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Music Review: Rihanna

(11/29/12 10:53am)

“You’re entitled to your own opinion / sit and shake your head at my decision,” Rihanna sings on “Half of Me,” the closer of her newest album Unapologetic. Clearly, she expects people to judge her. For one, she sings a duet with Chris Brown, her ex- (or maybe not-so-ex) boyfriend who violently abused her in 2009. Their song is called “Nobody’s Business,” and as Rihanna begs him to “make out in this Lexus,” one can’t help but remember that Brown has done other things in cars, things like assault. Unapologetic is also jarringly different from her previous six albums in that it is not a breeding ground for chart-topping singles, nor is it strictly pop. Rihanna’s seventh studio album explores unfamiliar territory, often sounding more hip hop than Top 40, and it’s a change that, frankly, she shouldn’t have to apologize for.

Music Review: One Direction

(11/15/12 10:41am)

If there has ever been a perfect album for a 2 a.m. solo drive to Cookout, Take Me Home is it. “Live While You’re Young” is already blowing up every Top 40 radio station for weeks, and it’s only the first song of the 17-track album. Unlike Up All Night, One Direction’s first CD released in March, Take Me Home is a gold mine of hits that the will play at Shooters on repeat until 2014. “What Makes You Beautiful” was no fluke: the boys of One Direction are here to stay, at least until a new season of The X Factor when Simon Cowell will force another group of similarly hair-styled teen heartthrobs onstage.

Music Review: Taylor Swift

(10/25/12 8:23am)

“It feels like a perfect night to dress up like hipsters and make fun of our exes.” No, that’s not a quote overheard at Recess production, but rather the first line to Taylor Swift’s “22,” one of the more memorable songs on her fourth studio album, Red. While the song still incorporates obligatory ex-bashing, it doesn’t have much else in common with hits from previous albums. The most obvious difference is that it, like every other song on Red, cannot be considered country. In fact, every track is predominantly pop: some, like “I Knew You Were Trouble,” verge on something akin to a Bassnectar remix complete with quasi-dubstep beats, while others, like “State of Grace,” recall the stadium rock sound of U2. But where are the banjos and acoustic guitars, the southern charm? Listening to Red is like listening to a mellow Paramore or an angsty Ellie Goulding, not a practiced Nashville star.

Editor's Note, 9/20/12

(09/20/12 7:23am)

I confess: I like pop music. If you know me at all, you’ll know that’s not much of a confession. Turn on the Top 40 station and there’s a 99 percent chance I know most of the words to whatever song is playing, especially if it’s Katy Perry. If you ever let me ride shotgun in your car, you will regret it—I will unabashedly force you to listen to Britney Spears and I will, without exception, skip every Arcade Fire song on your iPod. If you’ve ever spent time in the Chronicle office on a Wednesday night, you’ve probably even heard me sing “Starships.”

Occupying East Duke

(03/01/12 5:00am)

If you’ve been wondering what Duke’s MFA students have been up to all year, now is your chance to find out. Occupations, the inaugural exhibition by students in the new Masters of Fine Arts in Experimental and Documentary Arts program, is now on display in Corridor Gallery of the East Duke building. Inspired by the various Occupy movements that have swept the country, the students came up with their own interpretations of “occupation,” resulting in a group of pieces diverse in subject and medium. From silent video montages of political turmoil to vibrant still shots of everyday objects, the exhibition provides a unique look into what the experimental and documentary arts really are.


(02/09/12 5:00am)

It seems strange that a kid with an abusive father, a nonexistent social circle and a decided lack of on-screen appeal would want to videotape every second of his life. This, however, is exactly what high school senior Andrew (Dane Dehaan) decides to do, and it is his film that the audience of Chronicle is subjected to for a full 83 minutes.