Green Day – American Idiot

American Idiot is one of the most controversial albums of the last twenty or so years, mostly because of its clearly “political” nature and overblown and bizarre concept. I,however, have no problem with either, and in some cases they make the record more interesting. While Green Day may not be the most well-informed when it comes to politics, I applaud them for attempting something different from the usual derivative pop-punk album.

Some of the songs on here are even pretty good. “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” is one of the best pop-punk songs I’ve heard in a while, “Give Me Novocaine” is an underrated rocker and “Whatsername” is a solid closer. But unfortunately, there are some annoying tracks; “Holiday” immediately comes to mind as being one of the most irritating songs of the last ten years. Other duds, such as the boring “Are We The Waiting” and the uninteresting “St. Jimmy” add nothing to the album.

The big talking points of American Idiot are the two nine minute songs, “Jesus Of Suburbia” and “Homecoming”. The former is fairly interesting, with its intricate structure and many different parts. “Homecoming” is the stronger of the two, and features Tre Cool singing for one of the few comic relief moments on the album. Regardless of its political wisdom, this is a strong pop-punk album whose pros outweigh its cons and while some may disagree with me, that’s fine – all

I ask it that you listen with an open mind.

3 out of 5.

– Alexander Sallas

 

Megadeth – Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying?

Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying? was, for a while, my favourite Megadeth album. This has since changed (with Rust In Peace overtaking it in my books), but that doesn’t make this CD any less fantastic. It boasts some amazing tracks, from thrash anthem “Peace Sells,” to the superb “Good Mourning/Black Friday,” to closer “My Last Words.” The guitar playing on this album is incredible – every song features at least one wickedly fast guitar solo (most contain two, three or even more), and the rest of the instruments are superb as well. I find that there are three main points of discussion with this album: Mustaine’s vocals, the production, and the length.

First, I thoroughly enjoy Mustaine’s vocals. He may not have the sleekest voice ever, but his trademark “snarl” fits the music perfectly. He really has established his own style, and it works.

Second: the production. I own the 2006 re-release of this record, so I can’t really comment on it since it has been improved. But I will say, however, that the rough production only increases its raw sound.

Finally, the length. Here is where the main problem lies. At only thirty-six minutes, this record flies by. With that said, though, every song on here is quality, and I would take an awesome thirty-six minute album over a terrible 78-minute one any day. However, a song or two more would have been welcome here. The bottom line: should you buy this? Yes. It is a classic thrash album that should be heard by anyone who considers themselves a metalhead (and everyone else for that matter).

4.5 out of 5

– Alexander Sallas

 

 Bob Dylan – The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan
You’ve casually referenced Bob Dylan before. I promise you that you have – whether you were aware of it or not. He himself once said, “The songs are there. They exist all by themselves just waiting for someone to write them down. I just put them down on paper. If I didn’t do it, somebody else would.”

The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan is his second album, the one that established Dylan as a legitimate artist at the age of 22 and led to his rise as an icon during the 1960s protest movement.

It begins with “Blowin’ in the Wind,” the anthem of every freedom movement that has occurred since it was released. Perhaps that’s because we are the same age as Dylan when he produced this album—that right now, we get it; maybe it’s that we can relate to it when we’re in the middle of a midterm, staring into space, because there we are: looking for the answer that’s blowing in the wind.

Dylan sings of long-distance love in “Girl from the North Country” and then laughs about it in “Down the Highway”. He is disgusted by the politics of war in “Masters of War” but again finds a satirical perspective in “Talkin’ World War III Blues.”  His contradictions spell out your latest existential crisis, and then he sends your emotions a shock with the poignant accuracy of his words in “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright.”

Dylan’s true artistry lies in his lyrics. His rhythm is punctuated with messages that will resound forever. He reminds you of the power of all things blue – the stormy haze of it in your dreams at night, the depths of it as you stare out at the sea, in the endless expanse of the sky, and finally in a haunting melody that wakes you from a prolonged stupor.

4 out of 5

– Palika Kohli

 

The Clash – The Clash

It’s sort of funny how the noisiest, grungiest, shoutiest bands are often the ones with the most to say.  In 1977, The Clash reinforced this by releasing a self-titled album with more political messages than guitar chords.

Amidst the beautiful noise of the English punk band’s overdriven guitars are statements on everything from the Americanization of Europe (“I’m So Bored With The USA”) to the ailing job market of 1970s England (“Career Opportunities”).   The scope of their insight is pretty formidable too.

“Remote Control” is a complaint song about bureaucratic control of local concerts, whereas “White Riot,” with the line “all the power’s in the hands of people rich enough to buy it,” rings true about capitalism on a global scale.

The craziest part of this album is that it was hugely successful, peaking at the 12th spot on the billboard charts and becoming known eventually as one of the greatest punk albums of all time. The Clash’s self-titled album may be over three decades old by now, but it’s still a shining testament to the general rule of politically inspired music: if you are loud enough, you will be heard.

4 out of 5

– Brody Weld

 

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