Ariana Grande: Yours Truly Track-by-Track Review

When I first heard Ariana Grande’s voice on Victorious, my jaw dropped. She had the voice of an angel – I couldn’t believe my ears! Now two years later, I’m an Arianator and have blasted this album on my iPod non-stop for the past 15 days. Here’s my track-by-track review of Ariana’s “Yours Truly!”

 

1. Honeymoon Avenue -8.5/10

This is a powerful ballad that’s a great opening track to showcase Ariana’s vocal talents. This song is about love hanging by a thread and pleading for things to work out, but bracing yourself if it (most likely) doesn’t. The last 20 seconds or so at the end feels awfully out of place, though. The beat suddenly gets heavier and a deep voice loops the words”Honeymoon Avenue,” followed by Ariana singing, “Let’s just go back(b-b-ack)” and finishing the song with a “Hey!” It’s a very odd way to end the song. All of the driving analogies are very clever.

Favorite Line: “Stuck in the same old lane, going the wrong way home”

 

2. Baby I – 6/10

The verses for this song are catchy, but the chorus is very weak. The chorus is basically mumbling different ways of singing “Baby I”. The verses are very good and the bridge is only salvaged by the “Baby I” belting at the end. I just think that particular phrase has a good melody. And just speak this lyric out loud. “I can’t explain what I’m feeling and I say ‘Baby, I.'” Even if you say to your lover “Baby, I” When you’re at a loss for words, it sounds weird to say it when you’re explaining it to someone. “When I can’t explain it to him/her, I just say, ‘Baby, I.'”

Favorite Line: “All I’m trying to say is you’re my everything”

 

3. Right There 7.5/10

This song opens with Ariana belting her angelic high notes. Then Big Sean comes in, which is really nothing special. The verses that Ariana sings sound a tiny bit awkward and disconnected, and the chorus even more so. However, it’s catchy nonetheless. The flat note in the line “I’ll never let you go” is a very nice touch.

Favorite Line: “Cause you listen, and you care”

 

4. Tattooed Heart 5.5/10

This is a very interesting song, but I find it very slow and boring. It sounds very Christmasy to me as well, which adds to its cheesiness. It’s a good change for the album, but it’s not for me.

 

Favorite Line: “I wanna say we’re going steady like it’s 1954”

 

5. Lovin’ It 8.5/10

The intro to this song is immensely catchy, as is the rest of the song. This song will force you to dance or at least rock to rhythm as you listen. Not to mention the end of the bridge where she harmonizes is divine!

 

Favorite Line: “Baby, don’t you know you’ve got all my love, all my love”

 

6. Piano 9.5/10

This song is by far the catchiest song on the album. The piano riff at the beginning already tells you “This song is going to be great.” The autotuned “Ohs” are catchy too. This seems to be a pattern with Ariana – once again, the verses are catchier than the chorus. Or verse, I should say. That’s right – there’s only one verse that’s repeated twice in the song. If they had just taken the time to write a second verse, this song would easily be a 10. The verse is still well-written, but not good enough to repeat twice. The end to the song is exactly how I would’ve ended it, too – the verse serves for a perfect outro. “I’d rather make a song… that makes you wanna dance, don’t it make you wanna dance?” You bet it does!

 

Favorite line: “I could write a song with my new piano, I could sing about how love is a losing battle”

 

7. Daydreamin’ 7/10

This is a very mellow song. It’s boring at times, but it’s very retro and very relaxing. The flat chords (is that the proper term?) are a nice touch, and the recording of Ariana’s grandparents telling the story of how they met likewise.

 

Favorite line: “Daydreamin’, with my chin in the palm of my hands”

 

8. The Way 8/10

This song is catchy, but overplayed and it’s gotten kind of boring. This song has been reviewed and overanalyzed to death, so I’ll keep it brief.

 

Favorite Line: “I ain’t a player, I just -“

 

9. You’ll Never Know 9.5/10

The lyrics are phenomenal for this track, and the melody is infectious. It would have been a 10 if there wasn’t one better song on this album

 

Favorite Lines (This song’s lyrics are so good I have 3!): “And it sucks to be all in your head” ; “But if you woulda manned up, put your hands up, stand up” ; “Now it’s probably hard for you to hear, but there’s nothing left for you to say”

 

10. Almost is Never Enough 9/10

This is a nice stripped-down ballad, that again, can become boring at times, but Ariana and Nathan’s vocals keep your attention for sure!

Favorite Line: “I’d like to say we gave it a try”

 

11. Popular Song 8/10

The song is catchy, but this bubblegum pop tune feels out of place on this album. It’s still a fun (and funny) song about the popular vs. nerd battle in which the nerd always gets the last laugh. The lyrical reference to “Wicked” is extremely clever, too.

 

Favorite Line: “It’s not about who you are or your fancy car” (Just because of the way Ariana’s voice sounds)

 

12. Better Left Unsaid 10/10

I am obsessed with this song! This track is absolutely flawless. Ariana’s vocals are perfect, especially the vibrato that she adds to the low note of “Better” in the verses. I actually didn’t like this song very much at first, but it grew on me a LOT. The best thing about this song, though – you hear the verse start. It’s beautiful, but you can’t help but think the ballad idea has been used enough already in this album. After hearing the strange buildup from the end of the verse, you’re surprised as the song bursts into a techno beat. This took some getting used to, as it appears the techno ‘ruins’ the song at first, but actually the transition is a genius and well-implemented design for the song once you get used to it. The ending is perfect, too – I’m glad they ended it with the ballad side of the song rather than the techno.

 

Favorite Line: “I could tell a lie, blame tonight, too many drinks, so many reasons that some things are better left unsaid”

(2nd Place:     “I told you once, get out of my life, I don’t need ya, I’ll be alright but some things are better left unsaid)

 

Overall Score: 8/10 – Although it has some dull tracks, Ariana more than makes up for it with several catchy songs. Wonderful debut album!

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Yellow Jacket Season!

I’m sure this isn’t the most exciting topic for me to write about, but better something than nothing at all, right?

I got stung by a yellow jacket today! (Depending on your location, you may refer to them as just ‘wasps’.) It stung the back of my leg, about halfway down. From the location and time of the sting, I probably just wasn’t looking where I was going and accidentally hit it. This is my second-ever wasp sting, so the pain was surprising. Looking back on it, it must have been a humorous sight – I ran into the middle of the street yelling, “YELLOW JACKET! YELLOW JACKET!” while I jumped up and down like a madman.

My instinctive reaction was to attempt to whack it off. I think it may have worked, for there was no stinger in the puncture(more on that later). I find bees/wasps interesting for whatever reason and I’ve read a handful of articles on them. It was a bad move to try and whack it, because it would just get angrier and sting me again. I did have enough sense to clear the area, though, because another one stung my friend shortly thereafter.

Enough about my personal experience – let’s talk about wasp stings in general. Yellow jackets are one of the most aggressive wasp types. Just getting near them may set them off, and they retain the ability to sting again. The stinger may fall out if you’re lucky, though, and it will lose its capability. Even though some bees die after stinging, yellow jackets don’t. It’s also a good idea to clear the area, because she (only females can sting) will probably be sending reinforcements!

Yellow jacket stings aren’t incredibly painful, but the pain can be surprising and it will be sore afterward. I’ve found that, counter-intuitively, the pain is more tolerable if the sting area is active than if it’s stationary. In other words, the sting went away when I walked, but came back when I stood still. Swelling is also common, so apply ice off and on to lessen it.

You may also be wondering how to identify a yellow jacket. They are about 0.5-0.75 inches (or about 12-19 mm) long and they can be spotted by their striped yellow-black color scheme. They are also quick, and their body is more slender than that of a bee. NEVER get near their nest or the food they’re collecting. They will attack you even if you aren’t being threatening!

Yellow jackets are most common from mid-late summer into fall. If you learn anything from this, make sure to look before you leap!

Have you ever been stung by a bee/wasp? Share your story in the comments below!  

Mother Monster Is Back!

A high-pitched “AAAAAAAAAAA!!!!” Was my reaction to looking up Lady Gaga’s 4th album (I count the Fame Mons†er as one) release date for the umpteenth time and getting a satisfactory result. ARTPOP hits the shelves on November 11, 2013, but fans can pre-order it starting on the first of September. Of course, like all big artists, Mother Monster is releasing a single prior to the album’s release – August 19th, to be exact.

Now I have another artist to add to my list of upcoming albums I want: Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande, Miranda Cosgrove, Avril Lavigne and Rebecca Black. Sadly, all of these artists (Besides Black, who has no release date yet) have their dates after summer, so I find myself wishing the glorious summer away!

I’m expecting big things from this album, Lady Gaga – let’s break a record and give this album SIX top-10 songs to compete with “Born this Way!”

My choice for the promo single off this album’s list is “G.U.Y.(Girl Under You).” Is that creepy, by any chance? I’m also getting good vibes from “Tea” & “Artpop(obviously).” Actually, there has been speculation that “Tea” will be the lead single for the album, for the haus have tweeted possible references to this song. Or perhaps Mother Monster will use the same formula from “Born This Way” and release “Artpop” for the lead single, as it shares its name with the album. 

Are you excited for Mother Monster’s new album? If so, what’s your favorite track? Do you have any other albums you’re anticipating? Post your answers in the comments below! =)

What Makes a Game Good

Wether it be a sport, video game or even just an extemporaneous game you make up for fun, games can either be deemed “good” or “bad”. Just as with foods and hobbies, everyone’s taste is different. I’m going to go over some the points I think make a game good, which hopefully are somewhat universal.

 

1. The rules must be well-defined, straightforward and fair.

This is a pretty obvious one. It seems to irk a lot of other people that I do this, but whenever I play a game, I’m very strict with rules. A set of basic guidelines is required for almost every game to keep it from being chaotic. Even your simple “Throw the paper in the trash can” game needs rules: The paper must be thrown from a distance and it most go in the basket for a successful play. Games with poor rules often end in fights (although some groups of players get into spats regardless). Balancing the rules to make the game fair and exciting can be hard, especially in teams. It takes practice.

 

2. The game needs to have a reasonable duration.

Games can take varied amounts of time. The key is making the game end at a decent point. The reason why everyone in the room groans when the Monopoly board is pulled off the shelf is because it often takes too long. The average person doesn’t have the patience to repeat the same thing over and over again. Complaints of a game being too short are rare, considering you can just play again if they’re over quickly.

 

3. Every good game has replay value.

For those who don’t know, “replay value” is the likelihood you’ll play the game again soon (This most often applies for video games). When you pick the game up again, you want a fresh experience, so games with little wiggle room for taking it in different directions often have a low replay value. Games with a lot of different ways to play often provide a high replay value.

 

4. Simplify, Simplify and Complicate, Complicate.

This is a very delicate part of gaming that has varying boundaries for everyone. Some games get too complicated and it’s so much of a chore to figure out what to do next it becomes frustrating. Conversely, games that are too simple become repetitive and annoying.

For example, there was a game I used to play way back when called “War”. You would have 3 different types of people on your team: Attackers, who would attack the other team’s base, Defenders, who would stay in your team’s base, and Scouts, who used walkie-talkies to spy on the other team and grab ammunition. After a while, we added rules to make it harder, such as only scouts could grab ammunition and that when you were hit you would have to go to jail and lose lives and that all team members had to get to the other team’s base to win and scouts couldn’t attack and if you caught the ammunition you were safe and… well, you get the point.

Then there’s a game like Chutes and Ladders where all you do is roll a die and move.

 

So, do you agree with my points? Do you have any you’d like to add? Post your thoughts in the comments below! =)

 

Google Translate – A Convenient Inconvenience

Good news, fellow linguists! Machines won’t be replacing our ‘mad skillz’ any time soon!

Google translate is a wondrous invention. It does marvelous work for us if we need help getting the general idea of an article. Say you’re reading a page about local news in Sweden. Can’t understand it? Google translation to the rescue!

 

Or in its words (English to Japanese back to English):

Google is a strange invention translation. If you need help to get a general idea of the article, we will do a great job for us it. You say you are reading a page on the local news in Sweden. Do you not understand it? Google translation to the rescue!

 

Okay, I love google translate. It’s great if you’re ever in a pinch. But it makes me laugh how it’s passed off as a perfect invention when it’s still completely out of whack. I’ve spent two years studying Latin and here are some basic sentences that it can’t even translate!

Caecilius vinum bibit et coquum laudet.

(Me: Caecilius drinks the wine and pleases the cook.

Google: Caecilius, a cook, drink, and sing the praises of the wine.)

 

Metella, quae Grumionem decepit, ridet.

(Me: Metella, who tricked Grumio, laughs.

Google: Metella, which Grumio tricked, laughing.)

 

Quintus, vir notissimus, per urbem ambulat et pueri puellaeque salutat.

(Me: Quintus, a well-known man, walks through the city and greets the boys and girls.

Google: The fifth, a man of a well-known, through the city and walks around to greet the boys and girls.)

 

Leave a comment below with what you think of the Google translate! Do you have a funny translation you got from google? Post that, too! =)