Saturday, June 28, 2008

Crimson and Clover Over and Over

Jimmy Eat World gained my attention when I read a review on their latest album in a Finnish rock magazine Soundi several years ago. According to the review, Jimmy Eat World is like Weezer but even more geeky. The comparison to Weezer and the geekiness fascinated me, although I still don’t know what that geekiness actually means. Jimmy Eat World didn’t turn out to be particularly geeky kind of rock music, so it might refer to the band’s hobbies or something..

I listened to a couple of Jimmy Eat World songs from their 2001 album Bleed American (that was re-released as Jimmy Eat World due to the 9/11 terrorist attacks) in 2004 or 2005 but for some reason I didn’t listen to the entire album then. That sometimes happens to me. I don’t have time to listen to an album more or I somehow feel it’s not time to listen to more of it yet. However, last autumn I listened to this album in its entirety several times and discovered its beauty.

This album and the single The Middle gained Jimmy Eat World success, which is very nice. Genuine, high quality melodic rock deserves to be heard by as many people as possible. Bleed American is a wonderful album filled with emotion, it’s all very human and at many points has a very personal lyrical approach. What is also important is that it rocks!

The album starts with a track that has two names: originally it was Bleed American but later it was also named Salt Sweat Sugar. It’s an excellent rocking track with amazing sounds and quite claustrophobic lyrics. The next song, A Praise Chorus is one of my biggest favourites. The song contains some serious kick! It’s perfect for its drum beat alone, the kind of beat that constantly seems to turn upside down. It sounds so fresh and energetic. Add great song – the result is perfect. The lyrics have a carpe diem theme and deal with praising several famous songs (check ‘em out here).

The Middle is good, although I don’t find it the most interesting thing on this album. Sweetness, on the other hand, is awesome! It has a very exciting, dynamic, agitated, intermittent, hard rocking arrangement and great structure. I really enjoy the woo-oo-oo’s in the song. Jim Adkins has a brilliant singing voice, I love his vocals.

Your House and Hear You Me represent the softer side of the band. Especially the latter song is very, very gentle. If You Don’t, Don’t follows Hear You Me with a nice yet highly bittersweet feel. It’s another song that is not so very dramatic but gives me shivers anyway. Get It Faster is also awesome. It’s actually quite scary.. In the song Jim Adkins takes a highly cold attitude. With a huge barrier of distorted guitars the result is very impressive.

In the end of the album there is Cautioners, a very pretty song with again a very interesting arrangement. The Authority Song is upbeat and frustrated at the same and has great melodies. My Sundown is a peaceful ending track – good but not very memorable.

The songs on this album are in excellent order. The running order helps to display all the brilliant dynamics, and when the songs are also all good, it’s impossible not to enjoy it. This album is a real experience.

Jimmy Eat World at MySpace

Friday, June 27, 2008

If You Want to Destroy My Sweater…

My summer holiday has begun. This means I’m gonna have lots of time to blab about whatever type of music I choose, and I really don’t have much else to do.. However, I intend to do lots of other things, too, such as watch good movies and my favourite science fiction TV series Star Trek: The Next Generation!

Today, I think I’ll blab a bit about great 90’s alternative rock/power pop (someone might even call it emo..). Already for four years one of my ultimate summer soundtracks has been Weezer’s self-titled debut album from 1994, also known as The Blue Album. The first Weezer album that I listened to was The Green Album in the summer of 2004. I remember I liked it instantly: although it didn’t really sound like anything I’d listened to before, something about it struck a chord with me. It was very loud and distorted music with harmonies and a sympathetic feel.

Soon, I found out Weezer had made a great debut album back in the 90s, produced by Ric Ocasek. I studied the band’s interesting history and started listening to The Blue Album. It sounded very good right from the start and as weeks and months went by, I noticed I never got tired of the album. My little brother liked the album, too, and it’s still one of the few albums that we both love very much.

What is so great about The Blue Album is that it’s quite simple. It’s not very fast-paced and there aren’t dozens of different instruments or basically anything too complex on the album. Instead, there are excellent Rivers Cuomo compositions and melodies added with very economical arrangements. Those features and the huge wall of distorted electric guitars that were to become Weezer’s trademark make this music magical. Personally, I find that distorted sound very comforting. The loud, yet soft, kind of fuzzy but tight sound always makes me feel good.

All in all, this music is very genuine and sincere. Rivers Cuomo’s brilliant lyrics add a very important layer to this geeky rock. In songs like No One Else his straightforward style of writing very emotion-appealing lyrics is clearly displayed. No One Else is one of my favourites, although all ten songs on the album are worth serious attention – and appreciation.

Buddy Holly
is a classic. The Happy Days-themed video for the song is also memorable. I remember seeing it on MTV although I was only six years old at the time. The song is a great example of what Weezer, in my opinion, is at its best: easy-going (and perhaps happy, too). The entire album is quite easy-going and happy although there certainly are a couple of more melancholic tracks. The World Has Turned and Left Me Here is beautiful and sentimental. It’s amazing how effective it is despite its relatively discreet, peacefully sad feel. Say It Ain’t So is also quite melancholic, and its totally enchants me with its gorgeous dynamics. Only in Dreams ends the album wonderfully, with its bass line bringing Pixies to mind.

In the Garage is a salute to all garage musicians, such as myself.. The song and the sound of it is amazing, listen to that low-tone guitar - it’s insanely crunchy! My Name Is Jonas, Holiday, Surf Wax America – they’re all great. Debut single Undone -- The Sweater Song is another song not to be missed. It includes hilarious geek lyrics, and everything about it is brilliant.

The Blue Album is such a classic. I’m so happy that so many people have discovered it and its greatness, and new people keep discovering it, too!

Weezer at MySpace
The Blue Album samples at

Friday, June 13, 2008

Winter for Summer

What would be a better match to a sunny summer day than a nice winterly music video that is filled with tremendous emo/gothic beauty! Since I don’t have time to write anything big now, I’ll throw here a nice YouTube clip that has given me some pleasure during the past few days.

So, here’s a video from AFI, a band which I like quite a lot. Love Like Winter is an excellent and catchy song – great pop in every way! Lead singer Davey Havok looks gorgeous. His fake eyelashes are so cool…

I wish they’d show more videos like this on MTV – songs with good melodies (melodies of any kind seem quite often to be too much to ask for, though..), and no naked women at all. Gothic visual themes are also really good!

AFI at MySpace

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

An Evening with Jared

Right now I just feel.. restless. In fact, I’ve had this feeling for a few days now. There is nothing unclear about the reason to this. Yesterday, I saw 30 Seconds to Mars live at Helsinki Ice Hall. There were two warm-up acts, Killer Aspect and Sara. I couldn’t concentrate much on the gigs but they sounded good.

There was quite a lot of waiting after the warm-up bands finished their sets. Finally, the ice hall went totally dark – the audience SCREAMED! The dramatic sound of O Fortuna filled the air.. and soon the gig started with A Beautiful Lie, continued with Battle of One and From Yesterday. There they were: Tomo Miličević on guitar, Shannon Leto on drums, tour bassist Tim Kelleher on bass... and Jared with a paste hairdo and some war paint on his face.. They were really there. They were too far, though. I used binoculars during the entire show to see what was happening on stage.

The songs.. They sounded so, so, very good! It was probably the best and most pleasant mix I’d ever heard. The music wasn’t too loud, it even could’ve been louder. It was good the way it was, though, because the audience screamed so loud that it made everyone’s ears ring.

What a thrill it was to hear Jared say “Minä rakastan teitä”! He praised our country quite a bit and put on a nice apron with the Finnish flag that was passed to him from the audience. That apron made him look like a baker.. The Finnish audience sang along to many songs – not very loud, though. Still, they surely knew how to scream their guts out after and during every song of the set.

The set consisted mostly of songs from the latest album. All songs from A Beautiful Lie except for The Story were heard. It was great - Savior and R-evolve were received with huge enthusiasm. I was also happy about Was It a Dream because it’s such a beautiful tune. The Kill drove the audience wild. Jared stirred the hype a bit by walking on the safety barrier and in the end running around the floor, chased by a few fans.

Then, Jared threw in a couple of acoustic songs. Capricorn (A Brand New Name) was awesome, but A Modern Myth was the song that gave me real chills. With Jared singing “goodbye, goodbye, goodbye” and the whole ice hall filled with his emotion-filled and melancholic, almost desperate vocals.. It was all so beautiful. It didn’t look too bad either when a few thousand cell phones illuminated the darkness.

At the end of the show, Jared picked up a young male 30STM fan named Lassi from the audience to help him prepare Finns for the last song that would be The Fantasy. The result was somewhat hilarious, definitely the funnest part of the show. It included some unsuccessful communication and cool lyric translations performed by Lassi.

This was 30STM’s last full-length gig of A Beautiful Lie era. The show ended with lots of red and black confetti, which was nice. I would’ve wanted to get autographs from the band but it wasn’t possible. It kind of left me very disappointed but I also realized that I just might get that chance if I go to their next show in Finland (or somewhere else) – and reserve tickets FAST.

They really are going to start working on a new album very, very soon. I wonder what it’s going to be like.. They’ve already made two albums that represent totally different music genres, and the third probably isn’t going to be similar to their previous work. Can’t wait to hear new stuff.. and see the videos!

Video clips from the show on YouTube