Category Archives: Arts & Entertainment

Don Rickles: The Passing Of A Comedic Legend

by Anthony Rivera

On April 6, comedic legend Don Rickles unexpectedly passed away. Unfortunately, most reading this article do not know who he was. For those who did or didn’t, this article is a tribute.

Born in 1926 in Queens, NY, Don Rickles was a tough young man raised in a Jewish neighborhood, which shows in his style of comedy.

After a few attempts at becoming a dramatic actor and serving in the United States Navy, he starting performing at comedy clubs in New York, Miami and Los Angeles, slowly gaining a great amount of recognition.

Even early on, he was labeled an eccentric insult comic and was being recognized and encouraged to go to shows by Frank Sinatra.

With Sinatra’s support, Rickles became a successful headline performer in Las Vegas and was frequented at roasts of celebrities, including Dean Martin. He earned multiple nicknames like “The Merchant of Venom” and “Mr. Warmth,” all lovingly applied to a man who enjoyed poking fun at all ethnicities and walks of life to show how human we all are.

His first debut film, “Run Silent, Run Deep,” was a big success that lead him to dozens of other films over the years. Throughout the 50’s and 60’s, Rickles made appearances on several television programs including “Dick Van Dyke” and “The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast Shows” to name a few.

Over these decades, along with two to follow, Rickles would make appearances and do comedy shows all over the country and the world.

Although an insult comic and common T.V. personality, Rickles participated in innumerable projects over the next thirty years that included television shows, voice-overs for video games and animated films, while still performing at comedy clubs and events. He was a regular on late night talk shows, including Johnny Carson and David Letterman.

The main role that our generation knows him best as, is the voice of Mr. Potato Head from the Toy Story series. Although he was not a traditionally clean comedian, his love for laughter and comedy spread over many generations, which is why his presence on those projects was a joy to have.

Rickles won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Performance in the Variety of Music Program. Among other nominations, were Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and David Letterman. His speech was heavily correlated with his character: “Stephen Colbert’s a funny man, but he’s too young. He has got plenty of time to win awards, but this may be my last year and I think that I made it count.”

In addition to this man’s success and admiration, Rickles was honored at a Spike TV special called “One Night Only: An All-Star Comedy Tribute to Don Rickles.” Jerry Seinfeld was the master of the ceremonies with an array of celebrities, including Johnny Depp, Martin Scorsese, Robert DeNiro, Jon Stewart, David Letterman and many more.

Sadly, he passed away only just a few short days ago. Rickles died of kidney failure at the old age of 90. Since his death, multiple talk show host including Jimmy Kimmel and Seth Meyers have paid their respects.

David Letterman noted that Rickles “was always a highlight for me. Just endless mischief and nonsense, and a guy who would make the audience go completely crazy.” To a legend, a comedian, an actor and a friend, I wish the best to Don Rickles wherever he is; most likely cracking jokes on the entrance line to the pearly gates.”

Jude Law’s Upcoming Portrayal of Dumbledore Raises Eyebrows

 

by Anthony Rivera

The Harry Potter series has been a monumental shift in the re-ignition of the love of reading. The movie series does its best (with artistic liberties) to represent the book series in the best light. You have people defending both the books and the movies, but in the end, it has truly changed the world for many across the globe. Harry Potter fans, however, are curious to the extent of which J.K. Rowling’s second part to her new Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them series will stay true to the books.

Any avid Harry Potter reader knows that Dumbledore is represented in the books as a homosexual. Although it does not come through in the original Harry Potter film series, the younger version of the wizard is known to show affection towards his rival, Grindelwald. The movies have been relatively good representations of the books, with some minor details and events that were not outlined. This leads to the obvious question: is Dumbledore going to be shown as a homosexual?

Jude Law is set to play Dumbledore, while Johnny Depp is to play Grindelwald. With such notable actors, this has clearly raised so many questions and rumors about the outcome of what the movie is to represent. Speculations have been made on both ends; there is the possibility that a level of intimacy or sexuality will be left out, or a potential public affection between the two characters could be present. It is possible that a blend of the two occur, showing the level of affection Dumbledore has with Grindelwald, but not showing it in a public or direct way. So many different directions can be taken, and yet the beauty is… we will all have to wait to find out.

According to J.K. Rowling herself, she revealed that Dumbledore was infatuated with Grindelwald. When they had to duel, Dumbledore won, but was “horribly, terribly let down” and that his love for Grindelwald was referred to as his “great tragedy.” People have said since her statement that this struggle may define what the producers of the new movie would choose to show, depending on Rowling’s and the studio’s behalves.

Fans of the Harry Potter book series are die hard, to the point where they dislike the movies enough to point out every mistake or detail that may not be in the book. Other movie goers have simply watched the movies, but do not know the depth of how much symbolism and plot lines there are that may not show up on the big screen.

Nevertheless, fans and critics alike cannot wait to see the results of what is to come of this when Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them 2 debuts on November 162018.

Meet The A Capella Society: Chromachord

by Jacob Carey

Chromachord, founded in the Fall of 2015, is Central Connecticut State University’s newest and only co-ed A Cappella group. The group was founded on the concept “equality for all”.  They want to be a place for anyone to feel welcomed, despite race, gender or sexual orientation.  The group strives for a group dynamic that could make anyone feel at home.

Within their brief period of performing, they have already proved to be an excellent group.  Originally starting the group with eighteen people, they have drastically downsized to nine members.  Even though this may seem like a bump in the road, the group was ready for the challenge.  They were able to take the opportunity to work on becoming more vocally tight.  That is why they perform like groups that have been around for a lot longer than them.  This makes for a very promising future for the group, as each concert they give, they have grown exponentially.

As a co-ed group, they have the ability to sing in a much larger range than other groups.  They can sing a larger variety of songs, as they have soloists in multiple ranges.  This means they are not limited to picking songs with primarily male or female vocalists.  This gives them opportunity to appeal to a much larger audience than other A Cappella groups.

They are looking forward to going to Boston Songs (BOSS) next year to learn more different aspects of A Cappella, in order to grow as a group.  This workshop event will hopefully lead them to an even brighter future than already promised.  They hope to keep as much of the work “in house” as possible.  Primarily, this means getting arrangements for songs from members within the group.  They also hope that this will eventually lead to competing in competitions, and eventually the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella.  Before they get that far, they want to try out smaller competitions first.

Unfortunately, Chromachord is losing a lot of members from their small group next year.  They are looking to grow the group a bit and encourage anyone to audition.  Their next concert is Saturday, Apr. 22 at 7:30 in Torp Theater in Davidson Hall.  It promises to be a great show with incredible music. They will also be performing, as well as Fermata the Blue (another one of CCSU’s A Cappella groups), at the Beecher Condom Carnival Wednesday Apr. 19.

As of right now, the group has no official recordings on iTunes or Spotify. However, the members of Chromachord are all very interested in the possibility to recording an album or EP.  They have no solid plans set for the future, but are eagerly looking into what it will take to get something recorded for their fans. They can be found on Facebook and Instagram, and be sure to check them out on YouTube.

The Secrets Of Stanley Park

 

by Kayla Murphy

Picnics, sports, or just a new nature setting for the next selfie, Stanley Park is the place for you. Located across the street from Maloney and Davidson Hall, Stanley is just a short walk away.

If students have grown too accustomed to the repetitive scenery on campus, they should stretch their legs and head over to the park. Stanley Park offers fishing at the pond, a playground, jogging track, state-of-the-art trails, skateboard park, sports fields, basketball courts and tennis courts.

Stanley Park is home to excellent trails. The more well-known one is the jogging trail around the pond. While on the trail, there are man-made workout stations that help tone and strengthen muscles.

For more of a true nature hike, follow the trail that goes behind the skate area in the very back of the park. Check out bridges, wide spaces, babbling streams and the teaming wildlife, including squirrels, rabbits, chipmunks, turtles, ducks, geese and on rare occasions, deer. Don’t worry, one can’t get lost, although I would not recommend going on any trails after sunset.

Looking for something just a bit more athletic? Bring a frisbee, soccer or football. There are several large fields for recreational use. Bring a bat and ball and have some fun at one of the baseball fields, or bring a racket and some tennis balls and take a few swings at one of the tennis courts. Want to play a game of basketball? There are several courts for basketball as well.

Looking for more extreme sports? Strap on some roller blades or bring a board and cruise around the skate park. With ramps and rails, one can perfect all their tricks on their bikes or motorized scooters.

Stanley Park can be a budget-friendly and a cute date idea. Head to Stop & Shop and pack some favorite fruits, or grab a $5 sandwich from Subway and sit at one of the many benches throughout the park. Even for some chocolate or chips, head over to the Central Gas station across the street from Stanley Park.

As nice and friendly as Stanley Park is, there is one minor setback: the amount of trash. When visiting Stanley Park, make sure to pick up after. If bottles or big pieces of trash are seen lying around, it can’t hurt to pick it up. A little goes a long way in helping maintain a clean environment for the wildlife that thrives at Stanley Park.

Opinion: Why Everyone Needs To Watch ’13 Reasons Why’

by Trizy Garcia

The new Netflix’s series “13 Reasons Why” is taking the world by storm, and for a good reason. The series addresses various topics that are all too common for the reality of teenagers, yet never properly represented on screen.

The series is based on Jay Asher’s novel that tells the story of Hannah Baker, a teenager in school who leaves behind seven tapes explaining who influenced her suicide. The tapes are dedicated to each person in her life that has wronged or treated her poorly, revealing 13 reasons why she took her life.

In the series, the tapes make their way to Clay Jensen, who was a close friend of Hannah’s. Clay is terrified and confused as to why he would be on the tapes, as he doesn’t think he did anything wrong.

Clay must listen to each tape to find out what he did, and through this, he finds out dark and disturbing secrets from his other classmates mentioned in Hannah’s tapes. The problem is, the people mentioned in the tapes want to protect themselves and keep their secrets from getting out, which means making sure that Clay keeps his mouth shut.

“13 Reasons Why” is more than just listening to see why Hannah Baker killed herself, it’s an unsettling truth about what teenagers are forced to deal with during the years where they’re trying to find themselves and figure out who they are.

“The whole issue of suicide is an uncomfortable topic, but it happens and we have to talk about it. It’s dangerous not to talk about it, because there’s room for hope,” mentioned Jay Asher, the author of the novel, in the documentary “13 Reasons Why: Beyond the Reasons.”

Bullying, mental illness, rape, ‘slut’ shaming, and suicide are among the uncomfortable topics depicted throughout the series. Hannah’s life, which was turned upside down by a single photo taken out of context, is the reality of the impact technology and social media have on the lives of teenagers.

That photo meant more than just the bullying of a teenage girl. It became the beginning of what many teenage girls face; being over sexualized and objectified regarding their bodies and their selves.

The producers of the series weren’t shy about portraying difficult and graphic scenes in order for an honest depiction of what teenage girls experience. This made for some unsettling and uncomfortable scenes, but each one necessary to authentically and truthfully showcase what happened. There is, however, trigger warnings just in case it may be too much for a viewer.

In the “13 Reasons Why: Beyond the Reasons” documentary, Justin Prentice, who played Bryce Walker in the series, stated that, “As a society, we tend to shy away from these hard topics sometimes. In cinema, we do that too, and I think this is great because this says ‘no, this is a problem and it needs to be addressed.”

Although some of the scenes may be difficult to watch, it’s something everyone needs to see to understand what drove Hannah over the edge, why she felt so alone and isolated from everyone around her.

Hannah is no different from millions of young teens in high school. The thing is, everyone has met someone in high school or middle school, who was self-harming, or depressed – or was that person. Its too common for teenage to be harassed and objectified.

“There’s nothing about this story that’s polite. You can really tell a story that’s going to start a conversation,” said Brandon Flynn in the documentary. Flynn played Justin Foley, or in Hannah’s words, “the beginning to my end”.

An important takeaway from “13 Reasons Why,” is that what people say to one another really has an impact on how someone perceives themselves. A negative remark towards someone, although unintentional, could drive that person to the edge. While, a positive compliment could make that person stop and think for a second before they decide to do something drastic.

Bullying, mental illness, rape, ‘slut’ shaming and suicide are things that “13 Reasons Why” took seriously in developing to make it an eye-opening experience. There’s a reason why the series is trending all over social media quickly within the short week it’s been on Netflix.

Clay Jensen seemed to sum it all up perfectly. In his own words, “It has to get better, the way we treat each other and look out for each other, it has to get better somehow”.

Meet The A Capella Society: The AcaBellas

by Jacob Carey

The Ladies in Blue are one of two all-female A Capella groups on campus here at Central Connecticut State University. They helped create the A Capella society, along-side Divisi a little over 10 years ago.

With a strong bond of sisterhood, these ladies do more than just sing together. They are a tight group of students that spend a lot of time with one another. They are a sisterhood, and singing is what unites them.

These ladies have worked extremely hard over the past few years to become the “don’t miss” group they are today. They have grown as a group and as individual musicians, as the group turned from learning music in rehearsal, to learning individually.

This allows for the members to focus on other parts of their music while they rehearse, rather than learning the music. This lead to their work ethic becoming stronger, which trickled down into other aspects of their work contributing to their incredible success.

Each member is dedicated to the groups progression and becoming the best that it has ever been. Through each year, they have been successful in that goal. This group has an uncanny knack of getting exponentially better with each performance. No matter the song, they are able to elevate it to the next level by adding a dose of the classic girly charm they are known for.

Despite being known for that charm, the AcaBellas are not afraid to take risks and try new sounds. This allows the group to evolve; one of the reasons the group has lasted so long.

They are excited to say they are releasing their very first EP soon. It consists of six songs that took years to make. It is only going to be released on ITunes, so make sure to check it out when it comes out. You can also search for them on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram.

Auditions to be in the group for them next year are set for next month. Contact information and audition information will be available at their concert on May 3, at 7:30 in Torp Theater in Davidson Hall.

CCSU’s Art Community Brings Attention To Global Warming

 

by Kayla Murphy

Scientist Bill McKibben once said, “We can register what is happening with satellites and scientific instruments, but we can register it in our imaginations, the most sensitive of all our devices? Art, like religion, is one of the ways we digest what is happening to us, make the sense out of it that proceeds to action.”

Until April 13, the Central Connecticut State University art gallery hosted the exhibition “Earth Fire Water Air: Elements of Climate Change.” That is open free to the public Monday through Friday from 1 to 4 p.m. Students, staff and faculty were able to enrich their minds on global warming and the current state of our environmental situation.

“How much CO2? That’s the fundamental question I want people to reflect upon,” said Elizabeth Langhorne.

Langhorne, whom retired from CCSU last June after teaching art history for over 25 years, is back again to teach an eco-art course. Her passion to create this environmental art exhibit stemmed from recent frustrations and disappoints in the government’s ability to balance economic growth and the environment.

“It’s time we got our act together,” Langhorne said, “We need to realize how hot the earth is getting and how much carbon dioxide we’re releasing.”

The art exhibit featured four sections, with pieces that appropriately highlighted each theme’s message. The earth section featured silk posters and beaded canvas anoraks, similar to what the Inuit tribes in the Artic would wear.

The fire section featured interactive videos of rising global temperatures and the diminishing bee population. The water section featured a glittery, laser paneled iceberg and recyclable boat created by CCSU students. The air section featured paintings and models of solar paneled flowers.

“I was very interested in the boat,” said senior communications major Dustin Wong. “It really stood out and at the opening reception they had a live canary in one of the bird cages, so I thought that was pretty cool.”

Using recycled plastics and other materials, Professor Ted Efremoff and his students Zach Hanna, Roland Muniz and Michelle Thomas created the Salvage Ark.

Besides the sculptures and interactive pieces, the paintings stood out to students.

“I liked the glittery highway painting,” said freshman theatre student Austin Brett. “I symbolically saw it as the cars driving into the storm they created through emissions and wasteful fossil fuels.”

Created by the artist Janet Culberston in 2009, the oil painting “Carpool” stood out to viewers in the fire section.

“We were fortunate enough to receive local and national pieces for this exhibit. We were able to obtain pieces from New Britain and Hartford to places as far as Boston, Long Island and Nebraska,” said Langhorne.

If one hasn’t seen the gallery, make sure to check out the closing reception for the exhibit on Wednesday April 12 from 4 to 7p.m. on the second floor art gallery in Maloney Hall. Enjoy free refreshments and artists discussing their work and views on the environment.

“It is possible; we can all make a difference,” said Langhorne, “Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Carpool. Use less electricity. Grow wildflowers. All these little steps can help make our Mother Earth healthy and clean.”

A Day at the MoMA

Van Gogh’s famous “Starry Night” is featured at the MoMA.

by Thomas Redding

The Museum of Modern Art is located in Midtown, Manhattan in New York City. It features many permanent exhibitions, as well as temporary ones across six floors of space. It is one of the most highly acclaimed modern art museums in the world, and features some of the most famous pieces of modern art.

Residing on the fifth floor of the museum is Van Gogh’s “Starry Night.” My attendance this past week was the first, so I was very much looking forward to seeing this painting.

Painted from his bedroom window, “Starry Night” shows what many think might be an interpretation of his depression. It can be seen in the aggressive swirls of the sky, in which, he might be trying to convey that all this darkness keeps coming back around to him. The stars, however, could represent a few things in his life that provide some hope. Van Gogh most likely painted this from memory, because he wouldn’t have had enough light to paint this in the early hours of the day. It is one of his most famous works, and was added to the museum’s permanent collection in 1941.

Art enthusiasts fill the various galleries that the MoMA offers/

My next endeavor took me into a room that was dedicated to music posters from the 1970s. It featured an entire wall of what looked to be 11 by 17 inch posters. This was a very interesting era of art.

Everything was very psychedelic and bubbly, which made sense paired alongside the uprising of LSD. Just outside this room was a display of many unique chairs from the same era. Some large, some small and some didn’t even look like they would hold someone up, because the physics didn’t make sense. I assume this was the intention of the artist, as they were an entire series getting stranger in shape and material along the path of chairs.

This led me into another music section that featured The Beatles, as well as Jimmy Hendrix and The Grateful Dead. All three were very well known for their album artworks and stylistic images of that era. They paved the way for artwork and music working as one.

The museum also includes sculptures and other forms of three-dimensional art. One piece that really stood out to me was by the artist Piero Manzoni, titled “Artist’s Shit.” The artist created 90 tin cans measuring about two by three inches and filled them with his own fecal matter. Interesting, for sure. The artist had been exploring the relationship between art production and human production, and wanted to create something that was incredibly intimate with the creator. I really enjoyed this piece, as I found it quite humorous.

An installation piece outside of the MoMA.

One thing that I found really interesting about my experience at the MoMA was the contrast between artists. Some used very abstract ways to describe their inner emotions, and some used very literal, realistic forms to describe an object or scene before them. Since there is no “correct way” to make art, the possibilities to fill that space in-between are endless, and the art that inspires me today are some of these amazing artists in this museum.

I highly recommend making a day trip to this museum, but be sure to bring student identifications, as it’s a bit cheaper for students. This was the best museum experience I’ve ever had.

The art in The Museum of Modern Art connects with individuals because of the modern artwork, and even without understanding the meaning behind the paintings, they can still be appreciated. To check out some of the upcoming exhibitions, go to www.MoMA.org and take a look at what’s to come.

Dave Chappelle’s Exciting Reappearance Raises Questions

by Anthony Rivera

After a decade-long disappearance from comedy, famous comedian, writer and actor Dave Chappelle has made a huge comeback with his new debut specials on Netflix.

The 43-year-old, D.C.-based comedian grew his comedy career from minor comedy club circuits in New York City, to broadening his career by performing as Anchoo in Mel Brooks’ “Robin Hood: Men in Tights.” Since that role, Chappelle’s career skyrocketed to performing in front of mass audiences that followed and supported him for years to come.

During his time on his Comedy Central show, “The Chappelle Show,” he gained support and created a loyal fan base. The fans had been maintained for quite some time until an unfortunate incident with some conflict between fans that were heckling his recording of the shows, while Chappelle also felt mistreated by the management. After long deliberation, Chappelle chose to leave “The Chappelle Show” and retreat into a more self-reflecting state, spending time with his wife and three children.

Two specials were released on March 21 to reignite Chappelle’s career. The internet, radio, various other media outlets and people have different views as to how his demeanor has changed after his decade-long absence.

In his early years, Chappelle was heavily focused on race-driven comedy, along with the inclusion of current political issues, including police brutality and civil rights. Given that his reputation has naturally been a black and satirical comedian, the revival of his stand-up was anticipated with his natural prowess; high energy, quick bits, heavy political issues and black humor. Between two performances, however, he is very different from the young man who stood in front of a microphone to tell jokes at the young age of 19.

In the two-episode season released on Netflix, the first one was titled “The Age of Spin” and had a lot of transitions between jokes that represent his comedic style, especially his four anecdotes of meeting O.J. Simpson, which received high controversy due to the nature of the nation’s view of him. On one occasion when the allegation was first made, Chapelle shook his hand. When one of his representatives said to him, “How dare you shake hands with that murderer?” In Chapelle’s defense against his former representation, he responded by saying, “Miss… that murderer ran over 11,000 yards”.

Along with other jokes that reveal his inappropriate behavior that has been heard before, Chappelle has presented a side of himself that many have not seen. Chappelle truly revealed the intellect and wisdom that he has obtained over the years by expressing his social views. Multiple times during “The Age of Spin,” he chose to express his views on the homosexual community in a way that did not go against their sexual identities, but discussed the legal issues involving the recent laws and movements towards same-sex couples. By comparing it to the black community, Chappelle clearly outlined some very convincing and simply truthful points about asking for too much too quickly in the judiciary system.

In Chappelle’s second show, “Deep in the Heart of Texas,” Chappelle furthered views on certain social standards. During one bit, he speaks about when he attended a gallery and a transgender man was having trouble as he was under the influence. Chappelle came up to the group and asked if “he” was okay. Without skipping a beat, one of the men trying to assist the intoxicated man, who was wearing a dress, rudely responds to Chappelle saying, “SHE… is fine.” He prefaced his next part to the joke by reinstituting that anybody should be allowed to be whoever they feel as though they are on the inside. This lead the well-known comedian to respond to the men by saying, “Look, I’m sorry guys because… she looks terrible. She just fell off the bench… it appears her d*** is popping out of her dress.”

At the age of 43, Chappelle has a family, has diversified himself in more ways than one can imagine and shed some light on some of the very hard-to-talk-about topics that are current in American society. His acts of speaking freely and discussing his struggles along with those of Hispanics, homosexuals and women has shown his amount of growth and the dedication he puts into being genuine both on and offstage.

In regards to politics, Chappelle, like many others, believe that there will be a time where it will be nice to not have to talk about President Donald Trump simply because he won’t be on everyone’s minds. It will be very interesting to see Chappelle’s career evolve from this stage and hopefully, for fans like myself, it will bring great returns.

The Underdogs Rise in the Pop-Punk Scene

 

The pop-punk band State Champs.

by Natalie Dest

Springing up into the 2010 music scene, State Champs started their musical journey off as the underdogs.

Originating out of Albany, New York, this American pop-punk band has a similar sound to bands such as All Time Low and Mayday Parade, engaging fans with their fast punk-rock tempos and intense vocals.

Before signing to Pure Noise Records in 2012, State Champs were filling basements and small venues before their opportunity in releasing four EPs and two albums, including their most recent album released back in 2015, “Around the World and Back.” This pop-punk group has quickly dug their way out from the bottom, and are finally establishing their name within the music scene. However, their success didn’t spark overnight.

Although the band has received much support from bands such as 5 Seconds of Summer and All Time Low, State Champs’ musical success is undoubtedly because of the band themselves. Big thanks are in order to “The Finer Things,” an incredibly catchy and gripping album debut from the band back in 2013.

This was the release that spiraled State Champs’ recognition of their energy and innovation in the pop-punk genre. However, with an album such as “The Finer Things” setting the bar very high, this makes the task of creating a follow-up album of the same stature quite difficult.

Although the band’s most recent LP doesn’t quite hit the benchmark in terms of surpassing their past release, “Around the World and Back” features just enough catchy hooks, unique melodies, and musical proficiency that without a doubt impresses both fans and outsiders of the pop-punk genre.

Featuring their most recent hit single “Secrets,” “Around the World and Back” undoubtedly helped State Champs land the title of Best Breakthrough Band at the 2016 Alternative Press Music Awards. If anything is to be recognized about the band’s newest LP, it’s that the band successfully gave their record a pop-fueled style, while still incorporating the punk edge undertones that one would expect.

Their most notable single, “Secrets,” is a perfect example of this, starting the album off right by showcasing the strong musicianship within the band. The strong guitar progression and energetic drumming is distinct from their powerful instrumentation, much similar to the track “Eyes Closed.” Although this record is heavily influenced from this particular sound and the material is highly rhythmic, State Champs keeps fans interested with its varying meanings and lyrical content behind each song.

The track “Back and Forth” is very charismatic and toe-tapping, largely similar to the young and exhilarating attitude that comes from All Time Low’s release of “Nothing Personal” back in 2009. “Back and Forth” makes it clear the band’s capability to create memorable songs, even if the pace may be slowed down from their typical up-tempo tracks.

“Breaking Ground” follows the band’s musical variation between tracks, as the tone is much more edgier and empowering with its heavily punk guitar instrumentation, keeping the essence of pop punk alive and well.

Although this record has more musical variety when comparing to past LP “The Finer Things,” it can be said that “Around the World and Back” has a few tracks that are too similar to each other. As that may be the case, State Champs’ “Around the World and Back” is a record that should proudly stand on its own two feet regardless.

The continuous solid hooks, inspired songwriting and fresh lyrical ideas plant this album comfortably within the pop-punk scene. Whether a die-hard fan, or completely new to the genre,  “Around the World and Back” showcases State Champs’ ability for the big time.

Catch State Champs on their 2017 U.S. Tour, featuring bands such as With Confidence and Against the Current. Tickets are currently on sale, with the tour kicking off on Apr 7.