Category Archives: Features

ALBUM REVIEW

Post-Grammy look at gilded Coloring Book

Following the 2017 Grammy Awards, the relevance of which is a different matter altogether, I decided to revisit, and rewrite, a review for one of my favorite albums of last year. The album was produced by none other than this year’s Best New Artist, Chance the Rapper. Although the award is thematically incorrect—Chance released his first mixtape 10 Day in early 2012—it serves as a great way to honor a man who managed to become a breakthrough success without signing to any major labels. With his third mixtape, Coloring Book, winning Best Rap Album, Chance seems only to go further and further on his past towards musical stardom. Coloring Book is an experience from start to finish, one where gospel, hip-hop, and jazz blend into a unique cocktail of sound only Chance could deliver. Read more...

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CAMPUS EVENT

Recyclemania promotes collegiate competition

Does your dorm have a convenient recycling system? Many people know about RPI’s single stream recycling, but sometimes it’s faster to just throw things in the trash. In an effort to make recycling simple for students, members of the Student Sustainability Task Force and Ecologic handed out free recycle bins to students living on campus. These bins, provided by Environment and Site Services, were given out in anticipation of a large, nationwide recycling competition called Recyclemania. This competition spans the United States and Canada, and pits college campuses against each other to see which campus has the most recycling per person. RPI will face some tough competition from the other schools, which include our rival Union College! Recyclemania officially starts Monday, February 6 and goes until Friday, April 1. During each week of the competition, County Waste, RPI’s waste hauler, will measure how much we have recycled as a campus. If you care about the environment, want to see RPI win, or just want to beat Union, then recycle as much as you can during the next few months! We hope that you will join in on the competition and recycle as many recyclable materials as possible! Read more...

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PODCAST REVIEW

Hello Internet piques interest

When two people with extensive interest in somewhat obscure subjects come together to talk, you’ve got yourself an excellent podcast. Hello Internet is, in my opinion, the epitome of the “two dudes talking” podcast genre, if you can call it a genre. What started out as an audio experiment between two YouTube friends, CGPGrey and Brady Haran, has blossomed into unique masterpiece of the podcasting world. Read more...

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CAMPUS SPOTLIGHT

Unofficial hug group brightens Fridays for all

On most Fridays, you can hear us chanting “Happy Friday!” and “Have an awesome day!” outside of Russell Sage Dining Hall. Maybe you’ve even seen us dancing to some music. As one of the campus “Free Hug Friday” huggers, I’d like to tell you from my perspective what our little group is all about. Read more...

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CAMPUS EVENT

Chillin with dinosaurs at Jurassic Parka

Maria’s Review:

This past Saturday, I attended my third Winter Carnival: Jurassic Parka. The weather was much more fitting for the event, with the temperature in the 30s, compared to last year with the sun out and the temperature in the 60s! Read more...

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MOVIE REVIEW

Phenomenal dancing one of many remarkable scenes from La La Land

Released in the United States on December 9, the musical drama La La Land saw almost immediate success for its clever and insightful reimagining of vintage musicals for the modern age. The film took the Venice Film Festival by storm at the end of August, and was widely considered by critics to be on this year’s most anticipated list. Owen Gleiberman of Variety described the film as “the most audacious big-screen musical in a long time, and—irony of ironies—that’s because it’s the most traditional.” Through the most aggressive form of retrograding, La La Land proves itself unique in the scope of modern cinema. Read more...

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CAMPUS EVENT

RPI Ballroom social dance teaches waltz

Last Saturday, instead of staying home and doing Data Structures like most of my classmates, I went out and about to explore the world of RPI Ballroom. I had first heard about this event a week before, when I missed their first social dance and was scrambling to find their next one. This led me to arriving to Academy Hall at 7 pm, with nothing but a lack of dancing experience and five dollars to my name. After paying the toll and gaining admission—gaining access to a selection of snacks—I was ushered into the Academy Hall Auditorium for a brief lesson on the waltz. Read more...

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PODCAST REVIEW

Pod Save America draws from creator’s past jobs

Last year, I faced a terrible conundrum, which no one should have the horror of facing: I was out of backlogged podcast episodes to listen to. Since I’m fairly new to this whole podcast thing, I’m only following a handful of podcasts. With months—and sometimes years—of prior content to listen to on these podcasts, the distress of waiting for new episodes never crossed my mind. So you can imagine my horror as I realized the release date of the latest episode of The Adventure Zone was uncomfortably close to the current date. But, since it was the end of the semester, I decided to push that problem off until the new year. Just like many other school-related problems. Read more...

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VIDEO GAME REVIEW

Mods revitalize older games into masterpieces

More than a year ago, I wrote a review on the fresh release of Fallout 4. I want to make it clear, I absolutely loved the game when it first came out. There was so much potential, so much possibility in Fallout 4 over Fallout 3 and New Vegas. But after a couple of months, I guess I just ran the game out of content. Even with the downloadable content, it just wasn’t enough. So now, after buying a cool NVIDIA GTX 1070, I’ve bumped everything to ultra and installed a ton of mods, giving me probably another hundred or so hours of fresh gameplay. But before I go into the mods, let’s touch on why it all became stale. Read more...

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RESTAURANT REVIEW

Poly crew explores Troy’s latest sushi joint

Rex’s review:

To be quite honest, two things at this restaurant stood out to me: the setting and the price. It is easily the most eye-grabbing shop on the street—its windows are lined with colored Christmas lights which, while not cohesive with the rest of the restaurant atmosphere, breathe life into the space. Otherwise, Unagi had a very relaxed, intimate ambiance, similar to the kind found at Troy’s Illium Cafe or Whistling Kettle. Its prices are outside the range of a college student’s budget; our party of four only managed to afford the Sushi Dinner for Two (three six-piece rolls and 16 pieces of sushi for $50) through a Groupon discount. Read more...

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MOVIE REVIEW

Collateral Beauty falls apart like dominoes

To this day, I’m not sure what the title of the pairing of words “collateral beauty” even means; all I know is that collaterals have to do with loans, and beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. The movie Collateral Beauty hit the theater a little more than a month ago and has had quite a variety of reactions. Read more...

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MOVIE REVIEW

Lion tells abandoned boy’s tale of homecoming

From the very beginning, Lion makes the world seem both small, yet vast. While altogether, the film arouses tear-jerking— this reviewer definitely got a little teary-eyed—and heartwarming emotions, the film’s second half seems to falter slightly to the strong, vivid opening of the first. Read more...

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TV SERIES REVIEW

Show shines with fresh take on political games

The United States Government fascinates me.

More specifically, I find it so interesting to see how the federal, state, and municipal governments of such a major world player operates on a regular basis, and how the United States Constitution— primarily written almost 230 years ago—and its short list of amendments ensure that even the most mundane and overlookable regular operations of the country persist. This fascination plays a role in the television series I find very interesting, and is a common distraction when searching through Wikipedia. Read more...

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GAME REVIEW

Automation obsession manifests in Factorio

Elements of modded Minecraft and Sim City combine, creating factory management RTS

Factorio has been available since February 2016, and I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to pick up such an innovative game. The premise is simple—you’re stranded on an alien planet and need to build a rocket ship to escape. There are abundant resources with which to do this, and you (fortunately) have the knowledge and skill to build some mining machines to get it all rolling. But as the copper, iron, and coal rolls in off the conveyor belts, the player will quickly realize that manually collecting, smelting, and crafting everything is a bit too slow. That’s where the fun begins: automating everything. Read more...

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CONCERT REVIEW

Rave balances sing-alongs, head-banging

Not even home for 1 week from school, I attended the Gud Vibrations Tour at the Oakdale Dome in Wallingford, Connecticut, featuring Slander and NGHTMRE. Read more...

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MOVIE REVIEW

Latest Star Wars series addition renews hope

The Star Wars film series continues with the first installment of Star Wars Anthology, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. This newest lens-flaring, explosion-filled, action-packed movie in the franchise enters the scene as a quasi-stand-alone. The film details events immediately prior to A New Hope, the very first film in the series from 1977, and segues into the timeline seamlessly. However, the film brings an entire set, of shiny brand new characters, along with some CGI ones, to the screen. Nonetheless, this reviewer was giddy upon hearing that the simple “many Bothans died to bring us this information” line from Mon Mothma in A New Hope would earn its own full-length feature to answer their begging question. Read more...

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ALBUM REVIEW

Starboy reinforces The Weeknd’s stardom

Hailing from outside Toronto, Canadian rapper The Weeknd has had a busy year. Fresh from his fame off of his first full album The Beauty Behind the Madness, the world eagerly awaited what Abel Makkonen Tesfaye might do next in his musical career. With the November 25 release of his new album Starboy, I feel like he has written a compelling argument as to why he deserves to remain at the forefront of the music industry. The Weeknd blends smooth rap verses with interchanged bursts of aggressive EDM synths and jumpy pop melodies, which makes for a unique listening experience. Read more...

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TV SERIES REVIEW

3% delivers thrills

As the newest original release from Netflix, Brazilian-produced dystopian thriller 3% seems to be riding on the coattails of the popular Hunger Games franchise. The show debuted its eight-episode first season on November 25, and has quickly become the subject of binge-watches nationwide. Read more...

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CAMPUS EVENT

RPI film showing explores experimental media

On Thursday, December 1, Laure Prouvost showed six of her short films and discussed the inspiration and meaning behind her works at Rensselaer’s Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center. Her short films were very experimental, fitting the venue, and showcased a lot of different techniques with image, sound, color, and narration. Read more...

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MOVIE REVIEW

Wizards, witches, beasts take New York City

Let’s get this out of the way: if you haven’t seen Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, go do it as soon as you can, because it is a fantastic movie and this article will contain spoilers. Read more...

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