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'Survivor,' Eurovision and train wreck television

(03/21/22 4:00am)

In the 37th season of “Survivor,” Angelina Keeley was a mess. Her antics in the reality competition show included: voting somebody out for their jacket, negotiating with the host for some rice, constantly bringing up that negotiation when convenient, humiliating another contestant with a fake advantage, losing a clue to an advantage of her own and generally just being a classic reality show villain. Needless to say, Keeley is among my favorite “Survivor” contestants ever.



Taylor Swift, always right: Understanding the genius of 'All Too Well'

(11/29/21 6:14pm)

What can I say about “Red” that I haven’t already? It was the first album I ever reviewed for Recess. If I’m going to talk about anything on “Red,” new or old, there’s really no better place to start than “All Too Well.” The song I called the “crowning jewel of ‘Red,’ if not her entire discography” got a massive upgrade in a new (er, old) ten minute version, titled “All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault).”


Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month with Selena Gomez's ‘Revelación’

(10/11/21 4:00am)

It’s Hispanic Heritage Month, and I am still not that good at Spanish. I can understand it well, and if I’m comfortable, I can hold a decent conversation. Otherwise, I’m a bumbling mess, unable to string thoughts together at all. What that means for me is that I find it hard to call myself a Latino, even by the broadest of definitions. If I can’t even speak “Castellano,” as my relatives call their language, what claim do I have to the culture? 


Column: UNC's Taylor Swift discography ranking is depressing. Ours is better.

(10/04/21 4:00am)

UNC must be a sad place. How else, then, does anybody come up with such a depressingly bad ranking of Taylor Swift’s discography? Our, ahem, friends in Chapel Hill clearly can’t be trusted with the monumental task of ranking 158 of Swift’s songs if this is what they come up with. For brevity, here’s the top and bottom five songs in the ranking of The Daily Tar Heel’s “Resident Taylor Swift Expert,” Ira Wilder:


Tales from a puppy kindergarten dorm volunteer

(09/27/21 4:00am)

In season two, episode two of the Northern Irish comedy “Derry Girls,” the character Mrs. De Brún is introduced. A fiery and passionate English teacher, she inspires her pupils to new creative heights through a healthy curriculum of hitting things with bats, cigarettes and wine parties. In one of her first scenes, Mrs. De Brún reads the class’s poetry submissions aloud — more than half of them are about dogs. The class is uninspired, boring! For Mrs. De Brún, that’s unacceptable. 


‘Loki’ was great — until it wasn’t

(07/26/21 4:00am)

I watched the first five episodes of “Loki” all at once. Certainly not by choice — I don’t have Disney+, so a friend invited me over to catch up with Loki and his antics with the Time Variance Authority (TVA) before the season finale the following week. For a good five hours, I was captivated — between the spectacular worldbuilding and attention-grabbing fight scenes that have come to define Marvel, “Loki” dramatically expanded the scope of its cinematic universe. That was, until the last episode, where the show suddenly fumbled the ball entirely.  



I didn’t watch the Oscars, and you didn't either

(05/03/21 4:00am)

I haven’t watched a lot of movies this year. Actually, there are only three I can remember: “Miss Americana” (a documentary), “Godmothered” (a random Christmas movie) and “Up” (an animated movie from 2009). Should this make me unqualified to write a review of the Oscars, the biggest award show of the year for cinema? Well, yes. It doesn’t help that I didn’t even watch the award show myself, but that’s besides the point. Why? Because nobody watched the Oscars this year.


Taylor Swift's re-recorded 'Fearless' is more than an improvement

(04/19/21 8:15pm)

It’s 2009. I’m fresh out of first grade and on the neighborhood swim team. For my eight-year-old self, it’s a good time to be alive – hours under the sun, wasting my time playing handball in the sand pit and sharks and minnows in the pool. At practice, my friends and I would race each other, and at meets, we’d sit in the bleachers and cheer each other on. There, on these metal benches, is where I’d make one of my earliest memories of music – where else better to scream “She’s cheer captain and I’m on the bleachers”? 


'Life Support' has Madison Beer confidently moving into the spotlight

(03/08/21 7:49pm)

“Life Support” is an album of strings. They’re featured in the opening track, the interlude, the hit single, the closing track and almost every other song on the record, so when “BOYSHIT” opens with a loud crash of horns and a bouncing hook that declares “I don’t speak boyshit,” you might think it’s antithetical to the rest of the album. However, you’d be mistaken: through and through, Madison Beer’s debut album is brash, straightforward and, most importantly, confident. 


The Haim sisters and Taylor Swift show off their creative chemistry on 'Gasoline' remix

(03/02/21 2:29am)

The Easter eggs started slowly. First, a photo hit twitter of HAIM posing in front of a gas pump labelled 13. Then came a TikTok video conspicuously zooming in on the one and three of a car’s gear shift. Soon after, a final photo, this one a group shot in front of a 76 gas station, contained the code “T76S0218” in the background. It wasn’t long before HAIM fans pieced together the clues: on February 18, for the extended edition of their 2020 summer album “Women In Music Pt. III,” the fan-favorite “Gasoline” was getting a remix with the queen of thirteen herself, Taylor Swift.



Ariana Grande’s 'Positions' is ambitiously unambitious

(11/09/20 5:25pm)

Ever since Bob Dylan released “Blonde on Blonde” in 1966, the trope of returning to your roots has permeated the music industry for decades. At this point, we’ve come to expect it from our crossover pop stars (ever heard someone say they want the old Taylor Swift back?). Who we don’t expect it from would be the reigning princess of pop, so when Ariana Grande dropped “Positions,” an R&B-embellished pop album in the vein of her debut record, “Yours Truly” (2013),  it shocked the world to the tune of one million likes on Twitter. 



'Smile' and the collapse of Katy Perry

(09/21/20 9:16pm)

It has been a long day for Katy Perry. It is 4:30 in the afternoon, and she’s running late to the next virtual press conference scheduled for her media day. When she finally clicks on the appropriate link, she’s whisked into a Zoom room filled with nearly 350 college journalists, all eager to ask the living legend herself a battery of pre-screened questions.


Surprise album 'Folklore' is Taylor Swift's best yet

(08/11/20 4:00am)

Ever since Taylor Swift released her first album in 2006, she has claimed her songs are nothing more than tools to tell her stories. However, for years other narratives have pushed conversations about her songwriting to the background: the exes, the genre changes, her reputation. Unmarred by these distractions, “Folklore” is free to explore a vast array of settings and characters like a sonical storybook, earning itself the distinction of being Swift’s best album yet. 


Finding escape in the iOS app ‘Tiny Wings’

(04/01/20 4:00am)

My eyes are blurry, and I can’t really tell where my phone screen ends and the darkness begins. The glow from the bed below me has stopped — my brother must have gone to bed. From my perch up on the top bunk, I glance over at the radio clock — a little past midnight — playing a pop song I’d rather forget. Abruptly, the singer’s voice gives way to silence as the sleep timer kicks in. 


Derivative? Who cares. ‘Kid Krow’ is great anyway.

(03/27/20 6:52pm)

Conan Gray is lonely. A global pandemic has him isolated at home, surrounded by the comforts of musical instruments and Taylor Swift and Lorde posters. The real-life embodiment of #quirky, he has his long hair down and a guitar in hand as he jokes around with his fans on an Instagram Live counting down the minutes till his debut album, “Kid Krow,” is released. One thing leads to another, and before long, he’s singing his album’s singles acoustically for the camera.