Tag Archives: classic

SBox Recommends: The Marshall Mathers LP by Eminem (Album Review)


Music is an art that serves many different purposes. It can be a means of entertainment, unity, escape or catharsis. Though with music being an ever-changing entity, it can also be a means of controversy; such is the fate of most hip hop albums of the late 80’s, early 90’s and beyond. Few were as consistently on the receiving end of that than Eminem.

It’s funny for us to think about now, but as respected of an artist as Eminem is now, that wasn’t always the case. Think back 16 years ago from now when his third studio album, The Marshall Mathers LP, first released on store shelves. Some of us aren’t much older than that and don’t remember the shit show that the record produced. The CD didn’t even spend 10 seconds in the radio before activists, parents and critics were taking to the streets with pitchforks demanding Slim Shady’s head. An album like that could probably never be released today. The same people who claim Jerry Seinfeld’s one gay joke was the worst thing in the world or thought James Rolffe was sexist for not wanting to watch the new Ghostbusters wouldn’t last two seconds in the same room as this album, let alone listen to it.

The funny thing is, for all the outrage it caused, it sure as hell sold a ton. And even funnier than that, the album has since been considered a classic- one that only appreciates with time. And in an age of outrage culture where everyone walks on eggshells before saying anything, the album has never been more relevant. In honor of the album’s recent anniversary, let’s take a look back at one of hip hop’s finest albums. Continue reading SBox Recommends: The Marshall Mathers LP by Eminem (Album Review)

SBox Recommends: The Peanuts Movie (Movie Review)

Note: SBR never spoils. You are safe!

I didn’t know what to think when I first saw the trailer to The Peanuts Movie. Off the bat I knew the art-style was a fantastic fit for this kind of property. That and Peanuts is so beloved and classic that no bad film could possibly ruin it. However, you have to be prepared for the possibility that this could flop hard. It’s one of those movies that are hard to get a gauge on unless you see it first. You can’t just tell if it’s going to be good from the trailers.

So with little to do and nothing to lose I went on opening day to a nearly empty theater to see it. It’s incredible how in just the first couple minutes all my worries disappeared.

Continue reading SBox Recommends: The Peanuts Movie (Movie Review)

SBox Soapbox: Bohemian Rhapsody (October 31, 1975-2015)

On this very day 40 years ago, the British band known as Queen released one of the best rock songs ever created, “Bohemian Rhapsody”. Though the album A Night at the Opera, where the song originates, released a couple weeks later, this song was released as a single on Halloween 1975. The result was critical acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic.

Lead singer and writer of the song, Freddie Mercury, had apparently been working on this track years before he joined Queen. The song contains bits and pieces of random songs he was writing since the late 60’s, one of which was named “The Cowboy Song”. (This bit of song is the origin of the line “Mama… just killed a man.”). Mercury presented the song idea to the band in the mid-70’s during production of their fifth album.

Recorded between six recording studios containing as many as 180 overdubs, the song took three weeks to complete. At 5 minutes 55 seconds long, the song is one of Queen’s longest singles released (second only to “Innuendo” in 1991). Hits aren’t usually this long, leading everyone to believe that “Bohemian Rhapsody” had no chance for mainstream success.

It’s success is mainly due to the workings of DJ Kenny Everett of Capital Radio. He received a copy of the song early and teased bits of it during airplay. The demand for the whole song was sky-high, leading him to play the entire song 14 times in two days. Everyone loved it, and the rest is history. Queen’s record labels in Europe and North America had no choice but to release the single ASAP.

The song enjoyed mainstream success for its time and several times afterwards. Today it is considered a classic, one of the best rock songs ever created, and one of the best songs of all-time. Though not their first hit, this is easily Queen’s magnum opus and the work they’re most known for. It stands the test of time almost half a century later, and it probably always will.

To this day we acknowledge the music video as one of the best (not to mention one of the first). We are also still pondering what in the hell this song means. Freddie Mercury has stated that the lyrics are just gibberish. Still, that isn’t stopping people from trying to figure it out. If he was lying, then that’s unfortunately a secret he took to the grave. Nonetheless, the song is enjoyable whether it has a meaning or not.

To get personal for a moment, this is my second favorite song ever. It was my favorite for many years, but was surpassed by yet another Queen song four years after first hearing “Bohemian Rhapsody”. I often consider this my first Queen song. That’s, of course, bullshit. Anyone my age and even a bit older was introduced to Queen through other means whether they knew it or not. I consider it my first because this was the song that made me a Queen fan. Had I never experienced this song, I would’ve never gained the curiosity to check out the Queen library. Today I stand by the fact that Queen is my favorite band of all-time.

It’s for that reason I thank this song for changing my attitude toward music and introducing me to the rock genre. Therefore, I invite those who either don’t know this song, or haven’t seen the video in a long time, to enjoy the above video along with me and the billions of other who can now do the fandango.

God save the Queen!

On a slightly separate note. I’ve been meaning to make a Top 5 Queen Songs post for a while. That post is still in “the works” (if you know what I mean). I’ll try and get it done as soon as I can, especially since there’s no better time than now to give it a go. If all goes well, you’ll see it within the week.

I’m SBox180. Thanks for reading!

My Quick Thoughts on Go Set a Watchman

I’ve been meaning to talk about literature for the longest time. That’s one topic off my to-do list!

If you were a student in high school within the last 40-50 years, then you’ve probably read a book called To Kill a Mockingbird. Furthermore, if you were watching movies within the same timeframe, you’ve probably also have seen the Academy Award winning movie by the same name. Case and point, I’m most of us are aware of this book’s existence. The novel was written in 1960 by Harper Lee, and has become an American classic, particularly for its views on racial injustice.

The novel has been gaining a new relevance in the past couple of days. It was announced that on July of this year the sequel will be published and available to the public. The first wave of release is said to be two million copies. The book, titled Go Set a Watchmen (which I will now shorten to GSAW), takes place 20 years after the events of To Kill a Mockingbird. where Scout returns to Waycomb, Alabama and revisiting aforementioned events.

This story has a fascinating and ironic history behind it. The original book actually stemmed from this manuscript being rejected by publishers. Lee retooled the story under recommendation by the publishers, which became To Kill a Mockingbird (which I will now shorten to TKAM). Before we even knew of the existence of the story, Lee had on several occasions refused to release a sequel to TKAM as it would take away from the story. 55 years later, she seems to have finally agreed.

Among what some consider excitement or shock was some controversy. See, Harper Lee is currently 88 years old and resides in a nursing home. After a stroke she has been left deaf, near-blind, and in a wheelchair, with her only connection to any media sources being her recently deceased sister (who was also her lawyer and caretaker) and her current lawyer (the one who discovered the manuscript in fall last year). Due to these factors which follow five decades of ruthless resistance for GSAW’s release, fans and speculators came to the theory that this sudden agreement was made under foul play. It may be possible that Lee signed this off without her legitimate consent.

In response to the suspicion, some have called for boycotting the book release to express disapproval of such a practice. Others remain curious and excited to see what the new book is about.

I like many others have read TKAM in school during Freshman year. That book was probably my favorite of the stories I read that year. I really do admire the story for what it was and the issue it was tackling. To me, any work that dares to be different has my support in one way or another. I haven’t had the chance to see what I hear is an incredible movie, but it’s on my movie bucket list. (Yes, I have one of those).

By the time you read this, the news would’ve been introduced to me yesterday in my English class. I was curious to find out more, and when I did the controversy put me in a tough spot. The million dollar question is, of course, whether or not this was Lee’s decision or was it manipulation.

I thought a small while on it. It would be rather dim of me not to acknowledge the jarring coincidence of this sudden change of heart while she is in such a frail state. It’s not even so much an age thing as it is a vulnerability thing. It’s very easy to imagine someone giving her the contract and telling her it’s for something entirely different so she’d sign it. 55 years is also a milestone year; the perfect opportunity to capitalize on what can now be a franchise.

Something in my heart wants nothing more than to believe that she had something in writing somewhere giving consent. But until she herself comes out and verbalizes it (which will probably never happen), we can never know for sure. All that’s left is the moral predicament: do you support a work that may or may not have been released without the author’s permission? Feed curiosity or stand opposed?

This is something I continue to struggle with. Normally scandals in something’s development never stops me from buying or experiencing any medium I wanted to experience. However, it’s probably different since this was probably never meant to be seen. Granted, today I was going to go searching for the leaked original pilot for Big Bang Theory which was never meant to be seen. I was first in line to see “Dexter’s Rude Removal” when Adult Swim uploaded it online; again never meant to be seen (though CN gave consent, so it may be different).

As of right now, I’m not gonna lie, curiosity is getting the best of me. I may not read it when it comes out as I already have Ernest Cline’s Armada to read during the summer. My possible solution will be to get a copy which will inevitably be available in the library in order to avoid moral conflict; but only if and after I get around to seeing that TKAM movie. I need a refresher.

What do you guys make of the situation? Do you care to read the book eventually? Do you think there’s reason for concern or boycotting? Let me know in the comments, because I’d love to discuss this further.

I’m SBox180. Thanks for reading!