(22 March 2011, WaterTower Music )
I won’t hold it against you if you’ve never heard of this movie. It did fly under the radar, but if you took the time to check it out you were in for a treat
Sucker Punch was directed by Zack Snyder (300, Watchmen) and starred Emily Browning (Pompeii, Legend) and Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, X-Men: Apocalypse). Essentially the movie is a live-action anime. There is a plot, but it’s not important. What really brought the film together were the glorious, special-effects driven battle scenes with giant samurai, steampunk Nazis and dragons. In my humble opinion, there’s nothing better than scantily clad women battling dragons.
Of course, none of those fight scenes would be worth a damn without the proper musical accompaniment. The Sucker Punch soundtrack is not John Williams or Hans Zimmer, but it ranks among the greatest film soundtracks of all time in my book.
It’s brilliance is in how it takes familiar songs and gives them a new spin. Instead of making a mix tape of b-sides from popular artists , producers Tyler Bates and Marius de Vries take old songs and have trip-hop acts cover them. This gives continuity to a seemingly random collection of tracks and makes them flow seamlessly from one to another.
Star Emily Browning sings three tracks. Opener “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” is my least favorite version of that song, but considering the other two versions are so damn awesome that’s not really an insult. It’s still worth checking out. She also does a cover of the Smiths’ “Asleep” which isn’t bad, but I can live without it.
There’s only one Bjork song I recognize. “Army of Me” is a brilliant track and the Sucker Punch remix takes all the crazy screeches and Yoko Ono-isms and makes it truly stellar. The song works great on its own, but listening to this version it’s apparent it was used in a film. I’ve never heard of Emiliana Torrini, but I love her version of Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit.” It runs a little long, but when something sounds that good you make exceptions. The best part is the opening guitar riff played note for note on an organ.
Skunk Anansie turns in the best version of “Search and Destroy” I’ve ever heard. I expect it may be the best version of that song I ever will hear. This should be the definitive version that’s required listening for all aspiring punks. I’m sure it’s sacrilegious, but I’ve never cared much for the Stooges. Red Hot Chili Peppers and Soundgarden have turned in lukewarm versions of the song but Skunk Anansie are the ones to tap into the primal nature and transform it to the monster I knew it could be.
(Make sure your socks are on tight as this has the potential to knock them off. You’ve been warned.)
Oscar Isaac and Carla Gugino close the album with a cover of Roxy Music’s “Love is the Drug.” I wasn’t familiar with this song at all before seeing the movie. I was surprised to discover that it’s a cover and wasn’t composed for the film because it fits so well.
Now that I look back at the track list I’m surprised that there are so many songs I don’t like. Alison Mosshart and Carla Azar turn in a performance of “Tomorrow Never Knows” that isn’t bad, but doesn’t do anything different than the original. There’s something called “I Want It All / We Will Rock You Mash-Up (Queen cover)” right in the middle that is truly terrible. I’m sure fans of hip-hop and Queen will enjoy it, but my love of Queen isn’t strong enough to override my distaste for hip-hop.
The last song Emily Browning sings on is a cover of the Pixies’ “Where Is My Mind?” with Yoav. This is the most disappointing track on the album. Somehow they manage to take an awesome song with great musicians performing and it still manages to fall flat. I guess they can’t all be zingers.
Now that I really examine this album I’m surprised to discover that I really only enjoy about half of the songs. But it’s a testament to how fucking awesome those tracks are that I didn’t even realize I didn’t like the rest of the album until I sat down to write a review.
Even if you fast forward through the boring parts like you used to do with VHS porno tapes, Sucker Punch is a film worth watching. It’s a classic in the same vein as Queen of the Damned or Escape from LA.
Damn, we’re only a week into the Trump presidency and I already wish I lived in an alternate reality; just like Trump supporters do.
Do people worry about something bad happening? I asked him.
Oh yeah people are uneasy. Heck I’m uneasy! It’s naive to think ISIS will not use this tragedy to their advantage. It’s also naive to assume every country will be able to screen out all the bad people. But it’s a humanitarian crisis and people are split. A lot of “not our problem” vs. “Canada is the kind of country that helps.” A lot of “not worth the risk” vs. “we have to try to help”. And each side points to headlines around the world to make their points.
This sentiment basically sums up how I feel about the issue. It would be naive of me to think that a few bad apples won’t make there way in with the rest of the bunch, but I’m not heartless enough to support turning away tens of thousand of people fleeing war, oppression and destruction. I’d like to think that America is the kind of country that would help; but sadly, I’ve been proven wrong.
I have a daughter and of course I worry about her, but the addition of Syrian refugees isn’t going to change that. I live in a community filled with people who think they need to own fully automatic AR-15s and whatever other type of high capacity weapons they can get their hands on because it’s their right to defend themselves against the tyranny of the federal government.
No, I’m not worried about refugees.
And the crazy thing about this: It’s not all based on a sense of righteousness or wanting to do the right thing. I honestly don’t think that bombing the shit out of Daesh is the way to defeat radical Islamic terrorism. Sure, we have enough nukes to kill every living thing on the planet seven times over, so we have the firepower to turn everything from Turkey to Iran into a glow-in-the-dark parking lot, but is that the answer?
When we send a drone strike to Yemen or Somalia or Sudan and kill a terrorist is that the end of the story? What about the terrorists’ friends? Or wife? Or brothers? Or children? These are people who will say “America killed my friend, my husband, my brother or my father. Is drone warfare eliminating terrorists or breeding them? If we send in a bomb to kill Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi how long to you think it would take before he is replaced? It took him eleven years after Saddam Hussein was overthrown, but with Assad on the ropes and the region in chaos, it won’t take long for someone else to rise to power.
And will they be any better?
I don’t want to come off like some sort of world-peace, patchouli-smelling hippie, but I don’t think war is helping anything at this point in history. I know Saddam Hussein was not a good guy. I know that Bashar al-Assad is not a good guy. I know that the terrorists getting hit by drone missiles are not good people. And yes, I know Donald Trump is doing what he thinks it right. The point that I’d like to make is I don’t agree with him.
We could send 325 million Americans to Mesopotamia each armed with 20 million bullets and it wouldn’t make a bit of difference. You can’t kill an ideology with a bullet. I think Trump is making it a lot easier for people who want to hate America to feel justified in that feeling. I know his rise to power has made me question my patriotism. How can I love a country that allows something like this to happen? A country that causes chaos in a part of the world then turns its back on those affected?
I’m not an expert on the subject, but didn’t I hear once that the best breeding ground for terrorists is refugee camps? If we want to stamp out radical Islamic terrorism shouldn’t we be welcoming people fleeing and showing them that we’re the good guys? Shouldn’t we be treating these people the way we want to be treated? Didn’t someone important once say ‘as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me‘?
The truth is that we can’t show Syrian refugees we’re the good guys because we’re not the good guys. I want to believe that there is hope (and I do see some), but it’s getting hard to believe. Calling America a Christian nation is an alternative fact.
I keep telling myself I’m doing some good from behind this computer. That I’m working and bettering myself and giving to charity and raising a caring, levelheaded daughter all that is enough. But I don’t really think it is. What I’d really like to do is sell all my possessions, join up with the UN, or Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services or the Peace Corp or just fly to Turkey and see what I can do. I don’t know much about carpentry, nursing, medicine, peacekeeping or soldiering, but I’m a fast learner.
But I know that doing that wouldn’t be enough either.
According to my Cuddly Kittens calendar, today marks the Chinese New Year. I don’t really have a good song to commemorate China and/or their new year, but I did find a song that has something to do with Indochina and has to do with this years animal.
I like to think it’s because I’m such a great writer that people are coming to read my thoughts on music. Of course, what’s really happening is that people are typing crazy shit into Google and somehow ending up here. After reading Lebrain’s posts about what search terms lead to his site I thought it would be fun to share what leads people to The Audible Stew.
best young guitarists in 2016
best 2016 guitarists – a list of the best two thousand sixteen guitarists seems a little excessive. Hell, I might even show up on that. I try to keep my lists to ten or fifteen max.
drummer of slipknot face – This is new. I don’t think I’ve ever had anybody looking for the face of someone before.
rage against the machine tattoo
nickelback tax – This is a brilliant idea. Too bad it turned out to be a gag. But maybe it is in effect somewhere. Does anyone know?
statler and wanew year
oliver sykes performing tumblr – Does Bring Me The Horizon have a new song called “tumblr”? I really need to keep up on this stuff.
stevie nicks real nude – Sorry, I can only point you in the direction of fake nudes.
stevie nicks young and nude – Why would you want to see old Stevie Nicks nude? The only old woman I want to see naked is Helen Mirren.
envy us nude – What? Is that the name of a band? Or is it just some people who think they look so good naked that a google search will lead to a list of people jealous of them without their clothes?
eat a box of dicks – Incorrect. Suck. You Suck a bag of dicks. Or at least President Trump can suck a bag of dicks.
naked gathering of the juggalos – Please stop googling this. It’s nothing that you want to see.
Washington – After months of planning and preparation Donald Trump and congressional Republicans are making good on their promise to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
“We turned to smart people for the answer,” Trump tweeted. “Bigly smart people. Jello. I love Jello. There’s always room for Jello.”
“There was really only one answer to the problem of dealing with the millions of people who are about to lose their health insurance because of us,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan. “And that’s the plan laid out by the Dead Kennedys on their album Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables. We’re gonna kill, kill, kill the poor.”
Republicans constantly cite people losing their insurance, rising premiums or being forced to change providers as proof of the law’s failure. Democrats point to the fact that 20 million people have gained coverage and can no longer be denied coverage due to preexisting conditions as proof of the laws success.
At this point no one really knows what to believe. Attitudes about the law are split largely along party lines.
I just know that my tax dollars go toward paying the health insurance for members of congress, government employees, people below the federal poverty line, incarcerated criminals and the elderly. But if you’re in the gray area between the poverty line and not being able to afford a $300/month insurance plan you’re royally fucked.
I’m not an expert on this subject. You shouldn’t trust my judgement, but I’m reasonably sure I’d benefit from socialized medicine and I’d be happy to pay a little extra in taxes if it meant I no longer had to buy insurance (or pay close to $1500 dollars for an illness I suffered last year).
I have a lot of respect for the Republican Party. It takes a lot of talent convince people who would benefit from socialism that it’s a bad thing because someone else might benefit more. I don’t understand it. It’s like burning down your house instead of letting a buddy crash on your couch.
(31 August 1999, Outpost)
One of the greatest things about music is its ability to take you places. Hearing a song can make you feel like you’re back in junior high school without a care in the world. A lot of songs bring scenes in movies to mind (think of Forrest Gump). Sometimes it can take you to a whole other world. Days of the New’s second album has the power to transport me from wherever I happen to be back to Hyrule.
My mom met the man who would become her second husband while I was in high school. He was living in a small apartment above a bar with a mattress, a chihuahua/shih tzu mix and a huge stereo from Rent-a-Center. It didn’t take long until he moved in with us; and brought the dog and the stereo. It’s easy to date when he moved in because he only had four CDs: Ozzy’s No Rest For The Wicked, Yngwie Malmsteem’s Facing the Animal, Godsmack’s debut and DotN’s second album.
“Enemy” was a big hit at the time and he loved it. He would play that album over and over while drinking at the kitchen table with his buddies. Being in high school I wasn’t old enough to drink and probably spent at least a little bit of time studying. But when I wasn’t studying I was sitting in front of the television with my little brother because around the same time he moved in with that huge stereo we got a Super Nintendo and A Link To The Past. I have no idea how many times we played through that game together, but I can remember having a lot of fun with him. I think that may have been the best bonding we ever did.
And the great thing is that whenever I hear Days of the New’s second album I can think back on those days.
It probably helps that the album starts off with the sound of horse hooves. How else can I get from the water level to the desert level quickly? I’m a huge fan of all the segues that blend the tracks together. I honestly can’t name most of the songs on this album, and probably couldn’t tell you where most of them begin or end because it works as such a great cohesive whole.
The secret weapon is Nicole Sherzinger who would later achieve mega stardom as the lead singer of the Pussycat Dolls. It feels really weird to write that because the musical styles of the two groups couldn’t be more distant. But Sherzinger does have a beautiful voice and uses it to great effect with Days of the New.
Singer/Guitarist/Songwriter Travis Meeks got a lot of grief for pulling one of those megalomaniacal stunts of firing his whole band, but in his defense did you ever listen to Tantric? That was not a band I enjoyed. Sure, they were competent musicians and their stuff was okay, but there was no fire behind it. It always sounded like safe, middle-of-the-road rock to me. I just imagine them bringing the songs to him and him saying “No. You’re all fired.”
The acoustic guitars are still front and center but there’s plenty of other instrumentation to shake things up. The acoustic guitar thing was a good gimmick that definitely got them attention with their debut, but I’m guessing that wouldn’t have kept peoples interest if they’d just repeated that formula.
I’m not sure what all the instruments were used on this album , but I’m guessing there’s an ocarina in there somewhere. It really takes me back then.
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