Monthly Archives: December 2013

Lyrically Addicted’s 2013 Musical Superlatives

Let’s face it. Most end of the year lists consist of only ten to twenty albums. Ten or twenty spots aren’t really that many when you think about how many fantastic albums are released each year. Sometimes an album gets left off the list by a slim margin; not because it wasn’t good, but because there were so many other good albums that weighed slightly heavier than it. Here are some awards we’ve given to albums that may not have made our individual top lists for the year, but still deserve a mention.

Sickest Live Album

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Cherie’s pick: Road to Red Rocks – Mumford and Sons
Vas’s pick: Kill It Live – New Found Glory

Best Split EP

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Vas’s pick: Our Voices – Adam Lazzara/Chris Conley/Anthoney Raneri/Vinnie Caruana

The “Welcome Back” Award

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Both: Fall Out Boy for Save Rock and Roll

The “They Still Got It” Award

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Cherie’s pick: Tegan and Sara for Heartthrob
Vas’s pick: Bad Religion for Due North

Weirdest Album

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Vas’s pick: Heat Thing – Shone

Hardest Working Artist

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Cherie’s pick: Frank Turner (solo, Mongol Horde)
Vas’s pick: Evan Weiss (Into It. Over It., Their / They’re / There, Pet Symmetry)

Most Disappointing Album

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Cherie’s pick: The Bones of What You Believe – CHVRCHES
Vas’s pick: Young New England – Transit

Most Overrated Album

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Cherie’s pick: Pure Heroine – Lorde
Vas’s pick: What You Don’t See – The Story So Far

Best Acoustic Album

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Cherie’s pick: Live From Brooklyn – Laura Marling
Vas’s pick: The Hand That Thieves – Toh Kay

Most Listened to Album That was Not Released in 2013

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Cherie’s pick: The Age of the Understatement – The Last Shadow Puppets

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Ten Photos That Defined my 2013 Concert Experience

by Vasilis

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Shone @ Mercury Lounge (New York, NY), Februrary 7 – After a perfectly orchestrated social media campaign that led to the most commented thread in Absolutepunk.net history, the Shone mystery was finally revealed. Once the shock and mystery wore off, the band, made up of members of Long Island staples Brand New and Robbers, played their first show at Mercury Lounge. Like the social media campaign, the evening was strange, memorable and a little terrifying, with animal sounds, face paint, and spooky music accompanying the newly-formed band.

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Frank Turner @ Blackheart Bar (Austin, TX), SXSW 2013, March 15 – The defining moment of my life as a music fan was getting to work and attend SXSW this year. On Friday night, I ran to catch Frank Turner’s 1am set following a long work day, and it was well worth it. I would end up seeing Frank 3 times during the last 24 hours of the incredible SXSW 2013 festival.

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Green Day @ The Barclays Center (Brooklyn, NY), April 7 – Green Day is my favorite band their live show is unmatched. When I was lucky enough to score 2 general admission spots to their headlining show I knew it would be a night to remember. As always, the performance the band put on was nothing short of perfect and is one of the best shows I went to all year.

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Fall Out Boy @ Terminal 5 (New York, NY), May 29 – One of the biggest music stories of 2013 for me was the reemergence of Fall Out Boy. Following their four-year hiatus, the pop/rock group recorded their new album and planned an entire tour without any news leaking. The album was a huge success, and their small-market headlining tour sold out instantly. Their New York set showcased their improved live act while demonstrating their high level of energy and fun.

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Mumford & Sons @ Forest Hills Stadium (Queens, NY), August 28 – Having the opportunity to see a band I really like perform on my home borough of Queens, New York was easily one of the coolest concert experiences I’ve ever had. Between some annoying crowd members and flaws in the stadium’s design, the show definitely had downsides; however, that did not stop this from being an extremely enjoyable concert by an incredible live band 10 minutes from my home.

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Yellowcard @ Irving Plaza (New York, NY), September 9, 2013 – Yellowcard put a fun twist on the 10-year craze, instead releasing an acoustic rendition of their classic decade-old Ocean Avenue and performing an acoustic tour. The experience, equipped with a full electric encore of their hits, was beautifully nostalgic and reminded me of how much this band means to me.

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The Front Bottoms @ The Music Hall of Williamsburg (Brooklyn, NY), November 13 – Not many bands can take a tour in which they’re the supporting act and make it their own. The Front Bottoms did just that while opening for Manchester Orchestra. The quirky New Jersey indie-dance-punk band worked the crowd into a frenzy with the help of their infectious music and their wacky arm-waving friends, who made an appearance during the catchy tune “The Beers”.

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Streetlight Manifesto @ Starland Ballroom (Sayreville, NJ), November 16 – I said everything I need to say about the band that made me fall in love with live music on my farewell post to them. Still, this picture remains one of the most memorable I have ever taken from their last show in NJ and serves as a fitting farewell (or “see you later”) for the Jersey ska-punk band.

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The Wonder Years @ 89 North (Patchogue, NY), December 15 – Realist pop-punk band The Wonder Years have been growing at a rapid pace over the years and are now headlining 1000-2000 cap venues. This made their holiday-themed acoustic tour, which closed out its four-show run on Long Island, even more special. Playing in front of 450 people (the show sold out in mere hours), the band threw in some amazing surprise cuts in their set. The venue was decorated with trees and snowflakes and fans dressed up in ugly Christmas sweaters to receive free cookies and hot chocolate. As far as holiday acoustic shows go, this one was incredibly fun night.

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Brand New @ The Paramount (Huntington, NY), December 20 – Though show should go down as one of the best I have ever seen, it’s the issues around it that may define it. The band announced small-venue discography shows where they would play their four albums, resulting in scalping issues when tickets sold out in seconds. At the Long Island hometown show, when fans expect earlier classic records Your Favorite Weapon and Deja Entendu, the band threw a curveball and played their latter two (incredibly stellar) records, much to some people’s disappointment. When Daisy was played instead of Deja Entendu, some booed and even walked out, taking to social media to voice displeasure. Being cryptic and unpredictable has always led to Brand New being placed on a sort of pedestal and examined closely through a microscope, but the performance was still breath-taking and their experience of seeing those records was perfect.

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Some of Our Favorite Christmas Songs

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by Vasilis and Cherie

Vasilis: I’m no fan of Christmas music honestly, especially the very cliché, religious-based sappy music; that is why I love when punk bands either put their own spin on Christmas classics or invent their own off-beat, humorous take on the holidays through their songs. The only songs that really go off that recipe are the Pogues and Run DMC (two classic songs!). My list is just a small sample of my favorite holiday tunes from some of my favorite bands. If you like this list, one of my favorite comps, (No Sleep Till Christmas) is available for free download through the label’s website. Now if you excuse me, I’m going to go listen to sad Christmas songs and rock out.

Bayside – Angels We Have Heard on High

Blink-182 – I Won’t Be Home For Christmas

Fall Out Boy – Yule Shoot Your Eye Out

Into It. Over It. – Jingle Bell Broke

MxPx – Christmas Night of Zombies

New Found Glory – Ex-Miss

Run DMC – Christmas in Hollis

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones – This Time of Year

The Pogues – Fairytale of New York

The Wonder Years – Christmas at 22

Cherie: I have to agree with Vas, I’m not a huge fan of traditional Christmas music as such. But when my favorite bands put out a Christmas song, even if its just a remake of an old song, I’ll give it a listen. There’s no rhyme or reason to what I end up liking; sometimes it annoys me when bands don’t change anything in their versions but other times I think they change too much. The best, though, are usually new songs all together (the exception being Baysides version of Angels We Have Heard on High which is the best thing ever). Here’s my top ten favorite Christmas songs!

Tegan and Sara – The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)

fun. – Believe in Me

Laura Marling – Silent Night

The Killers – Don’t Shoot Me Santa

Dropkick Murphies – The Season’s Upon Us

Emmy the Great & Tim Wheeler – Home for the Holidays

Frank Turner – Last Christmas

The Killers – Great Big Sled

Yellowcard – Christmas Lights

Bright Eyes – Blue Christmas

You can check out a playlist containing some of the songs by clicking here.

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Top Albums of 2013 (as chosen by Vas)

Band – Album – “Favorite Song”

  1. The Wonder Years – The Greatest Generation – “I Just Want to Sell Out My Funeral”

  2. Streetlight Manifesto – The Hands That Thieve – “Your Day Will Come”

  3. Balance & Composure – The Things We Think We’re Missing – “Keepsake”

  4. Frank Turner – Tape Deck Heart – “Plain Sailing Weather”

  5. Kevin Devine – Bulldozer/Bubblegum – “Redbird”

  6. Into It. Over It. – Intersections – “Contractual Obligation”

  7. The Front Bottoms – Talon of the Hawk – “Backflip”

  8. Arctic Monkeys – AM – “R U Mine?”

  9. Citizen – Youth – “Roam the Room”

  10. The World is a Beautiful Place and I Am No Longer Afraid to Die – Whenever, If Ever – “Getting Sodas”

  11. Fall Out Boy – Save Rock and Roll – “Save Rock and Roll”

  12. Saves the Day – Saves the Day – “Ain’t No Kind of Love”

  13. The Swellers – Light Under Closed Doors – “Got Social”

  14. Mixtapes – Ordinary Silence – “Elevator Days”

  15. Sainthood Reps – Headswell – “Headswell”

  16. Allison Weiss – Say What You Mean – “One Way Love”

  17. Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City – “Unbelievers”

  18. Have Mercy – The Earth Pushed Back – “This Old Ark”

  19. Polar Bear Club – Death Chorus – “WLWYCD”

  20. Paramore – Paramore – “Anklebiters”

2013 Top 5 EPs:

  1. Vinnie Caruana – City By The Sea

  2. Pentimento – Inside the Sea

  3. Their / They’re / There – Their / They’re / There

  4. Misser – Distancing

  5. Why Bother? – This Isn’t Very Good

 

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“Wait For Me” – Allison Weiss

by Cherie

Good music is all about telling a story for the listener. Whether its a literal story or just painting a picture for the listener, music is, at heart, an interactive experice. Allison Weiss’s new video for “Wait For Me” takes that idea to a new level. The concept for the video is simple, the song plays in the background while a woman, Josee, listens to it for the first time on headphones. As the song plays we get to watch the Josee’s reaction, but we also learn something about her life story as well, thanks to subtitles on the screen. The combined experience is touching and beautiful, and for three and a half minutes you can immerse yourself in someone elses life story. It’s almost as if the song were written for Josee.

Honestly, this might be my favorite video of 2013. Its a great song by itself by the genuine nature of the video make it that much better.

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December 23, 2013 · 10:59 pm

Top Five Music Stories That Defined 2013 For Me

by Vasilis

5. The Return of Justin Timberlake

I am not much of a fan of Justin Timberlake’s music, although he is hilarious and I appreciate how talented he is. However, to deny how big his return to music was would be extremely naïve. After stepping away from the music game to focus on his acting, the pop star returned with no warning and defined the pop music landscape by releasing two albums that set the bar high in terms of sale and performance. Additionally, his song “Suit & Tie” was everywhere, from beer commercials to sporting events to late night shows, and “Mirrors” followed suit with big-time radio play. To top it off, his collaboration with hip hop mogul Jay-Z “Suit & Tie” and “Holy Grail” and their collaboration on their summer stadium tour made waves and sold incredibly well, even selling out two Yankee Stadium shows. The subsequent solo headlining tour he embarked was also a huge success, and with another headlining tour taking place early next year, it’s safe to say Justin Timberlake’s return to music is nowhere near finished.

4. Fall Out Boy Reunite to “Save Rock and Roll”

While Justin Timberlake’s return was flashier, Fall Out Boy’s meant more to me. After attending their “final” show at Madison Square Garden supporting Blink-182 in 2009, I was not sure I’d ever see them back together again. Whispers began early on that the band should and would reunite to honor the 10-year anniversary of their beloved pop punk masterpiece Take This To Your Grave, but the band’s members vehemently denied any plans, even up to a day before the announcement. Then, with one simple post, the pop punk world turned upside down: Not only was Fall Out Boy back, but they already had a new album recorded, a new single to release, three small club shows planned for Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles, and a small venue tour set for the spring. The most startling aspect of the return was the band doing everything under complete cover of darkness; no news leaked during the process, making the announcement that much more startling. With their new album Save Rock and Roll and the image of the band burning Take This To Your Grave, it was clear they had no interest of returning to their pop punk roots to appease fans, instead recording the album they wanted to. Their first single “My Songs Know What You Did In the Dark (Light ‘Em Up)” was hugely successful and led to various television and festival performances, showing the group’s propensity for writing hook-soaked pop/rock tunes had only improved and their name was bigger than ever. 2013 was a year of returns and exits in music, but the biggest for me was the re-emergence of Fall Out Boy.

3. Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow

With every happy return came a sad goodbye in 2013, which featured some of my favorite members leaving or being forced out of some of my favorite bands. Tony Thaxton, citing the need to step away from life on the road, quit his role as Motion City Soundtrack drummer after being with the band since their debut 2003 album I Am the Movie. Even more startling was the announcement that founding Sum 41 member and drummer Steve Jocz was departing after 17 years, leaving vocalist Deryck Whibley the only remaining founding member. While people have speculated that Deryck’s potential substance abuse problems and the constant show cancellations were the cause, Jocz gave no further reason. Rounding out the drummers was the announcement that Say Anything drummer Coby Linder was departing, leaving singer-songwriter Max Bemis as the group’s only non-live member (I’m cheating a bit on this one, as Coby made the announcement on December 29, 2012). On the ska side, trombonist Dan Regan left Reel Big Fish after a startling 20 years with the band, leaving singer/guitarist and group founder Aaron Barrett as the only member who has been with the band since the ‘90s. Finally, the news recently came out that New Found Glory had essentially kicked out backing guitarist and primary lyricist Steve Klein, sending ripples through the pop punk community and causing people to question the band’s motives and wonder about any potential schism between them. The band was known as a tight-knit group of friends, having had the same lineup since forming in 1997. This, paired with the fact that the split did not seem mutual, make this the most shocking of all.

2. The Fall of Ian Watkins

Cherie and I have said all we could about this story in our post, but this story completely changed the face of the rock world in 2013. The details were so horrifying, so disturbing that it made people wonder aloud how any man could think these actions up and caused people to completely discard the entire band’s catalog. The world of music is full of heroes and villains, but Ian Watkins arose as the most universally hated figure; people cursed his existence and wished him hell in his jail cell. In a strange way, the story united many music fans from all over in their contempt and hate for Ian Watkins. While the story has recently begun winding down with his guilty plea, the shock of this story has still not completely worn off.

1. Happy Ten-iversary!

Strangely enough, the thing I will remember most about 2013 was how incredible 2003 was. No year defined “the scene” (meaning the world of pop punk, emo, alternative, pop/rock, etc.) more than 2003; the sheer amount of ground-breaking, life-changing albums that came out that year is unrivaled, and the bands showed their appreciation by going on a run of 10-year anniversary tours. Yellowcard paid homage to Ocean Avenue with a recorded rendition of the album and an acoustic tour, Story of the Year honored Page Avenue by performing it in its entirety on the “Scream it Like You Mean It” tour, Finch toured for What It Is To Burn, The Early November announced two special December shows in Philadelphia and New York to perform The Room’s Too Cold, Death Cab For Cutie played Transatlanticism on a short run of dates earlier this year and Blink-182 performed Blink-182 at a 5-show Los Angeles residency. Well-known Long Island recluses Brand New even shocked fans by performing the genre-defining Deja Entendu on a short run of dates earlier this year. On top of that, both New Found Glory and Taking Back Sunday continued their 2012 run of ten-year tours for Sticks and Stones and Tell All Your Friends, respectively. All that nostalgic firepower doesn’t even include Thrice (The Artist in the Ambulance), Thursday (War all the Time), AFI (Sing the Sorrow), Fall Out Boy (Take This To Your Grave), The Format (Interventions and Lullabies), Matchbook Romance (Stories and Alibis), Something Corporate (North), Coheed and Cambria (In Keeping Secrets…), The Ataris (So Long Astoria), MxPx (Before Everything and After), Less than Jake (Anthem), The Postal Service (Give Up), Saves the Day (In Reverie), and… well, you get the picture. I even ended up leaving a bunch of albums off this list that also came from the scene. Looking back at 2003 through the nostalgia-filled 2013 glasses, I came to realize how many bands helped shape the current genre that I love, and even though at the time I didn’t pay attention it made me that much more grateful that these bands and albums exist.

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“Einstein’s Idea” – Johnny Flynn

by Cherie

Songs can have different meanings to both the composer and the listener, and those two meanings don’t have to be mutually exclusive. I’ve always been fascinated to find out what inspired my favorite artists, finding that it adds to my experience with the song instead of taking away from it.

Take, for example, Johnny Flynn’s song “Einstein’s Idea.” Its a lovely song on its own, and you can watch a fantastic live performance of it above. The song was written as a lullaby for Flynn’s two year old son, Gabriel, and its an attempt to explain the theory of relativity to his son. When Flynn performed the song at a performance at the Globe celebrating Shakespeare’ birthday, Gabriel apparently stole the show clapping along to his song while Flynn was on stage and stealing the spotlight.

“The gap in between them is nothing to us / Our eyes cut the distance, as loving eyes must / From me unto you son, from dust unto dust” Flynn sings. You can almost imagine him sitting with his acoustic and singing the song to his son. Its a touching image and I think it adds that much more to the song.

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December 14, 2013 · 2:08 am

Ian Watkins: A Response

By Cherie and Vasilis

For anyone who hasn’t heard of the Ian Watkins scandal, the Guardian recently posted a thought provoking article on the matter on their website (read it here). After stumbling across the article, I invited Vasilis to come up with a few thoughts on the matter and I would publish a joint reaction piece on the blog. We both found the issue hard to wrap our heads around but in the end managed to scrape together the following responses, which you can read below.

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Vasilis’s reaction:

I always thought I had a steel stomach and could withstand anything. After all, I watch Boardwalk Empire, a show that has shown a man stabbed to death with a broken bottle by a man who was defiling his wife (and shockingly, that is not even close to the grossest thing on that show). I have a pretty sick sense of humor which can include gross and severe topics, and I love to watch comedians who touch upon these topics.

Yet, when news of this Ian Watkins story broke, I was so appalled I almost couldn’t bear to read it. As I forgot about it and was later reminded of it when he was found guilty, I couldn’t believe how much more horrific the details had gotten. I realized I am not nearly as impervious to stomach-churning stories as I once though. That may be because, where the shows and movies I watch are based mostly in fiction, this story was all too real and disgusting. Even after reading the gruesome details, I find it hard to believe any “man” could be capable of such atrocities.

Reading through comments on various music blogs showed that people were in the same state of shock I was. At the time, television journalist Rupert Evelyn was live tweeting the case proceedings as the horrific specifics were announced. As a journalist who has covered some terrible crimes, the following tweet pretty much sums up how disturbing this crime was: “The details of this case are the most graphic and distressing pedophile crimes I have ever listened to.”

Many, like myself, grew up on Lostprophets. Though I was never a big fan, I remember spinning “Last Train Home” and “4AM Forever” on my college radio show and jamming along behind the board. Though Lostprophets have really fallen off most people’s radars, this is not the way they wanted to be brought back. Now, so many people are claiming they can never listen to this band’s music ever again. Is that fair? To be honest, no. It is not fair to the other members of the band who are also victims, though obviously at a much smaller level than those who were destroyed by Watkins’ deplorable act. It is not fair to the art itself, which should always be held separate from the people who make it. Watkins is not the first scumbag to make art, and he won’t be the last. And yet, I find myself joining the voices proclaiming his music dead in their eyes. The retailers have already begun heeding these opinions and pulling his music from circulation.

So why is this case any different? For one thing, I think the shock and horror of this specific act is very rare. Rape is bad enough, but raping a baby is almost unthinkable. We may never be able to wrap our heads around what would possess anyone to even think up a crime this unthinkable. Though the new details confirmed he was on some serious drugs, that is hardly any excuse and doesn’t help explain how he came to act on these disgusting ideas. I honestly could not even think of a possible crime that would rival what Ian Watkins is guilty of.

And yet Chris Brown beat his girlfriend half to death and still has a huge following. Other musicians have abused hard drugs and committed crimes but have continued to thrive. I think this takes us to the big question The Guardian raised in the end of their article: “If art is to be deemed beyond the pale, who makes the decision, and how?” I think in the end, it’s all public perception. No crime will ever be so grand that the guilty’s music will be erased by a federal law signed by the President. Nothing will universally cause every music outlet to stop covering this artist, which is why Chris Brown is still making music. If enough people deem an artist’s actions so grave that their music is null and void, then that is the reality. If enough people forgive the artist and continue to listen, then that is the reality. Somewhere, someone will still be able to listen to Lostprophets, but because of the severity of this crime, that number is quite low.

This case is in the history books. Ian Watkins will hopefully rot in jail for the rest of his days, his music a thing of the past. In the end, I think people who call a band member an “asshole” because they have an ego or because they “didn’t sign my CD when I demanded them to!” should look at this case to put things in perspective and see that they’re wrong. This guy is the true asshole, a monster and a coward.

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Cherie’s reaction:

To me, art is always an expression of self. I like to consider myself an aspiring writer, and I take inspiration in the people, places, and things that I chose to surround myself with. I mix parts of myself in with my characters but I also base many of them on people I know in real life. And while its true that most of my stories aren’t an autobiography (because I don’t live in a dystopian society where books were burned like in one of my novels), looking back at what I’ve written I can often see myself reflected in the grand scheme of things. And I think that’s true for a lot of artists as well. True art has to come from somewhere, and it has to be based on something. It doesn’t just appear on its own, out of nowhere. Its created by people and those people have an impact on their creation. That’s why its so hard for me to separate what an artist has done from their work. Because to me art is personal, and people relate to it on a personal level.

From time to time a scandal will leak that will call into a question an artist’s body of work. Just this past year several scandals were leaked involving Orson Scott Card, writer of Ender’s Game (which is perhaps one of the greatest science fiction novels of all time). Ender’s Game was being made into a movie, and Card was being placed in the spotlight more often to promote the adaptation, and many of his remarks prompted negative backlash. Card insists that his remarks, which have revealed him to be homophobic, sexist, and racist among other things,were taken out of his context (though as this article proves that isn’t quite true). When I heard the extent of Card’s homophobia I was deeply disappointed. He had been one of my favorite writer’s and to hear what kind of person he truly was, at his very core, I felt disgusted. Card has made his opinions a matter of public information; you can look up articles he’s written and published on the matter and interviews where he voices his opinions. Its not the press twisting his words or making him into a villain when he isn’t. He truly is a bigoted individual, and I for one, want nothing to do with the man. It make not make an actual difference to him that I have chosen to boycott his published works, but I couldn’t in good conscious support his lifestyle when everything he believes and promotes goes against what I believe.

Taking the matter one step further is the scandal surrounding Ian Watkins, lead singer for the band Lostprophets. Watkins was brought to public attention nearly a year ago when he was charged with multiple counts of sexual assault. Watkins has now plead guilty to eleven of the offenses including the attempted rape of a baby. The plea has shocked fans of the band and even band members themselves who had hoped that the charges were some sort of gross misunderstanding. In an official statement the band stated: “Earlier this week, we learned that the allegations of child sexual abuse against Ian were true, and that he would not be contesting them in court. Until then, we found them extremely difficult to believe and had hoped it was all a mistake. Sadly, the true extent of his appalling behavior is now impossible to deny.”

The backlash to Watkins guilty plea was nearly instantaneously. Music seller HMV pulled the band’s music from shelves, and it’s highly unlikely they were the only ones to do so. The Guardian recently published an article on the decision, using the situation to look at a much broader issue: separating an artist’s sins from their art. They pointed out that many famous artists had scandals in their lives as well but their art is still respected today. It also points out that these scandals usually came out after the fact, and were often alleged but unconfirmed.

Lostprophets were, almost inarguably, neither real art nor real culture, and the nature of Watkins’s crimes and his admission of guilt precludes any ambiguity: these are not events that have been alleged and disputed, years after the fact; they are in the here and now and they are undeniable” the article states.

And that, I think is the root of the problem. These aren’t some allegations that have been unproved or contested. Watkins plead guilty to most of the charges against him, including, worst of all, the attempted rape of a baby. There’s no black and white here, Watkins is a sick individual who needs help. As I stated earlier, I think its impossible to entirely separate one’s self from one’s art. Just thinking about the scope of the scandal surrounding the Watkins I feel sick and know that I will never again listen to their music. The rest of the band clearly feels the same way; when they learned that Watkins was pleading guilty to the charges they immediately announced the bands dissolution.

So to me, its impossible to completely separate and artist from their work. Maybe that’s not entirely fair; horrible people can create beautiful things. But I believe that if someone is truly a horrible person, their actions will taint everything else in their life. And that includes their art.

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The Slow Downward Spiral of The Killers

by Cherie

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Hot Fuss came out in the summer between my freshmen and sophomore years of high school, and it was like nothing I had ever heard before. I forget how I first discovered it, but the first time I heard “Mr. Brightside” I fell in love. There was something so new and exciting about The Killers that took the music scene by storm. I have so many memories of high school that are linked to that album. Most of them are just snapshots of my life at the time; driving around in the cemetery after dark blasting “Somebody Told Me”, drives to Newburyport for movie nights spent belting out Mr. Brightside, making a shirt for spirit week that said “I’ve got soul but I’m not a solider.”

 

The band’s second album, Sam’s Town, which was released in 2006, was a more grown up record, but still an instant hit for me. It experimented around just as much as the first album, but it branched off in completely different directions. It wasn’t as big of a hit as Sam’s Town, but it still had the same heart and passion driving it, and I loved it as well. I have so many memories I can trace back to those songs as well.

 

I was thrilled with Sawdust as well, which was released in 2007; though it almost seemed like a filler album to me. There were some fantastically weird and dark songs on there, “Tranquilize” and “Shadowplay” for example, as well as a handful of great new songs. But there were some old songs mixed in (“Indie Rock N Roll, Under the Gun, and Who Let You Go), as well as a cover (Romeo and Juliet) and some live versions of old songs. Since it was released just a year after their second album one can only assume that it was basically a collection of b-sides and some new stuff that didn’t quite fit on the first two albums.

 

After that things started to go downhill. Day & Age, released in 2008, was a mediocre album with only a few bright spots (Spaceman, Human, and Dustland Fairytale for example). The band released a live album/DVD along with the standard album and after that things were quiet for a while. Part of me wondered if that might be the end of the band, though there were no reports of a break up, and to be honest I wasn’t sure if I would be that upset if it were true. Sure I’d never seen them live, but it seemed to me like they were running out of steam, and now might be a good time to end it

 

And then in 2012 they announced a new album, Battle Born. With a four year gap between albums I had hoped that the band might have recharged and come up with a fantastic album. They failed to deliver, unfortunately. Not a single track on the album managed to catch my attention, though I listened to it start to finish several times. 2014 brought another new album from the band, but this one was merely a greatest hits compilation. Rumor has it that the band didn’t even want to do it but were contractually obligated to do so. Drummer Ronnie Vannucci Jr stated in an interview for The Daily Star that “it’s not like we’re so pleased with ourselves we want to put it out…it feels like a douchie move.” While its true that the band will celebrate the 10th anniversary of Hot Fuss in 2014 it seems like its much too early for a greatest hits album.

 

Despite all of this I am still a big fan of the Killers. And I have faith that they can come back from two bad albums and deliver something that will make me love their new stuff once again.

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