“Grand Tour:” Crazy New Car Show on Amazon Prime

By Alex Maldonado

In the automotive world, few names hold as much power as Jeremy Clarkson, James May, and Richard Hammond. The trio has been in the public eye for over a decade now; most notably for their roles hosting the British car show, Top Gear. After building up a massive global fan base over the span of twelve years, mixing car news and reviews with slapstick humor and witty banter, the show met an unfortunate end in early 2015. In March of 2015, Clarkson, the lead host, physically attacked one of the show’s producers over an argument about a cold steak. The producer chose not to press charges, but the show’s parent company, the BBC, decided it couldn’t allow Clarkson to get away with is actions.

amazon-1-655340Clarkson’s contract was terminated and his loyal cohosts left with him. After a several-month-long break, the team was picked up by Amazon Prime to star in an all new car show called “The Grand Tour.” The show is set in a collapsible tent that will be transported from continent to continent, highlighting glimpses of the local car culture and completing Top Gear-esque challenges along the way.

The first episode -set in the California desert during a concert reminiscent to Burning Man- had a record setting opening, bringing in three times as many viewers as the opening for Amazon Prime’s previous leading show, The Man in the High Castle, according to Digital Spy. The debut episode revealed vcover20f-2-webseveral recycled and renamed segments from their previous show, including a news segment which, due to legal reasons with the BBC, is called “Conversation Street.” Another Top Gear throwback includes testing every new car they get their hands on a private race track with a professional racing driver. The new track is much smaller and simpler than the Top Gear equivalent, though the crew claims it to be significantly more dangerous. The danger doesn’t come from sharp turns, tight hairpins, or steep elevation changes; but from a climate causing regular moisture, uneven and bumpy sections in the tarmac, and even the occasional animal crossing. The Grand Tour also hints at the possibility of doing a celebrity feature segment, similar to Top Gear’s “big star in a reasonably priced car.” However, each time a celebrity is set to be featured on the show, they suffer an inexplicably sudden death, like a parachute not deploying while skydiving into the audience, or being mauled by a lion while walking up to the tent. According to news outlet The Sun, the BBC has threatened the Grand Tour with legal action if the show presents a celebrity interview segment even remotely resembling the recurring Top Gear bit.

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Another segment the Grand Tour team is struggling to revive in a non-plagiaristic way is their new car track time test. Previously, the team would turn the keys over to their silent, robotic, “tamed racing driver” called The Stig. The Stig was a fan favorite, never seen without his white racing suit and smoked visor. The Stig was something of a mystery to fans, regularly playing obscure music or sounds as he drove around the test track, and treating things as ordinary as a cellphone as something completely alien. Now, Clarkson and co. are enlisting an almost universally unpopular former NASCAR driver to test the cars. Wesley Wren of Autoweek critiqued the show’s new driver, saying, “[Last week’s] review gets even worse with not-so-tamed racing driver Mike Skinner behind the wheel. In the last episode, we saw the talented driver act like a stereotypical boneheaded American, which even felt stale in a small dose. The writers at “The Grand Tour” must have thought that people simply didn’t get the joke, because they doubled down with the American-isms for Skinner’s segment.”

The Grand Tour isn’t all bad though. Many diehard fans were happy just to see the gang back together, roaring million-dollar hyper cars around a racetrack again. As the show is still in its infancy, it’s clear the crew is still trying to discover what they want to be; what they want to do with their show, and where to go from here. The Grand Tour is something of a second chance for Clarkson, Hammond, and May; and they are still in the process of determining what works and what doesn’t. New episodes premiere every Friday, exclusively on Amazon prime.

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“Amanda Knox” documentary features a modern “Inspector Javert”and mass hysteria

By Daniel Stout

The new documentary, “Amanda Knox,” is exhilarating and haunting, yielding a paradoxical film; it dishes out ample joy and tension. Thematically, the truth-small_121129-233805_to291112est_9350conquers-doubt story is difficult to pull off. Take Dateline and 20/20, the accused are inevitably guilty, or at least convicted. The film is less successful as a crime story than a psychological examination of mass hysteria, similar to the deindividuation of the Salem Witch Trials. Amanda Knox, a University of Washington student visiting Perugia, Italy, was accused of murder in 2007. The film is preceded by Knox’s memoir, “Waiting to be Heard” published in 2013.

No real evidence that Knox and her boyfriend murdered Meredith Kercher ever surfaced. She was found guilty of the stabbing, then innocent, then guilty again. Finally released from shackles, she returned to Seattle, only to face extradition efforts from the Italian government. These efforts recently ceased partly impeded by the Innocence Project. A reporter for the West Seattle Herald, Knox is rebuilds her life and narrates sections of the film, enhancing the dramatic tension, providing personal testimony of the terror of captivity and joy of newfound freedom. What are the factors underpinning a global media event where Italian crowds burned effigies, shouted profanities in the streets, and demanded justice, only to have the real killer eventually confess.

Relentless persecution of the innocent at all costs is a frequent subject of dramatic works. Hugo’s Les Miserables comes to mind as Italian prosecutor Giuliano Mignini makesgallery-1475164281-gettyimages-127239622 Inspector Javert look like a lightweight. Despite insurmountable evidence, Amanda Knox must be punished in the name of the people, country, and God. In a late scene in the documentary, he’s psychologically and, perhaps pathologically, unwilling to concede the court erred.

With the exception of The Thin Blue Line, Amanda Knox is superior to recent works on the wrongly accused, including Making of a Murderer and the The Central Park Five.

As Latter-day Saints, it’s difficult to view Amanda Knox without reflecting on the The Mountain Meadows Massacre, an event where Christ-like community gives way to sinister social pressure and mob hysteria based on misinformation and collective paranoia. Although a somber film, it flickers with the light of those willing to stand up for truth despite the punishments of opposing the crowd.

At a more personal level, the Amanda Knox story elicits conversation about how rumor and gossip often expands into immense harm that isn’t easily reversed.

 

Ben Rector’s album, “Brand New” touches the heart

By Hailey Daniels

Exhausting radio love ballads: Who lives that kind of life? Not me; I need an anthem to belt out. So, raise your glass if your life is crazy… “crazy normal.” When did music cease being relatable? Remember the bus scene in Almost Famous as the passengers sang Elton John’s tender “Tiny Dancer?” or Kate McKinnon’s moving rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” to open Saturday Night Live? Music has a ripple effect to contemplation and positive actions. Such is validated by 28 year-old singer-songwriter, Ben Rector, and his repertoire of “Happy Music.”

benrector-press-shot-2-eric-ryan-andersonRecent album, Brand New, reflects sincerity often missing today; inspiriting beats and relevant lyrics characterize this uncommon work. The song, “Brand New” fills the senses with a mood of possibilities. Rector, a self-proclaimed dreamer, lives that reality through music. According to a perceptive Itunes review, “His tender croon is infectiously uplifting when set atop a gentle piano and galloping drum beat on the title train.” On “30,000 Feet,” he relates a conversation on an airplane among two very different people; they agree that despite ups-and-downs, life is good.

President Boyd K. Packer said, “Through music, man’s ability to express himself extends beyond the limits of the spoken language in both subtlety and power. Music can be used to exalt and inspire or to carry messages of degradation and destruction. It is therefore important that as Latter-day Saints we at all times apply the principles of the gospel and seek the guidance of the Spirit in selecting the music with which we surround ourselves.” Listening to Ben Rector, I sense this spirit of love.

In “More Like Love,” he sings of trading material things for love and its great impact. Such is frequently lacking in everyday life. If everyone would love and exemplify charity as the Savior did, it would make an enormous change. I wasn’t prepared for the refreshing passion in Ben Rector’s beats and lyrics. As Bono notes: “Music changes people, and people change the world.”

In Doctrine and Covenants 25:12 we read, “For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart;benrector1 yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads.” Whether they be hymns or pop-songs, they can touch the heart. If you are searching for music that invites the spirit of positivity and happiness, you will appreciate the lively tones of Ben Rector.

 

Mormons and Las Vegas Media

by Danny Stout

Las Vegas has always been enigmatic for Mormons. When Brigham Young dispatched Hosea Stout (a very distant cousin) to settle the area, the project failed for lack of water and prospects for farming. The abandoned Mormon fort stands as a state monument and tourist attraction. Ironic, some say, that Mormons were the original settlers of the area known as the entertainment capitol of the world. The Mormon-Vegas paradox has evolved through time, with many iterations. The Donnie and Marie Show on one side of the Strip with Gentleman strip clubs on the other, exemplifies these conflicts of values. In the 1940’s, Las Vegas was a crass gambling town; in the mob-era sixties, it was a fount of organized crime and prostitution. The LDS population grew nevertheless, many working in casinos and other businesses. When Las Vegas mogul Howard Hughes wrestled gambling away from the mafia, giving it lawful legitimacy, LDS executives (i.e., “The Mormon Mafia”) arranged for loans from Utah’s First Security Bank.

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A study published by this author in the journal, Mass Media and Society, describes a growing and devout Mormon population; a temple was dedicated in 1989. About five per cent (105,000) of Las Vegas is LDS. The city, while not the coarse off-color place it was in the sixties, retains its culture of excess, something-for-nothing mindset, and promiscuous flare for the erotic. The Cirque de Solei show “Zumanity” and “Absinthe” at Caesar’s Palace are examples. Yet some of the first-rate Broadway shows, fine art museums, and aquariums blend the commendable with the deleterious. Today, Mormon tourists visit the city annually by the hundreds of thousands. It’s a vacation destination for Utahns. When BYU sports teams compete in the city, Latter-day Saints check in to casino resorts. Like the city itself, which built the elegant Smith Center for the Performing Arts in 2009, and boasts an expanding art district exceeding many cities in the west, media attractive to LDS audiences have sprouted.

 Using the term, “religion” in the same sentence as “Las Vegas” is disquieting for a myriad of Mormons. Yet it’s a city of simulacra, an idea developed by the French philosopher Jean Beaudrillard. A simulacrum is something artificial that displaces the real. When the Belagio Hotel serves the same purpose as an Italian five-star resort, and the replication of the Eifel Tower in the Paris resort feels real, the experience has legitimacy. Simulacra is ubiquitous, making Las Vegas the quintessential postmodern city. The “real” and the “articicial” have blended. So has the old and new, traditional and nontraditional as well as the sacred and the secular.

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Music is a prime example. Every Sunday morning in the Mandalay Casino the “Gospel Brunch” is held. When I attended, the house lights came up and a singer, announced, “I know you’re here in Las Vegas to win money, but now it’s time to praise the Lord! Stand up and clap your hands in praise of Jesus!” The event was more like an Evangelical church than a casino. The gospel music was both spiritual and astoundingly performed. There is also the best of Broadway from “Phantom of the Opera” to “Jersey Boys” to “The Blue Man Group.” Fine art museums are abundant featuring the world’s great paintings and sculpture in the Bellagio Gallery as well that in the Winn Resort. Experimental, classical, impressionism, and abstract expressionism works are ubiquitous on the Strip.

Despite plenty of kitsch, the Strip has architectural works of note including the Renaissance Armillary Sphere, a creation of gold and marble eliciting awe and wonder. The oval stained glass piece in the Tropicana is one of the largest in the world, creating unique filters of light rays. Similarly, the Chihuli glass flower blossoms in the Belaggio lobby has 2,000 hand-blown glass blossoms created at a cost of $10 million. The gold shrine combining Hindu and Buddhist elements attracts thousands each day becoming a regular place for prayer.

While LDS visitors are not likely to attend, the wedding chapels at the mega-resorts have fine crafted wood features and appear much like Protestant churches without religious iconography. The MGM chapel has stone statuary simulating a European cathedral entrance. Unlike the tacky wedding chapels on Fremont Street, these facilities allow parties to bring in their own clergy, thus transporting congregations into the Las Vegas Strip.

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The complex interplay between Mormon and Las Vegas cultures is difficult to assess. Cities are not static, and the values of their visitors and citizens advance in multiple directions. Increasing popularity of Las Vegas among Mormons implies that cities are not homogenous, that visitors select various sites and reject others. For this reason, some hotels have kosher floors for Jewish guests. Las Vegas and America have blurred. The Luxor Resort has Egyptian exhibits for local school children, as does the Aquarium at the Mandalay Bay. Virtually all movie theaters and bowling alleys are now in casinos. Neighborhood casinos are primarily for locals, and are the community centers of the past. The question is whether Las Vegas is becoming more like the rest of the U.S., or if other cities are beginning to resemble Sin City. One thing that is relatively certain, Las Vegas and its media are no longer easily categorized in the black-white, either-or fashion of the past. The city has many greys.

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Audiences React to “Moana”

by Ho Lam Leung

Disney’s “Moana” received abundant pre-release attention – not surprising given the Disney brand.  It’s stirring debate about insensitivity and culture appropriation regarding Pacific Islanders. What do actual viewers think of the film?  It earned $2.6 million at the box office among preview audiences, according to <forbes.com>, doubling that of Disney’s “Frozen”which earned $1.2 million in 2012.

We turned to social media for audience reaction.  Dominant themes were gleaned from 57 interviews at a theater in Laie, Hawaii.  More than half of the opinions came from  Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islander (53.6%). The rest are from Caucasians (21.4%), Asians (16.1%), and (8.9%) from other groups.

The majority of statements (91.3%) hqdefaultexpressed overall satisfaction toward the movie, praising “spectacular” animation and “vibrant color.” Audience members liked the “innovative” story. Others expressed pride in Polynesian traditions: “Well, I figured out why the ocean didn’t just get the heart over to Te Fiti (the goddess of islands)? The answer to that is simple … it was necessary for both Moana and Maui to grow from the journey. Life is about growth. Our ancestors and the elements know this too.” A “personal growth” message was grasped by several audience members.

The character, Maui, was depicted as a “buffoon“, “selfish idiot“, “scared“, “arrogant” and “hideous,” according to several interviewees. The Real People Audience: Group Diverse Watching Movie Theater Comedymajority, however, liked Disney’s depiction, arguing his accomplishments were conveyed. The “lighthearted portray” fit well with Maui’s trickster role. In fact, several Islanders agreed that a “built” and “big” appearance was an appropriate description of Maui. One said, “Maui has multiple descriptions throughout Polynesia and even within a Polynesian group. History was maintained orally and has not preserved a single detailed Maui description.” Few said Disney fabricated the Maui story. Musker and Celements depict a combination of South Pacific cultures in “Moana”, instead of just one (as seen in “Lilo and Stitch”).  Fijian, Samoan, Tahitian, and other Oceanic cultures are synthesized. How do the audiences thought about such mingling of cultures in the movie?

In order to understand the Pacific spirit, the directors and production team made  visits to the Pacific, engaging an Oceanic consulting team. Did their efforts pay off? Several seem to think so: “I felt that it was portrayed pretty accurately as I felt like I could relate to a number of characters as they reminded me of people I know or knew in my life.” Citing the moment Moana fights through the reef with her canoe said, “(it) brought lots of memories.

The integration of different island cultures was both praised and criticized.  On one side, Real People Audience: Group Diverse Watching Movie Theater ComedyDisney’s inclusion of “all the islands” was lauded. A Pacific Islander said, “It’s difficult to tell the different cultures,” while several participants found the mixing “all too jumbled,” making it hard to follow the story. Several were surprised to find a “strong Samoan influence.”  Perhaps this is because Samoa is one of the few islands allowing women to have the chiefly title. One viewer recognized the “twist of legends and customs” compared to their own island versions. Knowing the Moana role in her island, one responded, “Women don’t take the responsibility of providing and protecting in Polynesia, but maybe Moana is based on some Tahitian myth or legend.” Some sensed favoritism in the choice of culture. “I don’t like how (the movie) was only Samoan and Tahitian-based. Maui is a Polynesian demigod, but the movie only displayed him as only a few.

At another level, music and dance played a big role.  The song, “We Know The Way,” was sung in Tokelauan. One participant said, “It was like being back on the island.” However, several noted a lack of Polynesian sound: Some songs “didn’t really fit.” Some argued that the soundtracks are more “Polynesian-inspired” than “authentic.

In summary, the audience clearly enjoyed the film, yet were assertive in their cultural critique. Those unfamiliar with Island cultures are likely to miss the nuances, but feel entertained nevertheless.   But to Oceanic peoples, we are speaking of heroes and Gods.  They live in the heart of those that preserve their heritage. They make Pacific Islanders unique from other nations of the world. Did Disney introduce these traditions to the world in Moana? Perhaps not, but new interest may be kindled.

 

“Hamilton,” Continues to move and mesmorize Broadway audiences

By Stephanie Soto

With Lin-Manuel Miranda hosting “Saturday Night Live,” he deserves a review of his record-breaking show Hamilton. 07hamilton-slide-dr5r-superjumboMiranda breathes life into a mostly forgotten Revolutionary War figure through a creative synthesis of traditional and contemporary  music and acting styles. Hooray that Hamilton has young people reading American history again. After all, Hamilton, with others, planted the foundation for contemporary U.S. society.

Nominated for 16 Tony awards, it claimed 11, one of the most award -nominated shows to date, just shy of the The Producers and Billy Elliot.   Hamilton it is a Rap/Hip Hop musical.  Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton, a founding father, is not your typical teen icon. Few young people recall his historical role nor significance.

Characters have distinct personalities, a notable feature of the musical. Actors play multiple roles, raising the talent bar even higher. Daveed Diggs delivers the fastest raps I’ve heard, with an accent no less. The ensemble wears mostly white costumes.

Women vocalists are superb.  Angelica, played by Renee Goldsberry is the more confident voice, until she meets her match in Hamilton.

Playing Hamilton, Lin Manuel Miranda is in most scenes demanding an exhaustingplaybill_from_the_original_broadway_production_of_hamilton performance. How can he rap for that many numbers and not forget a word?  Despite living 200 years ago, Miranda projects himself into the enigmatic Hamilton.

Several songs made the Billboard Top-Ten List, a great feat for musicals. A riveting score tells the story while simultaneously  projecting the viewer into the character’s stressed mind. Add in clever  wordplay, and we have a new form of Broadway art. Nuances such as movable props and sets moves the drama at the tense pace demanded. Stairs, a catwalk, and meticulous lighting provide the frosting on the cake.

Miranda’s Hamilton leaves us pondering issues of democracy equality, and economics.  See the show.  A musical with a multi-racial cast singing hip hop, while inviting us to critique our government present and past,  may not come along again soon.

 

“American Housewife:” Plus Size Beauty and a Big Heart

By Kayna Kemp Stout

161006-american-housewife-1American Housewife is a new sitcom with an old formula, but with a relevant commentary on body image from a plus size point of view. Mom Katie Otto, played by Katy Mixon, is a size 14 living in an upscale California community of size 2’s. She’s got three quirky kids and a seemingly supportive husband willing to indulge her crazy sounding schemes. American Housewife is a Kapital Entertainment–ABC Studios co-production set in Westport, Connecticut.

She’s the driving force of the three viewed episodes. I’ll continue to watch it on Tuesday evenings after The Middle, one of my all time faves. Similar to The Middle, the plot lines draw material from the sparring between siblings and parents engaged in the minutiae of family life. Unlike The Middle, Otto deals with her weight issues in each episode. That resonates with the 65 per cent of American women who are a plus size, but rarely represented in today’s media landscape, especially sitcoms. As with all sitcoms, success hinges on the writing. The concept is fresh and quirky enough to leave me anxious for next week’s episode.

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Kudos to the high school teen daughter Taylor, middle school son Oliver, and elementary aged daughter Anna-Kat; the director coaches them to fine performances.

 

 

New sitcom on heaven: “The Good Place” (but what if you’re there by mistake?)

By Kayna Kemp Stout

“The Good Place” (NBC) starring Kristen Bell and Ted Danson is a new sitcom about what happens in the afterlife. Mormon viewers will chuckle, squirm, and nod their heads in unison at the portrayal of the grand beyond.

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THE GOOD PLACE — “Tahani Al-Jamil” Episode 103 — Pictured: (l-r) Ted Danson as Michael, D’Arcy Carden as Janet, William Jackson Harper as Chidi — (Photo by: Justin Lubin/NBC)

For starters, we believe the afterlife is a busy place with comings and goings as we know it now, which is how The Good Place portrays it. We LDS adherents also believe we will be with like minded souls who have a similar goodness quotient. This also is a commonality with the show. However, the show has a twist. A few mistakes are made in the admissions process; there are unworthy clandestine members of the righteous neighborhood who were accidentally admitted. This creates havoc in an otherwise perfectly functioning afterlife. Can heaven or kingdoms as we Mormons say have flaws in them? After viewing three episodes, there are six main characters orchestrating the shenanigans in the holy neighborhood.

 

Ted Danson is the architect of the community with a human-like robotic assistant that knows everything, and can procure whatever is needed instantly. A modern-day version of 50001417Samantha without the nose-twitching from Bewitched. Add to the cast the two interlopers who are each paired with a benevolent member of the community, and you have the basis for many scripts about honesty, authenticity, and consequences. One of the amusing consequences of the misfits is their inability to swear in the good place. “Fork” substitutes for other four-letter word involuntarily replacing what they intended to say. I also enjoy informative lectures about ethics from the character whose former life was a college philosophy professor. He is tutoring the misfits in doing what’s best for the others in the neighborhood instead of just selfishly caring about themselves as they were accustomed to on earth. This makes for some good Sunday School lessons, which most Mormons would appreciate.

 

 

 

In Hawaii, it’s beaches, waves, and Kahuku High School football!

by Jasmine Weng

Football is immensely popular in the U.S., but few in the Mainland know its cultural role on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii. Kahuku High School football draws thousands to Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, and on September 17 more than 2,000 “Red Raider” fans flew to Las Vegas for a game against Bishop Gorman, the number one high school in the nation. Gorman prevailed, but not the Kahuku spirit that is traced to ancient traditions of family, community, and excellent gamesmanship.

For those born in the North Shore towns, Kahuku football is the center of gravity. It owns the most championships, and sends the most players to the NFL. Red Raider fansweb1_20160822_kahuku_touchdown purchased the 2,000 available tickets for the Las Vegas game within an hour. The stadium holds 5,000 people and the Kahuku faithful had a huge presence in their red t-shirts as they waved Red Raider flags. Fans back on the island watched the game on TV or online in ritual gatherings in homes and eateries. Pounders Restaurant at the Polynesian Cultural Center streamed the contest for Kahuku fans while providing Kalua pork and other game “grinds.”

Pounders was packed that night with red t-shirt clad supporters, some wearing the classic Red Raider headband. Beyond Pounders, thousands found somewhere to watch the live stream. Fans rarely watch games alone as TV broadcasts become ignite luaus up and down Kamehameha Highway.

Although Bishop Gorman has a big budget and superior equipment, they’re no match for Kahuku spirit that echoes the ancient warrior legends; Devotion to the game may derive from ancient dance rituals. Service activities and community fundraising is often tied to football.

web1_spt-kahuku-spirit-1-300x200Aofaga Wily, a 21 year old Kahuku alumnus and football player says he felt like a celebrity while on the team. Even as a high school player, people sought his autograph and photo. “The attention did not make me big-headed or conceited, but made me humble and willing to be a good example for the younger generation”, said Wily. He expressed how football is a big influence on other players’ lives; it teaches hardwork, humility, and how to build a family with teammates. While Kahuku lost the game, they gained great experience by playing Bishop Gorman. Red Raiders of the North shore always hold their heads high; they are “Red Raiders for life.”

The Black Eyed Peas’ “Where is the Love?”…Again!

by Daniel LeBaron

This reviewer was disappointed with a first listening of The Black Eyed Peas’ 2016 remake of “Where Is The Love?” known as “#WHERESTHELOVE ft. The World.” It was bland and lacked the energy of the original. If nothing else, it was “catchy” through techniques of technology. Later that day I couldn’t get the song out of my head, and since, it has grown on me.

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Although in theory it would be best to review this new release on its own merits there is no black-eyed-peas-where-is-the-loveescape from comparing it to its predecessor. Indeed, a knowledge of the original gives this new remake more significance. One can hear in this rendition a more somber tone. There is a weariness as if the artists are being tempted towards jadedness. Still they state bluntly the same questions as before reframed with greater recency. They want the world to wake up, look at themselves, and return to love.

The music integrates silence effectively. At times it is monotonous, at others funky. The diction of the lyrics is very clear. They have been updated along with images to reflect recent issues from police shootings to Syria. The message gets a bit more to a real, personal level than the original.

The new lyrics comment on the election “looking like a joke.” Elder Dallin H. Oaks recently echoed these sentiments at a BYU devotional when he called for more civility, mutual understanding, and a love for all. He said “The few months preceding an election have always been times of serious political divisions, but the divisions and meanness we are experiencing in this election, especially at the presidential level, seem to be unusually wide and ugly.”

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The song begins with a computer voice asking “Where is the Love?” This might represent the distance from our own humanity that has been the result of our digital age. Instead of using technology’s potential to spread understanding, mankind often uses it to argue and become more rigid in a preferred worldview.

Elder Oaks, continuing to speak about the ugliness of the current political climate said, “Partly this results from modern technology, which expands the audience for conflicts and the speed of dissemination. Today, dubious charges, misrepresentations, and ugly innuendos are instantly flashed around the world, and the effects instantly widen and intensify the gaps between different positions. TV, the internet, and the emboldened anonymity of the blogosphere have facilitated the current ugliness and have replaced whatever remained of the measured discourse of the past.” This sense that social and other new media has separated ourselves more from love truly informs the style of “#WHERESTHELOVE.”

Even if a listener prefers the classic they surely can appreciate the artistry behind this “update.”