Swanktrendzvanc's Blog

Into the Heart of Africa. (An example of Political-Correctness Gone Wrong?) By Christine Albrecht

swanktrendzvanc Mar 29, 2015

Twenty-five years ago Jeanne Cannizzo resigned from her position as curator for the Royal Ontario Museum. She had been hired on contract as a guest curator, and the “Into the Heart of Africa” display was her first big exhibit. Cannizzo debuted the collection in November 1989, yet by March 1990, she had submitted her resignations to the Museum as well as the University of Toronto. Surprisingly, her resignations were accepted without question; no offers of financial compensation to ensure she stay. Furthermore, Cannizzo did not pursue criminal action against those who vandalized her home, nor against those who disrupted her class and verbally harassed her from her career.  The latter culminated in a guard escort home from the university, and a faxed resignation. Cannizzo went on to leave Canada to teach in the British Isles.

I realize that one should never use ‘ignorance’ as defense for one’s actions, but I feel that both Cannizzo and the Canadian public were guilty of reactions steeped in ignorance and naivety. The museum was initially happy with November’s uneventful opening and moderately good reviews. However, by March 1990, a group appeared and publicly denounced the exhibit as profoundly racist. This announcement was delivered by the (questionable) Coalition for the Truth about Africa (CTAA), via Ontario’s Ministry of Citizenship. The demonstrators and pickets initially demanded changes to artifact labeling, along with removal of several violent images. However, by May, the demands became more radical. They were demanding an inclusion of the contribution of specific Africans to medicine, mathematics, science, etc. This did not fit with the premise of the exhibit, to show Canadian colonial attitudes at the time; but the protestors were adamant. Anti-exhibitors also demanded (along with the previous changes) the curator to be someone of African descent, thus inferring a form of reverse racism. Finally, the CTAA demanded a public apology and closure of the exhibit.

To determine what the demonstration was about, or why there was such an extreme reaction to Into the Heart of Africa, one must also take the pulse of Canadian society at the time. Canadians were in the midst of political correctness. Thus, prior to installation, the Royal Ontario Museum intentionally hired a Ugandan-Canadian publicist to assist Jeanne Cannizzo. The Museum also hired an African-Canadian art organizer to help Jeanne plan the exhibit. (Interesting that no one denounced or challenged the exclusion of these men during Jeanne’s public humiliation, or included them during accusations of Cannizzo being racist. Perhaps this is because the hired helpers were African-Canadian, another inclination of the CTAA’s reversed gender and racial bias.

Four months before opening, black leaders were invited to The Royal Ontario Museum’s presentation of the exhibit’s purpose; advertising and promotional materials were tested on a core group of African-Canadians. Thanks to feedback from this proactive approach, the title of the exhibit was changed from “Into the Heart of Darkness”, to “Into the Heart of Africa”. Despite Canada’s claims as being a gun-free, tolerant, society, Toronto was in the public eye because of recent controversy over several police shootings of black youth. Media talking heads were denouncing policemen as being racist. Anything that appeared remotely politically incorrect was routinely held up and publically denounced. All of this was happening at the same time as Cannizzo was attempting to organize an exhibit on Canada’s historic relationship with Africa.

Once Cannizzo received and incorporated feedback from the special interest groups, she could focus on the installation. Her main train of thought was how to show the public how a ritualistic African object could come into missionary hands, then furthermore be determined as museum worthy? What should be the criteria? What was the artifact’s history? Previously, the Museum would acquire and display aboriginal collections, usually chronologically or by regional band. The present African collection was the result of individual donations, over the years, rather than a directed and predetermined acquisition. Subsequently, a single topic, title, focus, theme, or chronology, could not be agreed upon as the objects were from all over Africa, throughout the years.

Cannizzo concluded that the exhibit should reflect the attitudes of the collectors at the time of collection. Therefore the actual wording of the persons involved would become the object’s narrative. The aim was that the viewer would feel shame and disgust at the racist entitlement the colonial collectors held. Again, Jeanne’s ignorance overshadowed reality, as Cannizzo truly believed the viewers would instantly recognize the racist narrative, and is able to understand implicitly it was not present day narrative.

In our current environment of not wanting to offend anybody, Jeanne set about arranging the African collection. She attempted to separate the 375 objects into similar groupings, e.g.: British, Military, Religious, etc. and she displayed the actual text from the artifact’s accompanying historical papers. To ensure the viewer’s understanding, Cannizzo used quotation marks to separate the ‘views of the past’ from the usual museum narrative. Despite all of its politically correct preparation, people actually viewed the exhibit’s quoted texts as being literal and current. Visitors felt that the quotes were merely a re-inscription of racist attitudes that the Museum held! Jeanne Cannizzo mistakenly assumed the Canadian public was intelligent enough to view the exhibit ’s artifacts, and historical texts, for being the misguided, racist arrogance they were. In hindsight, she was naïve in her overestimation of museum visitors’ unconditional racial acceptance. By adding a strong moral narrative (that she purposely avoided, thinking people didn’t like being told what to think) to each grouping, Cannizzo could have highlighted the historical level of racism presented.

In its review, The Globe and Mail claimed “One had to be literate and sophisticated to view it as the curator intended”. Jeanne Cannizzo felt so sure that the public would view the many images the way she did, that they wouldn’t even need the accompanying text. In fact, several items clearly stated Cannizzo’s opposition to the racist, Colonial view. She didn’t understand how people could arrive at any viewpoint other than a non-judgmental one.  Again, the newspapers solved some of the mystery by observing that the average Museum viewer did NOT bother to read any of the text. Once again, blame ignorance for Jeanne overlooking a viewer’s refusal to read accompanying text.

 I feel this is a solid example of political-correctness-gone-wrong, and I am annoyed that a woman’s career and life was forcibly disrupted because some vocal people don’t understand irony, or cannot ‘read between the lines’. These uninformed protestors were incapable of independent thought, and succumbed to mob mentality. Because a squeaky wheel (CTAA) was demanding politically correct oil, the general Canadian public allowed an exhibit to be publicly censored; ensured the exhibit would not make money via future rentals; and commandeered the departure of a talented curator. The last insult was that the African objects were removed from public view and hidden away.

 Ivan Karp wrote a book on such occurrences called, “Exhibiting Cultures: The Poetics and Politics of Museum Display”. A quote that I appreciate and I feel brings some understanding to people’s personal reactions is by Brenda Austin Smith who says, “It is difficult to remain detached from depictions of racism “in history” when racism itself is not history?”



C.R.A.Z.Y. Movie Review by Christine Albrecht

swanktrendzvanc Jul 14, 2014

Movie Review: C.R.A.Z.Y  10/10

One of my all time favourite Canadian movies is the 2005 film, C.R.A.Z.Y. co-written and directed by Jean-Marc Vallée. I have seen this French-Canadian flick approximately 12 times and still get excited when I see it listed in the television guide. The title comes from the Patsy Cline album of the same
name - an album the main character, Zach Beaulieu’s, father buys as an expensive import and treasures until Zach inadvertently breaks the vinyl.  (Zach is superbly played by Marc-André Grondin.)

 The movie is a coming-of-age story that follows the sturm und drang of Zach’s adolescence into a adulthood. Given Zach’s staunch Catholic upbringing, one immediately senses that all is not well when Zach begins exhibiting homosexual tendencies. Soon after requesting a baby carriage as a gift, as well as being caught dressing up in his mother’s clothes, Zach experiences his father, Gervais Beaulieu, (played by Michael Coté) pulling away from their formerly close relationship, furthermore withdrawing his affections. Zach is clearly confused by Gervais’ withdrawal and attempts to determine what he’s done wrong. Meanwhile, Gervais (also confused) blames Zach’s mother for his effeminate behaviour citing the mother’s coddling, as well as her indulgence of Zach’s nurturing side. Zach also has an extremely volatile relationship with his second eldest brother, Raymond (played by Pierre-Luc Brillant). Raymond is confused by Gervais’ special treatment of Zach as Raymond discovers his usually calm father goes off the deep end whenever Zach is called a ‘fag’. Many fist fights erupt as a result of this word being thrown at Zach.

Everyone seems to have their specific triggers and rather than openly address things like relationships, drug addiction, sexual orientation, lying, religion, etc., they tip-toe around each other, trying to avoid any trigger discussions. Familial love is shown during the men’s’ fierce defense of each other, usually behind each others’ backs. Often these physical scraps erupt over misinterpretations of alleged insults, or miscommunications. Too much damage results from their actions so they are unable to undo these mistakes.


Along with being preoccupied with his sexual identity, Zach has to endure being 'special' as he is declared to have “special healing powers” for burns, cuts etc. The household phone is often ringing with family and neighbors calling to ask Zach to recite his special prayers for their injury-of-the-moment. Of course, they telephone again to inform him the injury is healing. Zach comes to realize that the injuries inevitably get better whether he thinks of the person or not, but his mother cannot bear to believe he is ordinary as she has always felt Zach was different due to his birthday being on Christmas day, and having died - then lived - during birth. He was also born with a white streak in his hair and this lack of pigmentation was further proof of his specialness.

The film studies the brothers’, Christian, Raymond, Antoine, Zachary, and Yvan, different personalities and interactions. Zach both despises and idolizes Raymond for his wild, tough-guy image. While maturing, Zach notices subtle attractions towards certain males and the occasional female. These brief glimpses cause Zach to ponder the possibility of being gay, causing him to pray fervently to God and Jesus to make him anything BUT gay. My heart breaks for this attractive young man as he is fighting so hard against everything that comes naturally to him. Again I identify with Zach because, in his desperation to be straight, he is making all sorts of side-deals with God. As well, he is setting up mini feats that - if he is successful in completing them - will pronounce him as heterosexual.  How many times, when I was desperate for a specific outcome, did I make little agreements with God to ensure positive results? I never did explain to my mother I was merely fulfilling my end of a deal with God, when I was attending my friends’ church functions every Friday night for several weeks.

Even the English subtitles do not take away from the film’s humor, as well as its forays into self-discovery and loss. I identify closely with the main character’s pain of adolescence despite not having anything in common with him or with the general theme of the movie. Perhaps it’s the musical timeline that makes me feel so connected to this film. I especially empathize when the main character – while obliviously lip-syncing to Davie Bowe’s “Space Oddity” - is abruptly shut down by his brother, to the cheering of the entire neighborhood. How many times was I spared the humiliation of being caught lip synching to my favourite band?

A lot of the film’s humor, as well as tragedy, is derived from the lack of communication and the hypersensitivity between the characters. A couple of times Zach’s innocent actions are incorrectly identified as homosexual intimacy by over-sensitive brothers and father. The father is further conflicted between his love for his children and his refusal to accept homosexuality as anything but a choice. Even Raymond’s drug addiction is accepted before Zach’s hedonistic sexual identity. The movie deftly shadows Zach’s search for his identity and his need to belong: during his sessions with a psychiatrist, during his live-in romance and experimentation with a woman, and finally during his escape to Jerusalem where he accepts that he is, indeed, gay. 

The movie ends with several bittersweet moments, the most ironic being when Zach is able to finally replace his father’s Patsy Cline album, Crazy (although it took him a trip to Jerusalem to find it). No sooner had Zach’s father happily accepted this gift from him – thus opening the door for other reconciliations - when Zach’s brother Yvan, drops and breaks the record album, mirroring Zach’s incident over a decade prior. This is when Zach disbelievingly connects Patsy Cline’s title to the first initials of the boys’ names: Christian, Raymond, Antoine, Zachary, and Yvan = CRAZY.

 I would love to read other's reviews of this movie. I consider it one of Canada's finest offerings.


#5 My Favourite Albums To Date: La Dispute

swanktrendzvanc Apr 04, 2014

My Favourite Albums To Date:

#5 by: Ian Albrecht

Artist- La Dispute

Album- Somewhere At The Bottom Of The River Between Vega And Altair

Genre- Post-Hardcore/Spoken Word/Hardcore Punk/Experimental Rock


Lyrics 97/100, Vocals 90/100, Instrumental 94/100


This album was released in November, 2008, and is an absolute masterpiece. There is so much substance to this album, and to the band, it is ridiculous. I have never encountered a band such as La Dispute before.

When I first heard them (unlike many other people I know) I was intrigued by Jordan Dreyer's weird vocal style and I found myself wanting more and more.  

I started digging more into the band’s lyrics and that's when I hit La Dispute’s gold mine. This band writes better than any other band I have heard in my entire life. Each sentence contains meaning rather than just song placement, and the meanings are both literal and metaphorical. Prior to La Dispute, singer Jordan Dreyer used to write poetry and short fiction and his talent is apparent.

A big shout out and thank you to Brynna Thorlakson (and her avid ear for amazing music) for introducing me to these talented guys.

This album revolves around the usual feelings of love, betrayal, hatred, pain, rage, anger, and dealing with loss. But La Dispute approaches these themes with more lyrical depth than the average band. I honestly cannot think of any better tracks the band has, that should have been included or replaced on this album. The songs appear to be ordered strategically, as each song’s meaning flows into the next and all the tracks are where they should be.

The first song up for evaluation is actually two songs which complement each other: "Such Small Hands” and “Nobody, Not Even The Rain". These two songs are like the ‘bow’ you unwrap before you get to the ‘gift’ of the entire album. "Such Small Hands" is the introduction track and "Nobody, Not Even The Rain" is the CD’s finale.


Holy s%@&! Are these two songs ever powerful, even though the duration is only 2:34 minutes when placed together. With lyrics like:

"I thought I heard the door open, oh no. Thought I heard the door open, but I only heard it close.

I thought I heard a plane crashing, but now I think it was your passion snapping"

They had me, right away. Another amazing line from this song is:

"I know that even with the seams stitched, darling, scars will remain.

I say we scrape them from each other, darling, and let them wash off in the rain."

The next song I need to highlight is "Bury Your Flame". Another powerful song, that speaks to me. I could easily write a thousand word essay on the impact of this song, so it is really tough for me to find one set of lyrics to share. However:


"You came back and you brought floods wearing a necklace made of hearts that you'd dragged through the mud. And I guess I wasn't quite sure what to say to you. But then I saw mine, almost reached out to grab it. Said, ‘Darling, you're the only one on earth I want to have it.’ But now I'm not so sure that was true, after the hell you put it through."


I get chills when I hear Jordan’s raw anguish as he screams through those lines. It feels as though he had to relive the experience over and over in order to lay it down, to share with us.

As I have mentioned throughout this review, this album is perfect in every single way possible - lyrically. I cannot say anything bad about Jordan's writing style. La Dispute’s vocals are hard for most people to sit and listen to because they are very rough, raw and gravelly.  But I implore you to also listen to Jordan’s spoken word songs because they present an entirely different genre – yet on the same album. 

The band’s instrumentals are on point throughout the album – every note belongs where it is, and reflects the mood and lyrics

Both Chad and Kevin, La Dispute’s two guitarists, deserve recognition for their ability to play perfectly to the mood. As well, they provide some amazing riffing throughout the album, and Adam's distorted bass additions add further depth. Clearly La Dispute is a cohesive group.

Songs To Check Out: Bury Your Flame, The Last Lost Continent, Damaged Goods, Sad Prayers For Guilty Bodies.

Visit their website here






#6 Ian Albrecht's Favorite Albums to Date - #6 Red Jumpsuit Apparatus

swanktrendzvanc Mar 30, 2014

My Favourite Albums To Date:

Artist- Red Jumpsuit Apparatus
Album- Don't You Fake It
Genre- Post-Hardcore/Alternative Rock
Lyrics 92/100, Vocals 93/100, Instrumental 94/100

This is easily one of my favourite albums, beginning to end. The songs on this album are so consistent that there really isn't a single track that I would consider better than the others, unlike most of the albums on my top-twenty list.

This album was initially released in 2006, then re-released in 2007 with two bonus songs… and holy were those bonus songs amazing, but I will discuss them later.

So right out of the gate, this album’s first track’s impact is fast paced, in your face, heavy, and let’s-start-a-fight. Combine Ronnie Winter’s awesome screams an overall amazing instrumental, and "In Fate's Hand" is the perfect introductory song to this album.


The first song worthy of serious discussion is also the most popularly known song on the album, "Face Down". This song is profound. Honestly, I cannot think of a way to make this song any stronger than it is! Just the raw emotion of Ronnie's voice paints the perfect image of a victimized girl in an abusive relationship with some dirt-bag ‘boyfriend’. The track’s chorus contains the best lyrical part of the whole song.

With lines like "Do you feel like a man when you push her around? Do you feel better now as she falls to the ground? Well, I'll tell you my friend, one day this world's gonna end. As your lies crumble down, a new life she has found"

The words clearly reflect the deep affection the song’s author had for this girl. The underlining feeling of the whole album is that the guy who wrote it, truly loved this girl in every way possible, but she never figured it out. Sadly, at the end of the original release of this album we learn that she had died before she even got to hear all of this.  

Like a love letter never received.

The song "Grim Goodbye" might be the most heart-wrenching song I have heard in ages. The song begins strictly instrumental then Ronnie’s pure agony comes through as crying/ screaming/and singing. It literally has brought tears to my eyes. Not enough to cry but it has caused me many bleary-eyed moments. This part of the song always gets to me:

 "But wait, now that I've found you, situations from dark now change to gray. Disregarding my absence of memories, it's perpetually blinding me of sanity, and just when I'm giving in, as I try to scale these walls Jericho falls around me and I feel that I've strayed too long. And darkness is fading in, and darkness is real." Yes, the chills this albums brings me are damn real.

Now in the re-released album, they included an acoustic version of "Face Down" and the result is a much sadder, less angry output. So for an average guy, I suggest the original and for an average girl, I suggest the acoustic version.

This whole album just flows together so amazingly. From Ronnie's incredible voice (be it singing or screaming) to Duke and Elias' guitar riffs intertwining and complementing throughout the whole album. It’s a complete, consistent, and consummate effort. For songs about women, the lyrics are some of the best I have heard – pretty impressive considering 90% of songs seem to be written about love and women.

Songs To Check Out: Face Down (Both Versions), Grim Goodbye, False Pretense, Seventeen Ain't So Sweet, Cat And Mouse

Album Review by Ian Albrecht: Freemasonry- Sparrin’ With The Varmint

swanktrendzvanc Mar 30, 2014

Album Review by Ian Albrecht

Freemasonry- Sparrin’ With The Varmint

The opening song is called “Lick Clean Method” and is a short (1:32 m) segue way to a quick paced CD. The vocals in the opening song aren’t anything special. It sounds as if they are trying too hard for the punk edge over a rock organization. The general sound of the band appears like “The Misfits” with a style of yelling the vocals over a very repetitive instrumental.

I am into the third song “Kitty Come Home” and so far all of the songs have sounded the same, vocally. The only difference has been the drumming, which seems to be consistent and at this point in the album, it’s the strongest component of the band. 

One thing that has been very noticeable throughout the album is the odd fact that the singer’s voice appears to always be overwhelmed up by the instrumental, which either means the studio’s sound mixers doesn’t know what they’re doing, e.g. they wanted to go for a more distorted sound or they were trying to cover up his voice because it just isn’t up to standard.

The eighth track (of fifteen) on this album is called “Mystical Union” and the first 1:44 of the song is the same, repetitive instrumental. At this point, the album has become increasingly hard to listen to with all of the songs, sounding the same. Now some bands can get away with this style, because they change things up just a little bit, like with their tempo or use of breakdowns and bridges. A band to do this successfully would be “As I Lay Dying” but the Metalcore genre is a lot more basic with how different the bands can sound. There is only so much variation one can apply.

If I were to choose a “favourite” song, which is difficult given almost all of these songs are weak; I would choose “If It Isn’t One Thing”. However, the biggest problem with this band is their drawn out, boring, repetitive intros!

Overall Rating: 3.2/10

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swanktrendzvanc Mar 14, 2014

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#11 My Chemical Romance, Welcome to the Black Parade. My All Time Favourites Thus Far... Ian Albrecht

swanktrendzvanc Mar 14, 2014

 Ian Albrecht’s Top Albums Thus Far…  By: Ian Albrecht

My Favourite Albums To Date:

#11 Welcome to the Black Parade

Artist- My Chemical Romance

Album- Welcome To The Black Parade

Genre- Emo

Lyrics 84/100, Vocals 82/100, Instrumental 87/100

Released on October 24, 2006, this album is a lot more unique then the others on this list due to the album being a Rock Opera telling the story of a character (“The Patient”) dying of cancer. The songs tell the story of his apparent death, experiences that he faces in the afterlife, and a reflection of his life. This whole album's concept came from Gerard Way's feeling about death, and how, while dying, you relive your fondest memory - for this album - a young child seeing a parade. Since this is the concept for this album, it’s hard to talk about single songs because they all feed off each other, but I will do my best.

I suggest if you already like the concept of this album, listen to the album in its entirety, as it is truly a beautiful story. The first track on this album that I love is, "The Sharpest Lives". It is a fast, upbeat song that has a great intro - a very simple instrumental, with an almost whispered verse from Gerard Way. The song "Cancer" might be this band’s ultimately depressing song. I have never heard a song quite as sad as this one. After listening to this song, I pray that no one I know and care for will ever get cancer. The lyrics describe it too well for my liking. Another cool song is "Mama" which follows after. "Mama" is a kinda creepy song with odd moments of haunting laughter layered over Gerard singing. It almost seems like he is taunting the idea of war, which I find frightening, considering this band formed due to the events during 9/11. The song that emphasizes their feelings towards 9/11 is in the following song called "Sleep" which makes me want to cry as it reminds me of the jumpers during that awful event in history. Especially at the beginning, when you hear the recording of someone talking about how they felt while they watched the buildings go down. But this song is also about the character finally giving in to death and accepting the idea. So yeah, that song has a double meaning - take it as you wish. I see it more as a song about that horrible event, but that's just me.

The lyrics in the album are great because this album is pretty much one big song, but sadly the lyrics aren't overly special in my books. Gerard’s vocals are well done, but sadly his vocal range isn't amazing, but for the band and within this album, it works surprisingly well. The instrumental throughout the album is amazing. You could take out the singing and just listen to the instrumental; that alone would tell you the story. All in all, it’s a great album, and if you are at all interested, I suggest you go and purchase it. My Chemical Romance disbanded on March 22, 2013.

Songs To Check Out: Famous Last Words, Sleep, Mama, The Sharpest Lives, House Of Wolves



#7 My Favourite Albums To Date … By Ian Albrecht ...Thrice Artist in the Ambulance

swanktrendzvanc Mar 13, 2014

Album- Artist In The Ambulance

Genre- Post-Hardcore/Emo

Lyrics 91/100, Vocals 88/100,

Instrumental 92/100 

This is Thrice's third album, though first on a major label, and is an absolute masterpiece of Post-Hardcore genre albums. All the songs flowed into each other and the album has a solid sound that doesn’t get annoying or old, like more Post-Hardcore bands. Also, this album demonstrates that the Post-Hardcore genre is good for an entire album, not just one or two songs. Although at first the album seems to have a hard rock feel, Dustin Kensrue’s vocals ensure it stays in its proper place.

The only reason someone would tag them as Emo is because their lyrics and subject matter sound very depressing. The first real bad-ass song (in every way) on the album is "All That's Left". This song has a little bit of everything: awesome lyrics, great vocals, amazingly catchy riffs from Teppei and Dustin, and just a great feel, overall. Solid lyrics in this song would be:

"In summers past we'd challenge fate.

With higher pitch and perfect aim.

And standing fast, we'd radiate

a light we loved but never named.

But the answers never came

and our shadows never looked the same."

The above quote, from my understanding, is simply talking about death and how the band questions if there is a heaven, hell, or if you live in limbo, still attached to the earth?

The next song worth addressing is "Stare At The Sun" which is a song that seems to question why horrible things happen to good people, and why is it that no matter what you choose, it seems you made the wrong decision? Probably my second favourite lyrics on the whole album is on this song:

"Do I trust my heart or just my mind,

why is truth so hard to find.

In this world, yeah in this world."

Here is is great writing because it is simple yet speaks to today’s world and to our struggle to make some serious decisions that sometimes go against our hearts, or ideals. The chorus in that song is also super catchy.

Now, my favourite song, and arguably the best song on this album is "Artist In The Ambulance". I could write an entire review on this song because I believe it has many metaphorical allusions as well as literal references. The song starts with lyrics that paint an amazing picture:

"Late night, brakes lock, hear the tires squeal.

Red light, can't stop so I spin the wheel.

My world goes black before I feel an angel lift me up

and I open bloodshot eyes into fluorescent white.

They flip the siren, hit the lights, close the doors and I am gone. 

 The song’s initial intent is clear - it is about the lead singer getting into a car accident, but the rest of the song goes on to theorize about whether he's done enough, or contributed enough in his lifetime? Has he been wasting his life and does he need to reevaluate. and furthermore revisit specific times, so that he may give back to others. It’s a huge question of morality, life, and legacy. Later in the song:

"My world goes black before I feel an angel steal me

 from the greedy jaws of death and chance,

and pull me in with steady hands.

They've given me a second chance,

the artist in the ambulance."

Here, he is talking about himself and his sheer will to survive; or about someone else who had the ability to bring him about… or… is there an artist who is orchestrating all of our lives, giving people a second chance (a do-over) at life? You will have to form your own opinion regarding the intent of this song.

Songs To Check Out: Artist In The Ambulance, Stare At The Sun, The Melting Point Of Wax, Blood Clots And Black Holes


#8 Three Days Grace: Ian Albrecht's Favourite Albums Thus Far

swanktrendzvanc Feb 15, 2014


Album Number 8

Artist- Three Days Grace

Album- One-X

Genre- Hard Rock

Lyrics 89/100, Vocals 89/100, Instrumental 89/100

The Canadian rock band's (Three Days Grace) second album is a knockout. A dark and emotional theme is littered throughout the album’s lyrics and instrumentals.

It is nearly impossible for me to narrow down, isolate and dissect the album’s tracks to a handful of memorable songs as I consider all the tracks to be amazing in their own right. Probably the most popular song on the album would be "Pain". I am a huge fan of this song because of Adam's raspy, gravelly voice wishing for true pain to break the numbness that is inevitably the rest of his life. This song relates to what teenagers appear to be experiencing today; that aimless lost and/or misguided direction.

The majority of the album was written by lead singer, Adam Gontier. His lyrics are extremely personal, clearly revealing his life experiences, especially his struggle with an oxycontin addiction.

Another kick-ass song on this album is "Let It Die". I love this song so much because it feels like a response to every breakup song written by a female. Let it Die is responding to those songs by declaring that the ‘girl’ gave up without even trying to make the relationship work. With lyrics like ""I swear I never meant to let it die. I just don't care about you anymore. It's not fair when you say that I didn't try. I just don't care about you anymore."It’s evident this is a man’s break-up song about his attempt at getting on without her

The final song worth discussion is my second favourite song, “Gone Forever”. The track revolves around Adam’s realization that a relationship he is in is truly dead and gone forever, However, Adam can’t fully let go of his feelings, which prevents him from allowing another to love him. Even though the lyrics state, “I feel so much better, now that you're gone forever. I tell myself that I don't miss you at all. I'm not lying, denying that I feel so much better now. That you're gone forever,” it’s implied that he’s lying to himself and he doesn’t want the relationship to be over. He goes on to sing, “So I’ll stay out all night, get drunk and fuckin’ fight. Until the morning comes and I’ll forget about our life.” If that isn’t a man suppressing his emotions and in denial, then I do not know who is.

The lyrics throughout the album are forthright, realistic which I appreciate when it comes to songwriting. Adam Gontier’s vocals are just as strong as on his first album, if not better, and he is consistent throughout the album. You can hear his pain, vulnerability and strength in his songs, and he sounds like a man struggling to share his experiences.

The instrumentals perfectly complement the vocals and the lyrics. This album is a gem of a package; tied with a beautiful bow Three Days Grace couldn’t have done any better.

Songs To Check Out: Never Too Late, Gone Forever, Over And Over, Let It Die, Get Out Alive

 Ian ALbrecht

#9 Slipknot My Favourite Albums to Date By: Ian Albrecht

swanktrendzvanc Feb 12, 2014

Reblogged from swanktrendzvanc

Artist: Slipknot

Album:  Iowa Genre: Death Metal    
Lyrics: 80/100, Vocals 93/100, instrumental 96/100  
This happens to be the heaviest album on my list/ It’s not the heaviest album I have ever heard. However, my CDs don’t get a whole lot heavier than this one. At least not the albums I like.  
Everything about this album is heavy. The lyrics are dark and disturbing. The instrumentals are distorted and violent-sounding. To top it off,Corey Taylor’s vocals full-out reside in my nightmares.
This album was clearly made when they were all at angry/hateful points in their lives. This album embraces everything they’re feeling, including their hometown, Iowa.   The starting track, like their debut, is called “515” and it is creepy, eerie…  a soundtrack that immediately puts you on edge. All you can hear is Corey screaming something awful, (turns out to be “death” which is fitting, considering he sounds as though he’s being slowly murdered.)   The following track is “People = Shit” – a song that adequately fits the title. The band sings about why they hate the human condition. The song which comes after this tune is “Disasterpiece” which is the heaviest song and on the album (and also my favourite Slipknot song) bar none. The opening of this song is the coolest – Corey yelling at the top of his lungs. “Hold on to something!!!.” Then song then slides into a huge instrumental breakdown with some of the best riffing I have ever heard. This is pure Death Metal bliss, at its finest.
This is what one needs to turn on when one is angry with the world. The opening lyrics sum up the entire emotional mood of this album, so if you are looking for pretty melodies and you don’t like the lyrics you’ve read thus far… well, I suggest you never listen to this album. For example, if you were to read on you'd come across, “I wanna slit your throat and fuck the wound. I wanna push my face in and feel the swoon. I wanna dig inside, find a little bit of me, cause the lines get crossed when you don’t come clean.”  
Another song on the album worth discussing is, “I am Hated”. Believe it or not, this song is fun to listen to. Corey’s vocals are once again very raspy and he spits out his lines so fast, it almost comes across as rapping. I love every second.  
My biggest album complaint would be that the song “Iowa” is 15:04 minutes long! Other than that, it’s a classic and would probably be in my top 5 or 6. That long, boring, and tedious “Iowa” song affected an otherwise superb and well-put-together Death Metal album.  
Other than that, I consider this an above-average Death Metal album. The lyrics throughout the album are good, but nothing special. What makes the lyrics appear outstanding is the application of Corey's raw, emotional, hate-filled pipes. And the vocals aren’t even the attention-grabber. By far, the instrumentals are what put the album into my top ten. I would classify the album’s music as ‘organized chaos’. Joey’s drumming is exceptional, especially on the songs “Disasterpiece”,  “People=Shit”, and “Left Behind”.  
A fun fact I recently learned about the album is that it peaked at #1 in Canada. (No surprise, really, as Canadians have always had good taste.) If you are a music lover who is into ‘heavier’ music, I highly suggest you purchase the CD, “Iowa” by Slipknot. It truly kicks ass.  
Songs to check out: Disasterpeice, I Am Hated, My Plague, The Heretic Album  
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swanktrendzvanc's Profile Picture
  • Member Since: 2006-09-26
  • Orientation: Straight
  • Smoke: No
  • Education: Post Grad
  • Occupation: writer, concert reviewer, interviewer, educator, journalist

About Me:

Swanktrendz is a Vancouver ezine that promotes current music/ trends/ fads/fashions/ as well as the fine and performing arts. We have a variety of contributors from around the world who post to the ezine, and we have been administering swanktrendz.com for a number of years. Enjoy.

As for me - I do the majority of the final posting on behalf of the contributors (so yes, I get all the blame for bad editing). My interests, tastes, etc. are extremely varied in that I enjoy a lot of things from Saint Saéns, 'Danse Macabre' to Red Jumpsuit Apparatus. I can enjoy a badly acted movie (if in the right mood) and also a movie (preferable) where I have to actually think, rather than lay back and be entertained.

In music, I am on a morose Placebo kick, having followed the band's music for a few years. However, they aren't producing a lot of new songs, so I may have to look elsewhere until they ante up something new. I will always be faithful to a select few - Bowie being one and Concrete Blonde (particularly Johnette).


architecture and decor, fine and performing arts, movies, music, popular culture

Favorite Music:

I love all music.., My favourite genre (if I had to choose) would be alternative, almost all.., but I am open-minded enough to listen to a suggested artist, cant say country is an all time favourite, etc., goth, indie, industrial, punk, well

Favorite Movies:

Hi Fidelity, come back to the five and dime jimmy dean, stand by me, the hunger, the player, the unbearable lightness of being, trainspotting

Favorite TV Shows:

A & E channel, CSI, Comedy, Entourage, History Channel, Law & Order, Medium, Music channels

Favorite Books:

Bukowski, Shoeless Joe Jackson, The Well of Lonelineness, anything by tennessee williams, flannery oconnor, james baldwin, oscar wilde