Weekly Digest #85
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In this digest-
1. Cover Story- The Games China played - The 2022 Winter Olympics decoded
2. Album Review: Familia By Camila Cabello
3. Happiness Quotient From Around The World
4. Did You Know?
5. Entertainment Quotient
The Games China played - The 2022 Winter Olympics decoded
By: Abhimanyu Rao
You must have heard about the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, and the truth is, if you’ve heard about them, you’ve probably also heard of the controversy surrounding this mammoth sporting event. There has been a whole lot of debate surrounding the event, and I am here today to summarise and explain all of it, because trust me, there’s a whole lot of it!
The Beijing Winter Olympics 2022 were held from 4th February 2022, to the 20th of February 2022. This was China’s second time hosting the Olympic Games, after hosting the Summer Olympics in 2008. Many of the games were held in its famous Bird’s Nest stadium which is known for its (obviously) bird’s nest-like shape.
During the 2022 Winter Olympics, it wasn’t sports, but politics that took centre stage. There were boycotts, protests, statements, and HEADLINES MADE!! Read all about it here.
There were several controversial incidents surrounding the Winter Olympics. Firstly, there was the incident involving Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai, who claimed to have been assaulted by a high ranking government official. Soon after she made the claim, she disappeared. Her disappearance made headlines worldwide, and several governments demanded to see proof of her well being.
Unfortunately, all they got was a sketchy video, and a lot of mumbo jumbo from the Chinese government! The governments of the world were up in arms about this incident.
Secondly, the Uyghur Muslims in China have been dreadfully mistreated by the Chinese government. They have been rounded up, removed from their homes, and just horribly treated.
For years, the governments of the world, along with humanitarian organisations of the world, were against China hosting the olympics. In fact, as early as 2008, Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked erstwhile president George Bush to boycott the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics due to the Chinese government's treatment of Uyghur Muslims, which really goes to show you how long this awful issue has been going on for!
Lastly, China’s attack on free speech has been another one of the biggest concerns with the Olympics. China actually warned athletes not to say anything that went against the country’s laws about speech, which, as we know, are quite stringent! This was a shocking turn of events, since several athletes were planning on using the Olympics as a platform to fight against a lot of injustice.
The scary part about this story is that athletes were told to carry burner phones so that they could evade any surveillance on all of their phones. It is a well known fact that China isn’t very pro-privacy, but that just made the decision of hosting the games there even more baffling.
Most governments felt that this move was a bona fide threat to the safety of their athletes. China was controversial in 2008, but now, it's THE controversy that people see every day! Hosting an Olympic game there was essentially like voluntarily walking into a fire for kicks!
The Olympic games’ opening ceremony was diplomatically boycotted by several countries, including the US, the UK, India, Denmark, Belgium, and many others. This meant that diplomats from those countries wouldn’t attend the event, but athletes would still attend the event.
This was an interesting course of action, to say the least, and it made headlines worldwide! The only issue with this was very simple.
How many people keep tabs on the number of diplomats that attend the opening ceremony of the Olympics? Most people wouldn’t really have noticed that anything happened at the Olympics, unless they read the news, because missing diplomats wouldn’t have made a splash.
What needed to be done was a boycott of the Olympic Games by athletes, which would have really destroyed the games. I mean, having an Olympic Games without athletes is the same as having a parliament session without the members of Parliament - it just. Can’t. Happen!
There were, unfortunately, several issues with that plan. Firstly, the Olympic games are the international standard of sporting events in the world. Boycotting them is basically renouncing your position in international sports! Countries felt that they had to maintain their placement in international sports, so stopping their athletes from participating in the Olympics didn’t seem like the right idea.
Secondly, the Olympics are a literal once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for several athletes. This is their chance to break into the sporting scene. This isn’t only about fame, or becoming a household name, but a major supporter of their livelihood. The power that an athlete carries after bringing pride to their country by winning an Olympic medal is unparalleled!
Not only will they be honoured by their country, but they will get several brand endorsement offers from leading brands across their country! This will give them the income they need to provide for themselves, and for their families.
By boycotting the Olympics, the countries were harming themselves, and their athletes, so they decided against it.
However, there is a second side to this coin. If countries boycotted the Olympics entirely, their power would decrease, and their name would mean much less than it does today.
Furthermore, instead of travelling to Beijing and spending money on flights, countries could have used that money to pay their athletes as compensation of the money they lost by boycotting the games. This could be a temporary solution that would make much more of a statement than the infamous diplomatic boycott.
The Beijing Winter Olympics were an eventful set of sporting events; however, calling them purely sporting events would be a bit of a stretch. They were mixed with some politics, arguments, and strained international relations that sort of made the water murky. Unfortunately, the world failed to make the impact they intended to, which was a problem for their attempts.
However, we must look at the bright side, and realise that we are moving towards a world where China is held responsible for its blatantly inhumane actions, which bodes well for the rest of the world, and mainly for communities like the Uyghurs, who have been marginalised by the Chinese for years!
Album Review: Familia By Camila Cabello
By: Abhimanyu Rao
"A Fresh, Mature sound, inhibited by some weaker tracks"
Album Cover for Familia (Photo Credit- officialcharts.com )
On the 23rd of July 2021, Camila Cabello released her song ‘Don’t Go Yet’, and announced that it was part of her upcoming third studio album, ‘Familia’. Now, almost 9 months since that announcement, the ‘Havana’ hitmaker’s heavily anticipated project is finally here! It feels like an eternity has passed since ‘Don’t Go Yet’, but was the album worth the wait?
1.Familia- The album opener isn’t very long. At 17 seconds, it is merely an introduction to the story Camila has tried to weave with this album. With only a trumpet, there isn’t much going on in this track, but it perfectly sets the mood for the rest of the album.
However, the best part about this track. The best part is how this track effortlessly transitions into the next song, ‘Celia’, with you not even realising where the songs changed!(8/10)
2.Celia- The second song on the album is an upbeat dance song that is perfect for the atmosphere this album is supposed to create! The song is entirely in Spanish, so I am most certainly not the most reliable translator 🤣.
However, from what I managed to understand, it seems to be about her former boyfriend, fellow global superstar Shawn Mendes! This song has a very romantic feel to it, however, it manages to stay upbeat, peppy, and fun at the same time! The latin influence in the songs is also very evident, and if nothing else, it really shows you that music is a universal language!(8/10)
3.Psychofreak (feat. WILLOW)- A highlight of the album, psychofreak is a song where Camila, along with her collaborator WILLOW, airs her insecurities, and talks about her life. The song starts off with some haunting vocalising from WILLOW, followed by Camila singing, “Feeling like a psychofreak-freak-freak”. Through the song, Camila addresses some of the more tumultuous parts of her life, like her exit from Fifth Harmony.
Through the chorus, she talks about how she is afraid of her ‘fairytale falling apart’, and later apologises for getting too dark. Meanwhile, the pre chorus has WILLOW belting out the fact that she’s “Not like anyone”. All together, this song is phenomenal, both lyric-wise, and music-wise, and it’s a grower, growing on me everytime I hear it, which is why it was the perfect choice for the album’s third single!(9/10)
4.Bam Bam (feat. Ed Sheeran)-
Camila and Ed’s second collaboration(the first being ‘South of the Border’), Bam Bam is an ode to accepting change, and moving on with your life. The second single from the album was released after her split from Shawn Mendes after two years together. The song is very obviously about their breakup, with lyrics like ‘Said you hated the ocean but you’re surfing now’ directly referencing pictures from his social media.
This song talks about her healing process, but it isn’t sombre at all! It may not be the most upbeat song on this album, but it is definitely a fun song. Ed Sheeran adds a fun layer to the song, just cementing it as one of Famila’s strongest songs!(8.5/10)
5.La Buena Vida- This track is a mariachi song, talking about Camila’s experience being away from her partner, who seems to be “working all the time”, while she’s “home alone with his glass of wine.” As she screams “This is what I go through”, you can hear both the anger, and the anguish in her voice.
This song is a good song, and is definitely a great listen, however, when you compare it to some of the other tracks on the album, it isn’t as great. I am not denying that it’s a good song, because it is, however, it isn’t the best one on the album.(7.5/10)
6. Quiet- Quiet is basically Familia’s version of her hit single ‘Never Be The Same’. The song talks about a whole lot of things, from her anticipating being reunited with the man she loves, to her insecurities and mental state, this song is infectiously catchy.
Echoing some sentiments from some of her previous songs (The comments about hair length are repeated from her song All These Years from her self-titled album.). The chorus of this song will get stuck in your head, but the instrumentation in the bridge is also great. This song is called quiet, and while it isn’t a loud song, it definitely is a banger! (8/10)
7. Boys Don’t Cry- This song addresses Toxic Masculinity, and is the most R&B influenced song on the album. This talks about Camila supporting her partner, and being his shoulder to cry on. Since Shawn Mendes has been very vocal about breaking down toxic masculine stereotypes, and this album seems to be about their relationship, it makes sense that this song is about him too.
This song’s style is something that is very unique, and that I've never heard before. The second verse is the most interesting part about this song, but overall, the songwriting here is probably what makes it such a highlight!(9/10)
8. Hasta los Dientes (feat. Maria Becerra)-
This is the second Spanish-only song on the album, featuring Grammy nominated Argentine singer Maria Becerra. This song’s lyrics are again, not something I can be the authority on, but my research has told me that Camila talks about going crazy after seeing someone with their former partner.
Now this could either be(taking the context of the rest of the album’s songs), about how shocked she is about Shawn Mendes bouncing back after their split, or possibly the reason for the split. Either way, I’m sure the internet will dissect it and go crazy with theories about its true meaning. Musically, the song is a dance club banger. It has some heavy drums and dancey production that make it one of the albums more upbeat moments!(8/10)
9. No Doubt- This song is definitely the weakest on the album, but that doesn’t make it a bad song! The song talks about Camila’s paranoia about her relationship, and seemingly picks up some elements from the previous song as well! The second verse seems very incriminating towards whomever it is that she’s talking about.
The song feels like it’s trying to be too many things at once, and the chorus is too weak to carry the song. However, I'm sure that this song will just help the internet make wilder theories about Shawn and Camila’s breakup!(6.5/10)
10. Don’t Go Yet- The first taste of Familia, that we got way back last July this euphoric track is basically an ode to her love. Much like Quiet, this track begins with her anticipation of someone’s arrival, while that person seems to be in a rush to leave. Camila asks him to stay, along with an entire group of people singing “Oh yeah, don’t go yet!”.
This is a very sweet song, and immediately brings in some connections, like La Buena Vida, where she talks about a long distance relationship. Could this be the same person, who has come for a short while, before he’ll leave again?(8.5/10)
11. Lola (feat. Yotuel)- Lola is a slow song about a girl Camila once knew, the smartest child in her school. This song talks about the hardships that Lola faced, due to her family's poverty. This is presumably about someone from Havana, or Mexico City, the two places where Camila grew up before moving to Mexico City. She sings about how nobody where she’s from “breaks the ceiling”, referencing the glass ceiling.
This is probably a testament to the expectations Camila defied. The chorus sounds like it was something straight out of The Weeknd’s songbook, but unfortunately, the song doesn’t manage to pull its weight, which makes it the lowest on the album. One redeeming factor is probably the writing, which is a very interesting and eye-opening story.(6.5/10)
12. Everyone at this party- The album closer is an acoustic ballad, which quite obviously talks about her relationship with Shawn Mendes. This is a very sombre song, but the repeated “everyone at this party isn’t you” will really get stuck inside your head.
This song is obviously very sad, and this soft singing is perfect for that. This song, once again, gives us a peek inside Camila’s psyche, and is probably one of her rawest songs ever. (8/10)
In conclusion, this album is a great piece of work, inhibited by some slightly weaker tracks, and a miniscule length. The album could have easily fit a few more tracks, and could do without ‘No Doubt’ and ‘Lola’. However, this album displays a more mature sound that was absent from her previous album, and really propels this record to a new level!
By: Agastya Rao
By: Mihir Rao
Entertainment quotient for the week:
The Last Bus
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