Volume 94, Issue 53
Friday, December 1, 2000
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
blink-182 - I wish they all could be California boys
The Mark, Tom, and Travis Show (The Enema Strikes Back!)
If you had to sum up what punk pranksters blink-182 are all about, it would involve things like good times, fast music and tonnes of energy that, and taking off your pants.
The blink boys are up to their usual butt-bearing antics in their recent live release, The Mark, Tom and, Travis Show. The album features live recordings from several shows spliced into one head-bobbing experience.
All the crowd favourites are here, including "All the Small Things," "Adam's Song," and the tune that thrust them into the limelight, "What's My Age Again?" Because much of what makes the band work is centred around their high energy appeal, the live format serves to accentuate what they offer.
Another thing the band has in their corner is that they need not worry as much about the quality of the live recording which, incidentally, is pretty good because of the nature of their songs. To not successfully capture the essence of songs that rarely features more than a handful of chords would be an extreme technical foul up.
The California trio is also determined not to let their audience escape without passing on some pearls of wisdom between slam sessions. For instance, most people would probably be surprised to find out that "dog semen is fattening." And who could not benefit from knowing, "when I rub it, it gets bigger." The album even features an appearance by the Prince of Darkness himself, Satan.
In the spirit of high school cafeteria food fights, spit balls and bra snapping, this album is aimed purely at entertainment. Blink-182 has done a solid job of ensuring every fan walks away with good a toe-tapping feeling, and a diet tip or two.
Queer As Folk: Music from the Television Series.
Three gay men living in Manchester that's the premise behind Britain's controversial TV show, Queer As Folk. The show's soundtrack is a compilation of dance songs featured in the show's bar and club scenes.
The record can be summed up as a collection of dance songs, tinged with lyrics about love and finding the "perfect mate." The soundtrack begins with the show's theme song, a pop-infused dance tune with the lyrics, "I spent all night chasing after some bloke." In four short minutes, the song sums up what the show seems to be about looking for gay love.
A good portion of the soundtrack contains covers of popular love songs such as Celine Dion's "To Love You More" and Jimmy Somerville's hilarious version of "Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You."
The best cover on the soundtrack is the Kinky Boyz's rendition of the popular Air song, "Sexy Boy." They deliver a sexy version of the song with lustily whispered lyrics.
The soundtrack's show-stopping song is it's closing track: "It's Raining Men" by The Weather Girls, which serves as the show's anthem.
Queer As Folk's soundtrack is a surprisingly interesting and eclectic mix of songs infused with the sounds of techno, house, disco and pop music.
Ladies and gentlemen, your saviour has arrived. Or something like that.
Last year, it was Travis. Before that, it was Radiohead or Blur or Oasis or the Stone Roses or Suede or the Verve or... the list goes on. Each was the great Brit hope who had become the toast of jolly old England and had the arduous task of tackling America.
In 2000, it's Coldplay, some nice, humble young men who make beautiful music.
Parachutes is a solid, uplifting piece of great British guitar rock. Songs like "Shiver," "Spies" and "High Speed" would headline this or any other album, but they play second fiddle on this collection.
Stepping to the forefront is the lead single, "Yellow." One of the best singles produced this year, it is a classic love song with great hooks and undeniable energy. "Trouble," immediately follows and while the mood is more sombre and thoughtful, it continues Parachutes' feeling of enthusiasm, honesty and vitality.
Finally, closing the album is "Everything's Not Lost" quite simply an incredible ballad of hope and thrill. Lead singer Chris Martin's voice is surrounded by waltzing piano and charging guitars to produce a beautiful album.
Coldplay will not save the world nor will they conquer the Britneys and Christinas to reclaim the Top 40 charts in the name of rock. But with any luck, they will only build upon what can only be considered a wondrous debut album.
Fiona is that you?
Despite a soaring opening track that sounds like some lost B-side by the divine Miss Apple, Fisher holds her own on her latest release, True North.
The album is a moody, pop-rock venture, blending elements of electronica with torchy ballads, sometimes in the same track. Fisher (yes that's her name) turns in some nice vocals and they're generally well set against the backdrop of Ron Wasserman's instrumentation.
Fisher's album is all over the map in terms of song style. Some tracks have danceable backbeats, while others have a stripped down, minimalist feel. Her voice is equally hard to place. It has a crisp, hollow sound, but its fullness and range allow it to be equally haunting and mysterious. If this album demonstrates anything, it's that Fisher has pipes and she's not afraid to use them.
The central problem with this album, however, is that songs begin with so much promise, but stumble toward their endings. The track, "had to" is a perfect example. The song starts off with great potential, but by its end, listeners are left with nothing but the knowledge that something once bright turned out dim.
In her defence, "I will love you" is a glorious ballad, blending heartfelt vocals, clean piano work and touching lyrics. Clearly, Fisher scores the most points when she plays the ballad game.
True North is convincing proof that Fisher has earned a place in the sun. Time will tell if she's fit to stay there.
Copyright © The Gazette 2000