Friday, October 9, 2009

In a Different Light

Okay, so in what seems like a strictly opportunistic, cash-grabbing sort of a situation... Everclear, my #2 band, has released a sort-of/kind-of Greatest Hits disc. Or, well, that's how some people are viewing their latest release, In a Different Light, as. I haven't yet pushed Play, but in my heart, I know Art Alexakis (and whoever he has backing him up these days) puts a lot more thought into this, his life and his love. He's basically called this disc, which houses nine EC favorites, which are re-recorded/re-interpreted, and two preciously semi-unreleased tracks, a fond look back and re-imagining of some classic EC tunes.

And, you know what? I'm all for it. This is a fantastic way, I think (on a marketable side), to get the band back out there before the supposed all-new release in March. Plus, I'm an EC fan, and I'm all for re-interpretations. Y'all know me, I'm the chick who scours youtube for covers of EC (and others') tunes! I loooooove re-dos!

Besides.. If I DID see a problem with this, if I DID think this was a cheap money-grab... How could I whine about it, when GGD has re-packaged things, using re-recordings of some songs as hooks? See? Pot calling kettle black....

So, without further adieu... Let's sway in and out of shadows with Alexakis and EC....

Album: In a Different Light
Artist: Everclear
Released: 2009
Label: 429 Records

Track One: Everything to Everyone
Okay, this used to be my favorite EC song, always tied with Heroin Girl, but in recent years, HG has knocked E2E1 down to a permanent second place, so... We'll just see how this goes!
Oooh, distortion.... Oh, wow! Much more guitars..... God, and there's his voice!!! Oh, that slightly whiny, pained.... Oh, that Alexakis [brand] voice! There's so much more energy this time around! Oh, this works!!!! it just sounds like they're having a frickin' blast... I like the slightly less-polished vibe to it... Like, the guitars... sound... almost more metallic... tin-y, and it's sooooo working!!!! The only mild complaint is the semi-annoying tongue-rolling yelp. It's a little too much.

Track Two: Wonderful
Okay, the first Wonderful was pretty amazing. It was a pretty big hit for them, too... In fact, it may have been their last major hit, so, once again, there's some stiff competition here...
....Guitars.... Oh, wow..... Piano...... It's stripped down, but, still.... Ooooh.... The voice-echo effect is great, too; not too overdone... Omg, the piano.... wow... Geeze... Almost a decade later, and this is still such a powerful song... and it all just builds and builds... and then... a die-down, for a breath of air... Oh, wow........ Better. than. the. first.

Track Three: At the End of the Day
EC.... I don't like gospel-esque backing in my songs.... Grrr.... Hmmm, okay, I haven't heard this... Beyond this... It works.... It's a love song... It's hopeful; it's Alexakis in love and in hope... Oh, it makes me smile.... It isn't their best ballad, but it's good... Oh, no, here's the turn... Lyrics have shifted, here's the reality check you'll almost NEVER get in a GGD ballad.... I like the breakdown for the bridge when Alexakis' voice is highlighted... This is a good non-regrets song... I like it... Rock on.

Track Four: Santa Monica
God, his voice is still so haunting singing these lyrics... The drums sound more like marching drums... like this is some pained dirge into the ocean.... Hmmm, more of those tin-y guitars... This is good... But, it doesn't have quite the same punch that the original had... Until about half way through!!!! OH YEAH!!!! And, for the record, whoever's got backing duties sounds GREAT with Alexakis...

Track Five: Summerland
Ooooh, something a little older... And, I love... Love this... Oh, wow.... Oh, he hasn't even started singing, and omg..... OH!!! WOW.... This... This.... This. is. amazing. God, the music.....
5/5, i'd give it a six, if i could

Track Six: Here Comes the Darkness
Oh, I've heard this, and I know I love it... God, I do.... It's just a great song... This should've been on Welcome to the Drama Club or Slow Motion Daydream... Yeah, Slow Motion Daydream... If it had been written then...
5/5, i'd give a six, if i could

Track Seven: Father of Mine
Okay, what 90's kid, whose parentals got divorced, DIDN'T use this song to get past it?! Ex-act-ly!! ...Ooooh, nice intro.... Less bass, it still works.... Oooh, there's clapping! I like clapping songs... This one seems the most similar to the original so far... It's darn good, but the original's a little bit better.

Track Eight: Fire Maple Song
Now we're going way back.... So, if any Goobers are reading this... It's almost the same as when GGD re-recorded 2DiF for EOAC... And, if I dare say.... This is better than the original, or, at least I like it more... It really rocks, and almost has a alt. country bent to it, which works for EC...

Track Nine: Rock Star
Okay, this is a rock song, and I'm curious to see it in a different.... To see what they do with it. ;-)
Okay, this still rocks without the OMG!polish to it... And, there's those EC [brand] keyboards... It sounds like, once again, they're just having a blast.

Track Ten: Learning How to Smile
Okay.... I loved this of SfaAM:V1.... Hmmmm.... It's good, but it's almost TOO much like the original.... It's good, don't get me wrong, but I think I was waiting for a little more... Still an amazing song, though.

Track Eleven: I Will Buy You a New Life
Oh, wow, neat opening..... Ooooh. This.... Is all taken down... It works... Oh, wow.... I approve, greatly, though the repetitious end is a little much.

And, well, there we have it.... It was a nice, jaunty trip down memory lane.... I loved it. Thank you, Art.... Come back to Houston... I need to see y'all.
i just want my life to be the same, just like it used to be

*Oh, and, okay, fine.... Songs I wish would've been on this: Heroin Girl, Here We Go Again, Overwhelming, and Pale Green Stars*

Sunday, October 4, 2009


Okay, so I like The Used. I do, but I've been putting this album off. For one, it's made me a little uneasy just how much they've pushed it, and, two, Lies for Liars or whatever their last effort was did not impress me like their first two albums did, so I'm really cautious this time around, and it doesn't help that others have been saying it's underwhelming. Oh, well. I'll just judge for myself, as per usual.

So, here we go.

Title: Artwork
Artist: The Used
Label: Reprise Records
Release Date: 2009

Track One: Blood on my Hands
It's the lead-in single for the album, so it should be awesome... Okay, it's got a good beat... McCracken sounds good... Sadly, the chorus seems a little lacking... The filter on Bert's voice is alright... I don't know, this one seems pretty mediocre; just a decent effort that relies almost too much on the chorus... I don't know; I'm feeling it, but not too much.

Track Two: Empty with You
Alright, sounding a little space-age-y... This is building... Okay, I'm diggin'.... Ooh, a soft crescendo... And, I'm lovin' the opening lyric! Okay, this seems more like the Used I like. Hmmm, wait... don't 'empty' and 'hollow' mean the same thing? I think they do.. Oooh!!! A hark-back to Blue and Yellow?... I haven't wasted anything but time vs. I'd like to waste some time with you?... Hmmm, I like it... This is definitely a lot better than BomH... I like this one.

Track Three: Born to Quit
Neat lead-in from EwY... It seems a little too melodramatic... I don't know, this is a meh one for me, too... Like, it either needs to be harder, or softer, or darker, or more distorted, or something... Like, it needs to decide what it wants to me... The lyrics, to me, cry for some other sound... It's all right...

Track Four: Kissing You Goodbye
The Used + piano? I like it. I like it... You know what... I might like them as balladeers than rockers... Hmmm, we'll work on this supposition... If anything, this proves McCracken can do more than scream... I like it a lot, and the strings in the end work.

Track Five: Sold My Soul
Ooooooooh. ......*waits for vocals, music rocks so far*.... "My filthy mouth full of broken words....(?)" Hmmm.... I like this... It makes me think of Buried Myself Alive, a little bit.... I dig this one... The guitars rock... Oooh, PIANO PIECES IN THE BACKGROUND, AWESOME... And, heck, I'm a sucker for songs with angelic metaphors and randomly pretty endings.

Track Six: Watered Down
........I'm being sort-of drawn to the skip button, but... I'm finding myself hanging around... I'll go with a good solid, 'it's alright.'

Track Seven: On the Cross
Okay... No. Just too much for me...

Track Eight: Come Undone
Okie, can they bounce back after that misfire?.... No, not really. They can, just not so much... Really dislike the chorus...

Track Nine: Meant to Die
Okay, NOW we're back on track.... This one just rocks... Oh, and something about light and darkness?! I dig it!! (This would be a dangerous/good driving song...)

Track Ten: The Best of Me
(as opposed to Foo Fighters' Best of You) ....Starting off quiet... a bit funereal, even... Okay, I'm intrigued... And, it takes a full minute and a half to kick off.... Ugh, losing points for that... There's a lot of anger in this song, and you can feel it... It's alright, if you skip the intro.

Track Eleven: Men are all the Same
Neat opening lyric, won't lie... But, once again, it's just too much.

Final verdict: Hit or Miss album is a Hit or Miss album, at least for me. .....Yeah, and I think I'm washing my hands of the Used. Oh, well. It was fun while it lasted.
surprised to wake and follow the light