Rock & Roll Report Card

Tickle Me Pink
Tickle Me Pink
Bloc Party
Bloc Party

C- (62%)
Tickle Me Pink
Madeline
Wind-up Records

This summer, the alternative band Tickle Me Pink released their debut album Madeline. I would never have guessed from their happy orange album cover that the music inside would be the same angst-filled music I’ve encountered so many times before. Listening to the album, it was all so familiar in content and general sound, it hardly felt like I was listening to a new band for the first time. There were no distinctive features to the music, the lyrics are depressing or self-deprecating, and the sounds are overdone. There are recurring themes of regret and sorrow that are so redundant that they have lost all meaning.

Even the vocals sounded like your factory-processed rock band. The two vocalists for the band, Sean Kennedy and Steven Beck, drift between melancholy singing and a-little-too-angry screamo. This isn’t to say that they are necessarily bad—they are just horribly, horribly unoriginal. It’s the type of music that could go unnoticed in the background of a low-budget movie about college, just to get the atmosphere. Some tunes are admittedly catchy at the chorus, such as “Typical” or “The Time is Wrong,” but on the whole, the music is flat. That being said, I must also note that Madeline is just the first album, and there is room to grow into a unique sound in later releases. Better luck next time, guys.

— Nikita Shah

A- (80%)
Bloc Party
Intimacy
Vice

Bloc Party received criticism for their last album on claims that they were going “soft.” True, their third album, Weekend in the City, did not have the same edge as the first two, but the new emotional connection is a nice change of pace. Bloc Party had to respond to an unexpected audience of rebellious 14-year-olds who latched onto their life-ain’t-fair style. But although Bloc Party temporarily lost themselves in adherence to teenage angst, they have found their place again with their newest album Intimacy.

Aspects of Intimacy are certainly melodramatic. The opening song “Ares” is clichéd in its effort to sound chaotically confused with the state of the world. In it, lead singer Kele Okereke pushes too hard to pitch himself as a victim of stardom and overemphasizes biblical allusions. Yet while the raw emotion might go overboard at times, that’s exactly the point. Intimacy is an emotional rollercoaster; it’s a break-up record. If you disagree, take a look at the album’s cover. It features interlocked lips that are a little too close for comfort, but definitely indicate the naked confession you’re in for. This truth pours out in “Signs.” In this lament over a dead lover, jewelry-box chimes wade in nostalgic, childlike simplicity. This mystic beauty also matches the vocals that whisper secrets to the lost lover. It’s pure, bare human experience perfect for lying in bed between dreams.

At the same time, Bloc Party accompanies the soft and sensitive with some old and new elements. Their original British-punk style is revived in tracks such as “Better than Heaven.” Rife with passionate percussion and eerie electric guitar, it builds up into a rift that brings back the sharp, unrestrained precision of their first album. Further dynamism is brought to the album in experimentation with a catchy, electro vibe reminiscent of the MSTRKFT remixes of their previous album.

Intimacy will not be a let-down for any devoted Bloc Party fan. It’s raw, it’s emotional and it’s a good combination between old, sappy and new.

At the end of the day, if you want to mull over life and blow off some steam, this heart-wrenching album is a happy blend of anger, hurt and confusion.

—Chloe Campion

B+ 77%
Pink
Funhouse
Arista

After recently divorcing motocross racer Carey Hart, Pink returns with her fifth studio album entitled Funhouse, incorporating her most angry and vulnerable songs to date. The first single “So What” has already become a number-one hit on the Billboard Hot 100 charts and exhibits Pink’s tough-girl image by referring to her breakup with the line “Guess I just lost my husband/I don’t know where he went” and calling her ex-husband “a tool.”

It isn’t only pent up anger that Alecia Moore shows her fans, but a full array of emotions, especially in the artists’ favourite song “I Don’t Believe You” where Pink is open about her heartbreak, singing about how she does not believe her lover has left her for good and claims he went back on his promise to love her forever. Another song dealing directly with the divorce is “Crystal Ball,” which was recorded in only one take before being finalized. It’s not about being perfect or polished, but about true emotion, establishing the uncertainty of what the future holds for her. Staying true to form, Pink also has multiple opinionated tracks commenting on our society’s unwanted persuasions in “Bad Influences” and describing an acid trip in “One Foot Wrong.”

With a mixture of raw, emoted ballads and several power-house hits, is one of Pink’s best albums and by far her most personal, showing a side of Alecia Moore that the world has rarely seen.

— Cassandre Cadieux

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