Tuesday, December 20, 2016

PEARL JAM AND TUPAC SHAKUR LEAD 2017 ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME CLASS

By: Connor Glowacki

Image result for pearl jam     The Rock And Roll Hall of Fame announced Dec. 20 that six acts would be inducted into its 2017 class. The five acts who were inducted on their first try include rock bands Pearl Jam, Journey and Electric Light Orchestra, singer-songwriter Joan Baez, and west coast rapper Tupac Shakur. English rock band Yes will join the five acts as they were inducted after being nominated for the third time.

     I think Pearl Jam, Electric Light Orchestra and, eventually, Yes, were locks due to these acts being pioneers among their peers in the various genres of progressive rock, art rock, grunge, and alternative.
     I think Journey deserved to get into because they had so many great hit songs and albums that stand up fairly well to this day, but it was a slight surprise only because they seemed to be endlessly mocked by a lot of rock purists throughout their career. Even though this was Journey's first nomination, they were snubbed several times when they were eligible for nomination.

    The 75-year-old Baez continues to be one of the more prolific folk songwriters in the history of music as her catalog has stretched into five decades! Now while I think Shakur is one of the greatest rappers and lyricists of all time, I've tended to question the idea of rappers being allowed into the rock and roll hall of fame. Could you make a connection to the two genres? Sure, but they are still different genres at the end of the day. That being said, it's cool seeing Shakur make it in almost two decades after his death.

As always, there continue to be notable acts getting snubbed from induction into the hall of fame. Disco-funk band Chic got snubbed after being the nominated for the 11th time! Other acts that were nominated, but not inducted include bands Jane's Addiction, Depeche Mode, Bad Brains and The Cars, singers Chaka Khan and Janet Jackson, and German electronic music group Kraftwerk.

The 32nd annual Rock Hall induction ceremony will take place April 7 in Brooklyn.

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Did the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame committee get it right this year with their picks?

And who should be admitted next?

Share your opinion and leave a comment below or let me know on Twitter @ConnorGlowacki.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

LOUIS TOMLINSON AND STEVE AOKI - "JUST HOLD ON" (SONG REVIEW)

By: Connor Glowacki

Image result for louis tomlinson just hold on    Witnessing the solo careers of the members of English boy band One Direction is fascinating to me because we are watching their career trajectories in present time. It's like if we were able to do early projections on how members of NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys would do in their solo careers after their groups' own hiatuses.
     After Zayn Malik released his R&B-laced debut album 'Mind Of Mine' in March, which received favorable reviews and included a number one hit in 'Pillowtalk', and Niall Horan released his folky debut single 'This Town' in September; Louis Tomlinson became the third One Direction member to release solo music with his debut single 'Just Hold On', a collaboration with electronic dee-jay Steve Aoki.

     This is a surprise to me because Tomlinson had long been considered the least talented vocalist in One Direction and it seemed he was headed toward a behind-the-scenes career. Also, I didn't think he would release music before Harry Styles, who was thought of as the 'star' of the boy band.
(Although to Styles' credit, he's featured in Christopher Nolan's film 'Dunkirk', which is expected to come out in 2017 and that may align more properly with a solo release.)

     But how is Louis Tomlinson's 'Just Hold On'? Did he surprise me by making a great song?

     --

     Well, Tomlinson went for the uplifting electronic dance number to start his solo career and it does resonate because his mother unfortunately passed away just a few days ago at 42-years-old. 'Just Hold On' is a song about  pushing through adversities with mentions of death sprinkled throughout. I'll give Tomlinson credit for writing the lyrics because it couldn't have been easy with the knowledge that his mother was dying. No one should have to go through that kind of pain and my prayers are with the entire family during this time.

     I like the lyrics in the pre-chorus and chorus, but the line,  'The sun goes down and it comes back up. The world it turns no matter what', doesn't quite align with the sentiment and themes of the song. And while the second verse successfully dealt with the idea of a person facing death and deciding if they would want to be remembered as a fighter instead of giving up, the first verse uses the cliches of looking up at the stars and standing on the edge without either ideas relating to the main idea of the song. Lyrically, 'Just Hold On' is uneven.

     Production-wise, 'Just Hold On' does build a swell in the chorus that has a decent enough electronic drop, but it feels limp and kind of bland. I get that kind of production can work with a song of this nature, but I wish it had more of a punch and grit to it that I had seen Aoki do before, in regards to his collaborations with Fall Out Boy and Linkin Park. Aoki made a song with emotional lyrics sound happier so it could provide a more uplifting moment. Uplifting moments are better than melancholic affiars for partygoers at EDM festivals, after all.

     I actually think Tomlinson does a solid job vocally on this song. Even though the vocals are slightly processed, which can happen in EDM songs, you still feel the emotion in his voice and the production plays to his vocal strengths rather than his weakness of having a more limited range than some of his One Direction counterparts.

RECAP:

     Overall, 'Just Hold On' IS a decent song that is a shift for Tomlinson in terms of the music genre. But it could've been better.
   
     I wholeheartedly appreciate the sentiment and the thoughts he must've felt in his mind when writing this song for his mother. That being said, the lyrics and production with 'Just Hold On' are bland and would sound like any other EDM song in the last few years. Plenty of EDM songs have deep meanings, but they also have sharper songwriting. I think these things may hold 'Just Hold On' back from being a hit song that has legitimate staying power.

     But Tomlinson could succeed because of his ability to write and collaborate on catchy pop songs. He was the member of One Direction who was most involved in the songwriting on their later albums  and shows on 'Just Hold On' that he can handle a dark theme but also allow it to feel relatable to the masses.  Zayn had a number one hit and Horan's 'This Town' has so far peaked at #25 on the Billboard Hot 100. I don't know how well this song will do for Tomlinson, but his ability to write songs will continue to be a strength for his music career.

RATING: 2.5 Out Of 5 (**1/2)

Let me know what you think about this song by leaving a comment below or on Twitter @ConnorGlowacki.



Tuesday, December 13, 2016

2017 GRAMMY NOMINATIONS BREAKDOWN

 By: Connor Glowacki

Image result for grammy awards     The nominations for the 2017 Grammy Awards, airing on Feb. 12, were announced recently and there are plenty of surprises. Let's take a look at some of the major categories and do some early predicting to see who may come away with the coveted awards.

Remember: These are just my opinions. It's okay if we don't agree!

Note: Besides the all-around awards near the top, the only genre based awards I'm including in this post are rock/alternative, country and rap. I understand that there are plenty of other genres that I could mention, but the length of this post would increase dramatically. Enjoy!

ALBUM OF THE YEAR:

"25" by Adele
"Lemonade" by Beyonce
"Views" by Drake
Image result for adele vs beyonce"Purpose" by Justin Bieber
"A Sailor's Guide To Earth" by Sturgill Simpson

     Adele and Beyonce are the non-surprises of the group, considering they released two of the biggest and most successful albums in the past year. It's also nice that both of these albums are quite good, even great in Beyonce's case.
     The fact that Simpson's latest foray into alternative americana was nominated is a win for the genre of country music. He is one of the most adventurous musicians in both country music and regular mainstream music right now. It's great to see hard work and talent pay off.
     I am surprised to see Drake and Justin Bieber's albums nominated for this award. Yes, both were extremely sucessful commercially selling almost two million copies each in the U.S. But 'Views' is arguably Drake's worst, least consistent and most repetitive album in his career. 'Purpose' may be Bieber's best output, but it frankly shouldn't have been in this category over the likes of 'Coloring Book' by Chance The Rapper or 'Blackstar' by David Bowie. Hell, if we're talking about pop-centric albums, I would have gladly put in 'Dangerous Woman' by Ariana Grande, 'Anti' by Rihanna or the latest album from british-rock band The 1975.

Who Should Win?

     I really hope either Beyonce or Sturgill Simpson end up winning the main award. Beyonce's genre-bending and honest 'Lemonade' and Simpson's adventurous 'Sailor' were both high-quality marks that were set in 2016 and the world of music would benefit to either one of them winning.

Who Will Win? 

     Beyonce has a great chance because she is Beyonce and she released a great album. Simpson is in the running because he is the true outsider of the group. But Adele's '25' has sold over 20 million copies worldwide and an an almost 10 million copies domestically. Some say she has single-handedly kept the music industry from going underwater. The fact that '25' was a good album and sold as well as it has makes Adele, at the very least, a slight favorite to win Album of the Year.


SONG OF THE YEAR:

"Hello" by Adele -- written by Adele and Greg Kurstin
Image result for mike posner"Formation" by Beyonce -- written by Khalif Brown, Asheton Hogan, Beyonce, and Mitchell Williams.
"Love Yourself" by Justin Bieber -- written by Justin Bieber, Benjamin Levin and Ed Sheeran.
"7 Years" by Lukas Graham -- written by Lukas Forchammer, Stefan Forrest, Morten Pilegaard, and Morten Ristorp.
"I Took A Pill In Ibiza" by Mike Posner -- written by Mike Posner.

     All of these songs were top-10 hits in 2016 and all have left some kind of a mark in the pop, mainstream conscience. 'Formation' and its video sparked imagery of the Black Panthers movement. 'Love Yourself' is a bitter send-off of an ex. '7 Years' tries, but tremendously fails, at sparking a nolstagia for life and when we were younger. 'I Took A Pill In Ibiza' is a raw and authentic look into Posner's downfall from the time he had a top-10 hit in 'Cooler Than Me' in 2010. And finally, 'Hello' was not only song about trying to make amends with an ex, but a statement to the music industry that Adele had returned.

Who Should Win?

     'Formation' is kind of scattered and clunky. The lyrics and the static production don't come together as well as the rest of the songs from 'Lemonade'. I started hating '7 Years' the more I heard of it because of the self-obsessed, shallow and arrogant lyrics matched with a theme and dull production that turned out much better years ago with Five For Fighting's '100 Years'. Between the remaining choices, Posner would win in a just world.
     The lyrics for 'I Took A Pill In Ibiza' are gripping and transport into the man's psyche as he fell into obscurity after his initial success in 2010. But I think more people, including myself, think the lyrics work much better with the electonic remix by Seeb that propelled the song into being a Top-5 hit this year than the barebone accompaniments he originally had.
     Still, I'd be happy to see 'I Took A Pill In Ibiza' come away with the award. (I'd also be fine with 'Hello' and even 'Love Yourself' winning instead.)

Who Will Win?

     'Hello' will probably win and I'm happy about it. It's not the best song she has ever released. But it was a powerful and emotive song that truly connected and captured the hearts of millions of people around the world. Outside of Adele, I think 'Love Yourself' and possibly 'Formation' truly have the best chances to pull off an upset.


BEST NEW ARTIST

*Anderson .Paak
*The Chainsmokers
*Chance The Rapper
Image result for chance the rapper*Kelsea Ballerini
*Maren Morris

Who Should Win? 

      The only nominee in this category that should be a considered a new artist is conuntry singer Maren Morris. Everybody else has released music well before 2016 and some including rappers Anderson .Paak and Chance The Rapper released their real debut music back in 2012 and 2013. That being said, one of these three deserve to win. Just don't give this award to The Chainsmokers and have their egos be further inflated.

Who Will Win? 

Morris has more criticial cred than fellow country starlet Ballerini, which should give her the edge and Chance The Rapper to me has a better chance than .Paak. It will probably go to either Chance or Morris, but again PLEASE NOT THE CHAINSMOKERS!


BEST ROCK ALBUM

"California" by Blink-182
Image result for rock music"Tell Me I'm Pretty" by Cage The Elephant
"Magma" by Gojira
"Death Of A Bachelor" by Panic! At The Disco
"Weezer (The White Album)" by Weezer

   
     I've got to be honest. I'm a little disappointed by the rock category this year. Weezer and Panic! At The Disco? The records are decent enough, but how much did their label, Fueled By Ramen, pay for these nominations. 'California' by Blink-182 was a a decent comeback for the pop-punk act, but is it really the best rock album of the past year? And Cage The Elephant's latest album reamins easily the worst album of their discography. I don't know much about 'Magma' by French heavy metal band Gojira, but at least it has some life and originality to it.

Who Should Win?

I would go with 'Magma' by Gojira. 'The White Album' by Weezer would probably be my second choice if I had to pick.

Who Will Win? 

The Grammys are crazy. Remember Jethro Rull won for best metal album in 1989? I can't see a clear favorite so my guess would be Weezer.


BEST ROCK SONG

"Blackstar" by David Bowie
"My Name Is Human" by Highly Suspect
"Hardwired" by Metallica
"Burn The Witch" by Radiohead
"Heathens" by Twenty One Pilots

     This is a solid group of rock songs, all bringing different edges to the genre in their own ways. Bowie's 10-minute title track is haunting with its lyrics on death surrounded by experimental jazz-rock instrumentation. 'Burn The Witch' by Radiohead has an instinctive groove that builds up into a wonderful swell like a great Radiohead song does. Metallica brings out the intensity in their return back to the mainstream this year. Meanwhile, 'Heathens' was a huge hit this year for Twenty One Pilots and American rock band Highly Suspect is becoming one of the more exciting young rock bands in recent years.

Who Should Win?

     I'm fine with pretty much any of these songs taking home the award, but I personally think Bowie's opus 'Blackstar' is the best of the group because of the innovative and experimental nature of the track that worked to perfection and created a haunting imagery even before his death in January.

Who Will Win?

     Any of the songs in this category have a chance to pull off the win here, but Bowie, Radiohead and Metallica have all seen previous successes at the Grammys before.  It'll come down to those three and among them it will come down to Bowie and Radiohead. I think Bowie will the Grammy posthumously.


BEST COUNTRY ALBUM
Image result for country music
"Big Day In A Small Town" by Brandy Clark
"Ripcord" by Keith Urban
"Full Circle" by Loretta Lynn
"Hero" by Maren Morris
"A Sailor's Guide To Earth" by Sturgill Simpson

   
     Loretta Lynn is a veteran in the country music scene and Sturgill Simpson and Brandy Clark are the current cult, independent heroes who are poised to break through into Nashville and country music row.
     'Hero' by upstart Maren Morris had a great lead single in the song 'My Church' that had elements of country, rock and gospel that made it infectious and inspiring. But her debut album 'Hero' left me feeling disappointed with the greater amount of pop sounds on the record compared to the expected country instrumentation.
     As for 'Ripcord' by Keith Urban, I have no clue why this was nominated. This was one of the most disappointing albums released by a mainstream country star in the last year or two...it must be the Nashville connections.

Who Should Win?

     Simpson, Clark and Lynn all provide great storytelling and push the sounds of country further on their latest releases. I hope it comes down to Simpson and Clark. Both of their albums are complete quality.

Who Will Win?

     The fact that Simpson's 'Sailor' is also nominated for Album of the Year, it has to mean it's the favorite in this category and I think it has a great chance to win here. But watch out for Clark and Morris. I think they could end up surprising here and winning.


BEST COUNTRY SONG

"Blue Ain't Your Color" by Keith Urban
"My Church" by Maren Morris
"Vice" by Miranda Lambert
"Die A Happy Man" by Thomas Rhett
"Humble and Kind" by Tim McGraw

     An interesting thing is happening in mainstream country music. For the past year or so, we have begun to notice a trend where more songs on the radio are featuring traditional instrumentation and lyrics with more depth. Mainstream country is coming back around to a more traditional mainstream sound from the bro-country that populated the airwaves earlier in the decade.
     Most of the songs in this category reflect the change. 'Humble And Kind' and 'My Church' goes a little deeper than the standard country radio song. 'Vice' goes deeper with lyrical imagery and a sound that leans towards more of the alternative Americana instrumentation that has grown popular in East Nashville in recent years. Even 'Die A Happy Man' and 'Blue Ain't Your Color' have some bluesy/acoursitc arrangements that felt slightly more organic and authentic.
     Overall, a pretty decent category of nominees.

Who Should Win?

     'Humble And Kind', 'Vice' or 'My Church'. All are excellent songs that have helped turn the corner for country radio in 2016. These songs represent a change for the better in country music.

Who Will Win?

     One of those three will win and my pick would be for '

BEST RAP ALBUM

Image result for rap music"Coloring Book" by Chance The Rapper
"And The Anonymous Nobody" by De La Soul
"Major Key" by DJ Khaled
"Views" by Drake
"Blank Face LP" by Schoolboy Q
"The Life Of Pablo" by Kanye West

     2016 was an interesting year for hip hop. There were albums released that were able to uplift and inspire the masses, albums that failed to deliver on unprecedented hype and albums that were a complete scattershot mess. And it goes to show you that 2016 wasn't kind commercially for rappers that made waves just a few years ago (Macklemore, Wiz Khalifa, 2 Chainz), but saw the re-emergence of acts from decades ago (A Tribe Called Quest)
     Today's hip-hop A-Listers, Drake and Kanye West, released possibly the two biggest albums in the genre in 2016, but both ended up being extremely disappointing listens. 'Views' showcased Drake using the exact same lyrical and production format that he has used now throughout his entire career and West's 'Pablo' was so scattershot that the album ended up being edited and re-released several times after its initial February release date.
     Chance The Rapper was successful at melding gospel into his rap album 'Coloring Book', De La Soul incorporated great, funk music for their album 'And The Anonymous Nobody', Schoolboy Q may have put out his best effort yet with 'Blank Face LP', and somehow DJ Khaled put together his best posse-cut compilation of his career with 'Major Key', which went to the top of the Billboard charts.

Who Should Win?

     Chance The Rapper with 'Coloring Book' was, in my opinion, the best hip-hop album of 2016. Hoping for Chance, but would equally pleased in De La Soul or Schoolboy Q pulling off an upset.

Who Will Win?

     Typically, the most commercially successful album wins this category so Drake's 'Views' probably has the best chance. But 'Coloring Book' has a great chance to win it this year too. Although can you imagine the inflated ego that DJ Khaled would possess if 'Major Key' pulls off a stunning upset and wins?

BEST RAP SONG

"No Problem" by Chance The Rapper featuring Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz
"Hotline Bling"by Drake
"All The Way Up" by Fat Joe and Remy Ma featuring French Montana and Infared
"Famous" by Kanye West featuring Rihanna
"Ultralight Beam" by Kanye West featuring Chance The Rapper, Kelly Price, Kirk Franklin, and The-Dream

     Unlike the album category, the best rap song category is pretty weak for 2016. 'Famous' was only notable because of the supposed Taylor Swift controversy regarding the song and 'Ultralight Beam' got its praise due to Chance The Rapper's guest verse on the track. 'All The Way Up' was okay, but it's nothing memorable, let alone significant enough to win an award.
     Meanwhile, 'No Problem' was the most successful charting song from Chance's 'Coloring Book' and 'Hotline Bling' was a smash throughout late 2015 and early 2016. That being said, I feel like there could've been some better songs placed in this category.

Who Should Win?

     If we're just looking at the category of songs that we have been provided by the Grammys committee members that be, the winner should be 'Hotline Bling'. Yes, it's not a rap song. But the success of the song in mainstream culture and its catchiness should put it over the top of 'No Problem'. And I'm surprised to be saying this.
     Is 'Hotline Bling' a great song? Nope. But it's catchy and the most memorable of this year's category.

Who Will Win?

     'Hotline Bling'. But 'Ultralight Beam' could be a dark horse in this category.

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Let me know your thoughts on the nominations below or let me know on Twitter @ConnorGlowacki.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

NOTRE DAME FOOTBALL TO VACATE WINS FROM 2012 AND 2013

 By: Connor Glowacki

Image result for notre dame fighting irish     In a brief notice of today's news, the NCAA ordered that the Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team to give up all of their wins from the 2012 and 2013 seasons due to the result of an academic misconduct case. The NCAA said that their investigation involved a former football trainer providing 'impermissible academic benefits' to as many as eight football players, some across a span of three years.

     Head coach Brian Kelly spoke at a news conference and said he bears no blame for the academic misconduct that occurred under his watch.

      In 2012, Notre Dame went 12-1 and made it all the way to the BCS Championship Game before being trounced by Alabama. The Fighting Irish followed that success up with a  9-4 season in 2013.

     Because up to eight students were involved, it makes a little more sense for the NCAA to essentially punish the whole team than it would be for cases where only the trainer or maybe 1-2 players were guilty of a breaking a rule.

     As long as the NCAA remains consistent with this punishment as it would punish other schools for similar incidents. (I'm looking at the North Carolina Football/Basketball academic scandals, for instance).

     Notre Dame is currently 4-7 this season.

Is this an appropriate punishment for Notre Dame?

Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below or on Twitter @ConnorGlowacki.


Saturday, October 29, 2016

HEISMAN WATCH #2 FOR 2016

By: Connor Glowacki

Some things have changed in the Heisman race since our initial look weeks ago and some things have stayed the same. Let's take a look at CKG, From The Sidelines' second Heisman update of 2016.


5.) Quarterback Deshaun Watson, Clemson
2016 Stats: 1,950 passing yards. 20 TDs to 8 INTs. 278 rushing yards, 1 rushing TD.

Image result for deshaun watson     Let's be honest, Watson has been good enough to be in the top-5 of this list, but his numbers are behind the manic pace that he set in the 2015 season. His completion percentage (63%) this season is also the lowest in his entire Clemson career. However, he has a big nationally televised game against Florida State Oct. 29, so I'm not writing Watson off just yet. 


4.) Linebacker Jabrill Peppers- Michigan
2016 Stats: 37 tackles. 3 sacks.

Image result for jabrill peppers     In addition to his defensive prowess, the junior linebacker also has 107 rushing yards and two touchdowns and 249 return yards to include in his resume for the 2016 season. Peppers can do it all and is a big reason that Michigan is a top-3 team in the country.
     If he has some big performances coming up against Michigan State and Ohio State, it will be impossible to ignore Peppers' impact on Michigan in the Heisman race.


3.) Running Back Donnel Pumphrey- San Diego State
2016 Stats: 1,246 yards rushing, 13 TDs. 20 receptions, 145 yards receiving.

Image result for donnel pumphrey     The senior running back is currently closing in on all-time NCAA rushing records. He is that good. Pumphrey is definitely the best running back in the country, which is impressive because he has outperformed higher profile backs like Leonard Fournette, Nick Chubb and Christian McCaffrey.
     The only thing that will probably hold him back is because he plays for San Diego State, the schedule might not be considered as difficult as some of his counterparts and he probably won't get the same amount of mainstream coverage as his counterparts. But don't overlook him. He's in the thick of this race.


2.) Quarterback Jake Browning- Washington

2016 Stats: 26 TDs to 2 INTs. 1,709 yards. 4 rushing TDs.

Image result for jake browning     Browning had a pretty good freshman year for the Huskies in 2015 by throwing for 16 touchdowns to 10 interceptions, but he has put himself in the national discussion during his sophomore campaign. 
     He's completed over 68 percent of his passes and has led the fifth ranked Huskies to an undefeated 7-0 record. The only roadblock he faces? The Pac-12 isn't that strong of a conference this year. But the fact that Browning is quite possibly the second best quarterback in the country and only a sophomore should flat out scare the rest of college football.



1.) Quarterback Lamar Jackson, Louisville
2016 Stats: 2,161 passing yards. 18 TDs to 4 INTs. 908 rushing yards. 16 rushing TDs.

Image result for lamar jackson     Browning has been really good, but Jackson's been the best all year. It's just simple. He has been the face of college football in 2016 and unless another contender makes a MAJOR push, the Heisman race remains Lamar Jackson's to lose.


Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below or on Twitter @ConnorGlowacki.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

MAROON 5 'DON'T WANNA KNOW' FEATURING KENDRICK LAMAR (SONG REVIEW)

By: Connor Glowacki

Image result for maroon 5 2016
     Let me start by saying this.

     I understand that many bands wish to evolve musically throughout their careers. Trying subtly different sounds can help re-energize a group and build further on something special that the group initially started with.

     That's not the case with Maroon 5, the California act who started making soulful pop-rock music and have in the past five years abandoned their identity to chase music trends.

     Ever since 2010's 'Hands All Over' didn't perform as well commercially as their first two albums and lead singer Adam Levine became a judge on 'The Voice', the band's music has taken a MUCH more polished pure-pop direction. Their last two albums, 2012's 'Overexposed' and 2014's 'V' included many of the world's most successful pop songwriters and producers and featured acts ranging from Wiz Khalifa, Big Sean and Gwen Stefani.
     Both albums sold well and had plenty of hit songs, but the music felt formulaic, synthetic and soulless. Even though 'V' was a bit better than 'Overexposed', Maroon 5 has transformed from a solid pop-rock band to almost an Adam Levine solo project. You rarely hear the instruments from the other band members anymore, outside of the occasional guitar lick from guitarist Jesse Valentine. It feels less like them trying to evolve musically and more about staying commercially relevant as their primary purpose of existing.
     That is what we call: 'Selling Out'.

     So with all that said, Maroon 5 released a brand new single Oct.12 called 'Don't Wanna Know' featuring critically acclaimed Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar. Hell, Lamar is an upgrade from Wiz Khalifa and Big Sean, but how is 'Don't Wanna Know' as a song?

Well, it's not good. It's not a good song at all.

     Most of my issues come with the production, which features Maroon 5 continuing to abandon their roots by now adopting a tropical house EDM sound template. It's the sound that originally grew from the underground dance music scene and has conquered the mainstream in the past year by acts like Justin Bieber, Calvin Harris, Drake, Rihanna, and on and on.

Image result for adam levine 2016
Levine fails to take the song anywhere vocally.
Photo from 'ETOnline'.
     But unlike other pop songs with tropical house flavors attached to them, the production on 'Don't Wanna Know' doesn't take the listener anywhere. It keeps the sounds and volume on just about the same level throughout.
     Levine's vocals do the exact same thing. They sound monotone and layered with so many effects that, again, his vocals don't take the song anywhere. I didn't even hear a guitar until two-thirds into 'Don't Wanna Know' and that is the only natural instrument I hear throughout the song.

     To be fair, there have been some recent Maroon 5 songs that have been decent, with primarily beats and a single, repeated guitar lick making up the music ('Maps', 'Sugar', 'One More Night'). At the very least, these songs have some energy to them and make you want to jam out, or move, or do something. 'Don't Wanna Know' doesn't deliver in the same way.

     Lyrics wise, Levine is singing about not wanting to know what his ex has been up to and wondering if she still thinks of him.

     Honestly, the lyrics aren't that band. But they are pretty bland and forgettable.

     Levine delivers few specifics that should make me care or feel sorry for him. These type of songs absolutely have their place in music, but he sticks to general ideas, like how he can't go out or drink without thinking of his ex. Those ideas are relatable to listeners, including myself, but I wish he could've delivered a reason or two on maybe why he misses the girl, instead of just saying he misses her.

Image result for kendrick lamar 2016
Like Levine, Lamar's verse is very forgettable.
(Photo from 'HypeTrak'.)
     Although since Levine is married now and is expecting a child, I wonder why he's still writing songs about missing an ex. Just be happy dude, you have a good life!

     As for the Kendrick Lamar verse...well he's barely on for 15 seconds and it's also forgettable. Instead, Lamar is trying to tell his ex what she's missing. But he's engaged in real life, so I can't feel sorry for him either in this song.

RECAP

     All in all, 'Don't Wanna Know' by Maroon 5 isn't the worst song in the world. But it's a bad song, nonetheless that sees the band musically and vocally continuing to chase trends.
   
     Maroon 5 don't sound unique anymore and they sound like everything else you hear on the radio, which is a shame. I thought 'V' was heading very slightly in the right direction to fix this problem. 'Don't Wanna Know' will probably succeed because Maroon 5 will do well on the radio and people will probably buy the song off of iTunes. But knowing what Maroon 5 has done from 2002's 'Songs About Jane' and even in smaller moments on 'V', this song pales in comparison and the band can do better.

Although at this point...I doubt that Levine and company really care on making good music as long as it sells.

RATING: 2 Out of 5 (**)

Tell me what you think of the new Maroon 5 song by leaving a comment below or on Twitter @ConnorGlowacki.

Friday, September 30, 2016

NIALL HORAN- 'THIS TOWN' (SONG REVIEW)

By: Connor Glowacki

Image result for niall horan this town
     It's happening, folks. Multiple members of English boy band One Direction are attempting to find success as solo acts.

     After Zayn Malik released his debut album 'Mind Of Mine' in March, which included the number one hit 'Pillowtalk', Niall Horan became the second member to release original music in the form of his debut solo single 'This Town'.

     I was never in One Direction's targeted demographic and therefore couldn't stand alot of their songs that were aimed to pander toward an adolescent, female fanbase.
     But as a stadium pop-rock act, I will acknowledge they ended up cutting some better songs as their career progressed ('Story Of My Life', 'Best Song Ever', 'Night Changes' and 'History' as examples).

     Unlike the R&B inspired sounds of Malik's 'Pillowtalk', 'This Town' utilizes a folkier instrumentation built around an acoustic guitar that presents sounds similar to One Direction's music. This song musically can be best describe as Horan wishing to be the next sensitive singer-songwriter in mainstream music, following in the veins of Ed Sheeran and Shawn Mendes.
     The production is fairly clean, but Horan, who co-wrote the song, develops a successful melody in the chorus that stays around and can stick in your head.

     Vocally, Horan presents a muted, but earnest delivery. When I first heard the song on the radio, I first thought it was a folk singer, like Passenger or even Matt Nathanson.

     The lyrics also tell a similar story that a One Direction song would tell, which is lamenting and pining for another chance with the girl that was left in a hometown. But it also has a few more layers to it.
     Horan said in an interview that 'This Town' was written in a way that could be interpreted as both a song about a girl from his hometown, and his hometown in general. This shows that Horan is slowly developing subtlety as a writer and demonstrates future potential.

     'This Town' is similar to 'Pillowtalk' in certain ways. They have both reached number one on the iTunes charts and sees both singers branching out from the One Direction stadium pop-rock sound in slightly different ways. Will 'This Town' be a hit like 'Pillowtalk'? I think it will debut high on the next Billboard Hot 100, but I'm doubtful that it will reach number one right off the bat.

Here's the bottom line though.

     Like 'Pillowtalk', 'This Town' isn't any kind of dramatic and exploratory musical statement. But it's a decent enough pop song that I think sounds slightly more authentic that Malik's offering. Are there better singer-songwriters out there than Horan, Sheeran and Mendes? Of course.

     But 'This Town' is a nice start for the 23-year-old Horan and a small step toward more mature content from his One Direction days. We'll see how the rest of his rumored album shapes up, which will reportedly be released in early 2017.


RATING: 3 Out Of 5 (***)

I think Horan's got some potential to become a solid songwriter.

Let me know what you think of the song by leaving a comment below or on Twitter @ConnorGlowacki.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

HEISMAN WATCH #1 FOR 2016

By: Connor Glowacki

It has already been a crazy first three weeks of college football that has been loaded with upsets, dramatic finishes and new storylines. And one of the biggest individual storylines to follow will be the Heisman watch.

Players to keep an eye on:

9.) Running Back Dalvin Cook (Florida State)

8.) Quarterback Greg Ward Jr. (Houston)

7.) Running Back Nick Chubb (Georgia)

6.) Linebacker Jabrill Peppers (Michigan)


...And now the top five!


Image result for deshaun watson
Photo from Sporting News.
5.) Quarterback DeShaun Watson (Clemson)

     Watson came into the 2016 college football season off of the heels of a sensational sophomore year with Clemson and an unforgettable performance in the National Championship loss to Alabama where he generated almost 500 yards of offense and four touchdowns by himself.
     He also entered as one of the favorites, if not the prohibitive favorite, to bring home this year's Heisman after finishing third a year ago.
     While he has been good so far, he hasn't exactly lit the gridiron on fire in the season's first three games. Watson has thrown seven touchdown passes to three interceptions so far, including two interceptions in a Week 2 win over Troy. He has also only rushed for 84 yards to begin the 2016 season, which is well off his 2015 pace.
     That being said, Watson has already thrown for 692 yards and will get a chance soon to shine against tougher competition in the ACC. A few bigger performances and he could catapult himself right back to the top of this list.

4.) Running Back Leonard Fournette (LSU)

Image result for leonard fournette
Photo from Fox Sports.
     With 1,953 rushing yards and 22 touchdowns in 2015, it's easy to assume that Fournette was going to win last year's Heisman. But he struggled against tougher competition as SEC play wore on and was passed by the eventual Heisman winner, Alabama running back Derrick Henry.
     Fournette returned for his likely final season with LSU in 2016 as one of the favorites again for the Heisman and he's played well enough in the two games he has played in so far to continue being considered.
     Fournette has 285 rushing yards this season, including a 147 yard and two touchdown performance in LSU's 23-20 win over Mississippi State. What could end up holding him back is LSU's shaky passing attack as opposing SEC defenses will load up the box while waiting for Fournette.
     Just like last year, let's see how he fares once he enters the stomach of conference play.

3.) Quarterback J.T. Barrett (Ohio State)

Image result for jt barrett
Photo from Deadspin.
     It may be crazy to believe, but the Ohio State quarterback is only in his junior season with the Buckeyes.
     After leading Ohio State to an undefeated record before going down with an injury near the end of the 2014 season, Barrett saw Cardale Jones take the team to a national championship that season and subsequently ended up splitting the starting quarterback job with him in 2015.
     This is Barrett's year to shine and he sure has delievered so far. He has already thrown 10 touchdown passes compared to one interception, including four touchdown passes on the road in a big blowout victory over Oklahoma. In addition, Barrett has 159 yards rushing, three touchdowns on the ground and a 67.1 completion percentage (the highest of his career).
     If he continues to shine when it counts against Michigan, Michigan State and the rest of the Big Ten play, Barrett will be right there in contention for the Heisman.

2.) Running Back Christian McCaffery (Stanford)
Image result for christian mccaffrey
Photo from Sporting News.

     McCaffery was the runner-up for last year's Heisman and was also the 2015 AP College Player of the Year after accumulating over 2,000 rushing yards, 600 receiving yards and 1,000 yards from kickoff returns.
     It's actually pretty mind-blowing that he didn't win last year; although Henry did break the all-time SEC single season rushing record.
     So far in 2016, he's doing a damn good job trying to maintain that pace. In two games, McCaffery has almost 300 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns and over 100 receiving yards with a touchdown.
     It will be interesting to see if McCaffery gets anywhere close to last year's numbers because he might not see as much time on special teams, but he should be fine. And if it wasn't for a certain quarterback from Louisville, he might've been the Heisman favorite right now.

1.) Quarterback Lamar Jackson (Louisville)

Image result for lamar jackson
Photo from Fox Sports.
     This may well be Jackson's year.
     The sophomore quarterback already has 913 passing yards, 464 rushing yards and 18 combined touchdowns compared to two interceptions. All in three games!
     Especially impressive was his 362 total yard and five touchdown performance against the second ranked Florida State Seminoles.
     Will he be able to maintain this hot start, or he will he fade like previous September Heisman frontrunners like Geno Smith and Kenny Hill?

It's still early, but right now the Heisman is Jackson's to lose.

Let me know what you think by leaving or a comment below or on Twitter @ConnorGlowacki.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

5 ROCK BANDS THAT SHOULD CALL IT QUITS

By: Connor Glowacki

 BACKGROUND: 

Image result for rock music                                               
 It may be tougher than ever to be a successful rock band in 2016.

     Sales are down across the board for most genres, but rock has taken a serious hit, particularly in the last decade. And this has happened for even the most modern influential acts of the genre. According to Nielsen Soundscan, the Red Hot Chili Peppers' most recent album, 'The Getaway', released in June, has only sold 173,000 copies in the United States as of August. Meanwhile, Radiohead's 'A Moon Shaped Pool' has sold around 300,000 copies in the U.S. since its release back in May, despite both records receiving favorable reviews.
     Album sales have dropped because of the rise of online streaming services and digital downloads.  Bands like Twenty One Pilots and Fall Out Boy have seen their latest records become certified platinum, but they are both acts that, in their music, are able to jump from Top 40 to alternative radio. Younger bands like Imagine Dragons, Foster The People, Awolnation, and even The Killers, have seen steady sales drop-offs from their most recent albums.
   
     Even as it is tough to be a commercially successful rock band today, there are some older bands that just need to call it quits. These are bands either riding off of their previous commercial successes and phoning it in by making lower-quality music, possibly facing health concerns or a lack of continuity.
   
     Here are five bands that need to call it quits.

*Note: These are only my opinions. 


5.) Bon Jovi

Image result for bon jovi band 2014
     The New Jersey rock band have been one of the best-selling acts in music with 130 million records sold worldwide and numerous hit singles  ('Living On A Prayer', 'You Give Love A Bad Name', 'Wanted Dead Or Alive'). But let's be honest, the band hasn't put out a great album since the eighties and arguably even a good album since 2000's 'Crush'.
     Their subsequent records have sounded stale with the same acoustic guitar intros, the same melodic buildups leading to the same singalong chorus with a crunchy guitar riff by guitarist Richie Sambora. They've become less commercially relevant as the decades have progressed and instead more of a punching back for rock purists.
     I still think Bon Jovi deserves to be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. But not everybody can be the Rolling Stones and perform 50 years into a career.

     Lately, the only news I've heard about Bon Jovi is Sambora leaving the band and lead singer Jon Bon Jovi appearing in awful DirecTV commercials.
   
     The band does have a new album coming out in October called 'This House Is Not For Sale'. But expect it to make just a small amount of noise in its first week and then disappear from the mainstream consciousness thereafter.

4.) Twisted Sister

Image result for twisted sister     The American heavy metal band hasn't released an album since their attempt at a Christmas album in 2006 with 'A Twisted Christmas'. Their last regular album was 2004's 'Still Hungry'.
     Twisted Sister is another act that was extremely successful in the hair metal era of the eighties. Their hit songs 'I Wanna Rock', 'Leader Of The Pack' and the ubiquitous 'We're Not Gonna Take It' all helped influence other shock-rock acts that followed. They were an important band in an important time in music history. Hell, lead singer Dee Snider famously fought in Senate hearings on Capitol Hill in 1985 over the graphic nature of the band's music videos that drew criticism from conservative organizations.
     That being said, Twisted Sister broke up in 1988 just months after their fifth album 'Love Is For Suckers' flopped on the charts and saw the band dropped by Atlantic Records. The 2000s and onward saw Twisted Sister get back together, but for a bunch of reissue recordings and reunion tours with a variety of different lineups.
     To me, it had always felt like this was Twisted Sister's grab for the money and I can't completely fault them. Like many aging bands, they still have a small but dedicated fanbase that will attend their shows and support them by whatever means necessary. It's just that their compilation albums, reissued albums and greatest hits albums during this time have outnumbered any kind of original work.
     Drummer A.J. Pero passed away in 2015 and the band has been on a farewell tour this year. Instead of hearing about their tour, all I've heard from Twisted Sister is 'We're Not Going To Take It' being used at Donald Trump rallies.

     Twisted Sister had their run, but it's time to call it quits...for good this time.

3.) The Who

Image result for the who     It kills me to put this band on the list.

     The Who are one of the greatest rock bands of all time and represent the true essence of rock and roll. They have classic albums ('Tommy', 'Quadrophenia', 'Who Are You') and some of the greatest songs in the genre ('My Generation', 'Behind Blue Eyes' and 'Baba O'Riley', just to name a few). Roger Daltrey's soaring vocals, Pete Townshend seemingly inventing new tones and sounds on the electric guitar during the 1960s and 1970s and for inventing the 'art' of destroying their own instruments after every show. (Watch a band try to do that today!)
     After The Who released their 1982 album 'It's Hard', the band would not release another album until 2006, and in the 30 years since have had a number of lineup changes and reunion tours that it's almost become comical. That's a shame because it's a big part of the band's fated history.
     Townshend wanted The Who to stop touring and become strictly a studio band, similar to The Beatles post-1966, but Daltrey and bassist John Entwistle wanted to tour and essentially 'play the hits'. Ultimately, Daltrey and Entwistle won out and as they got older, The Who just weren't as sharp on stage as they were back in their prime. Entwistle passed away in 2002 and Daltrey struggles to hit the high notes from his classic songs.
     The remnants of The Who announced another tour in 2016 to commemorate the 51st anniversary of the band, but for whatever reason, The Who haven't aged as gracefully, in terms of a live act, as a group like The Rolling Stones.

     I'll wait and see, but I hope The Who call this their last tour and keep their legacy intact.

2.) Aerosmith

Image result for aerosmith     I'm going to be honest here. Outside of a few songs and maybe their 1975 album 'Toys In The Attic', I've never been a big Aerosmith fan.

     I understand that's blasphemous, but their sound to me has always sounded dated and the production and lyrical content has not aged well.
    'Dream On' and 'Walk This Way' are the only hit songs from the band that, for me, hold up all these years later. ('I Don't Wanna Miss A Thing' is cool for karaoke.)
   
     I understand Aerosmith sold well for such a long time, up until 2012's 'Music From Another Dimension', but between the drug problems and constant fighting among all of the band members, the last few tours and albums have felt forced, uninspired and out to make a quick buck.
     I may not be a big Aerosmith fan, but countless of other people are and that's totally fine. I'm not going to deny the influence they had on the rock genre with their endless amounts of swagger, wailing shrieks, and bluesy riffs that engulfed their songs all throughout the years. But it doesn't seem like the band members' hearts are into the band. Hell, lead singer Steven Tyler just released a country album!

     Aerosmith can do whatever they want. I just won't be surprised when they do call it quits in the next five years.

HONORABLE MENTIONS!

*Alice Cooper

The shock value is gone and Cooper doesn't have the vocals like he used to. I'd be fine with him doing a couple more gigs with Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry and actor Johnny Depp as a part of Hollywood Vampires though.

*Lynyrd Skynyrd 

One of the greatest acts of rock and an innovator in the southern rock genre. But there's only one original member remaining from the band. Does Lynyrd Skynyrd really need to continue?

*Nickelback

I can always hope, can't I? They've been active for over 20 years now. That's been plenty of time.


1.) AC/DC

Image result for ac/dc     AC/DC is the greatest selling rock act of all time, outside of maybe The Beatles. The hard rock act has sold 200 million albums worldwide and approximately 71 million in the United States alone.
     I don't have to say too much of AC/DC. They have some of the greatest albums and songs in rock history and are credited as being true innovators of the hard rock genre during their heyday in the 1970s and 1980s.
     But the time has come for the band to hang it up and it goes mainly due to health reasons.
     AC/DC have had a whopping 15 former members.
   
     Lead singer Bon Scott died in 1980. drummer Phil Rudd had to quit the band in 2015 due to legal issues in New Zealand and current lead singer Brian Johnson had to quit from touring with AC/DC because continuing would've risked total hearing loss for the singer.

     It was a great ride, guys. But it's time to call it quits.
 
     --

Let me know which bands you think should call it quits by leaving a comment below or letting me know on Twitter @ConnorGlowacki.

Monday, July 4, 2016

KEVIN DURANT SIGNS WITH GOLDEN STATE. (BREAKING DOWN THE MOVE)

By: Connor Glowacki

Image result for kevin durant warriors     Kevin Durant shocked the sports world on Independence Day when he declared on 'The Player's Tribune' that he would be playing for the Golden State Warriors this upcoming season instead of returning to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
     According to ESPN's Mark Stein, Durant will sign a two year deal worth approximately $54 million with the option to opt out after one year, presumably to take advantage of the rising NBA Salary Cap.
     Some of the other teams that Durant was reportedly considering included the Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Clippers and the San Antonio Spurs. Now that the move is official, let's take a look at how Durant's decision will impact the Warriors, the Thunder, and the rest of the NBA for the 2016 NBA season.

Golden State

     Last season's Warriors were already the greatest regular season team in NBA history with a 73-9 record and did only lose in Game 7 of this year's NBA Finals to the Cleveland Cavaliers. By coming back from a 3-1 series deficit, Cleveland deserved the acclaim from winning the series. But if forward Draymond Green wasn't suspended for Game 5 and center Andrew Bogut didn't miss Games 6 and 7 due to a knee injury, the series could've ended up very differently. Golden State was already right there and getting Durant puts the Warriors, at least on paper, as heavy favorites coming into next season.
Image result for steph curry
Durant will pair with 2 time MVP Steph Cutty next season.
Curry averaged over 30 points a game last season.
Photo from Wikipedia.
     Golden State now has a 'Big 4' with Durant, Green, and guards Klay Thompson and two time MVP Steph Curry. Those four alone could potentially average 90 combined points. But outside of them, guard Shaun Livingston and forward Andre Iguodala, how will the rest of the roster look?
     In order to create cap space for Durant, Golden State traded Bogut to the Dallas Mavericks and forward Harrison Barnes will ultimately sign with the Mavericks after being offered a $90 million offering sheet. Guard Leandro Barbosa and center Festus Ezeli, as well as others on the roster, have more unknown fates due to being unrestricted free agents.
     The Warriors will have to fill their roster with veteran minimum contract players and there are already reports on veterans like centers Jermaine O'Neal and Zaza Pachulia being interested in joining for a small amount of money.
     There will also be an issue in terms of how quickly Durant can fit into the Warriors team chemistry and how the ball will be shared among all of their stars. But I think head coach Steve Kerr is a good enough coach who will able to figure this problem out.

Oklahoma City

     I was surprised by today's news because I had expected Durant to sign with the Thunder on a similar two year opt-out deal that he ended up signing with the Warriors. Oklahoma City will also have to worry about guard Russell Westbrook potentially leaving next season, but until then, expect Westbrook to have a big 2016 season statistically as he will have more opportunities to have the ball with Durant off of the roster.
Image result for russell westbrook
Russell Westbrook could be poised for a huge
statistical season after Durant's departure.
Photo from FoxSports. 
     Oklahoma City still has some pretty good talent on the roster with Westbrook, guard Victor Oladipo, forward Enes Kanter, and center Steven Adams. But losing Durant means that you lose almost 30 points and 10 rebounds a game. That is pretty impossible to replace. And will Oklahoma City decide to just trade Westbrook before he hits free agency after next season?
     The Thunder are in an unfortunate spot from having homegrown stars that they drafted and now potentially facing a rebuild. But remember, they have assets and those assets can help fuel a rebuild project. Still, Durant's departure had to have felt a year too early for the Thunder fans and the Thunder organization with there now being an unknown future.

The Rest of the NBA

Image result for big 3 miami
Miami's Big 3 didn't win until
their season season together in 2012.
Photo from Bleacher Report. 
     Golden State is already Vegas' favorites to win the NBA title next season, but it isn't a guarantee. It's been proven that very rarely can a super-team put it all together an win a title right off of the bat. Just take a look at LeBron James and the Big 3 in Miami who didn't win their first title until their second season together.
     And the 2004 Los Angeles Lakers that paired aging legends Gary Payton and Karl Malone with Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant? They lost in the NBA Finals to the Detroit Pistons in their only season together.

     It's probably hard to believe right now, but life in the NBA will continue and go on as normal, just like when LeBron left for Miami in 2010. Cleveland is still the defending NBA Champs, the San Antonio Spurs just signed forward Pau Gasol, and watch out for others teams like the Clippers, Celtics, and Toronto Raptors to make some noise next season.
     But Durant joining the Golden State Warriors has without a doubt changed the landscape of the NBA and has sent a message to the rest of the league: Game On.


Let me know if you think Durant makes the Golden State Warriors the prohibitive favorites to win the NBA title next season on Twitter @ConnorGlowacki or by leaving a comment below.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

2016 NBA MOCK DRAFT

Image result for nba draft 2016








By: Connor Glowacki



The 2016 NBA Draft will be conducted tonight and below is the 'CKG, From The Sidelines' Mock Draft of 2016. (Just know that these are only my opinions on what could happen).

*Note: In order to get this ready for tonight's draft, only the top 10 picks have descriptions of the players and the picks. Picks 11-30 will include just the predicted player to be taken. 


1.) Philadelphia 76ers- Ben Simmons, SF, LSU

Image result for ben simmons
Photo from FoxSports.com
     Yahoo's 'The Vertical' and ESPN both reported yesterday that they will be picking Simmons with the first overall pick in tonight's draft. At 6'10" and 240 pounds, Simmons has the rare size and speed combination to potentially be a superstar at the NBA level and has even drawn comparisons to LeBron James for his passing ability.
     That said, questions have come in about his lack of motor and a weakness at shooting jumpshots. If he can develop a jumpshot, Simmons will be a force. The main question is how he'll fit into a starting lineup that could have three centers (Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor and Joel Embiid).

2.) Los Angeles Lakers- Brandon Ingram, SF, Duke

Image result for brandon ingram
Photo from BleacherReport.
     The Lakers will be a getting a guy who can flat-out shoot the basketball. Ingram shot 41 percent from 3 point range at Duke last season and has the rare versatility of speed and length that has garnered him comparisons to Kevin Durant.
     At 6'9" and 195 pounds, Ingram needs to try and put some weight on to handle the daily NBA grind, but he may be in a better position to succeed in Los Angeles with point guard D'Angelo Russell, shooting guard Jordan Clarkson and power forward Julius Randle, around for support.

3.) Boston Celtics- Dragan Bender, PF, Israel

Image result for dragan bender
Photo from Yahoo Sports.
     There are a lot of trade rumors floating at this moment around the Celtics' third overall pick. But if they decide to keep it, there are a number of scenarios available for Boston. Bender has been scouted a lot by the Celtics and his 7'1"-225 pound frame could provide them with a much needed post presence to complement guards Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley and Marcus Smart. At only 18, Bender could develop into a great stretch-4 in the NBA.



4.) Phoenix Suns- Marquese Chriss, PF, Washington

Image result for marquese chriss
Photo from Bleacher Report.
     The Suns need a lot of help, specifically in their frontcourt to complement underrated guards like Eric Bledsoe, Devin Booker, and Brandan Knight. Chriss has risen to the top of the draft boards in dramatic fashion after not being one of the highly touted players coming out of high school just one year ago. He's raw and risky, but at 6'9" and 233 pounds, Chriss had an impressive enough freshman season at Washington and a high enough ceiling to warrant the Suns taking him fourth.

5.) Minnesota Timberwolves- Jamal Murray, PG/SG, Kentucky

Image result for jamal murray
Photo from SB Nation.
Like many NBA experts, I love this young, emerging Timberwolves team. With previous number one overall picks Karl Anthony-Towns and Andrew Wiggins, along with new head coach Tom Thibodeau, the Timberwolves have a chance to make a playoff run next year and will definitely do so if Murray falls to their laps at the fifth overall pick. At 6'4" and 207 pounds, Murray is ready to jump right in and be a force at the pro level. I think because of his stellar shooting that he'll be more of a shooting guard at the pro level, but Minnesota will have a chance to strike big in the draft once again.

6.) New Orleans Pelicans- Kris Dunn, PG, Providence

Image result for kris dunn
Photo from ESPN.
     Kris Dunn makes a lot of sense for the Pelicans because of the injury concerns with current point guard Jrue Holliday. A four year player at Providence, Dunn shot over 37% from three point range last season while also averaging just over six assists per game. Dunn could be the playmaker at the position that power forward Anthony Davis is looking for as a running mate in the full court.

7.) Denver Nuggets- Buddy Hield, SG, Oklahoma

Image result for buddy hield
Photo from Sporting News.
     Like Dunn, Hield played all four years at Oklahoma and showed substantial improvement. In his senior year, he averaged 25 points per game while shooting almost 46% from three point range. That skill-set should allow Hield to step in right away and contribute into today's uptempo NBA. Hield should also become a good partner-in-crime in the backcourt with point guard Emmanuel Mudiay.

8.) Sacramento Kings- Jaylen Brown, SG, California

Image result for jaylen brown
Photo from SFGate.com
     Brown has been rumored to land anywhere from 10th to as high as third in this year's draft. At 6'7"and 223 pounds, Brown can play either the shooting guard or small forward positions in the NBA due to his athleticism.
     The big thing for Brown is that he has to improve from the three point line. In his freshman season at California, Brown shot only 29% from behind the arc. Despite varying reports, Brown appears to be confident, but also level-headed as an individual. This could help him in a contentious Sacramento Kings locker room.

9.) Toronto Raptors- Jakob Poeltl, PF, Utah

Image result for jakob poeltl
Photo from Pac12.com
     I believe the Raptors slightly overachieved this season by winning two games against the eventual NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2016 Eastern Conference Finals.
     To take the next step (as long as Demar DeRozan returns), the Raptors could do well by improving their power forward spot. Poeltl, at 7'1" and 247 pounds, would be a great rim protector who could pair up well inside with center Jonas Valanciunas.

10.) Milwaukee Bucks- Henry Ellenson, PF/C, Marquette

Image result for henry ellenson
Photo from Sporting News. 
     The bucks have some good, young talent on this team with forwards Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker, but adding the 6'10" Ellenson would give the Bucks a bigger body who is also able to shoot from the outside. This would make Ellenson a potentially dangerous stretch-4 at the the NBA level.
     He does need to improve his shooting, but he has one of the higher ceilings for NBA prospects.

REST OF THE 1ST ROUND

11.) Orlando Magic- Skal Labissiere, PF, Kentucky


12.) Atlanta Hawks- Wade Baldwin IV, SG, Vanderbilt


13.) Phoenix Suns- Deyonta Davis, PF, Michigan State


14.) Chicago Bulls- Domantis Sobanis, PF, Gonzaga


15.) Denver Nuggets- Furkan Korkmaz, SG, Turkey


16.) Boston Celtics- Denzel Valentine, SG/SF, Michigan State


17.) Memphis Grizzlies- Malachi Richardson, SG, Syracuse


18.) Detroit Pistons- Timothe Luwawu, SG, France


19.) Denver Nuggets- Taurean Prince, SF, Baylor


20.) Indiana Pacers- Ante Zizic, C, Croatia


21.) Atlanta Hawks- Dejounte Murray, PG, Washington


22.) Charlotte Hornets- Brice Johnson, PF, North Carolina


23.) Boston Celtics- Ivica Zubac, C, Croatia


24.) Philadelphia 76ers- Demetrius Jackson, PG, Notre Dame


25.) Los Angeles Clippers- DeAndre Bembry, SF, Saint Joseph's


26.) Philadelphia 76ers- Malik Beasley, SG, Florida State


27.) Toronto Raptors- Thon Maker, C Australia


28.) Phoenix Suns- Juan Hernangomez, PF, Spain


29.) San Antonio Spurs- Cheick Diallo, C, Kansas


30.) Golden State Warriors- Diamond Stone, C, Maryland



How do you think the NBA draft will play out?

Am I totally wrong with these predictions?

Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below or tweeting me @ConnorGlowacki.