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My name is Tré

My name is Tré and this is my first blog post. I spontaneously got the urge to create myself a blog. I’ve always had a passion for writing about my opinions on specific things. Predominantly about things that I am passionate about. Things that I enjoy and things which are ongoing around the world in discussion. This is probably a reason as to why I chose to study sociology, communication & culture and media at A level. After quietly always wanting to begin blogging or something similar to it,  I’ve never fully put my efforts into it. I thought that creating a blog for myself would be a great way for to explore my urge further. I am particularly interested in music, social justice, current affairs and public figures. Consequently, I think that my blog will follow these key subjects throughout the most but things always change right? Hopefully, I won’t just ‘give up’ and I will actually write more than just a few posts. I have a few topics that I have ready to write about so I have faith that I will gradually continue posting. After all, who knows how this blog will develop further.

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17 Best Albums of 2017

It’s been a few weeks since I last uploaded a blog post but I’m back now. It’s unlikely that I’ll be posting every week as thinking of new blog post ideas is proving difficult and my free time is slowly decreasing; as A levels and athletics begin take over in the new year.

But anyways, I thought I’d end this year with a post listing what I consider to be the best albums that have been released this year. Seventeen of them to be precise. These are based on artistic content and not popularity. So, if you’re a pop music fan then this probably isn’t a good read for you. I listen to A LOT of albums. I add them to my library weekly when they release on a Friday but these are the ones that stood out for me. I consider some of these albums to be literal masterpieces. I hope that I persuade some of you to listen to a few of them at some point if you haven’t done so already. For reference, I find the majority of my music on Tidal.

Let’s do this in chronological order as listing them from best to is proving too challenging for my indecisive self.

IMG-36081. Kehlani – SweetSexySavage

This album is self explanatory in the sense that there are elements of sweet, sexy and savage throughout. Kehlani entered 2017 with a bang with this debut album and she has demonstrated how hard work really does pay off. The vocal arrangements and production are astonishing. She really put her foot down to claim being the new R&B princess.

2. Sampha – Process

Process is another debut album that I would recommend. I often listen to it when revising as it is somewhat relaxing.

IMG-36113. Stormzy – Gang Sings & Prayers

I first listened to Stormzy’s album with a closed minded perception of him. I now realise that it was a result of the media’s representation of him being unintelligent and unable to make ‘real’ music. However, ‘Gang Sign’s & Prayers’ is artistically exciting and is cohesively satisfying. Stormzy has had a big impact on British music and grime in particular with this album and I am somewhat proud of him for it. I would definitely recommend for people to and give the album a listen.

4. Khalid – American Teen

Despite how commercialised Khalid has become over this year, I have to admit that his album is generally an enjoyable listen. I like how carefree and youthful it is.

Here’s where it starts to get really good…

IMG-36135. Kendrick Lamar – DAMN.

DAMN, Kendrick really made a genius album this year. The cohesive elements of the album is magical and he continues to  deliver hard bars that are often underappreciated. I feel as though Kendrick Lamar has truly created one of the most clever albums after announcing that it was actually meant to be listened to backwards due to the narrative. I would be very happy to see him take many Grammy awards for it in February next year.

IMG-36146. SZA – Ctrl

Now, Ctrl is one of THE best albums of 2017 and best debut albums that I have ever listened to. I wrote a whole blog post on it here if you would like a more in depth analysis. SZA is what the R&B scene has been missing for years.

IMG-36157. Lorde – Melodrama

I have gone on about this album so much this year, labelling it as the ‘Best Album of 2017’, a ‘masterpiece’ that has a powerful narrative of a breakup and heartache. Of course, I wrote a whole separate blog post on this album which you can find here. I just love the honesty, narrative and brilliance of this album. After being nominated at the Grammy’s for ‘Album of the Year’, I would be so happy for Lorde to take the award home with her.

8. Jay-Z – 4:44

The legend himself, Jay-Z dropped ‘4:44’, exclusively for Tidal customers and the honesty, empowerment and buzz that it gives off is astonishing. I was shocked but pleased with him after revealing untold truths about his infidelity. The mature approach to subject matters of a black empowerment and equality concerning race and sexuality only made me praise him more despite his life mistakes. I wrote more about this album and the messages behind it here.

amine-good-for-you9. Aminé – Good For You

I have a growing love for Aminé, every time I listen to ‘Good For You’. The causal and cheeky feel that he gives off in his debut album can only lift your mood. Its pretty ‘litty’ in my opinion. I wrote more about ‘Good For You’ earlier this year in a blog post here.

10. Daniel Caesar – Freudian

This is probably the most fresh feeling albums of 2017. The cohesive album ‘Freudian’ is a personal favourite in terms of listening satisfaction. I would highly recommend it to anyone who is a fan of Frank Ocean or Solange Knowles. I am definitely excited to see him and his music career flourish in the future.

IMG-375111. BROCKHAMPTON – SATURATION II

This album had me SOOK on so many levels. The irregular ‘boy-band’, BROCKHAMPTON produce some of the best rap bars that I have personally listened to in terms of originality. I don’t even know how to explain the production and sounds on this album. Just go and listen to it for yourselves, PLEASE. They released three albums this year, part 1, 2 and 3 of the SATURATION trilogy. Part 3 was only released last week! It’s crazy. They will forever leave me mind-blown.

12. Sabrina Claudio – About Time

I would say that ‘About Time’ is another refreshing album that is somewhat relaxing. I look forward to hearing more music from Sabrina in the future.

13. Demi Lovato – Tell Me You Love Me

I don’t tend to listen to the big ‘pop’ albums, but after watching Demi Lovato’s Youtube documentary, I felt like I had to go on to listen to her album. The documentary was rather deep at times. For the album itself, it’s pretty good if i’m honest. I was surprised with how strong her voice really is.

IMG-375214. Kelela – Take Me Apart

‘Take Me Apart’ is an album that I would say it up there with ‘Melodrama’ and ‘DAMN.’ in terms of its artistic ability. The album is cohesive and is a personal favourite of mine. Kelela created what I would call a masterpiece here. With it’s ‘breakup’ theme, Kelela goes in hard on this LP.

15. Willow – The 1st

This album is just adorable. Willow never fails to produce good music. Despite it being a short album, I was truly satisfied with the music that was produced.

Don’t judge me but…

IMG-375316. Taylor Swift – reputation

I don’t like Taylor Swift personally but I decided to listen to ‘reputation’ due to it being one of the most highly anticipated albums of the year. I was definitely surprised. I have to admit that this is a really good pop album with some great pop anthems throughout.

…And finally…

17. Chance The Rapper & Jeremih – Merry Christmas Lil’ Mama Re-Wrapped

Released literally LAST NIGHT, Chance and Jeremih dropped a surprise Christmas album and it’s amazing. Whenever they collaborate together, they make wonders happen. The R&B sounds that they’ve been able to incorporate into this album are so inventive. Plus, they even got Noname to feature on it.

…And that is my list completed.

It’s interesting that around half of what I would call the ‘Best Albums of 2017’ are actually debut albums. Hopefully this means that the artists are only going to produce even better albums later down the line in their careers. It’s strange that the albums that stood out for me the most this year had themes of love and heartbreak. It must mean that I’m a sucker the emotional stuff. Lol. Anyway, I’m excited for what music 2018 has in the bag for us. See you all in next year 🙂

Inequality within the English language

Is the English language sexist?!?! Not quite, but it doesn’t always support men or women.

It was a few months ago when someone suggested that I wrote about this topic. I was keen to explore and read up about it as I had never really digested it much during day to day life. So let’s get into it.

Essentially, this post is going to be about how the English language may in some ways stimulate the inequality of both men and women in society.

It is clear that the English language is constantly evolving as new words get invented and others die out. However, it is known that the English language was primarily created by men which may have had some effect on the inequalities addressed. Hence words like ‘mankind’ still being used instead of a simple alternatives like ‘humankind’.

I once read that derogatory words used against women like ‘slut’ or ‘hoe’ have no equivalent when it comes down to negatively describing men. Many would argue that you could use words like ‘player’ or ‘man-hoe’. But they’re used too many times in a comical way which defeats their true derogatory meanings. In a perfect world, none of these words would be used at all but we can’t escape the fact that the are; and more importantly, to disrespect women.

Another term which is used a lot is ‘man up’. A phrase that Piers Morgan tends to use a lot to encourage men to get over mental health problems despite it’s damaging effects on men (and women). It sends a message that men have to be strong, tough and ignorant when it comes down to understanding their emotions. Language like this can easily make men feel trapped and forced to fulfil a specific role even when it doesn’t fit for them. Statistics for male suicides are excessive and many professionals state that it is because they are told to ‘man-up’ and be masculine instead of seeking help at times of distress. For women, it infers that they are weaker than men. Women are never told to ‘woman up’ because they don’t carry connotations of being strong.

For both sexes, language in some ways is nonfunctional. Just from these few examples, it is clear that men and women have an ongoing silent battle with the English language. It often devalues them. On the other hand, with new language flourishing, maybe one day these battles will end.

I’ve been busy.

Apologies for not posting last week. I’ve been busy.

My message for this blog post is that you can do anything if put your mind to it. The post is going to be pretty self-centred so I’d stop reading from here if you’re not a fan of me, myself and I. However, I will also go on to talk about International Men’s Day.

Anyways, over this past two weeks, I’ve passed my driving test, applied to university, began hurdling at training and many other things. Not to be overconfident and annoying, but I’ve done all of this by staying consistent in staying focused and getting things done as and when they need to be done. I’ve set so many goals for myself since the academic year has began and I’m happy to say that so many things are finally coming together.

I would say that all of the things written in this blog post sort of links to my ‘Goals‘ post that I wrote a few weeks ago. I stressed the importance of having goals and gave advice on keeping a healthy mindset about them. I would advise reading it 🙂 (yes, that was me giving myself some self-promo). Being able to say that you’ve achieve a goal is so satisfying no matter how big or small the goal is. Therefore, I wouldn’t see any reason for me to stop setting myself goals.

I also woke up this morning to see that today is International Men’s Day. After seeing a few tweets, many men were taking this day to not only praise and appreciate the good men in this world but also reflect on how men could improve. Especially in this moment in time where feminism is growing and where toxic, hyper–masculinity is being challenged. (A blog topic that I look forward to writing about in the future). I think that some of the top tweets that I have seen are spreading awareness about men’s mental health so if you’re a male reading this, maybe you should join in with the conversation using the hashtag #InternationalMensDay.

That’s all for today’s post. Thanks to everyone reading 🙂

Love, Lifestyle and Love Island

Appearance and physical attraction has arguably become the most important and first thing that people look for when seeking love. Natural beauty and personality is becoming less valuable. More and more people would much rather appear to have a lush lifestyle instead of a ’10/10′ personality.

We use social media sites, dating apps and even watch programmes such as Love Island which all contribute to the pressure of finding someone to fall in love with. However, this “love” that is being drilled into us seems to be based on what people look like. The individuals shown on shows like Love Island all have something in common. Materialism. They all appear to be the type of people that are buying the latest brands for clothes, makeup and gadgets. Is this representation of a perfect lifestyle damaging though?

I admire people who present themselves well. I think that it’s important. However, it’s also important to not fall for someone simply because or their way of living. In ten years time, your lifestyle changes. A lot. Don’t think that because someone you’re attracted to has an iPhone X now, they are going to be seen as trendy in 10 ten years time. Because they won’t, and neither will their iPhone X. If your significant other is caring. Genuinely caring, not to look good in front of others but because they really CARE. That’s ‘attractive’. Or it should be anyway. However, shows like Love Island haven’t really emphasised how important those sorts of qualities in relationships are. In ten years time, if your partner is still caring, then you’re the winner. Logic. Simple logic.

We all know that personality is important. We understand that Love Island is for entertainment purposes and that it’s fake and set up and blah blah blah. The problem is that young people genuinely can’t disconnect the fact that Love Island is a show and not real life. Fourteen year old’s are growing up with the mindset that money can buy you happiness and a partner can make you look fancy. Love Island is just one of the shows that push this ideology and it’s all rooted from capitalism but let’s not get too deep for the sake of Love Island being the lead example.

It just seems weird that these shows are portraying perfection as something that it really isn’t. But that’s entertainment for you. We have to admit that these shows are addictive and fun to watch. I didn’t watch this years series but I watched last years and I genuinely enjoyed it. These shows are great for entertainment, just don’t be one of those people that can’t disconnect reality TV and real life simply because Kem and Amber are still ‘together’.

SZA – Ctrl (Album Review)

SZA has flourished massively as an R&B artist this year. With the release of her debut album in early June, she has pounced onto the scene of new and upcoming artists that have major potential. Khalid, Kehlani and Aminé are just a few other artists that I think have done the same. Despite Ctrl being SZA’s debut album, she really did something magical with it.

After featuring on Rihanna’s song ‘Consideration’ back in 2016, SZA is still new to the scene of making music for a large audience and population. She has previous EP’s but has arguably created one of the best debut albums this year with Ctrl. The production on Ctrl works effectively with SZA’s unique voice. I think that it’s demonstrated at it’s best on the song ‘Garden (Say It Like Dat)’.

The lead single ‘Drew Barrymore’ introduced us to a soft and soulful side of SZA. It displays how SZA can turn such a simple song into something that makes you feel every emotion that she has intended for you to feel. The second single ‘Love Galore’ featuring Travis Scott is something that I think the R&B genre has been missing for such a long time. The tones of both SZA and Scott’s voices compliment and work perfectly together. In terms, of the album, I like that Ctrl is lengthy. Although some songs are stronger than others, is is clear that the album is cohesive and flows smoothly. The interludes of her mothers speech adds narrative and understanding to the songs and album as a whole. It also breaks everything down nicely.

From the honest but shameless song of ‘The Weekend’, to the wishful track of ‘Normal Girl’, SZA explores her musical capacities in ways that I have only seen a few artists do with a debut album. SZA didn’t hold back in any way on this album and I admire her for that. She has demonstrated honesty in her work at such a young age and has been able to represent both her good and bad characteristics. Each song on the album is powerful and fierce. The use of both Kendrick Lamar and James Fauntleroy as features on the album is magnificent and I hope to see them both work with SZA again sometime in the future.

After the release of Ctrl, SZA has caught the attention of mainstream music critics and radio stations. She has gone on to collaborate with artists such as Maroon 5 and Lorde which has helped her massively in gaining a larger audience. After the success of Ctrl, SZA has even bagged herself a tour.

The future looks bright for SZA. She has the potential of being very successful. It’s clear that she has gained herself a loyal fan base too. Debuting No. 3 on the Billboard 200 behind Katy Perry and Kendrick Lamar just shows how much people warm to her music. In addition, Ctrl even scored a Metacritic score of 86 so it’s evident that even the professional music critics were pleased. I’m sure that SZA is on a journey of success that has only just begun. I hope to see her winning many awards in the future.

Why did I start blogging?

Around three months ago, I started my blog, TREXTHOMAS. In this post I would to reflect on the reasons as to why I began blogging.

As I stated in my first blog post, I’ve always enjoyed writing about things that interest me. Especially the things that I have good knowledge about, enjoy or have an opinion on. Being a student, blogging sort of links into my A level subjects and the things that I tend to write about all intertwine with the topics within my A level studies. I’m also an athlete and although I’ve not written massively about athletics itself, I think that I am lucky enough to gain an audience of readers from that aspect of my life. It’s exciting because I know that people from all over the UK and even abroad read my posts. I’m lucky in that respect. I think that blogging is definitely an opportunity that I had to grab.

With reading and writing writing, I’ve never really been a person that liked to read books. I used to read and I definitely enjoyed it but I always felt as though I was forcing myself to. Reading felt like a chore to me. With the way that society is today, everything is online and it is so easy for you to put out messages for your friends and followers to read. The messages you read online also tend to be things that you’re interested in so on you’re not forced to read them. You get so much choice as to things that you want to read online and they don’t have to be books. Although I like to share things on apps like Instagram and Twitter, they’re slightly limited. 140 characters is shorter than you may think and blogging has been a great way for me to develop my writing skills.

I am also aware that by writing my blog posts, I somehow have a positive impact on my readers. I know that people take away tips and pointers to enhance their lives. I know that I often persuade people to be more open minded about things and I’m really happy about the way that my blog has flourished.

Blogging is simple but definitely a challenge in some ways and I’d definitely recommend it to young people. You get to write whatever you want. Put your message out there and build a platform for your yourself. Be unique. Make yourself known.

Is it time for you to start a blog?

Goals

Apologies for not posting yesterday. Long story short – I was busy 🙂

Anyway, let’s get to the post.

I’d like to think that goals are important. In my experience, I know that I achieve better in specific things when I know I  have an end goal. I’m always searching for a new goal that I can set mentally. Whether that be in education, athletics or just everyday general life.

When you run out of goals to aim for, I think that it’s very easy to drift off into a space of carelessness. Having a bunch of goals to keep you well driven will always keep you on track. Short term and long term goals will benefit each other and help balance things out. Let’s take a small example of my own… It’s half term for me now and I reached my goal of trying to keep a 100% attendance at sixth form. This enabled me to keep on top of my work and go through the term smoothly. This short term goal will help be in my long term goal of trying to achieve good grades at the end of the year.

It’s important to not let your goals consume all of your energy. I would definitely advise people keep a healthy balance of ‘work’ and ‘play’ time. This will of course help with your mental state too. It’s also important to know that you’re not always going to achieve your goals. Especially if you aim high. As long as you deal with failure in a pro-active way with a level head on your shoulders, you’ll be able to move onto your next goal swiftly.

So, no matter how big or small your goals may be, they’ll always be beneficial to you if you have the right approach. You will prosper.