From Iceland — Sour Grapes

Sour Grapes

Published June 15, 2007

Sour Grapes

Recently I read a review in the latest Grapevine covering the new album “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Happiness” by Hraun. I have been a fan of music all of my life and usually when I read a review I disagree with it does not bother me, but this time is different. Your writer spent more than half of the review discussing the album cover, and judging from the comments that followed I don’t think he did much more than look at the cover. He finishes this artistic critique by telling us he can’t relate because the guys are at a nice restaurant, having a candlelit dinner, and inside there is a picture of one of them reading. I would have thought reading to be a pre-requisite to be a writer.
The first comment about the music is that it is ‘safe’. To classify a band as safe in music terms would mean they write songs in 4/4 time, verse chorus verse, and would wrap it up with a timely 3 minute 30 second length, perfect for the radio. Add a happy beat and some fun lyrics and you have the safe music we are all plagued by on the pop music scene. Hraun’s album is anything but this. The music is a combination of acoustic and electric guitar, the drums and percussion carry the beat and the vocal melodies carry a nice tune. It is hard not to tap your foot or nod your head while listening, as the songs have a very ‘catchy’ quality.
“The lyrics testify against the unfulfilling life of drinking and bathroom blowjobs.” If your writers are paid to write reviews, I hope you only paid 10% for this one, because that is all the work you got. There are 10 songs on this album, and yes one covers this subject, one. The rest of the album covers topics of life and love, happiness found and lost, and saying goodbye. I find the lyrics to be very heartfelt and true. Two of the songs are in Icelandic, and based on the writers comment regarding the lyrics on this album, it is quite obvious he does not understand the language and did not bother to ask what the lyrics meant. Either that or he just did not listen to the songs.
Finally, the writer tries to wrap up his review with a witty statement about passing this one on to your parents because it is what frat boys listen to back in the states. WOW, this has to be the most ludicrous statement in the article. To try and make a comparison between parents and frat boys. Where is this writer from, he could not be from the states, because there is no way he would want to compare frat boys to your parents. That is like comparing teenagers to grandparents. And to pass the album off like it is what frat boys listen to, is to say it is fit only for the Icelandic ‘Hnakki’. This is an album anyone can enjoy.
Do yourself a favor and make your own decision about this album. There are all kinds of music out there for all different tastes, and to not like some of it is OK. But if you are going to say you don’t like something the least you can do is actually listen to it and give an intelligent explanation why.
Rob Zartarian
Dear Rob,
Obviously, you are entitled to your opinion on Hraun’s music, much like our reviewer. Like you say, I encourage everyone to make their own decision on this album, much like I would any other album. But, I can assure you that the review was done in a professional manner. Other than that, I don’t really know what else to say here. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Hi, can you help me in finding friends here in Iceland? I am 33 years old woman. My sister is here in Iceland, Iam thinking of coming. Can u just give my email.
Thank you grapevine, more power!
Pinky Santos
Dear Pinky,
Consider it done. I am absolutely certain that from now on, your e-mail inbox will be filled with spam mail, but I hear those Nigerian banking agents are extremely friendly. Perhaps you can persuade one of them to move to Iceland with you.

Dear Editor: Ref: Iceland Review 29 maí 2007 May 29 | Assaults in Reykjavík on the increase
Because of the increase of assaults and mayhem on the streets of Reykjavik,and the shortage of police protection, does it seem wise to warn incoming tourists to Iceland to avoid the streets of Reykjavik on weekend nights. A well placed sign at the customs entry point might read “Enter downtown Reykjavik at you own risk”. Maybe all the foreign embassies should be notified to advise future tourist of this hazard. Six assaults were reported in the capital region last weekend. Police Chief Stefán Eiríksson said the frequency of minor assaults had increased, but there had been no increase in major assaults. (Is this supposed to be good news?) From the U.S. Department of State: Travel advice and warnings “Tourists should be aware that downtown Reykjavik can become especially disorderly in the early morning hours on weekends. Violent crime is rare, but it does occasionally occur”.
kv Jónas
Dear Jónas,
I am still not sure if this letter was written in attempt to sound sarcastic or out of genuine worries for the safety of foreign tourists in Reykjavík. What I can say is that while the rate of violent crimes in Reykjavík may have risen (honestly, I don’t even know if that is true or not, but what the heck), Reykjavík could hardly be considered to be the war zone you seem to be describing. At least not in comparison to other major cities around the world. And yes, I do think it is good news that the rate of major assaults is not increasing. It might just be me though. I am a little strange when it comes to these things.

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