Tear It Right Out Of Your Chest

I’m beginning to think that either there’s something wrong with other people, or there’s something wrong with me. I know I’ve already established how people can be today, but for some unknown reason, this has me thinking, and asking:

Does the music I listen to suck, or are people just ignorant?…

I’ve been reading music reviews lately on iTunes, which is very rare for me. I hardly ever read reviews because I don’t usually think twice about reading what other people have to say about music. Like I’ve said before, I listen to the kind of music I want to, and don’t pay attention to what other people think about what I listen to. For some reason, I’m partially drawn to the bottom of the screen, below the tracks and recommended albums, where the criticizing reviews ominously rest.

Don’t ask me why I started reading reviews because I don’t know why. It first started when I pulled up Aiden’s Knives. My eyes instantly seemed to travel to the bottom of the page, to what people had written. All of them were pretty mixed. Some saying it was a great CD, others saying it was horrible. More people seemed to choose the latter compared to good. In my honest opinion, it is a short CD, but it’s not bad. There are some songs I can do without, but the ones I can’t do without are really good. The release of the album didn’t weaken my liking for the band. I’m still a fan. Sure,  Knives  is different from their past three releases, but it proves that sound doesn’t really matter. It’s still Aiden. That sort of made me think a little bit, then I remembered that everyone has their own opinion and are totally entitled to it.

The next attraction at the iTunes amusement park that I visited just last month was AFI’s newest release, Crash Love. I saw it on iTunes the day it came out and wanted to see what other people were saying about it. I’d heard a lot of mixed reviews about it. Even though I’d already listened to the whole album, I still had the awkward desire to see what other people had thought about it. My eyes again, trailed down to where the reviews were. The reviews, just like with Knives, were mixed. This surprised me. Crash Love  was anticipated for a while, and I didn’t think it would get the reviews it did. Granted, just because something is greatly anticipated doesn’t mean everyone will find it good. Some said it was good, great even, while others didn’t like it, and were begging for the “old” AFI to come back. I guess this is how some people react to change: They either love it or hate it. I personally think Crash Love is pretty good, different from anything they’ve ever done, but still good. It’s still AFI.

I think this is what truly got me thinking and asking. The last attraction at the iTunes amusement park that really, really surprised me, was Lady GaGa’s The Fame. Once again with my brutal honesty, I’m a new fan to Lady GaGa. I’d first seen the video for “Poker Face”, and didn’t watch the whole thing, but then I fell in love when I saw “Just Dance”. I didn’t think I’d like an artist that was so different from what I usually listened to. It’s just feel-good music. Like the two times before, I found myself overly curious to what other people had to say. Let the mixed reviews pour down like the hardest rain. Like the Crash Love and Knives reviews before it, there were a lot of positive reviews, but at the same time, there were an equal number of not-so-positive ones. It seemed to me like most of them were trying to compare her to other musicians before her, which sort of annoyed me, but that’s always bound to happen. People compare bands/musicians to others all the time, and like I said before, everyone’s entitled to their own opinion. Whether I happen to agree or not.  Needless to say, none of these reviews changed the way I felt about this newly found, infectious music. I’m still a newly born Lady GaGa fan.

Right at that moment, I was asking myself, Does the music I listen to suck, or are people just stupid? Like I’ve said probably a million times over, opinions don’t sway me, especially when it comes to music. I’m just not moved by what people have to say, but reading these reviews on three artists that I listen to, kind of had me thinking…And I finally came up with a pretty obvious, maybe way too obvious answer: The music I listen to doesn’t suck. Sometimes people can say things that lack common sense, but they’re more than welcome to state their opinions because they have every right to. Plain and simple. I had the thought in my head without really knowing why I was thinking it. I’d already had the answer. It just needed to be confirmed. I think it’s better when thoughts aren’t over analyzed.

Tear it right out of your chest. To be loved. To be criticized. Take a bow.

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October Anatomy

Fall. Autumn. The third out of fourth season. Whatever you want to call it, there’s no sure-fire way of denying that it’s here. And it’s definitely here.

It’s the season where everything changes, whether you want it to or not. The mornings are becoming colder and colder. The sun rises later, and is then defeated by the night sky even earlier. The leaves are changing from their crisp summer green to their crimson, orange, and yellow Fall counterparts…All this makes you wonder where Summer went, and how fast is Winter really approaching.

I’ll be honest, I love walking home from school in the Fall. From the warm, burning smell that seems to linger in the air, to the changing leaves falling and crunching under my feet. All while listening to the company of my iPod, away in my own world, but still fully aware of the cars and other people walking past. Some of the songs remind me of the season. Don’t ask me why. Maybe it’s because it is Fall, or maybe because they were actually intended for this time of year. Or maybe it’s just me being me. Whatever the case may be, I still love it.

The festivities are what really get me. I mean, every holiday has their own decorations and treats, but something about Fall decorations and treats makes me feel warm and happy. I know that probably sounds kind of lame, but’s it’s the honest-to-God truth. I love the Pumpkin Lattes at any participating Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts, the huge pieces of pumpkin pie, with a very, very generous amount of whipped cream on top, and especially, Halloween. Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, even though some would say it’s not considered a holiday. Whatever you choose, you can’t deny that getting free candy is a bad thing because it’s not. At least I don’t think it is.

With all this love for the Fall, it makes me wonder where Summer went…It seems like it went by wayyy too fast…And remember Winter is just around the corner. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not. Don’t get me wrong, Winter can be pretty beautiful, but it makes me think of how close the year is ending already. In less than two months, it will be December, which means Christmas, which then means a new year is drawing closer.

It’s kind of sad thinking of how such a beautiful season seems to be passing and changing as fast as the leaves. I mean, there’s still another month of Fall left, but doesn’t feel like it. I plan on enjoying the rest of what Fall has to offer, and savor its beauty and awesomeness as much as I can.

Let the pumpkins glow and the candy bags overflow.

The Intensity Of A Side-Project Or Two

Whether people like it or not, music is ever-changing. Nowadays, it’s not the same as it was when the band(s) first started. Bands are changing. They’re taking risks, taking chances. Experimenting with sounds that are out of their comfort zones.

Two good examples of this, in my opinion, are AFI’s Davey Havok and Jade Puget in the side-project Blaqk Audio, and Aiden’s frontman Wil Francis with his solo project, William Control.

Blaqk Audio’s sound is just amazing. I know I probably use the word ‘amazing’ a lot when I’m talking about music, but this truly is. The synths that were ever-so-present on AFI’s record Decemberunderground, take center stage on Blaqk’s debut CexCells, an electronic-rock tour de force. Despite the fact that the music is in a totally different direction than what AFI fans are used to, the lyrics are still incredible. The lyrics that are wrapped around every song aren’t the AFI poetry one would usually look to; they’re so much more than that. It’s a side of Havok and Puget that you’ve never seen until now.

Once again, I’ll be totally honest, I didn’t know about Blaqk Audio until I read the article in October’s issue of Revolver. The same article that made me excited for Crash Love. I’d heard the song “Stiff Kittens” once, but honestly never knew who it was. After listening to all of CexCells, I fell in love. My favorites are “Stiff Kittens”, “Bitter For Sweet”, “Cities Of Night”, “Where Would You Like Them Left?”, and “The Love Letter”. I know that I also say that I fall in love when I listen to music a lot, too, and it’s true. There’s a possibility that I’d been potentially heartbroken if I didn’t have music.I think a little piece of everyone would kind of not be there. Music fills a void, whether you know it or not.

JadeListening to Blaqk Audio, then going back and listening to AFI, or going the other way around, it’s just crazy to think that some musicians are multi-talented. Davey’s vocals sound even more amazing than usual, and Jade shows that he is indeed talented in the synth department. One minute, Davey’s voice can go from seductively deep to high-pitched, which became his trademark in AFI, vocals only he himself can pull off. Yes, I know that most musicians are probably multi-talented, but not many musicians can pull off going into a completely different genre and making something beautiful. It takes some talent to make awesome music in one genre, go off into another for a little bit, and emerge with something unique and refreshing. In my opinion, Davey and Jade have that kind of talent. It takes guts to take risks, especially in music, and they’re not afraid to do just that.

It seems like most people are quick to compare Wil Francis’s solo project, William Control, to Blaqk Audio without hesitation. While they may be similar in some ways, they’re not at all the same. Sure, there might be some inspiration with the synths and electronica-like beats, but his debut, Hate Culture, has something about it that’s more brutal and intense.

William ControlThe lyrics Aiden are famous for are taken on by a whole new narrative. Granted, it’s still Francis singing, but it seems like an entire new entity. Every song just seems to be enveloped in contempt, violence, and suggestiveness, while still dripping with trademark raw, severe emotion. It’s the Aiden frontman in a whole new light, one that people may love or hate.

I had no idea about William Control until I read an article about Aiden and their newest release Knives, in the August issue of Revolver. In the beginning of the article, it’d mentioned what it was like for the frontman to record vocals for Hate Culture, and how it compared to recording them for Knives. When listening to the vocals on Knives and then hearing Francis’s voice on Hate Culture, it’s pretty crystal clear that his voice sounds different. Nothing in the extreme category, but noticeably having a deeper edge. An edge that’s all his own, an edge he definitely uses to his advantage.

For me, it didn’t take very long to like, and eventually (for the millionth time!) fall in love with William Control. I’d first seen the video for “Beautiful Loser” on a link from Aiden’s website, and found myself surprised and speechless. In a good way. After listening to all of that Hate Culture had to offer, I found myself developing favorites. Among these are, “Beautiful Loser”, “Razor’s Edge”, “Cemetery”, Strangers” and “Tranquilize”.

Like Davey Havok and Jade Puget in Blaqk Audio, Wil Francis is definitely multi-talented. Anyone who can go from being in a band that takes chances, potentially loses fans because of it, and then goes into a different genre than what they’re used to, while being able to make it all their own is multi-talented in my book. It also doesn’t hurt that he can play a mean guitar. That can never hurt.

It takes a hell of a lot of guts and confidence to take risks and be different. Blaqk Audio and William Control do exactly that.