REVIEW: Magic Is Might, FINAL ONE

[Thank you for visiting The Wrock Snob and reading this article! I’d love for you to jump right into the reviewy goodness, but first there is some unfortunate business to take care of. It is not in my nature to tell you specifically what or what not to buy and who to support – I tell you what I thought about an album, and if my tastes seem to align with yours, you might want to heed my suggestions. However, I must take this time to personally exhort that you do not monetarily support the bands The Remus Lupins or Ministry of Magic. The full reasons are unsettling and possibly triggering, so please proceed with caution, but if you want the full details click here. Simply put, it has been revealed that certain member/s of both bands did destructive, upsetting, and highly problematic things. While I can see the value of reviewing art no matter what the artist did on a grand society-level scale, I cannot morally allow myself to condone the financial support of these monsters, nonetheless exhorting people to do so. Now it is entirely possible this copypasta’d retroactive warning was placed on a negative review, making this sidebar somewhat moot, but I still feel it necessary to make these matters clear. Again, for full details and rumination click here, otherwise, please enjoy the article.]

Okay, guys. I know, I know, you’re groaning. “This fucking album? Again?” No one, least of all me, at this point, cares, but I still feel like I should finish backing up the claims I made over a year ago.  So, here we go. Just gonna dive in here, and since no one really cares, I’m going to be kind of fast and loose and just wrap this puppy up. Then maybe I can finally write about something else? Effin’ albatross.

Time Turner

This 0ne makes me crack up every time. It is delightfully, gloriously stupid, and I can’t say I like it, but I like it a hell of a lot more than stuff like “Baby” that was trying to be ironic and shit but failed. I’m not even sure how hard this song is trying to be ironic, but I like it in the same way you like the crazy little kid down the block who runs around covered in toilet paper and yelling about heffalumps. It’s not a song I would ever listen to for non-ironic pleasure, but the shouty-chorus can be a hard thing to mix and it’s mixed damn near perfectly here, and while it’s not strictly catchy in the traditional sense, it certainly sets the head to bobbin’.

Also, the line “she’s top of the class and she’ll under your past”, while at best is willfully misunderstanding canon, and at worst breaks canon with a folding chair, gives me great mental images of a dark, gritty AU where Hermione is some kind of Time Agent/spy thing, all running around in leather and pulling time shenanigans. And she’s got a gun. Just cuz. Really, if you look at this song as the theme song for some bizarre Hermione-centered AU television show, then it becomes actually pretty good. Of course, these are probably the most loaded terms with which I have ever crowned a song “pretty good”, but whatever.

However, while the delivery of “how to take back a KILL” is kind of hilarious, for the most part, the bits of the song that are pretty much just faux-rapping ARE kind of terrible. The song is much better in the chorus and all the in-between bits.  The lyrics aren’t even awful, it’s just… well, it’s rapping, but bad. In fact, this song actually sounds like something better suited to the more experimental Onward and Upward, from the genre-bending down to the production – it just sounds like an O&U song. The change of musical-genre is jarring on this album, plus, it’s not even a full genre-switch – that might have been passable for no other reason than sheer balls – this is very half-hearted switch, sticking in some rap stanzas where they have no right to be.

Also, the breakdown at about 2:30 where it goes into this hilariously overdramatic reading of the etchings on the toy time turners that WB makes is kind of priceless and kind of make the entire song worth it just for those ten wonderful seconds. It’s especially amusing, if, like me, you had no idea that these were the words on the toy version when you first read it, and thus this segment is just kind of gloriously bewildering.

So, “Time Turner”. I can’t really say that it’s a legitimately good song, but at the very least it’s a self-aware song that’s having some fun with itself. And I can dig it.

Harry Potter Is Dead

So, look at the title above, replace “Harry Potter” with “The Boy Who Lived”, and then just keep reading that title over and over, and you will have pretty much experienced all there is to experience in this song. Okay, it’s not quite as bad as “The Hero, Pt. 2”, but it’s still pretty damn repetitive. I could get into a lot with this song, like how “Neville’s losing his mind” is kinda completely removed from canon, or how the whole section that surrounds that line is really kinda not fun at all to listen to, and even the music ends up being bland and boring, which is weird for MoM. Most of the song is just kind of a chore to slog through, and while the lyrics and music are at least both trying to tell the same story, unlike “The Ministry Has Fallen”, it’s just really, super, MEH.

However, there are a couple bright spots: “If the Boy Who Lives loses, our fate – our fate is just the same” is a pretty good lyric, and this whole section (I guess it’s kinda like a verse), as well as the next “verse” are both actually pretty fine to listen to, with some real nice piano work going on in the background (listen closely, and you’ll find some really pretty high piano notes adding highlights and counterpoints to the rest of the instrumental in this section).  The second version of this verse, though, is particularly good: “Sometimes dreams live on long after you’re dead” is one of the very few lyrics from this album that will stay with me and I will remember for LEGITIMATE reasons, unlike, well…

You’re so cute

Your spectacles are square

Anyway, the verses are a nice refreshing respite from the rest of the song, but they certainly don’t save it. The one other bright spot is the chorus changes at the end to from “HE’S DEAD HE’S DEAD HE’S MOTHERGLUBBING DEAD” to “Only love remains”, which, while it’s still musically boring, is a real neat lyrical twist, not only turning the song into a resiliently hopeful-against-the-odds sort of song, but nicely twisting around a song title from the previous album, “Only Power Remains”. So that’s a nice little call-back to previous MoM songs, but besides those pin pricks in the darkness, this song is just kinda… meh.

The Last Enemy Defeated Is Death

The last enemy defeated is death, neither shall live while the other survives, and I shall be opened at the close as I rely on our greatest hope.

There you go, now you LITERALLY know everything about what you will encounter in this song. It’s seriously just a quote from the Bible, a quote from the canon, and one couplet comprised mostly of a quote from the canon, and that’s it. And it’s being shouted at you, over an instrumental that isn’t bad, but isn’t super catchy and isn’t enough to elevate the song at all. The instrumental does fit kinda well with the vocals, but there’s just no substance here. It’s a nice big air sandwich, and it is impossible to catch it in your mouth, or your ears. It’s only two minutes long, so it’s over fairly quickly, but it just doesn’t feel at all like it needs to be here. It might be passable a short silly bonus track, but it’s not even that.  Worst of all, this song, unlike the similar-in-some-ways “Time Turner”, is played completely straight, which ironically makes it more silly.

I mean, sure, those are some nice sentiments and quotes there, guys, but just shouting platitudes at me isn’t going to do anything. It isn’t going to impact me or mean anything to me, thus devaluing the words and message you are trying to impart. Hell, it isn’t even a thing at all. It’s not really a song or a message, it’s just this thing you’re doing, just shouting these phrases at me over and over again, over serviceable musical accompaniment. This song could have been dropped from the album, and the album would have lost nothing. Nor would it have gained anything, really, except tighter pacing. It’s not a good song, or an awful song, it barely even elicits a reaction, it’s just entirely insubstantial, and just sits there, taking up space. It’s not even a “meh” song, it’s a non-existent song.

On The Other Side

Or, the song that’s trying to be a poignant album/band closer, and doesn’t completely fail. At this point in the album, I just don’t care anymore. There have been too many songs that are either awful to the point of hilarity, or bland and insubstantial, and not a whole lot else.  However, unlike other songs like “Harry Potter Is Dead”, which is kind of overwhelming in its blandness, this song is a more specific type of bland – it’s bland to me, but I can totally see and understand enjoyment of this song, but at this point, I’m too jaded for this shit.  Really, the verses are lilting and do a good job of calmly, soothingly bringing you into the song, but it just doesn’t work for me, probably for no other reason than I’ve been burned too many times and just don’t care.

Sure, there are some real, obvious mistakes – rhyming crib unnecessarily with crib is one of them, but the relaxing, nice verses lead into a passable, more up-tempo bridge, which leads into an energetic (but not fretfully so – more like a youthful, whimsical energy than the energy of stuff like “The Curse” or “The Lightning Struck Tower” or what have you) chorus that’s really pretty good.  The voices soar above passable instrumentation on a melody that’s easy on the ears, and the lyrics impart a nice lesson, if in a rather plain fashion, with no real pomp or ornamentation.  But hey, not all songs can be “Phoenix Lament”, and that’s cool.

This song is also interesting, because it’s the MoM song that most clues the listener in to the fact that many of them used to be in the Christian Rock band 38th Parallel, which is kinda odd given how ripe with Christian mythology and cycles and alchemy and all that shit that John Granger goes on about the series is, but it’s nice to have it, if for no other reason has a sort of bond between the two bands.  Really, it’s not a bad song at all, but it’s just not one I really find myself listening to… ever, and I think most of that is just because of musical exhaustion.  If this song had capped Onward and Upward, it probably would have received a much more favorable review from me, but it’s kind of a case of too little, too late.

And there you have it – OVER ONE FUCKING YEAR LATER, I finally finish this damn review, even though doing so has long since been purely for my own satisfaction than anything else. No grades or final harping on how shit it is, because there’s frankly no need to. We all know what I think of the album, and that is, specifically, that I don’t like it. Like, I REALLY don’t like it. I think it’s kind of bad, but, like, a lot. There are a couple good songs in there, and some nice ideas sprinkled throughout, and the instrumentation and mixing and stuff remains stellar for the most part, but otherwise, it’s just bad. Ironically, in the course of writing this album, I’ve ended up listening to it more times than other wrock I would much rather listen to, but I won’t begrudge it.

In fact, I can’t say I hate this album, because even though it’s been in the back of my mind for A WHOLE YEAR, pestering me and bugging me to finish its review, the album has almost become sort of like a friend, due purely to it’s unceasing presence.  Hell, I may have even developed feelings of kismesissitude towards it. At this point, I’m just glad I’m done with this fucking album, (and I’m sure everyone else is too), and I can focus only on music I actually want to talk about now! Like maybe the excellent Jingle Spells 5, which you should totally buy if you haven’t yet and yes even though it’s after Christmas just buy it, dunkass.

So, in closing, that was a whole long protracted stupid thing, and while I still love the band, mourn its passing, and there are many songs by them I dearly love, I am glad that I never have to review a Ministry of Magic album EVER AGAIN.

Wait, what’s this?

FUCK.

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. David K
    Dec 29, 2011 @ 05:38:06

    o_O

    How’s that for some fuckn’ brevity?

    Reply

  2. daniel
    Dec 29, 2011 @ 18:39:17

    Oh. I thought the line was ‘and she’ll undo your clasp’ which made me think of some kind of sexual deviant which could be related to the whole spy thing, with extra unf.

    But cheers! You’ve finished

    Reply

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