Reviews: “Mortal Kombat,” Beastie Boys and TV On The Radio

Mortal Kombat
I recently bought the new “Mortal Kombat” game for my X-Box 360 with high expectations. It was getting good reviews and as I normally never pay attention to other people’s reviews (thanks to Pitchfork.com’s music reviews being unbelievably snobbish), but when it comes to “MK” I need some input.
After the first two installments, the series became ridiculous and the opposite of “fun.” “MK3” also coincided with the end of the arcade era due to home consoles.
But the latest in the series went back to basics: blood, guts and brainless violence.
Not only that, it has a ton of hidden extras and downloadable content to keep me busy on my time off (about 6-to-8 hours on Saturdays).
The gameplay is also fixed. And by fixed, I mean I’m not baffled by what the heck I’m doing with the controls. Eliminating the run button, making combos fairly easy (“MK3” was notoriously frustrating for those whose hands do not move as fast as the speed of light).
The storyline is simple, outrageous and forgettable all in one. The only reason to play the story mode is to unlock two hidden characters. It’s not that hard and can be done in a few hours.
Then there are the classic fatalities. As desensitized as I thought I was, there have been some graphic violence in this game that made me a bit queasy. Yet, some are so insane that I question the sanity of the people who designed the game.
Anyway, the game features most of the characters from the first three games, tries to tie them together in the story mode and ends on a cliffhanger.
Overall, I enjoy the game and plan on wasting some of my time this weekend on it.

TV On The Radio Vs. The Beastie Boys
I recently purchased two new albums; the new TV On The Radio and the new Beastie Boys.
First, TVOTR’s new album, “Nine Types of Light” picks up in sound and vibe from their 2008 release “Dear Science.”
To describe this bands sound, I would have to say it sounds like a mash up between Nine Inch Nails, Radiohead and David Bowie. In a sense, awesome.
On a whole, the album is lush with sounds and atmosphere. The tunes are melodious and interesting. I doubt a band like this is destined for hit singles, but the music is well done, interesting and forces the listener to actually pay attention to it as a whole. It’s not a pick a song here type of band and album.
The Beastie Boys are back and better than what they were doing on their last proper release.
“Hot Sauce Committee Part 2” is what I would say would be a better follow up to 1998’s “Hello Nasty” in that it is layered with samples and live instruments. Their sense of humor seems to have come back as well, as their rhymes are as snarky as ever.
Granted, they are not the best rappers ever (that would be Jay Z in my opinion) but they have pushed the sonic boundaries of how hip hop has sounded since “Paul’s Boutique.” They implement hip hop with classical music, country, punk, jazz, funk and just about any other genre one can think of.
I highly recommend these two albums. Both are great, really weird and of high quality in sound and content.

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