A Drop in Ratings

In Ted Gioia’s essay, there is a chart titled “The Prisoners Have Been Released From Cultural Bondage.” This chart shows various trends regarding the de-institutionalization of the arts and entertainment. The trend that I was most curious about claimed that “People binge on movies and TV shows, but… Ratings for the Oscars and other award shows have collapsed.” To understand why the drop in ratings was occurring, I looked to an article posted on the Boston Globe website. This article is titled “Seven Reasons Why TV Audiences Are Bored With The Oscars.” It states seven reasons why the Oscars have lower ratings. The first reason mentions that the Oscars was once one of the only ways to see the stars. Social media wasn’t readily available, so celebrities were sort of shrouded in mystery. Now, you can find virtually a celebrity’s social media page and see what they’ve been up to. The second reason is that the award season is getting longer and longer. There are smaller awards given before the Oscars starts, and that removes the surprise when someone wins. The third reason is that there aren’t many box office hits anymore. Moviegoers are less interested in the competition in movies, and streaming services have allowed people to watch movies from the comfort of their own home. The fourth reason is that the Oscars started to present awards before the telecast starts and then air those clips later. This is a problem for attendees who wish to watch the awards, but they also have to walk the red carpet at that time. The fifth reason is that there are just too many award shows. They aren’t very different from one another, and the author states that they are just more opportunities for wealthy people to be pat on the back. The sixth reason is that the TV industry is booming. A-list actors are more willing to be a part of a TV show, and TV is much of what we talk about in pop culture today. The final reason is that the internet allows us to catch up on what happened. We no longer have to go to bed at an ungodly hour to see the entire award show. I believe that this trend isn’t bad. I think it’s a step in the right direction. I believe that we put too much reverence into celebrities who are just like us. The constant award shows are tiring to me. I don’t believe that we should start hating on celebrities. Yes, they do have reason to be celebrated. Most of them worked hard to be successful, and many of them have amazing talents, but I don’t think the public should be so obsessed with them. I am hoping that this trend will help us take a small step back from borderline worshipping these people. I think the Oscars will continue to go on. I believe they will try all they can to get ratings up. They may try to take the advice of celebrities that appear at the Oscars by telecasting all of the awards that they offer.

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Goodbye Media Oligarchy

Consumers devote half of their waking hours to entertainment but stock prices for Disney and other entertainment companies have collapsed. Now an executive at Disney most likely devotes 90% of their work hours if not more attempting to correct this catastrophic issue. However, is it really an issue for your typical consumer? I argue not. Clearly, the public is still consuming entertainment and most definitely they are consuming new entertainment. I reason the decline in Disney and media conglomerates stock prices is due to the fact that today’s society craves more authentic, real entertainment. Entertainment they choose to consume. 

Many people are now turning to creator based content such as Tik Tok, Snapchat, and Youtube as their main source of entertainment. Creators on these platforms feel more real and their goals are more achievable than ones touted on most TV shows and movies. Reality T.V. shows a lavish lifestyle that the average American can’t obtain. Especially in today’s declining economy when many Americans are struggling to afford rent, groceries and car payments they do not want the lifestyles of the rich and famous shoved down their throats. For this reason, many people want to consume the content of everyday working class people. I do not believe that this is a conscious choice on behalf of many but rather a cultural shift away from Hollywood. This shift I believe is a good thing as in my opinion Hollywood is an oligarchy. An oligarchy is defined as a small group that has control over an institution, company or country. The movie and t.v. show networks are tightly intertwined with the big newspapers and talk shows. This means that almost all of the media the public consumed before this new age of consumer based content was all produced by the same institution. How then is it possible for the American public to get content they actually want to see if it is the oligarchy of Hollywood that is deciding what the public GETS to see. 

A great example of this tightly knit community is the Met Gala. Arguably, the gala is the most prestigious fashion event of the year, however if you look at the attendees you will see models, film stars, singers and producers: all of the content we consume in one room. Not to mention, the whole extravaganza is held by Vogue. 

I believe that it is in societies best interest if we move away from these huge entertainment companies in favor of smaller production companies as they will cater towards what society wants to consume. Not to mention, the smaller companies would have to listen to the public’s desires if they wanted to survive. This contrasts with the past in the age of the entertainment conglomerates because the benefit of an oligarchy to the oligarchy is there is no other option- people had to consume what they were releasing if they wanted to consume media. The same is not true today- companies have to listen to the public and I feel it is a vast benefit to society.  

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My Folklore With Taylor Swift’s Folklore

As much as I love the music artist Lorde, I will always disagree with her lyric, “’Cause all the music you loved at sixteen, you’ll grow out of.” As a fresh seventeen-year-old, I witnessed Taylor Swift release, in my opinion, her magnum opus of an album, folklore. It’s been almost four years since the summer of the surprise release, and it might be cliche to say, but this album changed my life. I had always been in and out of my love of her music, and in the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic, a new blossoming relationship with her music was needed. When the 2021 Grammys came around, folklore was nominated for multiple awards, including Album of the Year. In a year plagued by the pandemic, it was refreshing to see an award show live and in person, even with all of the necessary precautions taken to do so. Swift was asked to perform, and she performed. At this point, fans had seen very few live performances of the album due to COVID-19, bringing in a sense of anticipation.

Starting on the roof of the “folklore cabin,” Swift starts singing the beginning of a song:


vintage tee, brand new phone.”


Singing the lyrics from her single “cardigan.” As the camera slowly zooms out, we realize that Swift is lying on her back while singing. She finished the song and climbed down into the inside of the cabin. As warm lights appear inside, the viewer sees co-writers on the album, Jack Antonoff and Aaron Dessner, playing with her. Swift picks up a guitar with a knowing smile on her face as she starts strumming,


“Salt air, and the rust on your door.”


I remember freaking out; she was playing a fan-favorite song off the album, “august.” An imaginary crowd bursts into cheers. After she transitions into the single “willow,” off the sister album, evermore, Swift steps out of the cabin along with Antonoff and Dessner and jams out with a different and upbeat cadence. 


“You know that my train could take you home.”


She grabs the skirt of her dress and waves it around, similar to the cover of her album Speak Now.


“Anywhere else is hollow.”


Ending her performance, Swift flashes a smile to the camera and looks over to Antonoff and Dessner in acknowledgment. 

There are so many things about this performance that resonate with me. Swift’s expressions of emotion during the performance show how much this album means to her. You can tell she feels successful and content in her work. I am a fan girl, and both Harry Styles and Taylor Swift were performing. I had to watch it. At the time, I needed a win. I was going from medical appointment to medical appointment. My dad and I had just driven nine hours that day up to Philly to check out a new doctor. I had begged and begged to plan the trip so I could watch the Grammys live. It meant so much to me. We made it just in time, quite literally minutes before it started. Later that night, she won Album of the Year for folklore. I remember leaping out of my chair as if I was on stage with her. Small victories, such as watching folklore win or my on-time arrival, were needed at the time, which made the most in the time of question. I spent the next few days rewatching this performance, and even now, I will find myself rewatching it. 

Lorde, as I write this at the age of twenty-one, I love your music, but you are wrong. You can still love the music you loved at sixteen (seventeen, in my case) and not grow out of it. It can grow. 

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Blog Post 3- Noah Kahan, Must the music stop?

It’s midnight on a Monday, and I find myself sitting in the same place I find myself most nights. I am lying on the couch, nursing my fresh cup of coffee as I listen to the scratching of the well-loved record spinning under the needle of my record player. Playing softly so as not to wake my partner up, Noah Kahan laments about life and some sorrows I find myself living.

My partner once asked me why I listened to Noah Kahan. He was confused as to why I enjoyed listening to songs that eventually always resulted in at least one tear streaming down my face. I struggled to explain why I listened to his music; I had no option but to listen. I struggled to explain why I listened to his music because it was something people typically either understood or didn’t. I would never be able to change anybody’s mind. You cannot tell someone how to heal. You cannot tell someone how to cope. I cannot explain why Noah Kahan sometimes seems the only real thing in my life. I cannot explain that sometimes Noah Kahan appears to be the only person who can articulate exactly what I feel. This artist somehow found a way to express life in a way I never could. This artist somehow found a way to express my life.

In my opinion, regarding suffering, we only really have two options. It is released or internalized. Internalization has never been my strong suit. I have cycled in my life through multiple addictions, whether they were substances, alcohol, working out, or throwing myself into school and work. The one I settled on was music. The sweet yet painful melodies made me realize aspects of myself. The melodies were my solace in times of heartache. Music gave me redemption.

Don’t let this darkness fool you

All lights turned off can be turned on

The song changes on the record, and my attention is again focused on the daydreaming that was just occurring in my head. The now-playing song, Call Your Mom, by Noah Kahan, drones in the background of my thoughts. It is a song about suicide. It is a song of desperation. It is a song about the potential loss of a loved one. It is a song of fear, pain, and suffering. It is a song of hope. It is a song that I can relate to. The song changes.

You said my heart has changed, and my soul has changed

And my heart, and my heart

That my face has changed, and I haven’t drank in six months

On the dot

The never-ending story of the battle and struggle of loving someone with alcoholism. The song changes again. 

’cause everyone’s growing and everyone’s healthy

I’m terrified that I might never have met me

Oh, if my engine works perfect on empty

I guess I’ll drive

Noah Kahan perfectly details the struggle of either having depression or loving someone with depression with his rusty folksy voice. 

As I sit here on my overpriced leather Ikea couch I begin to notice a few things. I notice that this moment of peace in the storm, listening to Noah Kahan singing might be the realest thing in my life at the moment. I notice that although Noah Kahan sings of soul-crushing life events, the songs never stop playing. They continue to progress through the album in the same way that life must also continue on—until all at once and often very suddenly, they both must stop.


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The Time of My Life

“Time of Our Lives” by Tyrone Wells is a song that is filled with joy, hope for the future, and a touch of sadness. When I first heard and danced to it I felt the same about it. I thought it was going to be forever crystalized in my mind with those emotions attached to it, and for a while it was. As that chapter of my life closed, the new one slowly began to go in a different path than expected. These events shifted and morphed my feelings about this song into a mix of the old and the new, pain, grief, confusion, and anger. Now when I hear it, I am drawn into an ever-shifting reverie of my last moments of dancing on a stage.

The first lyric reminds me, that the chapter has ended. The second, that I am now living in the one that followed, but somehow, it’s not what it was supposed to be. “Time of Our Lives” by Tyrone wells was once a hopeful final moment for me and those I viewed as family, but now it is a painful reminder of what has been lost. When I hear it, it allows me to step back out of the bitterness and pain that followed. Back to the moment when I last moved in sync with my best friends without the glare of hatred and sorrow. Wells states that “the time has come for letting go,” and momentarily my bitterness seeps in, but I push it back the idea that the lyric is a command and focus on the time when it was a statement.

Next is the chorus. It reminds me that those fifteen years are over, but also of the bonds that we made in those fifteen years of near constant togetherness. “We have had the time of our lives…” and now we have to go on to write new stories, but these stories will be without each other. The next laments how “hard [it is] to walk away from the best of days,” but I am painfully reminded of how good it was to have them as my friends from childhood to that moment.

Another set of new verses to remind me of how much has changed and will continue to change. Now It repeats, the chorus. We have had the time of our lives, the stories we will write, the faces left behind, and again, it reminds me of how hard it was to walk away. I think of how difficult it is to keep walking and not remain trapped in the clutches of the grudge that I can’t let go.

The bridge. It hurts, but it fulfills its purpose. It is a crossing for me. A crossing from bitterness and confusion to at least a moment of appreciation and love for the moments we had. Wells sings desperately of how we hold on tight to the memories that will never die. I am reminded of the desperation and fervor of our hands in each other’s grip as we danced for the last time together. The tears that flowed and the blurry smiles that were shared. I am swept up in the memory, and I can smile when thinking about it now.

The chorus plays one final time. The smile leaves my face. The final lyric is, “I’m glad you have been my friend / In the times of our lives.” I have been ripped from the reverie, and all I can think on the final notes of music is one question. Am I?



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Y Si Fuera Ella – Blog Post 3


The concert footage unfolds like a balm on nights when my sorrow weighs heavy, and my tears refuse to fall. Even when I’d never felt the pain of unrequited love, Kim Jonghyun’s voice reached deep inside my chest and filled me with unexplainable pain. His vocals carry a soulful sound and echo with an emotional power that transcends language barriers, touching the hearts of anyone. Every note of the song carries the weight of his hurt, forcing listeners to relish in the sadness that resided in his heart.

During the live performance of “Y Si Fuera Ella,” the ninth track of SHINee’s debut album, “The SHINee World,” Jonghyun’s presence shines brightly. It begins with a scene on the big screen of the venue. In a winter setting of a barren forest, Jonghyun collapses to his knees as thunder roars. 

Oddly, I always feel, even when I first watched it, that it mirrors something I’ve seen before, but that sight is nothing more than some unplaceable emotion I’ve felt at particular moments. My home is aged and fragile; its hardwood floors are worn, and its walls are thin. The thunder’s resonance always found its way to me, vibrating through the floor I sat on.

As I held myself through my first heartbreak, the video found its way to my television. As Jonghyun walked onstage to the sound of a gentle piano, I felt the pain in my chest that I’d found comfort in from countless watches. As the first chorus rolled in, I finally related to the song in a way I never had before. For the first time, the line, “Living while pretending I don’t know you,” held a significance that I could truly grasp and hold onto. 

Sweat glistened on Jonghyun’s neck, and his cries for his lost love seemed to touch me through the screen, blending with my skin as I felt beads rolling down my back, leaving a trail of chills behind them. With each of his desperate pleas for his lover not to abandon him, a frog climbed up my throat and choked me.

As the screen faded to black, my anticipation hung heavy. At first watch, the harrowing performance seemed to be over, but I knew better. On the venue screen, Jonghyun merges again, returning to the genesis scene where he knelt. He lets out a primal scream, and the thunder’s rumble reclaims the stage. With a resounding gunshot, synchronized with the return of the lights, he reclaims the stage, clad in a pristine white outfit, a crimson blood stain over his heart. 

With each note that escaped his lips, I felt something resonate within me. It was as if he escaped the television and jumped straight into my heart, plucking at its strings with a precision that left me breathless. I was no longer a spectator but a participant in the emotion before me.

A mournful guitar riff sounded together with my stifled sobs as the song returned to the line, “Live while pretending I didn’t know you.” He once again fell to his knees, splashing into a puddle of bright red water. The water dripped down his face in tune with my tears, and that night, I finally understood the importance of music.


Link to the performance: https://youtu.be/0lSSIQ4lE78?si=nr7Ww-6fmKkWGgIj

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Release from Cultural Bondage

One of the examples from Ted Gioia’s chart titled “The Prisoners Have Been Released from Cultural Bondage.” that stood out to me was people constantly talk about movies, TV, and music, but newspapers and media outlets have fired most of their full-time critics. This stood out to me because I often check the ratings of a movie or show before watching it to see how well it is liked. But to see that full-time critics are being fired doesn’t surprise me. In today’s world, social media has taken over everything, so most people hear about new movies, shows, or music through social media apps. Also, people have come to dislike most professional critics because they are often harsh when commenting on different media. Since everyone is more connected through their phones people would rather hear the opinions of viewers from the general population. Receiving opinions from a large population instead of a few critics is much more trustworthy when making a decision on how to judge a piece of media. People going to other viewers to get an opinion on what they are interested in watching or listening to causes the need for full-time critics to diminish. With Artists and franchises having a platform, they can maintain a large and engaging fanbase. This allows for each fanbase to easily express their opinions and is accessible for anyone to view. One example of this would be the platform TikTok, whenever a new movie or show comes out there are thousands of people who make videos voicing their reactions. One show that just came out recently was Fallout and it has gotten really positive feed back across all platforms especially TikTok. Along with the videos itself that people post there are the comment sections that people show whether they agree or disagree with what the creator voices. This format is similar across most social media apps, allowing for people to receive feedback on anything from other normal viewers of media. In my opinion I think this trend is good in this case. I don’t think a select few should be able to make the critiques and ratings for all media that is displayed to the public. It is the general populations opinions that really matter when deciding if something is good or bad. Also fanbases have grown extremely large for all sorts of things and tend to voice strong opinions when they don’t like what is being released. I think people might even be able to connect more when discussing how they think about a movie, show, or music. Moving forward I think more people will continue to move away from looking at critics reviews other than the numbered rating on IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes. Gaining real fans reactions is easily accessible making full-time critics an unreliable source. The media industry is always changing, so there is no telling where it will go from here.

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The Essence of Love in Des’ree’s Song “I’m Kissing You”

Featured in Baz Luhrmann’s version of Romeo and Juliet (1996), all four minutes and fifty-three seconds of “I’m Kissing You” by Des’ree encapsulates the feeling of love in its purest form. The first strike of the chord immediately brings the sense of being wrapped in a blanket of pure emotion. Each note that follows makes the listener swoon. Not only does the performance’s technical skill move me, but the unmistakable sense of passion and longing fills every breath and word.

As the ballad unfolds, I am transported to a place where love is governing. Every utterance is saturated with sweetness and lasting devotion, weaving together tender moments and vulnerability with sincerity. Des’ree’s vocal delivery is nothing short of mesmerizing. Her voice quivers with emotion as she lays out the bare intricacies of love and longing. It’s as if she’s inviting the listener into her private world and sharing with them the rawness of heartache and the beauty of desire. 

There’s a particular moment in the song where there’s a crescendo of emotion that builds with each passing phrase that never fails to send shivers down my spine. It’s as if in those precious seconds, time stands still. I’m suspended in a moment of pure emotion, I feel its intensity. I find myself captivated, hanging on to every word as if my existence depended on it. And the lyrics themselves are poetic and moving, painting a vivid picture of love in all of its glory and pain. The repetition of, “I’m kissing you” resonates with a touching simplicity, conveying a depth of emotion that the words alone can’t capture. The instrumentation, the lyrics, the vocals; each element creating a symphony that resonates deep within the soul.

As the song nears the end, there’s a sense of bittersweet resolution, a feeling of relief and freedom that washes over me like a wave. In those final moments, all of the pent-up emotions and longing that were built up throughout the song are finally released. It leaves me with a profound sense of peace and fulfillment. Afterwards, I find my countless emotions to be tussling, each one more powerful than the last. There’s a sense of longing and a yearning for love that transcends the limits of time and space. There’s also a profound sense of gratitude, for having been given the opportunity to experience something so deeply moving. 

Although in the grand scheme of things, “I’m Kissing You” may be just another song in a vast sea of musical expression, to me it’s so much more than that. It’s a reminder of the power of music to touch the depths of our uniquely intricate souls, a reminder to evoke emotions we never knew existed and to connect us in ways that words alone cannot. So, as I listen to “I’m Kissing You” once more, I do so with a heart full of gratitude and flooding emotion. In those fleeting moments of musical bliss, I find comfort, peace, and above all, a profound sense of love. 

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don’t be a stranger

It was the summer of my parents’ divorce. I was living with my (now) single mother in a tiny house just big enough for the two of us. I had almost gone no contact with my father. While all of these thoughts swirled in my mind, I would sit in my room listening to Phoebe Bridgers for hours on end. Was it the best thing for my mental health? Probably not, but the music got me through it. Every bit of me clung to Bridgers’ music as she vocalized her complicated relationship with her father. And with every lyric, every line, it felt as though she was speaking directly to me. About my life.

My emotional connection with Phoebe Bridgers’ music was only strengthened when I saw her open for Taylor Swift in Nashville last year. I was in the nosebleeds – the only seats I could afford. When Phoebe came out, I was the only one standing up in my section. With no time to record, I passed my phone off to my boyfriend. I knew I would want to go back and relive this moment later. I kept my emotions intact throughout her set. That is, until she got to “Scott Street”.

“Scott Street” itself is a deep track. Her performance of it is five minutes and five seconds of pure art. In the song, Phoebe describes herself (presumably) catching up with someone she used to love. The song perfectly encapsulates the lonely feeling you get when you realize you have grown apart from someone you once shared every moment your life with. She begs this person to answer her question, “Do you feel ashamed when you hear my name?”. The question is followed by a haunting instrumental. She ends the song woefully singing, “Anyway, don’t be a stranger”. Except she already knows that this person is a stranger to her now and there is absolutely nothing in the world that she can do to fix it.

Though “Scott Street” is likely about an ex, I have always taken the lyrics and applied them to my broken relationship with my absent father. He would often say “don’t be a stranger” to me when hanging up the phone then go months without calling. So naturally, tears came streaming down my cheeks the second I heard the first few guitar strums in “Scott Street” play over Nissan Stadium. In that moment, it felt as though it was only Phoebe and I in that stadium. All of a sudden, I was transported back to my bedroom that summer. When it was only her and I at 3am.

I screamed every lyric through my tears at that show. Now when I watch the video my boyfriend made of the performance, all I can hear is my off-key singing through sobs. But I still listen to it from time to time because it moves me every time I watch it. If you look closely enough, you can see Phoebe on stage; as small as an ant from the nose bleeds. When the camera pans over, you see a teenage girl healed by her music.

A girl who has finally realized her own self worth.




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“We’ll Be a Fine Line”

Julia Deicicchi- Option 1

“We’ll be a fine line. We’ll be alright”, lyrics I will never forget, and lyrics that hold true meaning in life. There is a fine line between happiness and sadness, a fine line between regret and acceptance. But in the end, we’ll be alright. 

I have seen Harry Styles perform live in concert five times, and despite his whimsical, colorful and electric performance style, I am most moved when he plays his song “Fine Line”. This song is a personal favorite of mine due to the heartfelt and intricate lyrics. Many fans of this song make their own interpretations and connections, and we can only assume what Styles is truly talking about in his personal life. When I listen to this song, my emotions are more sad and it makes me think about past relationships and hard times. Music is definitely an outlet that I use and I often rely on it no matter what mood I’m in. To add on, “Fine Line” is a reflective song and it is also so beautiful in nature that I choose to listen to it when I’m in any mood. All 6 minutes and 18 seconds of the song is full of  beautiful guitar chords and drums that transcend listeners into a different place. For those several minutes I become immersed in this beautiful song, taking time to reflect and let myself think for a moment. 

WIth most of Styles performances he is dancing around a large T- Shaped stage, skipping and jumping to the beat of a fun song. He has signature dance moves that fans adore, screaming the lyrics back at him. But for “Fine Line”, no one is screaming. Instead, we are staring in awe at him, careful not to sing too loud so that we can hear his mesmerizing vocals. The first time I ever saw Styles perform was at Mohegan Sun arena and it was the most magical environment. As an avid “Fine Line” fan I was ecstatic for him to sing it. Not only did he sing it, but he set up his microphone and guitar right on my side of the stage, so I had a perfect view of his performance. Without sounding dramatic, I was genuinely in disbelief of him being there singing this song so angelic. I even noticed the little note changes he did and was frozen in my place, with a tear falling down my face. When the song ended and I looked over at my friend, both of our eyes were glossy. 

I wish I could experience listening to “Fine Line” for the first time again, but I am forever grateful for that experience. Watching and listening to Styles take those 6 minutes and 18 seconds to turn the energetic high paced concert into a softer more somber magical heartfelt moment is truly an amazing moment in my life. 

Harry Styles' One Night Only Show at the Forum: What It Was Like

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