Album review | Selena Gomez ‘Rare (Deluxe Edition)’

While 2020 has sucked a big one, at least the music of 2020 has been outstanding. It also gave us our first full-fledge Selena Gomez album since 2015. It’s been five years since the former Disney star blessed the world with a full-length release. Up until this point, we were just served singles. Some were good, and some were meh. None were bad. So let’s talk about her third album, “Rare.”

Click here to check out reviews for Target bonus tracks:

Bad Liar“|”Fetish“|”Back to You“|”It Ain’t Me

Of course, she was sad
But now she’s glad she dodged a bullet 

Originally released on January 10, 2020 “Rare” is the third solo album, from Selena Gomez. The original release contained 13 songs, which her previous singles being bonus tracks from Target. She re-released the album with four new tracks: “Feel Me,” “Boyfriend,” “She,” and Souvenir” on April 9th.

Before new tracks

“Rare” is probably Selena’s strongest album to date, besides “Stars Dance.” It takes the best parts of her last album, “Revival,” and focuses more on that. The album was produced by the way too many people.

According to the Wikipedia pages, this album had about 26 producers credits. It kind of shows as there’s no one set genre and its kind of all over the place with its sound. It’s not a bad thing, nor it’s not a good thing. It’s a step in the right direction on refining her sound. The tracks are more mature, like her and her sound. Positive news: This is the first album where I can honestly say, I don’t think Justin Beiber had anything refers in the lyrics besides “Look at Her Now.”

While “Bad Liar” and “Fetish” are available for the Target bonus tracks, I think it was a step in the wrong direction not to include them on this album as regular tracks. They do fit this album with the overall feel of the album. “Back to You” slightly provides it, but the fact that “Wolves” and “It Ain’t Me” as a bonus just doesn’t make any sense. They are more Stars Dance era and just don’t help to end the album right. It might be a Pop/Dance album, but it’s not an EDM influenced Pop/Dance album.

Speaking of the bonus tracks, just adding them to the end is just lazy. Like at least mix them in actual tracklist. You could have quickly figure out how to include them. It would help the flow better than just randomly ending on “Wolves.”

After new tracks

With the edition of the new tracks, Selena changed up the tracklisting. This lead to some questionable choices in the flow of the album. The deluxe version starts with “Boyfriend” and then goes into “Lose You to Love Me.” At first, I was like, “this is random but okay.” When you listen to the two songs together, it’s a mood. They do make the album better and the fact they rearranged besides the bonus tracks.

Did “Rare” need these tracks? Nope, honestly, adding these tracks was more of just fan service that wasn’t needed. These tracks were songs that the fans wanted and were probably meant to boost sales. But they didn’t do anything to help back the album besides flow. I’m glad that these songs got put out into the world, but they easily could have been put as an EP.

Verdict

“Rare” is the best album from Selena so far. The album is more mature and takes the best of her previous albums and just makes it better. There’s not any replay value to it. It’s not going to say that the songs are catchy. But this isn’t a dance album, nor is it something that’s you are going to want to listen to on repeat. I’ve only listened to the album a handful of times, and I’m okay with that. I do recommend this album as it’s a great pop album.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Ready to feel old? Album ‘Oops!… I Did it Again’ turns 20 years old

On this day, May 16th, in the year 2000, Britney Spears gave the world the most iconic and probably influential albums in the decade in pop music – “Oops!… I Did It Again.” I talked about the first single of the same name back when it turned 20th in March. Like with that article, this isn’t going to be a review because I’d rate this album five stars, no questions asked. But slightly more a nostalgia trip because this album is a representation of my childhood.

“Oops!… I Did it Again” is a pop masterpiece like most of the second albums released by the big three, Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys, and *NSYNC, at this time. You can fight me on the big three because we all know that Britney trumps Christina. The album after Backstreet Boys “Millennium” and *NSYNC’s “No String Attached” but that’s beside the point. The Swedish pop god Max Martin worked on the album as well as other well known Britney collaborators like Darkchild. He gave us “Overprotected (Darkchild Remix) and Britney’s slightly underrated cover of “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll.”

Released at the peak of what would be my life long love for the queen, the legendary Ms. Britney Spears, this album was also the start of her peak years. This album was just a fun album. While there are some songs to pass over *cough*Dear Diary*cough*, a lot of the songs catchy pop songs, it’s just the perfect pop album, for that time. Top songs were obviously the singles (“Oops!,” “Stronger,” “Lucky, and “Don’t Let Me Be the Last to Know.”) as well as “Don’t Go Knockin’ On My Door, “What U See (Is What U Get),” and “Can’t Make You Love Me.” There’s also a cover of the Rolling Stones’ “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction) that isn’t bad but it’s kind there.

When most people think of Britney Spears’ early career, this is the album and the singles that they think of. Britney’s first album “Baby One More Time” brought her to the party and “Oops!… I Did It Again” was what made her a household name. I remember listening to this album on repeat to the point where my parents wanted to kill me figuratively. As I said, this album is representation of my childhood. I’m glad that this album is still considered a classic and fondly remembered. If you haven’t listened to this album, then I highly recommended taking a look. You won’t be disappointed until the end, “When Your Eyes Say It” and “Dear Diary” isn’t good. Just skip them like the rest of us.

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Review | Quibi: the not so good streaming service

There are way too many streaming services in our world. That’s a good thing as well as a bad thing. From YouTube to Netflix, it’s kind of like there’s a buffet of content. Sometimes you leave full and other times; you are just overwhelmed. In April 2020, people started to get a little bit more overwhelmed with the launch of Quibi, the newest streaming service to enter the game.

The streaming service without a slogan

Quibi is a mobile-only streaming service. The idea with the streaming service is present under 10 minutes of content so that its users can enjoy it while working, on break, in the car, or even if you are in the bathroom. The platform also got big names like Chrissy Teigen, Keke Palmer, and Liam Hemsworth to start in some programming.

The programming on the platform is just okay. There isn’t any standout programming on there at the moment. Because all of the shows are under 10 minutes long, a lot of the programming feels rushed and honestly, thrown together. There’s also pacing problems because of it trying to fit so much into one quick bite. It’s like trying to cram for a test the night before.

Not even Chrissy can make this service good

One example of this is on Quibi’s reboot of the popular MTV dating show from the 90s “Singled Out.” While they are all people that the contestant knows, the speed of the eliminations is quick until they get to the final few constants, and that slows down abruptly. Keke Palmer and Joel Kim Booster do an excellent job in their roles on the show; this can lead to things feeling a little off when. One positive about the “Singled Out” reboot is that it’s faithful to the source material.

One of the significant flaws with Quibi is that it’s only available for mobile devices. There were many times that I would want to watch something on there but didn’t want to watch it on my iPhone. I even tried downloading it on my iPad, but the app made for the iPad. I honestly forgot about the app due to this. 

Another flaw was the release schedule of the programming. A lot of the shows were released every day with three episodes a day. This kind of contradicts the premise of the app. Releasing a new episode every day isn’t bad, but rather having three new episodes a day. The app is trying to provide entertainment in quick burst but three episodes are the length of an episode of a sitcom.

Since it’s launch in April, Quibi hasn’t been the picture of success. According to The New York Times, Quibi was in the top 50 free iPhone apps when it launched. It’s now ranked at number 125 with only 3.5 million customers. Only 1.3 million of those customers are active. Founder Jeffery Katzenberg says that COVID-19 has a lot to do with the rough launch of this app.

“I attribute everything that has gone wrong to coronavirus,” Katzenberg said, “Everything. But we own it.

Verdict

Frankly, I don’t think Quibi was well researched and tested before the launch. There’s a lot of good with the service. That will get overlooked because there’s just so much wrong. While you get the first 90 days free, it’s not worth it an actual subscription. COVID-19 isn’t causing the service to suck. It just not a pleasant experience. There was an article published by Qizmodo calling out Quibi’s issue being its Ego and its spot on.

“As the Times noted, the company has shifted its marketing strategy to advertise individual shows rather than a new service that no one understands,” the article stated, “And that’s a start. A service is only as good as the content on its platform, and Quibi’s signature “Turnstyle” tech is neat but was never enough to carry the service on its own—regardless of whatever Whitman and Katzenberg were able to spin to their investors.” This statement perfectly sums up what the platform needs to do to compete. They also need to take responsibility for their mistakes and not push blame on things. Unless something changes, I would save your money and not get this app.

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Movie Review | ‘Sonic The Hedgehog’

Every decade, Hollywood tries to make a popular video game series into a movie franchise because they need to make money. Hollywood couldn’t help but try to start this decade bringing in the money. So they took the popular Sega franchise “Sonic the Hedgehog” and turn it into a live-action movie. Something no one really asked for or wanted.

Sonic’s the name. Speed’s my game

“Sonic The Hedgehog” is based on the popular video games from the 1990s. The movie has been in the works since 1994 when the games were at the height of their popularity. It wasn’t until 2013 that the movie actually started got picked up by Sony Pictures and it entered production five years later.

The movie follows Sonic (voiced by Ben Schwartz) as tries to escape Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey) with the help of Tom Wachowski (James Marsden). While working for the US government, Dr. Robotnik is trying to harness the power in Sonic to take over the world and enslave mankind with his robotic army.

With a PG rating, this movie is extremely kid-friendly. This is ironic because the people watching this movie are the parents of the children that this movie is geared towards. “Sonic The Hedgehog” isn’t a horrible movie but it’s not an excellent movie. In fact, I would say it’s a movie that you should just watch and then movie once and then that’s it.

The plot of the movie follows the source material when it comes to Sonic and Dr. Robotnik. But other than that, the plot is flimsy and not very good. There are parts of the movie that good and funny. And then there are parts that aren’t very good. It’s a PG movie that really should have been a G movie. The plot just makes the movie so bland and forgettable.

The acting and presentation in the film are extremely good. The only thing that I didn’t like was Jim Carrey’s portrayal of Dr. Robotnik. Granted, I’m not into/never was into crazy, over the top, Jim Carrey. I found him annoying and that’s what I thought of him in this role. He got on my nerves. It took me out of the experience.

L to R: Pre-Twitter rage Sonic; Post-Twitter rage Sonic

There were also some plot points that were introduced in the end credits to set up plot points that were really better than most of the movie. Again, this movie isn’t horrible bad but it just isn’t really any good. For all the hype with the change of how Sonic was designed in the beginning, the movie fell flat.

I do recommend checking out “Sonic The Hedgehog” but I would honestly just rent it. It’s good for a one-time viewing and that’s pretty much it. The plot isn’t great, it faithfully follows the plot of the video game with good presentation and acting. It also suffers from not knowing who the audience is for it. It’s a popular 90s character that gears towards kids who have little to no knowledge about him. Pretty much, this movie is a poorly done cash grab for video game sales.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

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