Print This Post

Marie Antoinette: Soundtrack

By Nadine Levyfield, 17, Eagle Rock HS

    The best thing about Sofia Coppola’s highly stylized and not-so-historically-accurate 2006 film, Marie Antoinette, was its soundtrack. Juxtaposing authentic baroque period pieces with songs by contemporary post-punk bands creates a very satisfying double CD.

The infectious standout opener, “Hong Kong Garden” by Siouxie & the Banshees, is a fusion of old and new sounds. The song begins with an orchestral-string intro and then dissolves into a blend of furious guitar and mellow Asian-influenced chimes.

At times the album seems like 80s overload, jam packed with Bow Wow Wow songs, which I can’t stand. The song “Aphrodisiac” is anything but a turn on, as its jarring vocals and unhinged pounding of drums make me want to skip to the next song as soon as humanly possible.

Luckily, the following track is from Swedish indie group The Radio Dept., which contributes three songs to the soundtrack. My favorite is “Pulling Our Weight”—its simmering soft sounds and low-key vocals are reminiscent of another mellow band on the soundtrack, Air.

Synthesizer-heavy New Wave bands like New Order and Gang of Four bring pop-punk to life through the ear-piercing and incredibly catchy back-to-back songs “Ceremony” and “Natural’s Not In It.”

Overall, this soundtrack reflects the film in that it’s not a strict interpretation of the times, but an ear-pleasing combination of antiquated and modern.

Plid: Dream Logic

By Tanya Vazquez, 17, Downtown Magnets High

Even though I am a huge gothic/symphonic metal fan, I also like some techno artists such as Cascada, Ian Van Dahl, and DJ Sammy. But when I first listened to Plid’s techno music, I felt that the music style was unorganized noise. But as I listened to it again the electronic keyboards with a mix of hip-hop dance beats grew on me.

With lyrics like “All this time we’ve spent together/ Even in the worst of weather/ Moving at a raw and hectic pace” it makes me think about L.A. When I listen to the lyrics in “Fast Machines,” I see the skyline of downtown L.A. and the next minute I feel like I’m bumping into people on a dance floor. Most of Plid’s lyrics match their happy, upbeat music.

I also liked “Too Cool To Dance” because it reminded me of when I was a kid and the girls and boys didn’t want to dance with each other since they thought the other had cooties.

You should give Dream Logic a shot if you love to hit the dance floor. With the mix of techno beats and the electronic keyboard, you feel like you’re bouncing in a club.

The Colour: Between Earth & Sky

By Eden De La Cruz, 19

The Colour, four rockers from Los Angeles, would fit right in with classic rock bands that so many of us adore. They are a band with a 70s vibe that has gone back to the roots of good ol’ rock n’ roll making their music seem like something new in these years full of Kraftwerk and electronic-type bands.

Their energetic album, Between Earth & Sky, is awesome! Track after track, The Colour takes your feelings for a ride. They make you want to dance and rock out with songs like “Kill The Lights” and “Can’t You Hear It Call,” in which you can recognize their influences like The Rolling Stones, and then they make you relax with mellow songs like “Silver Meadows” and “Bearded Lady.” “Silver Meadows” was the one that stood out the most for me. It feels so real when Wyatt Hull sings “let’s numb the pain away this hour, let’s numb the pain away it’s ours” as if he is truly hurt. It may seem like it’s a simple song, with bells, drums and a piano, but the melodies are mournful and create a gloomy mood. The song comes after three explosive songs, making the transition into “Silver Meadows” more of a sudden drop, like in a roller coaster. The same feeling comes again when “Bearded Lady” starts to play.

I really dig the band’s lyrical style. Wyatt Hull is so passionate, soulful and poetic when he sings “I was the Sun, She was the moon, and our children were the stars” from “Our Children Were The Stars” and “as long as you have your feet above ground, the sky as your crown, coat tails made of breeze, come with me” from “Dirge To Earth & Sky.”

The Colour and several other bands like Delta Spirit, Cold War Kids and The Clean Prophets are all part of this backpedaling trend going around in which bands are approaching more of a classic rock sound, and I am damn glad it’s happening. They are just what one of their songs is titled, “You’re A Treasure.”

Christina Aguilera: Back to Basics

By Liberty Zabala, 17, Eagle Rock HS

Christina Aguilera goes Back to Basics on her most recent album, which debuted at number one. On hits like “Hurt” and “Mercy on Me,” Christina emotionally engages listeners in self-reflecting songs while reverting to the foundation of her musical career: ear-popping, soul-rocking vocal power.

On Back to Basics, the former “Xtina” strips off most of her “dirrty” image for a classy Marilyn Monroe-esque look. On her Grammy-winning song, “Ain’t No Other Man” and Pepsi-commercial hit “Here to Stay,” she combines jazzy brass arrangements with her signature make-you-wanna-get-up-and-dance beats.

Christina masterfully blends early jazz and blues in songs like “Understand” and “I Got Trouble.” She incorporates swing, beautiful harmonies, bouncy doo-wop and hip military sound-offs in the club single, “Candyman.” The second half of her two-disc album gets even better. The self-proclaimed “Baby Jane” (she dropped “Xtina”) indulges in Moulin Rogue-style cabaret music. It’s bold and edgy to explore those exciting sounds and mix them with her sassy pop.

Christina would have done better without the flashy fillers like the lyrical diss “F.U.S.S.” about record producer Scott Storch. Also, the song “Back in the Day” has a great beat but name-dropping Marvin Gaye and Etta James seems like a poor attempt to boost her credibility. However, she successfully plays around with the sounds of old vinyl records and theatrical strings with a modern twist to create one of her best records yet.

Guns N’ Roses: Appetite for Destruction

By Brad Marx, 17

Appetite for Destruction is one of the landmark hard rock albums of the last 30 years. It’s full of kick-you-in-the-gut, guitar-driven songs about the hard rock lifestyle like “Nightrain,” a song praising cheap wine and “Mr. Brownstone,” about a struggle with heroin addiction. But there’s also “Welcome to the Jungle,” one of the band’s greatest hits, which exposes the truth of L.A. life: “Welcome to the jungle/ it gets worse here every day/ you learn to live like an animal in the jungle where we play.”

There is also a softer side to the band. The love songs “Think About You” and “Sweet Child o’ Mine” transform this album from a good album to a great album. “She’s got eyes of the bluest skies as if they thought of rain/ I’d hate to look into those eyes and see an ounce of pain” was originally part of a poem Axl Rose wrote for his then-girlfriend. This is an ideal song to play for your girlfriend.

The last song, “Rocket Queen” is a perfect ending. The song starts fast with sleazy lyrics like “I’m a sexual innuendo in this burned out paradise/ and if you turn me on to anything, you better turn me on tonight.” Halfway through the music shifts: “Don’t ever leave me/ say you’ll always be there/ all I ever wanted was for you to know that I care.”

When Gn’R came out, people thought they were another long-haired, leather-pants-wearing band. But Guns n’ Roses’ music was always about real stuff. They’re an original band full of that energy and fun that makes me love the music.

Of Montreal: Hissing Fauna, Are You The

By Hayden Jacoves, 15, Cleveland HS

Lead singer Kevin Barnes has called the indie band Of Montreal’s latest release a concept album—the first six songs reference his problems such as his divorce and not being able to see his child. He performs the final five songs in his glam rock stage persona, Georgie Fruit. The 12-minute, “The Past is a Grotesque Animal” explains the transformation between the two. It’s an interesting idea but it just doesn’t work.

Part One starts off with the incredibly annoying “Suffer for Fashion,” which gets more tiring on a second listen. The song sounds like a mix between 80s bubblegum trash and a bored kid banging on dishes.

The best song on the album, “Heimdalsgate Like a Promethean Curse” has Barnes begging his chemicals to “switch back to good again.” It reminded me of Kurt Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions, in which he explained that his characters’ motivations were determined by the person’s chemicals being in or out of balance. The theme is summed up in a fun and poppy way that might have seemed whiny in the hands of Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard.

Part Two, however is unforgivably terrible. “Bunny Ain’t No Kind of Rider” and “She’s a Rejector” are funny and interesting love songs. But the remaining three tracks are examples of how bad music can get, cliché-filled and too much synthesizer.

Overall, the new album is uneven. The best songs are great but the worst songs are pretentious. Sorry Georgie Fruit, you’re no Ziggy Stardust.