Thursday, February 13, 2003


Prog Rock bands are an interesting breed. Known for long songs that go many different directions, they don't usually get radio play or popularity these days. When a major prog rock band releases a cd a few magazines will spotlight it and herald it as an accomplishment but it sells little to nil.

Dream Theater's latest offering is typical prog rock (massive songs, sprawling instrumentals, etc), with one twist. They also offer one of rock's greatest living guitar players, John Petrucci. He barrels his way with ease through 6 songs, showing off his ability to do everything.

To say that the songs are long would be an understatement. There are 6 songs... and they span 2 cds. Yes, this is a double disc set. In fact, I started playing this cd when I started writing this review and I'm still on this song. The first 5 songs are on the first cd with the 2nd cd being the 6th song opus.

Lyrically, Petrucci writes thought provocative lyrics that mean something. He lets his Catholic upbringing peep through on several songs, but not in a way to make a perosn uncomfortable. The most interesting lyrics come on track 4, called "The Great Debate." Basically, it's a political song against stem cell research.

The weakest part of this cd, in my opinion, are the vocals. They lack power or presence. They sound the same on each song. Fairly boring. Dream Theater can be happy that the focus of most listeners will be on the guitars.

All in all, this is a listenable cd. Any guitar player should own this. The lyrics are great. However, your average pop radio listener won't appriciate this cd.


Tuesday, February 11, 2003


There are some cds I just don't quite understand. I listen to this one, "Light Pours Through" and the songs are solid. The musicians are adept at their instruments and song craft. Heck, I wish I could write songs like that.

But the songs don't click with me. I can bear to listen to them for a little while, though usually not by choice. Then I put the cd back on my shelf and try to forget that I spend $12 on it. Guilt sets in because everyone else loves it. Yet I don't.

Maybe it's the overworn genre that Mac accociated with. The emo/indie genre has been gasping for a while now. But there are other emo/indie cds that I adore. Perhaps the slow, plodding pace of the songs discourages me. "Slow and steady" may win the race, but that doesn't mean I have to like it. Another possibility is that all the songs sound too simular to each other. Or that the cd feels disjointed.

This is definately a solid release. And I can't explain why I don't like it other than it doesn't click with me. So if you're a fan of the genre you can't do wrong by picking it up.


Monday, February 10, 2003


Buying a cd by a band I've never heard before is always an adventure. Why would I do that? Either I've heard a lot of hype or something about the packaging catches me. For this cd, it was the limited edition packaging that I could not resist. I waited as long as I could, then when I noticed that I wasn't seeing the LE packaging in stores, I nabbed it the next time I saw it.

Cheese was my first reaction to hearing it. Boredom was my next reaction. It was with hesitance that I put it in my cd wallet. Only one song stuck out to me and it wasn't enough to pull me through the sludge of the rest of the cd.

So I put the cd away to collect dust on my shelves. It collected dust for a half a year. I was tempted to sell it, but knew I couldn't get more than $5 for it. The collector in me figured that at least just hanging on to it would be better than letting it go at that price.

Then, I recieved a cd tower for my birthday. In order to figure out what cds would reside in it, I decided to sort through all of my cds and categorize them. When I reached this cd I said, "What the heck" and put it in my cd player.

And it connected with me. Every glorious note struck a chord in my heart. I can just sit back to this cd and just... go in a daze... and dream.

Something about the way it was produced reminds me of the newest Flaming Lips cd (which is another cd which has not connected with me yet). The lyrics tend to flow along a "sappy" line, like, "send me an email that says I love you." But it works. And it's making me happy.


Sunday, February 09, 2003


I heard a quiet buzz surrounding Blackalicious on one of the message boards ( that I post at. The name stuck in my head so I spent a few minutes looking for thier cd the next few times I went cd shopping. I didn't see thier cd, so I didn't worry about it.

Later, I picked up that Blackalicious was infact a RAP group. This set me back a little bit because rap is not my favorite music style. When I looked at the people who listened to Blackalicious, though, they were not typical "rap" people. I shrugged my shoulders, and pretty soon ran into the Blackalicious cd at a distant Borders bookstore. Encouraged by the lack of a Parental Advisory warning on the sticker, I shelled out the $16.98 (+6% PA Sales tax) for it.

When I got home I popped it into my cd player and... was not blown away. I growled at the cd player, pulled out "Blazing Arrow" and instead listened to the tried and true cd by Me.Without.You.

A few days later I actually listened to the cd. I was caught off guard by the wicked sounds, beats, rhymes, and complete innovativeness of the cd. There are two main men who do the rapping, and they each rap with authority and personality. There is a whole slew of guest vocalists, too. Most songs have some clean vocals amid the instrumentation that can act as sing-alongs for the listener... which is always fun.

This is a cd which will appeal to people like me who don't know rap and never listened to it much before but who enjoy well done songs with talent. Hopefully, this cd also appeals to the hard core rap listener.

Props to Blackalicious for keeping this cd lyically clean, too.

Welcome to my Blog. This is where I will rant and where I will rave. I will offer music reviews and opinions on life. I may break into poetry to relieve my disturbed soul.

Or I may remain silent.