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Black Album by Weezer – March 1, 2019

Background: Weezer is an alternative band that started in 1992 in Los Angeles, California. The Black album, is their 13th studio album.

Can’t Knock The Hustle – This song is decent, but it’s not the best on the album. The swearing does not fit in the song and makes it sound forced.

Zombie Bastards – The song has a chorus through the song makes it a simple track, and also it really sticks to Weezer’s alternative sound from over the years.

High As A Kite – The song has a very nice melancholy, relaxed tone to it, especially when you get to the middle of the song, it changes its pace a little bit and the drums become a little faster.

Living in LA – The song is my favorite so far because it has an upbeat style to it. The style of the microphone is distorted and fits really well overall.The song comes off with a popish sound to it but it’s very catchy, a simple composition especially from the acoustic and the drums, they mix well. Rivers Cuomo’s vocals are very nice and mellow. If you like songs that have a simple but catchy tune to it, this song is for you.

Piece of Cake – The style in this one is slower but still upbeat. I don’t think it’s one of the best ones from the album because the synthesizer really doesn’t fit well and makes it seem like an outlier.

I’m Just Being Honest  – The intro to the song uses great guitar work by Brian Bell, then leading into the vocals that are lower that don’t reach higher notes as the other songs tend to do. Similar to Living In L.A., the song has a catchy chorus that you could tap your feet to. It has a good balance of all the instruments.

Too Many Thoughts in my Head – Right off the bat, the drums are very upbeat and faster than the song’s tempo. Plus the guitar has that Wah-Wah effect (a musical effect achieved on brass instruments by alternately applying and removing a mute and on an electric guitar by controlling the output from the amplifier with a pedal) making the song darker. The chorus’s drums, guitar along with the bass setting the listener’s mood with the vocals getting higher as the song progresses. The input from the Wah-Wah pedal really makes the guitar work phenomenal. About ⅔ through the song, it gets very quiet with a simple instrumental. I get psychedelic vibes when I listen to the guitar

The Prince Who Wanted Everything – Another one of my liked songs on this album, its simplicity from the same sound throughout the whole song makes it really stand out.

Byzantine – Talking about a real alternative tune, it makes you feel like you’re in an elevator when the soft tone of Cuomo’s light vocals. My favorite part about this song is the backup vocals using a very nice falsetto as I said makes you feel like you’re in an elevator.

The overall rating – I give this album a 6 out of 10. I gave it a 6 because it’s a good album, but it’s not a spectacular album. The popish sound really does too much rather than make it an alternative album, in which they are in an alternative band. Some good songs include Living in L.A, Too Many Thoughts In My Head, and The Prince Who Wanted Everything. Those are the songs that I thought stood out and had great compositions. The other songs that did not fit well were Zombie Bastards and Piece of Cake. It seemed like the swearing seemed like a bit forced and was funny to hear each time i heard it.

 

This Land by Gary Clark Jr.  February 22, 2019

Background – American musician from Austin, Texas, he’s a guitarist that mixes blues, rock, and soul music. He signed with Warner Bros Records in 2011. This Land is the the 3rd studio album by Clark Jr.

This Land – As the first song on the album and has the name of the album as well, This Land has high standards. I would say without a doubt this is the best song on the album. The use of techno sounds along with the use of a Wah-Wah pedal. It sounds clean and then his vocals have a passion, as this talks about racial diversity. The chorus is outstanding and when he says ‘This land is mine” the vocals getting quieter with the drums having a faster pace. His solo is very clean and rising in anticipation with the climax going back to the vocals.

What About Us – The blues style is very apparent plus the vocals sound like they are cloudy due to distortion. The drums are louder and add his signature sound.

Got My Eyes On You – It’s a slower tone and all you mainly hear are the vocals and the guitar work, nothing else. There’s not really drums, it’s more of the foot pedals in a little bit of a snare with the symbols coming in very softly. There are some maracas in the background. The chorus gets louder with of course the guitar work leading but the drums help as a key backup changing up the tempo. This song displays more of his vocal capability which is extraordinary.

I Walk Alone – Gary’s vocals are at a very high falsetto, along with his guitar having this wave effect to prolong each strum which sounds amazing which produces this amazing tune.

Feeling Like A Million – Changes it up and has this reggae feel, similar to Bob Marley along with the techno sounds with the usual guitar and drums. It’s a change of sound but it makes a good improvement to the usual sound.

Got To Get Into Something – It sounds more like Punk style rather than a blues style. It sounds dirtier and very fast paced. The vocals have a very upbeat feel to it making you feel like you’re in a rush along with the song. This is the song to listen to when adrenaline is flowing through your veins.

Got To Get Up – The trumpet work and the use of multiple voices to set the chorus, the song really doesn’t have lyrics but just repeats two phrases backed with an instrumental.

Feed The Babies – It brings you back to the 70s soul and the use of a light falsetto similar to Marvin Gaye. Uses the trumpet again and the bass guitar definitely leads this one, putting some step into the song similar to the 70s soul music scenes.

Pearl Cadillac – The third song that uses a higher falsetto in the use of wanting to go back, when he talks about his Pearl Cadillac. The song has reminiscing lyrics making the listener understand how he feels. The powerful guitar makes it so relaxing, giving me a sense of wanting to change the past but reality making it no longer possible.

When I’m Gone – It has a very laid-back quality about it. The use of Bongos is very interesting with the strums from the guitar being darker and quieter.

The Guitar Man – Great lyrics and it sounds like a nice positive alternative piece. The auto-tune says The Guitar Man, plus the guitar solo is very clean, very laid-back and the chorus has the falsetto that ties it together as a great piece of music.

Low Down Rolling Stone – The heaviness from guitar, and slow drums, with a surprise from an organ, set this blues track along with his signature sound from his vocal, while it leads into falsetto for the climax.

The Governor – One of the shorter songs on the album but instead of an electric guitar he uses an acoustic, with drums and the tambourine, while his voice is a lot higher, not as a falsetto, just singing out.

Don’t Wait Til Tomorrow – Very similar to other songs and has a falsetto but the vocals sound more like he’s talking and singing at the same time. But what makes it interesting is the higher vocals and the lower vocals being matched to show the juxtaposition of each sound and to make each one stand out.

Dirty Dishes Blues – It says it in the name, it’s definitely a dirty sound with a twang of the acoustic, chord by chord. Gary sings out with some scatting during the instrumental parts.

Highway 71 – Purely an instrumental and a bonus track with techno sounds alongside with the Wah-Wah of the guitar to play as the vocals.

Dit Dat – This other bonus track uses more of a funky style, making it sound like a positive song with its upbeat style. His vocals are very relaxed and less the instruments take over instead of his voice.

 

The overall rating – I think this is a great album and the instruments really define the music, not Gary’s great vocal talent. The impactful songs on this album were This Land, Pearl Cadillac and The Governor. These three songs are very different and are great in their own way. I would give this album an 8 out of 10 because all the instruments combining as one, make each song so much more enjoyable. I wouldn’t give it a 10 out of 10  because a lot of the sound of the guitar pieces sounded very similar to each other, no matter the genre. Overall, if you do not listen to Blues or Rock in general, I highly recommend taking a listen to this album to get a feel of what blues music really is and how it can change you.

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Ryan Miller, Reporter

Hello, I am Ryan Miller and I am a reporter, and things i like to talk about are sports and some politics. I am wanting to go to college to become a sports...

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