Friday, February 22, 2013

Controversial albums: St. Anger, American Idiot, and More Feb 17, 2007 11:39PM PST

How I do Reviews Now

Albums: I give you my general thoughts on the album and then break down my opinion song by song so you see whether it's a couple itunes dls or worthy of a CD purchase

Movies: General thoughts to avoid spoilers

Games: General thoughts and the technical side of things(i. e. control/graphics/camera/replay)

Numeric Scores: Suck and make you ignore the text, and create a false sense of objectiveness when you should be comparing your tastes to what I'm reviewing rather than trusting some number I slap on.

Worst Metallica Ever?

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Musically yes. God yes. This is an abomination looking at it from a purely technical standpoint.

The guitars are tuned to drop C which isn't relevant to anyone who doesn't play guitar so I'm not going into it just to sound important(anyone else hate those pretentious Rolling Stone reviews that have to refer to something in total music tech speak?) but the point is: Lars Ulrich's drums sound like effing trash cans.

Seriously, you could get the exact same effect by banging kitchen utensils like a deranged infant.

To make matters worse, producer Bob Rock's wanting this to sound like a "garage band... except the garage band is Metallica" led to the elimination of solos. I don't care if Hammett admits "they sounded like afterthoughts" it's blasphemy damnit!

And yet... I love this album. No, that doesn't mean I think it's good. If I liked the terrible House of Yes I'd have said so. I like it because it's like therapy. As if what Metallica was going through in the Some Kind of Monster documentary came through in their art.

If you want amazing solos and great harmonies etc. look elsewhere but if you're pissed off this is a great reliever.

It's so vile, so dark, so angry and yet its pure ugliness makes it somehow interesting. Looking at the liner notes that came with it I noticed that in the margins accompanying the lyrics there were deep and disturbing lines scratched out that gave the album a sort of eerie vibe: you were looking inside lead singer/rythym guitarist Hetfeild's and the rest of the band's heads and getting the darkest corners of their thoughts. Trippy. And it works in a way that you get all the darkness out of you by listening to it(editor's note: it can also drive the thoughts further depending on the type of person you are: seriously keep the mentally unstable the hell away.)

Song by Song:

Frantic~ thought it had a pretty good riff and was fast like I like 'em. Could've done without Hetfield's cheesy lyrics though("my life style determines my death style?"... wait I just found a way to make that sound intelligent)
St. Anger~ If you have a good ear you'll notice slight similarities between the opening bits and Master of Puppet's opening bits. Great agression and adrenaline, sucks about bassist Robert Trujillo's annoying backing vocals
Some Kind of Monster~ Intro could use some shortening, but very catchy main riff
Dirty Window~ Awful in every way. The trash-like drums are overly apparent and Hetfeild's voice screeches like BLAH!
Invisible Kid~ Relatable lyrics for quiet kids like myself and a catchy riff but the interlude is just too damned wierd
My World~ The best song on the album, which catchy riff and feelings of anger and triumph. The lyrics revolve around the battle between Hetfield and his "demons in the head" to which he screams "It's MY WORLD NOW!"
Shoot Me Again~ Not really catchy but nonetheless we can all relate to wanting someone off your back and leave you be as the lyrics refer to here
sweet Amber~ About twin groupies as I read in the liner notes(the lyrics don't mention this) with some good ideas and some bad ideas regarding riffs. I'mm kind of torn on it.
Unnamed Feeling~ I thought this was a great ballad and one of the CD's best
Purify~ The intro, verse, and interlude actually have very catchy and fun guitar parts... too bad for Hetfield's WAY too whiny/annoying chorus vocals
All Within My Hands~ The worst thought out banging of instruments set to Hetfield's "love is control" nature. some may like how it's the darkest the album offers but c'mon: when the last lines in a song are "Kill, Kill, Kill, Kill" at increasingly annoying pitches you know you've got a stinker.

Did Green Day sell out?

They sure as hell did.

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With Dookie.... in like 1993.

This was more of a comeback album.

Some of my friends that are huge grunge fans(i.e. Nirvana, Smashing Punmpkins, Alice in Chains etc) have told me this album sounds a lot like grunge. I can't really hear the comparison despite that it's definitely a darker departure from what Green Day's used to.

It's also been described as a "rock opera" which I hadn't heard of before this album but as I understand it that's pretty rare. It does seem to incorporate certain characters like St. jimmy and Whatshername into various songs but I'm not sure how to connect the storyline...

What I like about it is it opened the floodgates for rock music protesting of the Iraq war. Nu-metal outfits like Disturbed and SOAD put out some of their best work in anger at the Bush administration. Not that everything rock bands say is right, but because rock music is best when it's edgy and anti-government as the passion is there when that happens.

I do have some problems with it in that this is coming from one of those Hollywood-skewed viepoints where rather than simply keeping it to attacking the problems within America(a right we all need to excercise more) it attacks America and the people within it in general which as the Killers' lead singer pointed out in a UG article isn't right because "some of the nicest people are in America and he(Billy joe Armstrong, Green Day lead singer/rythym guitarist) knows that singing American Idiot to a European audience(at live shows) represents a whole different connotation than it would here".

So kudos for sparking some good musical heirlooms of our comparable-to-Nam(in some ways, I'm not trying to light any political fuses here, let's keep the comments to music) current situation but uh.... could've been a little less hateful towards your own country? Just sayin'.

But there is one thing this album has going for it(aside from putting anger and sadness to such upbeat catchy melodic hooks): it's most likely going to be a part of history. No matter what way you look at it, people will look back on this album as a sign of the time during the Iraq War.

Song by Song:

American Idiot~ It's got a catchy melody but I got tired of it after about the first two weeks of radio play, and after a while it just sounds a bit too mean-spirited
Jesus of Suburbia~ Great songwriting in this 5-part ensemble. Loved every minute of this lengthy ballad
Holiday~ One of the most catchy riffs and one that despite overplay on the radio I still can't get enough of. Actual political references make it much better than the album's title track
Boulevard of Broken Dreams~ A great song that radio wroened for me. There's a thing here in Dallas called the 9'Oclock Cock Fight where each night two songs are played and listeners vote for what song they like best. A song can win for 5 consecutive nights before it is replaced by two all new contenders. I heard this song as it won its 5th night in a row on that night with a full moon when the Red Sox World Series and thought "this will be such a significant song for me". It still is, but after 400 (*&%#$in' times I'm thinking its importance is that I have to wait until the red sox are champs AGAIN before I can enjoy it.
Are we the waiting~ One of those songs that's overly repetitive but also might put you to sleep in a good way
St. Jimmy~ ridiculous punk about a fictional ahole of a saint
Give Me Novocaine~ Mmm..... novocaine *drools*
She's a Rebel~ An extremely catchy head-over-heels for girl song with great melodic vocals
Extraordinary Girl~ It's eh... it's ok I guess. Pretty slow. don't have anything against but nothing special really.
Letterbomb~ An apocalyptic account of a crappy town and its crooked officials. Once again good melody and very catchy
Wake Me Up When September Ends~ A song about depression over the loss of a loved one. depends on your mood but it's either a nice ballad or annoyingly over-sentimental.
We're Coming Home Again~ Another 5-part song, this time with more distinct parts... they're pretty random unlike Jesus of Suburbia's tighter composition but still fun to listen to
Whatsername~ A nice subtle boy meets girl, boy loses gorl song to end the album.

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Chili's Best? Strokes' dissapointment?

These last two aren't controversial, just albums I really enjoy(and that glassadam brought up):

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Stadium Arcadium

Bassist Flea says it's Chili's best effort, and aside from "Mother's Milk" sounding like a very close contender for me I can't help but agree. Breakthrough Rick Rubin produced "Blood Sugar Sex Magic" is the fan favorite but that album bores me and I love how much more upfront Frusciante's guitar is on this one.

Not a single weak song on this double disc with the exclusion of "If".

By the way this album was also produced by Rubin, who is currently producing Metallica's latest project, is Slayer's main guy, produced SOAD's Mezmerize Hypmotize, dixie Chicks' Grammy of the Year 2007 album, Beastie Boys license to ill and the list goes on.... does that guy(the bearded one) ever sleep?

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First Impressions of Earth

A few weak tracks here and there, but the excellent guitar breaks in "Heart In A Cage", otherwordly "ElectricityScape" and "Ize of the World", and laid back melodies of "Razorblade" and "You Only Live Once" more than make up for overly repetitive crap like "Evening Sun".

Editor's Note: a million times thank you tocatboy_lover for giving me page views to help me rank up :P

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