Sunday, August 30, 2015

Summer 2015: A Summation in Albums

   Summer is always when I discover my new favorite artist (ex: Lights circa 2013) or album (Danger Days circa 2012). Maybe it's with the excessive free time I get but I'm always hooked on someone new by the end of the season and this year was no exception with a pretty wide array of albums.

American Candy (The Maine)
key song: "Diet Soda Society"
I'd heard a couple songs off this one (meaning "English Girls") before the summer started but hadn't really listened to it in full or on complete repeat. I've never been a giant The Maine fan (I'd only seen them at Warped 2014 and maybe knew a couple songs) so the entire album wasn't a huge priority but I'm so so so happy I actually got around to it. Though they lack in lyrical development, the songs are incredibly catchy and easy to be used as background music while writing (something I can just kind of sing along to without paying much attention). The vocals are also extremely well done (I find it interesting the album is called American Candy when there's kind of a British twang to everything). 

How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful (Florence + The Machine)
key song: "Hiding"
I took way too long to get around to listening to this one. Florence is one of my favorite singers but when the album came out, I skimmed through it without really going through everything as it deserves. Her vocal progression is pretty much the same, if not calmer, but the songs are a lot darker. A common theme of HBHBHB is danger I'd noticed and I appreciate how her voice puts that across- she sounds a lot more intense and almost frightening at points. All together, yet another good Florence + The Machine album (can you ever go wrong with her?)

Mayday Parade (self titled album)
key song: "No Heroes Allowed"
This is such emo trash oh god. Overall, I don't think any band (other My Chemical Romance) can hold a candle to the amount of emo in these songs- is there any type of enjoyable, feel good, Mayday Parade song? Pretty good track list though- about everything is catchy once you get past the incredibly dark pieces, it's fun to kind of zone out and sing to (there's a common theme here I think).

Cavalier Youth (You Me At Six)
key Song: "Room To Breathe"
Though I considered You Me At Six to be my second favorite band in 2012 (I found this out in an ancient artifact called "Ann's 7th Grade Journal"), I'd never actually heard their latest album (which had come out in 2014) and I wasn't sure what to expect. Sinners Never Sleep was already so good it really can't be beat and though Cavalier Youth really can't stand to it, in a way, I could call the album the darker older brother of SNS. The tracks are pretty heavy and though vocals really haven't changed, it's not exactly a bad thing. In truth, Josh isn't the greatest vocalist but he makes up for it in the emotion within his voice. It was the best it could be after Sinners Never Sleep.

Throne (Bring Me The Horizon)
key song: "Happy Song"
This can't even count as an EP but the two new songs Bring Me The Horizon released this summer were exceptional. With BMTH, I'm either in love (ex: Sempiternal) or think it's shit (ex: Suicide Season) and as good as "Drown" was, I didn't have much faith in these two new singles but after listening, I can't be more excited for the new album. When hearing this with Sam, we both commented on how damaged Oli's voice is- which oddly enough, is my favorite part. It's rough and scratchy-ness adds texture to the tracks. Though "Throne" sounds incredibly like something you'd hear in an emo hair dye tutorial, I'm surprisingly into it. Also, BabyMetal. You can't go wrong with them. Ever.

Rooms of the House (La Dispute)
key song: "Hudsonville, MI 1956"
Never listened to much of La Dispute. I've skimmed through Somewhere At The Bottom of the River Between Vega and Altair (typical) but really hadn't given them much of a chance. The thing with La Dispute is that about everything sounds the same (fast paced guitar, scared talking, then a breakdown full of breathing) but I mean, I'm into it. The album is well done and tells a really clear story which is always a bonus for me. As I said early, though the vocals are about always the same, I'm really in love with the strange style.

Consider This (Tonight Alive)
key song: "5 Years"
Two words: Jenna McDougall. Extremely strong vocals beyond belief and Tonight Alive before signing to Fearless. Pretty self explanatory. I mean my best friend is practically Jenna so how can I not be absolutely in love with this EP?

♥New Politics (self titled, Vikings, and "West End Kids")
I've been somewhat big on New Politics since around the end of eighth grade- I even saw them live. This summer, I just got listening to their first album along with the newer songs and sneak peek of Vikings. Fun stuff. As absolutely great as Bad Girl in Harlem was, I'm extremely excited for something that sounds marginally different.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

One Direction (and other): Why I Need Feminism

   Just this week, One Direction finally released the music video for their latest hit, "Drag Me Down". To say the entire thing was creative is an understatement; it includes robots, the boys running after a camera at rather awkward angles, and the ultimate point in which our favorite boy band is shot into space. Though I could write up an entire post about my love for the extravaganza that was the "Drag Me Down" video, there's actually a pretty big elephant in the room that comes with the attention the band is receiving, mainly from a male standpoint. Though most reactions towards DMD were positive and excited, there of course, had to be a chorus of "girls only listen to their music because they're hot" and though these things usually pop up with anything, there's an actual problem within saying this. Let's completely take everything we know about One Direction/ any biases against them and start from the beginning. "Drag Me Down" currently holds the title of #1 in 80 countries. EIGHTY. And this isn't even the first time something like this has happened- about all of their previous singles have hit first place on the iTunes charts without preorders. Going off of that, the British band have broken the Vevo records multiple times along with playing sold out or close to sold out shows every single night in the most well known venues on their world tour. So why don't they gain more respect? Why does a large portion of people still claim females who enjoy bands like One Direction are only there for the looks of the members? And no, it's actually not the performer's faults comments like this are usually put across, it's the demographic. One Direction's main audience is extremely versatile. Their listeners go from eight year old girls to college students. Mainly all female. This group of people is incredibly impressive- it's tough to land the pre-teen population already but also having young through older teens, and young adults (think recent college graduates) calling themselves directioners is almost considered impossible. A band that appeals to such drastically different age groups is usually something celebrated. But with their almost 97% fanbase of girls, One Direction is thought of as talentless because females can't possibly actually enjoy music, they must have a crush on one of the members to latch onto a band like this. Yes, it is very much true that most of their audience is attracted towards the boys but that's completely understandable; in a video done by Lacy Green, she describes "fangirling" or having a crush on a famous person as something completely normal and actually scientific in the minds of girls growing up (which fits most of 1D's fans). Another great point to bring up is these ladies' source of income. Being young, these directioners are mostly working minimum wage jobs or relying completely on their parents. They aren't giving up their paycheck or birthday present for the album or tickets to see four talentless boys. They enjoy the music and yes, the members but this behavior isn't driven from the pure attraction of Harry Styles. It's a love for the content this band creates and the way it makes them feel.
   Think of it as this: if One Direction's fanbase was mainly all male, their reputation and music would be taken much more seriously. The idea that the bands and artists that have a co-ed or mostly male audience are more respectable and talented is ridiculous. The statement, "girls only like One Direction because of their looks", also puts across the idea that all women are boy obsessed and can't appreciate something unless they find attractive value within the artist. When you turn it on it's head, the situation is actually pretty funny because of how large a double standard it is. For this year's Victoria's Secret fashion show, more men tuned in live than woman to watch supermodels walk across a runway in lingerie. Though Taylor Swift gave a pretty killer performance, it is easily argued that this male audience was there for the looks of the models. So why are guys allowed to literally just watch conventionally gorgeous women walk across a stage whereas girls can't enjoy a band with attractive members?
   It's sad to watch a band that has one of the most powerful fanbases and has put an influence on the demographic of teenagers (one of the hardest to hit ever) can't be taken seriously because directioners are mainly all female. It's even sadder that these fans are constantly having to prove themselves to guys (and even some women) for their taste in music because of being seen as "boy crazy". Though this post only covered One Direction specifically because of my own liking and experiences, this can be applied to any artist within the industry- these double standards hitting females are ridiculous.


Thursday, August 20, 2015

How To: Half and Half Purple and Pink Hair + Pravana Review

   A couple weeks ago, I made a MAJOR splurge at Ricky's and picked up two tubes of Pravana hair dye: "Pink" and "Luscious Lavender". Though it was way more money than I ever spend on dye (or can afford to), I'd heard great things about Pravana so I couldn't help myself. Yesterday, I finally got around to using it and to be quite honest, I'm kind of disappointed in the way the colors showed up. First, they weren't even sticking to my skin which is always a major red flag. When on my extremely faded out hair, neither were showing up either. In the end, this was the results:
Both colors barely came out into my hair and that was even mixed with brighter shades of Adore and only a dash of conditioner. I'm really unsure why my results were so incredibly horrible but I'm going to stick to just Adore after this whole thing because not only is it cheaper, but I trust it more. The one good thing I have to say about this dye is the texture; it felt like conditioner and was really soft and had a good balance between thick and thin.
   Anyways, after these disappointing results, I dyed my hair this morning! To do this, I used:

The process was like any- One bowl had a bit of the Pravana Pink left because I still wanted to have a little faith in it- sadly, the color just wasn't sticking to my hair so it was a lost cause, the main mix I used on the pink side was a large amount of Hot Pink with just a small amount of Pink Rose, the purple side was mainly Purple Rage with just two drops of Violet Gem. I parted my hair down the middle and went through all my hair with each color. What I mainly do when dyeing is take a large chunk of dye onto the brush and rub it into my hair like shampoo. 
I was scared about the dye not showing up so I left it in for about an hour and then washed it out in freezing cold water with color protecting shampoo and hydrating conditioner. My hair is now super cute and I'm wildly happy with how it looks. The Purple Rage is gorgeous and oh my I'm so excited!!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

check in tomorrow if I don't wake up dead

  This week, I'm in Long Beach Island and even though I'm not wild about the beach, I sure do look cute in a swimsuit. 
♥Bikini: Forever21
♥Top: H&M

Oh! I dyed my hair once again- I faded the color out and realized that was a really bad mistake so I put some Adore Emerald  (with a shit ton of conditioner) and REALLY diluted Violet Gem. In the mixing bowl, the emerald looked very sky blue and even once it was in my extremely faded blue hair, it seemed around the color but has turned to a more greenish (well, emerald) color. It looks cute either way so whatever.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Things I ♥: Hair Masques

*completely unsponsored (I'm too unpopular for this kind of sponsorship)*

   Over the past couple months, the health of my hair has changed dramatically. Though my hair definitely was damaged beforehand, after going through multiple bleaching processes (don't even mention that one time I bleached it three times in one day), the state of my locks is definitely not awesome. Ever since I began home dyeing this year, I have created a pretty great Rolodex of DIY hair masques and cheap treatments (mainly from Ricky's) to help split ends and dry hair.

-DIY: putting your entire kitchen on your head
Though most of the treatment packets I buy are under $3, I sometimes become incredibly cheap (and also too lazy to make a Ricky's run), resulting in mixing about everything in the fridge together and putting it on top of my head. OK so yeah you could just grab everything and do that but items I recommend are: milk, eggs (just one yolk), honey, banana, vegetable oil, coconut milk, and mayo (I can't deal with the smell/consistency/existence of mayonnaise so that one is never an option for me). For semi-permanent dyed hair, I would recommend leaving out any oily products since it will fade the color- a few days before re-dyeing I will add the oils back in. Making and applying this masque is also crazy easy- simply mix everything you want into a bowl, section off your hair, and spread evenly.
Cost: Free! (unless you buy your own groceries...)
Time: 20 min.- whenever (I usually do it for 40 min but I have a friend who will leave it for hours)

-Not Your Mothers: Intensive Hair Unit Renewal Treatment
Not Your Mother's is one of my favorite brands ever for hair (their dry hair shampoo and anti- split end conditioner is the greatest) so when Sam and I found packets of their hair repair treatment I had to try it. The first time I used one, I'd just done a bleach bath and though it didn't feel marginally better, it was definitely good for just bleached. The application is simple (wash hair, massage with product, wait 3 min) my split ends were also pretty minimal afterwards and I could actually touch my hair without wanting to cringe!
8 oz bottle- $8
1 packet (it took me 2 to cover my head)- $2
Time: 3-6 minutes

-Hask Keratin Protein Smoothing Deep Conditioner 
I'd gone back to Ricky's a couple weeks later to grab a couple more Not Your Mother's packets and since it was a different location, they sadly didn't have them in stock so the next best thing was to try one of these. I've used this product twice now and it's super easy and quick to use (wash hair, leave in for 10-20 min, wash). I haven't risked blow drying afterwards but once my hair is completely dry, it feel so crazy soft and adds shine.
Cost: $3
Time: 10 min (I leave it for 20 just to make sure)