Alanis Morissette: So-called Chaos
By Marvin Novelo, 17, Franklin HS
It’s disappointing to see Alanis Morissette lose so much of her fan base. Ever since Morrissette’s Jagged Little Pill hit stores in 1995 her sales have been in a downward spiral. Most of her fans miss her self-loathing and angry Jagged-Little-Pill days, which is a shame considering that her newest album, So-Called Chaos, is her best since her debut. Her singing is much more in control, her lyrics are as great as always, and her songs are deeper than anything Hilary Duff or Britney Spears could ever hope to achieve.
So-Called Chaos has much in common with her last album Under Rug Swept, but it has a much better pace. Most of the songs have to do with falling in love, getting over past relationships, and not sacrificing herself for another person. The whole tone of the album is very positive and easy on the ears—no screeching or unpronounceable verses. Morissette presents this best in the song “Excuses,” in which she lets go of her fear of being hated and unloved, “Why no one will help me/ I’m too dumb I’m too smart.”
Some of the lyrics can sound generic: “I’ll be subservient and spineless/ I’ll lick your boots as empty shells” on the song “Spineless.” However, most of her songs have excellent lyrics. Contradiction and pessimism have always been Morissette’s forte. In “Eight Easy Steps” Morissette proclaims herself the queen of hypocrisy with verses like “How to hate God when you’re a pray-er and spiritualist.” The song even has an odd Asian tinge that separates it from many songs she’s written.
Hilary Duff: Metamorphosis
By Danna Friedberg, 17, Hamilton HS
Sometimes the world can be a depressing place and clichéd depressed emo bands, suicidal metal and gangsta rappers do nothing to help. When the world is a vampire I turn to my guiltiest pleasure, Hilary Duff. Her freshman album Metamorphosis has been producing hit singles since its release last summer. Even though it has managed to stay on Billboard’s top 100, many teens turn up their noses at the thought of the teen queen. I however am not ashamed to admit that I find comfort in the 13 sugary sweet fluffballs of her mild rock/pop songs. While lyrics such as “if you can’t do the math then get out of the equation” may be a little tacky for some, there is no lack of fun throughout the CD. Her singing may also not be up to the caliber of those divas such as Christina Aguilera, but there is something equally satisfying in Hil’s breezy sound and soothing voice. So, take a break from the bling bling and the sad sing sing because in the words of Hilary, “that’s so yesterday.”
Choking Victim: No Gods / No Managers
By Larry Zamel, 17, Fairfax HS
When I first picked up Choking Victim’s CD, No Gods / No Managers, I was expecting to hear a black metal band because of the album cover filled with blasphemous symbols like upside-down crosses and the prince of darkness. I was in for a surprise. The fast, happy sound, and the vocals and lyrics were definitely not metal. The record had me hooked from the second I heard the fast bass riff on “500 Channels.” The record goes from ska songs like “Money” and “Crack Rock Steady” to fast-paced hardcore punk songs like “In Hell.”
Along with some very interesting short speeches on a few tracks, the band offers killer lyrics like “money for the rich, money for the fed/ God supplies the money and God supplies the dead!/ And when yer dead and ready, ‘exploited’ be thy name,/ ‘cause after you have money/ things are never quite the same!” on the song “Money.” There are also mind-blowing guitar and bass riffs, and songs like “Five Finger Discount” and “War Story” that make you scream along with the catchy choruses. And the vocals go from hardcore to ska, so there’s something for everyone.
Even if you are not a fan of this kind of music, you might be surprised. The band goes from politics to religion to the darkest part of your brain. I love this record so much because it’s refreshing to hear this sound, and it’s really relevant to what’s going on in our streets.