Yellowcard's Ocean Avenue – The Review

Who loves trends? I do, I do … cheesy ones at least. It seems that if artists want to become the hottest commodities in the music industry, then they need to stand out. Even if an artist gets a makeover and an edge, he or she could be a carbon copy of the mainstream icons. I rolled my eyes during the ‘Boy Band’ craze. MTV spoon-fed me hours of the Backstreet Boys, N’SYNC, 98 Degrees and LFO in ’98. Soon thereafter, I was possessed when Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Jessica Simpson and Mandy Moore sang their little songs, danced their little dances and shook their little saltshakers.

Enter 2004: the era of “New Age Boy Bands.” These beach warriors are equipped with ripped shorts, preppy shirts and spikey hair. Throw them a few instruments and they’ll sing about how they regret pushing their ex-girlfriends away. Listen to them and you’ll get two things: a bunch of Green Day wannabes and the best marketing scheme since AOL 4.0. Just like Good Charlotte, New Found Glory and Simple Plan, Yellowcard has joined the ranks of super pop-punk stardom.

In the middle of 2003, Capitol Records unleashed Yellowcard’s first major-label album, Ocean Avenue. It was introduced to the mainstream with, “Way Away,” a song about leaving everything behind. The Florida rockers didn’t generate much buzz and in this business, if there isn’t buzz, then the die-hard teeny-boppers won’t flock to the stores and spend their money. The next step for Yellowcard was perhaps their smartest: they released their catchiest tune, “Ocean Avenue,” a song about recalling great memories with a former love and hoping to get it back (why does this sound familiar?). Ryan Key (lead singer) screams, “If I could find you now, things would get better/We could leave this town and run forever,” which perfectly matches the soap opera video. With lyrics centering on places like Ocean Avenue, Cherry Street and the beach, this could be one of the biggest songs this summer.

Yellowcard has so much energy that they don’t need to drink Y2 Stinger. On tracks like “Life of a Salesman,” “Miles Apart” and “Twenty Three,” peace and quiet doesn’t exist. These songs replicate parts of Blink 182’s Enema of the State. Yellowcard doesn’t just play the fast-paced, thrash punk stuff; they have a sensitive side too. “One Year, Sixth Months” and “Only One” are deep tunes, both of which are flashbacks of failed love (I swear this sounds familiar). If you enjoy the fiddle, there is a great solo in “Believe.”

There’s no doubt that this band could blow-up. Look at heartthrobs like Blink 182, Good Charlotte and Simple Plan. These groups constantly write new songs, tour non-stop and appear on TV more than a commercial. Their faces are on posters, buses and lunchboxes. This could be Yellowcard’s fate, if they’re fortunate enough. Assuming they continue producing bubble-gum songs (“Ocean Avenue”), use creativity (“Believe”) and showcase their energy (“Life of a Salesman”), then Yellowcard might as well be Golden Visa. But eventually, they could be lost in the shuffle. All trends usually die.

Yellowcard: Ocean Avenue
Rating: 2 1/2 Stars
Record Label: Capitol Records
Official Website:
Future Plans: The 2004 Warped Tour

Tickets on sale NOW!!!

Ben Wallace, a student at Pfeiffer University, has worked for his local church every Sunday and saved up enough money to go to a concert, however, he won’t be spending his paycheck seeing Christina Aguilera and Chingy, or Rod Stewart (reserved seats cost $30-$77 and $30-$100). He said, “I just don’t think it’s worth wasting so much money on just one concert, when that money can be used on other things, like buying several CDs.”

Wallace’s thoughts represent most college students’ views on concert admission: over priced. It’s tough for them to afford seeing their favorite artists live. While alumni are going to classes and with few working odd jobs to pay for clothes, food and other accessories, it makes life difficult to support their beloved bands. In other words, they live on a tight budget. Bob Grossweiner, a concert industry analyst told MSNBC, “If concert tickets don’t sell, it’s because people don’t have the money.” Maybe that’s why MTV throws their annual Campus Invasion Tour.

This leaves a very important question up in the air: how much is too much? There are a lot of factors that play into this, such as the venue, the performer and the expenses. Knowing that college students have insufficient funds, do record labels actually think they will spend anything above 50 bucks to see a mega star with maybe one act? Yea right. Most of these over priced concerts feature singers like Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake and Ricky Martin. For a good seat at one of their concerts, it would cost at least 60 dollars. Most students won’t be able to afford that, but families with trendy little girls who are in love with Ricky (or want to portray Britney) will pay any fee to see him (her). They will even buy merchandise ranging from posters to lunchboxes. It’s like the industry targets children. Then, you have groups like Kiss and Aerosmith (who toured together last year). At a show in Indianapolis, a decent seat cost $100. While these artists have influenced the college market, most of these high priced tickets will be paid by the ones who could afford them, such as their fans from the 70’s and 80’s who have a good secure job, working as powerful money hungry bosses in their big conglomerates. It appears that college students can support the bands and buy their albums, but aren’t rich enough to see them live. But then again, those artists don’t hold much of the school circuit’s interest.

In a society where music is evolving, most of today’s successful bands that are dominating the college market have reasonable ticket prices. Look at pop-punk groups New Found Glory, Taking Back Sunday and Yellowcard: those developing talents will be playing with 50 other bands for the 2004 Vans Warped Tour. Depending which region of the country you see the festival, tickets cost between $26-$36. Projekt Revolution, a tour founded by Linkin Park, is an extravaganza thrown to display music from various genres. That tour will feature metal band, KoRn, rapper extraordinaire, Snoop Dogg, punk bands the Used and Less Than Jake, and will be headlined by the cross-genre founders, Linkin Park. Tickets for this event cost $50. Blink 182 is currently touring with Taking Back Sunday and rap-metal pioneers, Cypress Hill and the general admission price is $35. Even a ticket at the Headbanger’s Ball Tour were appropriately priced at $20, and showcased Damage Plan, Hatebreed, Drowning Pool and Unearth. Even if someone were attending a local show with unsigned talent, there would be multiple artists performing for cheap. It is very possible to go to a concert and not be robbed.

The so-called reason why tickets are expensive is due to corporate sponsors, but is that really the case? The Vans Warped Tour is funded by Subway, Kraft EZ Mac, Vans and Hurley (to name a few) and the ticket price is between $26-$36. Playstation, Ibanez, Miller Lite, Hot Topic, FYE and YJ Stinger support Ozzfest 2004 and general admission is $35. The theory that corporate sponsors raise ticket prices seems like a pile of garbage. Maybe the reason why some prices are so high is because mega stars want as much money as they can get. Maybe they capitalize on the fans that made them, supported them and would do anything for them. It seems they are monsters trying to feed on their prey, and in this case, it would be their loyal followers.

Whether the real reason as to why pricey concert admission will ever be revealed, the truth of the matter is students aren’t buying it. I can just hear somebody scream at those mega stars, “Listen! I can’t pay 60 bucks to see you! I am a big fan of yours and I buy all your albums, so you better lower your ticket price now!” And if they don’t, then maybe they will become broke and realize that the artists who settle for less (for the sake of college students) are the ones who are truly rich.

(Like it? Hate it? Agree? Disagree? Leave a comment. Journal Updated.)

Put the show in the DVD Player, honey!

Jeff Slagle, a student at California State University, loves having a good time with his friends, however, he has been a victim to the fastest growing phenomenon: purchasing TV Shows on DVDs. Slagle recalled the time when he first got involved in this craze. “I was at the Frat House and suddenly, we were watching Family Guy. I remember saying, ‘I want to own that,’ so the next week, I bought it.” Not only does Slagle own three seasons of Family Guy, but he also owns every season of The Simpsons, and plans on buying In Living Color and Best of SNL.

The releasing of new and old television shows on DVD box sets has quickly become the biggest grossing product in the home video industry. This allows consumers the chance to watch their favorite sitcoms all the time at any time. This even permits the TV fan to see television shows that are no longer on the air.

Slagle isn’t the only person who purchases older TV Shows on DVDs. Nina Lutwick, a student at Clark University, owns an array of them, such as the first two seasons of Saved By The Bell, South Park and Sex in the City. She is looking add more to her collection. “I get a kick out of watching shows that I love so much and it’s nice to have them at your fingertips,” Lutwick said, “I really enjoy the shows and I will never be able to see them on TV again.” Daniel Dziomba, a senior at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, owns every season of South Park, Futurama and Kids in the Hall. He echoed the point that Lutwick made. “I have been a real big fan of Futurama and Kids in the Hall, but both shows have been taken off of TV when they used to be run in syndication,” Dziomba ricocheted. He also stressed another concept. He revealed, “I have been a fan of South Park for quite some time and they (Comedy Central) rarely re-air the episodes from some of the earlier seasons and these episodes were some of their best.”

There are a couple of factors as to why TV Shows on DVDs have become the hottest commodity, but Judith McCourt, a Research Director for Video Store Magazine, summed it all up in a few sentences. She talked to Greg Hernandez of the Los Angeles Daily News about the trend earlier this year. “The Simpsons is something that is on national television, you can record that,” she said. “But the consumer is seeing an added value in DVD because they can just watch it on their own terms and there is lots of supplemental material that rounds out the viewing experiences.”

That marketing concept makes TV Shows on DVDs a booming market. John Maynard of the Washington Post wrote, “According to the trade magazine, Video Business, TV titles generated approximately $1.5 billion in sales in 2003, up $610 million from 2002. In addition, the trade newsletter DVD Release Report calculated that studios released 527 TV titles in 2003, nearly double the number released the previous year.”

It seems pretty clear that the success of TV Shows on DVDs will keep rising. Stores are becoming stocked with these box sets, including Target, Best Buy and Wal-Mart. With the home video industry growing at a rapid pace, one could expect their favorite older or newer television shows to be on shelves relatively soon. This should please a lot of people including Slagle, Lutwick and Dziomba.

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Open Mic w/ Bear Frazer – Britney … Who's listening now?

Say you have this blonde-headed 17 year-old schoolgirl, dancing in a white shirt and plaid skirt, singing a catchy pop song, whom could never do anything wrong. Little girls dream about being her and grown men dream about being with her. She is a role model. And then, suddenly, the more she sings, the more controversial she gets. Her outfits become revealing, her social life becomes a mess, and her stress release leads to experimentation. On top of that, her music quality starts to dwindle. It seems that America’s dream girl isn’t so perfect after all.

This story may sound familiar, as it has been an epic developing from Britney Spears’ birth on December 2, 1981 to her current cutting-edge video, “Toxic,” that has been airing all over MTV. She has had a bumpy road (to say the least) to get where she is at today, but is her career in the world of entertainment coming to a close? Is her career on the rise or on the fall? Let’s take a closer look.

Britney has had an incredible start. She has been in show business ever since she was an 11 year-old on the Mickey Mouse Club, where she got her start as a Mouseketter. Shortly, she began recording demos until Jive Records picked her up. In late 1998, she released her first single, “Baby, One More Time” (which would ultimately be the name of her album). This track had such a great beat, catchy lyrics, terrific vocals, and a nice video to promote the music. Then, she exploded. “Baby, One More Time,” landed at the number one spot on the singles chart, and in addition to that, her debut album would be released in early 1999 and that immediately fly to the number one slot. She had the largest debut in album sales for a female artist, but she did have a little help from the other songs she released, “Sometimes,” and “Crazy.”

This was the best thing going on. Here, you have a sweet, attractive, innocent girl singing her heart out and she was only 17 years-old. She not only appealed to the young female audience, but men started enjoying Britney (either for her looks or talent). The thing that made this more intense was the lack of young female performers in mainstream music. Sure, you had Mariah Carey, Janet Jackson, and Madonna, but they were older than Britney. What Britney brought to the table was her age. Never before in the late 1990’s was there a young pop vocalist who had the virgin image and dancing ability. The great thing is that other record labels noticed this and followed suit. How do you think the Christina Aguilera’s, the Jessica Simpson’s, and the Mandy Moore’s popped up?

With multiple hit singles, her career was only going further. In 2000, she released, “Oops! … I Did It Again,” and in its opening week, it sold over 1.3 million copies. She was moving in the right direction. She released the leadoff track, (which is the same as the album title), “Oops! … I Did It Again,” the second single, “Lucky,” and her third major tune, “Stronger.” This is where the controversy really started taking shape. There were two big rumors floating around. The first of which would be whether or not she was dating the most noticeable member of N’SYNC, Justin Timberlake (later revealed that she was) and the second would be whether or not she had breast implants (which has been denied). Look at the equation now: multiplatinum selling albums, number one hits, dating a popular male from a well-known group, and just enough racket to keep her in peoples’ minds.

Then, people started lashing out against Britney Spears. During her performance at the 2000 MTV Video Music Awards, she stripped down to a revealing skin colored outfit. This caused a lot of angry parents and journalists to look down at Ms. Spears. They felt that she was telling kids that it is ok to strip. But doesn’t the saying go, “bad publicity is better than none?”

Even though Britney got negative vibes for her recent actions, she was working on her third album. Always around release time, she would be in the hot spot. She was saying how she wasn’t a little girl anymore, but mature, and her music is going to reflect that outlook. She probably took the attitude, “My performance at the 2000 MTV Awards was inappropriate, eh? WAM! Buy my new album.” She released her album, “Britney” in 2001 and the lead off tune was “I’m A Slave 4 U” (which could be considered the only somewhat successful single). “Britney” sold an impressive 746,000 albums in the opening week, but it was about half the amount she sold with “Oops … I Did It Again.”

For the next few years, it would be downhill from here. Britney got bashed due to her 2001 MTV Award performance, where she danced with revealing clothes and a snake wrapped around her neck. Then, her longtime boyfriend, Justin Timberlake dumped her in 2002. During an interview with Diane Sawyer, she cried. Her family had health problems. At first, she said she never did drugs and then, admitted to experimenting (not to mention, drinking under-age). On top of that, Fred Durst (Limp Bizkit Singer) claimed he engaged in sex with Britney Spears. Britney denied having sex with Durst, but admitted she was no longer a virgin. Then, at the 2003 MTV Awards, she French-kissed Madonna on live television. The biggest bombshell would happen right after New Year’s in 2004 when she married one of her hometown friends from Louisiana, only to get it annulled 55 hours later.

In late 2003, Britney unleashed “In The Zone,” her fourth album, and also released the first track (featuring a duet with Madonna), “Me Against The Music.” Her current single, which is blazing up the charts, “Toxic.” The opening week had another drop in record sales compared to her previous efforts. Although it is still amazing, she only moved 609,000 units.

This leaves one to wonder, “Is Britney Spears on the rise or fall?” By looking at the info, when Britney first came out, she was the hottest craze and kinda started a new music sub-trend. When she was young, she broke out, which eventually introduced a slue of young female artists. At that time, it was easier to market a teen pop superstar to the masses. She was the big fish in a little pond, but since she is no longer a young lady, she is entering a big pond as a little fish. She is attempting to enter a league where the contenders are of the likes of Madonna, Mariah Carey, Pink, Kelly Clarkson, and Beyonce Knowles. If you’re songs haven’t been up to par with these ladies, then it is easy to get lost in the mix.

Jive Records always does a great job advertising Britney’s albums, but the quality is declining. She has had terrific media exposure right before every one of her albums appeared in stores. Whether it’s good or bad, her compilation can be guaranteed to sell several hundred thousand copies. She releases her best song in the beginning, but doesn’t have too many good supporting songs to back up her momentum. She just released “Toxic,” which is probably her best song since she unveiled Lucky in 2000. Since 1999’s “Oops … I Did It Again” emerged in stores, opening week sales for her following two albums have dropped (from 1.3 million to 746,000 to 609,000).

So, what does she have to do to maintain longevity? If Britney wants to continue to be a force to be reckoned with, then she must present incredible songs that catch our eye like she did when she first came out. Her original audience is also dying out. With all these allegations and rumors, it hurt her image. Since she is no longer a little girl, it’s a slightly tougher for her to preserve a teen crowd and regarding her male audience; they are mainly interested in her body (if they were once into her music, they aren’t anymore). But, it all relies in her music and her ability to perform. Hey, doing Playboy couldn’t hurt either.

So, now we have this 22 year-old dancing around in skimpy outfits, trying to appeal to everyone like she was before. The only question is, who’s listening now?

So, is Britney on the Rise or the Fall? Leave a comment and tell us …

Open Mic – Is This Bullshit?

One day, you could be downloading some of the hottest songs off the Internet to make a ‘Party Mix’ CD. The next day, there could be a lawyer knocking at your door with a subpoena for you to appear in court for online piracy. The only thought in your mind (aside from “This is bullshit”) would probably be, “Shouldn’t I be allowed to download music for free without being sued?”

Although the Recording Industry of America Association (RIAA) is starting to crackdown on file swappers, there is only one man who can take credit for starting a revolution of MP3 File Sharing: Shawn Fanning. Shawn Fanning was just a normal college student at Northeastern University, but created a place where he and his friends could exchange MP3 files to one another. What eventually happened was the modern-day success called Napster. Napster is probably the most known File Sharing Service that has ever been seen. When artists (Lars Ulrich and Dr. Dre) and the RIAA tried shutting down Napster, more music services opened up, like Audiogalaxy, Morpheus, Kazaa, Bearshare, and Limewire, just to name a few. Due to the constant threats of being sued, some of these music services are willing to play by a few rules, by asking for money for downloading music, but is that enough to keep artists and the RIAA from taking everything you own?

Bottom line is that by downloading music for free, recording artists, record labels and copyright companies (like the RIAA) are strongly offended. One reason is it takes away the element of surprise. How so? There are many performers who say that they like to shock their audience with their unreleased songs and give away special items, but with file sharing services offering swapping of almost any files (music, movies, photos, etc.), the “shock value” completely disappears. What I can’t seem to figure out is even if someone were to download a tune, video, or picture that was surprising, wouldn’t he or she have the same exact thought(s) if it were to be released at a later date? Another huge grudge that composers have is by getting music for free, people are taking away money from the artists. This argument is totally understandable because if someone were to write, publish, and perform an act, then that person should be entitled to rights. What seems fishy about this is although companies say that downloaders are taking money away from the industry, the numbers show that there is actually an increase in record sales since File Sharing Services have surfaced. Also, band’s first week numbers have never been better. Limp Bizkit sold over a million copies of their “Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water” in its’ first week. N’SYNC set a Soundscan record for most albums sold in one week, with their 2000 effort, “No Strings Attached,” moving over 2.4 million copies. Queens rapper, 50 Cent sold over 800,000 units in his opening week. One has to wonder that if labels, artists, and companies claim they’re losing money, is it really just an unsupported excuse? The most valid argument they have is downloading music, movies, and photos are illegal: it’s called copyright infringement. Sure, this may be criminal, but isn’t public intoxication, prank phone calls (harassment), smoking marijuana (drugs), and prostitution illegal as well? Those are all characteristics in the lives of rock stars. I’m not saying that every rock star does this, but a great majority either pursue these illegal activities or activities related to this sort. Don’t celebrities know whether they like it or not, that society makes them role models? Shouldn’t they be setting an example for others?

On the other side of the coin, file swappers feel that they have a God-given right to exchange music through the Internet. Some people feel that they should be allowed to get music off the net for free because they believe recording artists make a ton of dough. They have the mentality, “So, I’m not buying the album. What’s a few bucks going to do? They’re rich anyways.” This isn’t entirely true. In a recent interview with MTV for a special program, Good Charlotte (widely known punk rock band) stated they weren’t rich. When thinking about any music group, some people fail to take into account the use of money. When a record label signs a recording artist(s), the band usually gets a low percentage of the album sales (I believe the norm is for every album sold, they group gets eight cents). With the money gained, they have to pay their manager, tour bus, gas, motels, sets, meals, public relations and (but not limited to) marketing. Some of the most successful music groups have even gone bankrupt (remember TLC)? Some fans download tunes just because they want to hear what an artist has to offer. If someone were to download a couple of songs and really liked them, not only will that individual be heavily interested in the artist, but would probably purchase the album, DVDs, concert tickets, and memorabilia. On the other hand though, you have the really cheap people who cry poor and refuse to do that, although they would be extremely happy to burn the whole album to a blank CD, laughing away because they “screwed the group out of buying the album.” It’s sad to see that those people feel the need that the entertainment industry owes them something. There is a lot of creativity, diversity, and messages being thrown out in the forms of audible and visual art that draws people in. Artists do this stuff out of love, but it seems that there are some people who want to be selfish and steal every chance they get. But hey, there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

Even though there is a hot debate on whether downloading music should be free or not, some artists don’t mind it at all. Dave Grohl (of Nirvana and Foo Fighters fame) was on HBO and even said, “It doesn’t bother me. Just because people download my music, I won’t be at a huge loss. I’ll still be able to eat in the morning.” I even remember Napster funding a free tour, which featured Limp Bizkit and Cypress Hill in 2000. Napster even gave the fans free pizza and drinks. Other artists like the Offspring, Rage Against The Machine, and Dave Matthews have shown support to the File Sharing Services.

Although there are unlawful ways to acquire music, there are lots of ways to do it legally and for free. iTunes has teamed up with Pepsi and one out of every three bottle caps wins the Pepsi drinker free song to download. Also, there are a lot of groups who post their songs on their website to be heard by web users. The reasoning behind this is fairly simple: the band wants to get their name out in the world. One interesting thing is even though Napster closed down, it is back on the market, however, tunes aren’t free. To download a song, it costs one dollar.

Today, we live in a society where we are consumed by the almighty dollar. Whether it is the recording artists who are trying to make a buck, the businessmen trying to keep their buck, or the fans that are trying to con them out of a buck, what it all boils down to is selfish propaganda. The only question left to ask is if this is bullshit.

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Album Review: A Crow Left of the Murder

After coming off of Llollapalooza 2003, multiplatinum-selling artists, Incubus returned to the studio, but it wasn’t located in California. “Well, we actually decided to do our record this time around, not in our comfort zones. We went to Atlanta, Georgia,” said Brandon Boyd (Lead Singer of Incubus). So, like usual, Incubus is attempting to be more creative with their music, especially Mike Einziger (Guitarist of Incubus). When talking about the melodies for this album, he says, “I just sort of became comfortable with what I’ve been playing for a long time and never really branched out, gear wise. Now, I’m back to spending all my playing with my pedals and trying different guitars.” You can easily tell their rhythms are different; the style is harder and bluesier. The crew enlisted Brendan O’Brien (worked with Soundgarden) to produce and mix the album. Five weeks after the project began, Incubus’s fifth studio album, “A Crow Left of the Murder” was done.

“A Crow Left of the Murder” was released to the public on February 3rd, 2004. It immediately landed at the #2 slot on the Billboard 200, selling 331,000 copies. The leadoff track is “Megalomaniac.”

“Megalomaniac” is (in addition to be Incubus’s hit song) defined as a pathological egotist. After hearing a beating, scratching, and annoying noise, the song starts to take shape with a steady guitar rhythm. Soon, the drums and bass come in, adding to the tune’s edge. Then, Boyd sings to a Megalomaniac or a “pathological egotist” that he or she isn’t placed on a high pedestal. Boyd even discredits the “egotist” by saying how he or she can’t compare to real influences like Jesus and Elvis. This track has gotten so popular that it landed in the #1 slot of the Billboard Modern Rock Charts.

Throughout “Pistola,” Boyd makes it appear that his physical demeanor isn’t violent, but his words could be. He compares his intention to a bullet, his body to a trigger finger, and his pen to a Pistola (or a Pistol with the letter “a” added on the end). Just like “Megalomaniac,” “Pistola” starts out with the same annoying, screeching beginning. Although the lyrics are right on the money, there is a bad scratching part and a lengthy guitar solo, which makes the song even longer and not worth listening to. The irony is that “Pistola” sounds like a horrible version of “Megalomaniac.”

By going from the West Coast to the East Coast, one has to assume that Incubus’s style is becoming more cross-cultural. After all, they wrote, “Southern Girl,” one of their mellowest tunes on the album. Boyd expresses his hormones in this song by convincing a “Southern Girl” to engage in sex, however, instead of coming out and saying it, he uses examples of Mother Nature to get his message across. He sings, “So come outside and walk with me, we’ll try each other on to see if we fit/And with our roots, become a tree, to shade what we make under it.” It doesn’t stop there either. Part of the chorus is, “We’ll behave like animals, swing from tree to tree/We can do anything, that turns you up and sets you free.” This sounds a little too kinky even for these beach-rockers. At least this is an alternative to having sex on the beach.

If you buy “A Crow Left of the Murder,” it may come with a bonus DVD. The bonus DVD features a few performances from Llollapalooza 2003 and the Bridge School Benefit. You’ll also be able to view the “While we were Out” documentary, which shows the making of Incubus’s album. Oh yea, you can also see a cheesy re-enactment of Boyd’s.

Whether you hear them talk about relationships and drugs in “Leech,” or shallow people like in the fast-paced “Priceless,” you’ll be guaranteed cool melodies, but maybe not the greatest arrangements. There is only one thing left to ponder. Can Incubus keep up their streak of multiplatinum albums?

Group: Incubus
Album: A Crow Left of Murder
Record Label: Epic
Stars: 3 out of 5

'Boy Bands' get bounced

Anastasiya Gorshkova, a Ukrainian Student at Pfeiffer University, was just like many other teenage girls in the late Nineties: hanging posters of the Backstreet Boys on her wall. She was a huge fan of the so-called labeled ‘Boy Bands.’ “I liked them when I was 13 – 14, so when you’re at this age, you dream about all those guys falling in love with you and you’re going crazy. Their songs are so romantic and you dream about a romantic guy and all the things they sing about in their songs.” However, when her parents renovated her room, instead of putting up ‘Boy Band’ posters, she was taping Linkin Park, Limp Bizkit, and Nickelback ones to the wall.

When ‘Boy Bands’ came out, although the teenage girls fell in love with them, a lot of males despised them. Richard Kane, a DJ at The Chimes in Kent, England doesn’t like them because, “There’s absolutely no soul in anything they do. If you’ve heard one ‘Boy Band’, you’ve heard them all. It just seems like they recycle the same song over and over again, which the next ‘Boy Band’ then goes and copies, just changing the lyrics a little to claim it as their own.”

A lot of people in the late Nineties were either fanatics or enemies of the teen frenzy known as ‘Boy Bands,’ but in 2004, it seems that the once famous ‘Pop Groups’ are a dying cause. All of them have either called it quits, are on a break, or were canned by their labels. Regardless of the reasoning, the fact remains that they are no longer on mainstream television or radio.

There are many factors as to why ‘Boy Bands’ are no longer dominating the airwaves. Jessika Smith, Pfeiffer Student, says, “At first, they were ok, and all of us girls fell in love with them. But then, too many of them came out and they lost their appeal. They seem so clich now.” John Morrison, co-owner of, agrees with what Jessika says, but brings up another issue of why the ‘Pop Groups’ are becoming extinct. “Number One, there was over saturation of the market; there was too much at once and people grew tired of it being largely the same thing. At the same time, the underground rock and punk scenes have thrived, especially among college students. The labels have seen this and have basically started to shift their marketing to things in this vein as something people in punk culture (or those who want to be) can relate to. Artists like Avril Lavigne have taken the spot of the Backstreet Boys because it appears to have all the edginess and rebellion of the underground. The only difference is it’s the same thing as before, with the same people writing the songs, and pulling the strings. It’s all about image. People got tired of the pretty boy image and they wanted something rebellious.”

Elysa Gardner, a journalist for USA Today, acknowledged this action back in July 2001. She writes, “Five years after the Backstreet Boys’ first album launched the latest bubblegum-pop conquest of radio and MTV, a number of teen-‘zine-friendly acts are having a more difficult time either cultivating a mass audience or following up promising debuts. A CD released by 98 Degrees was one of last year’s biggest commercial disappointments; in recent weeks, heavily promoted albums by the rising young group LFO and Mandy Moore, a blond baby diva who has been likened to Britney Spears, entered the Billboard chart at No. 87 and No. 35, respectively. And Backstreet is suffering some grown-up trauma of its own, with member A.J. McLean currently in rehab for depression and alcohol abuse.”

“I think we’re in a phase right now where there’s no question that the bloom is off the teen-pop rose,” says Alan Light, editor in chief of Spin. “Superstars like ‘N Sync and Backstreet and Britney and Christina (Aguilera) can still sell records, but they’ll face a challenge even if their sales start to dip a little … if there’s any sense that they’ve peaked,” he told USA Today in July 2001.

It’s clear that a big role that could contribute to this is inactivity and a decreasing amount of record sales. The two most famous ‘Boy Bands’ would probably be the Backstreet Boys and N’SYNC. Their highest achievements ever would never be matched by a long shot. The Backstreet Boys’ 2000 Studio Album, “Black & Blue” sold 5 million copies fewer than their 1999 studio album, “Millennium.” N’SYNC’s 2001 compilation, “Celebrity,” couldn’t even sell half the amount of units that their 2000 effort did, “No Strings Attached” (selling over 11 million copies). Since then, the members of both bands have gotten older and haven’t made a new album since.

Whether or not this is a phase, the popularity of ‘Boy Bands’ is dropping at a rapid pace. It doesn’t matter if it was cool to love them or cool to hate them, one no longer has to worry about that because they are no longer in the spotlight. Now, there are more people like Anastasiya who are starting to take posters and photos of the Backstreet Boys off their walls.

{Follow-Up Story soon to come. Until them, leave a comment}

Grand Opening

Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like to formally welcome each and everyone of you to As you all may have or may not have been aware of, the forums have been open since my birthday, on October the 26th, 2002. So, without further a dui, I have been waiting to say this … FINALLY, BALOOLAPALOOZA HAS COME TO YOUR COMPUTER!!!
Ok, I know I’m not the Rock, but it’s cool just to say this. is your number one source for entertainment. We plan on making this one of the most free-spirited, most fun, funkiest, and coolest places around. We plan on starting of slowly with just music news because music is one big industry to cover. If we get more popularity and more of a staff, then phase two of our plan will kick in, which will be introducing video games, and then movies, and so forth.
The BaloolaPalooza Mission is quite simple … the point of this existence is to make a fun environment where individuals such as you reading this can learn more about the bands you like, what’s going on in the music scene, and how you can support your favorite musicians. This experience is about helping out artists succeed in their dream of being stars and at the same hand, help you, the individual reading this, be more experienced in what’s going on out there.
This place has started out of just a community of friends, talking about the most influence in their lives … music. Look at us now … we’ve grown into a full operating site.
To any band supporter, to any aspiring guitarist, to any idealist, heck, to any groupie … basically, what I am saying is this. To any music fan out there that never felt like they could be apart of a site and make a damn impact, I’m giving you the chance to make an impact of your own. Join me … join J … join the BaloolaPalooza Family. If you want to write, we’ll give you the outlet, just put the plug in. If you want to interact, we got the message board where you can voice your mind. We have a message board and everyone is a friendly person, just looking to have a good time. I just want you all to realize … this community, this place rather is made up of music lovers like you and I. We are the people that go to the concerts, the people that visit artist’s websites, and the people who aspire to learn what’s out there. This is all about people. If you find something out, please tell us. If you wanna join us, please ask us. If you wanna help us out in anyway you can, please help us. If there is something you would like to say or do, then voice it. That means anyone, meaning any music fan reading this right now, all the way to the artist. Please, join BaloolaPalooza and please, help us make an impact.
-Bear Frazer
Co-Owner of