Entertainment Link-Off: Alter the Ending

This week’s Entertainment Link-Off features Kristen Stewart. She’s currently starring in that vampire flick that all the ladies are flocking to this weekend. The books and movies might not be any good, but they’re doing a fine job sucking money out of people. Heck, I’m giving it free publicity by mentioning it here. Seriously, what’s so appealing about vampires that lacks the bite? Nevermind, they’re flailing over that dude who was offed by Voldemort.

After the jump more Twilight related stuff, Chuck returns, a few TV tidbits and a look at Dashboard Confessional’s latest album ‘Alter the Ending’.

In NBC’s Community, we get to see the characters played by Joel McHale and Ken Jeong become great amigos. Turns out they’re great friends in real life. Funny how their friendly banter sort of resembles the dialogue between me and Steve. (Zap2it)

Chevy Chase, who also stars in Community is planning on reviving the famous Clark Griswold!!! (Latino Review) I miss those Vacation movies… except Vegas Vacation. That one has been safely blocked from my memory.

Remember when I first posted about the American Gladiators movie? Well it’s still moving forward. This time they recruited an interesting writer and it might go 3D. Suddenly, I’m very worried. (Slashfilm)

10 funniest movie marquee mistakes of all time. Gotta love random dirty jokes. (Super Tremendous)

While we’re onto funny lists, 15 worst DVD bootleg covers of all time. (Super Tremendous)

Uh oh. Avatar isn’t quite finished yet and we’re only less than a month away! (Wall Street Journal)

Spotted: R2-D2 in the Star Trek movie. Sneaky ILM. (Gizmodo)

[Sarcasm] Hollywood is known for their originality. [/Sarcasm] (Slashfilm)

Do you have a fear of Juno related terms created by Diablo Cody? It appears we have finally discovered a word to describe your condition! (JoBlo)

For all the Glee fans out there, a nice interview with Cory Monteith. (The Toronto Star)

Remember Zach Galifianakis’ mock talk show? The Charlize Theron segment was quite hilarious last time. The current edition features Conan O’Brien and Andy Richter making a visit. Yeah this is going to end well… (Funny or Die)

A look a Sesame Street… 40 years later. (The Daily What)

It first seemed like Dollhouse was going to have a very quiet death. There weren’t many Whedon fans biting back… until now. (TV by the Numbers) Or it’s just the FOX exec making something out of nothing.

CW has shifted from targeting ladies 18-34 and rehashing old FOX shows to digging up rejected WB pilots. Global Frequency sounds like a neat show… but it certainly doesn’t target those ladies the C-Dub is after. Could Dawn be on her way out?! (Superhero Hype) Damn they should just bring back Body Politic while they’re at it.

NPH has joined Twitter. This will be legen… wait for it… (@ActuallyNPH) dary!

THE BIG NEWS OF THE WEEK! Chuck is returning on NBC starting January 10th 2010 with a two hour marathon, followed by another new episode in it’s regular time slot on January 11th. (Chicago Tribune)

Well it’s a no brainer that New Moon will be topping the box office this weekend. Over at JoBlo, they’re listing top 10 reasons why Twilight sucks. (Part 1, Part 2) I can see many fangirl hate mail being targeted towards them… not that they care or anything.

If anyone needs a refresher. Olivia Munn and Kevin Pereira demonstrates how the original Twilight should have ended. (Olivia Munn)

With New Moon being the main attraction this weekend, the TV Addict suggests a few ideas for the rest of us to avoid the horde of teenagers. I think I’ll go with #1 and #4. (The TV Addict)

Now I know it’s almost every girl’s dream to be dating that vampire named Edward. Still have you ever thought of a very big loophole with that? I think it’s not that great of an idea to date a vampire during that time of the month (if you know what I mean). Brandon Routh and Superbad’s Martha MacIssac highlights what could go wrong… sorta. (Funny or Die)

Time for the obligatory Youtube video of the week. Conan O’Brien had a chance to see New Moon recently… and he thinks that the movie is a bit too risqué for the teens out there. Don’t believe him? See it for yourself.

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iuU_x9xmMro]

And let’s end this off with a quick look at Dashboard Confessional’s latest album.

Chris Carrabba created Dashboard Confessional ten years ago as a solo side project. While it eventually evolved into a full-fledged band, it all started off with his breathy vocals and angsty lyrics. His heartache anthems and wonderful acoustic performances have won over several crowds and established himself as the king of emo-rock. Now a decade and 5 albums later, Dashboard Confessional is back with their latest record Alter the Ending.

There’s a level of maturity in Alter the Ending that many fans will welcome. While Dashboard’s early days were predominantly emo-rock, Carrabba and the band toyed with a more mainstream pop-leaning sound over the past few years. While the transitional phase has ended, the band has now entered a crossroad. Should they push forward with the mainstream stuff or return to the roots? Clearly this is a dilemma that the band could not solve as they have released a bonus CD in the deluxe edition that features acoustic renditions of all twelve tracks on the album.

I never really saw Dashboard Confessional as a band that had that rocky-electric kick to it. I always believed their material is stronger when it was basically a solo act consisting of Chris Carrabba. That being said, this is not a bad album at all. In fact, this is a great Dashboard album. Not only does it highlight Carrabba’s wonderful lyrics, it also speaks volumes about his musical talents. For the most part, the songs are catchy and the scorching riffs are wondrous to listen to.

The band does sort of stumble out of the gate. The first track “Get Me Right” feels strangely out of place. I have no problems with Carrabba’s voice reaching the higher register, but something about the song doesn’t seem right. Even the acoustic version doesn’t sound any better. A small misstep to kick off the album but at least the band finds it footing by the following song “Until Morning”.

At times the bonus disc feels like the true album. The full band versions felt like they were tacked on to please the mainstream fans that they developed when the band released Dusk and Summer. If you are going to get the album, just shell out a few extra dollars to get the deluxe edition. Carrabba is a great acoustic performer and it is really pleasing to listen to the songs as he strums away at his guitar. The acoustic tracks not only brings back the original sound of Dashboard Confessional, the songs also give off a greater emotional resonance that’s been hindered by the band versions. It is where you will find the heart and soul of the record. When comparing the two CDs, the acoustic album is the stronger one as this is where the songs truly shine, especially the ballad “Even Now” (which can act as a nice companion piece to John Mayer’s “Your Body Is Wonderland”).

We get the best of both worlds in this album. In the rock-band mode, there are songs that we can crank up on a warm sunny day. In the acoustic tracks, we can sit back and relax while grasping the full weight of the songs and not be distracted by the clichéd arrangements and arena sized hooks. So a good thing did come out of the band’s current identity crisis.

Somewhere along the title track, Carrabba sings “I’ll meet you where we started once again.” Indeed this album did touch on the musical form that made Dashboard Confessional famous in the early days, but it’s nowhere near the The Shade of Poison Trees, which was a true return to the emo roots. However the thematic changes in the songs are a breath of fresh air. We’ve gone from ‘Screaming Infidelities’ to listening to an uplifting emo album. Wait… did I just put the words ‘uplifting’ and ’emo’ together?

Highlights: Until Morning, Everybody Learns From Disaster, Alter the Ending, Even Now, The Motions

Rating: ★★★★☆

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3 thoughts on “Entertainment Link-Off: Alter the Ending

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