Why Frank Ocean’s “Blonde” is the greatest album ever made

Frank Ocean is undoubtedly one of the greatest artists of the 2010s. Critical acclaim, a massive fanbase, and mainstream success attest to this. Blonde, which many consider his magnum opus, has aged like a fine wine since dropping in 2016.

Blonde is an R&B record that contains elements of pop, indie, and hip-hop. The beats are slightly unorthodox but pair beautifully with Ocean’s vocals.

Silas Williams, an avid music lover, shares his opinion on the album, “I never really thought that I would enjoy R&B but Blonde proved me wrong. The music, especially Frank Ocean’s vocals, transports me to another dimension.”

Williams is not alone in this opinion. Music critiquing website Pitchfork, which is notorious for its harsh ratings, gave Blonde a 9/10.

Pitchfork encapsulates perfectly why Blonde is so amazing, “These songs are not for marching, but they still serve a purpose. They’re about everyday lives, about the feat of just existing, which is a statement in its own right.”

While Blonde may not follow a harsh theme, all songs are similar in style and purpose. These songs are not meant for a party, but more for a late-night car ride. It’s a great album to listen to when you just need a moment to yourself.

While lyrics and themes are not as open and easy to understand as some other records, Blonde still has a purpose. Throughout the record, Ocean talks about finding his identity as a queer black man. These themes are scattered throughout the album but do not follow a unique pattern.

What is amazing about Blonde is that the deeper meaning is there if one wants to search for it. However, one could also just listen for the serene, peaceful, and beautiful music Ocean provides.

Williams further shares his opinion by stating, “At first I think Blonde was a great record I played to enjoy. When I looked for the deeper meaning, that’s when it became a masterpiece.”

Sadly, it has been six years since Ocean last dropped an album. However, his fans will forever have this masterpiece to look back on and enjoy.

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The Count of Monte Cristo; a tale of sweet revenge

The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas is the story of Edmond Dantès. His betrayal and falsely based life sentence in a dungeon on an island in an inescapable prison. He eventually escapes, finding the treasures on an island. 

The island is named the Isle of Monte Cristo, and from there, Edmond becomes known as the Count of Monte Cristo. After that, he carefully manipulates everything around him. He then employs that tactic to remarkable effect for his revenge. 

He slowly and carefully manipulates his enemies so that they destroy themselves. This tactic works, so that in the end, with only a few unexpected and undesired consequences that take it too far, his revenge is successfully wrought on them. 

Students at Davis High School read the book, but the question that is never asked is, why was the Count of Monte Cristo’s revenge successful? Why didn’t his enemies realize how much they were being played in his hands sooner? 

Consider the personalities of the antagonists: Caderousse, Villefort, Danglars, and Fernand Mondego/Count of Morcerf. They all shared one thing in common: they were vile, selfish creatures that took advantage of people and positions to get what they lusted or desired. 

The antagonists also have very two-faced standards of honor. They all cover up their deeds, but feel obliged, as rich men who have “honor”, to challenge those who insult them or cause misfortune to a gruesome duel to the death. 

In the end, it was their own poor and selfish choices that allowed themselves to be manipulated so easily. Their selfish deeds sowed the seeds for terrible consequences, and Edmond Dantès reaped those terrible consequences with his calamity creating revenge. 

Which is why the best way to learn from their choices is to study where they stemmed from so, we can learn from them. First, the antagonists lived mostly in selfishness and greed. The best way to avoid them is: 

Try to live life learning to let go of some wants and bridle them. No one can get everything they want exactly the way they want it. Second, they had no morals other than the Parisian wealthy’s code of honor. 

That moral code is very weak because the focus of that moral code is to never let insults to your name and always make sure that your image looks as beautiful as code. A strong moral code should have these: 

A realistic view on life, a strong set of morals that help keep you from making poor decisions and thereby save you from suffering the consequences, and helps you be a better person and impact on the world than otherwise. 

However, the most tragic part of the story is that Edmond, in the six months he exacted revenge, could’ve used that money for good. Instead, he used it to take revenge, and did only one truly good and noble deed. 

He paid the dowry to Mercédès, his former love, who married Fernand because she thought he’d never return after being sent to the dungeons of the Château d’If, as penance for letting his revenge harm her and her son, Albert.  

The only good deed he did was helping Valentine escape death and run off with Maximilien Morrel, the son of his former employer, thus preventing the death by suicide on the part of Maximilien, and death by murder for Valentine.  

We then decided to go out and interview a sophomore on his thoughts on the Count of Monte Cristo, since almost all the Sophomore here at Davis High read the book in their English classes. The interview went as follows: 

Why do you think the Count of Monte Cristo was so successful? 

Because it’s a revenge story,” Toby Butcher said. 

What attributes of the antagonists do you think allowed them to be manipulated so easily? 

They’re arrogant, confident that he [Edmond] is gone,” Butcher replied. 

What attributes of the antagonists should we avoid? 

Arrogance, but also [not] having resilience,” Butcher told us. 

What attributes of Edmond are most favorable? 

He is charming, gets favors done easily, he’s rich, and filled [with] vengeance,” Butcher said. 

What choices that the antagonists and Edmond made that we should avoid? 

Maybe not killing as many people,” Butcher replied. 

There are lessons to be learned from the Count of Monte Cristo about how betrayal feels, and why exacting revenge didn’t solve the initial problems that came with that betrayal itself. These lessons can help us improve ourselves and society. 

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Embarrassments at Davis

Being in a school full of a bunch of different people watching you, everyone is bound to have an embarrassing moment every once and a while.

For Jessie Higley, her embarrassing moment came in late January of 2021.

She was competing in a dual meet against Northridge when she was put into an illegal Half-Nelson and her shoulder got dislocated.

“As my shoulder was hanging out of the socket and my coaches were running me out of the gym with my dad. The attention was all on me. While the trainer was looking at my arm my dad’s face suddenly turned yellow. He said he needed air and he stood up. He immediately hit the ground in the middle of the room. He woke up with a bloody face and will now be known as the most embarrassing dad in all of wrestling.”

Jessie is mortified by this experience, and will always be embarrassed when looking back.

The students at Davis have had more mild, but still embarrassing moments within the halls of the school.

Something we all can relate to, Maya Jensen shares a story that we can all relate to. “I was once just minding my own business, walking down the stairs, when my shoe suddenly slipped. I was on the floor. People walking past me, staring. I was mortified. That was the most embarrassing moment in my whole life.

Allie Erickson has echoed a similar story. “Me and my friends were walking next to each other. I was on the end. A kid walking in the other direction decided to turn around. He timed it wrong and knocked right into me. I wasn’t just slightly jolted, I was knocked onto the ground. Just laying there for what seemed like a century.”

We all have experienced these moments. Even though it may live in our minds for the rest of our lives, everybody else won’t even remember it by the end of the day.

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To sum up the new Marvel movie Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness in one word is weird. The movie was released on May 2nd and was considered to be the biggest Marvel movie of the year. Other movies anticipated to come out this year are Thor: Love and Thunder coming on July 8 and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever on November 11.

Next Best Picture explains the movie. “A few months after the events after Spider-Man: No Way Home Dr. Stephen Strange, with the help of both old and new mystical allies, travels into the multiverse to face a mysterious new adversary.”

Sam Raimi who is known for his horror movies is the director. This influence makes this marvel movie darker than most. Ms. Pedersen, a teacher at Davis High commented on the dark nature of the movie.

“Not only was it suspenseful, the whole mood of the movie was dark. It is what you would expect from someone who directed movies like Poltergeist,” she said.

“It was darker than an of the other Marvel movies, that’s for sure. But I would still recommend seeing it.” Chloe Wilson a sophomore at Davis High commented.

Some are saying the movie is merely a long commercial for Wandavision. There are several things to see before going in to understand the movie. The first Doctor Strange, Wandavision, Spiderman: No Way Home, What If… ?, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Avengers: Infinity war, and Avengers: Endgame all give background that’s beneficial to this movie.

All of the movies tie in together giving backstory and continuing characterization. It is kind of cool they have designed them this way.

Kainoa Sorensen, a senior at Davis works at a movie theater. He commented on what moviegoers are saying as they come out of the theater.

“They are all commenting that it is pretty much just another Marvel movie,” he said.

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Doctor Strange 2, a mess of a film

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness came out on May 6th, and opened up a portal full of mixed opinions and negative reviews.

This story is not spoiler friendly and will discuss moments in the film.

Synopsis of the film: Dr Stephen Strange casts a forbidden spell that opens a portal to the multiverse. However, a threat emerges that may be too big for his team to handle.

The movie received a 77% on Rotten Tomatoes (placed 23rd worst out of all 28 marvel movies), a 61% on Metacritic, and 4/5 on Common Sense.

The movie was directed by Sam Raimi, who is known for horror and thriller movies, and the original Tobey Macguire Spider-Man trilogy.

Marvel gave him the directors chair, but they didn’t let him have full control.  Which then messed with the pacing of the film because we go from standard marvel go lucky fun to a weird, dark and slightly thriller feel.

You could tell Raimi wanted to go full out thriller for this film but Marvel execs would just not let him, so they gave him a few scenes and that was it, it ruined the tone and pacing of the entire movie.

America Chavez (Xochital Gomez) was a new character with the ability to travel between universes, which ended up in our universe after another Doctor strange from another universe tried to take her power for the fate of the multiverse.

Gomez seems to be a new actor with bland delivery and poor execution on her character, she was poor in this movie and marvel fans hope she does better in her return in the future.

Next off is Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen), also known as the Scarlet Witch.  Who has fallen down a dark path to try and smuggle herself into another universe so she can have her (fake) kids (that she created after holding an entire town hostage).

Olsen Played the roll great with what she was given.  But Wanda is flawed and has no real reason to do what she does in this movie (murders hundreds of people across multiple universes, including some of the strongest and smartest people, such as Charles Xavier, a variant of Captain Marvel, Captain Peggy Carter, and Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four).

The Scarlett witch was a flawed character and was doomed to fail from the end of Wanda-Vision.

Benedict Cumberbatch did great as he always does since he’s an amazing actor and just flows through Doctor Strange and is one of the best actors in the MCU, he had no flaws in this film besides the movie as a whole.

The CGI was terrible in some parts of the movie (on par with standard TV CGI, and even worse than the Marvel TV shows) and other parts and set pieces were amazing and looked incredibly real.

To put it simply, this movie is forgettable.  Ask people what they thought about the entire movie and they can probably only fully remember a few of the more important/ crazy set pieces.

“The pacing of the movie was terrible. Everything about it felt rushed. America’s acting felt monotone and her line delivery didn’t fit the tone of the movie whatsoever. It felt more like a poorly made horror movie than one from the MCU. Absolute dog shit. Would rather gouge my eyes out than watch again. 1/10.” said Hallie Kinsley

“I cried after a mans head exploded -13/10” said Miriam Kendall

“It was just cheesy and silly, it wasn’t serious, they should have just let Wanda kill the kid (America) 4/10” said Adeline Matthewson

“I really liked the plot, it expanded upon Wanda-Vision a lot and went more in depth into the multiverse and did really well 8/10” said Corrin Cottrell

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Seniors’ favorite memories

It’s almost time to graduate. Class of 2022 will be able to move on with their lives into bigger and better things. There’s good times and bad times of high school. 

You start out as a small sophomore not knowing the idea of high school or what to expect. Now class of 2022 is about to walk down a stage and get diplomas. 

It’s been an interesting high school experience. Going through Covid-19.  

For all of my next stories, many seniors of 2022 are going to be interviewed. Just to get an idea of what a lot of people have felt this year.  

A series of seniors was asked multiple questions. Ending with question 8/8. What was one of your favorite memories of senior year and why? 

“I loved all the football games because of the good vibes and energy that was there.” -Emma Bough 

“ My favorite memory of senior year was the first day of marching band. Seeing all the little freshmen so excited to do things just always made my day. Some were shy but like by the end of the day they were talking to everyone and it just made me really happy to see that.” -Abdon Figueroa-Ruiz  

“My favorite memory by far was in marching band. We were playing the last chord of our field show at our last performance ever. I had thought of all the work we as a band did, and all the joy from accomplishing that work rushed to me in that moment. That was a powerful experience.” – Hannah Davis.  

“I would say this year’s Marching Band season. In the end we took second in the Western US (Farmington High). I was so happy about the work we accomplished, and LEVEL UP was my favorite show by far. There’s nothing that compares to an announcer saying your school’s name, giving it your all, and playing that last chord. I love marching band and will miss it for sure.” – Hali’alani Harris  

“One of my favorite memories was CE dance class because I got to meet new people and learn lots of cool dances.” -Kaela Wall  

“Just hanging out with my friends all day every day because I love them so so much.” -Maddie Nacy 

“It hasn’t happened yet but I think this prom is going to be crazy because my band is going to play a couple songs which I’m super excited for.” -Jayden Green  

“My favorite memories are hanging out with all my friends.” -James Olsen 

“Definitely going to state for marching band because I love it so much and don’t want to have to let it go.” -Beau Gemperline 

“Definitely St. George comp for state (marching band). The thrill of it happening and the relief of it being over was pretty epic.” – Beth Johnson  

“One time two of my best friends and I drove to antelope island in the middle of the night for fun. It was really fun and spontaneous and is definitely something I want to remember.” -Owen Bascomb

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Senior week; celebrating graduation

Graduation is only three weeks away and to celebrate the senior officers have planned an exciting senior week full of activities.

Capture the flag starts on Monday and goes throughout the whole week. Tags will be handed out when you get to school on Monday morning that you must put on you backpack. Once your tag is taken off your backpack you are out of the competition.

Clues to find the flags will be posted on the Dartboard and the Davisdarts2022 Instagram page. When you find the flag you must return it to Bauer’s room. For it to count you must still have your tag on your backpack. At the end of the week the team that finds the most flags wins.

Tuesday at 8:00 at south-end will be sunset and smores. “I am so excited for our sunset and s’mores activity!” Carlie Lambert, senior class president stated. We started the year with a sunrise and now we are ending it with a sunset. “We have made everything sunset themed to show the closing of a chapter of our lives,” Lambert explained.

Wednesday and Thursday there is going to be a volleyball tournament each day starting at 7 at Barnes Park. Wednesday will be tournament play and Thursday will be “Senior Smackdown.” Thursday there will also be a party with food and music while watching the final game.

You can also order pizza and crazy bread to get delivered to you during 7th period on Thursday. You have to preorder by the Friday before, $7.50 for a whole pizza and $5 for crazy bread.

On Friday the seniors will end their week with Senior Cotillion. Cotillion is a senior only, stag dance. It will be held at Warehouse 22 in Syracuse. “The theme is I Lived! We have lived through a lot, so we deserve to party,” Lambert exclaimed.

There will be prizes for all the activities so get your tickets at https://linktr.ee/davishigh?utm_source=qr_code (Links to an external site.).

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Snow-cones with Sadie

Hokulia is a snow cone shack where you can go and get the best of flavors. Lots of kids at Davis loves this place for it is in their price range and it is also very delicious. Sadie Hathaway is manager at Hokulia and she loves working there. They are now open for this summer so you can go check them out.

“I like shaved ice because it is busting and it makes my tummy feel WAHOO!” Said Graham Capel a senior here at Davis High.

The best sellers at Hokulia are tigers blood and blue raspberry this is Sadies third summer working at the shack and she has loved it. They are also hiring right now if anyone is interested in a summer job.

“My favorite flavor is either blue hawaii or the 808 combination.” Said Sadie Hathaway

They have 3 locations close to Davis, One by Winco, one by the mall, and one by vasa! Head on over to hokulia today to get the best shaved ice you have ever had. A lot of students at Davis High say they really like the flavors and the prices and it is very reasonable. So if you are ever looking for someone to get good shaved ice, you know where to go.

I love shaved ice at the snow cone shack because its something to do in the summer.” Said Kaden Francom

Keep snow cone shacks alive and well by visiting one this summer to cool off.

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Should fast rap be considered mumble rap

A war between lyrical fast rappers and mumble rappers has raged on ever since mumble rap rose in popularity in the late 2010’s. Both the terms “mumble rapping” and “fast rapping” often come with a negative stigma. In both instances if you can’t understand what the person is saying, the song will be dismissed as bad music. 

In 2020, YouTube rapper previously known as Luke Gawne, released a track called “DEATH TO MUMBLE RAP”. On the song he was accompanied by other YouTube rappers named Crypt, Futuristic, and Mac Lethal. All of them bought into the theme of the song being that rapping fast is superior to mumble rapping.  

“Look I get it, rapping fast can be cool, it takes time to practice and hone, it still doesn’t change that you’re not really saying anything, or at least not saying anything interesting or the least bit clever.” Esteemed music reviewer on YouTube Anthony Fantano had that to say about the track. 

Regardless of how the words come out of the artist, if you can’t understand what they are saying, it should be considered mumble rap.  

A lyric on the Death to Mumble Rap track goes as follows, “Come to the Windy you gon’ get nothin’ but animosity, Midwest monopolies, monstrosities, Rap god I’ma leave you in poverty.” The song ends up being completely hypocritical. Not a single sentence of that made any sense. 

Typically, the so called “mumble rappers” don’t shy away from the name. They aren’t really offended by it if their music is successful. 

A whole bunch of ‘ayes’ and a whole bunch of ‘yeahs.’ That’s it. That’s all I do. I tell myself that I’m not gon’ go over 80. I say, like, 79 yeahs, and it works. We what you call mumble rappers. So you say ‘yeah’ after everything and make it rhyme no matter what it is.” Platinum artist Lil Uzi Vert said in an interview. 

It is important to realize that dissing on another music style or genre is completely childish. Music is subjective in all circumstances. Just because you don’t like the way it sounds, doesn’t mean it is bad music. Everybody has a preference.  

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Juhee Lee’s Marvelous Music

On April 21 at Syracuse High School, Juhee Lee and the rest of the Orchestra competed at the Regional Orchestra Festival.

Juhee has been dedicated to playing the violin for the last seven years and has reached incredible heights with this talent. Lee can play all different styles of music but her favorite genre to play is classical.

“I really like the environment and how fun the team and teacher is.” Juhee explained when talking about why she has stayed in orchestra for so long. “We can laugh, have a good time, and enjoy the music as a community.”

Juhee claims that now that everyone has been in orchestra for such a long time it easier for everyone to have a good time “We used to just go there because our parents forced their kids to play violins and other instruments. But now it is really fun to be apart of a bigger team and just have a good time.”

Right now Lee is practicing for prestigious solo that she was awarded due to her amazing musicality. In order to get one of these solos, the candidates have to go through a rigorous auditioning process to make sure that they are choosing a participant who has the best abilities.

“There is only three spots available and people who are very ambitious audition for it and I was really lucky to be awarded this opportunity.” While Juhee claims that she was lucky to get the opportunity, the truth is that she was the person that was the most capable for the part.

In order to maintain a non bias opinion on who get a solo, the orchestra teacher Mr. Kochenderfer has the students audition in front of two judges who will determine who is best for the job.

The Orchestra has moved on to the State Orchestra Festival that will take place on May 20-21.

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