The Savage Animal 02.19.14 First Impression of The Script
Posted by Mikey MiGo on 02.19.2014
All art isn't made for you, but sometimes you just have to absorb it to see why others like it. In the 384th edition of The Savage Animal Mike listens to the studio albums of Irish pop rock band The Script with a cautiously open mind. This, a preview of the Elimination Chamber PPV, a review of American Hustle, and more!
"WWE Elimination Chamber 2014 PPV Preview": This show has "potential". I don't know what that really means anymore with the WWE because "potential" seems to be a bad. If a storyline, character, or any aspect of a WWE show has "potential" it is quickly rushed off, revamped, or ruined.
I hate being so negative about the current WWE product but it's pretty easy to feel this way. I've been a fan of the WWE for close to all of the thirty years I've been alive. My earliest memories in live involve watching and loving wrestling. It's just part of being. For better or worse, I have full blown wrestlingitis. I can itch, scratch, swear it off… but I can't escape the itis.
So I know I should just turn the channel and not watch, but I keep watching hoping things will change. The show is just boring. It's not just the fact that certain guys are held down and others are pushed farther than anyone demands for. It's not just the oversaturation of product. It's not just the lame announcing and overly-assertive branding. It's not just the lack of original match-ups. It's not just any of it.
It's all of it.
The WWE is stale. This is true even regardless of the network and regardless of Daniel Bryan having an amazing run right now. This Pay Per View is VERY important for the WWE history book. It could be the last "traditional outlet" PPV and is the last money show before the biggest WrestleMania of all time.
We all know people are going to be coming back to make their big WrestleMania run. I'm talking about Undertaker, Brock, Jericho, RVD, and the whole "Mania-check" gang. Then we've all heard rumors about Hogan, Sting, Warrior, and pretty much everyone under the sun.
Do you think Dolph Ziggler has a hard time getting a spot on the card? Heh.
Elimination Chamber 2014 looks good on paper. I won't get too in the predictions. Batista is going to destroy Alberto Del Rio. It sucks because Del Rio is great and deserves better, but he's obviously being fed to the lions here. Big E will take care of Jack Swagger. The New Age Outlaws cheat to win over the Usos. Darren Young sneaks a win over Titus O'Neil. These matches could be at least entertaining, but no one is buying this show to see this stuff.
The Wyatt Family vs. The Shield match is a big one. Everyone wants to assume they'll pull the trigger with Reigns leaving the group. I think they'll pull it back a little and let it simmer. The crowd reaction when these two groups go face to face is red hot. People also want to assume Reigns will leave the group, but what if Rollins kicks BOTH Reigns and Ambrose out of the group. It'd be weird, but easily explained as The Shield is about justice and both guy's egos are in need of being in check… This leaves Rollins to introduce two NEW members and transitions BOTH Ambrose and Reigns into the non-crowd entering roster. I'd just rather see this held off a little. All of this confusion and discussion makes one thing clear, The Sheild wins. Yeah, a twist!
The main event is interesting. It's got all the basic ingredients of a WWE main event. John Cena looks strong no matter what, Randy Orton looks weak, Daniel Bryan looks sillier and sillier, Sheamus looks useless, Christian is just there for no reason, and Cesaro is benefitting from the annual "hey, let's see if we can push and depush this guy until the crowd loves him" push that has gone to the likes of Kofi, Dolph, The Brian Kendrick, and others in the past. I like him a lot. He's one of the most entertaining performers on TV right now, but it's hard to get excited about his rise up the card knowing it can crash and burn at any time. The crowd can love him, his shirts can sell, and people can pay to see him… but we know these factors don't matter anymore.
Dammit, call me crazy but I'm going to just go with my gut. Daniel Bryan wins the match and the title. There is the likelihood of Triple H screwing him over and these two facing off at WrestleMania. That's possible, but to NOT give the fans a Daniel Bryan moment at WrestleMania would be bullshit. Maybe they'll make him wrestle Triple H earlier in the night and if he wins he gets to be in the title match. Something. Anything.
First Impression of The Script
This is the periodic column where I listen to a band or artist that I'm not familiar with for the first time and give an honest stream of consciousness as I review what I'm hearing. Sometimes it's a band I'm vaguely familiar with and sometimes it's a totally new experience. It can result in me enjoying a few hours of newer acts like "In This Moment" or icons I never encountered liked Simon and Garfunkel. Other times it's a punishment that I get myself into. Regardless, I'm honest and open minded.
Why The Script?
Why not The Script? I'm not expecting my mind to be blown. Sometimes you just have to accept music for what it is. Not every album is going to be "The Wall" or "The Chronic". Sometimes soulful pop-like rock should be judged as what it is. I'm expecting some crooning, some light stuff, and some stuff that I'd generally not like. It's up to the music to change my mind. Regardless, I'm going to be open minded and optimistic I take something of positive value from the experience of listening to the three studio albums by this band. The Script
(2008 – 39 minutes) - I have no idea what to expect so let's just dive in. The album opens with an almost eerie build up in "We Cry". Instantly the smooth, R&B-ish vocals hit over the chillaxing groove and I think about Maroon 5. On the surface I want to automatically brush it off as something for the "easy listening" crowd. It's not. There is a bit more substance in the lyrics and I even hear the "f-bomb". I listen to gangsta rap and metal, but hearing it in a context like this was more jarring and unexpected. By the end of the song I'm tapping along to the contagious hook. I could have lived without the police sirens in the distance. It just about pushes it into the "corny" category. I like the music on "Before the Worst". The piano and the base line stand out. The vocals sound good, but they go in one ear and out the other until the chorus hits. I'm not even sure if it's a good chorus or if it's just good because it pulls you out of the verses.
"Talk You Down" has a nice intro, but the second the base drops and the song breaks it loses a tiny bit of steam and goes into a more predictable direction. I'm not hating on it though because it's my favorite of the couple songs I've heard so far. The lyrics are deep and go on to tell a really good story basically about how far someone will go for someone over love. I really like the bridge and how it complements the song. Well done. I didn't have as much connection or interest in "The Man Who Can't Be Moved". Ironically, I just wasn't "moved" by it. It lingered too much within its own limits. "Breakeven" is a downtempo groove that breaks into a soulful yawn about a minute in. I know for a fact that I've heard this song before. The whole "falling to Pieeeeces" part really stands out to me as something I've encountered before. It's not a bad pop rock song, but it's not my cup of tea. I actually almost instantly get into "Rusty Halo". It's a catchy dance track. It reminds me a lot of The Police. It has almost a rasta-beat and the vocals make me think the vocalist could start a damn good Sting cover project. That said, it's a good song. The line about "looking through the bible for loopholes" is awesome. The opening vocals on "The End Where I Begin" are very good and engaging. I was worried the song would break into a generic sounding pop song, but it's subtly accompanied by a wonderful piano track. Shit! I spoke too soon. It DOES break down into a shitty R&B bridge that totally takes the track into the wrong direction. This could have been better if it hadn't strayed from it's simple and strong structure. "Fall for Anything" is a fairly boring song. It's well sung and the music is well produced, but it just doesn't pull you in. It's almost so clean that the soul of it feels artificial. "If You See Kay". That's the title of this song. Get it? "iF.U.C.K"! So witty! It's a croony track. He's putting on his best Stevie Wonder vocals. It sounds like something that teenage girls would listen to as safe "rebellion" to their parents grounding them. I just can't take it serious. The album closes with the ballad "I'm Yours". It's a slow brewing track that takes you adrift through a nice song. The music is beautiful and the vocals are delivered just right. For a pop ballad, it's one of the better ones I've heard in a while. It's one of those songs where all the ingredients come together in such a way that you have no choice but to be enthralled by it. It could very well be the best song on the album. Really though, this is a weird album. It's a pop rock album. It's a bunch of white guys crooning and pulling R&B out of their asses like a Maroon 5 or Robin Thicke. At the same rate, they do their own thing. They don't go full cookie-cutter. They have edge, substance, and a genuine voice. It's just a strange genre to still find legit substance in. It sounds good, sometimes too good. I'd like to hear some unperfected embellishments, some artistic vulnerability, and less pop from these guys. Never the less, I'm curious as to how they evolve. I hope for deeper and less poppy substance, but I hear they could go full pop-rock and bore me to death. I'm going to be optimistic, but it doesn't matter. Let's get into it… Science & Faith
(2010 – 42 minutes) - The sophomore album starts off slowly. "You Won't Feel a Thing" is catchy, but nothing too amazing. I kept waiting for a twist. A lyrical surprise, a musical change up… something. It's a cut and dry track. Bummer. The same can be said for "For the First Time". It's a down tempo ballad. It's a smooth R&B rock track, but it's not very engaging. "Nothing" gets us on the right track. This song seems way more inspired and has more personality to it. It's a nice uplifting mid-tempo song. Some aspects of these songs have a "country-pop" thing to them, sorta. The title track "Science & Faith" is a fun song. The opening of it is an interesting build up, but surprisingly it doesn't go anywhere. It fizzles and then lifts back up with the cutesy chorus. Songs like this make me picture dudes who wear T-shirts and vests as a clothing choice. I'm not digging this. "If You Ever Come Back" pulls something "different" out of the band. It's another song that instantly reeks of personality. It's got more of a groove to it and the change-up in vocal deliveries really work to make it a dynamic and interesting song. By the time the chorus hits, you're enthralled. This is by far the best track on the album so far. "Long Gone and Moved On" feels like a bit like a U2 track at the start. The vocals really have a stammery-Bono thing going on, but respectfully are NOT Bono's. It's a pretty good ballad. It has life to it and turns out to be a really good song. I was worried this album was going to turn me off into a negative direction, but a few more songs like this and I'll at least be a fan. "Dead Man Walking" is cool. I really like the opening. The break gets us to a mildly funky melody that you just can't help but nod a long to. The soulful chorus vocals pull me out of the song. The chant/hip hop portion is cool, but the falsetto vocals make a fun song not so fun. I got lost in "This = Love". It lulls you into a stooper and then boom! It's breaks into a half-awesome song. "Walk Away" is okay and then B.o.B. chimes in. It feels really forced. The two styles do not complement each other at all. Yikes. This album closes out with "Exit Wounds". I like it. It's got a really good melody and it's catchy without pushing too hard at you. The falsetto vocals here really work and make the track better. I appreciate this song more than just about any others so far. This album wasn't that bad. At first it was a bit too "clean" for my liking. It came back around with some more grounded rock stuff. These dudes are genuinely talented, but sometimes it feels like their direction is a bit too cluttered. I'd like to see them really go all out in one area. Like more rock focused or even more pop focused. I understand the desire to "mix it up", but what they're doing on this album does not spotlight the obvious talent these dudes have. Hopefully I get what I'm looking for on their most recent release… #3
(2012 – 45 minutes) - The band's most recent LP kicks off with "Good Ol' Days". It's a pleasant song. It has a solid beat and I'll admit to nodding my head along to it. I'd imagine this song being fairly popular on pop rock stations and with the kiddies. It's got more "street" going for it than other songs of theirs. It sounds a little hokey to hear them force that kind of thing, but it sounds good. "Six Degrees of Separation" is a soulful ballad armed with nice vocals and a piano intro. It breaks into a break beat that's not too jarring or wacky. The chorus hits and it works. This is a well-produced track and sounds like exactly what this band should sound like evolving from the past two albums of work. I really like this one. Apparently I have heard "Hall of Fame", but I always thought it was a will.i.am track. He's on it, but it's them. This is a song that's played in commercials and video packages. It's a good up-lifting song for high school athletes to rock out in attempt to validate their efforts. It's gotta be one of those songs that high school seniors are using as their "class song". If I were part of the class to make this decision I'd be pissed off and annoyed. This song just brings that out of it. I channel my inner angry teenager and want to turn this song off ASAP. Luckily "If You Could See Me Now" kicks in to save me the hassle. Sadly, it's pretty much the same thing. How can this NOT be a graduation song or a "class song"? It's a nice positive message and all of that. It sounds okay and is produced nicely, but it lacks any of the genuine edge of their earlier stuff. I don't care if they wear hoodies and hang out with the Black Eye Peas, this is easily the most cookie-cutter bubble gum stuff I've heard from this group so far. It's not making me that excited to carry on, but I do anyway. "Glowing" dials back some of the bullshit. The song has a more grounded vibe to it. It's a breath of fresh air because it doesn't sound super produced and overly done. There is a hint of rawness to this song, which makes it better automatically. It proves how out of touch I am with the pop-rock world that this was NOT a single. The stuff that sounds like it'd be in a Coca-Cola commercial or a CW show IS the singles. There's no way around that. But then there's track like this that are legit. "Give the Love Around" has my interest during the casual build and then it breaks into some "cool" hip-hop vocals. Then it breaks into chant-ish Police sounding verse. I can't get into this at all. The "listen to my swagger voice" hip-hop stuff in this is craptacular. Who the hell is this band? It sounds like this is their direction now as "Broken Arrow" hits. I really don't mind the non-rap stuff on this, but the rap stuff is just so forced and painful. How can this get out there? Who is buying this? How can they release such decent music and then go this route and be able to take themselves seriously? This pep rally jibberish is rough. "Kaleidoscope" is a real song. There is a wonderful wall of sound that pulls you in. I'm not sure if it's a really good song or if that's just in comparison to the stuff I didn't get into. Regardless, I enjoy the listen. "No Words" goes right into a solid and smooth R&B groove. This feels right and more natural. It doesn't come off as forced and has a laid back vibe to it. I was really into it until random "rap guy" add-ons and embellishments popped up in the background. All in all, it's a solid tune. "Millionaires" closes the album out. It's a slower ballad. It's not bad. It's catchy and sweet. It doesn't stay around too long. It ends and that's that. THE VERDICT (2009 – ) - This band isn't for me. I know that. Some of my criticism were unfair, but they were honest and in the moment. But just because it's not my cup of tea doesn't mean my ears don't work. I can tell if I think a certain song is "good" or "bad" based on my own tastes and assessment. I could be totally off, but it's just my opinion. The only way you'd be able to tell is to listen yourself. To me, they were a bit flat. I can hear tons of talent and potential, but the direction they took on their latest album sounded like a typical commercial cash grab. It was a bummer. If the band's intentions with going with the tired "listen to our swagger" rap delivery was from a genuine place then I'm cool with it. I just have no reason to believe it either way. I just didn't like what I heard. It sounded like stuff that was manipulatively aimed towards the dumber high school kids. It's stuff the girls that decorate the school dances would listen to as they write the unobtainable football captain's name over and over again on their three ring binder. Does that stuff still happen? If it does, the soundtrack for it is taken care of. I'd like to hear these guys go more of a rock route, but I have suspicions that won't happen unless Top 40 radio itself goes more of a rock route. I hope I'm proved wrong. It would be a shame for that this talented group to be wasted.
I had a hard time with this movie. It's just too good for its own good. The storyline and content is just so hokey that you want to write it off. You can't. It's so well acted, well timed, and so enjoyable that you just have to accept it's awesome and want to see it again. That's how it worked for me. I went into it with some laid-back anticipation because of the cast and the fact that it's a David O'Russell movie, but I ended up becoming so enthralled in the movie that I found myself thinking about it days after first seeing it. David O. Russell made a new movie. What else do I need? The cast is outstanding in this movie. It's clearly the best ensemble of character performances I can recall. Christian Bale stars as a con man who with his partner in crime and life, Amy Adams, that is forced to work with a crazy FBI agent played by Bradley Cooper. Things get all sorts of screwed up from there. Along with these A-list leads Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Jeremy Renner, Michael Pena, and Jack Huston show up. Jennifer Lawrence is an obvious person to bring up. She chews up the scenery and spits it out. She just about steals this movie and is becoming one of the best things on the screen today. Her and Christian Bale together is a treat for anyone who enjoys performers at their best. One other person worth noting is Louis C.K. I have to point out how good he was in his small, but enjoyable role. He's there to help move the story along and get in a few moments. He does it well and just seeing the awesome comedian and comedy figurehead on the screen in a role like that was cool as hell. The direction is tight and the storyline, with its twists and turns, is just good times. I don't want to paint the picture of this movie for anyone. This is a movie that should be enjoyed and appreciated for the ride Mr. Russell and company take us on. I like movies that make you feel something. Movies like that don't leave you once the credits roll. It's just there and it lingers. This movie lingers. A
"Worst Case Scenario" is a new take on the concept of "fantasy booking". For years professional wrestling fans would spend endless hours of thinking up the coolest things that could happen. Why waste the energy? This only leads to high expectations. "Worst Case Scenario" flips that. Instead of looking through rose colored glasses, let's take a bi-weekly look at the worst possible scenarios in professional wrestling. I'm not going to be malicious or anything too mean, but I will not refrain from letting my brain come up with the worst possible shit I can. Sadly, it seems the writers and producers of mainstream TV wrestling and the mainstream iPPV level indies are doing the same thing but charging us for it. And now…
"Pro Wrestling In the Olympics!"
Right now the world is engaging in the competitive war of athletics that are the Winter Olympics. The main thing I think about when faced with the Winter games is the movie "Cool Runnings". I think about Jamaican's bobsled team and the late great John Candy. I'm sure others care about hockey, skating, and all of that stuff but for me it was that fun 90's movie.
Everyone has a place in their heart for the Olympics. There is no reason professional wrestling wouldn't want to latch on to that good vibe and milk it for any loose change it could. Wrestling could have its own version of the Olympics and no one would care. It would be a cool side attraction to an already busy Wrestlemania season.
But what if the actual Olympics were to encompass professional wrestling? I know they almost took out amateur wrestling so this is REALLY FUCKING UNLIKELY, but let's have fun with it. Imagine there being an American group, a Mexican, Canadian, Japanese, European, Australian, Dutch, etc. etc. etc. These groups compete like boxers do. The individual accomplishments matter for solo performance AND for team performance. There are TWO sides to this. The worked winners get Olympic belts, but there are judges for workrate and style.
Just like a diver, a swimmer, or something like that… the skill, the finesse, and the workrate is what matters. Select judges sit there and judge someone's workrate. Win or lose, they decide if the guy told a story, looked good, sold good, worked safe, pulled off impressive moves and spots, and got over with the crowd. All of these factors go into the performer's score.
Sure it exposes the worked side of wrestling, but it also legitimizes the art form.
What a quandary…
This is a supernatural drama based on a 1983 novel. It sounds and looks crazy! Colin Farrell stars as a thief who falls in love with a dying girl. He's going to get killed by Russell Crowe and his gangster buddies, but for some reason a guardian angel gets his back. And that's just a bit of the plot. It's a really weird and surreal kind of movie. It feels and sounds like The Crow, but without too much gimmick. A movie with Farrell, Crowe, Will Smith, Jennifer Connelly, Jessica Brown Findlay, and others all stand out on the cast list. This should be an interesting movie to say the least. Even if it sucks, I want to see it just to see how they pull this weird concept and out-there idea off. I don't even know if it'll be good, but I'm certain I'd want to find out.
That's all for now! I could ramble about a million things going on but there ARE A MILLION THINGS GOING ON. My personal life is full of milestones and moments, my work life is about to change in a big way, and my production company is officially an LLC which leads to TONS more responsibility and work on my part. I'm running on 4 hours of sleep, a lot of coffee, and a lot of passion. I've been working my ass off for a specific project for not just the past few months, but YEARS. If the cards fall the way I'm hoping then life will be changing as we know it. I'm at an exciting time. There is a mixture of butterflies, anxiety, focus, crazy hype, and a bit of insanity going on in MiGoville right now. Next week I'm going to put The Beastie Boy albums in order of my preference of worst to best. Then I'm going to spend the rest of March digging deep into my fandom of Nine Inch Nails. One week I'll judge the album covers, the next two weeks will be a two part installment of "Top 20 NIN Videos", and then a deeper look at my current relationship with the music of Trent Reznor. I'm looking forward to it. Until next time… Have a Great Week!