Saturday, November 27, 2010

❤Music Review: Come Around Sundown by Kings of Leon

Come Around Sundown
Kings of Leon

Genre: Alternative Rock

Run Time: 47:27
Release Date: 15 October, 2010
Label: RCA Records (Sony Music Entertainment)
Source: Purchased

Limited deluxe two CD edition includes a bonus CD containing three additional tracks. 2010 release, the highly anticipated fifth album from the American Alt-Rock heroes. Come Around Sundown was recorded in New York at Avatar Studios and produced by Angelo Petraglia and Jacquire King. The album is the follow-up to the hugely successful Only By The Night, which sold over six million copies worldwide and garnered four Grammy Awards and two Brits, and is yet another bold and expansive statement by the Tennessee-based quartet.

Complete Track Listing

1. The End
2. Radioactive
3. Pyro
4. Mary
5. The Face
6. The Immortals
7. Back Down South
8. Beach Side
9. No Money
10. Pony Up
11. Birthday
12. Mi Amigo
13. Pickup Truck


Most people wouldn't assume this about me, but I'm a rock junkie. People ask me what type of music I like. They expect me to say pop (which is not even a real genre, to begin with). Or Ke$ha. Maroon 5. Bruno Mars. The truth is, yes, I do enjoy all the mentioned artists but it's only because they're unavoidable—I listen to whatever's on the radio and they are always on the radio.

I may be a generation or two ahead of myself, but if you take a look through my CD collection, the majority of it consists of The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, The Carpenters, Pink Floyd, The Smiths, John Butler, classics, classics. Most of my friends are like, "Yeah, the Beatles are fucking LEGENDS, but if you scroll through my iPod, I'm only gonna have one or two songs by them on it, not one or two hundred.... wait a second, who the hell's Pink Floyd?" 

What's sad is, only one of my friends knows about Come Around Sundown. And he's in a band. I fell in love with Kings of Leon after I first heard "Use Somebody" in the car. It's fortunate I wasn't driving, or else I would have stopped in the middle of the road to listen to (and memorize) the entire song right then and there.

Then came last month's issue of Spin magazine. Kings of Leon, front cover, inside spread. Yessir. I read every word of the interview, and I knew I had to get their newest release. And so I did.

Fans expecting Come Around Sundown to be the new album of "Sex on Fire"s will be disappointed. Sorely disappointed. It doesn't make this one any lesser than the one before, but it's definitely different. To me though, that just displays the amazing versatility in voice, rhythm, and passion these guys carry.

You'll be stunned by how big of a range Kings of Leon will perform. Most of the negative reviews for the new album came out of the despondency of what they've become. They've evolved from the off-key tone of Caleb Followill backed up by chilling chords and catchy drumbeats, to a more mainstream, lyrical group. The album featured some bouts of punk ("The Immortals"—one of my favorites), country from their Nashville roots ("Back Down South"), and even gospel ("Radioactive"—another one of my favorites!). 

Kings of Leon is no longer just a rock band. Come Around Sundown is not by any means, the newer version of their successful preceding album, Only By the Night, but it is this: it is the vice, the virtue of this insouciant, elusive band. It is the end of a successful musical career, and the beginning of a preeminent musical empire. It is an enigma—not completely predictable, but totally, wholly astounding, and it will alter the way you think about alternative rock.

Fans (or so-called fans) complain that Kings of Leon has changed, and they're absolutely right; Kings of Leon will never be the same.

Radical Rating: 10 hearts: I'm speechless; this book is an extraordinarily amazingly wonderfully fantastically marvelous masterpiece. ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

p.s. Jared Followill (bassist) is a BABE. 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥: Living Life in the Zone by Kyle Rote Jr. and Dr. Joe Pettigrew

Living Life in the Zone
Kyle Rote Jr. and Dr. Joe Pettigrew

Page Count: 352
Release Date: 29 December, 2009
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Source: Complimentary copy provided by BookSneeze in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you!)

Power. Grace. Strength. Fearlessness. That's living life in The Zone. For many men, there's nothing more exciting than seeing an athlete elevate his game to another realm. Quarterbacks thread passes through impossibly tight creases. Golfers sink pressure-packed putts. Sluggers park baseballs ten rows deep in the cheap seats. Afterward, these athletes all say one thing: The dominance was easy. Everything came into focus. Against all reason, time slowed down.

If only we mortals were so lucky. Between the stresses of work and the pressures of parenthood and marriage, our time—our life—flies by faster than a major league heater. Can we hope to elevate our game and enter The Zone?

Living Life in The Zone is a 40-day spiritual journey for discovering abundant life. Filled with inspirational scriptures and real-life stories of playmakers such as Tony Dungy, Allan Houston, Kurt Warner, and John Wooden, this game plan will teach you what God has in store for men living In His Zone.

This is the book for men. Not just a book, but
the book. Though I am not a man by any means, I was able to get through it and enjoy it immensely—I honestly cannot say I've ever read a book quite like it. It captures forty days of a man's life—your life—connecting one to both God and sports.

Starting from Day One, it accounts you to your spiritual and mental well-being. Included, are uplifting quotes and scriptures to help you through your own self-identity and self-preservation, and fantastic stories from athletes we all know and look up to. The connection to the celebrity sports figures is really want helped me realize the potential of the motive of this book: to discover "The Secret" for happiness in life, and to lead a successful one.

What I found difficult is some of the concepts used—naturally, I didn't completely comprehend the "male" aspects of the narrations. But the overall message was universal and it was this: You can be greater than you think you are; you can aspire and attain higher goals thank you think to be; and the world around you can be helped to achieve a higher degree of perfection.

Rote uses a combination of inspiring words and concepts that are easily related to, to advocate spending more time with God and finding connections within oneself in sports. The 40-day game plan is very step-by-step and self-explanatory; it doesn't feel like reading an overwhelming self-help book... it feels like reading your own journal. It is not one of those books where you can read it and voilà, your life is perfect; it's one of those books you read over and over again to tweak and orient your life as you know it until you achieve that satisfying perfection. Keep this one close to your heart because the more you read it, the more improvement you'll see. 

Radical Rating: 
7 hearts: Not without flaws, but overall enjoyable. ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥