Each Chainsmokers song sounds ‘Closer’ to the last

Why do we love to hate The Chainsmokers, or hate to love them? It’s a constant battle between the two, but we still can’t stop listening.

The Chainsmokers are an American DJ duo consisting of Drew Taggart and Alex Pall. They formed in 2012, but Pall wasn’t in the group yet. At that time, it was Taggart and another producer named Rhett Bixler.  

The Chainsmokers may not know this, but they are successful public relations professionals. PR often entails social media and press releases; however, this DJ duo uses their music equation as their own personal form of PR.

A commonly heard complaint about these artists is that all of their songs sound the same.

Here’s the catch–they do that on purpose. Let’s dive deeper.

The Chainsmokers’ first ever live performance and popularity breakthrough was with their ever-so-trendy (and ever-so-hated-on) single, #Selfie, released in 2013. #Selfie reached top hit charts internationally. The beat is catchy and words are fun to mock, think: Friday.

From this point forward, The Chainsmokers’ hits have gotten increasingly popular. The most crowd-pleasing include: Closer, Don’t Let Me Down, Something Just Like This and Paris.

Although the most popularly used beats per minute for top hits is 120 BPM, all of these tracks are within a slower range of 80-100 BPM. The Chainsmokers chose a beat that matches our resting heart rates, making the songs easy to listen to.

We sing along with the vocals effortlessly. This is because they commonly consist of a small variation of notes that are within our mid-range, or natural speaking pitch.

The lyrics are simple and to-the-point with minimal need for imagination. We don’t need to wonder what he means when he says, “Baby pull me closer in the back seat of your Rover.” The picture is crystal clear. Our brains fully grasp what is going on in the song; we learn the lyrics quickly.

Lastly, The Chainsmokers follow something called a simple verse-chorus form. The verses and choruses use the same tempo and notes. This makes the songs satisfying and pleasing to the ear. By the time the drop comes, you’ve already heard those notes- in that order. But this time, it’s just done with a synthesizer instead of vocals. Our brains love patterns, and we can hear them time and time again in The Chainsmokers’ music.

By combining a soothing beat, simple melodies that are easy to sing and a satisfying song form, The Chainsmokers have roped us in without us even realizing.

As musicians or PR professionals, it is important to take note of the tactics The Chainsmokers use to ensure their optimum success. By using their crafted equation, they are able to keep listeners tuned in.

Are The Chainsmokers musical sellouts or simply clever public relations practitioners? That’s up to you to decide.

Why Everyone Should Experience a Music Festival

Photo credit: Andrea Nibler
Photo credit: Andrea Nibler

The sun is out and ’tis the season for music festivals. Lately, festivals like Coachella and Stagecoach have been all the rave and there is good reason for this buzz. From the atmosphere to the line-up and new friendships, summer festivals are an experience not to be missed.

For a first-time festival goer an event this big can seem overwhelming. Many people who have never attended a festival would argue that they are over crowded, too loud and too dirty. In some ways they might be right, but at the same time, music festivals are an experience unlike anything else.

There is something electric about a stadium full of people, all there for the same reason. There is a strong sense of community and companionship in the thousands of people sharing this once in a lifetime experience. Suddenly, after just three days the mass of people in attendance becomes a sort of family.

There are countless reasons that music festivals are an eye opening and life changing events that everyone should experience at least once. Here are the top five reasons to check this experience off your bucket list.

  1. The Line-up

At music festivals you will witness some of the most talented artists all in one place. And unless the festival is genre specific, there really is something for everyone. You will get to see not only your all-time favorite performers but experience new great bands as well.

  1. The New Friendships

Whether you go it alone, with a group of friends or attend as a family, you are guaranteed to meet a bunch of great new people. The atmosphere and open culture make creating new friends inevitable.

  1. The Fans

From the waving hands to synchronized singing you wont find more dedicated and happy crowds.

  1. The Team Spirit

Everyone in attendance realizes that they are all there for the same reason. This creates an understanding and a team spirit that you cant ignore.

  1. The Priceless Moments

This is not the trip to forget your camera. Music festivals can produce some of the most priceless moments you will never forget.

Like This and Like That: The Difference between Hip Hop & Rap

Photo credit: Anthony Estrada
Photo credit: Anthony Estrada

Thanks to the cleaver video editors of The Tonight Show, the freshly posted YouTube sensation of Brian Williams “rapping” Snoop Dogg’s timeless classic “Gin and Juice” has got me asking myself the question is this Hip Hop?

In a sense this video is an extension of Snoop Dogg, who is an extension of Hip Hop anyways right? Though many would argue that it would more likely be categorized under Rap; a sub-genre branch of Hip Hop.

So what’s the big difference that separates the two?

Hip Hop, is an original music genre that is influenced heavily from early Jazz and R & B that emerged out of New York in the late 1970s amidst the changing American landscape. Originally, Hip Hop consisted of the elements of DJing, MCing, break dancing, beat boxing, and graffiti art which reflected the culture of daily life in New York.

These five elements would be extended to nine in order to include: street fashion, street language, street knowledge, and street entrepreneurship.

Torch bearers of the genre like KRS-One, who visits colleges lecturing on what Hip Hop is would tell you that it IS a culture, a lifestyle; and that Rap is a naturally occurring by-product that is the result of commercial success of the genre.

Considering that the true forms of Hip Hop include poetic lyrics that echo this lifestyle or life in general, Rap usually is produced purely with the goal of financial profit in mind and typically contains content consistent of extravagant, unrealistic ways of living.

This has been true in recent history as the knowledge and consciousness of Hip Hop from the 80s’ had to surrender to the “bling bling” era of the late 90s’Rap. Ironically in its efforts to be innovative, commercial Rap has made the genre more generic and in many ways somewhat of a superficial novelty, while trying to survive in a declining market.

So the next time you hear someone in your class say, “Did you see that Hip Hop video of the news anchor rapping?” you can respond with, “Oh you mean that silly Rap video?”

How to Prepare for a Music Festival

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Photo credit: Kristen de Golia

Here are some tips on how to prepare for a music festival. If not well prepared, odds are you’ll still have a good time. If well prepared and you put in some effort to plan your adventure ahead of time, you’re destined to have an amazing experience!

Where to stay?

Plan ahead and be frugal.

Use websites like www.kayal.com or www.priceline.com to compare hundreds of travel sites at once.  On websites like these you can compare rates on hotels, flights, cars, vacation packages and various other deals.

Who to go with?

Make sure you have a good group of friends to travel with.

The wrong crew can really mess up the vibe of your trip. Make sure you plan your trip with a group of people that can go with the flow. Attending a music festival is supposed to be a fun and stress-free experience, so really take into consideration who you want by your side.

Carpool

Figure out which of your friends has the most fuel-efficient car.

This is a vital part of your trip. The expenses are bound to add up, so you should plan ahead and save money where you can. Depending on the location of the music festival and whether or not you will need to stop numerous times for gas, use a phone application called GasBuddy or visit www.gasbuddy.com to compare gas prices near you. The app compares the surrounding gas stations to your location to find you the best deal.

It’s essential that you make a killer playlist for your car ride and re-listen to songs you think are likely to be played at the festival. This way the experience is more enjoyable and you can embrace every moment and easily sing along!

Photo credit: Kristen de Golia
Photo credit: Kristen de Golia

“The Look”

Depending on the theme of your festival and the genre of music, outfits will range across the board. For country music festivals cowboy boots, hats, flannels, sundresses, jean shorts and things of that nature are normally acceptable. For EDM and rave festivals, more colorful and flashy bedazzled outfits are generally worn. Girls often make these outfits themselves with flowers, jewels, glow sticks, ect. More elaborate outfits can be purchased and even rented for special events from sites such as http://raecostumes.com.

Regarding skin protection and makeup, musical festivals generally run for long hours from early in the morning until late at night. Everyone should be sure to wear lots of sunscreen! Ladies should invest in some tinted moisturizer and waterproof mascara so that they don’t have to reapply their makeup throughout the day. There are also makeup sprays that can be applied that “set” your makeup to stay for long hours such as Urban Decay’s All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray, which is available at Sephora.

Taking just a few of these tips into consideration will be sure to enhance your experience and enable you to have an even better time at a music festival!

Visit Buzzfeed for a few additional tips and a laugh!

http://www.buzzfeed.com/mariasherm/music-festival-hacks-that-will-make-your-experience-way-more

Why Music Makes Us Feel: Emotionally, Neurologically and Historically

Music is pretty much all encompassing in the digital age.

It’s universal and can be heard in all types of advertisements, commercials and TV shows – most of which aren’t about the music itself.

Familiar tunes are constantly playing in grocery and department stores; the style of music normally based on the type of experience they want you to have.

Of course, we also have our personal favorites streaming through our headphones, computers, AUX cords and cars.

True, we all have varying preferences and differences in our frequency of listening to music. Characteristically though, most humans tend to enjoy it.

Photo credit: Lunamom58, Creative Commons, Original photo
Photo credit: Lunamom58, Creative Commons, Original photo

I have met only one person in my whole life that told me he didn’t really like listening to music. He must have been dropped one too many times on his head as a child, I guess.

Music just makes us feel good, even if it’s a sad melody. But why does music make us feel so good?

National Geographic conducted a study that shows that when we anticipate music to be played it arouses our brains from the get-go. Once it flows through our ears, our neurons react and it triggers a response, showing distinct brain activity.

This is where we either like, or dislike the music – a distinction that is not clear yet scientifically. I may never know why country doesn’t soothe me, but rock music does.

Neurologically speaking, we are rewarded with happiness through the form of dopamine when we listen to music.

Our reward circuit of dopamine within the brain that is responsible for processing those tangible activities needed for sustaining life (such as eating, drinking, sleeping and sex) is also is used for processing our experience of music.

Seems simple enough, but the interesting part is that the act of listening to music is an abstract activity – and such things are typically processed on a cognitive level, creating happiness through a slightly different process.

Does this mean that music is necessary in order to survive?

Maybe not, but perhaps it has helped us progress as human beings. Our ancient ancestors may have used it as a tool to connect socially and emotionally in their day-to-day lives, on a level that wasn’t just about survival.

Many would agree that harmonies of voices and a combining of instruments often sounds more appealing than a simple beat on a bongo. This thought may have occurred to early humans, stimulating a social construct within our brains to create and enjoy these sounds together.

All in all, music might just be what made the human race more than a species that merely survives for survival’s sake.

Stay on the Go Without Your Cup of Joe

Happy Monday! Time to wake up for that 8 a.m. class! After a long, typical, “Chico weekend” sometimes that early morning class isn’t the first thing on your to-do list. Oftentimes, the pillow takes priority. Luckily we have coffee. But what about the days you wake up late and don’t have time to brew your cup of Joe? Or you forget to bring your wallet to campus? How do we get through our day without our regularly scheduled morning coffee? Kiss the caffeine habit goodbye with some healthier alternatives to staying awake throughout the day.

coffee and fireplace
Photo credit: philmikejones

Sleep: As students, we all have random, crazy schedules that may not allow us to get the full amount of sleep our bodies require to function properly throughout the day. Sleep is extremely important. Let’s face it, after a late night of studying, we wake up looking forward to that afternoon nap. Don’t underestimate the power of the nap! About.com has some Tips for Great Naps about how to nap effectively. Our bodies go through different levels of rest throughout a nap and a night of sleep. Check out this bedtime calculator to figure out the best times to go to sleep and wake up so that your body feels refreshed instead of groggy when you wake up.

Food: Certain foods give us an extra boost of energy, while others make you crave crawling back into bed. Back away from the bed and grab an apple instead. According to Oddee.com, the natural fructose in apples slowly gets released in the body, which provides long lasting energy. Apples also contain carbohydrates to keep you moving and they are a good source of fiber. Another super food that keeps us on the move is eggs. Eggs are packed with protein and help keep us full so we don’t start getting sleepy and feeling lethargic. Throw some eggs in a pan with some chopped up veggies for an easy, energy packed start to your day. Even just the smell of breakfast food cooking will wake up your brain!

Music: Listen to upbeat music while walking to campus and in between classes. You’ll be surprised how some upbeat tunes can boost your mood and energy. Make a playlist of your favorite party songs, because we all know what it’s like to get the “that’s my jam!” feeling. If you need a little help picking out some energizing songs, spinebreakers.com has an awesome Top 10 Songs to Wake You Up in The Morning playlist already made to help you get your booty out of bed with a smile on your face.

You can tackle tomorrow without a caffeine crash. Ditch the cup of joe, bump your favorite beats, throw an apple in your school bag and take a guiltless power nap!

Tips for Concert-Goers from a Music Lover

Many of my fondest memories were made at various music festivals and concerts. I’ve experienced a wide array of concert-going events and my friends often ask me to take them to their first big show because I “know the ropes.” Since I’ve introduced several friends to the wonderland of large-scale music events, such as Electric Daisy Carnival and Vans Warped Tour, I know my list of concert do’s and don’ts by heart.

Whether the show features rockin’ bands, upbeat electronic DJs, relaxed reggae or all of the above — it is always important be aware of yourself, your friends and your surroundings. Although the overall experience typically differs by show or music genre, a majority of my concert safety tips remain the same.

Here are my top five safety tips for attending music festivals:

  1. Stay hydrated: Concerts are hot and attendees often don’t realize they’re dehydrated because they’re having so much fun. I recommend buying a water bottle as soon as you enter the venue and refilling it often throughout the night. Water bottles are often overpriced at events but some event companies, like Insomniac Events, sell sustainable aluminum water bottles and offer refills. Although it may be hard to pry away from the music to replenish your water, your safety is worth it.

  2. Photo credit: Petras Gagilas
    Photo credit: Petras Gagilas

  1. Buddy system: Large crowds and loud music can separate groups of friends much faster than some may think. Wandering alone around a stadium filled with more than 100,000 people can lead to looking like a target for assault or theft. From the moment you walk through security to the point you get back to your hotel, make sure to have a friend with you at all times.

  2. Charge your phone: Refraining from posting about your amazing festival experience on Instagram and Twitter might be difficult, but it’ll be worth it at the end of the night when you’re looking for the friends who strayed away. One time I waited at a friend’s car for three hours after the show ended because both of our phones died and he forgot where he parked. Stressing out over losing touch with everyone else can definitely damper your fun.

  3. Know the venue: Festivals and concerts are typically hosted in large, confusing venues. This is especially true for festivals that feature multiple stages and require a lot of trekking from stage to stage. Luckily enough, most event promoting companies post a map of the show and set times ahead of time. I recommend taking a screenshot of the map and set times on your phone so it’s with you at all times. This also helps you plan out which artists you would like to see and know where they play ahead of time.

  4. Photo credit: Wil Kristen
    Photo credit: Wil Kristen

  5. Designate a driver: Don’t risk getting in a car with an intoxicated driver and don’t drive under the influence. Festivals and concerts often have a hefty police force surrounding the venue before and after events because this has become such an issue. If you can’t find a sober driver, remember that paying for a taxi is always more affordable than getting caught driving under the influence, which can cost thousands of dollars in California.

Can You Hear Me Now?

In 20 years–maybe less, I will surely be deaf. I know this to be true because my headphones are constantly vibrating so loud that anyone near me could make out each distinct word. But for some peculiar reason, I crave the loud volume. I blame music festivals.

Each year I pine over the lineup at Coachella. Like most young people with a flair for music, fashion and celebrity sightings I scour the Internet to find any image of the experience. I gasp at the ridiculous outfits of the celebrities. Of course, as every music lover will say, I am in awe of the selection of bands. I begin to rationalize with myself about why yet again I am not attending this epic event. I balance the pros versus the cons. A pro is that this festival is a three-day collaboration of artists and an escape from the mundane. A con is that it is 12 hours away and I am broke.

Although, for now, Coachella is out of my financial reach, I can thankfully still attend Outside Lands, or Bottle Rock. Bottle Rock is Napa’s first three-day music festival.  Anyone who is interested in an introduction to festival fun will find these two events to be an unparallel experience.

Outside Lands is hosted from Aug. 9-11 in San Francisco. I have attended this event twice. This short weekend gives me a sense of peace and a yearlong soundtrack. I have spent a ridiculous amount of time in front of the metal grate fences engaging in an unofficial arm wrestle between avid fans. Possibly because these festivals are reminiscent of a freer time, I discover myself erratically swaying to the beat as if I was a modern day Janis Joplin. My outfit is expertly crafted to look as if I spend five minutes getting dressed instead of five days carefully collaborating. Groups sit intertwined together in the grass musing inaudibly. On the off-chance they begin to get too rowdy, someone will shout over the noise, “Shut up! I can’t hear the music.”

I wonder what people will say about this generation of festival lovers, but I figure by this point we won’t be able to hear them.