International:RTFM (Reprise Records)
By: Alex Steininger
Listening to a CD is one thing, but when you get to pop it into your computer and play around with it, that's another thing. On the music side they serve up their own blend of pop rock, and on the CD-ROM side they serve up loads of information on the band and their discography, as well as music clips, videos, games, and an overall fun atmosphere.
The CD starts off with "BlackDog." It starts off very slow and quiet, and relies heavily on the vocals. There is some faint background music, but the vocals are what carry the song. Then it hits you with a 1-2 punch, and the song gets louder. The vocals start screaming in parts, while the drums beat ferociously. The guitars crank up the volume, as the bass charts its own course of what it should be. "DreamSmall" starts out with some guitar fuzz, and then the rest of the band joins. The vocals come in and start talking the words they want to say. The song gets stuck in the mud, and doesn't really change. It's the same tempo over and over again. The vocals keep a very monotone level to themselves, and the song just gets old fast. "KingOfTheHill" sounds like the kind of song you'd hear as the bad guy in a movie gets ready for his evil deed. Then the vocals come in, and add a very softer touch to the song. This time the chorus of the song actually changes the songs momentum, and some of the pop hooks will even reach out for you, and possibly grab a hold of you. "Attack!" is something different. The vocals don't walk through their standard "talk-sing" technique, but this time they actually sing. I can't really say I enjoy this way over the other way. When they were softer I must say I liked it better. They just seem more comfortable as a slower, pop band. "PearlyGates" restores the soft pop to the music. They are really a vocal oriented band. The music softly plays in the background, as the vocals steal the show. "HappensEveryday" ends the CD with their trademark style. Everything is nice and cozy. Finishing with this song was a good idea. It taps at your emotions, and makes you think about what you've just took in.
The best thing of this CD is the cool CD-ROM! The music is mediocre, but the CD-ROM is the key here. I'll give this CD a C+. For the most part, you need to buy a CD for the music, which is really a bummer. Because the extra things on this CD are well worth your money!
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