Sunday, November 15, 2015

Five Love Songs That Are Actually Good

Love is something that tends to be underrated, and love songs tend to be shallow and cliché. Most of the time when I hear a love song over popular radio I do my best to ignore it, because the lyricist has no idea what they're doing, and the singer absolutely has no idea what they're doing. Popular music is filled with a lot of crap, and I honestly have no idea why most of it's popular.

Not all popular music is awful, for sure, and certainly not all love songs are awful; but a lot of them are. There is a good number of artists out there who, say, actually know what love is, but they're so often overshadowed by songs by ridiculous people about ridiculous things. I thought I'd bring to light some more or less known musicians and songs that really show some depth. So, here are five love songs that are actually good.

Click on the album covers to be taken to YouTube, or use the Spotify resources at the end.


Carnival of Rust by Poets of the Fall
A lot of the works of Poets of the Fall are rather difficult to understand. They really live up to their name, through their cryptically poetic lyrics. Many people have various theories for what "Carnival of Rust" could be about, but I choose to believe what I hear: a very deep and poetic love song.

Breathe On Me by Delain
This song, to put it simply, is about a girl who falls madly in love with a man. Plenty of pathetic love songs follow this very premise, but it's Charlotte Vessels' intellectual writing and beautiful vocals, along with the amazing sound the band brings, that sets this gem apart.

Forever by Jeff Willaims (feat. Casey Williams)
The tenth season of Red vs. Blue was a fairly dark and twisted story, and composer-songwriter Jeff Williams really translates that into the music and songs. "Forever", sung by his daughter, is about mourning the loss of a love. Very touching, and sad.

Sunday by Les Friction
Les Friction is a rock opera that tells a story involving the future and other dimensions. I don't understand at all how the story progresses, but each individual song is incredible, unique, and easy enough to follow on its own. "Sunday" is perhaps the most beloved piece by the group, telling the story of two ordinary people and how they hope to fall in love.

Resistance by Muse
"Resistance" tells a bit of a Romeo and Juliet sort of story. It tells of a forbidden love, and questions whether it's right or wrong, and whether or not they should just run away. It's one of the more deep Muse songs I've heard, and definitely one of my favorites.


I've compiled these five songs onto a Spotify playlist, for your convenience. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Soundtrack of the Month: November 2015

Last month I went to see Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, the second installment of the Maze Runner saga. I loved it, and it reminded me how much I loved the first film as well. The Maze Runner is a unique story with unique personality and music. The sounds of the world contributed well to the film, and the end result was impressive, to say the least.

The Maze Runner is not another cliché film adaptation of a young adult novel with a focus on appeasing pre-teen fanboys and fangirls. This film has depth and character, and is brilliantly pulled off. The score is composed by up-and-coming composer John Paesano, who also scored the newly-released sequel.

Paesano's score gives new personality and life to an already impressive story. Mysteries and confusion are beautifully and terrifyingly translated into incredible incidental music that fits perfectly with the film and its themes. The Maze Runner was one of the first majorly noteworthy projects Paesano has worked on, and he made sure his shot counted.

Featured Tracks

Track 1: The Maze Runner – The film's incredible main theme.

Track 2: What Is This Place? – Our protagonist wakes up in a strange place, with no memory of who he is or where he came from.

Track 7: Into the Maze – Let's get this adventure started.

Track 21: Finale – The epic conclusion to The Maze Runner. It's over, right? Or is it only beginning?

Purchase The Maze Runner (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) from Amazon or iTunes.
Or listen to it for free on Spotify or YouTube.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

20 Random Facts About Me #8

I've always enjoyed making these, and people have told me they enjoy reading them. Here are 20 more random facts about that weird kid who runs this blog.

  1. My first "20 Random Facts About Me" piece was written four years ago.
  2. I have consistently released exactly two blog articles a month for an entire year.
  3. I occasionally volunteer at a local radio station.
  4. Joss Whedon is my favorite screenwriter.
  5. I've been watching far too many Joss Whedon projects as of late. (Yeah, right.)
  6. For the time being, I have a ridiculous amount of free time in my life.
  7. I once watched fourteen 43-minute television episodes in one day.
  8. I'm double-jointed! (Such an exciting fact!)
  9. I've finally started getting back into graphic novels.
  10. My favorite instruments are piano and cello.
  11. I now own over 60 physical soundtracks.
  12. I now own over 300 digital soundtracks.
  13. I own way too much music.
  14. My favorite soundtrack composer is still Murray Gold.
  15. My favorite video game soundtracks are Kid Icarus: Uprising and Nier.
  16. Believe it or not, I do listen to music that's not from soundtracks. A lot, actually.
  17. I kinda miss the days when people would leave comments on my blog.
  18. I adore Cœur de pirate.
  19. I'm typing this piece at 2:30 a.m. and I should probably go to bed.
  20. I love my friends more than anything.

There you have it. I hope you were entertained. Now if you'll excuse me, I've thought about myself enough for one night.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Soundtrack of the Month: October 2015

Trine is the epitome of fantasy soundtracks. The story of the game is nothing particularly special—three unlikely heroes are magically bound together through a mysterious artifact and must save the kingdom from an undead army—but the combination of great characters, pleasurable gameplay, exotic environments, and gorgeously fitting music are what make this game the gem that it is.

Ari Pulkkinen scores this mystical masterpiece. From the first note the listener is captivated by this wonderful world of fantasy. Trine is one of the few soundtracks that I was actually interested in purchasing before I was even into soundtracks. It made that much of an impact on me. Few soundtracks can rival it in my eyes, with the prominent exception of its sequel.

This feature comes a little over a month after the release of the third game in the Trine series. Trine 3 has received a lot of flack for various different reasons, but the music is not one of them. Sound design remains exceptionally strong throughout the series. I have yet to play the new game myself, but whether I'm disappointed or pleasantly surprised by the experience, I'm certain I'll be purchasing the soundtrack very soon thereafter.

Featured Tracks

Track 2: Academy Hallways – The song that greets the player as they set out on their journey, after completing the tutorial level. It sounds like what it is—the start of an adventure.

Track 4: Dragon Graveyard – The piece that stood out to me the most when first playing the game, and to put it simply, my favorite track. A gorgeous piece.

Track 16: Tower of Sarek – I don't know who Sarek is (aside from an apparent Star Trek character), but his tower is the final level of the game.

Purchase Trine (Original Soundtrack), on AriTunes, iTunes, or Amazon MP3.
Or listen to it for free on Spotify or YouTube.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015


Celeste is a 2D platformer video game by Matt Thorson and Noel Berry. It's about scaling a mountain, and was made in four days.

While Thorson has hit it big in recent years for developing TowerFall and its various versions, he's always been known in the indie gaming community as one of the masters of difficult 2D platformers. Even with TowerFall he created goals and achievements that only a handful of people could ever even think to attain. When Matt Makes a Game, you know to fear it.

You're an unnamed figure scaling a great mountain, level by level. You can move and jump, and also use a dash move that can serve as a double-jump. Partway through the game you find an upgrade that gives you a second dash, and thus a second double-jump. The levels are designed around these mechanics and others, such as wall-jumping and balloons that restore your ability to dash mid-air.

It's reminiscent of the tight, "get from point A to point B" platformers Thorson used to make. The difficulty is there, and the intelligent design is there. Unfortunately, the gameplay is somewhat flawed. Your character doesn't always dash in the direction you're pressing the keys, which can cause a good many deaths as the fault of the game and not the player. Berry coded the game, so I'm laying the fault on him. (Realistically, it was probably the program they used to code the game.)

I entered the game and was immediately reminded how much I suck at video games. I spent an embarrassing amount of time on just the first level because I couldn't entirely figure out how the mechanics worked. I beat the game in a solid half hour, but not before getting an ungodly death count of 333. (Seriously, though, a good number of them really weren't my fault. I swear!)

Celeste is a fun, tight platfromer that will challenge those good at the genre and infuriate those who aren't. I really enjoyed it. If you think it sounds like interesting, give it a shot. It's free on PC.

Playing this game made want to go back and play Matt Thorson's older games, such as MoneySeize and the Jumper series. Or perhaps I'll finally beat An Untitled Story on "Masterful" difficulty and then review it on my blog for the third time.

Play Celeste here.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Soundtrack of the Month: September 2015

A TV series about a masked vigilante antihero is not an original concept. Far from it. However, very few concepts are unique nowadays without the liberties allowed by creative presentation. Daredevil may not be the first story of its genre, but it may just be the first story of its kind.

The soundtrack, scored by John Paesano, reflects and retains the brutally dark atmosphere and tone of Daredevil, while also reflecting the quality and passion put into the project to make it the extraordinary story that it is. The power resonated in the main theme alone, and sustained throughout the rest of the soundtrack, sets the bar of quality for the series. A bar that was reached, as no easy feat.

Daredevil is the first television series set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to receive a soundtrack release. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter both feature remarkable soundtracks, composed by renowned composers Bear McCreary and Christopher Lennertz respectively, but of the three Daredevil stands on top. It truly is a crime, however, that these other soundtracks have not been released.

Featured Tracks

Track 1: Main Title – The main theme of the series, set to an equally majestic and artistic intro sequence.

Track 2: Fogwell's Gym – Like father, like son. Fogwell's Gym is where Matt Murdock trains to be Daredevil.

Track 10: Wilson Fisk – Easily the most multilayered villain of the Cinematic Universe. You will absolutely hate him. You will entirely sympathize with him. Then you will absolutely hate him again. I hope he doesn't kill me for including his name in this article.

Track 12: Avocados at Law – This song and scene remind me of all the great times I've had with my closest friends. It bears a feeling of nostalgia, as we're shown a memorable night from Matt and Foggy's past.

Purchase DAREDEVIL: Music from the Original Series on iTunes or Amazon MP3.
Or listen to it for free on Spotify or YouTube.

Remember, you can keep updated on what television series I'm currently watching on my Status page.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Series Review: The Office (U.S. Version)

This review is a lot more casual than my average review, as it was initially a Facebook status addressed to friends. It's a brief overview of my thoughts on the series, and it does not address the story, premise or characters in any detail.

I recently finished all nine seasons of the U.S. version of the sitcom The Office. When I started the show, my mindset was something along the lines of, "...What the heck am I watching?" As it turns out, I was watching what would eventually become a hilarious and amazing show that would bring me great enjoyment for nearly two months of binge-watching.

It's true, the show is pretty consistently stupid. It's full of crude humor and facepalm-worthy moments, but it's also full of quality humor, great one-liners and lovable characters. While it's designed so that you can watch most episodes without having seen the rest of the show, the subplots make it absolutely worth watching in order.

The Office does something that no other show I've seen has been able to successfully achieve. All of the characters have this perfect blend of being unrealistic for the sake of comedy, and being very believable and real. This is particularly apparent in the first few seasons, but it is noticeable throughout the series. Most similar shows completely butcher that attempted blend.

My personal favorite episode is "Niagra, Part 2". It's the only episode that I watched more than once before finishing the show. (I actually watched it thrice.) However, this episode will mean absolutely nothing to you without five seasons of build-up and context.

I realize the show's not for everyone. It can be very inappropriate, and I only recommend it to people who are not easily offended by crude humor. (Trust me, it can get bad.) If that's not a problem for you, I'd also like to point out that if you're really turned off by the first few episodes, stick around for a while. It very definitely gets better. Oh, and be prepared to cringe whenever the character Todd Packer comes around. If you think Michael Scott is bad... geez.

So yeah. There's my super short, not-very-in-depth review. It's a great show. Well, it's great when it's not being super stupid. Which, to be honest, does happen a lot. Still, I may have cried near the end. Like, legitimately cried. Because storytelling can be awesome.