Thursday, April 22, 2010

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

A Curious Thing by Amy MacDonald:
As a sophomore follow-up to This is the Life, this is a very safe album. It feels more like a side B than a new effort, and the toe-tapping infectiousness of the first album is replaced with a mellower Coldplay style of running eighth notes with one chord per bar. In spite of a few overly trite sets of lyrics, it's harmless and pleasant, but not as catchy as the first album.

Final Grade: B-

New Boots by Wallis Bird:
On the other side of the spectrum, this follow-up album to Spoons is daring, and an organic evolution of the old sound. She continues to employ shifting rhythms and time signatures, and bounces into double time just to mix things up. There are fewer quiet songs here, and the first and last songs on the album just prove that when she gets too raucous, her voice no longer sounds good. However, the middle eight songs are great, and will definitely experience a pubertic growth as I listen further.

Final Grade: B

Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves:
I borrowed this from my parents because Rebecca had never seen it, and Alan Rickman plays the Sheriff of Nottingham. How did Kevin Costner get to be such a big deal when he's as good an actor as Keanu Reeves? How come he can't speak with an English accent? This DVD was also burned from an old VHS tape, which means that watching it on a 50"+ TV makes me feel like I forgot to put my glasses on and it's impossible to tell what's going on more than five feet from the camera. On the nostalgic side, the VCR auto-Tracking feature appeared on the screen several times throughout the viewing, reminding me of the days when we owned both a Beta and a VHS player.

Final Grade: B+

Shadow of the Hegemon by Orson Scott Card:
This follow-up to Ender's Game was "okay". The author tended too much towards introspection when evolving the characters, resulting in endless pages of inner monologues, and it's still impossible to picture the main characters as young, brilliant children -- when a main character is nine and acts seventeen, how is it relatable? It only took me two days to burn through, though, which is why I'm fairly forgiving in my book reviews. Also, "hegemon" sounds like a hedgehog-based Pokemon.

Final Grade: C+

Breast milk satisfies
Some at MoMA Show Forget "Look but Don't Touch"
Man loses license after drunk-driving in toy Barbie car

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