2013: Year End Review
Part 1: Disappointments
I have started at least ten different reviews over the past month and I have finished none of them. I apologize for that. I'll finish them at some date I don't know when. I also have no idea what I'm going to review for my year end review. And then I remembered Pandora happened, well it's been around for a while to be fair, but it came into my life earlier this year...
Yes, Pandora radio might not be the greatest internet radio service and it's really only available in the USA from what it seems... which is highly irritating, but it works and I've discovered new music, rediscovered old music, and dove deeper into genres I already liked to find more awesome music. For instance folk music is amazing, I started with Corvus Corax and Hagalaz Runedance radio stations, then Blackmore's Night station and somewhere in the mix Medieval Babes popped up but I just added that group to another station and eventually Kate Rusby showed up. It took a few months but now I have a Kate Rusby station.
On the other end of musical things, I discovered a band called And One that only has one good song. I've heard most of Body Pop and I have no desire to listen to anything else other than Military Fashion Show. However, Beborn Beton a band I didn't particularly care for the first few songs I heard from them, have grown on me since June.
Some Major Disappointments...
Yup starting off the year end review with the negative. Last year if I was told VNV Nation and Wumpscut would make albums that I didn't like and were a step backwards in their musical progression, I'd have laughed at you. I'm glad nobody mentioned this to me because I'd have felt like an idiot for laughing.
VNV Nation and Wumpscut put out new albums, VNV nation is also touring Europe and show no signs of being anywhere near the Americas anytime soon destroying my hopes of attending their Transnational Tour. And riding that disappointment wave is Wumpscut's new album. I don't know if I've disliked something as much as this album. Woman and Satan First was very meh at best. Madman Szpital never stood a chance. I hated writing that. I really did, because Rudy has some really enjoyable songs. And it's not because his sound is completely different from his past albums it's because they're boring and annoying with nothing to redeem either qualities.
For example, "Loyal to my Hate" from the 2011 album Siamese. That song is way too long for one repetitive chorus mixed with some musical interludes. The reason I like it is because the music is extremely catchy and counteracts the repetitive chorus. Madman Szpital is just boring. It's almost as disappointing as Evoke but without a song like "Churist Churist" to save it. The only slightly redeeming quality is "Tod Essen Leben auf" I can tolerate listening to it again for the sake of reviewing than the rest of the album. However, there's a little voice I hate that happens randomly and echos a few words and it doesn't need to be there.
Can I just ask what in the world "Vegan Witch" is about? Because I have no idea if there's a deeper meaning than someone tried to be a vegan and went about it horribly wrong and decided to only eat grass. Of course she died if that's what she thought being a Vegan was all about!
In all seriousness Madman Szpatial does not work because it's a whole bunch of things thrown together. It is the audio equivalent of someone taking different puzzles of the same size and forcing different pieces together of the same color but from different puzzles. Like half of the edge pieces from one puzzle let's say a tree, and half from an outer space puzzle and having them somehow fit together. Then the inside pieces are from a fish puzzle and the other of an ocean, and one from a puzzle of a sky. It doesn't work at all and I hope his next album takes a better direction than this one did.
Now for VNV Nation. I was so happy with Automatic I still listen to just about every song. I still don't like "Radio." Figuring that Automatic was such a success I had high hopes for Transnational. I was wrong for having high hopes because it met them just barely halfway. Should I be bothered by an okay album? Yes if the previous one and even the one before that were pretty much amazing albums. Transnational was like hey I'm here, and I tried. It doesn't fail at life like Wumpscut's Madman Szpatial, it's all one happy puzzle with all the pieces in place from that one puzzle, but it is a boring picture. It was fun putting together but the pay off wasn't that great. In other words, it's okay to listen to but in the end they could have done better.
In January of this year, Three Days Grace suffered a low blow with their lead singer abandoning ship during their tour. One reason offered was a non-threatening health issue, other less favorable rumors were variations on he just didn't want to be in the band anymore. Whether it was a health issue or not, he has since reformed another band and has no plans at the current moment to rejoin Three Days Grace. I wasn't a huge fan to begin with and call me butthurt but I lost a little respect for him after that. No matter what his reasons were he abandoned his band during a tour and then formed a new one with very little if no warning to his departure. Last minute issues happen I get that and maybe he had a problem he had to deal with I don't know the guy so I can't ask him. And he doesn't owe me anything, but I can't help but think of the fans who were so excited to see Adam and the rest of the band on their Transit of Venus tour maybe even for their first time only to be told, Adam resigned and the My Darkest Days singer is filling in his place. The departure of Adam hasn't gotten the band down, supposedly they're releasing another album, good on them for pushing through this unfortunate event.
And now for the biggest musical disappointment of 2012/2013. I've mentioned before that I am a huge Breaking Benjamin fan. Well my musical world almost exploded and died when I found out they were going through legal issues and Ben was suing band members for putting songs on their greatest hits album without asking him. They shut down their fanclub site, their forums went down, and all was silent from them. All because of a stupid cover of "Blow Me Away" and maybe the few previously unreleased tracks that are on Shallow Bay. I loved "Better Days" and "Lie to Me," so if Ben was worried about those songs or convinced that they weren't good enough, I reassure him they are perfect. And I can put my love of a band aside to judge the quality of their music. Case in point, those massive paragraphs about Wumpscut's Madman Szpital.
After long months of silence and nothingness from Breaking Benjamin's website. People started saying oh they broke up. Even when there's a quote of Ben Burnley saying when this s all said and done he's going to return to making music. It didn't change some people's opinions, and months of hoping this stupid law suit would end soon and Ben would return and be awesome again it happened.
I was convinced that the silence meant bad news for the band and for Ben. I prepared myself for the worst even though part of me knew Ben wouldn't just quit music forever. Not like this anyways. And then out of the blue one day the wait was over. The Breaking Benjamin twitter account posted something, good news...