26 May, 2011

Summer Music Mix

In between this summer film series and my music reviews, I’ve been compiling a huge list of songs that absolutely connote a mood of summer for me (and also as a token for not providing enough songs for you recently).  The majority of these songs are carefree, though some of them are bitterly aware of the transience of summer and the fact that the sun is an opiate of broken promises and hidden meanings.  In any case, the following songs are recommended for any lover of rock and pop music, particularly for a party.  I’d love any recommendations and additions for ones that I’ve forgotten or left off.  Be warned, there's a TON of links after the jump, but they're there for your perusal and enjoyment.

24 May, 2011

Lady Gaga - Born This Way

A typical day in this reviewer’s life goes something like this:  I wake up, find an album that I like or I figure I will enjoy, then try to listen as objectively and honestly as possible.  But not with Lady Gaga.  As a matter of fact, it may be the dumbest thing to have an album review of Born This Way now because practically every song has been blasted at you somehow.  There is no mystery as to what is next; you’ve heard these 14 tracks before, and you know by now whether you like this or not.  The hype machine behind LGaga has been impossible to ignore if you listened to pop radio or were invested in any facet of the culture industry in the United States – heck, the world – over the past year.  She’s popped up on television, Twitter, YouTube, social networking sites, Farmville, talk shows, and most recently Saturday Night Live to promote her new “pop masterpiece.”  The promotional campaign has been exhausting, with Hitfix’s Melinda Newman comparing it to a presidential campaign.

So congratulations, Lady Gaga: You’ve made it impossible to have an objective view on your brand of music. 

23 May, 2011

Summer Movie Series - Rebel Without a Cause

Over the past decade I have cultivated a love of movies about American teenagers and their experiences of going through life.  For some reason, the coming-of-age tale is so interesting to me because of the difference in the journey every film presents.  Writing is often a coming-of-age tale in itself, with a problem that one must confront (how to solve a problem and learn a lesson while making the article interesting to read), which means that some of the best writing ever done has come from looking at adolescence.  J.D. Salinger, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Michael Chabon, Jonathan Lethem…all of these men have written about the trials and tribulations that come with being a teenager, a fish out of water in the world. 

18 May, 2011

Danger Mouse & Daniele Luppi - Rome

Today I’m going to talk about vanity projects and music, using Danger Mouse’s latest record as an example of the benefit and problem of this topic.   A collaboration with Italian composer/arranger Daniele Luppi, this album’s concept is laid out within its title.  Rome is a scarily accurate summation of the music of Italian film composers and pop confectionaries, gliding on a mood of classic Sixties and Seventies nostalgia.  Your mileage may vary depending on how appealing you find that description to be. 

09 May, 2011

The Cars - Move Like This

The more things change, the more they stay the same.  It seems like the new Cars record is just what I needed this summer.  

06 May, 2011

Summer Film Series - A Summer Of Teen Movies

It’s well-known that I’m a huge fan of movies, and I watch them at any chance I can get.  However, I am an admitted fanatic of a specific genre of movies, and that is the genre of teen movies.  I’d like to explore this love of teen movies by seeing a select number of movies that focus and fixate on teenage life (and often love), and ultimately come to a larger focus of meaning behind these films.  Therefore, this summer I’m going to be reviewing seminal films of the teen movie subgenre, as well as providing analysis for why they have endured as long as they have (and indeed, if they have lasted as long as we think).  I’ll be going in chronological order, so if your favorite film doesn’t come up you might find it later.  Just wait until you see what I’ve got in store for John Hughes…

All in all, there will be 24 movies that are covered through this series, which should make for an interesting (and hectic) summer.  I will be providing these reviews on Monday on Moodicarus beginning when my summer does, on May 16.  Be prepared to track back down memory lane, and feel free to provide reactions and reviews of your own in the comments section. 

I’m starting with 1955’s Rebel Without a Cause.  “You’re tearing me apart!”

Here's the list of films I've planned for this series:

Rebel Without a Cause
The Last Picture Show
American Graffiti
Fast Times at Ridgemont High
Sixteen Candles
The Breakfast Club
Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Pretty in Pink
Some Kind of Wonderful
Valley Girl
The Last American Virgin
Better Off Dead
Say Anything
Dazed and Confused
Can't Hardly Wait
American Pie
10 Things I Hate About You
Bring It on
Mean Girls
Easy A
Adventureland (not technically a teen movie, but I have my reasons for putting this on here) 

02 May, 2011

Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues

There is some music that catches the listener’s attention at first listen.  There is some music that demands that the listener turns the volume up and pay attention because, for whatever reason, THIS IS IMPORTANT!  And then there is some music that makes you get up from your seat, go to your car, and drive to a town 30 minutes away just so you can hold the CD in your shaking hands as you pay for your purchase in rapture, rip the plastic off the case in breathless anticipation, and have your moment completely fulfilled by the wonder that emerges from the speakers. 

That was Fleet Foxes for me. It was the music of affect, which is perfect for summer.