By Lauren Wise
By New Times
By Amanda Savage
By Jason P. Woodbury
By Troy Farah
By New Times
By Derek Askey
Sunset takes the day slowly by the throat. A gingery glow gives the evening a weightless consistency, the promise of a beautiful night. In this glow it all makes sense now. The courtyard, the light, the dogs, the beer, the pale colors of the desert flora.
The neighboring trailers are getting restless and their lights are coming on. The smell of something resembling fried bacon is in the air. The dogs come out and bark. They chase each other's tails and raise the dust. Their movements seem slow, deliberate. I like the deliberateness of it all. Gives it more purpose. With the drinking it all seems holy, even in a month like September. God bless this Natural Light.
Bernard goes back to talking about failure and darkness. How all along he had mistaken the darkness for an agony he thought he could never shake. Yet now, at 35, he's grateful not to be dead. He's found satisfaction in simplicity. The simple act of drinking a cold beer, of fucking his girl, of achieving a level of honesty, of successfully avoiding work.
He's figured it out.
From the tiny speaker in the neighbor's television comes the sound of a roaring crowd capped by the announcer's pointless skronk. Some overpaid goon must've scored a touchdown or something. Woo-hoo!
Night comes down on the trailer park. We're still sitting here. In the dark, Bernard's teeth could be pearls. We are surrounded by so much darkness -- this moonless blackness -- yet so much is left to see. Always so much to see. And it's weird: I don't hear a single note of rock 'n' roll, just the faint aural glimpses of a desert night mixed with the football game's insulting gesticulations. But the football game is nearly over.
Once the game has ended, it's gonna be good night, I think.
Bad Cheap Trick cloning and thinly disguised arena rock pining are the basic gears that drive Marvelous 3's fruitless mook-pop. They may think themselves somewhere between Everclear and Presidents of the United States, but really it's a confused cross between Foreigner and a Van Halen tribute band. What's more, the lame vibrato in singer Butch's voice gives the impression he served a good decade singing Doobie Brothers covers in Fresno.
On Blender, Collective Soul does what it does best: It orchestrates nearly 40 minutes of the lamest collection of mall-rotted songs conceivable, songs that would best serve as ambiance in TV ads for no-ammonia haircolor aimed at single white males under 40 who make more than $100,000 a year.
The sad action on Blender is undercut and cushioned with prosaic production tricks that make a band like Supertramp "rock" by comparison. File under "Soundtrack to Cover Those Pesky Grays."
I'd wager American Pearl lifted its name from a scene in Caught From Behind 4 in which Ron Jeremy instructs a fake-boobied Barbie dressed in Imperial Russian garb to "take my American pearl," then discharges said goop into her gaping countenance.
With its unabashed Buckcherry cops (all the way down to employing Sex Pistol Jonesy as knob tweaker/guitar tone architect) and brazen misuse of ink-stained skin as metaphors for badassness, and its Web site spin-doctoring about how "rock 'n' roll" they think they are, American Pearl gets the Turd of the Year award for bestowing upon America the most outhouse-quality rock samples from the GN'R/Cinderella sewage plant.
Madonna has to be the first chick in pop history ever to have put her clothes back on to further her career. The booklet sees her dolled up in designer duds like a porny cowgirl, half-lidded and lying around in the hay, sucking iced coffee through a straw but looking ready to tell the next cowpoke that hops along to go find a different horse in the stable.
In the hands of producer/collaborators Mirwais Ahmadzai, William Orbit and Guy Sigsworth, the songs on Musicharvest trendy production hookery, the bulk of which take the place of actual songwriting, not to mention passion. Vocoders assail vocals ("Nobody's Perfect," "Impressive Instant") to the point of giving them a guided-by-Braille quality; acoustic guitars are looped and pinched so heavily ("Don't Tell Me") that they twitter by in unnerving fits and starts. Elsewhere, songs reveal themselves as showy strip bar satires ("Music") or affected camp ("Amazing") that at best give rise to Madonna's inner drag queen.