Archive for the ‘ag’ Category

Pinback- Autumn of the Seraphs (2007)

October 12, 2007

Pinback’s mellow sound and beats may make you believe at first that their songs are simple, but that is not the case. Filled with emotion and many intriguing points, their lyrics say what Pinback wants to share. The opening lines of “From Nothing To Nowhere” begin, “And nothing makes you alive / And nothing makes you move as far down the wire.” To begin an entire album with those words seems bold, but also shows you where they want to go as far as the theme.

The simplicity of style is one of the bands many highlights. Strong bass patterns are one of their most singular aspects. Many, if not all, of their songs are lead by a bass guitar melody. Because the bass has such a strong hold in the rhythm of the band, there is not much that the drums can do to accommodate it. Usually using a single and simple beat, the percussion sounds mainly electronic, or at least electronic in nature.

Pinback should draw people who enjoy mellow music with a stronger rock background. Pinback offers simple but good sound, one that will entertain their fans and those who enjoy alternative music.

-Amy Gardner

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Hairspray (2007)

September 28, 2007

While a musical based on big hair and flamboyant outfits may seem like your general middle-aged woman’s fantasy movie, Hairspray contains greater themes than one might imagine. Behind a façade of sparkling outfits and John Travolta’s five hundred pound woman suit, there lies a poignant social commentary of racism in the 1960s.

The story centers on Tracy Turnblad, a teenage girl who has a passion for dancing and music. Because of her weight, she has to deal with the pain of being different from other kids in school, therefore leading her to the other different people in school—the African American population.

The story speaks on such themes as interracial relationships, media control over race, and many other topics. Many of the lyrics focus on racism, but the writers rely heavily on humor and upbeat, lively tempos to get their points across. The “Corny Collins Show”—which Tracy watches every day—begins every episode with a song “The Nicest Kids in Town,” of course referring to the upper-middle class white teenager. James Marsden sings, “Nice white kids who like to lead the way/And once a month we have our negro day!”

Adding to the amazing lyrics, the music behind it combines the tongue-in-cheek humor with an astounding ensemble of ’60s style music including large brass sections and great beats. It had me dancing out of the theater—literally.

The mix of wit, musical and lyrical talent and an important social point make this movie one of the best I have seen this summer.

-Amy Gardner

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Mae — Singularity (2007)

September 17, 2007

Two years have passed since Mae has graced us with the presence of a new album. The August release of Singularity should give Mae fans a reason to be excited.For past fans this album portrays much of the same sound that Dave Elkins and the guys have given us in the past. Though in some tracks, the lighter pop alternative sound is few and far between. Sharper chords and rougher rhythms give them a slightly darker sound, but nothing too drastic as to steer long-time Mae fans away.

Their first single, “Sometimes I Can’t Make It Alone,” is one of these particular songs, and deals with the fear of singularity as a theme. The chorus exemplifies this: “I was always floating around/Head in the clouds/Thinking I could make it on my own/Falling down as my back hit the ground.”  

Other songs that contain the newer, rough sound include “Sic Semper Tyrannis” and “Telescopes.” Those who are looking for the old similar Mae sound should check out songs like “On Top,” “Reflection” and “Release Me,” which highlights Rob Sweitzer’s talent on the keyboard.

Mae’s typical harmonies, beats and sound are still intact, and will leave fans pleased with the new songs. I would say that this album brings a new sound in some ways, but Mae makes it relatable enough so that everyone will be happy. The album as a whole is put together well and talks a lot about the theme of singularity and how it affects us both as individuals and as creatures of need.

-Amy Gardner

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