Something went wrong. Try again later

unclejam23

This user has not updated recently.

381 40 9 1
Forum Posts Wiki Points Following Followers

unclejam23's forum posts

Avatar image for unclejam23
unclejam23

381

Forum Posts

40

Wiki Points

1

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

Duders! Welcome to the 64th edition of the Unofficial Giant Bomb Album Club! Last week, we sought redemption and mental clarity in the face of an oppressive government and music industry with Kendrick Lamar (and we bodied Drake). This week, we body ourselves with grief, for our "album" this week is Symphony No. 3, Op. 36, known as The Symphony of Sorrowful Songs, by Henryk Górecki! This album was picked by our good friend @zombiepie, and you can listen with the links they provided below:

Recording #1: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=OLAK5uy_lYhVxCPdkPwi2hsF9wVT9xPsXAu83NL2k

Recording#2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTmspJxshEg

Spotify version of Recording #1: https://open.spotify.com/album/4vArLMJQy7aoUgP0D1d2X0?si=G01e6HhdTsaHF1P7odGRdw

The GB Album club! We gathered in a discord and we made a pool of albums. Every week, we pick one at random to listen to and discuss! You like that shit? Then head on down! Ya bish.

Avatar image for unclejam23
unclejam23

381

Forum Posts

40

Wiki Points

1

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

Look... it's To Pimp a Butterfly. There are only two things I don't like about it: I think the sentiment behind the album version of "i" is a little cloying and the fact that the last rapped line on the album is a weird lukewarm defense of Michael Jackson. Other than that, I grew up loving hip hop, soul, and jazz, and this is pretty much a perfect execution of all three, and at the end of the day, it might be a top five album or all time for me.

Given that a lot of Kendrick conversations were happening in the album club discord, I switched out my original hip hop pick for this (The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill next time!), and this is my first time coming back to To Pimp a Butterfly not only post (or probably post) beef, but also post Mr. Morale.

I don't believe there is such a thing as perfect art or perfect artists, and the same goes for Kendrick. One of my least favorite things about Kendrick's work, or at least in the first half of it, is the savior complex he has that frequently tilts over to condescension and, to put it bluntly, cringe inducing cornball shit. One of the many reasons I liked Mr. Morale so much is that it's a deliberate attempt at ridding himself of said complex and people's desire to lionize him as this moral true north. A desire I think exists in large part because of To Pimp a Butterfly.

It's an understandable impulse. I'm merely pointing it out because you'd figure that after listening to this, there would no longer be room for growth, but then it turns out this album was just a season in someone's life as opposed to the way a lot of people see it. One could argue this is an album about him accepting the responsibility to lead, and then Mr. Morale exists to grow beyond that.

I don't think it diminishes the album in any way. It's just interesting to me because it paints a very vivid picture of the impulse he has to fight against for the sake of his own mental health. If the call to take on the role of the savior can be that loud and sound like To Pimp a Butterfly, who wouldn't want to heed it? Even if you realize it's not who you are.

And then people want to throw that label on you all over again because you symbolically won the battle for the soul of hip hop and you united a city behind hating Drake. Also the idea that community and culture matter in hip hop, but mostly hating Drake.

Maybe peace is found in the middle then. You have a platform. Use it responsibly. But don't use it so much that it starts to ruin your life. I don't know. This post is mostly rambling because I didn't want to just say "To Pimp a Butterfly is a very good album" for the billionth time.

Favorite Songs: "King Kunta" "These Walls" "The Blacker the Berry"

Avatar image for unclejam23
unclejam23

381

Forum Posts

40

Wiki Points

1

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

Duders! Welcome to the 63rd edition of the Unofficial Giant Bomb Album Club! Last week, we were pummeled by industrial electronic sounds mixed with Javanese folk dance tradition. This week, we are conflicted, misusing our influence. We abused our power, full of resentment. Resentment that turned into a deep depression etc etc I'm not doing the entire poem. Our album this week is To Pimp a Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar, chosen by yours truly. The links for the listening:

Spotify:https://open.spotify.com/album/7ycBtnsMtyVbbwTfJwRjSP?si=JSRxaB0UQjKS17au9KbU3w

Apple Music:https://music.apple.com/us/album/to-pimp-a-butterfly/1440828886

Youtube:https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDCdjwiC90TGNwIVOUU_mKmThxmYPcKZr

You know what's good? The expression of the self via the medium of music, and a good way to expose yourself to that expression is via the Unofficial Giant Bomb Album Club! We gathered in a Discord, we made a pool of albums, and we pick one at random every week to listen to and discuss. If that sounds cool to you, then come on down!

Avatar image for unclejam23
unclejam23

381

Forum Posts

40

Wiki Points

1

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

Part of the reason I joined this club, other than my therapist practically begging me to interact with more people (#selfdepricatingjokes2024), is to expose myself to new types of music.

It's a video game website, so it stands to reason that some people will be into metal. Sure enough, they were, and it's been a blast exploring the side of music. We've had classical music. We've had youtube keyboard artists. We've had this. We've had that. However, to our shame, rarely have we touched outside of North America or Europe, and the few times we have, we're still pretty far into the Western sphere of musical influence. Phantasmagoria of Jathilan is the farthest, to my knowledge, we've been outside of that sphere, and that's one of the many reasons I found this album incredible.

From the album's Bandcamp description:

“The Phantasmagoria of Jahtilan” is a music performance by Raja Kirik in collaboration with singer Silir Wangi and performer Ari Dwianto. This project investigate the Jathilan horse dance, a folk trance dance popular in Java, Indonesia, as a way of regaining strength despite defeat. Jathilan is an acronym of “Jarane jan tjil-thilan”, which translates to a horse that dances irregularly. The current form of Jathilan developed after the Java War (fought between Javanese rebels and the colonial Dutch empire from 1825 to1830) as a folk practise to grapple with the defeat by the Dutch Empire and the devastation caused by the civil war between the Javanese population and the Javanese aristocracy who supported the Dutch. In Jathilan people use stick horses made of bamboo as a form of appreciation as well as an expression of support for rebel leader Prince Diponegoro's horsemens who fought bravely against the Dutch colonial forces. Despite the actual defeat of the rebels, Jathilan itself always depicts an imaginary victory of the local rebel cavalry against demons, monsters, or the colonisers. This heroic performance therefore has multiple purposes: to entertain, to encourage, to heal, and to unite people against oppression.

Raja Kirik’s “The Phantasmagoria of Jathilan” is an artistic exploration of the Jathilan tradition, re-interpreting its musical, vocal, and dance forms. Syncopated electronic rhythms combine with the metallic percussion of homemade instruments that is as trance-inducing as it is bellicose. Beautifully monotonous singing in a captivating repetitive melismatic style weaves through lilting melodies that gust out of makeshift wind instruments. With frantic, seemingly endless forward propulsion, the music of Raja Kirik inhabits a wide emotional breadth, cycling from disappointment to anger to loneliness.

During the piece, the dancer embodies various heroic characters, such as Bujang Ganong, Menak Jinggo, Hanuman, or the non-fictional hero prince Diponegoro. At times the dancer also becomes a dance instructor and MC, who interacts with the audience.

Of course, the industrial elements of this album are arguably very Western. But given that this album's purpose is to flout the very system that bore most of the music we love, it's almost like fighting the enemy with their own weapons. (I'm using exaggerated rhetoric, of course, but hopefully you get my point.) Even if I didn't know this context going in, I think it could be easy to guess. There's a spirit of epic battles to this album I really dug, and were I the kind of person who made workout playlists, I could easily see myself throwing this on.

But context aside, I found myself seduced by not only how different this is and how clearly not from my musical world it is, but also by its aesthetic and effectiveness. I like music that goes for the primal, and this is about as primal as it gets. It's aggressive, it's abrasive, the singing has an alien quality (at least to my American ears) that resonated, and it's unrelenting almost to a fault. I could see someone maybe finding themselves exhausted by it, but I was in it for every second.

There's an argument to be made that just because something's different doesn't mean it's inherently good. However, even if I grew up in this tradition rather than my own, this album would still fucking rule.

Favorite Songs: "ACT I. Sigra Sigra" "ACT III. Perangan" "ACT IV. Srompet Srompet"

Avatar image for unclejam23
unclejam23

381

Forum Posts

40

Wiki Points

1

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

Duders! Welcome to the 62nd edition of the Unofficial Giant Bomb Album Club! Last week, we progged so hard that we broke through the base metal genre into multiple other genres, sometimes in the same song. This week, it's a big left turn into a hybrid of industrial electronic and Javanese folk music as our album this week is Phantasmagoria of Jathilan by Raja Kirik! This album was selected by album club newcomer @lesblank and you can listen with the links below:

Spotify:https://open.spotify.com/album/0YnkfT64x4YlSYpFiUMHjp?si=Pc53ruRHQDChD0Ur4QkAgA&nd=1&dlsi=537d7915ebc644a0

Apple Music:https://music.apple.com/us/album/phantasmagoria-of-jathilan/1719959686

Bandcamp:https://yesnowave.bandcamp.com/album/phantasmagoria-of-jathilan

Youtube:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z4LyjRb8o8w

The Unofficial Giant Bomb Album Club! You wanna know what we do? I'll tell you what we do. We gather in a discord, we make a pool of albums, and then we pick one at random every week to listen to and discuss. If that sounds cool to you then feel free to come on down! We welcome all!

Avatar image for unclejam23
unclejam23

381

Forum Posts

40

Wiki Points

1

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

I work for a screenwriting competition, and part of my job is giving feedback to writers on their work. We're only open to writers who don't have representation, so I'm often helping writers who don't quite have it all figured out. (I DEFINITELY HAVE IT ALL FIGURED OUT AND I'M NOT INSECURE ABOUT THIS AT ALL!!!) It's rewarding work in the end, but it can also be frustrating, not because the scripts are terrible (outright trainwrecks are actually pretty rare), but because at some point, you hit a particular brick wall.

Screenwriting, like a lot of art forms, has agreed upon "rules." Don't use overly flowery lengthy prose. Use a three act structure. Make sure your protagonist is active. Don't do this and don't do that. However, also like a lot of art forms, creating something great requires breaking one or two of those rules. You just have to know when and how to do it. How do you know when and how to do it? The answer is always going to be subjective and unknowable. The only accurate bit of advice I can give when issues like this come up is "Everything's good if it's done well" and that is, of course, deeply unhelpful to say to someone who has just paid you to give them feedback. I'm being a bit reductive and every script is different. When it comes to breaking the rules, some problems are solvable and some aren't. But it's impossible to tell when that's going to be the case, and I think about this constantly.

I found myself thinking about this with this album because I shouldn't like this album. I found the clean singer's voice bland, I found the tonality of the lyrics cringy (I feel that about a lot of metal and I'm genuinely curious as to why so much metal writing goes in this goth direction other than "that's the convention", but I digress), the changes in sound and aesthetic can be jarring, and insert the stuff I usually bounce from when it comes to anything proggy. But in this case, it worked for me, and I don't really know why.

If I had to guess, I think it actually has to do with those sound changes. As @justin258 said, there are songs where gorgeous acoustic guitar work suddenly leads to violent metal blast beats and growling, and juxtapositions like that abound throughout the album. It's jarring, but it works, and I don't know why. That said, something about couching the metal stuff with all these styles and influences lets me know that this band has a point of view. Part of my problem with prog, let alone prog metal, is that it frequently doesn't tell me anything about the human element of the artists beyond their ability to make all the pieces fit together. (That's redundant and shitty, but hopefully you get my point.) Here, however, I hear a band that sees all the metal trappings as a continuation and a compliment to all these other forms of music, and that's cool to me.

But the usual baggage is still there. We've done other albums in this club that do similar ideas that I didn't like. I can't tell you why it works for me here and it didn't elsewhere. Maybe more exposure to metal. Maybe something this band is doing that others aren't that I'm too dumb and tired to identify. But at some point, it doesn't really matter. I dug it. I don't need to question why.

Favorite Songs: "Tapestry of the Starless Abstract" "Of the Leper Butterflies" "And Plague Flowers The Kaleidoscope"

Avatar image for unclejam23
unclejam23

381

Forum Posts

40

Wiki Points

1

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

Duders! Welcome to the 61st edition of the Unofficial Album Club! Last week, we covered Milli Vanilli, a lab grown act created by cynical producers for cynical purposes and then the press cynically blamed the kids hired to be the faces for reasons that are quite cynical. But you know what isn't cynical? Prog metal! This week, our album is Portal of I by Ne Obliviscaris! You can listen with the links below:

Spotify:https://open.spotify.com/album/2AX3vMS7gYbrS7tALE4U7Q

Apple Music:https://music.apple.com/us/album/portal-of-i/523723343

Bandcamp:https://neobliviscaris.bandcamp.com/album/portal-of-i

Youtube:https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=OLAK5uy_lJboUNc5HJpY2HMD1VrbShWzxtA5w5rG8

You like clubs? You like being part of something? You have a therapist who's begging you to interact with more people and also you like music? Well... The Giant Bomb Album Club! We made a pool of albums on our discord and we pick one at random every week to listen to and discuss. If that sounds good to you, then come on down!

Avatar image for unclejam23
unclejam23

381

Forum Posts

40

Wiki Points

1

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

Avatar image for unclejam23
unclejam23

381

Forum Posts

40

Wiki Points

1

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

I have a theory.

A few notes about the music itself first. Divorced from its context, it's fine. It's dated in that specific late '80s way, and like a lot of Euro-dance and pop sub-genres, it's clearly designed to be disposable. Some people will say that's a bad thing, but I don't. In fact, the only parts of this album I would say are outright "bad" are the hip hop elements. The middle-aged men who actually made this album understood that hip hop producers liked sampling the drum pattern from "Ashley's Roachclip," but they didn't understand why, nor did they understand what made the rapping style of the group that made that sample famous, Eric B and Rakim, special in the first place. They understood the function but not the form, and as a result, the hip hop elements were dated even then.

Still, it's perfectly functional pop music. You can dance to it, you can listen to it and enjoy it if you feel so inclined or you could put it on and ignore it, and then you can move on with your life. Sure, a lot of the instrumentation sounds canned. But it was '89. Most pop sounded like that.

But then you inevitably start thinking of the context, and personally, I get sad. Specifically, it's because I think Fab Morvan and Rob Pilatus, the two kids hired to be the face of Milli Vanilli, paid waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too heavy a price for all this. In fact, they weren't the ones who should've paid it to begin with.

First and foremost, there's what actually happened. As outlined in the video @zombiepie provided, Fab and Rob were two kids who signed what they thought was a deal to record their own music. Then they were told by Frank Farian, the producer behind it all, that they could either go through with the ruse or return all the money from their advance and go back to poverty. They were forced to do it, and after they said they were done, Frank exposed them and got the press to blame Fab and Rob. Granted, that's the way Fab tells the story in the video. But given the tenor of the music industry and what we've learned about it in the years since, I believe him. It was, at minimum, a disgusting failure on the part of the press to frame the story correctly.

But that led me to a question: What fueled the anger so much? Sure, the music was phony. But the general public has been listening to phony music their whole life. Be it pop hits that were whitewashed or outright stolen from black artists or the fact that getting a more classically attractive front person who didn't actually sing was a fairlycommonpractice in Europop or whatever, the public's been gobbling up "fake" music since the birth of the modern music industry. The thing is that most of the audience wasn't music literate or knowledgeable of the industry enough to know better. Some were, but more often than not, they weren't.

And that leads to my theory: The backlash against Milli Vanilli wasn't fueled by the fact that it was a fraud. Rather, it came from the realization that, when it comes to music, we aren't as sophisticated or discerning as we think we are, and we don't like being reminded of the fact that the entertainment industry has never been a meritocracy.

Let's set aside the fact that we're dealing with an audience who believed that these two men, one German and the other French, were the actual singers despite the fact they could sing in flawless English and that, being in their 20s, they somehow sounded like middle-aged men when they sang. (If my math is correct, Brad Howell, one of the real singers, would've been 45 on album release day. I also grant that it's easy to see the phoniness in hindsight, but... c'mon.) Let's also set aside the fact that many people still thought the Grammys were an effective barometer of quality when they were, and still are, a corrupt racist organization of shitheads with garbage taste. (Sidenote: The Grammys that year were rough, even by Grammys standards.)

We think we can identify authenticity when we see it. We can't. We think we value authenticity in the first place. But should we? I love Minor Threat, yet "Guilty of Being White" exists and it's one of the cringiest fucking songs that's ever existed. But hey... it's authentic! Does that mean it has value?

Why was there a need to get two fake frontmen to begin with? If it was actually about the music, the men who made it could've been the face of the band, no harm no foul. But, of course, MTV was a thing now. Looks mattered more than they ever had. There were dances to be done, not just for the video but for the tour and the live show as well, and the experience the audience was sold became much more involved.

We said we wanted something "real" when what we actually wanted was Milli Vanilli. We just got really mad when we learned this about ourselves and we directed our anger in the worst possible direction. Frank Farien was the villain. But more so, we were the villains. The idea that anything needs to be "true" other than what we feel when we listen to music is the villain. (Shitty media literacy is also the villain, but that's for a longer post.)

So yeah, we were fooled. But we wanted to be fooled. We still do. The guys in that hardcore punk band you like aren't like that at all times, these rappers are not rich, your favorite pop star might be a quiet introvert, and so on and so on. There might be some theater in the music you like. That's fine.

Milli Vanilli isn't worth getting mad at. Frank Farien? He sure as shit is worth being mad at. The failure of music media at the time? That's worth being mad at. But this album? It's fine.

Favorite Songs: "Girl You Know It's True" "Blame It on the Rain" "Dreams to Remember"

Avatar image for unclejam23
unclejam23

381

Forum Posts

40

Wiki Points

1

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

Duders! The Unofficial Giant Bomb Album Club is back! What an AUTHENTIC feeling of happiness that fills my body and soul! What an HONEST moment of joy for me. The type of feeling that CAN'T BE MANUFACTURED. Anyway, our first album is Girl You Know It's True by Milli Vanilli! This album was selected by our good friend @zombiepie, and you can listen with the link below:

(Note: For some strange reason, this album is not available on any major streaming services.)

Youtube:https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLI-hP4pSJWo9GWSvMIRzazYXvOk78c9Ke&si=jon5iW8S50_hcxGp

Fab Morvan of Milli Vanilli shares his side of the story (ZP shared this link in the album club discord, highly recommended viewing):https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u-MeUmpLH-s

Here at the Unofficial Giant Bomb Album Club, we made a pool of albums in our discord and we choose one at random every week to listen to and discuss. If that sounds cool to you, feel free to come on down!