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GTA V –Good luck following the Honor Code

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5 out 5

Grand Theft Auto (GTA) is one of the most well-known video games ever made for its open world, stellar storytelling, and the usual controversy over the violence in the game.  Personally, I have only played GTA IV in the past and I didn’t like the game at all.  For that reason I was not very excited about the new installment in the series, then I finally got my hands on it.  The first thing I noticed was the graphics, and seriously the game could just be me walking around the city doing nothing and I would be satisfied, the game looks absolutely amazing.  The map of Los Santos is huge, and a bit of depth is added to it with the additions of scuba diving and sky diving.  The story is great as it follows three different protagonist; a former robber adjusting to family life, a young man trying to stay out of a life of crime, and my personal favorite a meth dealer who is a bit insane.  The only fault I can find in the game is the boring and repetitive side missions (seriously how many times do I have to drive a tow truck and tow a car from Location A to Location B), though the heists that they lead to are definitely worth it.  There is a multiplayer feature that they have not as of yet implemented, but if it’s anything like the single-player it will be fantastic.  Overall the game is definitely worth picking up.

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Pure Heroine: Lorde

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David Williams ’14

Lorde is the newest foreign pop star to burst onto the American scene. The huge hype for this 16-year-old singer-songwriter has been enormous, with one single debuting at number one on the Billboard charts in the US. Pure Heroine is a study in constant sound that emphasizes the few seconds of silence that occur in the album. The album is an ode to the anxiety of the transitions of teenage life and growing up to the responsibilities of life. However, this isn’t through a heavily auto-tuned voice with a guitar back tracking. Instead, this is the pure beat of a base drum and simple toms accompanied by the amazingly mature voice laid over. This simplistic formula is when Lorde is at her best, left to bring out her passion for the music in the tones of her voice and the versatility that she brings to the different tracks of the album.

The lust for the rich lifestyle of hip-hop and pop is broken down by the perspective of a teenager viewing the lifestyle from outside of the inner-city where it originated. The luxury of the lifestyle is rejected in the track “Royals”, while “Glory and Gore” embraces rap and the competitive and battling culture that it’s created between rappers. Ultimately, “Pure Heroine” is a deep examination of the experience of a teenager growing up and dealing with the explosion of fame, but it delivers in a way that hits at the heart (through the veins) and is more than pleasant on the ears.

5 Stars

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Justin Timberlake’s 20/20 Experience Part 2

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Joseph Lantague ’16

I have got a confession to make: I am a Justin Timberlake fan.  And as a Justin Timberlake follower, I loved his album The 20/20 Experience that came out earlier this year.  When I heard there was going to be a second part to that album, I got very excited.  Unfortunately, this album doesn’t sound or feel like an extension on the music from the first part; it feels like a completely different record.  I’m not sure if it matters, but the first part had no explicit songs in it, while the second album has six, and it just so happens the two songs that I really liked were not marked explicit.   If I had a word to describe the first part, it was class; the second I am still undecided on due to the various different sounds to the album.  Some songs sound like classic Justin, others I simply don’t like, and one song even reminded me of the Classic Rock era of music.  As a fan of Justin Timberlake, I did enjoy the album, but unfortunately, I cannot recommend it to other people.  If I were you, just spend the money on Take Back the Night and Drink You Away, as they are the real standouts of this album.

3 Stars

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B-Room – Dr. Dog

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David Williams ’14

3 stars

B-Room

Dr. Dog

Dr. Dog’s seventh studio album is a new start for the band. Recorded at a new house and studio in their hometown of Philadelphia, this new album does not break the mold the band has built with their last two albums. Continuing to look back at the 60’s and 70’s surf and psychedelic bands, B-room sounds like the soundtrack to a 70’s movie. However, this album lets you down when compared to past albums, like We all Belong and Fate, by not producing a take away hit. There is simply no song on the album that you’ll remember and hum as you walk.

In losing the horns and branching out into the psychedelic, Dr. Dog has lost some of their soul. The older albums had a sense of reinventing the tired surf rock and British invasion-era pop that so heavily influenced the folk rock that the band used to create. There is nothing really new about B-room, and that’s truly the problem with the album. Instead of listening to Dr. Dog’s take on the Doors, it’s easier and more rewarding to listen to the source of inspiration. Dr. Dog lost their spark for creating and experimenting with old sounds, and in doing so, has lost the drive in their songs and produced an album that’s enjoyable to listen to, but not a memorable experience.

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Local Eats: Merk’s Place

Damien Sharp ’15

Bad mamajama food critic for the Tiger

Many of us know that nothing beats grandma’s home cooking, but Merk’s Place of Farmville offers a solution to that during our time on “The Hill.” Located on West Third Street, Merk’s has become a staple in the Farmville dining scene.

Offering more than the generic restaurant meal, Merk’s serves up traditional southern plates ranging from downhome chicken and dumplings to country fried chicken smothered in gravy. Its customary sides properly accompany each of these entrees; all of them guaranteed to stick to your ribs like grandma’s Sunday dinner.

Their menu is probably one of the most unique you will find in the town of Farmville, as it is extensive and offers a wide variety of options catering to any palate. My only complaint as a man that loves food is that is it often difficult to settle on the meal I want with such an extensive menu.

Though on Friday’s this is hardly a problem, as Merk’s holds it’s weekly marinated prime rib dinner that is sure to please many. The fourteen-ounce prime rib is grilled to perfection and served alongside a baked potato and freshly baked bread.

Your meal is not complete without indulging in one of their many desserts. Their milkshakes are handspun the old-fashioned way and their pie and cakes are made by some of the best pastry chefs in Farmville, as far as I can see.

Though the Merk’s lunch and dinner menu is exceptional, I will say that there in nothing better than a hot Merk’s breakfast on a brisk fall morning. My personal favorite is the Merk’s Big Breakfast. This breakfast dishes out a delicious stack of pancakes, of which I had topped with sweet baked apples, fresh eggs, your choice of succulent bacon or sausage, with a side of home-style grits or southern fried potatoes. The endless hot coffee makes a perfect partner to this delectable breakfast.

Merk’s also adds a twist on the typical breakfast dining experience. Reigning as a favorite among many Merk’s diners is the Merk’s breakfast pizza. This iconic dish begins with a soft pizza crust and cheese and is then crowned with your choice of toppings such as bacon, ham, eggs, or sausage to name a few. Though it is not the traditional breakfast of champions, what could start your day of any better than beginning it with a breakfast pizza?

I am proud to say that Merk’s Place is truly an asset to the Farmville dining experience, as it has something for everybody who enters its doors. Take a bite out of the local scene, and mosey on down to Merk’s Place. Remember, good food is local food. Until next time, cheers and happy eating.

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MGMT as MGMT

MGMT’s new self-titled album continues right on the heels of the album that redefined the art-rock genre. After 5 years, the sound is still a unique mix of hi-fi and lo-fi recording mixed with the rampant introspection that propels each new listen and uncovers something different each time. MGMT has more of the chant like songs that wrapped up Oracular Spectacular and mixes in new hits. Another deep look into childhood transitions to a nihilistic overview of aging and a journey to rediscover the meaning in life. This album is a major comeback from the notorious sophomore slump Congratulations. While critically acclaimed the album just did not land with fans, but MGMT hits in all the right places that were just missed in the last try.

The album starts rather slowly with “Alien Days” show casing the heavy beats that will drive each song and mark your trek through MGMT’s proverbial wonderland. The album eventually gives way to always cheerful, synthesizer-filled, bubble-gum pop that sweeps you away to where MGMT looks to channel “Tune In, Turn On, Drop Out.” Ultimately, this album is fractured in much the same way Oracular Spectacular was. The songs move in and out of different genres and sometimes the order clashes in the transition. Overall, MGMT has succeeded in combining the styles of past albums creating a driving paradigm for future music.

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