Drake – More Life: So Much Background Noise

Drake – More Life: So Much Background Noise

So Drake recently released his latest…thing. Is it an EP? No, it’s too long for that. Is it a mixtape? No, there’s a bit too much production value from the multi-millionaire pop star for that. Is it an album? No, because that’d imply that there’s actually been a significant amount of effort put into it. It seems more like a collection of B-sides than anything. Y’know, those songs that don’t get put on an actual album ‘cos they’re a bit shit. Okay, that’s harsh, being a B-side doesn’t necessarily mean a song’s bad. But there is a higher chance.

To be fair, there’s nothing on this “playlist” (as Drake calls it, the pretentious git), that’s offensively bad. The production has a very smooth and laid back quality to it and it’s easy listening.  But there’s nothing that jumps out at me. There’s nothing that’s making me go “Oh fuckin’ hell that’s bloody good that is”. Nope. It’s just sort of…there. The instrumentals are at best pleasing to the ears, and at worst, are nothing-y. If you want to just have some background noise whilst you’re relaxing or doing something else, you could do a lot worse than this. However, if you want to actively listen to music, then I’d find something else if I were you.

Because if you listen to this actively you’ll notice that Drake is bizarrely trying to incorporate London slang into his music as well as his attempts at Patois. The word “wasteman” or “ting” sounds alright when someone like Giggs or Skepta uses it, but when it comes out of Drake’s mouth it sounds all kinds of wrong. I’m not against trying to incorporate bits of music from other countries, but do that by having features or just take purely instrumental inspiration. If Drake had been significantly involved in London street culture like grime artists have, then it’s fair game, but otherwise, nah. Sounds weird.

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I would tell you in which songs he uses this slang, but in all honesty, I can’t remember (I think the ones which feature Giggs?), and I can’t be arsed to go through all the tracks again. They all blend into this amorphous mass of fairly pleasant but characterless rap/dancehall. Apart from the Skepta Interlude and KMT ft. Giggs, which come sort of out of nowhere. These are also two of my favourite tracks as they sort of move away from the anonymous vibe of the project and are basically grime songs (obvs). And y’all know this middle class white boy loves his grime.

I’m not really that fussed about talking about this anymore as there’s not really much else to say. I just hope Drake’s next project is something a bit more exciting.

Fave tracks: KMT ft. Giggs, Skepta Interlude, Gyalchester, Portland ft. Quavo & Travis Scott

Worst tracks: Since Way Back – PARTYNEXTDOOR, Glow ft. Kanye West, Lose You

Overall rating: 5.6/10

Would I recommend? – My response to this question is…eeeeeeeh? Like I said before, if you want something on in the background that you don’t really want to pay attention to, go for it, but otherwise…just wait for something more exciting.

Pitbull – Climate Change: God is Dead

Pitbull – Climate Change: God is Dead

This album is something really special. A true musical masterpiece. Do you want to know why I put “God is dead” in the title? Because even the Almighty one was so blown away by Mr. P Bull’s musical talent that he immediately suffered a heart attack. That’s how truly incredible this album is.

Ahaha just kidding, it’s a piece of shit.

If you’re wondering why someone with apparently such a discerning taste in music (yes I am a pretentious twat and what) would listen to something that is evidently designed for a broader audience who don’t really care that much about music, I’ll tell you why.

I was bored and I wanted something to rip into. That’s pretty much it. I also had some kind of grim curiosity as to what a Pitbull album would sound like, having never listened to one before. Obviously I’ve heard him on his countless features with other artists, but I was genuinely interested to see what he could do on his own.

That point was pretty much void as soon as I looked at the track listing and saw that all but one song had at least one feature. Woopy de doo. The featured artists include such luminaries as Robin Thicke (creepiest of the creepier dudes in the music industry), R. Kelly (a nonce), and Enrique Iglesias (Spanish). Now, there’s nothing wrong with having a few features on album, but if you have a total of 16 different artists featuring on 10 different tracks, what’s going to result in an incoherent mess with no one clear defined sound (apart from hearing MR WORLDWIIIDE at the beginning of every fucking song).

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The worst of the Mr Men

Now, to structure this review, I thought I’d do a brief summary of each song in a list format, as most of them don’t offer much to talk about except their blandness or godawfulness.

We Are Strong ft. Kiesza – Shit

Bad Man ft. Robin Thicke and some other randomers – Shit

Greenlight ft. I can’t be arsed – Shit

Ok ok, sorry, I’ll try and take this seriously.

Instead of doing a list, I’ll talk about the songs that really raise the bar in terms of shite.

Bad Man ft. Robin Dickhead, Joe Perry, and Travis Barker – Uninspired, messy, painful instrumentation that underpin a song which is basically about a twat trying to pick up “a goody two-shoes girl”. Slightly creepy vibes. Quite creepy actually. But I mean, what can you expect from a song that features Robin Thicko?

Messin’ Around ft. Enrique Iglesias – Mostly unremarkable but thought I’d put it on here as I genuinely started developing a headache during the horribly noisy chorus.

Sexy Body ft. Jennifer Lopez – This is a cover of the Zara Larsson song of the same name, except with J-Lo instead of Zara and painful Pitbull rapping, which makes it a lot worse than it already was. Seriously, MR WORLDWIIIIDE has as much flow as a river of tar. And also there’s one bit where Lopez just squeals like a pig for no particular reason. Painful.

Freedom – Notable for being the only song which has no features. It’s also the shortest song, funnily enough (and not just by a few seconds, by a good 30-35). This isn’t particularly headache inducing, but fuck me if it isn’t cringey. “I’m free to do what I want, and have a good time” No shit nobcheese, you’re a multimillionaire popstar.

Options ft. Stephen Marley – I was quite interested to hear what the son of the late, great Bob Marley would sound like on this track. It starts off quite promising, with a nice little verse from Stevey boy himself, and the pleasant twanging of a guitar underneath. Unfortunately he then starts singing the chorus. Oh my God. I don’t think I’ve heard a chorus quite as painful for this for a long. His voice is as strained as the National Health Service (OOH, TOPICAL), and there’s definitely some auto tune applied to it. Seriously, if you don’t come away from this song with your ears bleeding after hearing “IGOTIGOTIGOTIGOT OPTIONS” screamed at you numerous times, you’re a stronger person than I.

Educate Ya ft. Jason Derulo – Mainly putting this one on here for the lyric “So sit back, relax and let me lick ya”. Ugh. The whole song’s basically about sex, and I’m surprised it manages to make something so enjoyable sound so fucking dreary. Probably because it follows all the tropes that pop songs about sex tend to encompass (oo ye I’m a bloke I’m good at sex oi maybe bring your fit friend so we can have threesome ehehe I’m not gross) but also throws a faux-romantic vibe on with the Derulo chorus.

Dedicated ft. R Kelly and Austin Mahone – Actually putting this one on here for something positive. I know. Shocking. I don’t mind the instrumental on this. It’s nothing special, it’s generic, but it’s not bad. It gets a B-. The song itself is wank, and R Kelly really can’t sing, but y’know, you’ve gotta find the positives in this big ball of shite.

Lastly of all, why in the name of ever-living fuckity fuck is the album called Climate Change? Is Mr. Bull trying to be edgy? There are literally no political statements on this record (or at least none that I could find) and it’s all just your standard garbage. No comprende, señor.

And that’s all I can be arsed to write for this. Although to be fair, it has been very cathartic. At least it’s easier than talking about an article that’s basically alright but nothing special, because you can rag on all the crap.

Favourite track: Dedicated (if I have to pick one??)

Least favourite tracks: See above, most detestable are Bad Man and Educate Ya

Would I recommend? – If I had a choice between listening to this again and performing a self-castration, the latter would probably be slightly more preferable

Rating: 1.6/10

 

 

Is Modern Music Too Well-Made?

Is Modern Music Too Well-Made?

Hello you,

I thought I’d move away from political topics because a) I can’t be arsed and b) current politics can be pretty much summed up with the words “shit’s fucked, yo”.

Now if you’re confused about the title, you’re probably asking how music can be “too well made”.

Well let me explain rather than interrupting me. God. So rude. Learn some manners. Especially you. Yes, you in the corner. Don’t act all shocked. Where are you going with this James just get on with it you nob.

Yes, anyways.

Today’s music is very well produced. We’ve made huge leaps in technology and you can definitely hear the difference that it’s made. The instruments are perfectly clear, with no faults or distortion to be found. The vocals are perfect, crystal clear, hitting every note with perfection. At the moment, the top two singles on the UK singles chart are 1) Cold Water by Major Lazer with appearances from Justin Bieber and MØ (of Lean On fame), and 2) Perfect Strangers (unfortunately not the brilliant song of the same name by Deep Purple) by Jonas Blue (yeah I’ve never heard of him either). These are both perfect examples of what I mean. Produced to oblivion with angelic vocals and squeaky clean beats. They are, technically, musical perfection.

However, they’re both shit songs.

The only word I can think of to describe them is ‘soulless’. Actually ‘generic’ fits quite well. Also ‘passionless’. ‘Garbage’ is another one. But the main term I’d use is soulless. These songs have no character, no life. If they were a living thing, they’d be a shark. Efficient and tuned to perfection, but with a tendency to eat baby seals a ruthless killing machine. In that they will make a killing commercially. Yes I know this metaphor is a stretch, fight me about it.

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Bet you that shark’s listening to Justin Bieber.

I can just imagine it now, the producer making the beat at their workstation, dollar signs flashing in their eyes as they know their song will have so much mass appeal and be so inoffensively mediocre that it’s bound to make a killing. The singers standing behind the microphone in the studio, drugged up to their eyeballs and…wait a minute what am I on about, if they were on drugs the songs might actually attain some level of character. Let’s change that to sedated up to their eyeballs, practically reading off a script written for them by some nob in a business suit who thinks he’s all that. Either that or they wrote it themselves, but whilst they were half-asleep and losing the will to live. Even though the video for Perfect Strangers shows two young people travelling about the world, falling in love, etc., they still manage to make that generic as fuck. To be fair though, it’s so overdone that probably wasn’t a hard thing to do.

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“OK guys, I’ve got this really original idea, we make a song featuring two popular, inoffensive artists that have less soul than Beelzebub himself”

I just cannot imagine a different creative process for these kinds of songs. You can’t imagine the artists doing anything that involves some sort of character or creativity. They weren’t all sitting about in the same room,  brainstorming ideas, engaging with each other, using their souls (“Oi, James, stop writing like a ponce” Oi, you, stop interrupting me). For God’s sake, this music could’ve been produced in a factory, it certainly feels like it was.

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The thought process of everyone in the pop music industry.

Some may disagree with me. And I wouldn’t blame them, I’m probably quite the music supremacist when I think about it, but when I listen to songs like Cold Water, something just feels off. It’s too well made. It’s too perfect. The subject matter is too vague and generic. You just know it was made to cater to the largest audience possible, and thus get the largest amount of revenue as possible.

This doesn’t necessarily go for every mainstream artist. Let’s take Miley Cyrus for example. This argument could be quite a challenging one to try and put forward because her music is, to put it politely, fucking awful, but hear me out.

You could perhaps levy the same accusations about Miley’s music being too well produced, but there is some sort of bizarre character to the vocals at least. She’s not the best singer, in fact, she sounds like a running washing machine with a brick inside of it, but hey, it’s better than sounding like a machine that was specifically designed to be absolutely pitch perfect. And she chooses topics that would not necessarily be chosen by a soulless producer looking for a quick buck, mostly involving sex and the like. I mean, it does come off as rather try-hard but she is trying. Bless her little, slightly completely mental heart.

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The saviour of the music industry? Maybe not. Definitely not actually.

I know the above argument isn’t the strongest, but what can I say, I like a challenge.

Of course, you can listen to whatever you want, I ain’t gonna stop you, but I feel like this is the way mainstream music has been going for a while now, towards this huge, black, abyss of nothingness, blandness, and Major Lazer. And I don’t want it to carry on going down this path, because then more and more people will only hear this overproduced tripe, and will only find out about good, soulful music by actually having to search for it, which, to be honest, most people do already. So that’s kind of a null point. But you catch my drift yeah? Good.

I could go on but that’ll probably suffice. I might do more stuff on this topic. I’m definitely gonna do more music stuff. I like music. It’s great. Sounds ‘n’ shit. Top notch.

I bid ye, adieu.

James

 

Corbynmania: Does Big Jezza deserve the public support he gets?

Corbynmania: Does Big Jezza deserve the public support he gets?

Hello again.

If you can read and have subsequently read the title, you can probably guess that today I’m going to be discussing whether Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is deserving of his massive public support. Whether you like him or not, there is no denying that he has a huge public following.

To give some context to the discussion, I’ll give my opinion on him first. If I was being polite I’d say he seems somewhat naïve, but he does provide something different to the usual textbook politician and he does speak some sense on occasion. If I was feeling less polite I’d say he’s a whinging old man who needs dragging into the 21st century, and who doesn’t seem to have been observing the political landscape of the United Kingdom for the past 40 years.

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Although to be fair to him, he is a Jedi master.

Let’s discuss his policy first. I’m not going to go into much detail because I’m lazy, but if you know British politics, you’ll know Mr. Corbyn sits firmly on the left of the political spectrum. After watching parts of some his speeches on YouTube, I found myself agreeing with a lot of Corbyn’s points. This is because most of his points boiled down to “the Tories are bastards”, which is true. He also detailed various ways in which he would counteract this.

One specific point I’d like to discuss was to bring back the newly created free schools and academies under the control of the local authorities. In theory, a good idea, so it would be easier to make schools all have similar facilities and ensure no one gets an unfair advantage et cetera et cetera. Unfortunately, Mr. Corbyn has failed to mention that a lot of local councils are completely useless when it comes to matters of education. One of my parents is the head teacher at a local school and oversaw it’s conversion into an academy. Why? Because the school was getting toss all aid from the council, but it was sure as hell getting a lot of red tape and bureaucracy. The school isn’t now rolling in money, but it has more independence and has more freedom with the money it has. The Tories didn’t introduce free schools and academies to screw over poor people, despite what the left may have you believe, but they actually did it to help schools. I know. Crazy. Of course it’s not a perfect system, nothing is, and it’s hardly been a complete success, but council-run schools are hardly better.

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However, you can sort of understand the frustration considering this man was in charge of education for 4 years.

Mr. Corbyn also says how big companies need to be taxed more. I totally agree. Unfortunately, we live in a world where that’s not going to happen. If big companies are taxed more, are they going to keep their HQ in Britain and pay higher tax? Of course not! They’ll move to a country with lower corporation tax. Subsequently, the British economy would take a dive. The government would have no money. And the government would need all the money it could get, to implement all the changes Mr. Corbyn wants.

Now, Mr. Corbyn’s policy is all very nice, all very idealist. The problem is, this is why he is unelectable. Britons don’t want idealism. They don’t want radicalism. They want everything to stay nice and boring. Nice and British. As long as the price of teabags doesn’t rise too much, they’re fine. This is why we will always end up electing very boring, very textbook politicians who will tend to be conservative. Britain likes conservatism. It keeps everything the same (at least on the surface). Change is bad for Britons (Mind you, Brexit actually happened so that might completely void my point, but shut up).

One way Mr. Corbyn could maybe inspire a bit more radicalism amongst the British populace is by having a bit oomph than a wet teatowel. I think this may be a British thing but he never gets above an irate tone. This makes him come off as a whinger, rather than someone who is protesting against the evils of the system. Be dynamic! Move! Raise your voice! For God’s sake do something! Start a chant! Stop being so bloody boring!

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A photo of the audience of Corbyn’s last speech.

Take, for example, Russian anti-corruption activist Aleksey Navalny. Watch this video from 2:10 to 3:15 (don’t worry about not understanding him, that’s not the point). He’s dynamic, he’s loud, he projects, he gets the crowd going, he’s passionate, and that’s not just in that part of the video, that continues throughout the whole thing. He’s everything that Mr. Corbyn does not seem to be.

Mr. Corbyn also should probably be a bit more careful who he appoints. His spin doctor, Seumas Milne, is quoted as saying in 2006:

“For all its brutalities and failures, communism in the Soviet Union, eastern Europe and elsewhere delivered rapid industrialisation, mass education, job security and huge advances in social and gender equality. It encompassed genuine idealism and commitment (James says: HAHAHAHAHA are you fucking serious?)… Its existence helped to drive up welfare standards in the west, boosted the anticolonial movement and provided a powerful counterweight to western global domination.”

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“Genuine idealism and commitment” apparently means gulags.

I’d like to see Mr. Milne go to the former Eastern Bloc and profess the joys and wonders of the Soviet Union and its satellites to those still suffering from the hangover of the communist era (and also to the millions upon millions of people who died under the rule of communist nutjobs). The mentalist.

Mr. Corbyn also needs to pick his words more carefully. Comparing Israel to Daesh is a bit of a stretch, Jezza. I’m not saying Israel are in the right, they’re being right dickheads to Palestine, but at the same time they’re showing the highest level of economic and social development in the Middle East and are way ahead of most other Middle Eastern countries.

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Israel haven’t been doing any beheadings lately either.

As a final thought, many people go on about how Mr. Corbyn is real, unlike other politicans, and is actually honest and human compared to other politicians. Do you know which other politician people applied these qualities to? Nigel bloody Farage. Just think about it. It’s an interesting left/right parallel.

UK Independence Party (UKIP) leader Farage speaks during an interview with Reuters in London
“So charismatic and honest! He’s so different from the others!”

Anyways, that’s enough of that. If you disagree with me, cool, but don’t expect to change my opinion any time soon.

Until next time.

James

Quick note because I couldn’t fit this in anywhere else: I find it abhorrent that the Labour party have increased the joining fee from £3 to £25 so as to prevent more people from voting for Corbyn in the leadership contest. It is a disgusting perversion of democracy and whoever came up with it should be shot. Or at least given a very stern telling off.

Edit 13/11/2016:

I feel that I’ve been rather unfair to Corbyn in this post. He does seem like a genuine person, and a decent bloke. However, I still stand by the fact that he is an unsuitable leader for Labour, mainly due to the divisiveness which he has caused.

The Refugee Crisis: Oh God I probably shouldn’t talk about this

The Refugee Crisis: Oh God I probably shouldn’t talk about this

 

Welcome back. You know how I said last time that I would try and do a slightly more light-hearted post? Yeah, well, I lied. Sorry. I promise I’ll try to be funnier next time.

Anyway let’s get into it. I’m quite nervous actually. Help.

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My face whilst writing all of this

It seems that these days, if you want to be taken seriously, there is no compromise when it comes to deciding your place on any major global issue. Everyone seems to either be a leftist or rightist, being very vocal on social media, plastering their views on the matter all over the place, and constantly sharing news articles that support their opinion. To these people, there is only one correct standpoint on a matter, and that is their standpoint. Anyone who disagrees with them is either a cold-hearted, idiotic, neo-Nazi bigot or an overly-sensitive, naïve, traitorous socialist. Now I’m going to disagree with both of them. Here are my views on this topic. Please don’t hate me.

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“LA-LA-LA MY OPINION IS THE ONLY CORRECT ONE I’M NOT GOING TO LISTEN TO ANY REASON WHATSOEVER”

The war in Syria, Iraq and the surrounding areas is a tragedy, it truly is, and there are lots and lots of people fleeing there who have come to Europe. Most of these are the refugees, seeking a better life, and I say we should do our best to accommodate them. People with a leftist standpoint on this issue at this point will be in full agreement, I would think. Their only query might be, “why only most of them? All of them have suffered, and we should let them all in as soon as possible”. It’s at this point in the discussion that I don’t particularly want to voice the next part of my view, but I’m going to anyway.

Not all of these people are refugees. Amongst them will definitely be those who sympathise with Daesh (if you want to know why I’m going to call ISIS by this name, read this article).

“But that’s ridiculous! Are you racist? Just because they’re Muslim that doesn’t mean they’re going to sympathise with Daesh!”

Well if you were listening earlier, you mug, I said that most of those who do come to Europe will be actual refugees. But let me detail why Daesh sympathisers are coming to Europe, hiding amongst refugees. Daesh are, unfortunately, quite a clever organisation. They would have to be stupid to not try and sneak a few of their people in with a massive group of refugees. They are practically untraceable, and would be able to perhaps convince those that they travel with, plus disillusioned Muslims in the European country they end up in, to take up the extremist cause. This is a sad fact.

Moving away from the issue of Daesh, it is a fact that crime (particularly sexual assault) has been on the rise in countries that have accepted large amounts of refugees (especially Germany), and that officials have actually tried to cover this up. An increase crime is to be expected with any large influx of immigrants, and no, that’s not ‘racist’. This happens because refugees will generally be deprived, poor and homeless, and it is people of this socio-economic status, whether they are refugees or natives, who will be more likely to turn to crime. If you can offer credible statistics/articles that can disprove this, I’d actually be quite relieved and glad, but unfortunately I don’t think that such things exist. It’s a crying shame, but it’s the truth. Sorry if you think that’s discriminatory. Actually, no, I’m not, because it’s your fault if you’re thinking like that. This has nothing to do with race or xenophobia or whatever the hell else.

At this point now, rightists will be saying “Exactly! Refugees cause an increase in crime, they have a negative effect on our country, we need to enforce extremely rigid restrictions on those we do let in!”

Right, and how do you suppose we go about doing that? What are we going to do with those thousands upon thousands of people waiting at the border?

“Tell them to go back to where they came from!”

Yes, because they will be so willing to go back to the place they just spent weeks/months escaping from. And no, we can’t just force them to.

“Why’s that? You liberal pussy!”

Well sorry for caring about human life, but that’s not the only reason why we can’t. It’s a completely bonkers idea even if you look at it from a practical standpoint. How are you going to force them to go back? Threaten them? They’ve got nothing to lose, if they go back they will most likely end up dying, so there’s not really much you can threaten them with. You can’t put them on a big ol’ plane/boat back to the Middle East, because that’s impossible. You won’t be able to transport hundreds of thousands of people back to an incredibly dangerous region without spending incredible amounts of money and risking countless lives.

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Yes I’m sure they’d love to go back here.

 

So what do we do? On the one hand, you have a huge amount of desperate people, seeking a new life, escaping from the utter bastards that are Daesh, but on the other hand, if we let everyone in, there will be a rise in crime and Islamic extremism.

I believe that we should try to accommodate as many refugees as possible, as no matter which way you look at it, it is impossible to turn them away. However we should introduce drastic measures to help them integrate into the culture of the country they enter as quickly as possible, and to reduce crime amongst the refugee population. Of course, there is nothing wrong with having pride in the culture of one’s home country, but if you move to another country, you have to learn to respect the facets of their culture. One example of such a measure which I found to be a good idea is a class for refugees in Norway that aims to teach male refugees ‘Western sexual norms’, as they will be coming from a part of the world in which a very sexist culture is still prevalent (even in the more developed countries in the region, such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia).

I hope this article has proved that it is possible to have a decisive centrist viewpoint on major issues. I’m not a “bigoted rightist” and I’m not a “naïve leftist”, but neither am I just “sitting on the fence”. I just think we need to look at issues with a modicum of common sense (easier said than done).

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Unfortunately true.

If you disagree with anything I’ve said and have evidence to back your view up, please tell me and I will be happy to engage in a discussion (but not a shit-flinging contest, which is unfortunately what so many people do on the internet these days).

I hope you enjoyed reading this, or at least found it interesting. I’m going to try and be funnier next time. Honest. I’m just bad at thinking of light-hearted stuff to talk about.

Thanks for reading!

James

Students Can’t Do Journalism: Part 2

Students Can’t Do Journalism: Part 2

Welcome to part two of my long rant about the Tab, if you missed part one you can find it here.

This part will probably be a fair bit shorter than the first, just a heads up, so let’s get right into it.

So in this part I’ll be discussing examples of the two other main elements of why the Tab isn’t very good, to put it mildly. These are: the overly self-important authors who write terrible ‘opinion articles’ and the Buzzfeed-style ‘listicles’ and quizzes.

This article is literally the author (Bob Palmer, who is the #1 read author on the Tab this month) ragging on ‘negroni’, a cocktail that’s recently become very popular, for a whole 723 words (yes, I counted). Let me repeat that, this man has written a whole article about a drink he’s not particularly fond of. What even. Palmer’s point is that he doubts whether people really enjoy it because he doesn’t like it. That is the whole point. Seriously.

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You can’t make this stuff up.

I can’t even construct a proper sentence to describe how silly this is. Has Mr. Palmer ever considered that perhaps different people have a different palate to him? I’m not particularly fond of beer, but I’m not going to write hundreds of words detailing why everyone else is wrong for enjoying it.

Palmer goes on to say how it’s the bartenders’ fault that people drink Negroni, claiming that there’s some sort of pressure to enjoy it. Is he serious? If you’ve not got the balls to just go up to the bar and order what you actually want, rather than be ‘pressured’ to drink something you don’t like, then you probably shouldn’t be allowed to drink alcohol you big pansy. He also states that ‘personal preference comes second’ when people choose their drink in this case, wanting to be stylish and buy a Negroni. However, he then later goes on to say that the ‘majority of people here are happy to part with their hard-earned money’ for one. Well then, obviously personal preference isn’t coming second. You mug.

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“Look at me, I’m better than you because I have an ‘edgy’ opinion!”

That’s enough of that, now let’s move into the laziest rubbish the Tab has to offer, ‘listicles’ and the sort, and this is the easiest stuff to take the mick out of. Why’s that? Because I don’t even need to say anything, I just need to tell you the names of some of these shite pieces of work:

I could go on and dissect so many more articles from this…thing (I hesitate to call it a news site) but I can’t really be bothered. The Tab attempts to be a jack of all trades, but it really is a master of none. Outdated news, irrelevant ‘news’, terrible attempts at opinion articles, and crap Buzzfeed rubbish. It’s very hard to take them seriously.

However, there are some good articles on the Tab, which is a shame because you have to really look for them. These cover vitally important issues for students including, but not limited to: mental health (there are quite a few on that subject), opinions on things that aren’t completely meaningless, and controversies within the student population (that maybe would not be covered to the same extent in mainstream news). If only there was some way to filter out all the crap, eh? Shame. Maybe the chief staff will realise soon that most of their content is garbage and try to promote what good stuff there is. Probably not though, as they’ll be busy sticking their own heads up their arses.

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“What on earth is that man doing?” Oh don’t worry about him, he’s just one of the editors for the Tab that’s all.

I’ll try and talk about something a bit more light-hearted and less rant-y next time, because I could imagine constant rants getting tiring after a while.

Until next time, adiós.

James

Students Can’t Do Journalism: Part 1

Students Can’t Do Journalism: Part 1

Hello again.

Today I thought I’d talk about what, for me, is one of the most annoying aspects of university, student journalism. In particular, the Tab. If you don’t know what the Tab is, it’s a student ‘news’ site composed of a weird mish-mash of stupid articles trying to be taken seriously, stupid articles being stupid, self-important garbage, and Buzzfeed-style ‘listicles’ (lists posing as articles) and quizzes that link back to universities in some way. It’s pure rubbish (although there are some good articles, they are very few and far between).

In each section of this blog, I’ll attempt to dissect one example of each type of trash. All the following articles are taken from the Tab’s national branch i.e. the stuff that is meant to appeal to students all over the country.

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How the Tab views its audience.

Let’s talk about the first thing I mentioned in that long list of awfulness and that is the crap articles trying to present themselves as proper journalism. This article is about the newly-elected president of the NUS (an organisation I will most likely be writing about in the near future), Malia Bouattia, declaring that university should be free for students. Yeah, no shit she’d say that! This is simply not news. Anyone with half a brain would’ve been able to assume that the leftist leader of an organisation, which, if it was any more left-leaning, would fall over, is behind the idea of subsidised higher education.

So this is merely the headline, and it’d be unfair to judge the article solely on this alone, so we must look beyond it, and see if any additional insight or interesting points are provided by the author.

Helpfully, the author, Tom Jenkin (who is deputy editor of this god-forsaken organ) has included a link to Bouattia’s Guardian article very early on in the article. However, he may as well not have bothered because he seems to have taken out a significant chunk of it and put it in his own article. This would perhaps be fair game if it hadn’t taken up half the article. Half the article is not the Jenkin’s own words. What kind of journalism is this!? That’s a rhetorical question because we already know that it’s the really bad kind. Seriously, just link Bouattia’s article and tell people to go read it, rather than using it to pad out your distinctly lacking attempt at journalism.

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Standard journalistic practice for the Tab. Source: https://codepen.io/wbarlow/post/i-made-this-on-codepen

 

Now let’s have a look at what Jenkin himself has actually managed to write. He mentions that it was recently announced that universities could soon be able to charge more than the ‘already ridiculous’ £9000-a-year. I would agree that this is a bad thing, and most students would also agree. However, this was already reported all over the media days before this article was published. The Tab article was published on the 18th May, whereas most major news outlets reported the anticipated rise of tuition fees on the 15th or 16th. So it’s not really news, Jenkin hardly provides any real opinion, and there’s no proper insight provided into the whole issue.

But Jenkin then actually succeeds in providing us with additional information that is not derived from Bouattia’s article, that the NUS has boycotted the National Student Survey. Apparently it’s an irritating survey which students are prompted about repeatedly and makes students feel more like ‘customers’ than ‘learners’. I, personally, have not experienced this, maybe because I haven’t signed up for NUS extra, but I’m focussing more on the style and content rather than the actual argument here. This point actually isn’t terrible, as it leads on from Bouattia’s argument and also shows Jenkin’s own opinion on the matter. Yet it’s the only (very brief) part of the article which really showcases these qualities. The rest is just quoting/paraphrasing Glorious Supreme Leader Bouattia.

Basically, all Jenkin achieves in this article is providing a condensed version of a much more professional article from a much more respectable outlet. What is the point of its existence? To try and make the Tab look more like a real newspaper that caters for students and their political standpoints. In all honesty, just read the Guardian if you want more student-orientated actual news (or better yet, read multiple news sources so you can gain different insights into an argument, rather than restricting yourself to one viewpoint).

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And I’m meant to read what this man writes with a straight face.

Now let’s get on to the type of article that’s a bit more fun to take the absolute mick out of, and that is the moronic articles about stuff no-one really cares about.

This article comes to us from the chief reporter of the Tab, Jack Cummings. As you can see, it’s really hard hitting stuff, detailing the story of a dog which learnt how to skateboard. The trials and tribulations that this furry, four-legged version of Tony Hawk went through must have been so difficult. I can’t even imagine.

This is bollocks.

The only thing I’ll give this article is that the dog’s pretty cute, but if I wanted to look at cute dogs doing funny things, I’d google it, not read the bloody paper. The sad thing is, that this article is much better presented and written than the previous ‘serious’ article we discussed. However, that means that the chief sodding reporter has actually spent a certain amount of time and effort writing this article, especially as he’s gone out and actually interviewed the dog’s owners. Jesus Christ.

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He may as well have interviewed the dog too.

Now, the counter-argument to my cynicism is, that not all articles should be serious, and we need some light-relief, which mainstream news outlets don’t provide (even though they do). I’m not sure if I can totally get behind that point of view. If you want light relief, go on websites like Facebook or Imgur. If you want news, go to a news website. It’s all well and good trying to cater to multiple audiences, some people want puppy stories, others want news, but the problem with that is, that you actually have to be quite good journalists to do it properly.

If you are going to do articles like this, leave it to any random student, because they could easily manage it to the same standard. Get your chief bloody reporter (who I assume is either full-time or paid a decent amount for his services) to try and report on stories that actually mean something to students. Don’t waste your time and money on doing journalistic research on a story that basically boils down to cute pictures, because that’s what people are going to be looking at. The text content of the article itself will come a distant second in terms of drawing interest.

Now, although I’ve covered primary reasons for why the Tab is cack, there is still plenty to discuss in terms of the other elements which make it truly terrible. I’m going to leave that for a part two, continuing on from this post, which will come out very soon.

Hope you enjoyed, and please feel free to leave any feedback. Remember to stick around for part two!

See ya!

James

NB: Throughout these two posts, please bear in mind I’m not ripping on those who have written one-off articles for the Tab. I’m criticising those who run the organisation and their misguided attempts at providing news and entertainment.