Pop Culture versus Responsible Parents

•April 11, 2014 • Leave a Comment

I used to be with “it”, but then they changed what “it” was. Now I’m with what isn’t it, and what’s “it” seems weird and scary to me. It’ll happen to you!

That quote describes this rant in a nutshell. This goes along the lines of my earlier childhood programming rants, from the discussions about nostalgia and coming to terms with stuff from my youth versus 10 years later, to even the aspects that make things of today acceptable when they weren’t not too long ago. Of course, while there are things about our pop culture today that I still love, at the same time there are things I absolutely HATE about it. But at the same time, I always need to remember, things have slowly progressed in that direction, and we can either anticipate, or dread the thought of what will come next. I absolutely hate that in today’s pop culture it is even MORE obvious that everything has to revolve around sex sells, or living like it’s one big party, or has to revolve around the antics of so-called role models that get in trouble, or do things for the public to see and get blinded towards. Even on networks like Nickelodeon, on the same channels as great shows like Legend of Korra, we also have teen shows that revolve around self-image, peer pressure, child abuse, sexual identity, gang violence, self-injury, teenage pregnancy, drug abuse, death, and a number of other issues. WHY?! it’s a KIDS NETWORK! WHY ARE YOU BRINGING THIS CRAP TO KIDS NETWORKS?! I mean I still look at shows from my youth and teenage years, and there were HINTS of stuff about relationships that adults understood, not at all to the extent that it is now. Why we want THIS to be part of pop culture I’ll never know.

And then also remember the parents. The things that were big for them are no longer “it” anymore, and their kids are growing up with a new “it” that has things that make the parents want to puke their brains out. And this happens EVERY generation.

My grandparents were married in 1945 once the war was over, and at their wedding they of course had the music of their time playing, but then THEIR parents who were witnessing were also there. My grandfather asked his mom, “so what do you think?” and she replied “this is the most godawful thing I’ve heard in my life.” And then I could only imagine what my grandparents felt during the baby boom generation, as their impressionable kids whom were born in the late 40s and early 50s were in their teens to mid 20s during the golden age period of sex, drugs, and rock and roll during the 60s and 70s… and then their kids became parents themselves during the 70s and 80s, whose kids grew up with Saturday Morning Cartoons, early Atari and old school Nintendo, plus you had the golden periods of MTV, glam rock, hip hop, and then of course grunge and alternative… and finally, the grandchildren started having  kids during the 90s and 2000s, with their kids growing up during the periods of nickelodeon, Playstation and Xbox games, reality TV, TMZ,  horrible dance pop crap like LMFAO and Gangnam Style, plus of course justin bieber and Miley Cyrus, and I can go on and on… I’m just generalizing here, so don’t say “hey those two things are eons apart!”

There is also the saying, if you don’t know how to use a gadget, find the youngest person in the room. Point is it happens every generation, and of course nowadays with tablet PCs like ipads, and of course cell phones having the same reliability and functions as desktop computers, not to mention we have an entire generation of kids that are locked onto such devices during most of their childhood, it’s much easier to get exposed to your pop culture today than it was before, not to mention the crap that is played on radios is so catchy it’s impossible NOT to have it stuck in your head.

I cringe every time I hear young kids singing songs by Bruno Mars or Lady Gaga, mouthing off  What does the Fox say,  “Oppa Gangnam Style…” The other day, my girlfriends 7 year old son was fed bacon for breakfast, and I hear him saying “This bacon is awesome!” to the tune of Thrift Shop…. and that is because A. when he rides with his mom she listens to pretty much anything, pop, country, rock… and of course he likes the catchy dance songs first because he remembers them. B. his older cousins expose him to a lot of that crap when he visits them C.  he has started learning how to read and type, so his savvy mind  around stuff like the PS3 and ipad means he can go on youtube and search for whatever he wants if I’m not careful. Often times he likes videos about Minecraft or Halo, and even though he doesn’t intend on it, there will either be very bad language said by the narrator, or a song will be playing and it’s something like Macklemore or crap like that… it’s gotten to the point where we won’t let him watch youtube videos on his own. He is so impressionable at this point that letting him laugh at the wrong things makes me irresponsible as a potential step dad. He was in the room that’s reserved just for my co-workers, and one of them did a motion resembling something that no kid should see until they’ve had the birds and the bees talk, and when I saw him laugh at it, I quickly told him, “no, you don’t laugh at that, that’s not appropriate for you.”

While he is often exposed to the language of my hockey co-workers, His mom and I do try our hardest to not let him get exposed to stuff like that, but I realize there is a point every kid reaches where you just can’t shelter them forever and you have to let them make their own choices over what they will take out of the pop culture, but you then have to get to the point, “okay what or WHEN do I as a parent have to try and shield them from it because it’s too inappropriate for them at that age?”

When kids start getting mass exposed to pop culture, and start wanting to go do things like go to more adult oriented movies, wear the fashions of the time that didn’t expose the same amount of skin as before your time, listen to artists with more grown up lyrics and even attend their concerts… you as the parent ask yourself, When do you start letting them watch PG13 movies… or even rated R? When is it okay for them to listen to music that has lyrics about subjects older people understand? When do you let them watch programs or channels aimed at older audiences?

No two sets of parents will have the same answer.

When you as a parent decide, “okay I’ll let them see this movie or listen to this artist.” You probably should look up and make sure if A. the content is acceptable both on the surface and on the inside or B. the kid understands that the content isn’t all clean and can still be mature and have fun with it. Or you just have your kid cover their eyes and ears during a “bad” scene.

Does anyone remember the episode of King of the Hill where Hank Hill tried to get “in” with his son Bobby’s musical interest and decide what was acceptable for Bobby? In that episode he and Bobby both get into a boy band together because on the surface they looked clean and “patriotic”, but then when they go to the concert, Hank Hill freaks out when the boy band starts stripping and doing the suggestive dance moves for the kids to copy, and thus pulls Bobby out when he sees him doing the same moves.

As funny as that was, this stuff still seems to happen a lot. Think about all the times you have had parents take their kids to a concert to witness on stage along the lines of  Justin Bieber, Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus, Ke$ha etc. There was a recent yahoo news article about people taking their kids to a Ke$ha concert because it was advertised on the fliers and on the tickets as “all ages welcome.” only to witness her deliver a raunchy performance, and sing a lot of profanity and explicit lyrics in her songs… thus the parents got mad and protested it, some of them just got up and left. “hey it said all ages welcome, and she didn’t sing any of the clean versions of her songs and kept saying a lot of bad stuff in front of our kids, we didn’t like it one bit! How could she do this?” Duh! It’s fucking Kesha! How clueless are these parents to think that?! I hate that parents think that if they are taking their 10 year old to see Rihanna that THEY feel they need to be informed if stuff will be vulgar at shows. They need to remember who the hell they’re actually seeing!  Do these parents even look up the lyrics to these songs? It’s not that hard! Just Google what the setlists usually are, then look up the lyrics to those songs, and viola! “oh, she sings a lot of inappropriate songs! I probably shouldn’t let her go.” Unless you’re going to something like a Christian rock concert, or something completely advertised for children, it’s probably not going to be an acceptable thing to take kids to see someone like Rihanna or Bruno Mars and expect these artists to cut down the suggestive lyrics, that’s just not going to happen.

If parents actually take kids to these shows, I can’t stop them. I’ve seen kids at Metallica shows too. Would I take a 7 year old kid to see it? No, because I don’t want him exposed to the other stuff, like unruly concertgoers, and especially the drunks and the smell of marijuana at the show at that age. If he’s 10 and I do a good job of making him understand what’s right and what’s wrong, then maybe.

One of the many responsibilities for parents is to teach their kid how does the world work. They need to teach their kids what is proper culture, and what should be avoided at all costs. With the changing times, you either have to adapt to it and figure out what is acceptable, and instill in the kid’s mind that either it’s okay and acceptable to be talking and thinking about it, or you gotta work your hardest to keep them as far away from it as possible until you think they’re ready. But their child does not fully grow up until they have learned to live and manage things on their own, and have learned the consequences of bad choices, failure, heartbreak,  and especially loss of innocence. But the key is, they need to be the proper age. A 13 year old learning the consequences of having unprotected sex, a 15 year old learning the cons of drug use, a 16 year old getting drunk is FAR TOO YOUNG FOR THIS CRAP TO HAPPEN! My dad said while I was in high school, “if you get involved in this crap and want to grow up fast like that? Your ass is on your own.” And some of them NEVER in fact grow up and learn from their mistakes. They can see the wrong and see exactly what they shouldn’t have done, and THEY STILL DO IT ANYWAY!

There is also the question, “when is sheltering and limiting it to age appropriate stuff absolutely responsible, and when is it actually detrimental and irresponsible as they get older?” Think about the strictest parents, especially those who base their rules on religious beliefs. JMAP used to have a neighbor in Great Falls Montana whose parents were so strict, that JMAP was not allowed to mention anything about secular music to the kid, nor was he allowed to say his beliefs like “I support gay rights” to them. The kid grew up to be just as unintelligent and mean as they were. Now JMAP also says the kid in general turned out to be a very bad person for reasons unrelated to his parents, but I still think his parents were part of it.

Those that get extremely strict and shelter for too long it can be quite damaging, as when the kid grows up, he becomes absolutely clueless to the world around him, stays immature towards things outside his comfort zone, and either never adapts, or has to psychologically mature and catch up later to become a well-rounded productive person. The kid never getting to discover things at the right ages will end up leaving him to discover it later, and possibly become MUCH more indulgent in that behavior than he would’ve been if he was younger and had the guidance of his parents.

But then on the other side of that you have those that just let their kids run wild, and say “well they did it when I was younger, who am I to judge?” I know of a few moms who have teenage daughters that are practically allowed to be flirty and promiscuous. This mom allows her daughter to wear a lot of make up, wear revealing outfits on a daily basis, and even have sleepovers with boys. What is also sad is that sometimes I see teenage girls that are still 13-17 still present and make themselves look like they’re in their 20s and are fully grown adults, and their parents ALLOW it. What the hell does that teach them? What happens when that one night where the teenage couple gets pregnant?

With the amount of stuff that happens in today’s preteen  and early teenage relationships,  That just makes me sick. Also knowing that when I have kids, when they reach the tween ages, they will start having peer pressure over having relations just makes me want to vomit.

Bottom line, yes as scary as it is, perhaps we do have to accept that how the way things worked when we were kids will not be the same way when we raise kids of our own. The age that kids are hitting puberty is actually getting younger and younger, and on average is 3-5 years younger than it was at the turn of the 20th century. At the same time, things in pop culture of the time are hitting kids much younger than they did three to five generations ago, and thanks to today’s technology, they can be exposed to even more of it at the touch of a button rather than having to discover it. You can say that at the same time it is harder for the older generations to keep up, BUT… it actually is much easier for the parents to look it up, gain better understandings of what the thing in question is about, and helps them better decide what’s right and what’s wrong… that is if parents actually TAKE that time and do it the correct way. We don’t have to look at things on the outside and judge books by their covers in that sense, and instead we can look deeper in the pop culture figure and see if they indeed are the right kind of role models for your kid that you want your kid to look up to… which will be the topic of the next rant.

Nightwish Once Album Review

•April 11, 2014 • Leave a Comment

So now we come to the album Once. This one was their biggest album yet, as it debuted at the number one spot on charts in Finland, Germany, Norway, Greece, and it was even the first album to chart in the USA, reaching 42 on the Billboard Top Heatseakers chart, and it also was the first to chart in the U.K. at number 8 on their Rock Chart. This was success that was unheard of at the time for them.

But while they lost many old followers for the simple reason that their shift in sound was too commercial sounding and less on the power metal side, they seemed to gain twice as many new fans who were introduced to them through the approachable mainstream sounds on this album. Sure, certain other bands have had an album that is more simplified and more approachable that gains a lot of followers, but the question is always this: do they make simpler songs because THEY want to, or because they want to make songs that are catchier to the mass public? It could’ve been a little bit of both. At the time, at least here in the U.S. Evanescence’s Fallen album was considered a breakthrough during the early 2000′s. They weren’t the first female fronted band that had a gothic metal side, but they were starting to get really popular around the world. Their songs also had a pop-side, thus were rather catchy, and they started opening  mass exposure to the gothic metal sound,  thus there was a breakout  in popularity of female fronted rock and heavy metal bands. In some ways, at least I think, Nightwish was Europe’s answer to bands like Evanescence at the time, and they had bands like Within Temptation, After Forever, and Sirenia to back them up. as I later discovered, these bands are a million times better than Evanescence, and the right kind of metal fan found this out.

This was also the first full Nightwish album I bought. Since JMAP was raving about them so much, I wanted to give them a try, and you know what, if I was disappointed, I wouldn’t be making these album review videos.

Dark Chest of Wonders – I LOVE this song, from the moment I heard it the first time up to the time I’m writing this review. It’s a great opener to the album, and it’s hard to find any faults with this song at all. I think what sets this apart from the rest of the songs that were made during the Century Child and Once era is that this song lyrically has a light hearted tone with fantasy lyrics, and music wise uses Tarja’s powerful vocals wisely. Plus it’s upbeat and is definitely a reminder to older fans they still have that power metal magic.

Wish I had an Angel – I love this song as well, but it’s overplayed to death, whether it’s near the beginning of the setlist or towards the end. However, this song is Metallica’s equivalent of Enter Sandman, and is a great song to choose as a single or to introduce someone to the band. It is a shame though that this song was featured as part of the soundtrack to the really STUPID movie Alone in the Dark, and there is even a version of the music video with scenes from it. BLAH

Nemo – This is a song I used to skip because I felt it was TOO mainstream and too simple to listen to. There is an obvious reason why this was the first single off the album. However, the more I listened to it, the more I realized how BEAUTIFUL this song actually is. The Orchestra is what makes this song even better towards the middle and the end. I also love the addition of the Uilleann Pipes to the song by Troy Donockely on live versions, especially on Showtime Storytime.

Planet Hell – This is another AWESOME song, from the hellish orchestra opening in the intro, to the orgasmic drums and guitars, to Marco and Tarja’s duet, It’s just amazing, and I was always in love with this song when I first heard it. It’s another song that also is a reminder of the power metal magic of old. Some of you listeners may hate me for it, but I have to say for the record that I prefer the version sung by Anette that was done when they resurrected the song in 2012. You can also hear it on their youtube channel released as an official music video if you don’t believe me. It may be a single take live recording, but it sounds just as good if not better than the studio. Either way, we can all mutually agree, Planet Hell is awesome!

Creek Mary’s Blood – This is the first of two epics on this album, and most will say this song doesn’t hold up as well, but I disagree and say this song is awesome. The Native American influences make this song actually stand out, and I love the build up from the slow start to the epic climax. The only thing this song could do without was the 3 minutes of native american language, but it’s not a total killer of the song since I can see where they were going for.

The Siren – This song is overrated. You heard me. It’s overrated. Is it a bad song? No. It has it’s good moments, But for whatever reason, a lot of fans seem to love this song as one of their stand out favorites. Maybe it’s because it’s a heavy song. Maybe it’s because of the greek mythology subject matter. Maybe because it showcases Marco’s clean vocals well. Maybe the band likes to play it a lot. I don’t know. All I know is that when I saw them live, when they played this song I was almost bored out of my mind. But I will say that every subsequent listen does seem to get a LITTLE better in my ears.

Dead Gardens – This one is okay. It has it’s good moments such as the main riff, and the chorus is good. But for the most part, it doesn’t do much else, so it sounds like filler to me.

Romanticide – This one is another awesome track. It may feel like it’s in the same vein as Wish I had an Angel, but I like the rougher around the edges sound, and it’s definitely a lot heavier and I like that  goes out with a fast bang at the end. Tarja and Marco’s opposite vocal duet also works well here as well, and it totally deserves to stay as a setlist survivor.

Ghost Love Score – All I can say about this song is … WOW. Just WOW. This epic song is easily one of their best songs period and it showcases their musicianship way better than their two prior epic songs. The emotion you feel throughout this song is just amazing, and I definitely love the haunting chorus that will forever be in your ears after you listen to it at least once. This is where Tarja shines the most as a vocalist, and uses the correct balance between her powerful operatic vocals and softer rock-based vocals. It also clearly uses the best utilization of the orchestra on the album as a whole, as it creates the atmosphere of sadness, and without the orchestra this song would fall to the gutter.

Death Makes an Artist – This is the first of two ballads that close the album. This song with just vocals and orchestra, while artsy in its own right doesn’t do it for me, for the same reason that the Lapland song way back on Angels Fall First didn’t do it for me.

Higher than Hope – This song ALMOST matches Sleeping Sun as the best ballad from the Tarja era. ALMOST. It has the atmosphere, the hooks, Tarja using her powerful vocals again, and the great songwriting that make this song great. A lot of people dislike this song, I personally love it for what it is: a great ballad to close the album.

Now I realize that there are other bonus tracks and B sides that are often included in releases, especially on the U.S.A. release of the album, but again, I don’t need to go over them because quite honestly, none of them do anything for me anyway. One of them is a ballad that doesn’t do much, and the other, while more up beat, can’t really live up to the standards set by the rest of the album.

That is the Once album. Just like any Nightwish album there are a couple songs in my opinion that aren’t that memorable, while the rest are awesome in their own right, even if some of them are overplayed or a little overrated. But that’s what often happens when your albums appeal more to the mass audiences, they have songs they love while you have your personal songs you think are better.Music-wise it is just as good as Century Child because it’s similar in sound, but this album does stand out a little more because while the tempos may be relatively the same, it doesn’t feel like you’re listening to a Century Child 2, you’re listening to a stand alone album with several standout songs that are just as amazing as anything they’ve done. It’s like with Oceanborn, they broke through with one sound, and perfected it with Wishmaster. With Century Child they introduced a newer sound, and they perfected it more with Once.

Sadly I must now talk about what happened in late 2005, Tarja being kicked out. This was a very public event thanks to the open letter that was posted, which you can still read if you search for it. From my understanding, the relationship between Tuomas and Tarja deteriorated over the years after she got married in 2003, and she started acting much more different, as in Tuomas’ eyes, not only was she acting more like a diva to the other band mates, but her commercial interests were not the same interests as the band’s. There was also claims that Tarja was planning on leaving after the next studio album and subsequent tour anyway, so the band members decided “well lets just kick her out now so we don’t have to deal with this crap anymore.”

This was a very public parting of ways, with both sides both feeling the pain and anguish from it. I could only imagine the stress it caused due to so many people wanting interviews and wanting everything on the inside scoop.

As would eventually happen, Tarja formed her own band and continued on as a solo artist, while Nightwish continued on with a new female vocalist that DID NOT sound like Tarja at all. Tarja’s first solo album pretty much was hit or miss, as it was evident that the reason why she sang great songs is because Tuomas wrote them. Hence there were the criticisms that said Tarja needed Nightwish. But as this happened, it would turn out that Nightwish didn’t need Tarja anymore.

Nightwish Century Child Review

•April 11, 2014 • Leave a Comment

A lot of people say that the rift between fans was started when Tarja was kicked out and was replaced by Anette, but as I am finding out, there was also another rift created between the fans long before during the  early 2000′s with the 2002 release of Century Child. For one group, this is where Nightwish got better as a whole with their overall sound and music, while the other group of fans say this was where they started to slip  into making more commercial sounding music and sounding less inspired as a whole… in other words they sold out. The bottom line is no matter which side fans were on, Nightwish got bigger and higher up on not only the Finnish charts, but worldwide as well, and that success pretty much began with this album.

Why would some people seem to rank this album as among their least favorite? For starts, this is a bigger departure from the power metal sound that people loved with Oceanborn and Wishmaster, continuing the emphasis on ambiance and melody and less on speed. Lyrically, the songs are darker, and instead of the fantasy-based cheerful themes that people loved in the two predecessors, you have what later became a signature theme: loss of innocence and the consequences it has to that individual. What many people don’t know is that this dark sound is the result of the tensions within the band, and Tuomas went as far as unofficially declaring an end to the band altogether after the recording and subsequent tour of Over the Hills and Far Away. During this time, Tuomas started feeling unsatisfied with his life as a whole, and what he had done, and adding to this, their bassist Sami Vanska started misbehaving toward his fellow bandmembers, and according to Tuomas, he missed appointments and didn’t take gigs as seriously anymore. Tarja started spending less time with her bandmates as well.  Ultimately Tuomas decided to keep the band going, but on the condition that they got a new manager, and that Sami Vanska was gone and replaced with a new bassist that could also provide male vocals, Marco Hietala. The darker songs here can be seen as his personal feelings from the time.

Sound wise you have three things, the first is Tarja starting to ease up on her opratic style vocals, which I haven’t really talked much about until now. Maybe it’s because I am used to them and they sound good to me anyway, but I know a lot of people that get turned off by her operatic vocals, especially when she almost sounds TOO high on the older songs. I’ll be honest, I didn’t care for them at first, and was more focused on the music itself which was amazing, but the more I listened the more I realized how part of the sound she was in the early days. Starting with Century Child, she starts singing with a more rock-based sound, and sings softer and more restrained throughout the album. The second is the addition of Marco Hietala, his down-tuned bass not only adds another element of heaviness, but his vocals are just awesome, and it was definitely a smart move to use him for the male vocals on their songs. Third is the addition of the full backing orchestra, which adds to the atmosphere that the band had been putting more emphasis on.

Bless the Child – Here is were the symphonic metal sound starts coming into place. With the elements of atmosphere already there, it opens with the sounds of choirs, and the intro builds up into a very solid mid-tempo opener. Sure it’s not a fast opener, and people say they don’t like that Tarja’s vocals are a bit subdued compared to the earlier albums, but honestly, it works here, and the softer vocals fit the mood perfectly.

End of All Hope – This song is awesome from end to end. It’s highly reminiscent of the song Wishmaster with almost the same beat, albeit this time it’s a darker sound, and instead of fantasy, it’s the personal feelings from Tuomas. This was one of the first songs I heard, thanks to JMAP showing me a youtube video of them, because HE was the one who discovered the band for me.

Dead to the World – at first I didn’t really care much for this one, but now it’s one of my favorites the more I listen to it. What I love are the vocals from Marco, the keyboard and guitar solos, the faster tempo change in the middle, and the sheer heavyiness that Jukka brings with the double bass. This is easily one of Nightwish’s best songs period, and rightfully so, it still gets in the setlist rotations from time to time.

Ever Dream – This is another song that I didn’t care for at first, but started loving it the more I heard it. It’s a nice little ballad that starts slow and picks up, and I also like that it’s about love, and finding out if that person you love indeed loves you back.  The best part is easily when Tarja’s vocals and Jukkas drums pick up at the end and make this song go out with a bang. Just like Dead to the World, this one deserves to stay in the setlists.

Slaying the Dreamer – This song is just HEAVY. It’s a good headbanger, and definitely is a song that’s missed. Some people hate it, but I love it. The best part is where Marco’s harsh vocals and Jukka’s drums literally attack the ear at full force, and it’s almost like you’re going through a frightening experience through it. Other than that there’s really not much to say about it. It’s dark, it’s heavy, and it’s awesome.

Forever Yours – Here is the true ballad of the album, and it’s a decent song lyrically as it is with the melody. But unfortunately, it’s one of those songs that falls short simply because it follows the first 5 songs on the album which are great standalone hits and fan favorites. When I listen to it it sounds okay, but many times it’s skipped. They have made better emotional ballads honestly.

Ocean Soul – This song I feel almost the same as Forever Yours, but this one I like it better for the parts involving the chorus and the middle breakdown. But other than that it’s not that memorable.

Feel For You – This song sounds similar to Ocean Soul, and I often think of it as filler, but it’s only a little better because Marco’s vocals save it from being a total waste of space.

Phantom of the Opera – I’m not going to lie, I love the original broadway song and musical BECAUSE  this cover version happened to get me back into liking the broadway musical again, as I had not listened to that soundtrack for quite some time. It’s perfectly well executed in a sense with Marco and Tarja’s duet, but the only thing I didn’t like is the ending, where Tarja for whatever reason in the studio recording doesn’t try to do the vocals sung by Christine in the show, but on live versions she does… make up your mind! I will say this song was a Tarja song, and doesn’t need to be sung by the two vocalists that followed.

Beauty of the Beast – This is a highly underrated epic song, and for a while it was my favorite song off the album. Instead of being like Fantasmic and getting off to a rousing start, slowing down, and then picking back up, what this song does is start slow, picks up, climaxes with speed and heaviness, then slows down again as the vocal harmonies and choirs fade it out. It’s a solid piece, and shouldn’t be overlooked by listeners.

That’s Century Child, it may not be ass good as Wishmaster, but many people don’t seem to give this album enough credit. There is still some great stuff on this album.  It has 7 solid songs on this album that are worthy to listen any time, and it’s a great album to listen to at night. I actually think the softer vocals from Tarja not only help the songs, but make them a little more accessible to the audiences, especially those, even metal heads, who don’t really care for opera vocals. I will agree though, she didn’t have the perfect balance with the powerful operatic vocals and the soft rock-based vocals until the next CD. Marco is nothing short of an awesome addition, and the impact he had with this band is the reason why they became the most successful Finnish band worldwide.

Nightwish Wishmaster Album Review

•April 11, 2014 • Leave a Comment

So now we come to Wishmaster, which is an album that people argue is their best work to date. I’ve seen many comments say “This is their best album, and everything after it was when it went downhill and less inspired.” “Dude, that song is Wishmaster good!” “If it isn’t as good as Wishmaster, it’s not worth my time.” This is where the songwriting started to shine, and when they started becoming noticed worldwide.

This is an album that in most ways is very similar to its predecessor, and continues the power metal sound, but what’s different about this album is that while Oceanborn focused more on  speed and heaviness with less emphasis on atmosphere and melody, Wishmaster is the opposite in that sense where it emphasized more on the melodic sound and less on the speed and heaviness. Because of the shift, that’s why many people love this album the most, because it seems to have the perfect balance between the fast power metal sound of Oceanborn and the melodic sounds of later albums, and because as it would turn out, this shift towards more emphasis on atmosphere and melody would be the ongoing trend with later albums, so hence Wishmaster would prove to be the reference point for how many fans felt the albums should’ve been balanced.

She is My Sin – This is a song that I used to not care for as much, especially as an opener to the album. It seemed a little underwhelming to me, especially comparing it to Oceanborn where it opens with speed, this one is a mid tempo song that builds up in speed and power towards the end, which is one of the reasons why I feel this song still holds up. After every fair listen afterwards, the song seemed to get better the more I listened to it. Ironically, I actually prefer Floor Jansen on the song to Tarja, and I didn’t really LOVE this song until I listened to Floor’s rendition of it on the Showtime Storytime album.

The Kinslayer – Ah yes, this is the song that is about the Columbine Shooters, which you need to remember, this song was written not too long after the shootings happened, and this album was released a year and one month after the shootings, so it was still on everyone’s mind. This is one of the darkest songs on the album, probably one of the darkest songs written by Nightwish. In contrast to the opener, the vocals on the Kinslayer are lower, and yet still give a powerful punch in the sound. This is definitely one of their best songs, and it’s a shame it hasn’t been played since Tarja was kicked out.

Come Cover Me – Here we see the romantic side of Nightwish being first presented on this song, and this is another favorite of mine, simply for the vocals and the beautiful harmony that accompanies it. The intro with the flutes is one of the reasons this song intrigued me, and the rest surely gave a tear to my eyes. I bought this CD during the holiday season, and the harmony definitely made me think of the holiday tunes because of it. I’m also glad that this song has survived in the setlist rotations all through the years, and it never disappoints no matter who sings it.

Wanderlust – This song has the brief return to the power metal speed, and it’s a good song. It has a great mix between guitar and keyboard interplay, and the chorus makes this song worth a listen. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a wonderful song about the journey of life, but it falls short simply because it’s overshadowed by some of the bigger hit tracks on this album.

Two For Trajedy – This is a soft ballad that people either really like or don’t really care for. Me, I’m on the don’t care side, simply because while the keyboards and vocals are there, and sure, it may have the same kind of flavor that the ballads on Oceanborn have, but it lacks the hooks and atmosphere that makes Sleeping Sun beautiful and fantastic. Because of that it’s one of the weaker songs, and I usually skip it for that reason just so I can get to the next song.

Wishmaster – two words: HELL YEAH! Just knowing I’m going to talk about this song makes me pumped. This is easily one of their best songs, period. Everything about it, the epic vocals, the guitar/keyboard harmonies, and what makes it for me is the complex drums and double bass that makes this song just as bombastic as it is beautiful. It always puts a smile on my face every time I listen to it. This is a song that when people go see them  live they think “oh I hope to God they surprise us with this song!” Maybe the core band members are tired of playing it, but they make entire stadiums of 50,000 people extremely happy with this song anytime they play it, and I will definitely say it sounds good with any vocalist they’ve had.

Bare Grace Misery – well, after Wishmaster, which is one of the albums highest points, it makes any song right after it easily forgettable because you’re thinking “I wanna hear Wishmaster again” or “are there any more awesome songs like the one I just heard? I wanna skip to that.”  Because you go from an extremely awesome, complex, bombastic, heavy song into a simple song that has little much to offer, this song suffers that kind of obscure forgettfulness. It’s also rather stale, and just seems to feel like it’s a filler song. Is it a bad song? that’s hard to say, but I usually skip it because it’s  sandwiched between two amazing songs.

Crownless – A HIGHLY UNDERRATED song. It’s a shame that this song is forgotten, as this song has only been played live ONCE in their history, and there seems to be no recording of it to understand why. Maybe the band didn’t feel it translated well live, but who knows. This song is awesome. I love the speed of it, the keyboard solo, and Emppu’s riffs and solo make it stand out. Listening to it makes you almost wish, “man I wish they kept the power metal sound to an extent, why didn’t they write more songs like this?”

Deep Silent Complete – This one almost suffers the same fate as Bare Grace Misery for pretty much the same reasons, BUT it’s a lot better as a stand alone song than Bare Grace Misery. It’s somewhere between mid tempo and fast, and the notes and harmonies are nice, but many times it seems a little stale. Why this song was released as a single I’ll never know. It was probably because it’s simple and more easy to dive into. But when you’re surrounded by better songs, it doesn’t hold up as well anymore.

Dead Boys Poem – This is a song I used to get turned off from simply because of the very low and soft vocals at the beginning. I thought “oh god, another sappy ballad.” And I never gave this song a fair chance. It was actually a rendition sung by Anette in 2009 that got me to love the song, and now it’s another favorite of mine. I just love the way the song picks up in tempo as the song progresses, and the epic approach is what makes this a standout power ballad.

Fantasmic – Another long forgotten favorite, and based on the From Wishes to Eternity DVD, I don’t know if this song was ever played all the way through since only the third part of the song seems to be found on youtube searches… often paired with Elvenpath, which I’m actually okay with because it’s the best part of the song anyway and the fantasy theme of the song fits well and makes sense to be an extended outro to Elvenpath. This is where Nightwish started the trend of having one epic song (longer than 8 minutes) on each CD. Here, you have the song get off to a rousing start, slow down in the middle, then progresses and picks up at the end, just like many symphonic pieces in general. And it’s the way this song is composed that makes it very grand, and it showcases all of their talents: they are not just power metal, they are melodic, they are symphonic, they are neoclassical, they are operatic, they are just a level above everything else musically at times.

Wishmaster is both a solid power metal album AND a solid symphonic metal album. The speed of Oceanborn is still there, but the more atmospheric approach and emphasis on melodic songs is what added something new at the time, and ultimately seemed to lead Nightwish on that path. It’s a highly recommended album by all means, and shouldn’t be as overlooked as it is nowadays in the setlists. In some ways Wishmaster is their best, but I will say that in other ways, their best work still came later. I love power metal, and I love the fast songs, but like I’ve said many times, I like that Nightwish never released the same album twice. I don’t always care for artists that do, or I don’t respect them as much. But many fans started to get turned off by the shift in sound starting with the album after this. Find out why on the Century Child review.

Nightwish Oceanborn Review

•April 11, 2014 • Leave a Comment

So now we come to their second album. At this point in their career, the members of Nightwish were surprised by the success of Angels Fall First, especially because Angels fall first was supposed to be a demo CD that ended up just being released as it was. Now you’re in full studio mode, and you’re eager and excited to try more things… Rather than keep the same style, they wanted to expand from what they were doing. Tuomas was also having his most inspiration coming from  Stratovarius, a longtime Finnish power metal band, thus the result is a similar sound, with it’s share of fast tempos, plenty of double bass heavy drumming, but at the same time keeping it melodic. And that is essentially what Oceanborn is.

Stargazers – This is one of my favorite songs off the album, and I just love everything about the song. It’s a fast opener, yet beautiful sounding at the same time. I was initially excited just for the fast tempo, and at one point was initially turned off by what I felt like it being too opratic coming out of Tarja’s voice. But the more I got used to it, the more I appreciated it. It’s still one of my favorite songs, but simply because of Tarja’s high opratic vocals, this isn’t one of the first songs I have a newbie listen to.

Gethsemane – This song to me is okay. It’s not one of my favorites simply because there are better songs on this album. I like the lyric theme relating to the Passion story, as one person pointed out, you can either think of it as a song about the feelings of two lovers love for each other, or a song about Christs love for the world that betrayed him. It does get better every time I actually give it a fair listen.

Devil and the Deep Dark Ocean – This is one of the fastest songs tempo wise that Nightwish has done, and this one isn’t one of their best, but it’s still great from Jukka’s drumming. I will also say it was a smart move for Tuomas to have a guest do the deep male vocals that are in this song, and the duet between his low deep voice and Tarja’s high voice works well actually.

Sacrament of Wilderness – I LOVE this song, and this is one of the many fan favorites that still gets played live on occasion no matter the singer. That’s because it sounds great with any vocalist, and I like the tempo changes that build up in this song, and when the keys are changed to a higher note, it’s literally an epic sooth to my ears. This one is just awesome, and easily one of their best songs enough said.

Passion and the Opera – This one isn’t bad, it’s got a good beat to it, and I love Emppu’s guitarwork in this one. The only thing I don’t care for 100% is the middle part where Tarja does a bunch of Opera chants… now I realize that this song is called Passion and the OPERA, and sure maybe because of Tarja’s operatic vocals they think it’s a good idea, but it almost drags in my opinion, and  they could’ve cut out the middle portion, but still left in the part where she starts singing the notes and the song climaxes at the end.

Swanheart – This is pretty much the ballad that still keeps the folk influences alive. It’s not bad, but it’s nothing special. It’s good to add to a mix to change up the mood and the tempos, but as a stand alone song, it’s not one I recommend showing to new listeners

Moondance – This song I can see where they get their Scandinavian influences, and I can also think of the Russian dance tunes when I think of this song. It’s a fun instrumental to listen to, and it’s short and to the point.

The Riddler – This is pretty much the most forgettable song on the album. Every time I try to listen to it I just say “it’s not worth it, it just sounds like filler.” I often skip it so I can listen to the next song anyway, which is…

The Pharaoh Sails to Orion – This is a forgotten gem, and hasn’t been performed live since Tarja left the band, and because you need the male vocals of Tapio Wilska to do it. This is one of my favorites because it is fast, heavy, and epic… since it is the longest on the album you can technically say it’s their first epic song… no I’m not counting their Lapland song…. okay their first HEAVY epic song they did. Every time I listen to this song, it makes me wish, “man, I hope they write another song like that again, they were really good with the power metal sound.”

Walking in the Air – Like many cover songs Nightwish did, this one was also thought to be an original until people looked it up and realized it was a cover. Honestly, it’s good but not great. It’s good for a change of sound when listening to the album, and it’s when it picks up near the end that it picks up some steam.

Sleeping Sun – This one is BEAUTIFUL. I will say that both the original and 2005 versions are awesome, but I think the re-recorded version takes the edge simply because of the quality of the recording and the easier to make out of Tarja’s accent. It’s a great ballad that slowly gets louder and more intense, and the lyrics are a reference to the Solar Eclipse that happened in Europe in 1999. When I finally get to see a total eclipse of the sun, I want THIS song playing during totality. Now I know this one is actually considered a bonus track and Walking in the Air is the original closer of the album, but this song is so well known that nowadays you can’t think of Oceanborn without Sleeping Sun, and also remember that in later editions of the album from 1999 to the present, Sleeping Sun was included.

Oceanborn as a whole nowadays is a somewhat forgotten album by setlist standards. Sacrament of Wilderness still gets played on occasion, as do Sleeping Sun and Walking in the Air as well, but the days where they played other songs off this album seem to be long gone. When Nightwish resurrected the song Planet Hell, Tuomas played notes off Stargazers and Gethsemane in his keyboard solo… probably to add something new or to remind older fans, “hey I haven’t forgotten about this album.” It’s still one of the higher rated albums, and is almost universally loved by fans.

Tuomas considers this album to be the definitive first album that Nightwish did, as Angels Falls First was a bunch of demos. In some ways it shows, as this is an album that isn’t as refined in terms of songwriting, and they didn’t really perfect the power metal sound until the next album, but that doesn’t mean this album is bad, it’s still awesome, and worth checking out if you do like the Tarja era songs.” I’d love them to try and resurrect Stargazers in the setlist since Floor Jansen can sing Tarja’s range a lot more than Anette could. I know a lot of older fans would LOVE to hear songs like these being written again too, but as long as the albums are amazing in their own way, I will be a happy fan, and still be able to enjoy Oceanborn.

Night wish Angels Fall First review

•December 6, 2013 • Leave a Comment

The next set of albums I will do is Nightwish. Unlike the Metallica videos, I will be simply recording and editing, one because I don’t possess any good video recording and video editing software. and also simply because I can easily edit out all the times I stutter and repeat the same things 5 times every sentence. I more than likely won’t be using that many images so I can get these reviews out in a timely manner, because after all, it’s more about what I have to say about the albums, plus my rants are more podcasts than they are videos anyway, so most of my listeners would probably prefer this.

I picked Nightwish as the next set for a variety of reasons, but among them are 1. I love to listen to them around the wintertime, especially the holidays. Just about every song they can do fits well with the snowy, dark moonlit winter setting, so you can imagine how every chance I go into the mountains, I’ll have something from imaginaerum stuck in my head, or I’ll be playing something on the playlist. When I was out visiting the Hopi Reservation on a winter trip,  when we were driving at night the moon lit up the snow on the ground, and we drove through snow flurries during some stretches, so I instantly thought to play the Showtime Storytime live album in my headphones. It’s hard to describe, but stuff about the symphony, the choirs, and the melodies really enhances the mood, whether it’s an adventure, or a day when I’m just surrounded in one setting. I even love to listen to the Score of the Imaginaerum film, which I have yet to see. 2. Many of their songs, as open ended as they are from the deep twisted feelings of Tuomas Holopainen, speak to me in many ways. Whether it’s the fantasy, or the interpersonal songs in their later albums, they always seem to have an impact for me. They always seem to have an inspiration too, I mean where the core of the members are from, Finland HAS the scenery that inspires the fantasy forest scenes we see in so many movies, or it also has the majestic snow capped mountains, or the many landscapes that we see in medieval fantasy novels and shows,  and has a climate that is both beautiful and cruel at the same time… much like how Nightwish’s songs can be both beautiful yet relentless and heavy at the same time.

I also love Nightwish because no two albums are the same. They went through a lot of changes in their sound, and you really never know what they’re going to do next. Main songwriter and keyboardist Tuomas Holopainen describes their entire music catalogue as “symphonic metal” and  their music has been described as “bombastic heavy, symphonic and cinematic, with keyboards and strings creating a gothic atmosphere.”  Sometimes, when you feel like an element of their past sound is gone, they manage to resurrect it in a new fresher way, which I’ll go over  with more as we progress through all their studio albums. During the Tarja era, Their first album was them still in their new experimenting phase between heavy and folk metal, their second and third albums were solid power metal albums, their fourth and fifth albums were more on the  gothic side, and with the two Anette albums, you see a return to the Folk style while also expanding the styles they did before. But there was at least one style that stayed consistent, it was the symphonic influences… I don’t always mean orchestra, I mean how songs were composed, with clearly different sections, tempo progressions, and key changes. But because of the lineup changes with their bassist and singers, as a Nightwish fan, it’s easy to jump to a side, and either say “it was better with the old person,” or ” hey this newer person is awesome and adds something new!” And I’m not just talking about the singers. They started out as a 4 piece band, then were a 5 piece band for most of their years, and now they are a six piece band. I may have my hopes with what they are going to do with Floor Jansen and Troy Donockely as full time members, but I am expecting to be surprised and amazed as always.

But before I go through the Anette era, well before I go through the height of the Tarja era, the first album I have to do is an album that for the most part is long forgotten, even by me..

We now come to the first album of the Nightwish discography. This album is for the most part either a hidden gem, or an album showcasing a band still rough around the edges, depending on what fans feel about it. Even Tuomas Holopainen seems to forget about this album, jokingly saying “they should make this album into a movie next, it would be a black and white comedy.”  As forgotten as this album is, many fans need to realize that without this album, there’d be no Wishmaster or Wish I had an Angel, or beyond.

What I can definitely say is that it is the most eclectic album that they have done and the reason is because when they started out, they originally wanted to start as a Folk rock group with a more harmonic moody acoustic sound, but when they heard Tarjas vocals, they decided her’s were too high for folk, and adding in the heavy metal backgrounds from Emmpu and Jukka, they switched the acoustic guitars into electric. What you have is a finished product of folk and metal demos that the record labels decided, “hey these demos sound fine, let’s just release these songs as is.” Honestly that works in favor of the sound, because sometimes demo recordings sound better than their final post production versions.

Elvenpath – This song I used to mistakenly call Elevenpath… simply because I read it wrong. From the opening to the end of it, this song is easily one of the better songs off the album. It is not only the heaviest, but it also has elements of speed during the chorus which enhances it. I also love the Lord of the Rings references in the song, and easily think of this song when I’m watching any of the Peter Jackson movies.

Beauty and the Beast – This is a song featuring a duet with Tarja and Tuomas playing the parts respectively. I guess I’ll go with it now with what many will talk about: the fact that Tuomas sings, and how he himself has said how he never wanted to sing again after this album simply because HE doesn’t think he’s that good. I will say he’s not as bad as even he says he is. He seems to keep a note in this song, and he doesn’t lead, Tarja still does most of the singing.  The song as a whole is still great, and if you haven’t already heard the title, you should know already what this song is about.

The Carpenter – This is the only song that Tuomas takes the lead, and my god he sounds nervous as hell, and his voice seems broken. I know he’s trying to sound deep. but here it doesn’t work. Even Tarja sounds uninspired here, and not only that, this song seems to drag and gets a little boring. Because of that, this song does fall short. That sucks because I like the religious theme in it, but it just doesn’t do it as much for me. What’s funny is that THIS song was the album’s single, and it still got number 3 in the Finnish music charts.

Astral Romance – This one I’ve always liked, and the best part of this song is when the tempo picks up in the middle and the male vocals kick in. Still I think I do like the 2001 version better, the one that has Tony Kakko on male vocals and not Tuomas. I will say though that either version is a good stand alone song.

Angels Fall First – This is a song that actually surprised myself and JMAP. For JMAP, he was thinking, it’s the title track, it’s going to be an epic heavy song, and instead was surprised that it’s an acoustic folk ballad. For me, since he told me it was a slow ballad, I used to skip it many times. But when I finally gave it a listen I actually was surprised by how much I actually like this song. It’s not for everyone, and I’m pretty sure this was a remnant of the original moody acoustic music they were going to do, but this is definitely a hidden gem. It also starts to pick up in intensity near the end, which is also nice.

Tutankhamen – This is a song that I love for the music in general, especially the middle eastern influences throughout the song. Like many Nightwish songs, the best parts are in the middle breakdown of the song, not necessarily the chorus. It’s a nice and catchy heavy song, and hugely underrated. So yes, this is another hidden gem that a lot of fans probably don’t know about.

Nymphomaniac Fantasia – with a song with such a great title, it’s a forgettable song. It almost feels like filler to me, and it’s only worth listening to for the last 90 seconds or so as the song ends. That part should’ve been used as an intro to the album or to an epic song, it’s a waste that it’s behind a song that’s largely bland and forgettable.

Know Why the Nightingale Sings – This one is ALRIGHT. The thing is it’s the same tempo as the great songs on this album like Elvenpath or Astral Romance, and those are way better. The only parts that stand out is the lead solo and ending parts. I know it’s cliched to say the best part is the ending, but I’m not saying that as a joke, it really is. This isn’t the only song in their discography that’s like that either.

Lapland – Lapland for those that don’t know is a region in Northern Finland, Sweden, Norway, and parts of Russia that’s mostly within the Artic circle, and due to its very cold temperatures in the winter, it’s beautiful yet very cruel at the same time, like Nightwish is in a nutshell. With that said, this song as a whole is something that most English speaking fans will be turned away. It’s a 9 minute song sung in Finnish, and if you think it’s going to be a heavy epic 9 minute song full of riffs like Metallica’s And Justice for All, you’re surely mistaken. It’s another folk song, mostly done with strings and keyboards. It’s not for everyone, and I know this song has been hit by the skip button many times by many fans.

That will do it for this CD. I know there are a couple bonus tracks, but I need to skip them in the interest of saving time, and honestly, they’re not that memorable.

So out of the 9 songs, three of them are forgettable for different reasons. Six of them I like and I definitely feel like they’re underrated, and the first two songs on the CD are as good as anything Nightwish made on later albums, but honestly I can see why people skip this album altogether. Yes, the album is them still rough around the edges, BUT despite that, they still show the songwriting talent that they have from the start. The simple number one reason why this album is skipped is because their best work is yet to come, and you can look at it like a kid that did a project when he was young and still learning before he perfected it years later and came out with an even bigger and better project that blew everyone away. When you look back at the earlier and lesser project, you’re both embarrassed but still learn to appreciate the work you did. That’s Angels Fall First in a nutshell.

Thanksgivi… Gray Thurs…. Black Friday’s Eve

•December 6, 2013 • Leave a Comment

I’m Desert Coyote 22, and I wish you all a happy Thanksgiving…. and I mean THANKSGIVING! Because that is a tradition we have been doing since the time of the Puritans on Plymouth Rock in 1621! SCREW this Black Friday crap! I am really hating how Black Friday has really started to take over what used to be a time to spend with family and friends, and used to to reflect the past year and what things in your life, whether big or small, you can be thankful for.

It wasn’t that long ago that we used to think of Thanksgiving as the definitive holiday for November here in the U.S. It’s supposed to be a major holiday, one that has all the stores closed and simply leaves people with no choice but to spend time with their families. Nowadays, it’s pretty much Black Friday’s Eve, and the beginning of the Holiday season that lasts up until New Years. Of course, traditionally on parades that celebrate Thanksgiving day, such as the famous Macy’s parade in New York, it has an appearance of Santa at the end, to signify that “Santa has arrived!” or “Santa is just around the corner.” And while in that parade the department stores sponsored it, it was an unwritten rule that they don’t start doing any Christmas advertising until at least the parade was over.

I know that SNL recently did a sketch parodying the fact that people keep putting their Christmas decorations up earlier and earlier. That’s been nothing new, hell, almost two decades ago when I was 4-5, I remember hating the fact that I would see decorations up already, and seeing a Santa in a Mall BEFORE THANKSGIVING. He tried to wave at me and I gave him a bad look back just because my 5 year old self was so worked up about it, that I even shouted out, “THERE’S NO DECORATING FOR CHRISTMAS ON THANKSGIVING!” So yeah, that sketch is very true what I think. But obviously there’s nothing I can do about it. I realize putting up those decorations is time consuming, and is downright a pain in the ass sometimes, and people don’t want to wait until the last minute and risk looking like they’re not in the holiday season. But jeez people, it feels like the decorations never come down nowadays!

I used to look forward to many of the Thanksgiving feasts I would be part of, mostly because it would almost always involve an extended family gathering of some sorts. It was so big in importance for me that when ice hockey managed to take over by either having me play on Thanksgiving Day for a tournament, or have myself and dad go to a far away place like Vegas or San Jose, I felt bad every single time there was a family gathering that I couldn’t attend. Sure, when we did Vegas, my parents and I  still did something special and ended up going to Zion National Park, and in San Jose we used that time to see San Francisco, and go to Muir Woods and Half Moon Bay, which is where this picture was taken. But even then, the family gatherings were what I missed the most, and were all the more special when I got to do them, no matter where the location.

So from listening to me, you can see that Thanksgiving has always been a special Holiday to me. It’s even special to my mother as well, who has done her version of ” say what you’re thankful for” in the form of a “blessings box” where since 1988, every person at every gathering  writes down their entries on a small card, and they’re forever stored.

And then we come to Black Friday….

I remember it at first not being that big of a deal, but we still knew it as the first day of the Holiday shopping season. Part of this was because many employees would have the day after Thankgiving as a day off as well, so retailers would see potential business by offering sales. We know they also have these sales only ON that day to create a sense of urgency. Believe it or not, it was the popular media that claimed for decades that Black Friday was the busiest day for holiday shopping, when in fact it wasn’t. During the 90s, it was actually ranked from the 5th through 10th busiest day, with the top honor usually going to the last Saturday before Christmas Day. It was not the busiest day until 2003, and it’s only been consistently  since 2005.

It was common for stores to open their doors at 6:00 am on Black Friday, which was fine because it STILL encouraged people to have their traditional feast and spend time with family, even if they had to get up at the crack of dawn the next day. But then because the stores decided to be competitive with each other, in the mid 00s, stores started to open their doors at 5:00 am, then 4:00 am. Even then it was pushing it, because now for those that wanted a decent night’s sleep, that was virtually impossible with all the holiday sweets coming around. That also meant those who DID NOT have the day off also had to be up earlier to be there before the stores opened. But because of the increased business and crowded stores, they said, “hey let’s open and start our sales at midnight! That’ll get these people coming.” And then in 2010, Toys R Us decided to open their stores at 10:00 PM ON THANKSGIVING DAY! Oh, what was that? Sleep? time to wind down from the Thanksgiving dinner? Oh who needs sleep anyway, we have starbucks on every block! OH what was that again? You want the sales to continue into Saturday? NO DEAL! You gotta make your choice now if you want to buy those three plasma screen TV’s for the price of 2, or want to buy those 20 DVDs for the price of 10… better make your choice now!

Oh but wait, screw Thanksgiving dinner, who needs that?! let’s make our sales start even EARLIER! Last year, in 2012, stores like Sears, KMart, Walmart opened their sales at 8:00 PM! 8:00 PM on thanksgiving Day… at one point are we to have our traditional dinners? 3:00 in the afternoon?

And then we come to 2013, and what time do our Black Friday sales start? JCPenney, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Sears, and Target are all planning to open at 8 p.m. Wal Mart and Best Buy are starting their sales at 6:00 PM… and Toys R Us is opening at 5PM on thanksgiving day…. there goes the sales for slow roasted turkey! And here is where it gets better… K-Mart is opening at 6AM on Thanksgiving Day and plans to stay open for 41 consecutive hours until 11PM on Friday. not even Black Friday anymore, it’s more like Black Thursday, or Gray Thursday… or whatever! It’s not even about Thanksgiving anymore! If people want to have Thanksgiving dinner and still make all the Black Friday sales, they have to have more like a “Thanksgiving Brunch” at like 11AM and prepare themselves for the overcrowded stores and high credit card bills.

I think the reason why the stores are opening earlier and earlier is because people will camp out the day before and wait for the doors to open, so they think opening earlier reduces the amount of people on the first wave of people barging into the stores. But these idiots don’t seem to realize that by moving the sale times earlier, the people just camp out earlier and earlier! It’s not helping anything!

And something else that I hate about this day is that it’s starting to be known for the violence stemming from impatient and eager shoppers. It’s almost like a war zone to get all the best deals before they run out, and to avoid long lines wherever possible.

In 2006, people flooded a WalMart in Columbus, Ohio, and pinned workers against boxes of stacked merchandise. In 2008, 2,000 people were eagerly waiting outside a Walmart in New York as they waited for the doors to open at 5:00 am. Like a damn concert pit, they pushed forward as the doors opened, breaking the door down, and trampled an employee to death… And on the same day, two people were shot at a Toys R us in Palm Desert, California.

In 2010, a woman in Madison, Wisconsin was arrested for cutting in line and threatening to shoot other people who objected. A man was arrested in Florida for reportedly carrying a handgun, as well as two knives and a pepper spray grenade. In 2011, a woman USED pepper spray on other shoppers after she was tired of all the shoving in line as people tried to get their hands on discounted Xbox 360s. And in another stupid instance of shoving, a 73 year old greeter at Wal Mart was pushed by an unruly shopper, she was trying to tell this person not to exit through the door where exits are not permitted, and was shoved to the ground. The old greeter instinctively grabbed onto the shopper to keep from falling. But because of WalMarts policy of employees keeping their hands off shoppers, The GREETER was fired for this shoppers stupidity.

Finally, last year, two people were shot outside a Wal Mart over a dispute over a parking space!

I simply miss the tradition of THANKSGIVING! I for one don’t see myself shopping on Black Friday anytime soon, or if I do, I do it on FRIDAY and not THURSDAY. I understand that there are lots of deals on merchandise that is otherwise more expensive to get.

But Traditionally Thanksgiving was supposed to be a time of celebrating what you are thankful for, and what you have reaped from your actions over the years, as well as what your family and close friends have reaped. It’s supposed to be a time to get together and spend time with people you normally don’t see as much in your day to day activities. But now the day that is supposed to celebrate such a day is now being replaced by a day that celebrates materialism, and heavy consumerism, and about getting the best stuff as much as you can as fast as you can. It’s not even about the spirit of giving anymore. There is something majorly wrong with that concept.

I wish that at least here in the U.S. we make a federal law that prohibits stores from doing black Friday sales BEFORE FRIDAY. The fact that the stores start their sales earlier and earlier it is getting ridiculous. Stores need to realize that enough is enough and go back to opening their stores on FRIDAY NOT THURSDAY! Unless there is some sort of intervention, the stores will continue making their sales earlier to the point where they start on Wednesday…




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