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Thursday, Apr 9, 2015
This early '90s juggernaut of a double album is a 150 minute long prophecy foretelling the end of the last great rock band.

Released almost 25 years ago, Use Your Illusion I and II remain the last great epics in rock music. These are the two albums that legitimized Guns N’ Roses as the last great rock band, separating them from the likes of Mötley Crüe and Def Leppard and putting them in the same stratosphere as Aerosmith and the Rolling Stones. In my younger years, while every other 13-year-old was listening to Blink 182, Simple Plan, and others in the legion of bubblegum pop-punk bands that stopped mattering after 2006, I was busy being enamored by Axl Rose’s screeching vocals and Slash’s mesmerizing guitar solos.


While all the hype and attention gets shifted to Appetite for Destruction, I’ve always been much more partial to the Illusion twins. On the record, the band members are better musicians. The music is way more expansive and diverse. Above all else, the albums themselves possess a timelessness that Appetite for Destruction doesn’t have. Whereas Appetite for Destruction is an album that sounds like it’s from 1987, the Illusion duo finds Guns N’ Roses not caring about fitting into the styles of the time. They are records that very much forge their own path in terms of their appearance and what they hope to accomplish. Collectively, they are a masterpiece; individually, they are the mania and the depression that encapsulates the spirit of this band. Use Your Illusion I and II is the Physical Graffiti of the ‘90s.


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Tuesday, Apr 7, 2015
At a dreary March gig one Wednesday night in the Catskills, the Bones of JR Jones performed for five people. What could have been his worst gig of the year turned into the one where he met a benefactor who funded his first album.

The Bones of JR Jones are mostly a one-man band, although JR himself sometimes plays with a variety of setups. The band’s album Dark Was The Yearling was made possible by a happen-chance meeting at an empty gig.


The Bones of JR Jones are getting ready to tour the South and Midwest through the spring as a solo act, so catch a show when he’s in your town. With Country Fried Rock, this one-man band shares the realities of car camping to save money on tour and his bucket list trips.


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Monday, Apr 6, 2015
March was dominated by great K-pop tracks from female artists, rookie groups, and veterans alike.

For January and February’s round-ups, we focused on the shift towards serious and dramatic K-pop that’s occurred. After the rocky year the industry had in 2014, it was to be expected that so many artists were turning towards introspection. Well, it’s seemed to have worn off. March essentially returns to status quo for K-pop: bright colors, killer hooks, and tons of fun. But it was also a month dominated by female artists. Typically, I try to strike a balance in the round-ups between male and female artists, but March has seen an overwhelming amount of incredible music by female idols and groups, such that it seemed impossible to leave any of them out. Sorry boys, maybe next month.


Tagged as: k-pop, korea
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Friday, Apr 3, 2015
Where is the ritual? And tell me where, where is the taste? Someday there'll be the 2022 most acclaimed album of all time. That's the day I throw my drugs away. An underrated 1990s masterpiece is this week's Counterbalance.

Mendelsohn: Over the past couple of years, we have had some in-depth conversations about music from the 1990s. It usually goes something like this; Me: “Hey, Klinger, remember this band?” You: “I hate the 1990s.” If you throw that little dialogue into a Boggle shaker you could possibly come up with my opinion about most bands from the 1960s. And yet, knowing what we know about each other, we still persist in testing the other’s limits. This week, I dug a little deeper, found something a little different. A power trio from the 1990s made up of a bassist, a saxophonist and a drummer—if you guessed Morphine and their 1993 record Cure for Pain, you would be right.


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Thursday, Apr 2, 2015
This week in metal, Nightwish remains as grandiose as ever, and the album of the week features Norwegian teens playing surprisingly orthodox '80s thrash.

The longer that the Finnish symphonic metal act Nightwish goes on, the more apparent it becomes that this isn’t so much a band than a vehicle for keyboardist/composer Tuomas Holopainen’s massive ego. This project is far too dysfunctional to be called a “band”: when your last four albums feature three different lead singers, you have a chemistry problem. Bigger, though, is Holopainen’s inability to work with a singer who is strong-willed. This is ironic because this pioneering band, which has always built its music around an operatic diva of a lead singer, can’t handle it when said diva becomes more assertive and wants to have a bigger say in the creative process. Holopainen, always garishly performing with his comically lavish “look at me” keyboard set-up and wearing a top hat, wants an employee not a frontwoman, and heaven help any woman who dares to think she’s the focal point. Beloved, groundbreaking singer Tarja Turunen starts to think for herself? Fired publicly via open letter. Her successor Anette Olzon dared to inconvenience the musicians by becoming pregnant—those poor boys—and spoke her mind, and was unceremoniously fired in the middle of a North American tour. Basically, if you’re a strong-willed woman, life in Nightwish is guaranteed to be pure hell.


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