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Muse’s musical talent earns them another fan

I will admit that I was a little late to be jumping on the bandwagon of people who are amazed by the amount of talent and originality that English rockers Muse produces, but these guys can really deliver.

Since the July 6, 2006 release of the band’s fourth studio album, “Black Holes and Revelations,” Muse has gripped the music world by storm. This is by far one of the best records of 2006, if not one of the best in a decade. From the moment I bought this record it has been in heavy rotation in my stereo, and every time I listen to it I hear something new. Whether it is a trumpet playing in the background or an amazing chord progression, I swear this album has more layers than any music genius I can name.

Muse was formed back in the early ’90s by Matthew Bellamy (vocals, guitar, keyboards, backing vocals), Dominic Howard (drums, percussion) and Chris Wolstenholme (bass guitar, keyboards, backing vocals), and the music they have created doesn’t easily place into just one category. From electronica to indie rock, this band has managed to touch people with all different kinds of musical tastes.

The first track, “Take a Bow,” slowly attacks the listener with a fast-paced synthesizer and singer Matthew Bellamy slowly singing “You will burn in hell.” Then the song picks up speed and goes into a mesh of guitar riffs and eerie synthesizers. The song then abruptly ends in music feedback.

The second track is the hit single “Starlight,” which is about holding on to what we care about the most. You can really hear the emotion in his voice and feel the energy this song produces.

Another great track which is more in the electronica genre is “Map of the Problematique,” which is a fast mix of haunting piano melodies and keyboard effects. Personally, I think this is one of the best tracks on the album. Bellamy’s lyrics are amazingly written and they have more depth than the typical my-girlfriend-dumped-me-so-here’s-a-song-about-it song.

You can hear the band’s heavy metal influences on “Assassin,” a song staturated in heavy riffs and a fast-paced tempo. Howard’s killer drum playing can be heard and is the best on this track and sounds like it should be in a death-metal ballad, let alone an indie rock song.

The album ends with the group’s other single, “Knights of Cydonia,” which begins with a mix of chord progressions and then brings in a surf-rock style riff, followed by trumpet playing. I know this sounds like too many different styles clashing, but if any band could make this work, it would be Muse.

Muse knows how to mix many different types of music styles and I personally can’t wait to see what they’ll do in the future.

The band is currently on a world tour and will be coming to the United States in April. Muse will be performing April 10 at the Forum in Inglewood.

‘Stomp the Yard’ brings the goods

By April King

Daily Forty-Niner

Contributing Writer

“Stomp the Yard” is a combination of tragedy, love, perseverance and personal growth. The film follows DJ, a street dancer from Los Angeles who moves to Atlanta to attend college. We watch DJ’s journey from losing his younger brother to gun violence and dealing with the subsequent guilt to watching him go forward with fulfilling his brother’s dream of attending college and joining a fraternity. Throughout the film, DJ deals with the pressures of grades, partying roommates, falling in love and class discrimination.

First-time director Sylvain White succeeded with chronicling DJ’s transition from a street-hustling dancer to a college frat boy. What impressed me about the movie is that it captured the strength and history of black fraternities while realistically depicting the rivalries that have plagued the organizations since their inception.

The movie also shows several examples of positive black family structures, which are usually lacking in mainstream cinema. We see a variety of relationship bonds, including those between husband and wife, father and daughter, friends and budding love interests. This is important to the film because it strengthens the internal conflict that DJ experiences and validates his fight to succeed, although we see many reasons for him to simply give up.

Although the film does well developing its strong story lines, I have to say that I expected more dance sequences. After watching the previews of “Stomp the Yard,” I expected more displays of competitive dance. The film opened and ended in competition but had little throughout.

Overall, I recommend this film for everyone to see. There is a mixture of new and familiar faces, but the cast is mostly comprised of relative unknowns. Newcomer Columbus Short (DJ) did a great job in his first starring role, exhibiting authenticity as a less-privileged dancer while displaying believable chemistry with all of his co-stars.

“Stomp The Yard” is in theatres now.

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