Monday, December 31, 2012

Paloma Faith breaks through to American audiences

Paloma Faith has had huge success in the UK and now with two hit albums under her belt. The British soul singer released her second album, and US debut earlier this month. She blends in the soul of Adele and Amy Winehouse with the melancholy of Lana Del Rey. On Fall to Grace, Faith mixes in many styles to form a classic blue-eyed soul masterpiece.
The album opens with the album's two best songs. Her single "Picking Up the Pieces" is a gorgeous soul song about how her relationship is being haunted by the memory of her boyfriend's former lover. "Now she's gone and I'm picking up the pieces," Faith sings painfully in the chorus. The song leaves the listener hearing Faith's agony. This song should blow up if the US knows what's good.
The second track, "30 Minute Love Affair" is a synthpop ballad that is about literally what the title says. Faith falls in love with somebody and has a fling with them.
Other highlights include "Let Me Down Easy" "Just Be" and "Black & Blue." One of the best songs on the record is the disco infused "Blood, Sweat & Tears." The song is about all of the struggles that go into being in a relationship. "I know sometimes it will hurt/ and you'll wanna hate me/ But we can conquer the world/ leave our footprints on earth/ We'll put in blood, sweat and tears," Faith sings. While the second half of the disc can get a little tedious, the songs are still great. "Beauty of the End" is about remembering the end of a relationship and missing that person. "Falling never hurts, but landing does," Faith sings in the chorus.
Every song on the album is emotional and beautiful. Faith has given us one of the best debuts of the year and if this album is any indication she'll be making records for a very long time.

Alicia Keys regains her footing on new album

Alicia Keys had three great albums at the beginning of her career, but in 2009 she released the disappointing "Element of Freedom." While a few songs were good, they just weren't up there with Key's other albums.
In September she released the buzz single "New Day" and the first single and title track of her fifth album "Girl on Fire." Both these hip hop laced soul songs were a sign that Key's was back to her prime. While the last few songs on the album are a tad boring the other songs make up for it.
The best songs on the album are the title track, the inferno remix is featured here which features Nicki Minaj. Minaj does her signature crazy on her raps. The two make a great duet on this track. Another highlight is "Tears Always Win." This soulful ballad was written with  Bruno Mars and talks about Key's missing her lover while he's away.
The piano ballads "Not Even the King" and "Brand New Me" find Keys returning to her early roots. Other highlights include "New Day," "When it's All Over" and "That's When I Knew" which features acoustic guitar, a change for Keys. While there are songs aren't as great.
The two closing songs "One Thing" and "101" are nothing special and the weird reggae inspired "Limitedless" is fun yet odd. Even with these mishaps Keys created a great album. She said that she was inspired by her marriage to hip hop producer Swizz Beatz and the birth of her first child. While most artists mellow out on their albums after finding love, Keys shows no signs of doing that. Hopefully she won't regress back to her was of three years ago and she'll continue on this path to greatness.

Rihanna disappoints on seventh album

Last month Rihanna came out with her seventh album in seven years. And while those albums have ranged from decent (Loud, A Girl Like Me, Music in the Sun) to great (Rated R, Good Girl Gone Bad, Talk That Talk) but her latest album Unapologetic is very disappointing. While Loud was also overrated at least there were some memorable songs. Unapologetic has a few great songs but they are overshadowed by the bad songs.
The album starts out okay on "Fresh out the Runway." This hip hop number is Rihanna's bragging song. While the song isn't bad to listen to  it's not as memorable as past hits like "Umbrella" or "S&M." The album then slows it down for the hit single "Diamonds." The single is a good move for Rihanna but it's in no way a classic. The album then goes into three songs that lack any spark. "Numb" featuring Eminem, "Pour it Up" and "Loveeeeee Song" featuring Future are just filler and aren't memorable at all.
The album then goes into three great songs. "Jump," "Right Now" which features French DJ David Guetta and "What Now." The latter being a very emotionally charged song with soul and rock elements. "Jump" is a dubstep song that samples "Pony" by Ginuine. The club ready anthem should be a single at some point.
Then the album goes into the forgettable second single. This if followed by the album's most talked about track, "Nobody's Business" which features Rihanna's exboyfriend Chris Brown. The song features the two singing about how their love is nobody's business. While the song is catchy, it's more shocking than it is good.
The album then goes into one of the best songs, "Love Without Tragedy/Mother Mary." The song is a six minute, two song combination that is nothing short or great. The song, even though not written by Rihanna, is her most personal to date. The song itself starts out like an 1980s pop song and then goes into a slower second half. "I'm from the left side of an island, never thought this many people would even know my name," Rihanna sings on "Mother Mary."
Then the album goes into two boring songs and closes with "Lost in Paradise." This dubstep laced ballad features emotional vocals from Rihanna. One of the turns of off this album is the presence of so much filler.
While this album isn't anything special, Rihanna has had bad albums in the past and come out with classics the next year. Here's to 2012 Rihanna.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Keyshia Cole redeems herself after last album

Heartbroken R&B diva Keyshia Cole released her new album last month and it makes up for her third and fourth albums weren't good.
On her fifth album Woman to Woman Cole keeps up the amazingly sad soul anthems of love gone wrong. While Cole herself is happily married and has a child, she can still channel past heartbreaks to make great R&B anthems.
While this album isn't as perfect as her first two were, it still is a step forward instead of going back. The two best songs on the album are the beautiful "Stubborn" and the iTunes bonus track, the dance anthem "Here We Go." These songs show Cole proving that she can still shine bright. Other highlights include "Enough of No Love" which was the first single and features Lil' Wayne. The album showcases Cole's signature lyrics about cheating. I'm not sure who Cole's exes are but they seem like the scum of the earth.
Other highlights are the funky "Who's Gonna Hold Me Down" and the soulful "Wonder." Both of these songs are not on the standard editon, but the Target exclusive deluxe edition. Another highlight is the beautiful "Signature." The piano heavy song is about love and how it stays with you forever. Another good song is a duet with Ashanti. Ashanti and Cole duet on the title track, a kind of 2012 version of "The Boy is Mine." The only problem with the duet is that Ashanti is nowhere near being as talented a vocalist as Cole is.
The album does contain some cheesy songs. "Hey Sexy" sounds like a terrible song from the 90s. "Forever" is an explicit mistake. The song is gorgeous and Cole dropping the f-bomb is out of place and unwarented.
This album is far from perfect but it's a welcome change from Cole's recent musical mistakes. Hopefully her next album will get her back to the greatness of her hits like "I Changed My Mind" and "Let It Go."

Take a breather Nicki Minaj

Nicki Minaj released her debut album Pink Friday in 2010. Then in 2012 Minaj released her amazing Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded. Just a little under a year and a half later. Both albums were instant classics and Minaj became a household name. She ever earned a place as an American Idol judge.
In November, seven months after her second album came out, Minaj released a rerelease of that album called The Re-Up. While Roman Reloaded was amazing, only one of the eight songs on the EP come close to that level of amazing. Songs like "I Endorse These Strippers" which features Tyga and Brinx and "Up in Flames." are fun, but they don't hold a candle to half the songs on the original release of the album.
"I'm Legit" featuring Ciara and "Freedom" are both great songs. But songs like "High School" featuring Lil' Wayne and "Hell Yeah" featuring Parker are okay, they're not "Starships," Marilyn Monroe" or "Roman Holiday."
The best song on the album is "The Boys" which features washed up singer Cassie. The song is based off of a Cassie demo called "Money on Love." The song mixes rap, R&B, electropop and folk rock into a crazy song that is just as good and out there as anything Minaj has ever done.
The eighth song is the single "Va Va Voom," which was already featured on the deluxe version of the original album. The inclusion of that song feels like robbery.
With Minaj planning to release her third album in May of 2013, tentatively titled Pink Friday: The Pinkprint, Minaj is showing no signs of slowing down. While the album will probably be amazing, I for one am kind of getting tired of Nicki Minaj.

Kelly Clarkson is never going to stop

Kelly Clarkson will always be one of pop-rock's queens. This year she released her first greatest hits album and on it were classics like "My Life Would Suck Without You," "What Doesn't Kill You (Stronger), and the best pop song ever "Since U Been Gone." Clarkson recorded three new songs for the record. They aren't her best songs but they are great and they show some new sounds for the singer.
"Catch My Breath" is a electropop/rock song. While Clarkson has done this before this song features a more heavier electrpop sound. The song is uplifting, a first for a Clarkson single. Most of her songs are about the negative sides of love, yet the new engaged singer brings out the positive in this single. This song is a great new direction for Clarkson.
The best new song on the compilation is "People Like Us." This song is a dance anthem that is about people going through dark times. "It's hard to stay high when you're livin' on the bottom," Clarkson sings. The song is Clarkson's note to people going through rough times. Clarkson is saying that she's been there and it will get better. Kind of like a better version of her song "Dark Side."
"Don't Rush," a duet with Vince Gill and the second single is an acquired taste. If you like soulful country jams then this is sure to be a favorite. The song is a easy breezy number that is a good chill out song. Clarkson and Gill's voices mix together so amazingly.
This greatest hits album is a reminder of how great Clarkson is. These three new songs make this blogger excited for her next album. Clarkson is showing that happiness won't put a damper on her career.

Christina Aguilera rises up on new album

Christina Aguilera has never been a weak person. From early hits like "Fighter" and "Come On Over (All I Want Is You)," Aguilera has always had a certain attitude about her. Her songs are both sassy and sexual. They exude strength yet show vulnerability at the same time. Lotus, Aguilera's first album since her divorce, packs in the breakup anthems.
While her last album, the underrated Bionic, was released at the very end of her marriage, on Lotus she is truly writing about it. The first two songs, "Lotus Intro" and "Army of Me" which are also the best songs on the record, are about strength. "Rise up, lotus rise/ This is the beginning," Aguilera sings on the intro to the album. On the dance-rock "Army of Me" Aguilera tears her ex-husband a new one. She goes to show that she isn't going to be walked on.
The next few songs are positive and sexy. From "Red Hot Kinda Love" to "Make the World Move" which is a duet with her fellow The Voice judge Cee-Lo Green. Aguilera mixes dance and soul into a killer duet. Another album highlight is "Let There Be Love," a thumping trance song about Aguilera finding love with her new boyfriend. These positive songs show that Aguilera isn't going to let heartbreak ruin her life.
The album then goes into two gorgeous ballads. "Sing for Me" and "Blank Page" are all about struggle and overcoming it. Aguilera proves that she can still pull off a sad, gentile ballad. After a few songs that aren't memorable Aguilera brings the attitude again on the rocking "Circles." "Spin around in circles on my middle finger," Aguilera tells the haters during the chorus of the song. The song is so bad that it's fantastic.
The album closes off with another highlight. A duet with Blake Sheldon, "Just a Fool." Aguilera gets her country on with this song. The duet is a ballad about moving on after love gone wrong. The deluxe edition of the album has two good songs. "Light Up the Sky," which is a gorgeous piano-rock song. Better than most of the songs on the album, this is a highlight. Another song that will surely get fans talking is the heavily edited "Shut Up." The song features Aguilera telling the haters to "shut the bleep up." The song would be stronger if it weren't edited. The album does feature a parental advisory sticker so it should not be edited. Even with this flaw, the song is catchy and sassy.
On Lotus, Aguilera shows that she isn't going anywhere. Sadly if she doesn't pick better singles, the album won't be a hit.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Lana Del Rey stays brilliant on new EP

When Lana Del Rey released her first official album Born to Die this year it quickly stood out as one of the year's best albums. With quirky songs like "Diet Mountain Dew" and "Video Games" Del Rey became a hipster's wet dream. Last month she released her EP Paradise. The EP was intended as a re release but it also stands alone.
The songs are not that different than on her album. "Ride" starts the album off nicely with gorgeous vocals. Del Rey always sounds like a female Johnny Cash. Some of the best songs off of the album are a little out there. From her cover of "Blue Velvet" to "American" to "Body Electric," Lana knows how to hold the listener's attention.
The best song on the album is also the most attention grabbing. "Cola" tells an interesting story of a woman who is going out with another woman's husband. The song has memorable lyrics that are sure to make people gasp. "My pussy tastes like Pepsi Cola," Lana sings in the first line. This song is sure to be stuck in people's heads for months to come. The song is so catchy and it features some of Del Rey's best vocals. During the second half of the song she hits some high notes that she's never tried to hit before.
There are some boring songs on this album. Specifically the last two "Bel Air" and "Yayo." These songs are boring but that doesn't take away from the quality of the EP. This EP is a wonderful addition to the world of Lana Del Rey. Hopefully she continues on this path to greatness she is already on.

Punk Goes Pop 5 disappoints

The Punk Goes... Series used to be interesting. With albums like Punk Goes Crunk and Punk Goes Classic Rock peppered in amongst the Punk Goes Pop albums the series was interesting. Now all that comes out is Punk Goes Pops and this album is the worst one yet.While Issues makes Justin Beiber's "Boyfriend" worse...if that was possible and We Came as Romans shitifies The Wanted's "Glad You Came" not all the covers are terrible.
There are only four great songs. Forever the Sickest Kids rocks out "We Found Love" by Rihanna and adds a metalcore style breakdown with unclean vocals. The cover is just as fun as the original. Making this the best song on the album.
Secrets version of "Ass Back Home" by Gym Class Heroes and Neon Hitch is another highlight. The clean vocals on the song are more emotional than Hitch's are on the original. Another highlight is
"Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" by The Maine and Adam Lazara from Taking Back Sunday. The song is slow and lovely. I'm sure it made Cyndi Lauper proud. The last highlight is Mayday Parade and Vic Fuentes from Pierce The Veil doing "Somebody That I Used to Know" by Gotye and Kimbra. The cover is a rocked out improvement on the original.
Basically bands should just cover songs on their albums and Fearless Records needs to kill this Punk Goes Punk crap.

All That Remains take a musical shit...I mean have a new album

All That Remains have always been a good band. While most of their songs aren't classics they do have a few that are unforgettable. Most of them were off of their last album For We Are Many. The band are an average metalcore band with an average metalcore style most of the time. In their earlier albums and on their last record they mixed in some melodic death metal moments. Like if A Day To Remember and Arch Enemy had a strange baby.
Last month they released a new record called A War You Cannot Win. The album only has one good song and the rest are simply okay. The good one is the title track. It features more clean singing by front man and conservative, beefcake, hick Philip Labonte. Labonte is a decent singer but his strength lies in his unclean vocals. This album intends to make use of his cleans more and that's fine but the outcome sucks.
The biggest problem I have with this record is the music. On all of their older albums All That Remains had kick ass music but on this album it's just lame. The same shitty ass double bass drum and guitar chords make up this album. There are two acoustic interludes which suck. One is twenty seconds long and pointless.
Another highlight is the mildly touching "Asking Too Much" which showcases Labonte's sensitive side. His clean vocals actually portray some emotion and the song is decently written. It has some cliche lyrics but other than that it's a decent song.
Hopefully the new All That Remains album is a smaller crock of shit than this one was.

Flyleaf new album is a mixed bag

Flyleaf begin their third album New Horizons in a big way with "Fire Fire," their best song on the album and one of their best songs period. The song seems to be about front woman Lacey Sturm. This is the final record with Sturm and this song seems to be about her struggle to leave the band. "That's enough now dry your tears. It's been a long 11 years." Sturm sings in the first verse. The song is catchy and emotional and gets the album off on the right foot.
The band burst onto the scene with their self titled debut that sounded like a more hardcore version of Evanescence. Sturm's vocal style blended her beautiful singing with some metal screams to form something that hadn't been done by too many females until Flyleaf. Their debut featured songs like "I'm So Sick" and the band's only top 40 hit "All Around Me."
The band have always been proud of their Christian faith and while a few songs on the first record had religious lyrics, there was always another meaning. The on their second record 2009's Memento Mori the band embraced their Christianity more. This was a turn off for non-religious fans and despite that the songs just weren't as good.
But New Horizons is a decent album. While most of the songs are enjoyable like "Call You Out" and the title track, there are a few less memorable moments. Songs like "Saving Grace" and "Cage on the Ground" are boring.
"Broken Wings" is a beautiful tribute to friendship that is packed with so much passion that it's almost overwhelming. The song is so gorgeous and Sturm sounds fragile and sad. Another highlight is the rocking "Great Love." "Green Heart" takes the band back to their early metal sound.
While New Horizons is bittersweet because it's the last album with Lacey Sturm it's also a good sign that Flyleaf will survive.

Friday, November 30, 2012

A Simple review for a simple album

Earlier this year Macy Gray released a phenomenal cover album called Covered. Not even seven months later Macy Gray released her seventh album Talking Book. The album song-for-song cover version of Stevie Wonder's fifteenth studio album of the same name. Each song is simply great. Even if like myself you aren't familiar with Wonder's album, you can appreciate this record.
There are several songs that stick out. "Tuesday Heartbreak" is definitely the best song on the album and it's just as good as Wonder's original. Another highlight is "You Are the Sunshine of My Life." Gray's version of the song is very faithful to the original.
Other highlights include "Looking For Another Pure Love" and "Blame it on the Sun." Another highlight is Gray's cover of Wonder's "Superstition." Gray changes the fun and funky hit into a slow, creepy cover that sends chills up the spine.
All in all Gray's album is quite a success. This album just goes to show that Macy is one of the most underrated R&B artists out there. Macy Gray is showing no signs of slowing down, she has another EP of original songs due out at the end of the year.

Sister Sin don't evolve at all, but improve on new album

Metal band Sister Sin released their third album last month and it's much of the same as their older albums. Their debut album Switchblade Serenades had some variety but their second album True Sound of the Underground was basically 11 songs that were all the same tempo and about the same thing. Their third record Now and Forever is nothing different, however there are a few changes.
For one thing the production is more crisp. Songs like "In it For Life" and "The Chosen Few" sound great and rock hard. This makes the songs sound much better, so this is definitely a plus about this album.
Additionally front woman Liv Jagrell's vocals have gotten better. Her vocals are filled with just as much rage as before. While the lyrics haven't gotten any better and while the songs all pretty much feature songs about fighting the power. The exceptions are "In it For Life" which is about how the band want to be making music for life. "Morning After" is a break-up song which we rarely hear Liv and the boys talk about on albums.
Also the tempo of the songs aren't all the same. There are a few more slowed down songs and even a ballad. "Morning After" is one of the best songs on the record and it begins as a piano ballad. Eventually the rest of the band come on in true 80s power ballad style.
Some album highlights include the first single "End of the Line" which may be the best Sister Sin song ever, "Hearts of Cold" which is catchy and aggressive and "Hang Em High" which is the one song Liv gets a writing credit on. The song is about her wanting to have a good time. It's basically a ladies party anthem that sounds like a hybrid between Halestorm melodies and Ke$ha lyrics.
This album may not be Sister Sin's best but it does show a little improvement. At this rate maybe the band will show some artistic growth on their ninth album. Until then, rock on Sister Sin!

Shiny Toy Guns reunite with greatness

When Shiny Toy Gun's debut album We Are Pilots was released back in 2006 it mixed rock and dance music with influences ranging as far as electroclash and post-hardcore. Co-vocalists Carah Faye and Chad Petree mixed emotion and fun into a perfect album that gave such classic songs as "Don't Cry Out" and "Le Disko." The band were on the rise and then the unexpected happened. Carah Faye left the band to pursue her new project Versant.
In 2008 the band released their second album Season of Poison. New vocalist Sisely Treasure was an interesting new addition to the band. Her voice had more of a rock edge to it and the songs began to rock harder. While there were certain great songs on this record, it was nothing as good as their debut. They went on to release a remix album which featured remixes from both albums in addition to two new songs. Those new songs were better than most of the songs on Season of Poison and it seemed as though they were getting back on track. In the beginning of 2011 Treasure announced on her website that she was no longer a member of Shiny Toy Guns. Carah Faye was returning.
So that brings us to their new album III. The album brings the band back to the sound of their debut. There are songs that range from fun dance songs ("Speaking Japanese") and more emotional ballads ("Take Me Back to Where I Was").
This album isn't as fantastic as their first but these songs are so good. The album opens with "Somewhere to Hide" a dance floor anthem about escaping from troubles. Other highlights include the catchy "If I Lost You," the fast-paced dance-rocker "Carrie" and "The Sun" which was released a few years ago and originally meant to be the first single off of the album.
The album's best track is the rocking "Speaking Japanese." The song which features a dance beat and guitars is basically this album's version of "Le Disko" or "Ghost Town." It's a fun song that really has no meaning, it's just meant to get crowds moving. While they write phenomenal ballads, Shiny Toy Guns are at their best when they bring the party.
This album is definitely a move in the right direction and as long as Shiny Toy Guns keep Carah Faye around and evolve off of this sound they'll be all the better for it.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Taylor Swift gets better with time

Country star Taylor Swift's fourth album Red proves that the singer just gets better with age. Every album Swift comes out with is better than the last.
On Red Taylor mixes in her country roots with pop-rock and dance influences. Rockers like "State of Grace" and "Holy Ground"are sure to keep heads banging. The third single and album highlight "I Knew You Were Trouble." is a pop-rock breakup anthem that incorporates dubstep into the chorus. Another album highlight is the future fourth single and dance rock song "22." The song sounds like Katy Perry or Ke$ha and that isn't a bad thing. The lyrics of the song touch on youth and having fun.
Other highlights include "Everything Has Changed" a duet with Ed Sheeran, the adorable "Stay Stay Stay" and of course the lead single "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together."
While some slow moments like "Sad Beautiful Tragic" or "All Too Well" may slow things down a bit the album is a fun, honest ride from start to end.
The album closes in a beautiful fashion with the ballad "Begin Again," a gorgeous song about starting over with somebody new after a breakup. The best song on the album is the title track, a country/pop/rock fusion song that is about moving on from a breakup. The fast yet slow song has the honest lyrics that Taylor Swift is known for.
While she writes childish lyrics they are honest and relateable. Everybody from the first lady to a high school janitor has felt the things Taylor writes about and that is why she's so successful. She writes a killer songs and she will definitely be a huge star for a long time coming.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

In Fear and Faith get better with time

Metalcore bands aren't very inventive. There are some bands such as A Day to Remember or In This Moment that switch things up and there are bands Eyes Set to Kill and blessthefall who release basically the same album over and over again. In Fear and Faith's third self titled album fall into the later. Not to say that that is a bad thing.
The album is surely a step up from their second album but it really doesn't do anything different. While songs such as "The Calm Before the Reform" which features David Stephens from We Came As Romans don't reinvent the wheel, they do solidify the band as good musicians.
That being said this album is definitely the best thing In Fear and Faith have done and while it doesn't open new doors for metalcore it does do things for their career.

Ellie Goulding releases her opus

Ellie Goulding broke onto the scene this year with her smash hit "Lights" from her debut album of the same title. But due to some personal issues I have with a certain person who introduced me to her music two years ago, but I've gotten past them and got into her first album. Goulding's first record was hardly anything that special and except for a few singles the album didn't hold my attention.
This year Goulding released her second album Halcyon. On this album she drops her electro/folk sound for a sound that is reminiscent of Adele and Florence and the Machine. The album is inspired by a break-up Goulding went through which more times than not means an artist's best work. The album features more indie rock influences. One of the album's best songs and second single is "Figure 8" on which Goulding sticks to what she knows. The dubstep inspired electrorock song features such personal lyrics from Goulding. The entire record has lyrics written with pure sadness.
The great ballads "Dead in the Water," "Explosions" and "I Know You Care" are all attempts of being her "Someone Like You" moment. while nothing is anywhere near that greatness all these songs are amazing.
The best song on the album is "My Blood," a Florence and the Machine inspired song that is about strength after a break-up. The song features such lush instrumentals and gorgeous vocals make it the highlight of the album.
With Halcyon Goudling has cemented herself as a new alternative pop queen.

All Time Low don't waste any time on new album

All Time Low released their fifth album,Don't Panic last month, a little over a year after their Dirty Work album. While Dirty Work wasn't a bad album it wasn't as good as their other albums. The album had so many guest writers and co producers that it was hard to find the band in all of the fray. Despite there being many good songs like "Under a Paper Moon," "Do You Want Me (Dead)" and "Guts" which featured The Sounds singer Maja Ivarsson, it wasn't as wholly memorable as their previous records.
Don't Panic gets the band back to their roots. They get back to their old school pop-punk sound. The album doesn't have one bad song. From bitter break-ups ("The Irony of Choking on a Lifesaver") to long distance love ("If These Sheets Were the States") to lonely hook-ups ("Backseat Serenade") the album's rocking tracks cover many topics that sexy scene kids in their early twenties would face in their daily lives.
The album doesn't have a bad song on it and that's a rare thing, especially in pop-punk where all songs tend to sound the same. Songs like the hard rocking "So Long, Soldier" are sure to get pits to open at Warped Tour for years to come. "Somewhere in Neverland" deals with getting older. Life tends to get boring after high school and frontman Alex Gaskarth talks to his lover about running away into Neverland. "Wendy run away with me/I know I sound crazy/Don’t you see what you do to me?/I wanna be your lost boy/Your last chance, a better reality," Gaskarth sings in the chorus.
One thing that makes this album different is that the band have several guest vocalists. Bayside frontman Anthony Raneri sings on "Outlines" while Jason Vena from Acceptance and Cassadee Pope from Hey Monday guest on "So Long, Soldier." Pope also guests on the albums best track "Backseat Serenade." The song is about Gaskarth trying to seduce a lover. "Backseat serenade/Little hand grenade/Oh god, I'm sick of sleeping alone/You're salty like a summer day/Kiss the pain away To your radio," Gaskarth and Pope harmonize during the chorus.
All in all this album is sure to ease the minds of those All Time Low fans that were put off by Dirty Work.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

New No Doubt album is worth the wait

No Doubt have always made quality albums. Their older records like Tragic Kingdom and Rock Steady still hold up after all of these years. Kingdom was their greatest album and after the release of Steady almost 11 years ago, it was a dark time for No Doubt fans front woman Gwen Stefani released a great solo album and a decent one, both of which had an 80s dance-pop sound. That sound is mixed in with the sounds of all of their previous albums on their sixth album Push and Shove.
The album doesn't have any bad songs. While some songs like the singles "Settle Down" and "Looking Hot" hold interest better than some of the more midtempo songs like "Easy,"each song is amazing.
The band have matured on this album and that's only fitting since they're all over 40 years old and have children. The punky attitude of earlier hits like "Excuse Me Mr." and "Ex-Girlfriend" are not found. That is not to say that the band have lost their edge. The best song on the album is the title track which was a promotional single and features Busy Signal and Major Lazer. The track goes from the reggae inspired jams of Rock Steady to a sassy Tragic Kingdomesque chorus that rocks harder than anything on this album.
Other highlights include the gorgeous ballad "Undone." Gwen and the boys have never sounded so somber and beautiful on a ballad than they do there. Another emotional number that is "One More Summer." "One more Summer, one more weekend. I'm your lover, you're my weakness," Stefani sings sadly during the chorus.
The album ends on yet another high note with the 80s inspired new-wave ballad "Dreaming the Same Dream." The song could be in any 80s movie and fit right in.
While this album may not be their best work it is a brilliant step in the right direction. Let's just hope it doesn't take them 11 years to make their next record.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Go Radio mature on new album

Go Radio's first album came out only a year ago and while there were moments of greatness, it fell flat. Last month the band released their sophomore album, Close the Distance. The album drops most of the band's earlier pop-punk influences and a new softer sound. The album sounds like if Augustana were good.
This album doesn't have a bad song on it and while towards the second half of the disc tends to blend together, the first six songs are fantastic.
From the first piano-tinged second single "Go to Hell" to the title track and best song on the record.
One thing that have always made Go Radio such a promising young band is frontman Jason Lancaster's beautiful, emotive vocals. They truly shine on songs like "Collide," "Over Me" and "I Won't Lie." Lancaster really knows how to tug on the heartstrings.
If Go Radio continue making music like this then maybe they'll have some bigger success.

P!nk releases her best album ever

Pop-rocker P!nk has always made phenomenal albums. While her last album Funhouse wasn't as good as her best album I'm Not Dead it was still amazing. However when she had a few shitty songs on her first greatest hits album I got worried. However P!nk returns to form on her sixth studio album The Truth About Love. This album is P!nk's best album. From the fast-paced rockers like "Slut Like You" and "Walk of Shame" to gorgeous ballads like "Beam Me Up," P!nk knows how to please.
P!nk albums are always known for their emotions. The second single "Try" is a hauntingly beautiful ballad about the falling out of love. P!nk clearly wants to try to make the relationship work but her lover isn't as dedicated as she is. Another emotional song is also the best song on the album, "How Come You're Not Here." The song is an angsty dance-rocker and P!nk shows her sassy lyricism. "I heard a rumour, about another girl/Sure she's cute, but she hides nuts like a squirrel/That's all cool/I'll wait right here/Til you bet bored and she gets carded for beer," P!nk sings sarcastically. This song is sure to be a live favorite and future single.
P!nk also collaborates on this album, something she hasn't done since her punky third album Try This. "True Love" which features Lily Rose Cooper aka Lily Allen. The song sounds like something off of Cooper's first album. The two ladies together form a sassy pair and this song is amazing. Another great duet on the album is "Give Me Just a Reason" which features fun. frontman Nate Ruess. The song sounds like a fun. song and that's a great song. The ballad about a breakup from both sides of the relationship is sure to be a future hit for P!nk.  Lastly is Eminem on the hip-hop rocker "Here Comes the Weekend." The song is one of the best while I've always found Em's raps to be overrated he truly adds to the amazingness of this song.
The only song on the album that is a little lackluster is the repetitive title track. It's not bad, but it's not as good as the other songs.
P!nk has released the best pop album of the year and her greatest album ever. This only goes to show that P!nk is a living legend and isn't going anywhere for a long time.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Nighwish part ways with vocalist

Nightwish's catchy brand of symphonic power metal has had listeners headbanging for fifteen years. The band started with Tarja Turunen performing her operatic vocals as co-vocalist with Tuomas Holopainen who also plays keyboards and writes most of the lyrics. In 2005 however Turunen was essentially kicked out of the band. Turunen claimed that she was not informed of her dismissal before learning about it with the rest of the world.
Then in 2007 the band released their first album with their new vocalist Anette Olzon. The album was called Dark Passion Play. Some fans were not happy since Olzon had a very different vocal style than Turunen. This blogger firmly believes that Olzon was an improvement and that her material with Nightwish was the best they've had.
This year Nightwish released their seventh album Imaginaerum, the album was set to go along with a film based on the songs on the record. The band kicked off their tour and everything was fine and then last week Olzon was not able to perform due to her being ill. The band played their scheduled show with opening act, Kamelot's backing vocalist Elize Ryd and Alissa White-Gluz from The Agonist filling in on vocals.
Then the band announced that Olzon and the band had parted ways in a press release on their website.

"Another chapter of the Nightwish story has ended today. Nightwish and Anette Olzon have decided to part company, in mutual understanding, for the good of all parties involved.

In recent times it has become increasingly obvious that the direction and the needs of the band were in conflict, and this has led to a division from which we cannot recover.

Nightwish has no intention of cancelling any upcoming shows, and as a result we have decided to bring in a substitute vocalist starting in Seattle 1.10.2012. Her name is Floor Jansen from The Netherlands (ex-After Forever, ReVamp), and she has graciously stepped in to help us complete the Imaginaerum world tour.

We are all strongly committed to this journey, this vehicle of spirit, and we are sure that this will lead to a brighter future for everyone.
We forever remain excited about the adventures to come, and we are extremely proud of the two beautiful albums and the wonderful shows we shared together.

- NIGHTWISH & Anette Olzon"

The band will complete the tour with singer Floor Jansen filling in on vocals. It's hard to respect Nightwish as it seems that they just toss their lead vocalists aside and replace them like it's nothing. One can't help but feel bad for Olzon. She gets stick and then her band just replace her, she can't be happy right now. Olzon has been working on a solo album since before she left Nightwish so it's clear that she can still achieve solo success like Turunen did.

Nelly Furtado gets back to business on new album

Nelly Furtado's hip hop/dance/R&B masterpiece Loose was released six years ago and in that time she recorded a Spanish album and released a greatest hits album with two lame new songs. Furtado is back with her new album The Spirit Indestructible. While Loose was produced almost entirely by Timbaland, Timbo doesn't make a single appearance on this record. Spirit was produced by Darkchild and Salaam Remi.
While the album does have some weak points, altogether it's still an amazing record. Songs like "Circles" and "The Most Beautiful Thing" which features Sara Tavares, a Portuguese singer, are simply weird and "Miracles" is pretty boring but the other songs on the album more than make up for these shortcomings.
Songs like "Big Hoops (Bigger the Better)," "Waiting For The Night" and the title track are all great. "Bucket List" is an adorable song about wanting to fall in love. Another amazing song is the third single "Parking Lot." The song is a banger and recalls Furtado's teenage years hanging out in parkings lots. "High Life" which features Ace Primo is a hip hop song about living the high life. Another great song is "Something" which features Nas.
The best song on this album would have to be "Believers (Arab Spring)." The pop-rock anthem about trying to spread love to the world sounds like Alanis Morrisette covering Lacuna Coil. The song is different from anything Furtado has done and should definitely be a single. It would expose Furtado to a whole new audience.
All in all this album is a huge step forward for Furtado, hopefully it doesn't take her a few more missteps before her next amazing album.

Ke$ha releases decent single

Pop star Ke$ha has always been known for her party jams. Her debut album, Animal and her EP Cannibal featured dance-pop party anthems about living it up and having a good time. She peppered in a few gorgeous ballads and made some of the best pop albums of 2010. So when Ke$ha released her first single off of her upcoming second album, Warrior, expectations were high.
"Die Young" is an electropop song about partying, because life is short. While it's not as attention grabbing as other Ke$ha songs, it does have a nice message. The only issue with the song is that it's not as catchy as her other songs. Songs like "Cannibal" and "Party at a Rich Dude's House" have the power of being addicting. Most of her older songs get stuck in your head and play over and over, "Die Young" doesn't do that.
The song isn't a good choice for a first single. While it does move outside of the box for a Ke$ha single, it isn't really going to gain her new album any buzz.
Ke$ha said that her new album would have a more rock influence and yet this single has no rock sound at all. It's more or less the same Ke$ha.
While "Die Young" may have been a poor first single choice, it is still a decent pop tune. The song, co written with Fun. front man Nate Ruess, is one of the first Ke$ha songs to use very little Auto-Tune. While not the most gifted vocalist, Ke$ha sounds the best on this song that she's sounded in a while. The song mixes in acoustic guitar with the electropop sound to make an original sound.
While not the most amazing song of the year "Die Young" does show that Ke$ha has grown a little and maybe Warrior will be a great album.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Alanis Morissette becomes a mom and gets kind of lame

Alanis Morissette has been the queen of angry breakup songs. From her first hit "You Oughta Know" to "Straitjacket" from her amazing last album. Morissette is back with her eighth studio album Havoc and Bright Lights. The album is her first after getting married and becoming a mother. The result isn't always great.
The first single "Guardian" is a headbanging pop-rock anthem for parents everywhere about watching out for your child. "I'll be your keeper for life/as your guardian," Morissette sings in the chorus. The song kind of makes you want to vomit, but in a good way. It's a catchy song and it rocks.
Morissette tends to be better on her harder rocking songs such as the two best songs on the album "Numb" and "Spiral."
"I feel anxious, I feel nervous and unloved/I'm overwhelmed, rather be out of my/Have to remove myself from sensation," Morissette sings angrily during "Numb."
Other highlights include "Lens," "Woman Down" and the quirky "Celebrity."
Another great song that is a soft ballad "Til You," which is about her husband and son. It's touching and shows Morissette's softer side.
The albums few misteps are the slow songs "Empathy" and "Havoc."

Christina Aguilera releases lackluster single

Pop singer Christina Aguilera has always been known for amazing first singles, but the first single off of her fifth studio album, due in November, called "Your Body" is a let down.
The song, is an electropop song about desire. We've heard Aguilera do this before and it's simply getting old. The song sounds like a song that didn't make the cut for her last underrated album Bionic.
The song is a little bit catchy, but it just doesn't match up to her past hits like "Dirrty," "Fighter" or "Ain't No Other Man." The song basically sounds like a song Lady Gaga refused to record.
Aguilera will do better to just be herself and try something new. This review is short, but there are no good things to say about his song. While it's decent and it could be played in a club, it's not hit worthy. If Aguilera wants people to want to pick up her new album Lotus on November 13 she'd better come out with a second single that is better.

In This Moment losing too much blood

Metalcore band In This Moment launched their career in 2007 and released three phenomenal albums. With the release of their latest record, Blood, last month the band took a huge step backwards. While several of the songs rank up there with the band's best, this album has some huge problems.
The main problem being that for some reason frontwoman Maria Brink finds the need to do a shitty Otep impression on "Whore" and the single "Blood." Brink doesn't have the screaming chops that Otep Shamaya, frontwoman for Otep has and while these songs are great they aren't as good as the band's older music.
Another issue with this album is the fact that Brink has become lazy in her lyrics. "Shut up, shut up, shut up/Shut up, shut up shut up/Shut up, shut up, shut up/You're gonna listen to what I say this time," Brink screams during the chorus of the catchy yet stupid "You're Gonna Listen." While it's a fun song to listen to the lyrics simply take away from what could have been greatness. The music of the song is similar to their older albums but the lyrics are just ridiculous.
Another song that isn't good is "Burn." It's clunky and tries to hard to be heavy and deep but the lyrics are just silly. "Set me on fire and watch me burn," Brink screams dramatically during the chorus. This song is just silly and Brink seems to be a drama queen.
There are some great moments on Blood. "Whore" features Otep styled rapped verses and a screamed chorus. Brink's clean vocals in the pre-chorus sound heavenly and beautiful. This song is different from other In This Moment songs but it's great. Another highlight on the album is "From The Ashes." From the chugging guitars and gorgeously sung vocals, this song is a winner. It almost sounds like it could have been written for their second album The Dream. "Beast Within" starts out slow with Brink doing spoken word verses before singing the pre-chorus and singing and screaming in the chorus.
Blood has a few great ballads. While the album closer "11:11" is boring slow songs such as "Scarlett" and "The Blood Legion" are gorgeous while mixing in some heavier influences on the second halves of each song.
The best song on this album is by far "Adrenalize," a sexed up rocker featuring Brink seductively singing the verses and screaming the choruses. The song also features a breakdown similar to their Beautiful Tragedy and A Star-Crossed Wasteland albums. The song is a great reminder of what In This Moment have been and hopefully what they will become. The song sound like if Lady Gaga started a metal band, which is not a bad thing.
The album all in all sounds like if Korn didn't suck and were fronted by a woman. While this album is still great, it falls short of topping the masterpiece that was their last album, A Star-Crossed Wasteland. Hopefully the band will stop trying to be something they're not.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Alicia Keys is on fire with new single

Alicia Keys released her soulful new single "Girl On Fire" last week, the title track from her fifth album. The song has R&B flavor mixed with hip hop thump and is the best thing Keys has released since her single "Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart" from her disappointing last album.
The song, whose "Inferno Remix" features Nicki Minaj is all about being strong. "This girl is on fire," Keys sings passionately during the chorus. She clearly isn't going to take any crap from anybody. The inclusion of another strong female, Minaj, adds strength to this ladies anthem.
Keys stated that the song was inspired by giving birth to her son and her marriage. The song is epic and anthemic and shows that Keys is back and better than ever.
Her latest album, The Element of Freedom. That album was boring and didn't have the kick that her other albums had. It lacked the energy and passion that Keys is known for. This song and her single "New Day" are sure to get fans excited for her next album, due out in November.

Yellowcard finally change things up

Last month pop-punk band Yellowcard released their eighth studio album, Southern Air. The album was released just one year after it's predecessor When You're Through Thinking, Say Yes. That album was great but it didn't stand up next to their other albums Ocean Avenue and Lights and Sounds. The album didn't do anything different than those records and while it was well-done it wasn't a classic.
This album is just like Ocean Avenue, emotional and well written. The lyrics are written directly from frontman Ryan Key's heart and that's what makes a great album. This record has some different characteristics. One thing is the music.While it's not much of a change from their violin-filled pop-punk, it just has a different energy. Songs like "Awakening" and "Here I Am Live" which features a duet with We Are The In Crowd singer Taylor Jardine and was cowritten by Fall Out Boy singer Patrick Stump, have an undeniable energy to them.
The highlight of the album is "Telescope" which features vocals from Jardine, Cassadee Pope from Hey Monday and Alex Gasgarth from All Time Low. The song is dedicated to Key's late aunt and it's a touching tribute. "My only hope, you're my telescope," the four singers sing beautifully at the end. The song's music sounds like "Work" by Jimmy Eat World and it's one of their best songs of their career.
Other songs like "A Vicious Kind" and the first single "Always Summer" simply rock. Every song on the album makes this one of the best Yellowcard albums.
The one low point lies in "Ten" a boring acoustic number that slows down the pace of the album. Even that song is forgivable because the album is so good. Surely Southern Air will be getting serious play by fans all over the world.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Joss Stone stays soulful on new album

Joss Stone burst onto the music scene with her debut album The Soul Sessions, which featured Stone covering classic soul songs. The album featured only one modern cover and it was "Fell In Love With A Boy," a cover of The White Stripes song "Fell In Love With A Girl." Now after four albums of amazing original material, Stone is back with the follow up to her debut The Soul Sessions Volume 2.
The album still features soulful remakes of soul songs and one cover of a song by indie rock band Broken Bells. The album features lots of great songs but the best is the first single "While You're Out Looking For Sugar." The song features Stone singing to her cheating lover that while he's cheating, she'll replace him. Stone sings the lyrics with such confidence.
"The High Road," which serves as the second single is another highlight. The soulful guitars and Stone's emotive vocals prove this song to be one of the best performances Stone has given since her third album back in 2007.
Other highlights include "The Love We Had Stays On My Mind," a gorgeous ballad, "Teardrops" which has Stone showing off her softer side and "I Got The..." which is the song that Eminem sampled for his hit"My Name Is..."
One of the downsides to the album is "Pillow Talk," which features Stone trying to be sultry and seductive. This song is decent but sexually is hardly Stone's strong point. With the exception of course of "Put Your Hands On Me" from her album Introducing Joss Stone which is one of her best songs ever.
All in all every song on this album is good and shows the world that Joss Stone truly is one of the most underrated R&B singers of this era.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

No Doubt are back to their prime on new single

Last week No Doubt released the second single and title track off of their long awaited sixth album Push and Shove. Their first single came out about a month earlier and while it's amazing this song is truly a classic. It mixes the reggae, ska and rock elements of their previous albums with a parts that can only be described as diet dubstep.
The album features Jamaican dancehall artist Busy Signal and Major Lazer a production group that features Diplo.
The verses feature reggae inspired vocals by vocalist Gwen Stefani and Busy Signal. The song also features the vocals of Diplo. The song also has a little bit of ska influence with horns during the second verse. The lyrics are about Busy Signal trying to pick up Stefani and while they're cheesy, this song is just so great that it's hard to hold that against it.
The highlight is the rock chorus. "You work it hard, boy you got me good. You push and shove, oh boy you're hustling me," Stefani sings over the rocked out chorus.
No Doubt release the album on September 25 and if it's like the first two singles the world is in for a great treat. This song reminds everybody that just because their last album came out over a decade a go, doesn't mean that No Doubt aren't still legends.
Below is a video of the radio edit. That's all that YouTube has.

Friday, August 24, 2012

VersaEmerge follow trends on new EP

VersaEmerge have always made great music. Their first EP had a post-hardcore sound before Sierra Kusterbeck took over as frontwoman. Once Kusterbeck was the singer their next releases sounded like Paramore and Evanescence wrote scores for movies, they were so original.
VersaEmerge have been hard at work on their second full length album for almost two years and earlier this month they released an EP entitled Another Atmosphere Preview, which features three songs from their upcoming album Another Atmosphere.
The three songs "No Consequences," "Bones" and "Domesticated" have rock oriented aspects but they are predominantly dance tracks. The band heavily use synthesisers on this album and few actual instruments. From the dubstep wobbles on the songs to the synthetic guitar solo on "Bones," this record is synthesized.
"No Consequences" contains a more rock sound with guitar chords and tons of attitude. The song is very different from the rest of the EP and is by far the best song. The song is about getting what you want and not caring what others think.
"Bones" is the next best song. The song also has dance-rock sound to it. "I want you to rest those bones over me," Kusterbeck sings seductively in the chorus. The song is far from as good as most of VersaEmerge's other songs but it's still a fun ride.
"Domesticated" is by far the worst song out of the three, mainly because the lyrics are cheesy as hell. The "piano" driven track is about not fitting into the mold and not being the girl that everybody wants Kusterbeck to be. It's clear in the song that Kusterbeck is not trying to fit the mold, yet why is her band following the dance music trend?
This dance music trend is ruining many good bands. VersaEmerge's new EP isn't bad in any sense, but it just doesn't stand up to their last album Fixed at Zero or their self-titled EP. Hopefully the rest of Another Atmosphere contains a more classic VersaEmerge sound. VersaEmerge are an example of a band who have tried to follow a trend and have lost what made them great in the first place.

The Gaslight Anthem redeem themselves with new album

Heartland punks The Gaslight Anthem recently released their fourth album Handwritten and after their last album, American Slang, Handwritten is a breath of fresh air. The band mixes folk, punk and heartland rock into their music
The songs on Slang weren't bad but when compared to their previous album, The '59 Sound. That album, especially the title track, was just phenomenal. The album didn't have a dull moment and it kept listeners wanting more. Then American Slang came out and it thought it was a better album than it really was. The record was bland and most of the songs tended to blend together.
Handwritten brings the band back to their strength. The songs are catchy and emotional and they pack a punk-rock punch.
The title track is the best song on the record. With a loud rock sound and addictive melody it's everything that The Gaslight Anthem do great. Each song is emotional and the band really know how to tug at the heartstrings of the listener. The lyrics of each song are relateable and singer Brian Fallon knows how to work his voice to make the listener truly feel what he is singing.
Other highlights include "Here Comes My Man," "Biloxi Parish" and the lead single "45." Each song on the album leaves the listener not wanting each song to end, yet wanting so badly to hear the next gem and delve deeper into Fallon's soul.
Handwritten is sure to keep The Gaslight Anthem's loyal fans happy, get them new ones and bring back disgruntled fans who were let down by American Slang. This album solidifies The Gaslight Anthem's place as one of the best bands punk bands out there.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Sister Sin, make same song over and over again

Old-school metal band Sister Sin released the first single from their much-pushed-back third album Now and Forever entitled "End of the Line." The song is a good song but they've done it before. Their debut album Switchblade Serenades had a little bit of variety. Most of the songs on that album were fast paced hard rocking songs but there were also songs like the title track which were midtempo and sexy.
Their second record True Sound of the Underground contained 11 of the same song. They really aren't about anything at all. Being bad ass and fighting the norm seem to be what most Sister Sin songs are about. The main thing that make this band so appealing is that they are so energetic and fun. Not to mention the fact that front woman Liv Jagrell is a beast at singing. She has such a great voice that she can work the same tired formula and make it interesting again.
"End of the Line" is a fun ride, but we've taken that ride before. The lyrics are even similar to their single "Sound of the Underground" off of their second record. While the album will probably be enjoyable if Sister Sin want to keep their fans they'd better switch things up if not for this album then for record number four.

Neon Hitch shines on new single

Neon Hitch is one of the next generation of quirky pop stars who blend dance, pop, hip hop and rock into one weird blend of pop music. Her single "Bad Dog" was arguably the most overlooked song of 2011. Hitch has been featured on "Follow Me Down" by 3OH!3 and the mega hit "Ass Back Home" by Gym Class heroes. She also wrote "Blah Blah Blah" with Ke$ha and songs for Friday Night Boys and Sky Ferreira.
Hitch plans to release her debut album Beg, Borrow and Steal this year and this past week she released her new single "Gold" which features Tyga. "Gold" is a dance-pop number that is so upbeat and catchy that it'll be stuck in heads for days. The song, co-written by Bruno Mars, is about how her lover "shines like gold" and while the lyrics are cheesy, it's cute. She seems truly enamoured with her lover and with her beautiful, distinctive voice the listener can truly tell that she means every word she says.
The only drawback of the song is the rap by Tyga. It just doesn't seem to go with the rest of the song. If she released this song with somebody more well known then maybe the rap would be helpful but Tyga is no Kanye West or Nicki Minaj so his verse could just be erased.
The song is proof that Hitch has what it takes to make a hit and if she makes more songs like this than she's sure to get huge.

New Pierce The Veil album kicks ass

Pierce The Veil have always been known for their more experimental sound. The post-hardcore sound of their early albums has always had an experimental rock undertone. Their last two albums had some phenomenal songs on them but the records fell short as a whole because they weren't filled with amazing songs. On their third album Collide with the Sky, Pierce The Veil completely improve their sound. The band have mixed in a bit more of a metalcore influence on the record.
While the album is hardly a straight up metalcore record, certain songs such as the lead single and one of the band's best songs on the album, if not ever "King For A Day" which features Sleeping With Sirens frontman Kellin Quinn. The song features loads of unclean vocals by both frontman Vic Fuentes and Quinn. Both of the singers also contribute clean vocals to the song.
Another album highlight is "Hell Above." The song is a fast paced rocker that gets the album off to a good start after the haunting intro "May These Noises Startle You In Your Sleep Tonight." The song features Fuentes screaming muffled before erupting into a breakdown before transitioning into "Hell Above." The entire album flows together to form a string of 12 great songs as opposed to being broken up by filler tracks like their first two albums.
Other highlights include "Props & Mayhem" and "Hold On Till May," which features Lindsey Stamey from Oh No Fiasco and "The First Punch" which is the most metal sounding song on the record. Fuentes goes frantically between singing and screaming on the tracks with such ease that the listener barely hears his breath.
Pierce The Veil have etched themselves a place in the post-hardcore scene as an experimental, emotional band with this album. This band are sure to only get better as their career goes along.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Taylor Swift outdoes herself on new single

Taylor Swift has two kinds of songs; the cheesy love song ("Love Story," Enchanted") to the cheesy breakup song ("Picture To Burn," "Forever & Always") and her latest song is her one of her best songs ever. After two albums that were half amazing songs and half annoying songs, Swift released her third and greatest album Sparks Fly. That album was truly amazing and it also exposed Swift to other kinds of music. She incorporated pop and rock elements into her music, they were always there but she put them to the forefront on that record.
This week Swift released the first single off of her fourth album, Red. "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" is far from the usual country that Swift usually releases. The song, about an ex trying to get back with her is straight up pop, sounding more like Avril Lavigne than any of her previous work. She wrote the song with pop master Max Martin.
The song is a midtempo, acoustic guitar filled song with a catchy chorus that will be sure to be the breakup anthem of the year. The lyrics are don't come off as bitter or angry, but they show her confidence. She shows her ex no malice but she just can't give him a second shot. "I'm really gonna miss you picking fights. And me, falling for it screaming that I'm right. And you, would hide away and find your piece of mind, with some Indie record that's so much cooler than mine," Swift sings in the second chorus.
While Swift always makes cheesy, immature lyrics, the honesty with which she sings them is just too cute and that is what makes her so likeable. Not to mention that when you're upset at your boyfriend or girlfriend, you go to cheesy songs. Her songs are easily relateable and "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" is no different. This song will do big things for Swift and it's a sign that Red may just be her best record yet.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Ronnie Radke got arrested.

Hero of many a pathetic teenage girl and Falling In Reverse frontman has been arrested on charges of domestic battery. His girlfriend told police that he allegedly beat her. The warrant for his arrest was issued on May 1, 2012 but because of his band's run on the Vans Warped Tour, Radke wasn't arrested until August 6, the day after Warped Tour ended.
Radke was the original lead vocalist for Escape The Fate but when he got convicted for his role in the death of a fan. His band then replaced him with Craig Mabbitt who was in blessthefall at the time while he was in prison and then he started Falling In Reverse. The band sing a lame mix of pop-punk, hardcore and hard rock, yet they've managed to gain a huge amount of popularity with their debut album The Drug In Me Is You. The record is full of annoying sing songy tunes about being betrayed by his former bandmates.
While the band aren't untalented and some of their songs do have good moments, they just try to hard. They have one song, "Goodbye Graceful" that is simply amazing. It's the heaviest song on which Ronnie employs his harsh vocals during most of the song while he sings the chorus. If Falling In Reverse made more songs like this, they wouldn't suck.
The only reason people like this band is because of the hype surrounding Radke and his legal woes of the past. If he wasn't "that guy who used to be in Escape The Fate who killed somebody and wrote Falling In Reverse's album in prison," half the people who "love" him and his band wouldn't care. They're nothing special.
But this isn't meant to be a rant on how much the band aren't good, it's an opinion piece of Radke and other musicians who face hard times. While some musicians with talent ruin their careers by overdosing and dying (Amy Winehouse, Whitney Houston) or being bat shit crazy (Courtney Love), many musicians can get past the embarrassment.
Chris Brown was promising young R&B singer with a good voice when he turned himself in after the beating of his girlfriend at the time Rihanna. While many viewed Brown's career as over he has had several hit singles since then and despite public feuds with P!nk and Miranda Lambert regarding his domestic battery charges Rihanna collaborated with him on the remix to her single "Birthday Cake" and his song "Turn Up The Music." While he has lost the love and respect of many fans, he still has a successful music career.
Another, older example is R&B singer R. Kelly. In 2002 a video tape of Kelly urinating on and having sex with an allegedly underage girl surfaced on the internet. The singer was charged with child pornography, soliciting a minor for child pornography and sex with a minor. Despite the fact that charges were dropped and he was found not guilty for the rest this was still a damaging thing for Kelly. Yet the next year Kelly released an album that featured one of his biggest hits ever "Ignition (Remix)." Despite not having that many more hits after Kelly continues to release albums to moderate success.
Radke can save his career if he comes across as a victim which I'm sure is the direction he'll take. Radke and his overrated band have lots of fans who probably feel terrible for their underdog and they'll probably blame his girlfriend and make her a martyr amongst terrible scene kids across the nation. But my question is, is that okay?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Marina and the Diamonds release career defining album

Marina Diamandis, more commonly known by her stage name Marina and the Diamonds, released her second album Electra Heart last month and after her stellar debut album, The Family Jewels was released a few years back. Diamandis is at her best on this album and while her debut could be a little tedious, this album only has a few songs that don't live up.
The album opens with the best song of Diamandis' career as well as one of the best songs of this year "Bubblegum Bitch." The song is an uptempo dance-rock song and it introduces the concept of the album, following the life of Electra Heart. "Dear diary, I met a boy. He made my dull heart light up with joy. Dear diary, we fell apart. Welcome to the life of Electra Heart," Marina sings at the end of the second verse. "Bubblegum Bitch" is so successful because it exemplifies what the character Electra Heart is about. The right mix of sexuality, frustration and pure sadness.
Diamandis shines on other uptempo songs like "Sex Yeah" and the singles "Radioactive," "Primadonna" and "How To Be A Heartbreaker."
In addition to the faster songs, Diamandis shines on the ballads. "Lies" features dubstep inspired piano-filled beats and lyrics about knowing a lover is done with you but would rather lie to keep you happy instead of breaking her heart with the truth. Diamandis clearly knows that her lover has moved on emotionally but she'd rather him lie to her. The song is one of the best on the album.
Another ballad that shines is "Teen Idle." The song which is about the youth of today and calls to mind some of Lana Del Rey's best moments. "I wanna stay inside all day. I want the world to go away. I want blood, guts, and chocolate cake," Diamandis sings in the pre-chorus. This song is what Diamandis does best. Her lyrics can sometimes contain a sarcastic punch that recalls Lily Allen or early Katy Perry.
The only songs on the album that are not on the same level as the rest of the album are "Hypocrites," Valley of the Dolls" and "Fear and Loathing." These three ballads lack any interesting qualities. They aren't bad, they just seem to be filler.
All in all Marina and the Diamonds shines on this album and she is clearly on her way to big things. Electra Heart is sure to have fans of her satisfied and new fans will be flocking to this album. There's no sophomore slump here.

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Veronica's release addictive, yet not that great single

The Veronicas, third album Life on Mars has been in production for around four or five years and the band cited influences ranging from electroclash queen Peaches to indie rock band The Subways yet last week when The Veronicas released their first single "Lolita" which sounds like Ke$ha and Ellie Goulding made a club anthem about seducing a lover. The song is catchy and addictive but it's hardly worth the wait since The Veronicas last pop masterpiece Hook Me Up was released in 2007. That album contained club songs with rock influences and was actually original. Their first record was a straight up pop-rock album and that was great as well. Sadly this song just doesn't hold up as well next to their other songs. One of the things that is so appealing about The Veronicas is their emotion in their songs, this song is simply void of true feeling.
The lyrics are also cheesy. "I'm your Lolita, la femme nikita. When we're together, you'll love me forever," the sisters sing over a house inspired beat. The only redeeming part of the song is the music, it gets stuck in your head. The house breakdowns seem inspired by Nicki Minaj's latest club jams.
While the song is a disappointing it's still a fun song that has fans excited for Life on Mars. Hopefully on album the group will get back to what they know best, fun dance-rock that is packed full of emotion.