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.