Laurie En

Laurie En

English account.

We The Kings put the sun in their CD case!

vendredi 14 juin 2013      Sunshine State Of Mind

We could have guessed it with the album's title alone, but let's make sure the record is clear: Sunshine State of Mind is an album filled with sunshine and happiness. We can already feel the summer, endless parties, walks on the beach, outings with friends, we can even hear the waves lapping and feel the sun burning our skin. Yes, so much.

Si you didn't know We The Kings yet, I won't blame you: I discovered them by chance during a festival... and totally fell in love with this band which really isn't like any other. But it is now time for you to fill the gap and to familiarize with the red mane of the singer Travis Clark.
We The Kings is described a "powerpop" band (combining pop and alternative rock), was founded 2003 in Florida and could well be the heirs of the Beach Boys. Beside their song Check Yes Juliet which was certified platinum and the shy beginnings of their fame, We The Kings mainly owe their notoriety to their live shows on the stage of Vans Warped Tour, one of the greatest touring festivals in the US, but also to their shows for the first part of Simple Plan's worldwide tour. Even if the boys have already released three studio albums, they spent most of their time on the stages of the whole world.

Band's texts mostly deal with love issues (past stories, early ones, love under in all its possible forms), sometimes with funky parties, but always on a rousing rhythm which erases all of our problems. On top of the list, Say You Like Me is a fresh and essential song which is highly representative of the band's spirit. The songs Friday Is Forever, Over You or Every Single Dollar also have this particular and funny bounce. Ideal if you need some morale booster! Some tracks like Kiss Me Last have some more pronounced guitar riffs, just as some tracks of their previous albums did.
Even if its musical technicality is not highly developed, Sunshine State Of Mind is very pleasant to listen to and is going to seduce a very broad audience. After all, what makes the charm of this album and makes you want to listen to it again and again is its fresh and innocent side.

Sunshine State Of Mind may have been released in 2011, this album (the band's latest one) is timeless and we don't get rid of it. Two years later, it is still a faithful companion for Summer, a must-have in your car radio and on your iPod, smile and happy mood guaranteed!

Here's the crazy and nutty video for Say You Like Me, looking like a life-sized video game... Stunning!

When beauty controls all human relationships...

jeudi 13 juin 2013      Uglies

Tally lives in a world where beauty rules the relationships between humans, a world in which the only goal we were born with was the one to become a Pretty. This novel is the first volume of a series which became very popular in he US and could be qualified as a dystopia or a novel of anticipation. In this world imagined by the author Scott Westerfeld, Tally is a young girl going on 16, the fateful age when the Uglies have the right to undergo a surgery operation to make their body and face absolutely perfect, and is dreaming to access to New Pretty Town, where a life full of parties is waiting for her.
Handsome and careless, Pretties arouse admiration for all younger people... but not for Shay, Tally's best friend, who prefers to run out of town rather than to have The Surge. In order to become a Pretty, Tally will have to help the Specials, town's surveillance squad, to locate Shay who sought refuge in a distant town called The Smoke, where are gathered anarchists living without new technologies. By their sides, Tally will discover the dark secret kept by the Specials... But is it going to make her renounce to this Surge that means so much to her?

Uglies is a young-adult Sci-Fi series which tackles recurring themes of today's society: cult of perfectionism, love and friendship, rebellion against system... Scott Westerfeld's style is pleasant, flow is smoother than in many novels of this genre, which unfortunately often lead to headaches. Above all intended for a young public, Uglies can please a rather wider public with its undertones and ulterior motives: the written part seems to be just the tip of the iceberg. The story leads us to a deeper reflection from which everyone can draw his own conclusions. We learn for example that an unconscious people - The Rusties - was decimated by a natural disaster... we will also realize that The Rusties are the exact description of the 21st Century human race.
The novel's originality mainly lies in this reflection resulted from the author's skillful pen, which evokes our race without ever naming it. A debate about our own conception of beauty, our prejudices and aspirations is launched... and we realize that we assign much more importance to these futilities than we should.
On another hand, unlike many other novels which target young people, Scott Westerfeld's protagonist Tally is pretty much a anti-hero, contravening the rules dictated by society and rebelling against her destiny.

Macklemore takes us into his vintage delirium

jeudi 06 juin 2013      The Heist [Explicit]

Twelve years before making a name for himself; Macklemore had to be patient before getting known internationally. Since his beginnings in 2000 with a first single release, the young American had a long way to go and many hurdles to overcome (drugs, empty periods, rehab) before his Thrift Shop became a world-wide hit.

Macklemore, whose real name Ben Haggerty, developped an early passion for music and lyric-writing, he has even been involved in a programme focused on rap-music called "Gateways" while he was working in a juvenile detention facility. Influenced by East Coast Underground Hip-Hop, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis met for the first time in 2006 (the second one was only 18 years old at this time). They decide to sign a collaboration during 2008, Lewis as producer, and release a first mixtape in 2009. The Heist is their first studio album which came out in stores... it took until 2012.

And it was worth waiting, all rap and hip-hop fans and even a less expert public were conquered by the duet's more popular songs Thrift Shop and Can't Hold Us, already unescapable in bars and night-clubs. The Heist gathers some dancing and rousing tracks but also levelheaded, even melancholic ones, Cowboy Boots' chorus is for example going to take us directly in a Wild West saloon. Among the other songs, we have to highlight the energetic and very good Castle, Wing$ (already released as as single in the US after having been broadcast during 2013 NBA All-Star Game commercials) and My Oh My, as a tribute for Dave Niehaus, the Mariners' (baseball team from Seattle, of which Macklemore is a fan) sportscaster.
Right through The Heist, Macklemore proves he knows how to rap, to sing, to speak about love, hope, despair, money (on the song Gold), and even about homosexuality (on the heartbreaking and so true Same Love), breaking with the stereotyped image of the homophobic and intolerant American rapper.
It is obvious that Macklemore distinguishes himself from all the Jay-Z, Kid Cudi, Kanye West, Ludacris and others P. Diddy's: first of all, he is white (even if it was hard to believe before discovering him in the video Thrift Shop... it is true that his flow is worthy of the greatest African-American soul descendants). Then, he stands for the right to be different, speaks about the Bible and about quest for identity, and is not focused on his car(s) or his haters.

The Heist enjoyed a very positive critical reception in the US, in the written press as well as through its sales figure... which wasn't a foregone if we map out all the direct rivals who had already found their place on the American rap/hip-hop scene. The Macklemore/Lewis duo is now conquering Europe and plans a world-wide tour. Macklemore can be reassured: he still has a long life ahead!

Big step for Jared Leto + band

mercredi 05 juin 2013      LOVE LUST FAITH + DREAMS (Explicit Version)

Four years after This is War, 30 Seconds to Mars is back with a brand new album, announced with the first single release Up in the air... which destabilized a bit the earliest fans because of its electro sound. Jared Leto, band's singer and leader, had clearly announced he wanted this new album to allow 30 STM to "make a fresh start", highlighting the evolution in the style of the band. 

Received by mitigated critics, 
Love Lust Faith + Dreams shows the new face of the band, and the main critics blame it because it does not exactly fit to the previous albums... But being able to evolve and still capable of surprising its public, isn't it what shows the strenght of a band (and of all artists) ? 30 Seconds to Mars had set the bar very high with the excellent This Is War, releasing a new opus was a real challenge, and the band decided to strive for a new goal, moving away from its usual rock sound in order to try some pop-electro trends. However, the voice of Jared Leto (who is assuming the role of producer as well as the one of singer) is still as enchanting and powerful. If one wants to compare Love, Lust, Faith + Dreams to the last one, it is precisely this power that remains missing to some tracks, which are not as rousing or energetic as were the tracks Closer to the Edge or Night of the Hunter. Titles Up in the air, Conquistador and Do or Die are likely the catchiest, those who fit the best the band's initial spirit, the one the fans expected to hear once again. The twelve tracks of this new album were made for shows and festivals, perfectly suiting live performances of the group, even if you can imagine that there won't be the same energy and fervour triggered by This Is War anymore.

The release of this "change" album May 20th coincides furthemore with the one of another highly anticipated opus, which also marks a turning point for another band: Daft Punk (read the review of Random Access Memories). In both cases, these genre's reversals are far from eliciting unanimity, but they prove at least that these bands are able to explore very various horizons - which is entirely to their credit.
 Love Lust Faith + Dreams will still please the band's fans who will open their minds to this new course and who won't be limited to the rock sound they were used to. These will certainly enjoy this album... but won't unfortunately not be listening to it over and over again as they did with This Is War.

Skrillex renews electronic dance music

mardi 04 juin 2013      Bangarang

You may have known him under his real identity, Sonny Moore, as he was the singer of the post-hardcore band From First To Last, with which he released two albums in 2004 and 2006. Having gained many fans and a certain level of fame through this first experience, despite his young age (he was only 16 when he joined the band), he decides to launch his own solo career in a totally different musical genre: electro music. Taking on Skrillex as a stage name, he quickly demonstrates his effectiveness with his first EP My Name is Skrillex in April 2010, before releasing the excellent Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites six months later.

Bangarang is already the fourth EP of his solo career, released in December 2011. Reconnecting with the dubstep sound that propelled him to the forefront and which he largely contributed to diffuse (and to make recognized...), Skrillex signs with the breathtaking Bangarang a compendium of electro-bouncing hits, rousing and completely hallucinating. But if you want to listen to it, even if Skrillex tries to be more subtle than with Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites, you'd better not be allergic to 220 bpm rhythms or to psychedelic melodies (which are often repetitive). The first title of this EP, Right In, is a minimalist introduction which sets the tone of what is coming next, just as if he retained the big cat before freeing it in the arena. But rest assured, this self-restraint will be short enough: the track is followed by Bangarang and Break'n'Sweat, which illustrate all the power of Skrillex's music and are the proof the young man managed to evolve in the right direction since his beginnings. Further on the album, Kyoto is just as spectacular. Right On Time is a somewhat more massive track, not sharing the same "finesse" than its neighbours, while on the opposite, Summit (featuring Ellie Goulding, who is none other than the famous DJ's ex-girlfriend) could almost be melodious.

N°1 worthy dubstep spokesman on the international stage, Skrillex also greatly contributed to the development of this musical genre in 2010, Bangarang shows that dubstep can also be more worked on, less "boom-boom" it was used to be. To mark the occasion, the DJ also signed an astonishing collaboration with the band The Doors on the title Break'n'Sweat (watch the video below).

Bangarang will delight all Skrillex and dubstep fans (like me), but will tend to remain sceptical people who love rawer or more violent electro sounds, and will probably be the cause of a hair-raising attack for those who were already reluctant to electronic music. However, Bangarang's tracks are already common in night clubs... proof that Skrillex is approved by a majority!