The Corporate Buzzwords You NEED to Know

As helpful as they might be, career-building websites are not the end-all, be-all of career information. I mean, when’s the last time any of the people writing for them had a stable job? As a holder of three separate part-time jobs, I think I’ve got the true “lowdown” on the current corporate slang. Here’s a handy list of buzzwords to use and impress your next potential employer.

Bespoke: Be the spoke of a bicycle; it’s essentially a new way to say “act like a cog in the machine”, but updated with the modern invention of the bike in mind.

Data: an art form that expresses the meaninglessness in everything; commonly, someone will say “big data” to identify themselves as big fans of data.

Mindshare: mind sharing that food, information, whatever; classic contraction of two overused words, like “don’t” or “can’t”.

Paid social: paying somebody in words; whenever your boss can’t scrounge up the funds to pay you, they’ll commonly say they’re “paying social” and will then lecture you for an hour about how to get money in other ways; I’ve had this happen a lot to me.

Fleet Dynamism: move your fleet (aka car) out of the way; you know how in high school the principal would say on the announcements that someone needs to move their 1970s Camry? That’s this, but it’s coming from someone who pays you, so actually follow it.

Impact: I’m making a pact; common way to say you got a contract done with someone.

Paradigm: a pair of dimes; when something is cheap, someone will describe the price as a paradigm.

Skrrtred: synergistic trend; an adjective for when times are going well.

Qprnvis: biannual jumble; a common practice every couple of years where everyone is fired and then rehired.

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Hopefully you’re already so in-touch with business culture (or bizcult as the cool kids say) that none of these words came as a surprise, but it’s never too late to learn. Happy job hunting!

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Brainstorming the September Holiday

September has a bad reputation: the weather (theoretically) gets colder, school starts again, and the infamous band Green Day does not want to be woken up during it. I believe that the only thing that can salvage this oft-forgotten month is a new hallmark holiday. No, not a Hallmark holiday, designed only to sell cards. But a hallmark holiday designed to bring some spring to fall’s step.

Pride Day: They say “pride goeth before the fall”, so obviously this holiday would come around on September 21st. The vagueness of the word “pride” allows any group or corporation to easily co-opt the day. Plus, the word pride is not connected to any other movement whatsoever. However, the biblical crowd would be unhappy to see a deadly sin celebrated, so let’s try something more religious.

Judas’ Birthday: The timespan of 8 or 9 months between Easter and Christmas is simply too long. We need another major Christian celebration to get the crowd into September. Everyone loves Judas and no one actually knows when Judas was born, so we can just say it was in September. The Lady Gaga crowd will eat this up, as well. Really, I think this one is a surefire hit, but I’ve got others.

septEMBER: Keep September sizzling with a week-long celebration of decorative fires all over the nation. The only thing that will burn brighter in septEMBER is the bright passion of young couples, ready to “fall” in love again. Too forced? Alright, we’ll go for the crowd pleaser.

Valentine’s Day 2: Self-explanatory.

Lucky 7 Month: “Sept” actually means seven, not nine. Therefore, it is the true lucky #7 month, and we should encourage the nation to gamble to cash in on that luck. Unfortunately, people might say it is a moral outrage to do so, since casinos are looked down upon for some reason. I guess it’s a better bet to use some fake “awareness of health” holiday instead.

Appendix Cancer Awareness Month: Two words: NFL tie-ins. Alright, that may actually be 4 words. I looked at the other 11 months and none of them were raising awareness of this very real and deadly disease. I think this is a surefire hit destined to boost September’s reputation, but if you’re still not convinced, I have a slam-dunk of a holiday.

Oktoberfest: Now, I know this holiday has the word “October” in it, but hear me out. October already has Halloween, a staple American holiday. They don’t need another staple. Why don’t we just move Oktoberfest to Sept-hold up. I’m being told that Oktoberfest is actually celebrated in September and is already over. …well, that solves our problem. I’m going to get drunk. Peace.

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Why “Freshman” Is More Progressive Than “First-Year”

Colleges, especially ones deemed “liberal”, have started a trend of renaming “freshmen” to “first-years”. They always give some vague reasons about how “first-year isn’t reinforcing the patriarchy” or “freshman uses the word fresh which is copyrighted by Subway”. And, frankly, I think this shift is ruining the college vernacular. For example, it’s no longer the “freshman forty”; it’s now the “first-year forty”. Furthermore, I believe that freshman is a more progressive term than first-year, and using the classic 5-paragraph English essay style I learned as a high school freshman, I will explain.

Topic sentence 1: Freshman is more progressive since the term denotes an actual person. Yes, I know it is a gendered “man” that is implied, but what the heck is a first-year? Sounds like a corporate buzzword rather than a person to me.

Moving right along without any transitions, because that’s how progressive I am. Topic sentence #2: the term first-year is literally stuck in the past. It refers to either 1 B.C. or 1 A.D, plain and simple. But with freshmen, every crop of them is fresh, as in new or exciting. You want to use an exclamation mark after “freshman”! First-year deserves ellipses…

Finally, no matter what Skidmore or other liberal arts colleges say, as long as high schools use the term “freshman”, it’s going to be impossible to fix. And since high school teaches younger people, it is more emblematic of the future and therefore more progressive than a liberal arts college.

In conclusion, my thesis that “freshman” is more progressive than “first-year” is correct. Now please allow me to pass the state tests so I can move up with to the sophomore class like I should be.

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Q & A &… X???

Boss, Q&A are back again. Again? How many freaking mix CDs can these knuckleheads make? This is apparently their tenth. It’s got to cost a lot of money to buy the albums for their stock, then more money to make and distribute these CDs, and even more to advertise it on blogs like us. Actually, the advertising here is extremely cheap, hence why they always choose us. Wait, how much are we charging? We pay others $10 to advertise on our blog since we need them to boost our ratings, not the other way around. Great, now I’m depressed again. Just let those idiots take over. I’ll go count my money. Sir, you know there’s only $20 in our coffers. And you’re not getting any of it. I’ve been heavily advised “don’t take the money” already.

Hey, A. What is it, Q? I’ve been re-reading our past press releases for inspiration, and I saw we have some form of introductory catchphrase. Is this anything like our “secret high-five” that changes every time? No! And I admit that I screwed up last time and it was my turn to cover my eyes. Get over it. Why don’t you open your eyes and see that I’m crying? We’ll get to that song later, just give me a little of your love. Restart.

We’re not going to do any more restarts. That was the last releases gimmick. We’ve recycled gimmicks before. I remember when “Love,” was going to be the only narrative mix CD. Not my fault last year sucked for music. Yeah, the guy from Black Out Band died in a car crash. That’s messed up. Yeah, 2016… not a great year all in all. I agree though we should just get into the album.

So, the new mix is titled “X”. No, the “x” does not symbolize kisses–though you do absolutely wish that you’d get some of those soon. I’m going to give you an x, and cross you the heck out. Oh don’t be cross with me or this relationship will all be for nought. Ugh. No, X is the Roman numeral for ten, and this is our tenth mix CD. Man, I feel so old now. What year is it? Uh, it’s a metaphor for life. I’m glad you stopped saying that catchphrase. I’m glad we made another great mix CD. This one is a lot like The Fifth; lots of high energy synthrock. The Fifth is probably the most underrated mix CD we’ve put out, I’m glad we made a sequel. At the same time, it’s a lot like Lorde’s Hymns with the artists on it, and it accidentally has sort of a narrative like Love, and Paris. And I bet it’s “accidentally” a rom-com plot line. No, it’s a tragedy! Like Paris! Like your real life. Oh, enough of that, let’s begin.

J-Boy – Phoenix

This isn’t even close to a tragic song! The acronym spells out “Just Because of You” which is a highly-suggestive phrase of love! Uh, I highly suggest you to… I don’t have a response. The first half of the album is love songs, I admit. But the second half is tragic songs! I don’t see any Greek tragedies anywhere on the tracklisting. Regardless, we can agree this is a great Phoenix track, right? Yeah, I’ve heard it a bunch after you put it on my Summer ’17 playlist. Good stuff. Now that we’ve got your attention, will you ask for more? Please stop awkwardly putting in song lyrics. Just give me a shot! Great transition.

Shot at the Night – The Killers

I wanted to put in a Killers song from Battle Born on this album, but nothing quite fit. I almost put in Heart of a Girl–but that’d be too on the nose, huh? I don’t know what that means. Come on, think about it. Wrong band. I didn’t put in Heart of a Girl in the end since this song does the job better. Yeah, it’s synthrock with a synth hook which is almost basically every song on here, like J-Boy, for instance. It’s also just fun. No, Bleachers was part of fun. You’re no fun. Just give me a little of your love and I’ll try. Try a better line. Oh, that was a transition. Whoops.

Little of Your Love – Haim

This is the only “pure” rock song on the mix. Not a lot of synths to be found. Actually, the Haim sisters are genius mixers, so there’s plenty of stuff going on that is found on electronica. Like the opening sample! That’s a little off-putting, not going to lie. But a little of love goes a long way to making a good mix. Uh, let’s get married? Now you’re pushing it.

Let’s Get Married – Bleachers

Sit down, breathe, and just listen. Yeah, not much else to say about this. It’s a fun synthrock track. Oh god, we’re four songs in and we’re already out of things to say? Why do we do this? You always panic like this and we always-oh, only four in? Oh gods, that’s bad. I know! Unlike this song! That’s something we’d always say, right? Uh, yeah! Just like my ex! Oh, come on. We’re not even to the tragic half. Of our duo, you’re definitely the tragic half. Aw, thanks-wait. I mean that… on my heart.

On My Heart – School of Seven Bells

Here are some actual synths, returning after a two song absence. Synthly unbelievable. …that doesn’t even sound close to “simply”. Synthly unbelievable. Saying it again doesn’t make it good. Pointing out bad writing doesn’t make it good. I’m giving you the look. That’s a Metronomy song, which you cut two of for room for songs like these. Nice transition. I couldn’t believe you saved this blog post like that. Synthly unbelievable.

Couldn’t Believe – Broods

More synth stuff. The line “you burn the wood, you burn the wood, you burn the woo-ood” always makes me laugh. Speaking of, I hope the other A is doing alright with his woodcutting. He said he only had the toughest, knottiest wood left to cut. Oh, that’s just pure class right there. Cutting out of our blog post to talk about someone else’s woodcutting? Sorry, it’s just way more interesting than talking about music people could be listening to instead of reading this. Just tell me I’m so dang perfect. That’s not the actual lyrics! There’s a swear there!

I’m Perfect – Passion Pit

I know, I know. But still, gotta transition. This is the first half of a couplet of songs. Both have perfect in the title and swear in the chorus. It’s perfect synergy. Synthergy. Good band name. Thinking about it, I think so too. Always weird when the instinctive one-liners turn out to be good. All these nights spent off our faces trying to find these perfect places and we may have found the perfect place… with each other. Aww. Wait, we forgot to say anything about this song. It’s perfect.

Perfect Places – Lorde

Someone said this song was a sequel to Team by Lorde, and I guess that’s accurate. I kinda like Team a bit more, but this song is fun too. It’s got that bombastic chorus and some great synth work. Good part of a summer soundtrack. A bit too meta to listen to without thinking as the sound may make it seem, but good. It’s got a lot of summer warmth, huh? Alright, some of these haven’t been forced, but that’s really obvious. Never the good with you, just the bad and the ugly?

Warmth – Bastille

I can’t stop thinking about it, but I’ll do nothing about it. Perfect Places is the first song where whatever couple in this mix CD starts seeing cracks in their relationship. Warmth is an attempt for them to rekindle what they had. You burn the wood–whoops, wrong song. Anyway, it’s good to see another Bastille song. Wild World got the short end of the stick when we used only one track from it for Paris. On the bright side, if we need nice sounding 3 minute mix CD filler, there’s like 18 other songs we haven’t used yet from that album for it. Hey, nothing here is filler. Very true. If it was, someone would’ve paid us to use their song. And we don’t take the money.

Don’t Take the Money – Bleachers

Another track from my Summer ’17 mix that you put on there. Another very good synthrock track. Isn’t it? It also has synergy with Warmth as both start with a vocal sample. That’s stretching this synergy thing. They’re more a couple in sound and speed. Both fast and fun songs. Yeah. And now that you’re gone and your summer ’17 playlist is gone with you, I can only find your tracklist when I call you on the telefono. We did not think this gimmick through. Can we go back to our “no gimmicks” era? That mix sucked, though.

Telefono – Phoenix

Unlike this song! Phoenix at #11, I’m in heaven. Is it bad policy to write “lol” after one of your own scripted bits? Yes. Just like it’s bad policy for the girl to take the dang money and go to Hollywood after these two went to Rome and all over! Yeah, this song does great “world building”. Lot of intimate details come out during the hypnotic synthrock that shows this relationship is going down. You’re right: this love won’t last forever.

Last Forever – The Naked and Famous

This takes me back to Lorde’s Hymns, the last time The Naked and Famous made it. Yeah, but that song was actually popular, so how on earth did you find this random track off their newest and least popular album? Well, I was in Paris and–and Comic-Con girl told you the name of the song as she was crying during her phone call to you on the last day? Dang it, A, you know none of that story GZ made was real! Just like this relationship’s chances to make it. Oh, and it’s a good song, in case anyone was wondering. Yeah, great party song. …huh? I missed my cue? Oh, sorry. *reads cue cards* But this is not a party, it’s a blog post. Great joke. I try.

This is Not a Party – The Wombats

It also isn’t a hurricane. This band name reminds me, you wore the same green shirt with “wombats” on it for three days straight. That was NOT the same shirt. I have three different green shirts that say wombats on them. That’s almost more embarrassing. Regardless, anyone can see that this relationship is really going downhill. I somehow paced this pretty well, if I do say so myself. And the girl actually speaks a lot in comparison to your other narrative CDs. I can only hope that my critics will realize that this time. They’re still living in the pools of your mistakes. Stop firing at the crazies.

The Currents – Bastille

I can’t believe Bastille asked you to help them write lyrics. Do you even know what year it is? Great lyric. Makes me laugh. This mix owns. Makes you laugh, makes you cry, it does it all. I think you’re the only person that laughs or cries at this. I’m gonna make you cry if you don’t say good things about this song. Alright, it’s another well-made Bastille song. Fun and fast. The opening strings remind me of a “great” Good Charlotte song. Oh, god. Cover my eyes electric blue before I see that name again. Awesome transition.

Electric Blue – Arcade Fire

People will forever question you for leaving off Everything Now in favor of this off-putting “jam” from Arcade Fire’s new album. I really hope I make enough of an impact for people to criticize this move a day after this is posted. If people still can’t let it go twenty years from now I’d be so ecstatic. Good point. Haters are truly the mark of something good. Too bad your mixes are too good there are no haters of them anywhere. I hate days like this, when you remind me how obscure we are. So you hate every day then? No, when it rains.

Rain – MIKA

That reminds me, it hasn’t rained much lately. It’s been summer for three months, dude. And you can’t spell summer without “rain”. I still think that was a cool catchphrase. It was as cool as your other catchphrases, so not at all. I wish that I could be like–stop, there’s no Echosmith here. Not all the bands from Lorde’s Hymns have returned. You’re right they come back in September. Ugh, wake me up when September ends. Oh, and this song is good. Another bombastic chorus sung with someone with too high a voice, like Electric Blue. Another great couplet, unlike this couple. They’re just waiting for the green light to move on.

Green Light – Lorde

And there it is! You know, I really hadn’t realized how much the “girl” talks on this. There’s only one last song from the guy’s perspective and he talks about how much he missed being with her. It really is a tragedy. Your “writing”, I mean. I didn’t write the lyrics! But you did put them in an order. Uh, order? I hardly know her! See what I mean about this guy’s catchphrases? Awful. Just like this guy. Trying to convince someone he loves the beach? That line does make me laugh. I guess you’re right, this mix CD can make people laugh. But definitely not cry. Couples break up and then later think they had something together all the time. But it’s never happened to me. Well then, go find it in silence.

Found it in Silence – Haim

Gotta say, the lack of guitars in this Haim song makes it far more attuned to the rest of the synth songs on here. Especially that space-y synth three-quarters in.I screwed up the ordering, this really should’ve been after Rain. The lyrics make a whole lot more sense to this narrative. Or did you purposely order it this way so people would truly believe you didn’t mean to make another narrative mix CD? Makes you think. Again, if anyone makes any conspiracy theory of any one of our mix CDs, I’d be very happy for objective proof these mean something to someone else. I just wish people would stop saying “I miss those days” when talking about our first mix CD. Man, you really reached on that. But I made it. Unlike this relationship.

I Miss Those Days – Bleachers

In an odd twist, the guy seems like the one who is more over it with songs like this. He was lost, but he kind of misses those days he was lost with her. It’s a nice tragic sentiment that shows he can heal. So can I, when I’m listening to songs this good! What are you even healing from? Felicity, man. Felicity. Oh, she’s just a Memoly now. No one will ever, ever, ever, ever, ever get either of those jokes. Unless they just open their-oh dang, that doesn’t quite fit. Uh, open your eyes, A, everyone definitely gets all of our funny jokes. I’m feeling the fire still. Did not notice that synergy with Couldn’t Believe until now. Man, this is why we’re a team.

Open Your Eyes – School of Seven Bells

This song is kinda odd since the girl is telling the guy his behavior has got him crying. Which makes sense, since keeps lying about how much he “loves” the beach to another girl. That is pretty bad. It’s also bad that the girl wants him back since he can’t stop lying about beaches and burning stuff. But she’s been waiting so patiently for him to come back to her! You know, this is great validation for me. The stereotype always is that guys can’t get over heartbreak, and we’ve got the girl having that problem. Bitter validation. I’d rather everyone be happy. Sometimes, even if you do everything right in your head, you’ll just end up with your heart cut. Supercut.

Supercut – Lorde

This had to be the closer for practical reasons. The outtro is just too long. But it turned into a great closer for story reasons. The girl sees their entire relationship flash before her eyes which the other 76 minutes on the CD have been all about. All the love they had and lost. All the magic they gave off. And it’s just a supercut. You know what? I’ve convinced myself this is the best narrative mix we’ve ever made. Great job, chief. On both mixing and convincing yourself. Man, if I could make money persuading myself, I’d be rich as heck. Too bad you have no money to pay yourself. Well, I can always pay myself in kindness. And in mix CDs.

So there you have it, number ten is on the shelves. Now, you’ve said “this might be the last one” since Coldplay announced retirement two years ago. Since they’re actually going to retire from making music after Kaleidoscope, is this actually our final mix? I don’t actually have a strong enough love of Coldplay to keep that conviction. With new Echosmith and Wild Cub coming out next month, there will probably be a next mix CD in four months. But “four” now, ten is good? That joke gets a big X, but my answer is a big O. Is that a yes? Yes.

If there’s an eleventh, we better not use our $20 to advertise it. That comment indicates that you’ve actually read these 2500 words. I’m the editor, I can’t not read something that’s going up on our blog. You said “our”! I’m so flattered. Are we as close as Q&A now? Sure. And does that mean I get half the money? Definitely not. I really wish we had more jokes than about money. Uh, don’t take the money? We’ve come full circle. But the mix CD was called X!

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Tremendous Sea of Love

The title of my second-favorite band has been passed around a bit. At first, it was definitely The Black Keys. Then, they faded out to Passion Pit. Then Bombay Bicycle Club hit me with three great albums, and they took it. Then Passion Pit re-took it with Kindred. But after both this and Michael’s “Merry Christmas, Mr. Fields” album, that title is going to The 1975. Michael Angelkos’ first three albums under Passion Pit were all great; however, these last two albums have made me lose some confidence in him. It sounds harsh, but that just means he’s like my third or fourth favorite artist. It’s not like I hate Passion Pit now. I still love Gossamer. It’s just that he doesn’t quite have the golden touch anymore.

There’s a lot of external reasons for Passion Pit’s slight steps back. I won’t get into any of them, other than to tell you that Tremendous Sea of Love wasn’t released as a CD or on streaming services for three or four months due to Michael’s frustrations with the music industry. There’s a lot more to the story than that, but that’s as far as I’ll go. So, during those four months, the only way to have access to these ten songs was to retweet one of Passion Pit’s pro-mental health tweets and then tweet your email address at the account using the hashtag #weneedscience. The first wave of sound files (hah, “wave”) went to only 60 people. I was one of those sixty. So, just like when I got The 1975’s last album 3 days early, I felt very special. I probably should’ve reviewed this album then, but it didn’t inspire me enough to the same way ILWYSFYASBYSUOI did.

Part of the reason for that is Michael deliberately left these songs “unfinished”. He had all the basic melodies and ideas in his head before recording, sure. However, he spent only a day mastering each track once he recorded it. It’s the first album since Chunk of Change that the man has mastered alone, and the mastering is fine-to-good. The problem is that the songs are purposely offbeat and “less-than-perfect”. Michael also stated that he purposely avoided making too perfect of songs since he felt they made his music predictable. He ends up with ten very unpredictable tracks, but is that a good thing? Not really.

The album starts with a minute long instrumental called Moonbeam. It’s the first of three instrumentals. It’s the best since it’s the shortest, but it’s also kind of fun. A bit manic for an instrumental, which makes it fun. Somewhere Up There is the first real track with Michael’s voice. It was also the first song off the album revealed by Michael way back in February. It’s a sweeping 7 minute track with three distinct movements. If there’s one thing I like about this album more than other Passion Pit albums, it’s Michael’s sincerity in delivery. He sings every word with meaning, and that’s great. I just wish the tracks were a bit better. The first four minutes of these seven are fun, but the odd speaking samples of his friend and his mom don’t make for good music. They make for interesting music, yes, but not good.

Hey K is a pretty good track. All the mixing works well, with every new sample and filter given time to make its mark before giving way to another. The piano comes in crisp and sounds great. The chorus is fantastically romantic. And the finale with the rhythm change works here, unlike on the marathon of Somewhere Up There. You Have the Right is another pretty good track. Before the chorus comes in, it doesn’t even sound like a Passion Pit song. There’s just bass, drums, and some background piano. Lovely sound. Its lyrics conflict with Hey K’s, though. Here, Michael croons “no, love’s not an answer” after Hey K was quite clear that “love is the answer and the one design”. Who knows how Michael really feels???

Tremendous Sea of Love is another instrumental. It’s the longest of the three. 4 minutes of synthesized waves going back and forth. It’s not relaxing enough to listen to for going to bed, and it’s not exciting enough for Passion Pit, so it’s an awkward track. Inner Dialogue is the last instrumental. I like it. The synths for the “hook” make me think of Donkey Kong Country’s sea levels. No one who reads this will think the same, but no one is reading up to this point anyway.

I’m Perfect is the album’s best track, in my opinion. It’s a short two minute track that gets to the point: just tell me I’m so dang perfect, and tell me all the time. Fun, fast, free. This is what Passion Pit does best at. Catchy melodies with very singable choruses. The Undertow follows up and slows things back down. I love the sound of whatever synthesizer he used for the melody. Not as big of a fan of the vocal filter, or the odd “air” current in the background. This song returns to the love debate: “we know what we need”, Michael says, “a love concrete”. Don’t actually love concrete, though.

To The Otherside brings the piano back in a big way. I think it’s the prettiest song on the album. There’s almost no filter on Michael’s voice, and it allows his sincerity to come through as he sings beautiful lines like “wish you knew I still love you”. It proves that whatever new direction Michael wants to go to with music can and will still be good. It’ll just take time for me to come to terms with one of my favorite songwriters changing the way he writes songs.

Finally, the album ends with For Sondra (It Means the World). It’s a mini-Somewhere Up There. This time, the first two movements are instrumental. It starts with piano plunking that sounds like rain before going to a classic synth buildup that gives way to… Michael on an acoustic singing high? Kinda out of left field. It’s a very personal song for his former wife and that’s cute. It just isn’t that great of a song. To The Otherside was a fine closer.

I mentioned off-hand that Passion Pit put out a Christmas album. It was actually a video album, like Beyonce’s last couple of releases. You can become one of the only 8.7 thousand people who have watched it by looking below:

I myself never watched it, I only bought the soundtrack. It’s fifteen songs, all written by Michael but not in the style of Passion Pit. Instead, he only uses real instruments to craft the soundtrack to the bizarre play. If you don’t watch, here’s a summary: a nightclub in Paris during WWII=time is having another usual day of entertaining. The main attraction of the club, a girl, fights for Mr. Fields’, the boss, attention. Or something like that. And kids from a Boston elementary arts school do the acting. Very weird.

Overall, the album is a pretty Christmas album. It has all the usual instrumental trappings of those types of albums, such as constant sleigh bells and all piano (no forte). Looking at the tracklist, all the songs that aren’t instrumental are actually quite good. Evergreen is a bit whiny, but other than that, the rest are nice. The problem is half of the other songs are instrumental, so it’s really only 7 good songs. They’re good enough to give a try. Stained Glass Windows is the predictor for whether you’ll like the rest of the album, but I think Weather the Storm or Footprints in the Snow are my favorite tracks.

Just like with my Coldplay review yesterday, I led off writing this with a much more negative opinion than I have at the end. Passion Pit isn’t my second favorite band anymore, but I can still crank Gossamer anytime I want to harken back to those times. I’m sure whatever Michael produces in the future will still be good even if it’s not what I want.

Speaking of what I want, where is the dang Pale Waves album. Where is it.

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I can’t stay mad at Coldplay. I’ll be honest, the Kaleidoscope EP is the worst release the band has made to date. The five songs on it are of a lower quality than any other EP or album put out by the band. That said, it’s still freaking Coldplay. And they’re the greatest band of all time.

This EP has been out since mid-July, but the CD release hadn’t happened until today. That means all five songs have been on streaming services for a month, and yet you’re here reading a month-late review from a big Coldplay fan to see what I thought? I’m flattered.

The EP opens with All I Can Think About Is You. It’s the quietest track on the album. It’s also the most interesting, as the rest of the EP is bright and poppy. This has some minor darkness to it with a good bassline. The filter on Chris’s voice adds some depth to his normal perfect choir-boy sound. Really, it’s probably the best track on the EP. Especially when that ending comes. The song comes out of the basement and into the light for a real “rock and roll” crescendo and close.

Perhaps my favorite song is what follows. It’s Coldplay’s second track titled “Miracles” (the first was for Unbroken’s soundtrack and is a great song). If there’s a throughline on this album, it’s that Coldplay is pro-immigration and diversity. This inspirational song speaks to those immigrants or second-generation kids out there who might be down. It’s a lovely message from the always-progressive band. It also just sounds great. It’s essentially Coldplay’s version of The Script’s Hall of Fame, right down to the rap. Big Sean drops the best verse on a Coldplay track since Jay-Z’s on Lost+… which is the only other rap on a Coldplay track. Unless you count Frank Ocean’s cover of Strawberry Swing. Regardless, Miracles (Someone Special) is just great.

A L I E N S is the other song about immigration. This time, it’s from the perspective of recent migrants just saying they want to get back home. Naturally, the YouTube comments on the music video are full of jerks saying “no they want to steal our country”. Putting that aside, this song has a bunch of neat sounds and samples. The main guitar sounds cool, and I love the constant outer-space synths. The strings also make pretty sounds. I just don’t think it comes quite together as it should. The ending is a bit weak. It’s a good song, though.

I’ve already reviewed Something Just Like This here: The version of it that comes on this EP is a live recording from Coldplay’s performance in Tokyo. It adds unneeded energy to an already very loud, very energetic song. It’s still just The Chainsmokers with Coldplay dressing. It’s fine.

The album ends with Hypnotised (British spelling) which is by far the worst track on the EP. The band already made two songs that sound exactly like it: Gravity, and Proof. This track covers no new ground for the band, which is surprising since the other four tracks would be very out of place on any other Coldplay album. I choose to believe that Up&Up is the actual last track on any Coldplay album as it’s a much better closer to the band’s career than this snorer.

I say “closer” not as a Chainsmokers reference, but as a reminder that this is the band’s last EP and musical release. I understand they’ll probably tour until Chris dies, but this is the end of their productivity. And that’s fine. They have nothing left to prove. I was not there for the start of the career or even what is considered their prime, but I shall be there to their end.

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SVIIB is School of Seven Bells’ last release. If you’ve never heard of the band, I don’t blame you. They were an obscure-at-best synthpop band that came before CHVRCHES made the keyboards+high-pitched female singer sound famous. No song in any of the albums they released ever provided a breakthrough for them. I had never heard of them when they were active; Music Choice played Open Your Eyes a few times a year or two ago when their last album, SVIIB, released. That song alone put them on my radar.

I’ve been using the past tense to talk about the band. The reason for that is because they had to break up. School of Seven Bells was a duo. Both members write the songs, but Alejandra does the vocals, and Curtis is probably just the keyboard guy. A year after their third album Ghostory released in 2012, Curtis was diagnosed with terminal lymphoma. He died soon after. I do not know about what happened directly after that. I presume that Alejandra had to take some time to cope with the loss before managing to put together 9 songs out of demos Curtis and her made prior to his death. Those nine fully mastered songs comprise the band’s final album SVIIB which was released in 2016, three years after Curtis’s death. It is very hard to listen to any song on this record without having the backstory cast some form of light or shadow upon the lyrics.

I will say that no matter the backstory, this is a genuinely great album. It does not use the sobstory as a crutch for sympathy, each song soars. The keyboards always sound great, and the production is top-notch. My one problem is Alejandro’s voice just isn’t the best. Full disclosure: I love Lauren Mayberry’s voice. I love how Lauren’s clarity in style. At times, Alejandro doesn’t hit her notes, or delivers in an odd tone. It’s a small complaint, but adds up over time. Still, her voice is fine enough considering these songs.

The album starts with Ablaze. It’s basically a The Naked and Famous track, with the guitars and vocal hook. That’s not a bad style to imitate. When I heard this prior to buying the album, I immediately got out my credit card. It makes a great first impression. Fun… even if the lines like “and when [the fading flame that held the world together for me] died I fell apart” remind you of what Alejandro had to go through. I told myself to keep this to a minimum, so I’ll stop.

On My Heart’s hook reminds me a lot of CHVRCHES’ Lies, another great track. I can hear the machines whirring in a similar way the synths on Lies did. This is the sort of track I’m talking about when I say Alejandro’s voice doesn’t always fit. The verses just don’t sound right to me. Fortunately, the hook and the ending are so good, it doesn’t matter.

As I said, Open Your Eyes is the track that put SVIIB on my radar. It’s the band’s masterpiece. Whatever robotic filter Alejandro used works very well, the constant vocal samples work together amazingly, and Alejandro’s emotional delivery of the chorus resonates. And when she goes from the dreamy filter to none at all to deliver “it’s time to wake up”… goosebumps. But man those lyrics are depressing. Just the title is enough to bring tears to someone’s eyes (not mine, I’m a guy and guys don’t cry).

A Thousand Times More’s lyrics seem like what everyone told Alejandro after–oh sorry, I forgot. I’m trying to cut that down. This is a really good synthpop track. I love the keyboard loop that functions as a chorus. It sounds familiar. Probably another “four chords” hook. Still, it’s great. Not much to say. I love the speed of it?

Elias halts the great momentum of the first four tracks. Everything about it, from the lyrics, to the space-y samples, to the dreamy sound, makes it sound like something out of a Disney film. Specifically, a Disney film that focuses around some 10 year old kid who went to space, nurtured an alien like a mother, and then constantly thought about it after coming back to Earth. Basically, Lilo from Lilo and Stitch might have made this song. Back to my main point, it’s kinda eh as a song.

Signals’ hook is a bit overdone, in my opinion. The initial chanting is kinda cool, but the second half of it sounds bad. Alejandro’s voice is a bit too muddy for what I like in synthpop. Uh, I like the chorus. The music video reminds me of Yelle. That’s about all the opinions I have on this. The opening of Music Takes Me sounds like it’s gonna be another space exploration tune, but the synths build up to make a decent enough track. Of course, this is the one song that’s actually about exploring space in the lyrics. The breakdown and “rap” that follows after the second chorus is quite bizarre. I guess it’s fine.

Ah, man. Confusion’s lyrics aren’t even hiding the subtext. “We spent so long/Facing the days together/That I forgot/How to be different from us”? Ouch. It’s another slow track, but the lack of samples adds a certain gravitas that the other slow songs don’t have. There’s enough space (ha) left to the listener to hear Alejandro and reflect on the meaning of her words, something that would be filled with beeps and boops on other tracks. It’s a nice breather.

This is Our Time finishes the album. The percussion kicking in is one of the coolest moments on SVIIB. Overall, the hook reminds me of another CHVRCHES track: it’s like a faster version of You Caught the Light’s main guitar hook. Very pretty. And, after all the crying and sadness on the prior tracks, This is Our Time ends the album on a very optimistic note. This is our time, and our time is indestructible, Alejandro declares to the world. No one can take away those years she and Curtis spent together; they (and he) will live on in her, she says. It’s a lovely sentiment to close an unbalanced but good album. The first half is clearly far better than the second, though nothing will make your ears bleed. Unless you hate synthpop, in which case, why listen to this? Or read this? As for me, I live by the motto: synthpop till you drop.

Only one more album releases this summer that I care about. It’s Coldplay, on Friday. I’ll have a review of that. Maybe I’ll review what I teased so long ago, if anyone cares. When I say “anyone”, I mean me. I’ll do it if I care. And since I haven’t done it for 5+ months, I may not care. Uh, stay tuned.

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