That’s about it. But, just because that’s all they have in common with one of the greatest alternative rock bands of all time doesn’t mean that alt-J isn’t special.In fact, the first time I listened to This Is All Yours, I was pleasantly surprised. The first thing that pulled me in was the album artwork, which like An Awesome Wave’s album cover, didn’t say the band’s name or the album’s name on it. The album cover reminds me of simply an abstract painting on a canvas, with purple, blue, red, green, and yellow paint brush strokes. It’s simple, but the bright and vibrant colors pull you in, which I think is a really cool thing to master.
This Is All Yours opens with a track appropriately titled Intro. Their first album An Awesome Wave also starts with a track called Intro, so obviously we’re seeing a trend here. Alt-J’s albums tend to tell a story through their music, and it’s easy to tell that they are making a story through their song titles. The second track is titled Arrival In Nara, and the third is titled Nara, so whatever or wherever Nara is, it’s a key part of the album. Arrival In Nara is full on mellow, quiet piano and then lead singer Joe Newman’s quiet and soothing voice comes in about two minutes in the song. The next song, Nara, starts to build things up a bit. The momentum of the album increases with each song, which adds to the feeling of it telling a story.
The fifth track, Left Hand Free, is definitely one of my favorites off the whole album. It speeds things up with bluesy guitar chords and vocals, which isn’t usually alt-J’s style. People tend to be scared when an artist moves away from their usual sound, but Left Hand Free incorporates Newman's distinct vocals and some signature alt-J electronic influences to make the song a recognizable alt-J song.
The most interesting track on the album is without a doubt Bloodflood Pt. II. An Awesome Wave has the song titled Bloodflood. Bloodflood Pt. II is essentially the same song, yet it’s a totally different song at the same time, with just different music in the background and a few lyric changes. It’s incredible how they were able use the same lyrics to make two completely different sounding songs, on different albums. Bloodflood Pt. II starts out with a quiet piano intro, like most alt-J songs, then erupts into a beautiful, chilling, powerful masterpiece of a song.
This Is All Yours is overall an incredible album. If you liked An Awesome Wave, you’ll love this one. If you love any music, you’ll probably love this album because it’s just that great. Comment with any suggestions for a review you may have!
We’re towards the end of November and it’s cold out. REALLY cold out. This means that people have started to break out the beanie caps, long underwear, flannel-lined jeans, and puffy winter jackets that make you look like somebody spray-painted a marshmallow. The one article of clothing that could be argued as one of the warmest, however, has been making its decline as of late; wool socks. High schoolers have not made wool socks a part of their wardrobe as it can be looked down upon as “unfashionable” or, dare I say, “for old people.” These ridiculous accusations take away from wool socks’ main purpose: warmth.
Wearing wool socks is like having two Ewoks from Return of the Jedi clutching at your feet and lower legs for the entire time you wear them; they’re that wooly and warm. I proclaim to you reader: WOOL SOCKS ARE AWESOME! Why wouldn’t you want to be free from cold toes that make you wish your feet didn’t exist? Why wouldn’t you gloat to your friends that you are much warmer than they are because they are non-believers in the magic of wool socks? Embrace the occasional itchiness the wool socks are accustomed to bestow upon you because the warmth they bring is definitely worth it.
For more manly tips and witty banter, tune in to WLTL every second Wednesday of the month for Guy Talk hosted by WLTL Assistant Program Director Aidan Hunt. Have an idea for the next manly installment? Comment your ideas.
Though the weather for Halloween was not ideal for Trick-or-Treating, it was awesome for a Best Buddies Halloween Party. Tuesday October 28th, WLTL managers Conor Wiegmann '15 and Bess Connelly '15 packed up the equipment and headed over to the corral for the most fun experience of the week.
Best Buddies held their annual Halloween Party where everyone dressed in costumes, ate food, made new friends, and danced to amazing music. Kids were singing along to "Twist and Shout", "Ghostbusters", and "Let It Go" from Frozen. It was a sight to be seen. Everyone dressed up in costumes – some of the best were Scooby Doo and Velma, Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf, and the classic but always amusing M&M.
For the managers, it was a night to remember. Some of the students from Best Buddies even got to help choose the music for a few songs. But the best part of the night was bringing home all of the FOOD! One thing you need to know about WLTL – we love food! WLTL loved working with Best Buddies to make one of the best nights the two managers had experienced.
My predictions of a change in direction, away from the Cold War Kids norm was proven incorrect after I heard the group’s main single of the album, “All This Could Be Yours.” Although my thoughts were proven incorrect, there were some CWK explorations conducted during this album, such as the relaxing track, “Harold Bloom.” Overall, if you are looking for some new jam songs, this may be the album where you find what you need. It is nearly impossible to take a full listen to the album and not dance, even if it’s just a bit.
The album opens with this power ballad, in true Cold War Kids fashion. With a piano intro, strong vocals creating the focus of the song, and the priority of the strong drum beats taking second chair, the only change Cold War Kids has made to their music was adding a bit of sleekness to their sound and demonstrating that the most passion they were capable of portraying was found in their first album, Robbers & Cowards (2006). The few attributes that the group seems to differentiate themselves by (such as the strong cries of lead singer Nathan Willett) have unfortunately proven, over many albums, to be some of their only defining characteristics.
Willett’s challenge of the album appeared on the sixth track, “Go Quietly.” His opening to the track was expected of CWK with the strong vocals
and steady beat, but as the song continues, I noticed there was
something behind it. Not emotionally, quite literally - there was a
chorus! Willett took this chance to step back and be carried away in
his music; he even allowed the track to be closed without his final
word. This baby step with Willett demonstrated the group’s ability to try
out something out of their realm, and whether it was a success or not can
be decided by the listener.
The group’s sense of exploration is all placed into one track of the album, “Harold Bloom.” This slower, very relaxing pace was a standout song off the album, yet the group fell short of strongly capturing the audience’s emotions.
Overall, Cold War Kids used Hold My Home to prove they are able of exploration, but their best talents lie in their staple sound. If you loved tracks such as “Miracle Mile,” this album will be for you, but one should not look for any deeper than to have a good time. Be sure to comment below with your thoughts about this new album, or if you have a request for the next album/artist review
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We are the management staff of WLTL. These are our stories.