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Album Reviews Brew

(11/14/13 1:00am)

The Killers- Direct Hits Four studio albums, 10 years and over 20 million albums sold later, The Killers released “Direct Hits,” a compilation of the Las Vegas band’s biggest hits. The album wastes no time– the popular “Mr. Brightside” opens the album with the unique sound that launched the Killers into stardom. “Shot at the Night” feels like an ‘80s hit with Brandon Flowers’ haunting vocals and the distinct use of synths. Though not as lyrically complex as other Killers’ songs, the desperation in Flowers’ voice and sheer danceability of the music make it a standout track. “Just Another Girl” includes an equally desperate Flowers as he pines for a lost love in a synth-heavy ballad. Despite positive elements, the album egregiously omits some of the band’s best and most beloved tracks, including “Jenny was a Friend of Mine” and “Bling (Confession of a King).” “Direct Hits” follows the Killers’ discography chronologically. It includes most of The Killers’ popular songs, but ultimately misses too many of the greatest Killers’ tracks and includes unnecessary songs–namely, the Calvin Harris remix of “When You Were Young”–to truly encompass the immense impact of the Killers’ music. – Kara Avacena

The Rewind: Elementary and Sleepy Hollow

(11/14/13 12:41am)

Sleepy Hollow: Season 1, Episode 6 – “The Sin Eater” Against all odds, this loony fantasy hodgepodge has become the broadcast networks’ biggest fall drama hit. Perhaps even more surprisingly, the show is quite entertaining and well-constructed despite its absurdities. Anchored by rock-solid chemistry between lead actors Nicole Beharie (Lieutenant Abbie Mills) and Tom Mison (Ichabod Crane), “Sleepy Hollow” admirably straddles the line between fantasy nonsense and character-based procedural with ease.

The Rewind: Parenthood and American Horror Story

(11/08/13 9:28pm)

“Parenthood” – Season 5, Episode 6 – “The M Word” NBC’s stalwart family drama is currently a conflict between bad storylines and good execution this season. Christina Braverman (Monica Potter), who survived a bout of breast cancer last season, is in the midst of an ill-advised mayoral campaign that feels like a writer’s idea of an uplifting arc, not an organic extension of the character’s realistic actions. This episode sent the storyline even further into implausibility, with Christina spontaneously going against her morals and using her son’s Asperger’s for political gain during a heated debate. If Christina wins, Berkeley will never be the same – and neither will the show.

The Scene Rewind: @midnight and The Michael J. Fox Show

(11/05/13 6:03pm)

“The Michael J. Fox Show” – Season 1, Episode 6: “Teammates” When NBC announced Michael J. Fox’s return to regular series television, few people could quibble with the prospect of the beloved sitcom star overcoming Parkinson’s disease and returning to his craft. After seeing six episodes of the show that bears his name, Fox certainly has not damaged his credibility or alienated his fans, but his show is nothing more than a generic, often lazy family sitcom.

Album Reviews Brew No. 5

(10/28/13 4:30pm)

Katy Perry – PRISM “Let’s rage,” guest rapper Juicy J exclaims in the opening seconds of “Dark Horse,” the sixth track on Katy Perry’s “PRISM.” The problem with the album is that Juicy J never gets his wish, in any sense of the word. Despite a few solid tracks and competent production, “PRISM” fails to extend the Katy Perry brand beyond her unimpeachable hit-making prowess. The generic first single and lead-off track “Roar” sets the blueprint: sonically catchy but lyrically empty, with plenty of references to other music but little to set Perry apart from the pop music herd. After a record-setting string of No. 1 hits from her previous album “Teenage Dream” Perry likely didn’t feel the need to experiment too much, a seemingly smart business strategy that makes for dull listening. The innovations are only on the surface: Juicy J’s toothless feature, the ‘90s-Eurodance homage “Walking on Air,” a pair of dour album-closing ballads. Perry is nothing if not a brilliant marketer, though. Second single “Unconditionally,” an alleged ode to her current boyfriend John Mayer, represents the album’s peak with a soaring chorus and genuine feeling that the rest of the album grasps only sparingly. Perhaps the lesson here is that the best music comes from a place of honesty, not corporate greed. – Mark Lieberman

What’s your Scene?

(10/18/13 7:35pm)

Let’s face it, sometimes D.C. can feel like a small town disguised as a big city. With the District spanning just shy of 70 square miles, it is easy to feel like you’ve experienced most of the nooks and crannies the capital has to offer. But all it takes is a venture outside of Tenleytown to find your scene. Here are the Scene staff’s top five scenes in and around D.C.

The Rewind: Parenthood, Scandal and South Park

(10/13/13 4:51am)

Parenthood: Season 5, Episode 2 – “All Aboard Who’s Coming Aboard” With the niceties of the season premiere in the past, the Bravermans stumbled toward a variety of mistakes this week. Christina (Monica Potter, “Saw”) plunged ahead with intrepid mayoral campaign, hiring a campaign manager (Jurnee Smollett “Friday Night Lights”) and arousing continued skepticism from her husband Adam (Peter Krause, “Six Feet Under”). Julia met a fellow unemployed parent (David Denman, “The Office”) at her daughter’s school, but this “meet cute” was a little too cute for a married woman. Crosby’s infant hatred grew stronger as the tears grew louder, and Sarah (Lauren Graham, “Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs”) once again caught the eye of curmudgeonly photographer Hank (Ray Romano, “Ice Age: Continental Drift”).