Reviews for Normal People

Hi. I review things.

Late Entry: American Ultra — August 28, 2015

Late Entry: American Ultra

Alright, so. American Ultra. Much to the surprise of people who were excited to see it from the trailers, American Ultra received mixed reviews. And I mean mixed, because the film managed an average rating of exactly 50% according to Metacritic. But despite some people really liking it and it being easily the most well-received movie to come out that weekend, it finished dead last in the box office. Writer Max Landis argues that this is proof that original films are dead. Is he right? Nah.

I think the main problem American Ultra faced at the box office is that it labelled itself a comedy in the trailers. It dug through the film to find every semblance of humor and strung them together in rapid-fire fashion to convince people that this was the latest Rogenesque stoner comedy of the year. In reality, it’s more of a Wrightian genre-bender, swerving the line between romantic comedy and superhero movie. And it’s amazing.

The film is directed by Nima Nourizadeh, fresh off the unappealing trainwreck we call Project X. Double N comes back in a major way with one of the most visually interesting movies of the year. I especially dug the black light action scene in the drug dealer’s basement. I also especially dug the whole movie. But of course, visuals aren’t everything. The entire cast of this movie is exceptional. Special props to the two leads, Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart, who are often stereotyped as bad actors despite constantly proving otherwise.

I’m not really sure why the movie is called “American” Ultra. From what I understand, every Ultra is American. It’s still a really cool title, but in context, it doesn’t make a ton of sense. Jesse Eisenberg’s character, Mike, draws a comic called Apollo Ape about an ape astronaut. This is brought up continually, but has no significance to the plot, symbolic or otherwise. My one other complaint is that the last scene of the movie sort of comes out of nowhere. It really interrupts the flow of what was otherwise an awesome ending.

So overall, I give American Ultra an A-. I can totally understand why a more cynical individual wouldn’t like it, but I personally had a lot of fun with it. Like this post if you like it, follow my blog if you like it like it, comment if you’ve got something to say, you can also follow me on Twitter @BreakingPOORLY, and be on the lookout for some more super duper cool articles coming soon.

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Review: You Know What? Let’s Just Call It “Shitman” — August 25, 2015

Review: You Know What? Let’s Just Call It “Shitman”

Video game movies have been… unlucky in the past. Of the 29 films adapted from video games released so far, even the very best-received entries, Mortal Kombat and Resident Evil, boast a paltry 33% on Rotten Tomatoes. Luckily for us, Hollywood has 61 more attempts on the way, according to Wikipedia, so hopefully they’ll get at least one of them right. For now, let’s talk about the latest video game movie, Hitman: Agent 47. Is it up to snuff? And is it any worse than the other Hitman movie from 2007?

Considerably, yes. I don’t even know where to begin with this trainwreck, so let’s start with some highlights:

Zachary Quinto is the hero for the first half hour, then inexplicably becomes the villain despite not doing anything wrong.

Agent 47, who we are supposed to consider the hero, steals a child’s inhaler, kills the main character’s father on purpose, tranquilizes the lead for no reason, and countless other transgressions that make for a rather solid villain.

The female protagonist can see the future and ultimately uses this power once.

CGI scenes clearly completed in 1998.

A car’s tires create a sea of white smoke for some reason.

The “villain” is said to have subdermal armor made out of heavy, rigid titanium, but moves around just fine.

The big twist is that the character whose name is French for 90 is actually Agent 90.

This exchange actually happens:

“Don’t do this!”

“I have to!”

“Okay.”

Zachary Quinto is the only competent actor in the movie.

I trust that will be enough. I give it a D+, because it’s actually really fun to watch if you go in knowing it won’t be good. Like this post if you like it, follow my blog if you like it like it, comment if you’ve got something to say, follow me on Twitter @BreakingPOORLY, and be on the lookout for more (probably better) articles in the future.

The Top 10 Best Drake Songs. Ever. —

The Top 10 Best Drake Songs. Ever.

I know I’ve been leaning more towards music and less towards movies recently, but I promise you it’s only because I don’t have much to say about movies. With that out of the way, I’ve combed through Drake’s entire catalog of mixtapes, albums, and other song releases and determined that these are my top 10 favorites. You may be wondering why I made the leap from a Fall Out Boy article to a Drake article. No reason, really. I just wanted to write about Drake.

10. JODECI FREESTYLE feat. J. Cole and Dennis Graham

Drake and J. Cole is a match that doesn’t come about nearly as much as it should. They tend to bring out the best in each other, with Cole supplying quality beats and Drake challenging Cole to wake up for a second. On this track, Drake professes his love for ’90s R&B group Jodeci, and J. Cole shouts out some classic rappers. Both artists put in work and despite the occasional wack line, it comes together really nicely.

9. FIND YOUR LOVE

An unforgettable Kanye West beat sets the mood for this irresistible R&B jam, inescapable in the summer of 2010. While highly regarded as a rapper, Drake is infamous for the songs where he doesn’t rap, and this was the first (and probably best) example of it. He displays the type of vulnerability so many rappers fail to on this track, where he sings as a man chasing after the wrong girl, despite her rejection. While catchy on the surface, it’s surprisingly interesting when you dig a little deeper.

8. CHARGED UP

After Meek Mill accused Drake of having a “ghostwriter” (who’s credited and payed for his contributions), Drake came back in the best possible way with not one, but two devastating diss tracks. At the end of the day, “Charged Up” is better than “Back to Back”, but the two serve a dual purpose in all but ruining Meek’s career. He tried to save face a week later with “Wanna Know”, but if you’re reading this, it was too late. The beat is a bit too minimal for my taste, but the bars come fast and furious, making for a diss song that will go down in history.

7. FANCY feat. T.I. and Swizz Beatz

This goofy track off Thank Me Later is about a “fancy” girl. T.I. and Drake collectively spend three verses explaining what that means, creating a fun song that’s reminiscent of a time when T.I. could rap. Swizz Beatz supplies the throwback beat, which samples “I Don’t Want to Play Around” by Ace Spectrum. What can I say? It’s just a funny song.

6. 6PM IN NEW YORK

This track is the latest and most brutal entry in the “In the AM” series (the others being “9AM in Dallas” and “5AM in Toronto”), with Drake firing shots at the likes of Tyga, Chris Brown, Kanye West, and Kendrick Lamar. The song follows a common subject in modern hip hop: the haters. The difference this time, aside from a killer Boi-1da beat, is how direct the shots are, with lines like “You need to act your age and not your girl’s age”, referring to Tyga dating the then-17-year-old Kylie Jenner. While most of the songs on this list have at least a chorus to tie them together, this one is just a devastating 4 and a half minutes of bars.

5. MAKE ME PROUD ft. Nicki Minaj

Any track featuring Nicki Minaj is a blessing, but this one sticks particularly. It’s just so… weird. It’s got this bubbly bass-filled beat by Kromatik and T-Minus. Drake is on one of his weirdest flows yet. It somehow manages to make “I’m so, I’m so, I’m so, I’m so, I’m so proud of you” not only tolerable but memorable. Nicki shouts out Pink Friday Records, a label that to this day does not exist. But it works. Somehow, all these bizarre elements come together to make a really solid song.

4. OVER

This is arguably one of the best beats Drake has ever worked with. But songs don’t make this list just for having a good beat; the lyrics are also top notch. It’s a wordplay-based style we’re more used to from Wayne than Drake, but he has enough energy to make it work in his favor. This was one of Drake’s biggest hits at the time it was released, but still seems a bit underappreciated in the Drake canon. Maybe it’s not “Drake” enough for fans. Regardless, it’s straight fire.

3. YOU AND THE 6

This introspective track is set up as a conversation between Drake and his mother. It’s the kind of vivid storytelling you rarely expect from Drake, and it gives you a really good idea of how his life is going right now. I don’t have a lot to say about this song. It’s emotional, honest, well-written, and well-produced. Tenouttaten.

2. TUSCAN LEATHER

On this blistering 6-minute introduction to Nothing Was the Same, Drizzy lets us know he means business. Whether the album lives up to it is a matter of opinion, but regardless, this is a good-ass intro. Masterfully written and immaculately produced, its only downside is that it’s too long, as Drake himself admits several times in the third verse. Other than that, if you didn’t have faith in Drake as a rapper before, give this a listen.

Before I get to #1, here’s some honorable mentions: “5AM in Toronto”, “Closer”, “HYFR”, “How About Now”, “The Motion”, “Say What’s Real”

1. TAKE CARE feat. Rihanna

No matter how you slice it, this song is a masterpiece. Rihanna carries years of pain and heartbreak in her voice. The beat by Jamie xx and 40 fits the song so well that at one point they just let the sample play and it fits perfectly. Drake’s verses flow so perfectly that it doesn’t even fully register until you take a closer listen. It’s not only the best Drake song, but a prime contender for the best Rihanna song, and one of the best hit songs of the decade.

So, those are my favorite Drake songs. Let me know if you think I left something out. I’ll try to get back into movie reviews and stuff. I’ll also be doing an article on the best Drake features. Like this post if you like it, follow my blog if you like it like it, follow me on Twitter @BreakingPOORLY if you please, and I’ll see you around

Review: Fantastic SNORE, amirite ladies? — August 10, 2015

Review: Fantastic SNORE, amirite ladies?

I could easily just jump right in here, but let’s talk about the history of the Fantastic Four movies. In the ’80s and ’90s, a cash-strapped Marvel Comics started selling off their properties to film companies. 20th Century Fox acquired X-Men in 1994 and Daredevil in 1997, Universal got Iron Man in 1990 and Hulk in 1992, and the Fanastic Four was acquired by Constantin Film before later being bought out by Fox. The first Fantastic Four movie, released in 1994, was a low-budget fiasco, but a charming one at that. The more commonly known 2005 version doesn’t get quite the same goodwill, and its 2007 follow-up Rise of the Silver Surfer was a slight improvement, but far from a good movie. Just two years before Marvel would regain the character rights, Fox has hurriedly come out with another reboot, and oh boy. This movie is bad.

Since we’re 150 words in and I’m just now getting to the movie, I’ll keep things brief. There’s no conflict or antagonist for the first two thirds of the movie. I guess they want recognition for their invention, but when they get that recognition they’re still upset for some reason. Norman from The Wire tells the Human Torch at one point that the government wants to do something to him, but we don’t know what it is, so we just kind of have to take his word for it, I guess. And ultimately, the government just kind of lets them do whatever they want. So basically, the only real conflict comes when we see Doctor Doom in the last thirty minutes.

English actor Toby Kebbell’s performance as Doctor Doom is the worst I’ve seen in a long time. He’s supposed to have a nondescript Eastern European accent (he’s from the mythical Latveria), and Human Torch even calls him Borat at one point, but it really just sounds like he’s struggling to do an American accent. Really, the only good performance in this movie was Michael B. Jordan as the Human Torch. Miles Teller was a dick, Jamie Bell clearly didn’t want to be there, and Kate Mara wasn’t given any personality to work with.

With a $120 million budget, I was blown away by how terrible the special effects were. And while you might think things get a little better when they get their powers and start being heroes about an hour into the movie, the only tolerable part was the first half hour or so, when we were getting a feel for the characters and the world they lived in. This part wasn’t great either, since no one’s dialogue or reactions to anything were believable, but it was at least passable.

I give Fantastic Four a D-. It’s a horrendous piece of shit, and I loved every minute of it. If you’ve got a good sense of humor, I highly recommend you watch it. Be on the lookout for reviews of Shaun the Sheep, Man from UNCLE, and Straight Outta Compton real quick, as well as some other articles probably I don’t know.

Music News-ic Track by Track: Compton – Dr. Dre — August 7, 2015

Music News-ic Track by Track: Compton – Dr. Dre

Is Dr. Dre actually any good? Sure, he was in one of the most important rap groups of all time and put out two classic albums (he only put out two albums, believe it or not), but as the wait for Detox droned on and on, and we kept getting snippets from it that just weren’t worth the wait, I got to wondering if he really had anything left in him. And today’s the day I find out, as he just put out a brand new album, and it’s entirely possible that he wrote some of it all by himself. Let’s see if the man can still put together a good album, one song at a time.

1. INTRO

Off to a great start. This intro offers a history lesson as to how Compton became what it is today, along with some dramatic production by Dre, Dontae Winslow, and Focus…. I’m excited to see where this goes.

Grade: A-

2. TALK ABOUT IT ft. Justus and King Mez

I gotta say, this kind of came out of left field. Dre seems to be testing out that Migos flow, but I don’t think it works really well. Justus does a mediocre Drake impression on the hook, and King Mez isn’t nearly as good as he thinks he is. The beat’s a step down, but it’s OK I suppose.

Grade: C-

3. GENOCIDE ft. Kendrick Lamar, Candice Pillay, and Marsha Ambrosius

“Genocide” takes a little while to get off the ground, but once it does it’s pretty solid. Everyone does a solid job, although Dre’s verse is clearly written by Kendrick Lamar. Regardless, it’s always a treat to hear from Kendrick. It’s catchy, well-written, well-produced, and overall just a pretty solid track. I don’t see it becoming a favorite of mine, but I like it. I’m looking forward to hearing more from Candice Pillay.

Grade: B+

4. IT’S ALL ON ME ft. Justus and BJ the Chicago Kid

Now this is classic Dre right here. He talks about his experiences first meeting Snoop Dogg and Suge Knight, as well as his inspiration for writing “Fuck tha Police”. BJ does an admirable job as a Nate Dogg substitute. It also has this really mellow, distinctly Dre beat that I really like. So yeah, good stuff. I didn’t even notice Justus was on it.

Grade: B+

5. ALL IN A DAY’S WORK ft. Anderson .Paak and Marsha Ambrosius

I think I like it? The beat’s pretty nice and the lyrics have a nice punch to them, but something about this Anderson .Paak dude throws me off. He seems to be tiptoeing the line between Ed Sheeran and Yelawolf. I guess he’s pretty OK, but I can’t see myself getting into him and he kind of throws off the mood of the song sometimes.

Grade: B-

6. DARKSIDE/GONE ft. Eazy-E, King Mez, Marsha Ambrosius, and Kendrick Lamar

So from what I can tell, King Mez is the new 50 Cent, in that he’s basically a standard gangsta rapper with the occasional flash of brilliance. He pulls his weight on “Darkside”, the first part of this epic double feature. But even though he does a surprisingly fine job and Kendrick comes through with some Drake sneak disses, I’d say Dre pretty much owned this track, and considering this is Dre’s album, that’s a good thing.

Grade: A

7. LOOSE CANNONS ft. Cold 187um and Xzibit

I really liked the first half of this song. But then Cold 187um’s verse started. First of all, I know this guy’s been around for a long time, but what kind of fucking name is “Cold 187um”? And apart from that, he seems to have been going for an Eminem vibe with this verse, talking about being out of control and graphically depicting murdering a significant other. It’s an interesting skit, I guess, but it really comes out of nowhere and the song sort of falls apart because of it. Overall, I still really like it.

Grade: B+

8. ISSUES ft. Anderson .Paak, Dem Jointz, and Ice Cube

Looks like they got the living members of NWA back together, except for MC Ren, DJ Yella, Arabian Prince, and the D.O.C. It’s… OK. Honestly, we’re well into this album and the songs are kind of starting to run together. Subjectively speaking, I think Dre did an OK job. Ice did an OK job. Dem Jointz’ chorus was pretty catchy. The beat was nice. But this really seems like a song that I’d forget very fast.

Grade: C

9. DEEP WATER ft. Justus and Kendrick Lamar

Oh. My. God. So, this is probably the worst beat on the album, which is a shame, because it’s easily the best song. Dre goes in, and it sounds like he wrote it himself, the extended water metaphor is really cool, and Kendrick’s verse is without a doubt the best on the album so far. I’ve noticed there’s been a lot of good acting on this album, which I guess is a Dr. Dre thing. Good on you, Dre. Let’s see if you can keep it going.

Grade: A

10. ONE SHOT, ONE KILL ft. Jon Connor and Snoop Dogg

Interestingly enough, Dr. Dre is not featured on this song. He does the beat, and does a solid job at that, but he gives most of this song to one of his newest discoveries: 2014 XXL Freshman, Jon Connor. After a surprisingly heated Snoop verse, Connor does the chorus and a verse, and he absolutely bodies it. What I like about this album is that every song is distinct in one way or another, and even the worst track (“Talk About It”, in case you forgot) has something distinct about it. This is really another song where every element works.

Grade: A

11. JUST ANOTHER DAY ft. Game and Asia Bryant

I’ve never really admired Game as a rapper. He’s perfectly fine, but I guess in general it’s harder for me to get into gangsta rap. That being said, this is the fourth great verse we’ve had in a row on this album. The man infamous for frequently using the same freestyle obviously didn’t drop a game-changer, but Game has changed, in that he seemed to be exerting a lot more effort than he typically does. Once again, nothing against the guy. I realize not every verse can be this good. But it’s really solid. Asia Bryant’s part is kind of an afterthought, but it’s good.

Grade: A-

12. FOR THE LOVE OF MONEY ft. Jill Scott, Anderson .Paak, and Jon Connor

This one’s pretty OK. Kind of nondescript (ironic that it came right after I said every song was unique).

Grade: C+

13. SATISFICTION ft. King Mez, Marsha Ambrosius, and Snoop Dogg

Let me start by saying “Satisfiction” is a really clever title. Considering all the heavyweights on this song, it’s a bit of a surprise that Marsha Ambrosius does a better job than any of them. Sure, Snoop pulls his weight and Mez is somewhat competent, but the only thing that really stuck out to me is the chorus. It’s a really catchy, well-written chorus, and I think it might have fit better if the rest of the song was just Marsha Ambrosius.

Grade: B

14. ANIMALS ft. Anderson .Paak

I just can’t get into Anderson .Paak. I don’t know if it’s his voice or his style or his lyrics, but it’s just hard for me to sit through these songs. I really like the subject matter of “Animals”, and I think it’s an issue that demands to be explored, but I feel like this song does kind of a lazy job of it. Dre’s verse is pretty cool, though.

Grade: C

15. MEDICINE MAN ft. Anderson .Paak, Candice Pillay, and Eminem

If I had to say what I don’t like about this song, it seems like it’s made to make Dr. Dre and Eminem look cool, rather than being fun to listen to or well-written. But it does a phenomenal job of making Dre and Eminem look cool. Doc misses the opportunity to actually call people out and winds up spitting a really good verse directed at… people in general. Em is a little wiser and spends his verse talking about himself, how he intends to silence haters with this verse, and how he was given an unfair advantage due to his race. His verse is a bit more serious than I prefer Em to be, but it’s far from bad.

Grade: B

16. TALKING TO MY DIARY

Now, this is what I’m talking about. This is the only song on the album that’s just Dre, and… it kind of sucks. It’s a good concept, and it’s well-produced, but Dre’s verses aren’t up to snuff with any of the others on this album, which is what’s lead me to believe that most of his verses on this album are written, as many of his have in the past.

Grade: C-

So, final thoughts. Dre seems to be a much better producer than he is a rapper. King Mez isn’t nearly as good as he thinks he is. King Kendrick continues to reign supreme. Marsha Ambrosius is awesome. So is Candice Pillay. Was it worth the wait? No, but I don’t think that’s the point. Dre’s supposedly only been working on this album since March, and it really feels that way. This wasn’t meant to be Dr. Dre’s big comeback. At this point, he doesn’t even want to do one. This was just a Dr. Dre album. And maybe that’s how it should be. Overall, I give it a B+. Even though it has a few wack tracks, I enjoyed listening to it, and I’ll probably look back at it nostalgically a few years down the line.

The Top Ten Best Songs Fall Out Boy Has Ever Made (by Fall Out Boy) — August 6, 2015

The Top Ten Best Songs Fall Out Boy Has Ever Made (by Fall Out Boy)

Fall Out Boy is one of the most polarizing groups in music today. Their fans are cultishly devoted and their enemies even more so. Me personally, I think they’re pretty OK. While they do have plenty of ups and downs, I really don’t care enough to feel strongly about them, and I’ve liked more than a few of their songs. In fact, here’s roughly ten of those songs I like, conveniently ranked for your reading satisfaction.

10. WHAT A CATCH, DONNIE

We kick off our list with this heartfelt ballad off what is arguably (spoiler: it is) Fall Out Boy’s best album, Folie a Deux. What starts with Fall Out Boy’s standard self-deprecating, overwritten lyrics takes a turn for the interesting when the guests start coming in. Yes, that’s guests, plural. The song features Elvis Costello, Gabe Saporta, Travie McCoy, Brendon Urie, Doug Does, Alex DeLeon, and William Beckett performing an eclectic mix of the band’s greatest hits. On an album full of ambitious songs, this one stuck out, and it’s just crazy enough to work.

9. 20 DOLLAR NOSE BLEED

Yes, we’re back on Folie a Deux, after all this time. This is a song I can only describe as “jaunty”. The piano/trumpet riff? Jaunty. The askew vocals? Jaunty. But I like jaunty. Both the word and the thing it describes. Even with the genius.com annotations, I have no idea what this song is about. Jack Kerouac, I think? But that’s the case with a lot of Fall Out Boy songs, and this one’s got something the other ones don’t: jaunt.

8. MISS MISSING YOU

For a long time, FOB and their fans denied their reputation as a pop group. At this point, they’ve pretty much owned up to it, and on songs like “Miss Missing You”, off their big comeback album Save Rock and Roll, it works out pretty well. The song has a sort of dreampop vibe to it, which is fitting because it was originally supposed to be on Patrick Stump’s solo album Soul Punk. In it, Stump plays someone whose ex-lover misses him, and he tries to comfort them even though he doesn’t miss them too. Admittedly not much of a premise, but it works.

7. THNKS FR TH MMRS

“Thnks fr th Mmrs” is one of Fall Out Boy’s biggest hits, and with good reason. It has an irresistible hook, some pretty clever wordplay, and one of the most fascinating titles in FOB’s catalog (people wanted them to make their song titles shorter, so they took out the vowels). Honestly, most of the songs on this list are here for their composition and catchiness rather than their subject matter, so I’m pretty much bullshitting these paragraphs to fill up space.

6. GET BUSY LIVING OR GET BUSY DYING (DO YOUR PART TO SAVE THE SCENE AND STOP GOING TO SHOWS)

This song’s menacing tune hits you like a bus the moment you press “play”. While it doesn’t have a full orchestra like some other songs on this list, it manages to convey a lot of power with just the four band members. There’s something I find really funny about the lyric “Your secret’s out, and the best part is it isn’t even a good one”. The whole song is that same Yeezus-y, triumphant feeling of rage. And it’s actually really catchy, believe it or not.

5. YOU’RE CRASHING BUT YOU’RE NO WAVE

I actually like this song for a totally different reason than the other ones on the list. It doesn’t have the best instrumentation or the catchiest hook or the funniest one-liners. But I like it for the story. It tells the story of a court case, partly based on that of Fred Hampton Jr. The imagery in it is a lot better than one would expect from FOB. You really get a sense for what the wealthy DA is experiencing as he glides through a case that’s already been decided by greed and showmanship. It’s probably not a song that I’d listen to for fun, but I definitely appreciate it.

4. HEADFIRST SLIDE INTO COOPERSTOWN ON A BAD BET

This track really conveys a good ’80s electropop vibe, which coincidentally is one of my favorite pop vibes. It only peaked at #74 on the Hot 100, which is surprising because I could listen to it for days. Honestly, I don’t have much to say about it. It’s really cool.

3. THE PHOENIX

After FOB’s three-year hiatus, it’s only natural that they started off their comeback album with one of the most epic songs in the history of pop punk. With the help of the London Symphony Orchestra, even the most staunch Fall Out Boy hater can’t help but get jazzed by “The Phoenix”. While the lyrics aren’t spectacular (“I’m gonna change you like a remix”), the violin riff is enough to make a grown man cry, and Stump’s somewhat distorted vocals fit the beat really well.

2. UMA THURMAN

FOB’s latest hit, “Uma Thurman”, succeeds because, as Panic! at the Disco’s entire discography proves, Fall Out Boy is at their best when they’re super weird. “Uma Thurman” has about four different hooks, baffling lyrics like “I slept in last night’s clothes and tomorrow’s dreams but they’re not quite what they seem”, and notes so high even P-Stump himself can’t hit them. But that’s why it works. It’s ridiculous. It’s hilarious. It’s fun. The “best Fall Out Boy song” isn’t the one where they sound the most like a band, or the one where they’re the most punk, or the one where they make the most sense: it’s the one where they embrace what people don’t like about them and use it to their advantage. Well, 2nd-best Fall Out Boy song. We’re not up to the best just yet. First, some honorable mentions.

“Grand Theft Autumn/Where is Your Boy?” (Take This to Your Grave)

“America’s Suitehearts” (Folie a Deux)

“Tiffany Blews” ft. Lil Wayne (Folie a Deux)

“Hot to the Touch, Cold on the Inside” (PAX AM Days)

“Irresistible” (American Beauty/American Psycho)

“Twin Skeleton’s (Hotel in NYC)” (American Beauty/American Psycho)

1. DANCE DANCE

Was there any doubt? I don’t think I’ve ever met a person who didn’t like this song. Fans love it, critics love it, even Patrick Stump himself said on Twitter, “‘Dance Dance’ is probably the best thing I’ve ever done”. It’s relentlessly catchy, beautifully produced, and one of the better-written songs in FOB’s catalog, all of which come together to make one of the best pop punk songs of all time. No one can deny “Dance Dance”.

So yeah, those are the best Fall Out Boy songs. I have a lot of ideas for articles to write soon. I may do a similar article about Drake. I definitely have some movie reviews on the way. I’ll probably write a review of Dr. Dre’s Compton. So be on the lookout for those, be sure to like this article if you like it, follow my blog if you like it like it, follow me on Twitter @BreakingPOORLY, and stay cool B^)

Top 10 Songs of the Month (July 2015) — August 4, 2015

Top 10 Songs of the Month (July 2015)

I’m thinking of making this a monthly series wherein I look back at the month in music and choose my 10 favorite singles. First up is the latest month in an exceptional year for music: July. I wound up with upwards of 20 songs to choose from for this list, but after making some sacrifices (I had to choose one Drake song, can you imagine?), I was able to cut it down to a top ten. Keep in mind, all these songs are singles (I’m pretty sure). So I couldn’t just choose any old song from an album that came out this month. Anyway, let’s begin.

10. COOL FOR THE SUMMER – Demi Lovato

We kick off our list with the latest single from former Disney Channel star Demi Lovato. On the surface, it seems like a typical Demi Lovato song, which is to say it sounds like any female-driven pop ballad to come out in the past twenty years, but this isn’t your grandmother’s Demi Lovato song. This time, it’s lesbians. That’s… about it, but it’s something I suppose. I should clarify that it’s also above average for a Lovato song. While the chorus is a bit too reminiscent of “Domino” by Jessie J, it works on a much deeper level than, say, “Give Your Heart a Break”. It’s fun, it’s slightly bolder than a typical pop song, and it’s unique enough to work.

9. FINNA GET LOOSE – Puff Daddy and the Family

That’s right, hip hop icon Puff Daddy/P. Diddy/Diddy/Diddy Dirty Money/$wag/Diddy/Puff Daddy is back, and as the title suggests, he’s finna get loose. But as with most Puff Daddy songs, its strengths have nothing to do with Puff Daddy. The highlight of this track in particular is a masterful beat by Pharrell Williams, who also provides the chorus. Puffy’s “family” (Cassie, Janelle Monae, Machine Gun Kelly, and French Montana) don’t show up very much on this track, but it would certainly be interesting to see Puff spit his asinine raps over more classic Pharrell beats.

8. DRAG ME DOWN – One Direction

There was a lot of speculation around whether or not One Direction would be able to survive in this cruel post-Zayn hellscape, and we finally got our answer when they released a surprise single, “Drag Me Down”, in the twilight days of July 2015. While the song is a creative step backward relative to 1D’s last album, it’s still a surprisingly good pop song. It’s a lot more satisfying to listen to than, say, “Story of My Life”, and the production is a lot more polished. Not the best 1D song, but far from the worst.

7. FREEDOM! – Pharrell Williams

It’s been a big year for Pharrell. In addition to being awarded a Fashion Icon Award, appearing on high-profile records from Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg, Puff Daddy, Tyler the Creator, and Jamie Foxx, doing the soundtrack for Spongebob 2, and signing to Apple Music, Williams has an epic new single that’s slowly working its way up the charts: the bouncy, inspirational “Freedom!”. It carries a similar vibe to his work on the Despicable Me movies, as well as his last album GIRL, but I wouldn’t say that’s a bad thing. It’s a really fun song; it puts you in a good mood. Is it this year’s answer to “Happy”? God, I hope not.

6. YESTERDAY – Black Eyed Peas

The Black Eyed Peas are one of the most maligned groups in the history of music. After years of churning out repetitive garbage just because they could, they finally called it quits in 2012. Or so we thought. It turns out, the Peas have gotten back together (sans Fergie), and have partnered with Apple Music to work on an exclusive 20th anniversary album titled “Origins”. The first single from said album, “Yesterday” dropped this past month, and as much as it pains me to say it, it’s pretty good. It’s not revolutionary or anything, but it’s much better than what we’re used to from these guys. Maybe Fergie was the problem. Maybe they’re lulling us into a false sense of security. Maybe I just want to think it’s good and it actually sucks. Whatever.

5. MEOWRLY – Run the Jewels

Last year, El-P promised that if someone bought a $40,000 deluxe edition of his and Killer Mike’s acclaimed album Run the Jewels 2, he would recreate the whole album using cat noises. One successful Kickstarter campaign later, here we are. Not only is it a great song and a great meme, it’s actually super impressive that El-P and BOOTS were able to follow through and put this together. Don’t you just love the internet?

4. CHARGED UP – Drake

I’m sure you’ve all heard about this by now, but I’ve got a paragraph to fill, so: Meek Mill put out a series of tweets in which he claimed that Quentin Miller and several other artists were ghostwriting Drake’s lyrics. While these accusations are probably true, Drake retaliated with not one, but two diss tracks, in addition to some new singles that blow Meek’s whole album out of the water. Back to Back was a gutsy move, but this first diss was ultimately the better of the two. Drake has unprecedented class through this whole thing, systematically destroying Meek’s career while maintaining a level of composure that commands respect. You lose, Meek.

3. B.O.B – Macy Gray

Macy Gray was a huge star in the early 2000’s, but recently she’s had a bit of a struggle to stay relevant (her last three albums failed to appear on any major international chart except Italy, Croatia, and Belgium respectively). As a result, I actually haven’t listened to her in a long time. But if this new single is any indication, she’s doing just fine. The title refers not to the rapper B.o.B. (HE SHOULD DO THE REMIX), but rather Gray’s vibrator: “B is for Battery, O – Operated, B is for Better ’cause he’s not complicated”. It’s hilarious and actually kind of cute, with a “Dumb Ways to Die”-style video that’s quickly proving Gray still has the ability to make a hit.

2. STARE – Prince

Legendary tiny sex god Prince is back with this inescapable throwback track. I actually don’t have a lot to say about it, honestly. There’s no backstory, not much significance to it. It’s just a really good song. I mean, it’s right there. Listen to it.

A few honorable mentions that just missed out on the top ten:

ROBIN WILLIAMS – Cee Lo Green

SHE’S KINDA HOT – 5 Seconds of Summer

SCARFACE – Jaden Smith

HOTLINE BLING – Drake

and my favorite song of the month is:

1. FOR FREE? – Kendrick Lamar

This. Dick. Ain’t. FreeeEEEEeEEEeeeeE. This has been a long-standing forerunner for my favorite song of the year, and just when I thought this list was done for, Kendrick dropped the video for it… on July 31st. Techically, I could put it on next month’s list, too. But I’ll try to refrain from that. Anyway, this is one of the best songs I’ve ever heard. It’s lightning-fast with surprisingly deep lyrics and an eclectic beat and flow that demand your attention. I listened to the song about 20 times before the video dropped, and I’ve watched the video at least five times.

So those are my favorite songs of the month. I might make this a monthly feature if y’all are into it. I’m floating around some ideas for articles. I’ll have Paper Towns, Fantastic Four, and some other reviews out in the coming weeks. I’m also working on a list of the best songs Fall Out Boy have ever made. Interpret that any way you will. See you then.

Review: Mission: Impossible: Rogue: Nation: —

Review: Mission: Impossible: Rogue: Nation:

The Mission: Impossible franchise remains one of the sturdiest in the history of action films. Against all odds, the series has not only managed to keep churning out movies every 4 years, but to keep them pretty consistently good. And it seems they’ve done it again with Rogue Nation.

So, how does the franchise stay fresh? Well for one thing, they like to mix things up. Every single film is handed off to a different director. While all the previous directors have been heavyweights (Brian DePalma, John Woo, JJ Abrams, and Brad Bird), they took an interesting approach with this one and hired a relative unknown who had already worked with Tom Cruise in the past. I suspect that Cruise has more creative control over these movies than anyone at this point, which is how Edge of Tomorrow co-director Chris McQuarrie got the gig. Still, he does a surprisingly good job.

Like any good M:I movie, it’s action-packed, loads of fun to watch, and littered with plot holes. The cast is phenomenal, with returning favorites like Tom Cruise and Simon Pegg as well as newcomers like Rebecca Ferguson and Sean Harris. They’re great, the action’s great, and… well, that’s about it. What more do you want out of a Mission: Impossible flick? A plot? A mission that’s actually impossible? A reason why Ethan Hunt is still loyal to the IMF even though they’ve betrayed him countless times? Pfffft.

Another thing that makes these movies so great is how genuine they are. I’m sure you know already that Tom Cruise does his own stunts. In this one, he holds his breath underwater for six minutes and straps himself onto the side of a plane in flight, in case you needed another reminder that Tom Cruise is batshit insane. But while most of the action could have easily been done with green screens and jump cuts, it just feels so much more exciting when they’re really happening. That’s why more movies (Jupiter Ascending, Star Wars) are leaning towards practical effects: people enjoy them more.

So overall, I give Rogue Nation an A. I couldn’t have asked for much more. I have a few cool articles on the way, but my laptop is out of commission for a few days so I’ve been writing them on my phone. They’ll be here though. In the meantime, you can like this post if you like it, follow my blog if you like it like it, and follow me on Twitter @BreakingPoorly if that’s what you’re into.