Thursday, September 15, 2011

True Blood
Season 4 Re-cap

As much as i love True Blood, i'm more than happy to be honest about the shows flaws, which it has a good few of. Over the last 3 seasons, True Blood has gone from a smooth paced supernatural drama to an over populated melodramatic fantasy series. I don't have a major issue with that, as over crowded as it's become, it's still as entertaining and well acted as it ever was. However, season 4 of True Blood has brought some much needed change to the series [spoilers ahead! you've been warned].

Marnie [who was played amazingly by Fiona Shaw] is the best thing to happen to this season since Russell in season 3. After the annoying Mary Anne from season 2, it's good to see a well written female villain in the series that didn't make you want to pull your hair out. Not only was Marnie powerful and dangerous, but you also felt sympathetic towards her, which isn't usually how many of the True Blood villains make you feel. They tend to be bad to the bone.

Sam had some welcome changes to his storyline. His irritating parents finally died, as did his brother Tommy. Tommy was like-able, but i found i started getting bored with his endless fuck ups and arguing, they took him as far as they could. Sam also found himself in a new relationship which i enjoyed watching.

Jason's boring "Panther people" storyline finally ended, even if we had to sit through a few episodes of it in season 4 which seemed to go nowhere. However, his blossoming romance with Jessica has been a surprise twist in the series that i liked. In fact, Hoyt and Jessica breaking up would have been the last thing i wanted to see a year ago, but i like the new confident person Jessica has become after their relationship fell apart, she's very sexy and more fun than she ever was.

Sookie didn't seem to have much to do outside of having sex this season. Not that it bothered me, after all, we finally saw her and Eric get together which was more than satisfying after 3 years of sexual tension. However, i prefer Eric as the cold killer he usually is, even if seeing him act like a pussy whipped infant in early season 4 episodes was kinda adorable. Drinking blood from a heart he ripped out of a witches chest like a milkshake was definitely a highlight.

Bill also seemed to have little to do this season other than look at Sookie all the time with regret and sadness. I did like his change of career though, it freshened up his story nicely.

Tara started off with a great new start this season, but she quickly fell into the very boring "scream and be angry" storyline she always seems to get given by the writers this season. I do still like her, but i can't say that seeing her die wasn't somewhat satisfying. She's probably better off dead, she's a mess. Not sure if having her whole head blown to bits was the most respectful way to get rid of her though? she can't even die in peace it seems. They really do need to find some positive direction for her, enough of the drama with Tara, it got old 2 seasons ago. Coming back as a ghost maybe????

Alcide had a low key, but entertaining enough storyline this season. I didn't like seeing his crazy ex-girlfriend back, but Alcide profusing his love to Sookie was a nice way to end his story this year. I also LOVE seeing Sookie put a bullet in his ex girlfriends head too, another tired character thankfully coming to an end.

Other than having a really bad haircut, Lafayette was given plenty to do this season with Jesus finally given into the dark magic his Uncle forced onto him his whole life. I loved the monster face that would appear every time Jesus did "his thing".

Arlene and Terry still seem to have no point whatsoever. Their "evil baby" storyline went absolutely nowhere, and was another indication that the series is bogged down with way too many needless side characters. They should just keep these two as background folk who don't get involved supernatural drama.

Pam had the best one liners this season, her hatred for Sookie was hilarious ["gash in a dress" anyone?], and her rotting face storyline gave this season some much needed comedy. I didn't like seeing her relationship with Eric fizzle out, but if it didn't, then we never would have seen her hilarious outburst over Sookie in her office at Fangtasia in the final episode [see above picture]. More Pam, please!.

Overall, season 4 smoothed out a few of the bumps that the excellent, but cluttered season 3 had last year. Characters have been cut out and some new and interesting story lines have started up ready for season 5. The witches were a nice change of pace this season, and i hope to see more of them down the line.
The writers of the show have hinted at what we may see in season 5 with characters and story lines being taken from book 5, 6 and 7. That could be anything from zombies [yay!] to the introduction of Were-tiger, Quinn, who plays a big part in Sookie's story and is a fan favourite of the people who read the books.

Until next year!

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Night The Sun Came Up [2011]

I haven't been the worlds biggest Dev fan over the last year. Her collaboration with Fast East Movement on "Like A G6" was beyond annoying, and her stand alone singles 'Booty Bounce' and 'Bass Down Low' seemed to show that she was a one trick pony who sang to the same beat over and over. The only time she did anything that caught my interest was when she released 'Fireball' earlier this year, it was a great track which sadly didn't make the final cut for her album.

After hearing 'The Night The Sun Came Up', i was surprised at how much more varied her production choices were throughout the album. There's a trademark vibe to a lot of the songs which have become very particular to her music thanks to production from frequent collaborators, 'The Cataracts'. Songs like 'In My Trunk', and early single 'Bass Down Low' carry Dev's signature dirty electro beats which long time fans will no doubt love. Other songs like 'Breathe' and 'In The Dark' go down a more Euro-house route, which mixes up her dance tracks nicely.

The opening track, 'Getaway' is proof that Dev should go deeper into more trip hop type of music with the song starting as a piano ballad and then quickly changing into a slow pumping rap tune. Production wise, it's one of the most interesting tracks on the album, and works perfectly as the first song on the record because it shows the listener you'll be in for a few surprises.
'Take Her From You' uses a more rockier sound, complete with whistle hook, 'Lightspeed' is another euro dance heavy track that changes direction ever minute, keeping things fresh throughout the song, and 'Kiss My Lips' could have been handed to anyone from Rihanna or Britney and gone straight to #1 as the next big pop hit if it had a more high profile performer selling it.

Where the album starts to fall apart is with the ballads. None of them are particularly strong, but a couple of them are enjoyable enough. 'Me' is a charming little track and 'Perfect Match' has some nice production sprinkled through it. 'Dancing Shoes' was awful on first listen, it has grown on me more on repeat listens and i can play it, but i find it a bit too sickly sweet, especially for an album that can be very bass heavy at times. It should have been given to Taylor Swift. Another ballad that falls flat is the last track on the album, 'Shadows', it's not awful, but it doesn't really go anywhere and it's a bit dull.

As a debut album, there's enough to enjoy on 'Night'. I can appreciate that Dev has tried to actually offer an album full of different sounds rather than just singing 'G6' 12 times. She has an interesting sense of direction with some of her tracks and it shows she has real potential to take things further on future records. Outside of a couple tracks, there isn't anything overly amazing about the album, but it's a good introduction to Dev as an artist, it's an easy listen.