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Archive for the ‘Imagine Dragons’ Category

whiteSOUNDTRACK: IMAGINE DRAGONS-Night Visions (2012).

nightvisImagine Dragons is a band that is hugely popular (popular enough for “Weird Al” to parody their song) and seemed to come out of nowhere.  I kind of sort of like them but also sort of don’t.  I didn’t know anything about them when I first heard “Radioactive” a big bombastic anthemic sing along with big drums and an amusing (or interesting at least) part in the beginning where the singer “breathes in chemicals.” And what’s great about the song is that it’s fun to sing along to and it doesn’t overstay its welcome.

But the thing about the album is that some of their songs veer right into the realm of cheesey pop.  “Tiptoe” has a synth sound that is so cheesy I can’t stand it.  It also has a chorus that a boy band could easily do.

So the album is full of songs I like and one or two I dislike a lot.  “It’s Time” stays on the good side of pop with a preposterously poppy song which never drifts into cheese (even if it flirts with the line). “Demons” is catchy and fun as is “On Top of the World” (with the “hey”s and handclaps).  Depending on my mood, I could easily hate these songs, but most days I find them happy and enjoyable.

“Amsterdam” and “Hear Me” are rocking anthems that sits pretty squarely in the not-too-poppy camp.  They have big choruses and are pretty easy to like.

As for songs I dislike–“Every Night” is the worst piece of pop crap drivel I’ve heard in a long time.  Everything about it is gawdawful ( I won’t even list them all).  I can see it being huge.  And “Underdog” goes over the line into cheese for me as well.  I don’t know if it’s the synth sounds or the lyrics or what but I can do without it.

“Bleeding Out” returns to that gritty vocals but still pretty polished sounding song that Dragons do quite well.  “Nothing Left to Say” is an interesting ender to the album (with cellos and all).  The tacked on coda “Rocks” is also kind of fun in a Mumford and Sons sorta way.

It was about half way through the disc that I realized the band sounds like Coldplay (the opening of “Demons,” jeez–I may have even heard this on the radio and assumed it was Coldplay)–but like an excessive version of Coldplay (both in anthemic quality (which is hard to do) and in pop potential).

I haven’t heard the band’s new single, but it should let me know which way the band is going–more rock anthems or into the pop pit of despair–and that will probably determine my final verdict of the band.

[READ: October 17, 2014] White Cube

I found this book at work and was quite intrigued by it.  Of course, I am intrigued by nearly everything Drawn & Quarterly puts out, even if I don’t love everything they release. And I didn’t love this one.

In fairness, there was a lot I liked about it.  The fact that it was originally published in Belgium is pretty cool.  And the fact that there are barely any words in it also made it intriguing.  I even enjoyed that there were two main characters, each one a virtually identical pink bald man who express his pleasure by giving a thumbs up.  And yes, I enjoyed that most of the stories were about art.  So, perhaps I did enjoy this more than I realized.

The book as a whole seems to be mocking the state of modern art.  When the two unnamed guys go into the “White Cube” they follow signs for Modern Art and then make adjustments to what they see, giving a thumbs up when they are done.

What confused me was trying to figure out whether each piece was an individual story or part of the whole. Several of them start with a “title panel” that says White Cube (while others seem to have different titles).  But since they all seem to be about art, they could all be rooms in the big White Cube. (more…)

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tokenSOUNDTRACK: “WEIRD AL” YANKOVIC-“Inactive” (2014).

alAs I mentioned, there are only four songs from Al’s new album that he didn’t make videos for.  The biggest surprise to me is that one of the songs is this parody of Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive” (a song that, I’m not supposed to like but which I do).  Al’s parody is fantastic, but, given that it’s about being inactive (and is kind of gross) it would probably make for a very disturbing video.

The song begins sounding just like the original (of course) and we soon learn that the protagonist is, well, really inactive, (it makes me laugh that this song about inactivity is so upbeat and anthemic, although I think their “Woah oh ohs” are a bit more lethargic than the original.  I love how he spoofed the breathing-in section by saying he’s using his inhaler.

And then as with many of Al’s couch potato songs, this one gets into some funny details–he hates the show he’s watching but can’t reach the remote control, he’s growing cobwebs on his feet, etc.

The song ends “really inactive, not so attractive.”  It’s actually quite a depressing song, but strangely funny.  It’s also one of my favorite songs on a disc filled with favorites.

[READ: August 2, 2014] Token

Token was the final Minx book I read.  it was also coincidentally the final Minx book published.  I read it last because it was the hardest one to find (my library didn’t have it).  And that is a shame because it was easily the best book of the series.  I had complained earlier that there weren’t that many female authors in this series, so it was nice to see a female author and artist in this book.

Token is about Shira, a 15-year-old Jewish girl living in Miami Beach.  She is nerdy, she is overdeveloped (double D?) and yet unpopular.  The hot blonde girls make fun of her and she spends most of her time with her grandma and Aunt Minerva.  The popular girls even make a big point of disinviting her to their sweet 16s.  Shira’s 16th birthday is coming up, and it seems unlikely that she will have a big party at all.

Shira doesn’t mind all that much, because her dad is always kind to her and she and her old lady friends watch movies together and make her feel better about herself.   Although really that’s not a replacement for the kind of friends she wants.

Speaking of replacements. her father, a high-powered lawyer, has just started dating his secretary Linda (Shira’s mom is dead).  Shira and her dad have always been close, and she is suspicious of this new fling–she doesn’t understand the appeal of Linda (although Linda seems very nice).   Shira starts acting out a little which her father takes very badly.  But her father also starts breaking rules–encouraging Shira to eat an un-Kosher meal that Linda has made, for instance. (more…)

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kimie66SOUNDTRACK: “WEIRD AL” YANKOVIC-“Inactive” (2014).

alAs I mentioned, there  are only four songs from Al’s new album that he didn’t make videos for.  The biggest surprise to me is that one of the songs is this parody of Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive” (a song that, I’m not supposed to like but which I do).  Al’s parody is fantastic, but, given that it’s about being inactive (and is kind of gross) it would probably make for a very disturbing video.

The song begins sounding just like the original (of course) and we soon learn that the protagonist is, well, really inactive, (it makes me laugh that this song about inactivity is so upbeat and anthemic, although I think their “Woah oh ohs” are a bit more lethargic than the original.  I love how he spoofed the breathing-in section by saying he’s using his inhaler.

And then as with many of Al’s couch potato songs, this one gets into some funny details–he hates the show he’s watching but can’t reach the remote control, he’s growing cobwebs on his feet, etc.

The song ends “really inactive, not so attractive.”  It’s actually quite a depressing song, but strangely funny.  It’s also one of my favorite songs on a disc filled with favorites.

[READ: July 27, 2014] kimmie66

This book was written and drawn by Aaron Alexovich.  Alexovich drew the other Minx title Confessions of a Blabbermouth.  And his drawing style is much the same here–a little wild, a little crazy and, his virtual world is also convincingly different (much like the situation in Blabbermouth).

I wasn’t too keen on the story when it first opened.  It is set in the future (23rd century, we find out later) and is all about how most people spend their time in the virtual world, in specially created lairs that meet their desires.  This is a fairly old trope, although given that this book is 7 years old, it may not have been all that old at the time, so I’ll cut him some slack.  But anyhow, it starts off with all this jargon and such about 23rd century VR and whatnot.  And I was a little, well, uncompelled.  But then Alexovich brings in a human element and the story quickly grows very interesting.

So kimmie66 is not the main character exactly.  The main character is Telly, a young girl who spends most of her time in the virtual lair “Elysium” a kind of goth hangout (Alexovich’s style can most easily be labelled goth, even if that is a very simplified description).  Telly is pretty much herself in her virtual world–she looks pretty much exactly like her real life appearance.  This is uncommon, of course, since most people make their idealized selves online.  Like her friend nakokat (she amusingly points out, nako means cat, so her name is cat cat).  She loves nakokat, but doesn’t know anything about her in real life.  And then there’s her friend kimmie66 who has just sent Telly a suicide note.

Kimmie66 is the daughter of the founder of the TenSys, a company that makes “Minisoft” look puny.  And Telly doesn’t know if kimmie66 has really killed herself or not, but it seems that kimmie66 or someone like her is appearing in all of the different virtual lairs–something that is forbidden.  And she seems rather ghostly in all of them.  What is going on?

She calls in the help of Coil, a guy who hangs out in her brother’s lair (a scary place where half the people’s avatars are creepy ghosts)  A word on the lairs–although they were kind of simplistic in terms of content, i really liked them, especially this clown one.  It was weird and funny.  Coil thinks that kimmie66 is just playing–a poor rich girl–until he realizes that something bigger is going on.  Something that could threaten all of the lairs.

It is only when Telly meets kimmie66’s real life mom, the founder of Tensys, that she learns exactly what is going on, and it’s pretty intense.

This story proved to be far more interesting and thoughtful than I imagined from the beginning, and I really enjoyed the end did not reject technology but it did suggest that there was more to life than VR.  And again, tha drawing style complimented it perfectly (and was pretty cool looking).

 

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