The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
T i a l m a lTuesday, November 13, 2012 - 5
Third time not the charm.
bleeps and bloops
too darkly to enjoy
By THOMAS KLEPACZ
For the Daily
Bleep Bloop. It's kind of a
genre, but not quite - more a cat-
egory of music classified by the
Carles of Hip-
ster Runoff, the
sardonic king Crystal
of his own blog- Castles
Much like his , (I)
coined Chill- Polymor
wave, a genre
formed after the explosive rise
of laconic bands like Washed Out
and Real Estate, Carles estab-
lished Bleep Bloop following the
similarly rapid rise of the "elec-
tronically experimental" (as
determined by some Wikipedia
contributor) Crystal Castles.
While Carles may have con-
stantly poked fun at the Cana-
dian duo, the pair had true
musical merit - they were cre-
ating melodic, expertly crafted
Bleep Bloop, a soundtrack to
some form of effervescent, heav-
enly arcade. Simply put, it was
Sadly, Caries may finally be
justified in his constant Bleep
Bloop mockery. Crystal Castles's
third album, candidly titled (III),
is not only sonically irritating, but
it's almost embarrassing to the
blossoming electronic genre.
Unlike the graceful beauty
which came along with the
groups' last "bleeps" (see "Magic
Spells"), many of the songs on
(III) are grotesquely arranged
- a collective nightmare of
Talk about getting socked in the head!
"bloops." Whereas the music of
(II) may have transported you to
an empyrean arcade, (III) leaves
you feeling hopeless and dis-
turbed - trapped in a dark arcade
on a never-ending bad trip.
Songs like "Plague" begin
withsomewhat promising melo-
dies, only to slowly transform
into macabre-infused arrange-
ments of stuttering synth' and
shrill yelps. "Insulin," on the
other hand, never has any hope:
it begins with ominous bass,
ends with ominous bass, and
centers itself around distorted
guitars and more screaming.
If a car wreck were a song, this
would be it.
Some tracks on (III) are frus-
trating purely in musical arrange-
ment - songs like "Kerosene" and
"Violent Youth" would be great,.
if not only for some questionable
sonic decisions. "Kerosene," for
example, begins with looming
synth, a sound best supplanted by
simple drums and subtle samples.
However, Ethan Kath (the man
behind Crystal Castles's pro-
duction) introduces a bouncing,
reverberating vocal sample best
likened to the aggravating sound
of rewinding an old cassette.
On "Violent Youth," Kath splat-
ters shrill, disorderly, Care Bear-
like vocals over a tremendously
simple Bleep-Bloopbase. The con-
coction of sounds transforms each
track from "song" to "noise" -
from melody to barely listenable
bursts of uneven energy. Resisting
the double arrows of the skip but-
ton becomes increasingly difficult
as each track develops.
When the duo breaks out of
soundtracks for harrowing disas-
ters and bad trips, they actually
show some promise: tracks such
as "Wrath of God" and "Child I
Will Hurt You" (disregard the
names) are spacely and hyp-
notic: psychedelic in a good way.
"Transgender" is slightly awk-
ward, but surprisingly easy to
listen to in a trance-y sort of way..
Basically, it'd be good to play for
some Molly-d out crowd.
Sure, Crystal Castles took a
darker turn with (III). It's obvi-
ous from the get-go - song titles
such as "Pale Flesh," "Sad Eyes"
and "Violent Youth" all attest
to the group's attempt at a more
ominous image. However, dark-
ness can be done gracefully,
and the Canadian duo come off
sounding more Skrillex than
Shlohmo (whose "Crew Love"
remix is the perfect example of
dark done right).
Whether they wanted to dis-
tance themselves from their.
musical past or draw themselves
closer to the dubstep-esque pop-
ularity of today is unclear, but
nonetheless, the duo falls into
some no-man's land of barely lis-
tenable chaos. The Bleep Bloop
days of Crystal Castles's melan-
cholic past are seemingly gone
with (III), and gosh darn it, Car-
les is finally right. Crystal Castles
does seem like kind of a joke.
ifteen years old and with Dear "Twilight" series, all
only the odd cents of a good - and not so good - things
wrung-dry gift card to must come to an end. I present
name, I released the contents you with the last Will and Testa-
sy Jo-Ann Fabrics bag, let- ment the immortal Cullens have
g the last no need to write, a goodbye truly
sy allow- worthy of the undead. What
e - now right do I have to pen this pre-
le of felt cious document? Well, I'm Prom
ers - Queen, damnit.
l across We gather here today to bid
kitchen adieu this relic of our teenaged
le. The past, a beacon in the sea of rabid
hirt was BRIANNE fan drool: the film adaptations of
ck (the JOHNSON Stephenie Meyer's story of inter-
oding air species lovers, Edward and Bella.
longed To any and all future boy-
'manate!) and the collegiate friends, I leave Edward's grey
ck font a last resort; the pea coat, for it's timeless, sharp
re's selection of Comic Sans and probably sticky with the
short of the extra 'L' needed remnants of Robert Pattinson's
omplete my love's last name. hair gel.
roned onto the back of my Director Bill Condon shall
ra-small Hanes T-shirt were receive a montage of every Kris-
words: "Team Cullen." ten Stewart lip nibble, cross-
learly a trendsetter from eyed stare, fidget, stutter and
h, I wasn't surprised that no strategically scripted stumble
recognized the moniker, at that once illustrated our beloved
es mistaking me for a player heroine's ineptitude.
a team that engaged in actual I bestow upon "The Hun-
'sical activity. But as a cool, ger Games" the merchandise
entary high schooler, I dared mountains of vampires and
ake the front of the shirt in werewolves past. May the brace-
fferent direction: "Edward. lets, pillowcases and life-size
king. Cullen." cardboard figures from which
the characters' eyes dazzle
unsuspecting consumers aid you
in dominating the industry and
the shelves of Hot Topic. P.S., a
Tea Culen simple strip of duct tape can es
ilyturn a "Team Jacob" tee into
members at? "Team PeetaQ"
*I entrust the Quileute wolf
pack to the East Quad dininghall
upon its post-renovation open-
id I mention that I was cool? ing. While not directly proposing
iler than a vampire's alleg- you serve the beasts as Thurs-
y marble-esque skin. day's exotic cuisine, I do believe
ive years later, "The Twilight tofu improves with a dash of
a" (insert girlish scream) has washboard abs and a soft mane
ne to an end. The Cullen clan to nuzzle.
et their cinematic demise To my DVD collection, I leave
day with the series' fifth just one sincere note: "I'm sorry.
tallment, "The Twilight Saga: I.O.U."
raking Dawn - Part 2." Last, I present the cast, crew,
ks a sophomore in high directors and author Stephenie
ool, I'd dreaded this day. "It Meyer with the best parting
ms like forever," I'd lament to words Ican muster: "Thank
nds, counting down the days you."
ternity. I resented the movie "The Twilight Saga" is a phe-
lers and hoodies that probed, nomenon that followed readers
hen you live forever, what do and viewers through the most
live for?" What do you think, gruesome of their teen years
herine Hardwicke? Ask my (and forties, but the Twi-moms
teen hormones such a ques- are an issue to be dealt with by
and receive only a sullen the government and a tenacious
isper: "Fan fiction." team of psychologists). Jealous
et as I entered adulthood of classmates who enjoyed a
shed (see: ran screaming comradely childhood with J.K.
in) my title as Midnight DVD Rowling's Weasleys, I discovered
ease Party Prom Queen (bow the forests of Forks, Wash. and
n to me), I've come to long called them home before Hog-
the end. I beg for the day that warts could claim me.
teen award shows redeem It wasn't the literary or cin-
ir dignity and the other ematic merit that lured me in
tenders their trophies, or year after year (let's be honest),
rned surfboards, if we're get- butthe loyalty that only a naive,
g technical. See JOHNSON, Page 6
Agulera s musical experiment
doesn't bloom on new 'Lotus'
By GREGORY HICKS
Lotus is an improvement, but
it's not Christina Aguilera. It's
not the teenage pop star who
had three No. 1
singles off an
album. It's not Chnstina
Xtina who AgUilera
wanted a genu- Lotus
hip-hop record. RCA
And it's most
certainly not a full-blown 1920s
throwback that still managed to
generate hits in 2006.
That's when 2010 reared its
ugly head, with the failure of
Bionic knocking the confidence
right out of Aguilera. The off-the-
beaten-path music disappeared
and has now been replaced with
the play-it-safe sound ofLotus.
'The album is, musically
speaking, a step up from Bionic,
but even that flop of a record had
the stylistic consistency expect-
ed of Aguilera. Lotus might have
catchier tunes, but it's the same
messy production of every other
pop artist nowadays. "Red Hot
Kinda Love" sounds like a mix
of the '20s Back to Basics style
and the futuristically unfriendly
noise of Bionic, making it diffi-
cult to pinpoint the track's musi-
The ballads have no stylistic
confusion, but are rather boring,
seemingly thrown in to give the
appearance of musical sophisti-
cation - though "Blank Page" is
a pleasantly uplifting track that's
melodically similar to her 2002
hit "Beautiful." She can thank
award-winning songwriter Sia
for writing this new potential hit.
This is why we can't have nice things.
The "Lotus Intro" is one of
the more distinct tracks on the
album. The mystical synths, the
echoed "Wayayaya" s sung in
the background and the foreign
percussion drumming create a
spiritual dance atmosphere that
seems well suited to Aguilera's
musical rebirth message. If only
any of the other songs on the
album resembled this intro. The
record would've beentied togeth-
er nicely and a worthy listen.
And then there are the Max
Martin-written tracks. If there's
one thing everyone should real-
ize at this point, it's that Martin
needs to take his $250 million
net worth and stop writing music.
"Your Body" was such a dull track
that it couldn't even chart higher
than Christina's lead single on
Bionic, "Not Myself Tonight."
Having the most anticipated sin-
gle of the year barely squeezing
its way into the Top-40 is pitiful.
ica - a1
ow, Aguilera and Martin of its two singers. It's a shame
ed to create a lead single that her co-star of "The Voice,"
s even too basic for Amer- Adam Levine, couldn't make an
true rarity. And, of course, appearance on the album, given
er Martin track "Let There that Aguilera lent him some
e" isn't any better. heavy vocals on Maroon 5's
"Moves Like Jagger."
Aguilera openly admitted
that there wasn't one particular
mneone put style utilized on the album, and
e genie back that it was more of a musical
experimentation. However, this
the bottle. is her fifth studio album, and
the basis of her other four were
experimentation - the only dif-
ference with Lotus being that it's
ke the World Move" is a chaotic approach. At this point
'a's best shot at cranking Aguilera should have some idea
ther hit. Her collaboration of what she wants in her music.
eeLo Green on this song is Not to mention, the one-dimen-
to gain some initial atten- sionality of certain tracks makes
nd the mash of Aguilera a listener think that Aguilera
eLo's classic style on the should've saved the title Back to
rack is enough to make it Basics for this album. Go reunite
h. It's refreshing to hear a with Linda Perry, who wrote
hat meets the expectation "Beautiful," and try again later.
APPLY TO WRITE FOR THE TV/NEW MEDIA BEAT.
Request an application by e-mailing email@example.com.