Thursday, May 30, 2013

Escape The Fate Regain Their Aggression On New Album

It's impossible to talk about Escape The Fate and not bring up their sordid past when it comes to band members. Two years ago former frontman Ronnie Radke's new band Falling In Reverse released an album in which Radke's lyrics took aim at his replacement Craig Mabbitt. It's safe to assume that the bulk of the songs are aimed back at Radke on Escape The Fate's fourth record Ungrateful. The first single and title track is supposedly about bullying but it seems to be a dig at Radke and his new band.
Another song that seems to be aimed at  Radke is "Fire it Up." "Fire it, fire it up/ This is our last dance/ With middle fingers up we'll dance on your, dance on your fucking grave," Mabbitt sings during the chorus.
These songs are much better than anything that Radke could come up with and much more aggressive. The music mixes in metalcore with hard rock and straight up metal.
Highlights on the album include "Until We Die" an aggressive rocker and "Live Fast, Die Beautiful," which is about a young starlet in the making. The topic is cliché but it still works.
Second single "You're Insane" is a fun rocker that's full of energy. "I'm not the reason that you're insane," Mabbitt screams during the chorus.
The album has a few low points, "Chemical Love" is a gothic rocker about a drug addicted romance and "Picture Perfect" has good intentions but never really gets anywhere. The song, co-written by Fall Out Boy vocalist Patrick Stump is about the loss of a loved one and how it showed Mabbitt how to live his life and what's truly important.
The album picks up for the rest of the album after these two bumps. "Risk it All" is about living live to the fullest and it's fitting that his song comes after "Picture Perfect." Desire" is a rocker which is about, just that. "One for the Money" is a fun party song that sounds like a better version of Papa Roach.
Ungrateful is by far one of their best albums, if not the best thing this band have ever released. Hopefully they keep on this path and keep making great music.

Eve Returns With First Album In 11 Years

Rapper Eve hasn't released a new album since 2002's Eve-Olution. After being pushed back several times Lip Lock has finally surfaced. The album blows both male and female rappers out of the water. Eve has brought in the big guns in terms of collaborators on this album. Gabe Saporta of Cobra Starship, Missy Elliott, Dawn Richard of Danity Kane fame, Snoop Dogg, Chrisette Michele and Pusha T all feature on the album as well as new or unknown artists such as Propain, Nacho, Miss Kitty and Juicy J get their moment to shine.
There are no bad songs from the uplifting first single "Make it Out this Town" which features Gabe Saporta to the future club anthem "All Night" which features Claude Kelly and Propain. Eve also shines on her solo songs where she can really brag. Promotional single "She Bad Bad," "Grind or Die" and "Forgive Me" are straight up bragging tracks. Eve gets clever with her raps. "My buzz stay strong/ Your buzz never started/ My albums are the shit/ Your career never farted," Eve raps on "Grind or Die." On the Missy Elliott and Nacho assisted track "Wanna Be" the three show haters who's boss. It's good to hear Elliott back on tracks, hopefully this means her album is going to be released soon. Newcomer Nacho holds her own next to two of raps best females.
The album's best two songs are the second single "Eve" which features Miss Kitty. The song is a dubstep-filled hip hop reggae song with just hints of Middle Eastern influences. The song is a reminder of the greatness that Eve is. The other highlight is "Keep Me From You" which features Dawn Richard. The hip-house track is a love song that could easily be on pop radio.
While the album closes with "Never Gone" which despite a great appearance from Chrisette Michele, seems out of place on the album. And the remix of "She Bad Bad" which features Pusha T and Juicy J just seems redundant and could have been another new song.
Despite these few flaws, Lip Lock is a great album and was definitely worth the 11 year wait. After hearing this album people will be saying "Nicki Minaj who?"

Demi Lovato Pleases On New Album

Demi Lovato's sound has changed quite a bit since her debut album 2008's Don't Forget and her follow-up 2009's Here We Go Again. These two album's had a pop-rock sound and really showcased Lovato's emotionally charged lyrics and vocals. Then in 2011 she released Unbroken which all but ditched the rocker in her and replaced it with a dance diva. The album was a R&B/dance/pop record and while it had great songs, it wasn't as good as her sophomore record.
In February Lovato released the first single "Heart Attack." The song was catchy and fun and got people excited for the new album. Then this month Demi finally dropped. While there are mostly good songs, it isn't her best record. The album has great moments like the "Neon Lights" a house number that will keep dance floors full and "Two Pieces" which recalls fun. However for every great song like "Nightingale," a gorgeous ballad, there are a few mistakes. "In Case" and "Shouldn't Come Back" aren't bad, they just lack the same passion as Lovato's other ballads.
The two best songs on the album are the more rock influenced tracks. On the Cher Lloyd assisted "Really Don't Care" which features guitars and sassy lyrics is a pop-rock breakup anthem. "Now if we meet out in the street I won't be running scared/ I'll walk right up to you and put one finger in the air," Lovato sings during the second verse. Another song that recalls Lovato's pop-rock roots is "Something That We're Not." The song is about a clingy hookup that seems to be confused about what the relationship actually is. These songs really recall Lovato's first two records and the spark she had.
"Fire Starter" has a sassy Lovato using a curse word in her song for the first time. The song is a female empowerment anthem that is sure to have girls pumping their fists along. "Made in the USA" is a fun song that has cheesy lyrics and recalls Victoria Justice's "Make it in America." While the song very cheesy, it is enjoyable. "Never Been Hurt" is a great song. It's a great song because it is basically the same song as the title track off her last album. "Unbroken" was a great electropop song that was about letting go of past heartbreaks and loving somebody with all you've got. The song recalled "Indestructible" by Robyn. "Never Been Hurt" has the same main idea and musical style as "Unbroken" only not as good.
This album is sure to appeal to fans of Lovato and gain her new fans and more hits. However, as a woman whose 20, she needs to leave the teeny bopper stuff behind her.

Fitz and the Tantrums Evolve On New Album

Fitz and the Tantrums' new album is a step up from their first. While some moments on their debut album Pickin' Up the Pieces, on their sophomore release More Than Just a Dream their aren't any boring moments. The energy is stepped up 1000 percent.
On tracks like "Break the Walls" and the lead single "Out of My League" the band step up their energy. On "The Walker" which is perfectly written to be in a commercial, the band get their dance on. The song shows a more synth-laced sound. Mixing in well with the bands indie/soul influences. Singers Michael Fitzpatrick and Noelle Scaggs are truly an asset to their songs. When the two harmonize they come out sounding perfect. On "Spark" the band show that they truly do have a spark. On "6AM" and "Fools Gold" the band get back to the lyrical content of their last album. Relationships gone wrong were all that Fitzpatrick sang about.
On the album's best track "Last Raindrop" the band combine everything that makes them good. With lyrics about heartbreak, soulful vocals and great soul instrumentation. Combine this with the new synthy, dance sound they've incorporated. If this song was a single it would definitely get the band more mainstream success.
Other highlights include "House on Fire," "Keepin' Our Eyes Out" and "Get Away." There are no bad songs on this album and if the band keep up with this sound they'll go far.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Charli XCX Stuns On Debut Album

Charli XCX is probably best known for her guest appearance on Icona Pop's perfect single  "I Love It." She also wrote the song and while most of the songs on her debut album True Romance, out last month, don't live up to that one track, they are great. The album lacks any bad songs and shows her interesting style.
The album's first single and stand out track "Stay Away" is by far a classic. Charli warns a lover against dating her. "I knew you were no angel/ But god, you're just electric blue," Charli sings during the second verse. The song is about Charli knowing better than to date somebody but doing so anyway.
Other highlights include the singles "You (Ha Ha Ha)" and "You're the One." On "You" Charli catches her lover lying and looks back on their time. "Cause we used to be the cool kids/ You were old school, I was on the new shit," Charli sings.
While most of the songs focus on breakups ("Black Roses," "How Can I") there are some club tracks ("Take My Hand") and even a nice love song ("Lock You Up"). However Charli stands out on her heartbreak songs.
True Romance is far from perfect, but there is promise. If Charli XCX's debut is this good, one can only imagine the classic songs she'll come up with next.

Amaranthe Prove Themselves On New Record

It's kind of late, but I'm going to review The Nexus, the second album from metal band Amaranthe. The band released their self-titled first album two years ago and then in March 2013 they unleashed the monster that is their sophomore release.
The album, like their debut, is a rocking, synth-filled metal album that features clean and harsh vocals from three vocalists. Elize Ryd and Jake E provide the clean vocals and Andreas Solveström provides the harsh screams. The music is metalcore with influences of power metal and melodic death metal in addition to electropop.
The album's songs are all heavy and catchy with lyrics about sci-fi related material as well as about personal struggles and relationships. On songs like "Afterlife" and the single and title track "The Nexus" the band shine with their vocals and instrumentation forming catchy, yet crushing songs. Ryd and Jake E sound the best together when their clean vocals form epic harmonies. Other highlights include "Theory of Everything" and "Electroheart," which has a more pop sound to it while still being heavy. The song is catchy and like most of the songs, pure fun. "Electroheart" may be the best song on the album.
While the album doesn't have any bad songs, "Burn With Me" the album's ballad (kinda) isn't as punchy as the others. Yet some of the songs tend to bleed together because the band rarely change it up on any of the tracks.
Amaranthe have given us one of the year's best metal albums and while the album isn't perfect, it is fun.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Chrisette Michele Wins On New Single

Soul songstress Chrisette Michele has pushed back her fourth studio album Better for a June release and she also released a new single off of it. Following "Better," "A Couple of Forevers" and "Charades" with 2 Chainz her fourth single "Let Me Win" is by far the best.
The single is all about playing the game of love. Michele has covered this also on "Goodbye Game" from her third album. The song is classic Michele and has no faults. It's a well played move in the game of love.
"This game is like a gamble/ Here's my heart to handle/ Need you to be gentle/ You should let me win," Michele sings during the chorus.
Michele shows vulnerability in this song. She is telling her lover that she needs help and most of all that she needs him.
The only issue with this single is that it sounds just like most of her previous material. Michele hasn't really grown any on this single. Artists can only make the same music over and over again before fans get tired. Hopefully the rest of Better won't sound the same. Better is out June 11. There are no videos for "Let Me Win" so here is "A Couple of Forevers."

Lauryn Hill Loses Her Mind On New Single

Lauryn Hill had a bright future after her group The Fugees broke up. In 1998 she released her debut album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. The album mixed hip hop and neo soul to create a classic album. Nothing much came from Hill after, an unplugged album and some weird behavior were all that she could give us. Despite guesting on songs with Joss Stone and John Legend and briefly reuniting with her former band, nothing came from Hill.
In 2010 a single leaked that went nowhere and no this week her new single is released. "Neurotic Society (Compulsory Mix)" has electro flourishes and features Hill rapping in a non-stop rant about the world as a whole. This song came the same week that Hill was sentenced to three months in prison for tax evasion.
"It's like post-war, they're looking for the Communists or who the Marxists is/ Ten thousand pictures on Facebook, it's like the pot calling the kettle narcissist," Hill raps in the second verse.
The song is calling everybody out on how we live our lives. Hill is clearly tired of "the man" being all up in her business. While the song is good and it's awesome to hear something from Hill this is nothing compared to her best songs like "Doo Wop (That Thing)."
Hill stated that she didn't want to release the song but was forced to by her label.
"Here is a link to a piece that I was 'required' to release immediately, by virtue of the impending legal deadline. I love being able to reach people directly, but in an ideal scenario, I would not have to rush the release of new music."
While the song is great and weird, it may be too late for Hill. She is currently working on a deal with Sony Entertainment to release whatever album this will be off of.

Mariah Carey Unleashes "Beautiful" New Single

Mariah Carey has had some bumps along the road in her musical career. Her new single is not one of them. While her previous single "Almost Home" helped her regain the wheel after the crash that was last summer's "Triumphant (Get 'Em)," it's her new single the Miguel assisted "#Beautiful."
The song's worst trait is the hash tag in the title. The song starts slowly with Miguel singing over a nicely strummed guitar. "Hop on the back of my bike," he starts the song. A theme that Carey later picks up in the second verse. It's a brave move to start the song off with Miguel, the featured artist, but it works.
After Miguel sings the first verse and chorus Carey comes and takes control of the song. "I like when you run red lights/ Don't stop 'til you thrill me/ Oh, how you thrill me," Carey sings in the second verse.
The song is a gorgeous duet that mixes Carey's signature R&B and pop sound with a more Motown inspired beat. The song is an easy, breezy song that is sure to be the soundtrack of many a summer night.
The only issue with the song is the censorship. This is found in all of Carey's songs. She or the featured artists write profanity into the lyrics and then they are taken out. It may be a decision that the label makes but that is a bad one. Profanity can help enhance the meaning of the lyrics. While that isn't the case for this song, censorship is annoying. Britney Spears among others does this.
Other than that the song is amazing and is sure to get fans excited for her new album. Carey's fourteenth studio album has no release date or title but it's expected this year.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Falling In Reverse Get Weird On New Single

Falling In Reverse have been quietly recording the follow-up to their 2011 overrated debut album The Drug in Me Is You. The album was catchy and had one song that was actually good but the rest were filled with clichéd lyrics and annoying sing-songy melodies. The album's metalcore moments were great but the rest was cheesy hard rock mixed with pop-punk.
The lyrics of the album also had a very cocky, douchebag tone. "That's why they call me king of the music scene," singer Ronnie Radke sings on one song. The album was predominantly about Radke's "bad boy" ways and how he was "kicked out" of his previous band Escape The Fate. Everybody reading this knows the story of Radke and his legal troubles after leaving Escape The Fate after their debut album Dying Is Your Latest Fashion. In addition to troubles with his old band, Radke has also had beef with I See Stars in a very public battle. He even kicked fans of the band out of his concert tour in which they were supposed to open for.
Yesterday Falling In Reverse announced their new album and released their first single "Alone." The single features a dance beat and rapped vocals during the verses from Radke. The rapped verses feature some breakdowns and there are some harsh vocals and even a clean vocal chorus that is by far the best part of the song. There is also some Auto-Tune in the middle of the track. While the song is stupid, it isn't the worst thing they've done. Also, the song is catchy and as much as I've tried to I don't hate it.
The raps and verses are the main problem. Radke basically pats himself on the back the whole song. He raps about being rich. While he must have some cash, Ronnie Radke isn't so popular that he is rich. Nene Leakes you are not Mr. Radke.
"Fuck you bitches I'm a business/ I'll be kissing on your Mrs./ What you spend in 15 months is what I spend in 15 minutes," Radke raps during the second verse.
In the verses Radke is being a douchebag but in the verses he tries to be vulnerable. "Oh this is the end of everything that I've known/ No way of knowing if I'll ever be home/ And I don't ever wanna be alone," Radke sings during the chorus.
Continently this single was released a day after Radke's former band Escape The Fate streamed their fourth record Ungrateful, due out next week. It seems as though Radke and co. are trying to steal the spotlight away. While the single isn't as bad as it could have been, it's going to take a lot more than this to steal the light away from Escape The Fate and their new, great album. Fashionably Late, the second studio album by Falling In Reverse will be out June 18 on Epitaph.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Lights Strips Down On Acoustic Album

Electropop singer Lights released her sophomore album Siberia in 2011. The album was a dubstep-filled classic. The album was better than her debut and had catchy, emotional songs.
Last month Lights released her Siberia album acoustically. The album features 10 out of the 14 songs done acoustically. While the songs are all still great, the album is a tad boring. From album highlights "Toes" and "Peace Sign" to other cuts like "Banner," the album is not as interesting.
One thing that Siberia Acoustic does is add guest vocalists to the songs. "Cactus in the Valley" becomes a duet with Owl City. The album's best song and title track "Siberia" is a piano-laced duet with Max Kerman of Arkells and "Peace Sign" is a bilingual duet with Coeur De Pirate.
While the album isn't as great as the original, it is a good way to tide Lights fans over until her third album.