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Wednesday, Oct 1, 2014
It's been more than a year since My Chemical Romance decided to lay down their instruments, and PopMatters looks back on some of their finest moments.

My Chemical Romance was a band that was doomed from the start.  From their manic 2002 debut (I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love) to their final escape off into the sunset (Danger Days), MCR always sounded like a steam engine careening off of a cliff. Lead singer and showman Gerard Way’s unhinged vocal style felt fresh out of an asylum, complimenting his macabre, twisted imagery. The band never quite fit into any genre or anywhere in general. And that was perfectly fine by them.


Eternally the outsiders, My Chemical Romance always played by their own rules above all else. Constantly slapped with the “emo”  categorization (a label that the band particularly loathed), My Chemical Romance were in reality the spirit of punk rock incarnate. Their identity was in perpetual flux (particularly during the latter part of their careers), re-envisioning themselves for every album, never content to stay the same. They shoved the very boundaries of what “punk” could mean.


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Tuesday, Sep 30, 2014
After over 20 years in the game, Sloan's Andrew Scott contributes a hell of an epic to the band's new "multiple-solo project" album Commonwealth and tells us of why he ended up stealing so many USA license plates in his time.

One would be hard-pressed to find much correlation between the Toronto power-pop institution that is Sloan and famed makeup-metalers KISS, but as of late, that task has become increasingly easy.


Back in 1978, riding a crest of popularity following the fact that KISS’ live albums were making them bigger stars than their studio albums ever were, the band’s manager thought it would be great idea to have each band member release their very own solo album on the same day, each disc counting as half-an-album in their five-album contract with their label. Although such a unique marketing idea had never been tried prior, the stunt itself turned out to have more of a lasting legacy than any of the material that appeared on those discs, but, if KISS gained a reputation for anything, it was being great at marketing.


For Sloan, however, the band has quietly been turning out brilliant pop albums every few years like clockwork, which makes them sound like they exist purely as craftsmen, but their consistently-stunning, quietly-developing style has been the very thing that has endeared them to their fans, which explains why, how after two decades in the business, they are still going strong, with each member (Chris Murphy, Patrick Pentland, Jay Ferguson, and Andrew Scott) proving to be a dynamic, distinct songwriter in their own right.


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Tuesday, Sep 30, 2014
The fifth and sixth tracks on American Idiot represent a turning point in its narrative, as the man we thought was our hero finds himself unworthy of the position, and so he transforms himself into a more disruptive and selfish being so that he can deal with what the future holds.

Thus far in American Idiot, Jesus of Suburbia has left his hometown, abandoned everything he thought he knew, and set out alone to find the truth. However, as we saw in “Boulevard of Broken Dreams”, this newfound purpose and solidarity has left him isolated, lonely, and scared, all the while questioning if he’s really on the right path. With the next two songs in the sequence—“Are We the Waiting” and “St. Jimmy”—we see him band together with others who are also going through the same search for introspection and morality, as well create a whole new personality with which he can lead them.


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Friday, Sep 26, 2014
Ain't nobody as dope as the 124th most acclaimed album of all time, so fresh and so clean. It loves it when you stare at it. A hip-hop game changer is this week's Counterbalance. Break!

Mendelsohn: While perusing the Great List one day I happened to notice Outkast’s Stankonia sitting respectably in the back half of the top 200. That was a couple of months ago — when I went to check the list again today (after the recent update), Stankonia had jumped all the way up to number 124. That’s a huge jump in terms of the Great List, meaning the full effects of the “Best Of 2000s” lists are now being felt throughout the Critical Industrial Complex as they reevaluate the last decade. It had been nearly 15 years since I’d listened to this record but I had some fond memories of a couple of the songs, namely the ones about apologizing to Ms. Jackson and practicing good hygiene in order to stay fresh and clean.


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Friday, Sep 19, 2014
This week's Counterbalance takes on the 1,377th most acclaimed album of all time, Paul and Linda McCartney's 1971 joint effort. Have another look, have a cup of tea and a butter pie. (The butter wouldn't melt so we put it in a pie.)

Klinger: As someone who came into Beatle fandom right about the time that the 1970s were turning into the ‘80s, I came to understand a couple of pieces of received wisdom. The first was, of course, that the Beatles were completely unassailable in every way, and the second was that there were only a couple solo Beatle albums worth listening to. John Lennon had two, both of which we covered during our Great List years, while Paul McCartney had only one, his 1973 effort Band on the Run, the album that almost singlehandedly, albeit temporarily, saved his critical reputation.


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