Summer CD Reviews

Johanna Poppel

Doug Stanhope  “Oslo - Burning the Bridge to Nowhere”
Doug Stanhope “Oslo - Burning the Bridge to Nowhere”

Doug Stanhope “Oslo – Burning the Bridge to Nowhere”

Doug Stanhope has been a stand-up comedian since 1990.

He has appeared on “The Howard Stern Show” and “Comedy Central Presents” and has performed at many major comedy festivals.

He started his career in Las Vegas doing crude jokes for free drinks, and today, not much has changed. The substance he uses for jokes at the beginning of his “Oslo – Burning the Bridge to Nowhere” comedic album ranges from jabs at former President George W. Bush to Norway’s royal family.

Most of his stand-up is derived from his travels. His humor is mean, brutally honest, and he doesn’t hold back.

Stanhope opens with humor about foreign mishaps in Norway, where his recording takes place.

He is very opinionated, vulgar and his act is all about social criticism in which he makes fun of subjects ranging from politicians to tourists.

His crudeness sometimes outweighs his laughs. Stanhope never hesitates to use curse words and crude and graphic language regarding sex, culture and race.

His humor demeans women and makes fun of political regulations in which he claims a woman’s uterus is a much greater pollutant than anything else.

Having a child is the worst thing you could do for the environment according to the comedian.

If racist and sexist jokes easily offend you, then stay away from Stanhope.

On the other hand if you find pride in being an American, and appreciate people making fun of other cultures, then go for it.

Nonetheless, he was honest and did give me a few chuckles.

Rating: C

The Sounds “Something to Die For”
The Sounds “Something to Die For”

The Sounds “Something to Die For”

The Sounds is an electronic Swedish band that got together in 1999 in Stockholm.

Known for synthesizer-heavy sounds and ‘80s rock-inspired tunes, their music inspiration is reminiscent of Blondie with its poppy sounds and female-driven vocals.

I have been listening to The Sounds for quite some time and have always found their songs fun and powerful with a good beat to dance to.

I find their past hits a lot better than the current “Something To Die For” CD.

I felt that the music sounded very similar to their previous releases and it was neat hearing a familiar, yet fresh, sound from a solid band.

”Something To Die For” opens with the track, “It’s So Easy,” an upbeat techno dance beat, harking back to the popular ‘70s band “Styx.”

The album’s second song, “Dance with the Devil,” is a rock song with a driven chant throughout. Songs of rebellion and love hardships linger throughout the album, but “Something to Die for” is the most popular.

The vocals range from tough, rebellious chanting to sweet and slow ballads. With lyrics such as, “You gotta trust me and hold on, we gotta slow down baby, cause we’re still young, but we are getting older, our hearts are still warm, but they are getting colder,” in the song “The Best of Me.” The last song, “Wish You Were Here” ends the album with a soft acoustic ballad, showing that The Sounds can incorporate a smorgasbord of musical talent.

The distinct sound of The Sounds kept me yearning for more. I recommend this CD to anyone who loves good electronic dance music and is looking to discover a fun, foreign alternative band.

Rating: A

The Belle Brigade: “The Belle Brigade”
The Belle Brigade: “The Belle Brigade”

The Belle Brigade: “The Belle Brigade”

The Belle Brigade is an alternative Los Angeles band consisting of brother and sister songwriting duo Ethan and Barbara Gruska.

The Belle Brigade’s self-titled debut album kicks off with “Sweet Louise,” an indie acoustic song with country flair.

“Sweet Louise” is sweet, upbeat and soulful with lyrics like, “I just fell in love and I couldn’t help myself.”

The opening track makes you want to clap your hands and hold your head up high.

The album’s most popular song, “Losers,” is a soft rock song that resonates a positive and motivating message.

“Where Not To Look For Freedom” picks up the pace with a faster-moving beat with outbursts of loud, passionate vocals.

“Belt of Orion” has a country/folk-influenced introduction that mellows out into easier listening.

The song “Shirt” offers a break in the album, including a soft acoustic introduction that progresses into faster and stronger lyrics.

Later on in the album, “Lonely Lonely” contains lyrics with a sense of softness and sadness: “I gave everything I had to my lover, it’s no wonder people felt that I disappeared, and at the end of the day all I had for myself, were my own lonesome tears.”

The Belle Brigade’s three remaining tracks echo sounds from earlier in the album, and then, “Fasten You to Me” is a delicate slow song featuring Barbara’s vocals.

I would recommend The Belle Brigade to anyone who enjoys rock, country and acoustic music or is open to listening to something diverse and upbeat.

Rating: B

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