ABBA Sets Off on a Voyage: An Album Review

Andy Mockbee

Contributing Writer

 

Not all comebacks are created equal. I am cheering on go-go boots and corduroy as they rise from the ashes of irrelevancy, but why must clogs and capris also cram their way through the door while it’s open? Of course, no comeback in recent memory has been quite as heavily anticipated as that of Swedish pop group, ABBA. This is, of course, in no small part due to the 40 years since the group’s last record.

But this extensive drought between releases led most to presume the worst from the group’s ninth studio album, “Voyage.” The album stood as one of those few projects that garnered both sky-high anticipation and little to no pressure. Astoundingly, the group’s talent has remained sharp, as they produced a solid record that is both a tasteful embrace of their history as well as a powerful statement of their sound’s potency in the present pop landscape.

“Just A Notion” feels closest to a classic ABBA track — and for good reason. The track was originally written and intended for the group’s 1979 album, “Voulez-Vous.” The track features a fresh instrumental layered over the original recording’s vocals. If this sounds like a recipe for a jarring listening experience, you’d be right; but, thankfully, ABBA’s new material featured on the album is strong enough to stand beside it. “I’m not the same this time around!” Agnetha Fältskog remarks on the standout track, “Don’t Shut Me Down.” Although the performance is more sedate than it might’ve been were it recorded back in their prime (we’ll take her at her word when she insists “I’m fired up”), it still remarkably matches “Just A Notion” in pure quality. The penultimate tracks, “Keep An Eye On Dan” and “No Doubt About It” have them both beat in their unique instrumental and catchy songwriting. The former track stands out with intriguing and unique lyrics that describe the relationship between divorced parents, while the latter sets itself apart with raw energy.

But the album is not all fun and games; “Voyage” is well-balanced with competent balladry. “I Can Be That Woman” contains some of ABBA’s strongest lyrical material to date. The heart-wrenching song documents a relationship surviving and recovering from a rocky period of addiction and strife. “Oh God, I’m sorry for the wasted years,” she sings, voice laced with grief and hope. What makes the song so powerful is the insular specificity of it. “And the dog, bless her heart, licks my fingers / But she jerks every time you swear,” she recalls in one of the album’s strongest moments.

While surprisingly powerful, “Voyage” is not perfect. “When You Danced With Me” sees the group tackle a fusion between pop and an Irish jig. It’s fun and endearing, but not the easiest on the ears — especially as their vocals get swallowed beneath the chaotic instrumental. “Little Things,” a Christmas ballad, is particularly abrupt in the album as the group cedes the last half-minute to a children’s choir. Early in the tracklist, these tracks may seem like cause for concern, but fortunately, they’re outliers.

The album’s greatest track is actually the first: “I Still Have Faith In You.” The group travels the galaxy in its five minute runtime. The orchestral composition builds from a low murmur in the verses, Fältskog’s entrancing voice as soft as it is powerful. As the extravagant instrumental bursts into life, she seems to provide a response to all the low expectations the album was preceded with: “We do have it in us!” After 40 years, it’s incredible that they really do.

Sleeping? How Do You Do It? Is it Important?

Emilie Eustace

Features Editor

 

On Friday Nov. 12, the Scot Wellness Peer Health Educators provided a safe and comfortable environment for students on campus to learn about the importance and impact of sleep through the program Sleep 101. Here, students had the opportunity to identify the importance of sleep, connect sleep to academic performance, learn how sleeping and waking habits lead to unrestful sleep and create a sleep plan that will allow them to have better quality sleep. 

During the program, students also had the opportunity to self-reflect and analyze the activities they participate in and the substances they consume that may lead to unrestful sleep and negatively impact their overall wellbeing. When looking at caffeine, one of the most addictive substances, it was obvious to many students that their caffeine intake was destructive to their sleep. Melatonin, a substance produced by the body as it gets darker outside, was another substance highlighted in the program. Students learned that although melatonin is a natural chemical,it can have a negative effect on one’s sleep when consumed as a supplement. At the end of the program, students had the opportunity to create their own sleep kit containing drawing sheets, coloring pages, small journals, writing prompts and eye masks. Most importantly, the sleep kit included a worksheet that addressed some common and recognizable factors that may be causing sleep disruptions and provided tips that may help students fall asleep. 

EB Fluharty ’24 led the discussion and event in Sleep 101. When reflecting back on the event and why it was important to her, she said, “I enjoy getting the chance to talk about sleep and sleep hygiene with peers because it continues to give me a new reflection of myself and my habits. Being able to have a conversation with others and inform them of things they can do to improve their sleep hygiene and wellbeing gives me my own reflection of what I need to continue doing in order to improve my own sleep hygiene.”

If you could not make it to Sleep 101, do not panic! Fluharty shared a few sleep facts and tips that will allow you to have more restful and beneficial sleep. First, think of sleeping the same way you think of eating. Without food, your body goes into survival mode where it can only think about the food it needs to survive. Likewise, without sleep, all your body thinks about is how tired it is and how badly it needs to rest. Next, remember that the lack of a normal night’s sleep will lead to uncontrollable microsleeps. This is where your body “zones out” during class lectures or forgets where you are when you’re driving. Microsleeps have a large negative impact on both physical and mental function, so should be avoided by allowing yourself to get adequate sleep at night. 

It was also noted that 80% of people who take prescription sleep medications experienced negative effects including oversleeping, feeling groggy and having trouble concentrating. While they may help you fall asleep, the chemicals can stay in your body for longer than you may need, having a prolonged effect on the body. Continuous use of these prescriptions can cause a chemical imbalance in the brain and create a tolerance, making it harder to sleep without them. 

Insufficient sleep can also cause you to develop long-term mood disorders. While it is normal for someone to be in a “bad” mood after not getting enough sleep, continuous amounts of insufficient sleep can cause more serious mood changes such as anxiety, depression or mental distress. Getting an adequate amount of sleep each night also protects your immune system by allowing your body to have a chance to regain energy and heal itself. Without giving your body enough time to heal and rest, your immune system becomes weaker, making you more susceptible to illnesses. 

Fluharty leaves you with an important reminder about sleep: “Always remember, if you have found yourself in bed and cannot fall asleep within about 30 minutes, your body is most likely not ready to sleep. The first thing you should do is get out of bed. Your mind connects emotions and experiences with objects. If you are lying in bed worrying about the sleep you are not getting, over a period of time with this continued behavior your mind will begin to associate feelings of worry and anxiety with your bed, making it hard to fall asleep in the long run.” 

Sleep is a complicated topic affected by many different habits and variables; however, when you think about how important sleep truly is, you will find that it is crucial to take the time to stop and fix mistakes that may be limiting your rest. Fluharty ends with the comment, “Being college students, it is very easy to get into the ‘sleep when you’re dead’ attitude when trying to maintain a social schedule while also trying to maintain academics and other extracurriculars such as clubs, jobs or sports. This program allowed me to help inform people of the purpose of sleep, how it affects all of the social, academic and physical aspects of someone’s days and why sleep should be valued.”

Another Sleep 101 session will be held Dec. 3. Sign-ups for the event will be sent out via email. 

Fourth Annual MiSTEM Overcoming Failure Dinner

Blakely Dishman

Features Editor

Camille Diekhans

Contributing Writer

 

This past Friday, Nov. 12, Minorities in STEM, otherwise known as MiSTEM, held their annual Overcoming Failure Dinner, colloquially known as the Failure Dinner. MiSTEM is a student-run organization that strives to promote involvement of underrepresented students in STEM. One of the main goals of MiSTEM is to bridge the gap between students and faculty. In bridging this gap, the College would aid students in reaching their full potential, whether they are STEM majors or only taking introductory courses. As Natalie Belle ’23, secretary of MiSTEM put it, “Our goal was to create a space where we can facilitate a healthy conversation with students and faculty about failure and how we overcome it. We wanted to emphasize that everybody has moments in their lives – personal, professional, and academic – where they fail, and that those moments contribute to who we are.” When asked about her thoughts on the MiSTEM failure dinner, Melita Wiles ’22 a physics and mathematics double major, said that “the overcoming failure dinner held by MiSTEM has been one of the most relatable and inclusive events on campus, this and every year that I have been at Wooster.”

The annual MiSTEM Failure Dinner aims to bring students and faculty together in a conversation about the stigmatized topic of failure. During this event, speakers have the opportunity to share stories of their failures and start an open dialogue about how these failures have contributed to their successes. Past speakers have included President Sarah Bolton, faculty from the Center for Diversity and Inclusion and executive board members of MiSTEM. Wiles said that “President Bolton started off by describing her own personal story on failure as an undergraduate woman in physics. This made me emotional right from the beginning because I am an undergraduate woman in physics, and the degree is not always smooth sailing.” Students also had the opportunity to discuss their experiences with failure in the field. Wiles talked about her friend and classmate, Raisa Raofa ’23, saying that she “spoke about the importance of a good community within your discipline.” Oftentimes, failure is highly stigmatized and looked down upon in academia, especially in STEM. This perception has a strong impact on minorities in the STEM field, due to the other undue pressures that are already put upon them. The event is viewed as a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the failures that are so often viewed as undesirable and inadequate. 

MiSTEM is involved in a variety of ways on campus, all in an effort to positively impact students’ experiences and knowledge. As well as hosting the Overcoming Failure Dinner, MiSTEM also hosts movie nights, workshops and biweekly general meetings. Follow their instagram @cow_mistem to stay updated on their upcoming events!

 

Scotlight: David Newberry-Yokely

Blakely Dishman

Features Editor

 

Can you introduce yourself?

I am David Newberry-Yokely. I work in the Admissions Office as the Director of Recruitment and Diversity Outreach. I am a Wooster grad; class of 2000.I grew up in Maple Heights, Ohio and have lived in Wooster off and on since I graduated. 

Can you describe your job?

Generally speaking it is recruiting the next class. Central Ohio and the state of Tennessee are my recruitment territories. I work with Jess Nickerson on virtual events. I work with April in our office. She works with Senior Interns and I kind of oversee that with her. I also work  multicultural recruitment with Alex, who is new in the office. Those are the special things I do in the office. It is a lot, but I always try to shout out the people I work with because they do great work. 

What is something you want to improve upon? Whether it be at work or at home? 

Professionally, I am always working on time management. At some points in my life it was a huge challenge for me, now it is not such a huge challenge for me. But, the better I continue to get about managing my time, the more I can get done within a short amount of time and the more time I can have with my friends and family. I am always just conscious of picking up new time management skills. Personally, I am always working on consistency. It is the one thing we can do, right? Can I be who I am no matter where I am? And not changing or being different in certain situations because it is not comfortable to be who I am. So representing the best David Yokely possible and being consistent about that. 

Do you have a personal motto?

At home, my kids hate it, as it is “if you’re gonna be dumb, you gotta be tough.” If you’re gonna make bad choices you gotta deal with the consequences. They don’t love hearing that. In general I do not love the saying “work smart not hard.” I don’t love it as a whole, because [for me] it is not about not working hard, but it is about working smart. We [in admissions] were used to in-person work, that was pretty much all we did and we were super busy with it. Then you introduce about a year and a half of virtual work that kept us busy as well. Now, we are back doing virtual and in-person work. So, it is not about not working so we can be productive because we are doing more than we’ve ever done. That is something that I’ve been trying to keep in mind as of late. 

What do you like to do in your free time? 

I think of late it just feels like relaxing because it has been long days, and late nights as well. In general, hanging out with family is always number one. I love to cook.  I like to be creative in general. During the pandemic there was a time where I was doing a lot of sewing—I was doing wallets and masks at one point. So being creative in general, most of that comes out through cooking. Learn to cook! 

Do you have a favorite object or possession? 

It is a cast iron skillet. I feel like I can do anything with it. If I had to grab a bunch of stuff (other than my family) when I was leaving the house that would be really helpful, I would grab my cast iron skillet. I have three cast iron skillets. My daughter yesterday was like “which cast iron skillet would you take?” I think I would take the cast iron skillet that was Laura’s (David’s wife) grandmother’s. It is mine now because she threw it in the trash. She didn’t realize the worth of a cast iron skillet, they last forever, people have cast iron skillets that have been passed down for generations. 

Do you have any pets? 

Technically. I have two dogs, Vincent and Emma. I say technically because when I graduated from college I got a dog named Jules. Even though Jules is no longer with us, I consider Jules to be my dog and so the other dogs are just…around. But yes, I have two dogs, Vincent is around 13 years old and Emma was actually a pandemic dog. A person that worked with my wife passed away and he had this dog. We had been talking about getting a dog so Emma came into our lives. She is super cute, she is a beagle and a bulldog. So from the neck up she looks like a beagle and the neck down she looks like a bulldog. We are growing to love each other.

What is your favorite part of your job?

I like meeting cool people., just generally speaking. Like w When I sit down and interview a person and I leave the conversation like “wow that is a great young person.” I like helping people find the best place for them, even if sometimes it is not Wooster. I like working with 17-18 year-olds, it keeps all of us in admissions young. Admissions is a strange sort of sale. For me it is being able to sell something that you really believe in and a place that you really believe in. When you’re at a place where you believe in it yourself and what it can do for students, it’s fun to be able to try to find those right fits, because there are also people who are just not great fits. I think the difference between admissions and sales is [in sales] you’re always about selling and sometimes I’m like “yeah but this is not the right environment for that person” and I don’t think we feel compelled to say “no, you really do want this.” It is just finding those students that will be the best fit for the College of Wooster or who are looking for places like the College of Wooster and then highlighting what the College can provide for students. 

Is there anything you want to plug? Any wisdom you want to give to the people?

I would plug working with the Admissions Office. Only because it works best when people can talk to students, staff and faculty about their experiences on campus. So when you’re a tour guide—and we are hiring new tour guides soon and will be looking for new senior interns as well too—we are always looking for people to be on programs. We are starting to overnight host again and we could desperately use overnight hosts. We are always trying to keep this place thriving with great students and it is easier to do that when we have the support of students. I think prospective students really appreciate those conversations. They would much rather talk to you than to me. 

What does Woo Memorial Mean to Woo?

Geoffrey Allen

Viewpoints Editor

 

As an outdoor enthusiast, I always get an itch to find a new spot to explore or pass that just might spice up my day. It is in part why I run around the city of Wooster almost every day. However, sometimes a slow stroll also fulfills my itch to be connected with the outdoors. Perhaps the Oak Grove, L.C. Boles Golf Course or Christmas Run Park may come to mind for such locations. However, nothing comes quite close in comparison to the vast scale and space for recreational venturing than the Wooster Memorial Park — a park that is ironically barely in Wooster! Hence, this park is lesser known amongst Wooster discourse unless you happen to know the right people, are an environmental STEM-related major, want to smoke a blunt, are a part of the WOODS outdoors club (which seems to be the only official organization that mentions it) or do acid. And that’s a lot of people considering we all go to school at a liberal arts college with a lot of things to do and little time! That said, this underappreciation is a shame because it has come to be one of my favorite places to visit outside of campus. Unlike Oberlin College or the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC), we here at the College, lack an arboretum or decently sized park to accommodate such needs. And I believe that the College should take better action to address these lack of accommodations with the land and resources we have at Wooster. There’s more to this urgency for green space beyond using the right tree shading to take a decent instagram picture.

I was reminded of what made Wooster Memorial so important last Friday when my cross country season ended and I was left without a daily activity to do. That was, at least until I was reminded by one of my teammates how cool it would be to revisit Wooster Memorial and take the first-years and sophomores to a place they probably never knew existed, yet is only a 10 minute drive away from Beall Avenue. The park, formerly known as Spangler, has existed since 1963, which was largely donated by the former namesake local resident and teacher Paul S. Spangler to the city of Wooster, allowing this public land to become the recreational park we know (or just learned about) today. The donated land, which I have come to learn over the years is a very complicated thing in the outdoor conservation world, has expanded in the past couple decades since its establishment. Now it is maintained by the “Friends of Wooster Memorial Park” for residents of the city, curious college students like us and just nature lovers in general. 

So thanks to all of this history, you and I have this wonderful opportunity to venture to the 400+ acres of wooded ravines and creeks in the College’s ‘backyard’. It is truly a beautiful place to day hike alone, with friends or that significant other you were trying to get to know better. I know for some people it is what I see in my activity of running as– an escape from the troubles and stress of our current lives. And it really works to help too. Perhaps you may have heard of the term forest bathing 森林浴, which is a Japanese therapeutic practice involving simply being present in a forest of any kind feeling and embracing the senses a person experiences in that particular place. Wooster Memorial offers that physical mental health resource. 

Yet, why is this not more promoted by the College especially when there is a lack of open green space on campus? Not everyone can get transportation, but maybe offering college shuttles might be too out of the way for the College. Perhaps one can argue that the golf course offers this, however, it is not always the most public place to venture since it is always occupied by golfers, creating more of a sense of fear that you might get hit by a ball rather than enjoy the open green field. It also lacks the foliage that provides the necessary activities of forest bathing. However, this does not in any way mean golfers are a problem. If anything, the solution lies behind them. In addition to the College’s ownership of the L.C. Boles Golf Course, the College also owns acres of woods that are only used for nothing more than a biology IS project or two. But what if there was a set of nature-friendly trails in that part of campus that were accessible to anyone? I’ve heard from some students, as well as long-term faculty that such an idea has been discussed in the past and could be a very progressive move that all students could get behind. Yes, such a plan would be nothing short of ambitious, yet with support of the community such as the Friends of Wooster Memorial Park, the College’s WOODS and Environmental Justice Coalitions we could come together to make something beautiful and, most importantly, green. 

As the teacher, Spangler, gave back to his community, we the College could give back to our students, faculty and greater community as well.

Ode to Corn Nuggets

Kayla Bertholf

S&E Editor

 

Corn is in everything. It is the backbone of America and seemingly the backbone of my diet at Lowry. Corn-derived ingredients are not only in gasoline, the basis of some alcohols, in chewing gum and popcorn, but are also used as a staple of the vegetarian station. I live for the days when I wake up and Google “College of Wooster dining menu” and find mention of corn nuggets under the Lowry tab. These battered and fried portions of corn have a way of eliciting joy in my life that not many other Lowry foods can match. The sweet yet savory goodness of corn nuggets warms my soul from the first bite. 

Perhaps I am biased as a native Ohioan, growing up surrounded by corn fields and going as far as writing an essay about the prevalence of corn in America in high school English class, but there seems to be a divide between those who love corn nuggets and those who despise them. Perhaps others prefer cornbread or are made uneasy by the battered corn goodness pretending to be a nugget. Everyone seems to have a side—no one is neutral on whether corn nuggets are the best or worst food at Low. I have gotten into many debates over the deliciousness corn nuggets bring to the table and will hold strong to my values. 

Why does my opinion on corn nuggets matter? As human beings, we can always find something to dislike about what we are given, be it something as inconsequential as corn nuggets or something as consequential as corn’s position in society. We hold strong to our opinions and resist change, myself included. It is something we all can work on. We can have differing opinions over something as mundane as corn nuggets and remain civil. We cannot do this for larger societal issues that affect the lives of our friends and family. Further, we think our negative words about corn nuggets or the daily chicken dish do not affect anyone, until the underpaid workers that spent the last few hours making them overhear. We have the right to complain about things that do not sit right with us as this is what leads to change. However, we should keep in mind the intended audience and whether or not it is something they can fix. The main sentiment that I like to think of on corn nugget day is to be grateful for what you have, make the best of what you are given, and appreciate those who work hard so that you do not have to make your own corn nuggets (trust me on this, homemade corn nuggets are not the move).  

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