Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Return of My Best Buddies‏

I've had a longstanding relationship with Weezer, and during my formative years they were by far and away my favourite band. I felt, like many others I'm sure, that their debut record Weezer and its sequel Pinkerton were written specifically for me. Rivers Cuomo's struggle with dating and fitting in was the same as mine, and while Weezer daudled on making a follow up, I listened to Pinkerton over and over. Such was the affecting nature of the albums' lyrics and melodies that it became something of barometer for other records. Other albums would often compare unfavourably to Weezer's sterling effort. This was not only true of other bands' releases but of Weezer itself.

Like many fans I was pretty excited when the band came out of a lengthy hiatus with The Green Album, but excitement soon gave way to disappointment when the content of the album boiled down to little more than a turgid verse-chorus-verse-solo-chorus structure repeated over and over again. The solos often matched the vocal lines in their plotting and the album had none of the raw emotion or heart that distinguished Pinkerton from its alt-rock contemporaries. Weezer eventually settled into an almost annual schedule of album releases, none of which possessed any genuine lyrical or musical content. These albums express a desire on the part of Cuomo to grasp at a life that he never had. With each subsequent record he tries harder and harder to express himself as a college brat. This trend not only comes off as disingenuous but also sad.

The performance of newer Weezer records has also been uninspiring. Though there are moments of Pinkerton-esque songwriting they are quickly extinguished by incipid melodies or lyrics. It is unsurprising then that with their latest release Hurley Weezer have had to shop for a new record label. This rattling-of-cages has seemingly worked wonders on the band, the new record recalls much of what made Pinkerton a great record. It's an honest look at Cuomo's current failures and past successes. Of the regular albums' 10 tracks 'Run Away' is the standout song. It has very similar instrumentation to that present on Pinkerton i.e. sloppy instrumentation. This haphazard style emphasizes the emotion in Rivers's voice, an emotion that has been lacking in recent years. I'm pleased to see it again, it's as if a childhood friend is back in town, helping me out and sharing experiences with me again. --Luke Maxwell

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

8-Bit Blips

Laura O'Brien's article '8-Bit Blips' that first appeared in issue 4 is now available via her portfolio website.

Nostalgia makes everything beautiful. It doesn’t matter how tough times were, you can always recollect moments of childhood bliss. Any owner of a videogame console can attest to this, be it creating something wonderful on your ZX Spectrum, reaching that giant pill and turning the tables on your ghostly nemeses or showing Bowser what-for and saving the elusive princess. Today’s games may have awe-inspiring visuals, well written plotlines and more intricate levels of gameplay, but the games of yesterday had a certain charm about them that is hard to let go of. So much so that a whole generation of musicians, artists and filmmakers have drawn inspiration from the videogames they played as youths.

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