Wednesday, August 30, 2017


By: Connor Glowacki

Image result for what lovers do maroon 5     Dammit Adam Levine Experience...I thought after the relative commercial flop of 'Cold', you'd just fade away and leave me alone.

     As you can tell, I'm not a fan of the Adam Levine Experience aka Maroon 5. The unfortunate part is that I was a fan at one point.
     As I've stated in my reviews of Don't Wanna Know' and 'Cold', both terrible sellout pop R&B laziness, Maroon 5 had a cool original pop-rock sound with some funk elements mixed into their first three albums. The songs were catchy, the instrumentation was tight and lead singer Adam Levine had a sense of swagger that made the lyrical nature of the early hit songs work.

     Then came 'The Voice' and pretty much everything since then musically has become part of the pop corporate machine. And that doesn't necessarily have to be a bad thing. But the band lost its originality and became all about Levine and his increasingly annoying falsettos, hence the Adam Levine Experience.

Image result for sza
SZA features on the song. 
     Now they've released another song today called 'What Lovers Do' and once again like their two previous songs, a guest is featured. But not a rapper this time. It's alternative R&B artist SZA who recently delivered a very solid debut album 'CTRL' and rose through the early ranks of West Coast hip hop label Top Dawg Entertainment.

     And I will give 'What Lovers Do' some credit. It's by far better than 'Cold' and 'Don't Wanna Know.'
     Yes, the production has a spacey R&B feel to it, but at least it has a groove. It has a pulse, which is critical. And you can hear some guitars and bass on the track. Sure it's hidden in the back of the mix, but it's evident and it is refreshing. The drums sound processed as hell, but hey I'll take what I can get.

     Lyrically, it's a love jam. And yeah while some more details in the relationship between the two singers would've been nice, Levine's not complaining about his girl like he did in the previous two songs. SZA comes across with a confident personality that declares she's gonna stay at Levine's level, if not better. Levine sounds improved on this song vocally, even if the falsetto can be grating at points, but SZA is just oozing with personality and charisma that really brings the track to a solid height.

     'What Lovers Do' is no 'Harder To Breathe' or 'This Love' or 'Makes Me Wonder'.

     But you know what? It's the best single the 'band' has released since 'Sugar' in 2015, so that's a victory in itself. And if this makes SZA more popular in the mainstream, then I'm all for it.

RATING: 3 Out Of 5 (***)

Do you like this new Adam Levine Experience song? Hate it? Let me know by leaving a comment below or on Twitter @ConnorGlowacki.

Sunday, August 27, 2017


By: Connor Glowacki

Image result for thirty seconds to mars     Yeah, rock music continues to struggle in the mainstream in 2017. Sure, you have your cool indie hits like 'Feel It Still' by a band like Portugal, The Man that is rising the charts. But if the past seven or eight years have taught us anything, it's that it has become very difficult for an up-and-coming band to launch a second hit for themselves.

     What about some of the more successful bands out today like Linkin Park getting their single 'Heavy' into the Top 50 and Imagine Dragons scoring a No. 4 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 with 'Believer'?

     'Heavy' (a song that I initially trashed, but has admittedly really grown on me over time) only rose that high unfortunately due to the tragic suicide of lead singer Chester Bennington. And there's really not too much instrumentation going on with 'Believer', which continues to disappoint me as a song. Acts like Foo Fighters, Nickelback, The Killers, Weezer, Incubus, and even Fall Out Boy have all come out with either new songs or projects that haven't really crossed into the pop hemisphere. Guitar-driven music has made a return with certain pop acts, but not often for bands hoping to land a big hit.

     So which rock act is up next to the plate to shake up the Billboard charts with some rock'n'roll?

....Thirty Seconds to Mars....(well we could've had a worse option, I guess).

     Thirty Seconds To Mars has been around for awhile actually. Their first album came out in 2003 and have released three subsequent albums over the next 10 years to varying degrees of success. In the U.S., the band has sold maybe 2 million albums throughout their career. Not bad, but not exactly world-crushing. The thing is, they sell a lot more internationally. Their fanbase, the Ecehlon, supports them to the 'edge of the earth.'

     Musically, part of me wishes I liked this band more. Contrary to popular opinion, I think their 2006 commercial breakthrough record 'A Beautiful Lie' is their worst album. Sure the songs are 'sort of' catchy, but it sees the band trying to jump on the emo-bandwagon after acts like My Chemical Romance, Panic! At The Disco and Fall Out Boy did a much better job at it. The music and lead singer Jared Leto's lyrics didn't seem authentic at all.
     Thirty Seconds To Mars are much better when they ripoff U2...and I mean that as a compliment. Arena rock with electronic influences is where the band, in my opinion sound their best. 2009's 'This Is War' is their best album which highlights those strengths. Leto has a powerful voice that can unite a concert festival crowd. The main problem though is that Thirty Seconds To Mars still don't stand out to me from the other bands that are utilizing those same influences.

     Which finally brings us to their new single, 'Walk On Water.' Their first single since the 2013 album 'Love, Lust, Faith + Dreams.' 
     Why is this song a big deal at this moment?
     Because It climbed to No. 4 on the iTunes charts. Not the rock charts, but the general music charts. Apparently, the mainstream public still wants to support this band and I say, fine. With their performance of this song at Sunday's MTV VMAs, 'Walk On Water' could seriously make a dent on the Billboard charts, which they haven't done since 2011.

But most the song any good?


     I think it is pretty solid.

     I wouldn't say it's the best song in the band's discography, but it is definitely a standout that is such an earworm, you will have the melody and the lyrics stuck in your head for days after just an initial listen.

     There's a lot of synthesizers that surround the instrumentation, but instead of taking away from any musical acumen, I would argue that it enhances the faint guitar, bass and percussive sounds and just makes it appear huge and larger than life. Although, I would argue against critics that this is a pop sellout for Thirty Seconds To Mars. Rather it sounds like a continuation of the electronic rock sound from their previous two albums, but just a little more refined with some subtle pop elements.

     'Walk On Water' is a song about rebellion and how as the song states 'times are changing.' The band has stated in interviews that the song was inspired partly due to the atmosphere that the current political climate in Washington D.C. has had on the rest of the country. And I think Thirty Seconds To Mars are a capable band to send some political overtones because the simple messages resonate with them being an arena act that can give thousands of listeners at once a sense of urgency to fight back against the system.

     That being said, the constant 'oh-ohhh' chorus vocals take up a lot of space in 'Walk On Water' and while catchy, continue the band's formula with these simple singalongs. These are fine, but this band does it with literally every song. It gets old after awhile. Also, Leto's lyrics are so broad that while they may be seen as 'universal', it feels like a large amount of detail is lacking in what could've been a little more of an interesting story than just the standard 'revolution message'

     This song has been getting a variety of responses from critics and publications. But I am really enjoying 'Walk On Water', especially with such a strong, catchy melody that requires listeners to absorb the music and take some kind of action, in regards to the song's subject matter. However, the broad lyrical template holds 'Walk On Water' from being a truly great song.

RATING: 3.5 Out Of 5 (***1/2)

     It's a really solid stadium anthem from Thirty Seconds To Mars and I'm hoping that they'll be able to build upon this single for their upcoming fifth album.


What do you think of the new single? Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below or on Twitter @ConnorGlowacki.

Thursday, June 22, 2017


By: Connor Glowacki

The NBA Draft is TONIGHT and below is the 'CKG, From The Sidelines' Mock Draft of 2017. Check out our mock draft before the 2016 edition here.

1.) Philadelphia 76ers- Markelle Fultz, SG/PG, Washington

Image result for markelle fultz     Sometimes you just have to trust The Process.

     With Philly trading up two spots for the number one overall pick and indicating that they would select the former Washington swingman, this move may bring the 76ers back into NBA relevancy with a 'potenitally' lethal and young Big 3 with Fultz and former top picks forward Ben Simmons and center Joel Embiid.
     In college, Fultz displayed an uncanny ability to get to the rim and showcased a pretty solid jump shot. I would expect Fultz to play more of a shooting guard role with Philadelphia due to Simmons being the more natural ball handler, but this scenario could better demonstrate his offensive prowess.
     If, and this is a big IF, all three centerpieces can actually stay healthy, the 76ers might have THE young core for the future and should thank former general manager Sam Hinkie for putting them in this position after so many years of embarrassment.

2.) Los Angeles Lakers- Lonzo Ball, PG, UCLA

Image result for lonzo ball     Lonzo Ball has the tools to be the best point guard in this draft class. He has a terrific sense of anticipation for went to deliver passes in the full court and at 6'6" can visualize the plays that are supposed to run and where to find his teammates.
     The fact that Ball has potentially a lethal 3-point shot has delivered comparisons from Jason Kidd to even Stephen Curry. Since the 76ers have Simmons as the ball handler, Ball will likely fall to his hometown Lakers with the second overall pick.
     Even though I worry about his defensive ability against more athletic guards, Kentucky's De'Aaron Fox, for example, Ball on paper is this year's best pure point guard and should stabilize the position for Los Angeles for the foreseeable future.

3.) Boston Celtics- Josh Jackson, SF, Kansas

Image result for josh jackson     I know there's been controversy over Jackson refusing to workout for the Celtics for whatever reasons. That means Boston could end up taking someone like Jayson Tatum or trading the third overall pick just days after trading the top pick to Philadelphia. Whatever the reason for Jackson's no-show is, the Celtics have all of the power with the pick and should still take him if he's available, either to play or as a trade asset.
     At 6'8", Jackson has a 7-foot wingspan and may be the most athletic player in the draft with the most upside into becoming a superstar. I genuinely believe Boston and Jackson can sort things out here and Jackson can work his way into a very deep Celtics rotation.

4.) Phoenix Suns- Jayson Tatum, SF, Duke

Image result for jayson tatum     Tatum has the same measurables as Jackson, but has not been getting the praise and attention that Jackson has received. To be fair, Tatum didn't nearly put up the same numbers that Jackson did in their freshman collegiate campaigns.
     But Tatum would work really well in an up-tempo Phoenix attack alongside guards Eric Bledsoe and Devin Booker. Tatum, in my opinion, has enough upside to be a star in the NBA and impact both sides of the court. He probably won't make the Suns a playoff contender right away, but drafting Tatum would be a step in the right direction for the organization.

5.) Sacramento Kings- De'Aaron Fox, PG, Kentucky

Image result for de'aaron fox     Fox is another player that many people believe can become a superstar at the NBA level. Even though he doesn't necessarily have the vision that Ball has in the full court and is two inches shorter than his counterpart, Fox schooled Ball throughout the Kentucky-UCLA NCAA tournament game and would create some excitement that is desperately needed for a struggling Kings organization.
     Guard Buddy Hield shined when he was traded to Sacramento last season as he averaged over 15 points per game as a member of the Kings. A Fox-Hield backcourt could be the team's backcourt for possibly a decade if they can develop together.

6.) Orlando Magic- Jonathan Issac, SF, Florida State

Image result for jonathan isaac     Issac is another one-and-done freshman with tons of upside at the NBA level. He is slightly taller than his shooting forward counterparts at 6'10" and averaged almost eight rebounds along with 12 points per game with the Florida State Seminoles.
     Jackson and Tatum might have slightly more upside and publicity than Issac, but he could be a great fit with an Orlando Magic organization that is still trying to find its direction with former draft picks, point guard Elfrid Payton and forward Aaron Gordon.

7.) Minnesota Timberwolves, Dennis Smith, PG, North Carolina State

Image result for dennis smith jr     I thought Minnesota should've taken Jamal Murray with their first round selection last year and I still stand by it, given taht Murray outplayed point guard Kris Dunn throughout their rookie seasons. But I also thought Dunn could be a great point guard with the Timberwolves due to his extensive collegiate experience at Providence and his offensive playmaking ability.
     But even playing with young star talents like guard Andrew Wiggins and forward Karl-Anthony Towns, Dunn struggled to say the least. It may be too tough to give up on Dunn but with the potential trade rumors of point guard Ricky Rubio,
     Minnesota should bite the bullet and take a chance on another point guard, this one being Dennis Smith. Smith is fearless and is ready to take on the top point guards in the NBA. At the very least, Smith will challenge Dunn to step up his game at the point guard spot.

8.) New York Knicks- Malik Monk, SG, Kentucky

Image result for malik monk     Yes, this seems like a surprise because all signs would point to take the Knicks taking a point guard. But the New York Knicks are in an eternal state of dysfunction with the failures of team vice president Phil Jackson and the current trade drama surrounding forwards Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis. New York needs to make a splash and take a chance with a potential STAR player.
     That star player could be the 6'3" Kentucky guard Malik Monk. Monk can score and out the ball on the floor. I've seen games in college where he, along with Fox, was able to take over a game by himself. Take Malik Monk, New York.


9.) Dallas Mavericks- Frank Ntilinka, PG, France

10.) Sacramento Kings- Lauri Markkanen, PF, Arizona

11.) Charlotte Hornets- Zach Collins, C, Gonzaga

12.) Detroit Pistons- John Collins, PF, Wake Forest

13.) Denver Nuggets- Bam Adebayo, PF, Kentucky

14.) Miami Heat- Donovan Mitchell, SG, Louisville

15.) Portland Trailblazers- Justin Patton, C, Creighton

16.) Chicago Bulls- Justin Jackson, SF, North Carolina

17.) Milwaukee Bucks- Jarrett Allen, C, Texas

18.) Indiana Pacers- Luke Kennard, SG/SF, Duke

19.) Atlanta Hawks- D.J. Wilson, PF, Michigan

20.) Portland Trailblazers- T.J. Leaf, PF, UCLA

21.) Oklahoma City Thunder- Semi Ojeleye, SF/PF, SMU

22.) Brooklyn Nets- Tyler Lydon, SF/PF, Syracuse

23.) Toronto Raptors- OG Anunoby, SF/PF, Indiana

24.) Utah Jazz- Ike Anigbogu, C, UCLA

25.) Orlando Magic, Harry Giles, C, Duke

26.) Portland Trailblazers, Anzejs Pasecniks, C, Gran Canaria 

27.) Los Angeles Lakers, Kyle Kuzma, PF, Utah

28.) Los Angeles Lakers, Derrick White, PG/SG, Colorado

29.) San Antonio Spurs, Caleb Swanigan, PF/C, Purdue

30.) Utah Jazz, Terrance Ferguson, SG/SF, Adelaide

How do you think the 2017 NBA Draft will play out? Let me know what you think by leaving a comment here or on Twitter @ConnorGlowacki.

Thursday, June 1, 2017


By: Connor Glowacki

     Well this certainly was a surprise!

Image result for foo fighters 2017     Out of nowhere, the Foo Fighters dropped a brand new single 'Run', June 1. It's their first released music since their 2015 EP 'Saint Cecilia' and their 2014 album 'Sonic Highways.'

     And I'm going to try to make this review quick by simply saying: it's a great kick-in-the-ass rock song by one of the biggest and best bands in the world.

     From the chorus of 'Wake up, run for your life with me' to verses that include 'The rats are on parade. Another mad charade. What are you gonna do', this song lyrically appears to have subtle political overtones.
     With the chaos that has engulfed the political landscape, and frankly the world, in the last few years, it's no surprise that the lead singer Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters decided to make a bit of a statement in 'Run'.
     But it's not overtly political, which perhaps makes 'Run' stronger of a song as a whole. It's anthemic and the crushing guitars, bass and drums throughout the song bring a certain heaviness and weight that is rare in today's mainstream rock and mainstream music. The screams by Grohl during parts of the verses really give the song a sense of urgency, but when the tempo starts to slow and fluctuates, it keeps everything from falling completely off the rails, in a dynamic and rhythm sense.

     The main complaint of this song will probably be that it's a similar rock, anthemic sound that the Foo Fighters have done throughout the tenure of the band. And there's some truth to that, but 'Run' has a level of depth and heaviness that isn't typically seen in a Foo Fighters single, especially in a lead single.
     If we're comparing 'Run' to early political-leaning songs like 'This Is A Call' and 'The Pretender', 'Run' sounds like a band with more life experience sharing these messages than their predecessors. ('Run' also has to have some kind of parallel to their 2011 hit 'Walk', right?)

     Overall, the Foo Fighters, in my opinion, delivered a great tune in 'Run.' If you are a fan of the Foo Fighters, you will probably love this song. If you are skeptical about their direction, I'd ask that you give it a chance because even though it has that same guitar driven sound, the melodies and rhythms of 'Run' are so enticing that they really help separate this single from other singles in their discography.

RATING: 4 Out Of 5 (****)

What did you think of the new Foo Fighters song 'Run'? Let me know what you thought by leaving a comment below or letting me know on Twitter @ConnorGlowacki.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017


By: Connor Glowacki

Image result for chris cornell     It's been a week, but it still doesn't seem real to me.

     Grunge pioneer Chris Cornell, dead at the age of 52. And the way he died still hasn't fully clicked for me either.

     Cornell passed away early in the morning May 19 after, according to police reports, he hung himself in his hotel room just hours after playing a show at Detroit's Fox Theatre.

     It shouldn't have to be explained, but Cornell was the lead singer and creative force for some of the great rock bands in the Grunge era and in modern rock as a whole.

*Audioslave (A supergroup with members of Rage Against the Machine)
*Temple Of The Dog (A group with members of Mother Love Bone to honor former Mother Love Bone lead singer Andy Wood, who died from a drug overdose in 1990)
*Four solo albums that, despite ranging in quality, showcased his versatility as an artist. (2007's 'Carry On' featured a well-received cover of Michael Jackson's 'Billie Jean' while 2009's 'Scream' and 2015's 'The Higher Truth' displayed Cornell going off in directions of R&B-based pop and acoustic music, respectively.)

     There's no doubt we've lost a number of musical legends over the past few years... David Bowie, Prince and Glenn Frey are the first that come to mind. But Cornell's death, and the fact he committed suicide, ended up hitting closer to home for me.

     Chris Cornell wrote songs such as 'Black Hole Sun', 'Outshined', 'Spoonman', 'Like A Stone', 'Fell On Black Days', 'Be Yourself', 'I Am The Highway', and countless others that featured lyrics showing the internal struggles of a man trying to find the light in the midst of a darkness that surrounded, and at times would engulf him.

     As I delved into his musical discography growing up, Cornell's music always felt like it was a little more sophisticated, a little deeper and yes a little darker when compared to some of his contemporaries in Seattle-based bands like Nirvana or Pearl Jam. His music could range from hard rock to psychedelia to even country inspired sounds that weren't always typical in the genres which he performed. Cornell's four octave range, which stands as one of the greatest voices in the history of rock music, could easily shift between loud bombast and delicate introspection.

     Cornell had demons throughout his life as depression and addictions to alcohol, Oxycontin, and other drugs hung a cloud over an individual who was still able to use that cloud to create a ferocious storm of artistic expression.
     And even though it appeared in the mid 2000s that he got sober and was able to live a clean life... the demons in his head never went away and ended up taking him far too soon.

     I'm 24. I didn't grow up in the early nineties where grunge was the most popular genre of music in mainstream culture and where the genre would get regularly played on MTV and the radio.
     But it was the first genre that connected to me as I really started listening to music in high school. The angst of those times gave me a place where I could both channel my angst and also find solace from, at times, the cruel world of everyday life.

    Chris Cornell's music didn't just give me a place to vent my anger, it gave me a place to explore my fears and my insecurities. His lyrics, as stated earlier,  helped me and I bet millions of others throughout the world find that light through the vast shroud of darkness both in reality and in our psyches.
     Sure, finding that destination isn't easy and it's something we end up dealing with for the rest of our lives, but he showed us that it can exist.
     Even if it's just flickering, it's worth finding and embracing.

     Whatever caused Chris Cornell to take his life is a question we should have for anybody suffering from depression and experiencing suicidal thoughts. We can't put blame on him for making that choice, even if it might've been drug-induced, because only he knew what was going on in his mind.
If there is any silver lining in this shocking scenario, hopefully it's that we do a better job of listening to each other and looking out for one another as we battle our own personal demons on a daily basis.

     Thoughts and prayers with the Cornell family at this time as they go through this terrible ordeal.

Image result for chris cornell 2017     Chris, thank you for the music and the memories that you've given me and countless others throughout the world. We are lucky that you were able to share your incredible voice, songwriting and philanthropy with us.
     Despite this being the outcome that no one wanted, I hope you can find peace somewhere out in another universe.

RIP Chris Cornell (1964-2017)


Friday, April 7, 2017


By: Connor Glowacki

Image result for harry styles sign of the timesIt has arrived...

     Harry Styles might be the fourth member of U.K. boyband One Direction to release his debut solo music, but he was always the one I was looking forward to hearing the most.
     Styles' raspy voice had lent itself to rock music during One Direction's heyday and it became apparent once he started taking more of the lead vocals and the group's projects gravitated toward a stadium-rock sound.
     Combine that with the fact that he was considered the 'star' of One Direction and the intense building buzz for his debut album, this was the member to watch for.

     But several of his fellow band-members found solo success before Styles.

     Zayn's debut single 'Pillowtalk' debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and his R&B-inspired debut album 'Mind Of Mine' was fairly well-acclaimed by critics.
(Although his newly released song, 'Still Got Time', for his upcoming second solo album shows him unfortunately chasing trends and trying to sound like Drake).
     Niall Horan had a top-20 and Platinum hit song in 'This Town' and Louis Tomlinson released an EDM banger with DJ Steve Aoki called 'Just Hold On' that reached No. 52 on the Hot 100.

     However, it appears there's no indication that anyone forgot about Harry Styles as his debut single 'Sign Of The Times' is ranked No. 1 on iTunes in over 70 countries worldwide.

     But is 'Sign Of The Times' a good song?

     It's good and, dare I say, maybe even great.

Image result for harry styles
Styles delivered on the songwriting
and vocals for 'Sign Of The Times.'
Photo by
     To be fair, I gravitate toward rock music, but this song channels sixties and seventies rock with a message that's as urgent as ever, especially with the United States launching missiles into a Syrian airfield April 6 in order to condemn Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad's use of chemical warfare on his own citizens.
     These are dark times around the world and 'Sign Of The Times' presents a looming uncertainty and tension in its sound and in its lyrics.

     I love the buildup of the song which starts with simple piano chords and then builds to clean, crushing guitars and eventually a swell of sounds that build to a beautiful climax before fading back into the background with a haunting piano outro.
     Musically, you can hear influences of David Bowie, Queen, Pink Floyd and The Beatles. But 'Sign Of The Times' doesn't feel like a caricature of that classic British rock sound.

     There are lyrical moments here where Styles references leaving the atmosphere and trying to get away from a current situation. Parts of the lyrics could definitely be about wanting to recapture love and holding on to a relationship, but there are subtle overtones of political nature that makes this song feel so valid and so important in 2017.
     And Styles delivers a heck of a vocal performance, ranging from a hushed falsetto in the early choruses up until some great high notes toward the end of the track. He sounds confident and sure of himself.


Image result for david bowie
'Sign Of The Times' has garnered
comparisons to work of the late David Bowie.
Photo courtesy of Esquire.
     It's way too early for people to be comparing Styles to Bowie, especially with Styles being a former boybander. But he was the singer in a local rock band before he auditioned for 'The X Factor' and appears to have been grounded in the history of rock music.
     And if Styles can continue to put together songs that brings very slight pop sensibilities to this classic rock sound, it is going to do wonders for bringing guitars and rock music back to pop radio.
     And to top it all off, 'Sign Of The Times' is almost SIX MINUTES LONG, which is unheard of today in pop music.
     Styles has the clout in popularity to pull off a move like this for his debut single and I'm legitimately excited for what he has in store with his debut album. Rumors have swirled that he has worked with everyone from Snow Patrol to Bruno Mars to to Red Hot Chili Peppers singer Anthony Kledis.

     Styles' 'Sign Of The Times' already makes him the most relevant member of One Direction in 2017. It proves you don't have to follow the 'Justin Timberlake' route by following a R&B pop path once you leave a boyband. (Looking at you Zayn!)

'Sign Of The Times' is a great rock power ballad that hits the nerve and showcases a classic sound that somehow feels current and relevant this year.

RATING: **** (4 Out Of 5)

We may disagree, but this could be what rock needs right now in popular music. Did you or did you not like Harry Styles' debut single 'Sign Of The Times?'

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

Friday, March 17, 2017


By: Connor Glowacki

Image result for linkin park battle symphony     Was I a tad harsh in my review of 'Heavy', the lead single from alternative rock band Linkin Park's upcoming seventh album 'One More Light'?


     But I stand by what I said a few weeks ago as the song being a big disappointment from the perspective of a long-time Linkin Park fan. And 'Heavy' accomplished what Linkin Park had sought out to do, which was to get the band back on the pop charts and into the mainstream consciousness.
     'Heavy' has so far peaked at No. 52 on the Billboard Hot 100 and with its music video racking up millions of views so far, I could see it climbing even higher. Yet even though 'Heavy' still remains a bland pop cash-grab, it is undeniably catchy and does stick in your head, for better or worse.

     I can't say the same thing about Linkin Park's latest single, 'Battle Symphony.'

     From what starts out as a surprisingly layered, interesting and catchy synth-filled instrumental intro, everything plateaus from the first verse through the end of the song. The same beat repeats itself over and over throughout 'Battle Symphony' and I just don't hear a catchy enough melody here to keep me invested as a listener.

     The lyrics focus on an inspirational theme of overcoming one's obstacles and it's a tried-and-true theme for rock bands to tackle. But the lyrical content is so bland on 'Battle Symphony' that limits the song from standing out on its own.            There's nothing descriptive in the message and there has to be more energy from lead singer Chester Bennington's vocals to sell any impact of the lyrics and the emotion falls flat here. Linkin Park has done these types of songs MUCH better in the past ('What I've Done', 'Breaking The Habit', etc).

     Again, I don't hear a band on this song, but it doubles-down that Linkin Park will make a 'poppy' kind of record for 'One More Light.' Pop is fine, but it still has to be interesting and aesthetically appeasing for it to be good.


     There's really not much more to add about 'Battle Symphony.'

     It's bland, sterile and ultimately forgettable. And it pains me to say that 'Heavy' is the better song of the two and ended up being the better lead single choice. The instrumentation isn't particularly interesting, the vocals are sweet but lack any urgency for this type of song template, and the lyrical content feels generic. I know Linkin Park can do better, but I'm afraid I'm not going to see those top-tier performances on 'One More Light.'

RATING: 2 Out Of 5 (**)

What did you think about 'Battle Symphony'? And with two songs now released off of 'One More Light', how do you feel about Linkin Park's upcoming seventh album? Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below or by letting me know on Twitter @ConnorGlowacki.

Thursday, February 23, 2017


By: Connor Glowacki

Image result for nerlens noel     Ah, the NBA Trade Deadline is upon us. And until 3 p.m. EST rolls around, we will be keep getting more trades that will certainly impact the landscape of the NBA for the rest of the season.

     Earlier this week, we had huge news with the Sacramento Kings trade All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins to the New Orleans Pelicans.

Now, the Philadelphia 76ers have traded center Nerlens Noel to the Dallas Mavericks for center Andrew Bogut, forward Justin Anderson and a first-round pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.
     The deal was reported on by The Vertical, which by the way has become the go-to source for NBA news over sports media heavyweights like ESPN, Bleacher Report, etc.

     The Vertical and other sites are now reporting that the 76ers are looking to find a new trade partner for Bogut because otherwise they will have to buyout his contract before he becomes an unrestricted free agent.

Now let's try and briefly break down this deal.

     Noel is the centerpiece. And he has career averages of 10.2 points, 7.6 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game. But his overall numbers have dropped this season due to the emergence of Joel Embiid and the continued development of Jahlil Okafor at the center position. The 76ers wanted to move one of their three centers, so Noel is the one to go.

     But this could be a great pickup for the Mavericks because Noel is a 6'11" ballhawk who can protect the rim. He has improved slightly in his offensive game, in terms of his post moves, and can be an elite defender. He is also still just 22! Philadelphia drafted Noel sixth overall in 2013, but he still has tons of upside to improve.
     Dallas got younger at the center position by trading Bogut for Noel and I think will fit in nicely in that Mavericks frontcourt with long-time veteran forward Dirk Nowitzki and forward Harrison Barnes. And even though Dallas has underachieved with just a 22-34 record before the All-Star Break, they still are just three games out of the last playoff spot in the Western Conference. It's a move that can help short-term and long-term, provided they get Noel signed to an extension.

     The deal also makes sense for Philadelphia because it again allows them to focus on Embiid and Okafor as their two centers. Second-year pro Justin Anderson could end up being a nice swingman down the road for a young Philly team as he was currently averaging 6.5 points per game behind Barnes on the Mavericks depth chart.
     They also get a first round pick for a deep 2017 draft class and may be able to get some value for Bogut. Overall, this move means that Joel Embiid is officially the face-of-the-franchise. Trust the Process!

This deal looks good for both teams, to me. But what do you think? Let me know by leaving a comment below or on Twitter @ConnorGlowacki.

Monday, February 20, 2017


By: Connor Glowacki

Image result for demarcus cousins     The drama with the approaching NBA Trade Deadline started out with a bang early in the morning Feb. 20 as the New Orleans Pelicans landed all-star center Demarcus Cousins, and forward Omri Cassipri, from the Sacramento Kings in exchange for guards Tyreke Evans and Buddy Hield, forward Langston Galloway, and a first and second round pick for 2017.
     The trade was reported and confirmed by several outlets, including The Vertical, ESPN and USA Today Sports, among others.

     Cousins is obviously a huge get for New Orleans as he is averaging a career-high 27.6 points this season, along with 10.6 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 1.3 blocks. He will be paired with current franchise cornerstone and dominant forward Anthony Davis, who has been averaging 27.7 points and 12 rebounds per game, on his own, this season.
     The Pelicans also were able to keep point guard Jrue Holliday on the roster, which makes an insanely scary trio for New Orleans, who are 23-34 this season and still in the hunt for a playoff spot.

Image result for demarcus cousins
Cousins will now be paired
with fellow All-Star Anthony Davis.
Photo by SB Nation. 

     Meanwhile for the Kings, this is a move to try to get the team into a total rebuild mode. Hield, who is a rookie this season, could be a potentially nice player for Sacramento long-term, but neither Evans or Galloway seem like they will be effective long-term options for the team. (Sacramento initially sent Evans to New Orleans).
     But deciding to trade Cousins also brings back memories of the Kings trading current all-star point guard Isaiah Thomas to the Phoenix Suns in 2014, before he landed up with the Boston Celtics.

     Bottom line: the Kings are a mess as an organization. But with Hield and potentially three first round draft picks this season, there is still a chance that they could turn this into becoming a respectable force in the NBA once again. But it's also important to remember that Sacramento didn't make the playoffs at any point of Cousins' tenure with the team. It is a shame because the Kings are currently only 1.5 games out of the final playoff spot right now in the Western Conference, but it seems that the team was also tired of Cousins' 'fiery antics' on the court.

This is a big shakeup in the NBA. Who do you think won this trade?

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

Thursday, February 16, 2017


By: Connor Glowacki

Image result for linkin park heavy     Well, this review is going to be tough. But it's going to center around the idea of how we as music listeners may outgrow the music we loved when we were younger.

     That's the case for me with nu-metal/alternative rock band Linkin Park's new single 'Heavy', released as the lead single for their upcoming album 'One More Light.'

     Linkin Park was one of my favorite band growing up, as I was in middle and high school. Their first two albums, 2000's 'Hybrid Theory' and 2003's 'Meteora'  turned me into becoming a music fan for the first time in my life.
     The music was aggressive, the lyrics were honest and the melodies were extremely catchy. It was the perfect combination for an angsty teenager.
     I couldn't ignore the criticism of the band because it was obvious. Linkin Park used simple guitar riffs and instrumentation and didn't go too deep with their lyrics. The band has been called the poster-child for brining nu-metal and glossing it up for the mainstream in the new millennium.

     I agree with all of this, but I still don't care.

     Music can sometimes be an individual experience and that's the case for me and Linkin Park. Throughout the rest of the band's career, Linkin Park put out four additional albums taht featured some more hits, some more experimentation, changes of sounds and concepts, but also declining sales from album-to-album.

     That brings us to 'Heavy', which follows Linkin Park's 2014 album, 'The Hunting Party', an album that brought back rougher textures and sounds to their music. The lyrics are once again simple and direct and can be seen as relating to the inner struggle of one's psyche and emotions. In other words, it's about the fear of trying to let go of something and deciding instead to hold on to whatever it is that is bringing you down. It can be about the fear of the unknown and as someone who has always had to work with anxiety, I could relate to the lyrical subject matter.

     But the production, instrumentation and vocals feel so sterile, bland and unassuming that I had to remember this song was performed by Linkin Park. Sound-wise, it's the complete opposite of 'The Hunting Party' and perhaps the softest song the band has ever recorded.
Image result for kiiara
Guest singer Kiiara surprises in
a good way on 'Heavy'.
Photo courtesy: JustJared
     Lead singer Chester Bennington's vocals are so restrained that he almost gets overpowered by guest singer Kiiara, who I thought actually gave a solid performance. I wish Bennington was able to emote more during 'Heavy' so that I could truly feel his pain and the pain he exhibits in the song.
     And up until maybe the last chorus, there really isn't much in regards to guitars, bass or drums. DJ Joe Hahn creates an almost trap-like beat mixed with some snapping fingers and it feels awkward for a Linkin Park song.


      I don't think 'Heavy' is a terrible song.

     There are some things I like, including ideas in the lyrical content and Kiiara's vocals. But I was left feeling underwhelmed and a little disappointed. 'Heavy' may be the most 'poppy' song this band has ever made.
     Now you may say that Linkin Park is a band that pushes their musical boundaries with experimentation, like it did with adding electronic and techno elements to their sound with their 2010 album, 'A Thousand Suns.' But 'Heavy' doesn't feel like experimentation to innovate the genre of rock or to innovate music. It feels like a bit of a cash-grab to get the band back on the charts. And that is sad to see.

     I think 'Heavy' is a decent pop song. I would listen to it on the radio and sing along. But I have higher expectations for Linkin Park and they fell short, which gives me apprehension for the new album.

     Even though I appreciated the lyrics for 'Heavy', I kept wondering I couldn't connect to 'Heavy' as much as their older songs. Is it because I have grown older and matured? Perhaps. I will continue to listen to Linkin Park's discography, but I might not feel that same emotion and connectedness that I felt as a teenager.

     I think I've outgrown parts of Linkin Park's music. But I can still tell a great, catchy, energetic and memorable song for a dull, melancholic number that sounds more and more like Top-40 radio. I still am a Linkin Park fan, but I do have doubts for the quality of 'One More Light.'

RATING: 2.5 Out Of 5    (** 1/2)

What did you all think about the new song 'Heavy' by Linkin Park? Were you disappointed like me? Or did you really like it?

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

Tuesday, February 14, 2017


By: Connor Glowacki

Image result for maroon 5 cold*This is just my opinion. If you feel differently about this song. That is OK.

     After releasing the dreadfully bland tropical-house top-10 hit 'Don't Wanna Know', which featured a surprisingly bad verse from Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar,  last October, pop band Maroon 5 have followed up with a new single called 'Cold'. And just like 'Don't Wanna Know', 'Cold' includes a guest rap verse, this time from Atlanta rapper/singer Future.

*Before continuing on this review, click here for my 'Don't Wanna Know' song review.

     With 'Cold', Maroon 5 have officially burned all bridges of any sort of rock semblance that the former California band once had. Their new song has been described by lead singer Adam Levine as being R&B influenced and will apparently be the main genre indicator for the group's next album, which is set to be released sometime this year.
     Now let me be clear, many bands have been able to incorporate elements of R&B and soul into their music and have been able to put together very good results. (See older acts like The Beatles, Rolling Stones and Hall & Oates, or newer indie acts like The Neighbourhood and Haim).

     But their has to be some kind of passion and some kind of soul coming from the lyrics, the vocals and the instrumentation and they are all completely absent on 'Cold'.

Image result for maroon 5 2017
Be honest. Do you know who is in Maroon 5
besides Adam Levine?
     The song features Levine crooning about essentially being in relationship-limbo. The girl feels so distant, yet kisses him. She, as Levine states, is leaving him in the dark. And Levine asks, "Are we taking time or a time out." Levine ends up in the chorus declaring that the girl is, "Cold enough to chill my bones. It feels like I don't know you anymore. I don't understand why you're so cold to me."
     These lyrics are juvenile and make the song sound entirely one-sided. Can relationships end up one-sided before they flame out? Sure, but I feel like Levine is leaving out examples of what he has failed to bring to the relationship that made his girl act as cold as she has.

     And then we get to the instrumentation... if you can call it that.

     I have said previously that Maroon 5 was at their best, as a band, with their first three bands. And while 2012's 'Overexposed' and 2014's 'V' were examples of the band officially selling out for more glossy, synthetic, Top-40 ready pop overtones, there were still moments where you could hear the other instruments and remember that this is a band.

     'Don't Wanna Know' was the beginning of where I could no longer here any immediate contributions from Maroon 5 band members outside of Levine.

     'Cold' takes it to a whole new level. The song takes such a minimalistic approach in the verses that it's Levine trying to sing in front of what tries to come off as a hazy, atmospheric backdrop. Even though a nice swell builds up into the chorus with a staccato rhythm and a pretty sounding string section anchoring the last few couplets of the chorus, you forget that this is a band.
     It's the kind of instrumentation that you could pull off of something like Adobe Audacity... and not in a good way.

     Levine is okay vocally, I guess.

     He sure has sounded a lot worse in other songs over the past few years. But his vocals sound so processed and so layered that they sound almost monotonous. Even with the falsettos, which is the exact opposite feeling you want to have when you hear a falsetto.
     There's no passion or soul coming from his voice, which is incredible to believe because he had passion and soul vocally earlier in his career with Maroon 5. You could give this song to any other male pop singer and I think that not only would it still be a hit, but the other singer would actually be able to sell what he is singing.

     As for Future, his verse doesn't really make sense lyrically, but you don't listen to Future for lyrics. People listen to Future to get hyped.
Image result for future
The instrumentation is too tame
for Future to provide any real impact.
Photo by:

     And they get hyped through his punishing and defiant beats to go along with his drug-fueled bars of hedonism. Not surprisingly though, he comes across far more tame on a pop song like this and his influence is pushed far into the background.
     His chants of 'So fuck this cold world' are a series of flat insults that I think are directed toward the girl of his affection, but he declared earlier in his verse that he first wants to stay with girl, but then later also wants to give her space. Future is the same guy who in his 2014 song 'I Won' compared his at-the-time girlfriend Ciara, to a trophy. A reward for his conquest. Charming, bruh.


     I gave a fairly harsh review to 'Don't Wanna Know' at the time for witnessing Maroon 5 embrace chasing trends and losing the aspects of what made them unique. But at least it was mostly harmless from a lyrical standpoint and had a decent enough tropical groove.

     'Cold' is not fun. 

     'Cold' showcases Levine and Future painting their lovers in a completely unflattering light without sharing all sides of the respective story and Maroon 5 have given up on rock and have move toward a new R&B/pop sound.
     If you want to evolve as a band, it's okay to subtly add different influences. But not if it gets rid of the band's entire identity to begin with. And without being able to notice any of the other members in the band besides the lead singer, I now can no longer call this band Maroon 5.

     From now on, they will be known as 'The Adam Levine Experience.'

     The decent swell in the chorus allows 'Cold' to get some kind of a rating, but this song is awful and marks the unfortunate debut era of The Adam Levine Experience.

RATING: 1 Out Of 5 (*)


Do you like 'Cold'? Love it? Hate it? And why?

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

Wednesday, February 1, 2017


By: Connor Glowacki

I'm not going to lie here. I root for Imagine Dragons.

Image result for imagine dragons believer     I loved Imagine Dragons' 2012 debut 'Night Visions', which featured the bombastic 'Radioactive', uplifting numbers 'It's Time' and 'On The Top Of The World', to the moody deep-cut rockers like 'Amsterdam', 'Tiptoe' and 'Hear Me'.
     Imagine Dragons was able to deliver on a successful template of arena rock that had been missing in the mainstream music consciousness due to U2 taking extremely long breaks in between albums and Coldplay putting out more 'popish' material as of late.
     'Night Visions' was a huge commercial success, selling two million copies in the U.S. and over seven million worldwide. Even though Imagine Dragons' 2015 followup, 'Smoke + Mirrors' didn't feature a hit single or sell as well as its predecessor, I appreciated how the band incorporated folk and gospel influences into their alternative rock rhythmic sound. To this day, 'Night Visions' remains the better album, but 'Smoke + Mirrors' is a solid record that  didn't do as well commercially.

Check out my review of 'Smoke + Mirrors' here

Well. Two years later and Imagine Dragons have released 'Believer' as the lead single for their upcoming third album. How did it turn out?

...I'm kind of torn on this new track.
Image result for dan reynolds 2016
Reynolds sells the lyrics
with a passionate vocal performance.

     I like SOME of the lyrical content. At points, the lyrics seem to be describing lead singer Dan Reynolds overcoming depression and anxiety when he was young and using his songs and music as inspiration to try and make an impact and a connection toward others going through similar situations.
     And I like how the chorus defiantly states that Reynolds is going to confront the pain from his past or his present. But it's not clear to me what exactly the pain is making Reynolds a believer of.
     Is it a believer of the rials and tribulations of life? Overcoming self-doubt? I'm not sure it will come across as clear for the listener. The rest of the verses are filled with a bunch of cliches, but Reynolds on-point flow through several of the couplets created a nice groove and allowed the verses to flow into one another.

The thing I don't like about this track is the instrumentation.

     I know that Imagine Dragons have utilized beats and other hip-hop stylized instrumentations since they formed a working partnership with producer Alex Da Kid on their 2012 EP 'Continued Silence.' A song like 'Radioactive' is the perfect example of what those kinds of beats with an electronic buildup and drop, can add to a song. It can add aggression, urgency and a layer of musical depth that can potentially match well with the lyrical content.
     But the difference between 'Radioactive' and 'Believer' is that 'Radioactive' had an instant melody with the vocal structures and the interweaving guitar and bass lines, which was able to connect with the background beats and create such a gut punch for the listener. At the time, nothing like this was being played on the radio. It was raw and aggressive, but also catchy.

There isn't a catchy enough melody for 'Believer' to stand out.

     I rarely hear any riffs or progressions from guitarist Wayne Sermon and bassist Ben McKee. 'Believer' feels like a Reynolds and drummer Daniel Platzman collaboration because those are the only contributions that I can hear consistently throughout the song. When the song grow into its explosive chorus, even though Reynolds is doing a great job at belting out some of those high notes, the rest of the instrumentation can't catch up and the song leaves me wanting more, not in a good way.

     Even with their early success. I root for Imagine Dragons as I would root for an underdog football team. There are times when they don't receive much respect from the rock community and others where they don't receive much respect from the pop world. I enjoyed their first two albums so I'm going to give Imagine Dragons the benefit of the doubt for their upcoming third album. I like the electronic buildups they are continue to create, but there has to be some kind of melody associated with it.

RATING: 2.5 Out Of 5 (**1/2)

Don't let us down, Imagine Dragons. You are one of the few acts that can help keep rock on the charts and on the radio.

Let me know what you thought about Imagine Dragons' new single, 'Believer.' Leave a comment below or let me know on Twitter @ConnorGlowacki.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017


By: Connor Glowacki

Image result for oscars 2017     The musical 'La La Land', starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, earned 14 Academy Awards nominations for the 2017 Oscars, which is tied with 'Titanic' and 'All About Eve' for most nominations received in the history of the Academy Awards.

     It's important to note that a big storyline coming into the 2017 award show are the success of black actors and actresses receiving multiple nominations, especially after the #OscarsSoWhite controversy for the last few years that consisted of the lists for nominated actors and actresses being primarily caucasian.

     Also, Mel Gibson was actually nominated for best director for his film 'Hacksaw Ridge.' Who saw that coming?

Image result for la la land
'La La Land' received the most
nominations with 14 total.
Photo from
Check out the list of nominees for some of the major categories below. Genres of the film are placed in parenthesis.


*'Arrival' (Science Fiction)
*'Fences' (Drama)
*'Hacksaw Ridge' (Biographical War Drama)
*'Hell Or High Water' (Western/Crime)
*'Hidden Figures' (Biographical Drama)
*'La La Land' (Romantic/Musical Comedy, Drama)
*'Lion' (Drama)
*'Manchester By The Sea' (Drama)
*'Moonlight' (Drama)


*Isabelle Huppert in 'Elle'
*Ruth Negga in 'Loving'
*Natalie Portman in 'Jackie'
*Emma Stone in 'La La Land'
*Meryl Streep in 'Florence Foster Jenkins'


*Casey Affleck in 'Manchester By The Sea'
*Andrew Garfield in 'Hacksaw Ridge'
*Ryan Gosling in 'La La Land'
*Viggo Morgenstein in 'Captain Fantastic'
*Denzel Washington in 'Fences'


*Viola Davis in 'Fences'
*Naomie Harris in 'Moonlight'
*Nicole Kidman in 'Lion'
*Octavia Spencer in 'Hidden Figures'
*Michelle Williams in 'Manchester By The Sea'


*Mahershala Ali in 'Moonlight'
*Jeff Bridges in 'Hell Or High Water'
*Lucas Hedges in 'Manchester By The Sea'
*Dev Patel in 'Lion'
*Michael Shannon in 'Nocturnal Animals'


*Damien Chazelle for 'La La Land'
*Mel Gibson for 'Hacksaw Ridge'
*Barry Jenkins for 'Moonlight'
*Kenneth Lonergan for 'Manchester By The Sea'
*Denis Villeneuve for 'Arrival'


Who's going to win? Leave a comment below or let me know on Twitter @ConnorGlowacki.