The Blood Brothers
A sticker on the plastic wrapping of the Blood Brothers’ new album, Young Machetes, advises listeners that “this recording contains controversial material which may be offensive to some.” Here comes every single second to the rapture dripping from clocks ticking all our misadventures” (on “1, 2, 3, 4 Guitars”).
It should come as no surprise, then, that these guys’ videos keep getting rejected by MTV and Fuse. Maybe it’s true that this music is way too out there for most of us to get. Then again, I’ll give them credit for the Montreal girls smashing skateboards in the street on “Camouflage, Camouflage”. The Blood Brothers sure know what they’re talking about, even if the rest of us don’t.
2 / 5
The Blood Brothers play La Tulipe Nov. 6.
Two years after suffering the sophomore jinx with Powerballin’, St.-Louis rapper Chingy returns with his dual-themed album Hoodstar. This record is about hit singles, and it is littered with them. If one were looking for carefully crafted tunes, let’s face it: one would be better off with a Nelly CD instead, and that is not saying much.
The first half, the “hood” side, was meant to exhibit his harder edge. Chingy in this record is as edgy as a tennis ball. Guest appearance from Oscar-winning group Three 6 Mafia falls flat only because Three 6 Mafia outshines him terribly in skills and grit. And that is a trend that permeates throughout this record. Chingy’s collaborators are beyond his level and it shows. The list is a force to be reckoned with from Jermaine Dupri to booty music kingpin Mr. Collipark. Yet, it does not translate into creating improved tracks, as it should; it only displays his limitations.
The “Star” side, conversely, had the objective of providing the radio-friendly hip-hop club tracks he has been known for since his breakout hit “Right Thurr.” Not only does he meet that objective, he shatters it. Almost every track contains hypnotizing beats for anyone ready to break into dance. The exception is a ballad. Chingy excels in hip-hop ballads. “Pulling Me Back,” featuring Tyrese, is as close to a carefully crafted tune as Chingy can get. His slow rhyming style is tailor-made for it. If he had struck a better balance between ballads and rump-shaking tracks on Hoodstar, it could have been his best record yet.
The distinction, lyrically or musically, between “Hood” and “Star” is nearly inexistent with sneaker endorsing titles like “Nike Aurr’s and Crispy Tee’s” representing the hood theme and “Brand New Kicks” the “Star” side, which defeats the purpose of creating them initially. Despite this hiccup, it is enough to propel him back to his successful days of “Right Thurr.”
My Chemical Romance
The Black Parade
Forget everything you’ve been fed regarding rock / alternative “albums of the year” up until this point. Beware, Billy Talent. Step back, Taking Back Sunday. Watch out, Underoath. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to The Black Parade!
On this highly anticipated third studio album, Jersey quintet My Chemical Romance may not reinvent or redefine modern rock. What they do instead is look back at their own rock heroes, which is what makes The Black Parade so goddamn awesome.
Really, when you consider the fact that frontman Gerard Way is about to turn 30, you wouldn’t suppose that he grew up listening to The Used, now would you?
In fact, this album bears huge references to everything from classic and glam-rock to early-day punk. Think Cheap Trick, think the Ramones. Think Pink Floyd. And of course, think Queen, Way’s all-time favourite band. Vocally, Way holds on to his old Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge vibe, all the while doing his best Freddie Mercury impersonation. The imitation is pretty convincing.
What makes this album so great is that, even despite all the dark imagery and Way’s occasional gravel-in-a-blender scream, it has something for just about anyone.
If you’re a fan of the power ballad, listen to “I Don’t Love You” or “Disenchanted” (originally recorded under the title “Shut Up And Play”). If you’re looking for something more instrumentally pleasing, check out “Mam a” or the tambourine-driven single “Welcome To The Black Parade.” Finally, if you are a big fan of MCR’s earlier stuff and like your Gerard Way raw and angsty, go with “House of Wolves” or “The Sharpest Lives”. Overall, all you need to know about this record is that it’s rock’n’roll all the way.
While the 15-year-old girls who used to swear by “Helena” an teen anthem “I’m Not Okay (I Promise)” will most certainly be disappointed, MCR’s older audience will be overjoyed.
In fact, if you know what’s good for you, hide this record from your parents. Chances are they’ll love it just as much as you will, and what could possibly be more scandalous than having your mom and dad approve of your music taste?
Rating: 4 / 5