Adele’s 25 blows past expectations

By Liam McGurl  @Liiiammm1996


It was starting to feel like a “Million Years Ago” since we last heard from London native Adele, but her powerful new installment, 25, has arrived and is, arguably, her most daring studio album yet.

While the soulful ballad “Hello” stays true to the album’s lyrical message of pain in heartbreak, it’s robust, wholesome sounds aren’t exactly a testament to the overall musicality of 25—which is No. 1 on Apple’s iTunes chart in 110 countries.

In contrast to Adele’s preceding records, 25 gives fans the full range of the 27-year-old singer’s talents.  From the underlying pop sentiments of “Send My Love (To Your New Lover)” to the Latin feel of “Million Years Ago,” the album’s as unpredictable as it is sonically satisfying.  In essence, it’s the model comeback album—and will likely help Adele reclaim her chart-topping, Grammy-snagging status.

Not surprisingly, the album sold at least 2.5 million copies in the United States in its first week—which, according to the New York Times is “… the highest weekly sales for any album since at least 1991…”

While the 2016 Grammy Awards are scheduled for Feb. 15—and that seems centuries away— it’s likely Adele will be taking home the awards in her nominated categories.  It’s all about timing, and with a new album and singles leading up to the award show, she’ll likely be the focus of the red carpet event—both on and off stage.  Let’s be honest, though, it’s not that big of a surprise considering the 2006 BRIT School for Performing Arts and Technology graduate has already received 86 musical arts-based awards out of 168 total nominations.

As expected, the vocal caliber of the “Rolling In The Deep” singer on 25 met both anxious fan and critic expectations, but her noteworthy lyricality on the installment was the main supporter of her impactful trills and riffs.

Adele sings of yearning for renewed love in “I Miss You,” exclaiming, “I love the way your body moves/ Towards me from across the room/ Brushing past my every groove/ No one has me like you do.”  It’s a change from her previous content, opening up about more vulnerable, uncanny dimensions of love: regret and reminiscing.

Her usual sentiments of heartbreak line the record’s tracks, still, but she’s honest about the pain in a new way.

“When We Were Young”—a serious contender for a second single—moves us through the motions of hoping for a revived love life, while “Water Under the Bridge” takes listeners to that uncomfortable place of accepting failed love and hoping for peaceful closure.

“All I Ask”—the second to last track on the record—is a musical plea for that same sort of peaceful closure.  As the track’s chorus closes with the lines “It matters how this ends/Cause what if I never love again?” listeners are struck with relatability internalized as goosebumps.  It’s essentially the “breakup experience” in a single line—acceptance of one’s romantic standings but hoping to move to a place of forgiveness and progression past the pain.

While Adele’s content has remained consistent—and time out of the spotlight hasn’t changed her attraction to love ballads and breakup tunes—she’s used a variety of unexpected, and intentional, instrumentals to support her commanding vocals.

Light guitar strumming follows Adele’s soft vocals at the early formation of “Sweetest Devotion,” while pulsating drumming carries the track’s forceful chorus.  Likewise, classical piano carries the consistent dynamics of “Remedy.”

Adele’s captivating choices in accompaniment elevate her already moving vocals to a place of euphoria that acapella rarely meets.  Aside from her undeniable vocal gift, Adele’s lyrical genius and appropriate selection of instrumentation will likely carry 25 to record-breaking numbers of awards and continued positive critical acclamation.

Grammys 2015: Highlights, winners and best moments

By Liam McGurl

[Image courtesy of]

The 57th annual Grammy Awards were a night full of glamour, performances and surprises — like Sam Smith tying Beyoncé with six nominations. As expected, LL Cool J opened the show wearing his signature beret for his fourth consecutive year.


[Image courtesy of]

The early 70s rock band AC/DC opened the show performing their hit “Highway to Hell.”  From the get-go, it was clear that the night would be entertaining for everyone, young and old.

The night was full of similarly shocking performances, as Madonna performed a matador and bull themed rendition of “Living for Love.”  This performance was definitely the most controversial of the night as it featured an entourage of men dressed in bull horns and face masks alongside choir singers performing in gospel fashion.

Aside from Madonna’s sexually-charged performance, the night was full of fairly solemn acoustics – much different than the over-the-top nature of many past Grammy’s.

One of the most emotional solo performances of the night was Beyoncé’s soulful rendition of Thomas A. Dorsey’s gospel tune “Take My Hand, Precious Lord.”  Dressed in all white, surrounded by a choir of men in white tuxedos, Beyoncé effortlessly belted out the tune, earning her a standing ovation.  While Beyoncé’s singing brought tears to viewers’ eyes, winning “Best R&B Performance” for her Jay-Z collaboration “Drunk in Love” almost brought a few tears to her eyes.

Beyonce performs "Take My Hand" at the 57th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles

[Image courtesy of]

Katy Perry’s rendition of “By the Grace of God” was equally touching.  After listening to an introduction from President Barack Obama, followed by a speech from a survivor of domestic abuse, Perry delivered an emotional performance.  Full of smoke, shadow art and serious messages, Perry was the star of what might be the most memorable performance of the night.

Among these powerful performances were Ariana Grande’s production of “Just a Little Bit of Your Heart,” Kanye West’s surprisingly somber, and rap-lacking, performance of “Only One” and Sia’s slightly more upbeat theatrical production of “Chandelier” featuring actress and comedian Kristen Wigg as a Sia doppelganger.


[Image courtesy of]

Maybe it was all of these emotional vocals, but even Pharrell’s “Happy” didn’t seem too happy. Regardless, whether or not Pharrell’s popular tune didn’t sound quite as cheerful, it’s a safe bet that he was after walking away with the Grammy for “Best Pop Solo Performance.”

While some may like the usual theatrical nature of the annual Grammy’s celebration, many appreciated this year’s focus on simplistic sets and tremendous vocals.  When it comes to these vocals, there is nothing better than a power-duet. Luckily, these were not in short supply this year.

Sam Smith and Mary J. Blige teamed up for an epic “Stay With Me” collaboration.  Even though the performance was met with an outstanding number of bravos, it’s a safe bet that the highlight of Smith’s night was walking away with four Grammy’s, including “Best New Artist,” “Best Pop Vocal Album,” “Song of the Year” and the coveted “Record of The Year” award.  One could say that Smith ran the Grammy’s— but that’s not much of a surprise to anyone.

While they might not have snagged any awards, Hozier and Annie Lennox joined forces for a mash up of Hozier’s “Take Me To Church” and Lennox’s “I Put a Spell on You.”  Hozier’s soulful voice could have jerked a few tears while Lennox’s power ballad provided a successful comeback for this 80s performer.

Lennox wasn’t the only shocking comeback of the night, though.  Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga took to the stage to perform their hit Cheek To Cheek, which helped them to win the award for “Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album.”  It was nice to see Gaga on stage since she has been out of the public eye for the past few months.

Maroon 5’s Adam Levine and Gwen Stefani collaborated on an electrifying performance of “My Heart Is Open.”  Much like Lennox and Gaga, Stefani was a pleasant surprise as her career had been in limbo for a few years.

For the ladies, Ed Sheeran and John Mayer’s “Thinking out Loud” collaboration was a crowd pleaser.  For the older folks, Sheeran and the Electric Light Orchestra’s rendition of “Mr. Blue Sky” was a highlight.

Overall, there were not many surprises, with the exception of not so well-known vocalist Beck snagging “Album of the Year” and Paramore’s Hailey Williams taking home the award for “Best Rock Song.”

As for the expected winners, the Clean Bandit and Jess Glyne collaboration “Rather Be” took home the Grammy for “Best Dance Recording,” A Great Big World and Christina Aguilera’s group effort “Say Something” took home the award for “Best Pop Duo/ Group Performance,” and Miranda Lambert received the Grammy for “Best Country Album.”

Sunday night brought about lots of laughs, tears and great performances — but we’re still wondering if Sam Smith struggled to carry all of those trophies on his way out.


Probably not.

Best and Worst Dressed: Grammy’s 2014

By Elyse Breeze, @ElyseBreeze


[Photos courtesy of]

The 2014 Grammy’s celebrated some of music’s greatest legends of all time and the industry’s newest artists of the past year. But, of course, I celebrated this award show’s best dressed celebrities and had a lot of secondhand embarrassment in witnessing some of the worst… And trust me, when these stars fell, they fell hard.

First up, Beyoncé: Beyoncé flaunted her famous curves in a cream, lace embroidered gown designed by Michael Costello and Christian Louboutin heels. The stunning entertainer even stopped in the press room with her husband, Jay-Z, to show off this gorgeous gown. 

Continue reading “Best and Worst Dressed: Grammy’s 2014”

Click the arrow at the picture’s bottom-right corner to see the enlarged graphic

Using the Twitter feed to measure what the St. Bonaventure community talks about is one way The Intrepid will integrate social media with news reporting.

The “Best St. Bonaventure tweets” graphic will award points to the top five, 10 or 15 tweeters, depending on the volume of tweets. The point winner will receive a prize at the end of May.

The first-place prize is to be determined but around $50 in value. Second and third will also receive a prize, value to be determined.

The first-place tweeter receives 10 points, second place eight, third place six, fourth place four and fifth place two. Sixth place and below receives one point.

The rankings will be selected by The Intrepid’s staff.

Any user following The Intrepid’s Twitter (@Intrepid_SBU) at the moment of tweeting receives 20 points automatically. Any tweets selected as a top five, 10 or 15 with #TheIntrepid hashtag will get another 10 points.

The topics for this graphic will vary, ranging from the worst Hickey Dinning Hall experience to the best professor to learn from on campus. Almuni tweeting about fondest Bona memories or random St. Bonaventure-related thoughts may have a chance to win, too.

Sometimes The Intrepid will ask its followers to ask questions. A “Best St. Bonaventure tweet” graphic could be created from that, too.

The best way for The Intrepid and its staff to track your tweets would be to use #TheIntrepid or CC @Intrepid_SBU in your tweets. If you tweet without those, our staff will try its best to enter them into our database.

However, if you do not want The Intrepid to use your tweets, please do not hesitate to send us an e-mail at, direct messaging on Twitter or put a #DQ (as in don’t quote) at the end of your tweets.

The Intrepid will always ask the private Twitter accounts before using one of its tweets.

The Intrepid will respect a certain tweeter’s preference without judgment.