I’m like most Weezer fans in that the band’s first two albums are my favorite. While I love their remaining six albums, there’s just something about 1994’s The Blue Album and 1996’s Pinkerton that just gets me.
The Blue Album was the first album I heard where I felt like I had something in common with the performer. As for Pinkerton, as a (then) college student, I could relate to it on a whole different level.
Weezer has released a bunch of solid albums since then, but their latest album, Everything Will Be Alright In The End is their first since Pinkerton to feel like the songs all matter to the band. This is an album about something- the songs are about relationships and how everything we build eventually goes away. These are songs written and performed by men with families, writing from that point of view. There’s a concept behind the album and if you’re paying attention, you can see it. As a grown man with a family, I can relate to these themes and songs. As a Weezer fan, it’s always wonderfulto have an album full of great, rocking songs. But it’s even better to be able to relate to the songs.
The album’s first single Back to the Shack has been on available since July. While it’s a decent song, it is by far the album’s low point. It’s an important statement with a great riff, but the other songs are just better.
Take for instance, Lonely Girl, which sounds like it could have been on 2001’s The Green Album, but wasn’t held back by that album’s production choices. Or opener Ain’t Got Nobody, a classic Weezer-sounding rock gem with discernible structure. The album has two historically themed songs, The British Are Coming and Cleopatra, which are both great songs in their own right. The album seemingly ends on Foolish Father, which is the most emotionally deep song Weezer has done since Pinkerton. But after Foolish Father is a three-song mostly instrumental suite, The Futurescope Trilogy which closes out the album with guitar solo after guitar solo.
In a lot of ways, this is the album Weezer fans have been waiting for since 1996. But for those of us who have enjoyed the albums between then and now, it’s nice to have something that takes the good things from those albums and improves on them.
I could close this out with an Everything Will Be Alright In The End style pun. But this isn’t the end for Weezer. And everything will be more than alright.
Over the weekend, an interesting rumor made its way around the Internet about the plot about Star Wars Episode VII.
It’s an exciting time in the world of music here at the Kingdom.
Weezer is months away from releasing their
tenth ninth album. And the greatest musical genius of our or any other time, “Weird Al” Yankovic has just released his latest album.
To promote the album, Yankovic is releasing a video a day over the next week. While I’m unfamiliar with most of the source material, the songs are pretty, pretty good- especially today’s offering, Word Crimes. Word Crimes, based on some song I’ve never heard before, should be required viewing for anyone over the age of seven using a keyboard.
I write and edit the work of others for a living, so the song hits close to home. I know I’ve been guilty of several transgressions here at the Kingdom, but if there’s a lesson from this song, it’s just try and get it right. However, between Word Crimes and the recently leaked CIA Style Book I’ve been on quite a grammar kick lately.
Despite not writing much the past few weeks about this different season of 24, I’ve really enjoyed 24: Live Another Day.
Multiple changes, including an overseas location, taking four years off and a 12-hour format were good for this show. The return of Cheng as the main villain was a nice touch, as well as Jack’s way of dealing with him at the end. And the last hour was powerful, especially revolving around the death of Audrey (a character I could have done without during previous seasons). We saw two different reactions to her death- that of Jack and that of her father. But what really sold the death was Heller’s next day conversation with the English Prime Minister prior to boarding Air Force One.
As far as everything that happened after that, the ending reminded me a lot of the end of Season Five nine years ago. I’m still puzzled why the Russians want Jack. The were involved in a plot to assassinate the Prime Minister of Whateverastan and destabilize the Middle East peace process and Jack simply kept some of their operatives from making matters worse. This isn’t the first time we got a silent clock for Jack. And I have a feeling Jack will return, which, in a departure from my feelings four years ago, is a good thing.
All I ask is that the next season not be anything like Season Six.
With Luke turning two, I’ve noticed myself comparing where he is now to where Hope was when he was born. This isn’t a bad thing. She was only two months older than he is now and they’re similar in a lot of ways.
She was starting to put together sentences. He’s stringing together words. She was very aware of people and places. We can’t go anywhere with Luke without him pointing out the nearest set of train tracks.
And just as interesting as what they have in common at this stage, what’s next for him is just as exciting. Right after Luke was born, we started potty training Hope. This is definitely something in Luke’s near future. And every day, he’s becoming more and more of a little boy. It’s been a fun two years, but what comes next is even more exciting.
The most competent, loyal person officially associated with the U.S. Government spent tonight’s episode of 24 locked in a boot.
That’s trunk for my American readers.
I’m really liking this season of 24. But things aren’t looking so great for the Americans here. As I mentioned, CIA Agent Kate Morgan (also known as Agent Sarah Walker Bartowski) spent most of the episode in a trunk. That’s some reward for a character who is loyal and gets things done.
Her superiors, while more comfortable are actually doing more to hinder those who wish to thwart the terrorist.
Her boss, CIA Station Chief Steve Navarro is a by-the-book operative who in the last minutes of the episode has been shown to be this season’s mole (even if his mole-ness doesn’t directly relate to the main storyline).
His boss, White House Chief of Staff Mark Boudreau, is an ambitious careerist who only has his position because he’s married to the President’s daughter (he spent three years nursing her back to health!). He’s a cowardly weasel who is clearly jealous of his wife’s relationship to Jack.
His boss, President James Heller, once survived a hostage situation, drove his car off a cliff and I’m pretty sure he throat-punched Jack once. But he has been showing signs of Alzheimer’s and has been getting more feeble as the season goes on.
So these are Jack’s options for backup. And the English aren’t doing much better. James Bond must have been staking out Blofeld’s lair because the MI-6 squad sent in to shadow Jack nearly made a mess out of his whole operation.
Further, it looks like another country’s going to get involved, with Mark selling Jack out to the Russians. Someone remind me- why are the Russians pissed with Jack? Was it because he revealed they were behind the assassination of a head of state in an attempt to disrupt relations between two other sovereign states last season? That’s some real moral high ground the Russians have.
Still, it’s an enjoyable season. So far, it looks like whatever Navarro’s involved in is the one “this doesn’t have anything to do with the main story” plotline this season. And it beats a cougar. That’s all I can ask.
On tonight’s episode of 24 the head honcho of the London CIA office told Agent Sarah Walker Bartowski her case was being sent up to Division.
Now there’s a word we’ve not heard in a long time.
Back in the early years of 24, that one word, one concept would shake CTU to its core. Division was responsible for annoying characters like Ryan Chapelle, Alberta Greene and Bill Buchanan (the only division-related character who didn’t completely mess everything up). You can talk about your terrorists controlling drones, or your embassy riots, but nothing has terrified me so much this season as the prospect of Division returning.
Overall, tonight’s episode was a rather light one, with the exception of Jack’s meeting the President and later Audrey. I can see President Heller meeting Terror Mom version Two’s demands, showing up in a location of her choosing with Jack by his side. After all, he’s the same character who was almost assassinated live on the Internet back in season four and drove off a cliff in season five.
As for Jack’s reunion with Audrey, I think we all know her answers to his questions by her refusal to answer them. Jack’s not going to get turned over to the Russians, but I’m not entirely sure he ends up with Audrey again.
I spent a lot of time in comic book stores growing up.
My favorite book was The Uncanny X-Men (and this was back in the day when there was only one X-title), and I didn’t get those people who were into the Avengers or Superman (and I didn’t know anyone who read the Fantastic Four). I would strike up conversations with the staff at these stores, looking for cheap back issues with good stories. One day, a clerk at the Jim Hanley’s Universe in the Staten Island Mall suggested I read a trade paperback reprinting what he called “the best storyline ever,” Days of Future Past.
I didn’t follow his advice immediately- the book was a bit more expensive than my usual purchases and the cover, featuring Wolverine (who I did not appreciate at the time) didn’t make me want to buy the book. It took a few months, but one day I purchased it. I started reading it on the car ride home on a hot summer day. My father stopped at the grocery store to pick something up and I was so entranced by the book that I asked to stay in the car so I can finish it.
It was a short, two-issue story that blew my mind. It was my first real experience reading about time travel (I read this before I understood Back to the Future, and the original story was published before the release of any of the Terminator movies) and alternate futures. And since then, I’ve become a fan of things like BTTF, Lost and Doctor Who, all of which feature time travel.
All these years later, I still consider myself an X-Men fan. I don’t read the books on as frequent a basis as I used to. And I think that the movie series is the best film franchise based on a comic book (even including the lackluster X3) (a bit of a side note: part of me does wish that comic books were this popular when I was growing up, although, I feel like a hipster saying I was into them back before everyone else was), so naturally when I heard the next X-Men movie would be based on Days of Future Past, I was elated. And I was right to be happy about it- the movie was a great blending of the two timestreams. It adapted the source material well (even if it had to make some changes for practicality sake) and the surprises at the end were very rewarding.
I do have two minor complaints about the movie and they both involve the same character, Colossus, who was my favorite X-Man growing up:
- When in armored form, Colossus’ hair is supposed to be black (and it was in the other movies), but it was silver in DOFP.
- In the movie, Colossus dies twice. The first one hurt enough. The second time was just rubbing it in.
Despite those quibbles, if I were able to project my consciousness in the past, the me of 20 years ago would be very happy with these movies. Even if I would have been surprised that good comic book movies existed.
There comes a point in each season of 24 during which misunderstandings between Jack and the authority figure are at an all-time high, there is a clear target on Jack’s head and a quick meeting or phone conversation gets everyone on the same page, teamed up to take down the villains.
Tonight’s episode did not have one of those moments.
It felt like it was going to happen, with Jack holed up in the embassy communications room and Heller fresh off giving a winning speech to the U.K. Parliament (and I’m a bit confused as to how he got to that successful ending from all the stammering he did when we last saw him a half hour before hand). Heller, with the help of Audrey seemed like he was willing to listen to Jack. But then his chief of staff (who has as many ideas as bad as his haircut) had to step in and remind everyone that technically, Jack is a terrorist.
But Jack’s efforts weren’t for nothing- he has someone, Agent Sarah Walker Bartowski, on his side. And even without the Intersect, that’s better than nothing.
This season is moving along quickly and I think that’s a good thing. There aren’t any useless plotlines (well, Naveen and his wife appeared to be one, until it was revealed that Naveen would be behind the remote controls for the drones) and the story is progressing. Sure, Jack stayed in one place this episode, but it served the story. He was waiting around, but he wasn’t.
Not too many other thoughts tonight, other than Naveen is monumentally stupid if he thinks he could tell his wife of his plans to escape without Terror Mommy v2 finding out. And for ratting out her husband, the wife deserved to lose a finger.
With a show that’s had as many seasons as 24, it’s natural that some concepts may be repeated.
Take for instance, the family of terrorists. This trope has appeared before, where each member depicted on screen has been part of the plot. In only one instance, the Drazens of Day One, was the terror family the season’s ultimate group of villains. In others, they were pawns or allies. Right now, it seems as if this season’s terror family doesn’t answer to anyone (other than a nominal tie to a real-world terror group). And with the shortened format of this season, it’s possible that is the case.
Sure they have the motivation and means to be behind everything. And so far, they are convincing villains. But as far as where they rank (so far) against all of the other 24 villains, I don’t know if they are near the top. Sure, terror mom is scary, but she has a long way to go before she’s on the same level as Dina Araz.
Tonight’s hour was one of those episodes devoted to putting the pieces in play for whatever happens next. We learned more about the terror family. And we learned how Chloe got to be where she is. But as far as Jack was concerned, the whole episode (minus the altercation on the tube) was setting up his storming the embassy.
Jack’s approach to entering the embassy is gutsy- not just for Jack, but for this show. Yeah, he’s started a prison riot, had a former U.S. President in the crosshairs and even been witness to multiple nuclear weapons being discharged on American soil. But the idea of shooting protesters to start a storming the gates situation seems very bold for this show. (Or maybe it’s because there hasn’t been anything like 24 on TV in the last four years I’ve just forgotten the boundaries it can/should push).
Some other thoughts:
In the car, as Chloe was explaining what happened to her family, she let slip a line about the mysteries of Jack’s disappearance. Is there more to this than what we saw on the last day? Or was her helping him leave the country pretty much it?
I think because of his voice I expect Adrian to be a villain. It’s always possible.
It was nice to see Prime Minister’s Question Time get some play on 24. I can’t imagine Heller would be silent for four minutes until the next episode began.