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 Jew and Palestinian. 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

Daniel Lanois Album Review: Acadie (1989)

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

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Acadie, Daniel Lanois’ debut album. Due to music being very opinionated, I brought my cousin Robert on board with me to assist with the review.

In green is my opinion. Daniel Lanois is predominantly new to me, though I have heard some covers of his more popular songs. I am eager to take a listen to his first album.

In blue is my cousin Robert’s opinion. He isn’t familiar with Daniel Lanois, but he is excited to give this album a listen.

Still Water

Still Water is an excellent introduction to this unique album. The lyrics put me at ease. Full of nature-centric imagery that is definitive of Acadie, as well as relaxed acoustics, Still Water is a promising introduction to Daniel Lanois’ sound.

The moment that I heard this song, it sounded familiar to me, and that is because the Dave Matthews Band plays it sometimes! Still Water is a nice, peaceful tune to start the album off, and can be easily enjoyed while watching the sunset, or at the end of the day. It’s not too heavy and not too light. Anybody can easily listen to this song and enjoy it.

The Maker

This bass-driven song is epic. The lyrics tell a sincere, introspective tale. Through The Maker, Daniel Lanois tells the story of the common man in a poetic way. This song is soothing, and it swells to a satisfying conclusion by the end of its duration. I’d like to hear Lanois sing about microwaving something. It’d probably sound fantastic. 

The Maker has a really cool bass riff to it that remains constant throughout the entire song. Daniel’s voice is very soothing, and the percussion in this track is great. As usual, I love the guitar. This song is a nice follow-up to Still Water. The Maker is a song that anybody can easily listen to no, matter where they are. (Unless you are at a restaurant that blasts music so loud that you literally have to yell to the people you are talking to.)

O Marie

O Marie has a very traditional, patriotic vibe. Out of curiosity, I sought the English translation to the beautiful French lyrics and found that this song is about picking tobacco. Labor. O Marie is yet another display of the simplicity of the story of the common man. It is easy to imagine Canadians siphoning syrup from trees while singing this song.

Looking at the title, I thought that this song would be a cover of the Dean Martin song, Oh Marie. To my surprise, this song is not a cover, but an acoustic number that Daniel sings in French, which I really enjoy. The French gives this track a soft sound.

Jolie Louise

This song kicks ass. It has an upbeat, Elton John-esque vibe. Lanois’ vocals are top notch, the accordion sounds fantastic, and the bass is a pleasant touch. The mixture of French and English lyrics is intriguing, as they work together wholeheartedly. “I will work until work is done” is a simple yet satisfying lyric that is admirable. Jolie Louise is a fun song that is sure to brighten anyone’s mood.

I know what all of you are thinking: Not another French song about a girl! This one, however, tells a story through the meaningful lyrics. It is simplistic and fun! I really love the sound of this song, as well as the fusion of English and French lyrics, which work very well together.

Fisherman’s Daughter

Fisherman’s Daughter is a track that floats. The acoustic guitar is entrancing. The poem at the end of the song is undoubtedly atypical, though it is thought provoking. The ambient vibe that is radiated from Fisherman’s Daughter is a welcome contrast to Jolie Louise. This is an inventive, experimental song that works in its delivery. 

Wow! This song is purely mystical! I advise you all to listen to this track in a dark place, under the stars, or at a campfire with your eyes closed. There is a poem spoken at the end of the song, however, and in my opinion, it should not be there. I am not a fan of it at all, especially because it ends abruptly. Still, the music in this song can take you away on a journey through the clouds. Fisherman’s Daughter can easily make you fall asleep.

White Mustang II

White Mustang II is defined by the piercing saxophone that comes in towards the latter end of the song. It is a nice ambient track, though it doesn’t hold as much individual weight as Fisherman’s Daughter. As I said, it’s the saxophone that keeps the song together. I don’t dislike White Mustang by any means. There simply isn’t too much going on.

I love Mustangs, (the car), so I thought this song would be about driving in a Mustang or something like that. I was way off. This is not the type of song that anyone would play while driving. It is really sad, and would be best listened to when you have that lonely feeling. It is beautiful yet depressing at the same time. It was also featured in an episode of The Sopranos, so that’s a plus!

Under A Stormy Sky

Under A Stormy Sky is a festive, uplifting song. I feel that this track would have been stronger if Lanois had dropped the French, but that is only because the rhythm and rhyme of the English was on point. But what do I know? I’m simply a plain American who doesn’t have an education. What is algebra?

Under a Stormy Sky is another song with French and English lyrics that has a country feel to it. It is another feel-good song that could always put a smile on your face. Now THIS is a song that I would play in the car for sure! I just wish that it was longer.

Where the Hawkwind Kills

Every time I hear this song, I throw on some war paint and stalk squirrels. I conceal myself in the bushes and strike when I see fit. The percussion in this song is intense and fast-paced, and it drives the music forward. This song is an interesting one, as it combines ambient sounds with classic-sounding electric guitar and slight hints of Middle Eastern vocals and sounds. Where the Hawkwind Kills is an empowering song.

This song definitely has a desert theme to it, and reminds me of Arabic music. I really love it, especially because of the bongos (I think they are bongos). It is a perfect song to play when you are in that ” hot summer day” mood.

Silium’s Hill

Silium’s Hill is a sad song. It is very clear that Silium’s Hill is a delicate song that is significant to Lanois. The acoustics are tender, the lyrics are reflective, and the sum of the song is grief-filled. Like many tracks on this album, Silium’s Hill has a hint of mystery despite its mostly straightforward lyrics. This wondrous quality of Lanois’ songs keep them fresh and new. 

I really love how soft this song is. The entirety of Silium’s Hill is driven by Daniel’s vocals, complemented by the acoustic guitar and some ambient noise. It is simple yet, at the same time, you can tell that there is something inside of the lyrics that make you wonder what the song is really about. It is one of the best 3 minute songs you will ever hear.

Ice

The distorted guitar and rhythmic bass pair well with the melodic lyrics. Ice has a Peter Gabriel kind of sound to it, both in terms of the progression and the vocals. This song is pretty damn cool. (see what I did there?)

Ice is a very electronic-sounding song, but I really like it! It is interesting, and the sounds that are coming from this instrument, (a Suzuki Omnichord), is very ominous and magnificent! I really do not know how to describe the sounds, but the way that they pair with the lyrics are just mind blowing!

St. Ann’s Gold

I ain’t sayin’ she’s a gold digger! Oops, wrong song. St. Ann’s Gold is a relaxing song with genuine meaning to it. It retains that trivial vibe that Lanois has done a remarkable job incorporating into his lyrics, allowing it to have a longevity across multiple listens. I dig this song.

St. Ann’s Gold is another song that I love the intro to! (I am well aware I say that in lot of reviews, but honestly the intro is what should hook you into a song). It has that laid-back feel to it. I could see myself sitting alone at night outside just chilling with a Lemonade or Sweet Tea with this song playing. St. Ann’s Gold is another acoustic-heavy song that is easy to relax to.

Amazing Grace

Daniel Lanois closes out this spectacle of an album with his own rendition of Amazing Grace. While Amazing Grace in its traditional form is full enough in its simplicity, Lanois’ version is just as beautiful. The climax at the end of the song is an appropriate conclusion. Amazing Grace a la Lanois is a fantastic closer to Acadie.

Amazing Grace is the song that we all know and love/hate, but Lanois makes it his own, and it sounds like no other version! I love how he ended the album with a song like this because it ties in well with how the rest of the songs sound. I am usually not a fan of Amazing Grace, but the way that this version is played, along with all of the sounds, is musical genius. This is a powerful song to end a powerful album. The way it gets faster and louder at the final minute is simply great. As usual, thank you all for reading another review. As always, stay tuned for more! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some Lemonade to drink!

My Top 3

The Maker

Where the Hawkwind Kills

Ice

Robby’s Top 3

Still Water

Where The Hawkwind Kills

Ice

Acadie is a fantastic album. If I were to put any single record to the word ‘winter,’ it would be this one. Daniel Lanois establishes an individual atmosphere with each of his songs. There is not one bad song on this album. It is a definite Filet, pulled from the body of the most tender bison out in Canada.

~Juck

Coldplay Album Review: Ghost Stories (2014)

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

In green is my opinion. I greatly enjoyed Coldplay’s first album, though their newer music does not appeal to me. I hope that Ghost Stories is something closer to their original sound that I have grown to love.

In blue is my cousin Robert’s opinion. He too enjoys Coldplay, and agrees that Coldplay’s older sound is preferable. He is looking forward to giving this album a listen.

Always In My Head

Always In My Head is a song that throws the listener back to the opening track of Coldplay’s Mylo Xyloto by the same name. The ambient sounds present on this track are spacey in the new, familiar Coldplay way. Chris Martin’s vocals are not too shabby, but they aren’t anything special either. The lyrics are unimpressive. Always In My Head is dominated by noise that interrupts the relaxing flow that I presume the band was going for. This song is an odd choice to set off this album, as it lacks energy of any sort.

Always In My Head starts off slowly, but then transitions to nice-sounding guitar paired with Chris’s smooth voice. I really love how calm this song sounds. It is a great way to start off the album. Nothing is too loud or overbearing, so it is an easy listen, though I do not like how suddenly it ends.

Magic

Beginning with a Red Hot Chili Peppers-styled bass intro, Magic offers a cleanliness that was missing from Always In My Head. Noise doesn’t corrupt the easy flow of the song. Instead, it remains slow and steady, the music fluctuating ever so slightly to keep it moving. The lyrics aren’t poor enough to be called sappy, though they aren’t sung with the gusto with which Chris Martin has previously sung other songs revolving around the topic of love, whether it be love had or love desired. Magic doesn’t have the charm that it desires.

I love Magic’s bass intro, but the rest of the song is really boring up until the guitar finally comes in, but even that cannot not save the song. Magic sounds like old-school pop and R&B, which does not appeal to my taste. We do, however, get a nice vocal variety from Chris. I feel that this song could have been better, but it falls short altogether.

Ink

Ink begins with a bright, easy intro that oozes happiness. It was when Chris started to sing that I realized that Ink is dark. I dig the irony of the song created by the contrast between the music and the lyrics. The references to Yellow were well appreciated, and the wonky acoustics solidify the throwback to Parachutes. I enjoyed Ink.

I really love the beat that this song carries with it. It sounds magical. Ink is lyrically a great song. To me, it seems that Ink is  literally about getting tattoos. If I ever got a tattoo, I know that my dad would kick me out of the house, but I feel like this song has a love-centric vibe to it as well. Ink is very pleasant, and I love how it picks up in tempo towards the end.

True Love

With a name like True Love, this song has no other option but to be a grand achievement. Driven by a riff clearly inspired by The Police’s iconic Every Breath You Take, True Love contains emotion. Chris’s offhand vocalizations aren’t meaningless sounds in the case of True Love. His pained state is amplified by the haunted, broken-sounding guitar that sings towards the end of the song. The touch of the guitar was well appreciated. True Love is a successful, memorable song.

True Love has a nice intro. It is a sad song, and its sound reminds me of  Radiohead. The violin really helps to establish the sad mood, as does Chris’s vocals. What really steals the show for me is the guitar solo. I never knew that Coldplay could pull off a solo like that, and I did not see it coming! True Love can really make you cry, as it counters Ink’s lyrics.

Midnight

I can’t understand a word that Chris Martin is saying. The ambient noises that fill Midnight are not calming or interesting. For five minutes, I sat through Midnight waiting for something to happen. This song moves neither forwards nor backwards. The only musical thing that can be gathered from Midnight is the brief melody that was taken from Paradise. Other than that, it offered nothing of interest. Coldplay attempted to create a progressive, ambient song that climaxed with dynamic sounds. Instead, they crafted an odd, uninteresting song that randomly erupted into nonsensical electronic noises. I did not enjoy Midnight in the slightest.

Right away, I heard a Pink Floyd-esque sound in Midnight, and I really love that! It is as if this song is taking you on a night journey that allows you imagine that you are travelling through the stars and seeing everything that nature has to offer. Midnight is just beautiful. I can just lie down on the grass, look up at the sky, and listen to this song.

Another’s Arms

Another’s Arms is a unique song in that it has astounding balance among all of its components. This song swells up and grows into a dynamic groove that is greatly satisfying. The female vocals are top notch, Chris’s lyrics are interesting, the chord progression is potent, and the whole package of Another’s Arms manages to combine all of these elements into a cohesive track. The electronic noises are individual and complementary to the sum of the entire song. Another’s Arms could easily become a live spectacle.

I love the intro of Another’s Arms because of the piano, but I am not a fan of the beat because it reminds me too much of electronic music. The electronic sound, however, does work with this song, and I do not mind it so much since the lyrics are great once again. I feel like this song could be put into some RPG and be ideal to listen to while exploring a vast open-world environments. The song does get better, and I believe that it has to potential to grow on me over time. 

Oceans

Oceans was, unfortunately, a stale song. Martin is unable to control his falsetto on this track. It sounds as if he is forcing the words out in a very unnatural manner. The electronic bleeps don’t help Oceans whatsoever. The violin that intrudes half-way through the track remains in one key, adding more noise and no music to Oceans. The sound of the ocean is a gimmicky conclusion to this fruitless song.

I automatically loved this song from the title alone, but it turns out that Oceans truly is a breath of fresh air for fans of the Parachutes album. I am overjoyed that we have song on this record that showcases Coldplay’s old roots. Oceans is a mellow song with simple guitar-playing that can put me to sleep (In a good way). I love Chris’s vocals, as well as the fact that this track is acoustic-heavy with some string thrown in. I also love the water drop sound that is heard throughout Oceans. The sounds that are present at the end of this song are nice touches, even if most listeners may think that it drags on the track for no reason.

A Sky Full of Stars

A Sky Full of Stars erupts into a flurry of piano, electronic noises, clapping, and acoustics. It is a cheery song that is likely to attract listeners because of its simplicity, but in the end, despite the boldness that it embodies, it is a dance song. Bottom line. I feel that A Sky Full of Stars could have been handled differently, as the easy piano introduction pointed to an older Coldplay-oriented route that could have been taken. 

A Sky Full of Stars starts off with piano that is built up from the end of Oceans. I love the piano in this song, and the mix is pretty great as well! I am usually not a fan of electronic mixes in songs, but Coldplay is making me love them! I can tell that Coldplay is being really experimental with this album. A Sky Full of Stars showcases that creativity perfectly.

O

I understand the bird metaphor that Chris Martin is trying to illustrate, but I am not buying into it. The message is tired. With Chris behind the keys, I expected more energy and power in the music, but instead, the song is a downer. I do get a hint of emotion from Martin, as he emulates a feeling of true sadness. Other than that, O does not have much going for it. Oh, and that’s a stupid title for a song. (Says the guy who listens to the Dave Matthews, who wrote songs named #27, Cornbread, and Proudest Monkey. Wait. They have a song called Oh as well. At least they had the common decency to add an ‘h’ at the end.)

This magical and creative album ends with “O”, which is another song that reminds me of Parachutes. It seems to me that this album is trying to be a modern day Parachutes, and I am fine with that. “O” is yet another mellow song with great lyrics and piano playing. The ending of “O” sounds like the beginning of the album, with the bass taking it away for us. I love how Coldplay decided to be creative with this album and add a lot of electronic sounds to it while trying to incorporate some of their old sounds in it as well. Overall, this album sounded much better than I thought it would, and fans should not be afraid of how different the album is. Coldplay, like Avenged Sevenfold, is a band that takes the risk of changing their sound with every album and tries to make it work. Thank you all for reading yet another review and be sure to pick up this album. Check out the 3 bonus songs that go along with it. Stay tuned for more reviews, and if you have not already, go read the dozens of other albums that we have reviewed already!

My Top 3

Ink

True Love

Another’s Arms

Rob’s Top 3

True Love

Oceans

Midnight

Ghost Stories from Coldplay is an album that exceeded my expectations. To be blunt, I expected pop trash. Instead, I got an album seasoned with some great material. Coldplay pulled from Parachutes while also experimenting with new, innovative sounds. While not all of it is spectacular, certain songs from Ghost Stories can work its way into the live show in an interesting way, and a variety of the studio recordings will reserve a spot in the hearts of Coldplay fans old and new. This Porkchop, while it is fatty, is a hearty yet small dose of some great meat. 

~Juck

Lydia Album Review: Illuminate (2008)

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

*requested review* Abbe Hinder, who runs her own blog centered around music and books, requested that Robert and I review this album.

In green is my opinion. I have never heard of this band. This album will be my first exposure to their music.

In blue is my cousin Robert’s opinion. He isn’t familiar with Lydia either. He enjoys indie rock, however, and so he is looking forward to this album review.

This is Twice Now

This is Twice Now begins with some great piano and then eases into a nice groove. I am not a huge fan of the singer’s voice, but it is bearable, as he does sing the lyrics tenderly. The drummer does a fantastic job here as well. This is Twice Now is a nice introduction to this album. Let’s see what Lydia can bring to the table.

I was hooked to this song the moment that I heard the nice piano intro. The lyrics are really nice and the chorus is wonderful. I love the vibe that this song brings. This is Twice Now is a warm welcome to start this album.

A Fine Evening for a Rogue

This song is like a steak that the chef insists is worth 50 dollars that is actually worth closer to 15 dollars. Lydia slaps a lot of muscle onto this song, with bold instrumentals and nonsensical lyrics that they feel nobody will question, but in the end, there is no heart. It’s a sappy song, is what I am trying to say. I don’t doubt that it has meaning to the singer, but I am failing to figure what this guy means by what he is saying.

I really love the guitar and drums in this song, as they are perfectly harmonized. The lyrics are great too, and I love how the last minute of the song is solely instrumental. I feel that the lyrics are telling a story, but I cannot seem to figure them out, which makes me want to listen to this song over and over again.

I Woke Up Near the Sea

If I were to order a steak at a restaurant and be served a dish with mashed potatoes squished into an ugly mountain with asparagus hanging off of the sides, I would name that dish I Woke Up Near the Sea, because this song is a mess. The band tries so hard lyrically to be metaphorically insightful and fails on every level. If a singer is  going to diss a girl, he has to it right. If it isn’t done right, the singer sounds like a twerp. Exhibit A.

If I ever woke up near the sea, and this was song I first heard, I might end up feeling sad. I cannot tell if this song is supposed to be deep or not, but I still love the words, as they make you wonder what the song is really about.

Hospital

Hospital doesn’t move anywhere but backwards. Let me be clear. I listen to Dave Matthews. I am quite good at understanding what he is saying, even between all of the noises and quirks in his voice. But when vocal effects are slapped onto shouting, it makes it too difficult for even me to understand. A track with potential, Hospital manages to fall flat due to the unintelligible lyrics. I would imagine that this song is much more of a spectacle live, but, unfortunately, it was captured poorly in the studio.

The moment that I saw the title of the song, I knew that it would be sad. Sure enough, it is, and it can be emotional at times. Once again we get some powerful lyrics that are drilled into our minds and manage to linger. It’s because of how deep and emotional the song is that I love it!

Fate

There we go! A song that moves! I still can’t understand what this guy is saying, but the music is dynamic enough on its own to make an impression. The piano and bass sound remarkable, standing out among the other fantastic instrumentals provided. Fate sounds warmly familiar, and while it isn’t a stellar track, it is one that knows what it is doing. This track reminds me of the Arctic Monkeys’ Fireside, which isn’t a negative thing by any means.

After two deep and emotional songs, Fate gives us that uplifting sound that we have been wanting. I love the instruments in this song as well as the lyrics, once again. I also love how the vocals are at a lower octave rather than a higher one, because it effectively establishes the positive mood.

Sleep Well

The drummer should do us all a favor and ditch this band. He should pursue other endeavors with talented musicians. He does a fantastic job on this song. No other component comes close to topping the drums. I strongly dislike this song because of how little it offers.

If you ever have a bad day (I have had many of those days) and you need something to make your day better, then listen to this song. You can thank me later when your day brightens up like an emerging sunrise. The instruments are what make this song bright, while the lyrics do the opposite, creating an interesting contrast. I could easily sleep well after listening to this song.

Stay Awake

There is nothing about this song that has any kind of weight or value. I would like it if the singer stopped yelling and the band played something that’s different from the last fifteen tracks.

When I saw that this song was called Stay Awake, I immediately thought that this track would be a polar opposite to Sleep Well. I literally had to look up the lyrics to this song because of how sad and deep it is. It seems like the guy really loves a girl, but their relationship cannot go any further. The guy is then stuck in the rain feeling sad, as a big part of his life is missing. This is by far the most depressing song on the album. Their relationship is going downhill, but the guy still loves the girl. I really wish that I could relate to this song. Words cannot describe how beautiful this song is.

All I See

Well, at least my ears aren’t being violated. Regardless, there is nothing remotely musical about All I See. To keep from coming across as juvenile, I try my best to refrain from using the word ‘annoying.’ But I cannot control myself any longer. This song is annoying.

All I see turns to brown. No, wait, wrong song, wrong band! All I See is another one of those songs that is emotional, mainly due to the instruments. We also get some more powerful vocals about how dangerous love can really be.

One More Day

The beginning of this song reminded me of the fast-moving Fate, and so I was hopeful. Unfortunately, my hopes was instantly shattered once the song sank back into the same repetitive sound as the other tracks on Illuminate. The guitar solo was enjoyable, but I can’t understand why the guitarist hadn’t shown off his tricks earlier on the record.

I cannot even tell what the meaning of this song is, and I honestly do not think anybody will be able to. One More Day has the great lyrics and instruments that have been making these songs great. The songs are getting repetitive, but  it is why this album and the songs are likable. They really play with your emotions.

…Ha Yeah It Got Pretty Bad

This cheekily named song oozes Coheed and Cambria, which is a great thing. I heard a lot of Coheed and Cambria as a young lad, and this short track emulates them in their sound. I dig this little tune.

Dang it! Why do we have to get a short song? The guitar on this track is nice, but if the song was longer, it would have been better. This is why I hate songs that are only a minute long, because you always want more to be said. This song could have benefited from being longer.

Now the One You Once Loved Is Leaving

Where the hell has this girl been the whole time? She’s fantastic! The dark piano complements her vocals, and the chorus is rhythmic and emotional. This song has structure and melody, two things that almost seemed impossible for this band to lock down. This girl should not have been benched for the duration of this album. Instead, she should have taken over the unmoving lead vocalist’s role. I feel that she could have saved this album from being the flat line that it was. 

Illuminate ends with the longest song on the album, which contains a guitar sound that pleases me. I love the lyrics as well, which pair well with the guitar. This is a mellow song to end the saddest album I have ever listened to. I also love how it ends with the guitar. I would like to thank Abbe for requesting this album, as I will gladly add it to my CD collection. As always, thank you all for reading yet another album review. Please check out our other reviews and stay tuned for more!

Top 3

Fate

…Ha Yeah It Got Pretty Bad

Now the One You Once Loved Is Leaving

Top 3

Hospital

Sleep Well

Stay Awake

Before I provide my final thoughts, I’d like to thank Abbe once again for requesting this album. I truly hope that you don’t hate me because of my critical opinions. Over all, this album was an underwhelming listen. There are some moments that displayed the potential of individual band members, but the combination of them resulted in colorless music. I am sorry to say that Illuminate from Lydia is a Hotdog. Because Robert enjoyed it strongly, however, I must deem it a strong Hotdog, topped with onion. I would not recommend this album.

~Juck