U2's 'Joshua Tree' Tour Is More Than Nostalgia, Its Inclusiveness Is Vital for 2017

Three decades ago, U2 had some important things to say about American proxy warfare, the plight of British miners, and the societal constructs that keep people everywhere from recognizing their shared humanity. Rather than spell things out explicitly, like their early punk heroes might have, Bono and the boys channeled their feelings into 1987’s The Joshua Tree, a heroic rock album written in the mystically blunt poetry of the Old Testament. And it was good.

Brought to life by intrepid producers Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno, The Joshua Treewas U2’s fifth studio LP and first U.S. chart-topper. The album turns 30 this March, and to celebrate, the group will play it from top to bottom as part of a run of special stadium shows across North America and Europe. It's a fine way to celebrate their career-making magnum opus, and given the state of the world, it makes a lot of sense.

When The Joshua Tree dropped, America was nearing the end of eight years spent under the reign of President Reagan. Ronnie’s covert military actions in Central America directly inspired two of the songs -- the rumbling “Bullet the Blue Sky” and mournful “Mothers of the Disappeared” -- and the impacts of his divisive policies can be felt on “In God’s Country,” and perhaps even the album’s idealistic opener, “Where the Streets Have No Name.” On the latter, Bono imagines a desegregated world where a person’s address doesn’t necessarily speak to their race, class, or religion....more 

Millennials Go Minimal: The Decluttering Lifestyle Trend That Is Taking Over

Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, brought minimalism to the mainstream. Although it is not a new concept, the minimalist lifestyle is trending across the United States. The movement has inspired people to move into tiny homes, cut their wardrobes and donate their possessions. Countless bloggers document their forays into minimalism and even the television channel, HGTV, has taken to highlighting the benefits and has three shows on tiny houses in its current lineup. Many entrepreneurs have picked up on this and are figuring out how they can capitalize on the minimalism and decluttering trends.

Millennials in particular are seeking out this minimalist lifestyle. Millennials-- the 18-34 demographic make up more than a quarter of the U.S. population and the majority of the workforce. Millennials have a unique set of values around how they choose to spend their money. They grew up during the recession, entered a struggling job market and must now pay off record amounts of student debt. Retail expert, Robin Lewis, of The Robin Report, explained the consequences of millennial factors, “This is a generation that is bigger than the boomers in population, but their wallets are smaller, and they are more into the style of life than the stuff of life. This is a big threat to retail. They’re not into a lot of shopping.”

Millennials are highly adept at using technology and social media influences many of their purchases. They prefer to spend on experiences rather than on stuff. Seventy-eight percent of millennials—compared to 59% of baby boomers—“would rather pay for an experience than material goods,” according to a survey from Harris Poll and Eventbrite cited on Bloomberg. They favor products marketed as ethical, sustainable and environmentally friendly. By 2017, Retail Leader expects millennials to spend more than $200 billion each year and about $10 trillion in their lifetimes....more 

PHOTOGRAPHY: Tanapol Kaewpring

Fire in a box by Tanapol Kaewpring.

Las Vegas launches the first electric autonomous shuttle on U.S. public roads

Las Vegas, transportation beat reporters can’t quit you; CES was like a car extravaganza, and now you’re launching a self-driving, fully electric shuttle on public streets. The shuttles are the result of a partnership between shuttle-maker Navya, fleet logistics provider Keolis and the city of Las Vegas, and began picking up members of the public today, riding a regular route along iconic Fremont Street between Las Vegas Boulevard and Eighth Street — right in the thick of regular traffic.

The route will run between January 11 and 20, and will use Navya’s ARMA shuttle, which previously underwent testing in the U.S. at the University of Michigan’s MCity autonomous testing facility, and which has been deployed in France since 2015. The test is part of Las Vegas’ broader efforts to create a designated area in the city’s urban center for testing autonomous and connected cars. Vegas has also invested significantly in connected infrastructure, including connecting traffic lights throughout the downtown area....more 

Want to be a Great Songwriter? Here Are 10 Songwriting Tips from the Pros

Songwriting is a passion, not a job. But how can you become an amazing songwriter and build a lucrative career? Here are ten tips from established, professional songwriters that could change the way you write.

So let’s go through these, songwriter by songwriter:

Jamie Hartman’s tips.

Songwriting Highlights: “Human” by Rag’n’Bone Man (2016 Brit Awards Critics’ Choice Winner); “Start Again” by Conrad Sewell, “Stranger” by Sawyer Fredericks; “Move Together” by James Bay

1. Don’t ever try to write anything that sounds like current radio because it was probably written/produced between 2 and 5 years ago. And therefore, the song you’re currently writing won’t be coming out whilst that radio song is current anymore.

2. Don’t kid yourself that an idea is truly new / good if it isn’t. You know deep down whether it is or not.

Beatchild’s tips.

Producer and Songwriter for: Drake, Divine Brown, Miles Jones, etc.

3. Try to co-write with those who are more experienced and better writers than you are. Not only will you learn from them, your chances of exposure to a solid placement are much higher.

4. Seek and build a go-to team of writers and composers who share your drive but excel in areas other than the strengths you possess.

5. Try different variations of those writers together in a room until you feel that undeniable “magic”. Spend considerable amount of time with that “magic” team writing as many songs as possible.

6. Educate yourself by studying the greatest songs from the beginning of the commercial music industry to today. Break down the lyrics, mimic and invert past hit songs. Essentially, try studying hit songs by reverse engineering and rebuilding them with your own twist....more  

MUSIC: Buscabulla - Frio (feat. Helado Negro)

MUSIC: Eat More Cake - Heat Of The Night (Original Mix)