They are the secret weapon of the D.R.E.A.M. tour, and they've just dropped their fresh EP "Nobody Knows Me Better"
You may not have heard of The Belles…
…but unless you've had your head buried in the ground for the last year, you have definitely heard of JoJo Siwa. It just so happens that The Belles, a mother-daughter country combo, have been opening for Siwa on every single date in her Nickelodeon D.R.E.A.M. tour. If you were lucky enough to catch them there, you will be ecstatic to hear that they've just dropped a new EP.
The first song on the album, "Beautiful Girl," opens up with blended acoustic guitar strums, and slow delayed electric guitar pounds over a sharp, verby kit. It tells the story of female-centric positivity in the wake of a struggle with self-esteem. It's a sentiment that could easily be corny, but because the song leans into its message of self-love, it blasts past being hokey.
We move on to "Nobody Knows Me Better," which rolls in on a slamming drum beat before being joined by a clav-guitar combo that is way catchier than it has any right to be. It's a different kind of love song that has Ingrid Michaelson-like lyrical flair with a Taylor Swift-like musical sensibility.
As "Fire" gets going, we can feel the EP start to slow down. It's an earned change of pace that explicitly plays with the mother-daughter dynamic at the core of the group. It's a warning against the follies of young love and has all the drive and verve of classic country rock. Like in "Beautiful Girl," the refrains of "Momma said…" could easily be cheesy but instead come off as sincere.
"Didn't Break Mine" continues the theme of catchy, upbeat, plucky musical arrangements, and tells the story of a break up. However, there are more layers at play here than in your typical heartbreak song. The deliberately bouncy tune is at odds with the content of the story being told, adding a delightful juxtaposition.
Finally, "My Mother's Daughter" ends the EP on a high-note. The guitar licks are slick, and, like many of the songs here, it feels ripe for stadium play. It speaks explicitly to the relationship of the duo in a way that's positive, joyous, and endearingly soulful.
The Belles are a band blessedly free of the corny trappings of stereotypical country music. Their sound has authenticity that cannot be denied, and they are able to set that sincerity to a pop sound that in many other artists would detract from their message. The Belles deliver an EP that is heavy on heart and light on cliche.
Even to this day, "Dark Tournament" remains the defining shonen "Tournament Arc."
Oftentimes, it's impossible to separate the quality of the anime we grew up watching from the sense of nostalgia those series evoke.
Case in point: Dragon Ball Z. Historically, DBZ is likely the most influential anime series of all time, both redefining the shonen genre for every series that came after it and introducing an entire generation of Western kids to Japanese animation through the legendary Funimation dub on Cartoon Network's Toonami block. Chances are high that if you meet someone who loves anime and grew up in the late '90s or early 2000s, they'll have a deeply personal bond with DBZ.
At the same time, it's hard to argue that DBZ holds up in the modern day, especially for new viewers coming in with fresh eyes. The pacing of the original series is super slow, the fights drag out forever, and while DBZ created so many of shonen's most prevalent tropes ("This isn't even my final form!"), almost everything DBZ ever did has since been done better by other series.
About a year after being accused of selling furniture to ICE detention centers, e-commerce site Wayfair is in another controversy.
Wayfair, the e-commerce website beloved by millennials on a budget who don't want their apartments to look just like IKEA showrooms, is no stranger to controversy.
Last summer, employees of the company organized a protest after allegations surfaced that Wayfair had sold $200,000 worth of furniture to border detention facilities. Now, Wayfair is being suspected of trafficking missing children in their furniture.