Pearl Jam Album Review: Ten (1991)

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

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Ten, the first studio album from Pearl Jam.

In green is my opinion. I am familiar with a few members of Pearl Jam, and have listened to this album before. Other than that, I am not very familiar with Pearl Jam’s discography or history.

In blue is my cousin Robert’s opinion. Being a 90’s kid, he’s heard Pearl Jam on the radio. Rob has always enjoyed their music.

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

Once

Once is a pleasant punch to the face. The mysterious introduction, guided by a gliding bass-line, is very reminiscent of the bass-line from Coldplay’s High Speed. It serves as a swelling, thought-provoking buildup to the explosion that is Ten. Eddie Vedder doesn’t hold back, singing (and yelling) with urgency. He certainly doesn’t sound bored. The Vedder growl and all that comes with it is showcased here, as well as a quick, shredding solo from Mike McCready. The solo, if it can even be called such a thing due to its brevity, is there solely to tell the listener that McCready is there. Once latches the listener on, energetic and excited in its sound.

ONCE UPON A TIME! This album begins with a song that is very intense. It does what all first tracks should do: excites the listener for the rest of the album. The guitar riff is unforgettable, and Vedder’s classic screaming is showcased well. If Once does not make you go crazy, then you seriously have issues.

Even Flow

Even Flow’s main guitar riff sounds a lot like the bass-line from Once. I enjoy Once, I enjoy High Speed, and so, surprise surprise, I enjoy Even Flow as well. The chorus of this song is light in terms of sound yet strong in terms of delivery. Vedder’s tone is full of attitude, oozing grunge. This track is easy to stomach. Think of it as a doughnut that is frothy on the inside and glazed conservatively. It’s smooth and easy to down.

Many know Even Flow thanks to Guitar Hero 3. It’s no surprise that this particular track was featured in the game, because the guitar is amazing. Even Flow is Grunge at its finest. This song always gets me pumped up! Even though I cannot understand what the heck Vedder is saying all of the time, I still enjoy Even Flow.

Alive

This song bothers me. The problem I have with it doesn’t stem from the music, but from the lyricism. The verses are dragged down by Vedder’s poor lyrics. The only outstanding thing that I can say about Alive is that the guitar solo is wicked. Mike McCready did a nasty job. There was no way that his guitar made it out alive out of that one. Alive is an underwhelming track that is made salvageable because of the outstanding solo.

I was first hooked to this song because of the guitar intro. Alive has a wonderful story to it, which I always appreciate in songs. This is my favorite Pearl Jam song, and that’s because of every single element that the song has in it! The guitar solo that ends Alive can be considered one of the greatest solos of all time. I’m not going to lie. Whenever that solo starts, I blast the song and play air-guitar, even if I am in the car! Of course, I still have a hand on the steering wheel. I’m not that stupid!

Why Go

Why Go is a quick, breezy song. For the first time on this album, the drums caught my attention. The drummer isn’t doing anything crazy, but he’s playing pretty hard. Props to him to playing with energy. Once again, Mike McCready rips a solo that is remarkable. Eddie Vedder’s chorus is hard-hitting, memorable, and melodic. Why Go is a nice little song that feels whole despite its shorter duration.

Pearl Jam finally gives us a song with a drum intro and rocking bass. The guitar, as usual, is great, and this song definitely has that “classic” sound to it. Please do not think I mean classical music. I mean classic rock. You’ve got to love that screaming! Just remember: Do your best not to get diagnosed by a stupid !@#$.

Black

I have heard this song more than any other song on this album (thanks to my dad, who bought this album just for the one song) yet I cannot understand half of what Vedder is saying…but I don’t care. Black kicks ass. Vedder’s vocals are top notch. Backed by the powerful piano, he slays both the verses and the chorus . Black is one of the only songs on this album that feels like a band song. By that, I mean that the listener is conscious of everyone at once. McCready is shredding, the drummer is chugging along, and Vedder is vocalizing all over the place. Black just works. I love this song.

Finally, we get to hear a mellow song from Pearl Jam! Black is pure magic, and really displays how great Eddie Vedder is as a vocalist. I love the piano in this song.  It is another song you can really rock out to. Black is a classic masterpiece that could be enjoyed by anyone listening to this album!

Jeremy

Jeremy is a dark song. Damn.  The story tied to the lyrics is haunting, to say the least. To appreciate the song, hearing the lyrics is essential. Prior to looking up the lyrics, I only got a fragment of an idea from Jeremy. Now that I am fully acquainted with this track lyrics-wise, I understand it. In terms of music, Jeremy has both dark and uplifting moments. Jeremy is a solid song that is strong not only in terms of the chorus, as is expected from Pearl Jam, but in terms of the verse as well. It’s a solid song. Oh, and (you knew this was coming) the similarities between Eddie Vedder’s and Dave Matthews’ vocal styles are on display here. Just wanted to point that out.

Keep those awesome bass intros coming! Anyways, Jeremy is another song off of Ten with a wonderful yet depressing story. It is deep and dark. I love songs like that! It is why many other people love this song as well. What is not to love about this song?

Oceans

Oceans is a Pearl Jam song with flavor. From the dipping and rising vocal effects slapped onto Vedder’s voice to his falsetto to the track’s progressive flavor, Oceans is different all-around. I find it intriguing to hear a different side of this band. I hear a lot of Chris Cornell in here, in both the vocals and in the music, which is awesome. I can’t help but feel, however, that Oceans could have been grander, or at least longer. Regardless, I really dig this track. That’s why I want more of it.

Damn it, why are all the songs I really like short? Oceans is one solid track! Hence the title, Oceans would be a great song to play on the beach. I do not know exactly why, but the guitar reminds me of Led Zeppelin, and that is never a bad thing!

Porch

I don’t care for Porch lyrically. The boys play too fast for any of the lyrics to soak in. It’s when McCready steps up to the plate when things get wild. He makes that guitar moan. As soon as he kicks into gear with his solo, the song takes a very dark turn that I dig…then Eddie’s back, and it’s a buzzkill. All of the darkness is expelled. Honestly, I just wanted him to shut up and give the stage back to that wizard with the guitar. Porch was wasted potential. McCready’s solo could have been used as a brooding base for a different song entirely.

Damn Eddie, you really wanted to start this song off angrily! The lyrics to Porch can be related to our world today, and that is just crazy smart. Once again, the guitar-work is stellar in this song, and the bass groove is nice as well. I love how fast and heavy Porch’s sound is.

Garden

Garden is smooth. The entrancing guitar and poetic lyrics swell to a satisfying explosion through the triumphant chorus that sounds warmly familiar. I hear faint echoes of Phil Wickham’s Must I Wait for a note or two in Vedder’s chorus. As much as I do enjoy this song, I feel that it has the potential to grow into a grand live song. (If it hasn’t already. I don’t follow this band’s live shows). It seems to have spaces for sweet jams to sprout. I dig Garden.

Wow! You could just play me that guitar riff over and over again and I would enjoy it! Garden has a lot of soul in it, which usually isn’t expected from a Grunge band. I love how Garden is quiet at some points and louder at others. It is amazing what Pearl Jam can do.

Deep

Deep is exactly what Porch should have been. The guitar-work is a sinful blend of mean and crazy. Hot damn. Vedder controls his yelling to deliver punctuate lines with pure anger and attitude. Deep is out of control and I love it. It is, without question, the heaviest song on Ten. This song is plain cool.

That intro really hits you hard, and I freaking love it! Deep definitely has that classic metal sound to it that was made famous by bands like Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, and Led Zeppelin. I can really imagine Jimmy Page playing Deep, and I love this song because of that comparison! Deep is by far the loudest and heaviest song on the album.

Release

This song is a giant, relieved sigh. The long duration isn’t felt at all. It’s an easy listen despite its heavy nature. What I will call the “Once Reprise” at the second half of the song is a cool instrumental bit that isn’t anything crazy. Pearl Jam says goodbye properly: with confidence.

Release is a slow song, and you can easily tell that it is about fathers. I love how this cry for help serves as a closer to an album that is otherwise heavy. Release shows how amazing Eddie Vedder is as a vocalist, and how legendary Pearl Jam is! Around 5:20 into Release, you can hear the hidden track Master/Slave, which sounds a lot like Jeremy. Clever Pearl Jam!

All in all, Ten can arguably be called the greatest debut album of all time, and is no doubt the best album of 1991. If you have never listened to a grunge band before, this is the place to start. In my opinion, there is not one bad song on this album, so do yourself a favor and pick it up! As always, thank you all for reading, and stay tuned for more reviews!

My Top 3

Black

Garden

Deep

Rob’s Top 3

Alive

Oceans

Deep

Ten took a long time to grow on me, as it is heavier than what I typically listen to. In the end, it did grow on me. Pearl Jam’s debut album is one worth having in your collection. This high-quality, black-charred T-Bone is fantastic, full of energy and confidence. Hats off to Pearl Jam. Debut albums aren’t always this special.

~Juck 

Search Term Sunday: Dreams, Linkin Park, Bugs

Search Term Sunday has returned! All of these bolded terms have been searched within the Google search bar, leading people to Gamerscene. Let’s take a look at what we’ve got.

things wrong with inception

Search not valid.

maze dialogue between cobb and ariaoghini in ‘inception’

I died laughing. Pure hilarity right there. Arigohininini.

scarlet jhonson illusionist

you see, god is a schemer, a schemer trying to control his little world. i’m not a schemer. i try to show the schemers how pathetic their attempts to control things really are

I don’t think that that’s how the line went…

what dave matthews album was the tower that ate people in

Dave Matthews:    Peter Gabriel: 

They are different people.

is stuff like inception true

Yep. Happens all the time. 

dmb lyrics are nonsense

Have you heard that song ‘Gangnam Style?’. It’s like PSY isn’t even speaking English!

7fold haol 2 the king

God help American students. This is what English papers look like nowadays.

love juck

 

linkin park song that has guitars and screaming in the beginning

Try their entire discography.

would you consider bugs coming out the wall as paranormal activity? 

Forget an exorcist, hire an exterminator!

~Juck 

The Top 10 Robbyisms of Wave Two Album Reviews

Those who read the album reviews that are posted here on Gamerscene know that none of them are complete without the opinion of my cousin Robert. There are occasions where Robby says something that is unintentionally hilarious. Now that we have 20 album reviews completed, I am going to dive into the most recent wave of 10 and pick the best Robbyisms. Let me know in the comments which Robbyism you find the most hilarious. This list was a blast to compile, and hopefully it’s even more of a blast to read. A fresh list of Robbyisms will be made at each increment of 10 album reviews. Let’s get started!

(the ranking of the Robbyisms are completely determined by my own personal opinion)

10. “I can imagine square dancing to this song, followed by downing a nice glass of Cream Soda. Oh, you thought I was going to say beer? Beer is for yellerbellies! Yee haw!” – Robert on Johnny Cash’s I’m Movin’ On

The southern blood is strong in this one. Here is a picture of Robert eating gator, right in the heart of South Carolina.

1917014_556585905575_2998270_n

It’s actually a lamb chop. And it’s actually New Jersey. But this picture is still great.

9. “For you French noobs out there, Chaque Nouvelle Page means Each New Page. I am not fluent in French, even though I took it for 7 years (I blame teachers)” – Robert on Dub Inc’s Chaque Nouvelle Page

The fact that Robert takes accountability for his actions is admirable.

8.“Oh no. This song sounds too Arabic. It reminds me of every party my family and cousins go to, because all they do is blast Arabic music all night long. The parties get loud and annoying, especially since we cannot understand a dang word they are saying.” – Robert on Dub Inc’s Foudagh

Truth.

HABIBI! HABIBI!

All.

Night.

Long.

7. “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.” – Robert on Lydia’s Sleep Well

“An emerging sunrise.” Call him Robby Shakespeare.

1014319_157773717743011_308534253_n

Pure sophistication. Graduating from top schools with so many degrees no one can count.

6. “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.” – Robert on Coldplay’s Ink

I can totally envision Robert with a tattoo of a shark on his back. A shark with wings.

5. “I could imagine people marching to this song, or having it be a theme song for anything in life.” – Robert on Linkin Park’s Rebellion

Yes, that song can certainly fit with anything in life. Like cooking. Or a child’s ballet ensemble. Or a funeral.

4. “This song is pure poetry. Honestly, someone should give this guy a Nobel Prize or something.” – Robert on Rodriguez’s Rich Folks Hoax

Robert’s child-like enamor towards Sixto Rodriguez is captured in this very moment. It’s hilarious.

3. “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.” – Robert on Lorde’s White Teeth Teens

I will be sure not to show this post to his parents.

2. “I can imagine myself getting high  (that will never happen) and having a bunch of weird hallucinations to this song. As a side note: I am in no way promoting drugs to any of you. That stuff will mess up/end your life.” – Robert on Pink Floyd’s On the Run

Some vivid imagery is created by Robert as he urges the reader to stay off drugs. Robert seeing unicorns and dragons as he floats on a wave of yellow comes to mind.

1. “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.” – Robert on Rodriguez’s I Wonder

Robert takes a jab at wondering, sex, and Game of Thrones. Rob’s the sheriff and he doesn’t take any crap from anyone. Deal with it.

Let me know which Robbyism was your favorite! Thanks for reading! Request an album and support the album reviews, as Robby and I have no intentions of stopping them.

~Juck

Pink Floyd Album Review: The Dark Side of the Moon (1973)

I want YOU, the viewer, to leave a comment down below to request an album for me and Robby to review. Any artist, any genre, we’ll give it a chance.
-
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you The Dark Side of the Moon, the iconic eighth studio album from Pink Floyd.
-
In green is my opinion. I am familiar with some songs off of the Wall and have listened to this album a few times, but there is a large amount of this band’s music that I have not listened to.
-
In blue is my cousin Robert’s opinion. Thanks to his dad, he was exposed to Pink Floyd ever since he was little. They are one of his favorite bands of all time!
-
Let’s start our track-by-track review!

Speak to Me

The Dark Side of the Moon begins with a steady heartbeat paired with cha-chinging cash registers, alluding to Money, a song that the listener arrives to later in the album. Speak to Me, which climaxes with maniacal laughter and desperate screaming, indicates that Pink Floyd is approaching this album with a sense of humor while retaining a kind of darkness.

We begin our psychedelic journey on one of the greatest albums ever made with a bunch of noises that reoccur throughout the album.  Speak to Me is a nice buildup to the song tied with it, Breathe.

Breathe

Pink Floyd launches us from Speak to Me to Breathe, which is an easy, floating track that is guided by psychedelic electric guitar. Grooving drums as well as tight bass join with the guitar to create a relaxed vibe that this album retains for its entire duration. Thoughtful lyrics complement the spacey sounds. Breathe is a chill song that feels whole and full.

Breathe is musical genius. Water’s vocals are music to my ears. I really love the lyrics as well. Gilmour’s legendary guitar-work shines through the simplistic percussion. The song in its entirety takes you away to a different world. 

On the Run

Trippy. The fact that this kind of music was conceived and recorded in the early 70’s is mind-blowing to me. Pink Floyd was way ahead of their time, experimenting with synthesized sounds to this degree. A steady, subtle rhythm is kept throughout the entirety of On the Run, borrowing that floating quality from Breathe and implementing it here. The clock-ticking at the end of this track creates a bridge to the next song of the album, Time, in such a way that doesn’t feel forced or tacked on. On the Run is a track that is ambient yet full of substance. I dig it.

On the Run starts off in a hurry. Then, sounds that emulate a sort of space station seep into the track. The ending reminds me of an airplane taking off, so this song is perfect for those who are running through an airport to get to their flight on time. Honestly, I can imagine myself getting high  (that will never happen) and having a bunch of weird hallucinations to this song. As a side note: I am in no way promoting drugs to any of you. That stuff will mess up/end your life.

Time

It has just occurred to me that Time would make an excellent morning alarm. I would not mind waking up to this great feat of a song. The first couple minutes of Time could be stand-off music for a western film, and damn good stand-off music at that, but it’s all rock once the band comes in. A wicked, passionate guitar solo adds a lot to this already stand-out track. Breathe creeps into the song at times, even before the Breathe reprise, which is by no means a negative thing. Time is a bold track with plenty to love.

Time is a timeless Pink Floyd classic! Yes, those ringing clocks at the beginning are a pain for headphone listeners, but the thought of them disappears when you are hit with western-sounding guitar with more psychedelic noises. 2 and a half minutes into the song, the band takes over and blows you into space! Once again, the lyrics are brilliant, as is the guitar solo! The ending, which harbors the Breathe reprise, is a smart touch provided by Pink Floyd!

The Great Gig in the Sky

The Great Gig in the Sky is a combustive, powerful, passion-fueled piece of music. The stellar piano, which drives the song, rises in intensity along with the wordless singing/screaming, provided by Clare Torry, who belts out insane vocals. There is an abundant amount of feeling embedded within this track. The Great Gig in the Sky is a song that speaks despite its lack of lyrics, and that is truly a feat in itself.

I would love to go to that great gig in the sky! Oh wait, it’s heaven? No! There is still so much I want to do in my life! Anyways, The Great Gig In The Sky starts with unforgettable piano. Then, we get some yelling that rivals Freddie Mercury’s high notes. The whispers that are included within the song make me shudder. Honestly, this song is very haunting, and that is mostly to the credit of the piano. 

Money

The groovy bass-line that drives Money is a strong foundation on which the rest of the song shines. The lyrics to this song are humorous yet serious at the same time. Most songs about money fall short, and that’s because a majority of them have to live in this song’s shadow. Pink Floyd jams hard on this track. The saxophone solo is less impassioned than the other solos on the record, but it holds its own, nonetheless. Money is notably less ambient than anything else on the Dark Side of the Moon, and so it does stand out a bit more as an individual, single track, yet it glows with the extra attention it gets.

Cha ching! Ah, where to begin with money? It runs the world, controls our life, our countries, and pretty much everything else. This song covers many of the good and bad aspects of money! That riff is just unforgettable, and Water’s vocals are great as always. It is so catchy and fun to listen to! The saxophone solo is genius, and ties in well with the rest of the instruments. What’s the best way to follow a sax solo? A damn good guitar solo of course! These two solos are obviously the highlight of this masterpiece of a record, and my favorite aspects of the song. Money is pure classic rock, and is a great display of how timeless this music is compared to the crap we have today. This song is an oddball compared to everything else on the record, but it is as great as music will get.

Us and Them

Us and Them is a song that has a very grand air about it. Whether that is due to the powerful yet mellow sax or the booming, Queen-like explosions, this song feels very big. The constant progression and deceleration gives the song brisk yet effective speed-bumps among the laid back, worry-free core melody. Us and Them is an anthem that emulates Queen while still retaining Pink Floyd’s individual sound. It’s a big feat altogether, and was pulled off quite nicely.

Us and Them is another mellow song, and it is very poetic. It is hard to believe that this track comes right after the heavy-hitting Money, but it still holds onto the saxophone that highlighted the previous song. The sax is more quiet this time around, and I love it! It reminds me of good old DMB! The guitar is pleasant, and, as usual, the lyrics are beautiful. They have a great meaning. As I often say in our reviews, I can fall asleep to this song, despite how the energy does pick up at some points. It is always nice to hear the piano get some spotlight as well! Us and Them is just pure bliss.

Any Colour You Like

Any Colour You Like, while it is experimental in its predominantly electronic/synthesized sound, doesn’t do it for me. There isn’t a ton of substance here. The ambient quality that allowed the other instrumental tracks to work is not present in Any Colour You Like. I’m not a fan of this song. It’s listenable, but it sure hasn’t been given the time or the care that was put into the other tracks.

It’s not shocking that Pink Floyd starts off a song progressively. I love all of the electronic noises that we hear in this song. The guitar is really cool, nearly putting me into a trance. You can have any color you like, as long as it’s black! (Or in my case, black and yellow! STEELERS NATION REPRESENT!)

Brain Damage

Yes! I hear some touches of Breathe in here. I love Breathe. Every track should sound like Breathe. Every. Track. Ever. Brain Damage had me swaying back and forth. It possesses an uplifting air largely due to its upbeat chorus and the openness of the music. As much as this whole album defines itself, Brain Damage could arguably be called the anthem of the record. Brain Damage is a tight track that connects the beginning of the album to the end.

Oh man, that guitar hook is amazing! The keyboard, the vocals, the laughing, and the lyrics all come together in a satisfying way. “I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon” ,“There’s someone in my head but it’s not me.” Classic, just classic!

Eclipse

In this little song, I hear elements from the Great Gig in the Sky, Us and Them, Breathe, and Speak to Me. Eclipse brings this whole album around full circle (or, should I say, sphere?). Eclipse is a grandiose conclusion to this grandiose album, making yet another connection to the collective sound of the Dark Side of the Moon. Pink Floyd says goodbye on a satisfying note, wrapping up this experience of an album.

This song is such a perfect way to end this timeless album. The harmony is beautiful and the lyrics describe everything so well.

Words cannot describe how wonderful and legendary this album is. Our review doesn’t do it justice! When I first heard this album, I did not get why it was regarded as being so amazing. Once you sit down and carefully listen to the entire record, however, and notice how every song flows with one another, you really come to appreciate the work Pink Floyd has done. This album is considered the greatest of all time for a reason. Pink Floyd is just pure genius. The Dark Side of the Moon is filled with progressive and psychedelic sounds that define the group. This album is a must have for anybody who enjoys music. It has stood the test of time. We will never get another album like this. It truly makes you appreciate music.

My Top 3

Breathe

Time

Brain Damage

Rob’s Top 3

Time

Money

Us and Them

This album will forever be a monumental musical accomplishment. Pink Floyd somehow combined an array of similar yet dissimilar sounds into a record that is essentially one big song. A wildly successful concept album that is worth your listen, the Dark Side of the Moon is a Filet that is out of this world. If you don’t have a copy already, go out and get one. This review has been a pleasure.

Thank you, Pink Floyd, for this album, and as always, thank you all for reading yet another album review. If you hate this album, hate Floyd, find Pink Floyd overrated, or do not own a copy of this record, then you are a person who has Brain Damage, is Out of Time, On The Run, and going to The Great Gig in The Sky during an Eclipse. Guess all that Money couldn’t help you. Good luck Breathing up there! 

*facepalm* Thank you for that Robby.

~Juck

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

~

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.