First Look: Snow Patrol – A Hundred Million Suns

I’m a firm believer in Indie bands that make it big. But I’m also not blind to the fact that once in the spotlight, Indie bands often reject the diversity and uniqueness of their own “indie-ness” for whatever worked for them to get them to the top.

I think it’s possible that Snow Patrol is approaching that point. They have found what works, and now they’re starting to hit the “copy” button.

Is A Hundred Million Suns good? Yes. No doubt about it. At times, it’s catchy and energetic. It has a great sound, and the usual Snow Patrol base lines and guitar riffs.

Is it new, unique, original? Not so much. If you like Eyes Open’s catchy radio-tunes like Chasing Cars and Hands Open, you’ll like this one. But the more I hear, the more I think: once you’ve heard one Snow Patrol song, you’ve probably heard them all. It’s the thing I hate most about U2. Every song sounds the same.

In fact, the first tracks sound like they were intended for Eyes Open, but kept on the shelf so the band could get some more mileage out of their sound. “If there’s a rocket, tie me to it” and “Crack the Shutters” are some of the worst offenders here. I swear I’ve heard “Engines” guitar riffs on another Snow Patrol song and “Set Down Your Glass” is the token slow and meaningful song, akin to Eyes Open’s “You Could be Happy.”

I will say this, though. Some songs are a complete departure from the Snow Patrol sound. “Lifeboats” and “The Golden Floor” have a distinct Iron & Wine flavor to them, though I doubt they will get much recognition from listeners or critics, and they’ll probably be written off as boring. “Lightning Strikes” is a moving piece with rich, whirling piano, horns, voice melodies and guitar riffs that make the song both deep and diverse. It’s probably one of the best things I’ve heard from Snow Patrol in a long time, and it’s stashed at the end of the CD.

Proper Opposition?

I was born and raised in California, and though I don’t live there now, I can’t say that I haven’t taken interest in the developments of Proposition 8. In particular, I’ve been receiving several emails about some of the things that have been going on as we get closer to voting day.

  • In one email, I was told about church members being harrassed and haraunged by protestors of proposition 8, disrupting their God-given (and constitution-given) right to have a peaceful worship session. Apparently, shouting obscenities and harrassing innocent people is a legitimate lobbying strategy.
  • Another email expounded situations arising at elementary schools. Apparently, a charter elementary school in Hayward, California, is promoting gay and lesbian ideals to kids as young as kindegarten. The school celebrated “Coming Out Day” last week, featuring a major pro-homosexual push typically aimed at high school students. Reportedly, school officials chose not to tell parents ahead of time. Apparently, when giving “equal voice” to the other side (traditional marriage), posters discussed the notion of families by depicting homosexual families.
  • Another email recounted the experience of a kindegarten class attending a teacher’s homosexual wedding as a class field trip, without even notifying the parents.

I’m sure I’ll get more emails as we get closer to November’s election day. But in light of some of these reports, I have to say: I find it intriguing to see Proposition 8 opponents’ strategy here: Opponents to Prop 8 are using the type of forcing-their-values-on-people strategy that they claim traditional marriage supporters exert on them. So much for “do unto others…”

What’s more…last time I checked, we don’t actively promote traditional marriage at elementary schools. But for some reason, Prop 8 opponents think it’s ok to target children who aren’t even mature enough to understand the difference, and are quite impressionable.

I don’t care where you stand on this issue–activists for or against this proposition should be targeting the constituencies that have a voice in the election: voters. Not their children.

From Novels to Movies: To Be or Not to Be

I have gotten into doing a lot of novel reading…as my commute in the DC area can be quite long. Ok…so it’s not actually novel “reading”…it’s books on CD…but you get the picture.

Throughout my reading (or listening) I have wondered how some books would fair as movies, and at the same time, have wondered why some books have been made into movies. Here’s some miscellaneous ponderings:

The City of Ember: This book has received some good reviews, and honestly, I couldn’t get even halfway through the book. Fairly inane story based on an alternate reality that I just can’t grasp onto. It’s a city that is on the verge of collapse with a mystery behind its beginnings. Sure, sounds nice, but I just couldn’t get beyond one underlying facet of the city: the communication. I could write a whole blog post on this one, but I won’t. Instead of modern conveniences like the Internet, phones, or EVEN snail mail–they use messengers who have to run all over the city to convey messages. Just the idea that an advanced society couldn’t figure out mail turned me off.

The Lightning Thief: Harry Potter meets Mount Olympus. I have been thinking about a whole post on this book, and how after what JK Rowling put together, no other book featuring a young boy who goes on a quest to defeat evil will ever be able to avoid being compared to Harry Potter. But then I found out that it was in production to be a movie. I think the scenes and story are good enough for a movie, but the plot, frankly, is a little predictable and a little overdone. It is unique in it’s own merit, and I look forward to seeing how they pull off the final scene between Percy and a character not to be named, so as to not ruin the story for you.

The Tale of Despereaux: I mistakenly read this book to my kids. It’s not really a kids book honestly. The themes are very adult and anything but child-friendly. Especially the murder plot…oh, and the child abuse. Then I saw the previews for the movie, and I have to say, I don’t see ONE element of the book in the movie. THey must have done a complete overhaul of the story to fit into the movie.

The Dark is Rising (AKA The Seeker): I just finished this book, and at first, I was anxious to see the movie (the 2007 release, the Seeker).  Then I saw the previews, and it looks like they tried to update it to give it a 21st century feel to it. I read the reviews, and others agree, the movie and the book are two separate entities. If you’ve seen the movie, don’t let it ruin the book for you…the book is fantastic.

Now–a few movies I’d like to see:

Airman by Eoin Colfer: The plotline is akin to the Count of Monte Cristo, but it’s fabulous in its own right. The end left a little to be desired, but all in all, this was an amazing book, and I can’t wait until some producer picks up the movie rights for it.

The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp: I loved the book. Fantastic story. Great plot twists. Excellent character development. I’d love to see John Woo take this movie on.