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Welcome back again, my friends, to a brand-spanking, new and improved edition of Music for the Masses. Now, with 10% more girth!! So… did you enjoy the trip down memory lane last week? I sure did. You see, since I didn’t have to “waste” actual time writing a new column, I was able to coach my buddy Alec Baldwin on how to better communicate with his daughter. According to him, she’s a real handful. So you know what I says to him? Why I says “Look Alec… don’t take any more of her bullshit. Teach her who’s the boss. Teach her who her daddy is. You know what they say, Alec… spare the rod, spoil the child!” Boy, I can’t wait to catch up with him later this week and find out if he took my advice and how that conversation went! I’m guessing well!! If not, though, I’ll have to tell him how he can remind her of his love and keep her in line with wire hangers… or a rabbit-punch to the kidneys.

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Don’t make daddy angry… you wouldn’t like daddy when he’s angry.

 

But hey, enough about all that folks for we have a full stack of reviews to get to today. Up first, we check in with the brilliant new release from one of my all-time favorite bands, Rush. Afterwards, Double A checks in with the latest from Madlib and a freshman Liberal Arts major proffers an opinion on the latest from Good Charlotte.

Sound like fun? Well, you ungrateful little pigs, what do you say we find out?

snakes 4-26-07

Artist: Rush

Album: Snakes and Arrows

Sounds Like: Another clinic in “musicianship” from “the masters” that won’t be heard by a fucking soul because a) most of you don’t live in Canada were “the Man” dictates that 40% of the radio/tv content be Canadian in origin and b) you more than likely think this is “your father’s music.” Silly fuck-tards.

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Anne Murray… Greatest American Hero… 8th Grade Shop Teacher.

I’m sure some of you may recall me saying that the greatest thing to come out of Canada was Anne Murray. Of course, I was just pulling your leg like Paul McCartney getting Heather Mills ready for a good, hard fucking. A complete and total joke, people! Although Anne Murray is highly regarded in Canada by the same people who have, in the past, “highly regarded” “comedian” Tom Greene and “singer” Corey Hart, she’s done nothing more for me outside of being a “chick” that bears an uncanny resemblance to my 8th grade shop teacher, Mr. Trodick (I swear on all that is holy that was his name). In fact, I haven’t verified this, but I am guessing that they are one in the same and that “she,” too, has only 2 fingers remaining on her left hand from a drunken dance with a table saw. One day, Mr. Murray… one day. We WILL learn the truth.

You see, if I had been being serious here, you would now know that the best things to come out of Canada are those tasty french fries, with a name that sounds a hell of a lot like “poon tang,” covered in brown gravy and chunks of what appears to be “FromUnda” cheese…

poon 4-26-07

Fresh from the fry cook’s butthole area to your mouth…

*Quick digression and no-shit true story… the first time I ever had these things, at a Rush show in Toronto believe it or not, I thought the Canadians were playing a trick on me for all the crap I’ve written about them in these articles. “Oh, ha ha…” I thought. “Funny Canucks squirting chocolatey poo-juice on my french fries and adding your ‘taint pickings! Ha ha!” Of course, that didn’t stop me from putting those fried ‘taters in my mouth (DAMN YOU, ORAL FIXATION!!!!) and holy crap… I’m glad I did. Those fries are like crack (no pun intended)… covered in gravy… and “FromUnda” cheese.*

rush 4-26-07

And the other most-bestest thing to come out of that godforsaken country to the nort’ is the progressive rock band, Rush. In fact, as I’m sitting here writing this, I have on my original “2112″ concert tee. Yeah… rocking it old school… dork style. Hey, fuck off… not like I’m getting ready to play D&D in mom’s basement after this. I live on my own, dammit. I have my own basement now.

geek 4-26-07

Now, to say that I was greatly looking forward to this new album, Snakes and Arrows, is an understatement akin to saying that R. Kelley only “kinda” likes to pee on people or Michael Jackson only “sorta” likes to wear young boys like class rings. See, as far as I’m concerned, May 1st, the date the new Rush album is released, should be a national holiday. In fact, I’m proposing it right now. May 1st, to me and hundreds of thousands of Rush fans around the world and mostly in Brazil will now be, at least, an official holiday. We’ll call it Rush-ashana…or Rush-mas…or, hell, I don’t know… Uno de Mayo? Whatever.

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And make no mistake, Rush fans and people that SHOULD be Rush fans, May 1st will be a day of great celebration for it will be filled with cake and porn (hey… it’s my fucking holiday, I’ll make the rules. K?) and some phenomenal new music for May 1st will be a day when this amazing trio unleashes it’s best album in over 20 years (read: since Power Windows, circa 1985). Yeah, Rush fans… you read that correctly. Bring it on, bitches. You want to dance? Oh, we can dance! We can dance.

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Good lord… I wish I was wearing THAT Rush shirt… with her still in it.

 

The reason I say this? Well, aside from the overall strength of all the tracks on this album in both melody and complexity, Snakes & Arrows is easily the best produced Rush disc in years. There is not a “Dog Years” on this mother fucker AND the mix doesn’t sound like it was done in the bottom of a Port-a Potty. Take a bow, Mr. Nick Raskulinecz of Foo Fighters fame. You done good, son. You done good. Nothing like hiring a Rush fan to mix a Rush album, eh, hosers?

Yes, unlike the last studio outing, the muddy and uneven Vapor Trails, Snakes & Arrows marks a return to form for this band in both production quality and musicality.

fiddle 4-26-07

You fiddlin’ with my knob?

With searing and crisp delivery and an accessibility that defies most Rush albums, EVERY track on this bitch is a winner. Sure, some tracks are more accessible than others to the casual listener, like the Oingo Boingo-esque, “The Larger Bowl” (just listen to that arpegiated chord progression during the verse… Boingo all the way, baby!), the country-fried, Alex-centrique instrumental, “Hope,” and, of course, the first, melodically driving single “Far Cry,” but dig deep and you hard core fans can be rewarded with songs like the ass-kicking, Geddy/Neil showcase of “Malignant Narcissism” and one of the strongest tracks this band has EVER recorded (and one of Neil’s personal favorites) “We Hold On.” Good shit, all around people. Seriously.

Quite simply, if you are a fan of Tool, Porcupine Tree or even Pink Floyd and have previously avoided Rush as being too “obtuse,” give them another chance. This is your disc. If you are a casual fan of the band, give in to temptation and reward yourself by checking out this entire disc. You won’t be disappointed. If you are not a fan of this band, well…fuck you. I hate you with the hate of a 1,000 Oprahs. You make my heart cry and my anus bleed. Keep pining for that new Linkin’ Park disc, “friend.” It’s coming soon and I’m sure that it will be *COUGH* brilliant.

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I bet…

If, for some reason, you are still not sold on checking this disc out, allow me to put it in the vernacular of my fellow Rush fans/D&D freaks… Rush may have -3 Charisma, but they are minstrels with +21 Dexterity and you would be forgoing the Chalice of Everlasting Orgasms if you miss this puppy. Know what I’m saying?

Now, if you’ll excuse me… I’m off to “roll the old 12-sided die”… if you catch my drift…

mace 4-26-07

I have mace? Ha! That’s what SHE said!

 

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timeout 4-26-07

Up till now, I’ve really dug what I’ve heard come out of Madlib. Granted, I’ve only heard one cd and a handful of songs, but every one of those has been pretty damn good. Unfortunately that streak seems to have hit a wall. Now when I say hit a wall, I mean that the streak was riding in a car without a seatbelt when the streak’s girlfriend asked him why they weren’t married yet. Well you know the streak and you know that he’s not ready to settle down to one piece of poon tang, so he brushes his girl off. Well the streak’s girlfriend gets all pissed off and emotional, like chicks do, and crashes the car into a wall. Since the streak wasn’t wearing his seatbelt, he flies thru the window and hits the wall himself. You see what I’m getting at here? No? Damn, I was never very good at metaphors. Or is that a simile? Who the hell cares? All I know is that this new album from Madlib isn’t all that great. That thing about the streak and his girlfriend. Um, yeah, about that. That’s a story for another time. Moving on.

madlib 4-26-07

This album, Time Out Presents The Other Side: Los Angeles, is kinda hard to describe. It’s credited as a Madlib disc, but a lot of the tracks are instrumentals with other peoples names on them. The disc also skips from genre to genre. There’s straight up rap songs on it, there’s some that lean more towards the reggae and there are some that feature hard core jazz noodling. Yes, I said “hard core jazz noodling,” deal with it. For the most part, the album probably isn’t bad, it’s just not what I was expecting, so I think that my opinion might be a bit tainted. That might be why this album initially squeaked in under my radar. I didn’t know it was coming out until I saw it actually sitting on the shelf.

Aside from the disappointment of the album not living up to my hopes and expectations, there are some pretty good songs on this album. MED’s song “What It Do” is a damn fine song. This track sounds like the Madlib that I thought I knew. The beats are tight as are the flows by rappers MED and Poke. Then there’s the collaboration with beat pioneer J. Dilla (R.I.P. Dilla!) that is short but insanely groovy. But these few bright spots only serve as beacons in an otherwise boring album. Even the track by the mostly reliable and entertaining Quasimoto (an alias of Madlib) fails to hit that special bar that he has hit before.

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Like I said, this album is probably pretty good, if you listen to it in the right frame of mind. I was expecting a cd full of bumpin raps. Instead I get a mix and mash of a ton of different styles. Over time, I’m sure my pleasure in listening to this album will grow, but after the first few listens, all I can say is “eh?” Oh and the cd also comes with a DVD by Peanut Butter Wolf, taking the viewer on a visual tour of Los Angeles. I haven’t watched it yet. What? I got too much porn to watch.

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REVIEWS BY…

college 4-26-07

A College Freshman Majoring in Liberal Arts

Artist: Good Charlotte

Album: Good Morning Revivial

As I was walking across campus to my “Feminist Indian Poetry in the 20th Century” class the other day, I was enjoying an internal monologue and just thinking to myself “Good Charlotte are so… lame. Anyone that listens to them is immature…and stupid.” And so is their new album.

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I mean, sure I used to listen to them when I was in high school but that was sooo forever ago. Now that I’ve matured, my musical tastes have become more sophisticated. I listen to “real” music now like the Shins and Death Cab For Cutie. Okay, I’ll listen to a little bit of Fall Out Boy but that’s about as “high school” as I get these days because high school was lame and it sucked and everyone in it was so immature… and stupid.

Okay, I’ll admit it… actually, I didn’t listen to the new Good Charlotte CD. I had a test in “Rhetorical Lesbian Rantings of the Late 19th Century” and I just didn’t have the time. But I’ll guarantee that it is immature and stupid. In fact, this girl in my “Television in Society: From Dick Van Dyke to Friends” class said something about liking this group, Bright Eyes, so I’ve been listening to them a lot lately. At first I didn’t like it but the more I listen, the more I think I like it. That and this girl is really mature and way hot so I have to hurry up and like this. Man, she is really super smart. She reads Joyce for fun. For fun!! I think I love this girl.

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So yeah… Good Charlotte. Totally lame. Like my “Economics” class, “Chemistry” or “Business Ethics.” I mean, if you’re some stupid, immature high school kid, I guarantee that you will totally eat this album up. But then again, what do you know? You’re just a kid. Mark my words, once you grow up and go to college, you’ll realize just how immature you were and you, too, will like bands like Bright Shins. I mean Bright Eyes.

Let’s face it, high school kids just don’t get it. You just haven’t lived enough yet. God, what I would give to go back to high school knowing now what I didn’t know then. I mean, with what I’ve learned in this last semester in my “Knowing Nietzsche” class alone…hell, I’d rule that school. And I’d like to see those popular kids kick my ass after I whip out a little Gertrude Stein on their feeble minds. Their immature asses would just sit there…trembling. But whatever. Now that I’m in college and things are totally different, I don’t even care about high school anymore and stupid, immature bands like Good Charlotte. I just don’t have the time to be listening to stuff like that anymore.

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At any rate, I’d give this new Good Charlotte one immature high school kid out of a possible five. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m late for my “Radical Thinking in Children’s Literature” class.

Well, friends, there’s another one in the bank. Until next time, keep wearing it proud and playing it loud.

Send pictures of your 8th grade shop teacher, review copies, assorted hate mail and presents to:

M. C. Bell
P.O. Box
1222
Arvada
, CO 80001

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