Music That Inspires: One More Light

It has been a week since Linkin Park’s Chester Bennignton committed suicide. I figured now would be a good time to review the last Linkin Park album One More Light.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I have been a fan of Linkin Park, especially Chester, since the group debuted. One of the things I appreciate about the band is their combination of styles. They merge alternative rock, metal, rap, EDM, electronica, and ambient music. This style was later categorized as nu metal. I think this is what made Linkin Park so popular. There is a little bit of something for everyone. However, they are artists, and as such they like to experiment. After the first two albums, they began to change their style on each album.

This angered some fans who preferred the nu metal sound. The latest album, One More Light, brought that anger to its zenith. The album received a ton of hate from fans and lackluster reviews from critics. I heard the first single Heavy, and liked it. However, the sound was completely different from the typical Linkin Park fare. After reading some of the reviews, I held off on getting the album.

Now that I have it, I must say that it is not as bad as people suggested. It is a good album. It just is not a Linkin Park album. The album is pure pop. It is not even pop rock. There is very little guitar work on the album, and most of the bass and drums are played with in post production. It does not make the album bad, yet it does remove that signature Linkin Park sound. Continue reading

Riri Williams: Marvel’s Precious Little Sociopath

Marvel debuted the character Riri Williams in July 2016. The character replaced Tony Stark as Iron Man, adopting the name Iron Heart (which ironically turns out to be the name used in a porn parody of Iron Man). Riri’s claim to fame is that she is a 15-year-old black female super-genius supposedly smarter and better than Stark.

Brian Michael Bendis, the character’s creator, faced a backlash from progressives because Bendis is a straight, white, Jewish man writing a black female character. His critics ignored at Bendis and his wife adopted two black girls. They also ignored his reason for creating Riri Williams, as explained in the Time article. His critcis felt much more content to attack the man rather than give him a chance.

However, things have not been that great for Riri. The Invincible Iron Man series that Riri leads has seen its numbers drop dramatically since its November 2016 debut: Continue reading

Music That Inspires: Temple of the Dog

On May 18th of 2017 singer and songwriter Chris Cornell took his own life. Cornell was the lead singer of Soundgarden, and one of the most influential musicians on modern rock history. Along with Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Alice in Chains, Soundgarden led the wave of the 1990s grunge music scene. Without Cornell’s writing and voice, hundreds of bands and thousands of popular songs would not exist.

The first time I remember hearing Cornell was from the Black Hole Sun music video. I had never heard anything like it before, and I was fascinated his voice. Cornell’s vocal abilities are impressive. He was one of few people who can scream sing and still be intelligible. You can feel the power of his voice even with the volume turned down.

Rather than comment on his suicide, I would like to focus on his music. There are so many good songs and albums to pick from. He fronted Soundgarden, Audioslave, Temple of the Dog, and released five solo albums. I think, however, I will go with my favorite, Temple of the Dog by Temple of the Dog.

It is rare to find an album where every song is good. This is one of those albums, and why would it not be? It is Chris Cornell singing with Stone Gossard, Mike McCready, Jeff Ament, and Matt Cameron, i.e. the group that would become Pearl Jam.

The album resulted from Cornell writing two songs in tribute to his roommate Andrew Wood, lead singer of Mother Love Bone. Wood overdosed on heroin. Cornell had no one to talk to following Wood’s death, and wrote the songs Reach Down and Say Hello 2 Heaven to cope with his feelings. He later presented them to Ament and Gossard, who were members of Mother Love Bone. The rest of the album came together after that.

Because there is not a bad song on the album, it makes it difficult to choose what to highlight. However, I think I will go for the songs I like to listen to the most. Continue reading

Joe Rogan interviews Neil Degrasse Tyson

Joe Rogan recently interviewed Neil Degrasse Tyson. I enjoy listening to Tyson speak. It is rare to hear someone that enthusiastic about science. He also comes across as a likeable man, which makes him even more engaging.

One of my favorite things about Tyson is when he offers up tidbits of science that people are familiar with and proceeds to show how much deeper the knowledge goes. He does this with multiple types of infinity. I had heard of this before, although I cannot recall where. Yet his explanation is simply inthralling.

I also hope he takes Rogan’s advice and goes back to commenting on films. I find it fascinating to hear what catches his attention as glaringly wrong.

It is a fun interview, and of the rare instances where science is explained in a simplified way to make it palatable.  Continue reading

Milo, Real Time, and how the left loses a debate

Bill Maher interviewed Milo Yiannopoulos on Real Time with Bill Maher last night. The interview was okay. Maher avoided most of the touchy subjects that Milo is known for. It seemed more like Maher wanted to teach Milo to tone down his behavior than conduct an interview. I got that impression from how Maher brought up the people Milo targets. He also read some jokes from the late Joan Rivers. Maher’s point was that Milo should choose his targets more carefully and thoughtfully, and if not make sure the jokes are funny. Maher clearly sees something in Milo because he later tells Milo that he sees him as a potential “young, gay, alive Christopher Hitchens.”

The intervention tone, however, kept the conversation from getting to anything of substance. Milo’s own behavior did not help. He tends to speak endlessly. Maher does the same thing. They both interrupt others a lot (Hitchens also did this). It makes for a stilted conversation because neither one of them could make a point and dig into it.

What I consider the low point is the end of the interview. Maher tells Milo that he needs to “get off the Trump train”, but ends the interview without letting Milo explain why he supports Donald Trump. While I agree that Milo’s support of Trump is misguided at best and deliberate trolling at worst, it was bad form for Maher to make the comment and not let Milo respond. Continue reading

#DeleteMarvel: Revenge of the Hypocrites

What do you do when the CEO of a company that has pandered to you for half decade supporters new Hitler?

This is the problem faced by progressives who read Marvel comic books. Their problem begins with Marvel Entertainment CEO Ike Perlmutter, a long-time Donald Trump supporter. Perlmutter has a sordid history concerninh his penny-pinching and general indifference to his employees. However, that has history has little to do with the current situation.

The current situation, the #deletemarvel boycott, stems from Perlmutter’s support of Trump. That is it. There is no concern about the CEO’s handling of Marvel, how he treats his employees, or that his primary concern is money. It is solely that he committed the crime of supporting new Hitler.

That seems one of the pettiest reasons to boycott any company. Perlmutter has little to do with the day-to-day grind of the company. Progressives, however, do not like to miss a chance at virtual-signaling. If that means boycotting a company that scrubbed its line-up of iconic characters to meet their demands for more “diversity”, so be it.

Of course, the boycott will likely reduce the already dismal sales of the social justice themed books. Continue reading

Music That Inspires: Seal

I like Seal.

Not the animal, although I find them cute. I mean the musician Seal. I find his voice fascinating and his music and lyrics full of emotion. Over the last year I have bought most of his albums. I was already familiar with his music, but I did not have any full albums, only a handful of songs featured on soundtracks.

I have all of this studio albums except for the most recent and the two Soul compilation albums. Below are a selection of some of my favorite songs. In case anyone is curious, my favorite album is Human Being. The album did not fair well with critics, however, I enjoy the darker tone of the songs. My second favorite album is Seal: Commitment. The interesting part about both these albums is that Seal wrote them in response to his relationships, the first being with Tyra Banks and the second with Heidi Klum.  Continue reading