Music on the quick #2

by Ben

Just like a dick-breathed bumblefuck writing for Yet Another Hole-in-the-Wall Internet Review Engine, I ingest, process, and discard new music daily. Most of it I’ll never listen to again, such as the 30 gigs of Goa trance I spammed through my headphones for a week straight in September (before, obviously, I discovered that Goa trance is like regular trance, except with some DnB elements and a generous helping of shitbagged anal phlegm). Some stands out as exceptional and I put that on repeat for hours on end (Lords of Acid comes to mind). Okay I’ve written enough for an introduction. Imagine I put a pretentious and melodramatic thesis here, crammed with braggadocio and an Olympic-class ego disquisition.

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8. Lady Gaga – ARTPOP

LGAP

I really want to hate ARTPOP, but I can’t. There is plenty of evidence to support its shittiness -uninspired lyrics, a persistent lazy vibe, a stylistic statement which diverges wildly from Ke$ha-like dance-pop to something between Inna, Röyksopp, Molotov Jukebox, and Emilie Autumn- but contrarily, I can’t fault Lady Gaga for expanding beyond her comfort zone. Katy Perry and Eminem and sMilEy Cyfuck (what “she” will change “her” name to) can churn out the same shitgargling dickbread over and over, like a phonic Call of Duty, but at least Gaga tries to induct an ever-shifting miasma of dexterity which expands beyond the overwrought and lunkheaded genre of electropop. More than a few reviews have stated ARTPOP lacks creativity and ingenuity and instead falls victim to the horizontal “sameness” of contemporary pop. Those people are fucking retarded.

ARTPOP is one of the most creative and ingenious albums I’ve ever heard. I mean, it’s not necessarily good, but it deftly avoids any platitudes erected by its predecessors. It’s dynamic in execution and flamboyant in self-awareness, and it stands as a beacon to the Auto-Tuned masses of wannabe pop stars (I’m looking at you, Emii).

The whole LP is a piss salad bookended by three presumptively-iconic tracks. “Aura,” “Venus,” and “Applause” are imaginative and shrewd, and appear classic Gaga-y. Everything in between isn’t very good, led specifically by “Jewels n’ Drugs” and “Do What U Want,” which are both shockingly and simultaneous barbaric and grody. But at least it all sounds different.

Verdict: By far her worst album to date, but it’s still leaps and bounds above 65% of the rest of the shit out there. 3.5/5.0

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9. Amaranthe – The Nexus

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I don’t think a group has pissed of an entire genre’s fans as much as Amaranthe. One peek at their Last.fm shoutbox will educate you in ways I never could. Almost the entirely of complaints and/or “lively debates” regard its classification as “melodic death metal” rather than its content. Question: is it melodic death metal? Answer: unless you’re a complete dingleball who gives a fuck.

Amaranthe successfully fuses elements of symphonic metal, metalcore (emo/screamo bullshit), electronica, and power metal into a manageable, obvious, and practical format. By no means is it subgenre forerunner, since bands have attempted this type of melding before, but Amaranthe does it with gusto and produces a very attractive album. There are three “lead” singers present; Elize on clean female vocals, Jake on clean male, and Andreas (though now replaced with Henrik) on the harsh male vocals. Individually, Elize embodies the prototypical symphonic/pop-metal songstress, and her alchemical authority of the craft speaks volumes about her future; Jake is passable, but evokes a cock-first macho-type with little to differentiate himself; and Andreas is pretty annoying. He would be at home on a Brokencyde collaboration, and in my opinion, he’s nothing but a distraction. If Amaranthe had focused on one thing or another its arrangement, the result would have been far better. Here, unfortunately, they attempted to toss too much into one pot and fail to wrangle the most out of their potential.

But, seven of The Nexus‘ twelve tracks are on my favorites list. I’ve listened to “The Nexus” 134 times according to Last.fm, with the other six not far behind. I certainly enjoy what’s here, and if the other five songs aren’t quite as polished, the entire record is very well-produced. Classify it however you want, but it still remains a quality entry into a subgenre that I’m positive will expand within the next decade. It seems quite a few groups and producers are trying to flourish metal into something more consumable by the masses. Expect many piles of dried scrotal warts to pop up soon.

Verdict: It’s easy to sing along with, and Elize is hot enough to fap to–repeatedly. It’s squeaky clean, but in a good way. Impossible not to like. 4.5/5.0

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10. Sky Ferreira – Night Time, My Time

fuck off christfag

I don’t really know what genre this is supposed to be. It sounds like a watered-down Sleigh Bells, sort of a noise-pop synthfest with more than a little art rock. I don’t really care though; I’m not a whacked-out asshead who focuses more on genre gymnastics than fucking enjoying it. (This is definitely not a statement referencing Sunbather.) Either way, this album plays like an eclectic mixture of alternative, indie subgenres rolled into a tenacious package with plenty of sprightliness and earnestness to imbue a comfortable feeling.

A quick Googling will reveal all you could care about Sky’s life, record deal, modelling, or the biographical lyrics from “I Blame Myself.” Whatever; I don’t find any of that relevant to the music contained within. There’s enough indie here to revolt a more grungy listener, while anyone strictly following the path of the alternative music snob might be disgruntled by Night Time, My Time‘s steadfast rejection of genre stereotypes. But if listeners can overlook its classification, this album is a relaxing, sometimes-melancholy collection of charismatic tunes.

Verdict: It probably could have been better, but it most certainly is worth a listen or two. 3.0/5.0

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11. Skylar Grey – Don’t Look Down

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Oh for fuck’s sake. What is going on with this stupid fucking trend of having a singer with a jaw-droppingly beautiful voice create a gorgeous song…but then have some stupid, no-talent fucking herpes-crusted buttplugging sphincter samurai-like rapper come on and fucking DESTROY the entire goddamned thing? This album’s first track, “Back From the Dead,” is elegant -almost sublime- while retaining a luxurious construction, and then some fucking piece of shit named “Big Sean” comes on and turds all over the fucking song. If the track ended at 2:49, it would immediately enter my top-10 most listened on Spotify. But it doesn’t. It keeps fucking going and then everything is ruined for everyone for all time. Perhaps if it were a rapper with talent (though this notion is a paradoxical misnomer, since such a thing doesn’t exist) it might not have been so embarrassing, but “Big Sean” attempting to “sing” (or even “rap”) is like trying to ignore the refractory period and force another condom on your half chub.

I simply cannot get over how good that song could have been. What prompted Grey to think this up is beyond me. It’s kind of like if Botticelli had painted Primavera, and then, right before he announced it was done, he fucking jacked off all over the panel and smeared around his jism with a rock. Then burned the whole fucking thing and snorted the ashes.

Anyway, “Back From the Dead” pretty much sets up the rest of the album. It’s more disappointing since that time I found a bag of cocaine  in my closet but it turned out it was just baking soda I’d put there to freak out my roommate. “Weirdo” is by far Don’t Look Down‘s best offering, and it demonstrates what could have been. Eminem’s cameo on “C’mon Let Me Ride” is convincing and even pleasant sometimes, but everything else is mediocre. If only she had begun the record with a non-fucked version of “Back From the Dead,” everything which followed would have been a lot better.

Verdict: Listen to “Love the Way You Lie” twenty times instead of this. 1.0/5.0

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12. Amon Amarth – Deceiver of the Gods

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If you can’t appreciate some Viking metal (or are they calling it melodic death these days?)  every now and again, then I don’t understand how you can call yourself a human being. Amon Amarth is probably one of the most accessible “death-type” metal bands around, and they have nine albums to show for it -something not accomplished by under-performing snoozefests. Lead singer Johan Hegg’s growls are atypical in that lyrics are easily interpretable and thus self-evident to listeners. Unlike other genre dickshits such as Eluveitie or Wintersun (2016 edit: I retract both these statements), which take the fundamental premise of Viking (or Celtic) lore and then stretch it far beyond its breaking point, Amon Amarth stays true to their dependable formula. AKA they haven’t changed their tune, metaphorically or literally. So is their ninth any good?

Of course it is. Like unleashing a blast of loin thunder onto an unsuspecting passerby, Deceiver of the Gods debuts with an explosive first track. The titular hymn is what we’ve all come to expect from Amon Amarth: a cacophony of aggressive rhythm, a vociferous hook, and Hegg’s roaring growls. The lyrics aren’t half bad either. From there, the next standout is “Father of the Wolf,” with an obstreperous chorus and blazing, thumping tempo. Both are prompt favorites and will be repeatedly blasted through my headphones. “Hel,” the much-ballyhooed track featuring Messiah Marcolin, is a stark disappointment. I found it bland and flat, without energy. Perhaps the pace was too slow, or maybe Marcolin’s vocals were uninspiring, but whatever the case, the album’s conclusion, “Warriors of the North” wraps things up in a rambunctious, eight-minute canticle.

Okay, so there’s nothing particularly deviceful or cutting-edge about Deceiver of the Gods, and if it’s your first Amon Amarth foray, you probably won’t give up whatever you’re currently listening to. But for fans of the group, it’s what we want.

Verdict: Not original, but persuasively sound. 3.5/5.0

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Next up: Blood, Interlude, Waldschrein, Shaking the Habitual, Silverthorn, Retrospect, Fight Like a Girl, Perils of the Deep Blue, Random Access Memories

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