December 2021

Album Review

Adele’s Most Powerful Album Yet!

In the last decade, Adele released the powerful, melancholy albums we all know and love today, 21 and 25. However, six years later, Adele released what might be her best album yet, 30. Unless you have been living under a rock, it is known that Adele’s new album is kind of a big deal. The English artist’s fourth studio album delivers emotion of motherhood and divorce through sonic variety. Known for pouring her heart on to her music, Adele has never sounded as ferocious and powerful as she does on 30. Her lyrics are mature and jaded with heartbreak as she describes her struggles going through a divorce and raising a child.

The album opens with “Strangers by Nature,” with mellow vocals and chorus-like layers that produce an eerie sound, which is perfect for a song about a love that is dead and gone. 

“I’ll be taking flowers to the cemetery of my heart / For all of my lovers in the present and in the dark,” Adele sings. 

This is a perfect statement that introduces the theme of the album, heartbreak. She ends the song with a simple phrase. 

“Alright then, I’m ready,” which sets up her listeners to get ready for the rest of the songs in her album. This is a somewhat ode to her heartbreak.

The lead single, “Easy On Me,” is fueled by a rhythmic piano instrumental and powerful, dominant vocals from Adele. It was surprisingly popular and in late October, it secured its No. 1 spot on the Billboard Global Charts. Adele also had songs like “My Little Love,” that she created for her son, Angelo Adkins. It is full of emotional dialogue with her son about her divorce and introduces feelings of depression and confusion about the world.

There is no doubt that Adele’s 30 is thematically strong and consistent, but some songs do feel sonically repetitive – which is why only a couple of the album’s songs have blown up, while the rest get average attention. Regardless, Adele successfully showcases her amazing vocal talent and vulnerability on her newest album. So, whenever you feel like crying your heart out, or feel melancholy, 30 is the perfect album to set the mood. What is your favorite song on the album?

Author: Valerie Claustro | Staff Writer

Graphic by: Valerie Claustro

Change within the Communication Department

Faculty is hopeful for the future

The Communication department has undergone many changes in the last year. With the passing of our beloved Director of Communication Program, Billie Jean Wiebe, PH.D., faculty members stepped up to care for the Communication students. Not only did the program lose Billie Jean Wiebe, PH.D., but there were also faculty members who left Fresno Pacific University to start new chapters in their lives. These faculty members left behind prospective classes for Communication students. 

Eleanor Nickel, Humanities Division Chair, stepped up and helped the entire Communication department. During the 2020-2021 winter break, Nickel and the faculty had to figure out who was going to teach Wiebe’s classes. 

“Just, like, having to pull out all of these classes, move students around, move faculty around all within, like, a couple of weeks, when everybody was grieving, was the hardest part,” Nickel said.

During the Spring 2021 semester, faculty was able to move around classes and successfully carry out the semester. However, at this point in time, the department was still functioning without any full-time Communication faculty members. As a result, Nickel continued to help advise students along with faculty member, Leann Lo, for the new 2021-2022 academic year that was approaching. Nickel was also in charge of the national search for hiring two new faculty members.

During the summer of 2021, two new faculty members were added to the Communication department: Randall Fowler and Seung Min Hong. Fowler was announced as our new Communication Program Director. Hong was added as an assistant professor in the areas of Media and Film studies, which is a big part of the Communication studies program. Nickel explained how during the hiring process, Fowler and Hong had to perform their teaching demos in challenging circumstances, but they did well anyways. 

“Both of them really rocked their teaching demos, and we were very impressed by that,” Nickel stated. 

After the two new additions, the Communication department started building itself again, and it is now functioning well on its own in the new academic school year. 

“So, yeah. So far, so good. I think we’re in a much better place. I feel like we have overcome everything. And we’re ready to just move forward,” Nickel said.

Although new to the Communication department, Hong has already noted some positive reviews about the FPU students, faculty, and the program. He was asked what he liked about the Communication students and staff.

“The community. Seriously, I don’t think I’ve seen a department, division, or school consisting of people who are this supportive,” Hong said. 

Hong has also expressed his surprise to see how much diversity is on campus. “At the pie & praise event last week, I was really glad to see that there are a lot more international students on campus than I thought. I wish to meet them someday and perhaps even have some of them in my Intercultural Communication course. I think their voices and perspectives would be extremely valuable!” Hong said. 

When Hong was asked about what he hopes to achieve at FPU, he communicated the reality of what it is like to be a new faculty member in the Communications department. 

“Just continue to grow as a scholar, teacher, and a colleague. This first year is a bit overwhelming for me to keep up with all three, but I’m sure I will gradually get into the rhythm of it, especially with the help of this wonderful community!” Hong said.

Hong expressed the difficulty of taking on multiple roles, but he is excited and eager to keep growing with the help of FPU students and staff.

 Fowler expressed only but good things about FPU.

“Teaching at Fresno Pacific, to take an image from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, has been like opening the door to a wonderful new world. So for me, I’d definitely say the best thing about FPU is the people. In short, I love that FPU is a place where the whole person—not just the intellect—is nourished,” Fowler said. 

The Communication Department has been through many changes, as shown by the words of faculty, but we, too, must transition and grow in order to succeed. Even though Fowler was not here while Wiebe was, he has still felt her mark she left on FPU. 

“Before talking about the future, it’s vital to note that I am deeply indebted to the work of my predecessor, Billie Jean Wiebe. Billie Jean’s hard work and incomparable dedication are evident everywhere I look, from the intentional design of our courses to the seniors I’m proud to call Communication majors. I aim to continue her legacy of student-focused education,” Fowler said.

By: Alicia Garcia & Eryca Goldsborough | Staff Writers

Red (Taylor’s Version) Takes Us Back to 2012 During 2021

How Taylor Swift is taking back her power and what we’re loving about it

If you have not been aware of current news regarding Taylor Swift, you might be wondering why albums (that were released years ago) are suddenly popping back up. Do not worry, I will explain. After Swift’s contract with Big Machine Records expired in 2018, the artist jumped to another label. This new label is where she would have what every artist craves: control over her own works. As a consequence, she lost ownership of all of her master albums recorded from 2005 – 2018. The solution? Re-record all of her works with the phrase ‘(Taylor’s Version),’ following the names of songs and albums. The most recent re-recording is Red from 2012 and fans are freaking out! 

Red (Taylor’s Version) was released in early November and consists of 30 songs. Included are the original 20 found on Red Deluxe Edition in 2012, with 10 other songs “from the vault.” This includes “Ronan,” a song written for charity after the death of a three-year-old boy, and her own recordings of “Babe” and “Better Man,” songs that Swift wrote but passed off to Little Big Town and Sugarland, respectively. 

The song that has fans the most worked up is “All Too Well (10 Minute Version).” “Swifties,” who are Taylor’s loyal fanbase, have been waiting for years to hear the full version of the previously cut-down heartbreaking song. Similar to most of Swift’s works, the song is centered around a breakup that the singer experienced. There is strong evidence to suggest the song is about the actor, Jake Gyllenhall, and fans are not holding back their anger and frustration toward him. Swift references the age gap between her (21 at the time) and Gyllenhall (30 at the time) being his reasoning for the break up with the lyrics, “You said if we have been closer in age, maybe it would have been fine And that made me want to die.” Swift comes back with a dig, “I’ll get older, but your lovers stay my age.” This is particularly interesting considering Gylenhall (40) is now dating a 25-year-old. The entirety of the song is full of lyrics that provide glimpses into the three-month-long romance.

The song is accompanied by a short film starring actors Sadie Sink and Dylan O’Brien. Sink, who plays Swift, takes us through her whirlwind romance with O’Brien, who is believed to portray Gyllenhaal. The portrayed romance is riddled with gaslighting, secrets, and naive love. It is safe to say that the singer did not hold back, and ultimately, demanded back her power in more ways than one. 

Ultimately, Red (Taylor’s Version) takes us back to our pre-teen struggles and reminds us that there is always an opportunity for fresh starts and love after heartbreak. Currently, Taylor’s listeners are anticipating the release of Speak Now (Taylor’s Version), and if that is the case, John Mayer, another ex that scorned Taylor, might want to work on his PR strategy.

Author: Melissa Rigby | Social Media Co-Editor

Graphic by: Melissa Rigby and Hannah Weaver