Give ‘Hamilton’ a Shot

I have recently been completely obsessed with the Broadway musical “Hamilton” for the past week. I knew about the play but never gave it much thought, now I can’t stop thinking about it. The music had put me in such a great mood that it made me want to research more about not only the plays’ roots and influences but the history of the nation. It has gotten to the point where my roommates don’t know what to do with me anymore. As I am writing this blog post, I am listening to the album. I belt the show tunes in the shower, on my way to class, folding laundry, crafting. I have yet to even see the play!


It all started when I read an article online about Lin-Manuel Miranda who had created an album remixing all the songs in the hit show with popular artists (and a late-night talk show host) such as Usher, SIA, Queen Latifah, Chance the Rapper and Jimmy Fallon, to name a few. The single “It’s Quiet Uptown” performed by Kelly Clarkson was available to listen to. I heard the song and immediately loved it!. The lyrics were just too simple yet clever. I had wondered what the original Broadway song sounded like so I listened to it as well. The original song was great! After playing these versions 100 times, I decided I should most likely listen to the rest of the album. Best decision I ever made! The music score has heavy influences of Broadway mixed with R&B and hip hop. The songs had themes that pertained to social issues of today as well as discussing the history of our founding father Alexander Hamilton.


I highly recommend listening to this Broadway musical. “Hamilton” has received such great reviews and won so many awards and for good reason. It is influential, and this play’s popularity came at the perfect time considering the whole election season has ended. If you are sparked by curiosity to look up the history of our founding father to know what his life was life, he is in fact our nation’s first security who created the national bank.


I hope you are convinced to give it a listen to or even research more about the history of our nation; it’s very interesting. With that, I sign off.
- Amber

Torie’s Top Tunes

I know I’ve already done a music blog before, but recently, music has been pushing me through a lot of things. Whether it be a bad day, while I’m in the gym, or on my Spring Break Service Trip…I’ve been jamming these songs and albums nonstop. And I decided to share them with you! Hopefully these can spice up your iTunes and get you through whatever you may be going through in your life.



Young the Giant – Mind Over Matter (album)
So, so, so good. I bought it a few weeks ago and I can’t stop listening to it! My favorite tracks are Mind Over Matter and Anagram.

John Denver
I’m not a big country or oldies fan, but John Denver’s music is phenomenal. It’s so uplifting and it makes me wish summer were here so I could drive with the windows down, blasting his songs, with the warm sunshine all around me.

Miracles – Norwegian Recycling
Heard this on my service at Naz Farm in WV a few weeks ago (you’ll hear more about that next blog) and it instantly brightens my mood. They mashed a whole bunch of songs together to make this one…so it samples artists like Michael Jackson, JT, Survivor, Gnarls Barkley, etc. If you’re having a bad day, this is a good song to turn it around.



Panic! At the Disco – Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die (album)
Everyone remembers this band, right? Well, they’re pretty different now from when they first started with their breakout song, I Write Sins Not Tragedies way back in 2005. This album is basically the Brendan Urie one man show now since most members have left the band, but in all honesty…he doesn’t really need anyone else but himself. Because this album is pretty great. Definitely a must have if you like electronic, synthy, pop punky music.

A Day to Remember – Same Book, But Never the Same Page
The lyrics are what make me like this song so much. And the fact that it’s angry and loud enough for me to blast in the gym to pump me up.

The Fray – Hold My Hand
I wanted to put their whole new album on here, but I figured the stand out track off of it would do just fine. It’s the “typical Fray” style that they normally stick to, but it has enough differences to make it sound new and refreshing.



The 1975 – The City
This band is gaining more popularity here in America & I’m really happy about it. You can hear the lead singer’s accent while he’s singing (something I greatly appreciate) and it’ll make ya wanna get up and dance. You can check the 1975 out at Lollapalooza this summer!

Jenny & Tyler – This is Just So Beautiful
Again, the lyrics are what draw me to this song. It’s about forgiveness, moving on, and realizing the beauty in life. Try not to cry the first time you listen to it…I bet you won’t be able to!

The Calling – Our Lives
Throwing it back to the 2000’s with this one! I can’t remember where I first heard this song…but the lyrics mean more to me now than they did all those years ago.
“Cause these are the days worth living.
These are the years we’re given.
And these are the moments, these are the times.
Let’s make the best out of our lives.”



Fall Out Boy – Save Rock and Roll (album)
I have been a hot and cold fan of FOB since I can remember first listening to their music, but I think this new album persuaded me to start appreciating their music a little more. Fall Out Boy parted ways a few years back, and the hiatus definitely gave them some time to come back bigger and better than ever. This whole album is just really, REALLY good. And there’s even a cameo on the title track from Sir Elton John. Can it get any better???

Happy listening y’all!

Beat the Winter Workout Blues!

Days are getting shorter, the temperature is quickly dropping, and people are breaking out their winter coats and gloves. This can only mean one thing: WINTER IS COMING!!! Okay, so I know the trees still have their leaves and Halloween didn’t even happen yet…but winter is right around the corner. I know some people absolutely love this season because of the cold weather and the holiday season, but I do not. I dislike winter with every fiber of my being because it means I get super lazy. The cold weather makes me want to snuggle under my covers and never leave my bed. I want to avoid people and homework and productivity at all costs and just sleep for hours and hours.


And for me, this is bad. As you all have read about, I really have a passion for fitness and being healthy. I work out six times a week not only to stay fit, but because it helps me relieve stress and have some time for myself. But once cold weather hits, I find extremely difficult to get myself outta bed, off the struggle bus, and into the Shannon Center. And I know a lot of people feel the same exact way.


One way to beat the cold weather workout blues is to have some really kick butt music to get you excited to hit the gym. Which is why I’m making you all a playlist of songs that I blast when I’m in the Shann! These are designed to get you motivated, keep you focused, and force you to stay active these next few months. (You’re welcome)


Now is a great song to kick off that work out and get you pumped!

Now is a great song to kick off that work out and get you pumped!

Now – Paramore

Right Back At It Again – A Day to Remember

Still Swingin’ – Papa Roach

Bonfire – Knife Party

Tom Ford – Jay – Z

Taylor Hawkins drum work in the beginning is enough to get my legs moving and my arms pumpin' whenever I'm running.

Taylor Hawkins drum work in the beginning is enough to get my legs moving and my arms pumpin’ whenever I’m running.

My Hero – Foo Fighters

Promises – Nero (Skrillex Remix)

Bleepin’ Problems -A$AP Rocky

Diary of Jane – Breaking Benjamin

Been listening to this song since I was in the 7th grade and is STILL hasn't gotten old. A great workout jam!

Been listening to this song since I was in the 7th grade and is STILL hasn’t gotten old. A great workout jam!

Lights and Sounds – Yellowcard

Lost in the Echo – Linkin Park

Month of May – Arcade Fire


And because everyone needs a cool down:

Something Good Can Work – Two Door Cinema Club

Hurricane – MS MR

Really you can listen to this anytime, or anywhere. It's also a great song to study to!

Really you can listen to this anytime, or anywhere. It’s also a great song to study to!

Young Blood – The Naked and Famous

All These Things I’ve Done – The Killers

Only the Young – Brandon Flowers


Now, even if you don’t like any of these songs, the point of this post is to show you that sometimes all we need is a little motivation. Especially when it comes to working out during the colder months! So pick music you enjoy, and head the gym. Because on the plus side, once you’re done, you can go back to bed and sleep the rest of the day away. Just make sure you shower first!


Until next time!

Riot Fest

Hello Cougar Diaries Readers!

My friends and I at Riot Fest!

My friends and I at Riot Fest!

Over the summer, myself and a few of my close friends decided that we wanted to attend Riot Fest this year. For those of you who don’t know, Riot Fest is a huge punk, rock, and alternative music festival. It’s basically Lollapalooza’s crazier, less expensive cousin. (It has carnival rides and a freak show for crying out loud!) I waited all summer long for thisglorious weekend in September that would feature some of my absolute favorite bands and lots of undiscovered talent that I would surely need to know more about. For me, listening to music is such a beautiful and truly spiritual experience…so you can just imagine how much I appreciated September 13th, 14th, and 15th 2013.

Sean Mackin of Yellowcard

Sean Mackin of Yellowcard. Photo credit to William Weyant.

I got to see one of my all-time favorite bands, Yellowcard, for the second time, got crushed in Fall Out Boy’s pit, and screamed the lyrics to every blink-182 song they played. I danced to rapper Atmosphere, as well as indie ska group the Selectors. Even though it was rainy and cold for most of the last day, the rain ceased and clouds parted once my favorite band, Brand New, took the stage. Seeing Brand New up close and hearing the songs that got me through my angsty teenage years was something I can’t even put into words. Just know that it really touched my heart and soul in a way no other performance ever has. My friends and I left Riot Fest with smiles on our faces, stress erased from our hearts, and the desire to keep finding things in this world that made us feel the way this festival did.

Mark Hoppus of blink-182. Photo credit to William Weyant.

Mark Hoppus of blink-182. Photo credit to William Weyant.

The last thing I want to talk about before I go is College Radio Day, which takes place on October 1st every year. This day is special to me because I am involved with WXAV, the radio station at SXU. Every year to celebrate this day, WXAV does a TON of various things here on campus and on the radio in order to raise awareness for college radio. So make sure you tune in to 88.3, or go talk to some of the DJ’s in the diner on this day to support SXU’s coolest organization on campus!

That’s all I have time for for now, but always remember…

“Music always helps, no matter what you’re going through.”

Peace and love,


The School Year is about done!

Hey Guys,

I don’t know about all of you, but I am pretty glad that school is finally wrapping up and this semester is coming to a close. The end of this semester came by very quickly and I started getting extremely busy!It’s time to get excited about the summer!
This summer I have a lot of great things going on!
The week after school ends I’ll be going to two concerts, one at the Bottom Lounge in Chicago and then the following day I’ll be making a trip out to Columbus, Ohio to go to a huge music festival in Rock on the Range.
At the bottom lounge I’ll be seeing the band Red.  I saw them earlier this year, but this time they will be headlining their own show. They put on a pretty good show, so I’m excited for that!

The following day, I’ll be taking a trip to Columbus, Ohio for Rock on the Range featuring a great lineup consisting of Halestorm, Bullet For My Valentine, Papa Roach, Three Days Grace, A Day to Remember, Stone Sour, and the Smashing Pumpkins.ROTR I don’t think I could find a show with a better line up, so I absolutely cannot wait for this show! This should be one busy summer, but I am ready for it!

Make sure you all go out and have a great summer, we don’t have very many summers left before we enter the real world.

One of the greatest weeks of the semester!

Hey Guys,

I don’t know how many of you are aware of this, but there is a great opportunity every semester on campus. That opportunity is the SXU retreat Awakenings. Luckily I was able to get to go on this retreat and I had a blast! Although I am not able to reveal details

Group photo from Awakenings

Group photo from Awakenings

regarding the retreat, I can tell you it’s an amazing opportunity that in my opinion you should not pass up!

I had a really good time and made a lot of new friends from Saint Xavier that I never knew before, it was a great way to build yourself up and meet some new people!

I would recommend going to anyone at SXU, you won’t regret it!

As you all know, I work for the Saint Xavier radio station WXAV 88.3 fm, I get a lot of really cool opportunities because we are in fact a radio station. Although I have been able to interview some of our men’s basketball players, I have never actually been given the opportunity to interview someone that is famous or well know. That all changed yesterday!

Yesterday, I was given the opportunity along with my friend Maloree to get to go to a concert in Joliet for the band Lacuna Coil. Lacuna Coil is a hard rock/metal band from Italy

Lacuna Coil

Lacuna Coil

who have a lot of recognition overseas. I have never been able to interview a band before, so this was quite the experience. Maloree and I were able to go on the tour bus and meet with Andrea Ferro one of the lead singers and interview him. I was not exactly nervous at first but I was pretty excited to get the opportunity that many people do not get in their lifetimes. As soon as we were on the bus, all of the little bit of nervousness went completely away with the warm greetings he gave us!

Be sure to tune into Closing Time, the radio show of Mal and I Thursday to hear the interview. It will be played sometime between 8-10 pm.