Sunday, May 25, 2008

CD Review: Cyndi Lauper – Bring Ya To The Brink

Release date: May 27, 2008

Rating: 3/10

I keep telling myself to be kind with this review, but not even my boyhood crush on the ultra-cute Cyndi Lauper can salvage this dry heave of an album.

Cyndi Lauper’s Bring Ya To The Brink is basically a Eurotrash dance/pop album that begs to be remixed for the club sprinkled with a couple token tracks to give her long-time fans something to appreciate. So, if you’re a club kid with the attention span of a dog, you’ll probably like Bring Ya To The Brink as much as you liked last week’s favorite. And if you’re an old-school Cyndi Lauper fan, you’ll likely be disappointed by the return to her Sisters of Avalon era.

Cyndi Lauper has always been one to explore her musical artistry, and her 2003 effort At Last seemed appropriate for her aging career, but it seems that the girl who just wants to have fun isn’t ready to go quietly into the night. The first track to be released off of Bring Ya To The Brink is “Into the Nightlife,” a club track rife with deep bass and heavy synth. Up next will be “Same Ol’ Story,” which features a high hat-driven ‘90s beat and Cyndi Lauper belting out “same ol’ fuckin’ story” throughout the chorus.

The best tracks on Bring Ya To The Brink are by far those that pay homage to Cyndi Lauper’s ‘80s pop sensibilities. These tracks include “Grab a hold” and “Rain on me.” If you’re smart enough to grab the Japanese edition of the album, you’ll also be treated to a Jane Siberry meets “True Colors” track called “Can’t Breathe.”

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Offspring – Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace

Release date: June 17, 2008

The members of The Offspring might look like they’ve seen better days, but come June 2008, they’ll be back with a new album – the group’s first since 2003’s Splinter. Judging from the few tracks available on the Internet, Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace sounds like an offering of standard The Offspring fare. Dexter Holland and Noodles aren’t reinventing the wheel here (they’ve long since established a formula for creating catchy three-chord riffs and breakdown bridges that are at once dire and hopeful), but they’ve created a power-punch wall of sound, which isn’t surprising after two years of writing and recording and enlisting the aid of famed hard rock producer Bob Rock.

If the tracks available online (“Hammerhead” is free for download at The Offspring’s website and live versions of “You’re Gonna Go Far, Kid” and "Half-Truism" are on YouTube) are any indication of Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace’s tone, The Offspring haters will continue to hate while The Offspring fans will continue to mosh, albeit with a few more visits to the ER.

Though it is very obvious that The Offspring aren’t the hungry little spermatozoon that they were in the ‘90s, it’s about time that they showed up to the party to keep shit-disturbing poseurs like Fall Out Boy in line.

Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace – Track List:
"Trust in You"
"You're Gonna Go Far, Kid"
"A Lot Like Me"
"Takes Me Nowhere"
"Kristy, Are You Doing Okay?"
"Stuff Is Messed Up"
"Fix You"
"Let's Hear It for Rock Bottom"
"Rise and Fall"
"O.C. Life" (Japanese Bonus Track)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Night of the Living Dead – 40th Anniversary Edition

Release date: May 20, 2008

Can you believe that it has already been 40 years since the release of the original flesh-eating zombie nightmare, aka Night of the Living Dead (1968)? Though I missed out on the original release of the iconic film, I continue to live through its aftermath and the undying legacy.

We all know that George A. Romero is the master of zombie horror, but does what scared society back in the ‘60s still scare us? Slow-moving masses with a singular thought (brains), an overbearing and ignorant patriarch, and a black hero… sure, these things still scare us. I’m a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to slow versus fast zombies, but I do see the inherent problem with zombies that move slower than pond water – there’s no way that you couldn’t weave through them like a bumble bee weaves through flowers in a summer field. Well, you wouldn’t have a problem until the masses density blocked your way like pubes block a shower drain.

The 40th anniversary edition of the Night of the Living Dead features a restored and remastered film, a feature-length documentary, commentary, the theatrical trailer, and a Q&A session with the master himself, George A. Romero. All that is worth the $20 alone, but you still get what you came for, the classic Night of the Living Dead film that will scare the crap out of you while giving you comfort and protection in Duane Jones.