I want to use this site, but cannot decide how to go forward with it. Looking for advice. It’s been hard to focus here.
Music often repeats itself. Sometimes out of that comes something new and inspired, something that can be claimed as one’s own. But most of the time music is recycled so closely that it’s more of a mimic and less of a revolution. And in that comes many forgotten artists fallen by the marginal wayside.
I:scintilla is a continuation of goth and industrial music, but it’s certainly of its own. Locally known but likable enough to take over both worlds. It’s a genre filled with many geniuses; VNV Nation, KMFDM, Ministry, Skinny Puppy, Bauhaus, NIN and so forth – but I:scintilla has their own claim, and their own sound. It’s a separation from anything in the genre I’ve ever heard, and I can’t help but call them an all-time favorite of mine.
They have a new EP out, Prey On You. It’s inspired, sure, but their own sound is so impacting and brilliant that you get the idea right away this band could very well, and very well should, reach the sounds of every industrial and goth lover on the planet. The title track is catchy, easy to listen to but also very musically inclined. Hollowed is incredibly bluesy and moody for its genre, with incredible harmony and an almost jam-like quality to it. It’s got the phrase ‘prey on you’ embedded all throughout it, keeping with the great consistency of the feel of the album. Ammunition is my favorite – a fast-paced, hard-hitting and intense track that reminds me of early NIN work, but clearly not. They’re emotional songs, with personal stories told with melodies that a general audience can truly connect with.
Prey on You is a remarkable album by a remarkable band, and though it only contains three songs and five remixes, their span of talent is just unbelievable. The remixes prove that you can dissect their carefully designed songs and recreate parts of it to bring new life to each track. Some songs should never be toyed with; I:scintilla doesn’t ‘toy’ with their tunes, they master them. Over and over again.
Three entries into this site’s new format, I’m going for the guts here. I’m reaching into an album that defies almost everything I like as a music listener, a style I’d usually roll my eyes at, but I’m going to go for it anyway. I want to try to see how objective I can be in critiquing something I’d usually despise.
Lady Gaga, and her albums, The Fame and The Fame Monster.
What would I, the listener, have against her? Well, her sound is not all that groundbreaking, it’s not much of a new take on anything, and it sounds about as dated as Amber (remember her? ‘One More Night’?) when you’re not actually seeing Lady Gaga perform it. “Bad Romance” sounds like something you’d hear played between Ace of Base and C&C Music Factory, groups we generally laugh at now. “Just Dance” sounds like something I’d hear on a Disney kids compilation. It just has the manufactured sound of a general and vague display of pop performance.
However, I respect that she came up through the club scene, working her way up to fame, which is what she’s all about. And I salute her taste of music, in people like David Bowie and Freddie Mercury, who I worship alongside her. As a listener, I’m glad she found inspiration from them more than she might have in, say, Technotronic. She’s not a particularly good looking woman, nothing exciting, and could have been nothing more than just another performer in New York. But that’s like saying Madonna could have been just another flash in the pan from Detroit.
The difference is, Lady Gaga looks like an epic drag queen, loves the glamour and fashion, and brings thoughts of fame and fortune to every household. She’s a lot for the eye to enjoy with her wildly designed outfits and makeup, who clearly enjoys working her ass off to get our attention. And boy, does she get it. She steps up the mystique and appeal pop stars need to be taken seriously and relevant, and is still just 23 years old. When she performs her ordinary songs, she does it in an extraordinary way, just like KISS has for four decades. They’re easily her best comparison.
I will say that “Speechless” is a tremendous ballad that really brings out her voice, and completes her as a musician. That’s one that every household should give a listen to.
Lady Gaga brings fun and excitement, and a whole amazing show, to a world where people no longer care about album covers or collections, and can rarely afford concert tickets. She brings the show to them; you can’t miss her, and if you do, you’re missing out on some amazing performances. It’s almost like you love the songs because you love and appreciate her. To me, that’s the height of what a pop performer can do, and I respect her for that. “Paparazzi”, “Bad Romance”, and “Eh, eh” are songs I can imagine being played at my old high school dances, but her idea of bringing the idea of fame and stardom to her fans in a day where our stars are only a tweet away absolutely works for her. She brings her songs to life with her style and larger-than-life performances, and makes herself a superstar in an otherwise bland showcase of new music in this millennium.
You’re not blowing me away with your generally bland music, Gaga, but you’re certainly needed in what I call a darker era for music.
To start off my blog – the non-critic critic site for all music – I am going to start easy on myself. I only have a vague idea of what I’m doing, so I might as well start with my favorite album of all time. It has been for well over a decade, for its perfection, energy and emotion; Metallica’s Metallica, or “The Black Album.”
From its opening, “Enter Sandman”, through its ending with “The Struggle Within”, it’s one brilliantly well-crafted tale of angst, sadness, despair and ferocity. Songs like “Sad But True” and “Holier Than Thou” are the essence of aggression in heavy metal, but it doesn’t lame out with a song that repeats the same thing. I see it as a perfect puzzle of all of these emotions; all songs with similar feeling and blitzkrieg, but told differently each time. No song sounds redundantly like any other on the album, a tough achievement for any artist. It’s like twelve different puncture wounds with a dagger constructed with a perfectly-edged blade. Softer stabs with storytelling, intense ballads like “The Unforgiven” and “Nothing Else Matters”, my favorite song of all time, go perfectly well with the darker bites of “My Friend of Misery” and “Of Wolf And Man.”
It’s like in Dexter, when the title character sees a perfect murder with a perfect, and in his eyes artistic, way of completing the act, he can only stand in admiration. That’s how I feel about Metallica; simple without draining their creative intelligence, heavy without overdoing it like they had done a little to their predecessor …And Justice For All, and final without missing a single edge. It’s the height of hard rock and heavy metal at its finest; true to its roots, but enjoyable for anyone and everyone. A matchless record, and one of the best of all time.
An ear for music is very different from a taste for music. I have no ear whatever; I could not sing an air to save my life; but I have the intensest delight in music, and can detect good from bad.
My original reason to write this blog was to build up a writing portfolio for a writing career I so deeply desire. I transformed that into a site about expressions, feelings and social situations that people have, the ‘mask’ they wear, and how many of us hide ourselves to a fault, or almost to a fault. I then brought my passions into the blog, referencing these thoughts and feelings; baseball and music. It became a kaleidoscope of how people are, act, and feel, and how that’s associated with things that I love. I haven’t loved that fusion, and I no longer enjoyed it and how unfocused it’s been. It’s one of the biggest reasons why I haven’t written on here as frequently as I once did. The other part of that was just a lack of inspiration, and I think the inward struggle I had with myself on here was a big cause of that.
So, I start over. I thought about what I wanted to write about, and thought of only that alone. I don’t want to impress myself, or force anything I’m not inspired to write. I thought about what I’d simply enjoy doing, which is what I thought to do in the first place before I got all jumbled up.
I don’t enjoy most music critics; I don’t even enjoy reading the words of most pop culture writers in general, because I always see a sale behind everything. Peter Gammons, Paul Gargano, Craig Calcaterra and Rob Neyer are the only people in the online writing world I truly enjoy and actually truly love.
So I decided to make a music critic site on my terms; albums I may or may not listen to as a fan, albums from yesteryear or from today. I may even just dissect a song at a time. I truly don’t know. What I know is; I’d enjoy this, I’d be passionate about it, and the idea wouldn’t be to sell anything to anybody; it’d be more about understanding the musician, what they were trying to do, and if I enjoyed its end result or not. I’m doing this for me, and I couldn’t be more excited.
So, stay tuned.
Welcome to my new blog. After spending five years blogging on Livejournal, I feel it’s time to move on and get my words and thoughts out there in the land of the internet a little more thoroughly.
What I’ll write about remains to be decided, in terms of a main idea or concentration – it could be relationships, or baseball, or music, or life in general – or perhaps all of them together. Perhaps even the contrasts between them.
We’ll see where my mind goes. Knowing my mind like I do, I can imagine the vast amounts of convictions and opinions that will come across here. Something for everyone. And every word for myself.