Nerdy Heartbeat

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The Most Irritating Things About The Modern Music World August 5, 2010

WARNING: Lots of ranting and rambling that will probably not make any sense below.

Yeah, let’s face it everybody. This little thing called the music industry is becoming more and more disconnecting with reality. But what is it that makes it so irritating. Well a lot of things: there’s the business’ ethic, the arrogance of certain subcultures, the ignorance for anything new. Frankly, we’re all to blame. Yes even you. So let’s scoff at this crazy thing called the music industry.

Pseduo-Feminist Pop Rock Singer-Songwriters That Ironically, Only Sing About Boys

Hey! Did you here? Women are no longer objects of affection to men! I know right? So put down those frying pans and vacuums and bon-bons (women still eat those right?). You are free. You are independent. You are woman! Hear you… sing about your super lame ex-boyfriend all the time. Okay, let me just say straight up that I’m not being sexist. I’m all for equal rights and what not but this is just cashing in on a trend. A trend that’s based around how people find it mindblowing that women can make rock music too. And ever since artists like Pink, Kelly Clarkson and Avril Lavigne broke out in the mainstream any girl that can so much as hold a guitar can get big. This is not the problem though. The problem is that they can’t go beyond the “HOLY CRAP I’M A GIRL ROCKER” phase and pretty much continue to make mediocre pop-rock about broken hearts.

I mean look at Orianthi. She can play guitar really really well. Damn well. She can shred like a mo-fo. And while her first album had this awesomeness:

The rest of it consisted of Kelly Clarkson b-sides with guitar solos tacked on. I mean don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with a little moping in your music. I’m pretty sure some these girls have gone through all kinds of “pretty serious and sad stuff” but why lyrically do you have to be so vauge and bland about it. I don’t feel your break-up. All I got is that: “there’s this guy, he did something lame and now I don’t like him anymore because he’s stupid.” Be personal, be raw, make us feel the pain you felt and for the love of Ray J don’t use live journal worthy metaphors like “my heart has turned into a coffin that is covered in thorns and dirt and other gothic stuff”. And to be honest, if you really are totally over this one guy, then why do you keep singing about him?

In fact, if Janelle Monae and Jenny Lewis taught us anything, it’s that girls don’t always have to sing about boy problems or love in general. There are so many other great things you can sing about. For example:

  • Fresh dew dripping off leaves
  • A lovely slice of blueberry pie
  • Talking dogs with jetpacks
  • What is Victoria’s Secret?

And these are just a handful. There is more to this world than falling in and out of love girls (this can all apply to dudes too… I’m looking at you generic skinny dude with acoustic guitar).

Okay, I know I’m being really facetious. I know that most of these artists don’t write these songs, they’re mostly just written by producers of the album. All the people behind the curtain probably coerce pop rockers to sing these songs cause they’re easy to market (hey every angsty teenage girl needs a soundtrack right?). I mean hell, Lady Gaga, being a massive pop icon, has only written one song entirely by herself. So maybe this should be directed to the businessmen telling Kelly Clarkson she should refer to some boy that made her mad as her muse. But still to everyone involved, let them girls rock and roll (or whatever) but please don’t use your high school poetry book for song-writing inspiration that much.

Classic Rock Refusing to Die

Let’s say, hypothetically, you’re 10 again. Puberty is aflame. You ask out of curiosity about the birds and the bees. Out of nowhere, some old guy you barely even know starts going on a tangent about sex, talking about stuff you really don’t care about. You tell him, “Well that’s nice and I’m sure you have fond memories, but I want to hear the 20-somethings perspective on the subject.” That is what I feel like whenever classic rock is on the radio which is, if you didn’t know already, all the f—ing time. And if that’s not enough every hard rock band from the 80s is still making records despite it being years past their prime. Nothing against the classics, artists like Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen are all time favorites of mine, but I really don’t want to hear AC/DC state how they know how to rock and/or roll for the 18th billion time.

Not only that but they’re are so many “new” bands out there like Airbourne or Jet that are big solely because they mimic the sound of a classic rock band. There’s nothing wrong with using past sounds to influence your own but when your songs sounds almost exactly like something that would be on the new AC/DC record, there’s something wrong. Now if modern bands were getting as much exposure as “classic” bands, this wouldn’t be a problem. But their not. Eventually, a bone is thrown and a band like Muse or Coldplay or Kings of Leon reach immense popularity but for the most part, new rock music is ignored. We get it guys, you defined a generation, probably birthed a new genre and influenced a myriad of bands. But come on dudes. Lend someone else the spotlight. There’s plenty of illegitimate children you probably can be taking care of right now.

Top 40 Radio is Still The Only Way Most People Discover Music

Now before you cry foul about how I’m some hipster douche denouncing anything mainstream, let me defend. I am not every metalhead on the internet screaming “I never listen to pop music but I know it sucks”. I like pop music. A lot. I’m down with Gaga. Kanye is probably one of my favorite artists of all time. And Drake’s new album is one of my picks for the best album of the year so far. I don’t hate Top 40 music. Just the way Top 40 is organized. It’s still one of the only ways the mass public discovers music. And they say with great power comes great responsibility, well that responsibility made Ke$ha the breakout artist of the year and continues to push auto-tuned overproduced music that have nothing to say besides hitting the club, eying some sexy thing dancing on the floor, boning someone and simultaneously falling in love (because that always happens). It’s music that’s probably on the The Situation’s and Snooki’s playlists. And no that’s not a good thing.

I mean I had some embarrassing tastes back in middle school. Right before I started getting into bands like Brand New and Taking Back Sunday, I only listened to Linkin Park, Nickelback, Good Charlotte and Evanescence. I legitimately thought those bands were underground. Yeah. I know. But I was not only young but as far as music I wasn’t exposed to anything besides Z100 (the top 40 station in my area). I just started to watch MTV and Fuse during this time, I would subscribe to Spin within a few years and I only used the Internet for AIM and games. It was 2002/03. I had no iTunes Genius or Last.fm accounts or Pandora Radio introducing me to new music, expanding and broadening my taste.

It’s 2010. And we have all of these things. Radio has succumbed to something people listen to in their car when they forgot their iPod. Yet still, even with the endless music-related information on the internet, people still only restrain themselves to what’s on the Top 40 format and dismiss everything else simply because they don’t know it. It’s kind of weird how the Top 40 crowd are turning into elitist hipsters only instead of praising Animal Collective and Vampire Weekend, they’re listening to Ke$ha and Jason DeRulo. It’s like being fat and having a horrible personality. But the new-found top 40 elitism is just a result of a much bigger disaster…

Our Generation has A Serious Elitist Problem

Okay let’s face reality for a bit. Everyone isn’t going to like what you like, particularly music. Music is probably the most subjective art form ever. One person’s favorite band or artist, is another person’s most hated. In this day and age, there are so many genres and sub-genres and subcultures and desire for solely what’s “indie or underground” (or vice-versa) that there isn’t really a general consensus anymore. This isn’t a problem. At all actually. If you’re that passionate about something you should display that passion with expressing what you think about a certain band, album, song etc. It crosses into a problem when you become a complete douche about it.

There’s a difference between being opinionated and being an elitist. Opinionated is saying you don’t like a certain band. Elitist is saying a certain band sucks and has no talent. Hey, it’s one thing to hate a band but when you, some kid on the internet who isn’t in a band and probably never even picked up an instrument, are saying that a band, one that probably makes more money than you ever will and has a massively dedicated fanbase, is a talentless hack; you just sound like an idiot. I mean the internet brought a new age of elitism. Anyone can voice their opinion on something and on the net, the more ridiculous you sound, the bigger impact your voice will probably have. This results in the internet occasionally becoming a pool for elitism: Gaga fans hating Kesha fans, Metallica and Slayer fans hating Bullet for My Valentine and Trivium fans, Taking Back Sunday and Brand New fans hating 3OH!3 and Cobra Starship fans. It gets ridiculous.

But alas, this isn’t even the problem. After all, it’s just kids bored on the internet trying to piss people off. This all changed though in 2008 when a handful of violent riots emerged in Mexico City and Tijuana. Why you ask? Political oppression? Racial/social ignorance? No. Apparently, the “metalhead”, “punk” and “goth” kids of Mexico were really mad that there are kids out there who dress in tight clothes, makeup and like My Chemical Romance. Oh. And then they got like 20 thousand of their “non-poser” friends to gang up and beat the ever living crap out of like three “emo” kids. By the way, the said 3 “emo” kids are probably 5-10 years older than them.

There were also reports of a gang of 10 “metalhead” beating a teenage girl unconscious because she has the basic characteristics of what an “emo girl” is. And, surprisingly, this started as a result of a slew of anti-“emo” groups that emerged online in Mexico. All the threats and plans of an “emo holocaust” went from internet joke, to actual reality. I mean first off, if you actually believe that “emo” is a relevant subculture or genre in 2008, than you A. know very little about music and B. are kind of an idiot but that’s even besides the point. Anti-“emo” groups are all over the net and still exist but very few actually act out in such violently disgusting ways.

This isn’t about what genre is better or what genre sucks. This is about acting like a sane logical human being. You’re looking down on and sometimes even physically hurting people because of their taste in music. It makes our generation look like a bunch of violence-prone, mentally bats–t brats that have absolutely no concept on how human beings treat each other in civilized society. Which maybe is why the industry keeps classic rock over saturated because knowing what we do to each other, they’d want nothing to do with it. And maybe that’s why today’s music world is filled with so many idiotic pop tunes, stupid people need stupid music right?

So stop sipping the haterade and acting like a jackass. Because maybe, just maybe if we act a little smarter, the music industry might give our generation more respect.

 

The Human Centipede Review July 26, 2010

Filed under: Review — andthismakesaheartbeat @ 4:24 am
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We all knew that guy in high school. You what guy I’m talking about. Sat by himself in the cafeteria sporting his Slipknot hoodie, huddling in his PSP while glaring at his classmates with the “one day I will kill you” look. I knew one of these kids. One time he told me the most efficient way to torture someone without actually killing them. It was awkward. And disturbing. But even this kid and all the other “that guys” in the world couldn’t conceive the concept of The Human Centipede, a disgustingly absurd and ridiculous new addition to the torture porn genre. The film is already getting branded cult status with a premise that makes everyone think: “Wait… really?”

Torture porn is already a form of horror that isn’t taken seriously at all. Especially since many of them actually try to give off some kind of social commentary about morality and primal human nature… or something. But instead of coming off as smart they just seem to contradict themselves with their messages. Saw is a perfect example. One moment it becomes Our Town and preaches to you about how people don’t appreciate life and stuff and the next minute they show some girl screaming and crying hysterically because there’s fifty nails getting slammed in her skull because… she smoked a cigarette and wished death on someoneonce. The Human Centipede however is the real deal… I guess. While some mention how it can be an allegory for Nazi experiments but that’s pushing it. There’s no moral or life lesson or social commentary. This movie is literally 90 minutes of three people being forced into the most horrible situation ever… for no real reason other than the torturer just wants to make people feel pain.

The Human Centipede tells the whimsical tale of Dr. Heiter who after being known for separating conjoined twins now wants to surgically connect several subjects into a single specimen with a single digestive tract. And he plans to do this by (sigh) joining people surgically from the mouth to the anus. Why you ask? Honestly, just because he can. Well that and he’s completely f–king insane. The three helpless victims are some Japanese guy who spends the entire time on screen screaming and two American girls on a European road trip, get lost and then literally spend 10 whole minutes complaining about how lost they are. They’re kidnapped by Heiter. Heiter tells them they’ll be rimming each other for the rest of their lives. Victims scream and resist which eventually results in a extremely slow-paced chase scene. Heiter performs surgery and the human centipede is born.

Once you see the disgusting creation and once the disturbing factor starts to wear off, and believe me it does, the film gets boring, fast. I mean as much as I want to see the doctor make the creature fetch him his newspaper (this actually happens) and then later screaming “FEED HER” to the centipede (I’m pretty sure I don’t need to explain this is further detail), it really drags on too long with way too much cat and mouse scenes and way way too much screaming in agony and pain. I mean I know, they’re attached from the mouth to the b-hole but like half of the film is seeing these people going through the agony of being this thing. It goes from a ridiculously fun cult film to borderline exploitation a bit too fast. Controversial content can only keep a movie going for so long.

I mean if your intrigued, for whatever reason, knock yourself out but don’t be surprised if your more bored than grossed/freaked out. But hey, at least Dr. Heiter isn’t talking about how he’s doing this because he wants the victims to be more grateful about their lives, right? (But seriously Saw movies needs to stop being made).

RIYL: Honestly, I don’t even know, exotic European erotica maybe?

 

Streets of Gold: Love ’em or Hate ’em, These Colorado Dudes Still Love to Party July 9, 2010

Filed under: Review — andthismakesaheartbeat @ 1:20 am
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Yo bro! This 3OH!3 band is totally destroying music! How can people like ’em? They’re not even an actual “band”. They have absolutely no talent, yet their famous! What the hell? Yup 3OH!3, the Colorado-based electro-rap duo, have their share of haters but in a scene plastered with bands like Brokencyde, Millionaires and like 28 radio hits each month that have to do with *ahem* “gettin all up with that shorty on the dance floor”, is two dudes making some silly party music really the worst thing ever?

Don’t answer that question. It really doesn’t matter because frankly, 3OH!3 are walking on streets of gold (see what I did there?). What started off as a white suburban version of Spank Rock became something far more extreme. Every Warped Tour they go on, their fanbase of scene kids, ironic hipsters, biddies and kids who just love to dance gets bigger and more dedicated. It all peaked at the 2009 Warped, in the midst of “Don’t Trust Me” going Top 40; I was there, in a sea of neon and stutter shades. The band’s gang signs were up with pride as the crowd from one end to the other sang and danced in unison. It was ridiculous. It was silly. But it was awesome. Why? Well…

I was never really able to explain my admiration for 3OH!3 to the haters out there other than that it’s just really fun party music. But even that’s a weird reason, for me at least: I prefer Midtown over Cobra Starship anyday, I roll my eyes whenever someone raves about Jason DeRulo or Ke$ha and my party mix CDs consist of punk-pop, indie rock and alternative rap. I’m not into this whole dance party music scene that’s taking over and yet, I love 3OH!3.

My odd admiration for these dudes became a bit more justifiable once I heard Streets of Gold, their sophomore album. The beats are tighter, the choruses are catchier and the overall sound denounces any argument of how 3OH!3 may fall under the extremely unflattering tag, “crunkcore”. In fact, if you need to compare to their previous album Want, it’s more “Don’t Trust Me” and “Colorado Sunshine” and less “Holla Till You Pass Out” and “Chokechain”. There’s far more singing/sing-talking on the record which gives it some variety from the sing-a-long ready ballads “I’m Not the One” and “Streets of Gold” to the Smash Mouth-esque “I Know How to Say” to the apocalyptic electro-rock “Love 2012” to the poppy summer anthem “WeAre Young”. That being said, there’s still some of the atypical dirty electronic-heavy rap their known for. The hit/miss “House Party” is reminiscent of their early work with a hypnotic beat while “I Can Do Anything” boasts some of the better raps these guys have done.

Like Want, it’s all good harmless fun but this time around, it’s a little less trashy. There’s not as much WTF-inducing phrases and lyrically, it’s a vast improvement from their previous work (which honestly isn’t really saying much). That being said with all it’s improvements, this won’t change any of the naysayers’ minds. Don’t like 3OH!3, this album probably won’t convince you otherwise.

I mean let’s be honest, this isn’t the best album of the year. Heck, it won’t even make my top 10 but it’s a good summer album, a damn good summer album. In fact, many of the tracks on Streets of Gold will most definitely be played on your party playlists for months to come. So for those who even mildly liked their previous stuff, check this out. It’ll make you dance and sing like a fool but you’ll love every second of it. And for those who think 3OH!3 is the worst thing to come out of the music industry, go listen to that pop-punk band in your own form of ecstasy and let the kids dance in peace… oh and let me know when the new Taking Back Sunday album is coming out.

RIYL: Cobra Starship, Family Force 5, The Higher, anything AP.net hates

Best Tracks: “Streets of Gold”, “I Know How to Say”, “WeAre Young”, “I’m Not the One”, “I Can Do Anything”, “Double Vision”

 

Toy Story 3: The End of One of the Greatest Trilogies Ever? June 21, 2010

Filed under: Review — andthismakesaheartbeat @ 10:35 pm
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Pixar is on top of the world. They’ve made some of the best films of the past decade: Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Wall-E and most recently, Up. So what can they do after going on a running streak of masterpieces. Return to what they started by completing their beloved series: Toy Story.

The third installment has literally been teased for years through blooper reels, rough promotional posters (most revealing a different plot where all the Buzz Lightyears are recalled) but it finally hit theaters and audiences had a hunch, after Up and Wall-E, that it was probably going to trek through darker territory.

In Toy Story 3, Andy is leaving for college in a few days. Worried about being stuck in the attic, or worse thrown out, the toys make the decision to escape to a day care center. Still under the impression that he’s Andy’s toy and that he should always be there for him, Woody leaves day care to return to Andy. The other toys are greeted by Lotso, the head toy at Sunnyside Daycare. However, the toys realize that under Lotso’s cuddly exterior is a narcissistic tyrant who has created a strict caste system at Sunnyside. The film quickly turns into an energetic prison escape film homaging to classics like The Great Escape and Escape from Alcatraz.

Throughout the prison escape story arc great new characters are introduced including the ridiculously flamboyant, fashioned-obsessed Ken, the overly theatrical Shakespearean Mr. Pricklepants and of course Lotso who develops into one of the most surprisingly devious (and ultimately tortured) villains of the past few years. He truly is a manipulative force to be reckoned but the big reason he’s such an amazing villain is that all this trickery and evil is coming from this:

a character that’s ultimately a combination of Winnie the Pooh and Barney.

The writing is smart, proving once again that Pixar are truly master storytellers and frankly, remind us why we love all these characters in the first place. The visuals are very impressive although A. not as gorgeous as recent Pixar films and B. doesn’t really show itself off in 3D. The only serious problem about Toy Story 3 is that the ending gets a bit on the awkward side and (let’s hope to G-d not) can possibly give room for another sequel.

But frankly, that’s just me being as nit-picky as possible. This movie is fantastic, not just because it’s a fun, hilarious and deeply emotionally moving summer movie but it brings the series full circle in ways many didn’t think were possible. Toy Story is more than just about your toys coming to life and having adventures. It’s about overcoming the fear of loss and moving on to different, bigger and possibly scarier things. Similar to Where the Wild Things Are, it’s not exactly a kids movie but more of a nostalgic trip for those young adults and 20-somethings who grew up with the series. That being said, unlike Wild Things there’s no severe emotional breakdowns or tearing off limbs, so it won’t scare the crap out of kids: it’s still a family film to an extent. Pixar have truly made their mark on not just the animation world but the entire film industry and ending their first major series (especially on such an emotionally powerful note) is a truly remarkable achievement. Years from now, I think it’s safe to say that Toy Story 3 will be considered one of the best trilogies of our generation. After Wall-E, I said Pixar can’t top this. After Up, I said Pixar definitely can’t top this. Now after Toy Story 3, I can honestly say that this has to be the prime of their work. Not just because it’s a near perfect film…

…but because their next movie is Cars 2…

 

Nerdy Heartbeat’s Epic Adventure In The Land Of Rising Sun: Part Three June 7, 2010

Filed under: Japan — andthismakesaheartbeat @ 3:15 pm
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Day 3

Went to our first temple and shrine: the Daijuji Temple. It was simply gorgeous and instantly learned about the etiquette regarding entering temples: how to take your shoes off before entering, how to pray etc. etc.

We then visited the Toyota Factory where we were greeted by two really really awesome prototype products: a fully functional robot that can play various songs on the trumpet

as well as a very futuristic looking wheelchair/car.

They were both insanely cool and definitely gave the image I thought of as Japan being “the technological capital of the world”. After the showcase, we went to the actual factory where we saw the massive assembly line where each Toyota car is made. Additionally, at a cafe near the factory, I discovered my new food-related love: oddly enough, eel (in the top right):

As our tour guide/instructor puts it quite simply: “it’s f**king amazing”.

Next stop was the Hatcho Miso factory where Hatcho Miso, a soup made out of just soy sauce, water and salt is created over the span of 2 years.

This miso has been popularized by being the choice of the Emperor for years. We saw how it was made and then got free samples.

It was pretty good but the Hatcho Miso flavored ice cream was amazing. Probably one of the best flavors I’ve ever had.

Day 4

Shrines, Shrines and more Shrines

The architecture of some of these places is simply astounding at times. It was also interesting to learn that before entering places like this, you had to “cleanse your spirit” in water fountains located before entering.

Today was also the birthday of one of our instructors. We all celebrated at an irish pub owned by another one of our instructors. It was a fantastic time and a great way to wind down after all of the traveling we have been doing.

Day 5

We visited Okazaki Castle. It was enormous and filled with tons of cool stuff including lots and lots of samurai swords and armor: which we had the awesome opportunity of trying on. The whole place was covered with history, digital reenactments of war and some really interesting stories involving conflicts with rival feudal Japan families.

We were also able to get a great view of Okazaki City from the top of the castle.

Later that day we visited a fish restaurant. The catch? We had to catch, skewer and cook the fish ourselves. It was a huge feast and everything was delicious. I seriously love this place more as the days go by. All the cultural differences; the way it’s at times the complete opposite of America, really intrigue me. The food is more elegant here, always needing to eat with chopsticks. Every building and structure has a substantial amount of charm and visual appeal. Sure the differences give the impression that living here wouldn’t exactly be the best choice for me but it’s definitely the kind of place I would love to visit time and again. And the best part is that I still have about 10 more days here.

 

2010 MTV Movie Awards Review

Sigh. As many of you know the MTV Movie Awards just ended this year and well… yeah. It’s odd how I can remember when films like Se7en, Pulp Fiction and Scream won and now it’s pretty much favored towards teenage girl-tainment. Sure there were a few good winners but overall it was just just awful. But instead of continuing to rant, I’m going to review every winner with my favorite form of internet based communication:

Animated GIFS.

Biggest Badass Star: Rain from Ninja Assassin

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Best Scared as S*** Performace: Amanda Seyfried in Jennifer’s Body (Beating District 9, Zombieland, Paranormal Activity and Drag Me to Hell)

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Best WTF! Moment: Naked Trunk Surprise from The Hangover

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Best Fight: Ali Larter and Beyonce from Obsessed

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Best Kiss: Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson from New Moon

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Best Comedic Performance: Zack Galafanakis from The Hangover

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Best Villain: Tom Felton from Harry Potter

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Breakthrough Performance: Anna Kendrick from Up in the Air

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Best Female Performance: Kristen Stewart from New Moon

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Best Male Performance:Robert Pattinson from New Moon

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MTV Generation Award:Sandra Bullock


Global Superstar: Robert Pattinson

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Best Movie: New Moon

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Interpret any of these as you will but ultimately, with the exception of a select few, this isn’t even a mediocre representation of the “best of” 2009 American movies even ones catered to our youth. If I would this Movie Awards a full review it would be this (ironically from one of the best films of 09):

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Nerdy Heartbeat’s Epic Adventure In The Land Of Rising Sun: Part Two June 3, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — andthismakesaheartbeat @ 10:02 am
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Day 2:

We take our orientation in the course and get placement. I’m in beginners, obviously and began to become accustomed with the program we use to learn Hiragana. It all seems that it will be a hearty challenge but it will definitely be rewarding.

We then began to journey around the city more seeing some of its beauty:

…as well as more of its ridiculousness:

Seriously, Japan has way too many hats with nonsensical sayings on them…

We also decided to go to a local ice cream parlor… Cold Stone:

Yeah I know. This isn’t exactly delving into Japanese culture but hey it made me feel at home. That and the girls who made our ice cream were the most adorably enthusiastic people ever.

I also made shrimp for dinner and surprisingly, it was actually really good.

Stay tuned very very soon for a posting of a very eventful day 3.