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April turns to May and the final section of my web site is being launched at last! This Journal is intended mainly as a catch-all source for everything that isn't movie related. Simple, huh?
We'll start off with my review of Matthew Good's new CD Avalanche. His name probably isn't familiar to most US audiences, but Good has been one of the more successful and acclaimed Canadian musicians of the past few years. In my opinion, he is one of the best rock talents out there right now and his popularity only deserves to spread. After releasing 1999's Beautiful Midnight in his previous band, (the cleverly named) Matthew Good Band, everything seemed to point to a bright future for Good and the band. However, countless internal difficulties and a few tentative breakups marred the release of the wonderful Audio of Being in 2001. By the album's release, the band was hanging together by threads and before tour plans could be launched, Matthew Good Band had dissolved. Avalanche is Good's first solo release and shows him still in fantastic form. Far from an MGB rehash, Good expands his musical horizons with layers of strings, a flare for the dramatic (or melodramatic, as some may claim), and crowds of backup singers. While there was a definite evolution throughout his past albums, Good takes his most ambitious step here and succeeds admirably. It definitely will be a main contender for my album of the year. Spread the word along... For my complete review, click here.
Huzzah and joy! Marilyn Manson's new album The Golden Age of Grotesque will be released this coming Tuesday. Since I already procured a 1's and 0's copy of the album through devious computer means (Kazaa usage means I am Evil), I've been listening to it for a little over a week now and it is great to have him back. Also, with every new Manson album comes a new Manson and this album has him at his most Arch-Dandy and Dadaist. Influenced by big band music of the 20's (the "punk rock of its time") and the Berlin artistic scene, Manson drops the heavy religious context in favor of a catchier, more personal sound. While some songs shine out over others (such as the furious Use Your Fist and Not Your Mouth and the amazing, absinthe-fueled title track), the album stands strongly on its own. A full review will be posted once I actually own the album and give it some more lovin'.
Searching for inspiration at two in the morning, some random thoughts about Star Wars since I just caught most of Episode Two on TV... One thing that's striking about the new Star Wars movies is George Lucas' apparent desire to explain everything in the Star Wars mythology. Those of you who cringed when the word "midichlorian" was first uttered in Episode One know what I'm talking about. For another example, think about the fact that every single Stormtrooper that ever was blasted in the Classic Trilogy or you've wasted yourself in a video game was actually just a clone of Jango Fett...including the menacing (but maybe not quite so much now) Boba Fett. Scary, right? I liked the idea of the Galactic Empire being an enormous army put together by conscripting planets and slowly gathering forces...just chalking it up to a bunch of clones is a little disappointing. That's old news, though. It became pretty clear to Star Wars devotees like myself that ole Lucas lost his mind over these things a long, long time ago. The result is downright stupid decisions like refusing to release the original trilogy on DVD un-"improved" (meaning that Greedo will always shoot first and that is Wrong) and things like midichlorians. So, if Lucas wants to have his cake and eat it too and create an epic mythology and then explain away most of it, fine, so be it, but then I thought I'd offer a few ideas to make it more exciting.
If you care at all about this shit, you may have read that Lucas recently announced that Chewbacca will be returning in Episode Three. Chewbacca. It's almost as if you could hear, at the exact same time, the cries of "Fucking SWEET!" and "Oh God no, what is Lucas doing now to our beloved Star Wars legend" coming from all SW fans. The mind reels at the possibilities. But what I want to know is, who else? After all, that's appearances now by Boba Fett, Aunt Beru and Uncle Owen, R2-D2 and C-3PO, and Chewbacca (and I'm probably missing a few). Take it further and how about Han and Lando? Sounds insane, but think about it. Assume the third movie will end around the birth of Luke and Leia--now also assume that Han and Lando are both about 15-20 years older than those two. That's probably a little exaggerated, but Lucas obviously does not have a problem with playing with time and people's appearances (<cough>Anakin's-sudden-transformation-from-boy-to-man<cough>). If Luke is around 18 in Episode Four, is it that weird to say Han could be in his early 30's? Reason being, how about this for a Han-Lando tie-in: the Kessel Run. Those fans nerdy enough to know what I'm talking about would love it. Imagine a young 15 year old smuggler named Solo making one of his first spice runs for Jabba the Hutt (oh yeah, and he's already had a cameo in Episode One as well) with a young Lando co-piloting the Falcon. If Lucas really wanted to go insane (too late--natch), he could even explain how Solo and Chewbacca meet and that's another backstory taken care of.
Just a random thought from a Star Wars nerd who's been out of practice lately (though those gold medals in Rogue Squadron II taunt me daily). If Lucas really wants to compress his whole mythology, then here's another way to do so and give another cheap thrill to people like me out there. I apologize to those of you who don't give a shit about Star Wars (especially over-analytical Star Wars nonsense), but I always enjoy this silly stuff.
Final SW thought before I stop beating this to death, but did you ever realize how crucial R2-D2 is in the Star Wars universe? He's seen EVERYTHING and has pretty much played pivotal roles in every major success of the Heroes. If the Force is the dominant spirituality of the Star Wars world, let's here it for the successful union of Religion and Science!