Friday, January 19, 2007

Saves The Day

Saves the Day wasn't on the original list of music, but I’m reviewing them them instead of one of the other bands. They have been a favorite of mine since middle school, and I loved their albums ‘Through Being Cool’, and ‘Stay What You Are’. The purchase of their most recent album was made in blind faith. I hadn’t heard any of it yet, but I was sure that it was worth the 15 bucks. In my mind I thought that they must have made a great album to make up for the disaster that was ‘In Reverie’. It’s hard for bands to beat their original albums, and I figured that ‘In Reverie’ might have been rock bottom for Saves the Day. I was wrong. I thought, from here, things can only go up. It wasn’t even that bad. It was satisfactory at best. It had the sort of appeal that broccoli did when you closed your eyes and pinched your nose closed. If you didn’t know what you were getting, then it was fine.
I was entirely wrong. ‘Sound the Alarm’ is the end of all that is good in Saves the Day. They have taken on the task of the myspace music generation. They’ve conformed to all other depressing emo drag. Self-mutilating, self-deprecating garbage is what they have become. ‘Sound the Alarm’ is chock-full of references to graves and hell, the word "burning" is simply over used, and death is eminent, with self-inflicted injury is the center of almost every song. In retrospect, Saves the Day has always been a sort of violent band. The difference is that their anger had always been outward, about hurting people they didn’t like and whatnot. Those with ulterior purposes are generally based around a theme of the end of the world, or expressing to the listener the extent to which nobody cares. Well, I think I know why no one cares. It’s because you, Christopher Conley, are too whiney for your own good. You know, they don’t give out a Grammy for the most references to suicide in a single album. To top off the repulsive lyrical arrangement, Conley's voice is different, way different, almost painfully different. It's whiney, its high pitched, its as if someone just stole his Power Ranger action figure and wont give it back. I ask him this: did you go through a life-changing surgery? Are you on steroids? Did you recently take voice lessons from Mike Tyson?

All true Saves the Day fans are yearning for the days of ‘At Your Funeral’, and ‘Firefly’. The Old Saves the Day receives a 7.5…they get points off for crying too often. The new Saves the Days reviews a 1.346…because they don’t even deserve a 2..

Monday, January 15, 2007


Even though they've had a decent amount of sucess, Cake is a pretty far step away from the mainstream music seen on MTV every day. The first time you hear them, you might wonder what they were possibly thinking to make that kind of music that they play. I was definitely not their biggest fan the first time I heard them; it was something I needed to listen to a few times before I could really appreciate it, and soon it became one of my favorites. With influences from genres at opposite end of the spectrum, like jazz, funk, hip-hop, and country, their music was bound to turn out as something unusual. Almost entirely thanks to their spectacular live performance, Cake has managed to assemble a rather large following that to this day, continues to grow. Having seen them live myself, I can vouch that their performance is nothing short of enthralling. The monotonous, one-octave voice of lead singer John McCrea is something that is rarely seen in a band today, much less a rather successful one. This, along with the distorted guitar riffs and catchy bass lines, is an unbeatable combination. Cake’s lyrics can be described as ironic and satirical, which combined with the band members sarcastic attitudes, can cause some to believe that they have a superiority complex.

The extent of their musical variety is best demonstrated in the song ‘Arco Arena’, a ninety second instrumental piece featuring the keyboards, the rhythmic guitar, and most importantly, the mandolin. Cake also expresses their unique musicality in 'Comfort Eagle', with a synthesized sitar, as well as small flute parts. In the majority of their songs, each instrument has a rather simple-sounding part, but when put together with the multitude of instruments not found in the typical band, it creates something very unique. Trumpet player Vince Difiore has a solo in nearly every song. Some of best work can be found on the album ‘Fashion Nugget, particularly in songs such as ‘Sad Songs and Waltzes’, ‘Italian Leather Sofa’, and ‘Open Book’. ‘Fashion Nugget’ contains Cake’s most successful song, ‘The Distance’, which became a hit on the radio for a period of time. My personal favorites are ‘Frank Sinatra’ and ‘Nugget’, both of which can be found on ‘Fashion Nugget’. The album ‘Comfort Eagle’ also contains some of Cake’s best work, with songs such as ‘Short Skirt/Long Jacket’, and ‘Love You Madly’.

Cake is the type of music you can never get bored with, because every time you listen to it, you notice something that you hadn’t before. Considering that Cake is one of my all time favorite bands, I give them a 10.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Ben Folds Five/Ben Folds

So forget the categories thing, i'm just going to give it a 1 to 10 rating.

Everyone who listens to Ben Folds knows that his music can be placed in two different categories, Ben Folds Five, and the solo stuff. Personally I like both, but I find that Ben Folds Five goes much deeper as far as their lyrics, and are overall, much more varried in their musicality. The two most popular Ben Fold's Five albums are 'Whatever & Ever Amen', and 'The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner.' 'Biography..' features a wider range of instruments, such as the violin and the cello, while 'Whatever..' sticks to the more classic piano riffs. 'Whatever & Ever Amen' can be classified as Ben Folds Five's greatest success. The album touches both ends of the spectrum, with the upbeat and jazzy 'Steve's Last Night in Town', to the deep and reflective 'Selfless, Cold, and Composed'. You hear the song 'Brick', about a teenage boy bringing his girlfriend to get an abortion, and then it's followed by 'Song For The Dumped'. "Wish I hadn't bought you dinner..Right before you dumped me on your front porch...Give me my money back..Give me my money back, you b____"
I think the multitude of different emotions covered in this album is what makes it one of my favorites. I don't think that people want to listen to an album where song after song pretty much expresses the same thing.

The solo music that Ben Folds has released is somewhat different than the recordings done with Ben Folds Five. In my opinion, it's a bit more repetative overall. The album 'Rockin' The Suburbs' imparticularly stands out to me. It contains songs such as 'Annie Waits', 'Losing Lisa', and 'Carrying Cathy'. The balad of the album, 'The Luckiest', is one of the most popular songs he's ever written. On the other end, the song 'Rockin' the Suburbs' is hilarious. It goes through the hardships of growing up in middle class suburbia. "I'm pissed off but I'm too polite when people break in the McDonald's line...Mom and Dad you made me so uptight, I'm gonna cuss on the mic tonight" The musicality on these songs can't be compared to that of Ben Folds Five. The piano parts, while still very intricate and impressive, lack something that is found in the songs of Ben Folds Five.

Ben Fold Five recieves a 9
Ben Folds recieves a 7.5

Also, Ben Folds Five has a very good cover of a certain Snoop Dog song, whose title I probably can't post on here. Check it out.

Monday, January 8, 2007

The music i'll be reiviewing will be judged on a scale of 1 to 10, in different categories that will be decided at a later date. I'll give my number and comments, and then anyone can post with their own number.

Here's a list of groups and artists that I like, and could possibly review in the future.
Ben Folds
Rufus Wainwright
The Decemberists
Regina Spektor
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Jedi Mind Tricks
Motion City Soundtrack
Reel Big Fish
Neutral Milk Hotel
Say Anything
Violent Femmes

Friday, January 5, 2007

My name's Christine, and on this blog I will be reviewing different bands and artists. Technically, it's for my media studies project, but I don't think i'm supposed to say that. I listen to many different kinds of music, so the reviews won't be centered around just one genre