Juck’s Thoughts on Thunderball

I’m in the process of watching every Bond movie, from the first to the most current. I will be giving my thoughts on each film as I go along. Not many people have seen every Bond film, and so I feel that this should be an interesting journey. These aren’t reviews, just thoughts. I encourage you to hop aboard. The James Bond film franchise is one of the largest out there. They’ve been around for 50 years for a reason. Let’s get started!

Thunderball was a Bond film that pushed the boundaries, as underwater filming was utilized for multiple extensive sequences. Unfortunately, this bold decision to film underwater backfired against the cleanliness and speed of the narrative. The scenes where characters were submerged (save for one with only Bond, a goon, and sharks) dragged on for too long. The makers of this film overstepped their bounds too soon, as I see it.

Regardless, Thunderball displayed the desire of the filmmakers to reach new heights (and depths) with Bond. It is the first Bond film to truly push the envelope.

In terms of gadgets, Bond gets more of them, but they aren’t too spectacular. Tricked out scuba gear isn’t enough to impress me, especially after a JETPACK was teased in the opening scene and never utilized again.

I must mention that the Bond girl in this film was incredibly hot. Just had to throw that out there.

Thunderball was certainly a hard regression from its predecessor, Goldfinger, largely due to the dragged out water sequences. Director Terence Young is to blame for that, as he has proven in the past that his ability to keep the narrative moving is poor. Bringing him back aboard the franchise was a big mistake, in my opinion.

Bond doesn’t change much in this film. He still womanizes, he still lives dangerously, and he still gets work done. Thunderball’s place in the Bond franchise is simple: It’s the first to push to envelope and strive for something larger than itself. I smell grander action sequences in the future.

~Juck

Lorde Album Review: Pure Heroine (2013)

I want YOU, the VIEWER, to leave a comment down below to request an album for me and another person to review. Any artist, any genre, we’ll give it a chance.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Pure Heroine, the first album from Lorde.

In green is my opinion. I am not too familiar with Lorde. I understand that she recorded this album at a young age, and have heard a couple of her songs. I am willing to give her a shot, as she is early in her career and doesn’t sound like a computer.

In blue is my cousin Robert’s opinion. Every time he turns on the TV or radio, he hears Lorde and it irritates him. It’s safe to say that he isn’t a fan of Lorde at face value.

Let’s start our track-by-track review!

Tennis Court

This slow-grooving opening track is a fitting introduction to Lorde’s style: Cool and collected. Her silky voice has a twinge of attitude and a pinch of condescension that gives it some character. Lorde floats through this song vocally in an almost melancholy manner. I am intrigued by this opening track for two reasons. First, the possible Chris Isaak reference. “But my head’s filling up fast with the wicked games, up in flames.” Chris Isaak’s Wicked Game begins with the lyrics “The world was on fire and no one could save me but you.” I always love me some Chris Isaak, so if this nod was intentional, props to Lorde. Second, I dig her accent. I know that she’s from New Zealand, but at times it sounds like she’s straight out of Jersey. Tennis Court is a cool song.

We start off this album with a vocally chill song, Tennis Court. Tennis Court has a cool beat to it, but I find Lorde’s vocals really boring. Also, the random yeah’s that are heard throughout the song are annoying, to be blunt. All I want to do now is say “yeah” after every sentence. 

400 Lux

400 Lux is driven by a steady, air-horn accented beat. This song is about taking a drive and killing time with somebody special. The lyrics aren’t very open or complex, though they are phrased oddly, which gives them a kind of freshness. The melody of the chorus sounds very familiar, though I can’t place where I may have heard it elsewhere. Over all, 400 Lux is an average song that doesn’t have a ton of substance. Maybe it could be enjoyed more with some orange juice.

The intro to 400 Lux was a big tease. I was disappointed at the lack of a drop or explosion. Still, I dig the bass. The lyrics are really random, yet for some odd reason, they work. Anytime orange juice is mentioned in a song, you know that it’s whack! I could not help myself from laughing throughout the song because of its lyrics. 400 Lux is not a bad song at all. Yeah.

Royals

Lorde trashes mainstream materialism with a song whose beat is comprised of easy snaps and subtle electronic buzzing. The chorus is, without a doubt, the highlight of the track. It’s become habitual to repeat “royals” with Lorde, and it’s always a good time. Royals does slip in its later half, however. The high-pitched singing broke the flow of the song. A failed attempt at a bridge, in my opinion. The failed bridge took away from the sardonic attitude that is present on the track. Once again, digging that “Jersey” accent. Royals is a fun song, over all.

My God, this song is complete trash! The lyrics do not make sense, the beat in the back is plain, boring, and doesn’t change whatsoever. I would honestly rather listen to some crap (rap) than this garbage. There is a reason why I hate modern radio, and it is because we hear music like this. You know how I often say that songs make me fall asleep? This one does just that, except it does so for the wrong reasons. Hey, at least she did not say yeah every 5 seconds.

Ribs

I love eating ribs. Like, MEAT ribs. The SONG Ribs, on the other hand, doesn’t do anything for me whatsoever. Lorde’s attempt at a deep song about reflection and simpler days falls flat on so many levels. Her vocals, while still thick and husky, don’t hold any weight. The repetition of verses and echoing of lines was unnecessary. Ribs dragged on. I didn’t enjoy this song at all. Lorde put herself in a tough position by naming this track Ribs to begin with. It’s difficult to match the power of ribs.

Yay! A song about my favorite food! Oh wait, we aren’t talking about BBQ Ribs? Damn it! I was ready to indulge in some great meat! Once again, the music bores me, but I really like the lyrics in this song, as well as how deep Lorde’s vocals are. Lucky for me, when I dance at a party (that does not happen often), my ribs do not get tired. I am just that goofy guy on the dance floor.

Buzzcut Season

What the hell is this girl going on about? Every time that I think that I understand what this song is about, Lorde whips out another verse that’s seemingly about something totally different. Buzzcut Season seemed to strive for a central meaning, but didn’t quite reach it. So, while the song’s beat was grooving and Lorde’s vocals were spot on, the lyrics were too jumbled for me to get into this track.

I love how deep this song is. The sounds could make me fall asleep peacefully at night. Buzzcut Season is really calm, but it still retains a trippy vibe, which is why I like it.

Team

The beginning of this song was a bubbling sampling of Middle Eastern flavor with a touch of Alanis Morissette. Once the beat came in, bass loud and strong, Lorde slayed it. Team’s lyrics are solid, Lorde’s vocals are right on, and the music is smooth. Team has a Tennis Court vibe to it, and that is not a bad thing. I enjoyed Team.

Here we go again. Another terrible, overplayed song. I’m not really going to rant here about why I hate it because I would just bore myself with my own repetition. Honestly, how did we go from a trippy song to this? It ticks me off when this kind of reckless transition happens on albums. At least the lyrics makes sense, unlike some other lyrics on Pure Heroine. Lorde, I am certainly not on the same team as you. As a matter of fact, our teams our rivals like the Steelers and Cowboys. Yeah.

Glory and Gore

Glory and Gore is a song that should have been picked up by The Hunger Games series in place of that horrendous rendition of Everybody Wants to Rule the world. Anywho…Glory and Gore kicks ass. Lorde has been critical throughout this whole album, but this song takes the criticism to a whole new level. She scolds society while leaving the lyrics open enough to be interpreted in various ways. Her vocals and the music pack a punch that isn’t overbearing. She gets her point across in a fluid manner. I really like Glory and Gore. (the song, that is).

Glory and Gore? THIS MEANS WAR! Honestly, with a song title like that, I was expecting a fast song with intense lyrics. Instead, Glory and Gore featured relaxed vocals and an easy beat, no different from the other songs on the album. I do not like this song because I expected something different, but I could see why some people would enjoy it. It could certainly fit into certain movies and shows.

Still Sane

I’ve never taken a liking to songs written by artists about the impact of his or her fame. I understand that fame twists these artists’ lives into something that is observed and recorded and abnormal, but I frankly don’t care to listen to a song about it. That’s what interviews are for. I didn’t connect to Still Sane, neither through the apathetic vocals nor in the science fiction music.

I like the eerie music in the beginning of this song, and I honestly have to say that Still Sane is pure poetry. It is by far the best-written song on the album. Still Sane would have been perfect even if the track was solely comprised of Lorde’s vocals along with that eerie music that, for some reason, reminds me of the Legend of Zelda. I just wish that the ending was smoother.

White Teeth Teens

Lorde is bold. Bold I tell you! Lorde’s vocals completely own the melody that fills all of the space over the Christmas-like beat. The lyrics to this song are stellar. White Teeth Teens may very well be the track on Pure Heroine that best showcases Lorde’s voice, both in the musical sense and the poetic sense.

I love how this time around, Lorde goes straight into the vocals. She finally sings a little higher and faster. This song would sound even better if the speed was doubled. Oh, and personal hygiene is important everyone, especially concerning your teeth. Make sure you brush 2-3 times daily, because you do not want to have a bad teeth. My parents regret it.

A World Alone

As mature as Lorde is, as can be postulated by listening to her lyrics and musical style, this song reminds the listener that she’s only a young girl. Her lyrical connections to fake friends and the like lowers the scale of the song, reducing it to being exclusively about high school, no matter her intentions. Musically, A World Alone is underwhelming. The track goes on too long for its own good. The lyrics, while they are celebratory, don’t pack much of a punch.  I don’t expect this girl to be scolding someone or something in every single song, but some kind of edge would be appreciated. A lackluster closing track.

Oh shoot, we actually get some guitar in a song! It’s too bad that the other synthetic noises ruin it. A World Alone does have that “album closer” feel to it. The guitar may be simple and repetitive, but it truly is a breath of fresh air. It should have been used on more songs from Pure Heroine. I honestly thought this album would be complete garbage, but it was not all that bad. In most cases, you will have to give the songs a few listens to really understand the lyrics. Pure Heroine is not my cup of tea, but it is not the worst album I have ever heard. As always, thank you all for reading another review, and stay tuned for more. Yeah. (Only Dave Matthews can say or scream “yeah” and make it work!)

My Top 3

Team

Glory and Gore

White Teeth Teens

Rob’s Top 3

Still Sane

White Teeth Teens

A World Alone

Over all, Lorde’s debut album is a small, lightly-seasoned Porkchop. Pure Heroine is ambitious in some aspects, though it could have been bolder. The writing is, across the board, neither cliched nor simple. At the same time, however, a lot of it was jumbled and vague. If Lorde flushes out most of the obscurity and tightens up her lyrics, her songs will benefit greatly. Next time around, I would hope that the beats vary more from track to track, with more dynamic elements added to them. This was a fine first effort from this rising star, but she has a lot of room to grow. Pure Heroine established Lorde’s style. Now, she needs to build and improve upon it.

I’m going to go drink some orange juice.

~Juck

The Best Stuff Around: Chick-fil-A

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Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to a new series called the Best Stuff Around. In these posts, I will bring the best stuff around to your attention. Pretty simple, right? Here we go.

Burgers are great. I love burgers as much as more than the next guy, but sometimes I want something…bolder. There is only one non-burger food item that can fulfill that boldness. That food item is Chick-fil-A.

I present to you 5 reasons why Chick-fil-A is some of the best stuff around.

5. The Advertising Campaign

EAT MOR CHIKIN.

Having a cow represent a fast-food chain that serves chicken is unbelievably clever. The cow mascot is everywhere, roaming around Chick-fil-A locations, wreaking havoc on billboards, and inspiring “Dress Like a Cow Day,” where participants who dress as cows get a free meal. Those who half-ass it with a cow accessory get an entree. How awesome is that?

I am intrigued and impressed by the advertisement that this company does. It doesn’t feel fake, as ridiculous as that sounds, despite the plastic cows that supposedly climb up and paint on billboards. The company isn’t telling us that it’s the best thing around, or that its food can cure cancer. The only thing that Chick-fil-A conveys to the public is that cows want you to eat more chicken. It feels honest, and I appreciate that.

4. The Values

There have been multiple instances where my dad and I have been in the car on a Sunday morning and wanted Chick-fil-A. A couple of times, we even started driving to the nearest establishment before remembering that they’re closed on Sundays.

Owner Truett Cathy with his wife.

This “closed on Sunday” policy is a designated day of rest for the employees, as well as a statement to the consumer. The statement is generally taken to be “go to church!” Even though Chick-fil-A would undoubtedly make millions more dollars annually by remaining open for all seven days of the week, they still stay true to this policy. Regardless of how you feel about their values, this day off allows all employees to rest up, which is surely a factor in aiding #3.

3. The Customer Service

Each and every time I go to Chick-fil-A, the customer service is A-grade. Most everybody has a smile on their face. Not a fake smile that says “I’ve got to do this for five more minutes until I get a break. I hate this job,” but a smile that says, “I would actually like to get your order right.”

The employees are kind, they check up on you if you decide to eat in the restaurant, and they treat you well. You are guaranteed a “my pleasure” with every “thank you” you give. Chick-fil-A always provides for a pleasant fast food experience.

2. The Sideshow: Lemonade and Waffle Fries

Chick-fil-A’s lemonade is righteous. It harbors the perfect blend between sweet and sour. It’s smooth stuff.

fil a 001

I took that picture. I know, it’s pretty awesome.

Fries are cool, but waffle fries are cooler. These waffle-shaped barnacles complement the chicken sandwich perfectly.

fil a 002

I took this picture too. Notice how the container isn’t full.

1. The Sandwich!

The star of this show is, of course, the Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich. Simple yet flavorful, this sandwich is delicious. With two pickles and a large piece of chicken between two hot buns, this sandwich is definitely among the best stuff around.

fil a 003

I took this one too. Tell me that my lighting isn’t awesome.

What do you think? Is Chick-fil-A worth being placed among the best? Let me know in the comments. 

As always, thanks for reading!

~Juck

Juck’s Thoughts on Goldfinger

I’m in the process of watching every Bond movie, from the first to the most current. I will be giving my thoughts on each film as I go along. Not many people have seen every Bond film, and so I feel that this should be an interesting journey. These aren’t reviews, just thoughts. I encourage you to hop aboard. The James Bond film franchise is one of the largest out there. They’ve been around for 50 years for a reason. Let’s get started!

James Bond in Goldfinger Wallpaper

Goldfinger is the first Bond film that feels like a Bond film. In this movie, 007 is no longer plays the role of a detective. He actually does spy-like things.

For the first time, gadgets and gear, as well as the signature Aston Martin, are given to 007. Prior to this movie, Bond had been given a nifty briefcase, but this time around, he’s got gadgets that have significantly more presence on screen.

The opening credits become increasingly more lavish with each Bond installment. Goldfinger raises the bar by featuring a now-iconic song sung/composed for the film, as well as more zany visuals. This time around, text and images featuring Bond are projected onto gold-painted women.

In this installment, Bond’s humor isn’t overdone. His catchphrases are still there, but his character is approached more seriously. Humor all-around was dusted in nicely, where it fit. Bond wasn’t joking at every opportunity he had, thankfully. This conservative approach grounded his character in reality. 

The villain was awesome. He reminded me of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.

Goldfinger was a briskly paced Bond movie, trimmed of most of its fat and constantly progressing. The whole film felt grander than its predecessors, more confident, and was concluded well. The movie’s large budget made a clear difference in its quality. In regards to the first three Bond films, Goldfinger is easily the best.

In this movie, Bond gets more gadgets, drives his Aston Martin, and does some fantastic spy-work. It’s interesting to see his character get molded and shaped into the Bond that we all know today. I look forward to the next movie!

~Juck

Tell me in the comments below what the most expensive thing you have ever purchased is. 

Rodriguez Album Review: Cold Fact (1970)

I want YOU, the VIEWER, to leave a comment down below to request an album for me and another person to review. Any artist, any genre, we’ll give it a chance.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Cold Fact, the first studio album from Sixto Rodriguez.

In green is my opinion. I have watched the documentary ‘Searching for Sugar Man’ and am very interested in this man’s story and music. I am excited to review this iconic album.

In blue is my cousin Robert’s opinion. He hasn’t seen the documentary and is not familiar with Rodriguez. He will be listening to this album for the first time. 

Let’s start our track-by-track review! Sugar Man

Sugar Man’s easy acoustics paired with psychedelic distortions establish a feeling of mystery. Horns and bass give this song some rhythmic flavor. Sugar Man, while its story is straightforward, manages to illustrate vivid pictures in the mind of the listener. This was the best way for Rodriguez to introduce himself on Cold Fact. Sugar Man is a cool song.

Awesome! We start off the album with a song title that perfectly fits my dad! He is the king of sweets in my family! On a serious note, Sugar Man is a song that is filled with many different instruments working in unison, and that is what makes me love it. I also like the bass groove. Rodriguez’s vocals are sweet! (The pun was totally necessary).

Only Good for Conversation

Only Good for Conversation is a song that oozes Jimi Hendrix. The electric guitar, especially in the grinding riff, could be something from Jimi himself.  The angry lyrics are amusing and interesting. This track is an enjoyable one with a nice kick to it.

Right away, the guitar riff hooked me to this song. Once again, the bass is groovy, and Rodriguez’s vocals emulate a Black Keys or Arctic Monkeys song. I wish the song was longer, but it is still a solid track.

Crucify Your Mind

This song is poetry. Crucify Your Mind is defined by the hefty lyrics that are simultaneously both straightforward and cryptic. The nifty guitar is complemented quite well by what sounds like the xylophone. This track has some great lyrics and some standout music. Crucify Your Mind is a pleasant success.

Crucify Your Mind reminds me of a Bob Dylan song, though Rodriguez has a better voice. I love the xylophones that can be heard throughout the song, as well as the brass instruments. What I really wonder is what the lyrics are about. They are very poetic to me.

This Is Not a Song, It’s an Outburst (The Establishment Blues)

Despite the fact that this track was recorded in 1970, it is just as applicable to society as it stands today. This tune doesn’t fluctuate very much, but I can’t knock it because of that fact. Rodriguez does tell us, after all, that The Establishment Blues isn’t a song. This track is a nice little window into the mind of Rodriguez and how he perceives city life. It’s truth. 

If this is not a song, and not an outburst (because he is not screaming), then what is this? This “song,” seems to be Rodriguez listing out a bunch of problems with society that, strangely enough, occur in the world today. It is an interesting track, as you will find when you sit down and contemplate its lyrics.

Hate Street Dialogue

Rodriguez’s moody guitar gives this song an edge that is entirely fitting. The lyrics, once again, are not entirely obscure, but they do retain some mystery, providing some clear substance along with muddied waters that must be filtered to get to the gold. Hate Street Dialogue is an intriguing song that is acoustic success. 

Once again, it is the guitar that hooks me to this song. At first, I thought that Hate Street Dialogue was a break-up song. After further listening, however, I feel that this song is about growing up on the streets, and, judging by the vocals, it is clear that Rodriguez does not like it.

Forget It

The brass returns! Forget It is a simple breakup song that is both honest and sarcastic. The melody has an air of Elton John to it, which is rarely a bad thing, musically. I wonder why Rodriguez decided to put this track smack-dab right in the middle of the album, as it is a parting song, but I admire the decision to stray from the cliched “ending tune” to close out the album. This is yet another great display of lyrics put to tight music.

Okay, now we finally get the breakup song. This track length is perfect for a breakup tune, which should typically be short and to the point. Thankfully, I have never gone through a relationship yet, but damn, Rodriguez. You just made one powerful breakup song.

Inner City Blues

Inner City Blues is more rhythmic and more challenging than his same-veined cousin, Hate Street Dialogue. This is a rebellious song, complete with soulful guitar and a great woodwind section. (At least I think it’s woodwind). The chorus is edgy, backed by rocking bass and heavy brass. The lyrics are stellar yet again. Inner City Blues is a cool, bluesy song.

This song is filled with the blues. Rodriguez mixes the blues with soul, and that combination works well, surprisingly. In this song, the vocals steal the show. I am also a fan of the acoustic guitar. Inner City Blues is another solid song that showcases Rodriguez’s considerable lyricism.

I Wonder

That bass is off the hook. The keyboard and grooving drums give backbone to Rodriguez’s words. Despite the negative lyrics, this is an uplifting song. I Wonder can lift anyone’s mood, truly. There isn’t anything to dislike about I Wonder. I dig it wholeheartedly.

This song completely caught me off guard, since it is about sex. The world is filled with wonders, and this song reminds us that is it is okay to wonder about certain things in life. For all of our younger viewers out there, do not worry or wonder about sex. Trust me, you do not want to know about it until you have matured. For of all the mature viewers out there, please do not overdo it with the sex, like the Game of Thrones, and enjoy it responsibly.

Like Janis

Just as is the case with I Wonder, Like Janis is an uplifting song despite its negative lyrics. The lyric of the album has to be “A monkey in silk is a monkey no less.” It’s amazing how simplicity can be just as eloquent as extensiveness. Like Janis is a powerful song, guided by outstanding lyrics and frantic strings. I like Like Janis.

The beginning of this song reminded me of Ramble On by Led Zeppelin because of the guitar. Like Janis is another song that I like because of all of the different instruments in it. The guitar doesn’t steal the show for once, which is a nice change of pace. Like Janis is a sad song, though it does not sound sad in regards to the music and the vocals. I truly appreciate the song’s simplicity.

Gomorrah (A Nursery Rhyme)

‘Yeah, let’s throw kids into the chorus of a song. That’s original.’ That was my initial impression of this song. But then I realized that I was poorly mistaken. This song was released almost ten years before The Wall. Wow. Gomorrah is a dark song, as it essentially antagonizes American society. It is no secret that Rodriguez is critical of society, as can be gathered from listening to this album in its entirety. This song is an inventive one, as it is based up America the Beautiful, making Gomorrah a song full of irony and full of intrigue. 

I love the bass and rhyme in this song. Rodriguez’ rhyming skill makes the genre of rap seem like a joke! I also love the kids singing in the background. It was nice to hear part of America the Beautiful in the song. Gomorrah is a very creative, and has a different sound, which is why it is one of my favorites!

Rich Folks Hoax

What a song. This time around, the music was simply a canvas for Rodriguez to paint on. There is nothing dynamic happening with the music, and I am grateful for it, because the lyrics deserve both of your ears’ full attention. There are plenty of songs out there about the corrupt high-class, but nobody has written one with as much class as Rodriguez has. Rich Folks Hoax is a well thought-out, smart track.

Rich Folks’ Hoax is another song that really showcases Rodriguez’s songwriting skills. This song is pure poetry. Honestly, someone should give this guy a Nobel Prize or something. It is amazing how he can blend his lyrics with the music.

Jane S. Piddy

The acoustic guitar in this song reminds me of Dave Matthews’ Up and Away, which, although released in 2003, sounds very similar. Just thought I’d throw it out there. Jane S. Piddy has a predominant feeling of loneliness. It’s a very sad song. What is truly amazing about Rodriguez is that, on Cold Fact, many of his lyrics are hard to make out. But they aren’t difficult to understand in their entirety. Bits and pieces are left uncovered, and long stretches remain to be fleshed out by the listener. Jane S. Piddy is another intriguing song, with perhaps the most cryptic lyrics of the album.

Jane S. Piddy is a great way to bring this album to a close. The lyrics keep us guessing and wondering, just like other songs on the album. I always love it when musicians do that though. Since this is the first time that I have listened to this guy, I will go and watch the documentary about him, which I heard is amazing. If this is your first listen to Rodriguez as well, I recommend that you watch it too.

My Top 3

Only Good for Conversation

Hate Street Dialogue

I Wonder

Rob’ Top 3

Inner City Blues

I Wonder

Gomorrah

It is clear that we feel that this album deserves the attention that it has gotten, if not more. Rodriguez’s solid acoustics and deep lyrics combine in 12 outstanding songs. Each one sounds great, contains stellar lyrics, and harbors individual music. This Filet is a fantastic listen. I’ll leave you with some wise words from Rodriguez.

“Get your hugs, stay off drugs.”

~Juck

Juck’s Thoughts on From Russia with Love

I’m in the process of watching every Bond movie, from the first to the most current. I will be giving my thoughts on each film as I go along. Not many people have seen every Bond film, and so I feel that this should be an interesting journey. These aren’t reviews, just thoughts. I encourage you to hop aboard. The James Bond film franchise is one of the largest out there. They’ve been around for 50 years for a reason. Let’s get started!

From Russia with Love is the first Bond film where 007 gets a gadget! It’s nothing as crafty as a laser watch, but instead, a briefcase laced with weapons and tricks. It concealed money, a knife, and tear gas. So perhaps it wasn’t the most dynamic gadget, but it was a gadget no less.

Although Bond’s modern image is being built up piece by piece, it has admittedly been tainted, in my eyes. In this movie, Bond hit a woman. Yes, he straight up struck her across the face. She posed no physical harm to him. Bond struck her upon learning of her association with the enemy. I thought that Bond was a classy Englishman. It’s a thing that I didn’t except from this character.

This isn’t Bond’s only flub in the film. He allowed the enemy to remove something from his pocket, and, just as it did in Dr. No, the decision backfired. It nearly got him killed. Bond has been doing this job for a long time, and to see him make the same mistake twice tarnishes his image.

Perhaps these moments were put into the movie to remind the audience that Bond isn’t Superman, or a flawless character.

My last issue with Bond himself was that he was difficult to take seriously. Where in the first him he was a suave, relaxed, respectable guy, he comes across this time around as a clown. One-liners are tossed out left and right, so frequently that they lose their humorous quality halfway through the film. 

I truly hope that Goldmember has less of this cheesiness, as I would prefer Bond to be taken more seriously.

The bad guy was ridiculous. His name is Number 1, the audience isn’t shown his face, and he strokes a cat. To make it even worse, a repulsive woman takes the wheel as the head goon tasked with killing Bond. She was nasty and not the least bit intimidating, clearly the inspiration for Austin Powers’ Frau. 

Unfortunately, I saw more Austin Powers in ‘From Russia with Love’ than I did Bond.

Not much is achieved in From Russia with Love. This film builds a bit on the character of Bond, but the bad guy isn’t defeated, no major plot is foiled, and there wasn’t much intrigue this time around. I am aware of the fact that Bond films, especially in their earlier years, are known for being campy. I’ll just have to take what I can get. Until the next one!

~Juck

Are Russian women the most attractive people on the planet or what? Like, actual Russian women, not that hag above. Agree with me in the comments below.

 

Dave Matthews Band Album Review: Before These Crowded Streets (1998)

I want YOU the VIEWER, to leave a comment down below to request an album for me and a couple of other people to review. Any artist, any genre, we’ll give it a chance.

Today we’re reviewing Before These Crowded Streets, the third album from the Dave Matthews Band. As music is very particularly opinionated, I brought some people on board with me for this review. We’ll give our thoughts on each track.

In red is the opinion of the exceptionally talented singer-songwriter of the Lazy Saturday Project. He got to know the DMB back in 2000 in the midst of actually trying to find an enlightenment from mainstream radio music. His uncle introduced him to ‘Crash’, the album that completely changed his life and his definition of music. Since then, he has been a huge fan of DMB.

In green is my opinion. I too have been a listener of the band for a while. You’ll likely get references to other DMB songs in my reviews, as I’ve explored a lot of their music and find it effective to use their other music as reference points.

In blue is my cousin Robert’s opinion. He has been listening to DMB for a long time now, and is a fan. You’ll get honest and straight-forward reviews as to how Rob feels about these songs.

Let’s start our track-by-track review!

Pantala Naga Pampa

Pantala Naga Pampa is just the type of opening song you’d like to have on an album. It’s groovy, earthy, funky, and simply tickles your ears for something more DMB.

What is Pantala Naga Pampa? The phrase is said to mean “I have a snake in my pants” in Tamil, an Indian language. This opener to the album is a 40 second intro that promises a good, lighthearted time. This track is a big lie. After Rapunzel, this album is anything but carefree. Nonetheless, it’s a nice signal tune that lets you know that Rapunzel is coming. It gives off the impression that the album will be light and frothy. It’s anything but, and I love the irony that comes with this track. 

Come and relax now, put your troubles down, and read this review of my favorite Dave Matthews Band album as we start off with a 40 second partial song before Rapunzel. It is a cool song with a few lyrics, and I like how Dave does hit some high notes. The song has a funny name that is hard to remember, but it is cool in that it acts as an intro for the next song on the album.

Rapunzel

Rapunzel is a perfect continuation of the previous song. The similarity of vibes between Rapunzel and Pantala Naga Pampa make them both like an envelope with identical stamps. There are great dynamics throughout the song, including a tingling sound of percussion by Carter Beauford, a sick bass line from Fonzie, and wicked singing by Dave Matthews (simply something all of the fans are loving).

Rapunzel is a song about sex. Plain and simple. The band restrains themselves from jamming at times to allow for Dave’s vocals and obsessive lyrics to take the stage. It’s a great song, and Boyd Tinsley kills it on the violin. I could have done with less chorus and more narrative verses, but Rapunzel is another great song in which Dave expresses his frenzied lust for women.

Rapunzel is a cool slower song that reminds me of a bar or café scene that has people playing music or presenting poems. At first I did not like how slow this song was, but it grew on me. The saxophone is what makes this song great. Some of the lyrics are funny as well. You can clearly tell that it has a sexual theme to it.

The Last Stop

Lyrically, Dave Matthews has inevitably always managed to input a certain level of political views throughout his songs. This is, without a doubt, one of those songs. Thick and screaming vocals combined with the heavily eastern-influenced orchestral background, provided by Boyd Tinsley, make the Last Stop one of the heavier tunes to churn in the album. The phrase “fools are we if hate’s the gate to peace” delivers a strong value by Matthews that represents certain frustration regarding whatever conflict is happening in society. The intensifying vibes towards the ending will simply leave you stranded in the jam.

My Middle Eastern blood boils in the best way possible when I hear this song. The Arabic instrumental is masterful, compelling, and relentless. Dave’s Arabic-styled vocalizing is raw and angry, which suits the music like a glove. Dave doesn’t simply sing this song, he feels it. The lyrics are, at times, mocking and challenging. Instead of feeling showy and unbelievable, there is power behind the words, and the message is delivered honestly and angrily. These guys decide to bring a banjo on board for the chorus in the midst of the middle eastern noise being projected. The music decelerates and calms down to finish, cooling you off from the heavy experience. Somehow, it works. The Last Stop is one of the best songs from this band.

You may never hear this song if you go to a concert unless it is truly the last stop, but that is if you are lucky. Anyway, this is my favorite song of the album because of how heavy it is. It has a wonderful Arabic/African sound to it, and Dave’s voice is unusual, as it is not what one would typically expect from him. Everything about this song is just great. The lyrics are really deep, even mentioning Jesus’s crucifixion. I love this song.

Don’t Drink the Water

Musically, Don’t Drink the Water is a rock song that powers up through the steady beats and Matthews’ eerie singing. The song has much more power during live show, most likely due to it being played in a faster tempo with a heavier distortion by Tim Reynolds. But the album version is atmospheric as can be.

This song has a tribal aura about it. Mysterious and strangely elegant, it’s an exchange of dialogue between two people, or, perhaps, two peoples. Most accept it to be an exchange between Native and Spaniard, others hear it as being between Palestinian and Jew. Regardless of how you interpret the song, it’s a great one. Dave’s lyrics are sung almost euphorically despite the dark meaning of them. The loudness and aggression that erupts at the end of the song is a rewarding payoff to an equally rewarding progression that tells an engaging story. Alanis Morissette’s voice is a nice touch added to the track. Dave’s chanting is a successful ode to the natives, honest and raw in its delivery. Don’t Drink the Water is an experience, a story I can hear over and over again.

When people say Don’t Drink the Water in this town, they mean it. This song is a fan favorite for a reason. I love both the lyrics and the instrumental parts. Tim’s guitar-work is great, and the song is so calm up until the end, where it picks up in tempo and explodes. I feel that the band plays this song at nearly every show because of how well written it is.

Stay (Wasting Time)

Stay is definitely the brightest tune in the album. This song is the perfect soundtrack for summer heat or chillaxing. The feeling of celebration is surely felt throughout the song, especially in the jamming session during the bridge and towards the ending of the song. Leroi Moore really turns up the mood with his saxophone section. We are definitely not wasting time by listening to this uplifting, cheerful, groovy tune, and sure as hell would like to stay for more.

One of the very few bright lights of the album, Stay is a joyous, happy love song. Put a bunch of black women who can sing Gospel behind Dave and this song is a celebration. The style of the instrumental parts alternate throughout the song, at times offering a sound and style of playing that isn’t common in this band’s music. It’s a nice, light song. It’s not one that I’ll remember this album for, but it’s a needed feel-good song to allow us to take a break from the anger.

This song is a fun one. The lyrics are catchy and the music is cool too. Dave’s acoustic and his lyrics are great. I like how the band put a choir in the song. In my opinion, it works. This song is great to play on a hot sunny day when you are feeling great, as if there are no worries in your life. Overall, this song just has a lot of positive energy in it and can light up anybody’s day!

Halloween

Halloween is a song that represents anger, frustration, and dissatisfaction more than anything else. The lyrics are considered vague, and have varied a lot through the years and various live shows. It is definitely a song you’d like to have in a rock show. Matthews’ screaming and passion are simply unbeatable.

When I first heard this song, I didn’t get it. I was confused. Once I looked at the lyrics and understood why they were put to paper, however, I was willing to give it another chance. This song is pure anger. The Last Stop is angry, Don’t Drink the Water is angry, but Halloween is fueled by anger. It has a spooky sound to it, starting off with a mocking tone. The second half of this song, starting with “going away,” is a painful and much needed release of anger, as anyone with ears can hear. This is a song I hope to never be able to relate to. Dave’s vocalizing at the end is unbelievable. I can hardly believe that it’s his voice pulling off the opera-like notes. I love it. Dave is pissed. 

Oh how I just love how deep and dark this song is. It is probably the band’s deepest and darkest song. This song took time to grow on me and, once again, Dave’s vocals are surprising, as they are nothing one would expect from him. I never knew that Dave could scream that loud. It’s like he just let everything that was bothering him out. The music goes really well with his voice and the dark theme. Halloween is very tense. I don’t think that we will ever get to hear Dave’s voice like this in a song ever again. I wish that we had more songs as heavy and dark as this one.

The Stone

The Stone is one of the, if not the, darkest tune in the album. A solid guitar rhythm by Matthews is accompanied by a haunting orchestral piece from Tinsley, which both really blend perfectly to create this atmospheric tune. Fonzie’s bass line displays a great dynamic that really locks to Beauford’s drum playing, establishing a strong foundation to the song. Moore’s saxophone playing towards the ending simply adds to the beauty like a cool, breezy wind in the desert.

This song is intense. Boyd sets the scene with sinister-sounding violin, the creeping bass adds to the dark sound, Carter’s reserved drumming keeps the song progressing smoothly, and the deep brass makes the song all the more gloomy. The guitar melody is a masterpiece on its own. The song has a regal sound to it at times, appropriating it as a tribute to Dave’s murdered sister. The Stone is a great song.

At first, the Stone sounds very classical, but that unforgettable guitar riff comes to dominate the start of a beautifully deep song. I love the guitar and violin in this song, especially where they shine the most (At the beginning and end). Boyd’s violin solo at the end is a perfect example of how enchanting a violin can sound. Dave’s softer voice is just majestic. The lyrics are great. I can listen to the Stone any night while relaxing, outside or inside.

Crush

Crush is a song that honestly details the admiration of a woman in the classiest way possible. The jazz influence really makes itself known in this tune. With a great groove by Beauford and refreshing flute playing by Moore, the song truly presents an atmosphere of love and admiration in a high sense of the individual. Additionally, the bridge of the song is simply rocking!

This song is all about the bass. Crush keeps rising and falling, and there isn’t a definitive musical climax. Crush explodes with an emotional climax, however, and remains to be one of DMB’s best. It seems that this is a studio track that many assert is heaps better live, even moreso than other studio tracks, though I feel that that particular opinion is held mainly because of the passion and the jam infused within the live performance. Regardless, I dig Crush on this record.

The mellow bass is what makes this song great. Once again, I love the lyrics, and the piano playing is also a nice touch. The guitar reminds me of being on the shore at sunset. The song has a very nice romantic theme to it, and is one of the most beautifully written Dave Matthews songs. Once again, Boyd has an awesome solo, and Dave’s soft vocals make this song easy to listen to.

The Dreaming Tree

I would say that this is one of the more progressive tunes in the album. With a continuous 7/8 time signature, the band really plays it in a subtle way that swings easily to our ears like a non­-stop Newton’s cradle. A great thought­provoking phrase is “now progress takes away what forever took to find,” showing how reflective and thoughtful Matthews is in his lyrical creation.

The Dreaming Tree is complex, cryptic, and dark. Dave sings the lyrics with such emotion that it’s hard not to stop and listen. The music is some of the best that the album has to offer. The entrancing guitar riff, the chugging bass, the saxophone, all of it is great. The Dreaming Tree keeps you coming back because of the enigmatic lyrics and hypnotic music. A highlight of this album, without a doubt.

This is one of the most beautifully written and sad Dave Matthews Band songs you will ever hear. I absolutely love the lyrics, Dave’s guitar playing, and LeRoi’s saxophone. This is another one of those songs that I would rather listen to at night, or when it is dark out. It is a softer song by the band, but I cannot see why anybody wouldn’t like it.

Pig

Pig is a soothing tune with a heavy, syncopated style of drumming from Beauford, and more thought­-provoking lyrics from Matthews. I dig the usage of an animal as a metaphor for this song. Pig provides a great example of how the band’s unique musical elements of sax, violin, acoustic guitar, bass, and drums can blend well in a song dynamically in a way that the listeners can surely enjoy.

For me, Pig is the lowest point of the album. The meaning of the song is nice and honest, though the delivery of Pig lacks the muscle of the other songs on the album. Boyd’s violin is great, though it isn’t enough to carry the song. Towards the end of the track, the music sounds like something you would hear on Broadway, acquiring a very showy sound. The ending jam is goofy and enjoyable, though the thirty second piece isn’t enough to save Pig. I’m not a fan of this song.

Pig is an interesting song, and I really like the intro to it. One could find themselves on a farm or the countryside with Boyd’s violin’s playing. It has a nice, western feel to it, and sounds a bit country-like. Thankfully, it does manage to pick up in tempo at times.

Spoon

Alanis Morisette’s vocals can’t be more beautiful than they are here. This song is thought to have a religious reference, predominantly through the phrase: “Could dad be God…forgive you why, you hung me out to dry.” The song moves at a slow pace with the great attribution of Bela Fleck on the banjo and Moore’s soothing sax playing throughout the song. It serves as a sweet closer for the album.

I really like how Spoon starts, slowly and with a strong dark overtone. This rhythmic, relaxed track is perhaps one of the darkest, saddest, most contemplative songs that this band had created. It grows more intriguing as the narrative progresses. Alanis Morisette adds a nice touch to Spoon. The Last Stop reprise that concludes this song is a flowing, relaxing finish to this album. I love Spoon.

I have always found it cool that the band got Alanis Morissette to be part of this album. She does a great job in this song. It’s another soft, slow song that is beautiful. It is nice to see the Dave Matthews Band take a shot at the soft rock sub-genre, and it does work. I always found it funny that the song was called Spoon, but you never know what you will get from these guys. It’s cool that there is the banjo (not the bear) in this song. I also enjoyed the guitar starting around 4 minutes until the end. Spoon is a great way to end this masterpiece. Thank you for reading this review and just remember: Don’t Drink the Water, especially on Halloween!

 

Lazy Saturday Project’s Top 3: 

Last Stop

The Stone

Crush

My top 3: 

The Last Stop

Don’t Drink the Water

The Dreaming Tree

Robert’s Top 3: 

The Last Stop

Don’t Drink the Water

Crush

Before These Crowded Streets is a masterpiece of a record. It is dark, insightful, and complex, both musically and lyrically. Big ideas and bold sounds define this album. This Filet is a meaty one that you need to have in your music library. 

I’d like to genuinely thank Lazy Saturday Project for hopping aboard this review, and urge you to check out his blog! It’s full of album reviews and original songs. This guy’s got pipes. It’s a fresh, clean blog here on WordPress, and he worth your attention. Here’s the link again in case you’re lazy your thumb/index finger is too tired to scroll back up. Thanks again to him! :)

~Juck

Juck’s Thoughts on Dr. No

So I’m in the process of watching every Bond movie, from the first to the most current. I will be giving my thoughts on each film as I go along. Not many people have seen every Bond film, and so I feel that this should be an interesting journey. These aren’t reviews, just thoughts. I encourage you to hop aboard. The James Bond film franchise is one of the largest out there. They’ve been around for 50 years for a reason. Let’s get started! Dr. No was an interesting film in the sense that it established James Bond’s image, which still remains intact today.

In this film, Bond receives his iconic Walther PPK,

he remarks that his vodka martini mustn’t be shaken,

he drops the still-famous “Bond…James Bond,”

and he womanizes. A lot.

There are certainly many more staples to be tacked onto the Bond series, and I imagine that they will be coming up in nearing installments, but these inseparable qualities were introduced in Dr. No.

What I find especially interesting is that, in this film, Bond plays detective more than he plays spy. He’s a lot like 24’s Jack Bauer, piecing together clues and following leads. Also, his only piece of equipment was his Walther PPK. No spy gadgets or anything of that sort were present in Dr. No.

Notably, this movie contains the most badass spider kill ever put to screen. Granted, I don’t recall a spider kill in any other film, unless you count the Hobbit, or maybe Harry Potter. Regardless, it was badass. Dr. No, the villain, was an intimidating character, though I feel that he should have been given more screen time. He had robotic hands that were extremely powerful, and seeing him do some more with those would have been well appreciated. It was during the last 20 minutes of the film that flashes of Austin Powers entered my mind. A goon repeating the countdown of a rocket launch threw me back to Frau and her ridiculous hair.

Over all, watching how Bond started was an intriguing experience. I look forward to the next movie. ~Juck

Tell me of the biggest spider scare that you have experienced. I am genuinely interested. I’ve had a few disturbing run-ins myself.

Q and A with Juck #1: The Future, Jersey Shore, and Gun Control

Ladies and gentlemen, I am Juck. You asked me some questions. I answered them. Leave a comment down below to ask some more questions! As soon as I hit 15-20 questions, I’ll fire up another Q and A! Let’s make this a regular thing. Leave a like on the post if you liked it!

(Watch in HD if you want to see my face in its full glory. But I don’t know why one would do such a thing.)

Thanks to all who contributed a question. You are all inexpressibly awesome.

Linkin Park Album Review: The Hunting Party (2014)

I want YOU, the VIEWER, to leave a comment down below to request an album for me and another person to review. Any artist, any genre, we’ll give it a chance.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you The Hunting Party, the sixth studio album from Linkin Park.

In green is my opinion. I grew up listening to Linkin Park. I am very familiar with LP’s sound, and feel that this band is an interesting concoction of various styles. Their newer albums do not appeal to me, however. I hope that The Hunting Party truly is a rebound from the electronic sound of Linkin Park’s last couple of records, as Mike Shinoda claims it will be.

In blue is my cousin Robert’s opinion. He too has grown up listening to Linkin Park, and has grown tired of their electronic sound. He wants them to return to the rock/metal sound that he grew up with. 

Let’s start our track-by-track review!

Keys to the Kingdom

“No control, no surprise” defines this opening song perfectly. Shinoda’s vocals are sung without a sliver of passion and Chester’s screaming is overkill. The loud guitar and rapid drumming isn’t tasteful whatsoever, though these heavy sounds indicate a welcomed break from Linkin Park’s electronic sound. Good riddance. Now lets see if the guys can get it together with this new yet familiar sound. The ending of this song is hilarious though. I hope that we get more of that kid elsewhere on the record.

My God. This album starts with a bang. The band clearly shows that they are back to their good old selves. For those of you who thought that Chester could not scream, this song is a jaw breaking punch to you! Mike’s rapping is great as usual, and the rest of the band plays an even bigger role compared to their older work. Keys to the Kingdom is an excellent, bomb-dropping intro to the album. Oh, and the ending is pretty funny and unexpected.

All for Nothing (feat. Page Hamilton)

All for Nothing is an ass-kicking track. Mike Shinoda and Page Hamilton take the wheel, crafting a hardcore sound that doesn’t stall. All for Nothing keeps moving forward. The chorus sounds like something taken from Breaking Benjamin, and I loved every second of it. This time around, the guitar solo was complementary to the song. All for Nothing is a fantastic song.

All for Nothing starts off with the classic rock/rap/metal combo we all know and love from Linkin Park. I am a fan of Page’s voice in the chorus. All For Nothing continues to give us the same energy that Keys to the Kingdom radiated, but with more rap. Have no fear, Chester is still in there with his screams!

Guilty All the Same (feat. Rakim)

Avenged Sevenfold, anyone? Guilty All the Same features some insane drumming and a wicked guitar riff that oozes A7X. Therefore, it should go without saying that this is a heavy song. Rakim fits right in with the Linkin Park crew, his voice acting as a fitting substitute for Shinoda’s, as they do sound similar. I would have liked for the band to have carried the dark piano throughout the song rather than just teasing it in the introduction, but Guilty All the Same is a great listen regardless.

First off, Guilty All the Same is the song that got me excited for the release of this album. I can easily get a feel for the metal vibe in this song due to the shredding guitar riff and heart-pounding drums. I also love Chester’s vocals on this track, and how he can easily go from singing softer to singing louder when the song transitions from the verse to the chorus. This is a perfect workout song. I love how heavy it is. I am not a fan of Rakim though, and I would have preferred to have Mike rapping instead.

The Summoning

The Summoning is a boiling of sound that teases a coming explosion…that never comes. I understand that this song is succeeded by War, a full-length song, but regardless, the building of this grandiose piece should not have ended where it did. Wasted potential, this track is.

Unfortunately, The Summoning is a short track that makes me wish (as usual) that it was longer. I feel like this song could have been something grand. It had high potential. It’s a dang shame that this 1 minute track is just a bunch of sounds thrown at us.

War

War is far from melodic. Chester yelling over uninspired-sounding guitar isn’t musical in the slightest. War isn’t a track that is infused with any sort of edge, making it forgettable before it could even be memorable.

War is another short song, but unlike The Summoning, it is a very satisfying piece of music. This song reminds of punk rock, much like Given Up from Minutes to Midnight. War sounds like it could be a song from another favorite band of mine, Rise Against! Once again, this is another solid, heavy song from LP! Linkin Park going punk is never a bad thing.

Wastelands

Throughout the duration of Wastelands, I was waiting for Chester to yell “Guilty All the Same!” This song sounds very similar, as far as I can tell, though the music in this track is far less interesting than the music in Guilty All the Same. No captivating guitar riff. No intriguing drumming. Wastelands is a repetitive song without any drive. I’m not a fan.

Right away, we are hit with an amazing guitar riff followed by Mike’s rapping. Wastelands begins by hitting us hard, and it remains hard-hitting for the entire song. Chester’s classic screaming is music to my ears. This song is nostalgia for older fans. It may be a bit repetitive, but that is no problem in this case.

Until It’s Gone

Chester begins this song by telling the listener that the message that he is about to communicate has been heard a thousand times, yet he goes ahead and tells us anyway. With a different message, this song could have been a success, as the music holds its own. The cliched, unoriginal lyrics keep it from getting off the ground, however. Don’t bother with Until It’s Gone.

Until It’s Gone really showcases how great Chester’s voice is and why I am a fan of it. The song starts off slow, but then it picks up, although it does so without much screaming, which is fine. I don’t mind when Chester calms down his vocals. The instruments also tie in well with this song. Many may find this song boring and bland, but to me, it is a solid track on the album. It reminds me of Minutes to Midnight.

Rebellion (feat. Daron Malakian)

Daron Malakian must have snuck all of his band-members into the studio, because Rebellion sounds like an all-out collaboration between System of a Down and Linkin Park. The rapid guitar and grooving drums are staples of System of a Down’s style, and they are present for the whole duration of the song. Even the lyrics and melodies within the song are SOAD in essence. I really dig the influence that System of a Down had on the sound of this track. Rebellion is a big success.

The guitar riff in Rebellion reminds me of the riff in the song Assassin by Muse. With a title like Rebellion, I expected a song that spurred rebellious feelings. This song manages to do that. I could imagine people marching to this song, or having it be a theme song for anything in life. I absolutely love the guitar riff and vocals in Rebellion. Chester’s screaming, once again is pleasant to hear, and makes this song even more epic!

Mark the Graves

Mark the Graves is like that kid who you don’t ever want to encounter on a plane, in a restaurant, or in a movie theater. You know, that kid who can’t sit still for one minute? Mark the Graves is full of progression and fluctuation, keeping itself fresh for the five minutes that it runs. In the end, however, Mark the Graves is only a good track. Its frequent changes and jumps keep it from being branded as anything but that child who can’t sit still.

Once again, we get an intro that is just blasted away by heavy music. Mark The Graves has great harmony in it. It is nice to get a song that just features Chester’s voice without Mike’s rapping in it. Mark the Graves tells us loudly and clearly that Chester is angry at the world. This awesome band has created another great track.

Drawbar (feat. Tom Morello)

I don’t know what the hell a drawbar is, but I sure do enjoy this song. Drawbar is an outstanding instrumental piece from Linkin Park. The drumming, the piano, and the ambient guitar work together to create a cohesive, individual song that should be regarded highly. I am thankful that Linkin Park has ditched their electronic sound. If they hadn’t this track wouldn’t have been happened the way it did.

I was excited to hear Tom Morello play guitar in an LP song, but instead, I  got to hear piano playing in this interlude song. This here is a wasted opportunity for Linkin Park, although I do not mind the entirety of the song, as it is guided by flowing piano and smooth drums. It is the odd ball of the album. Still, Drawbar is a solid instrumental song that is a breath of fresh air from all of the crazy, heavy, and heart pounding songs that are on The Hunting Party.

Final Masquerade

The title of this song is extremely fascinating, but the intrigue stops there. This mediocre track is nothing we haven’t heard before. There is some solid melody peppered at some points in the song, but it doesn’t carry much weight. 

Final Masquerade starts off with an awesome drum beat followed by the top-notch vocals. This song reminds me of Shadow of the Day and Leave Out All the Rest from Minutes to Midnight, two songs that I am a big fan of. I love how much softer this song is compared to the rest of the album. Final Masquerade communicates a great message, and the guitar is flawless. This, much like Rebellion, could easily be a theme song. People will be able to find closure with Final Masquerade.

A Line in the Sand

I feel that what makes the best songs from the Hunting Party the best is their tightness. When Linkin Park doesn’t pause to throw out a soft verse. When they focus on the music rather than the tender lyrics. A Line in the Sand betrays all of that. They went back to the basics. This song isn’t captivating or catchy. It’s just there. Chester clearly gave his all, as did Shinoda, but A Line in the Sand is a worrisome closer. Is this the future of Linkin Park? Will they retreat to New Divide? A Line in the Sand has me scratching my head. I thought the guys flushed out this sound. 

A Line in the Sand sounds like many other songs on the album, and retains the eerie noises and guitar riffs that the rest of the album has showcased. When Mike first sang, it reminded me of Pink Floyd. This song has an ominous atmosphere, and it is epic! A Line in the Sand has more of what we love from Linkin Park, and is the perfect song to end the album with. Mike and Chester are so great together, and this song shows it. I love how the band really comes together more in this album, and how the main focus is not the lyrics for once. What I love about this album is that each song ties into one another. I am proud to say that The Hunting Party brings back the Linkin Park we all missed, and it is my favorite LP album thus far. You will not be disappointed with this album, and it blew my expectations all the way to the moon! Thank you once again for reading this roller coaster ride of hell review, and stay tuned for more!

My Top 3

All for Nothing

Guilty All the Same

Rebellion

Robby’s Top 3

Rebellion

Final Masquerade

A Line in the Sand

Over all, The Hunting Party is a huge step in the right direction for the Linkin Park crew. The hard rock/metal sound that fans have been pleading for has returned with a new edge. This album isn’t stellar all the way through, however. There are plenty of weak tracks. Still, this small T-Bone is an enjoyable cut as long as you pick the meat out from the fat. I hope that Linkin Park embraces this musical direction and fleshes it out. They have some work to do, but there is hope for these guys yet. This isn’t quite the revival of the group’s image, but it is the conception of something greater.

~Juck