District of Columbia
Guns on your Tumblrs
and retweets n***a
in these streets n***a
Sleigh Bells are a duo like no other. Lead singer Alexis Krauss’s bubblegum pop background and guitarist Derek Miller’s hardcore rock background are combined inside an indie pop setting. The result is an iconoclastic mix of aggressive guitars, peppy pop melodies, and indie flourishes.
Sleigh Bells don’t really break any new ground on their third album “Bitter Rivals”. They play it safe and don’t experiment much. Most of the songs follow a formula found in their previous work. However, Krauss gives a stab at rapping in a few songs. And the pop side of their sound is a bit stronger.
If you enjoy the band’s crunching guitars, you’ll be satisfied with the first four tracks - the title track, “Sugarcane”, “Minnie”, and especially “Sing Like A Wire”. “Young Legends” has a late 90s electro-pop sound. For some reason, it reminded me of early Britney Spears. “You Don’t Get Me Twice” is a mish-mash of bluesy rock and synth elements. “To Hell With You” and “Love Sick” are mid-tempo ballads with an new wave 80s influence.
While the album is mostly good, it’s not as good as the band’s first two albums. The lack of new ideas and growth of the band is the main factor. There are also no songs on here that rank with their best ones, like “Rill Rill” or “Comeback Kid”. But, most fans of the band will be satisfied.
(4 out of 5 stars)
—Isa R Bufano (10/17/13)
The most popular cartoon on the Cartoon Network currently is Adventure Time. It is beloved by children, teenagers, adults, girls, boys, alike. Created by Pendleton Ward and set in the post-apocalyptic Land of Ooo, it’s not hard to see why:
1) Adventure Time has simple, yet colorful animation. Adventure Time is probably the most colorful show on television right now. Even if you are watching on standard definition, your television screen illuminates while watching Adventure Time. The animation doesn’t rely on CGI gimmicks to catch your eye, only imagination. The sights are so vivid, including the background. The animation is completely sketched and has a 90s feel to it.
2) Adventure Time has, in my view, the most interesting and funniest bunch of characters of any show on television. The show’s main characters are the wise cracking Jake The Dog and Finn The Human, Jake’s naïve, young best friend. Others include Valley Girl-accented Lumpy Space Princess, of the ‘lumpy’ peoples; BMO, an all-in-one talking electronic device; Princess Bubblegum, the nerdy Princess of the ‘candy peoples’; and punk rocker Marceline, The Vampire Queen.
3) Adventure Time has comedy, fantasy, action, romance, music, science fiction, and horror all in one. The humor is slapstick and irreverent and so random. Musical numbers are incorporated regularly, which are usually infused with the show’s irreverent humor. There’s always action and a new adventure – Finn and Jake are always fighting off bad guys and saving friends/people in need. While The Land of Ooo looks colorful and much of it is ‘happy’, it is largely ‘dark’ inside. There are several eye-catching scary moments.
Adventure Time is the best cartoon of the 21st century, in my view. I didn’t watch many cartoons during my adult life until I discovered Adventure Time while channel surfing. Adventure Time was my gateway drug to other cartoons. Cartoons, especially Adventure Time, offer a form of escapism and feature a level of imagination which I’ve come to appreciate.
(5 out of 5 stars)
—Isa R Bufano (10/10/13)
Unlike the 80s and 90s, there have been so few family sitcoms on television in the 21st century. “Good Luck Charlie” on Disney Channel is one of the few family sitcoms on television today. It has all the elements that the TGIF sitcoms had years ago – lighthearted humor; colorful, lovable characters; situations that provide for a lot of laughs; and simple, positive lessons. “Good Luck Charlie” is highly entertaining and has a great cast – it does a great job of reviving the TGIF formula.
The show focuses of the Duncan’s, a suburban family made of zany mother Amy, a nurse; dutiful father Bob, a pest control worker; oldest daughter Teddy, an overachieving teenager; oldest son PJ, a dimwitted but kind-hearted teen; youngest son Gabe, a prankster; and youngest daughter Charlie, the toddler who’s at the center of attention. Teddy is played by Bridget Mendler, one of the hottest Disney Channel stars right now. Mendler’s character gets the most camera time and every episode ends with Teddy recording a message for Charlie to see when she’s older.
“Good Luck Charlie” is a show that kids, teens, and their parents can enjoy because there are relatable situations for most people. Teddy’s drive to achieve, Teddy’s boy troubles, Teddy’s feuds with her brothers, PJ and Gabe’s ill-conceived ideas, Bob and Amy’s sometimes over-protectiveness, Gabe’s mischievous nature, Amy’s competitive nature, the Duncan’s feud with neighbor Mrs. Dabney, and everybody’s desire to help Charlie are often what drive the situations and humor on the show.
“Good Luck Charlie” will not have the lasting effect that “Full House”, “Boy Meets World”, or “Family Matters” has. But, it’s worth checking out if you’ve ever enjoyed family sitcoms.
(4.50 out of 5 stars)
—Isa R Bufano (08.30.2013)
“The Looney Tunes Show” on the Cartoon Network is the latest television series based on the Looney Tunes cartoon characters. It takes the form of an animated sitcom. Bugs Bunny and friends are settled in modern suburbia, rather than the south-west desert. Bugs Bunny is a smart, Prius-driving, well-to-do yuppie. Daffy Duck is Bug’s dimwitted, freeloading but well-meaning roommate; Yosemite Sam is the crazy, spiteful neighbor; Lola Bunny is Bug’s wacky girlfriend; Speedy Gonzales is a pizzeria owner; and Porky Pig is Bugs and Daffy’s mild-mannered yet naive friend. The show includes Merrie Melodies music videos and Wile E Coyote/Road Runner shorts separate from the main series.
Like many sitcoms, most episodes center on the crazy adventures the main characters get themselves into. For example, one episode involved Bugs getting stuck at the DMV all day after both Daffy and Lola were caught driving without a license (“DMV”). The humor often comes from the predicaments the characters are in. The love-hate relationship of Bugs and Daffy provide lots of amusing dialogue. The dimwittedness of Daffy and Lola, plus Bugs’ ability to put up with it, is a sight to see. This type of sitcom was more common in the 80s and 90s, less so in the 21st century. It is refreshing for those of us who grew up on these types of sitcoms.
“The Looney Tunes Show” is not as great as the original, classic Looney Tunes series. That’s a hard feat and I don’t expect it to be. It is, however, probably better than the other Looney Tunes-based shows that followed the original series since 1969.
If you grew up watching Looney Tunes cartoons, no matter what age you are, definitely check this series out.
-Isa R Bufano (08.26.2013)
“With Love” is Christina Grimmie’s second studio album. When Christina released her first album “Find Me”, she had grown a lot from her first YouTube video. In the time since, she has grown at an even faster pace. She has made several television appearances and puts out more polished videos. For those who have never heard her, do so immediately. She has an amazing voice that’s better than almost every pop star today.
While Christina performed modern teen pop on her first album, most of the tracks on “With Love” have a retro sound. Most tracks recreate the pop-soul sound of the 70s. Instantly, I was reminded of Duffy’s music. The vocal style is heavily influenced by her biggest idol, Christina Aguilera. The slower songs have an Adele sound.
I love the album from start to finish. There’s lot of catchy songs, Christina’s voice is on par as usual, and the lyrics are strong. The album opens with “Over Overthinking You”, an upbeat, peppy pop-soul number. “Get Yourself Together” and “Tell My Mama”, among others, also follow this formula. “The One I Crave” has a 40’s big band sound that I really dig. All of these songs, like most of the album, are fun, lighthearted, and about love.
“I Bet You Don’t Curse God” is an inspirational ballad about God. It’s probably the most powerful song Christina has ever recorded. Most will get chills after listening to it. The album closes with modern-sounding ballads “Think of You” and “My Anthem”.
Every Grimmie fan will be satisfied with “With Love”, and it will gain her some new fans.
(4.25 out of 5 stars)
—Isa R Bufano (08.12.2013)
After a two and half year delay, and two title changes, most of Jay Sean’s fans will be satisfied with his fourth studio album, “Neon”. Like his previous albums, it is mix of pop and R&B that includes a couple of strong singles and showcases Jay Sean’s talents as a singer.
The album starts off with some catchy, typical 2010’s-era pop tunes: “Neon”, “Luckiest Man”, “Words” and “Where You Are”, a sweet ode to a girl he likes.
“Neon” continues with three strong R&B ballads: “Guns and Roses”, “Mars”, and “Miss Popular”. All have great lyrics and production. “Mars” reminds me a bit of Miguel, while the other two remind me of Ne-Yo.
The last half of the album includes a fair amount of songs I didn’t care for: “Close To You”, “Deep End”, “All On Your Body”, “Breakdown”. Those songs had boring production and lyrics (and the later two were vulgar). However, the pop-R&B ballad “Worth It All” and alternative R&B “Passenger Seat” are nice. “Worth It All” reminds me of Jay Sean in his earlier time. “Passenger Seat” also has a Miguel influence.
Jay should have included the songs that were recorded for “Freeze Time” and released as singles: “2012”, “Hit The Lights”, and “I’m All Yours”. Those songs were strong.
(4 out of 5 stars) (Note: If the album didn’t have those weak songs, and included the “Freeze Time” singles, I would rate it 4.50)
—Isa R Bufano (07.30.2013)