From rock icon David Bowie to relative newcomers, Paramore, music lovers can look forward to good summer listening and lots of choice in styles of music. As a longtime fan of Luigi, Mario’s oft-maligned brother, I’m happy to report that he finally gets to demonstrate his mojo in Nintendo’s new addition to the franchise, Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon.
Paramore, Paramore (Fueled by Ramen)
Paramore is Paramore’s fourth studio album but the first since the split with original members Josh and Zac Farro. This Tennessee indie rock band has come along way since their Warped Tour days. The 17-song track list is fresh and upbeat, but the lyrics at times reflect the turmoil and pain of the last two years. Hats off to producer Justin Meldal-Johnsen for unifying and bring out the best in Williams, York, and Davis. The album melds the classic sounds of Paramore with the band’s new-found embrace of electronics, allowing the group to shine. Williams is truly testing the waters with her daring but brilliant vocals. This coupled with the band’s experimentation with instrumentals—triangles, glockenspiels, ukuleles and guitars—all show Paramore’s growth and their willingness to launch themselves to the next level. Check out “(One of Those) Crazy Girls,” “Ain’t It Fun,” “Still Into You,” “Fast in My Car,” and “Hate to See Your Heart Break.”—Uma N., grade 10, Floral Park (NY) Memorial High School
The Next Day, David Bowie (ISO/Columbia)
I have been aware of David Bowie and his importance in the music world, but not a particular fan of him until I recently saw the movie Perks of Being a Wallflower. One of the key songs which represents the movie characters’ struggle for identity and acceptance was by David Bowie. This led me to listening to his music from the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s. I was really surprised to find out that he released a new album entitled The Next Day after an absence of 10 years. Now at the age of 66, Bowie has once again reinvented himself. Like the album title, the album shows some new sides of Bowie but in reality many of the tracks are reminiscent of over three decades of musical genius. His lyrics are clearly more introspective and direct and seem to carry the weight of his age and wisdom. Definitely check out the ballad “Where Are We Now?”, “The Stars (Are Out Tonight)”, “(You Will) Set the World On Fire,” and “Love Is Lost.”—Maureen L., grade 12, Floral Park (NY) Memorial High School
Save Rock and Roll, Fall Out Boy (Decaydance/Island)
Fall Out Boy is certainly not new to the music scene. Starting as a hard core punk rock garage band from Chicago, they transformed with each album into a more mainstream music sensation. Save Rock and Roll is their first album in four years and is very reflective of who Fall Out Boy is today. It is a much more personal album where the band is not trying to save rock and roll per se, but rather, reinvent themselves for today’s world. These songs are somewhat theatrical and intense, with driving drumbeats and acoustic guitar melodies. The band’s vocals are engaging, passionate, and at times a touch intimate. This album is certainly all over the place musically, from hip-hop to new wave. Check out “The Phoenix”, “Rat a Tat,” “Just One Yesterday,” “Young Volcanoes,” and the finale with Elton John, “Save Rock and Roll.”—Will P., grade 11, Floral Park (NY) Memorial High School
Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon (Nintendo)
Dark Moon gives our hero Luigi a chance to finally outshine his brother Mario, and prove his worth in this ghost-busting adventure. It combines humor with a Disney’s Haunted Mansion-type of scary, spooky atmosphere, making the game a worthwhile experience. The story begins with Professor E. Gadd needing Luigi to find the scattered pieces of the ghost calming artifact, the Dark Moon. Without it, his docile spectral assistants turn hostile. It is up to Luigi and his trusty vacuum, the Poltergust 5000, to save the day. There are five mansions to explore, and the unique objects are uncovered by solving interactive puzzles. Luigi uses his flashlight to uncover items and ghosts lurking in nooks and crannies. There are also many different types of ghosts, each requiring different tactics to capture it.
There is also a four-player cooperative mode called ScareScraper that allows joint ghost hunting, adding to the enjoyment of the game. The only disappointment here is the inability to save checkpoints and having to restart an entire level even if you were 95% done. Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon is a great gaming experience providing hours of fun for everyone. Rating: E for Everyone. Platform: Nintendo 3DS.—Ryan A., Floral Park (NY) Memorial High School
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