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Clay Temples

REXBURG—The lounge is hot despite the biting February chill outside. There are students packed inside the small space, standing on couches and chairs, all nodding along to the beat and trying to catch a glimpse of the band at the front of the dimly lit room: The Clay Temples. The band isn’t selling albums on the top of the iTunes charts, but at this moment, Eric Hsu and his bandmates feel like they’re rock stars.  (more…)


Sugar City Christmas Lights

SUGAR CITY, Idaho – The Sugar City Council decided on Sept. 24 to apply for a grant to replace lighting on Center Street.

The lighting discussion and decision were brought about by the Council’s desire to put up more Christmas lights on Main Street. Currently there isn’t power and there aren’t enough poles where they originally planned to hang lights in the city, but this new project looks to change that.  (more…)

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Feature

(Here’s the accompanying infographic: Star Wars By the Numbers. All the pictures in the infographic were designed by me using Microsoft PowerPoint.)

The announcement came in October 2012. Chad Morrill remembers the exact moment he found out. He was walking to his Heritage apartment from the Crossroads and looking at his phone when he read the news. Disney had purchased LucasFilm. And they were going to make a seventh Star Wars.

                Morrill is nothing short of a Star Wars fanatic with his closet full of Star Wars graphic t-shirts, his walls covered with the movies’ posters and his childhood full of memories of the classic films. He watched the original trilogy on VHS tapes. In kindergarten, the girl he had a crush on came over to his house and watched Star Wars with him and ate macaroni and cheese- a five-year-old’s dream date.  As soon as he could read, his dad bought him Star Wars books from the store. There were countless lightsaber fights with friends and endless hours of pretending to be Han Solo and Boba Fett. The love for Star Wars is embedded deep within Morrill’s childhood.  (more…)

A Year in Five Minutes

It’s the ninth end-of-the-year mashup from Jordan Roseman, who goes by DJ Earworm in the music world. The tradition began in 2007 with the first video, titled “United State of Pop.”

The 2015 mashup released on Wednesday, “50 Shades of Pop,” is even more ambitious than DJ Earworm’s eight previous mixes as it highlights 50 of the year’s biggest hits, as opposed to only 25 in every video in the past. 40 different artists are showcased in this year’s video.

Along with the music, DJ Earworm also includes fragments from each of the track’s music videos in the compilation. It’s a five-minute visionary and auditory flashback of the year’s biggest successes in the music industry.

The mashup leaps right out of the starting gates with Adele’s “Hello” and Taylor Swift’s “Style,” beginning rather appropriately with the lyrics “Hello” and “It’s been a while since I have even heard from you.”

The mix is expertly engineered, with the song segments fitting together perfectly and the transitions flowing seamlessly. Some songs in the forefront of the mashup are instantly recognizable, like Ellie Goulding’s “Love Me Like You Do,” while others are featured only in the background and are more difficult to pinpoint and pick out from the mix, such as the more subtle inclusion of Justin Bieber’s “Where Are U Now?”

Taylor Swift dominates the track list with four singles from 1989: “Blank Space,” “Style,” “Bad Blood” and “Wildest Dreams.” The Weekend follows in second place with three songs, including hits “Earned It,” “The Hills” and “Can’t Feel My Face.” Neither artist seems to monopolize the mashup, however. DJ Earworm strikes a fine balance with the inclusion of each song and artist.

DJ Earworm consults the Billboard music charts for his picks, which range from Maroon 5 and Drake to Fall Out Boy and Nicki Minaj. It’s rather bizarre that a track like Sam Smith’s “I’m Not the Only One” and Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk” would ever be featured side-by-side, but they mesh together as well as every other song in the mashup, standing as an example of the diverse styles that dominated the charts this year.

The song ends on Swift’s “Wildest Dreams” with the fitting lyric “Say you’ll remember me” before fading out completely.

All nine of the videos are compiled here, and each includes a full list of the songs featured in the video.

Bieber is Back


Popstar Justin Bieber returns to the music charts with his fourth studio album, Purpose, which was released last Friday.

The album sits at number two on the iTunes Top Albums list a week after its release, moving down from number one as it was overtaken by Adele’s 25, which was released today. Bieber also has two songs on the iTunes Top Songs list, “Sorry” and “Love Yourself.”

The deluxe version of Purpose includes 18 new songs from the 21-year-old singer. Singles “What Do You Mean?” and “Sorry” preceded the album’s debut and were released in August and October, respectively. Bieber collaborated with various other artists on Purpose, including Big Sean, Travis Scott, and Halsey.

An alternate album cover was created for Purpose for its release in several Middle Eastern countries and Indonesia. The original cover was seen as having too many Christian references and symbols. Many of the songs themselves reference God and asking for forgiveness, most notably the title track, “Purpose.” The album was originally banned in these countries until the new cover was created.

Purpose and boyband One Direction’s fifth album, Made In The A.M., were released the on same day, creating something of a pop-icon showdown. The ensuing rivalry between the two artists and their albums provided for inflated numbers as both exceeded sales predictions in their first week. The competition for the number one position on the Billboard 200 chart is tight, and the win is expected to be by a slim margin.

Bieber will do a promotional tour for the album, called The Purpose Tour. It will kick off in Seattle in March 2016.

Goodbye Hiatus, Hello New Single

Superstar singer Adele reemerged into the spotlight with a new single called “Hello after a hiatus that spanned nearly four years.

The single was released Oct. 23 and is currently number one on the iTunes Top Songs list. It comes from her upcoming album, 25, set for release on Nov. 20. The pre-order for 25 has secured its position as number one on the iTunes Top Albums list.

But Adele’s iTunes success doesn’t stop there. The “Hello” music video is also number one on the iTunes Top Music Videos list, giving Adele a clean sweep of these three highly competitive categories.

The music video for “Hello” was released the same day as the single and has broken two Vevo records since then. The “Hello” video beat the record for the most-viewed video in 24 hours, surpassing Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood” music video. “Hello” is also now the fastest video to become Vevo Certified (meaning it received 100 million views) at five days, beating Miley Cyrus’ previous record of six days with her controversial video for her song “Wrecking Ball.”

Along with its records and accomplishments, “Hello” is gaining attention by being the first music video ever to be filmed (in part) with IMAX cameras.

With such a huge response from listeners, it’s clear that the music world won’t be saying goodbye to Adele for a while.

A “Perfect” Album in the Making

Chart-topping boyband One Direction released a new single on Friday.

Called Perfect, it is the third released song from the band’s fifth studio album, the first two being Drag Me Down and Infinity. Perfect is currently number one on the Top Songs list on iTunes. The album, Made In The A.M., is number two on the Top Albums chart on iTunes despite only being available for pre-order. It falls second only to Justin Bieber’s next album, Purpose.

The music video for Perfect will be released next week. A few behind-the-scenes teaser pictures were released and can be seen here.

It’s rumored that the song is about Harry Styles’ relationship with Taylor Swift. The line “If you’re looking for someone to write your break-up songs about” confirms the thought for many listeners. The song itself sounds strangely similar to Swift’s single Style, which is supposedly about her and Styles’ relationship.

Made In The A.M. is scheduled for release on Nov. 13. It is the band’s first album since the departure of member Zayn Malik in March of this year. It will also be the band’s last album before the start of an indefinite hiatus that was announced in August. Their break will begin in March of next year, meaning there will be no tour for the new album.

From the first three released songs, it appears that the band will continue in the same direction that their fourth album, Four, took them in, with heavy 80s pop and rock influences. It’s a much different sound from their bubble-gum teen pop days of Up All Night. The band’s style and themes have matured significantly since their debut album.