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THE PIXIES: Bossanova

By Katie Havard, 16, Beverly Hills HS

Now that they’ve dragged you back into class, and the shock of a new school year has worn off, the lazy days of summer seem both ancient history and impossibly distant future. If you find the bleak classroom walls closing in, call on the Pixies’ 2003 album, Bossanova. It transports you back into an endless summer of SPF, chlorine, Otter Pops and sleeping until four in the afternoon.

With guitar that flows like a lazy, dreamy river, the song “Ana” is enough to take you back to July. “She’s my fave/ Undressing in the sun/ Return to sea—bye/ Forgetting everyone/ Eleven high/ Ride a wave.” The song “Allison” is reminiscent of a summer fling—dizzyingly intense and head-spinningly short. Something in the drums makes your heart start pounding in your throat. “All Over the World,” “Blown Away” and “Dig for Fire” could be the soundtrack to a trip you took to any number of various beachy locales. They strike up sand-in-your-shoes memories, barbecue and climbing lifeguard towers at night.

The good thing about summer is that everything is hot and slow and unrushed, so even if you went to the beach and there was “Stormy Weather” (track 13) chances are you’d have a good time anyway. “Velouria” sums up this philosophy excellently. “We will wade in the shine of the ever/ We will wade in the tides of the summer/ Every summer/ Every summer.”

Sigh, hit the books and wait it out. Bossanova can be your electric guitar seashell-to-the-ear until June comes around. Check it out, you can hear the ocean.


By Tanya Vazquez, 17, Downtown Magnets HS

Within Temptation’s The Silent Force is a definite must-have in anyone’s collection no matter what your taste is. The Dutch sextet combines Goth, metal and a little bit of 14th Century Renaissance music. That mix goes perfectly with singer Sharon Den Adel’s voice. Den Adel’s voice is similar to Amy Lee, of Evanescence, but it has a higher pitched, angelic feel to it. The background choir gives the music kind of a church feel, unlike most bands which are all about screaming and yelling so loudly that you can’t understand what they are saying.

This CD is filled with songs that express how a person is feeling deep inside, even love songs like “Angels,” “Aquarius” and “See Who I Am.”

The single “Stand My Ground,” which was a hit in Europe, makes the album shine. Lyrics like, “Stand my ground, I won’t give in/ No more denying, I’ve got to face it/ Won’t close my eyes and hide the truth inside/ If I don’t make it, someone else will/ Stand my ground,” make the listener feel like they are a part of the song because they can relate.

When I listen to these lyrics, it reminds me of all those challenges that I’ve had to face. Den Adel’s voice and lyrics bring out what you couldn’t say yourself into words, expressing the way you feel perfectly. It makes me feel very triumphant, like I overcame it all.

BRUNO COULAIS: Les Choristes (The Chorus) Soundtrack

By Chris Lee, 16, Walnut HS

If you hate the classical music your dad turns on in the car, you might like something more contemporary. The soundtrack to Les Choristes (The Chorus) is a good example of nontraditional classical music that is appealing even to a KROQ junkie like me.

Les Choristes is a 2004 movie about a music teacher who touches the lives of troubled kids at a boarding school in post-World War II France. The soundtrack isn’t hardcore choral or symphonic music; rather, it’s a contemporary combination of the two, creating a gentle, unique melody. I don’t understand a word of French, but there’s no need to learn. Music translates and I can appreciate captivating music.

Bruno Coulais’s music paints a classical landscape; an oboe roaming in solitude, interrupted by a dancing piano, contrasted by the bold lyrics of a boys’ chorus and accompanied by soothing strings.

“Vois sur ton Chemin” (Look to Your Path), my favorite song, is the theme from the movie and it summarizes all the movie’s suspense and emotions. At first, the simplicity of the song seems unimpressive, but underneath, complementary tenor and soprano lines produce richness and complexity. Unlike club songs where a heavy bass sets the rhythmic beat, the chorus sets the rhythmic syncopation, which lets the orchestra guide the melody to a peaceful glide.

Discovering new music opens ears to a new world, and this soundtrack took mine to a chateau in pastoral France.