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Producing music for the Good, the Bad and the Bored

WILL SEBERGER/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Marcus Arvan, a cognitive sciences graduate student, has released an album on which he plays all the instruments, except drums. Arvan also owns his own record label.
By Sofee Beer
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday, February 23, 2004
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Former punk rocker and philosophy graduate student Marcus Arvan's double CD Pop Goes the Rock Star, which he single-handedly recorded using his home computer, is a perfect example of how individuality is expressed through music more today than ever before.

This partly depressing, partly hilarious, partly perplexing and entirely out-of-the-ordinary collection of songs is one that is best appreciated after you hear it for the 10th time.

Arvan includes a remake of TLC's "Creep" (not to be confused with the Radiohead song).

"I just really like the song," Arvan said. "Too bad I butchered it. If I ever get signed or after I actually have a band, I'll put more time into making it really cool."

The first CD, entitled The Fall, is full of your typical "I just broke up with my girlfriend and I hate the world" type of music. The second CD is completely different and much more entertaining.

"The second CD is more of me now," Arvan said. "There are a lot of funny, totally random songs. It's less serious. I hope I can make people laugh with some of the songs on The Rise. I'm used to that whole disorganized thing from being in punk rock bands. The last two songs I hope are pretty uplifting, too. I wanted to make a double CD like The Smashing Pumpkins."

One of the more unique songs you will find on The Rise is "I Hate Being in Love." This track is particularly shocking to the listener because there is nothing candy-coated about it; there is sarcasm and hatred in his words and voice.

"I once heard someone say that Coldplay is good to listen to when you're depressed in a WB kind of way," Arvan said. "I like to say that this is like a Coldplay song for when you're pissed and depressed in a 'watching UPN totally drunk at 3 a.m.' kind of way."

Another song worth mentioning is "Heavy Makeup Stairmaster Girl," which is as funny as it sounds. Anyone who has ever been to the gym will appreciate this song.

"We've all seen her. We all love her, the girl who goes to the gym drenched in makeup. Well, this is a song about her," Arvan said. "Punk rockin' heavy metal ... not unlike Ween."

And, of course, behind every creative artist is a catchy name that makes you go, "Huh?" Arvan is no exception. As if his record title is not peculiar enough, he has named his not-yet-formed band We the Machines.

"The name is sort of a spin-off of 'we the people' because I think people have become like machines. A lot of my life has been full of machine-like emotions, and this is a CD about the last few years of my life, so I guess it's a commentary on that," Arvan said.

"As for Pop Goes the Rock Star, I just like the way it sounds. Like the rock star is kind of a weasel anyway, in general."

Pop Goes the Rock Star is still in the works, but a lot of the songs are memorable and original. One of his more serious and sappy songs, "Move On," is very Oasis-like. Arvan has plenty of confidence in it - it is featured twice on the CD.

"The electric version of 'Move On' will be on about 20 chick flick movie soundtracks someday soon," Arvan said.

If you want to hear some of Arvan's music, check out his Web site at

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