Rainbow Rocking in the Free World: “Equestria Girls: Rainbow Rocks” review

Who doesn’t love music? I know I do!

Most of my tastes in music are based on what I listened to as a kid, and I listened to a lot of different music as a kid; music from artists such as: The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, Collective Soul, Wilson Phillips, David Bowie, Meat Loaf, Goo Goo Dolls, The Who, Megadeth, Elton John, Aerosmith, Duran Duran, Genesis, Blue, Santana, John Mellencamp, Ozzy Osborne, Sara Bareilles, Toto, Eurythmics, Fastball, Brian Adams, Def Leppard, Matchbox Twenty, Led Zepplin, Counting Crows, Sky, George Michael, Robbie Williams, R.E.M., Peter Gabriel, Nirvana, Backstreet Boys, Kenny Loggins, UB40, The Spice Girls, Skid Row, Billy Joel, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Blues Traveller, Rush, Seal, Tears for Fears, Mötley Crüe, Starship, Pink Floyd, Train, Rick Astley, Moist, The Tea Party, Metallica, Eric Clapton, Oasis, Journey, Sloan, Styx, Tom Petty, Michael Jackson, Barenaked Ladies, Bon Jovi, Bachman–Turner Overdrive, Sophie B. Hawkins, Van Halen, Sass Jordan, Rob Zombie, Bob Seger, Korn, Midnight Oil, Honeymoon Suite, and New Radicals… just to name a few.

And you’ll notice, with this breadth of musical exposure, I’ve listened to everything; virtually every genre under the sun with the exception of rap. And because of this, I like almost anything. Give me any new song from any new artist, and there’s a good chance I’ll like it, as long as it’s good.

Oh, I know what you’re going to say, ‘just because you don’t like it, doesn’t mean it’s bad!’ And sure, I’d agree with that. Art tends to be judged subjectively, in a purely opinionated and emotional way. And those opinions and emotions tend to vary from person to person. What one person thinks is crap, could be the most beautiful thing in the world to another; and they’d both be right.

However, I think we can agree when a song is not very sophisticated or complex, or when the lyrics are cliché or nonsensical; and I think we can all agree that the worst criticism one can give to a work of art, is that it’s boring.

Case in point, I know a bit of guitar… a very little bit… basically, don’t ask me to sight-read sheet music, and don’t ask me to join a spontaneous jam session until you give me a chance to review the old blues scale. But I can certainly belt out a few power chords if the mood strikes me. And power chords, in case you didn’t know, are the simplest fucking chords in existence. You hit only two strings, and the finger positioning is always the same, just move it around the fret board. And I only bring this up because if someone as crap as I can successfully pull off a Nickelback song, that doesn’t speak well for Nickelback, does it?

Basically, I’m saying Nickelback is shit.

But if music is good, I like it. If it’s interesting, fun, complex, profound, emotional, or just really really catchy, I like it. You won’t see me sticking my nose up at soft pop, or reggae, or grunge or mainstream metal. I love them all! And I love it when people share my perspective. When I see others who feel the same way. Those who see all music as music. Not as the cornerstone of a major cultural movement, or the central bedrock of a personal identity. But just some nice sounds that one can love, or hate. Sounds that are fun to make, and fun to hear, and nothing more.

And that brings us to a fantastic celebration of music in the form of Technicolor humans forming a band.

Yes, it’s the sequel to 2013’s epic film of adventure and magic, Equestria Girls. Equestria Girls: Rainbow Rocks! Which is film about adventure, magic and music! Love the contrast. Continue reading

Chaos, Resumed: “Three’s a Crowd” review

I’ve been watching a lot of Once Upon a Time these days. It’s a show about fairy tales, old novels, famous poems, and pretty much anything in classic literature that Disney owns the rights to. Which is why next season, I expect a story line taking place in the Star Wars Galaxy.

I’m planning on doing a full write-up on this show, so I’m not gonna go into too much detail here. But suffice to say, one of the show’s most interesting elements is how they took classic villains; like the Evil Queen from Snow White, Rumpelstiltskin from… Rumpelstiltskin, or Captain Hook from Peter Pan; out of the old black and white, binary morality model of story, and turned them into interesting, dynamic, and even sympathetic characters. They’re given tortured back stories, explaining why they act villainy. We see them motivated not by greed, selfishness or vanity, but by things which we, ourselves, might find ourselves motivated by. We even see them side with the heroes whenever they feel the need. Which is actually more often than not.

But as a consequence, when we meet a real villain, one that we really have to hate, they end up taking off the brakes and turning back to the old tropes. But even then, they still avoid the binary morality trap, by giving the villain a back story we can understand. I mean, he was still an unsympathetic prick, but you understood why he was an unsympathetic prick. Even a stupid, selfish, amoral reason, is a reason.

But the important thing to note is that the old villains sided with the heroes to fight the real villains. Regina Mills, for instance, has had a very clear arc over the series, and is now one of the show’s most heroic characters, willing to give of herself for the sake of others. Or at the very least, for the sake of her son.

And her story’s been clear, and consistent. She worked hard to be good, and we all know why. She’s a character we can fully understand.

In contrast, another show with a former-villain turned supposed-good-guy has not been so consistent. It’s been more confusing, and bizarre, instead. And I’m starting to think he never went through any type of character evolution at all. Instead, he’s still the same douchebag he’s always been.

Yes, I’m talking about Discord! The jackass that makes Loki look reasonable. Continue reading