Too Bright- Perfume Genius

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10/10

Too Bright is beautiful and gay, and I love it. Perfume Genius balances dreamy and ethereal musical composition with poetic lyrics. The album works very well as a cohesive unit and many of the songs are also strong. Mike Hadreas is the artist behind Perfume Genius; he has released several singles and three albums. He released his first album Learning in 2010 and his second in 2012 with Put Your Back N 2 It. Too Bright was released in 2014.

Too Bright is both beautiful and honest. The album complexly explores male queerness, but I don’t think it exclusively applies to male queerness. The album is cohesive in a way few albums are. It doesn’t sound the same, some songs are closer to alternative rock and others are really dreamy but in most songs the tone of Hadreas voice stays consistent. Listening to the album in order is really enjoyable because there are great transitions and builds.

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There are quite a few songs that are worth mentioning, I can’t decide if my favorite is “Queen” or “Grid”. “Queen” starts the question “Don’t you know your Queen?” it is a double entendre because it sounds like “Don’t you know you’re Queer?”. In the verse Hedreas pairs beautiful imagery with ugly and revolting imagery. I really like how he connects identity to societies views. It is a rally cry because he is unapologetically being open about his identity. “Queen” is closer to rock than most of the album, it’s a little angry in the electric guitar part and drum beat. It could be one of my all time favorite songs. 

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“Grid” has more disorienting electronic sounds, a rhythmic bass beat gradually gets louder and syncopated as the song progresses and there are some pretty cool vocal compressions. The instrumentals and background vocals are harsher but Hadreas voice is sweet. Like Queen, Grid has multiple meanings, the title is a reference to one of the first acronyms for HIV, Gay-Related Immune Deficiency, but many of the lyrics are from “I Decline” which is about Hadreas struggle with addiction.

Several other songs are really exceptional: the bridge in “Fool” is phenomenal. It is ethereal and echoey, it builds and builds. “Fool” is about straight women use gay men as props so I really like how free the bridge is in contrasts with the exploitive lyrics. “Too Bright” is also ethereal; it sounds like a prayer. “I’m a Mother” is on the weirder dark side of ethereal, everything sounds really heavy and the words are difficult to understand but I’m a fan. “My Body” seems to be about living in a body that is not healthy. It really resonates with me because it does a really good job of describing the balance between taking care of yourself while also knowing that the extra effort probably won’t be worth it. The song has a lot of distortion but it balances it with quiet moments. 

Too Bright is self deprecating but it is also beautiful. It is so great that while a central theme of the album is queerness and homophobia each song is not trying to become the next formulaic gay anthem as written by straight pop singers. I actually really love how blunt and realistic it because, personally, it is more relatable. So listen to Too Bright if you are also sad and queer it’s a good time.

WVCW Sports Review: November 23-29

We hope that you had a Happy Thanksgiving! Hopefully you did not have too many leftovers this weekend so that you can find what has been going on in RamNation this week. Like your turkey, this week was stuffed with great action with sweet rewards for dessert.

Men’s Basketball

  • The Rams went a 2-0 this weekend picking up wins over the American Eagles on Wednesday night 68-39 and in-state rival, the Old Dominion Monarchs on Saturday 76-67. Both games were played in front of sold-out crowds at the Siegel Center.
  • VCU was able to an early lead against the Eagles and never look back as the Rams were able to coast to a decisive victory. Justin Tillman earned his second career double-double with 10 points and 14 rebounds. Melvin Johnson led the team in points with 13.
  • The Rams faced tougher competition on Saturday when they faced the ODU Monarchs. VCU was blitzed right at the start of the game as the Monarchs hit four three pointers in the first four minutes and led 16-8. After the early barrage, VCU locked in defensively and took control of the game. VCU led by as much as 11 and won by nine. Jequan Lewis led the Rams with 16 points off the bench.
  • Mo Alie-Cox moved into sixth place on the VCU blocks list as he has 126 now.
  • Melvin Johnson is now in sixth place on the VCU all-time three-point list.
  • The Rams are now 4-2 this season with all wins being at home. The Rams will be on the road for their next two games as the will face Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders in their first true road game of the season Wednesday night. Then they will travel to Atlanta to face the Florida State Seminoles in a neutral site game next Sunday afternoon.

Women’s Basketball

  • Like the men, the women’s went 2-0 this week on their homecourt as they defeated the Campbell Camels on Tuesday. They followed that win with a commanding 22 point win against the Furman Paladins on Sunday 68-44.
  • The Rams played stifling defense against the Camels as they held them to eight points in the first half. The Camels were able to establish some momentum in the second half, but they fell behind early and were not able to catch the Rams. VCU forced 26 the Campbell to commit 26 turnovers.

Adaeze Alaeze finished the game with 12 points and five rebounds for the Rams in 19 minutes of play.

  • The Rams were able to get an early lead against the Paladins as they never trailed in the game. VCU opened the game up in the third quarter going on a 14-4 run and never looked back outscoring Furman 18-9 in the third quarter. Ashley Pegram led the Rams in points with 16 off the bench in only 12 minutes.
  • The Rams will enjoy a couple of days off before facing UNC Wilmington at the Siegel Center on Wednesday at 7:00. VCU will participate in the Arizona State Classic this weekend. They will face the host, Arizona State on Saturday and then they will face Toledo or Columbia on Sunday.

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Sweet Revenge: VCU Defeats ODU 76-67

Richmond, Va. – VCU was able to exact revenge on the Old Dominion Monarchs as won 76-67 at the Siegel Center. Three players scored in double figures as Jequan Lewis led the way with 16 points of the bench. Melvin Johnson finished with 13 points and Jordan Burgess followed up with twelve points. The Rams knocked down 10 three-pointers in the game.

ODU came right out the gates knocking down four three pointers within the first four minutes of the game and lead after the first media timeout 16-8 while VCU committed three turnovers in that span. VCU took the lead 18-16 with 9:25 with a three-pointer from Doug Brooks while the Rams defense shut down the offense of the Monarchs as they were not able to score for over six minutes. The Monarchs answered with a field goal to tie the game at 18. From there, both teams played a back and forth game as both teams took their turns leading the game and even tied at a few points in the first half. Jordan Baker hit a pair of free throws with five seconds left in the first half to tie the game at halftime at 35. Brooks had nine points in the game, all of them came in the first half as he hit a trifecta of threes.

The Rams were able to capitalize on Mo Alie-Cox being double-teamed in the second half which led to six three pointers being hit.

“In the first half, they either double-teamed me or sunk in,” Alie-Cox said. “In the second half, when I caught the ball with one-on-one coverage, I went straight up. If they double-teamed, we got a lot of wide open threes.”

Melvin Johnson knocked down back-to-back three pointers in 41 seconds to give VCU a nine-point lead, 49-40. Soon thereafter, VCU was able to obtain a double-digit lead in the second half with their biggest lead being 11 (54-43). ODU trimmed VCU’s lead down to three before with five minutes left. The Rams followed up with a 12-2 run which included a pair of threes from Korey Billbury and Lewis. The Monarchs kept fighting, but they did not have much left in the tank as the Rams were able to claim victory in the annual affair.

When asked about the defensive performance in the second half, Lewis said “We buckled down in the halfcourt. Getting stops gave us momentum and if they [ODU] can’t score, we’re going to win.”

VCU head coach, Will Wade, called today’s performance was probably the best they have played at home this season.

“After the first four minutes where ODU blitzed us, they only shot 38% which was good for us,” Wade said.

The Rams improve to 4-2 this season as they get will travel to Murfreesboro, Tennessee to face the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders on Wednesday night in their first true road game this season.

 

 

Clipped Wings: VCU Grounds the Eagles 72-44

Richmond, Va. – VCU defeated the American Eagles 68-39 in a Thanksgiving Eve matchup. Seniors, Melvin Johnson and Korey Billbury led the way with 13 points and 12 points respectively. Off the bench, Justin Tillman obtained his second career double-double with 10 points and 14 rebounds.

VCU point guard, Jequan Lewis did not get the start, but played significant minutes off the bench. VCU forced American to commit 14 turnovers in the first half as it took the Eagles three minutes and 21 seconds to score their first basket. Within that span, the Eagles committed five turnovers. Offensively, the Rams were not at their best as they utilized a different starting five (Johnson, Billbury, Burgess, Gilmore, Alie-Cox), but they were able sustain enough offense to distance themselves from the Eagles with a double digit lead. The Rams went into halftime with a 16-point lead, 36-20.

VCU was able to open the game up in the second half they opened up a plus-20 point lead on the Eagles. Overall, the Rams forced the Eagles into committing 22 turnovers as the Rams were able to keep the Eagles at bay for the remainder of the game. Mo Alie-Cox had two blocks in the game which moved him into sixth place on the VCU blocks list with 125 passing 2014 graduate, Juvonte Reddic. American’s 44 points was the fewest VCU allowed since holding Akron to 42 points in the second round of the 2013 NCAA Tournament.

“Coach said that we were just ok tonight,” Billbury said. “Our energy was ok, our effort was ok, but we have to be a lot better for Saturday’s game.”

“We have a lot of different ways that we can start,” Coach Wade said. “We’ll evaluate our lineups, we’ll change our starting lineups based on and we will go from there.”

The Rams are now 3-2 on the young season. VCU returns to action this Saturday to face in-state rival, the Old Dominion Monarchs. Last year, the Rams were defeated by the Monarchs in Norfolk 73-67. The game will take place at the Siegel Center at 4:00.

WVCW Sports Review: November 16-22

Men’s Basketball

  • The VCU Men’s Basketball team finished the week 1-2 as they defeated Radford at the Stu 92-74 Monday before traveling to Madison Square Garden for the 2K Classic to play the reigning national champions, the #5 Duke Blue Devils on Friday and national finalist, Wisconsin Badgers on Sunday. The Rams took losses in both games as they fell to the Blue Devils 79-71 and the Badgers 74-73.
  • The Rams and Highlanders came out battling as the game was even at 30 with 5:09 left in the first half. From there, the Rams went on a 13-2 run to end the first half. The Rams went by as much as 27 in the second half before Radford went on a 17-3 run late in the half, but the Rams were able to thwart the late push by scoring eight unanswered points to win. Senior, Melvin Johnson finished with a game-high 24 points.
  • The Rams proved that they could hang with the very best as they fought Duke down to the wire under the bright lights of New York City. The Rams led at halftime 39-38. Both teams played a back-and-forth ballgame before Duke went on a 17-4 game-clinching run that gave the Blue Devils as 70-58 lead with 5:41 left in the game. The VCU trimmed the lead down to 6, but free throws sealed the game for Duke. Duke’s, Grayson Allen came off the bench for Duke and scored 30 points. Melvin Johnson finished with 24 points and knocked down six three pointers.
  • Wisconsin’s Bronson Koenig converted a layup with 6.2 seconds left to give the Badgers the one point victory. Both teams competed in hard-fought game where both teams led multiple times throughout. With 2:10 left in the game, both teams were tied at 71. The Badgers took the lead off of a free. Melvin Johnson then converted on a jumper from the free throw line before Koenig made the game-winning layup. Johnson led the Rams in scoring with 21 points.
  • The Rams are 2-2 on the young season. This week, the Rams will face American at 7:00 pm on Wednesday. They will host in-state rival, Old Dominion on Saturday at 4:00. Both games are at the Siegel Center.

Women’s Basketball

  • The VCU Women’s Basketball team finished the week with a 1-1 record as they defeated Iona on the road Tuesday 74-58 before losing to IUPUI on Saturday 70-69.
  • The Rams forced Iona to commit 22 turnovers as they Rams surged to a 16-point victory in New York. All five starters for the Rams (Alaeze, Calhoun, Clay, Robinson, and Pegram) finished in double figures scoring, led by Adaeze Alaeze and Camille Calhoun as they both scored 16 points.
  • Following the victory on Tuesday, the Rams traveled to Indianapolis to face IUPUI in what was a hard-fought game. Junior, Isis Thorpe made her return after missing the first two games of the season due to injury. The Rams were down as much as 19 points to the Jaguars. The Rams fought their way back into the game and even took the lead late in the game. Mikale Rogers converted on a three-point play for the Jaguars with 6.9 seconds left in the game to give the Jaguars the victory by 1. Thorpe led the Rams with 17 points.
  • VCU added four signees for next season. G Jailyn Maddox (Hoover, Ala./Hoover), G Nyra Williams (Hampton, Va./Bethel) G Niya Johnson (Brooklyn, N.Y./Nazareth), and F Danielle Hammond (Bryn Mawr, Pa./Baldwin School) signed their letters of intent to commit to RamNation in the fall of 2016. “We are very excited about 2015-16 recruiting class,” Coach Beth O’Boyle said. “Nyra, Danielle, Niya, and Jailyn are all high quality student-athletes who will exceed both in the classroom and on the court. “
  • The Rams are now 2-1 this season. They return to the Siegel Center for two games this week as they face Campbell on Tuesday at 7:00 and Furman at 1:00 on Sunday.

Women’s Volleyball

  • The VCU Women’s Volleyball were eliminated from the Atlantic 10 Volleyball tournament after falling to host school, George Washington, in three sets (25-16, 25-16, 25-18). Freshman Sahbria McLetchie, finished the match with 12 kills. Senior, Kalah Jones, had eight kills of her own as she finished her VCU career with the sixth-most kills in school history with 1,118 kills. The Rams conclude the season their season with a 14-17 record.

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Every Open Eye – Chvrches review

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Man, do Chvrches love 80’s music or do they Love 80’s music? Their debut album (The Bones of What You Believe) was the best album O.M.D. never released, but their sophomore effort Every Open Eye takes that to the next logical step. This album feels like a Greatest Hits of Depeche Mode compilation. I can’t remember the last time an electronic group was this hook filled and obsessed with melody. The Scottish trio brings their A Game song after song after song, and the wild thing is that it almost always works. Sure, there’s a couple weak tunes, but in fairness, when your album has 9 killer tracks and 2 pretty decent songs, I would say you’re doing a good job.

Songs like Keep You On My Side, Clearest Blue, High Enough To Carry You Over, and Bury It go SO HARD. Ian Cook and Martin Doherty know how to layer these catchy keyboards and drumbeats and turn them into these tour de force bangers. Singer and primary lyricist Lauren Mayberry brings an emotional side and a “don’t screw me over” attitude that provides a beautiful compliment to the instrumentals. I genuinely think this album should include a sticker that says “Welcome to Synthpop Heaven- Population: Chvrches”. Because that’s essentially what you’re getting from Every Open Eye. If that’s not your scene, then you should probably avoid this record. But, if you’re into this genre then strap in! Chvrches are about to take you on a hell of a ride.

It’s nice to see an indie band unafraid of being accessible and contagious. Chvrches want to be heard. I’m the kind of person who loves watching hipsters squirm over indie bands getting famous, so I consider this to be a positive aspect. Frankly, they deserve any and all success that this album brings them. Chvrches are a hard-working group, having self produced Every Open Eye in their basement with a 6 hours a day/5 days a week schedule. Around 30 tracks were recorded for this album, and the band went through them to pick out the best ones. It shows.

While plenty of these tracks stand alone well enough, I would recommend listening to the album in full. It has this non stop momentum that few records are able to capture. Their debut record was a gem, but Every Open Eye blows it completely out of the water.  It’s a little less fun when they aren’t a smaller band, but when the songs are this good it’s hard to care about something so petty.