Monthly

Reviewing the Summer

This piece was published in the September 2015 issue of the Prep News , co-written with album reviews by Sam Keefe and movie reviews by Ciaran Molloy

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Straight Outta Compton

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I went into this movie knowing absolutely nothing about NWA. The only reason I knew Ice Cube was from Are We There Yet? And I only knew Dr. Dre because of his overpriced headphones. But seeing this movie has changing attitude, and I think there are actually a lot of really important lessons we could learn from this biopic. Now, as I’m writing this, I can see many people in our community disliking the fact that we are covering a movie based on such a notorious group. Let me be clear when I say that neither I nor the rest of the Prep News, condones the lyrics of the group. I don’t like rap music all that much, to tell you the truth. But it says something when someone who knows little to nothing about rappers or rap music comes away from that movie feeling strong emotion. And that’s exactly what the movie evokes: incredibly strong emotions. This movie it an incredibly strong biopic of one of the most influential groups in music. Even for people who don’t like rap, this is a must see. Best movie I saw all summer. Rating: 9.5

 

Tame Impala’s Currents

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In Tame Impala’s two albums preceding their 2015 release, frontman Kevin Parker mostly wrote about his withdrawal from society. After listening to Currents, the band’s triumphant third album, one can easily hear that Parker seems lonelier than ever. The album starts off with a bang as the lulling melodies of “Let It Happen” saunter about in a galactic whirlpool of noise for nearly eight minutes. I used to think it would be impossible to replicate or surpass the greatness of songs like “It Feels Like We Only Go Backwards” or “Elephant,” but “Currents” feels like a transition into a whole new world for the young group of musicians; one where that greatness is a definite possibility. Before, I may have been able to point out doubts of the bands potential ability to find continued success, but I’d say they’re here to stay. Rating: 8.6 Best Tracks: “Let It Happen” “Nangs” Worst: “Disciples”

 

Mac Demarco’s Another One

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After stowing away in his New York home, Canadian multi-instrumentalist, Mac Demarco, released his fourth studio album, Another One. The album, which contains only eight songs, makes for 23 minutes of classic Mac Demarco. It doesn’t bother me too much that he never strays from the style of his previous albums. But, the album can seem like a blur of sameness at times. For the most part I really do enjoy that sameness. The last track on the album sums up Demarco’s approach to his music rather well: two minutes of ocean sounds, followed by a brief goodbye from Mac himself, “6802 Bayfield Ave, Arverne, New York, stop on by, I’ll make you a cup of coffee. See ya later.” Demarco doesn’t seem to make music for the love, and doesn’t care if people like it or not, and there’s an appeal that comes with that approach. If you’re a fan of Demarco’s old work, this album won’t likely disappoint. Rating: 8.4 Best Tracks: “The Way You Love Her” “Just To Put Me Down” “Another One” Worst Tracks: “I’ve Been Waiting For Her”.

 

Jurassic World

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Bringing in almost $1.7 billion worldwide, this was THE box office colossus of the summer. It is a sequel to the wildly popular Jurassic Park series, and it proved that it could stand with the rest of them. If we were counting box office revenue alone. I loved Jurassic Park. Even its sequels were okay. But this seemed to be an entirely different animal altogether. It had none of the allure of the original movies because we knew what was going to happen. The thrill of seeing dinosaurs attacking humans has lost its appeal, at least for me. And that’s a disadvantage before the critics even review it. It had to reintroduce the viewers to the shock and awe of seeing a T-Rex walking with humans, much less chasing them. This obstacle tripped viewers up in my opinion. There came a point in the movie when I realized that the big reveal or the big shock was never going to happen, or if it was, that I had glazed over it without a second thought. Even the morals of the story differ from the original movie, in which the scientists learn the consequences of meddling in things that are not meant for humans. In this newest addition, the main theme seems to be the importance of family. This is an important idea, but not when it is shoved down our throats at every possible moment. All in all, a very lackluster movie. Of course, go see it. Because the few scenes that throwback to the original films while also keep a modern feel to it are worth the scenes where the director of the park seems to be able to magically traverse overgrown jungle in high heels. Rating: 6.5

 

Wilco’s Star Wars

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Wilco’s ninth studio album, Star Wars, takes a dive into a new feel for the band who has certainly been a consistent force on the folk/rock scene. The opening track “EKG” is a minute and a half instrumental, which sounds reminiscent of the long jamming the band had frequently done in many of their previous albums. After that, however, the sound begins to evolve. The progression to this point in the band’s career has been steady and easily seen. Overall, the album lacks the same raw rock and roll feel of previous ballads like “Impossible Germany” and “Misunderstood,” but it still carries plenty of great songs. I’ve been a Wilco fan my whole life, and the album doesn’t quite reach the grandeur of some of the others, but it doesn’t disappoint. Rating: 9.3 Best Tracks: “Random Name Generator”; “Magnetized” Worst Tracks: “None”

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