You Want It Darker (Sum 41, 13 Voices review)

Leonard Cohen left this world in both a dramatic and cheeky fashion with his final offering. He realized long ago that true music fans almost always want more from you, more emotion, more physicality, more spirituality, more presence, the list goes on. With his final album, You Want It Darker, Cohen gave us something quite visceral, but poked fun at our expectations.

This weeks album review is more of the same.

Sum 41 – 13 Voices
released October 7, 2016
******** 8/10

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Sum 41 Is a Canadian band that makes punk, rock, and metal music, mostly of the alternative variety. What this means is that they are influenced by a number of musical genres and what that sounds like exactly has been heavily disputed by even their most committed fans.

What started as a predominantly pop and skate punk sound with their first effort slowly evolved to feature melodic hardcore on the second album and eventually stronger rock and metal treads with Chuck. After exploring those heavier themes, the group went back towards their pop punk roots for the fourth album Underclass Hero, and then dark again with Screaming Bloody Murder.

13 Voices is something altogether different. And I like it.

This is an album of recovery and reflection for lead vocalist and songwriter Deryck Whibley. After having had a brush with death from a battle with alcoholism, this is Whibley pushing back against the darkness. After all, the very first three tracks, A Murder of Crows, Goddman I’m Dead Again, and Fake My Own Death are all dialed right into that feeling of anger against himself and the drug that almost finished off the job.

This is a darker album, and while it does kind of feature a new direction, as already mentioned, Sum 41 DID try to do this back in 2011 with Screaming Bloody Mirror, though not very successfully. The reason why this is new is because it’s a return to form with the reintroduction to Dave “Brownsound” Bakash to the group, the metal backbone of Sum 41. He left after Chuck, and I don’t think the band has been nearly as good since that time. Some of my personal favourite tracks are 13 Voices, War, and The Fall and the Rise, but I think both older fans of the first three albums and current ones will be able to get behind this new Sum 41 machine.

This is a technically well made album, and while there might be some haters out there harping on Whibley for writing the songs with keyboards whilst listening to movies with the sound muted, these guys are not your typical punk group, nor your typical metal group, they managed to transcend that pop and skate punk sound. Don’t believe me? Give Breaking The Chain a listen or two and you’ll be on the Pain for Pleasure train once again (almost forgot about that alt-persona didn’t you?).

People, Sum 41 have introduced violins into their sound FINALLY after so many years, odd given that the punk group I associate with violins, Yellowcard, signed off this same year.

This album is a timeline of the redemption of Deryck Whibley after almost completely falling apart in the aftermath of the Steve Jocz quitting the band and the gruel of their last tour.

Is this album perfect? No, it isn’t. But it’s pretty goddamn good, and thankfully I’m not dead again.

 

 

 

This band finally did what they’ve been claiming they would do for years… ditch the pop from their sound and fully embrace the punk. Hell ,they might even be leaning more into metal for the first time since, well, ever. As someone who grow up with these guys, albeit a few years behind, this record demonstrates what was always behind the pop punk sounds and silly nicknames, a real message about dissatisfaction with society and being discounted before given a chance to do something. Empowering ourselves never felt more important than it does with 13 Voices. We may not have realized we wanted a darker Deryck Whibley, but I’m sure glad he gave it to us.

Tim!

Blue? Boycott The Red Carpet and White Folk? (88th Annual Academy Awards Night)

Anyone familiar with apologetics? It’s this concept that reasoned communication in support of a theory, belief or doctrine (usually spiritual) will help win people over to that belief, and the idea behind it is that this method of discussion is actually more useful than the typical debate format.

Now don’t get too far ahead of yourself dear readers. I suspect some of you may already be thinking to yourselves… Here we go, we know the topic is the Academy Awards, and the title is referencing the decision-making process behind it. Oh timotheories, you small, silly, social savant, you are about to tell us why the Academy Awards are really actually quite good and that we shouldn’t scrutinize an American institution which is biased “white washing” and ignoring people of minorities.

And you wouldn’t be wrong to say that I am going to address this, because quite frankly it’s out there, and it seems like my Facebook feed and half the articles I’ve seen on other social media are discussing this topic. So let’s get topical, because it’s important.

The Oscars are almost 100 years old, and they are run by mostly American filmmakers. I cannot stress the importance of that word enough. American. Look at what Wikipedia has to say about the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) –

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) is a professional honorary organization with the stated goal of advancing the arts and sciences of motion pictures. The Academy’s corporate management and general policies are overseen by a Board of Governors, which includes representatives from each of the craft branches.

The roster of the Academy’s approximately 6,000 motion picture professionals is a “closely guarded secret.”[2] While the great majority of its members are based in the United States, membership is open to qualified filmmakers around the world.

The problem is inherent. You ask someone to rate something and they will do the best they can given their knowledge and experience. And that’s in a vacuum. But when you make that rating system important, segmented, and secret, it creates inbreeding of the worst kind. The authors of these votes are hidden, they cultivate a look and feel for their event, and they want to keep it that way.

After all, that’s what we’ve come to expect.

Someone might say to you, don’t blame the Academy members, they are only voting based on what they know. And I would agree that it’s true that the Academy is working to maintain it’s position whether it’s consciously destructive or not. But that root issue is whether the institution should be allowed to continue to operate the way it does or whether it needs competition and possibly a replacement. Obviously it’s more complex than just wanting one of those outcomes, but change needs to start somewhere.

Because even if we were to overlook the fact that this is an American organization that puts on an award show for films (mostly American films), the United States is made up of more than just Caucasian males, so American movies should be awarded based on a representation of the American population. On the other side of the coin, if you have supported the institution you can’t get mad at it because it’s been defined by it’s public support over the last 87 years.

Think about that for a minute. People watch the show.

Millions of people around the world tune in to watch an American film awards ceremony and complain that it’s flawed. No shit, really? Well we live in a time when democracy, free will, and striving for equality are on everyone’s lips. Subversion and evolution is slow-going, unless enough change happens quickly and at the same time to force a shift in priorities, this won’t change, and we’ll continue to complain about it for decades.

So we have to decide something as individuals. Do we boycott the Oscars? Do we complain about the Oscars on social media and traditional media, through petition? Do we fund organizations that support diversity and quality of film rather than very specific criteria based on opinions dictated by a hidden membership?

Well, shit. I guess you’ve made it this far, so you must want to know what timotheories really thinks about it. We support the rights of representation by population. Organizations should exist to support the majority. Which means that Canadian films should be supported at Canadian awards shows, American films at American ones, and so on, and so forth. What we all should be supporting at the end of February every year is a global award show that showcases the best in film internationally.

So long story short, I think you should watch the Academy Awards, so that you can understand what is wrong with it, and then speak out about it and know what a film awards ceremony should look like. Please also support organizations which are young, so that older institutions like AMPAS have to evolve or die. That’s the only way to see real change.

For you Edmontonians, one way to enjoy this experience is by heading over to Garneau Theatre and joining Metro Cinema as they guest host the event from the comfort of your local independent movie theatre. Metro Cinema is an amazing organization which supports diversity of film and grass roots change is really the best place to start. As I’m sure you already know, dear readers, this event called the Oscars usually takes more than 2-3 hours to complete, so the organizers at the theatre have prepared something special for you to get yourself in the mood and on par with the festivities. Check it out, you just might see me there.

But what do you think? Am I off my rocker? Too much of an idealist, not enough realist? Am I cynical? A white male moron? Please leave some comments and subscribe. I wanna get better.

Those are all of the theories I’ve got for today dear readers, I’ll see you on Sunday with something stimulating!

Tim!

Old School (timotheories presents: Cross Talk)

Do you ever look at all of people who wear shirts with the statement “old school” emblazoned across the front, and shake your head?

I remember a stretch of time when it was a very popular type of slang, especially with people in my generation. It was used to refer to gaming, music, and fashion especially. But pretty much anything that came from another era was subject to the old school moniker when brought up in conversation.

There was even a movie about this idea. And it was conveniently called Old School. At the time that this movie came out, I had just turned 18 years old. And in a fury of wanting to be an adult, participate in adult culture and do adult things, I went to see Old School in the theatre.

At the time, I thought I had hit comedy gold. It was quotable, it was rude, it had nudity, and I was finally part of a club I had wished I was a part of for years. 18 year old Tim was stupid, and I hated his motivations.

Hate is a strong word, and I really really really dislike using it. But it’s true.

I wanted to like old school things, and convey my taste, my wisdom, and my virtue. And I thought that watching a movie about men in their 40s who go back to college to start a fraternity, get drunk and sleep with coeds, was a pathway to this wisdom.

Appropriating without contributing, participating without earning anything.

Hence, I dislike the term “old school.” But that’s just the surface reason, let’s go deeper.

It also seemed to me to be a lazy way of contributing to a conversation without actually offering anything up. Equivalent to when people throw the word fuck around haphazardly or follow every other sentence with it.

The height of the “old school” slang for me was in 2003, when trucker hats were cool.

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But Coolio and LL Cool J were not. Cry me a river right?

B-Real - Hit Em High (ft. Busta Rhymes,Method Man & Coolio) [TV]

Sorry I thought of a quip and wanted to share it.

Anyway, as I mentioned, 2003 was a fun time. With lots of gentrification and appropriation going on in popular culture. We were just starting to define this trend and eventually landed the plane with a term called the hipster.

In this period of time, everyone wanted to address this overwhelming issue of postmodernism embodied in fashion. The hipsters took from every era possible and somehow managed to upset every niche culture in the process.

It was a fashionable form of nihilism and it stuck around for a quite a while.

Nihilism, subversion, and anti-establishment anti-hero types have always existed, but we needed to re-define and send this out into the world ourselves.

And because of the post-modernist movement, hipsterdom moved with the contemporary ideas of the day.

But as we hit the 2010’s, hipsters and attacking everything became faux pas. Or at least I stopped worrying about it myself. You see, I realized, and I think most artists are started to as well, that we need to move past post-modernism if we really want to create anything worthwhile.

Sure it can be fun to deconstruct something and take details away from it, but real joy can only be found in embracing and sharing your vision with the world.

Which is why I think that modern craft is the next big thing in the art world, in the arts, and in popular culture. You see, I have this theory. My theory is that every generation needs to separate itself from the one previous, but because life works in cycles, and we reference what comes before us, children are often the spiritual successors of their grandparents ideas and belief systems.

My parents (and the parents of all generation x and generation y kids) represent ideas of deconstruction, excess, and dichotomies that exist in the  extreme. That’s not to say that they are extremists, but it was a period of carving out and making broad strokes to deal with the world. In anticipation of globalization, the internet, and major issues of human rights.

I think that the next generations focus will be on nuanced issues, on craft, on communication, and on socialization. This is why more and more people are turning to small businesses again, why artwork is becoming about skillfulness again, and why we are tackling social media.

I’m going to end today’s post by offering a promise to you dear readers.

A promise in anticipation of a new year and new challenges! Next year, I am going to unveil a new component of the timotheories mantle called Cross Talk. On Cross Talk, myself and my co-host will be addressing themes we see in film (and eventually other realms)and using those themes to offer you up much needed insights.

It can be a lot of fun to learn about production details, fan theories, and celebrity gossip, but that is not the intent of Cross Talk. Cross Talk promises to be the kind of discussion you would have in a bar or on a couch with your close friends about a topic and provide you with a fresh perspective on a universal storytelling medium!

So stay tuned because we aren’t going to appropriate we are going to celebrate and bring something new to the table!

And that’s all of the theories I have today.

Tim!

 

 

Holy Subversion, Art, Man! (Campbell Wallace, Finding Balance)

This October 18th weekend, prepare to get DECIMATED! timotheories proudly presents, Holy Subversion, Art, Man! Only available on timotheories.com and youtube.com/user/timotheories! Featuring all your favourite taboo subjects –

Life fulfillment!

Exploring the unfamiliar!

Breaking the rules!

Sacred things!

Dealing with Postmodernism!

And don’t miss the second-ever video interview conducted for this website! IT’S FREE! The first 100 people to subscribe to the channel get an autographed picture of Tim and 30 minutes of screen time to discuss whatever arts related theories they want!

Subscribe to my blog at the bottom of the page! And on my Youtube channel!

Subscribing gets you a seat, but you’ll only need the EEEEEDGE!

Sunday!! Sunday!! Sunday!!

This October 18th weekend!

Read it or beat it!

Air_Sabu_-_Rhyno's_Head_About_to_go_Through_Table

Well, it looks like the time has finally arrived for me to share with you my newest, shiniest and most fine art driven interview to date. Folks, I am quite literally shaking in my office chair at the prospect of sharing this one with you. I introduced Campbell Wallace to you, albeit briefly, last week, but am incredibly nervous and proud of this one.

I think you need to take a look at his website before you watch this interview though. I’ll wait here, while you are searching another corner of the internet.

Done? Good.

Looking at his paintings, his interest in the details and nuances of life drew me to his work pretty much immediately. But I will admit that it also challenged me too. Cam doesn’t just make party paintings from found photographs, he pours everything into them. From art history, to modern relics of culture, to concepts of identity and value, all of these qualities exist in his paintings.

When you speak to him, you quickly realize that the reason why his art is capable of acknowledging all of these various layers simultaneously is because whether it is all obvious or not, you’re getting an opportunity to look into his head.

And so I decided that it would beneficial for you to have that opportunity too. From reality TV, to emojis, to dignitaries, Cam and I had a very nice conversation about finding balance in life and I really think he has some great ideas there.

So here it is, my interview with Campbell Wallace. And for you rebels, it’s here too.

Dear readers you are seriously in for a treat. But don’t take my word for it, check it out!

Well its time for me to mosey along. The sun has set and the cows have come home, enjoy these theories, soak them in. And please send me your thoughts. I love comments and emails.

And of course my sincerest thanks to Cam for being candid, clever, and incredibly compassionate.

Tim!