My Top 20 Favorite Albums of 2017

Ladies and gentlemen, it is once again time for me to ramble on about music. To be more specific, it’s time to once again talk about my favorite albums of the recently ended year. 2017 as a year in general wasn’t great. Terror attacks, a less than desirable person becomes president of the United States, people die, people turn out to be sexually assaulting scumbags… there’s been a fuckload of horrible stuff happening in the year. But it has had some bright spots. Mainly in the world of entertainment. We’ve seen some great movies, shows, and games be released over the year. And the topic we’re talking about today is of course no exception to that. So now we’re here to talk about my favorites of the year. Now, there will of course be albums that I missed out on and might discover at a later date, but I don’t exactly have the time or patience to go through every album released just for the sake of this list. So let’s get into it. Some rules first.

Rule #1: This is my list. If you don’t agree with it, then you shouldn’t complain about it. Go make your own damn list. These are my choices.

Rule #2: I will not include any soundtracks/original scores here. This list is all about the albums put out by various bands/artists during the year. So you won’t really see “Baby Driver” or “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” or “Blade Runner 2049” on this list.

Rule #3: Only full-on albums. No EP’s or singles. The only reason why I’m including this rule is because an EP is technically not an album… it’s more like multiple singles. Like a taste of an album. So while I loved Greta Van Fleet’s “From the Fires”, it will not make an appearance on this list. But I do recommend it… it’s awesome.

Rule #4: No live concert albums. Those are not normal album releases. And they often contain older songs from the artists as well. Live concert albums are cool, but they won’t be on this list.

That should cover it. Here we go. These are my top 20 albums of 2017.

Number 20: Pink – Beautiful Trauma (Sample: What About Us)

The first entry on this list is the latest from pop singer Pink. I’m a huge fan of Pink and her music, which might come as a surprised to some of you due to my heavily publicized love of rock and metal. But I do like her. Out of all the mainstream pop artists out there these days, she somehow manages to appeal to me. Maybe it’s the devil-may-care attitude she portrays at times, maybe it’s that voice of hers, maybe it’s the lyrics, maybe it’s the structure of the songs… or maybe it’s a blend of all. And while this isn’t her greatest outing, it’s still a damn fine album.

Number 19: Queens of the Stone Age – Villains (Sample: The Way You Used To Do)

Number 19 is the seventh album from modern-ish rock band Queens of the Stone Age. And it’s good. Not much else I can say about it. It’s another Queens of the Stone Age album. Has distorted guitars, interesting vocals… it’s the stuff you can expect from these guys. It’s a good album. NEXT!

Number 18: Alice Cooper – Paranormal (Sample: Paranoiac Personality)

In this spot we have the newest album from legendary rock artist Alice Cooper. There are fast songs, there are songs with creepy things in them, there’s fun to be had… basically it’s Alice Cooper doing old school Alice Cooper with enough tweaks to make it stand out a little bit. I like Alice Cooper. Which means I like this. It’s a good album. Good ol’ fashioned rock a la Cooper.

Number 17: Neil Young & Promise of the Real – The Visitor (Sample: Already Great)

Neil Young. Musician. Legend. Canadian. In this album we see him collaborating with American rock band Promise of the Real to bring us a cool, ear-pleasing album filled with social commentary. Hell, the sample track I used for this is a jab at Trump’s “Make America Great Again”. It’s a timely album and another solid entry from one of the greatest musicians of all time.

Number 16: Robert Finley – Goin’ Platinum! (Sample: Get It While You Can)

The number 16 spot goes to the newest release from blues/soul singer Robert Finley. It’s a really cool album that shows how you’re never too old to release a fun and asskicking album. Sure, that was more the point of his previous album “Age Don’t Mean a Thing”, but I think it could apply to his newest album as well. It’s filled with fun tunes drenched in old school blues and soul, giving it a unique vibe that you never really hear these days. And that voice of his is just so cool. ’tis a damn good album

Number 15: Samantha Fish – Chills & Fever (Sample: Chills & Fever)

At number 15 we have an album from female blues musician Samantha Fish. Admittedly it is less blues-heavy than her previous albums, leaning more on soul and jazz. But it still kind of works, since the songs are still catchy and a lot of fun to listen to. And we do get some of her guitar playing on the album. She also has a really cool voice that I just love listening to.

Number 14: Gotthard – Silver (Sample: Tequila Symphony No. 5)

Here we have the latest release from Swiss hard rock band Gotthard. And while they don’t do anything outside of their comfort zone, what they do here is still great. Instead of being jacks of all trades, they aim to instead focus on one thing they’re good at and just do that. And I love that about this album… it’s just Gotthard being Gotthard. It’s great.

Number 13: Deep Purple – inFinite (Sample: Time For Bedlam)

From the band behind “Smoke on the Water”, “Highway Star”, “Perfect Strangers”, and many more classics comes a new hard rock album… and it’s good. These old men still got it. It’s definitely not the band’s best album (“Machine Head” still holds that crown), but it’s still a good return to form for them. It’s a good rock album.

Number 12: Otis Taylor – Fantasizing About Being Black (Sample: Twelve String Mile)

At number 12 we have the latest from blues musician Otis Taylor. It’s a very raw album with some cool and damn interesting tracks. Combine that with Taylor’s voice and you get some damn fine music. It’s about some serious and interesting subjects, mainly civil rights and such. And hearing those things sung by this voice makes it almost heartbreaking without actually feeling too emotional or pander-y. It’s a damn good album.

Number 11: Sons of Apollo – Psychotic Symphony (Sample: Signs of the Time)

Halfway through the list and we’re talking a look at the debut album from American supergroup Sons of Apollo. Consisting of people who’ve played with/in/for all kinds of cool artists/bands, this supergroup is based heavily in prog-metal, and it’s honestly pretty awesome. It’s heavy, but it never loses sight of melody or meaning. It’s actually quite impressive. But I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised when you have that kinds of cool lineup.

Number 10: Body Count – Bloodlust (Sample: No Lives Matter)

Starting the top half of this list is the latest album from rap-metal band Body Count, led by rapper/actor Ice-T (Yes, really). When I first heard about them around mid-2017 I had a hard time believing it and even kind of laughed at it. But then I looked them up and listened to their songs (this album in particular)… and I really like them. While this kind of music seems like it would only be about killing people and such, that isn’t quite it. They have shit to say about society and the law and other such things. They’re like a modern equivalent to Rage Against the Machine (which is ironic considering Prophets of Rage exists). But they talk a lot about how people (especially black people) get totally fucked over in society. And it’s true, it does happen. And this album explores such themes very well. That said, they also have a cover of Slayer’s “Raining Blood” which I think they included just for fun.

Number 9: Samantha Fish – Belle of the West (Sample: Blood in the Water)

Surprise, an artist appeared twice on this list! Not gonna lie, I’m kind of surprised as well since most artists tend to only release one solo album at a time. But in 2017 Fish was very active. First “Chills & Fever”, then some touring, then “Belle of the West”. And this is definitely a more blues-y album than “Chills & Fever”, but it also takes a couple cues from country/western. And it’s a damn cool album. I really dig it.

Number 8: Kasey Chambers – Dragonfly (Sample: Ain’t No Little Girl)

The number 8 spot goes to Australian country/pop singer Kasey Chambers. The album is a ride that will take you through several emotions. You won’t necessarily feel all of them, but they are all part of the songs. It has a decent amount of themes going through it, and the instruments combined with Kasey’s amazing voice makes for a great album.

Number 7: Rise Against – Wolves (Sample: House on Fire)

At number 7 we have the latest from punk/rock/metal band Rise Against, a band that always has deeper meaning behind their songs. I’ve been a big fan of them for years, and while it’s not their best album, “Wolves” still didn’t disappoint. It’s another awesome album filled with great instrumentals, engaging lyrics, and Tim McIlrath’s awesome voice. It’s a great album.

Number 6: Blacktop Mojo – Burn the Ships (Sample: Dream On)

At number 6 we have an album from a hard rock band that I had never heard about until late 2017. I was just cruising around youtube, listening to music. Then I saw this cover of “Dream On” in my suggestions and I clicked it and I loved it. So I decided to check the band out which led to this album and I love it. It’s great. It’s exactly what I want in a good hard rock album. Great instrumentals, great vocals, interesting structure… it’s just really cool.

Number 5: Trombone Shorty – Parking Lot Symphony (Sample: It Ain’t No Use)

We’re in the top 5 now. And kicking this part off is this great fucking album from Trombone Shorty. It’s a cool album that takes a whole bunch of genres and uses them to make great songs. There’s hip hop, jazz, soul, R’n’B, and more. All while you have some nice brass going through it all. And it’s just one of the coolest and most unique albums of 2017 in that way. It’s just got so much energy and style that I can’t help but kind of love it.

Number 4: Brad Paisley – Love and War (Sample: Love and War)

At number 4 we find the latest album from country artist Brad Paisley, AKA my favorite country artist. And on this he sings about love, parties, soldiers not necessarily being treated as well as they should… yeah, it’s a great album. And the overall quality would probably not matter much in the long run as I would’ve put it on this list purely because of my love for Paisley. But since it is as great as it is, I could happily put it high up on the list without any “guilt”. It’s also cool to have a bunch of other famous artists featured in various tracks throughout the album, such as John Fogerty and Mick Jagger. It’s another win for Paisley.

Number 3: Robert Plant – Carry Fire (Sample: Carry Fire)

On third place on this list we find the newest solo album from former Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant. And here you won’t find any of his classic rock n roll antics, oh no. This is a much more reserved Plant. Not saying it’s as reserved and laid back as Mojave 3, but it’s quite reserved compared to his old Zeppelin days. This is a Plant that has taken musical inspiration from several different cultures in this world to combine them and create some really memorable and fantastic songs. This is truly a fantastic album

Number 2: Styx – The Mission (Sample: Gone Gone Gone)

On the penultimate spot we find the latest release from ye olde rock band Styx. And while some of their older stuff could be hit or miss, with entire albums being kind of inconsistent, this is an album that I find myself listening to quite often. While not the most complex album in the world, it’s still a lot of fun to listen to. And it’s also fun to hear that Styx still got it, almost even being better than ever. I also love the space travel concept of the album. I love space and they made some exciting songs about it.

NUMBER 1: Neil Young – Hitchhiker (Sample: Hitchhiker)

Taking the top spot on this list is “Hitchhiker”, the newest solo album from Neil Young. Not only is the album fucking masterful, containing some emotionally charged songs, but it also has an interesting story to it. This was originally recorded in 1976, but for some reason was never released… until 2017. So in some ways I could technically be cheating since it was made in the 70s. But my counterargument is that is wasn’t actually released until 2017. So it’s a 2017 album. And it’s amazing. And that’s why it’s my favorite album of 2017.

So those were my favorite albums of 2017. Now I’d like to hear from you. Did you have any favorite albums from the year that I didn’t mention here? Did you like any of the ones I mentioned? I’d really like to hear what you guys think.
Have a good one.

Third time’s the Liebster Award

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So the awesome Jia Wei from Film and Nuance has decided to nominate me for a Liebster award. First off, thanks man… really appreicate the love. Secondly, this is the third one of these that I have received. Not sure what it does, but it’s always fun to see one of these get thrown my way to then hit me in the face because I was never good at sports which means I wouldn’t have the ability to catch it in time. Anyway, rambling done, let’s do this shit. You know, the shit. Answer questions, nominate some people, give them questions. Also, at the start of it, thank the person who nominated you… done.

1.What is your favourite movie in your least favourite genre. And why?
I don’t really like romantic movies. Very few of them have any other purpose than to show two somewhat attractive people be in love nd then fight and then be in love again. But to give credit where credit is due, I do think “Brokeback Mountain” is a good example of a romantic movie that works. It’s a fantastic movie that features conflicted characters with many layers to them. Combine that with the fantastic performances from Ledger and Gyllenhaal and the magnificent directing by Ang Lee, and you get one hell of a drama with great emotional impact. I also really enjoyed Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris”, that movie was a lot of fun.

2.If you had to favour a certain style (for directing a film,writing a book or any other art form of your choice), would you prefer a no-frills and direct approach, or an artistic and ambiguous one. Why?
That is a damn good question. Hmmm… I don’t know, both styles offer things that I enjoy seeing within film/television/literature. I guess I’ll go with the artistic and ambiguous one because of it being able to generate some interesting discussion between people.

3.Name a movie you can watch any day. 
“The Rock”. Such a fun action movie with a badass and awesome performance by Sean Connery. I’d also say that several if not most of the MCU films can be easily digested at any time.

4.If you could keep an object that you had previously but by now either lost it,sold,misplaced,had it stolen or destroyed, what would it be?
There are a good amount of toys that I had as a kid that I’ve either lost or seen semi-destroyed that I would love to see on my desk/in my room. I’m a huge geek who loved a lot of those things back as a child and still have a soft spot for now. For example, I had some old Spider-Man action figures that I’d like to still have with me since he is my favorite superhero.

5.Pick an era to live in. 
1960s or 1970s. Lots of great films that came out in those times that would be awesome to see in those old theaters. But I do also to some extent like my times now because of the easy access to most things a person could need.

6.The best film you’ve seen this year and an unreleased 2016 film that you think might beat it. 
“Deadpool”. Fucking love “Deadpool”. Not sure if anything could really beat it, but I have a slight suspicion that “Rogue One” could reach those heights at least.

7.Name a memory you would keep till your death. 
I wouldn’t want to forget anything except for some times that were pretty meh. But if I have to pick out a specific one… My trip to England. Had such an amazing time, met a whole bunch of new friends who I still have some contact with. A lot of the thigns I saw and did too were pretty awesome, so I guess I’d like to keep that entire trip.

8.Ice-cream or popsicles? 
Ice cream, no doubt about that one.

9.Where do you stand on the Harambe case? 
I think that the memes are getting a little too out of hand because they’re stupid and honestly kind of disrespectful to both the great creature and the Cincinnati zoo. But to give my two cents on the situation itself: The mother should have kept much closer attention to the kid and made sure that it wouldn’t have tried to climb in. But I also need to say that the zoo needed to have checked their fences properly so that NO ONE could climb/fall into Harambe’s habitat so easily. Though it is kind of difficult to point fingers on specifically one thing because of so many possible factors playing into it.

10.Favourite type of music? And what does it mean to you? 
Even if people have never met me, they still most likely are aware of my love for rock music. And I’m not really talking about the style of rock that you heard Elvis or Bill Haley play (Sidenote: I think their music is great, so don’t think I’m hating on them), but I’m talking mroe the style that came in the 70s and 80s. More specifically, the music from my favorite band, AC/DC. And really I’m just addicted to that stuff, I think it’s absolutely amazing. Without it, I don’t think I would entirely be the same person that I am.

11.How do you cool off after being upset/angry? 
Walk away, sit down on the floor, deep breaths. So basically meditation, but in a less spiritual sense. Coffee also tends to help out a lot. Hugs can also be helpful, whether they’d come from my dog or one of my parents.

So those were the questions that were given to me. And I gotta say, they were really good, I could really tell that a lot of thought went into them. So now I gotta choose some sacrificial victi- I mean, nominees.

https://elenasquareeyes.com/
https://plainsimpletomreviews.wordpress.com/
https://keithlovesmovies.com/
https://zuts.wordpress.com/
https://theimpossiblegirlblog.wordpress.com/
https://sarahsawamovie.com/
https://epilepticmoondancer.net/
https://motionpictureblog.com/
https://bigfacesmallrazor.wordpress.com/

There, nine nominees. You might say that I’m cheating, but if you look up the official rules of the Liebster award, it says that you nominate 5 to 11 blogs. So as long as you’re somewhere inbetween there, you’re good. And nine is between those, so I win! Now, time to give them some questions to answer so I can learn their darkest secre- I mean, know what they think about stuff.

1. Is there a movie remake that you actually think is good?

2. You’re gonna be stuck in a prison cell for a long time, name three books that you’d bring with you to pass the time.

3. Are there any movie adaptations that you think are better than the book it’s based on?

4. Best/Worst film you’ve seen so far that came out this year?

5. Should the United states presidential campaign of 2016 be called Tron or Clump?

6. What was your favorite toy as a kid?

7. Global warming: Scientific fact or total bullshit?

8. Is there a song that always gets you emotional/makes you cry?

9. What’s your favorite documentary film?

10. Cats or dogs?

11. What is your most anticipated movie of 2017?

There, 11 questions. DONE! Have fun answering those and then giving some other people questions of your own!

I want to once again thank the awesome JW from Film and Nuance for nominating me for this. Sure, figuring out who to nominate and also coming up with questions is a task that takes a lot of effort, but I guess it’s worth it in the end. But it’s always fun spreading the love among people who may or may not need it, ya know.

So this has been Markus answering and questioning things once again. But before we go, I just wanna mention that I’m planning a little announcement at the moment, so look out for that shit!
Have a good one.

 

 

We got another “Captain America: Civil War” Trailer

Good evening there, my friends. Once again it is time for me to talk about a new movie trailer that has come out. And for the second time it is a trailer for “Captain America: Civil War” that I am talking about. Oooo boy, this is a doozy. Let’s get into it.

Starting off, it is another dramatic and intense look at the movie. We get explosions and badassery and dramatic shots of Cap (Chris Evans) and everyone else. Okay, let’s talk about what I liked about this trailer.
I like that they are acknowledging that “Incredible Hulk” happened by having “Thunderbolt” Ross (William Hurt) in it because I am one of the few that actually liked that movie. I also love some of the drama that this movie seems to set up, a lot of it looks prety interesting and for a lack of a better word, dramatic. We also get some new shots of Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) which look badass, can’t wait to see what they’ll do with him in the movie. We also get a pretty good shot of Crossbones (Frank Grillo) punching someone’s fucking face really hard. Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) also gets a really cool shot.
*Sigh*. Now to the one thing about it that I didn’t like… and it’s something I’m gonna get major flak for. *Deep breath*. Here we go.
I don’t like that they showed Spider-Man (Tom Holland) in the trailer. I love the design they went with for the suit, but the fact that the studio sucked up to the masses and showed him in the trailer actually makes me a bit sad. Why couldn’t they wait with showing him until the movie came out? *Sniff*.

So what did you think of the new “Civil War” trailer? Overall I personally liked it except for the whole Spidey thing. Let me know your thoughts in the comments.
Have a good one.

Movie Discussion: The Point of “Elephant”

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Hello fellow people on the internet, I’m back! Sorry for the lack of posts lately, my laziness caught up to me. But now I am here and I am ready to get another post out there! So what are we doing today? Well we are here to have a little movie discussion about one of the (in my opinion) most underrated movies ever. A movie that has gotten a lot of mixed reception and has split audiences worldwide… even though it isn’t that well-known. But we are here to discuss it today. Soooo… HERE WE GO!

Just a fair warning; If you have not seen “Elephant” from 2003 directed by Gus Van Sant, I suggest you should leave now as there will be spoilers. Now that I have gotten that out of the way, let’s move on.

Let’s start of with the simple question “Why make a discussion about such an obscure movie?”. Well it all started with me going on to youtube the other day because of me wanting to watch the final scene of the movie after not having seen it in a long time. If you have seen the movie then you know which one I am talking about. If you have not seen the movie then you obviously didn’t read that previous paragraph, spoilers. But if you simply don’t give a shit and don’t want to see a really good movie then here we go. In the final scene of the movie we have the characters of Eric (Eric Duelen) and Alex (Alex Frost) coming to school with a bunch of big duffel bags filled with guns. When they then are inside of the school they pull out all the guns and start shooting up the place. Killing students, teachers and even the principal. Now the reason my watch of that scene led to this post doesn’t come from me simply watching the scene itself. It came from going on to read the comments on the video. And from what I gathered… people don’t seem to get the point of the movie. They only focus on things you focus on in a big budget Hollywood movie. And I will address those points here. Their points are what inspired me to do this. Time to pick up the shit from the street and throw it in the trash.

First up we take the one that the people focused on too much… more than most other points in fact. What I am talking about is the acting. Now to be fair, the acting in the movie isn’t particularly good. I would even say that it is below average, but I got some things to say about that. I did some research about the movie and found out that a lot, if not most of the cast comes from director Gus Van Sant’s hometown of Portland, Oregon where the movie was shot. What he did was pick out some random youths from there to really show off that these people pretty much were students in that school. Hell, they all were pretty much within the right age range to actually be in high school. Unlike 100% of big budget Hollywood movies which use people in their 20’s and 30’s who happen to look kinda young. The point of the movie wasn’t to have Oscar-worthy performances but to give us genuine people. Acting isn’t everything, guys.

Next up we have something that I can agree is a tad bit strange; When Alex and Eric are going around shooting people, and gunshots can be heard by those who haven’t been killed yet, they don’t know how to react. And that is the key phrase in all of this, “They don’t know how to react”. This is a school filled with students and teachers who have never experienced something like this before. They have never had their school shot up, by two of their own students none the less. Put yourself in their shoes for a second, you’re sitting in class, boring as usual and then suddenly hear some weird noise, kind of like a small bang. You hear it come closer and closer through the hall outside of the classroom. What do you do? Youy probably don’t know what you should do, am I right? Should you sit calmly and hope for the best, go check what it is or get the hell outta dodge? You’d probably sit calmly and hope for the best, but still worry for a bit. And then someone would come into the classroom and you would all be dead within a matter of seconds. So complaining that people didn’t panic like a bunch of paranoid conspiracy theorists on Halloween is kind of bullshit.

Now to something that is understandable on a surface level, but still baffles me is that people find this scene boring. And what I mean by “understandable on a surface level” is that when people want a shooting in a movie they expect tons of shooting, explosions, CGI and orchestral music blasting your eardrums. And while those things can be cool in some ways, they wouldn’t fit here. What Van Sant wanted was a more realistic, grounded and horrifying way of looking at it. What we see is these two simply walking around, occasionally firing off a shot. This scene is very quiet and doesn’t use the unnecessary Hollywood checklist. To be completely honest, the scene is one of my favorite scenes/third acts in any movie ever. One of the reasons for this is the fact that they use no music at all throughout the scene. Sure you could add some dramatic and bombastic song or sad piano song, but that wouldn’t have had the same effect. At that point the music would have told us what we should have felt “Sad Piano tells you to feel sad, so feel sad you fucker”. But “Elephant” chose the ballsy and in my opinion more powerful movie by not having any music at all throughout the scene. It makes the scene more real and more horrifying. Sometimes the best of something is nothing of something (If that makes any sense).

There are also people who really seemed to dislike the ending of the movie. Now for you who haven’t seen the movie in a while, and for you assholes who haven’t seen the movie at all and have kept reading despite my warning, I will recount the end. In the end Alex and Eric meet up in the school cafeteria and have a chat about how everything have gone for them… then Alex shoots Eric. Soon after we see Alex cornering two more students in a cold storage and standing there deciding their fate… “Eeny, meeny, miny, moe”. And then it cuts without any real resolution. And I can see why some people would be pissed about it… but I personally like it. I love when a movie can be ambiguous about something. And an ambiguous ending is really something great… unless they plan a sequel and make it painfully obvious. Now I don’t think there have been any plans for “Elephant 2: Electric Boogaloo”, so I am happy with the ambiguity.

The point of “Elephant” isn’t to be the next big thing, it is about the lives of regular high school students and how it all one day changed. That’s it… nothing more to it.

“Elephant” is a tragic and brutal movie that I absolutely love and I do not agree with any of the points mentioned (Except for the acting being bad, but again, that’s not the point of the movie), but if you do, that’s fine as long as you have respect for differing opinions. Now that I am done with all of this, time for a question! What is your opinion of “Elephant”? Leave a comment.

Have a good one.