ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
War All the Time
Although the album is named War All The Time, Thursday's third
full-length album will have you wishing it was Thursday all
the time. From the pulsating heavy riffs on the opening track "For
The Workforce, Drowning" to the whiny screams on "Tomorrow
I'll Be You," this album is the definition of screamo.
The insightful lyrics and social commentary on tracks like "This
Song Is Brought To You By A Falling Bomb" creates the feeling
of an intelligently written album.
This feeling turns to knowledge when the instrumental side
of the album is taken into account. While other rock bands
play basic guitar riffs and unoriginal drum tracks, Thursday
ventures out musically, taking advantage of their ability to
write harmonies, create inventive guitar lines and interesting
beats that are above the level of most of their counterparts.
With War, Thursday has managed to make one of the best albums
of the year.
Erykah Badu sure knows how to mix hip-hop and R&B together
to make one soulful album.
Worldwide Underground features artists such as Queen Latifah
and Angie Stone to add to this new, flavourful sound. Unlike
any other album, Badu has successfully compiled lyrical songs
all inspired by her own mentors and experiences in life.
Badu had her breakout in 1997 with her first album, Baduizm,
which drew comparisons to Billie Holiday. Her grooves and delicate
phrasing immediately removed her from the league of cookie-cutter
female R&B singers.
Freestylers and R&B junkies will be drawn to tracks that range
from slow and simmering to fast and hard in order to keep along
with the rhythm of the vocals - the thing most Badu fans love
about her. The album begins with relaxing songs like "Bump
It" and by the end of the album, you can still feel the tempo
beats of "I Want You."
Caught by the Window
Maple Music Recordings
Pilate's "Into Your Hideout" is the current MuchMusic video
slut, as it's been neatly slotted into the coveted "high rotation" category
- and you can kind of understand why. With an infectious beat,
this track was packaged and ready for delivery to mainstream
Pilate's lead vocals may sound familiar, as Todd Clark was
once enrolled in Western's own music program.
This breakout band embodies a Brit sound, morphing hopeful,
striking chords with angsty, borderline whiny vocals. And how
does the thriving single compare to the remaining twelve tracks? "Overrated" and "Perfect
Thrill" exude similar energy, while "Mercy" could be the next
hit, with lyrics like "I'm so tired and I'm so wired/And it's
not enough to pray for mercy yet."
Despite the overall melancholic undertone of the album, Pilate
proves they've caught up with the interests of industry.
a battery of tests
Basement Bar Records
This Kitchener native's first solo album is a tale of alienation,
confusion and emotional suffocation. His words are sung in
a tortured voice laid over melodic repetitive guitar hooks
and simple drum beats.
The weaknesses on a battery of tests are immediately recognizable.
Szabo's voice, although infused with passion, is limited in
range and it becomes blatantly clear he cannot hit high notes.
His minimalist approach works on a lot of the songs but often
leaves you desiring something more complex.
When Szabo deviates from the singer-songwriter formula, he
has mixed results. The song "if I could do it all again" sounds
like a blend of mediocre alt-rock and Ryan Adams, while his
poppy ballad, "you don't believe me anymore," comes off as
something that would be right at home on an EZrock station
in a dentist's office. On the other hand, "umbrella song" is
an exhilarating country-rock sing along tune that is a perfect
departure from the depressing stuff before it.
Where the music falters, the lyrics compensate. The need to "feel
alive" and escape stagnation is captured brilliantly in "one
more for the road," where Szabo sings, "I've cut down the trees,
burned all the leaves/ just to feel the sun again."
Although certainly not a masterpiece, Rob Szabo's solo debut
is worthy of recognition as a solid Canadian album.