Ben Lee – The Rebirth of Venus

Ben Lee - Rebirth Of VenusAustralian crooner Ben Lee is at it again with his seventh studio album, The Rebirth of Venus.

If you’re looking for substance, this probably isn’t the album, or artist, for you, but the tunes are catchy and you can sing along.

“What’s So Bad (About Feeling Good)?”, “Sing”, and “I Love Pop Music” are enough to make you dance around singing into your hairbrush. That’s never a bad thing, really.

I guess this is Lee’s “I’m so sensitive” album? With songs like “Yoko Ono”, “Boy With A Barbie”, and “I’m A Woman, Too” it looks like Lee is getting in touch with his feminine side. If he wasn’t married to Ione Skye, I would think he was jumping the fence.

Lee tries his political side with “Wake Up To America” and fails miserably. You’re Ben Lee, really, no one cares about your political views. Stick to the sticky sweet bubblegum pop, it’s what people like you for.

All in all, this album is pretty weak. At least on prior albums, Lee supplemented his feeble lyrics with the catchy pop hooks that this album seriously lacks. C


Depeche Mode – Sounds of the Universe

Depeche Mode - Sounds Of the Universe

This is the hardest blog that I have done so far, I think. It’s surprisingly hard to review an album that sucks this hard. It’s bad, folks, real bad.

In their twelfth full-length album, Sounds of the Universe, Depeche Mode leaves much to be desired. It seems like all passion has been surgically removed from Dave Gahan and Martin Gore does absolutely nothing to improve it. What a damn shame.

I really don’t even have a review for you. This album is lack-luster, unmotivated, and I think they just hoped that because of previous successes (ahem, Violator), people would buy this album. Read: I couldn’t even listen to it all the way through.

I wouldn’t even waste the time pirating it. I couldn’t even write a scathing review because it’s just too sad. Boo, Depeche Mode, boo. F

Pet Shop Boys – Yes

Pet Shop Boys - Yes

The innovative “funny uncles” of pop have done it again with their newest album, Yes. You know, it’s really not fair to the rest of the music industry that these guys have been around for 25 years, have made 10 feature length albums, and still rock.

Neil Tennant’s voice will never age, I swear. He still has that floaty, seductive, yet happy voice that he did when they released Please in in 1986. This album proves that no matter your age, no matter your “status” in Hollywood, no matter when or where or who, with talent, you can still kick the shit out of any so-called musicians these days.

Granted, they have better albums. Chris Lowe can only make so many beats, for Christ’s sakes. You’re gonna have some repeats. Still, I think this album is essential to any pop collection.

Goddamn this album is good. It makes me want to dance in my office chair, which I don’t think my co-workers would appreciate. The clubs are going to be pumpin’ “Love, Etc.” , “Pandemonium”, “Did You See Me Coming?”, and “All Over the World” , no doubt. They’re danceable and fun and light. “All Over the World” actually samples Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker Suite”. Unless you are Neil Tennant and/or Chris Lowe, you cannot get away with this.

Do not, and I repeat, do NOT listen to “Beautiful People” on your headphones while walking through a city. You will be instantly transformed into “That Girl”. Warning: this album may cause dancing in the streets.

This album is a refreshing change from Fundamental, with it’s politics and paranoia, not to mention the ominous black case. Just look at the damn cover of this album. Looks like the boys were ready for a fun-loving, disco-filled summer album.

Seriously, go grab some friends, steal a convertible, and drive around in the sunshine listening to this album. Epic win, Pet Shop Boys!

There are a few darker songs on the album, like “Vulnerable”, “Building A Wall”, “The King of Rome”, and “The Way It Used To Be”, but Tennant’s voice just won’t let you get down on yourself. Yes, yes, yes…Lowe’s poppy disco beats also help.

The only complaint that I could possibly have on this album is it’s lack of forward direction. It’s hard to be cutting edge when you’ve done EVERYTHING.

This album makes me happy. A

Pet Shop Boys Site

Up and coming…

MusicWhile doing some research for yesterday’s Royksopp blog, I realized what an amazing year this is going to be for music and goddamn am I excited! Check this shit out (and what’s sad is that these are just the ones that I’m REALLY excited about!):

Lacuna Coil – Shallow Life
Pet Shop Boys – Yes
Depeche Mode – Sounds of the Universe

Bob Dylan – Together Through Life
Ben Lee – The Rebirth of Venus
Ben Folds – Presents University Acapella!

Ben Harper and the Relentless 7 – White Lies for Dark Times

Crystal Method – Divided By Night

Green Day – 21st Century Breakdown

Tori Amos – Abnormally Attracted to Sin
Busta Rhymes – Back On My B.S.
IAMX – Kingdom of Welcome Addiction

Marilyn Manson – The High End of Low
Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

Franz Ferdinand – Blood

Dave Matthews Band – Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King (thanks Michelle!)
Rancid – Dominoes

Placebo – Battle For the Sun
Rhett Miller – Self Titled

Regina Spektor – Far
Third Eye Blind – Ursa Major
Pete Yorn – Back and Forth

Manohmanohman. Other people making albums this year include Basement Jaxx, Barenaked Ladies, Blur, The Fugees, Garbage, Lupe Fiasco, Massive Attack, Moby, No Doubt, Outkast, Ozomatli, Rusted Root, and Amy Winehouse.

Ohhhhhh! And Shirley Manson may be releasing a solo album this year!!! It’s going to be a busy year for music and a busy year for this blog!

Royksopp – Junior

Royksopp - Junior

Royksopp’s got the funk, and not the sexually transmitted, itchy kind. I have to say that this is not their best album, but then again, when you make a killer like Melody AM, it’s hard to keep up.

This is the first of a two-album set, Junior/Senior. The first album is a spring album, while Senior will be released in the fall.

This album has all the breezy, bouncy, floaty moments of Melody AM with their hit “Happy Up Here”, which samples Parliament’s single “Do That Stuff”. Seriously, if you’re sampling Parliament, you’ve got the funk. There’s quite a few other upbeat tracks on the album including “The Girl and the Robot” featuring Swedish singer Robyn. You know, I had no idea who this chick was until I saw her picture:

Robyn - Is HereRemember her? I vaguely remember her having some sub-par, one-hit wonder, pop hit on the radio for three seconds here in the states perhaps in the mid-late 90’s? Who knew she was huge in Sweden? It makes me feel a lot better about telling people that I’m big in Japan.

I digress, back to the album: They brought back Anneli Dreckler from their first album for three tracks: “Vision One”, “You Don’t Have A Clue”, and “True To Life”. The first two are pretty good, but “True To Life”, while not bad, just doesn’t seem to fit into this album. It’s like they recorded this album, decided it wasn’t long enough, and threw this song in at the end. I think it would have suited their upcoming autumn album, Senior, better, as well as “Silver Cruiser”. “Silver Cruiser is badass, but wayyyy chill. If I was underwater and in a coma, this would be the song playing in my head. It’s moody and dark and floaty…and I like it!

Other female vocalists recruited for this album include Lykke Li on “Miss It So Much”, a bubbly, synth-laden track, and prior collaborator Karin Dreijer-Andersson of The Knife on “This Must Be It” and “Tricky Tricky”. I really don’t like Dreijer-Andersson’s voice. I’m sorry, but I just don’t. I didn’t like her on “Only This Moment” off of The Understanding and I don’t like her now. She’s just another Bjiork wannabe. I don’t like Bjiork either, but at least she was semi-original.

“Royksopp Forever” is absolutely epic, much like “Triumphant”. I want to put this song on and run up a million stairs and scream “ADRIANNNNNN” at the top of my lungs.

All in all, it’s a fair album. I really wish they would stop working with Karin Dreijer-Andersson. Other than that, it’s a good album with at least one hit and I’m looking forward to the release of Senior. I’m hoping this album will make more sense after that. B

Royksopp’s Website

The League of Super Evil

League of Super Evil Be afraid, be slightly afraid!

The League of Super Evil is SUPER AWESOME! This brand spanking new cartoon started on Cartoon Network about a month ago and it’s freaking hysterical.

The League of Super Evil (or L.O.S.E. for short) consists of four main dysfunctionally evil characters:

Voltar: Like a cross between Invader Zim and GIR, Voltar is hell bent on world domination and is incredibly, incredibly stupid. I must say that he does have a great evil-villain laugh, though. Voltar is the leader of L.O.S.E. and does most of the evil plot making, I’m not saying SUCCESSFUL evil plots, but evil plots nonetheless. Also, he wears a helmet and pees purple. Why? I don’t know, but I like it.

Doktor Frog: Dr. Frog is the mad scientist of the crew and seems to have some deep seeded fucked-up-ness about him. Perhaps it’s from having badly functioning 3-fingered robotic hands. I bet it’s really frustrating to pick up a penny with those bad boys. He’s the dark, mysterious, and possibly homicidal one of the group. Bonus: slightly foreign accent…key to being an evil supervillain!

Red Menace: Once a Siberian Farmboy, Red is now the muscled henchman of L.O.S.E. Don’t be afraid though, Red only uses his “anvil-sized fists of judgement” on truly evil people. How Red really fits into L.O.S.E., I’m not so sure. Perhaps he’ll develop a little more evilness as the series progresses.

Doomageddon: Once I get a new pet, it’s name will be Doomageddon, end of story. Doomageddon is a partially retarded hellhound. While he can shrink, teleport, grow, and turn invisible, he’s incredibly clumsy and drools a lot.

Then, there’s the henchbots…
Named 17 and 32, the henchbots of L.O.S.E. frequently malfunction and fall apart. They’re kind of like the Kenny’s of L.O.S.E….they die ALL THE DAMN TIME. They do have the super awesome job of providing Voltar’s evil theme music. However, most of the time, they just play what they want to play. They seem to have an odd fondness for polka.

I love this show. I have a severely twisted sense of humor.
You should check it out!

The League of SUPER EVIL!!!!!