Saturday, October 08, 2005

I Guess it Wasn't Really Right

All the Right Reasons - Nickelback

Everyone knows who Nickelback is; they exploded back in 2001 after How You Remind Me exploded onto radio and was played everywhere from football stadiums to bar mitzvahs to the point where they had those five word in our head, are we having fun yet (of course this is not to be confused with the five words Bon Jovi swore to us). Well I recently got those five words out of my head just in time for the release of their latest album, .

By now most people have heard the first single off the album, Photograph (no it’s not the song, nor is Animal the Def Leppard song either). The song is like a musical version of having your parents sit you down and force you to watch their photo log of their vacation that they didn’t bother to invite you on. Not necessarily what you want people to originally associate with your record. Luckily the most of the album isn’t as sappy as Photograph except for the depressingly sad (and I mean it in a bad way) Far Away or the tree hugging hippie sounding If Everyone Care. The last song, Rockstar and it’s weird pseudo-bluesy sound and so bad they are funny lyrics about the life of a rockstar are saved by the appearance of one of the bearded dudes from .

The band has never been known for any thought provoking lyrics, check out the uber-perverse Figured You Out from their last record, and their reputation won’t changed on All the Right Reasons. Follow You Home takes the “No Means Yes” philosophy to dating. Fight for All the Wrong Reasons take a page out of the Figured You Out lyric book with lines like, “It's just a little hard to leave when you're going down on me.” What girl wouldn’t be swept off her feet with a line like that?

Silly lyrics aside, the band does get down to rocking a little with the help of Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top on two tracks and the late Dimebag from on another. Bringing in a couple Americans to rock is a good idea from the band because Canadian rock about as good as American can play hockey. But really after listening to the album a couple times I really hope the Canadians stop importing horrible rock music (see also: and ) and go back to importing the best Canadian resources, comedians and beer. And thank goodness hockey is back, or at least I've heard.

Song to Download – Follow You Home

All the Right Reasons gets a Terror Alert Level: Guarded [BLUE] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Toss Up: Lost vs Veronica Mars week 2

Wednesday was the second head to head meeting between Lost and Veronica Mars, luckily my Astros played the early game and thus didn’t conflict with the two best shows on television today. Hopefully, I so lucky in upcoming weeks but the upside would be if the Astros are playing on Wednesday that means they are still in the playoffs. But back to the scripted entertainment, I am toying with the idea of doing this segment this season and will be spoiler heavy if you haven’t seen them. So onto this week’s competition:

Who would you rather see, Peggy Bundy or...Guest Stars
Lost: Peggy Bundy as Locke’s former flame sans Al.
Veronica Mars: Silent Bob playing a shady convenience store clerk sans Jay.
Winner: Veronica Mars.

New Cast Member
Lost: Ana Lucia as a captive turn captor who may or may not be consorting with the Others.
Veronica Mars. Jackie as newly stuck up 09er who is the daughter of baseball player, Terrence Stamp.
Winner: Lost (I’m really not liking Jackie so far, it may be the actress)

Daddy Issues
Lost: Locke is still bitter that dad used him solely for his liver.
Veronica Mars: Jessie is bitter that everyone thinks her bus driving dad committed suicide.
Winner: Lost

or Silent Bob?Biggest Shock
Lost: The bunker is some sort of University sponsored experience.
Veronica Mars: Meg survived.
Winner: Lost

Lost: Shannon
Veronica Mars: Weevil
Winner: Veronica Mars (How dare Lost leaved off the token hot chick?)

Best Cultural Reference
Lost: Sawyer call one of his captor’s Shaft.
Veronica Mars: Veronica wonders why birds suddenly appear when she is close to Sheriff Lamb.
Winner: Veronica Mars (Yeah, Shaft is way cooler than the , but it’s all about the delivery and situation)

Lost: Jack gives into temptation and hits execute. (Yawn)
Veronica Mars: A body washes on-shore with Veronica’s name written on his hand. (Wow)
Winner: Veronica Mars

So this week goes to Veronica Mars who once again had the stronger overall episode while Lost once again had a lot of boring points including seeing the same scene for the third week in a row. Did we really need to see it twice, let along three times? And like Michael’s flashbacks last week, nothing interesting came out of Locke’s flashbacks. Looking ahead:

Next Week
Lost: Jin speaks perfect English.
Veronica Mars: Veronica becomes a suspect in the bus crash.
Early Predicted Winner: Lost

Current Theories Based on Last Week
Lost: Locke was paralyzed when shot by his dad while trespassing.
Veronica Mars: Beaver and Dick are not blood brothers.

While I’m on the subject of television, I wanted to make a quick note on Survivor. How could they possible kick off all the hot chicks in three consecutive weeks? Seriously, how could anyone vote for the hotties with great bodies Morgan, Brianna, and Brooke over Lydia and her old, out of shape with hip surgery? Even if all of them didn’t contribute anything physically to the tribe, you should at least keep them around for something to look out. I hope Judd goes insane in the next couple days when he has nothing better to look at than Margaret. Quite simply worst Survivor ever. EVER. If fact I am switching my Thursday pecking order to:

1. Smallville
2. Everybody Hates Chris
3. Survivor
4. Sorry Alias, you’re still off the radar.

I will leave you with one last look at the fallen. (Cue It's so Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday)

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Do You Really Know Me at All?

Sombody's Miricle - Liz Phair

For a long time Liz Phair was the queen of indie-rock. The only problem with that is that indie-rock doesn’t do a very good job at paying the bill. So on her last album, entitled, um appropriately, , she teamed up with the production team the brought us , The Matrix. The album, full of soft rock very reminiscent of the previously mentioned Lavigne, finally got Phair onto the radio with catch songs such as Why Can’t I. Keeping with the formula that made the self-titled album a hit, Phair is back with her latest effort, .

The first track, Leap of Innocence can sum up the album as a whole, because where on the last album, she made a hop into the realm of pop music, but with Somebody’s Miracle, Phair takes a leap into innocent music. Throughout most of the album, it sound like a high school choir member trying to read sheet music for the first time as she carefully tries to hit every note just right and the same goes for the musicians backing her.

There are very few songs here that are even worthy of listening to more than once. The best of them being the current single, Everything to Me which is as cookie cutter as everything else but its lovelorn lyrics do have a sense of emotion that is lacking elsewhere on the album. But the other songs sound like they belong on a album.

Song to Download – Everything to Me

Somebody’s Miracle gets a Terror Alert Level: Guarded [BLUE] on my .

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

I Promise You Everything Will be Just Fine

Extraordinary Machine - Fiona Apple

With music companies worried about shrinking music sales, they have gone to extreme measure to ensure a hit. A couple years ago, it was rumored that executives at ’s record companies rejected what would be known as the Lilywhite Sessions because there wasn’t a “hit.” Dave and boys would end up shelving that record and wound up releasing a far more pop, and inferior record, Everyday. The Lilywhite Sessions ended up seeing the light of day a couple years later after reworking the tracks with a new producer on the album Busted Stuff.

The latest battle between the record companies and the artist (and fans for that matter) was spearheaded by the shelving of Fiona Apple’s album. But much like the DMB incident, the fans protested and the record company decided to put the album in the pipeline and Apple decided to rerecord much of the album. In a bit of irony, the original producer who also helped out with Apple previous albums, Jon Brion, went on to co-produce Kanye West’s while Apple brought in Mike Elizondo, best know or his work with ’s extended musical family, to replace Brion.

So now we can finally hear for ourselves the finished album, . The album starts off with the title track, one of the few leftovers from the Brion sessions, it's a light song that utilized sparse instruments such as a stand up bass and an occasional ringing of a bell. Apple also uses her voice almost as an instrument itself making it very reminiscent of the jazz singers of early last century. From there, the album utilizes many different interments that many other artists don’t even think of using like a xylophone on Tymps (The Sick in the Head Song). Apple does go simplistic on the beautiful Parting Gift where it’s just here and her piano.

Extraordinary Machine does have it spots though. Upon multiple spins, the chorus to Window, started to get on my nerves. Also the back to back songs with repetitive titles, Please, Please, Please and Red, Red, Red also wear thin after listening to the album a couple times. It’s odd that Apple would slip into these devises when she goes out of her way to push the boundaries of music elsewhere on the album.

Apple has always been a talented lyrist, but this album seemed to get an extra boost thanks to the break up between her and her most recent boyfriend as seen in titles such as Get Him Back, Parting Gifts, and Not About Love. She even starts off Get Him Back with the lines, “One man, he'd disappoint me. He'd give me the gouge and he take my glee. Now every other man I see remind me of the one man who disappointed me.” So obviously the breakup wasn’t a good one. But at least it makes for a good album.

Song to Download – Extraordinary Machine

Extraordinary Machine gets a Terror Alert Level: High [ORANGE] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

What's Wrong With a Little Destruction

You Could Have it so Much Better - Franz Ferdinand

The first time I heard Franz Ferdinand was a couple years back when I got one of the Madden Series and Take Me Out was on it. Since I plated the game way too much, the song got on real tired to me by the time it hit the radio to the point I would always turn it off and play Madden on mute to avoid the song. A couple months went by, and I had moved on from playing Madden for hours a day, I saw the song again on the original PSP commercial and the song began to grow on me again.

Franz Ferdinand named for the dude who started the First World War, is back with their second album, You Could Have it so Much Better. Much of the songs are so upbeat ands danceable, it make you sad that summer is over, but at least you will have something to put on at your Halloween party when Monster Mash gets overplayed. The party gets started with The Fallen, the catchiest of all the dance songs, but still has a dirty feel to it. The new single Do You Want To sounds like something that would be at home at the disco in the 70’s. Well That Was Easy has the type of time changes that made Take Me Out a hit. And oddly enough, the start of Evil and a Heathen sounds exactly like the Theme to 9 to 5.

When the band slows things down, such on Eleanor Put Your Boots On, they come across sounding like a Beatles cover band, except the lead singer, Alex Kapranos, sound as if he can’t decide whether he wants to channel Lennon or Dylan. Fade Together, another slow one, sounds like something out of the Beatles psychedelic phase. But if you take out the slow songs that drag down the album, you will have something to party to until at least the New Year.

Song to Download – The Fallen

You Can Have it so Much Better gets a Terror Alert Level: Elevated [YELLOW] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Don't Ever Call Me Again


From the trailer, Cellular looked intriguing. A kidnapped woman is able to fix a broken telephone to the point where she can make a call to an unknown person. My only problem is that I completely and utterly hate cell phone. Everyone I see yapping on the phone at the stoplight, grocery story, bathroom, and virtually everywhere else, I just want to scream “you are not that important that you need to contacted at any given moment.” I only carry a cell phone when I drive just because my hoopie can give out on me at any given moment. So needless to say, I had a bias against the film going in.

The movie stars Kim Basinger, best known for , as the previously mention damsel in distress, while Chris Evans, who has such gems as and on his resume, as the knight in shinning amour, except a sword he carries a cell phone that probably cost a couple hundred. Filling out the cast is William H Macy, challenging Samuel L Jackson for number of movies he’s in regardless of quality, as a cop investigating the case, Jessica Biel as the token hot chick even though she rarely can fill the role properly, and Kim’s husband is played by Susan Mayer’s ex-husband.

There were plenty of plot holes throughout the movie, the one that bugged me the most was the school schedules in the movie. First the little kid gets out of school at 1:45, who actually get out that early. Then his mother is a high school science teacher, yet she has enough time to walk to him to the bus stop and take a shower, and still not be late for school herself. How much later does high school start after elementary school in California, in all the schools in my area, high school starts about an hour earlier? And speaking of the shower, why didn’t the housekeeper answer the phone while Kim was in there and even is she isn’t allowed to answer it, why didn’t she her the warning message? But I did like how her science job helped her out later in the film.

The movie also falls flat when it tries to interject humor into the script. Kim’s son having the same name as a cheesy singer just doesn’t work and ruins the urgency of the moment and Evan’s character being introduced as he was in a romantic comedy complete with a ex-girlfriend he wants to get back with and Stifler type sidekick also seems out of place too. There were even more scenes of this included in the deleted scenes including a token performance this time by G Love. The only thing that actually got me to chuckle was Macy’s porn star mustache. The movie also utilizes everything that could wrong with cell phones, tunnels, running out of juice, crossing signals, the latter being the most entertaining which involves a evil LA lawyer.

Cellular gets a Terror Alert Level: Elevated [YELLOW] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Now We Grieve Cause Now Is Gone

The cast of Rescue MeWith all the new shows that needed to be reviewed, I really haven’t had the time to review a summer show that just ended. The first season of was so entertaining that it won the inaugural STA for Best Cable Show for its first season. That season we were introduced to the gang that included the ultimate alpha-male Tommy, the chief Jerry, the old dude Kenny, the new guy Probie, the ladies man Franco, and the idiot Garrity. The season ended with Franco condition unknown after getting hurt due to Tommy’s mistake with Tommy adding anger to his guilt when his wife took off with their kids.

As the second season starts, Tommy asks for a transfer and is ship off to the suburbs where nothing happens, Franco recovered but picked up a painkiller habit, and Tommy’s kids were nowhere to be found. But each episode is started with the heart pounding C’mon, C’mon. Other main storylines that were introduced was Kenny now was living at the firehouse after getting a divorce, and the chief having to care for his wife who is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s.

Tommy does still drive the show. In an attempt to look like a better father in hopes to win custody of his kids once he finds them, he decides to sober up. This eliminates the ghost he continually would see last season. Grant the side effect of being sober was that he now kept on seeing Jesus and on occasion Mary Magdalene who, at least in the entertainment department, was more entertaining than the many ghosts that haunted the alcoholic Tommy.

There were a few storylines this year that I could have done without, most notably the one with Tommy’s half-brother priest. But as a whole the second season was just as entertaining as the first. The most entertaining is whenever Garrety walk on the screen and show some great comic chops, from helping Probie to determine whether he had ball cancer to debating the existence of God with Tommy’s youngest daughter, Garrety always brings his A game. And with everything that happened at the end of this season, it looks like season three is shaping up to be as good as the previous two.

Rescue Me 2.x gets a Terror Alert Level: Severe [RED] on my Terror Alert Scale.