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Coldplay – God Put A Smile Upon Your Face (Live 2003)

January 3, 2011

Until a few years ago, I was never a big fan of Coldplay.  To me, they always sounded pretentious and, to be brutally honest, a little wimpy.  I mean, which red blooded guy wants to listen to Chris Martin’s swooning and romantic vocals?  However, I soon learned the error of my ways.  The following performance of God Put A Smile Upon Your Face included in their Live 2003 compilation album proved to me how versatile of a band they actually were.

This is my favourite Coldplay song for a couple of reasons – firstly, it’s not “sissy” at all. It’s slinky, veeeeery “tongue in cheek” and rather insightful, demonstrating the constant revolving relationship between man and the supernatural (at least for me). As I’m a pretty big fan of songs that capacitate religious parables, I fell head over heels when I heard it for the first time. Also, it’s the only Coldplay song I can actually headbang to. As Coldplay’s one of the few rock bands that don’t get very “distorted” to put it eloquently, this song really demonstrates the hidden rockstar element of the band that is rarely shown to the general public.

So why is this performance especially special? Well, for me, Coldplay was at the pinnacle of their career in 2003. Having just released “A Rush of Blood to the Head” in 2002, they were set to play a plethora of shows with some big numbers like ‘Clocks’ and ‘The Scientist’.  This particular performance seems really special to me because the band’s chemistry seems better than ever. Chris, Johnny, Guy, and Will all seemed to have been emotionally invested in this particular performance because all four of them know exactly how incredible the music they create actually is. It’s almost as if this particular performance represents humility, in its most graceful form.


Muse – Citizen Erased (Glastonbury 2004)

December 31, 2010

My inconsistency’s really been something to write home about as of late.  But I’ve understood the root of the problem – album reviews take a lot of effort and time to write, requiring a substantial amount of research and investigation.  So, I’m going to post about random performances from my favourite artists I find on YouTube starting off with, of course, Muse.

Glastonbury 2004 was an epic year for this epic band.  After the release of their third studio album, Absolution, in 2003, the band set out to play a festival with a killer setlist.  Citizen Erased was undoubtedly my favourite performance in that gig – it might even be my favourite CE performance ever. The random riff Bellamy plays after the first verse + chorus highlights the improvisational genius of this band along with highlighting the cumulative musical chemistry between the three of them.  Glastonbury 2004 was also noteworthy because of the death of drummer Dominic Howard’s father right after he watched the band play the festival. Although it puts an overarching dark light on the performance itself, watching it back 6 years later, I can’t help but feel rather emotional whenever I see them getting raw and passionate while playing the entire song. Overall, awesome song, awesome performance (probably Muse’s best at this festival) and a benchmark moment in the band’s musical career.

Album Review: Crash Kings (Crash Kings)

August 13, 2010

So it’s been a few months since my last post.  The world hasn’t ended yet, so I think it’s a great idea to pick up exactly where I left off and review a few more of my favourite albums out in the market today.  Sure, Muse is a recurring theme in my playlist, but I’ve expanded my horizons to different bands.  One band has really made an impact in the music industry – for me at least.  They’ve literally come out of nowhere to success and – this is the best part – they’re actually extremely talented.  Who is this band, you ask? Crash Kings.

Before going on to reviewing their album, I wanted to write a little blurb about the band itself.  Having formed in 2006 in sunny California, they immediately made their presence known in the Cali music scene and were signed to Custard Records.  Featuring Tony Beliveau on vocals and keyboards (who sounds an awful lot like a fusion between Paul McCartney and Jack White), Mike Beliveau on bass, and Jason Morris on drums, their sound’s really unique in the contemporary cataclysmic music industry we have today, filled with commercialized songs made for radio.  In terms of what this band actually sounds like, I can’t really put my finger on it.  At times, I’m taken back to the days of The Beatles with Paul McCartney on vocals during “Abbey Road”.  And, at other times, he sounds exactly like Jack White. Tony’s got an incredible vocal range that can’t be ignored.  Additionally, the band doesn’t have a lead/rhythm guitarist.  The “melodic” side of the band comes from Tony’s keyboard and occasionally used clavinet with distortion.  This splits them apart from their competition in the alternative rock industry and makes them a joy to watch and listen to.

So, without further ado, here’s my take on their self-titled debut album, Crash Kings.

1. Mountain Man

The first time I heard this on the radio, I was genuinely impressed.  At that point in time, I wasn’t really able to connect with any new band, as their sound was too “pre-packaged” from the studio.  However, this song was one that I could totally connect to.  Tony’s vocals are outstanding (you’ll hear me saying this quite a bit throughout this review).  The song itself has a simple structure and it’s almost like a chant.  The band has definitely spent quite a bit of time focusing on the simple things in the studio to perfect the recording.  For instance, the clapping right before the chorus is done with utmost precision and makes this song flow really well.  As I’m a closet headbanger, I absolutely adore the final chorus, when the band lets it all go and freaks out.  Moments like those make me love music (specifically alternative rock) even more.  The only big thing I would’ve changed is some variation to the verse/chorus – sure, it’s engaging the first time you listen to it, but after the third time, the lyrics get overly repetitive.  This isn’t an overtly bad thing to have in a song, but it’s something that can be improved.  Overall, a solid start to the album that keeps me engaged the whole way through. (A-)

2. 1985

One of my favourites. The bass line is epic.  His vocals are getting better with every song.  The biggest problem I have with this song is the cop-out of the chorus itself.  The verses use unusual chords and are definitely different from the normalized song melodies that we hear on the radio today.  But the chorus retracts to the same ol’ heartwarming chord structure.  However, from a lyrical perspective, it makes sense.  From a personal perspective, I’m not the hugest fan of it.  My mind does change once we get to the “post-chorus” of the song, where Tony’s able to turn the song around by combining quite a few chords together to create this crescendo of sorts. I guess that’s where the song begins to redeem itself! (A-)

3. It’s Only Wednesday

Love this piano riff. It’s just ridiculously bouncy and reminds me of a talented Maroon 5 (you know you agree with me).  The chorus, again, is a cop-out.  At one end of the spectrum, this band is amazingly talented – but at the other end, it’s almost as if they keep coming back to that repetitive, cliched chord structure for their chorus.  Nonetheless, it’s a good song.  The chord “riff” after the chorus is pretty genius, not going to lie.  When Tony starts to yell, “But you can’t believe it, can’t believe it tonight, and I don’t want to lose”, the song, like “1985” turns around positively.  The clavinet solo is evidence that this band can still rock out without an electric guitar.  It’s definitely a noteworthy song, but at this point in the album, I wasn’t convinced that the band was completely loose – it was like they were going through the motions. (B)

4. Come Away

Don’t necessarily know if this is a compliment or not, but I envision this song to be the background for a really corny scene in “The Notebook”.  Bands, in my opinion, never want their songs to be referred to as background music for a movie.  I’m not a total hater of this track, but they’re taking a step back from the progression of the album.  On it’s own, it’s a good, sweet song.  But I’ve seen thousands of good, sweet songs in the music industry already.  It’s almost as if I’m waiting for Tony to break out of his shell and start rocking out more.  The band’s great at doing ballads, but they’re even better at letting loose and feeling the music. So to reiterate – good song on its own, but I’ve heard this so many times in the radio already. (C)

5. Non Believer

This song might seem like an average to many, but I’m absolutely in love with the vocal line, the piano chords, and the bass line.  It’s not the most engaging song in the album, but it takes me back to “Penny Lane” by The Beatles.  Tony’s almost playing with my mind once he starts going into the chorus – the band goes from one phase to the other without ever stopping.  I’m expecting it to follow a particular structure, but the band’s definitely proven to me that they’re original.  If I were writing this song, I’d keep it really simple and sweet.  They’ve managed to do that, but make it original and exciting at the same time.  However, I can’t say I’d wait for this song to be played in one of their gigs.  Similarly, I completely dislike the outro of the song, where the background vocals are “Monday, Tuesday….”.  To me, there are so many things that they could have done instead of taking the conventional route and repeating the thesis of the lyrics.  For that reason and that reason alone, this song doesn’t COMPLETELY impress me.  Still solid. (B)

6.  14 ArmS

FINALLY. They start to let loose.  It’s like a sped-up version of “Lady Madonna” by The Beatles.  I absolutely ADORE this song.  Again, this band knows how to create different phases of a particular song and lead their listening audience from one to the other.  The tempo constantly changes and, at first listening, it seems like complete chaos.  However, it’s completely organized.  The band knows what it’s doing – when Tony starts singing “If the snake gets the rabbit in the end…”, it’s the high point in the song for me.  Their homage to The Beach Boys is obvious with Tony singing “God Only Knows” – see, it’s the little things like that make this song quite interesting to listen to. Definitely one of my favourites. (A)

7. Raincoat

Not the hugest fan of this song. The chorus is sweet, but the rest of the song is too much of a mess to be paying attention to meticulously.  It’s like the band has taken fragments of several songs they’ve written and stitched them together in a desperate attempt to create an original-sounding song.  Sure, I might be harsh, but it sounds that way.  Tony’s vocals are still impeccable, which is undoubtedly the high point of this song.  The bridge is, however, very well written (“Hold out your hands, hold out your hands, for me…”).  After the bridge, however, he goes back to his usual soundtrack-ish chorus – again, I love the band rocking out.  They still have to show their true colours. (C+)

8. You Got Me

Definitely my favourite song of the album.  For lack of a better word, it’s just sick.  Amazing bass line throughout the song and an unconventional line that’s just proving Tony’s worth as a voice to pay attention to.  The chorus/”post”-verse is undoubtedly my favourite of all the songs on the album because it’s not formulaic.  The asymmetry of the song makes it memorable – it’s not really catchy, the musical extravagance of each band member are clearly shown, and the band finally gets the opportunity to let loose a little.  Although the latter part of the song is eerily similar to “Mountain Man”, I much prefer this side of the band than the “Come Away” one.  The ending reminds me of “Flying” by The Beatles…or pretty much anything from the psychedelic era.  Overall, an awesome song that makes this album work. (A)

9.  Saving Grace

Second favourite from the album.  Again, this proves that Tony knows how to fit melody with dissonance.  The beginning’s complete chaos – the drumbeat’s asymmetrical, the time signature’s completely screwed up, but the band somehow is able to assert (gradually) a beautiful melody.  The chorus might be cliched and overused, but I pay more attention to Tony’s harmony during the chorus.  Any band can play those four chords over and over again, but it’s all about the talent that’s being shown in that particular portion of the song.  I should just start calling him “The Voice”. (A)

10.  My Love

When I heard the title to this song, I was convinced that it was going to be “Come Away” 1.0.  However, it’s going to be one of the underrated songs of this album just because of the songwriting skill that the band has put into it.  Again, they’ve mastered the art of creating “phases” for each of their songs, making it a joy to listen to.  It’s a sweet song, sure – but it’s a sweet song that I can relate to.  Reminiscent of Paul McCartney solo songs, it’s a song that needs to be their next single.  Sure, I’ve probably said I prefer the edgier side of the band, but this is an exception – this is the one ballad throughout the album that actually wins over my attention and, no pun intended, love. (A)

The high points of the album:

1. You Got Me

2. Saving Grace

3. My Love

4. 14 Arms

5. Mountain Man

Overall grade: B+

*Note*:  It’s a strong start for the Crash Kings.  They’ve released a strong record that should motivate people to pay attention to this band a lot more.  Mark my words – this band will be big.

Album Review: The Resistance (Muse)

May 16, 2010

Since talking about Muse has been next to second nature in the routine deliberations of my mind, I think that it’s only natural for me to review their latest album, “The Resistance”, before moving on to discuss any other music-related issue that I’ve thought of or has been brought to my attention. I talk like a lawyer, I know.

1.  Uprising

This song was the answer to my prayers of listening to an intellectually stimulating rebellion/riot song from a band that I love.  In the past, Green Day has been my next to nothing alternative of listening to a hateful, anti-government “melody” (I guess we can call their songs melodic), but it’s always been a really bad song.  It’s either about hating the current president or discussing imperative issues to the nation, such as the healthcare reform debacle happening in the US.  But they never provide an ANSWER to the actual question.  This song does.  Muse takes a deliberately vindictive route to answering the state vs. people argument and pushes a powerful, almost overwhelming message to the listeners – “They will not degrade us.  We will be victorious.”  So long I have waited for a band to be both frank at telling people what their song is about and metaphorically intellectual in discussing the issue at hand instead of beating around the ever-growing bush.  Although I’m not a huge fan of the synthesizers throughout the song (I think it kind of ruins the feel of a riot/rebellion), it’s got a solid drum beat by Dom that’s coated beautifully by Matt’s almost overarching vocals which amalgamates with his hell-of-a-guitar tone and is finished off by the best distortion bass I’ve ever heard. (A-)

2.  Resistance

The first time I listened to this song, it reminded me of Yanni. No lie.  Naturally, this similarity of sounds got me interested in listening to this song over and over and over again.  And suffice to say, after 300 replays, it’s definitely the most “single-ish” song of the entire album.  Matt’s dramatic voice works PERFECTLY with the theme of the song (which is about 1984 if you didn’t know already) and Chris’s bassline in the pre-chorus (“It could be wrong, could be wrong…”) is definitely my favourite component of the entire song.  It’s seeing bands this creative with their individual instruments that makes me a happy man on a daily basis.  One criticism with this song – the radio edit. I’ve got a big problem with radio stations demanding that bands edit their songs – it doesn’t sound like the original anymore! It sounds like a radio-friendly, commercialied artifact that has no place in the band’s repertoire.  The original version won my heart over in an instant, but the radio stations need to learn their lesson of changing songs over for the alleged benefit of the listening public. (A)

3.  Undisclosed Desires

Brings me back to the good old times of “Suppermassive Black Hole”.  It’s a solid song that, again, shows the musical diversity of Muse.  I was actually watching “The Making of” the entire album and I remember the band joking about how slap bass is a secret fetish for all musicians.  When I first listened to this song and heard the slap bass, I became physically excited.  The only other contemporary (and popular) band that convincingly uses slap bass is RHCP, and when Muse started to become funky, naturally I was dancing silently.  Overall, this song reminds me of a talented ‘Nsync.  This band knows how to take a few chords, add some meaningful lyrics, and fuse together interesting, but equally distinctive, elements to make an awesome song. (B+)

4.  United States of Eurasia

One of the top 2 favourites of the album (for me, at least).  The beginning is classic drama from Muse – Matt’s almost cynical lyrics mixed in with a ballad-like piano structure shows the vulnerability of the song and it completely MORPHS into this middle-eastern, Egyptian-like trance encompassed by Bellamy’s strong-willed words constantly being drilled into your head (“And these wars, they can’t be won…does anyone know or care how they began?”)  The second half of the song is an obvious tribute/homage to Queen and I’m glad that the band did it.  According to a recent interview, the band started laughing uncontrollably after Matt started to yell out “Eura-SIA, SIA, SIA”.  Either through hilarity or genius, the piece is brilliant.  Again, a high point of the album that I can always listen to without fatigue. (A)

5.  Guiding Light

Sounds like U2.  First thing that popped into my head when I listened to it for the first time.  Although I’m not the biggest fan of this song because I feel like it’s out-of-place in the album, it’s still a good tune.   I loved the Queen-like guitar riff in the middle of the song (it’s the little nuances like that which make me adore this band).  Although it sounds a lot like “Invincible”, but it doesn’t carry the same intensity or conviction that the previous one carried with it.  For that reason and that reason alone, I’m not the hugest supporter of this song.  (C)

6.  Unnatural Selection

Favourite song of the album.  Starting off from the operatic, church organ-cloaked epic introduction, it transforms into a riff-embroiled masterpiece.  That riff gets me in the mood for anything – it’s like a simple but effective adrenaline disseminator.  The riff, I admit, is kinda similar to “New Born“…but then again, what’s wrong with that?  The entire song, to me, just yells out ‘screw the world, f*** it, f*** it, give me the truth and cut the s***”.  And that’s amazing.  Muse never lost their charm.  They just got older.  And they got much better at playing their own instruments.  After the first section(ish) of the song, it proceeds to this “I Want You (She’s So Heavy”)-ish ballad that still keeps me engaged.  Why?  Bellamy’s charismatic voice and his perfectly-placed lyrics are good enough to keep me listening forever. And ever.  Perfect song. Perfect riff. Perfect lyrics.  (A+)

7.  MK Ultra

One of my favourites from the album.  The opening riff, like almost all of Bellamy’s riffs, just gets you engaged instantaneously.  Sounding like one of the Chili Peppers’ arpeggio-atic riffs, it’s almost an unfailing component of the song.  But when Bellamy starts singing “How much destruction can you take?  How many lives will you create?” – that’s my jam right there.   When I write songs, all I can think about is how to perfectly fit in my lyrics so that the song sounds believable.  Bellamy does it effortlessly.  One more thing to note – the guitar tone throughout the song is arguably my favourite tone from the entire album.  It’s got almost a funkadelic/phased up/metallic feel to it that the other songs don’t seem to possess.  (A-)

8.  I Belong To You (Mon Coeur S’ouvre A Ta Voix)

Interesting tune.  Not immediately engage upon first listening, but it’s carries a jazzy piano riff that makes me listen to it again and again.  When Bellamy starts singing “She attacks me like a Leo…”, that’s when I really start to pay attention – it’s, again, the perfect combination of lyrics to place in that certain part of the song.  The second “song”, (the french one), just calms you down entirely.  Although I don’t speak a word of French, it still sounds sexy and intriguing.  I’ve almost got to the point where I can say the “gist” of what he’s saying just to sound cool, but in reality, have no idea what he’s actually talking about.   Finally, the end of the song, Bellamy brings the listener into an epic outro, carrying the tune up and up and up to a point where there’s no place to go.  But to stop.  And that’s exactly where he takes us.  (B)

9.  Exogenesis:  Symphony Part 1 (Overture)

The next three songs are just the focal point of the album for me.  Not an afterthought – the focal point.  Part 1, is just, similar to Invincible, a big crescendo.  The band cleverly manipulates the use of strings to bring in a Spiderman-like theme which ends up building up more and more to make it sound more theatrical than any of the band’s other previous creations.  It’s almost as if the band REJUVENATES the album by introducing a completely new set of ideas to the listener.  The first 8 songs were relatively “simple” (if I can liberally use that word) compared to the last 3 songs of the album.  In other words, the band has inserted a completely new idea into the album, making it even more interesting than the first 8 songs painted it out to be.  (B+)

10.  Exogensis:  Symphony Part 2 (Cross-Pollination)

To me, this is a perfect fusion of Bellamy’s classical music influences and a French/Muse-like theme.  It’s funny how he can take something that sounds so European and transcend standard musical conventions to make it into something completely cross-cultural (or in this case, extremely French-like – at least in the first part of the song).  After that, hints of “Unnatural Selection” comes back to mind as Dom plays his standard build-up drum fill and Bellamy rants about his classic “Invincible”-like ideologies (“Tell us, tell us your final wish…we will tell it to the world”).  Overall, it’s definitely one of my favourites off of the album – a simple package of what Muse is.  (A)

11.  Exogenesis:  Symphony Part 3 (Redemption)

Probably the most emotional song of the album.  It’s also the perfect ending.  Think about it – the entire album’s like an angsty teenager – constantly twisting and turning his emotional capacity.  From “Uprising” to “United States of Eurasia”, there’s a hateful, vindictive attitude being thrown around.  “Undisclosed Desires” and “The Resistance” paints a very optimistic/’let’s-fill-in-that-big-hole-in-your-heart’ kind of attitude.  The last three songs, and this song especially, just conclude that off perfectly by subtly stating that nothing matters – “Let’s start over again…This time we’ll get it right.”  You can take that lyric politically.  You can take it as a representation of human society’s adamancy to stay on topic when entering into times of conflict.  Or…you can take it as the perfect ending.  Brilliant.  (A)

The high points of the album:

1. Unnatural Selection

2. MK Ultra

3. The Resistance

4. United States of Eurasia

5. Exogenesis (all three of them)

Overall grade:  A-

Album Review: Black Holes and Revelations (Muse)

April 20, 2010

After listening to “The Resistance”, Muse’s latest album, I ventured back in time to listen to their earlier work.  So, after listening to “Black Holes and Revelations”, I think that it’s imperative that I review it.

1. Take A Bow

This track, to me, epitomizes a sort-of 60’s throwback trance-ish kind of feel.  The last part of the song reminds me of “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” by The Beatles – it’s a droning, overpowering (sometimes tiring) song that puts the listener in a fix for the rest of the album.  Although it’s not the most optimistic song on the album (“You’ll burn in hell for your sins”. I know), it’s exactly what you’d expect from Muse – dramatic, theatrical, fusing two genres together (trancy euro-pop in the beginning, and then blending in a heavy, rock ballad-like theme in the end).  However, I do think that the song would be much better suited in the end of the album – even if the message it has is an angry, rather pessimistic one, the title, at least, makes it more suitable for closing the album off (C+)

2. Starlight

Now, this is one of my all-time favourite Muse songs.  I know that some people RIP this song apart because they make fallacious allegations that it indicates the “selling out” of the band and how commercial they’ve become, but I just don’t see it.  It sounds like Muse. It has a catchy verse. A not-so-catchy chorus.  And it has the title of the album in the chorus (“Our hopes and expectations, black holes and revelations”).  What’s so commercial about it?  I agree that it’s radio-friendly, but I don’t see the selling-out component of the song.  To me, this song just reads out passion.  Bellamy’s obviously had an incredible moment of introspection while writing this song and it’s translated in the recording.  The abundance of “structure” in the song makes it easy to listen to, but it doesn’t detract away from the message he’s trying to communicate.  To me at least, this is one of the highlights of the album because of its mere simplicity.  It just makes me smile every time I listen to it.  Isn’t that what counts? (A-)  

3. Supermassive Black Hole

This song, as most people know, was featured in a short scene in Twilight.  I can definitely vouch for all you critics out there and say that I strongly dislike the Twilight franchise and have never been a fan, but the one thing to understand before criticizing Muse is that they wrote this song for the ALBUM, not the MOVIE.  As a stand-along song in the album, it shows a lot of diversity.  Which contemporary band can go from sounding like Radiohead to coming off as R&B-ish? It takes some guts to make a song that diverse within an album for a band that has an established alternative hard-rock presence within the minds of all of its fans.  For that reason alone, I like the song.  I can say that I’m not a big fan of the chorus of the song, as it comes off to me as a cop-out.  Supermassive is a powerful, sexy, beat-filled song that communicates a really lusty kind of message.  For that reason alone, the chorus doesn’t seem appropriate – however, the best thing about the song is the Zeppelin/Hendrix-influenced riff that Bellamy plays throughout the song.  It’s sounds like a metrosexual Jimmy Page. No lie. (B-)  

4. Map of the Problematique

To me, one of the defining moments of the entire album.  The subtle piano at the beginning sets the tone for the rest of the song (see, it’s the little things like the piano that make Muse incredible).  To me, whenever I listen to this song, I just think of a desert with a tsunami heading towards the band which is centered right in the middle of everything.  Picturesque, I know.  Bellamy goes the extra mile with his vocals here. He’s established himself as an extremely strong singer, in addition to his stellar guitar playing.  I don’t have any major criticism with this song, other than the fact that I would’ve loved to hear a guitar solo thrown in there.  The vocals don’t dominate as much (which, in my opinion, is a good thing, since in most Muse songs, Matt takes center stage with his voice).  I mean – when you hear him belting out “When we bleed, we bleed the same”, it’s hard not to get a little introspective and nostalgic. (A)

5.  Soldier’s Poem

Interesting placement.  Right after an intense and insightful song like MOTP, they choose to tune things down and play a really straightforward (at least on the face-level) song that sounds a tad like a Barbershop Quartet.   I get flashbacks of “Unintended” every time I hear this song, but it’s still a great one that provides relief between the intensity of the rest of the album. (B-)

6. Invincible

This entire song, to me, is a great big crescendo.  The beginning translates Matt’s vulnerability to me – “During this struggle, they will pull us down…but please, let’s use this chance to turn things around”.  It’s a corny start to the song, but it morphs into classic Muse – a riff-embroiled, guitar tapping amalgamation that just explodes at the end.  The end of this song is a perfect expression of how Muse songs manage to turn a simple idea into a monstrous, theatrical drama – which is what I love most about them. (B-)  

7. Assassin

Great riff.  Evidently shows the Metal-side of the band.  Dom’s drumming work is truly impressive – every component/instrument stands out on its own and works very well.  By this point, the band’s established a clear “theme” of the album – it all seems like tossing a ball around.  At one point, with Starlight, there’s a clear message of searching for your soulmate being communicated.  With Assassin, the band’s making a clear political statement.  I think the theme of this album is the lack of a theme.  There are just a lot of deep feelings being thrown around, and these sentiments eventually get built up into representing the band in a more positive, professional way.  This song gave me the first indication of the “theme” of the song.  It’s short, sweet, and to the point. (C+)

8. Exo-Politics

My favourite on the album.  I don’t know what I like about it, but it just makes sense to me.  The beginning’s a class act – I showed my buddy the opening riff and he immediately fell in love with it.  It’s the classic Muse chord structure which has the drama attached to it.  As the song progresses and it goes to the second “verse” (“When the Zetas fill the skies…”), I wake up and start to pay attention – it’s something about that part of the song that just makes me listen closely.  The solo that follows the second verse is just amazing – it reminds me of a Zeppelin + bad 80’s music fusion that you just can’t beat.  Overall, great song, sick beat, mind blowing riff. (A)

9. City of Delusion

To me, Muse backtracks here.  After Exo-Politics, I want to hear some progression, but “City of Delusion” is just too indulgent for me to fully appreciate.  On it’s own, it’s a good song – solid bass line, good vocals, clever use of the strings throughout the song.  However, in the grand scheme of the album itself, it fails a bit.  I will say that it sounds a lot like a song you’d hear before or after a Soccer game in Europe – the bass line has that kind of feel to it. (C)

10.  Hoodoo

Surprisingly, this is one of my favourites from the album.  The reason? It seems like the precursor to Muse’s work in “The Resistance”, their next album that they released last year.  I love to hear a band’s evolution to their latest album.  “I’ve had recurring nightmares…missed the opportunity to be a better man,” just puts the cherry on top of this song – as I said before with the “theme” of any album, that line made me understand what the band was trying to communicate to its audience – that the album was a strong EMOTION, regardless of what KIND of emotion you personally felt, the album communicated a STRONG sentiment which made it the listener’s responsibility to determine what they actually experienced. (B-)

11.  Knights of Cydonia

This has got to be in my top 5 all time favourite Muse songs.  Same with my dad.  We loved watching their performances of this song because of the extra stuff that Matt would add to it – like the really high falsetto in the intro.  Although the recording of this song could be better – in terms of bringing out the drums a whole lot more – I find it a genius song to write/record/perform.  From the minute intricacies like the drum fills by Dom all the way to the changes in time signature that the song takes us through, it’s a wild ride and honestly reminds me of an epic cowboy space odyssey (which was what Bellamy was going for).  I will say that the song would be much better off in the beginning of the album – it seems like the perform song to start off any gig.  Nonetheless, this is the focal point of the album for me. (A)

So, to sum up, these are the high points of the album:

1. Exo-Politics

2. Knights of Cydonia

3. Starlight

4. Map of the Problematique

Final Grade:  B

Drumroll, please…

April 20, 2010

Hey there.

I’m obviously a fresh new face in this barren landscape you people call the “blogosphere”, but I’m excited about this. This might be something to write home about.

If you haven’t read the “About” section of this blog, then do so. But just to make this entire interaction a lot quicker, I’ll summarize it for you.

In short, I’m in love with a woman and her name’s music.  As you’ll eventually come to know, I’m mostly in love with good ol’ Rock and Roll, but I’m always willing to listen to knew genres, criticize the songs, and then come to finally enjoy them.  This blog promises to fill you in on local Torontonian talent, songs and music videos that you guys need to check out ASAP, and other miscellaneous and personal stories (I know, so sentimental) about my own awesome experience as a musician thriving to survive (I COPYRIGHT THAT PHRASE) in the alleyways of the Big T.O

But until next time, I bid you (my peeps) farewell!