Category Archives: FC Bagpiper

Fans have fallen in love with Lover

By Scarlett Hatton

Taylor Swift’s recent album reflects her old style of music while showcasing new, unexpected elements. This experimental and care-free approach made for a diverse tracklist. From her very first self-titled record in 2006 to her newest just released, highly anticipated album Lover, Swift has been a groundbreaking artist.

Like any other title track, “Lover” represents the underlying theme of her entire album by displaying a beautiful, enduring love story. In stark contrast from her last album Reputation, this new album is a breath of fresh air. Reputation’s dark and rebellious themes have been exchanged for Lover’s light and romantic ideas. From snakes to butterflies, it shows the complete change in her personal life. Swift has been open about her past struggles with her sour reputation and struggling love life. However, her happy relationship with Joe Alwyn has switched her life around. In “Lover” she says, “My heart’s been borrowed and yours has been blue. All’s well that end well to end up with you.” After listening to the entire album, it is clear that Swift has a full heart and a new, positive outlook on life.

Swift’s unique ability to tell her story through songwriting is what sets apart a Taylor Swift song from that of most other artists. Truthfully, everyone is guilty of listening to her songs to find out the latest gossip, whether it is of the boyfriend she just broke up with or a new fling in her life. Swift writes her songs as the story of her life and has no shame in doing so. “It’s Nice to Have a Friend” and “Miss Americana and The Heartbreak Prince” bring fans back to her iconic storytelling such as her lyrics in her old albums Speak Now and Red. Because Swift writes all of her songs, each phrase is honest and sentimental to the listener. She is able to make songwriting seem so effortless yet so beautifully precise like no other.

Many of the songs from the album, such as “The Archer” introduce an 80’s style of pop music. This came as a surprise to many fans seeing that this is completely new for her. Although these songs are a new style for Swift, they have their bases in an older sound. The ’80s is famous for its dance music and synthesizer tracks. This sound appeals to the older generation, and the new generation interested in retro. Most importantly, it proves that she can embrace a variety of sounds. As Swift’s music capabilities expand, so does her audience. 

Lover does an amazing job of including diverse styles. However, not every song is for everyone. “Death By A Thousand Cuts” does not even compare with some of Swift’s better songs. Although the lyrics are beautiful and well written, the production was not. The song has too many background samples and the melody is hard to follow. In this case, the music distracted and took away from her vocals instead of adding to and enhancing them. This track had so much potential but might have been better as an acoustic.

After staying silent about political issues for so long, Swift took this new album as an opportunity to speak up about her views. During the 2016 election, spectators criticized her for not using her platform to speak out about politics. However, in 2018 Swift took to social media and said, “In the past, I’ve been reluctant to publicly voice my political opinions, but due to several events in my life and in the world in the past two years, I feel very differently about that now.” Not only has Swift been vocal about her views, she has also included them in her lyrics. Songs like “You Need To Calm Down” advocate for love and equality. The song says, “And control your urges to scream about all the people you hate. ‘Cause shade never made anybody less gay.” Swift was able to show her support for LGBTQ rights in a positive and tasteful way. 

“The Man” is one of the best tracks from the album. Swift wrote the song to speak out against gender inequality as she describes how her life would be different if she was a man. This song is particularly great because it points out double-standards in society with meaningful lyrics but remains a happy, pop song. She did not sacrifice the quality of her song with the message she was trying to portray. All of the songs from the album do a nice job of balancing these factors.

While many songs from the album were upbeat, some of them were real and raw. Sad songs are customary to many of her albums. In Swift’s album Speak Now, the song “Back to December” was written about her 2009 break-up. However, in Lover, she focuses on a different type of heartbreak. The song “Soon You’ll Get Better” was written for Swift’s mother who fought cancer. This album reveals serious topics that her fans might be able to relate to. By steering away from her usual breakup songs, listeners can connect with her new, mature message. 

 For the past 13 years, Swift has used her unique songwriting abilities and storytelling techniques to engage her listeners. With her new, mature era, Swift is able to become unfiltered and expand her audience. After landing her sixth No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 chart, it is safe to say that fans continue to love Lover.

Album:

  1. I Forgot That You Existed 
  2. Cruel Summer
  3. Lover
  4. The Man
  5. The Archer 
  6. I Think He Knows
  7. Miss Americana & The Heartbreaker Prince
  8. Paper Rings
  9. Cornelia Street
  10. Death By A Thousand Cuts
  11. London Boy
  12. Soon You’ll Get Better (feat. Dixie Chicks)
  13. False God 
  14. You Need To Calm Down 
  15. Afterglow
  16. ME! (feat. Brendon Urie of Panic! At The Disco)
  17. It’s Nice To Have A Friend
  18. Daylight

Lyrics: A+

Vocals: A+

Instrumental: A-

Final Grade: A

Favorite Song: The Man

Least Favorite Song: Death By A Thousand Cuts

 

Five things to do or watch over Fall Break

Photo by Kate Zuverink

Story by J.D. McKay

Fall break is finally here, and as is customary, I will be writing my column telling all of my readers what I will be watching and what they should be watching too. Some of them will be local high school sports. Others will be on TV. But, regardless, they will be events I will be watching and that I expect to be interesting. 

  1. Football vs Bedford Oct. 11

This is Senior Night and a game that is starting to become a rivalry game. It is usually very close and often has a few side stories that go along with it (just ask head coach James Bragg). However, it always makes for interesting football and typically keeps fans on the edge of their seats during a close game. Plus, it is Senior Night, so come support some seniors. 

  1. Volleyball vs Jeff Oct. 3

If I am going to write this honestly — I cannot say that volleyball has had a terrific year. However, they are very young this year. They have also shown a lot of potential during most matches. They led at times and played very well against Providence, a top 25 team in the nation. If they can play like that again, a home game against Jeff should be our first big rivalry win of the season. 

  1. Girls’ soccer sectionals Oct. 8, 10, 12

This girls’ soccer team is very talented. Earlier this year, they won the Hoosier Cup tournament. They have also already defeated New Albany and Providence, so their talent is clearly showing itself on the field. Girls’ soccer sectionals have almost become a tradition at FC, and winning this year would give the seniors their fourth straight sectional championship.

  1. Virginia versus Notre Dame football Sept. 28

Here is the first non-local sporting event. However, I expect there are plenty of Notre Dame fans reading this because Notre Dame fans are everywhere. Notre Dame is very good and played one of the best teams in the country, Georgia, to a six-point loss. Virginia is ranked 18, so I expect the Irish to finally get a top 25 victory this week. 

  1. Colts versus Chiefs Oct. 6

This should be a very good football game. The Colts have been one of the best teams in the NFL, even without Andrew Luck. The Chiefs also have Patrick Mahomes, potential the best QB in the NFL. If the Colts defense shows out, they should get a tough win on the road. The Colts will definitely be looking to get their hands on the Chiefs again after being knocked out of the playoffs by them last year.

Fear Inoculum Makes the Pieces Fit Again

By Daniel Anderson

For so long, it seemed like a distant dream. Yet, here we are.

Right from the start, the L.A-based band Tool stood as a complete anomaly. In a time where nearly every metal act being spun about on MTV was fusing the genre with an alternative radio-rock sound or even, heaven forbid, hip-hop elements, Tool practically tossed conformity out of the window.

Throughout the mid 90s to the 2000s, they gained notoriety for releasing songs with ambitious, complex structures, ever-shifting time signatures and numerous instrumental switch-ups and passages—all while still having a knack for keeping it all relatively accessible.

Combine that with their abstract and hypnotizing artwork and animated music videos (courtesy of guitarist Adam Jones and artist Alex Grey), and you have the most unlikely combination for success. Though brief in number, Tool’s practically untainted discography has been celebrated to a point that most bands, let alone progressive and alternative metal bands, can only dream of.

With millions of albums sold and accolades from MTV Music Video Awards and Grammy nods galore, it seemed as if time would forever be on this band’s side. Or so we all thought.

After the release of their last studio album, 10,000 Days, in 2006, Tool fell completely silent on new releases from then onward. Even despite the band remaining contractually together, they remained quiet on new material. As the years went by, a new album from them became something of a musical equivalent to a Half-Life sequel: something that would never happen.

That is, until recently.

Earlier this year, it was announced across all social media platforms that the silence would come to an end; their new album was in the works. The months after became a Tool frenzy. Further developments built up even more hype.

Streaming finally became available and album art and the release of the lead single followed suit. Soon enough the time had come—the silence was no more. Tool’s fifth studio effort, Fear Inoculum, had arrived.

With such immense shoes to fill, I had doubts that this group could truly live up to my expectations. To be perfectly honest, this is Tool’s least impressive album thus far. But given their usual standards, I would be remiss if I did not say that there are some fantastic things about it.

For starters, the most blatant elephant in the room is the tracklist: numerically, it is the shortest in their career, yet most of the tracks either border or surpass the ten minute mark. See, Tool are no strangers to long-winded songs, but they are usually reserved for pivotal spots in their tracklists (Third Eye and Wings for Marie being great past examples). With that in mind, it is easy to make the assumption that this was done so to make the album a grand statement.

Upon further inspection, however, this is not so much the case. The opening title track brings just about everything I expected out of a Tool record. From the soft-spoken intro with bongo drums, to the well-balanced production between every member’s instrumental work, to frontman Maynard James Keenan’s blissful yet firm vocals, nothing is out of place here. Best of all, the qualities of this track are blended together in such a way that it makes for a consistently engaging listen. It is a ten minute track that feels nearly half its length.

But in another breath, I do find it somewhat disappointing that Tool doesn’t go too far out of their comfort zone. Slightly worse than that is how the relatively safe songwriting comes at the cost of this track’s memorability, which is something that Tool is normally excellent at incorporating into their progressive metal forte.

Despite these hindrances, I suppose they do not drag down this record’s overall quality that much. In retrospect, two of their most celebrated works Lateralus and the aforementioned 10,000 Days do share a considerable amount of similarity in production and group dynamic, but both still maintain enough nuance to keep themselves unique—such as Lateralus’ tracklist structure being based on the Fibonacci Sequence.

Looking at their progression through that lens, I can tolerate the seemingly meat-and-potatoes approach that this album takes in comparison to its predecessors. Having said all that, I curiously find that nearly every pro and con that I observed on the opener applies to the majority of the tracklist.

Tracks like “Pneuma,” and “Invincible,” despite being decent and enjoyable tracks on their own, do not really lend themselves all that well to inclusion on the album. Even with their compositional difference, they are grounds that this band has tread several times over.

Also, it does not help that the brief, albeit over-abundant interludes on the digital version of this record waste potential room for more decency. Even when there are somewhat memorable moments occasionally (such as Danny Carey’s slick drum soloing on the absurdly-titled “Chocolate Chip Trip), I cannot help but feel that these interludes tainted so much of my enjoyment of the rest of what is offered.

Least of all, without these filler tracks, the album still runs at about 80 minutes in length; they make the experience even more bloated than it already is.

Still, even with the shortcomings, this is not to say that there is nothing of substance here—most of it is practically the opposite. The seventh track “Culling Voices,” serves as one of the more subdued and meditative moments on the album and still manages to stay interesting for its length. The fourth track “Descending,” despite seeming like another standard track, brings about some of Maynards best vocal performances on the record.

Then there is the final track (not including the interludes), “7empest.” This track is essentially the kind which everyone familiar with previous material wants to hear. It is the longest at fifteen minutes, and not a second is wasted. You name it: infectious riffs, Carrey’s fiery drumming, aggressive vocals, compositional finesse—this track has it all.

To sum up, Fear Inoculum manages to keep the discography of Tool nearly uncontested by their contemporaries. For the amount of flaws it has, that is not to speak of the tremendous qualities it has. Sure, gone are the days of more iconic tracks like “Forty Six & 2” and “Schism”, but at the very least, I can be grateful that it is still a solid release.

This record plays like a love-letter, and fans such as I are certainly receiving it as one.

 

Former student discusses Culbertson Mansion history

By Brianna Waggoner

150 years ago, William Culbertson walked into the grand yellow mansion on East Main Street with his wife Cornelia. Today, that mansion retains undying hospitality and honor, as well as historical value for the city of New Albany.

According to Culbertson Mansion program developer Kaitlyn Tisdale, William Culbertson came to New Albany when he was 21 years old and started his dry-goods business with his brother, John Culbertson. Together, they sold fabrics, clothing, and leather goods, working “hand-over-fist,” as Tisdale describes.

“William Culbertson did not believe in marking up his products, and by not marking his products up, he became the most competitive dealer in town, so everyone wanted his business because they were getting the better deal,” said Tisdale.

Eventually, Culbertson became one of the wealthiest men in Indiana during the 1860s. Tisdale refers to him as a “King Midas” because of his talent in investment.

“He was a very wise investor. Anything he invested in turned to gold,” said Tisdale. “By the 1860s, he was a multimillionaire.”

Unheard of at the time, Cornelia was allowed to design the mansion despite being a woman. She was even credited as the architect of the house when it was built.

“I think it wasn’t until 60 years later that they had even socially accepted a woman to designing, so the fact that William allowed her to do that is just incredible, and that’s another reason why I’m so proud to work here,” said event coordinator Bryce Romig, a 2014 FC graduate.

While English teacher Tim Romig knows the history of the mansion, it is not his main interest.

“I’ve learned like who built it, when they built it, why they built it. I mostly like to focus on the dark history like hauntings and stuff like that,” said Mr. Romig.

The home took two full years to build. Construction began in 1867 and the Culbertson family walked into the completed mansion in 1869. Furthermore, it had heat and running water, features most homes did not have at the time.

“Nobody had running water inside their house. It had central heat in the form of a coal-burning furnace. Nobody had that. Businesses had furnaces that could put out heat. Not homes,” said Tisdale.

William Culbertson had ten kids and three wives in total, so many servants were needed to run the home efficiently.

“There was always a staff of about 12 servants here working that [were] men and women, mainly immigrants. It was a workplace and a home, so you have to keep that in mind. The Culbertsons couldn’t have lived in this house without them,” said Tisdale.

Four years after Cornelia Culbertson passed away of cholera in 1880, William married his third wife, Rebecca. In moving into the mansion, she made a few changes to the interior. Tisdale notes that she didn’t make any major architectural changes to the mansion such as tearing down walls, showing respect towards Cornelia’s original ideas when she was alive.

After William Culbertson died at age 78, the mansion switched ownership to the McDonald family and then the American Legion, where it underwent many changes, including sealing the basement floor with cement and tearing down walls. The house is now owned by the state as a historical site.

“It’s been through many a-changes but I’m really glad it’s back in the state’s hands today,” said Bryce. “I always say we want to take it right back to the very first day the Culbertsons ever set foot in here, so everything that we’re doing, we’re trying to replicate back to exactly what it would have looked like when they were here.”

Because his son and step daughter both work at the Culbertson Mansion, Mr. Romig is often able to walk through the mansion with his own tour.

“My tour, I run the New Albany Odd Walk, we go there on occasion, and we also get to go inside and tell stories,” said Mr. Romig.

Along with tours being available at the Culbertson Mansion, the haunted house event is heavily advertised as well. Bryce offers advice for those interested in participating.

“I believe standard admission for an adult is 15 dollars,” said Bryce. “You may have to wait in a line, so maybe wear a jacket because it starts to get very chilly.”

Opening day for “Literally, a Haunted House,” the annual haunted house event at the Culbertson, starts Sept. 27 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The house typically has a sign outside of every mishap at the haunted house, such as how many people left the tour early or how many people wet themselves. Bryce encourages visitors to “come with a brave face on.”