Thursday, December 2, 2010

Weezer (The Blue Album) - Weezer (Review)

Weezer's debut album is one of the greatest records of the nineties. It was a self-titled album (Fans called it “The Blue Album”). The cover artwork was a blue background with the four band members picture on it. It was that simple. This album holds three HUGE singles, and Weezer was already a household name. What stood out about Weezer was geeky, unique, and witty songs. From start to finish you get an amazing masterpiece that you have heard nothing like before.

It all starts with “My Name Is Jonas”. This does not really stand out for me much, but it is still absolutely fantastic. It starts with an acoustic riff and then rips into the crunchy distorted guitar Weezer is now known for. The half way mark is where I really start to dig the song. When it transitions from the chorus to the breakdown (“Workers are going home...”) is a very interesting time in the song. And then it breaks out into a really fast paced bridge. Good way to show people who you are by having this track one.

Next up is “No One Else”. This song is a pure straight-forward power-pop. You can hear this simplistic formula later used on songs like “Photograph”, “Don't Let Go”, “Ruling Me”, “Trippin' Down The Freeway” and many more songs. This song talks about River's selfishness and how he wants his girl to be only his. This is a very happy song. I am sure to be in a good mode after listening to songs like these.

After that comes “The World Has Turned and Left Me Here”. This song is a fan favorite. It is certainly one of my favorites too. It is a very emotional song with some very heart wrenching lines (“I talked for hours to your wallet photograph...”), ( “I just made love with your sweet memory...”). The majority of the times I've listened to this song, I have gotten a tear roll down my face. It is definitely a highlight for me.

Now for the one and only “Buddy Holly”. This is one of Weezer's biggest hits. This song and it's video are what made Weezer what they are today and where they are today. This song does live up to all the hype. The guitar riff at the end of the guitar solo is one of my favorite parts of the album. This song's video was a huge factor for why it is so famous. It consists of Weezer playing in a diner taking place in the TV show “Happy Days”. It is a very neat video.

The next song is another big hit. The song is called “Undone – The Sweater Song”. This was the first Weezer song I have ever heard. This song is what got me into Weezer. When I first heard it, this was all I listened to. It is a very rocking song. What makes it even cooler is the fact that the outro is close to two minutes long. And every second of those two minutes are spectacular.

The song after that is “Surf Wax America”. This song is nothing amazing, but it still makes for a fun listen. This is probably the lowest point on the album. That just proves that this is a truly unbelievable album. This song's only strong point is at the breakdown. It's pretty cool.

“Say It Ain't So” is the next song. This song is brilliant. Everyone, casual fan or die hard fan, has to love this song. The verses of the song consist of clean upbeat reggae-style strumming guitar. It is too great of a song for words. When the chorus comes in at any point of the song, I always get the chills. Every moment of this song is genius and deserves every bit of hype it has gotten. I believe they even chose to put this on one of the guitar hero games. Good choice guitar hero!

“In The Garage” starts with an acoustic guitar and kicks in very similar to the way we heard on “My Name Is Jonas”. This, in my opinion, is a much better song though. This has a more interesting solo than “Jonas” does. The lyrics also are what hit me. This song really expresses the bands nerdy way of life, with lines that have to do with X-Men and Dungeons. This is a very personal and unique song.

And now comes “Holiday”. This song keeps the album's spirit alive with a high energy fun three and a half minutes. I really enjoy this songs lead guitar parts. It is very melodic. When it breaks into the chorus, it is more of a darker melody. You see this “darker' mood espicially when it shreds into the breakdown. It is a very mellow breakdown, but builds into an epic transition to the happy melodic roots of the songs verses.

And to top it off, “Only In Dreams”. This is, In my opinion, the greatest song off of this album. It is such a touching and beautiful song that lasts a strong eight minutes. Over half of this song is taken up by an epic solo and build up. This is close to the greatest thing Rivers Cuomo has ever written. This is work of the the greatest man that ever lived (Pun Intended). It WILL give you chills everytime you listen. There is no better way to end an album than with this.

Overall, this is on the top of my list for my favorite albums. It's quirkiness and originality at the time made it an alternative essential. It is hard to believe that the same band that made this seemingly flawless album, also made an album like Raditude. This has been an album that stuck with me through many good and bad times, and I'm pretty sure it probably has stuck with you too. Be sure to check this out if you haven't already.

Highlights : The World Has Turned and Left Me Here, Undone – The Sweater Song, Say It Ain't So, Only In Dreams

Music : 10 (Geek Rock brilliance)
Lyrics : 10 (From seriousness to witty nerdy lyrics. Genius)
Artwork : 7 (Simple and cool. Fits perfectly)

Overall : 10

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

The People Or The Gun - Anti-Flag (Review)


Anti-Flag has been a huge part in the punk community for some time now. Their meaningful and political lyrics is what makes them stand out compared to other bands. None of their songs are about money and bitches unlike all of the songs played on the radio today. To me, Anti-Flag is one of the greatest punk bands. I remember missing one of their shows because I was sick, and that is one of my biggest regrets ever. Around that time is when I really started getting into their music. I remember having the album “A New Kind Of Army” and I thought it was the coolest thing. Almost all of their albums are a great listen all the way through. Their most recent album is “The People or The Gun”. This came out last year. It is truly a fantastic album from start to finish.

The opening track on this album is “Sodom, Gomorrah, Washington D.C. (Sheep In Shepherds Clothing)”. This is a fast, in your face, type of punk rock song. It is a great way to start the album. It really gives you the idea that this record is going to be an energetic half hour. This song really catches the vibe of the whole album. In my opinion, this was a brilliant way to start this album.

The next song is “The Economy is Suffering... Let it Die”. This song is definitely one of the high points for me. It is a bit less hardcore than the less song, but it keeps the same feeling and energy. I actually got chills at the breakdown (“when the cities burn down...”). At this point on my first listen, I realized I was going to enjoy this very much.

The song after that is “The Gre(A)t Depression”. This another highlight for me. The repeated line in the chorus is one of my favorite lyrics ever. “Greed, it's not going anywhere. They should put that on a billboard in Time Square. It could say 'the great depression is over my friends'”. Fantastic song.

After that comes the song “We Are the One”. This song continues what the first song started. This song is most certainly more hardcore than the past two songs. It is pretty fast and energetic. Another fun listen.

“You Are Fired (Take This Job, Ah, Fuck It)” is the next song. I know many people will probably disagree with me, but this is probably my favorite song on the album. It is hard to say that because the song just barely reaches the one minute mark. That is one of the greatest minutes ever put on CD. I believe this song is about illegally downloading music. This is probably why I like it so much. I strongly agree with that message. I think if you like a musician, pay for their albums, so they can make more in the future.

Up next is “This Is The First Night”. I am pretty sure this song is a break away from the usual. I do not think this song is in any way political (please, feel free to comment and correct me if I am wrong). I do find myself really liking these lyrics. They are for the most part very deep.

The song after that is “No War Without Warriors (How Do You Sleep?)”. This is an AWESOME song. It is another more hardcore song like a few of the earlier songs. I personally love songs like this. It is a (In my opinion) big “Fuck You!!!” song. Definitely a song that came out of anger. You can feel the anger in his voice throughout the whole entire song. This song is worth a listen if you are a fan of hardcore punk rock.

The first single off of this album is “When All The Lights Go Out”. This is pretty cool song. It is not one of my favorites. It doesn't exactly stand out compared to the rest of this album. I probably wouldn't have chosen this song to be the first single. It doesn't catch the emotion that the rest of the album does. Overall, this song is just an average song. Kind of lame I guess, but I guess it is OKAY.

“On Independence Day” is a really neat song. It opens up with an extremely catchy bass riff. From their the guitar and drums kick in. It really is a cool song. It sounds different from the rest of the album. It has a unique sound for Anti-Flag.

The end is here. The perfect closer for the album. “The Old Guard” is the albums closer. They were geniuses for picking this song as the song to wrap it all up. I guess the first line pretty much tells you that this album is over (“the time has come to say goodnight”). It is actually sad, because this is such a great album and in my eyes I view this as their goodbye to us until next time they record another brilliant album. It really is kind of an emotional way to end this album. It is spectacular.

This album is absolutely stunning. Especially considering their last album, “The Bright Lights Of America”, was such a disappointment. This is such a major step in the right direction. Another thing that probably contributed to the sound of this record is the fact that they left the major label they were on and moved to the amazing Indie label SideOneDummy. SideOneDummy has plenty of amazing bands on it. I think this album will always be a great listen. Personally, my favorite Anti-Flag record alongside “The Terror State”. You probably noticed that there is barely any criticism in this review. That is because this album is close to perfect. This could possibly be in my top 10 favorite albums of this decade.

Highlights : The Economy is Suffering...Let It Die, The Gre(A)T Depression, You Are Fired (Take This Job, Ah, Fuck It), No War Without Warriors (How Do You Sleep?)

Music : 9 (I can't see how they could have done it better)
Lyrics : 8 (Good, Just like always)
Artwork : 6 (really cool, doesn't stand out compared to the quality of the music though)

Overall : 8
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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Death To False Metal - Weezer (Review)

Weezer has played a huge role in my love for music. Their first two albums, Weezer (The Blue Album) and Pinkerton I have loved since the first track was put on my computer. Their brand new rarities collection titled “Death To False Metal” was released on Tuesday, November 2nd alongside with the reissue of their classic album, Pinkerton. The album features ten new tracks all of which were recorded earlier in Weezer's career at various times. All of these songs, the band had took in the studio this year to edit and tweak them.

The album opens with a song called “Turning Up The Radio”. Weezer's front man Rivers Cuomo had written this song with a handful of Youtube users. This was the result of his “Let's Write a Song Sawng” project. This project consisted of many different steps and many different youtubers. In the end, this song came out to be a catchy pop song. Nothing more. Although fun to listen to, it is no masterpiece.

The next track on the album is “I Don't Want Your Loving”. This song goes back to 2003 when the band were getting ready for their hit album Make Believe. They recorded a huge amount of demos on acoustic guitar. This was one of those songs. They rerecorded it with a full band for the album and it turned out quite good compared to the acoustic demo.

After that is another Make Believe demo called “Blowin' My Stack”. This is easily one of the highlights of this record. It is a great uplifting song. The acoustic guitar overlapping a heavy crunch-sounding guitar sounds very neat. Also, the guitar solo is quite refreshing after hearing a full Weezer album without any guitar solos. This song is definitely worth a listen if you get any free time.

The song after that is “Losing My Mind”. It is an emotional song where Cuomo explains that he is literally losing his mind in a mild sense. This song is pretty cool to listen to every once in a while. This song does tend to bore me the most on this album though. It is an OKAY track though.

After “Losing My Mind” comes “Everyone”. This is also another highlight for me. This song was recorded during their hiatus (The mystery years) in the 1997 and 1998 region. It is a fast grungy nirvana sounding tune. Although there are some problems with this song (Repetitiveness and it sounds like a Nirvana rip-off), this song is definitely going to stand out. The guitar solo and the little post-solo thing is very very cool. The post-solo is very dark and almost eerie in a good way.

“I'm A Robot” is the next track. This is another Make believe demo I believe. This is a very cool song. It sounds like old school pop. It is very upbeat and uplifting. I know I have said this a lot in this review, but I will say it again, the solo in this song is very nice to hear.

Then comes “Trampoline”. This another song recording during their hiatus. This song doesn't stand out much for me, but from people I have heard from, this is the highlight. It is just a generic song for me. I like it, but it is nothing special for me. It just sounds like an average Green Album era Weezer song, which is exactly what it is.

Here is where the album starts to go down hill with “Odd Couple”. You can just tell this song is going to be bad from the first line, “I got a PC, you got a Mac, I'm giving you flak for your AirPort ”. Weezer has always been a fun witty band, but there's no reason to give us such a silly stupid lyric. This song is nothing awful, it is just no where near good. It sounds like it came from the lows of Raditude. The track that continues this downslope is “Autopilot”. This song is MUCH worse than “Odd Couple”. It sounds like Weezer trying to be Devo and brutally failing. I really don't have much to say about this song besides the fact that I skipped it every listen besides the first.

The album closes with a cover of the song “Unbreak My Heart”. This song most certainly revives the album. It is nothing perfect, but it is far better than the last two songs. It is neat to hear the emotion in a Weezer song again, although it really isn't even a Weezer song. I guess this was a cool way to end this album.

As I am writing this I am listening to the album, and I must say, it is a fun listen. It has a semi-well flow. I would probably rather listen to Hurley, but hell, Hurley was a quality record. I'd say out of the hundreds of songs Rivers has in his vaults, he could have found better, but I am happy with this collection. The lyrics are kind of lame with a fetish for silly lines like the “doggie” lines throughout the album and the other stupid lines. But I can't ask for everything. I guess overall, it is nice to hear some songs I haven't heard from Weezer. I will have a few of these songs on my Itunes playlist for a while probably.

Highlights : Blowin' My Stack, Everyone, and the artwork.

Music : 5 (not their best, not their worst)
Lyrics : 4 (more dumb Cuomo lyrics continued from Raditude)
Artwork : 10 (Probably the best part of the album)

Overall : 5
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