Outsider Status

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Killin' us!

It's been almost a week since my last post? Oops! Anyways, lots to discuss, so let's get down to it.

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When I was but a young senior in high school, many of my friends were obssessed with Cursive. I checked 'em out, briefly, and wrote them off as an angry Bright Eyes. However, after being told to give them a second chance by any number of people, I bought The Ugly Organ.

That night, I spent the entire length of the album trying to remove my foot from my mouth. These guys were good. I fell in love with "Art is Hard", and thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the album. However, I rarely found myself listening to it after about a month.

So, when I discovered that they had a new album coming out this year (the follow-up to The Ugly Organ), I was pleasantly surprised, but not ecstatic.

I got the album (named Happy Hollow, by the way), and put it on while I showered. (This is my ritual when I get a new album, because I am rarely distracted enough while bathing to ignore the music.) Throughout my shower, I found myself spacing out for minutes on end, listening to the music.

This is a GREAT album. I mean...wow. I was not sure what to expect. What turned me off of Cursive in the first place was the immature sound of the vocals, and the emo-esque levels of emotion and bombast put into their lyrics. However, these "flaws" work so perfectly for them on this album, that I still find myself unable to find a single thing to dislike about Happy Hollow.

Wait. I'm on a tangent. Let me tell you about the album.

A concept album about a small town in, presumably, Kansas, Happy Hollow is a story about America, dreams, religion, science, sin, self-delusion, and The Wizard of OZ. One of the residents of the town is Dorothy Gale, a 40-year-old dreamer whose life has not turned out exactly as she had hoped. Another is the local preacher, whose supressed homosexuality is brought to full bloom by another closeted man of cloth. These two characters are embodiments of the themes that Cursive explores with the album. They are both living lies; Dorothy lives in her dreams of a beautiful future and a far away city of emerald, the preacher ignores his attractions not because he believes them to be wrong, but because he has been told that they are. They are the focal points of the narrative of Happy Hollow.

Besides the narrative, Cursive is also in top form musically. The songs are more diverse, and the guitar work is both familiar and fresh. The band has performed an incredible feat of managing to work within the inide/punk trappings, while remaining distinct and creative. Not a moment of the album feels "phoned-in". Every second of the album sounds like a band pushing themselves to be the best they possibly can.

So, Cursive, wherever you are, I am sorry for doubting you. You are definitely something special.

For all those reading, check this out. As soon as possible.

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This may be an unpopular opinion, but I really enjoyed Dead Man's Chest.

I understand the criticism, I see the flaws, but, damnit, I would see it again.

Sure, the script needed help, and the constant recycled jokes were annoying, but the visuals were even better than the first's (not an easy task whatsoever), the action was inventive (though somewhat overstuffed), it was about FUCKIN' PIRATES! It had a Kraken!

I know that I may be viewing this through tainted eyes (I love pirate history, and mythical creatures) but I had a damned good time. Of course I didn't have quite as good a time as I did at the first film, but I was more entertained than I was watching Superman Returns (which isn't a bad film, but was horrendously long and stretched mighty thin).

Plus, I love the dark atmosphere of the film. The opening shots of a wedding gone awry clued me in first, and the last ten minutes delivered the darkness the rest of the film had promised.

I can't wait for the third, and I'm glad I can say that.

PS: I saw this after hearing extraordinarily negative things from everyone I know who saw this, so I was ready to be dissapointed. If that changes anything, so be it.

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A friend of mine is taking me to the 9:30 Club tonight to see Poison the Well, Shadows Fall, Bury Your Dead, and Darkest Hour. I've never been to a metal show. This should be fun.


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