For your entertainment- Adam Lambert
By Ihsan Kabir
After a superb American Idol run, people were expecting a LOT out of Adam Lambert. Week after week, he wowed us with his original takes on classic songs. His vocal range was utterly ridiculous and he was an awesome performer- who did not expect him to succeed? However, he did not win the competition, which meant that people would expect him to prove a point with this album. There were also many questions- would this be a pop or a glam metal album? Would Adam play it safe on his “debut” release? When it's all said and done For Your Entertainment is solid, but not outstanding. I do not want to give too much away, because I think people owe it to Adam to listen to the album in its entirety, with a fresh perspective. It's got its ups, which are really good, but it's got some downs as well.
Music Again- (3.5/5) This was a very cliché song. I, along with most other Adam Lambert fans, thought the glam metal genre suited his voice better than pop. There are traces of that here, however, the overall “pop”-ness of the song gets in the way. The lyrics sum up the lack of originality in this song.
For Your Entertainment- (4/5) Disappointing for a cover song, but it is an improvement from the first track. The beginning is odd, no one really expects Adam to go that low. It picks up with the bridge, and the chorus is something people can sing along to. It's not as predictable as the last song, but at times it gets pretty bizarre. The beat is really interesting; the techno mix kind of suits his voice.
Whataya Want From Me (5/5) This song has really smooth Adam type vocals, giving the audience a taste of the American Idol contestant we all fell in love with. The lyrics are somehow meaningful, even though when you look at them on paper they seem very odd. The beat fits his voice perfectly in this song. I think everyone was expecting more of this out of Adam.
Strut (4/5) This is an obnoxious song, but it is no Adam-obnoxious. When I heard the guitar in this song, I was expecting a lot more vocal quality. The lyrics just start to annoy me after a while, but somehow the bridge manages to keep this song decent. The chorus is not too shabby, but I was expecting more after Whataya Want from Me.
Soaked (5/5) Glambert is back! I visualized this as the most epic stage performance, kind of a mix between Mad World and Feeling Good. The vocal edge is demonstrated here- it's songs like this that make Adam a revered figure in the music industry. The beat matches really well with the vocals, and the tempo changes were really enjoyable. The lyrics fit the song pretty well.
Sure Fire Winners (4.5/5) The vocals are pretty good, he shows a pretty wide range. The beat starts off just plain weird, but it becomes more coherent as the song progresses. I think the lyrics are really lacking in this song. At first it felt like a Queen rip off, but then it was just too different. The song is pretty good besides that.
A Loaded Smile (4.5/5) Individually, the song components (vocal quality, beat, and lyrics) are pretty good. However, they just don't fit as well together as they should. Like most other songs on the album, the chorus picks up. The whole arrangement is just a little too over the top.
If I Had You (5/5) Why not? It's not as strong as the other 5 star songs, but it still is a good song. There's actually a pretty decent dance beat, albeit for 14 year olds. The lyrics are ok, but I think the vocals are really what bring this song up. Somehow Adam's edge is really felt here, and some of his attitude is placed on this song.
Pick U Up (4.5/5) The vocal range is just insane. He can hit every note known to mankind. The beat goes well with the vocals and they both go with the lyrics (at times). At other times, there is no direction. This song is quite similar to many other pop songs, which doesn't give it that extra edge.
Fever (5/5) This is reminiscent of old pop songs, although I cannot really put my finger on it. However, there are some modern elements. It's always nice to know that music as good as this is authentic, and not computerized. The lyrics are funny, which is a real positive. This song comes in a great place in the album. The beat is pretty good too.
Sleepwalker (5/5) This song is really addicting. It's got some very interesting lyrics, which were surprising when one looked at the rest of the song. Once again, really strong individual components of the song are combined. This song could probably hold its own as an instrumental. The lyrics are refreshing, especially after what we got in the beginning of the album. Not the same vocal range, but his voice is just too awesome.
Aftermath (5/5) Whoa! Was that Daughtry in the first few minutes? (He probably pulls of Daughtry better than Daughtry pulls off Daughtry). The guitar is pretty chill in this song, and the vocals are upbeat, yet this song is kind of soothing. It took long enough, but this album really picked up, and there is a really nice flow between songs.
Broken Open (5/5) It's hard to live up to performances like “One” or “Mad World”, but this song does pretty good. There is no way someone can ignore his silky smooth voice. It's really easy to get lost in the lyrics. This is probably the most harmonious song on the album, and it is the best slow song I've heard in a long time.
Time for Miracles (5/5) The first post-Idol song most of us heard from Adam was definitely not what we were expecting. The lyrics are something he could put together, but the concept of the song itself is different from what we're used to. Still, his voice is so convincing, and he gets extra points for being the only highlight of the movie 2012.
By The Anarchist Kitten
Californication is funny, witty and wry, and comes in a poignant and extremely entertaining package, as razor sharp on the finale of its third season as it was in 2007, when the pilot episode aired. One may think of the plot as basic and common. Hank Moody, played masterfully by David Duchovny, is a writer separated from his daughter, going through a midlife crisis, and drowning himself in alcohol and women as a form of release. He is one of the biggest a**holes on the silver screen, getting into fist fights in almost every episode because he will be the first to stand up for his, or anyone else's honour- a perfectly upstanding gentleman and after two years of air time, a hero to many.
The third season ends with the highest cliff hanger ending any season in the show has ever ended in, creating quite a buzz and anticipation among viewers. With the fourth season still months away, it is time Californication garners apt recognition in Bangladesh. David Duchovny is most popular for his defining role in the X Files. Imagine him ten year's later, twenty pounds heavier and infinite times manlier and more charming, with every other sentence from him making you laugh.
Duchovny's character has an amazing combination of I-don't-give-a-damn attitude (stemming from his obvious depression and regret over his ex, among various other things), conceit, vulnerability, bitterness, and slight misogyny, while simultaneously being utterly moral and upstanding, especially in his desire to do the right thing for his ex and daughter; this is exemplified in the final scene of the pilot episode where he rushes to crash a house party that his daughter is attending and literally carries her out of there when she is about to substance abuse. The fashion these days is to make characters after the stereotype of the 'cool' parent, fine with everything their little ones get up to. But Duchovny is old fashioned and that's how he is loved. Coming from a character like Hank, its especially redeeming. He is an amazingly complex character, and Duchovny pulls it off flawlessly.
The writing is nearly perfect; it is certainly one of the best-written shows in recent years, as is the casting and acting. The soundtrack is as brilliant and evocative as anything one may have experienced thus far in television this decade. The title, Californication, may tell you that this show is going to be about sex, drugs and rock 'n roll, and it certainly is. But it is also about love, tenderness, trying to keep kids from growing up too fast, dissatisfaction with life and settling for what you think you want while keeping everyone else in mind.
While Californication is not recommended for a younger audience, adults have a fair bit to learn from it- maintaining family values and ideals while neither disregarding your children, nor letting them get the better of everything. Letting those you love be happy and find themselves, all the while trying to find yourself. With Californication, Weeds, The L Word and Dexter, Showtime is fast becoming the new HBO.
Torchlight. Is. A. Diablo. Clone.
And also a kind of progeny to the surprisingly popular Fate. But that's not all that Torchlight is, with a lot of unique touches to call its own.
The story: A highly potential, mysterious ore, Ember has the power to imbue people and objects with magical powers. Torchlight was built above a very rich vein of this strange ore, and soon enough it was a hotspot for adventurers looking to loot and hunt monsters. However, Ember has a price. It has a corrupting influence, and was the reason for the fall of past civilizations. And it's now seeping out from the depths of the mountain beneath Torchlight, threatening the world once again.
The Good: Torchlight may be a Diablo clone, but it's a Diablo clone done good. The game is played from an isometric view just liked its inspiration, with point-and-click actions, shortcut slots and shortcut keys. The idea is to bash, clash, and shoot through hordes and hordes of monsters and unique bosses in your attempt to delve deeper into the dungeons.
Essentially, it uses the altogether standard Action-RPG formula. But Torchlight has pulled it off without a hitch whereas any other aRPGs I might have tried had fell short. Exceedingly short. Adventuring becomes a bit more fun when dungeons aren't just bland walls. It's fun to see depth in your surroundings. It's fun to see through the water that's filled up the lower storey as you adventure through the upper, and it really is endearing to see the massive amount of detail put into the game. It's surprising how radically a gaming experience can differ because of details. And because of them, Torchlight is a better game.
For a little game like this, the graphics are really great. It's not anything like Diablo III, but it serves its purpose and looks good while doing it. Nice little animations, be that of a glow of your weapon, the fire of your handgun, or exploding monsters. Funsie.
There are three character classes for you to play with: Vanquisher, Destroyer and Alchemist.
The Vanquisher utilizes ranged weapons, such as bows and - my favourite - guns, and the occasional traps. Meanwhile, the Destroyer is one huge massive entity of brute force. That is to say, he's a very large bald human who can kick monsters around up, down, left and right. The Alchemist is a magician that utilizes the power of ember to use magic to electrocute dungeon crawlers and summon assistance in the form of imps and killer-robots, steam-punk style!
Each character has a set of attributes that define damage, health, defence, magic, and all that. Each character also has skill trees unique to the class. Points, obtained at each level up, are distributed as per the player's wish. Be careful here. You might not want to randomly dish out your skill points. Otherwise, you may come to regret your character later on. For example, all three classes can use magic, but best leave it to the Alchemist, as you might have to spend a lot of unnecessary skill points on your magic skills for it to be actually effective.
The Bad: Despite the fact that Torchlight is great, it really doesn't offer anything new. The story takes somewhat of a backseat roll, and it's the gameplay that cashes the winnings. And some people might be miffed about that, about the lack of anything particularly new. Even then, that's probably a minority, and the market is still big enough for this game to be appreciated and hailed as pretty darn awesome.
And: Torchlight really is a great game, and it's easy to notice that the developers made this game with meticulous care. Or something like that. But that's a given. Runic Games (developer) are a combination of veteran game developers- specifically Blizzard North, the creators of Diablo. So, what can you really expect except a really, really good game?
They've dished out a combination of awesome gameplay, cool cartoonish graphics and added to that a really good soundtrack by the Diablo (again) composer Matt Uelman, ranging from upbeat greensleevish Renaissance-ish tunes to enchantingly haunting instruments.
None of us Diablo fans can wait for Diablo III, and Torchlight is JUST the temporary fix that we needed.
The Awesome: The Vanquisher is a total hawtie.