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Music Review: Animals (Pink Floyd)

Have you ever misjudged something, when your first impressions turn out to not be what you hoped them to be? That's a rhetorical question, since we all pretty much do it. For me, this happened with Pink Floyd's Animals. I glanced over this one due to listening to part of Pigs and not really connecting with it; so I gave it a miss. It might have just been the length and the subject matter that originally put me off. Or maybe I was just in a grumpy mood at the time. So the moral of the story is, don't listen to new things when you're in a bad mood.

Pig Power! (Yes, a very bad visual pun. Sorry...)

Coming after 'Wish You Were Here' and before 'The Wall', this album is basically the last album where everyone had something to do. Ok, so Roger Waters wrote the lyrics and music for most of it, but it's not like the rest were sitting on their backsides. Unlike The Wall, you can actually hear the mood-setting synths from Rick Wright's keyboard, and Nick Mason's drumming is competent, if not spectacular. The main bulk of the album is the Guitar though, and it's a good thing that David Gilmour was on top form at the time.

Of course, these songs are very long, and at 17, 11 and 10 minutes each, this is an album that pretty much forces you to love or hate it.  The concept itself is fairly interesting, people either being viscious businessmen (dogs), powerhungry controllers (pig) and everyone else (sheep) but it's not one I really accept as being true to real life. It's just too cynical for my tastes.

Song Rundown
Pigs on the Wing Pt. 1 starts us off with an acoustic ballad about how crap life would be if Roger and his girlfriend didn't care for each other anymore. While some find it out of place, I think they work well thematically. Dogs is a 17 minute long epic, and the most spacy of the three. You can tell Gilmour got to write the music for this one, with plenty of blistering solos. (He even made a Keyboard one for Wright, which was nice of him.) It also has my favourite lyrics, criticising the businessmen who put success above all else. Pigs (Three Different Ones) is the groovy song. It's my least favourite, as the introduction and some of the solo breaks sound like they come from a different song and the lyrics kinda leave something to be desired at times. Not that it's a bad song by any means. Also,the only swear word on the album.

Sheep is the rocker; punchy, sharp and driving. Let's face it, in the allegory most of us are probably these guys, and the band conjures up the panic of finding yourself being sent to the metaphorical grinder. Religious people be warned, you may not like the Psalm 24 parody in the bridge. Pigs on the Wing Part. 2 wraps the whole thing up nicely, basically part 1 with different lyrics. This time, it's Roger saying that having his girlfriend has stopped him being a 'Dog'. Considering that Dave called him a 'Dog in the Manger' after Roger attempted to stop the others using the name Pink Floyd, maybe he was being a little pre-emptive. Still, it's a lovely sentiment.

Personal Thoughts
I really like this album, and consider it along with Wish You Were Here to be the peak of Pink Floyd's 'Classic' period. It's much more focussed and consistant than The Wall, and it also lacks the eclecticism that defined Floyd's 'Experimental' period, for better and for worse. The only thing that stops me giving it a higher mark in enjoyability is the fact that the songs are just too long to be shuffled into playlists, but for a lot of people that's a minor gripe.
Check out the tracks on youtube before you consider buying it. But don't make the mistake I did and pass over this album without at least giving it a try.

Assorted Stuffs

1) Happy Birthday Mum! I know she's not on LJ, but I wanted to say it anyway. I wish I was at home but there we go; besides my parents are visiting in 12 days time so I won't be too lonely. (Then it's only 3 days until the new Doctor Who, hooray!).

2) I'll be posting a new review either tonight or tomorrow, not that I really needed to say it. But it is one of my favourite films of all time, so a bit of fanfare may be neccesary.

3) I don't celebrate halloween, but I do believe in sometimes giving people a scare. So, I present to you one of the worst Sonic songs ever made. Beware, your ears may bleed.

Music Review: Queen (Queen)

As you may already have read, Queen had a pretty hard time getting into the music business in the first place. They had the talent, and the experience but had to wait two years before they even got a chance to record an album. Still, that gave them time to iron out any major problems; their debut self-titled effort sounds more like a third album in confidence. They'd found their style too, or at least a style. But as we all know, Queen never stayed in the same place for long.

Already Freddie's looking Portentous

Even in their first album you can see all the things that would make them superstars. The copious guitars, multi-tracked vocals, showmanship, and a personal style that's distinctive from 5 miles away. So what makes this album different to their breakthrough albums Sheer Heart Attack or Night at the Opera? They hadn't got the balance right, they lack the variety of music and their subject matter turned people off. In other words, the same things that affected Pink Floyd during the period between Saucerful of Secrets and Echoes.

Lets be honest here; at this point of their careers Queen were a Progressive Rock band, albeit leaning more towards the rock side of it. This isn't a bad thing, but it explains why they took a while hitting the big time. Expect a lot of instrumental passages, guitar solos, different tempos and dark lyrics. If you like that sort of thing, then this album has nearly everything you'd want. (None of the songs sound the same) Surprisingly, this album tends to avoid the fantasy lyrics of Zeppelin (or for that matter, Queen II). Sure we have 'My Fairy King', but most of the others tend to be a lot more personal and down to earth in the subject matter they address, which really makes me wonder why the stereotype persists so much.

Song Runthrough
Keep Yourself Alive was a dead certainty to be the main single of the album, one of the more conventional songs on it. Pretty much sets the tone of the songs to follow. Doing All Right follows, an emotional song borrowed from Brian and Rodger's former band Smile. Great King Rat sounds like a dark fantasy flamenco, while My Fairy King gives us our first glimpse of Freddie's childhood kingdom Rhye. Liar, the longest song on the album, is yet more progressive rock and by now the lack of variety is starting to show.

The good news is that we get given a slow, acoustic guitar driven song next; called The Night Comes Down. Following hot on it's heels is the first song from Rodger, and it sounds completely different to all the others. Modern Times Rock 'N' Roll is fast, short and completely un-proggish. Next it's the heavy rock song Son and Daughter. This is starting to give me musical whiplash. This is when the album throws a curveball. It's about and called Jesus, and it gives us the first glimpse of what Queen will grow into. It's conventional slow rock! Finally, we have a slow instrumental version of Seven Seas of Rhye. Or a portion of it anyway. This is obviously a sequel hook for the next album, and it sounds very different to what it will become.

Personal Thoughts
Listening to it now, there's a reason I don't really play this album by itself. It just lacks the variety of their later work. It's competent prog, and it's likable prog, but the tracks all seem to merge together, few standing out from each other. On the other hand, my playlists wouldn't be the same without it either; songs like Doing All Right, The Night Comes Down and Jesus show what they were capable of growing into, and I would have loved to have been there to hear these songs live.

I recommend buying this if you like Queen, or you like Prog, but even if you don't you can find these songs on youtube and see what you think of them. This is a very solid start by one of the most regal of bands, but their full majesty was still to be shown. For their next album, they would move further down the fantasy path...


CSS Help Needed

I said there was going to be a revamp! Sadly, it's playing up. The sidebar and dates won't change colour. :( If anyone knows CSS and can help, I would really appreciate it!


It's been a while hasn't it. Well, I'm back now. This is going to be a slight revamp too.

Basically, I don't have the time or energy to do in-depth breakdowns on things, like my Queen retrospective. So, I'm going to consolidate my resources into actual reviews. All it means is that I talk less and get more done, I'm not going to churn them out like a robot. :D I'm also trialing a different scheme of rating things, on two scales: Production Quality and Entertainment. I noticed that some movies aren't made very well at all but are so bad that they become really entertaining. Others, of course are slick and well financed but are immensly dull. Having two scales to judge a work lets you instantly tell what's going on.

I'll be summing up my thoughts on the album 'Queen' when I have this system sorted out and some nifty-ish graphics made for them. Personal life wise, I'm tired but functioning. The workload has increased dramatically, but I'm mostly keeping on top of it all. Need to take better care of myself though, I'm starting to miss meals; which is not a good thing at all.

And that's it for now. Look out for the new look LJ!

TQQQ : 'Queen' Part 2

Content goes here, accidently pressed the enter key. XD

Your Personality is Very Rare (INFP)
Your personality type is dreamy, romantic, elegant, and expressive.

Only about 5% of all people have your personality, including 6% of all women and 4% of all men
You are Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, and Perceiving.

TQQQ : 'Queen' Part 1

The Quality Queen Quest
Part 1: 'Queen'
So, in the previous journal I put enough information in for you to work out how they got together. (Roger and Brian meet in Smile, Freddie joins after that and they find a different bassist, who they fire in favour of John). But what happened after that? Well, it wasn't exactly clear sailing. They spent two years playing college gigs before getting their hands on a studio, because it needed testing. They took the opportunity to record five tracks, all of which made it onto their debut album. It didn't get them any serious bids, and even when they managed to get a contract, they had to work in the downtime, 3-7AM. They had to re-do all of their demo tracks bar 1, and they weren't exactly happy with the results. After the album was finally completed, and all the work done, they still had the trouble of finding a record company to release it.

So, not exactly a very happy time for the group, but what about the album itself? Would it suprise you if I said it sounded a lot like Sheer Heart attack, just a lot heavier? Queen had spent their two years in the clubs well, Brian pointed out that ' we really had matured as a group and had our audience before the press caught on to us'. The other main difference between this, and their breakthrough albums later one is that it isn't as musically varied. It's just as imaginative, but most of the themes and feels of the songs are very similar. It's like what would happen if you took a blank album and filled it full of tracks that sounded Queenish.

Just a quick look at the album cover. Already, it's making an impression. It's Freddie holding a mic stand in the air as the spotlight shines on him. Pretty apt, and even possibly prophetic. I don't think Queen had any doubts that they were onto something good. Also, is it me or is the lights exceedingly purple? Works well with the name, since purple is a royal colour. Oh, and as a extra little bit of Trivia, they called John Deacon Deacon John. By the time of the second album, he decided that he liked his normal name better.

Track 1: Keep Yourself Alive.
Queen start off their first album with their first single, which is an interesting choice. This is the track that they had trouble getting right, and it was written by Brian, which he wrote to be completely ironic. Freddie took the song for his own and sung it completely sincerily, completely changing the meaning of the song. And what is the meaning? You're going to have to work to live, working too hard won't get you very far and you're not going to be happy until you allow yourself to be. Which is a fairly good message for a song.

Music wise, this song is a medium paced rocker; drums, bass, rhythm guitar and some Brian-May trademark  guitar solos. You could pretty much learn everything you needed to know about Queen from this song. There's a lot of guitar, John's bass isn't content to stay in the background unheard, and the drums are enegetic. And over the top, Queen start singinging multiple parts at you. While it lacks the later sophisticatedness, this song works as an introduction to the band. Also, you get to hear the only clear time that John Deacon sung on record, so it's a first in more ways than one. All in all, I like this song, but you can tell it's going to be a few albums until 'Now I'm Here'.

I'm really not sure at all what sort of look Freddie's trying to do here, he looks a little like a girl with that sort of hair. XD then again, the androgynous look was big back then, look at Bowie.

Track 2: Doin' Alright
This one was more of a legacy track than anything else. It was a Smile song, and Freddie decided to sing it in the style of the original leader of that band. The song is the first precursor to any of the complicated works, since it goes from Piano ballad to rock and back again several times. One bit of it has a latiny feel to it even, with some smooth guitars and light drumming.

The song's lyrics seem to dwell on a person who's been in trouble, and has to sort themselves out. As far as he's concerned, he should be doing alright, but he isn't. So he decides to think back to the time when things were nicer and try and get himself out of his depression. We're not sure that this tactic made him feel better, but by the end he knows what he has to do, whether or not he really is Doing alright. I like the themes in this song a lot really, I feel like that sometimes, up and down like a yoyo. Other times of course, like today, I feel totally normal. XD Still, I like to listen to this song when I'm down, it helps me feel better.
</lj-embed>Here's the original song, and the Queen version, just to see how it all turned out. Very very different.

No personal stuff to report today, have a good tuesday everyone. :) We're tackling another two songs tomorrow.

The Quality Queen Quest
Part 1: Overview
I felt that I needed to find something to do that would keep me active on Livejournal. That way, as well as get some thoughts down on something I like, I could find time to talk about how I'm feeling. So, I thought 'Why not go through every album of a popular band'. Sure, it'll take a while, but it's not as hard as analysing a video game, and it'll be fun.

So I chose Queen, since I have MP3's of nearly all their albums. Easy as that.

1) So, what is it?:  I just told you up there, silly. :) I'm trying to do a studio album a week, with a day or two's gaps in between albums. So in other words, it's not always going to turn out 1 a week. It could be 1.1 a week, or 0.9 a week. But it's close enough.

2) Even Hot Space?: Yes, even Hot Space and Made in Heaven. Same thing goes for the early Queen too, because that stuff's grown on me. I might even throw in a retrospective of a live album or two, but not in the same detail. Queen + Paul Rodgers is a step too far though, just because it's not a retrospective. I haven't heard the music to comment on it. But you never know.

3) What will you be talking about?: Three things my friends. Music, Lyrics, and Personal Feelings. It's all fairly straightforward. I guess it's actually four since I might be throwing in some Trivia. Gotta love a bit of extra knowledge, right?

4) Will you be doing anything other than talking?: Hey, that makes me feel like it's a bad thing. :D But seriously, there will be some soundbites of bits I might want to point attention to, maybe some other stuff like that. If the songs are on youtube, I'll post the link as well for you all to gawp at ^_^

5) Can we comment, or stuff like that?: By all means, I'd love it if you did. :) I definitely would like your view on the tracks or videos as we go through it. Don't think you can post anything mean though, because then I'll set my attack-unicorns on you, and those things are viscious. There's a difference between sensible dislike of a track (because i'm sure we all love and hate different things) and throwing around your opinion like a club. :3

6) Who ARE Queen?
Ah, now that's a question. Read on.

About the Band

Queen was a rock band made of 4 people, a bit like the Beatles.  They all met while they were in (or just after) higher education, and got together as a band. And they pretty much stayed together as a band for an extremely long time. It's really hard to classify what musical genre Queen belonged to (apart from the all-encompassing term 'Rock') because they wrote a lot of very different songs. They started of heavier and more 'Prog', moved to more mainstream rock for a long period, before taking a very small detour at funk and ending up being something that sounded like nobody else. To be honest though, they always sounded like no-one else, because they were that distinctive. They all contributed to the writing of the songs, and many tracks were collaborations between the four of them.

The members of the band WERE:
Freddie Mercury
Freddie Mercury (Farrokh Bulsara)
5 September 1946 – 24 November 1991
Freddie was the lead singer and pianist of the group, a man of two distinct halves. On stage, the livewire who shot across the stage belting out tunes like there was no tomorrow, and offstage, the quiet introspective man. Freddie was born on the island of Zanzibar, as Farrokh Bulsara, and came to England at the age of 17 during the Zanzibar revolution. After getting a Diploma in Art and Graphic Design, he joined multiple bands before joining Roger Taylor and Brian May to make Queen in 1970. He had already began to refer to himself as Freddie Bulsara by then, and during the first album legally changed his name to Freddie Mercury after one of his Lyrics. After major success in the band, and several solo albums he died of AIDS in 1991.

Brian May
Brian May
19 July 1947 -
Brian May is the main guitarist of the group, fluent in many different styles, and never seen without his famous Red Special Guitar. He also performed lead and backing vocals of many songs. Before Queen, he got  Degrees in Mathematics and Physics before studying for a Doctorate of Astrophysics. He was also a member of several smaller bands before meeting Roger Taylor in the band Smile. They split off into Queen soon afterwards with Freddie and John. When the band became successful, he put his education on hold to fully commit to the band. Recently, he completed the Doctorate, and recieved a CBE from the Queen (He also played the national anthem on the roof of Buckingham Palace on the Golden Jubilee).

Roger Taylor
Roger Taylor
26 July 1949-
Roger Taylor is the percussionist and drummer of the group, as well as a backing vocalist of many tracks, and lead on several (His voice is often compared to Rod Stewarts). Roger was in the same group as Brian, Smile, and they decided together to form their own band. As well as his work on Queen, Roger had a solo career and a side-band called The Cross (which was not a commercial success, except in Germany). He was also one of the first musicians to do an internet gig, and is mentioned in the guinesss book of world records.

John Deacon
John Deacon
19 August 1951-
John Deacon was the band's bass guitarist, as well as a writer of many of the hits songs of Queen, and creator of many of the electical devices. (His most famous being the Deaky-Amp). He considered his voice to be much weaker than his compatriots, and  extremely rarely sang on the albums. (The only samples found come from the first album, and even then the identity of the singer wasn't verified). He did sing backing vocals on tours, mixed to not stand out. He retired from the music industry a few years after Freddie died. He was last to join the band, replacing an earlier bassist who had tried to push Freddie out of the limelight, John was picked because of his talent, quietness and electical skills. He was also the person trusted with most of the money.
Wow, that took a long time. So that's a bit about Queen and the people who made it. Tune in later today when we begin their self titled debut.

=Hearts and Kissies to Zoe and Miranda. You guys are the the bestest people anyone can know~=

Yeah, I know. I know. I need to post here more often, otherwise there's little point me having it.

First things's first. I'm at uni now, and have been for the last month or so. Gosh, how it has FLOWN. And I'm suprised how confident I am now, even if my room is a bit of a tip. XD It's nice to be able to choose what you want to eat, and go to bed as late as you want. (Now I know to keep putting it on snooze mode, it won't let me oversleep because it keeps going every 10 mins until I turn it off. I shouldn't miss a lecture ever again! XD)

Secondly, I'm making a Lawyerman! group account on this. What's Lawyerman? You'll find out HEREEEEEE! And HEREEEEE! It's the PW world done as a superhero comic. We're at the concept stages mostly at the moment, but we're always looking for people who want to contribute ideas, critique, concept art and other stuff like that. If you want to contribute, then check out the first link.

Of course, I can't say all this without giving a link to our friendly opposition, Super Makoto.  They are also awesome, going for a more anime style to it. They're also probably closer to the PW mentality than we are, I like to meddle with characterisation a bit (I am the head writer, ya know :3)

So stay tuned! *gets out tuning fork and whacks it against desk* If you're out of tune I'll know it!

Darnit, where does the time go! I guess all these long essay like replies doesn't help. Oh wells, I'm sure I can catch up. :) I've not actually played any of the cases, just written them up. But when It gets to TaT, I'll be playing it for the second time, It's only fair!