Music Review

By Michael Bergamo

Motorhead – Ace of Spades

Towards the end of the ‘70’s people started hearing whispers of a band called Motorhead, and their front man, Lemmy Kilmister. When the band released the album Ace of Spades in 1980, everyone knew who Motorhead was, and what they were about- not caring about anything, drinking and partying, and doing whatever they wanted. All of these band traits are heard in just about every song. Each track has the speed rock from the drums, every knob on Lemmy’s bass rig is turned to ten, and the fast distorted guitar.

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Gorillaz Concert Review

British Virtual Band Gorillaz Comes to Detroit

by Isabella Franklin

On September 18, Gorillaz, a virtual alternative rock band created by musician Damon Albarn and artist Jamie Hewlett, performed a show in Detroit as part of its current tour, Humanz. The performance featured songs from previous albums, along with songs from the band’s newest album, Humanz, accompanied by energetic special effects, an animated backdrop, and several musicians such Vince Staples, De La Soul, Danny Brown, and more.

Vince Staples opened the concert at 7:30 P.M. with loud, heavy bass that sounded throughout the entire theater. Many of the seats in the theater were still empty at this point, as most of the audience was buying food or merchandise at the building’s entrance. Staples’s performance was just less than an hour and was a good opener, but was not especially memorable. A little after 8:30 P.M., Damon Albarn stepped on the stage and began to perform. Continue reading “Gorillaz Concert Review”

Our Generation’s Taste

The problem with music today and how our generation glorifies the seemingly untalented

By Joe Ramey

In a world of classics and musical talents, this generation of teenagers seems to take a liking to overly edited, and somewhat untalented artists who are just as uncreative as the last. With exceptions too few, the last decade is riddled with artists and songs that are shameful in some regards when put up against its predecessors.

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Rock ‘n Roll Making Cents

DHS Students enjoyed a concert from Gooding that mixed in financial tips with head-banging music

By Nick Elliott

When senior Brad Larson thinks of rock and roll, many things come to mind: Stage-crawling fans, smashing guitars, roaring crowds, and radical solos. What happens when you switch out the rush smashing guitars to something dull like balancing a checkbook?

On Friday, April 21, the rock and roll band Gooding came to DHS to answer that question for Larson and the rest of the students.

Mixing finance and rock might come off as a rather unattractive combination. Yet Gooding was able to make something that is inherently boring into an interesting experience for more than 150 students who ventured to the CPA to take in the concert.

Starting out with a brief video introduction, the band quickly jumped into the music. Gooding played several songs that got some students to stand up, clap, and sing along to the beat.

“I went to get out of second and third hour, and I was expecting some knockoff, third-rate local band, but I got a pretty well-traveled and respected group that I hadn’t heard of,” junior Connor Povenski said. “It was a really good concert. For such a big-name band to take the time to come to a local high school, that was really important. It really impacted me.”

After the approximately 45-minute concert ended, the majority of the band receded backstage. The lead singer, Gooding, stayed on stage to talk about important financial issues.

No stranger to financial woes, Gooding reflected on his personal financial troubles before talking about money myths and how many of the “rich” people students see on TV are broke and bankrupt.

Growing up, he had no knowledge of money. He came out of high school knowing more about geometry than how to balance a checkbook, and he only learned about a credit score long after he ruined his.

By looked into mistakes he had made, he wanted to use his passion for music to help others avoid the same mistakes.

“As long as you’re willing to work, everyone should have the same shot,” Gooding said.

When Gooding finished sharing his financial expertise, a Q&A session was held. Students in the crowd asked their own questions about finance, eager to hear the replies.

To conclude the event, the band came out and played one last song. Gooding then took time to sign autographs and talked to several students.

Gooding brought music and learning to DHS, but they were not alone in their efforts. Through the charity Funding the Future, the efforts Andrea Duda with Raymond James, and the Michigan Council on Economic Education (MCEE), the tour was made possible.

Financial management teacher Paige Lumpiesz felt Gooding had a “great message about personal finance” that can help people avoid financial “pitfalls.”

Rise Of The Real

Senior McKenna Sgroi focuses on individuality with unique lyrics to pursue his life-long dream of rapping

By: Marissa Rafail

Sitting next to McKenna Sgroi in class, you’d assume he’s like every other student at DHS. When he leaves school and stands in front of the microphone, the real McKenna shines through as he raps to his own music.
The senior dedicates most of his time working towards his long-term goal of becoming an artist and producing music. Recently having released his first studio-produced single “Rise of The Real,” Sgroi is already eagerly working on his next song with an underground artist from Ann Arbor, Eon Zero.
“Making music is a therapy for me,” Sgroi said. “It was the only thing able to shine a little light on a dark situation in my life. Music is what got me through it, and that’s why it means so much to me.”
His love for music dates back to his early childhood. From Eminem to Chris Webby to Dr. Dre, Sgroi grew up with a developing passion for music. At age thirteen, he got into rapping himself. His motive behind making his own music was to create a unique sound that shows who he is as an artist. After a few months of rapping and freestyling by himself, Sgroi took the second step towards making his music more official.
“Two years ago, my cousin said he knew about a studio I could visit, so I went with him and have been going back two-to-three times a month since,” Sgroi said.
Since Sgroi writes his own songs, his inspiration for his music and lyrics can come from anything, including his moods or the music itself. While writing, he makes sure the lyrics are different because he doesn’t want to sound like every other rapper. With the goal of individuality in mind, Sgroi lets the beat of the music help guide his songs.
“Anything can spark ideas for lyrics,” Sgroi said. “I’m always thinking about them, and if I’m in class and think of something, I’ll write it on my hand, paper, or in my notes so I won’t forget them.”
Throughout his journey in the music world, Sgroi met one of his favorite artists, Chris Webby, and talked to him about his passion for music on two different occasions. Meeting one of his idols and talking to him about music only strengthened his passion.
“He was surprised that I rapped at first, but he really just told me not to give up and that even if it’s not good now, it will be,” Sgroi said.
From showing friends his lyrics, to letting them get sneak peeks on upcoming music, Sgroi makes sure his friends know whats going on and leans on them for support.
“For where he is in life, his music is really good,” said Kyle Rook, Sgroi’s close friend. “His lyrics have a really good flow, and he puts a lot of time and thought into them.”
Sgroi plans on continuing to go to the studio in the future and to keep progressing with his lyrics and releasing new music. With long term goals of making money off his music and turning musical production into a profession, Sgroi’s determination and perseverance are helping guide him into the music world and achieve his lifelong dreams.

Top Five Christmas Movies and Music

By Alex Strang and Nick LeBlanc

Right after Thanksgiving dinner is all cleaned up and you’re on the way to go Black Friday shopping, you start to hear songs that have become all too familiar: Christmas songs.  Without missing a beat, the Christmas tunes are released into the airwaves right as the conversation with Grandma on how you need a boyfriend/girlfriend has ended and you begin to leave your creepy Uncle’s house that you barely even know.

Every year, we listen to the same Christmas music and watch the same Christmas movies, but why do we listen to same songs and watch the same movies every December? Well it’s simple; they get us in the Christmas spirit. They make us want to down some eggnog, go spend an unnecessary amount of money on our family and friends, and go chop down a tree and haul it home. So, by the time December 25 rolls around, everyone is in the holly-jolly Christmas spirit.

As a staff, we have created a list of our favorite movies and songs.

Movies

5. A Christmas Story

Released over 30 years ago, A Christmas Story continues to be watched by millions of families each year. The movie follows Ralphie, a young boy who only wants one thing from Santa: A Red Ryder BB Gun. Despite everyone telling him “you’ll shoot your eye out,” he doesn’t give up hope. You will be able to find this on TV everyday in December on many channels.

4. Polar Express

Polar Express This is the most kid-friendly movie on the list. It is a Christmas fantasy where a train picks up children and takes them to the North Pole. Compared to the other movies on the list, this movie lacks the comedy.

3. Elf

Elf has been the most overplayed Christmas movie in the past decade as well as the most popular. As every teacher’s go-to Christmas movie, you might watch it five times the day before you go on Christmas Break. Popular comedian Will Ferrell plays a human elf that embarks on a journey from the North Pole in search of an important person in his life.

2. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is the funniest Christmas movie on our list. Chevy Chase plays Clark Griswold, the father of a dysfunctional family in this holiday season comedy. Although it is a family movie, we would not say it is family friendly. Despite only a PG-13 rating, this movie is full of crude humour and it may not be suitable for little cousin Jimmy, so parents and relatives alike make sure you have a blanket ready to cover the TV at various parts of the movie unless you want 20 questions afterwards.

1. Home Alone 1

Home Alone follows a boy’s adventures during the holiday season when his large family accidentally leaves without him when they go on vacation.  As an all-time Christmas favorite, this action-packed comedy does not disappoint. What makes this movie so great is that, when we were younger, we all had that fantasy of feeling all powerful, which is exactly how the protagonist, Kevin, acts.  Due to Kevin’s nature and our young age, Kevin was a Hero to us.  The combination of being a Christmas thriller and being filled with nostalgia means if you are going to watch one movie this December, make it Home Alone.

Music

5. It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas by Michael Bublé

This Bublé classic gets the listener hype about snow that is related to Christmas. The reason why this song is not higher on our list is because more often than not, the weather feels like Easter on Christmas; thus, the song is rather misleading.

4. Little Saint Nick by the Beach Boys

Similar to the song in the five spot, “Little Saint Nick” is a Christmas classic.  However, this song also has a major downfall to it: Saint Nick is not little. While the song provides a good tune, as a staff it was difficult to rank this song higher due to the misinterpretation of the most important character related to the Christmas season.

3. Santa Claus is Coming to Town by Michael Bublé

Being one of the most iconic christmas songs means that it has been featured in hit Christmas movies like the Polar Express. The major downfall of the song is that it highlights the downfalls of a seemingly jolly holiday.  For example, the song says “he sees you when you’re sleeping.” While the staff recognizes that the fact that Santa stalks us in our sleep is a part of the holiday, we feel the negative, creepy aspects of the holiday could’ve been left out.  In addition, you shouldn’t need to threaten the kids within the song to get them to behave. If it is needed, maybe the kids need better parents.

2. A Wonderful Christmas Time by the Beatles

What happens when you mix one of the greatest bands of all time and one of the most celebrated holidays in the United States? A subpar album.  Nevertheless, within the album is a song that has been welcomed during the Christmas time from 95-year-old Grandma Gertrude to five-year-old little Timmy. The Beatles have managed to create a popular Christmas song that goes along with the sound of ‘70s that has actually lasted, which makes this song even better.

1. All I Want for Christmas is You by Mariah Carey

The Squall chose Mariah Carey’s song to take the number one spot because of the heavenly tune alongside the modern, pop style. While the old fashion songs are welcomed, having your ears blessed by Ms. Carey’s voice is a good shake up from the typical Christmas tune. We also feel that when she says “All I want for Christmas is you,” she is talking to the audience, and more specifically us.  The loving gesture that Mariah extended to us during the love-filled holiday is appreciated. As a staff, we would like to thank you Ms. Carey; we feel less lonely now.

Childish Gambino, AKA Donald Glover

You may not know it, but you probably have seen or heard something that has to do with Donald Glover

By Hunter Edwards
Music Career

Donald Glover, known as Childish Gambino when it comes to music, has been releasing music since 2009 when he dropped a pair of independent albums, Poindexter and Sick Boi, then two mixtapes, I am Just a Rapper and I am Just a Rapper 2, later in 2010.

Even after three projects however, Gambino didn’t really get his start until he released the song “Freaks and Geeks” which was used in an Adidas commercial in 2011. This put Gambino on the map and soon after he was signed by Glassnote Records. Under his new label, Gambino released his first studio album, Camp, catching the eye of many and attracting a whole new fanbase.

Camp is home to the songs “Bonfire”, “Kids”, and “Heartbeat” which many people still listen to today. With Camp came a whole new life for Gambino. Interview after interview, radio show after radio show, and a tour where he’d meet all kinds of new artists to help him further his career. After the success of Camp started to fade, Gambino decided to release a mixtape called Royalty. On the tape, Gambino was able to pair up with artists like ScHoolboy Q, Ab-Soul, Danny Brown, Chance the Rapper and more.

Camp and Royalty showcase Gambino’s ability to rap concise lyrics in a way that nobody really has before. Not only was he rapping something new, but his producer, Ludwig Göransson, was bringing a lot of new techniques to the music industry. Together, the two made a name for Childish Gambino that was only getting started.

In December of 2013, Gambino released Because the Internet. This was the album that really captured almost everyone’s attention. Gambino started to experiment with new song structures and new sounds to set himself apart. For people who hadn’t heard Gambino’s music before, Because the Internet was a great introduction. However, some of the songs may have weirded people out with the vocal effects put on Gambino’s voice or the random switch ups in the beats. Although, for existing Gambino fans, this was a refreshing surprise to see what he could really do as an artist.

After Because the Internet’s success, Gambino followed up with a pair of projects he released on October 2, 2014: A mixtape with styles following that of traditional Atlanta trap, STN/MTN and an EP to cater to his more “pop” like fans titled Kauai. Since Kauai, Gambino had abandoned his music fans to follow other media interests.

However on December 2, Gambino released his new album Awaken, My Love! This new album may come as a shock to those who only like one certain genre, but for most there is something to enjoy. Gambino decided to take a more funk/soul route this time. There is no rapping heard in the album; instead, it’s filled with Gambino singing in a different way in almost every song. From start to finish, Gambino is able to keep the listener interested by surprising them with sound effects and different moods behind each song. Whether it’s police brutality like in the song “Boogieman” or the very personal message about his fear of his girlfriend taking his son from him, Gambino has a very clear and powerful message behind each song.

Acting

Glover first got his start in acting as a college student in school projects, but he would soon be seen playing as an extra on Late Night with Conan O’Brien in 2005. Since then, Glover has come a long way with his acting career. He’s made appearances on 30 Rock, The Muppets and even voice acting for Adventure Time and The Regular Show on Cartoon Network. Some of his more notable roles are seen in movies like The Martian, Magic Mike XXL and The Lazarus Effect.

However, before the movies, Glover could have been seen playing Troy Barnes on the show Community. Glover has recently announced that he will be playing in a 2018 Star Wars film as Lando Calrissian, and Spiderman: Homecoming releasing sometime in 2017. Most recently, Glover can be seen starring in his own FX TV show, Atlanta.

Writing

Glover’s background in writing comes from his degree in dramatic writing from New York University. From there, he became a writer for 30 Rock and won a few awards during his time there. After a short break from writing to focus on music, Glover wrote a full length screenplay to go with his album Because the Internet. The screenplay told a story that is carried out in his music with subtle narrative elements to progress the story past the screenplay itself.

Glover also used his writing skills to create the FX show Atlanta, which received a 100 percent rating from Rotten Tomatoes. Atlanta is used as an outlet for Glover to bring attention to social issues in the African American community with a comedic twist to make it enjoyable for anyone to watch. Season one of Atlanta ended just before his release of the album Awaken, My Love! on December 2, and has already been confirmed for a second season.

Awaken, My Love!

On Gambino’s genre-breaking, third studio album, he explores a new sound. Usually, Gambino’s sound is more “mainstream” rap and with some R&B elements. His previous albums and mixtapes have been focused strictly on rapping over a mix of experimental and traditional rap beats. However, with the following he’s gathered throughout the years with his previous projects, Gambino feels a bit more comfortable with his creativity.

This might explain the genre change from rap to a soulful funk. When listening to the album, you might think it’s something out of the 60’s funk era until the lyrics reveal new socially-relevant messages. For the hardcore Gambino fan, this album is refreshing, new style that will open up listeners to a whole new genre.

Ultimately, this album showed just what Gambino can really do musically. This is a vocal-heavy album with mostly raw recordings of Gambino’s voice except for a little bit of autotune here and there to make it sound like a 21st century album. For first time listener, go back and listen to Gambino’s previous projects and then come back to Awaken, My Love! and notice the vast difference in style.

Music Review: Melanie Martinez’s “Cry Baby”

By Abbey Dinsdale
Special for The Squall

“I like the idea of pop music . . . but it’s not being used the right way”

Melanie Martinez, originally a contestant on The Voice, debuted with her first studio album Cry Baby on August 14, 2015. She topped the indie music charts, as well as made it to number six on Billboard, with the album. Prior to the release of  Cry Baby, Martinez had released several singles, most of which were featured on the album.

Categorized as as darkwave, indie pop, electro pop, and emo pop, Cry Baby succeeded in bringing a darker mix of reality and fantasy to the American music scene. As stated by Martinez,  she just “wanted to talk about stuff that was honest.”

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Music Review: Rachael Yamagata’s “Elephants… Teeth Sinking Into Heart”

By Kate Montero
Special for The Squall

Rachael Yamagata released her first album Happenstance in 2004, on RCA Victor. It took her a total of two years to finally release a two disc masterpiece, Elephants… Teeth Sinking into Heart, because of a conflict with the label.

She released Elephants… Teeth Sinking Into Heart in 2008 with Warner Bros. Record. Previously stated, the album is separated into two discs, each contrasting the other significantly.

The first disc, Elephants, has a dark, haunting and intimate tone. Starting off the disc is the actual song, “Elephants.” This song is powerful and sung with such raw and real emotion. The fragile strength in her voice paired with beautifully broken lyrics about love and lust make this song an absolute favorite. The album itself is told like a story.

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