The Birthday Massacre - Imaginary Monsters (2011, U.S.) Rating: 3/5
Favorite Tracks: Forever, Pale (Kevvy Mental & Dave Ogilvie "Rubber Unicorn" Mix), Shallow Grave (Assemblage 23 Mix)
Recently, I blindly bought a single...and I really dislike buying singles, but I ended up not regretting this one. "Forever" is haunting yet beautiful track that shows off that emotional goth electronic sound of the band and Chibi's voice is flawless. The song smoothly transitions to "Burn Away" which has a slightly harder sound than the first track. "Left Behind" has an eerie sound and dramatic electronic rock music arrangement that drags along some. The next 5 tracks are remixes of songs from their last album, Pins and Needles. "Pale (Kevvy Mental & Dave Ogilvie "Rubber Unicorn" Mix)" brings out more bass and guitar sound yet keeps the integrity of the original intent of the song. "Control (Tweaker Mix)" sounds extra retro electronic.
Natalia Kills - Perfectionist (2011, U.S.) Rating: 4/5
Favorite Tracks: Wonderland, Break You Hard, Zombie, Love is a Suicide
If you haven't noticed, I've been waiting for this album for a while now. It opens with one of my favorite tracks, "Wonderland". The lyrics are interesting and a little dark. The music is simple, but definitely leaves an impression in your mind. "Free" is an upbeat, fun song that follows along the same line as Jessie J's "Price Tag". I believe this is her latest music video as well and it features will.i.am. I really wish he wasn't in it because his part is kinda annoying and unnecessary. "Break You Hard" is an aggressive song mixing haunting sound effects, intense vocals, and a rock influence music arrangement. "Zombie" used to be a track I was obsessed with. The song is still amazing and keeps that dark pop vibe. "Love is a Suicide" is my favorite new track. No doubts there. It has a great dance sound and keeps true to Natalia's style. "Mirrors" was another song that was previously released. It still has a nice dramatic sound with a retro-electropop vibe. "Acid Annie" goes back to that dramatic rock sound, but more of a stalkerish, threatening tone to it than "Break You Hard", but underlying uplifting. "Superficial" is a lighter track than the previous one and easy to get into. "Broke" is a slightly softer track and fuses Natalia's sound with R&B elements which creates this beautiful little song. "If I Was God" keeps that light, thoughtful tone going to close out the album. It compiles some of the themes presented in the previous tracks and puts it on the table for the listener to think things over. It also shows off Natalia's great, diverse vocal range. Overall, this is a great debut album for Kills and it was definitely worth the wait. I hope she can keep going on this great route while this dance/electronic trend is still going. I also hope this kills the Gaga comparisons too.
f(x) - PINOCCHIO (2011, South Korea) Rating: 3.5/5
Favorite Tracks: Pinocchio (Danger), Dangerous, Love, Lollipop
Things have been a little quiet for the girls since Amber was injured, but this was their comeback. "Pinocchio (Danger)" was the promo song to get people excited about their first album and their comeback. It's a very catchy song and goes along with the same vibe as "Nu ABO", which made me happy. "Sweet Witches" takes a sweeter sound of pop that I didn't know existed in them. I'd rather not hear anything like this again. "Dangerous" has a bit of a retro pop sound that I can't seem to place where I've heard before. "Beautiful Goodbye" is a nice, little simple ballad that gives the girls a chance to show off their vocal harmony. "Gangsta Boy" kinda has a bit of a red flag vibe for me just basing it off the title, but the song isn't that bad. They took pieces from the same sound as "Pinocchio (Danger)" and pretty much simplified it to a cute track. "Love" regains my attention back to the fact that these girls have talent. It has cuteness and power at the same time. "Stand Up!" is one of those tracks that's supposed to put an instant smile on your face, but...I just skip this track completely. "MY STYLE" has a retro "Soul Train" element in the music, but combines it with the girls' sassy pop sound. I noticed a lot of people like "So into U". It does have a nice instrumental to it and the vocals are pretty good too, but not my style. The album ends with "Lollipop" featuring labelmates SHINee. I must say I might like this one better than Big Bang and 2NE1's, but that's probably due to overplay. Nonetheless, it's a really good, repeatable track.
9GOATS BLACK OUT - Rorschach inkblot (2011, Japan) Rating: 4/5
Favorite Tracks: missing, Yuuustu to Kodoku
A highly anticipated yet nerve racking comeback. I was a little nervous about listening to this single, since I wasn't completely wowed by their last release before they went on hiatus. I was surprised by this single! "missing" has flawless vocals and the music is filled with so much theatrics and emotion that it's hard not to fall in love with them again. "Yuuutsu To Kodoku" has an airy, haunting feeling that made "sink" amazing, but on a whole new level. The single ends with a live track from their latest DVD. "Atena No Nai Tegami [live in Melancholy pool]" has a mellow, acoustic lounge sound and it's easy to lose yourself with the soft vocals and prominent basslines.
2NE1 - 2NE1 Mini Album Vol. 2 (2011, South Korea) Rating: 3.5/5
Favorite Tracks: I Am the Best, Lonely, Hate You, Don't Stop the Music
The girls have been teasing us with video after video of awesomeness and now we have the compilation of the girls' great works from their recent releases. "I Am the Best" was the biggest boom since "Clap Your Hands" perhaps? It has a heavy bass, a simple electro-pop sound, and extra sass. It is a very catchy track that you can't resist repeating and it's a great opener for this new mini. "UGLY" is one of those confident building anthems that's kinda catchy here in the States. I'm not particularly fond of the song and the video didn't help the matter either. Surprisingly, "Lonely" grew on me and I slowly started liking this little ballad. Everyone's voice is nice and the video reflects the beauty and emptiness of the song. "Hate You" has more of an electro-pop sound than the first track and the song lyrically is kinda simple. Easy to sing along, at least around the chorus. The video is kinda entertaining for something animated. Park Bom's "Don't Cry" is featured on this mini and...I'm still not a fan of hers, but the song's alright. "Don't Stop the Music" closes up the mini and it was the first track to be used to promote this CD. It reflects more of the girls' sound from their last album release and doesn't mesh as well with these new tracks. Nonetheless, it's still a good song.