NEWSLETTER 08/29: An ode to the Internet, Frank Ocean, Fantasy Football and Super Teams Everywhere.
August is the only month in the United States without a Federal Holiday. So that empty feeling inside you were confused about during this time of year, we’ve uncovered it for you. You’re welcome. But there’s no need to feel empty this August because it’s a time for celebration! Frank Ocean FINALLY released new music, football is coming back — which means so is Fantasy Football — and it’s time to get LIT FAM at the world’s greatest birthday party.
What Frank Ocean accomplished with Blonde by David Bradford
FRANK OCEAN is no stranger to relationships. The majority of his songs dabble in that topic — normally approached from an angle of heartbreak and confusion. Needless to say, in a Frank Ocean song, relationships aren’t always painted like the Mona Lisa. They’re more like Giovanni Bragolin’s The Crying Boy.
But while Ocean clearly hasn’t placed himself in an ideal relationship, he hasn’t always treated his fans properly. Often, he’s acted like the worst boyfriend/girlfriend: Distant and dishonest.
Ever since his critically acclaimed 2012 release channel ORANGE sent shockwaves through the music world, Ocean largely kept everybody in the dark about his follow-up project and at times lied about its release date.
The last time Ocean released an album, Linsanity swept the nation, every high schooler wanted to assassinate Kony and our Sweet Prince Harambe roamed the Cincinnati Zoo before sacrificing himself so we could all have a meme to obsess over.
But finally, a little over a week ago, Ocean released new music. And it wasn’t what anybody expected, nor was it rolled out in an orthodox manner. Originally, Boys Don’t Cry was the alleged title of Ocean’s sophomore album, which injected extra buzz around the album considering his sexuality. The consumers expected a late-July, 2015 release. But alas, no music. Then, Ocean rinsed, washed and repeated the cycle earlier this month by again missing a release date.
At this point, Twitter was prepared to boycott. But when his visual album Endless dropped a couple of Fridays ago, the boycott abruptly ended…but a lack of transparency remained. Because while the music on Endless was fairly solid, the visual component made little sense. However, it did successfully claim the “Guys wearing designer sweaters while building a staircase” category. And make no mistake, every artists is going after that throne.
But then we learned that Ocean was actually releasing a legitimate album the very next day, headlined by the lead single “Nikes”. By lead single standards, “Nikes” isn’t conventional at all, as it lacks a strong narrative, radio-friendly structure and features very little of Ocean’s actual vocals.
Despite so much context and an album name change, Ocean’s second major release, Blonde, was more than worth the wait. As blasphemous as it may sound, it’s superior to channel ORANGE in a number of categories.
From it’s cohesive sonic pallet to heart-shattering lyrical themes to tear-jerking vocal performances, Blonde isn’t the album anybody expected. In this musical climate, that’s exactly what we need from artists as recognizable as Ocean is.
In the Internet Age, patience is a lost art. The music business is brutally competitive and the consumers scream from the rooftops “It’s our music and we need it now!” But Ocean managed to channel patience by patiently releasing an album that takes patience to grasp.
Initial listens won’t make you fall in love with Blonde. It’s not as extravagant as channel ORANGE, nor is it as explosive in its choruses. It’s an understated vacation into the mind of an introverted artist who demands nothing and refuses to give into demands.
We demanded an album that took the ideas of channel ORANGE to the next level. We expected an album delivered on a much grander scale, one that could potentially polarize, having one side hail it as a classic, while the other trashed it for not being as great as channel ORANGE. Instead, Ocean took his art to the next level by stripping back. Any risk lies under the radar. Tracks such as “Ivy” or “Self Control” or “Godspeed” won’t hit you immediately, but sit with them, internalize them, and the emotions will strike you unexpectedly.
It’s easy to react harshly your favorite artists not releasing music, but they can’t all be Lil B or Viper, who seemingly release new music every day.
So Frank, if Blonde is what you accomplish in four years, then by all accounts, please take eight years to release your next project. We’ll be waiting, patiently.
An Ode to 25 Years of Internet by Dalton King
LAST TUESDAY, August 23rd, our best friend turned 25-years-old.
It gave us Tom’s MySpace, a haven for every kind of video you could imagine (YouTube), an outlet for all generations to converge into one place, including your grandmother and her friends leaving super encouraging or confused comments (Facebook), and it has even minimized basketball’s greatest player into a meme (Crying Jordan).
It’s how you waste your time. It’s how you connect to the world.
It’s the Internet.
There’s some discrepancy on what day is actually the birth of the World Wide Web. However, the day that was celebrated last Tuesday was the 25th anniversary of the web being available as a public forum. So since this era of the Internet is dominated by the presence of social media, the 23rd can be our Independence Day of sorts.
Started from the bottom.
Now we’re here.
In its 25th year, here’s my power rankings of the best things the internet has offered us thus far:
My personal favorite — sweet, sweet Twitter. It’s quick, informative and hilarious.
What more could you want in a single application? It has all the best (or worst) parts of the internet combined into one beautiful timeline: news, memes, funny videos, access to celebrities, immature drama, Kanye West rants and the undisputed home of the infamous Harambe jokes (Rest in peace, Sweet Prince).
Every aspect of culture has a place on Twitter. It’s flawless, except when they caved and changed the “Favorite” to the “Like”.
Nothing shows the power of the internet more than a website taking the place of an entire other medium. With Netflix, users have access to hundreds of television shows, movies and documentaries. The streaming company now has an astounding 83 million subscribers.
Why watch live when you can watch whenever and however much you want at any given time? Episodes don’t air weekly, they are either posted a season at a time or older television shows are completely available for viewing.
And you don’t have to wait until primetime to watch the latest hit television show anymore, you can watch it in the middle of the day or in the middle of the night when you should be taking care of multiple responsibilities or sleeping.
We’ve all been here and it’s insulting:
But we still hit Continue watching regardless of what unruly hour of the night it is. WE HAVE NO SHAME.
Yeah, pop culture is cool and hip. But here at The Juice, our love for sports is front and center.
The most interactive way sports and pop culture has collided thus far? The Crying Jordan meme.
At its original state, it’s nothing spectacular. But when you hooligans get creative with it, it spreads wings and flies to new heights.
Here’s a few truly great masterpieces:
Yeah, it might be disrespectful to treat the G.O.A.T this way. But you know what, Jordan’s impact has always been bigger than just his on-court production.
He’s made every person cooler than they really are with providing great shoe game. And now he’s making us look funnier than we really are, at the expense of his emotions.
We are forever indebted to you Michael.
It only took 25 years for man-kind to get here. Here’s to 25 more years of progress. The internet has truly made the world a better place. Or worse, but whatever.
The Worst Super Teams of All-Time by David Bradford
WHO DOESN’T love a good, ol’ fashioned Super Team? Not only is there the potential for the masses to witness something truly unprecedented, but it also provides a flood of irrational hate on the streets of Twitter. After Kevin Durant signed with the Golden State Warriors, he became public enemy numero uno — the sports equivalent of a Benedict Arnold.
The domino effect of Durant potentially signing with the Warriors was widespread panic across the league. If Durant joins the Legion of Light-Skinned Sharpshooters and the walking hernia-enforcer, how were teams ever going to topple that?
The front offices of the Chicago Bulls and New York Knickerbockers devised an ingenious plan — deliver two of the nation’s largest media markets with the most half-assed attempts at Super Teams in the history of any sport. The Bulls signed teacher’s pet Rajon Rondo along with the homegrown Dwyane Wade — fresh off a Pat Riley Heat stroke.
While the Bulls successfully constructed the antithesis to the Warriors’ backcourt with Rondo and Wade, they managed to relinquish Derrick Rose to the Knickerbockers. And if you thought a lackluster Super Team blew into the Windy City, imagine the worm that just crawled into the Big Apple.
Recently, Rose put on his big boy pants and took a stand — which he’s only been able to physically accomplish for about a year. Rose admirabbly stood by his Super Team statement. Oh yes, the New York Knickerbockers, the new gold standard for the Super Team blueprint. Featuring THREE-time gold medalist Carmelo Anthony, the Latvian Legend Kristaps Porzingis, closet-Cleveland fan Joakim Noah and Courtney Lee. The Zen Master himself, Phil Jackson, is the architect of this master plan to clutch the №8 seed by its neck. If the goal was to bow out of the first round at the hands of LeBron James, then mission accomplished.
But let’s be fair to the Knickerbockers. They aren’t yet one of the worst Super Team attempts ever. They’ll surely join that list after next season. But before that list, let’s examine some of the worst Super Teams ever constructed.
New Year’s Day Cast: The sequel to Valentine’s Day was just as critically panned as its predecessor, but it lacks a number of endearing qualities V-Day featured. First off, V-Day had the power couple with a pair of Taylor’s: Swift and Lautner. And this was Swift pre-snake/sellout days. And this was Lautner while the stigma of him attempting to become a serious actor completely wrecked his career. We’re witnessing these two love birds at their career peaks. Second, there isn’t the a genuine bromance in New Year’s comparable to George Lopez and Ashton Kutcher, nor is there the burning love interest the likes of Kutcher and Jennifer Garner. New Year’s did cast Robert DeNiro, but he’s more like Karl Malone circa 2004 Los Angeles Lakers at this point. Lastly, the actors aren’t as believable. Zac Effron post High School Musical is an absolute fraud, while Jessica Biel has awful taste in men. And seriously, including music hacks such as Jon Bon Jovi and Ludacris is the definition of a fail. V-Day is a guilty pleasure, but New Year’s potentially ruined the careers of every actor in it. Please Hollywood, no more Super Casts.
Audioslave: A band with Chris Cornell of Soundgarden and Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine should crush every band in its path. Yet, when the two came together to form Audioslave in the early 2000’s, they embarked on a three-album stint of putrid drivel that almost turned me on to nu-metal. Cornell’s trademark raspiness still exists, but there’s a fine line between sincere raspiness and passing a kidney stone. And while passing this Harambe-sized stone, Morello plays some “woah that’s so narly bro dude man” riffs. This is the same guitarist who attended Harvard and completely warped minds with his creative guitar effects on songs such as “Killing In the Name Of”. Instead, he reduced himself to painfully awkward guitar solos on songs such as “Like a Stone” and contributed to “Cochise” — the worst attempt of a badass song in history. If you know anybody who enjoys this track…they’re about as hardcore as Ryan Lochte. I pinky promise.
2011 Philadelphia Eagles: There are only two podium interviews that have ever mattered in NFL history — Marshawn Lynch and Vince Young. In 2011, Young signed with the Philadelphia Eagles and declared the City of Brotherly Love had a “Dream Team”. Now a Dream Team is a step above a Super Team — just check the 1992 Men’s US National Basketball Team — but for the purposes of this list, we’ll box them in the same category. Honestly, Young wasn’t the only one who catapaulted the Eagles hype into the stratosphere. After a 10–6 2010 campaign, Philadelphia was a popular Super Bowl pick. Michael Vick was fresh off a career resurgence, DeSean Jackson elevated himself into super-stardom after his infamous game-winning punt return touchdown against the New York Giants the season before, the Eagles made the first attempt at the Legion of Boom after signing Dominique Rodgers-Cromarties and Nnamdi Asomugha; and of course, the Vince Young was the backup quarterback. What could go wrong?
Super Teams are becoming the norm in the NBA. They’re harder to pull off in other leagues because of roster sizes, but it’s important to note that a host of big names doesn’t make a Super Team function. The pieces still have to fit. So while the Warriors are expected to steamroll through the West, let’s wait and see if Durant can co-exist with Steph, Klay and Draymond before crowning them.
Three Fantasy Football Players Not to Cash in On by Dalton King
ESPN DID a 28-hour marathon on Fantasy Football. There’s a hilarious TV show centered on it (The League, check it out on Netflix). And in cubicles and friend groups everywhere, there is major bragging rights and respect to be achieved.
Fantasy Football matters and it’s serious business.
Every sports website on the internet is telling who to pick — who is the best at their respective position, who is primed for a breakout year, who is a late-round steal with great value. It’s easy to see great talent and pick them. You may be wrong, but so was everyone else. So it’s okay and you won’t be shamed.
But seeing talent and deciding not to pick them, that’s risky. People will ridicule you. They’ll say you’re missing out. They will insult your intelligence. But if you’re right, and the player flops, they will respect you and your elite football knowledge.
Hot takes are risky, but they’re fun. And honestly, none of us know what we’re doing anyway or how it will turn out. It’s the fun of the game. Here are three players that are enticing, but that you should not cash in on this fall:
Dak Prescott, Quarterback, Dallas Cowboys
Preseason’s boy wonder, the “Dak Attack” bandwagon is in full-swing. And with good reason, check out the numbers:
39 of 50 passes completed (78% completion percentage), 454 yards, 5 touchdowns and no interceptions
Numbers don’t lie, but the preseason does. Allen Iverson was offended because we were talking about practice, I’m offended because we are talking about the PRESEASON.
Yes, Prescott is an elite athlete at the quarterback position. He’s looking like a poised and effective passer, but he hasn’t competed in a full-game against a team’s best talent.
Being a professional quarterback takes being battle-tested. Refer to last season: 2015’s top draft picks Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota came into the league as two of the most polished quarterback prospects ever. They showed to be dynamic, but also struggled at times to find their footing against NFL defenses. However, Mariota suffered at the breach of a poor offensive line. Jameis, who had the better season, also had more weapons.
So really, it’s all situational, but Prescott is in a tough position. Say what you want about Romo, but he’s Dallas’ quarterback. Without him, they aren’t really the Cowboys.
Granted, Prescott is a better option at the helm than Brandon Weeden, Matt Cassel and Kellen Moore combined, whom guided the Cowboys to a 1–11 record last season without Jessica Simpson’s ex-boyfriend. Dak can add more explosiveness to the Cowboy offense, especially alongside fellow rookie Ezekiel Elliot and that elite O-Line, but it will be an adjustment for all parties involved.
Prescott lit up SEC defenses for the past two years, but he will have more pressure to perform than any other rookie in the NFL this season.
He might continue his preseason magic, but I’m not jumping on the bandwagon just yet.
Devonta Freeman, Running back, Atlanta Falcons
The breakout running back of the 2015 season, Devonta Freeman set fantasy football on fire. But then Week 9 hit. Freeman wasn’t a free man in the open field, finishing with 12 rushing yards on 12 attempts…and he never cracked the 100 yard mark again.
Atlanta lost five of its next seven games, vanquishing their surprise 5–0 start to the season.
The entire reason Freeman got the starting gig last year was because Tevin Coleman, the Falcons’ third-round pick in 2015, suffered a rib injury in Week 2. With Coleman and Freeman both healthy and viable options in the backfield, look for them to split more carries.
Freeman still might be an elite back, especially because of his effectiveness in the receiving game, but I wouldn’t expect anything near his numbers last season (Freeman was the NFL’s top fantasy running back).
Dez Bryant, Wide Receiver, Dallas Cowboys
Another Cowboy to stay away from, Bryant might suffer the most from Tony Romo’s injury. ESPN’s Fantasy Projection on him reads, “With Romo back to full health, Bryant is a strong bet to regain elite status and is a borderline first-round pick.”
Well he’s not and unfortunately for Dallas, Romo’s bad back might handicap their season once more. The new saying in Dallas should be, “Step on a crack and break Tony Romo’s back and severely damage the Cowboys’ chance at a normal season.”
With Romo gone, Bryant’s personal pass deliverer (and TO’s, TO loved him some Tony Romo) is once again out of commission. A known hot-head, I can only imagine the amount of frustration Dez will show if Dak doesn’t fill the role.
Dak’s confidence looks promising, but to play it safe, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Cowboys relied on Ezekiel Elliot’s work-h0rse play style. Once again, taking away targets from Dez.
There’s a lot of uncertainty floating around Jerry World with a rookie quarterback, running back and a huge national spotlight. I wouldn’t be shocked if Tennessee fans were blessed with Derek Dooley being on the brunt end of some more Dez Bryant sideline freakouts.
We don’t know what in the world will happen in the Fantasy Universe, but let’s fight the current and stray away from these players sit back and watch other people get frustrated because they bit the bait.
May your pursuit for Fantasy Football Immortality be blessed.