Thursday, November 19, 2009

I had no time to rebuild my film blog so... tumpang tumpang.

Like a Kid in a Candy Store

Before I say anything...

Yes, I did buy 3 CDs today... must have left a hole in the wallet eh?

hold on..... ZOOM IN ON SECTOR 7G!


Yes ladies and gents I kid you not, I bought 3 CDs for RM29.70.
Well these weren't exactly CDs I was dying to get my hands on, but I was curious as to how I came across them in that sea of unwanted CDs in the relatively tiny Music Valley store in Ampang. I, like many did love Good Charlotte's Chronicles of Life and Death when it hit the shelves a few years back, and A.A.F and Jem have always stood out as curiosities, having only heard a pinch of their songs. They were artists they to me, I hadn't heard enough of to hate or love... So, why not? At bout 10 bucks a piece, its cheaper than trying to buy only the familiar bits off iTunes.

I'm not here of course to dish out extensive reviews these albums, but I would tell you what I think of these supposed "last resort" albums after listening to them on the way home.

I won't say much about Good Charlotte's Good Morning Revival, since its one of the more "familiar" album to most, and of course the more familiar band. Its hard to compare this album, and the previous Chronicles of Life and Death release to their second album The Young And The Hopeless because they look valued at 9.90 just by placing it along side it's monolithic predecessor. It has to be said that the music arrangements are worthy of some applause, and that the album held its own against it's big brother with the high energy vibes held within some tracks, but the same can't be said for the lyrics which lack the depth young troubled teens resonated with when they were "Young and Hopeless". Nevertheless, still 'Good' Charlotte, just not at their best.

Alien Ant Farm as most would recall hit us hard when they decided to cover Michael Jackson's Smooth Criminal back in 2001. ANThology overall fits in well with the post-90's music of the time, worthy of being placed alongside the likes of P.O.D and Sum 41; in fact it comes a cross as an interesting blend of both. The hard driving hi-hat riddled backbeats and "stereotypically 90's+" guitar riffs we'd expect from just about any American band of the time are profound on this record, alot more in fact compared to other albums of it's time which does two things. For one, it cements this album on a huge pavement tiled with similar sounding bands. Secondly, and this goes to all bands hailing from this era, the "stock" "rock" beat the album thumps out on every track leaves one somewhat confused as to what to feel at times. Any trace of emotion in the lyrics is trumped by the pounding music before one could even start to contemplate. As the third line in their song "Summer" goes, the "feeling is dead ". On another note, these bands were never about deep thought so thats perhaps something that you shouldn't ponder upon too much when listening to the likes of A.A.F. So, if you are into that kind of gig, or if you were born anytime after 1987 and peaked in the "rebellious" phase bout the same time I did in the 2000's, this one is for you.

Jem goes without saying, I recall many of the lads in my class back in high school questioning why the music video for "They" was purposely slowed down when things got interesting visually... Aside from curiosity being hormone driven, I did come to like some of her other singles, like "Its Just A Ride" and "Wish I". So, upon finally listening to the album for what it was instead of scrapping at the bottom of Youtube's archives, I have to say that it was decent, not to the extent that I would have gone out and bought the album with more cash, oh no! Aside from the hand full of tracks I didn't mind having in my library, the rest was a tad mundane and repetitive to my taste. I'm not a really big fan of having music driven by soft R&B beats, and having lyrics repeated over and over to the extent that I'm convinced of having bought a Trance or Techno album, but thats just my opinion. Aside from the few curiosities, the album was by no means a "gem".

Oh, and on an unrelated note..... this ruined the cover...... grrrrrr

the second most annoying thing slapped on CDs aside from the "Special Malaysian Edition" sticker.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

MY FIRST REVIEW! The Resistance - Muse

Amongst the sea of revolutionary band wannabes out there, Muse has always appealed as one that stood out. The band's has evolved much since their Showbiz days to the point where they appeal as a stand-in rock Craig Armstrong ensemble with a backing orchestra to boot. After the huge back to back success with Absolution in 2003 and Black Holes and Revelations in 2006, it was no surprise that the announcement of The Resistance back in May had Muse fans well in tune with by-second updates respective sites churned out. Well enough with the hype and lets move on to this long overdue review shall we?

Muse is no stranger to genre mashing. The band always had a thing for innovating various genres and musical styles, utilizing R&B back beats, uplifting chorus lines and heavy riffs in their repertoire and it comes as no surprise that they have decided to try taking it a step further with The Resistance. However, this time it falls short of genre mashing and seems to slant more towards specific band-mashing. Stripping away the uniquely Muse aspects of the album would find you the stock tracks of other bands, namely Queen, Pink Floyd, Maroon 5, Franz Ferdinand, U2 and any present Hip hop artist (because they sound more or less the same). This could appeal as a fresh approach to Muse's sound to some, and a gun-to-foot for some who expected a 1-up Muse extravaganza (be patient). Thematically it does seem appropriate and rather smart that the band chose to accentuate the album's deep global content by throwing almost every possible genre together in one cultural utopia, contrary to the album title that is, but I'll leave the ideological bickering to those who lavish in taking songs and albums apart.

That being said, there were points in the album where I doubted Muse's ability to flood other styles with their own brand of music. The first half of Guiding Light was the point where I felt that the next words would be not from Matthew Bellamy, but from Lil Jon requesting that everyone report to the dancefloor.... oh and... "YEAH!". I appreciated the witty marriage of Queen and U2 bout 1.38 minutes into the track. In fact since then I had the tendency to start the track from there, preventing the thought of a Beyonce cover of the first half.

Take nothing away from the fact that though the presence of other musicians and band-specific style is present, Muse layers these musical facets with their own on a level which does them justice. You could say Muse did to Franz Ferdinand what Apple did to the Unix engine, took it, tweaked it, flipped it around and released something awkwardly native to both parties.

Though some may have mixed feelings regarding certain tracks in the otherwise thumping first half of the album, Muse certainly sets the record straight in the second half with the introduction of a film soundtrack-worthy three part composition taking up 12.51 minutes of the album time line. Armed with the band's respective instruments and a full backing string section, Exogenesis (parts 1,2 and 3) stands out at the most complex thing the band has ever attempted; a three-part entity of sheer quality imparting images of space, and a calling to a cause unspecified, doing the album title justice. The very classical-influenced piano sends the superficial into exile, leaving listeners to dwell in deep thought, engaging, possible doing as the album title suggests, to resist, to "hang in there" as they play your thoughts home, ideally going from overture to redemption. I would award merits to this album for the class and quality in the Exogenesis segments simply oozes. Though this effect is no cheap thrill, and perhaps will only engage those who are indeed spiritually inclined to music. Nevertheless an astounding feat.

On that note, The Resistance does have the potential to appeal as a Muse-epic as far as the band's literature goes. Like past Muse albums, the band successfully drives their message home, through Matthew Bellamy's distinct moans and undeniable skill with the 'axe', Christopher Wolstenholme's driving bass and Dominic Howard's wall of heavy beats. It has to be said that this album may be a tad bit heavy for everyday listening, and though some tracks do partially lack being uniquely Muse, all is made up for in the last 13 minutes of the album.

Track Listing
  1. "Uprising" – 5:02
  2. "Resistance" – 5:46
  3. "Undisclosed Desires" – 3:56
  4. "United States of Eurasia/Collateral Damage" – 5:47
  5. "Guiding Light" – 4:13
  6. "Unnatural Selection" – 6:54
  7. "MK Ultra" – 4:06
  8. "I Belong To You/Mon cœur s'ouvre à ta voix" – 5:38
  9. "Exogenesis: Symphony Part 1 (Overture)" – 4:18
  10. "Exogenesis: Symphony Part 2 (Cross-Pollination)" – 3:56
  11. "Exogenesis: Symphony Part 3 (Redemption)" – 4:37 - Total - 12:51



--> BUY IT and have it ripped in LOSSLESS and unleash it when you need an epiphany.

I'd also like to recommend:

H.A.A.R.P - Muse
--> If you're one trying to get your hands on Muse without stretching your wallet over a few albums, H.A.A.R.P has pretty much all they're best hits, from Hysteria to Knights of Cydonia and an unforgettable performance of Starlight and other singles that sound awesome live. For those who are yet to truly "experience" Muse and to rock fans who love their music raw, this one if for you!

Monday, November 9, 2009


And God said, let there be light: and his Planetary Mainframe crashed sighting that something a little more subtle would favor The Almighty's future creations. "ERROR!" The screen flashed, "you do realize what you're doing right?" said the computer with a smirk. How one gets a computer to smirk is anyone's guess, but it had a point; afterall the Lord had made a couple of mistakes predating his mandate for the creation of light.

For instance, creating his Planetary Mainframe and coffee brewer first before inventing electricity, figuring out wiring, voltage, and creating the paradox formula for electric acquisition (the exchange of coloured paper, printed and produced by electronic devices, powered by electric generators which are powered by the same exchange process, in exchange for electricity).

"lrdcmd/what/will/do/it/then/?" typed the Almighty's finger's into the console. The device seized and it's screen fizzled and would remain so for the next five days... unless God had invented the power button which explains why the Earth and other planets rotate and orbit the sun, instead of the original idea of shutting the sun off every 24 earth hours.

By the 6th day, after God had gone ahead with the creation of beasts, man, plants, carbon monoxide, mosquitoes and other creations he created without the mainframe's council, God said: "Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the...." *beep* The mainframe came back online. it's screen flashed it's reply which took five days to tabulate: "SOUND"

The Lord frowned and looked down upon his creations and realized that none of them had heard anything. The caterpillars had gone on to devour the plants instead of devouring the African Bullfrog (a preempted attempt to rid the world of their existence). The Dinosaurs had already developed nuclear technology but taking after the Lord's habit of missing steps, wiped themselves out with a single nuclear detonation having invented nuclear cores without reactors to house them. Two of his human subjects had consumed "the forbidden fruit"(another divine mistake and were thus, exiled from The Garden of Eden after God had invented sound.)

It was quite sometime later, when the Lord sent his son down to apologize on his behalf having accepted that it wasn't really their fault the ate an apple. Amazingly, the human race had prospered much since He last checked, and had been using sound for quite sometime now. The humans were humbled by the Lord's efforts and decided to relay a message back to the Almighty bearing a many great thanks and a list of requests on how Earth could be more improved. However, such were the mistakes of man, that this attempt was doomed to failure when the Romans decided to pin Jesus to a giant wooden antenna (a tool that they have been using for divine communication research); needless to say, he died and that made the Lord very, very cross.

*The rest of this chapter has been removed by The Catholic Church on the pretense that the content is indeed inaccurate. It was "SENSE", not "SOUND" which the Lord had divinely planned to mistakenly forget.*