURATION” trilogy due out later this year, all rap fans should have more than enough to listen to.

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hopeless fountain kingdom

By Cass Doherty

Arts & Features Editor

In the summer of 2015, Ashley Frangipane – stage name Halsey – released her debut album “Badlands.” This past summer, she released “hopeless fountain kingdom.”

A modern Romeo and Juliet tale, the album opens with Halsey’s reading of Shakespeare’s famous prologue. The story is a gender-swapped interpretation of the play, starring the “star-crossed lovers” Luna and Solis. The album contains hints of her first album, with lyrical allusions to “Castles” and her relationships.

The songs on the album have a electropop feel to them, particularly “Eyes Closed” and “Hopeless,” which features Cashmere Cat. “Sorry” contrasts the electropop vibes for more of a ballad feel.

Each song on the album features its own story. They each connects back to the others, such as “Heaven in Hiding” and “Alone” being two characters’ perspectives of the same party. Halsey adds a unique feel to each song, despite the fact they’re all interconnected and contribute to a larger story.

The album is unique in its storytelling, and Halsey fans should be pleased.

“hopeless fountain kingdom” was definitely worth the wait.

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Warped Tour

By Cameron Grieves

Asst. Arts & Features Editor

The Vans Warped Tour sells itself mainly as a bargain opportunity for you and your friends to pool together some gas money, lather on some sunscreen and indulge in double-digit hours of concert-going shenanigans.

However, this year the 22-year-old summer concert series was inundated with scheduling problems and inclement weather during its Massachusetts date at the Xfinity Center in Mansfield.

“A lot of the bands that played outside lacked energy due to the rain and some sets were cut short. I missed seeing Microwave’s last two songs. It was really disappointing,” said sophomore Molly Roach.

One of the major problems I see in the way the Warped Tour operates is in its scheduling. Oftentimes there are little to no rest days between tour stops, unless for travel purposes, and each venue is only played for a single day.

To avoid the wrath of drenched and disgruntled attendees, organizers should think critically about how to improve the tour’s travel schedule.

I suggest a revamped Warped Tour with fewer cities and concert dates that are actually stretched over several days – like a real summer festival! To provide the necessary insurance against an unforgiving Mother Nature.

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Everyone’s an Aliebn

By Allison Wharton

Asst. Arts & Features Editor

This summer, Harvard graduate student Jomny Sun released his graphic novel, “Everyone’s an Aliebn When You’re an Aliebn Too.”

The book follows the story of a little bean-shaped alien who is sent on a mission to Earth to examine humanity. The nameless alien ends up finding animals and objects which teach it meaningful lessons about life.

The kinds of questions the alien asks include, “What is love?” “Why do we have emotions?” and other philosophical questions about life.

The alien also tries to find its place on Earth and whether it belongs with the other aliens. Sun writes with a unique spin on the English language. He adds random letters within the words or exchanges them such as in “aliebn” and “friemds.” This addition does not make reading the novel confusing, but it does enhance the meaning of language.

The mix of simplistic questions and minimalistic drawings allows the reader to focus on his or her opinion on these philosophical points.

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Wonder Woman

By Cass Doherty

Arts & Features Editor

DC continued its release of superhero origin stories this summer with “Wonder Woman” this June. The story begins before the heroine became Wonder Woman, when she was Diana, princess of the Amazons.

While there was backlash toward a female superhero movie directed by a woman, “Wonder Woman” did phenomenally in the box office.

The film brought light to one of DC’s most famous female superheroes, and kept the focus on the heroine and not the male supporting characters.

While I think the film could’ve done without the romantic storyline, it added a depth to Diana that we didn’t necessarily have a feel for – and in all honesty, it was funny to see her struggle with emotions as basic as attraction.

It was an exploration story for her as much as it was for the audience, and the film allowed for viewers to watch her grow and discover her powers and destiny.

The film was a brilliant start to bringing female superheroes to the forefront, and in turn finally provides one on the big screen for young girls across the world to look up to. Diana Prince is inspiring as both a woman and a superhero, and the success of “Wonder Woman” lends its excitement forward to “Justice League.”

And hopefully it will inspire more female superheroes as the title characters.

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Spider-Man: Homecoming

By Bailey Morrison

Associate Editor

This summer, Marvel released another blockbuster hit in theaters on July 7 – “Spider-Man: Homecoming.” The film grossed $823 million.

Unlike many films that feature a cast of characters that are in high school but look like they’re pushing 35, these teenagers actually look like teenagers. The actor who plays Peter Parker, Tom Holland, fills the role of the awkward teenager-turned-superhero perfectly.

The plot of the film is dynamic. The viewer gets to experience the fantastic universe in which superheroes exist while still witness the daily life of a teenage boy growing up in New York City juggling schoolwork, a crush, an arms dealer and the most daunting – the homecoming dance.

This movie features a lively cast and their characters mesh well together. Michael Keaton’s portrayal of Vulture perfectly complements Parker – he is a foreboding antagonist without being an unrealistic enemy for a high-schooler to face.

Marvel created a solid first film in what I am sure will be a franchise that expands over the years.

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Twin Peaks:

The Return

By Andrew Willoughby

Arts & Features Editor

A quarter century after the finale of the original series, “Twin Peaks: The Return” made its debut on May 25.

Eighteen hours of content both written and directed by David Lynch after an 11-year drought since his last film seemed too good to be true at first, but I can assure you it’s not.

While not necessarily on par with the masterpiece that was the show’s first season “The Return” is a fitting followup.

Most of the original cast has returned and the chemistry among the entire ensemble is as strong as ever. Kyle MacLachlan, Carel Struycken and Kimmy Robertson fall back into their roles as if they never left.

The new additions to the cast – specifically Michael Cera and Jim Belushi – at first seem as if they would clash tonally with the series, fit in perfectly thanks to Lynch’s direction.

“The Return” finds a perfect balance between the every day and the surreal, one of the aspects that lives up to the original. The sequences in The Red Room are wonderfully strange and “Part 8” is quite possibly the best in the entire series.

As a whole, “The Return” is definitely worth the watch for any “Twin Peaks” fan.

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NARS Velvet Matte Foundation Stick

By Bailey Morrison

Associate Editor

This summer, NARS took to social media to hype their newest product in their Velvet Matte collection – a foundation stick.

Typically, I am not a huge fan of foundation sticks as I find they aren’t as blendable as liquid foundation, but this one truly lived up to its hype.

The formula is creamy but not cakey, as many stick foundations often are. The foundation is light-to-medium coverage and very buildable.

To avoid creasing, I apply this product with a Beauty Blender sprayed with rose water.

Overall, I think this product is a success. Additionally, it comes with its own sponge on the other end of the stick. Though the shade I picked matches my skin perfectly, the shade range is disappointing. The darkest shade will only work for medium-to-deep skin tones and the lightest shade would not work for someone with fair skin and pink undertones. This product retails for $45 and is available at Sephora and on the NARS website.

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