Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Playing Ketchup

In the wake of celebrating an unforgettable championship won by the Detroit Red Wings, I've been a bit lazy about keeping the blog updated. June has been a very busy month and I have some major issues to talk about. Let's dive right in with...

The Red Album

The beloved musical group called Weezer released their sixth studio album on the 3rd of this month and it deserves special recognition in my blog. I had been waiting for The Red Album for nearly a year and a half before its release and I must say, it did not disappoint. Weezer is one of only two bands that I have listened to religiously throughout my life (the other being Blink 182); I have every album they've ever made and I can remember listening to them constantly in my early teenage years. Most Weezer fans have been whining about the band's lack of creativity and always talk about how Weezer will never be able to match the musical genius of their first two albums (The Blue Album and Pinkerton). Well Weezer fans, you can stop your whining. You can stop hoping for another brilliant masterpiece. It's here.
  • Track One: "Troublemaker"
    • A classic Weezer song. Catchy, great lyrics, and fun to listen to. This song is perfect to start off the album because it gets you interested and gives you something familiar before the album transitions to anything but "classic Weezer."
  • Track Two: "The Greatest Man That Ever Lived"
    • Oh. My. God. This track is phenomenal. It's so different from what Weezer normally does but it has everything. The changes in beat. The variation of piano, hymn, drums, and guitar leave me completely satisfied every single time I hear this song. Similar to "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen, this song will stand out as one of Weezer's finest masterpieces. Listen to it a few times in a row. Realize the amazing amount of work that went into a song of such magnitude. I can't emphasize enough how much I love this song.
  • Track Three: "Pork and Beans"
    • The single. The "poppy" song. The awkward looks you receive when you ask your friends, "Hey, have you heard Pork and Beans?" Yeah, it's a weird title. Get over it. It's awesome. The simplicity of the chords is a classic Weezer move but the catchy riff that plays throughout the song has you liking the song more and more after each listen.
  • Track Four: "Heart Songs"
    • This song is the story of what Rivers Cuomo (lead singer and guitarist) listened to when he was growing up. It's set to a slow acoustic rhythm and the pace of the lyrics is probably my favorite part of the song. It barely lets you catch a breath as you're singing along and in the meantime, tells you all of the influences that Rivers has used over the years. The hint at Nirvana's album at the end is very cool and the Stevie Nicks sounding "These are the songs I keep singing" lyric is excellent.
  • Track Five: "Everybody Get Dangerous"
    • Doesn't this song just sound like it kicks ass? Yeah, and it does. I love it. The verses are quick and hard to make out without looking directly at the lyrics but the song is a story of the dangerous things the band members did as kids. Cool idea, cool song.
  • Track Six: "Dreamin'"
    • This song gets me bouncin' in the car. I can't help but sing along. The transition in the middle is very cool and shows the band's musical range. Have a listen. See if you aren't tapping your foot or your fingers or keeping a beat somehow. Having trouble? Yeah, thought so.
  • Track Seven: "Thought I Knew"
    • This is the point in the album where I became really intrigued. Brian Bell, the other Weezer guitarist, wrote this song himself and belts it out. In all previous Weezer albums, there are hardly any deviations from Rivers Cuomo's writing and singing. Here, there's a taste of something new. I like it.
  • Track Eight: "Cold Dark World"
    • A darker song for Weezer but they still pulled it off. It's a nice change-up to an album that is full of unexpected twists and turns.
  • Track Nine: "Automatic"
    • Another song where Rivers' voice is nowhere to be found. This time, drummer Pat Wilson sings and plays lead guitar while Rivers takes the drums. The fun, interesting beat and great solo makes this song one of my favorites on the album.
  • Track Ten: "The Angel and the One"
    • This closing song (discounting the bonus tracks on the deluxe version) is the best one since "Only In Dreams" from Blue. Weezer went back to basics with this one and created a solid end to an album that I will have no problem listening to all summer long.
Well, have at it ladies and gents. The link I provided is a playlist at where you can listen to all the songs in full. This album is everything I hoped it would be and I'm incredibly satisfied with Weezer's great work. Awesome job guys!

In the twelve days I've been absent from the blog, I've watched my fair share of television. I watched Tiger battle Rocco in the best major championship ever and I watched the entire Band of Brothers series on DVD with my Dad. It was surreal. Incredible directing and visual effects. I also watched two movies, which I have reviewed for you here.

The Last of the Mohicans - My Dad called this one a "must-see" and I can't say I disagree. Great acting from Daniel Day Lewis. Intriguing storyline. Tense battles. A guy named Magua. All the elements are there for a good movie. Oh, and Daniel Day Lewis' character is named "Hawkeye." But, as much as it seems, the movie is actually more than just cool names. I liked it a lot and even though most of you have probably seen it, I recommend it to anyone who hasn't. Final verdict: 4.5 out of 5 stars.

The Usual Suspects - Wow. Kevin Spacey is always awesome but I haven't seen him in a role this good since I saw American Beauty. Very intense storyline. Keeps you thinking throughout the entire movie. The ending is phenomenal. This movie was rated #20 out of all movies on IMDB so, it's not just me. This movie is that good. Go see it if you haven't already. Final verdict: 5 out of 5 stars.

Beantown Crowns

Finally, I must touch on the brilliance of Boston professional sports. Yes, it's a surprise to see it in my blog, I know. I'm a Detroit fan, what I am doing writing about Boston's teams? Well, I'll tell you. They are dominating on all fronts. The Red Sox just won the World Series last Fall and have a great chance at repeating this October. The Celtics won their 17th NBA Championship last night in absolutely dominating fashion over the Lakers. The Patriots put together one of the best football seasons in history and if not for a stupid New York team, would have cemented their place in history. The Bruins made the NHL playoffs and almost knocked off the #1 seed in their conference. That's two champions, one worthy of a championship, and one up-and-comer. There really must be something in that dirty water of the Charles River. I know I was bitter about the Pistons' loss to the Celtics a few weeks ago, but that was more frustration on the failure of my team than actual hatred of Boston. I don't like my team to lose. For the next few years though, I'd better get used to it (except in hockey, of course) because Boston is very good and they're here to stay. The Red Sox are as organizationally sound as the Red Wings. The Patriots have Tom Brady. The Celtics have three of the best players in the league and an incredible home-court advantage at the Garden. I don't exactly know why I decided to include Beantown in this post, but I'd say if anything, it's because I feel like I should start giving credit where credit is due. Except for Ohio State, of course. They deserve nothing and will receive exactly that. But, back to my original point, enjoy it Boston fans!

On a final note, I leave for Cambridge in 19 days. Sweet deal. Remember to check out Tea and Crumpets for updates on my happenings overseas. I hope you enjoyed the latest edition of the blog and until next time, take care and enjoy the gorgeous days of summer!

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