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Reviews and commentary
 

Full Circle (1997) by Pennywise

Categories: 1997 and Music.

I don’t love 90s punk, I generally find it too polished and too formulaic for my tastes. I’m not sure what it adds to the legacy of hardcore and frankly it’s all too one note. You can get away with one-note when you’re doing something brand new, but when you are doing a slightly more polished version of something that is, at this point, nearly two decades old, it’s kind of tiresome (to me). Read More

No Pocky for Kitty (1991) by Superchunk

Categories: 1991 and Music.

This is a set of solid songs that are uptempo and pleasantly loud. I get why this band was a big deal back then because, to my knowledge, this kind of straight-ahead abrasive power pop/pop punk was a relative rarity. But it’s not really my thing. It’s too one note for me, as much as I appreciate what they’re doing and I think they do it well, I just don’t love this particular style of music enough to get really excited about this record. 7/10 Read More

The Other F Word (2011 Andrea Blaugrund Nevins)

Categories: 2011 and Movies.

The subject matter is interesting. There is certainly a movie to be made about the rash of “punk” musicians who are still playing music about defying authority who now live in large to gigantic homes, send their daughters to private schools, etc and yet still claim to have retained some kind of anti-authority stance. But it is not this movie. This movie is a gigantic mess. The chapters don’t make any sense (the material appears to be distributed differently than the headings would suggest), there are lyrics on the screen, there are performances that come out of nowhere and don’t Read More

Weezer (1994 Geffen)

Categories: 1994 and Music.

It’s pretty much impossible to judge this in any kind of “objective” light nearly 20 years later. If you’re of my generation (i.e. born between ’75 and ’85) chances are you have heard 60%-70% of the songs on Weezer’s debut a million times, courtesy of your friends and the radio. This album is basically ubiquitous. So these songs are in my brain regardless of what I may think of them. And so it’s a lot harder for me to get mad about the things I don’t like about it than if I had never heard this album. (See my review Read More

Pinkerton by Weezer (1996 DGM)

Categories: 1996 and Music.

One of the myths of my generation is that this is some kind of lost treasure. Because it wasn’t played on the radio upon its release like the debut was, and it didn’t sell as many copies as their very catchy debut, that it is somehow a ‘forgotten classic.’ Of course that’s not true, because most Weezer fans (at least most Weezer fans I know) and plenty of other people will tell you how great this is. And given that at least two of these songs are regularly played on the radio, I have a really hard time buying that Read More

Ramones (1976, GRT)

Categories: 1976 and Music.

The Ramones’ debut album begs the question: can we determine greatness without looking at influence? If the Ramones released this album, and it didn’t influence half the rock musicians alive today (maybe a slight exaggeration) would we still consider it great? However, that is a stupid question. Albums are indeed released publicly and I personally wholly reject the idea that the most perfect music (art, literature, etc) is the music that is never heard by anyone but the creator (that is so retarded). Music (and all art) is social. So we have to look at importance and influence when considering Read More

Smash by the Offspring (Epitaph 1994)

Categories: 1994 and Music.

Two things about this make it better than most other ’90s pop punk: the louder, hard rock guitars and the “social comment.” The Offspring were certainly more literate than Greenday (at least at the time). On the other hand, Dexter is a pretty terrible singer (which would be more acceptable if the music was faster) and the band lacks for hooks outside of the singles (and hooks are pretty important in pop punk). Still, I prefer this (slightly) to early Greenday and I can’t help but finding the Offspring more interesting than most of their contemporaries, even if they never Read More

The Greatest Songs Ever Written (by Us) by NOFX (Epitaph 2004)

Categories: 2004 and Music.

When I was a little more musically naive I used to believe that NOFX were preserving something, let’s call it the ‘essence of punk’ or something silly like that. I didn’t believe this because I listened to them, but rather because the guys I knew who were into punk (I wasn’t really into punk at the time, except for the Clash) all liked them and seemed to think they were one of the few real punk bands around. Ten years or so later, I certainly think the idea of an essence to punk (or any other genre) is relatively silly, Read More

From the Muddy Banks of Wishkah by Nirvana (Geffen 1996)

Categories: 1996 and Music.

Most – or at least a majority of – live albums are compilations. It is fairly rare when an album is just a show (though the most famous – and best – live rock album in history is from one show, but that is the exception not the rule); far more often they are tour albums. Unless of course we’re talking about Pearl Jam. For tour albums, some engineer (with or without the band) compiles the best versions of each song and edits them together as a performance. It’s often pretty effective. But when performances are culled from a career, Read More

In Utero by Nirvana (Geffen 1993)

Categories: 1993 and Music.

This is, to my ears, a significant improvement on their most famous album. First off, its better produced! Hooray! Much of the gloss is gone, thank science. Second, the songs are generally more mature. We still get a healthy dose of sentiments I can’t relate too but there are far more I can. And there’s diversity in the music (well there was on Nevermind to an extent, but there’s much more here)! It makes me happy. I like this a lot more. I’m not sure I like it quite as much as their horribly named final album but it’s pretty Read More

Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge by My Chemical Romance (Reprise 2004)

Categories: 2004 and Music.

Totally over the top, totally histrionic… and that’s okay. I mean, that’s sort of why it’s not shitty. There could be some terrible emo balladry here and there really isn’t any. Instead there’s just immediacy. It’s short, it’s “sweet” (kidding). It’s enjoyable. It’s not ATDI, but what could be? It would help if the guitarist could play things other than arena rock cliches when he decides to solo or fill, but whatever. 7/10 Read More

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Full Circle (1997) by Pennywise

Categories: 1997 and Music.

I don’t love 90s punk, I generally find it too polished and too formulaic for my tastes. I’m not sure what it adds to the legacy of hardcore and frankly it’s all too one note. You can get away with one-note when you’re doing something brand new, but when you are doing a slightly more polished version of something that is, at this point, nearly two decades old, it’s kind of tiresome (to me). Read More

No Pocky for Kitty (1991) by Superchunk

Categories: 1991 and Music.

This is a set of solid songs that are uptempo and pleasantly loud. I get why this band was a big deal back then because, to my knowledge, this kind of straight-ahead abrasive power pop/pop punk was a relative rarity. But it’s not really my thing. It’s too one note for me, as much as I appreciate what they’re doing and I think they do it well, I just don’t love this particular style of music enough to get really excited about this record. 7/10 Read More

The Other F Word (2011 Andrea Blaugrund Nevins)

Categories: 2011 and Movies.

The subject matter is interesting. There is certainly a movie to be made about the rash of “punk” musicians who are still playing music about defying authority who now live in large to gigantic homes, send their daughters to private schools, etc and yet still claim to have retained some kind of anti-authority stance. But it is not this movie. This movie is a gigantic mess. The chapters don’t make any sense (the material appears to be distributed differently than the headings would suggest), there are lyrics on the screen, there are performances that come out of nowhere and don’t Read More

Weezer (1994 Geffen)

Categories: 1994 and Music.

It’s pretty much impossible to judge this in any kind of “objective” light nearly 20 years later. If you’re of my generation (i.e. born between ’75 and ’85) chances are you have heard 60%-70% of the songs on Weezer’s debut a million times, courtesy of your friends and the radio. This album is basically ubiquitous. So these songs are in my brain regardless of what I may think of them. And so it’s a lot harder for me to get mad about the things I don’t like about it than if I had never heard this album. (See my review Read More

Pinkerton by Weezer (1996 DGM)

Categories: 1996 and Music.

One of the myths of my generation is that this is some kind of lost treasure. Because it wasn’t played on the radio upon its release like the debut was, and it didn’t sell as many copies as their very catchy debut, that it is somehow a ‘forgotten classic.’ Of course that’s not true, because most Weezer fans (at least most Weezer fans I know) and plenty of other people will tell you how great this is. And given that at least two of these songs are regularly played on the radio, I have a really hard time buying that Read More

Ramones (1976, GRT)

Categories: 1976 and Music.

The Ramones’ debut album begs the question: can we determine greatness without looking at influence? If the Ramones released this album, and it didn’t influence half the rock musicians alive today (maybe a slight exaggeration) would we still consider it great? However, that is a stupid question. Albums are indeed released publicly and I personally wholly reject the idea that the most perfect music (art, literature, etc) is the music that is never heard by anyone but the creator (that is so retarded). Music (and all art) is social. So we have to look at importance and influence when considering Read More

Smash by the Offspring (Epitaph 1994)

Categories: 1994 and Music.

Two things about this make it better than most other ’90s pop punk: the louder, hard rock guitars and the “social comment.” The Offspring were certainly more literate than Greenday (at least at the time). On the other hand, Dexter is a pretty terrible singer (which would be more acceptable if the music was faster) and the band lacks for hooks outside of the singles (and hooks are pretty important in pop punk). Still, I prefer this (slightly) to early Greenday and I can’t help but finding the Offspring more interesting than most of their contemporaries, even if they never Read More

The Greatest Songs Ever Written (by Us) by NOFX (Epitaph 2004)

Categories: 2004 and Music.

When I was a little more musically naive I used to believe that NOFX were preserving something, let’s call it the ‘essence of punk’ or something silly like that. I didn’t believe this because I listened to them, but rather because the guys I knew who were into punk (I wasn’t really into punk at the time, except for the Clash) all liked them and seemed to think they were one of the few real punk bands around. Ten years or so later, I certainly think the idea of an essence to punk (or any other genre) is relatively silly, Read More

From the Muddy Banks of Wishkah by Nirvana (Geffen 1996)

Categories: 1996 and Music.

Most – or at least a majority of – live albums are compilations. It is fairly rare when an album is just a show (though the most famous – and best – live rock album in history is from one show, but that is the exception not the rule); far more often they are tour albums. Unless of course we’re talking about Pearl Jam. For tour albums, some engineer (with or without the band) compiles the best versions of each song and edits them together as a performance. It’s often pretty effective. But when performances are culled from a career, Read More

In Utero by Nirvana (Geffen 1993)

Categories: 1993 and Music.

This is, to my ears, a significant improvement on their most famous album. First off, its better produced! Hooray! Much of the gloss is gone, thank science. Second, the songs are generally more mature. We still get a healthy dose of sentiments I can’t relate too but there are far more I can. And there’s diversity in the music (well there was on Nevermind to an extent, but there’s much more here)! It makes me happy. I like this a lot more. I’m not sure I like it quite as much as their horribly named final album but it’s pretty Read More

Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge by My Chemical Romance (Reprise 2004)

Categories: 2004 and Music.

Totally over the top, totally histrionic… and that’s okay. I mean, that’s sort of why it’s not shitty. There could be some terrible emo balladry here and there really isn’t any. Instead there’s just immediacy. It’s short, it’s “sweet” (kidding). It’s enjoyable. It’s not ATDI, but what could be? It would help if the guitarist could play things other than arena rock cliches when he decides to solo or fill, but whatever. 7/10 Read More

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