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Tag Archives: Album

The Hollow Pastiche of Beyoncé’s Genius: A Reviéw

13 Dec

BEYONCE

The songs on Beyoncé’s fifth studio album, BEYONCÉ, are fine. They’re good songs that sound like the music Beyoncé makes, which is what people like to listen to. The music on the album is whatever and absolutely besides the point because OH MY GOD BEY JUST BROUGHT THE INTERNET TO A GRINDING HALT. Beyoncé unexpectedly dropping a 14-song album and the 17 corresponding music videos plus credits exclusively on iTunes—and the ensuing collective Internet swoon—makes Beyoncé pop culture’s truest celebrity and genius. But the mega-stardom and brilliance of Beyoncé and her album succeeds either because of, or in spite of her “visual album” presenting a form of pastiche as devoid of substantive value as Upworthy, and not even half as inspired.

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Two New Nelly Songs You’re Going To Be Upset About

30 May

I’ll be brief.

How far we've come since since Air Force Ones.

How far we’ve come since since Air Force Ones.

Recording artist and known Benzie enthusiast Nelly is gearing up to release a new album later this summer, to be called M.O.

Naturally, pop radio has gotten ahold of two new singles in anticipation.  And by “anticipation,” I mean someone on Nelly’s team is paying good ke$ha to make sure that we might remember Nelly as more than just that guy with the one song about “riding with me.”

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Album Review: Brown Sugar’s “Zamaane”

22 May

Zamaane

Some say that a cappella at Northwestern is like the TV show Glee. But that can’t be, because the kids on Glee bagged football players and couldn’t drink for shit, which we all know doesn’t hold true for acca-biddies and acca-bros at Northwestern.

Others posit that a cappella at Northwestern is more like Community. Marginally popular–but not enough to get people to care enough to watch every performance–and irrationally beloved among the theater community.

While all these theories and more may be true, it’s clear after the first listen that Brown Sugar‘s latest album Zamaane situates Brown Sugar as the Mad Men of a cappella at NU: Genre-defining, poignant, sexy in all the right places, and best after a glass of scotch or five.  Just so long as you ignore the fact that the Mad Men cast is more white-washed than Mitt Romney’s book group and Brown Sugar is, well, the nation’s premiere co-ed South Asian collegiate a cappella group.

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Pope Francis I: “New Church Album Will Rock”

15 Mar
A shirtless Pope Francis, on tour supporting his album White Smoke Rising.

A shirtless Pope Francis, on tour supporting his album White Smoke Rising.

VATICAN — The recently elected Pope Francis I announced that the Catholic Church’s forthcoming album will have “more of a New Testament element.”

The heavyweights of Christ’s gospel and godfathers of the Christian genre are looking to release tracks later this year, but will not deviate far from the mantra that made them one of the millennia’s most followed acts.

Luis Antonio Tagle, the Archibishop of Manila and synth player in the Church, said, “When we were working on Benedict XVI, we got caught up in a lot of great experimental stuff.  It was a much softer period.  Our next papacy is going to be good and it’s going to sound great when played loud!”

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On Coming to Terms with Seth MacFarlane’s Talent

27 Feb
Two for each of Jennifer Lawrence's breasts he didn't get to see?

Two for each of Jennifer Lawrence’s breasts MacFarlane didn’t get to see.

Much of my self-identity is derived from my dislike (nay, hatred) of Seth MacFarlane and his empire.

I’ve spent the better half of my life shouting (literally shouting) at anyone with two ears that Family Guy is, in fact, not funny at all, and if you think so, you probably don’t even understand why Reaganing is such a hysterical concept. Family Guy is not funny; it’s obnoxious. My limited exposure to The Cleveland Show and American Dad produced the same conclusion.

“But Courtney,” you might say, “Why is it so important to you to tear down Seth MacFarlane? Does shitting on his success make you feel better about yourself?” The answer to that question is unequivocally YES. Of COURSE I feel better when I tear down MacFarlane  – the guy is one of the most successful comedians of the modern age, so when I shit on his sense of humor, I’m essentially screaming, “I’M FUNNIER THAN THE MODERN KING OF COMEDY, GUYS!”

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We will have no more of your sorcery, Train: A review of Train’s album California 37

11 May

We will have no more of your sorcery, Train.

It seems unfair that this album will probably net more in profits than the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

I’m not sure that Pat Monahan is quite all there anymore. And by “not sure,” I mean he’s completely lost it. And by “anymore,” I mean have you heard the song “Meet Virginia?” (“Smokes a pack a day, but wait, that’s me, but anyways”…what exactly are you smoking a pack of, Pat?) He’s never been completely “with it,” as much as his rapping self would like you to believe. Droppin’ some beats and having a slightly societally acceptable voice does not mean that you are a songster, sir. Lyrics are a big part of the package, and lyrics that make sense usually increase your fan base. BUT WAIT. WHAT’S THAT, INTERNET!? TRAIN IS ONE OF THE MOST POPULAR BANDS OF OUR DAY?! AND THEY HAVE 3 GRAMMYS!?

WTF guys. We did this. We have no right to complain about musicians and kids these days when we made Pattycakes rich. We have been swayed by the upbeat pop melodies and use of the ever popular ukelele, but no more I say. Have you ever actually sat down and listened to a Train song? And actually thought about the lyrics? Well, probably not because you have midterms and friendships and sleep. But I am not human and so I did it for you. This is my review of the newest Train album, California 37, which should actually be called Pulling Random Words Out of a Bag to Make Sentences Now Here Comes the Ukelele!

WARNING: These are actual Train lyrics. I shit you not, friends. Do not be alarmed.

This’ll Be My Year
This is the new “We Didn’t Start the Fire!” JK! But don’t tell Pat that! He pretty much lists all of the 10 famous historical events that he remembers from school, oh did I say historical because he mentions Nintendo along with 9/11. Then he acts depressed. Don’t know how he could be, as he lives in a money house.

“I stopped believin’, although Journey told me ‘don’t”
Never disrespect Journey like that again. Sit down like a good boy and do as Journey says!

Drive By
This one starts out promising. Got a good beat, seems like it will be a sweet song about a boy meets girl. And it is…sort of. Then we get to the chorus…

“This is not a drive by,
Just a shy guy looking for a two ply hefty bag to hold my love”

Will single ply just not suffice to hold your metaphysical representation of love?

“There’s nothing up my sleeve but love for you”
Whoa, whoa, so the two ply STILL isn’t enough to hold all of your love? Shit, dude, you got an extreme case of the LUV.

Feels Good at First
This is where Pat tells us about his anterograde amnesia. Drew Barrymore is all like, “yeah I feel you, maybe move to Hawaii so you don’t feel so bad YOLO!”

“Every fire gets too close”
Not how that works. YOU get to close to the fire. Not the other way around.

“Every autumn colors come, that you’ve forgotten”
Red, yellow, orange, brown. Did I get them all? And it’s not even fall! Amazing that I could remember them.

50 Ways to Say Goodbye
This is the best song in the entire world. If the entire world consisted of Rebecca Black songs. I have been listening to it on repeat for a good 10 minutes trying to figure out what it is about (a true artist commits to her work), and from what I can tell it’s a wet dream of Pat’s where he imagines different ways in which his ex can suffer horrible deaths. But it’s not his fault! He’s just no good at goodbyes.

“She went down in an airplane, fried getting suntanned, fell in a cement mixer full of quick sand…she was caught in a mudslide, eaten by a lion (etc etc)”
These thoughts should be restricted to your therapist’s office and not played on the radio, for the love of humanity.

“How could you leave on Yom Kippur?”
Extensive research of Pat Monahan provides no evidence that he is actually, in fact, Jewish. But damn her just the same! He loved her as much as a garbage bag would hold!

“Got run over by a crappy purple Scion”
Don’t drag Scion into your heinousness, man. They don’t need this kind of publicity.

Did I mention that on Pat Monahan’s solo record he has a song called “Two Ways to Say Goodbye?” Guess he’s done more thinking since then.

You Can Finally Meet My Mom
This sounds sweet, right? Taking a girl home to meet his mother? Wrong. It’s about death. And all of the dead people he knows. And how he will be too busy to hang out with them in heaven because he will be hanging out with you. And his mom. Menage a what?

“Don’t cry when I die, when it’s my time I probably won’t die”
Who wants to explain this one to him?

“Life is good, but love it’s better, even Bieber ain’t forever”
Well let’s fucking hope not. But we were wrong about Train, so…

Now it’s time to list all the dead people I know! Better pick the most important ones! OMG here we go, Pat, make it count!

“Jimi Hendrix, Jesus, Chris Farley, Mr. Rodgers, Gilda Radner, Buddha, the dude who had pop rocks and soda at the same time, oh and I almost forgot my mom”
I think he nailed it.

Train: Making lonely wives and adolescent girls cream their pants since 1994.

Mermaid
Every man’s dream. Pat seems to think it actually happened. WHERE ARE HIS CALM DOWN PI PHI PILLS!?

“Can’t swim so I took a boat, to an island so remote, only Johnny Depp has ever been to it before”
Subtext: I’m as rich as fucking Johnny Depp

“Shocks, scream with envy, they wonder what you see in me”
$$$$$$$$$$$$

“Beauty in the water, angel on the beach, ocean’s daughter”
Ariel! It’s you! Unless he is fucking a fish. Which may not be too unlikely as this dude is cracked out as hell right now.

California 37
Rapping. He is rapping. He says bitch. He is Kanye Jr. He is wonderful. I love to hate it.

“Knock knock, who’s there? 2012 is a brand new year”
Awwww shit, Train is back yall. Did anyone miss them? No?

“Ding dong, the witch ain’t dead. She’s still tryin’ to take my bread
Four more years ‘til my girls are grown, then the bitch gonna have to leave me alone”

Clever! His ex-wife will never know this is about the alimony and child support he owes her!

The rest of the songs are too depressing to even poke fun at. You shouldn’t poke a sleeping bear, but you also shouldn’t poke a dying bear. Also, I’m realizing now that this article would probably cause a lot of people to google these ridiculous songs, so thanks for supporting me! Luh my fans like a baby loves a ball of yarn!
– Pat Monahan

A History of Inflammatory Statements in the United States

13 Nov

There are three things you need to have to be a good President: Personality, cajones of steel, and... Fuck, I forgot

Earlier this week, Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry – in one of the most admirable and laudable acts of public and civic service this nation has ever seen – absolutely ruined his hopes of being elected president. In a GOP debate, Perry was enumerating the three government departments he planned to eliminate when he completely forgot the third department. I mean, there are only fifteen, but he still managed to forget one. Surprisingly enough, though, this is hardly the most self-destructive statement that’s ever been issued by a politician. Here’s a list of some other quotes that shattered the speaker’s future like Justin Bieber’s Christmas album shatters what pitiful traces of good there once were in the universe.

1803, Thomas Jefferson
“Sally Hemmings? No, she’s just a slave. And while I do consider her an important part of my life, I think it’s a stretch to call her ‘First Lady.’ Then again, ‘3/5 lady’ just doesn’t have the same ring.”

1822, James Monroe
“Why yes, I do believe this period can be aptly described as an ‘Era of Good Feelings.’ But when it comes down to it, no good feelings will ever compare to those I experienced during the blumpkin I received last night.”

1848, Elizabeth Cady Stanton (at the Seneca Falls Convention)
“I can in no way deny that this is not the ideal venue for an event of this magnitude. I would’ve looked for a better location, but I was too busy gargling scrotum.”

I just hope they stick that asshole Pickett with an actor like Jeff Daniels

1863, Robert E. Lee (after the Battle of Gettysburg)
“It is my dream that, in one or two hundred years, my actions over the past few days will be portrayed by the ever-mediocre acting skills of Martin Sheen.”

1865, Abraham Lincoln
“Hairspray is sold out?! Drats. In that case, two tickets for My American Cousin.”

1884, Mark Twain
“Hmm. The story of a daring young man travelling down a river with a slave. It’s good, I feel like it just lacks something…aha, I’ve got it! I’ll just throw the n-word in there 215 times!”

1897, William McKinley
“Monocles are in style, right?”

1908, Sacco (to Vanzetti)
“How do you feel about moving to America? I hear there’s a lot of opportunity over there.”

1925, John Scopes
“I’m in Tennessee. Why would I need to teach creationism?”

This cockpit's a little cozy for the two of us.

1934, Franklin D. Roosevelt
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. Also, polio. Polio is probably worth some mild trepidation.”

1945, American Military
“We need something that just screams ‘We’re going to bomb you back to the stone age.’ Ooh, I’ve got it! Name it something vaguely questionable but blatantly hilarious. Something like…Enola Gay!”

1961, John F. Kennedy
“We should invade Cuba.”

1969, Neil Armstrong
“That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for the likelihood of me winding up on the Ohio state quarter.”

1975, Richard Nixon
“Okay fine, so I’m a fucking crook.”

While we're at it, do you think you could sell some of these weapons lying around for some extra beer money?

1983, Ronald Reagan
“They would be satellites that defend us from nuclear missiles. Why are you all giving me that look?”

1992, Ross Perot
“I hereby announce that I am running for president in 1992.”

1998, Bill Clinton
“A handjob? Really? We both know you can do better than that.”

Album Review: Extreme Measures’ “Extremities”

6 Sep

It's rumored that Sherman Ave's own Ross Packingham was the leg model for the album cover

Some say that Radiohead’s Kid A was the most important album of a generation. Other music aficionados declare that the Beatles were the best band or that Sam Cooke was the best singer modern music ever saw. These debates have raged for years and will continue far into the future, but nobody doubts that all of the aforementioned artists look and sound like tone-deaf taintfaced 12-year-olds playing “Louie, Louie” at a midday suburban block party when compared to the debut album Extremities by the renowned a cappella group Extreme Measures.

Founded four years ago by Dan de la Torre, Extreme Measures follows in a long line of successful, talented, and unbelievably peppy a cappella groups here in Evanston ever since the Northwestern University School of Music dean Peter “That dude who won’t stop belting Journey covers in Burger King at 1 am each Saturday” Lutkin popularized a cappella in America with the founding of the A Cappella Choir in 1906. Extremities is the exquisitely angelic culmination of a year of recording by the group (with production by Ben Lieberman), and is the greatest thing that my ears have had the good fortune to hear since “Born to Run” on vinyl. Featuring covers of acclaimed artists like OneRepublic, Gavin DeGraw, Yellowcard, Christina Aguilera, and the Backstreet Boys, Extremities has the power to transport you to a wondrously magical time in your life — right around 6th grade — and keep you there until the album finally ends, an experience you won’t soon forget.

The enchantment starts right from the beginning.

There are certain moments that occur right at the opening of truly great music: the rimshot before Dylan launches into “Like a Rolling Stone;” the riff of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” that channeled every conceivable emotion of a generation; and that moment when the beat finally drops in Beethoven’s 5th Symphony all immediately come to mind. But the opening line of Extremities, a cover of Yellowcard’s “Breathing,” is so stunning that it immediately warrants consideration as one of the best album-openers of all time. In the first few bars, Extreme Measures already establish themselves as the most illustrious a cappella group in America since four insufferable pricks from Yale first donned tuxedos and formed the Whiffenpoofs — who incidentally only have the second-most obnoxious name among a cappella groups at Yale.

But what makes this album so bewitchingly radiant is the caliber of the rest of the tracks furnished by Extreme Measures. Stunning and sublime songs like “Brand New You,” “I Don’t Want to Be,” and “The Call” all exhibit more pop sensibilities than if Hall & Oates got together with Huey Lewis to cover Rihanna’s discography. Each of the ten songs are probably catchier than the hypothetical musical lovechild of Michael Jackson and Will Schuester, and any random song you select will display more technical virtuosity in a three-minute auditory frenzy of delightful harmonies and resplendent melodies than John Coltrane could ever hope to produce in an entire gig. The vocal percussion is ravishing, production on the album is supurb, and the vocals mesh in only the most tantalizingly mesmeric combinations that make your heart (and groin) go pitter-patter.

Clearly, upon my first listen of Extremities I experienced a slight tingle in a particular extremity of my own. But multiple listens of the album can prove invaluable, providing a deeper sense of the true meanings behind Extreme Measures chipper vocals. In “The Voice Within,” for instance, the line “dum dum dmmmmmmm da da” subtly hints at a hidden darkness lurking in the hearts of man, which we all feebly try to cover up by surrounding ourselves with material goods and unsubstantial romance, while in “Ignorance” the interplay between lyrics about how much Hayley Williams likes change and more incomprehensible lines like “sjaw dot du chaut jot sjaw dot du chaut jot” evoke the inner turmoil that can arise in your soul when former loved ones start treating you like a stranger.

When the album comes to a close with “Sound of Silence,” you will probably be left with only your thoughts about the astounding beauty you just experience and a pool of your own urine — an unfortunate side-effect of aural pleasure as powerful as that produced by Extremities. Luckily, this predicament can easily be cured by purchasing more copies of the album. Scientific studies have already determined that owning a copy of Extreme Measures’ Extremities will make you five times cooler, six times more intelligent, and last at least 12.78 minutes longer in bed.

OVERALL RATING: Drip drip drop there goes an eargasm

Extremities by Extreme Measures can be purchased from iTunes HERE.