Author: kaylubd

I am a writer who loves music. Both have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I love revisiting some of my favorite albums, but I also look for new opportunities to find new music, also. Besides music and writing I also like video games (one of my favorites is Saint's Row the Third) and reading.

May Playlist: Cartoon Themes By Famous Artists

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It’s easy for me to get nostalgic for the 90s. All it takes is a “Remember this?” Buzzfeed list and I’m longing for my childhood. But what hits me hardest in the nostalgia feels is hearing cartoon theme songs from my childhood. Some themes are so fun, so catchy, and just plain good, they’re burned in my memory. Sometimes I liked the theme better than the show itself. And surprisingly, famous musicians are behind many of these songs. So let’s get comfy and take a look back at some cartoon theme songs performed by famous musicians.

“Believe In Yourself” – Arthur theme song by Ziggy Marley

Arthur has always been one of my favorite 90s shows and it’s something I still enjoy watching. It’s so chill and positive thanks in part to its iconic theme song. The upbeat music, Ziggy Marley’s smooth vocals, and the undeniably catchy hook are what makes this theme so great. It’s so simple – the hook is easy to remember and fun to sing and it’s just so damn happy in general. It’s impossible to feel bad after listening to this song. After 23 years, the theme still holds up never sounding dated or cheesy. The song is so good, Chance the Rapper put his own spin on it. The show later remixed it for the end credits of newer episodes, but it doesn’t live up to the simplicity and joy of the original.

“Hey, Buster!” – Postcards from Buster theme by Wyclef Jean 

Postcards from Buster, the Arthur spinoff, was never as good as the original. It focused on Buster traveling the world and showing the lives of different kids. The theme song by Wyclef Jean tried so hard to pull off a similar vibe as Arthur but it doesn’t work. It’s still pretty catchy with a hook of “Hey Buster! Where you off to now?” but it’s not as memorable. I didn’t even remember what it sounded like until I looked it up again. And the rap by wannabe Will Smith is too lame even for Will Smith. You can tell it wants to recapture the wonder and joy of the Arthur theme, but it falls short.

Super Mario World theme by Mark Mothersbaugh

Mark Mothersbaugh is best known for his work in the influential Devo, but I’ll always remember his weird, quirky music for Rugrats. He managed to capture the innocence and odd nature of the show in his score. Mothersbaugh has done music for other cartoons, like Clifford the Big Red Dog, but none are as unique as his Rugrats score. Case in point, his theme for Super Mario World is pretty forgettable. It’s not even charming and fun like The Super Mario Brothers Super Show theme. It’s bland and typical, something you’ll forget as soon as it’s over. It doesn’t feel like a Mothersbaugh score. It’s just standard cheap Saturday morning cartoon music.

“Call Me, Beep Me!” – Kim Possible theme by Christina Milian

I was never a fan of Kim Possible. Aside from Ron’s antics, the show never struck a chord with me. But its theme was so awesome I always stuck around for the opening credits. The song is an irresistible jam with Christina Milian’s sassy attitude and the catchy R&B flow. But the best part was the hook, which is burned into the minds of those who grew up with the show: “Call me, beep me, if you want to reach me.” If there’s one thing you remember about the song, it’s the hook, which is perfect especially with the four beeps that follow. The theme is so popular, it’s been covered by numerous artists. They even remade the theme for the ill-fated live action movie, but the less said about that the better.

Jimmy Neutron Boy Genius theme song by Bowling For Soup

Jimmy Neutron is another show I never got into. The animation was weird and ugly and I found all the characters annoying. But even I admit the theme song is pretty cool. The surf rock inspired riff, the rockabilly groove, and Bowling For Soup’s nonchalant delivery make it the best 30 seconds of the show. It has such a slick unforgettable groove. The band also did the theme song for Phineas and Ferb, but it’s not as good. Maybe it’s because I never watched the show, but I find it annoying. There’s nothing memorable about it and the whiny vocals are grating to listen to. It reminds me why I don’t like Bowling For Soup in the first place.

Rocko’s Modern Life Theme by The B-52’s

A lot of shows from the 90s have memorable themes, but one that’ll always be my favorite is Rocko’s Modern Life. Season one had a simple, unnotable theme full of weird voices and clips of Rocko screaming. It’s not bad, but my favorite will always be the second theme performed by the B-52’s. The band’s quirky vibe, unique sound, and vintage style fit perfectly with the show’s opening. The theme is super catchy even though it just repeats the name of the show over and over. It’s a bonafide jam. When you heard it you knew you were in for a show unlike any other during Nickelodeon’s golden age.

“Ride on the Magic School Bus” – The Magic School Bus Theme by Little Richard

When you’re making a song about the world’s most eccentric teacher, it only makes sense to get one of music’s most eccentric musicians to sing it. Though the show hasn’t aged all that well, the theme performed by Little Richard is timeless. The song is nothing but fun with its upbeat jazzy piano, catchy hook, and Little Richard’s flamboyant delivery. Hearing this always made me excited for the show, which is what a good theme song should do. Unfortunately, Lin-Manuel Miranda theme for the terrible reboot is lackluster. For such a talented guy, the new version is flat and bland. It doesn’t have the same excitement and flair of the original. And the less said about the show itself the better.

“Yahoos and Triangles” – King of the Hill theme by The Refreshments

King of the Hill has always been one of my favorite shows. Who knew the lives of a propane salesman and his family and friends would be so entertaining? Whenever the opening riff of the show’s theme played, I practically ran to the TV. Its theme proves you don’t need lyrics to make a killer theme song. “Yahoos and Triangles” by The Refreshments perfectly captures the setting of Arlen, Texas. With the hooting, hollering, and wild triangle solos it sounds like a rowdy good time. It’s a mini country jam and that’s what makes it so infectious. It’s a good time all around even if Hank and friends look less than thrilled during the title credits.

The Proud Family theme by Solange and Destiny’s Child

I don’t have as much nostalgia for The Proud Family or its theme, but I still remember it from the few times I actually watched the show. It’s a cute, heartwarming song about the strength and bonds of your family, even if they do annoy you. And to drive the message home, Solange performs the track with Destiny’s Child making it a true family affair. It’s a catchy song that still resonates with fans of the show to this day as a 2017 Solange concert showed when she performed the song and a massive sing along.

South Park theme by Primus

South Park’s been on for over 20 years and while the lives of Eric, Kyle, Stan, and Kenny are burned into my memory, I can’t picture the show without its quirky theme. It not only captures the weirdness of the town, it also captures is low budget origins. When the show first started the animation was rough and no-frills. The song feels the same like it was made on the fly for a few bucks. It’s had minor updates over the years adding electric guitars to beef up the sound, but it still has the same vibe of the original. Primus also performs the jangled end credits theme, which is actually the original theme song. According to Matt Stone and Trey Parker, they wanted something faster, but Primus didn’t have time to re-record the theme. They opted to speed up the recording instead.

Which of these is your favorite? What cartoon themes by musicians did I miss? Let me know in the comments!

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‘Creeper EP’ – Creeper

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Release Year: 2014

It’s rare that I fall head over heels for a band after hearing one song, but it happened with Creeper. I became obsessed with their debut album, Eternity in Your Arms, and quickly learned everything I could about them. I even started digging through their past releases, which only includes a few EPs. And now that the band is supposedly “over,” I thought it’d be fun to take a look at their very first release, Creeper.

The EP doesn’t pack as much punch as their full-length album, but it’s still pretty good. Everything that makes Creeper stand out, like the melodrama, the intricate stories, Hannah Greenwood’s flourishing piano, the theatrics, are all missing here. Whereas their album flawlessly blended elements of punk, Goth rock, and rockabilly, here they go for a straightforward pop-punk sound.

We Had a Pact,” “Gloom,” and “VCR” all have a similar format: high energy, frantic guitars, melodic harmonies, and catchy hooks. These tracks aren’t bad, but little about them stands out. There are some darker elements lurking, but they don’t explore them like they would later on. Also, we hear Will Gould getting comfortable with his voice. He sounds completely different on most of the songs. Though they may not be as gripping as their later material, they do show Creeper’s talent for writing catchy hooks and irresistible harmonies. I couldn’t remember most of these songs, but I always recognized and sang along with the hook.

Creeper breaks away from the formula with “Into the Black.” It’s still fast paced punk rock, but the music is more intense and heavier than the other tracks. Gould also starts to sound more like himself here, embellished vocals and all. Its hard driving energy and gang vocals give it this great rallying cry feel and helps the song stand out. It’s one of the few on the EP that grips you and lets you know there’s something special about this band.

Elements of where the band would eventually go with their sound can be heard throughout the EP, such as gang vocals and macabre lyrics about love and death. But the song that really captures Creeper’s next chapter is “Novena.” Unlike the other songs, this one is quiet with Gould gently cooing about love while a soft acoustic guitar backs him up. It’s an intimate moment that finds him embellishing his vocals for dramatic flair. Things really come alive at the end when the music kicks up and takes on a rockabilly tone, similar to that heard on “Black Mass.” Hands down, it’s the best song on the EP. Whereas the other tracks felt formulaic, they take a risk here and experiment with their sound. This is the song that sounds the most like Creeper as we know them now.

Looking back, Creeper is a promising EP. I don’t think it’s as fun as the full length album and they haven’t quite found their sound, but it’s still a solid record. Though most of it feels similar, they have great energy and catchy hooks that keep you engaged. And the few stand out songs that find them playing with their sound show a band in the midst of evolving. This was only the beginning before they even knew where to take the band. It wouldn’t be until Creeper’s next release that would take things one step further.

Rank the Videos – Madonna: 1990 – 1996

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Back in 2015, I revisited all of Madonna’s videos to celebrate seeing her in concert for the first time. Unfortunately, time slipped away from me and I didn’t get a chance to finish ranking her videos. Okay, so maybe I just forgot. Either way, it’s time to pick up where we left off. The 90s were a challenging time for Madonna. It’s the period that saw her push the boundaries of sex, which caused a huge backlash. As a result, the era features some of her most controversial and some of her most tame videos. So let’s take a look back at Madonna’s most risque period and rank these clips from best to worst.

“Vogue” (1990)

Madonna has had a number of memorable videos during her career, but this is the definitive one. This beautifully shot back and white clip is dedicated both to old Hollywood and the underground voguing scene. Madonna looks glamorous as she lists the biggest actors of yesteryear, like Bette Davis, Rita Hayworth, and Fred Astaire. Meanwhile, backup dancers pull do their best voguing while looking dapper in fresh suits. The entire video does a great job of recreating the look and vibe of 1930s Hollywood. And it’s timeless. It’s always been one of my favorites just for how gorgeous she looks. This has got to be one of her greatest videos both for its look and just because the song is so damn good.

“Justify My Love” (1990)

When this premiered, Madonna was no stranger to controversy as she previously stirred up trouble with “Like a Prayer,” but this video pushed boundaries to a whole different level. This was also the start of her oversexualized, Sex era. It’s all about exploring, being free, and enjoying your sexuality even if goes against the norm. Images of BDSM, orgies, male on male, girl on girl, doms and divas run abound as Madonna seduces and gyrates against her leather clad lover. Featuring many androgynous and ambiguous people, the video was ahead of its time showing everything isn’t as black and white as society wants to believe. The clip ends with an energized Madonna leaving the hotel room laughing and fulfilled. MTV swiftly banned the video, which prompted the singer to release it as a VHS single. It has since gone down in history as one of the most scandalous and steamy videos. But little did the world know that Madonna wasn’t finished exploring her sexual realms.

“Take a Bow” (1994)

This beautifully shot video sees Madonna yearning for her lover, real-life bullfighter Emilio Munoz. The entire video is a parallel between Madonna and Munoz’s abusive affair and his bullfight. We see both of them getting ready, making a grand entrance, and the bloodshed both from the bull and Madonna herself.  Other shots include Madonna in sexy underwear while she gets a little too friendly with her television, which is broadcasting Munoz’s image. Because of the vintage style and the way it was shot, it’s one of her most memorable videos.

“Human Nature” (1995)

Madonna took quite a beating for her over-sexualized image. This video and song was her response to her critics who thought she went too far. The singer gives her haters a big fuck you while she struts around in a catsuit. The video is filled with bondage and S&M images, such as the singer tied to a chair, her wearing what looks like a gimp mask, and her brandishing a whip, which she then uses playfully on a dog. All of this is supposed to represent breaking out of restraints and not having any shame. This has always been one of my favorites because of how fierce she is. She’s a complete badass who’s tired of trying to please her harshest critics. This is the strong, badass diva I originally fell in love with. Her tame videos showed she knew how to be modest and vulnerable, but here she took back her dominating image, which is when she’s at her best.

“Bedtime Story” (1995)

This is Madonna’s weirdest video. It’s even a bit disturbing. It’s filled with many bizarre images that probably have some symbolic meaning, like Madonna giving birth to a flock of doves or the creepy-ass scene where her lips replace her eyes. All these scenarios are supposed to represent various surreal dreams which borrow elements from new age, Sufi, and Egyptian cultures. I always thought the video was unnerving, but it also intrigues me because it’s so different. Many of Madonna’s videos are simple and play up her sexuality, but this one is full of freaky visuals to shock viewers and get them thinking. Even if you don’t get all the imagery, you’ll get hypnotized by the trippy video. Also, is it any surprise that this was directed by Mark Romanek, the director of “Closer?”

“Secret” (1994)

Shot in black and white, this video features Madonna singing in a club, while shots of people in Harlem are mixed in. Throughout are images of drag queens, transvestites, prostitutes and pimps, rebirth, and damnation. Madonna returns to her penchant for playing with religious imagery in a scene where what looks like holy water is dripped onto her forehead. The video ends with her going to her lover’s house where he’s playing with his son, the supposed secret. It’s simple, yet effective. It’s another beautifully shot video with Madonna remaining sexy yet classy. It does a great job spotlighting Harlem and various people who often feel marginalized.

“You’ll See” (1995)

Not only is this an underrated ballad, the video is pretty cool. Serving as a follow up to “Take a Bow,” Madonna and Emilio Munoz reprise their roles as lovers, but this time things are different. Rather than Madonna chasing after him, it’s Munoz that chases Madonna all across the world. In the end, she frees herself from him. There are some gorgeous shots of Madonna singing about being able to make it by herself after all. Another version of the video was shot for the Spanish version of the song “Veras,” which was released only in Latin America. This version features the same scenes from the original interspersed with scenes of Madonna singing in Spanish.

“Deeper and Deeper” (1992)

This 70s inspired video pays tribute to both Andy Warhol and Italian director Luchino Visconti. Madonna’s character is inspired by model and Warhol protégé Edie Sedgwick. Most of the video takes place in a club where Madonna walks around with balloons mixed with shots of her hanging out with her girlfriends, watching a male stripper, and looking pretty bored. But there’s also a weird subplot where Madonna gets entranced and tries to escape a diabolical man. It’s a decent video with several references to the 1970s and Warhol, including a scene where the girls eat bananas, a possible reference to Warhol’s album cover for the Velvet Underground. You may not get all the references and symbolism at first, but at least it’s a fun video.

“I Want You” (1995)

Madonna plays the rejected, vulnerable lover in this clip. Wandering around her apartment in a nightgown, she sits by the phone waiting for someone to call. She goes from anxious worry to fury as she plots the best way to win back her lover. She spends most of the video lying in bed distressed, waiting for the phone to ring. Finally, the phone rings, but as she goes to pick it up, she has a moment of clarity and hangs up. It’s not an exciting video, but it fits the style of the ballad. It also encourages a woman’s strength and independence. It may have been torture, but in the end, she figured she shouldn’t chase after someone who doesn’t want her.

“Erotica” (1992)

People who thought Madonna went too far with “Justify My Love” clearly weren’t ready for “Erotica.” The video is an onslaught of footage from her Sex photo shoot mixed with the singer miming the track while dressed as a dominatrix. Madonna tries to shock us with images of nudity, S&M, and bondage, but at this point, the media grew tired of her antics. A Madonna backlash began both from critics and fans who felt she went too far. Ultimately, you can view the video as one long advertisement for her baffling Sex book, which featured the singer in various comprising positions. Despite her efforts, the video isn’t as enticing or sexy as her previous ones. It’s just uncomfortable and awkward to watch. She’s trying too hard to be shocking. No surprise that MTV banned this video after airing it only three times after hours.

“Bad Girl” (1993)

This is a classic live fast, die young, and leave a beautiful corpse tale. Madonna plays a woman who lives a life of drinking, smoking, and promiscuous sex. As she walks down this dangerous road her guardian angel, played by Christopher Walken, watches over her. But no matter how hard he tries, he can’t save her. She ends up dying at the hands of a lover. The video tries to have this dark tone with the lesson of being careful what you do, but it’s hard to take seriously. The message is heavy-handed. And I can’t get over the scene of Walken dancing – it ruins the tone of the video. At least the video tries to do something different and stands out from her usual clips. But compared to the classics, it’s pretty forgettable.

“Fever” (1993)

With the Powerpoint graphics, various costumes, and lots of dancing this video seems like it was made solely for nightclubs. It’s four minutes of Madonna in different costumes, including a Balinese Idol, and body paint, intense close ups, and lots of gyrating hips. But the actual star of the video is the gold painted muscle man. His overly chiseled body and his aggressive dancing is almost disturbing. On top of that, some of the visuals are so blinding and annoying they’ll give you a headache. After the first minute, I was bored with the video. It seems like something you would put on during a party just to get people on the dance floor.

“This Used to be My Playground” (1992)

Prior to this, Madonna released one of her most controversial videos to date. So how does she follow it up? With a tame, somewhat dull performance video. Most of it is footage of her singing in different photographs while someone flips the photo album pages. This is mixed with footage of the film A League of Their Own, which Madonna was in. It’s not a terrible video but watching someone turn pages for four minutes isn’t very exciting. Rumor has it that the singer stole the idea from Boy George, who used the concept for his 1987 single “To Be Reborn.” At least the movie scenes don’t make up the entire music video. Considering the backlash that followed Sex, it’s understandable why she’d want to tone things down. But I feel this is when Madonna is at her dullest. It’s nice to see a different side to her, but it leads to some forgettable videos.

“Rain” (1993)

This is one of those highly stylized “futuristic” videos that became popular in the 90s. With odd furniture pieces all painted chrome, this is a video within a video as we see Madonna filming the clip for the song mixed with footage of her writing and practicing her moves. The singer looks almost unrecognizable in a cropped black wig, which may be an homage to Liza Minelli. What is interesting about the video is it was filmed entirely in black and white then hand painted with blue tones. Seems like a lot of work for a mediocre clip, but somehow it won two Moonmen at the 1993 MTV Video Music Awards.

“I’ll Remember” (1994)

This is another “behind the scenes” video where Madonna records the song in some weird studio while clips from the movie With Honors plays behind her. Meanwhile, she’s directed by producers lurking in the shadows. Eventually, it’s revealed that one of these hidden people is actually Madonna in androgynous gear. Since it was made after her backlash, it’s another tame, boring video. Almost nothing happens. She’s back in the black wig, singing, and holding her headphones, which all musicians seem to do in the studio. A forgettable video for a forgettable movie.

Madonna’s videos don’t end here. Make sure to come back for the fourth part in the Madonna Rank the Videos series. And let me know which one of these videos is your favorite in the comments!

Music Movie Review: What’s Love Got to Do With It (1993)

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The explosive and abusive relationship between Ike and Tina Turner has been well documented but was brought to the forefront with What’s Love Got To Do With It? Based off Tina’s autobiography, I, Tina, the film follows the diva from her early church beginnings to her successful solo career she fought for. Starring Angela Bassett and Laurence Fishburne, it’s still one of the best biopics out there. It’s a compelling look at Tina’s career and her violent relationship with Ike Turner.

Oddly enough, I first saw this movie when I was young. I’m not sure why, but I remember really liking it. Years later, I still think it’s a fantastic film. Bassett does an amazing job portraying the diva. She got everything from her facial expressions to her movements and gestures down perfectly. You can tell she studied and researched Tina to accurately portray her. Fishburne did an equally good job of playing Ike, even proving to be terrifying at times. Though Tina’s story is interesting, it’s the cast’s performances that helps make the movie stand out from the other music biopics.

Of course, like with other movies based on true stories, there are a number of inaccuracies. Some instances include the character Jackie, who was invented solely for the film, Tina’s son Craig, who is the son of Raymond Hill, not Ike, and Ike Turner being the frontman for his band. There are also some errors regarding the year certain performances occurred and the number of hit songs the duo made. Later on, Ike Turner denied the scenes where he pulled a gun on Tina. He also said the infamous studio abuse scene did not occur.

Though a number of things were changed, I still think it’s a great movie. I’ll admit I was disappointed that the movie took so many liberties, but it’s standard with most biopics. Something is always going to be changed, condensed, or played up for entertainment purposes. And there’s always two sides of a story, so it makes sense that Ike and Tina don’t agree on certain events. At least the movie manages to get the basics about Turner’s career right. It also helps that Ike and Tina were both involved giving it more weight and credibility.

Despite its inaccuracies, the film is a fascinating look at the rise of Tina Turner, her marriage, why she stayed as long as she did, and how she finally got out. It also makes audiences privy to just how horrible it was. Some of those scenes are downright appalling. I had a hard time keeping my eyes open during most of them. By the end of the film, you’re cheering Tina on, even though you’re aware of the long, successful solo career she maintained for years. It’s a classic biopic and one that still holds up today.

Notable Releases of 2018

Disappointing Album of 2018:

Gravity – Bullet For My Valentine

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After hearing lead single “Over It,” my expectations for Gravity were pretty low.  Unfortunately, I was right to not get excited. This is radio friendly Bullet for My Valentine and it’s so bland. The fire and fury that normally drives their music are practically snuffed out. Songs like “Not Dead Yet” and “Under Again” all sound like every other rock band on the radio. The music is decent at best, but it never gives you that rush of adrenaline or burst of excitement. Bullet For My Valentine always pumps me up and gets my fist in the air. These songs just didn’t do that for me. The radio friendly vibe isn’t this album’s problem. It’s the uninspired songs.

The album is just so underwhelming. A few of the songs are pretty good, but the rest is tolerable at best. While I did enjoy some tracks like “Leap of Faith” and “Letting You Go” it wasn’t enough to save the album. The songs are lackluster. There’s nothing about them that sounds distinctly like Bullet For My Valentine.  And it’s such a letdown. The band has never been shy about tweaking their sound. After being in a band for over 10 years, you want to shake things up a bit. That’s fine. But they went in such a generic direction. Even the lyrics are subpar and fail to leave a lasting impression. In an attempt to find a larger audience, the band may have alienated longtime fans with this unremarkable album.

Surprising Comeback Album:

Kamikaze – Eminem

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Looking back, it’s clear that Eminem’s Revival should’ve been my pick for 2017’s Worst Album. I already talked about it, but let’s just say I wasn’t impressed. Luckily, Eminem’s surprise LP Kamikaze more than made up for it. It’s telling that the rapper is at his best when he’s seething with anger – just listen to his “Chloraseptic” remix released in response to Revival’s bad reviews. The fire that many thought was snuffed out was lit and burning once again. Here, he’s on the loose and no one is safe. He channels the days of Slim Shady when calling out rappers like Tyler, the Creator, Drake, and Joe Budden. And let’s not forget the whole probably fake Machine Gun Kelly beef.

Songs like “Lucky You” and “Stepping Stone” are filled with Eminem’s sick lyrical flow reminiscent of that found on The Eminem Show. Yet, the album isn’t perfect. Some songs don’t hold up like “Nice Guy” and “Good Guy.” They’re okay but are pretty weak entries. Still, Kamikaze was an album we didn’t see coming and it’s far better than the misguided Revival. Though I wouldn’t say it’s his best release. Let’s hope he stays on point for his next release.

Most Impressive Debut:

Tū – Alien Weaponry

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Alien Weaponry is one of metal’s most talked about bands and for good reason: they’re fucking good. Listening to their hard driving, yet catchy debut album it’s hard to believe these guys are only in their teens. Part of what makes the album standout is half of the songs are written in the te reo Māori language. The band have Māori ancestry and grew up listening to stories of the tribe, how they had to fight for their people and their land. The language is in danger of dying and in an effort to save it, the band uses Māori in their songs and even writes about the native tribes.

The album is filled with crushing songs like “Urutaa” and “Kai Tangata.” The songs are so good, I find myself singing along even though I don’t speak or understand Māori. Everything from the searing riffs to the throbbing percussion and the fierce sound riles you up and makes you go wild. Though Alien Weaponry are clearly influenced by thrash forefathers like Anthrax and Metallica, they bring something new the genre. They sound fresh, exciting, and ready to tackle the world with the spirit of Māori behind them. Do yourself a favor and check them out if you haven’t already.

Album I Couldn’t Get Into:

My Mind Makes Noises – Pale Waves

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Pale Waves is a phenomenon I still don’t understand. They grew a fan base of millions based on three singles. Many praised them as the best new band even though they didn’t even have an EP to their name. I’ll admit, their melancholic, 80s vibe can be catchy, but it’s nothing mind blowing. I thought their EP, All the Things I Never Said, was decent and had some bouncy songs, but it didn’t wow me. I hoped their highly anticipated full-length album would change my mind. It didn’t.

The album is fine, but it just didn’t do anything for me. Aside from a few of their singles, nothing stuck. All the songs had that same upbeat yet sad vibe to them. The music, mood, and sound of the songs are remarkably similar to one another. And it doesn’t help their case that they bare striking similarities to The 1975.  Even though I liked a few of the songs, like “The Tide” and “Television Romance” there was nothing about the album that made me want to revisit it. If you listen to The Cure or The 1975 then you’ve already heard what this band has to offer.

Underrated Album:

Criminal – The Soft Moon

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When The Soft Moon announced they would be touring with Nine Inch Nails, I decided to check them out. While their first few albums didn’t captivate me, I really enjoyed their fourth release, Criminal. I found myself listening to it repeatedly. Their mix of darkwave, post-punk, and industrial is hypnotizing. Listening to songs like “Young, “ILL”, and “Burn” felt like I was under a trance and hitting rock bottom with Luis Vasquez. Though songs like “It Kills” and “Choke” are oddly catchy, the album is bleak as hell. You don’t even need to hear the lyrics to know there’s some heavy shit going on. Vasquez addresses issues like his abusive childhood and his absent father.

All that frustration, pain, anger, and sadness is channeled here. This isn’t just an album you listen to; it’s an album you feel. Vasquez’s feelings are felt in every drum loop, every synth beat, every echoing bass line. Vaquez’s production really drew me in. There are so many layers and elements to the music you’ll hear something different each time. At times the music is menacing and violent, with notes clashing and screeching riffs. Other times, it’s melodic, yet fragile; the music is so gentle it’s eerie and leaves you with chills. Everything from the compelling music to the lyrics makes Criminal standout. If you’re a fan of Nine Inch Nails, Skinny Puppy, and Cabaret Voltaire, then this is an album you should pick it up.