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Saturday, August 19, 2017

Winger Seventeen Review

When it comes to the 80's metal scene, it was a scene where it was all about looking good and appealing to the ladies while at the same time pushing your musical skills to become better at your instrument with every record you made.  One band that fit that description perfectly is Winger.  Kip Winger is recognized as one of most attractive men in the 80's.  He even appeared on the cover of Play Girl Magazine.  At the same time, they were very great at their instruments and demonstrated that on every album they made.  Starting with one of their first singles, Seventeen.  

One thing I love about this band how great they are musically.  Kip Winger is a good singer and carries this song very well.  I don't think he is a legendary singer, but he does a good job and really adds to the great sound the song has.  Another great thing that this band has going for it is it's lead guitarist, Reb Beach.  This guy is a very good guitarist and this song showcases that very well.  His guitar solo is very impressive, technical and tricky.  While he had his fair share of guitar recognition in the 80's, he has sort of fallen of the map today and it is sad because the guy really is an amazing guitar player and deserves to be recognized for it.

Lyrically, this song doesn't stand out too much.  It is basically a song about wanting to get a girl, but she is too young because she is only seventeen.  Wanting a girl was a very common theme back in the 80's metal scene and these guys were no exception to that.  However, the lyrics are well written and well constructed.  They flow well and never sound off and they do deserve credit for that.  However, message wise, it isn't any different from the rest of the 80's metal bands.

While they lyrics are nothing special in this song, the music is fantastic.  the guitar riffs are great, Kip Winger sounds good, and the music flows well.  It is easy to see why these guys were so big in the 80's.  Yes they did look appealing to the girls, but they also had a lot of great musical talent.  The song is written well and the the guitar work of Reb Beach is amazing.  I give this song a 4 out of 5. 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Walt Disney and Music

Walt Disney is a legend in America and the world.  He is considered the man who took animation to the mainstream and rightfully so.  With his iconic movies like Sleeping Beauty, The Jungle Book, and Snow White, the first ever full length animated movie.  Walt Disney was ground breaking in animation and was the one who proved that you could do more then just 5 minute shorts and could do great stories with it.  One of Walt Disney's biggest boosts to his fame is how he used music in his movies.

Part of the reason that music was so important to Walt Disney was because that was the only audio he had to work with at first.  See, back in the 20's films were just starting to come out of the silent movie era thanks to The Jazz Singer in 1927, "which was the first movie to have synchronized sound". Before that, the only way to keep your audience engaged was with music.  Granted it typically wasn't much, many times it was just a piano being played in the theater while the movie was on, but because there was some form of audio to go with it, the audience kept their attention on it. Animation was no exception, music was the audio driving force to keep the audience is attention.

When The Jazz Singer came out, Walt decided to use this new technique of synchronized sound to create his Steam Boat Willie.  Now, while this short had more sound effects then in the past, music was still what kept the audience engaged because it had a flow that kept the show moving forward.  Without music, the short would have been more dull and less interesting.  For Walt though, he never really saw this as a problem, in fact he saw more opportunity in it and it became a staple in his shorts and movies.

In 1937 Walt Disney made Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.  This movie is credited for being the first full length animated movie.  Along with that, this movie was also the first in something else.  It was also the first movie to make its soundtrack commercially to the public.  The soundtrack contained 8 songs on the soundtrack and for the first time, people could purchase it.  The downside for Walt though was that since he did not have his own music company at the time, the rights for the songs went to Bourne CO.  Disney wouldn't have their own music label until 1949.

Even though Walt Disney didn't owned his own music, it didn't stop him from making it a major part of his movies.  He would continue his musical formula in his follow up movie, Pinocchio in 1940.  Just like Snow White, Walt worked to make catchy music stuck out just as much as the animation.  The film would end up winning an academy award for best score, and the song, When You Wish Upon a Star, would become a Disney Anthem.  Even today, this song is still a Disney staple that is recognized all over the world.  

After Pinocchio, Walt decided to take a new approach and instead of making music revolve around his movie, he made his movie revolve around music.  This would lead to the creation of one of my favorite Disney movies, Fantasia.  Fantasia is a series of shorts where Walt took classic big orchestra songs and made animation to go with the songs in the movie.  This movie would have some classic scenes such as "A Night On Bald Mountain", a dark song about demons partying in the night.  It was then followed by the beautiful, peaceful "Ave Maria", a peaceful song that Disney used to illustrate darkness being defeated and a new sun rising from it.  The most popular song though is " The Sorcerer's Apprentice.  This scene was considered to have the best combination of all the other scenes.  The song was good, the animation matched the song perfectly and the concept with Mickey Mouse wanting to learn magic would be what got people to say that Disney is magical. 


Sadly, shortly after Fantasia, World War 2 broke out and this created many problems for Walt Disney.  in order to gain support for the war, the government turned to entertainment to make propaganda to make people hate the Nazi's and Japan.  Walt Disney was not exempt from this.  However, unlike how some people say that Walt was a willing participant in making this propaganda, that really isn't true.  What really happened was that the government came and took control of his studio. The animators were to make nothing but shorts depicting the war. To add on to Walt's problems, he wasn't allowed to release any full length movies.  The only movies he could release were Packaged Films.  These were basically collections of old and some new shorts.  One of these packaged films actually contains one of my favorite shorts, Father Noah's Ark. A short musical story about Noah and the Ark.  

One of the packaged films that contained new shorts was Saludos Amigos.  This movie was a series of shorts inspired by Latin American countries, including Argentina and Brazil.  Along with the locations, Walt also used a lot of their music as inspiration for this film.  The most famous scene in this movie is Aquarela do Brasil.  This short has a short but very catchy song used to illustrate the parrot, Jose Carioca, teaching Donald Duck about South America.  Surprisingly, this movie would go on to wing 3 academy awards.

Once the war ended, Walt was able to get to doing what he loved doing most,  great animated musicals.   The movie, Cinderella would his first post war animated movie.  This was the first movie that was published musically under Walt Disney Records.  By this time, Walt Disney finally secured his own record label that gave him full rights and full control over his music.  This soundtrack would produce some classic Disney songs such as "A Dream is a Wish Your Heat Makes", and the popular, Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo.  Clearly, the Walt Disney Everybody loved was back. 

After Cinderalla, Walt continued to make great musical movies until his death in 1966.  The last movie that he oversaw was "The Jungle Book".  The Jungle Book is a movie with many classic songs including, "I Want to Be Like You", and Trust in Me. However, the biggest song off this soundtrack is "Bare Necessities".  This song has become a Disney staple you hear all over Disney radio and referenced in Disney Parks.  Walt Disney did a great job on his last project and this soundtrack shows that.

As you can see, Walt Disney wasn't just a man who was innovative in terms of animation, he also knew how to make music work for his movies very well.  He had a lot of appreciation for music and ended up creating a classic formula.  This is formula that is still being used in Disney movies today such as Tangled and Enchanted.  While there are other great animated musicals outside of Disney, Walt Disney developed this formula and if any of these other movies makers are being honest, they were inspired by Disney.  RIP Walt Disney, you truly were a man of many talents.  

Friday, August 11, 2017

Nocturnal Bloodlust Break This Fake Review

I have said before that I am not the biggest fan of death metal or metal core music.  By nature I am more of a melodic metal kind of guy.  However, if there is one death metal band that has won me over, it is Nocturnal Bloodlust.  This band has amazed me time and time again and they do it yet again with their new single, Break This Fake.

Write off the back the bands lead guitarist, Cazqui, busts out that heavy yet groovy guitar intro.  A few measures later, the whole band joins in and plays a great intro that has the lower tuned, heavy sounding instruments but with very groovy music.  While everybody does a great job in the intro, and I love the guitar work in the intro, I have to give props to  the bands drummer, Natsu.  This guy is a very good drummer and showcases it very well in this song.  Just in the beginning he busts out great unique drum work and continues it through out the rest of the song.  When the verse comes in, the band continues playing the intro riff while the band's vocalist, Hiro, starts out with the traditional death metal style vocals.  I am not a big fan of that vocal style, but the music is very good and keeps me engaged in the song.  However, when the chorus comes in, then Hiro busts out the melodic side of his vocals.  He does a great job vocally and really delivers a powerful sound chorus vocally.  Another thing that makes this band unique is their song composition.  Typically, most songs are written in the form of intro, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, solo, then either ending chorus's or another verse then the final chorus.  However, this band structures this song differently.  The way this song is constructed is Intro, verse, chorus, bridge, verse, bridge, solo, chorus, ending.  This unique song structure really works well for this band and they make if sound good.  After the final bridge, Cazqui plays a short little melodic solo before the band heads into the final chorus.  After the chorus, Cazqui displays his amazing guitar skills by playing a fast finger tapping solo that leads into a great melodic solo.  What's great about Cazqui is how diverse he is as a guitar player.  He can be fast like Yngwie Malmsteen, at the same time very melodic like David Gilmour.  The man, is really underrated and deserves more recognition for his guitar skills.  Then before the songs ending, the bassist, Masa, does a cool short bass section before the songs ending that is very cool.  The one member I haven't mentioned yet is the rhythm guitarist, Daichi.  While he isn't the lead guitar player, the guy is still a very good guitar player and deserves more recognition then he gets.  He is very good and the few times he gets to solo he plays his heart out.  Don't overlook Daichi, he contributes just as much as the rest of the band.  Musically, this song continues to display this bands talent and creative mastery.

Lyrically, this is a rebellious song about people not being real and being in it for themselves.  The band is saying that they won't become that and they don't respect anyone who is.  I like how real the band is when they right lyrics and this song is no exception.  They are saying what they feel and despite a few phrases seeming to be not constructed properly, the lyrics are amazing and the band is clearly being real with the world in this song.  

This is a great song that is a must buy.  If you are a guitar guy, this song has a lot to offer and to take away from.  If you are a metal head this is a song you need.  While I am not a big fan of the growling vocals and think some of the lyrics could be written a little better, this song is still awesome.  I give Break This Fake a 4.5 out of 5.  

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Follow Me

Hey Everybody, I have started accounts on some new sites where you can follow me and be able to see my blog posts and get notification on when I'm posting something new on on the blog.  Feel free to follow me on any of the platforms shown below get quicker notification and access to my blog posts.




Along with social media, I have also started video accounts on several sites. Along with my blog, I will also make videos as an extension of the blog.  If you like the videos I am making, feel free to follow me on any one of these video sites.




Monday, August 7, 2017

Thumbelina Let Me Be Your Wings Review

For many people, Thumbelina is considered the start of a downward spiral of the famed Don Bluth.  This movie is said to have had a 28 million dollar budget and has only made a little over 11 million dollars, less than half the budget.  On top of that, the soundtrack is considered to be awful.  In fact, the song, Marry The Mole, ended up winning a Razzie for worst song.  It is the first animated movie to get a Razzie for its soundtrack, that is saying something.  However, there is one song of this movie's soundtrack that people seem to have taken a liking to.  That song is Let Me Be Your Wings.

First of all, the orchestra music in this song is composed well.  While it is simple, it works well with the mood of the song.  The way that the orchestra plays along with the vocals is a nice touch.  Musically, this would make a good instrumental song, without the vocals.  However, they vocals should not be left out or ignored.  The singers sound very confident and deliver a great melody vocally.  If the movie focused more on these 2 characters and not everything else so much, I think the reception of this movie might have been better.  They sound good and deliver a very good, melodic performance. 

Lyrically, this song is in a grey area.  While there some catchy phrases such as, "fly with me and I will be your wings", there are also phrases such as ,"for another world of wondrous things", that don't really stick.  This song has plenty of phrases like this that really take you out of it and don't keep you in it.  The vocals do a good job of trying to make the lyrics sound good, but it doesn't always work.  With some refining, the lyrics would be great.  They do help to advance the story and they are not terrible, but they are not constructed well and it hurts the song as a whole. 

Overall, I would say Let Me Be You Wings is a good song, but not a great song.  While the music is good and the vocals are great, the way the lyrics are set up hurts the song.  This song is the best song on this movies soundtrack, but considering how most of the songs are in this movie, that isn't saying much.  However, while this is not a must have song, I did enjoy listening to it and thanks to the music and vocals I can listen to if from time to time.  I give Let Me Be Your Wings a 3 out of 5.   

Friday, August 4, 2017

Girls Generation Holiday Review

Girls Generation has come to there 10 year mark and to celebrate this achievement, which is saying something in the Kpop world, they released a new album called Holiday Night.  One of their first singles on this new album is Holiday.  The song has not even been released a full day and it has already reached over 3 million views on YouTube and the views are going up very quickly.  Considering all this, lets take a look at Girls Generation's new song, Holiday.

Musically, this is one of my favorite Girls Generation songs.  The music has a cool soul and funk feel to it, reminding me a little bit of the 70's.  It's fast paced and it sounds fun, and the funk sound in the song really helps to make it stand out.  Vocally, all the girls sound good, as usual.  Girls Generation is very fortunate to have some very good singers.  Taeyeon and Seohyun are some stand outs for me.  They are great singers that have great range and melody.  They showcase these attributes very well in this song.  Hyoyeon's rap section is pretty catchy and I think it was a smart move to give her that roll in this song.  Out of all the singers in Girls Generation, her style and voice works best for rapping and this song proves that.  The main stand out for me though is Tiffany.  Her voice and range works very well with the music in this song.  I actually think that for Tiffany's next solo album, she should actually take this musical approach to it because it works so well with her voice.

Lyrically, this is just like any other Kpop song.  Basically, the song is about having fun and being in a happy relationship.  The way they are constructed is pretty good, but they aren't personal to the members and it is something we have heard constantly out of Kpop.  If the lyrics were more about how happy the girls are to be together for 10 years, that would be personal and real.  That would resonate and would be message people embrace just as well, if not better.  Basically, they took the safe route lyrically and didn't venture outside the safe zone. 

Overall, this is a great single and a good way for Girls Generation to start off their 10 year celebration.  While the lyrics are not special, the music is some of the best of the Girls Generation Discography.   Vocally, the girls sound fantastic and are clearly still very talented after 10 years.  With good music and great vocals, I give Holiday a 4.5 out of 5.  

Monday, July 31, 2017

Beauty and the Beast Soundtrack 1991 vs 2017

When 2017 ends the Beauty and the Beast remake will be remembered as one of the biggest movies of the year.  Grossing over 503 million dollars and having spent an estimated 160 million dollars, this is without a doubt a very successful movie financially.  Even with the movies success, there is still a lot of debating about whether the 1991 version, or the 2017 version is better.  The biggest debate is over which movies soundtrack was better.  In this post I am going to give my two cents on that debate. 

The first thing I would like to talk about is what's good in the 1991 version.  The 1991 version is very solid and well organized.   Alan Menken did a fantastic job composing and writing this soundtrack.  Musically, the orchestra is very good and just as catchy as the vocals in some of the songs.  Two examples that come to mind are Belle and Tale As Old As Time.  Both songs start off with very catchy intros that hook you before the vocals even come in.  This is something is very overlooked when people talk about this movies soundtrack.  While the vocal work is amazing and certainly worthy of the praise it has received, without well constructed music to go with the vocals, the songs won't flow and could derive into a sloppy mess.  Like I said, the vocal work is fantastic and very well executed.  Everybody gives it their all, their singing voices are authentic with no work done to in production to enhance their voice.

My favorite songs of this version are Be Our Guest and Tale As Old As Time.  Jerry Orbach does a great job vocally in this song.  He has the most fun sounding voice out of everybody else and he showcases it very well in this song.  The way he pronounces the lyrics in this song is a one of a kind and out of everybody else, he is the only one who can do it this way.  The music is also very fun and catchy.  The rhythm patterns in this song really play well to Jerry Orbach's voice and add to the fun feel this song goes for.  Tale As Old As Time is a good ballad that really brings the movies story together.  Lyrically, this song does a great job of summarizing the movie in a way that the listener can really take it in and enjoy.  The music for this songs is more simple then Be Our Guest, but it is still very memorable and really gets you into the song before the vocals start.  Vocally, where Jerry Orbach could only sing Be Our Guest, Tale As Old As Time is that for Angela Lansburry.  She carries this song very well and out of everybody else, she is the best fit for it.  Her voice fits the theme and mood very well, and really enhances the listener to take in the lyrics.

When it comes to the 2017 version they really tried to expand the soundtrack.  They added some more songs and in some cases stretched out the original ones.  Overall, the cast does a good job singing in this movie and really carry the songs well.  Luke Evans and Dan Stevens really deliver well on their songs and add a good spin that separates it from the original.  However, while certainly adding new elements, they do a lot to stay true to the original movie as well.  Considering the big task they had to live up to the original, they did pretty well.  

My favorite songs of this version are Gaston and Evermore.  Luke Evans does  a great job singing in this version, he sounds confident and really gives it his all.  As far as the music goes, I actually like it better in this version then in the original.  It does a great job building up and getting louder and adding more energy as the song goes on.  Then, in this version they added that instrumental section where the orchestra really takes off and lets loose and it sounds really energetic and well structured.  By far my favorite song musically in this version of the movie.  Evermore is a great addition to the soundtrack.  Lyrically, it does a good job of telling what is going through the beasts mind and how he realizes what he has been missing all his life.  Dan Stevens does a great job vocally, he sounds good and really captures the mood well.  The orchestra in this song is very good.  The energy from the music and the big orchestra sound really impacts the listener and helps to really drive the message into the person listening to the song.  

When it comes to mistakes in the 1991 version they really are few and far between.  They did a lot to make sure they got it right and for the most part they did.  The only noticeable mistakes that pop out to me is that sometimes the cast might try a little to hard and in a few songs, they added some dialogue that was simply filler and wasn't needed.  Gaston in the original sounded a little over the top a few times and while I get that has to do with his character it was still distracting and could take away from the experience.  With the filler, in a few songs like the Mob Song, they through dialogue in the middle of the song to stretch it out and I feel like it wasn't needed. Other then that, the mistakes aren't too bad.

When it comes to the 2017 version they have a few mistakes as well.  This movie also suffers from the problem of adding filler as well.  One form of this is in some unneeded songs, like the Maurice song.  It was one of those songs they didn't need, they could have introduced him without it and ultimately it didn't move the plot forward much.  The other form appears in the form of unneeded dialogue. In the Gaston Song where Lefou tries to spell Gaston's name and says he's illiterate it is mainly used to stretch out the song. It was supposed to be funny but it wasn't delivered well and just makes people wonder why they threw it in there.  The major problem with this version though is vocal effects on Emma Watson's voice.  Emma Watson is a good actress and does a great job acting in this movie but because of the auto tune, it sounds like she really can't sing.  She doesn't sound good in this movie because they tried to hide her voice with auto tune instead of being authentic like a musical should be. To be clear, I don't think this is her fault.  Blame for this belongs to the people in the studio and editing room.  They probably noticed that she wasn't hitting notes correctly and instead having her do another take and push her to be better, they took shortcuts to save time and/or nitpick and try to be perfect.  If they weren't happy with her take they should have pushed her and do another take or get someone else to sing and then have Emma Watson lip sync. It wouldn't have been her singing, but it would have sounded authentic, which a musical like this needs to be.   

Both versions overall are good, but ultimately I have to go with the classic.  One of the reason's is because the original is more solid and more well constructed then the remake.  The remake has a lot of good songs but it doesn't flow as well as the original does and that hurts it a little.  The other is the auto tune on Emma Watson.  Because the auto tune doesn't make her sound good when singing it really hurts the soundtrack.  Considering that she is lead in the beginning and a has at least one more solo song after that, it really becomes distracting as really hurts the soundtrack.  Had the studio not decided to take shortcuts, it could've been much better and may have actually been better then the original. Instead, they took the easy way out and hurt their own product.  Because of that, the original is better.