Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Justin Timberlake Comes Back With A Bang

It's hard to believe that Justin Timberlake went from boy bander to solo star. 'N Sync, the singer's former band broke up in 2002 and then later that year Timberlake released his solo debut Justified. The album featured a new R&B/hip hop sound that was nothing short of sexy. Timberlake went from cute boy band singer to sexy solo singer in a matter of months and while the album wasn't perfect, it was a great record. It featured his best song and one of his biggest hits "Cry Me A River." The breakup jam was aimed at his ex Britney Spears and showed a new side of the singer. The album featured production by Timbaland and The Neptunes and showcased the singer's falsetto voice.
In 2006 Timberlake released his sophomore album FutureSex/LoveSounds. The album stayed with the same style but Timbaland played a bigger part in the production. The album featured huge hits like "SexyBack," "What Goes Around...Comes Around" and one of his best songs "LoveStoned." The single featured an R&B beat and then went into an experimental rock outro. The album was more experimental and showed Timberlake could be a real artist.
Then the singer took a break from his music to focus on acting. Until January 2012 when Timberlake released his first new single since 2007. "Suit & Tie," which is simply ridiculous is produced by Timbaland and features Jay-Z. Yet those three together came up with a terrible first single. So terrible that it seemed as though Timberlake's new album was to be a mistake.
Then in February Timberlake released the second single and album highlight "Mirrors." The song redeemed Timberlake and does the rest of the album. The 20/20 Experience has a more neo-soul style and contains lyrics about wooing a lover. The triumphant return of Timberlake is risky. The songs are mostly over seven minutes long, yet they work. Songs like "Pusher Love Girl" and "Don't Hold the Wall" showcase classic Timbaland beats and Timberlake showing us that he isn't done yet.
The album's songs are sexy and experimental, not as experimental as his last record, but still experimental. Some highlights include "Tunnel Vision" and "Don't Hold the Wall." These songs are all about his marriage to Jessica Biel. There are no bad songs with the exception of "Suit & Tie."
The album closes with the two best songs, "Mirrors" and "Blue Ocean Floor." The latter is a gorgeous ballad that is experimental and soulful.
This album, while not perfect, shows that Timberlake is back and he's here to stay and with another album due out in November, he is showing no signs of slowing down.

Gabriella Cilmi Releases Gorgeous New Single

Gabriella Cilmi has had so many musical changes in her short career. In 2008 she released her debut album, the soulful Lessons to Be Learned. This album was along the lines of Amy Winehouse, Adele and Duffy. Soulful music with old school vibes and a rock swagger at times. The album was classic and every song on it was packed full of emotion and soul.
Then in 2010 she released her sophomore album Ten. The single "On A Mission" was a dance/pop/rock mess and while it was addictive, the rest of the album didn't have the same vibe as that or the greatness of her debut. Ten was never released in the U.S. The album showed a huge evolution in sound for Cilmi and even though it wasn't amazing, it was still very gutsy coming from a singer who was barely even legal.
Cilmi stated that she was working on a follow up and last week she released the ballad "Sweeter in History." The song is a gorgeous ballad that has a similar sound to her debut. Cilmi sings about the end of a love affair and her lyrics and gorgeous voice convey the message clearly. "Some things are sweeter in history," Cilmi sings during the chorus. The song, while simple, packs an emotional whollop. While the song isn't as great as "Sweet About Me" or "Got No Place to Go" from her debut, two of her best songs, it's still a great welcome back to the singer.
While her album has no title, it is due out sometime this year and if it's as good as this single, Cilmi will show that she can survive after a bad album.

Sheryl Crow Releases First Country Single

Sheryl Crow has released some classic rock songs like "Love is Free," "Strong Enough," and her best song "My Favorite Mistake." Yet on her last album, 2010's boring 100 Miles from Memphis, had a more soulful sound. Last week Crow released her first country single "Easy" from her yet-to-be-titled eighth album.
"Easy" is a simple, feel good, country love song. The lyrics and music aren't complicated but the sunny single takes the listener somewhere with each note and lyric. While the single is nothing like her previous hits, it sure beats her last album and the Lite FM sound she's had as of late. While one of her best records was Detours from 2008, most of her songs post 2000 were just there, mom rock songs. "Easy" may not be Crow's opus but it shows that she isn't a one trick pony and if this album turns out great, Crow may have found her new home in the world of country.

Paramore release fun single

Paramore released the second single off of their upcoming fourth self-titled studio album last week and it's a catchy, fun song. "Still Into You" is a poppy rocker about a long lasting love. "After all this time/ I'm still into you," frontwoman Haley Williams sings before the chorus.
The band started out in the emo/pop-punk vein for their first two classic albums, 2005's All We Know Is Falling and their breakthrough album 2007's Riot!. Those albums had some of Paramore's best songs like the singles "Emergency" and "Misery Business." Their sophomore album gained them Top 40 success and got them a platinum status.
The band took a few years to make their follow up, 2009's brand new eyes. They filled the space before that album with their terrible single "Decode" which was featured in the Twilight movie. The band's third record featured a more alternative rock approach and had the band's best song "Brick By Boring Brick." After this record founding memebers Zac and Josh Farro left the band. The band then recorded their Singles Club EP which was only available online or as a box set through the band's website. The songs on the EP were the first without the Farro brothers and showed that the band could move on without them.
Then in 2012 the band announced their new album and in January they unleashed their single "Now." While "Now" is a great song, it is no match for "Still Into You." The song is a bouncy ode to love and surviving the tough times during a relationship. The lyrics, while cheesy. are very heartfelt and show Williams' signature passionate writing style.
The single, like "Now" is sure to get fans excited for the new album. "Still Into You" is one of Paramore's first happy songs and while Williams usually writes about breaking up, this song is about outlasting the odds and being together.
"I should be over all the butterflies/ I'm into you," Williams sings during the chorus. This song is a testament to the power of love and Williams seems right at home. Hopefully this album will have more peppy and positive songs.
Paramore is set to be released on April 9 in the United States.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Tonight Alive Release Great Single

Tonight Alive have had a short rise to fame. In 2010 they released their phenomenal debut EP All Shapes And Disguises and then another EP Consider This just months later. Both releases had strong tracks and showcased the band's energetic and emotional pop-punk in the vein of Paramore. The band released their debut album What Are You So Scared Of? in October of 2011 and February 2012 in the U.S. The album featured more of Tonight Alive's uplifting and rocking sound as well as a guest appearance by Blink 182 vocalist Mark Hoppus on a rerecorded version of "Thank You & Goodnight" from their second EP. The album had everything from fast-paced love songs ("Starlight," "Safe and Sound"), songs about struggling with life ("Breaking & Entering," "Let it Land") and one achingly sad and gorgeous ballad dedicated to a deceased friend ("Amelia"). The album cemented the band spots touring with everybody from The Word Alive to The Summer Set and made them Warped Tour darlings playing the 2012 tour and getting scheduled to play the 2013 tour.
The band released an acoustic version of their debut during the summer in 2012 and then they announced the recording of a new album. Then in February 2013 the band announced their new single "Breakdown" which would be released the next month. The song features vocals from Good Charlotte singer Benji Madden. The band said that the song only to tide fans over until the new album comes out this year sometime.
"Breakdown" is a great example of what make Tonight Alive songs so irresistible. The song, which features lyrics about a long distance relationship, is very catchy. Singer Jenna McDougall's voice is perfect and she conveys the emotion very well. And that is the key word with most Tonight Alive songs, emotion. McDougall always gets her point across vocally. She is one of those singers that makes the listener feel something. You really can feel where she is coming from on her songs.
By the time Madden's vocals kick in during the bridge of the song, the listener is sold. While it is kind of creepy that McDougall is always paired with a duet partner older than her, she still makes the song. Madden is 34 and Hoppus is 40 while McDougall is in her 20s.
The song is sure to keep fans busy while Tonight Alive record and release their next pop-punk masterpiece. This band are on their way to a long career.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Eve is finally back

Rapper Eve has been pushing back her fourth studio album since it's originally intended release date of 2007. Lip Lock will follow up her third album 2002's Eve-Olution. Before that she released her first and second albums, 1999's Let There Be Eve...Ruff Ryders' First Lady and 2001's Scorpion. The latter featured Eve's best song and biggest hit "Let Me Blow Ya Mind" which featured Gwen Stefani and won the duo a Grammy Award.
In 2003 the rapper took some time off to star in her own television show and act in movies. She guested on songs by Keyshia Cole, Ludacris and Kelly Rowland and released her own singles "Tambourine" which featured Swizz Beatz and "Give it to You" which was a duet with Sean Paul both in 2007. Eve was later dropped from her label and Lip Lock was pushed back.
Then in 2012 Eve announced that she was working on a new version of her fourth record. The buzz single "She Bad Bad" was released in October and while it was a decent song, it was nothing compared to the greatness that was Eve. Things were looking bad until the rapper announced her single "Make it Out This Town" which features Gabe Saporta from Cobra Starship.
The song is an uplifting song about not letting anything hold you back and keeping your head up through the struggle. The song sounds a tad bit like a Cobra Starship song with more hip hop. While the song isn't a classic, it is a great song that is sure to rejuvenate the hope in Eve fan's hearts that her new album will be worth the almost 11 year wait. Lip Lock will be released on May 14.

The Summer Set can do no wrong

Pop-punk band The Summer Set kicked off their career with a few EPs before their debut Love Like This was released with their lead single and by far their catchiest song "Chelsea." The song was featured on Dancing with the Stars and got the band a small bit of success. The album featured singer Brian Dales' cute writing style. His lyrics for the album were like a male Taylor Swift.
The band's sophomore album, 2011's Everything's Fine had a more acoustic style and a more personal sound. The songs were slower and more personal and were written about mostly breakups. The songs "Someone Like You" and "Begin Again" were the best but the whole album had that cutesy cheesy sound that their debut had. The album was good but it wasn't as good as their debut.
The band released their new album's first single, 2012's "Fuck U Over" had a more pop-punk sound like their debut. Last month the band released their second single "Maybe Tonight" which was more like their sophomore album and they also announced their new album Legendary.
Then this week the band released "Boomerang" the adorable new single from their third album. The song features a fast-paced acoustic beat and cute lyrics "If I was Jay-Z, you'd be my Beyoncé/ We could rock the nation like they do/ And if I was Da Vinci, you'd be Mona Lisa/ Paint a smile perfectly on you," Dales sings during the chorus. The song is one of the band's best songs and it seems to show that the band's new record will be a commination of all of their older music, and that's okay with us.

Greatness is Natalia Kills' Only Problem

Natalia Kills rose to fame in 2011 with her underrated debut album Perfectionist. The album mixed pop, rock and dance to form a darker version of Lady Gaga. "Mirrors," "Break You Hard" and "Kill My Boyfriend" all mixed her "dark-pop" with a rock swag and dark lyrics about love gone wrong and sex.
In September 2012 Kills announced her sophomore album Trouble. She released her first single "Controversy," a dark and fast dance song with dark lyrics ("drink the Kool Aid/ don't drink Kool Aid). That song was catchy but nothing near as great as Kills' debut.
Then Kills announced the second single off of the album "Problem." The song, released this week, contains a rock riff and a dance vibe that is sure to get bad girls across the globe moving. The song is a sexy, attitude filled number that has Kills professing how much trouble she is. "That girl is a problem," Kills sings during the chorus.
The song is a good start for the new album and it is surely going to be the cause of many a riot until Trouble is released this year.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Kate Nash keeps getting better

Kate Nash rose to fame in 2007 when her debut album Made of Bricks was released. The album featured quirky lyrics and an indie pop sound that was original and really made Nash stick out. Weird songs like "Birds," "Shit Song" and "Mouthwash" made Nash and indie darling one of that year's breakout stars.
Then in 2010 Nash followed up with her wishy washy My Best Friends is You. The album features her best song ever "Do-Wah-Doo" as well as other highlights like "Paris" and "I Just Love You More." The album had some amazing songs but they were filled in with some truly bad  songs.
Last year Nash released her EP Death Proof. The EP featured two good songs and the rest were just there. The great songs "Fri-End" and the title track are featured on Nash's new album Girl Talk.
Girl Talk is a great album. It follows along the indie pop/rock sound Nash is known for. There are a few songs that are silly but for the most part the songs are all solid.
The album starts out with the six best songs on the album ."Part Heart," "Fri-End," "Death Proof," "Are You There Sweetheart," "Sister," and "OMyGod!" are all classic Nash. Energetic, emotional songs that are catchy and rock hard. Other amazing songs are include "Rap for Rejection" and "Lullaby for an Insomniac," the later starting out slow and then bringing the album to an epic close.
There are some songs that are kind of silly. "Oh" which features Siobhan Malhotra is a long and sometimes boring song and the single "3AM" is lackluster at best. The other songs are all amazing and stand out. Where on My Best Friend is You, there were more filler tracks, Girl Talk is straight up great songs.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Colette Carr releases third stellar EP

Collette Carr shot to fame when she released her mixtape Sex Sells Stay Tooned in 2010 and began to release singles like 2011's Keane sampling "(We Do It) Primo" and "Sex" which features shitty rap group New Boyz.
Then in 2012 Carr announced she'd release her debut album Skitszo in 4 song EP increments, much like Robyn did with her classic Body Talk. The first was a classic and featured great tracks like "Killswitch" and the single "F16." The second was less thrilling but was still great.
This week Carr released part 3 of the Skitszo album. The EP starts off with a bang on "Can't Touch This" which features E-40. The song is Carr's classic white girl rap. While Carr isn't really a good rapper, she is fun to listen to and each song entertains. The song is a great way to start off this release and with the next song Carr delivers what is sure to be one of Skitszo's best songs "Never Gonna Happen." The song is a sad pop/rap song with a pinch of rock elements thrown in. "You hang up/I call back/ I think that/ it's never gonna happen," Carr sings in the chorus. The song, like "F16" shows a more emotional side of Carr. As emotional as a white female rapper can get. The next song is a funky and weird one. "One By One" has a funky guitar filled beat. "Don't stop till we take 'em out/do it one by one," Carr sings. The EP ends on a silly note with "The Finest Things." The song is a hip hop ode to the finer things in life and living the good life. Carr says that she has no time for people who don't enjoy the finest things.
Collette Carr is showing that she is more than just a silly white girl trying to be Ke$ha. With one more EP coming out in May before Skitszo gets it's full release in July with four new songs as well as all the songs from parts one to four, Carr is sure to deliver more fun songs. Especially with the rumored Porcelain Black collaboration due on Skitszo, the party is just beginning.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Blake Lewis gets sexy on new single

Blake Lewis came in second place to Jordin Sparks on American Idol during season six, but that didn't stop him from bringing his mix of R&B, rock and pop on his 2007 debut album A.D.D. (Audio Day Dream). That album featured his singles "Break Anotha" and his best song ever "How Many Words." The album was a failure commercially but it was a great album.
When Lewis released his follow-up Heartbreak on Vinyl in 2009 he dropped what made his music so interesting and released a straight up dance record. While most of the songs bled together the title track and second single was the standout track. While it was better than many of the songs on his debut the rest of the album didn't live up.
In 2012 there were rumors that Lewis would be recording a new album. Then last month Lewis announced he had signed to Republic Records. He also released the first single off of his upcoming third album Portrait of a Chameleon, called "Your Touch." The song, which is featured in Internet Explorer 10 commercials, is a dubstep filled EDM song about wanting to be close to his lover. "I been waiting for your touch," Lewis sings seductively during the chorus. The single is catchy and seductive and a nice change from what Lewis usually does. This song is sure to get panties dropping in clubs all over.
The single is a good look at what Lewis' third album will be. There is so much promise in this four minute song. Portrait of a Chameleon is due out later this spring.

3oh!3 show growth on new single

3oh!3 burst to fame in 2008 with the release of their sophomore album Want. The album had great songs such as "Punkbitch" and the hit singles "Don't Trust Me" and "Starstruckk" which featured Katy Perry. The band's next album, 2010's Streets of Gold didn't shine like the second album did. While there were great songs like "Déjà Vu," "R.I.P." and the hit single "My First Kiss" featuring Ke$ha. The album was mostly cheesy and stupid and lacked the kick that their last record had. This didn't get much better when the band released their 2012 SHT: From The Vault EP also wasn't good. Despite their release of cult classic vault track "Hit it Again" (the band's best song) in 2010 the EP just wasn't good. Also the first single off of their upcoming fourth album Omens, "You're Gonna Love This" was a new low for the band.
After the album got pushed back several times the band announced this week that the album will be released June 18. The second single "Back to Life" was released. While the lyrics are about partying, like most of their other songs, this electropop/rock ballad is different. Both Sean Foreman and Nate Motte's vocals are impeccable, and probably auto-tune is to thank for that. "If the party is dead/we can bring it back to life," they sing during the chorus. The song is a welcome different sound from their previous singles.
With this single 3oh!3 have redeemed themselves after several not so hot releases. Hopefully this single is a hint of what's to come when Omens drops this summer. It's good to be hopeful but from a band who have let us down so much, I'll believe it when I see it.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Tweet releases new EP

Tweet has been working on her third album, Simply Tweet, since her last album, the classic It's Me Again came out in 2005. The album took the simple soul of her debut Southern Hummingbird and grew it into a soulful sound full of emotion with a bit of hip hop swagger. A protégé of Missy Elliott, Tweet worked with her on her hit singles "Oops (Oh My)" and "Turn da Lights Off" as well as Elliott's classic albums Under Construction and The Cookbook.
Tweet finally announced a new EP called Simply Tweet: The EP. The EP is an intro followed by four songs off of her upcoming third album. The recordings were done live with her band and have a very soulful sound, like Tweet's older albums. While the songs are all good, they kind of blend together. The intro is kind of pointless and could have been cut. The album then goes to a cover of "Day Dreaming" by Aretha Franklin. Tweet's version is short and sweet and is almost as good as the original. The EP then goes on to "Way to Love," an upbeat, positive song about moving on from the past and going on the "way to love." This is a song for those who have had hard lives who are ready to move past that.
The next song "Sorry" is a song about moving on from a break up. The soulful song is all about strength. This song is very similar to the EP closer and first single "Enough." This is the best song on the EP and it recalls a song off of her debut. While the songs here are all good, they aren't great. There's no "Smoking Cigarettes," there's no "Steer," no song on the album that raises the bar. Tweet has always been original and full of soul and heart, yet this album is just staying in the box she made for herself on her last two albums. There is no change. The songs on this EP should not have taken eight years to write. Hopefully when the rest of Simply Tweet is released it's better than this.