Wednesday Listens E29

Oh wow. I haven’t posted one of these in a few months. I do apologize. So to get things back on track, here are three tracks that have been on loop this week.

LÉON

I’m really excited for this Swedish artist. Her debut album will be legit fire. Her tracks bring out raw emotion that no one wants to say out loud. Her vocals are unique and are definitely strong. I have listened to this song on repeat, I love the beat during the chorus, and the piano is complimentary.

Be sure to check out her debut single, “Tired of Talking.”

“If it’s love, it is rough. Why am I, not enough?”

Jessie Reyez

A Canadian artist that is making her mark with this strong single. Again, another female with raw emotion. This song is about being in love with someone that treats you poorly. A feeling most can relate to.

The xx

Glad to see The xx back with this single “On Hold.” A song about a broken relationship. The title suggests that the relationship is “on hold” much like a person being “on hold” on the phone. Do they stay on the line to wait for the call to resume, or do they hang up?

Fun fact: Hall & Oats is sampled in this song during the chorus.

Interested in more of what I’m currently listening to? Follow me over on Spotify.

[2016] reflection

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Formal Introductions

Last year I wrote “[2015] reflection,” so in effort to make this a tradition, here’s my review of 2016. To add to the reading, play this in the background. It’s my top ten songs of 2016.

Now, by looking at all the memes of 2016 – it appears that 2016 was a crazy ride for everyone. We lost many iconic musicians, there were numerous questionable political events (notoriously Brexit & Trump), the scandals, etc. But let’s not focus on the scary portion of 2016. That’s not what a reflection is supposed to achieve. No. My reflection is to remind me the growth I have accomplished over the year and to bring positivity.

A Taste for Adventure
Ottawa

I started the year off right by overcoming my fear of driving, by deciding to make my first real long-distance drive to Ottawa. May not seem to be much, but for a first-time car owner, a long-distance drive is a huge accomplishment. So with ten+ hours of driving in the snow, this helped elevate my confidence with driving. Now the QEW & 427 commute is a piece of cake.

Ottawa was a great decision to ring in the New Year surrounded by the good ‘ol Marshall crew.

Yukon

From long-distance driving transitions to first-time-flying-by-yourself-all-the-way-up-North trip. I would like to thank AB for allowing me to visit her in The Yukon in May. I came back with a new sense of purpose and other clichés. But seriously, Yukon has given me that much-needed push to add more adventures to my life. The Yukon is so beautiful that I encourage all to visit this magnificent place at some point in your lifetime. I miss being surrounded by mountains. For my full telling of the Yukon, continue reading here.

Cuba

The next step? We go from flying within Canada to flying outside of Canada sans-parents for the first time. And to Cuba! Cuba was just the escape I needed in November. And it will forever be memorable, as of course I went when Fidel Castro passed away. It’s one thing to go for the all-inclusive, but it’s also important to leave your resort bubble. Havana is a beautiful city with so much culture imbedded. I am glad we were still able to visit Revolution Square the day before Castro’s ashes were brought for mourning. It’s one place I would definitely visit again.

Concerts & Festivals

Compared to last year, Miss Victoria Chiasson went to the most amount of concerts and festivals. Although Mumford & Sons did not make the list because TicketMaster did not come through, I still went to four other great musicians (and probably for the price of one Mumford & Sons ticket).

Experiences, my dear reader, is what you need to focus on. Here’s a sum of what added value to my 2016:

  • Winter BrewFest
  • TSwift Dance Party
  • Drake & Rihanna Dance Party
  • Bread n’ Honey Festival
  • KONGOS @ Velvet Underground
  • BeerFest
  • Cider Festival at Yonge-Dundas Square
  • Dan Mangan @ Union Station
  • TURF
  • Nuit Blanche (first time going!)
  • Adele Concert
  • July Talk Concert
  • Christmas Market at Distillery District (first time for this as well!)
Reading

Came short on my reading challenge this year, as I am still learning to balance work and life. I am still pleased that I managed to read 12 books. Also by looking at my stats, my books equaled 4043 pages, which I’m happy with. My top books of 2016 you should get around to are: Missing, Presumed and A Year of Marvelous Ways. Both well written with life lessons that stick around.

Follow my life of reading over on goodreads.

2016books

Conclusions & Other Rambles

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I did not set a resolution for 2016 when I wrote my first reflection. Rather, I went into the year with a general attitude. I hoped that 2016 would be a year of transformation. I think from this general reflection, that yes. I have grown as an individual by focusing on experiences and creating memories. I have gained confidence in some places, but I know that I still have work on gaining confidence in other areas.

2017 will be the year of no excuses. No excuses to making things happen, achieving dreams, and moving forward. No excuses for those around you and for yourself.

Dear 2017. I’m ready. Bring it on.

July Talk @ Danforth

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I got to see July Talk at the Danforth last month, and it was one of the best concerts I have been to. The dynamic between these two is electrifying, you begin to feed off of their vibes. They are able to portray two people in love so well, but apparently they aren’t together?

It was great to listen to their new music off of Touch and old tracks from their previous albums.

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Getting Back to Happy

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Here’s something different, a brutally honest post, because as humans: why are we so scared to talk about our mental health?

Having now been out of University for over a year, I have been having difficulty coming to grips that this. is. it. University made me feel like I was working towards something; I had a goal in mind – my diploma. Now with being in a full-time job, what is it that I hope to accomplish?

Changes

The first big change was moving back at home. Which – don’t get me wrong – has been great as I’m seeing my parents more, my rent is cheaper than it would have been if I was on my own, and I have a support system. But then there is the flip side, you are seeing your. family. more.

The second big change was my circle of friends became further apart. Instead of waking up and them being there, they aren’t. And it gets weird, because you shared a house with them for THREE years.

So that is where “getting back to happy” comes from. A way to remind myself that living isn’t quite so scary if you keep doing things that make you feel good.

Classes, Classes and oh! More Classes

For starters, I started signing up for leagues that would keep me active and allow me to step away from the house. This first started by signing up for volleyball, which was an excellent way to step out of my comfort zone. Sure I had gone to Olympia for volleyball for multiple years, but I never played on an actual team. I then started to incorporate yoga back into my life. Attending yoga really helped bring my mental focus back into place. I have even started to attend more challenging power yoga classes. Next was getting back into soccer, again a way to challenge myself. Leagues & fitness classes are a sure way to push yourself. I find that if I just go to the gym, I will take the easy way out since I don’t have others to overcome obstacles.

In order to fill the time outside of work, I have also been working towards a certificate in Digital Marketing Management. By doing online courses I have in a way forced myself to keep learning. It is so easy to go to work and then come home watch television. I was doing this routine in the first few months of my new job. Was that particular routine benefiting me in any way? No. Signing up for online courses helps add value to my skill set.

Final Rambling Thoughts

Am I unhappy though? No. I’m just unsatisfied. I realize where I currently am in life is not where I want to be indefinitely. There is so much more I want to accomplish.

A Defense for “Today’s Music”

DSC_0155_edit_bfWho’s tired of the overused phrase “music just isn’t as good as it used to be?” Raise them, raise those hands high.

This past weekend I had the most pleasurable experience of engaging in conversation with an older gentleman, let’s say late 50’s to early 60’s. He thought it was best to – in his beyond drunken state of mind – to argue that my generation won’t get to appreciate music, as we have no defining icon to represent us. He then continued to explain how Rihanna receiving an MTV Lifetime Achievement award is fallacy and how artists stick to music for a year – tops – have a single, and call it quits.

Of course it was at this point in time, after many attempts to explain how we should not dismiss “my generation’s” music that I called it a day. There was no use getting through to someone who was not going to listen to the points I had to express.

As you can see, I’m still bothered. It’s best to write and get this point across:

It is with each generation that they will complain about the younger generation, this is nothing new.

“The children now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise.”

This is a quote from Socrates. Yes, Socrates, and yet did you not just resonate with the statement centuries later? Don’t tell me you haven’t complained about an 8-year old owning a cellphone. Heck! I just did that today.

Oh my reader. Do not give up on me just yet, keep pushing through my rambles. This quote still applies to music, don’t rush me now. It relates in that with each new generation comes a new wave of sounds. The generation preceding will complain of the new wave of sound, as they are accustomed to the sounds that define their own generation. A GENERAL overview would look like: 70s – disco, 80s – rock, 90s – age of boy bands, etc. (Of course within each decade is a mixture of even more sounds depending on the crowd you associated with.)

Going back to the nameless man, if we look at his generation, he identifies with the sounds of the 70s-80s. If we look at his parents, they would not have appreciated the sounds of the 70s-80s and enjoyed the sweet melodies from say 40s-50s. Both groups – as you will – have different ways in which music was organized. 70s-80s we get into more of the classic rock guitar sound, while 40s-50s was more focused on the frontman with a band behind.

Overall, for the case of “today’s music” it is really a matter of how it is presented to the masses. Unfortunately there has been an increase in top40, as it is obvious that there is a formula to successful songs. Does that mean that there is no good music for my generation? Hell no. There are so many musicians out there that are still undiscovered just because it is harder for them to get airtime. My generation is dealing with an increase in content that we have to spend more time sifting through what is presented. As an individual, you just have to put a bit more work into finding the great artists. Once you start getting into the digital world and looking about, you will realize all the amazing sounds that are readily available to your ears.

Right now I suggest: “Shake” by The Head and the Heart, “Tornado ‘87” by The Rural Alberta Advantage, and “Giant” by Banks & Steelz.

The Head and the Heart

The Rural Alberta Advantage

Banks & Steelz

Masks Protecting Identities, but Hindering Resistance

This piece was written for my Visual Communications class taken in Third Year.

Masks Protecting Identities, but Hindering Resistance

Victoria Chiasson
20 November, 2013

People are driven to anonymity because they are scared of their government’s power over their futures. As a result, these protestors use masks to conceal their identities, in hopes to change the system without revealing who they are. Two noteworthy examples in today’s society are the Guy Fawkes mask associated with Anonymous, and the balaclava that is worn by Pussy Riot in Russia. Nevertheless, this paper proposes that these masks actually hinder the resistance movement both groups hope to achieve. In order to illustrate this thought, the masks will be discussed in two perspectives. First, this paper will use Karl Marx’s concept of the “Commodity Fetish” and how these masks – because of popularity – have become a trend within society. Next, the masks will be examined through Slavoj Žižek’s notion of how disguises are dangerous because they are embedded with an idea. However, since both groups have a variety of ideas, it is difficult to distinguish what central cause they are fighting for. Therefore, the de-individualization that stems from the use of masks is actually ineffective for protestors, because their activism is lost through the emergence of fads, overwhelming scope of ideas, and lack of humanization.

The Guy Fawkes mask and the balaclava were never initially created to become masks for protestors. They were appropriated by select individuals, and through their success in culture industries, have become a symbol of opposition and resistance. The origins of the Guy Fawkes mask derive from Alan Moore and David Lloyd in their graphic novel “V for Vendetta.” Continue reading

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

20160820_171904Finally made enough time to finish this book! It was quite enjoyable, albeit makes you wish it was an actual novel and not a performance script.

From the first 30 pages I felt for Albus Potter, and could relate to his character. I thought they did a good job with the storyline, and it does have some twists to keep you guessing.

Really, the only critique is that it’s a performance script, so most of the writing is cheesy. I feel that this is more suitable to see on stage, so that it provides the reader with the intended effect.

Maybe, just maybe, J.K. Rowling will make it into a full-fledged novel?

Follow my love of reading over at GoodReads.

Susie Steiner “Missing, Presumed”

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Demolished this book in last two days at the cottage. The first few chapters are a tad slow, but only to establish the plot. Roughly 50 pages in, you will become hooked, so stay with it! I could not put the book down until I was done!

Missing, Presumed is a literary-crime novel written by Susie Steiner. Although the plot is based on the search for Edith Hind – a twenty-something graduate student at Cambridge whose father is surgeon to the Royal Family – the novel is more of a character analysis of DS Manon Bradshaw who struggles with her work & being lonely. In addition to Bradshaw’s development, the novel also takes place from many different viewpoints, which is a nice touch.

Overall, this is a brilliant novel with beautiful writing, many twists, and good character development.

“I sometimes think I don’t actually like anyone that much. That all I ever want is to be on my own. And then I can’t cope with it — with myself, just myself all the time, and it’s like I become the worst company of all 00 and there’s this awful realization that I need people and it’s almost humiliating,” – pg. 164 **big nod from me**

Follow my life of reading over at Goodreads.

Sarah Dessen “Saint Anything”

There’s something comforting in Sarah Dessen’s writing. Easy-reading for the summer.20160712_211216

Who doesn’t love some chick-lit?

Saint Anything regards all sorts of relationships. Family, friends, love, personal. This is laid out through the life of Sydney, who has always felt invisible. Her brother Peyton won the attention of many throughout their childhood. Peyton, however, begins to spiral out of control and finds himself in jail after a drunk-driving incident.

This leads Sydney switching schools and meeting the Chathams family after deciding to visit the local pizza place after school one day. There she learns more about herself and begins to realize that she too deserves to be heard.

The novel is perfect for anyone looking for a quick and easy ready.

“How a song can remind you of something specific in your own life, like it belongs to you. But how personal can it really be if a million other people feel the same way about it? It’s like a fake meaning, on top of a manufactured meaning, divided by a true.” page. 159.

BOOM. hit the nail on the head with this quote. cough “Do I Wanna Know?” Is the perfect example of this. scratch that. The whole AM album cough.

Follow my reading adventures over at goodreads!

KONGOS @ Velvet Underground

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Last night I went to the Velvet Underground to see KONGOS. It was my first time at this venue, and it was a pretty good setup. The only thing needed for the venue considering it holds up to 500, was A/C. The club gets pretty warm, so keep this in mind for dress attire.

Ascot Royals opened for the band, and they had a good set. They were able to get the crowd ready and have a style classified as “dance rock.” Their style kind of reminds me of the Boys Like Girls, Jimmy Eat World and Dashboard Confessional genre. Good sounds to dance and be ridiculous to.

KONGOS went on after 10pm. They opened up with “Hey I Don’t Know” off of Lunatic which is one of my favourite songs! It was a good start to the show to get everyone headbanging. They continued with a few more tracks off of Lunatic, then started incorporating new music from their newest album Egomaniac.

Egomaniac has allowed the band to explore new sounds, which I’m glad they are doing. There are too many bands that once they have a successful single, they become narrowed in on that sound. It’s clear Egomaniac drifts away from “Come With Me Now.” The whole album is supposed to be a commentary of their success anyway! The strongest track from Egomaniac is their single “Take It From Me” which reflects on the band making leeway into the music scene, followed by “I Don’t Mind.”

“Autocorrect” is a social commentary on the future of society, and adds a bit of humour to the world of the digital. Whereas, “Underground” is just a good groove-to song. The album is definitely better live, so I would recommend catching a show with them!

Ending conclusions: I loved the take on “Come Together” with Moezart, he is a super talented rapper. And the encore from KONGOS was great, loved that they played tracks from their father, John Kongos.

Long-live small venues. It gives a more personal and intimate setting where you can actually see the band and feel the vibes! Great night, great music.