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The Replacements – All Shook Down

7 Nov

Just by looking at the cover, All Shook Down looks a bit dreary and it’s easy to see why. It’s the final album from The Replacements, and the cover seems to fit the mood of a band on its last legs. Especially considering that this was actually supposed to be vocalist Paul Westerberg’s first solo album. With its numerous session musicians with only a few tracks featuring the full band, it seems to lack the energy of most of their previous albums. While it lacks infamous anthems like “Left of the Dial”, “Unsatisfied”, and “Here Comes a Regular”, that’s not to say it doesn’t have solid tracks.

Paul Westerberg was more or less a voice of a generation for many college rock fans, and even inspired much of the boom in alternative rock in the 90’s, it seems that along with his audience, Westerberg was growing up. As a 30 year old man, it seems like he knew he was getting too old, and probably too tired to be singing about adolescent angst. This is pretty evident as their albums were progressively getting more mellowed out, almost like he shook out much of the anger he’s had before.

Despite being one of their more mellow albums, it still features typical Westerberg lyrical tropes, like his heart on a sleeve feelings that are largely self depreciating, and misfits trying to find a place Most of the tracks are very acoustic guitar driven, with roughly 3 out of the 4 tracks without them are fully electric with the other one being a piano driven track, with its appropriately titled “the Last”, with its multiple meanings, and strategically being placed as the last track on the last Replacements album. Even the lyrics can almost be interpreted towards being about the listener, especially with the final line: “It’s gotta last for always” is a great final nail in the coffin for a band with such a large legacy.

While definitely not as ambitious or as memorable as albums like Let it Be or Tim, it’s definitely a decent album. So while it won’t cater to fans of their rougher, it does cater to those who are fans of adult alternative rock. With bands like The Wallflowers, and Train, especially with the latter drawing influence from Westerberg’s music. Though in shear honesty, it’s not their best album, but it’s definitely not their worst.

rating 4/5

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Justin Timberlake – The 20/20 Experience

13 Apr

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE – THE 20/20 EXPERIENCE

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The 20/20 Experience

Justin Timberlake

by nastynate

This album already feels like a classic to me. There isn’t a bad song on here.  Every hook is flawless. Most of the beats are great. Most of the lyrics seem sincere. There are few faults to be found. That, of course, doesn’t mean it’s perfect. For example, I found the samples at the beginning of “Tunnel Vision” to be annoying and unnecessary. I thought Jay-Z’s verse on “Suit and Tie” was mediocre at best and felt like he was biting Kanye West’s style (like he hasn’t done that before), minus the actual cleverness. My least favorite song on the album is “Body Count.” The beat was spastic and all over the place and just not very good in general. This song would be much more entertaining if a better instrumental had been chosen/written.

As I listened to the album, I found myself picking a new favorite song after almost every song. After listening to the entire album several times, I’ve narrowed it down to two favorites: “Mirrors” and “Blue Ocean Floor.” “Mirrors” has my favorite hook, and “Blue Ocean Floor” has my favorite instrumental and seems the most sweet and sincere.

Overall, I found this album very appealing and entertaining. I was afraid it wouldn’t live up to the standards of JT’s past albums, but it’s actually my favorite thing he’s done so far. At points it was catchy and fun, and at other points it was serious and romantic. I’m probably going to find myself listening to this album many more times.

4.5/5

Rage Against the Machine – Evil Empire

13 Apr

RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE – EVIL EMPIRE

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This album isn’t held on a legendary status as their eponymous self-titled debut album, Evil Empire pushes more boundaries than their previous album, musically, lyrically, and Tom Morello’s outrageous guitar solos. This album isn’t as heavy as their previous album and has more Hardcore Punk influences, do not be discouraged, this album still packs a punch.As stated in the previous sentence, the music may not be as heavy as the previous album, the band has increased their talents as musicians. If you thought Tom Morello’s solos were mind blowing in the previous album, you are in for a surprise, they get crazier. Some of his solos in RATM were pretty easy to emulate for other guitarists, but there are several on this album that just make you wonder “how the hell does he do that?”. The solo to Without a Face sounds like a machine gun firing off, and Revolver just sounds like a computer. The guitar solo to Tire Me is only able to be played on a certain off brand guitar Tom found in Canada. With People of the Sun, Tom plays his guitar with an Allen wrench.

Lyrically the album is still political, but instead of bitching about the evils of the American government, Zach talks about hardships of people in Mexico. People of the Sun are about the tobacco farmers and Without a Face is about the Mexico-US border and the guitar solo reflects people being shot while crossing. Revolver is about a wife being domestically abused by her husband.

There are many strengths putting this above RATM, and I’m leaning farther and farther into believing that this album surpasses RATM in scope and maturity. The band is older, wiser, and  spent 4 years after their debut without wasting time to record this album.

Grungie’s rating 5/5