>Comic Update: "Paul Carrack"

>Yes indeed, you must read this comic to understand this new one! Ah-ha!

Anyways, here she be.

Two reasons to make a comic like this:

1) I figured these “Hill Comics” worked as a trilogy.
2) This song has been stuck in my head all week.

Oh, and here’s a nigh-illegible “bonus” for you fools silly enough to read it:

God Bless Us, Everyone.

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>Requested Review: "Bleed American" by Jimmy Eat World

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“World’s Most Obnoxiously Emotive” Trophies! Hah. Nice one, Sean.

Tonight’s review was humbly requested by Mr. Dan Yepes, who was kind enough to lend me a two-gig flash drive chock-full of music I’ve never listened to! Ahoy! In all honesty, Mr. Yepes did not specifically request Bleed American – he just knew I liked “The Middle,” and threw it on the drive as a lark. I think maybe he wanted me to review some hot-to-trot bands like TV On The Radio or Interpol, but man! Jimmy Eat World are apparently a so-called “EMO” band! I can’t pass up an opportunity to review one of those!

Well, OK. There’s two simple reasons why I’ve decided to review a JEW album (god that is an awkward acronym):

1) Like I said, I like “The Middle.”
2) It’s a Jimmy Eat World album. When would I EVER be compelled to review Jimmy Eat World in this blog? Do they even record albums anymore?? Interpol and TV On The Radio, they’re still relevant. Reviewing them would just be redundant, now wouldn’t it?

Yeah. It would. (Yes.)

I have to admit, though, that after listening to Bleed American I am indeed a little upset. I was hoping I would, despite all the “emo” labeling and all that, discover Jimmy Eat World as a fine 2000s pop band. I mean, “The Middle,” that’s such a fun little ditty! I mean, I’m not asking for an entire album full of “Middle”s. That would get disgusting after a while. But you know, I was expecting something a little fun! Instead Bleed American is kind of a generic 2000s rock-pop album with a bunch of acoustic-sensitive numbers thrown in there for good measure. A downer, I must admit. The moment the opening track “Salt Sweat Sugar” popped on, my immediate thought was “Jeez, this is just not my kind of music.” Generick punk-pop guitar, “emotional” (read: over-enunciated) vocals, y’know the drill. Kind of sounds like a less-annoying Fall Out Boy, but that’s not saying much. And upon hearing this song – the first track, mind you – I suddenly came to the realization that, hey, maybe I have no business reviewing a Jimmy Eat World album! Hot damn.

But really, what can I say? This music isn’t aimed at me. I am not part of Jimmy Eat World’s demographic. Only a few thoughts pop into mind when I listen to most of Bleed American: “Eh.” “Alright, whatever.” “Not my sort of thing.” “Ehhhhh.” “I wish I were 15 again.” And that’s it! Who wants to read that?? Nobody, my friends. So let us amicably end the review here, to save all of you from one long “mehhhhhhh” session.

Okay? Okay.

…oh. No wait. There IS some stuff I don’t regard with complete indifference on here! There’s “The Middle,” for one, which I know I’ve mentioned before like twenty times. But for over five years – before I ever heard Bleed American, that is – it was the only Jimmy Eat World song I had ever heard, and I was very happy with that. I didn’t care for it much when I was a freshman in highschool, but now I dig it (I guess it suffered from “MMMBop syndrome”, eh? You know what I mean). It’s poppy, catchy, cute, and has a really nifty solo during the bridge. There’s a lot to like! Only one other song approaches similar poppiness, “Authority Song,” which honestly sounds like modern-day Hanson for whatever reason. So of COURSE I like it. And then you have a number of slower, semi-acoustic, gentle little pretties like “Your House,” “Hear You Me,” “Cautioners” and “My Sundown,” which are all actually very nice but generally interchangeable. I get their melodies mixed up often. But they are a nice reprieve from all the “Salt Sweat Sugar”s and “Sweetness”es littered all over the album. Oh, also there’s “Get It Faster,” which starts off with an almost-whispered vocal and a brooding guitar before BLASTING out into a semi-cool vocal/guitar incantation. I mean, it’s not wonderful, but it’s neat and very different from every other song on the album!! Hey hey.

So those are the songs I like. Which are, apparently, the bulk of the album. As such, I apparently enjoy Bleed American and I don’t even realize it.

Well, okay, “like” is a loose term. I am OK with most of the songs on this album. But that is not necessarily a positive review, is it? Bleed American does not compel me to listen to anything else Jimmy Eat World has recorded, so I guess in that regard I don’t like this album. Again, this is just not my sort of music! I’m not a “generic-emo-pop” sort of guy. But hey, if you dig the “Say Anything” and the “AFI” and maybe the “The Used,” this stuff might be right up your alley! I am just not a big fan of obnoxiously over-emotional twenty-somethings who enunciate as much as possible so that everybody can hear their beautiful lyrics as clearly as is humanly possible. No thanks!

(Sorry for this review, Mr. Yepes. I know that you are clearly JEW’s number one fan.)

>Comic Update: "A Sean Rose Situation"

>Just a little slice of FUN I whipped up to ease the wait between REQUESTED REVIEWS!! (trust me, another one is coming soon… one you might not expect!!)

But here’s a comic:

I fooled around with some grey coloring, just to see if it would make things look a little less crappy. The coloring reminds me of Pictures For Sad Children, for whatever reason. I think it came out alright?? YOU DECIDE, NOBLE READERS.

>Requested Review: "Sea Change" by Beck

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CAN YOU SEE MY SOUL??

Tonight’s review has been requested by everybody’s great friend Dave Winchell. He was the first one to comment, and Sea Change is an album I have had for the last three years or so but haven’t listened to since like my freshmen year of college, so hey! It’s a perfect candidate for a REQUESTED REVIEW!! Congrats, Dave.

Why have I not listened to this album in three years, you ask? Simply put, I’m just not compelled to. I haven’t listened to Beck all that much in the past three years, actually, so maybe it’s just because I am not the world’s biggest Beck booster (note my alliteration, which I feel helps illustrate my point). I’ve got a few of his albums and I like a decent amount of his songs, but he has never entered the pantheon of my personal “Grade A” artists (then again, not many have, so maybe I’m just a dick). Sea Change, as any well-versed Beck fan will tell you, was Mr. Hansen’s so-called “breakup” album released a few (well, ok, six) years back, apparently recorded shortly after a breakup with his longtime girlfriend. As such, many people have placed it in the pantheon of classic “breakup” albums, such as Bob Dylan’s Blood On The Tracks (which Rolling Stone memorably compared Sea Change to in its 5-star review) or… I don’t know, that one Richard Thompson album. And you know, all the songs present here are expectantly low-key, somber affairs, filled with tasteful string arrangements and world-weary lyrics, a far cry from the goofy funk-pop-rap workouts he was groovin’ on in the 90s.

It is an interesting, notable change of pace for Mr. Beck, which is what drew me to it in the first place. Unfortunately, the truth is that these songs just don’t hit me the way they used to. Here is my current problem with Sea Change: instead of the organic melancholy song-cycle that I once knew, it now sounds like a blatantly calculated attempt by Beck to make a “sensitive,” “moving” album. I mean, he couldn’t keep up with those goofy electro-phunk goodtime songs, right?? No, he needed to show that he was a SERIOUS SONGWRITER. As such, Sea Change is almost prototypical to me: a slow, somber, string-filled (ALLITERATION STRIKES AGAIN) piece of work, with simple arrangements and a sort of country-rock confessional vibe. It’s almost the stereotypical broken-heart album – at least in Beck’s eyes.

See, that’s another problem; it sounds like Beck really wanted people to call this one a breakup album, so he made every song very low-key and sad and kind of samey. And admittedly, it bores me a little. Songs like “The Golden Age” (which to me now sounds like a less-interesting version of the Flaming Lips’ “Five Stop Mother Superior Rain” – I’ve heard the similarities, and now I can’t unhear them), “Guess I’m Doing Fine,” or “Round The Bend” just don’t do much for me. And most songs on the album sound like them! Let’s take the Rolling Stone perspective here and compare Sea Change to maybe the most infamous breakup album of all time, Bob Dylan’s Blood On The Tracks. Tracks has plenty of acoustic songs about heartbreak, but it’s also got a goofy tall-tale, a bluesy shuffle, a 7-minute angry diatribe – it’s got diversity up the ying-yang, is what I’m saying, not to mention that even Dylan’s acoustic songs were often peppy and interesting even in moments of sadness. On Sea Change Beck’s mood is unflinchingly monochromatic, and it doesn’t make for much of an interesting listen for me, not to mention that his voice has the same sort of uninterested, low-key tone throughout the whole album. It makes me really wish he had thrown a wrench in there or two.

So yes, I am being a little negative about Sea Change. But I certainly don’t hate this album – the songs are well-written, and if you give them a little time they are indeed compelling. I am very fond of several of the moodier songs on here, most notably “Paper Tiger,” “Lonesome Tears” and the alluring “Little One.” “Guess I’m Doing Fine” and “Lost Cause,” while they do kind of scream “I AM A SENSITIVE SONGWRITER, SEE??”, are very pleasing, nice songs. And I really dig “Sunday Sun” – it’s kind of an unusual psych-rock dirge, ending with a weird drum-guitar rock freakout at the very end – a really unexpected moment in such a slow album.

Let’s be honest: I find this album completely inoffensive, and often quite pretty. If you swear by this one, I will disagree with you, but I will respect your decision. I can understand why people like this record – hell, I really liked it back in the day! I just wish it grabbed me the way it used to. It might just be that this kind of music does not gratify me anymore. I need something with a little more “pizzaz” nowadays, music that takes a few more risks. I don’t know. Dispute me if you must!! Lots of people LOVE this album.

But no, really, you should hear the Lips’ “Five Stop Mother Superior Rain.” It’s like “The Golden Age” only totally wrecked. In a great way. Funny enough, the Lips themselves did a cover of “Golden Age,” which I guess makes sense. Either way, I can never hear “Golden Age” without hearing “Five Stop” anymore. It is irreversible.

>In My Hour Of Weakness: REQUEST-A-REVIEW!!

>Ladies in gentlemen, I, Sean Rose, need YOUR HELP.

Let me explain my situation. My usual review process for this blog is as thus: if there’s something I like, or something recently released that I find compelling, I will review it. That’s kind of it, I guess. As such, I feel my reviews have become a little too suck-upish and tame during the past few months, as I have mostly reviewed bands (and to a lesser extent, games and shows) that I am familiar with and genuinely like. To be honest, I am getting a little bored with this process!!

So here is what I am asking all of you. What do you want to see me review? Is there an album or song or whatever floating around out there that you just cannot WAIT to get Sean Rose’s opinion on so you can know whether you should like it or not?? Then today is your lucky day, my friends. If you have a request, feel free to leave a comment in Facebook or Blogger, I don’t care.

A few things about this exciting request service:

-I’m limiting requests to music (songs or albums, either are fine) because games and TV and film take a little too much time. Music is much easier for me to gain access to and review! And I probably know music better than anything else!! So stick to that you losers.

-I might not review everything that is requested of me, and for that I apologize. I am pretty much going to choose whatever requests interest me, and my review also really depends on whether or not I can GET the album or not.

-Expanding on the accessibility thing: unless you can send the album to me (or link me to a decent torrent), please try not to request something too obscure or hard to find/download! Because I will probably not review them!!

-I am going to be leaving campus in a couple days, and as such I will not have access to DC++’s superfast file-sharing capabilities. So it might take a while for me to review a certain album, even if I really want to review it. ‘cuz torrents can be shaky!

-Last thing I promise: if you ask me to review an album/band/song you really like, and I trash them, PLEASE try to not get too upset! You asked for my opinion after all! Nothing personal.

So umm, I guess that’s it. I am desperate, and I am calling upon my many many readers to gimme some tipzz. Comment away, and thanks again!

(P.S. if nobody comments in Facebook OR Blogger, the blog is shutting down. I give up. Sorry.)

(P.P.S. if you’re tagged on Facebook, that’s just ‘cuz I figured you read this thing. Because you have commented before. Please feel free to ignore this post if you are offended by my tagging.)

>Album Review: "Music from the Adventures of Pete and Pete" by Polaris

>Perhaps if you don’t love and cherish The Adventures of Pete and Pete as much as I and most kids my age weaned on Nickelodeon do, this “Polaris” music might not appeal to you. Let me sum it up for you: mellow mid-90’s alt-pop-rock with a kinda-sorta warbly voiced singer. There are 12 songs on here and most of them sound the same. If you aren’t into this kind of music then you can just CHECK OUT right now.

But hey, this music serves as the soundtrack to one of my favorite television shows ever, so maybe the fact that every lovely little tune on here reminds me so strongly of Pete and Pete is feeding a bias strong enough for me to not see the EXCESSIVE MUSICAL SHORTCOMINGS present on this disc. But I don’t think so – not only does this music fit the mood of the show to an almost impossible tee, it’s also (at its worst) a collection of perfectly agreeable jangle-pop melodies. And, to me, it’s a soundtrack to a bygone era – that of the mid-90’s, which to me feels like some kind of ethereal, idealized wonderland. Childhood music, you see. Hearing this music, I think of suburban streets and cats I used to own. Maybe this is because Pete and Pete covered all these themes?? Probably.

And oh, the melancholy on this record. I feel it in my bones. Oh sure, you’ve got your poppy, zippy numbers: well-known Pete theme song “Hey Sandy,” the catchy-as-hell “Saturnine,” and the wonderful “Summerbaby” which was memorably used as Little Pete’s long-lost favorite song in the show. But oh jeez, then there’s the dreamy “She is Staggering,” often used in romantic scenes in the show, and “Ivy Boy,” with its vocal-less piano chorus that always puts me in an oddly reflective mood for some reason. Even peppier numbers like “Waiting For October” and “Coronado II” have this reflective, sad undercurrent showing through. Those echo-ey “ooooh-oh” vocals in the background of “Coronado”? Maaaan.

CONFESSION TIME: I listened to this album, “Ivy Boy” especially, shortly after I had to put my cat down this summer. He was fifteen years old, and memories of his life inevitably forced me to think about my old house and my old neighborhood. Somehow this music fit these memories like a glove. Maybe this explains something??

I love the first eight songs on here. The last four, I’m not as familiar with and I hardly listen to them. But they still evoke those same feelings. Jeez, it’s weird reviewing an album like this – I have no idea how anybody either not familiar with the show or from the same generation as myself would feel about this music! It’s so personal. It’s like it mine. Journal music or something. I don’t know, I’m rambling right now.

If you are a fan of the show, definitely pick it up. It’s like you’re listening to the show, I kid you not! But it’s all kind of samey so you might not appreciate it as an album, per se. Maybe it’s best listened to in small doses. But those small doses, man. It’s a fine listen once in a while. A fine trip down memory lane.

Which makes me think: I didn’t even like Pete and Pete all that much as a kid. I just didn’t get it. I didn’t actually fall in love with the show until maybe like 3 years ago. So as a kid, I did not know any of this music. And yet, it still makes me think of my childhood. How does this make any sense?? Is it just that common mid-90’s sound? Oh, the mysteries of life.