Nsync Analysis

Before the spring of 1998, not many people had heard of the amazing new boy band called Nsync. However, within a few months, Lance, Joey, J.C., Justin, and Chris became one of the most well known bands in the world. In just one week alone, Nsync sold over 250,000 copies of their very first album, and every single one of their worldwide concerts sold out in the blink of an eye. Nsync, without a doubt, was one of the best pop sensations of the 90’s, but how did they do it?

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Nsync is an example of an artifact from the music medium. The band consisted of 5 incredibly talented young men doing what they loved and sharing it with the four corners of the globe. They combined a stylistic mix of a capella and idiosyncratic rhythms with creative dance routines that gave a real meaning to the term “pop.” These 2 features tended to be typical to other boy bands of that time period, such as Backstreet Boys and New Kids On the Block. An atypical aspect of this band, however, was that the group was formed by the band members themselves and not produced by a higher-up management team. What is also atypical, at least by today’s standards, was that they were perfectly straight males singing pop music, which nowadays tends to be a female dominated music genre, which I will further explain later.

Ever since the band New Kids on the Block arrived during the mid 80’s, America, had been swooning over male pop bands. The young, mainly female, fans shared the same values, which were the fact that they loved suave, handsome heartthrobs singing to them. Occasionally during Nsync’s concerts, the band would select a random female from the audience to come on stage and have them sing to her. The majority of their lyrics consisted of flattering words that made women love themselves and not be afraid of their insecurities. In other words, the boys made them feel beautiful. Fans fantasized about having one of the band members be their perfect boyfriend who would, as their hit song Girlfriend says, forever be their “shining star.” This was another reason their albums sold so quickly.

Back when Nsync originated in the 90’s, the prime technological developments required to admire this band were CD’s, cassette tapes, radio stations, and television.  Other less technological ways to listen to them were to actually attend their concerts. Nowadays if an individual wants to listen to this band, or any band for that matter, they only have to type it into Youtube to find clear audio or video footage of the group’s concerts. Because of today’s technological advances, it is much easier to distribute different forms of entertainment and effortlessly share them amongst others.

In the late 80’s through 90’s, it was common to see males singing sugary pop tunes to their teen fans without fear of mockery. Nowadays, as I stated before, the pop music industry is mainly female dominated, to the point where if any male or boy band decides to deviate from this norm on his own, he is sadly perceived in the social world as a flashy homosexual. A good example of these subjective views is the ongoing network of prejudice towards Justin Bieber and his rise to fame. On many social media sites such as Tumblr, Facebook, and Youtube, Bieber tends to be the butt of everyone’s jokes. What is peculiar about this collective loathing is that Bieber is just a duplicate of the earlier pop sensation, and teenage heartthrob, Aaron Carter who made his successful debut in the late 90’s. Another example of the shift in musical taste is the appearance of the band One Direction, which is just a mere shadow of the Backstreet Boys whom also appeared in the 90’s.  The unfortunate boys of this band are also mocked online, often being called derogatory sexual phrases. If Justin Bieber and One Direction were to make their first appearances during an earlier decade, where it was more acceptable to see males popping and locking on stage, then there may have been a bit less ridicule. Current trends are one of the main factors that determine the success of a music group.

When Nsync made its revolutionary debut, they forever opened the floodgates to a new world of music that one did not need any prior knowledge to enjoy. Their fantastic voices, brilliant dancing, and unmatchable personalities had all of their fans screaming for more. Although this band is not together anymore, they have forever left their footprint on the music industry, so they never will have to say “Bye Bye Bye” to their fans.

Image source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/*NSYNC_%28album%29

Bierenfeld, Sarah. “Women in Music Videos.” The Good Life: The Effects of Women in Music Videos. N.p., 2 2011. Web. 23 Nov 2012. <http://womeninmusicvideos.angelfire.com/index.html>.

CONSIDINE, J.D. “‘N Sync smashes sales record.” Baltimore Sun. 30 2000: n. page. Web. 28 Nov. 2012. <http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2000-03-30/features/0003300267_1_boys-millennium-backstreet-boys-album-millennium>.

How to Fight Speaking Anxiety

Why does speaking anxiety occur, and how can one overcome this problem? Speaking anxiety arises for five common reasons: we feel we aren’t ready to execute the traumatizing speech; emotions make us feel overwhelmed or pessimistic; we know and feel the negative responses to anxiety, such as blushing, shortness of breath, or rapid heart rate; we realize that the audience is always judging us, which causes us to strive for perfection. These five reasons are explained in the acronym B.A.S.I.C. (Behavior, Affect, Sensations, Imaginary, Cognition).

There are 4 simple ways to overcome the dreaded speech anxiety. Step one is to practice the speech over and over again. Practicing in the classroom or auditorium where you’re giving the speech will help you become familiar and feel comfortable with the surroundings. You could also practice your speech in front of a group of friends or family to help you get used to people watching you. Step two is to visualize yourself in a positive way. If you imagine the teacher at the back of the room holding up an A+ and the audience cheering for you, you are more likely to believe in yourself. Step three is as simple as breathing, literally. Breathing from your chest causes shortness of breath, which makes you more likely to faint (that’d definitely be a memorable presentation.) Breathing from the diaphragm, however, calms your body and makes oxygen flow more smoothly through your bloodstreem. The last step is to firmly plant your feet to ensure confidence. If the audience sees you swaying side-to-side and staring at the ceiling, they’re more likely to judge your appearance.

According to psychological studies, Americans fear public speaking more than death itself. If one thinks of the worst case scenarios before the day of their speech, it turns out that things could always be worse than what they visualized. The simplest way to defeat it is to recognize how you respond to the anxiety so you can learn to overcome it. The audience may be judging your every move, but if you yourself know that your giving it the best you have, then their opinions don’t matter.

Image source: http://healthy-lifestyle-news.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/PublicSpeakingAnxietyInformation-350×270.jpg

Water Conservation

“Drip,drop,drip,drop.” Do you hear that? That is the incessant sound that lurks in your bathroom or kitchen while you’re watching TV or sleeping. That, my friends, is the sound of opportunity and privilege being wasted. A sound that we 1st world countries hear all the time, but do nothing to fix due to laziness,cheapness,or simply nonchalance. That is the sound of gallons of water being wasted and taken for granted. According to the Huffington Post, “about 95 percent of the water entering our homes goes down the drain.” This wasted 95 percent could be used to aid the less fortunate countries who are suffering everyday from drought and dehydration. As I said before, the main villain in this situation is sheer nonchalance or ignorance to the issues outside of our thriving country. As a prosperous country, it should be our job to send help to those in need and use our wealth to come up with more efficient ways to conserve water. I know that some of us are thinking “I’m not a scientist, so I can’t create a machine that magically creates water for the human race,” but one does not have to be a scientist or engineer to help fight for this cause! By simply reducing the amount of water you use by turning off the tap while brushing your teeth,switching to energy efficient toilets, or reducing shower time, in just a matter of days you’d not only be saving water, but you’d be saving money! So next time you hear your sink saying “drip drip drip,” think of each drop as a drop of cash: “cha-ching, cha-ching, cha-ching.

Image Source: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_ornuRREMseI/SUKT_wSZ4aI/AAAAAAAAAAc/qrDqKps5TZ4/s320/Sink_Running_Water.jpg

Political Cube Runner

PLAY HERE: http://scratch.mit.edu/projects/amay3/2890121


Instructions: Use the mouse to move Gary Johnson’s head left and right to dodge the donkeys and elephants for as long as possible. Collect dollar signs and pot leaves to gain ammunition(it takes about 3 seconds for the ammunition to load), then press the space bar to create a path if you’re stuck. (Obama and Romney heads cant be destroyed because of their thick skulls)

This is a game I created in Scratch called “Political Cube Runner” for ENGL202. We were discussing the composition and concepts of games that express deeper meanings.
This game is meant to symbolize the third party candidates’ inability to get onto the presidential ballot. The sprite that the user controls is Libertarian Party candidate, Gary Johnson, and he desperately tries to make his way into the White House without getting overshadowed by the Republicans and Democrats. The dollar signs he collect represent the funds that his supporters donate to his campaigns. Because he believes in the legalization of marijuana, the marijuana sprite doubles his funds, representing his supporters’ agreement. Overtime, the playing field speeds up, making it harder for Johnson to dodge the 2 parties. Eventually, the player has to be defeated because, for third party candidates, it’s just seems to be a futile attempt no matter how hard they try.