UPDATE: The biggest derby in the horse racing world is THIS WEEKEND - get in on the action with a risk-free $200 from TVG!

I'm sick and tired of video games and Zoom hangouts. I think everybody is missing live sports, and my friends and I are no exception. All of those online group game chats can only keep us occupied for so long.

Every year, a big group of us always go to the races, and no matter what - rain or shine, win or lose, we always have the best time. When I heard that live horse racing was coming back, I was pumped. Even though my buddies and I can't go watch it live, we can still get in on the action by making bets (and hopefully winning some money).

I've made a few bets online before, but I'm super careful where I place them. A few weeks ago, my friend Don mentioned that he'd been using the TVG app to keep up with all the action on the track.

As I said, I like to make a bet here and there, but considering we were going to be missing out on our annual trip, I decided to check it out.

I wasn't sure I'd wanna place enough bets to warrant setting up an entire account dedicated to horse race betting, but I was super tempted when I saw the great promo for first-time users.

Once you register your account online or through the app (available for iOS), new users are eligible for a $200 risk-free bet! All you have to do is place a single horse win bet, and if you lose, TVG will put up to $200 right back into your account as a wagering credit. I'm still kind of a rookie, so I liked that I could test it out with nothing to lose.

Once I downloaded the app, I gave them some basic info like my name and address, and then I was ready to place a bet. Luckily, there are tons of races coming up over the next few months. The full schedule is available online or through the TVG app, as well as real time results.

Placing a bet is easy; you can make a deposit to your online account with PayPal or by linking your credit or debit card. I gotta say, I'm really impressed by how easy the app is to use. There's tricks and tips if you're new to betting, and lots of real time stats and info if you're a total pro.

TVG has helped fill the gaping hole that I felt ever since most sports paused.

I can't wait for all the races over the next few months, and thanks to the TVG app, keeping up with everything has never been easier.

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MUSIC

7 of the Best Anti-War Songs

The best protest music transcends time and is always relevant. Today, we need it more than ever.

This morning, Donald Trump authorized a drone strike at Baghdad International Airport that killed Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, Iran's top security and intelligence commander.

Since this action, which The New York Times described as a "serious escalation," the United States has been preparing for potential retaliation.

This event feels like a turning point in the midst of endless conflict between the United States and Iran, a flashpoint that has everyone waiting with bated breath. It's impossible to say at this point whether the strike will merely mark a continuation of previous conflicts or if it will launch a full-blown World War III, but for fear of the latter, some people have been turning to age-old mechanisms of coping with war and fighting for peace: anti-war protest songs.

The history of American war protests is intertwined with music. From Bob Dylan to Bob Marley, from Joan Baez to Jimi Hendrix, anti-war protests of the 1960s marked a glorious ascendance of protest songs, but many of them had their roots in the past, either in gospel or blues or from somewhere else, some undercurrent of defiance.

Many of the greatest protest songs are applicable across movements, accessing a core of anger and solidarity, and that's what each of these songs does. War has never ended; it's only moved and shifted. These songs remind us that the struggle is an age-old one.

  1. Masters of War — Bob Dylan

Very few artists are as synonymous with protest music as Bob Dylan, and "Masters of War" is one of the most damning songs of all of his work. It was written in 1963 as a protest against the nuclear arms buildup of the early 60s, and it's ultimately a treatise against the military industrial complex and all the forces that profit off the deaths of others. "You hide in your mansion / while the young people's blood / flows out of their bodies and is buried in the mud," he sings, one of the most searing lines in protest music.

Bob Dylan - Masters of War (Audio) www.youtube.com


2. War Pigs — Black Sabbath

Black Sabbath's vehement, sprawling f*ck you-ballad to everyone making money off war. The song was the opening track on the album Paranoid, and its original title was "Walpurgis," which references April 30th, a traditional feast day sometimes referred to as the "witch's Sabbath," a holiday with roots in the 8th century. It was released as a protest to Vietnam and the draft but has endured as an anthem to rage at the futility of pointless war.

BLACK SABBATH - "War Pigs" (Live Video) www.youtube.com


3. Redemption Song — Bob Marley

Few voices captured the fear of war and spun it into something like hope as well as Bob Marley. "Redemption Song" is timeless and of its time. With lyrics inspired by Pan-Africanist speaker Marcus Garvey, it speaks to a very specific and universal feeling. It's the last song on Marley's last album, written in 1979 when he was already suffering from cancer, and the stripped-down acoustic version is a mix of pain and faith.

Bob Marley - Redemption Song (from the legend album, with lyrics) www.youtube.com


4. Zombie — The Cranberries

"Zombie" is so catchy that it's easy to forget what it's about, but it was written about the casualties that occurred during the 1993 IRA bombing in Warrington, England as part of the ongoing war between England and Ireland. Dolores O'Riordan wrote the song in 1993, and its release—along with a music video that showed children playing war games and clips of British soldiers—resulted in a ban from the BBC; the video later garnered over a billion views and the song became a protest anthem.

The Cranberries - Zombie (Official Music Video) www.youtube.com


5. Jimi Hendrix — All Along the Watchtower

This cryptic song was written by Bob Dylan, but even Dylan began covering Jimi Hendrix's version when it came out in 1968. The song might be about Vietnam, Armageddon, or the crises of meaning that these kinds of events open up, but its true power is in the sound and the power of Hendrix's guitar skills, perfectionism, and ability to distill centuries of oppression into sound.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience - All Along The Watchtower (Audio) www.youtube.com


6. People Have the Power — Patti Smith

Patti Smith just turned 73, but her song "People Have the Power" is timeless and still resonates just like it did when it was released in 1988. Inspired by the radical spirit of the 1960s, it has since been used in protests everywhere from Greece to Palestine.

Patti Smith - People Have The Power www.youtube.com


7. We Shall Overcome

This song is likely descended from a gospel hymn by Reverend Charles Albert Tindley, who wrote the original version in 1900. The first version of the song as it is today was sung by Lucille Simmons, who was leading a cigar worker's strike in 1945. It was popularized by artists like Pete Seeger and became a seminal song of the Civil Rights Movement when it was performed by Guy Carawan. Then it was used by folk singers like Joan Baez at rallies and concerts of the 1960s. The song's mutability and applicability to so many movements reveal more about what all these movements have in common than anything else—a desire for freedom, equality, and peace, and a faith in the people's ability to get there.

We Shall Overcome www.youtube.com

MUSIC

The Top 10 Most Influential Albums of the 2010s

These albums not only shaped the past decade: they'll determine what music will be in the coming one.

Music has never been extricable from culture, but in the 2010s, it became crystal clear that music has the ability to shatter norms and reshape the world.

Take a moment and think back to the albums that changed your life over the past decade. Most likely, they altered your worldview on a fundamental level, reshaping the way you saw yourself and your life. Some albums are capable of doing that on a massive scale, and that's what this list is intended to highlight: Albums that managed to shift the way people saw music, culture, and themselves, and that paved the way for what music might become.

10. Kendrick Lamar — To Pimp A Butterfly

Kendrick Lamar - Alright www.youtube.com

Poet and firebrand Kendrick Lamar creates music that's both timeless and entirely of its time. To Pimp A Butterfly was Kendrick at his most inspired and radioactive. It cut into the pain and rage and hope of an era and a community and a person, and collapsed time into a tangle of sound and memory that reviewers and listeners will be playing and attempting to understand for decades.

It made an indelible impact, becoming a juggernaut and an easy name-drop, but fortunately, To Pimp A Butterfly searingly addresses all the trappings of fame, shallow understanding, and commodification that follow it, retaining an indomitable inner life.

9. BTS — Map of the Soul: Persona

BTS (방탄소년단) MAP OF THE SOUL : PERSONA 'Persona' Comeback Trailer www.youtube.com

The 2010s were the era that K-pop entered the global theatre, and nobody dominated more than BTS. Their album Map of the Soul: Persona may not have been critically lauded, but it was legendary in the hearts and minds of their fans.

Map of the Soul: Persona was glittery boy-band pop, pristine and starry-eyed. Rolling Stone described it as "harmless" and "impregnable," but BTS fans are not harmless, and neither is K-pop, but what this band is is unavoidable, pervasive, and larger-than-life. To ignore the impact of BTS would be to miss a massive portion of the 2010s and to remain blind to what the 2020s will hold, which is a far more globalized music industry that, no matter what, will always, always have its beloved boy bands.

8. Carly Rae Jepsen — E•MO•TION

Carly Rae Jepsen - Run Away With Me www.youtube.com

Jepsen's seminal debut album gained her a cult of devoted fans and spread a wide-eyed sense of pop optimism across the 2010s. Just what about E•MO•TION was so singular, so moving, so unforgettable? As Jia Tolentino wrote, "Carly Rae Jepsen is a pop artist zeroed in on love's totipotency: the glance, the kaleidoscope-confetti-spinning instant, the first bit of nothing that contains it all." As one Twitter user insinuated, "Carly Rae Jepsen's E•MO•TION is for all the gays in a healthy relationship for the first time."

Electric Lit argued that with E•MO•TION, Jepsen ushered in a "queer renaissance," one that exists because her music occupies a familiar feeling: "the struggle to express a desire that isn't supposed to exist." From the raw ecstasy of "Run Away With Me" to the dreamy chaos of "LA Hallucinations," Jepsen's music is desperate to bridge the gap between the self and others, to leave behind loneliness, to cut straight to the feeling; and in that, it left an indelible impact for those who were there to experience its majesty.

7. Lana Del Rey — Born To Die

Lana Del Rey - Born To Die (Official Music Video) www.youtube.com

Lana Del Rey is, rightfully, credited with ushering in the wave of sad-girl pop that is still going strong, thanks to artists like Halsey, Billie Eilish, and of course, Del Rey herself. The artist formerly known as Lizzy Grant emerged onto the scene as a cyborgian, hyper-manufactured industry plant refracted through a vintage DIY filter, and now she's one of the voices of her generation, whispering platitudes on America and sex and sadness in the same breath.

Born To Die was Del Rey at her most manufactured, her most glittery, her must luxurious and opulent and depressed, and it's beautiful in its decay. Its kitschy Americana held no bars, and from its nihilistic title track to the sultry "Blue Jeans" to the weird glamour of "Off To the Races," it effectively spawned an entire generation of flower-crowned teens who are now sad Trump-hating adults.

6. Lady Gaga — Born This Way

Lady Gaga - Born This Way www.youtube.com

Lady Gaga might not have the clout she did at the beginning of the 2010s, but back in the day, Gaga was a wild card and game-changer, crushing norms, changing fashion, and standing up for the LGBTQ+ community. She was proudly weird and always daring, and she created a whole space for weird pop stars after her. She blended drag, burlesque, and shock-factor performance with genuinely catchy pop, and created a new blueprint for stardom in the process.

Born This Way was arguably her crown jewel, the point where she blossomed into the true freak she'd been waiting to become. It had the ecstatic "You and I" and "Edge of Glory." It marked an era where pop music became inextricable from its visual component and political implications—not that it ever really was.

5. Lizzo — Cuz I Love You

Lizzo - Truth Hurts (Official Video) www.youtube.com

Most likely, Lizzo will be even bigger in the 2020s; after all, she only just released her major label debut album. But Lizzo has already changed the game, creating space for a type of beauty and confidence that pop stars before her have only played at or insinuated. From her refusal to tolerate inadequate men to her willingness to rock thongs at baseball games and her decision to pay tribute to the great women who paved the way for her, at this point, Lizzo might be our best hope for the future.

Cuz I Love You synthesized the hits Lizzo had been building up for years, twining them into a euphoric testament to self-love in spite of a world that teaches you to hate yourself. From the celebratory "Good As Hell" to the buoyant mic-drop that is "Truth Hurts," the album is a gift to us all.

4. Lil Nas X — 7 (EP)

Lil Nas X - Old Town Road (Official Movie) ft. Billy Ray Cyrus www.youtube.com

Lil Nas X's fantastic "Old Town Road" was the perfect conflagration of factors that hit at exactly the right time. It was also supremely, unbelievably catchy. Using memes, blurring genres, buying beats off SoundCloud, coming out on Twitter and being open about how he made "Old Town Road" while sleeping on his sister's couch, Lil Nas caught us all in our heartstrings and created a blueprint for music's undeniably post-genre and multimedia future.

X's EP, "7," wasn't a high-quality work so much as it was a cultural flashpoint, an inspiration that no doubt has marketing executives scrambling to replicate it.

3. Billie Eilish — when we all fall asleep, where do we go?

Billie Eilish - bad guy www.youtube.com

Billie Eilish is changing the game in terms of what pop music can sound like and how pop stars should act. Any producer who attempts to drag pop songs into clear-cut and old-fashioned forms involving high notes and beat drops will find themselves challenged by the innovative, glitchy, challenging tunes that Eilish creates with her brother in their childhood home. Her refusal to fit into gender norms and her insistence on standing up for things like climate make her emblematic of what a future of Gen-Z stars might look like.

when we all fall asleep, where do we go? is a peculiar album. A lot of its songs don't even try for radio play, and some are so sad they can take your breath away. Some are barely whispers, like the moody "when the party's over," while others are cracked and angry and challenging, like the smash hit "bad guy," but all of it's undeniably unforgettable and boundary-breaking.

2. Kanye West — My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

Kanye West - Runaway (Full-length Film) www.youtube.com

Provocative, raw, and almost bloody with emotion, Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy continues to reverberate nearly 10 years after it was released. West's album is full of unexpected dips into guitar solos and alien sounds that draw it into new dimensions; it's peppered with cheesy lines, dirty jokes, and shockingly confessional lyrics; and no matter how far West has gone into Christianity, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is an enduring ode to the devils we all know.

Its best songs, "All Of the Lights," "Devil In A New Dress" and "Runaway," explore what West has always been working through—the ragged edge where sin meets faith, and where success meets corruption. MBDTF sinks its teeth into the rough, infected parts of the world and creates something great out of them. Though we might not see West exploring this territory again, his work sparked an entire generation of artists looking to dive into the world he created.

1. Beyoncé — Lemonade

Beyoncé - Formation www.youtube.com

Beyoncé's brilliant Lemonade has yet to be surpassed, even as other artists try to mirror her surprise video-drop format. Lemonade mixed poetry, visuals, and beautiful, kaleidoscopic music to form a treatise on freedom, love, black women's power, and of course, Jay-Z. It made an indelible impact on all the music that came after it, setting the standard for what a truly creative release could look and sound like.

From the harmony-laden "Pray You Catch Me" to the gritty Jack White duet "Don't Hurt Yourself" to the triumphant, anthemic "Freedom," Lemonade changed everything. We can only hope we'll see more like it in the 2020s.