The Verve Pleases; No Liftoff for The Game

The Verve — “Forth”
By Resham Parikh
The Verve has made its comeback. With its new album “Forth,” the band has redefined itself and its music. Its groovy, psychedelic tunes have taken an interesting turn toward optimism and love, while its tracks have lengthened. The songs are much more organized, structured and even catchy. After listening to the album, you may find yourself singing The Verve’s tunes, repeating the chorus over and over again in your mind.
The first two songs on the album are definite hits. “Sit and Wonder” is slightly more alternative than the rest of the album, though it does not reach the status that “Bittersweet Symphony” did. On the other hand, “Love Is Noise” has very apparent electronic beats in the background that are somehow delightfully intriguing.
“Rather Be” is a groovy, optimistic love song complemented by the piano in the background. Compared to past albums, this is an unusual union between love and optimism. The ambient guitar sounds in “Judas” make for a beautifully calm and lighthearted melody while the piano in “I See Houses” creates a wonderfully relaxed mood, with a chorus that has a satisfying, strong climax.
“Numbness” is a longer, slower song, but is not very interesting, a track you may find yourself skipping while listening to the album. Similarly, “Noise Epic,” the longest song on the album at over eight minutes, is not very organized and drags on like the band’s older, less mature music.
The Verve’s music has undeniably shifted with the times. The band has shown significant improvement in its music, but somehow it still manages to keep its old style. Its album “Forth” is a symbol of the band’s move forward in time, musical maturity and thought.

The Game ­— “L.A.X.”
By Jeffrey Lo
The man staking claim as the savior of West Coast rap is back with his third studio album (second without his idol Dr. Dre as producer). After avoiding the sophomore slump with “The Doctor’s Advocate,” The Game’s latest effort, “L.A.X.,” (a pun of the L.A. airport which stands for “Life and Times”) puts the rapper in an odd place where he is doing absolutely nothing new, but still puts out some of his best material yet.
If nothing else, you have to respect The Game for sticking to what he knows he can do well and giving his pre-existing fans what they want. He is not out for any extra crossover appeal – he has somehow gained that while maintaining his image – and he is not trying to win any new fans. If you liked his first two albums, then you are going to like his third.
The album starts out in chilling fashion with DMX reciting a prayer for The Game; and if you know anything about DMX and how emotional the man can get, you know how powerful this can be.
The highlights come with the head-bobbing anthems like “State of Emergency,” which features a great hook from Ice Cube. Additionally, Travis Barker features on the track “Dope Boys.” The opening single, “Game’s Pain,” was The Game’s one stake at a summer anthem and even though it will not be considered in the talks for 2008’s song of the summer, it is definitely a mainstay.
The most powerful, but also the most frustrating song on the album is the latest single, “My Life.” The Game finally includes a Lil’ Wayne featured track where the primary rapper outshines the self-proclaimed “best rapper alive.” The song shows The Game with a purpose proving that he has the skills to do much more with his lyrics than the usual drug and gun references. However, he fails to show this brilliance more than twice per album.
All we can do is hope that someday he will put together an entire album of this type of music, but for now, “L.A.X.” will do.