When it comes to setting a romantic tone for a night you want to remember hopefully, the movie 50/50 is probably not the first film that jumps to mind. A protagonist diagnosed with a malignant tumor and his subsequent fight for survival is usually does not usually elicit romantic feelings on a date. But somehow, this movie weaved some unexpected magic for me on my Valentine’s Day.

50/50’s plot does not sound amorous on paper. That might not even have been its intention. Regardless, what an audience is left with is a remarkable piece of art that makes you want to cuddle up close to that special someone. The soundtrack, filled with some mood-setting songs by The Bee Gees and Roy Orbison play well with the charming Joseph Gordon-Levitt, reminiscent of his previous hit 500 Days of Summer. The chemistry between the two leads, the other being the talented Anna Kendrick, is surprisingly deep. You’ll probably find yourself smiling unexpectedly at the dismal hilarity of their relationship.

This movie occupies an important place in my past. Watching it helped me get over a past relationship, and watching it again helped me begin a new one. Unfortunately, I can’t ensure that by prescribing it to you you’ll have the same outcomes. I don’t know how likely it is to improve a first date, but I know even if it fails you’ll still get to watch a pretty awesome movie. Regardless, we’ll put the odds at 50/50.

“Don’t judge a book by its cover” might have some meaning, but we all still makes judgments based on first impressions. Fortunately for The Strokes, first impressions totally work to their advantage with the classic album cover from the classic album Is This It.

The shot of black leather gloved hands on a women’s naked backside is enough to convince any alternative fan that this’ll be a trip worth taking. That, along with a title suggesting dissatisfaction, is one of the most enticing covers for a rock album to come out of the 2000s.

Album designer Colin Lane took the iconic photograph, but at the time it wasn’t meant for the album. His girlfriend had just left the shower and Lane took the initiative to capture her apparent charm with a pair of gloves left over from a friend. “I was just trying to take a sexy picture,” Lane later explained. Well, you sure did Lane, and rock music thanks you for it.

By: Spencer Semianiw

Lonerism is a peculiar album. The first time I listened through I didn’t understand it.  But there were two tracks that stood out to me - “Elephant” and “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards.” Those songs motivated me to give the album another listen, and that time it hit me a little harder than the first time. I realized the entire album is filled with catchy tunes and brilliant sound engineering. Like all great albums, I could feel that it deserved my attention.

I now think that Lonerism should be viewed as a modern triumph of the psychedelic genre. It’s not easy to create unique music from a band whose singer sounds uncannily like John Lennon and whose style is nearly identical to the musical atmosphere of when he lived, but Tame Impala have succeeded in creating their own personality.

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what it is that differentiates this album from the psychedelic heyday of the late ‘60s, but it isn’t hard to distinguish it from the other bands grasping for fame by reinterpreting that era’s music. Tame Impala have breathed new life into an increasingly lifeless genre, and with renewed interest this type of music can hopefully once again capture public attention and awe.

Music isn’t what it used to be - but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Even though I’m too young to experience it, I’m sure this album will bring a wave of nostalgia to an older generation and hopefully a wave of affection for a younger one. Lonerism is a brilliant display of subtle musical genius.

Spencer Semianiw


From Obama’s numerous campaign endorsements by pop icons to Romney’s laughably out-of-pitch rendition of “America the Beautiful,” music has played a star role in this presidential election. Unfortunately for politics, (but fortunately for everyone else), some efforts have failed quite humorously.

Obama's administration seems to value music as a way to make money, while Romney’s campaign instead seems to use music for an emotional connection with the American people. However, luckily for Obama, he seems to have racked up the grand majority of artists’ votes anyway - specifically the ones with the most dispensable cash.

Jay Z and Beyoncé, who have a collective worth of 775 million, are not only avid supporters of the President, but also have campaigned quite rigorously to gain him donations through their $40,000 a plate New York fundraiser back in September. Obama has also managed to gain the support of other big names in music, including Madonna, Bruce Springsteen and Lady Gaga.

Mitt Romney’s campaign has instead focused on proving that his platform will represent a change for the nation. A notorious example was when Romney’s running mate Paul Ryan tried to convince voters that he believed in smaller government because he had Rage Against the Machine on his iPod. It seemed this statement didn’t distract anyone from Ryan’s true political intentions, especially the band itself. In an angry reply to Ryan, lead guitarist Tom Morello expressed in Rolling Stone magazine how Ryan’s “guiding vision of shifting revenue more radically to the one per cent is antithetical to the message of Rage.”

The contrast between each campaign’s success is perhaps most striking in the array of artists who’ve endorsed each candidate. Obama has gained the support of a wide range of artists, both young and old, from a variety of different genres. Mitt Romney has instead garnered the support of a collection of elderly white gentlemen with whom his unprogressive ideologies resonate. Any outliers in this formula unsurprisingly display a meager level of intelligence or lack an understanding of politics. For instance, Scott Strapp, the front man of the ‘90s rock band Creed, said he supports Romney because, “My heart and soul would really like someone like Reagan or FDR to come back and give us a New Deal.” Apparently Stapp is a little unfamiliar with history, being that it was only FDR who created a New Deal and not Reagan.

When it comes to getting votes, music plays less of a role than rational discussion about the economy, but its use is undeniably successful in evoking an emotional response in voters, which can prove integral to a campaign’s success.

At least the use of music during campaigning has offered a good deal of laughs, and in the election process we’ve seen in the past few months, who could want any more than that?

Spencer Semianiw

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