10 Albums You Should Give a Chance!

(according to me.) 

10. Soul Punk by Patrick Stump

Now, I will be the first to admit that when this album first came out I did not give it a chance. In fact, if I wasn't bored and had a free weekend of premium spotify, I probably would have never listened to it. But I did listen to it... and it was great. Explode is the first (and my favorite) song on the album. The song is aptly named, because it really does feel like it's about to explode out of the speakers. Loves it! 

From Rollingstone: For ex-Fall Out Boy frontman Patrick Stump, "solo album" is more than a record you make when you leave your band. It's a record that you make by yourself, playing every note on every instrument – drums, bass, guitar, keyboards, trumpet, trombone, sax, mandolin. Besides handling instrumental duties, Stump supplied some terrific songs, too, with big hooks ("People Never Done a Good Thing"), electro pep ("Spotlight [New Regrets]") and lots of unabashed Michael Jackson. Stump is an excellent, nimble singer, but it's his songwriting that makes this one of the most irrefutably catchy albums of 2011. Soul? Punk? Try pop.

9. Doo-Wops & Hooligans.

I know, I know, I know... But have you ever watched this man live? He's amazing! This album isn't going to change your life or anything, but it really is good. His singles aren't even the best songs on the album. His voice is pretty much perfect and I think if people actually listened to the album and not just the singles they'd give this dude a chance to be more than that guy who had hit singles an nobody knew why. (I love "Talking to the Moon"... a lot.)

From Rollingstone: Turn on your radio. Hear that voice, a feathery tenor with a hint of soulful grit? It belongs to Bruno Mars, the 25-year-old Hawaiian newcomer featured on smash hits like B.o.B's "Nothin' on You" and Travie McCoy's "Billionaire." Doo-Wops & Hooligans proves that Mars is a natural — a lavishly gifted melodist (check the surging "Grenade") and an engaging singer. It's the year's finest pop debut: 10 near-perfect songs that move from power ballads to bedroom anthems to pop-reggae and deliver pleasure without pretension. Call it bubblegum that eats like a meal.

8. Day & Age by The Killers

This album was my first introduction to The Killers with the exception of a few widely known singles. The album became a favorite of mine after "accidentally" listening to it for 4 or 5 times in a row... (I was too lazy to get up and take it off once I realized I had it on repeat, oop). The song "I Can't Stay" was my longest running ringtone EVER. That's a big deal. The album is really a great listen.

From From Rollingstone: adding subtle world-music accents to their glittery New Wave anthems — fitting for a band bent on international megastardom. Produced by dance maven Stuart Price, Day & Age broadens the Killers' sound with dub-inflected grooves ("Joyride"), Caribbean-style steel drums ("I Can't Stay") and a chanted intro that recalls South Africa's Lady­smith Black Mambazo ("This Is Your Life") — though it's performed by the band itself.

7.  Vices and Virtues by Panic! At the Disco.

I'd be the first to admit that I have a soft spot for the lead singer of this band. But if I don't like an album, I don't force myself to listen to it, no matter how much I like the person singing it... so I was extremely happy when their album came out and I loved it!

From From Rollingstone: Panic! At the Disco have invented a new genre: emo retropop. Vices & Virtues is the band's first album since becoming a duo (singer Brendon Urie and drummer Spencer Smith), and it's the closest emo has come to the sound of old-school pop and rock, with Beach Boys harmonies and even gypsy-style swing flavoring the usual hopped-up confessions. The group's old lyricist, Ryan Ross, is gone; these songs are missing some of the hyper mall-rat poetry (LOL) that made Panic's first two albums such daffy fun. But the arrangements are tight, even when the songs get baroque: Check "Nearly Witches," which mixes funk, Fifties horror-movie kitsch and a children's choir to ridiculous — and sublime — effect.

6. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

Yeah. I know some of you are probably like, "Why the hell would your even need to TELL anyone to give this album a chance?! It's perfect!!!" And I agree with you. But some people are to caught up in the fact that Kanye West is an asshole to realize that Kanye West is also a genius. He's successful for a reason. When it comes to the world of art: Geniuses are allowed to be assholes: deal with it. It's classical music meets hip-hop, and since I love both, I am for it. Hard!

From Rollingstone: Five stars, When Kanye West sings about "jerk-offs that’ll never take work off," you’d best believe he means himself. Being crazy is this guy’s job, and judging from the sound of his music, business is booming. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is his most maniacally inspired music yet, coasting on heroic levels of dementia, pimping on top of Mount Olympus. Yeezy goes for the grandeur of stadium rock, the all-devouring sonics of hip-hop, the erotic gloss of disco, and he goes for all of it, all the time. Nobody halfway sane could have made this album.

5. Contra by Vampire Weekend

Yacht music. Seriously. When I first started listening to this album I was on a yacht in my head wearing all white with a diamond tennis bracelet sipping on a cosmopolitan saying "Darling" instead of "Boo." I love this album. The music is lovely. When I first played it out loud my mother came into the room and asked me if I ever heard of Paul Simon. So, if you like Paul Simon, you'll like this.

From Rollingstone: "If Vampire Weekend was Rushmore, Contra is their Royal Tenenbaums: brainy, confident and generally awesome. Where much of the first album's charm was conceptual — Ivy League guys mashing up J.D. Salinger and King Sunny Adé — here the band has put on some muscle. The drums are bigger, the guitars are faster, and the songs are outfitted with synth beats and hip-hop, reggae and electro accents."

4. Lasers by Lupe Fiasco

It took me a minute to listen to this album. It suffered the same fate as many other albums in that it had the unfortunate luck of being released in the aftermath of MBDTF. I just wasn't open to another "awesome hip-hop album," I was still processing MBDTF. When I finally did... I was blown away. I loved it. It's stylized rap and me likey. The only song I don't like is All Black Everything, it's superficial; but everything else, I love.

From Rollingstone: Lasers, is shorter, brighter and — most admirably — more optimistic. It places Lupe in a tradition that runs from Marley to M.I.A.: the soul rebel who refuses to believe righteous struggle has to be a grind. "Just listening to 'Pac ain't gonna make it stop," he raps. "The Show Goes On" cleverly reworks the chorus from Modest Mouse's "Float On" for an inspirational missive to global ghetto kids, and John Legend adds R&B honey to the otherwise somber "Never Forget You." Lupe's beats run from Nineties buoyancy to driving rap rock, but his most exciting tracks are operatic brawlers that give his athletic, whiplash flow and rich imagination room to move. "All Black Everything" isn't just utopian, it's hilarious too, (srsly lol) visualizing a world where MLK is still with us, Bill O'Reilly reads from the Koran, "Somalia's a great place to relax in. . . . [And] the Rat Pack was a cool group of black men." A guy can dream.

3. Rated R by Rihanna

Rihanna was just another chick with a song on the radio before this album. This album is where she became more. It's heavy, it's truthful and it's her. I think she has a lot of growing to do, and it may look like she's taking steps back, but she's a young girl; mistakes will be made. This album proves she's more than just another pop airhead. So many artist go through things publicly then release albums that have nothing to do with the turmoil we know they went through. Rate R is amazing and by far her best album to date, give it a try. Cold Case Love is really flawless.

From Rollingstone: this is an album with a grimtheme: love gone horribly wrong. "What you did to me was a crime," Rihanna sings in the slow-boiling "Cold Case Love." Elsewhere, she is bent on vengeance. "I lick the gun when I'm done," she cries in "G4L," "because I know that revenge is sweet." The songs are etched in somber shades and minor chords, with Rihanna belting over synths and booming beats. The results are a musical match for the black-on-black CD cover — goth R&B.

2. 4 by Beyoncé

I love me some Beyoncé. It's not a secret. This album is my favorite Beyoncé album EVER. When I first listened to it I was like, "...what?" And then I was like, "...DAMN, BEY." This album comes in three parts: slow jam R&Bey, funky R&Bey, then BOOM, BEY!  It's flawless. FLAWLESS. End of Time will forever be my JAM. In a time of generic dance hit everywhere, only the Queen would go in the complete opposite direction. Beysus wins!

From Rollingstone: Beyoncé is such a force of nature that it's easy to overlook her trump card: She's a bit of a weirdo. [...] Her weirdness is musical - it's in the idiosyncratic way she syncopates her vocals, the odd melodies she floats over rugged beats, her sui generis mix of rap bravado, gospel sanctimony and old-fashioned showbiz razzle-dazzle. It's in songs like "1+1," the ballad that opens her fourth album. The track begins like the lowest-fi indie rock: a few raggedy guitar arpeggios, a discreetly piping organ. It stays there, more or less, while Beyoncé sings a meandering melody, crooning, groaning and whooping about the comfort of love - and sex. "When my days look low/Pull me in close and don't let me go/Make love to me," she sings. 4 might be her strangest rec­ord. It's a big-budget megapop album with an A list of guest stars (Kanye West, André 3000) and songwriter-producers (Tricky Stewart, the-Dream, Diplo, Ryan Tedder, Diane Warren). Yet it's as eccentric - as unmistakably personal and quirky - as anything that Sufjan Stevens ever cooked up in his bedroom.

1. The Black Parade by My Chemical Romance

This album helped me through some things. Call the WAAAHHHMMBALANCE, I know. I thing a lot of people lose out of listening to great music because of their own stupid politics. They praise the band that copies the band they make fun of... it's all stupid. I love this band, I love their music and I think they are different. I think you should give them and this album a chance.

From Rollingstone: My Chemical Romance may be the oldest young band in America. None of the members — singer Gerard Way, his brother and bassist Mikey, drummer Bob Bryar and guitarists Ray Toro and Frank Iero — is old enough to have bought David Bowie's Diamond Dogs on the day it came out. But The Black Parade, the New Jersey group's third studio album, is the best mid-Seventies record of 2006, a rabid, ingenious paraphrasing of echoes and kitsch from rock's golden age of bombast.

The opening fanfare, "The End," blows up like an outtake from Alice Cooper's Billion Dollar Babies, with glam-Godzilla guitars and spook-choir hurrahs. "Dead!" is a sleek, bleak bruiser, like Queen's "Keep Yourself Alive" in widow's weeds. And in the hyperoperatic "Mama," Way — playing a soldier up to his neck in blood, raging against the woman who gave him life — briefly duets with Liza Minnelli, who belts her two big lines only to have Way sing back at her with vicious obscenity. It is brassy casting, as if Minnelli has been dropped into a Glenn Danzig production of Bertolt Brecht's Mother Courage and Her Children. It also sounds like an idea Alice Cooper (the singer) might have had in 1976 while golfing with George Burns.

But this is not the Seventies, and My Chemical Romance are very much a band of their time — post-9/11. The first song Way wrote for the group (with ex-drummer Matt Pelisser) was "Skylines and Turnstiles," based on his experience that day in New York, watching the Twin Towers fall in front of him. There is a lot of fire and rubble in these songs, too. And there are bodies all over the place — dead in the streets ("Welcome to the Black Parade"); near death in hospital beds ("Dead!" and "Cancer"); or just too numb to give a shit about morality ("House of Wolves") or forgiveness ("I Don't Love You"). Starting with a riff that stabs and stutters like an old Buzzcocks lick and packing a bridge that is pure Iron Maiden, "This Is How I Disappear" is an exciting, perverse goodbye, from one lost soul to the object of his suffocating affection. "And without you is how I disappear/And live my life alone/Forever now," Way sings from the depths of obsession — and, it seems, his grave. The poetry is rickety, but the self-pity is arena-ready.

Next to that, My Chemical Romance's 2004 album, Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge, is orthodox buzz-saw misery. Apparently, the band — which co-produced the vacuum-packed overkill of The Black Parade with Rob Cavallo, who also worked on Green Day's punk-suite hit, American Idiot — now believes that if you're going to feel sorry for yourself, you might as well do it with gusto. "When I grow up, I want to be nothing at all!" Way wails in "The End," surrounded by what sounds like ELO with a case of G n' R. The excess comes with diminishing returns. Cavallo and the group over-rely on the avenging-army drumroll shtick, and what is deliciously vintage for most of the record — Way's bright, breathless yelp, with harmonies stacked to eternity; the lightning bolts of Brian May and Mick Ronson cutting through Toro's and Iero's widescreen grind — loses luster by Tracks Twelve and Thirteen, "Disenchanted" and "Famous Last Words." The best last words should have been Track Eleven, "Teenagers," a tight fist of T. Rex-style crunch with a great punch-the-air chorus: "They said all/Teenagers scare/The living shit out of me."

Teenagers are the ones who should be scared shitless. They are about to inherit a hell on this earth that is more terrifying, day by day, than anything Way imagines here. In fact, the most realistic and contemporary thing about this album's supercharged-Seventies Armageddon is his bitter, almost jealously guarded helplessness in nearly every song. Content to be the Queen of complaint (and damn good at it), My Chemical Romance offer no answers and give no hope — except for the shot of light that comes in the second manic half of "Welcome to the Black Parade," whenever Way hits the vocal hook. "We'll carry on," he sings repeatedly, at full rock-hero tilt. He doesn't say where. But the way he says it sounds great and worth believing, no matter how old you are.

So there you go. 10 albums I think you should give a listen to at least three times. Three, because I don't think you can really listen to an album once--you're just hearing it. I think in order to really listen, you have to do it more than once... even twice... even three times.



Movie #1 Citizen Kane

Just finished watching Citizen Kane. I loved it. Kane was the forever boy wanting his parent's love. All of his actions was a projection of that want. I liked the movie, but the ending made me love it. If ever there was a better summation in beautiful and simple symbology in a movie, I haven't seen it yet. The only flaw in this film was that his last words weren't shown to be heard by anyone, so the entire premise of the movie was not possible given how the death scene was set up. But I can overlook that because the movie was still brilliant.

Movie list

Shef Mel recipe post

The Dish: Curry Shark w/ Peppers and Onion. Served with white rice and sweet buttery carrots. *nom*

Before we begin: If you don't like something, you can substitute it. If you don't like seafood, substitute the shark for chicken breast. If you don't like cilantro, keep it out.
Thank you.

NOW! You will need
Collapse )


Plate it, and serve.

I made this dish up with the ingredients I had, so, I don't have specific timing for everything, since I just go by feel and taste, etc.
You'll def need to keep an eye on it, it's not a slow cooking dish, it's a fast cooking one, so you'll probably only need to walk away once when the fish or chicken is cooking, but don'e walk away until after you check the rice and carrots to see if they need more cooking or if you can go ahead and finish them up.

Enjoy! ^^