Saturday, November 5, 2011

I'm Back!

TMA is back again. This time, I'm actually going to try to get into blogging than for more than just a month. First thing's first I'd like to say a lot has happened since my last post in April. I took up guitar again and I'm playing everyday. I've also discovered a ton of music that I can't wait to share with the world, which will definitely be coming in the next couple of days. I'm also going to try to interact with my readers as much as I can, which I'm very excited to do. And if you ever want me to blog about an album, band, genre, or movement, feel free to post a comment saying what you want. In the next couple of days I plan on posting about this latest movement that I still can't understand. On that note, I'm signing off for today, but make sure to check out "What the Water Gave Me" by Florence and the Machine. That song has been stuck in my head for the past week, so go and check it out. PEACE!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Hollywood Undead: American Tragedy Review

Well, here's my attempt at reviewing Hollywood Undead's new album. I'm going to start off by saying if you were a fan of HU before, this new album will definitely be a shock. As a little backstory, there was a feud in the band a while ago over who should be considered the writer of the songs on their previous albums, which forced their singer, Deuce, to leave the band. The band eventually replaced him with a singer who has definitely proved his worth, despite some initial hatred.

Now, the sound of this album is definitely the Hollywood Undead sound, but there is definitely a Linkin Park feel to it. Also, the sense of humor that has been prevalent in their previous songs and albums is no more. The majority of the songs are really dark and depressing. Like, really, really dark. To give you an idea, the happiest and most upbeat song on the album is "Bullet", which is basically a story about wanting to commit suicide. Yeah, it's definitely a dark album.

Despite being very dark and not at all humorous, it's still a great album. This album is definitely more mainstream than their previous album "Swan Songs", which definitely makes this better than "Desperate Measures", but not quite on the same level as "Swan Songs". I would recommend buying this album only if you can deal with the dramatic changes to their sound.

Dark, Heavy riffs
Well-written lyrics
Different sound, with some of their old elements still intact

Too much synth in too many songs
Lack of humor
New singer can be very whiny at some times

Monday, March 28, 2011

A case of the "Friday"s

Hey everyone, I know it's been a while since I updated, but there's going to be a lot of good stuff coming your way, really soon. I've just been very busy lately, so I haven't been able to update. Anyway, I have a rant today. And boy, am I going to rant.

Rebecca Black. By now, you've heard her song "Friday". If you haven't, go ahead and try to watch it. It's a traditional pop hit, yet one of the worst out there. Even autotune can't cover up her mistakes, that's how bad this song is. I don't even want to discuss this any further because of how upset I am right now. Anyway, here's my idea. Let's start moving away from the autotune. Let's go back to the good old days when musicians could sing. Artists such as Johnny Cash, Jim Morrison, Robert Plant, and The Beatles used their natural voices. Why can't modern musicians do the same? Has society really stooped down to a whole new level? Let's stop with the autotune, stop with exploiting children, and get back to the way music pop music used to be. A singer, a guitarist, a bassist, and a drummer. That's all it would take to make a hit. For example, go check out the song "MoneyGrabber" by Fitz and the Tantrums. Now that deserves to be a pop hit.

So yeah, let's just move away from autotune. Oh, and the next blog post will be an album review. Woot! And this is a great album, too! Peace everyone!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Making Deals With the Devil

Metal has often been associated with Satan, specifically Death and Black Metal, as well as their specific subgenres. A lot of this has to do with the on of the bands of The Big Four, Slayer (The Big Four will be explained at a later point). Slayer has often been associated with the devil, ever since their controversial album cover from the album Reign in Blood. As a pioneer and influence in metal, Slayer has caused most metal bands to be associated with the devil, even though many metal bands either consist of Atheist of Agnostic band members. Now, here's the big thing: Satan is a religious character. In order for those to believe and worship Satan, they also have to believe in God, and vice versa. Now that we've cleared that up, let's clear up where the origin of the devil in music came from.

The traditional idea of the devil and "selling one's soul to the devil" in music can be dated back to the 1920s and 30s, with the legendary blues musician Robert Johnson. I wrote a paper on the history of Rock a few years back and blues was a major influence on rock music. Robert Johnson is a legendary figure. The legend of Robert Johnson was him starting as a struggling musician, then given a note to meet at the crossroads near his home at midnight. He met this tall and creepy-looking African-American male, often described to look like John Coffey from Stephen King's The Green Mile. This male is said to be the devil and gave Johnson an option. He would give Johnson mastery of the guitar if Johnson sold his soul to him. Johnson accepted and the devil took Johnson's guitar, tuned it and played a few songs. After, the guitar was returned to Johnson, he started his recording career. He recorded 29 songs in his career, with alternate takes of 12 of the songs. Johnson died at an early age of 27, after allegedly drinking a poisoned bottle of alcohol.

Now, here's the scary part. I recently went to my school's bookstore where I found a book about strange encounters or meetings with musicians. I was reading how the author was listening to the Complete Recordings of Robert Johnson, a 2 disc set containing all 41 recordings that are split into 20 songs on the first disc and 21 songs on the second. After the author finished listening, he forgot to turn off the CD player for nearly 20 minutes. That is, when a song listed as Track 30 started to play. Now, it didn't sound anything like any of the other songs, so it couldn't be an alternate take. After the author finished it, he put it into his computer to try to grab that song, and no matter what he did, it couldn't be found. When he tried to play the CD, track 30 was not found again. He eventually went to a friend's house who had a copy and they tried recording the song. The recording registered as having recorded something, but there was no sound. The author became obsessed, later finding that Eric Clapton was paying egregious amounts of money for each Complete Recordings. When he tried calling someone who knew Johnson, they hung up when the author asked about the 30th song. Kinda creepy if you ask me.

So the point of this entry was to talk about that nobody should classify any Metal band as a devil worshiper. Blues is where it started, and there's enough proof with the entire Robert Johnson fiasco that classic Blues is a genre that deals about Satan. Just something to think about. I believe that there are things science cannot explain, because this mysterious 30th song is just too weird to be real.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Endgame: How one band will change mainstream music

The Rolling Stones. The Who. Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band. Rise Against. Yes, the Melodic Hardcore Punk band is about to be on the same page as the household name rock bands out there. Chicago-based group Rise Against is close to releasing their next album, Endgame. The album is due to be released on March 15th, 2011. Now, I can already tell you this: it will be #1 on the Billboard 200. Just look at Rise's previous albums. The Sufferer and The Witness debuted at #10 on the 200. The following album, Appeal to Reason, debuted at #3 on the 200.

Now, music has had a major change recently. With Arcade taking home the Grammy for Best Album and Mumford and Sons securing the #1 album on several charts, top 40 music will definitely be changing. If Endgame debuts at #1, I can almost guarantee that rock and alternative will be the majority of the top 40 in the next decade. If you don't believe me, check out the two singles off of Rise's new album. "Help Is on The Way" and "Architects" are two amazing songs. Now, when I hear a song for the first time, I usually have to hear it a few more times to see if I like it or not. But when Tim McIlrath, the singer of Rise Against came onto the radio station KROQ to debut HIOTW, I knew something good was in store. It's not every day that a singer flies out to Los Angeles just so he can be there when their song comes on the radio. And it was a good choice. I was thoroughly impressed the first time I heard the song, which is saying a lot. Now, I just recently heard "Architects" and again, I was liked it the first time I heard it. We are talking about songs that definitely will be heard for some time all over the radio. So if you get a chance, go and check out the two singles. And if you like them, make sure to pick up a copy of Endgame on March 15th. Also, stay tuned for an album review, coming no later than March 16th. Keep enjoying music, everyone.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Super Bowl XLV: A Super Failure

If any of you watched the halftime show at this year's Super Bowl, then you saw the Black Eyed Peas perform. Like I said in my previous post, Top 40 music is too processed and unnatural. The Black Eyed Peas had one of the most successful albums in 2009, titled The E.N.D. This album had several extremely successful hits, including "Boom Boom Pow" and "I Gotta Feeling", two songs that were played at the halftime show. Now, it was an absolute mess of a show, showing that autotune is primarily put in songs to aid those who can't sing in tune, instead of just creating a robotic effect. In fact, the Peas had to bring in rapper Usher and legendary guitarist from Guns N' Roses, Slash, just to add a few seconds onto their already short show. Don't get me wrong, no band is given a great amount of time on the Super Bowl halftime show, but the Black Eyed Peas didn't complete one full song. It was either they felt they needed to rush through or they knew it'd be painful to sit through a full song. As it was, it was already hard enough to sit through their show.

Let's not forget Christina Aguilera's performance of America's national anthem. She. Forgot. A. Line. In. Our. National. Anthem. Now, normally I wouldn't care if someone forgot just one lyric, but when you are a Grammy-winning artist who needs to know every lyric for their shows normally, you shouldn't forget a line, especially one in the national anthem. That's just unprofessional.

By far, this was one of the worst halftime shows. If you think about the previous Super Bowls, there were a lot better artists. The past years have had legendary artists, such as The Who, Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Prince, The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, and U2. Those were 7 of the artists from the past 10 Super Bowls, and all of them put on a better show than the Black Eyed Peas. That's just my opinion, but I'm sure most of you will agree, this year's Super Bowl was absolutely awful.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Underground, Indie and Unsigned.

I'm going to say it right now: most mainstream music isn't that good. I've never been able to keep up with Top 40 songs, since I mainly listen to satellite radio. In fact, I had never heard "Baby" by Justin Bieber until a random segment played in between skits at a student-run comedy show a couple weeks ago. I just like to follow the logic that I'd rather randomly hear it on the radio rather than specifically search for the song, to find out that I don't like it. Unfortunately, there are those people who just buy the #1 song because it's the #1 song, no other reason.

This brings me to my next point: unknown bands. It is already known that it takes a lot of talent to get signed. Hey, it takes a lot of talent to even get noticed these days. So you can imagine what it's like for bands on independent, or Indie labels go through. They want to be the next biggest thing but at the time the only label that will sign them is some startup label from some town nobody's heard of. So they take the opportunity, and soon they get known as the newest thing on the New Music Radar on Sirius XM's station Alt Nation. They could have a perfectly good song receiving good reviews, yet 99% of the world probably will never hear of them in their lifetime. Which is why people should listen to more Indie music, so they can get their name out there. Just think about a band such as Kings of Leon. 5 years ago, you could've asked almost anyone if they knew about KoL, and the response would've been "Who?" I remember when my dad told me about them and how he got their CD. He had heard them on the radio earlier that day and thought they were good enough to get a CD of theirs. It was Aha Shake Heartbreak, and my father and I still listen to it. But they were able to get that attention that got them to where they are today. Now, before you all go off about Indie music and not listening to it and all, well, there's more to Indie than just Indie rock. For each genre, there's its Indie equivalent. Some of it is called underground, so look for underground music, too.

In conclusion, give a lot of support to these Indie and unsigned bands. they might not be to the attention level they want, or they may have more attention than they need, who knows. So go check out an unsigned show. If you like them, chances are, you can meet them and maybe one day, you'll be friends with famous musicians. Oh, and in speaking of unsigned bands, be sure to check out a couple unsigned artists that I highly recommend. Check out Static Reply, a band that kinda reminds me a bit of Blink-182. But they are really good and deserve to get signed. Then, check out Davis Anson. He's a really good friend of mine and I think he's pretty good. Both of these artists you can find easily through either Facebook or MySpace. Until next time, music lovers.