Saturday, June 22, 2013

MOVIE REVIEW – Monsters University

Monster University


Monsters University is as good as a children’s movie can get. With most children’s movies there tends to be a problem with the story, they always seem to be well worn and something that has been beaten to death. While the new Monsters is not stepping out in unfamiliar grounds for teen to adult films with its college theme, it’s play on college as a G rated film is a welcome breath of fresh air. Managing a story that doesn't feel extremely worn, thanks impart to the setting of being in an alternate world, Monsters manages to deliver a great movie for people of all ages.


One of the greatest triumphs of the movie is that it pulls off being a prequel so well that it can stand alone by itself. While there are a lot of ‘wink wink nudge nudge’ moments in the film, for a new viewer these will easily fly over your head. Thus not interrupting ones viewing experience.


With all this being taken into account it does have its miss steps. The film maintains a slightly off pace, and it does come off as a little cheesy at times despite its efforts to avoid this. Thankfully these missteps are easily forgivable.

B+ "Pixar manages to defy expectations and deliver a solid film. It may not be a classic, but it is perfect  for someone wanting some lighter fare this summer season."

MUSIC REVIEW - Kanye West – Yeezus

Kanye West – Yeezus



Yeezus is Kanye West’s sixth proper LP and his first record since his landmark My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.  Those looking for a retread of the older discography will be sorely disappointed as this LP shares more qualities with KiD CuDi’s third release Indicud.


This is a dark and sexually frustrated album. When Kanye isn’t taking shots at his new found white fan base; he is holding down the fort on his claim to being a sex addict. This album is rife with his sexual exploits and he is not afraid to give sexual meaning to anything and everything. Whether it be describing  himself as a priest of sex, or using the song ‘Strange Fruit’ to reminisce about old conquests. It is not an album for the people who view themselves as a moral oasis in a world of smut.


Overall this album starts out very strong and then slowly degrades during the second half. Around the sixth track the album falls into running annoying and rage inducing samples. ‘Blood On the Leaves’ uses a very annoying sample of ‘Strange Fruit’ that runs in and out of the background. The voice of the original singer seems to have been distorted to the point of causing annoyance.  ‘Bound 2’ is another very promising track ruined by a reoccurring  sample that pulls the listener out of the experience to hear an annoying woman say “Uh huh honey” over and over again in the back ground and occasionally completely overtaking the track. It is annoying and ruins the good flow of the song… all I wanted to do was IGNORE Kanye’s lousy delivery, but I cannot even enjoy the damn flow of the song because every 10 seconds I get to hear UH HUH HONEY UH HUH HONEY UH HUH HONEY

UH HUH HONEY


5/10

Sunday, April 14, 2013

MUSIC REVIEW - Tyler, The Creator – Wolf


Tyler, The Creator - Wolf



Tyler, The Creator is back. No wait, he is not just back; he is thriving. This time he brings an ever more refined sound to the table. As Tyler experiments and develops as an artist he continues to improve the quality of his music.  This is easily seen on such tracks like Jamba, Cowboy, and IFHY. Songs such as these bring forth the moods and impacts that have had fans hooked since the beginning with Bastard. For the die hard and casual fan, there is much to plod through on this LP. At the end of it all, Wolf is in many ways a return to form; but despite this, it only builds and improves upon Tyler’s repertoire.

Often time accompanied with a piano, Wolf, brings the thick and gritty beats, often time mixed in with more simplistic beats like on Parking Lot, that are to be expected from the young artist. Many times it is reminiscent of Goblin and Bastard. It seems as if Tyler is afraid to wade out of familiar territory. They often lurch forward at a seemingly fast but decidedly slow pace. This goes a long way to give the album a distinctly eerie feel that leaves the listener wanting more. Despite a number of denials, it is no wonder that Tyler’s genre is always mistaken for horror rap, with the claustrophobic and seemingly tight feel the album creates.

Tyler’s flow sometimes comes off as lazy and decidedly not very technical. This is not a bad thing though. If one is looking for an album to have technical bars and spot on delivery, this LP is not for you. The delivered lines are easy on the ears and often times fit the mood and the music.  If one is looking for face paced and engaging deliveries, one should look at Domo23 and Tamale (If one can stand the annoying female sample on the latter).

One should expect that any Tyler, The Creator review comes with a small discussion on the rap artists lyrics. For those that get offended by even the slightest swearing, this album is not for you. It comes packaged with some shocking and often times offensive lyrics. To those who are not prepared it might be shocking. For others though, it is just another factor in the allure of the artist.

6/10

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Album Review, Clockwork Angels by Rush


Clockwork Angels by Rush



Nineteen full length albums in and Rush is still alive and kicking. The only real question is if this should be considered a good thing or a bad thing. It’s no doubt that when you have been around for this long, you should be pretty skilled behind your instruments. That is easily shown on this album right from the first couple tracks, these guys have skill. But other than that, for someone like me who is not a hardcore fan of Rush, while this album is without a doubt good and something I’d come back too. The lack of good production and the lack of anything being ground breaking hurts the overall rating, this is something that has been cooked up for the fans.


Non Rush fans: 5/10

 

Rush fans: 7/10

 

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Monday, July 9, 2012

Classic album review, Hemispheres by Rush


 Hemispheres by Rush



Every so often an album comes along that utterly changes the way some people look at music or a band. These albums are often time referred to as classics. These are the albums that garner an overall positive feedback by the everyday listeners and critics of the world. To be considered classic to this reviewer they must meet some criteria, they must be well rated, they must be popular, they must be something I like, and they must be something that can withstand the test of time. 

To begin this new feature I decided to go with reviewing none other than the album Hemispheres, by the progressive rock band Rush. At this point I should prepare the setting for the reader. This would have been Rush’s 5th full length album at the time of its release, at this point in time Rush was at, one could say, at the top of their progressive rock game. They were coming off the release of highly praised albums 2112, A Farwell to Kings, and there debut. Four years into their career they were at the point of being experienced, yet not being worn out of ideas. With all that being said it’s no surprise that they churned out a masterpiece.  It’s got everything one could ever want, the long overblown song that makes you jaw drop, the short catchy songs that will get you moving, and a killer instrumental. 

This record starts off with the 18 minute epic Cygnus X-1 Book II. For some this may be a little much, but for those people who can really get into a song of this length, it’s damn good. We hear a wonderful dancing of bass, guitar, and drums over the next couple tracks. Geddy’s voice works perfectly with the sound of this album and we really see a great performance by him on bass. If it’s one thing that takes away from the performance is that the band doesn’t seem to be firing on all cylinders throughout the album. We get a good flash of interesting material from the guitar and drums now and then, but for three quarters of the album they aren’t quite up to par with what will turn out to be one of the greatest instrumentals ever made by the band. 


That instrumental being the 9 and a half minute closing track La Villa Strangiato, this blows everything before it right out of the water. This is a rare time when all members of a band are flying forward on all cylinders at the same time. It’s a beautiful thing because they are all giving their all and what is the result of this? Possibly the greatest rush song ever recorded. Even after repeated listens this song is so technical that it is always refreshing. Like taking a drink after a couple hours without water it quenches your thirst for music.

After all the years between now and the time this was released it still manages to carry with it a charm when pulling it out to listen. This is one of those albums that should be mandatory listening for all music enthusiasts.  While it may not hit you at first, give it a couple listens, you may just find your next favourtie album.

9/10

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Sunday, July 1, 2012

Living Things Linkin Park album review


Living Things by Linkin Park

Linkin Park has received a lot of talk over that past couple years, many of that talk being complaints. If you are a hardcore Linkin Park fan the complaints probably started with the release of the album Minutes to Midnight and got worse when they released A Thousand Suns. It’s without a doubt that most of the bands older fans either learned to love this new sporadic style by the band or they have given up entirely on them. Yet despite all the people against the last couple albums, Linkin Park has managed to create some true gems throughout the past two records. The only question left is… can they do it again?


This is a by the numbers Linkin Park album, period. What we have on this album is a sort of, revisit, of the Meteora and Minutes to Midnight days. Now that may not seem very obvious at first because the band puts a heavier focus on electronic music on this album, which is reminiscent of A Thousand Suns. Even though this is the case, gone is the over blown story line from A Thousand Suns (Suns), and gone is the overabundance of throw away tracks that clouted Suns. If you took Meteora and Minutes to Midnight and morphed them together, this is what you would get.*


Despite the fact that this tries to do nothing more than be a by the numbers Linkin Park (LP) album it still manages to give some LP charm. Every now and then you get a sense of the same fun and interest that came with listening to older records. Unfortunately despite the squeaky clean production and the usual high energy singing/MCing, most of these songs fall flat. It’s just they all have been done before and they all have been done before better. It’s that simple fact as to why this is not a return to Linkin Parks spirit, it sounds consistently like something I have already heard from this band. Frankly that is just plain boring. What we have here is a good album, but, longtime fans will most likely be bored when listening, new fans who jumped on board for this album or came around during Suns will probably love it, which is why this is going to have two ratings. 

New listeners - 6/10

 

Old listeners – 5/10


* With the exception of Until It Breaks that is, that song sounds like it was taken right out of the roster of Suns.


To buy: LIVING THINGS
Feel free to leave a comment! How do you feel about the album? How do you feel about the review? Are you an old time fan, how do you feel about this?

Friday, June 29, 2012

TRACK REVIEW - The Antlers -- Drift Dive


Drift Dive by The Antlers


The new track by indie rock band the Antlers comes off like a dream on the beaches of Hawaii, one that you just don’t want to wake up from. A soothing combination of horns, drums, guitar, keyboards, and pleasantly sung vocals that are truly a journey from start to finish. The chilled out guitar riff that plays throughout the song has a distinctly Hawaiian feel, it sounds like something that should be heard as the sun is setting at a beach party on Lanikai Beach. Easily one of the best tracks of 2012 so far.

8/10 



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To buy: Drift Dive
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