Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Old Review: Zaireeka by The Flaming Lips

It outweighs the effort with a glorious experience.

Right, so, yeah.

I've been dark this week because it's been overall incredibly shitty to the point I can't even explain it. Well, no, it's more that I don't want to explain it, partly because I'm too damn tired from lack of sleep and partly because it's a rather personal matter that isn't really unraveling the way I wanted it to. The other part is that I listened to both the Simon & Garfunkel albums I got a while back, and I have no intention of reviewing either of them because they are classics and my words go without saying: they're awesome.

In short, I'm taking a break this week, and maybe next week too, at least from Songs I'm Obsessed With, since that seems to be rather unpopular anyway. In the meantime, I'll post an old album review of one of my favorites. I hope I have your understanding.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

New Björk album

I got Biophilia in the mail today, and I'll be listening to it tonight, so you should expect a review around the weekend.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Songs I'm Obsessed With: "Even Rats" by The Slip

This little shaving came right off the top of my "Most Played" playlist. The only places they've showed up in something rather famous is the first Guitar Hero game and in download form for Rock Band. Yes, that's where I first heard this song, but what is the problem with that? I have this whole argument for discovery of music through music games, that it brings great music to a whole new generation in a different but fun medium, and that really there shouldn't be anything wrong with liking music from a music game. Liking only music from music games, though, I have a problem with.

In fact, the funny thing about the Guitar Hero part of my discovery of this song is that I'm the only one of my friends who adored playing this song in the game. It's apparently known well for its difficulty, and not only was it so much fun to play in that game, but the song itself is just so great.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

My (slightly dorky) Sonnet about Writing Sonnets

I figured I should put some original material up here, since the only other written pieces are written on the spot and aren't really literary in any way or already published. This is a sonnet I wrote about writing sonnets, with an introduction. I was sort of inspired by Bach's music to display the musical elements of the Fugue and his Well-Tempered Clavier books about, well, well-tuned keyboard instruments, to write something to display a writing format. So, I wrote a sonnet about writing sonnets, with a little advice about writing one yourself.

I was taught how to write a sonnet in my creative writing class last semester at Eastfield, and I pretty much fell in love with the idea of writing something to such a specific structure and requiring such short length, since I almost always have to have some kind of structure and/or rhyming scheme and almost never write in free verse.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Heads Up!

I felt it was appropriate to mention that the entire Portal 2 soundtrack is now finally available in its entirety from the Portal 2 website. You can download it here.

Past volumes have released tracks in the game's chronological order. Only tracks from the beginning were available in the first volume, then in the second volume tracks from the middle of the game were maid available. Volume 3 contains all the edited score from the end of the game, including the end boss theme, the music for SPAAAAAAACE!!!! and the ever important "Want You Gone" and "Cara Mia Addio" tracks. If you didn't almost burst into tears when you heard the latter track in the game, you probably don't have a soul.

Volume 1 was probably my favorite out of the three. Though the third volume has obvious things going for it, as far as score goes I liked 1 better. 2 is mostly boring, but I still think the entire Portal 2 score is impressive for a video game. I haven't listened to all of 3 yet, but I'm sure it is quite nice. You can use the above link to download all the score pieces.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Review: The Main Drag - Simmer In Your Hotseat

My only link to Hipsterdom.

My composer essay project: A profile of Claude Debussy

I was tasked with preparing an essay on an assigned composer from our book in Music Appreciation. While I wanted to spotlight John Adams, my teacher said he was too late in the textbook and we wouldn't have time to present him. (We also have to do a presentation on our composers when we cover their time period; I would be the first in the 20th Century period, so I have plenty of time.) Since I was at a loss for who to choose, I asked her to pick one for me. In retrospect, I think I should have chosen Igor Stravinsky, Aaron Copland or Gustav Holst, because she gave me Claude Debussy, a person I hadn't even heard of before that day. I also don't particularly like the person, now that I've done my research. The music is excellent, but the person I don't think I would have gotten along with. Oh well, at least I got to listen to some good music, and I think I produced a pretty good essay. Here it is, for your enjoyment:

Songs I'm Obsessed With: "Upward Over the Mountain" by Iron & Wine

Ah... That's better. This is a song I can talk about.

Songs I'm Obsessed WIth: "Kinfe" by Grizzly Bear

I can barely begin to explain just how wonderful this song is.

Grizzly Bear are a indie folk band, sort of. Listening to Grizzly Bear is like listening to folk music with electric guitars, I suppose. I think it's best you just listen to it.

"Knife" is their "single" from Yellow House, released in 2006. It, too, is a folk-asterisk song.

You know what? I can't do it. I am left speechless by this song. I have nothing I can say about it. Just listen.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Artists I'm Following: Woodkid

So I thought I'd try to invent another regular post, since reviews are so irregular, making "Songs I'm Obsessed With" the only regular post and currently the only thing I'm updating (life's pretty boring right now). The problem with this is how irregular this regular post will possibly end up being, because I might run out of people to talk about. To combat this, I'll do this on a monthly basis instead of the weekly basis I've been maintaining with my other posts. Well, I'll try and see what I can do.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Songs I'm Obsessed With: "Ammonia Avenue" by Alan Parsons Project

I know what you're thinking: out of all the Alan Parsons Project songs out there, I picked "Ammonia Avenue". Well, no you're not, because you probably haven't heard of this group. To you, this group is a totally unknown entity that I just pulled out of a top hat. But to me, it's like reaching into the hat and pulling out something I had no idea was there. That is, I'm not familiar with this band, either. I haven't listened to any other Alan Parsons Project songs or albums, and I probably won't, unless someone very, very good argumentation can convince me to buy an album. Yes, I know, I should be intrigued by the quality of this song and want to explore further, but really there are other things I would prefer to spend my money on right now, especially since I'm saving up for the inevitable rush of new video games.

Monday, September 19, 2011

My coming out story...

I'm From Driftwood is a website that publishes the stories of gay men and women, of their coming out, of their life and times. Nothing sexy, of course, this is meant to be heartfelt and touching. I wrote them a couple of weeks ago with my coming out story and an application for them to publish it. They posted it to their website today. You can read it here. Read some of the other stories they have while you're at it. Gay civil rights is an issue that really needs a name and a story, not just numbers and arguments. These guys provide that.

Songs I'm Obsessed With: Lord of the Rings credit music by Howard Shore

No, that isn't the title because I forgot the name of the song, it's because I'm doing multiple songs in this post.

Howard Shore has to be one of the greatest film score composers alive. His credentials are impeccable, having worked on films such as The Aviator, Mrs. Doubtfire, The Departed, and of course, The Lord of the Rings. In fact, he's so very great he is seconded only by John Williams, who is responsible for almost all the recognizable movie music you've ever heard (Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Harry Potter, Jurassic Park).

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Getting Mylo Xyloto...

I've been on the fence for getting the new Coldplay album, Mylo Xyloto, for a while now. On one hand, I've had a really strong hit-and-miss experience with Coldplay albums in the past. I loved Parachutes, I liked X&Y, I thought A Rush of Blood to the Head was only okay (though I did love "The Scientist" and "Clocks"), and Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends was meh at best. On the other hand, I did really like "Every Tear Drop Is a Waterfall," they're apparently expanding their sound quite a bit, and not getting it would shatter my ability to say I own every Coldplay studio album (I don't get to say that often; only for Cake, The Beatles, System of a Down and Radiohead, maybe one or two more).

In the end I decided to get it. $15 wasn't really going to be a big deal, and if I hate it at least I didn't spend a fortune. It would also bring traffic to the site if I bought and reviewed the new Coldplay album. (It certainly did for I'm With You, to a certain extent.) They are a really popular band, after all, and the reviews for much older albums are just collecting dust anyway. Really, I would review new music if I could, but I just don't have the money to get all the stuff I want. Now, if publishers would send me new music before it came out so I could prepare a review for day 1 and not have to pay for it, then it would be completely different. Unfortunately, a small blog in the dark corners of the internet doesn't get much attention.

So anyway, I will be getting the new Coldplay album. You can expect a review from me within a week of its release. The only other new albums I currently have on my radar are Biophilia by Björk, which I think comes out some time mid October, and Invinsible by Skylar Grey, which does not currently have a release date.

That is all.

Review: Broken Social Scene - You Forgot It In People

The "We Are the World" of indie musicians.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Someone, please tell me this isn't a bad idea!

Something to bring together strangers and have intelligent discussions.

Review: Dream Theater - A Dramatic Turn of Events

A dramatic turn of events, indeed.

New rating system...

For a long time I was against the idea of applying some kind of rating system to my reviews, simply because for so many people it negates the need to actually read the review that I've written. It destroys the point of the review in favor of a simple picture to show people what I think of the thing I'm reviewing, instead of actually reading the details of what I like and don't like.

However, I'm not sure that's the case, and I think that to appeal to a slightly larger audience, I should at least try it out.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Review: Bright Eyes - LIFTED, or the Story is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear To the Ground

I must admit that I didn't know what to expect from this album. I had two things to go by: one, the song "Shell Games," which was released nearly a decade after this album and, according to an acquaintance, does not accurately portray Bright Eyes in their earlier days. Two, I knew the only other artists that used particularly long names and complete sentences for their album and song titles are punk and emo bands. (e.g., "The Only Difference Between Martyrdom and Suicide is Press Coverage" by Panic! at the Disco and "I've Got A Dark Alley and a Bad Idea That Says You Should Shut Your Mouth (Summer Song)" by Fall Out Boy.) Of course, Bright Eyes are neither emo nor punk, but more of a folk band, with Conor Oberst as its founder, backbone and lead singer. Very little of the actual music suggests emo inspiration; in fact, these guys are a hell of a lot better than that.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Dream Theater's New Album

It just came in the mail today, so you should be expecting a review of it at some point in the near future. Obviously if you're interested you probably won't be holding out for me to pass judgement on it, so you'll already have it by now. Anyway, at least you'll be able to read my opinion of the new drummer. All I've heard of the single is a few seconds so I don't really have an opinion just yet. As much as I wish Portnoy hadn't left, I'm sure he's off doing something new and interesting, and as long as this new guy's good enough to fill those shoes, I'll be satisfied.

Incidentally, I also got another ten albums since the fifth. Seven of those were more birthday presents, and three of them, Veckatimest - Grizzly Bear, Hot Fuss - The Killers, and Roll the Bones - Rush. I don't feel like listing the rest because I'm just like that, I guess. You'll see them in a little while anyway.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Songs I'm Obsessed With: "Invisible" by Skylar Grey

Have you ever heard of Holly Brook? No, of course you haven't. She is a singer-songwriter who only released one album back in 2006. At least, I don't remember this. Though, I wasn't really a big music person back then.

Have you ever heard of Skylar Grey? Yes, of course you have. She's been all over the place, being featured in many rappers' songs, like "Coming Home" by Diddy - Dirty Money and "I Need A Doctor" by Doctor Dre (but really more Eminem than Dre). She also co-wrote "Love The Way You Lie" for Eminem, which was nominated for song of the year and record of the year at the 2011 Grammy awards. She recorded a demo of the song, which is on YouTube. Go watch now!

Know what these two people have in common? Have you guess yet? Yes! They are the same person! Wait... you knew that already? I didn't.

Frankly, I've been waiting for news on her Skylar Grey debut ever since I heard "I Need A Doctor" at the Grammies. "Dance Without You" ended up coming out without my knowledge, and when I saw this on the "single of the week" space on iTunes, I was like "HOLY SHIT YES THIS IS AMAZING MUST HAVE NAU NAU NAU!" Then I got her other single, and I was happy. I wish I had gotten this out when it was free, so everyone else could have it for free too, but you'll have to pay a small fee. It's worth it, trust me.

You just need to hear this woman's voice to know she will make waves, and if she doesn't, there's something seriously wrong with this world. Her album is set for Fall 2011. I hope this will hold me over until then.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Video Game Review: "Catherine" - Atlus

Yes, I thought I'd get into reviewing video games.

In a land of sequels, prequels, big budgets, tired old IPs and identical new IPs, one wonders where all the creativity has gone. Certainly not to the next Call of Duty, where all they need is a few more guns and maps to call it a new game, and definitely not the indie game scene, where most of its inspiration seems to come from age-old fads resurrected. What the industry really needs once in a while is a kick in its side from something so staggeringly strange and wonderful that it's almost impossible not to love.

Enter Catherine, the new title from Japanese developer Atlus, who are behind the Megami Tensei and Trauma Center IPs. These people certainly specialize in the weird and creative, and Catherine has only that in common with their other titles, nay, other video games in general.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Book Progress 2.0

I'm kind of going on hiatus from the book for now. I'm still thinking of ideas and writing them down, developing character ideas in my head and all that good stuff, but now written progress other than that is being made. Unfortunately, since college and homework are taking so much of my time lately, I haven't had time to make any progress. Plus, I'm at the point where I'm creating all the little incidentals for Job, like "What's your favorite color?" and "What scares you the most?" That second one might not be so incidental (muahahaha!). Anyway, they're my least favorite part of creating characters, and often it leaves me stumped for the importance. Big things, I can do; little things, finer details, not so much. I'm about 70% done with Job, though, and I think I'll do the other main character next. Well, not so much a main character but an important one nonetheless.

I'll probably pick it back up during the winter holiday while I'm thinking of what I want to take during the Spring semester and preparing ever more for attending a four-year college next fall. You might not see many more progress reports until then, so... until then!

Review: MGMT - Oracular Spectacular

MGMT came from practically nowhere in 2007 to release an album that would become immensely popular and would go on to become one of the greatest albums of the past decade. It's really hard not to have heard at some point one of the songs from this album.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Letting you know in advance...

I received birthday gifts today, many of which are CD album LP's by various artists, including Oracular Spectacular - MGMT, Return to Cookie Mountain - TV on the Radio, 18 - Moby, System of a Down, Transmissions from the Satellite Heart - The Flaming Lips, LIFTED, Or The Story is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground - Bright Eyes, and Pet Sounds - Beach Boys. I will likely be reviewing all of them except the very last one mentioned. I might even start doing video game reviews and do the games I got, L.A. Loire and Catherine. (Yes, I got Catherine. You got a problem with that?) Just thought I'd let you know what to expect in the coming weeks.

Songs I'm Obsessed With: "Knocked Up" by Kings of Leon

Happy Labor Day, everyday people! I'm sure you're not actually reading this and are instead having fun with your not working, but hey, let's take a look at a great song just for kicks.

Long before Kings of Leon were the band known for mega-hits like "Use Somebody" and "Sex On Fire," they, well, weren't really known. Before they were very commercially successful, they had a very different musical style. It was harder, it was heavier and it was more soulful. Not that they aren't good now, they were just different back then, like how The Flaming Lips were different after Clouds Taste Metallic.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Review: The Dissent of Man by Bad Religion

Maybe you noticed how pleasant most of my reviews tend to be, how they try their hardest to look for something decent to hear and to convey to the reader (like I'm With You or Enter the Wu-Tang). If you didn't notice, I certainly did. Fortunately, I happen to have a particularly hateful review of Bad Religion's The Dissent of Man. Here, I can't even reach my minimum of three decent songs because it's all total crap. It's a little short by my current review standards, but that's because I wrote it a while ago, and I didn't really have much to say anyway. I mention reviews for Dookie by Green Day and From Under the Cork Tree by Fall Out Boy, which I would be happy to share if you wanted to see them.

Please enjoy.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Review: Red Hot Chili Peppers - I'm With You

I must apologize for getting this done later than I anticipated. You can see my reasoning in my last blog update that didn't involve a review or a song.

Red Hot Chili Peppers are the kind of band that only release about four albums in ten years. Linkin Park have released all four of their studio albums since 2000; Interpol have released all four of their studio albums since 2002; The Flaming Lips have released four albums since 1999, marking four albums in 2009 with Embryonic; and Red Hot Chili Peppers have probably had the scarcest amount of releases, with Californication in 1999, By the Way in 2002, Stadium Arcadium in 2006, and now I'm With You in 2011, actually making it 12 years with four albums. So what makes them release their albums so irregularly? Judging from the content on this album, it certainly isn't quality.

Review: Smashing Pumpkins - Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness

 I made allusions to this album in my Stadium Arcadium review, and as it turns out I happen to have a review of this one, too. It's an older review, made before I established a better formula, but still pretty decent. Also, I can't seem to turn italics off, so that's a nice little obstacle to overcome. I wanted to make a nice long playlist for a double album, but has only two of the songs I wanted, so I've resorted to YouTube. Sorry about that. Since I AM doing YouTube videos, I'm going to experiment with the way I put them in the post. Please give feedback on whether or not you like it.

Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness is an alternative double album released in 1995 by Smashing Pumpkins. Let me just get this out of the way now and say that it is an incredible, fantastic, wonderful, (insert 100 more positive adjectives here) album. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


I'm going to have to make a delay for my review of I'm With You. I need more time to think about what I'll say than I originally thought. Most professional reviewers for big magazines and publications get copies days or weeks in advance so they have time to compose a decently written review, and since I'm not a professional, I do not get my copies ahead of time. I'll have something written by the end of the week, I promise.

Monday, August 29, 2011

A Conversation I Heard....

Well, today was kind of fun. It was my first day of college and everything went better than expected.

I got there and there were virtually no people in the parking lot I chose. Granted, I got there at 8:30 in the morning, but still, it was pretty nice not to have to drive around for half-an-hour trying to find a place to park. That might all change tomorrow, but this post is about today. My classes were easy to find, too, and not very difficult to get between. My 9:05 AM class is American Literature, and I was pleasantly surprised to see my Creative Writing teacher from last semester teaching (before she was listed as B. Joseph and here she was E. Joseph). I then had Music Appreciation, and as it turns out, my teacher for that class is not a stuck up, uptight old man, but a stout woman with a sense of music that is actually rather current, pulling up Celine Dion and Mariah Carrie for us to listen to (we never got around to it since we had so much to do first day).

On Promiscuity

I'm kind of irritated by all this assumption that gays are all completely promiscuous and anti-monogamous. But what really irritates me is that it seems to be true. So often I come across by-gay-for-gay websites that promote this idea that all its male patrons are bathhouse-going, ultra-horny-always, sexes-everyone people. I suppose it ends up being that way because, well, men will be men, but I guess it makes me mad because it goes against my views. It's kind of hard to concentrate my thoughts into something with structure right now, so I'm sorry if this seems like rambling.

Songs I'm Obsessed With: "Running Up That Hill" by Placebo

The first time I heard this song was during a commercial for a History Channel special on the American civil war. I remember thinking how unfitting it seemed to be for the subject material, but for the commercial itself it was quite good. I suppose it was interesting to see a modern twist for something about the past. I shazamed it to find the song was "Running Up That Hill" by Placebo. Oh, how useful Shazam is, even if I'm wi-fi locked.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Review: Linkin Park - A Thousand Suns

One of the most important things to consider before listening to an album for the first time is what you're about to listen to. You could do this by listening to the little previews in iTunes, finding the songs playing on a radio, or even listening to it on YouTube before you buy it. I prefer the iTunes preview method so I can be pleasantly surprised during the album. But I think this is the main reason why A Thousand Suns was so poorly received by hardcore Linkin Park fans, because it is obviously a drastic departure from their previous work and the fans couldn't reconcile with this fact before listening, thus giving it a bad review.

But let's be honest: compared to A Thousand Suns, everything else tastes of ass.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

One thing I need to make certain everyone knows...

There are read more buttons for just about every post I make here (except this one and the last info post). The problem is that for some it seems like you need to have twenty-twenty vision to see them. Sometimes they appear as grey against a black background, and sometimes they're black against a black background. The best thing for you to do, unless I can fix it, is to make sure to click on the page title and it'll take you to the full page. You can do that if it seems like the post is a little too short for the subject.

I hope no one has any big issues with this, and I'll see what I can do to fix it.

UPDATE: I changed the background color so the "read more" buttons contrast better against it. I'd still like to change the color of the buttons themselves, and I'm wondering how to do that. If anyone has any advise, please bring it forward.

Review: Linkin Park - Meteora

Another older review. I'm sort of counting down to my review of A Thousand Suns, which you'll see tomorrow (I don't have a review of Minutes to Midnight, as I haven't heard it).

Having enjoyed Hybrid Theory, I decided to check out another Linkin Park album of which I have heard good things. What I found was several different things.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Review: Linkin Park - Hybrid Theory

This is one of my older reviews. I didn't bother editing it, so enjoy it in its original state:

What happens when you combine rock, heavy metal, hip-hop and synthetic keyboards? Linkin Park's answer to this question is Hybrid Theory, their first full-length album. Another band that used a similar combination of music is earlier group Faith No More, and though Linkin Park isn't quite as "Epic," they still manage to make a unique and interesting meal from the same ingredients.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Essay: "An Open Letter to Rick Perry"

I wrote this during the fall semester of 2010. I was inspired to write it after I met my first boyfriend (future boyfriend at that time) and I was able to add my self to the essay when I came out. It's about why I think gay marriage should be legalized in the form of a letter to Rick Perry. I had originally planned to send it to him, but I understand he would be much to busy campaigning for presidency. Let me stress right now that I do not support Perry. I really, really hate him, especially now that he thinks he is "driven by God" to run for President. I really just said those things at the beginning to get his attention. It's the only part of the essay that lies. It won second place in the essay division with no tie, behind an essay about the educational system. I met the judge after the award ceremony, who told me how she "never thought of it that way." I think some of the arguments now are sort of weak, realizing now that I can't cite the Bible, or at least Leviticus. I plan on writing another essay of arguments that aren't helping (inspired by a Cracked article on five pro-marijuana arguments that aren't helping) as well as arguments that can and should help. I also wrote it back when I tried to fit the exact standard of many English teachers each time I wrote an essay. I realize now those rule can and are broken. Anyway, despite the somewhat weak arguments, please enjoy "An Open Letter to Rick Perry" by Zachary Armstrong.

Short Story: "Sam In Wonderland"

I wrote this back at the end of 2009 for a creative writing class taught by the mother of a friend of mine. She was a pretty decent teacher, but I was already a pretty decent writer. When I submitted this for the Eastfield writing competition's short story division, I had to do plenty of editing, namely changing the name from "The Forbidden Love." You get points if you understand the title. It ended up winning third place, so I guess someone liked it despite its silliness. Keep in mind that it tied for third place with another piece, which was better than mine (and certainly not as long). Anyway, I now present the "award-winning" piece "Sam In Wonderland" by Zachary Armstrong.

Well, I SUPPOSE it's legal to post these...

I've been thinking it should be a regular thing to do, as a writer, to post my work to my blog. The questionable legality of the next two posts is due to the fact that they have been published. They might hold the copyrights to the pieces, and they might sue me. But screw it! It's my art. They're mine to do with whatever I want.

These two have both one awards. The short story one third place in a competition, and the essay one second place in a different area of the same competition. The short story is a little silly, but I guess someone liked it enough to give it an award. The essay is much more serious, perhaps a little misguided but still good. Please note that I am not a supporter of Rick Perry. I really just said that to get his attention if he ever read it. He probably won't.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Songs I'm obsessed with: Sarah McLachlan - "When She Loved Me"

Do you remember seeing that famous ASPCA ad with all those cute, abused dogs and cats set to that heart-wrenching music? You know, the ad it was almost impossible not to cry watching? (unless you don't have a soul, of course). The music you hear in that ad is the song "Angel" by Sarah McLachlan. The ad made the song famous twice over, already having been a hit when it came out in the 80's.

Do you remember seeing Toy Story 2? You know, the dark sequel to the original hit, first-feature-length animated film? (unless you don't have a soul, of course). The song you heard during Jessie's incredibly sad rejection montage is called "When She Loved Me," also by Sarah Mclachlan. Unfortunately, the song is much less famous than "Angel," but I suppose that's understandable, as many more people likely saw the ad than the movie, and the movie wasn't really as good as the original anyway (though still excellent).

Friday, August 19, 2011

Review: The Flaming Lips - Clouds Taste Metallic

The Flaming Lips have this amazing talent for merging lovable melodies with highly experimental sounds and instrumentals. From Zaireeka onward you can hear examples of this in songs like "A Spoonful Weights A Ton" and "My Cosmic Autumn Rebellion." (which I've included in a separate playlist. "A Spoonful Weighs A Ton" cannot be found on or YouTube, so you'll have to settle for a live version or iTunes).

But that's not the case with Clouds Taste Metallic. It's amazing for an entirely different reason.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Review: The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Electric Ladyland

UPDATE: is now working and I've added a more convenient playlist to the review. However, I thought the music video for "Crosstown Traffic" was so cool that I figured I should just leave it up anyway.

I decided I wanted to do Electric Ladyland pretty much as soon as I started it, despite my earlier post saying I might not. Even as "...And The Gods Made Love" began, I knew I had a lot of things to say about this album.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Final Fantasy Adventures: Final Fantasy

What I've decided to do is play through each and every numbered Final Fantasy game, starting with the first and ending with XIII, excluding XI and XIV because they don't count. So really it'll only be twelve games. Twelve games that average 30 hours each. This is the first installment, where I talk about the first game in the series.

Review: Modest Mouse - Good News For People Who Love Bad News

Let me start out by saying this: How could I possibly have ever fallen in love with We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank compared to this album? Clearly some mistake has been made: a mistake that replaced the idea that I wanted that album first instead of this one. Then again, I guess I should have gotten We Were Dead first, then I wouldn't have been disappointed by it. I knew this album was better as soon as I got to the end of "The World At Large," when I wanted to listen to it transition to "Float On" over and over again (I had been listening to "Float On" for a much longer time beforehand, and I had always wondered what the meaning of that opening tone was).

Monday, August 15, 2011

Regarding the reviews...

I don't want to make the impression that I will be doing these every day, despite my daily habit of listening to new music. I've recently had a backlog of albums that I've taken a while to get to, and I've been trying to get through them recently. I usually do reviews for the albums I listen to, unless there are odd circumstances, like when I went on vacation recently and I didn't have time to write up whole reviews for albums, or unless I feel I shouldn't review the album for whatever reason, like if too many people like it and, should I have to say something bad about it, I'll get a few nasty comments and emails. Then again, I'm only pretending I have readers, aren't I?

What I want to do is try to have at least one review a week, with more if I want to or less if I have to. Right now I only have seven albums in my backlog: Remain in Light, Electric Ladyland, Good News For People Who Love Bad News, Clouds Taste Metallic, A Thousand Suns, Ready To Die, and Imagine. I might not do Electric Ladyland, simply because it's a timeless classic and it's kind of hard to put my word to it. I also probably won't do Imagine for the same reason. If for whatever reason I can't get at least one new review on the site, I have a backlog of reviews from which I can draw, and I can also review one of the many albums in my collection that I haven't put any words to.

Review: Wu-Tang Clan - Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)

What am I doing with a Wu-Tang Clan album? Aren't I the one who once spoke out against rap like this? It's not drugs and women this time, though, it's guns and crime, the very music parents all across the country fear. But also, I am the one who speaks out in favor of open-mindedness, and I try not to hate things I haven't even heard before. Now that I've heard this group, I'm free to hate them as much as I want. ...Or not?

All of a Sudden...

I want a Jay-Z album. The Black Album, it's called. Remember "99 Problems"? Yeah, that's on there.

I remember stumbling through the Internet one day when I came upon a list of the top ten albums of the last decade. This list had not one, but two Dream Theater albums on it (Octavarium and Train of Thought), which I found astonishing. That someone would actually consider Dream Theater for any top ten list, much less albums of the decade. I guess my impression was that no one actually liked them enough to include them in a list counting down good things. It's not that I dislike Dream Theater, I used to love them (and still do), just that I've moved on to bigger and better things.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Book Progress Report

I call myself a writer-in-training because I haven't really put that much out yet. I have been published, actually. I entered four pieces of writing into a writing competition: two poems, an essay and a short story to the poetry, essay and short story divisions respectively. The essay won second place in its area and the short story won third in its. As a result, they were published along with the other winners in the school's honor society's publication, The Eclectic. I also published a poem in the school's literary magazine The Alternative. These are all achievements I hold in high regard, because I never had anything published before. I intend to enter next year too, and maybe I'll place a little higher and win some money.

Review: Stadium Arcadium by Red Hot Chili Peppers

One of the problems I sometimes have with popular music today is the lack of consideration for the whole album. The digital revolution brings about benefits, but the biggest problem is the emphasis on the single instead of the album, so when the album turns into just a collection of singles, often attention is paid just to three or four "radio-friendly" songs and the rest is practically garbage. The funny thing about double albums is that once one considers making it, one considers the album entirely. The irony sets in when you realize that you've created a larger degree of songs that are really quite well-made, instead of just three or four songs worthy of radio play. That degree seems to expand even more when the case of a double album is considered. I'm not really sure what it is about double albums, but when I listen to one, there are so many more great songs, like one for every two instead of one for every four. Take, for instance, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness by Smashing Pumpkins. That album contains 28 songs and well over half are incredible, where the others, though not as good, are still very enjoyable. Also consider Embryonic by the Flaming Lips. If you can get past the extremely avant-garde noise, you'll find about half the songs are excellent.

Songs I'm Obsessed With: The Count of Tuscany by Dream Theater

Please, if you have a spare twenty minutes, I implore you to press the play button at the bottom of the post and listen to this song as you read.

This is something I'm hoping to get into doing on a weekly basis: posting about a song I've recently taken a liking to. If you want to suggest something, comment or email. Just remember that I have to not only like the song, but I have to pretty much get hooked on it to the point that I have to listen over and over again.