Adriane Pontecorvo: Prison breakouts and vigilante justice take us on a wild ride through Shovels and Rope’s latest exciting single. “Botched Execution” tells an engaging, non-stop story set to a driving tune, and it’s as fun an experience as it is catchy, a song that doesn’t take itself too seriously but commits to its dramatic tale. The video fits perfectly, with intriguing characters and campy, colorful comic book effects that further amp up the action. A refreshing shift from summer pop and an outlaw ballad worth retelling over and over again. [9/10]
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I’ve killed a lot of people in video games. Mostly on purpose, sometimes accidentally. It’s usually for some greater good or for survival. It’s kill or be killed out there in these virtual worlds. Occasionally there is no greater good or even any good involved. Vengeance, anger, curiosity, boredom—these are all fine reasons to kill someone in a video game. It’s not a big deal. I’m not here to pontificate on the morality of it all, I’m more interested in the ease of it all. It’s just so easy to kill someone in a video game that it’s surprising when a game makes murder difficult.
Andrew Paschal: Right down to their French Revolution-referencing band name, Bastille are a band that goes for the grand and bombastic most all the time, and “Send Them Off!” is no exception. Of course they would employ a horn section here; after all, such instrumentation is perfectly suited to their histrionic purposes (nothing against horns, but they can be easily and severely misused). While I appreciate the exploration of psychological unrest as expressed through the repeated plea, “exorcise my mind”, the track is ultimately way too vanilla and extraverted to convincingly illustrate the claustrophobic discomforts of anxiety and jealousy. [4/10]
Honey-voiced singer Lizz Wright is equally at home in jazz and soul and she brings those two traditions together in her video tribute to jazz vocal legend Ella Fitzgerald as her centennial birthday arrives in April 2017. Wright has chosen Hoagy Carmichael’s 1938 classic “Nearness of You”, which found it’s biggest success with the Glenn Miller Band’s rendition in 1940. Wright‘s phrasing on the tune is phenomenal as she digs into the song’s meanings to deliver a new version of the well-known tune for modern times.
Adriane Pontecorvo: This is about as grimy a throwback as anyone could ask for, from the piles of hot dogs to the chainsaw interlude, and that’s exactly what it’s meant to be: a grungy, messy song so inspired by the Beastie Boys that even without Mike D. making a cameo, it wouldn’t be a leap from one group of loud, snot-nosed kids to the other. It’s not the kind of song you can really dance to or send home to mother, but it’s good and cathartic—the first couple of times. Too much of it, and you’ll end up with something like a post-caffeine headache. [6/10]