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Thursday, Oct 16, 2014
by Chris Kopcow
Weezer's new album, Everything Will Be Alright in the End, walks the tenuous line between redressing the band's follies and giving in to banal fan service.

In 2008, Weezer released “Pork and Beans” and “Troublemaker”, the first two singles off their third self-titled album, colloquially referred to as “The Red Album”. In these songs, frontman Rivers Cuomo takes a stand to say that he’s “doin’ things [his] own way and never giving up” and that he “ain’t got a thing to prove to you.” It’s not hard to see this as him shrugging off the criticisms that the band faced since the early ‘00s, when they streamlined their sound into something a little more pristine and a lot more goofy and frivolous.


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Monday, Oct 13, 2014
Heartbreak, rejection, and rebellion collide in catchy, affective, and brilliant fashion on the ninth and tenth tracks from Green Day's 2004 masterpiece.

Up until this point in American Idiot, St. Jimmy (the alias of Jesus of Suburbia) has been wondering around the streets of America alone, unsure of just about everything in his life. He’s felt a calling to incite change and rebellion, not only for himself, but for the country as a whole; unfortunately, without anyone else to help him, the task is easier said than done. But, with the arrival of Whatshername, a snarky teenage girl who seems to be his match both romantically and anarchically, St. Jimmy has found a new purpose in life. Together, they can complement each other while also challenging the conformity and complacency of the country—or so they thought. As we see in the ninth and tenth tracks of the album—“Extraordinary Girl” and “Letterbomb”—this relationship soon crumbles. It’s a riotous and bitter pill to swallow.


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Friday, Oct 10, 2014
Don't save the complaints for a party conversation. The world is loaded—it's lit to pop and nobody is gonna stop talking about the 420th most acclaimed album of all time. Further dispatches from the Alternative Nation in this week’s Counterbalance.

Mendelsohn: I’m almost done torturing you with my early 1990s nostalgia. One more and then it’s over (at least until I work up the courage to go back to Nine Inch Nails’ The Downward Spiral). This week it will be Jane’s Addiction’s Ritual de lo Habitual. When I picked this album, both Ritual and Jane’s Addiction’s first album Nothing’s Shocking were relatively close on the Great List, hovering in the back half of the top 300. Not wanting to talk about two Jane’s Addiction albums and since they were both ranked about the same, I flipped a coin. Ritual de lo Habitual won. But since the last revision, both albums have taken a little tumble. Nothing’s Shocking currently resides at No. 391 while Ritual de lo Habitual fell to No. 420. Not a big deal, I thought. But now I’m starting to second guess myself. Would you have preferred to listen to Jane’s Addiction’s major label debut? Or the record that helped cement their status as figureheads of the Alternative Nation?


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Thursday, Oct 9, 2014
The just-unveiled ballot for next year's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction class attempts to honor Generation X as well as continue to rectify past oversights.

This morning the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame unveiled its list of names for its voting body to consider for induction as part of the institution’s 2015 class. The ballot includes first-year eligibles Green Day and Nine Inch Nails (who per the nomination criteria released their debut records in 1989), first-time nominees the Smiths, Sting, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Bill Withers, and returning names the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Chic, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Kraftwerk, the Marvelettes, N.W.A, Lou Reed, the Spinners, and War. While the organization has garnered a lot of (justified) heat for its seemingly elitist and out-of-touch view of which artists are worthy of being canonized as part of a body that honors excellent and influential rock ‘n’ roll artists (Exhibits A and B: the shocking number of times Black Sabbath and the Stooges had to be nominated before getting the nod), recent strides like an online ballot that the public can vote for and a progressively more enlightened selection of nominees (with particular consideration given to previously underrepresented genres like heavy metal and prog) have been respectable efforts to correct those shortcomings.


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Wednesday, Oct 8, 2014
Amidst tragedy and controversy throughout the month, September also offered up some more great k-pop, especially from veteran groups like 2PM, T-ara, and Girls' Generation-TTS.

September was another month marked by tragedy and controversy. At the beginning of the month, girl group Ladies’ Code was involved in a car accident, ultimately killing members EunB and RiSe. Less tragic but still shocking, at the end of the month, SM Entertainment announced that Jessica would no longer be part of the iconic girl group Girls’ Generation. The American-born singer was the first of the nine members to be signed to SM, but after tensions rose between her, the group, and their management from Jessica’s relationship and other business ventures, Girls’ Generation officially announced that they would “continue as eight”. It’s hard to imagine SNSD without all nine members, and this incident marks the end of one of K-pop’s greatest successes. Outside of this, though, there was plenty of good music throughout the month.


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