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Old 02-21-2015, 11:13 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Powerstars's Video Reviews

Hello, journal readers, it is I, Powerstars, with a brand new journal. My last one died off after I attempted to switch to video reviews, and eventually lost interest in the community, but I am back, with a new journal specifically focusing on video reviews. As with the last few entries of my previous journal, I will include a transcript below the video for those who would prefer to read the reviews. Hopefully, I am able to update more consistently, and hold your interest. It's good to be back.
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Old 02-27-2015, 08:22 PM   #2 (permalink)
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New video coming either tomorrow or Sunday. I'll drop some hints. It's an album that came out in 2000, from a band who released their first in 1993. They just released a new song on January 30th of this year. Any guesses
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Old 03-01-2015, 06:10 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Hey, everyone, Powerstars here. Everclear is a very love it or hate it band. Most people only know them from the few hits they had, like Santa Monica and Father Of Mine, but whether or not these were good songs? Quite a point of contention for fans of '90s music. Frontman Art Alexakis's decisions in recent years, namely continuing the band after all the original members quit, and starting up a '90s nostalgia tour featuring themselves as well as other '90s alternative bands with few hits have led to people accusing him of being a sellout, an accusation that I agree with on some level. But, let's not talk about this Everclear. Let's talk about this Everclear. Specifically, their fourth album, Songs From An American Movie Volume 1: Learning How To Smile. Whew, that's a mouthful! Anyways, as the name implies, this album is the first part of a duo of albums, the second part being called Songs From An American Movie Volume 2: Good Time For a Bad Attitude. Why weren't they just a double album. Well I mean, the frontman WAS Art Alexakis. Anyways, this album is a bit of an oddity in the Everclear catalouge. You see, they're an alternative/post-grunge band, and this album is influenced by...'70s pop music of all things. But fear not, it wasn't a sellout move designed to get them on the radio, though it did. No, it's moreso because Art, and to a lesser extent, bassist Craig Montoya, and drummer Greg Eklund grew up with such music, and a recurring theme through this album and it's followup is that of nostalgia. In fact, "AM Radio" is basically a full-blown tribute to the '70s, complete with a sample from "Mr. Big Stuff."

The other main theme through both these albums is that of failing relationships, as Art was going through his second divorce at the time. This resulted in what may be Everclear's most successful single, "Wonderful," which is the divorce shown through the eyes of his daughter. It's truly a heartbreaking song, and probably one of the best lyrically on the album. As I mentioned previously, the album is influenced by '70s pop music, and "Wonderful" represents the softer side. The title track, "Learning How To Smile," which I find to be criminally underrated also showcases this softer side of the band. The violins are beautiful, and when they add the electric guitars to it, it almost reminds me of the music from Sonic Adventure. Yes, nerdy comparison I know, but trust me, that IS a compliment. It's truly beautiful, and you can even rock to it a little bit. Another great song include "The Honeymoon Song," which was actually written by drummer Greg Eklund rather than Alexakis, who wrote the bulk of every other song on the album, and most of Everclear's catalouge. All the other songs are pretty good too, with some favorites being "Unemployed Boyfriend" and "Thrift Store Chair."

However, this album is not without it's problems, the biggest of which being that a lot of the lyrics are pretty laughable. Heck, the lyrics to "Annabella's Song," which, musically, is a heartwarming, lushly orchestrated ballad, are actually pretty creepy. Even the music isn't perfect, because when they try to have some harder rocking moments, it ends up sounding sterilized and watered-down. But, if you're willing to look past the ocassionally bad lyrics, and don't mind the pop-oriented sound, you might like this album. I'd reccomend giving it at least one listen. Anyways, this is Powerstars out. Peace MB!
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Old 03-04-2015, 03:11 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Friendly reminder that I am willing to take requests, and I'm also open to collaborations. PM me if interested.
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Old 03-29-2015, 08:48 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Should have another review up this week, but I really would like some requests to help keep these reviews varied and interesting.
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Old 03-29-2015, 11:40 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Review To Pimp a Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar

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Old 04-11-2015, 05:44 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Hey everyone, Powerstars here with a brand new album review. In 1995, Dave Grohl, former drummer of Nirvana, made a demo tape featuring himself on near every instrument, which was released as the first Foo Fighters record. Since then, they've become one of the most popular alternative rock bands in the world, and in 2014, they released their eighth studio album, Sonic Highways. Now, Sonic Highways is somewhat of a concept album, in that, instead of being recorded in one studio, the Foo Fighters traveled to 8 different cities, to 8 different studios, to record 8 different songs. Heh, get it, cause it's their eighth albu-...anyways, they took inspiration for the local sounds in each city, and each song contains a guest from each area. Before we dive in, I'd like to mention that for this review, and hopefully most of my subsequent ones, I'll be going track-by-track. Without further ado, let's dive into track 1, "Something From Nothing."
We began with a quiet guitar riff, and some muffled vocals from Dave Grohl, before Taylor Hawkins pounds his kit into submission. The thing I really love about this song is how it builds, starting off so quietly, and eventually evolving, or devolving, depending on how you look at it, into a symphony of screams. This one was recorded in Chicago, Illinois, and features Cheap Trick guitarist Rick Nielsen as it's guest. It also seems to have been inspired by the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, with lyrics about arsonists and sparks and whatnot. It has probably the most straightforward Foo Fighters type sound on the album, and, as a result, is hands down my favorite track. Oh, also, dat bassy synth.
Up next, we got "The Feast and The Famine," a straight-up, in your face rocker. It was recorded in Washington, DC, and thus was inspired by the punk scene there. As a result of being inspired by said punk scene, it features Pete Stahl & Skeeter Thompson from Scream, a band Grohl was a member of even before he was in Nirvana. While I love the chorus, and sing along to it loudly when I'm sure no one else is in the room...
Anyways, my favorite part of the song is that bridge, if only because of how ridiculously hard Hawkins is pounding the kit. Prime headbanging material right there.
Now, the third track, "Congregation." This one was recorded in Nashville, and thus has a slight country sound. I say slight, because it's not too noticeable, it's basically just a slightly twangier Foo Fighters sound. Country musician Zac Brown is the guest, appropriately enough. This song has a peppier, more cheerful sound, and comes equipped with a wonderful singalong chorus...
Anyways, it also has a cool heavier moment, that culminates in a wonderful scream from Dave Grohl. Another standout.
Up next, we have What Did I Do?/God As My Witness...kind of an awkward title, but a fitting one seeing as it's basically two songs in one. They flow into each other perfectly, so it's really not that jarring. Anyways, this one originates in Austin, Texas, and features guitarist Gary Clark Jr. as the guest. It starts off with...what could be the end of a song actually, just take a listen. Then it immediatly settles down. This sounds like it'd be weird, but it works really well. It picks back up, and then, for the second half, becomes slow and downright beautiful. Dave Grohl's falsetto is a tad humourous though.
Following that up is another of my personal favorites, Outside. This one comes out of Joshua Tree, California, and features Joe Walsh. I love this song because of it's indie rockish, Queens of The Stone Age type sound. Almost reminds me of a track off of the Arctic Monkeys album, AM. It gives off a more chill vibe than the rest of the album without losing the Foo Fighters sound or energy. It's also one of the, unfortunately few times Nate Mendel's bass work gets a chance to shine. This song in general makes you notice how great the rhythm combo of Mendel and Taylor Hawkins is, they really carry this one.
The next track, In The Clear, begins with a soaring guitar riff and we get another wonderfully triumphant sounding song. This one was recorded in New Orleans and the guest is the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, echoing the guitar part with horns. The first verse starts with just some power chords and further verses make it more musically complex, which makes it yet another song that has to build. Pretty good stuff.
Up next, a ballad, Subterranean. This song actually was influenced quite a bit by Grohl's past. Not only was it recorded in Seattle, where grunge began to really emerge into the mainstream, but it was actually recorded in Robert Lang Studios, most famously known as the studio where Nirvana had their last session. Containing guest Ben Gibbard, this song's lyrics are agonizingly painful, even if the music sounds a tad bit generic at times. I can excuse it because of the times where the music really shines and evokes strong emotions. One of the best tracks for sure.
And finally, we have the last track, an 8 minute epic known as I Am a River. Recorded in New York City, this track is incredibly 'big' sounding, and the length allows it to build up hardcore without dragging. It even brings in some strings later on, and they sound fantastic. The contributions from Bowie alumni Toni Visconti and Kristeen Young help it to shine even brighter. Wonderful note to close off on.
Alright, so how do I feel about the album as a whole. Well, it was an interesting experiment, but it has several glaring issues. One, the length. Yes, Subterranean and I Am a River are both longer than your average song, but c'mon, only 8 tracks? I know this is because of the concept behind the album, going to 8 cities for their eigth album, but the record suffers because of it. Next, you know how I mentioned each song has a guest? Good luck if you want to hear their contribution! Aside from I Am a River, none of the songs really take advantage of the guest on the track. Heck, most of the are almost mixed out of the album entirely, the most notable example being the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, whose part was just mirroring the guitar to begin with. Similarly, none of the songs really go all out with taking inspiration from the sounds of the areas they went to, with the possible exception of Outside. Take Congregation as an example. They went to Nashville, they had Zac Brown, they could've made a jamming southern rock track! But nope, just an extremely minorly adjusted Foo Fighters sound. Please note that there's an HBO documentary centered around the recording of this album, and it features interviews with people from each area they recorded in, but I haven't seen it, so I'm judging this based off it's merits as a standalone album, and in that department, it falls a bit flat.
Would I reccomend this album? Well, it's high points are pretty good, and it's fairly solid throughout, but I wouldn't pay 8 dollars for this album, and I'm definately not paying 12. There aren't even 12 songs on this record! But if you can find it for cheap, like 5 bucks maybe, give it a whirl, it's not too bad. Well, this is Powerstars out. Peace YouTube!
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Old 05-22-2015, 09:29 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Review To Pimp a Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar

:^)
I've heard good things about, so I'll consider it, but I'm not really into hip hop, so I don't know.

Anyways, I'm introducing a new segment in this journal, where I give my unscripted first impressions on new releases. No transcript yet unfortunately (Cause it's, y'know, unscripted), but please, let me know if you like this.
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Old 07-23-2015, 11:35 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Here's a new First Impressions on Wilco's new album!
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Old 12-19-2015, 05:49 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Here are my first impressions of Coldplay's new album, A Head Full Of Dreams.
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