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Tag Archives: catchy

4 Nuisances Of Being Home

18 Dec

They say there’s no place like home. While it has been quite fantastic to spend some time relaxing at home with my family now that finals are over, there are certain aspects of being home that I had forgotten how much I don’t like. Indeed, sadly, home doesn’t consist solely of gourmet food and a nice bed. So without further ado, I present – in all my glorious bitching – four things that have bothered me since I’ve come home.

Nothing says "Christmas" like a shouting match with your father over light placement

4. Putting Up Christmas Lights
There’s just nothing like a Christmas tradition. Every December, my parents hand me a string of sorry-ass fucking Christmas lights and a ladder (which, incidentally, is about as stable as the Zambian government) and give me one objective: Make the 25-foot leafless tree in front of our house look slightly more festive and slightly less flaccid. It’s especially fun when, after an hour spent climbing around the tree like a paraplegic chimpanzee, I finish decorating the tree to discover that approximately a quarter of the lights actually function. Ultimately, though, it’s worth the Christmas cheer. Every time I look at that pathetic tree and the lights which appear to have been put up by a blind lemur, I am filled with an overwhelming sense of holiday spirit. And by holiday spirit, I mean uncontrollable rage.

3. Losing To My Parents in Scrabble
I don’t know about you guys, but I love shit-talking (Side note: Being from Denver, Tim “The Jesus” Tebow has regaled me with a whole anthology of shit-talking materials). Therefore, when my parents suggest a casual post-dinner Scrabble game, I immediately acquire the attitude of a theoretical lovechild of Terrell Owens and Pau Gasol. This shit-talking strategy pays off richly, seeing as I often demolish my parents and subsequently run naked victory laps around the dining room table. And this isn’t me bragging about my Scrabble skills; the case is rather that my parents don’t give two shits about whether or not their placement of “twat” (I truly wish I were lying about my dad playing that in Scrabble) opens up availability to the Triple Word space. Tonight, however, my shit-talking strategy failed me, as I fell short by one point against my mom. Ugh. Now I just feel like a douche.

2. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
I never thought it would be possible to make such a trainwreck out of a movie starring Natalie Portman, Ewan McGregor, and Samuel L. Jackson, but damn it all if it hasn’t been done. I mean, seriously, what a steaming cinematic shitstack. The kid who starred as Anakin Skywalker (out of principle, I’m not looking up the little fucker’s name) is more obnoxious than the Nyan Cat on methamphetamines. And Jar Jar Binks? I don’t know whose idea it was to combine the voice of an illiterate Louisiana swamp-person with the visual representation of a banana peel with birth defects, but that idea single-handedly ruined my childhood. Honestly, the only thing they could have done to make this movie any worse would be casting Nick Cage as Senator Palpatine. Yeah, just imagine it.

"To the nights you wish you could forget."

1. Vodka Commercials
Maybe this is something I’m just noticing now because I spend 8 hours a day watching TV (luhhhh vacation), but vodka commercials are absolutely preposterous. The one that I find most personally absurd is a Grey Goose commercial, featuring the tagline: “To the nights you’ll never forget.” I don’t know what sort of idiots are running the marketing department over at Grey Goose, but they clearly lack a fundamental understanding of alcohol. Granted, the tagline “To the nights you’ll blackout and then discover five weeks later that you vomited gratuitously” isn’t quite as catchy, but it is certainly more accurate. It just seems that somewhere in the attempt to craft a convincing image-based appeal, the morons over at Grey Goose forgot some of the drawbacks of downing vodka. If I were Grey Goose, I’d try something more along the lines of “To the poke wars you drunkenly initiated with the entirety of your high school government class” or “To the texts you receive from your mom the next morning saying ‘You might want to take that video off of Facebook.’”

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.