The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes (2023) - IMDb
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Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (2023)
Alianna Kendall-Brooks | Staff Writer

Eight years after the epic conclusion of “The Hunger Games” trilogy, the series is back with a gripping prequel, “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.” Set 64 years before the first novel, the latest installment tells the story of a young Cornelius Snow as he grapples with upholding his father’s legacy and keeping his family from the brink of poverty. At his prestigious school, Snow and his snobbish classmates are recruited in a cutthroat competition for a financial reward, earned by mentoring tributes for The Hunger Games. Snow and assigned tribute Lucy Gray’s, the captivating “songbird,” budding romantic relationship begins to intertwine with their harsh reality. As the 10th annual Hunger Games commences, it becomes increasingly evident that Snow is willing to go to extraordinary lengths to secure not only his own survival but also that of Lucy Gray. “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” revisits the purpose and evolution of the brutal games. Through Snow’s own moral turmoil, the movie reveals that life itself is a competition in which people will do whatever it takes to be the victor.

Gen V (TV Series 2023– ) - IMDb

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Gen V (2023)
Vika Dzhobadze | Staff Writer

“Gen V” is a spin-off of Amazon Prime’s, “The Boys.” Taking place at the fictional Godolkin University, the show depicts seven students attending “superhero courses” so they can join “The Seven.” But, if you know anything about “The Boys,” being a superhero and the main superheroes in the show tend to be satirical depictions of alt-right extremists who abuse their power. In “Gen V,” the seven main characters realize the abuse of power occurring in their society. They attempt to take up the mantle of becoming heroes by taking down a secret testing site that is mutating and experimenting on stronger super-humans. However, the show makes sure to include romantic and comedic moments to really set the college scene. “Gen V” does an excellent job of demonstrating the differences between generations of superheroes fighting to take charge and combat systems of oppression, while mixing in a bit of college drama.

André 3000 - New Blue Sun - Music

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“New Blue Sun” by Andre 3000 (2023)
Austin Modlin | Staff Writer

The enigmatic character of André 3000, one of the founding members of renowned hip-hop group Outkast makes his solo debut with “New Blue Sun.” This album is not a return to form for André 3000, but an experimental journey of a musician finding his creative voice again. The album is largely focused on an ambient sound with the usage of digital synths and vibrant flute instrumentation. There are some tracks that have instruments clearly out of key which is an auditory testament to André 3000 simply recording and creating whatever comes to mind. As the album progresses, the tracks become a little more refined yet still ambient in tone. At the tail end of the album there are tracks with darker tones and undefinable areas. This album gives off an otherworldly feel with its instrumentation and usage of synths. This is just the beginning of the experimental evolution of André 3000.

D'Angelo - Voodoo [Explicit] - Music
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“Voodoo” by D’Angelo (2000)
Micah Oliphant| Staff Writer
“Voodoo” is the third studio album by renowned R&B and Soul singer, D’Angelo. “Voodoo” is a beautiful, captivating and without a doubt, soulful album that perfectly exudes D’Angelo’s vocal capabilities, storytelling and musical creativity. “Voodoo” finds a way to contradict society’s perception of D’Angelo, changing his narrative of a sexual figure to a sincere and compassionate loverboy. “Voodoo” not only explored D’Angelo’s sexuality and romantic vulnerability, but ties back into his heritage, love for African-American culture and overall yearning for musical innovation within R&B. The tracks explore vast subjects, like Spirituality, in songs such as “Devil’s Pie” and “The Root.” Love is expressed on tracks like “Feel Like Makin’ Love” and “Untitled (How Does It Feel)” where D’Angelo touches on personal intimacy, connection and romantic affection. In “Africa,” the closing track to the album, D’Angelo touches on fatherhood and his love for his son. It’s a beautiful track that is extremely vulnerable and touches on the differences in emotional vulnerability in African countries and America. Overall, “Voodoo” is an alluring album and beautifully composed project.