Archive for March, 2011

Live – “Century”

When I heard that we have a blog to do on a song I was ecstatic. I love music and was interested to see what I would be writing about. When I found out a classmate is blogging about Arcade Fire it made me anxious because they are one of my favorite bands. I received the email from my TA and my song was Live’s Century. I am not a fan of Live, but I am open to all types of music and I am familiar with the band so I got right to listening. Live is an alternative rock/post-grunge band from Pennsylvania fronted by Ed Kowalczyk. They have been playing since 1988 and gained worldwide success in 1994 with their album Throwing Copper, which my father owns in my house. Following Copper, the band released Secret Samadhi in 1997. It was Live’s third album and debuted number 1 on the Billboard 200 charts. The band broke-up in 2009 after lead guitarist Chad Taylor wrote on his blog that the original “two-year hiatus” was more likely a permanent break-up.

My first listen of the song I decided not to look at the lyrics. It reminded of bands like Bush, Creed and Third Eye Blind. I immediately noticed that their was no opening riff to the song, Kowalczyk gets right into the singing. The track is very catchy and I think his voice is powerful and brings a lot to the music. What I also noticed was the song is very repetitive and I was not quite sure what the meaning of the song was so I decided to give it another listen with the lyrics open…

“Everyboy’s here/Puke stinks like beer” are the first words of the song and my reaction is pretty surprised. I am wondering what type of setting Kowalczyk is singing about. “You stole my idea” is what is still in my head and probably the most repeated lyric in the song. He is singing with angst and power and it really gets to you. What I do love about the song is how it starts off slow and builds up and throughout the track stays strong. I am struggling to figure out what the song is about, but it has something to do with a crisis happening in a city and where justice is being collapsed. In the opening lyrics I think he is saying how he is with a group a people and that they are crowded together. He sings “Let’s lay waste to this century…return to nothing, and help me.” I think he is talking about decadence, a decline in the society and how they can do something about it, with love. Pretty strong lyrics to a song I did not expect to have that type of meaning.

The song really stood out for me and opening me up to another band I never had the time to listen to. I found in my house not only Throwing Copper, but Secret Samadhi as well. I spoke to my father about Live and he explained to me how awesome they were and showed me some really good songs. He told me how big they were in the 90s and he had so much nostalgia that he was listening to the mall night. Live definitely impacted the music genre then and still does with different people everyday and by influencing other bands that are still playing now. Century is a very potent song that I will continue to listen to and the build-up is as good as I have heard in any song and this song goes to show why they were so successful.

Pump Up the Volume!

After Wednesday’s test I was ready to go home. I admit I was not interested in watching a film. Professor Dunphy then said it was a film from 1990. Great. Sarcasm. I had no choice and gave it a shot. Pump Up the Volume starring Christian Slater was the film. I’ve always heard of him, but never actually saw a movie with him. Slater plays Mark, also known as Happy Harry Hard-on which is his radio name. Mark moved to Arizona with his parents and started a pirate radio station because he felt alone. He did not get along with his parents and did not ease well with the move west. With the radio station he lets out his angst and gives his listeners his own take on society. He is raunchy, funny and crazy. During school hours he wears his goofy glasses and does not speak to anyone. As days go by, his listeners grow as well. He speaks about the school, the teachers and the principal. Nora, a student at the school finds out Mark is Hard Harry. One of Harry’s listeners commits suicide after calling in to the radio station. In response to this Harry tells his listeners to do something about their problems and everyone riots. An example of this is when Paige, the smart and popular girl in school takes all of her jewelry and awards and blows it up in the microwave.  Mark’s Harry slogans are spray painted all around the school. The teachers and principals do not know what to do about the problem and the FCC starts to get involved. Mark is back and forth throughout the film on the decision if he should continue his show with all of the school turned upside down. Kids were getting expelled from school because their SAT scores were too low and the principal was taking them out one by one, including Nora. Mark decides to finish this drama off by taking his radio station on the run broadcasting from his mother’s Jeep and Nora driving. His machine that disguises his voice is broken and it is the first time he is broadcasting as himself. Finally, they get to the crowd of kids at school where they usually listen to his show and tells them to do what he did. Make your own radio station, decide your own future. He eventually gets arrested. The movie ends showing a student start their own radio station just like Mark. This movie was a perfect example of how media can effect and influence a group of people and it shows how the students follow it with pride. Whatever Mark said, the students would say. Hard Harry was a legend at their school. He was the voice to their problems. After the film I was happy I watched it and I really enjoyed it. I was a great example of what we were learning with class on how important the media is and how influential it can be. I guess I’ll trust the Professor’s movie choice next time.

Mad Men – Ep. 4 – New Amsterdam

I am really excited for this next episode just looking at the title. So far the show has my attention and cannot wait to see what it hits me with next. Pete’s wife, Trudy comes to the office and takes him out for a “surprise.”It happens to be she takes him to an apartment. It seems like she is pressuring him to get the place, but financially Pete is not ready to commit to something like that.

We then see Pete talking to his parents. Him and his father don’t look like they have such a great relationship. He disapproves of his job mostly. The reason for going to his parents was to ask them for money for the apartment. His father is not interested in helping him out. I feel bad for Pete. He is a sleaze, but he is trying to make his wife happy.

Don and Pete meet with a steel-maker named Walter and Don presents his ads. He does not like them and Pete gets the man to stay an extra day. Pete makes Don look bad in the meeting and he is mad at Pete. Just another part of their tension.

Betty is babysitting Helen’s kids and she is in the restroom while Glen, Helen’s oldest child walks in on Betty. She is furious. When she yells at him, Glen starts compliments her. This is so weird. She seems very uncomfortable but goes along with it. Disturbing.

That night, Pete and Trudy go out with Trudy’s parents and the apartment comes up. Pete is pessimistic about the whole thing, but his father in law insists he wants to help out with the money.

Behind Don’s back, Pete meets with Walter. He tries to pitch him his ideas when Walter tells him to enjoy the night and “get off the clock!” At the follow-up meeting the next day at Sterling Cooper, Don reveals his new ideas. Walter likes it and explained that Pete pitched him something similar the night before.

After the meeting, Don is irate and fires Pete. Roger and Don go to Cooper the other company owner and he explains that they can’t let Pete go because of his family name. They would lose a lot of accounts if he is fired. Don second guesses his importance and status at Sterling Cooper when he ears this. Roger reinstates Pete while telling him Don saved him job. He did this so he respects Don more and does not go behind his back again.

The episode ends with Pete and Trudy looking at the apartment again with the building owner and Trudy’s parents. Pete is tense and not into buying this apartment. It closes as he is starting at the New York City skyline, having a thought with himself.

I would rate this episode a 4 out of 5. I still have not seen anything as good as the first. There was a lot of weird moments for me in this one. The scene with Betty and Helen’s son Glen was very strange. I think Pete caught a break with the Walter meeting because he looked like he was having a crisis at one point. After four episodes, there is tons of mayhem including cheating, feminism, smoking, working, and American culture.

 

 

Mad Men – Ep. 3 – Marriage of Figaro

Round 3. Let me start off by saying the authenticity of the 60’s is remarkable. The episode begins with Don on a train looking through ads on a magazine. That’s a really cool scene. Ad men looking at other ads. Anyway, he bumps into an  old “friend” that calls him Dick Whitman. You can tell this is every awkward for Don and he carries on the conversation till the man leaves. He has a sigh of relief once he is left alone.

Pete returns to work from his honeymoon and his friends want to know scandalous details from his trip. He gets a warm welcome from all the employees and walks into his office and there is an Asian man in his office working with chickens. I thought that was a funny joke on his first day back.

Peggy and Pete have a run in at the office and it is a little awkward. They speak briefly about the night of his bachelor party and they agree that it never happened. She looks a little disappointed. This is definitely not the end of their “relationship.”

Pete goes to Don’s office and he does not get such a warm welcome from him. Pete looks up to Don, so I can see he is hurt when Don doesn’t act so nice to him. They have a meeting with Rachel, the jewish department store owner. While one of the men explains some ideas, Don and Rachel lock eyes. I have a feeling this is going somewhere. He walks her down and says he will meet her tonight. Don is sucking up to her so he can get business done with her, and he is pretty good at it.

Rachel brings Don to the rooftop of her store and says that this was her home and explains that her mother died giving birth to her. Don goes in for a kiss. Knew it…Woah. He just told her he is married. Did not expect that. She is upset and says the account with Sterling Cooper stay, but she wants Don off of it.

The next day is Don’s daughter’s birthday party. Betty invited all her friends, including the new neighbor Helen and her son Glenn. Helen is single and while at the party the women are talking about their honeymoons. If I were Helen I would be very uncomfortable. Helen is then talking to Carlton who is Francine’s husband. Francine is best friends with Betty. Carlton is offering his paternal skills to her. She started getting the wrong impression, so he shot it down as to just helping out.

Don went to pick up his daughter’s birthday cake and he doesn’t show up until hours later. Betty begins to worry. The scene shows Don in his car by the railroad tracks resting in his own thoughts. He finally comes home with a golden retriever for his daughter as her birthday gift. Betty is almost speechless as Don falls asleep. This episode was very different. It showed Don as a family man while he was building a playhouse for his daughter and video the party. It was nice to see him out of the office and out of his suit for once and living like a normal person. I am going to give this episode a 4 out of 5. I was very happy with the character development in this episode and it was more unpredictable than the other episodes. I happen to be very engaged with this show and I am still hungry for more episodes! Now I know why this show is so popular.

Mad Men – Ep. 2 – Ladies Room

I am pumped for episode 2 and digging the theme music to this show. Don, Roger and their wives are out to dinner and yes, they are smoking. They are talking about their childhood and Don get’s shy and does not want to speak of it. Betty, Don’s wife goes to the ladies room with Roger’s wife Mona and has trouble putting on her lipstick. Her hands go numb and Mona assists her with it. At home, in bed Betti brings up childhood again and Don brings up a great point, “It’s like politics, religion, or sex, why talk about it?” Something is clearly part of his past that he does not like to talk about and I am very interested to find out.

Don is approached by his Roger and a partner about running Richard Nixon’s presidential campaign. Roger originally asked him about this in the first episode and Don shot it down quickly. Finally, Don commits after a little convincing.

Back at the office, Paul, an ad man who works for Don, tries to sweet talk Peggy and she cleverly rejects him. Joan, the head secretary invites Peggy to lunch when they run into some ad men at the agency. One of them made a joke about Pete that he is on his honeymoon and did not leave the room. Peggy looked interested and uncomfortable at the same time. Something is fishy with those two. The men at lunch are hitting on Peggy as well and it seems like everyone is viewing her as the new house on the market.

Betty is driving with the kids and suddenly, her hands get numb again and she crashes into someone’s lawn. I actually got worried during this scene. Don later urges Betty to see a doctor immediately. While this is going on Don is continuing his affair with the woman last episode. I came to the conclusion that this is the way men act back in the 60s. It is pretty sleazy but pretty awesome, too. It goes to show they really don’t care. They don’t care what women think, what their wives think, what a life.

Don brings home a watch for Betty after work. She starts to cry during dinner because of her “condition.” Don looks worried and I’m getting pretty nervous with this angle because she should see a doctor already so we know what is wrong with her! Don calls in sick the next day and finally brings her to the doctor. Then he goes to the woman he is having an affair with. He is so legendary.

At the office Peggy goes into Paul’s office to tell him she cannot go to lunch. He shuts the door and starts kissing her. It was too obvious that he was into her and this was bound to happen. She rejects him once again and say there is someone else. Peggy is officially bugging out after that run in with Paul and she feels like everyone is hitting on her. I understand where she is coming from. The men are looking at her like she is a piece of meat.

Betty is at a psychiatrist venting all her issues. Don is cheating again. All episode he keeps asking himself what do women want? That night, he takes his wife out for dinner. When they get home he calls the doctor to check up on the appointment his wife had that day. The episode ended with the doctor saying, “I had a really interesting hour with your wife today.” Another really good episode, I did not like it as much as the first but definitely keeping me going. A lot of filler stories going on right now.I do happen to like when Don is working hard and showing his true talent as an ad men. I am going to rate this episode a 4 out of 5 because I know how well this show can be and I am expecting even more next time around.

Mad Men – Ep. 1 – Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

Taking place in New York in the 1960s, Don Draper is sitting alone at a bar, smoking a cigarette. The waiter comes by and Don tries to convince him to change cigarettes he smokes to his personal favorite, Lucky Strikes. The waiter brings up a point that Reader’s Digest claims it will kill you. Don disregarded it and looked around a room of men with cigarettes in their hands and replied, “Yeah, I heard about that.” Right when I saw that, I decided this guy is awesome.

I am watching this show on my MacBook while writing notes as it goes. I chose this show because of the critical acclaim it has received. It has been nominated for an abundance of Emmy Awards and wins best drama almost every year. I am also a big fan of Jon Hamm who plays the protagonist Don Draper.

Later that night, Don goes to some woman’s apartment and tells her about some big meeting he has the next day. The meeting happens to be with Lucky Strikes, the tobacco company he tried to persuade the waiter to buy. He starts getting very intimate with her and stays in the apartment for the night. Don has to be a bachelor that gets around a lot. He is a good-looking, top ad men in New York, which girl wouldn’t want him.

Sterling Cooper, a huge ad agency in New York, employing some of the best ad men in the city, including soon-to-be Pete Campbell. He is on the phone with his fiance while his friends are planning his bachelor party that night. No way this guy is loyal to her and I’m not so surprised by this. Peggy, “The New Girl,” is Don’s new secretary is introduced to the company and gets settled. She seems a little different to me. She meets Pete while he is in Don’s office getting ready for a meeting and he makes some rude comments to her and I still stand alone with my thoughts on Pete.

The meeting is with a Jewish woman and Don is startled that he is sitting down with her, and not a man. Rachel,  owner of a department store wants to turn it in a high-end store like Chanel. Don is losing patience with her and say, “I am not going to let a woman talk to me like that – this meeting is over” and walks out. Amazing. Woman clearly do not have a lot of respect at  the time and Don proves that. The meeting with Lucky Strike is going on and Don and Pete are accompanied by their boss, Roger Sterling. He explains that they cannot advertise that cigarettes are safe anymore. Don is stunned by this and is at a loss of words. Pete speaks up and fails miserably and the Lucky Strike owners get up to leave. Don saves the meeting by selling them that advertisement is all about “happiness.”

I have noticed how popular cigarettes where in this time. In every scene, everyone is smoking. Now I know where the episode title “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes,” is from. After the meeting, Don looks like superman at the agency from the job he did. Peggy tries to hit on Don at the end of the day because I think she got the impression from the other employees that he likes to fool around with his secretaries. He turns her down and tells her how unprofessional that was.

Pete gets turned down by a girl at his bachelor party and shows up at Peggy’s apartment drunk and she leads him in. I think this will be a season long affair. Don gets home after a long day. He goes to his bedroom and wakes up a woman. He then goes and looks at two children sleeping. What!? He is married? Wow. I have to give this episode a 5 out of 5. The dialogue in the scenes were great and I loved how detailed the show is. What a way to end of a great first episode.