Childish Gambino - Camp (2011, USA) Rating: 4/5
Favorite Tracks: Bonfire, Fire fly, L.E.S, All the Shine
This is a
Cinema Bizarre - Toyz (2009, Germany) Rating: 3/5
Favorite Tracks: Touching and Kissing, My Obsession, Heaven is Wrapped in Chains, Hypnotized by Jane
I believe I mentioned that I wasn’t too fond of this band, but I got curious some time ago when last.fm used to have song previews on their site. So, I checked out the new album at the time and I was surprised that what I heard was better. “La Generique” is just a simple introduction song to the album that could be pulled out of the Tim Burton collection circa Edward Scissorhands. “Touching and Kissing” has a silly title and the lyrics are super cheesy, but the music isn’t that bad. It’s catchy and has that 90’s/early 2000’s synth-rock thing going on. “I Came 2 Party” was part of the promotion and it was definitely different than their first album material. It reminded me of what Adam Lambert was doing at the time, so I had some mixed feelings on
Adam Lambert - Trespassing (2012, USA) Rating: 4/5
Favorite Tracks: Underneath, Cuckoo, Never Close Our Eyes, Outlaws of Love
Thanks to the MAMAs last year, I got to know that American Idol runner-up was still active in the music scene, which is great. I love his voice! The first song I heard from the album through his live performance and the first track is “Trespassing”. It has a simple, toe-tapping beat with some great guitar riffs sitting in the background while Adam’s voice whales and softens just right. Great introduction! “Cuckoo” continues the pace, but upping the energy just a little more for a good dance track. The title and the short chorus might seem silly, but it works surprisingly. “Shady” is a smooth electro-rock track that’ll make your hips sway to the subtle seductive beat. “Never Close Our Eyes” starts off like your typical dance track, but the lyrics and the powerful vocals make this song great. “Kickin’ In” retreats back to the retro sounds that are presented in “Trespassing”. Very simple, toe-tapping beat and I think that’s a cowbell hiding in there. “Naked Love” kinda sounds like the mainstream radio pop. It really restrains Adam’s power vocals, but it’s admirable he has such control of his voice. “Pop That Lock” is very…experimental. It’s electronic, simplistic, dubstep, and some stop and start arrangements in the music. “Better Than I Know Myself” has a slightly slower tempo and has a good arrangement that helps emphasize Adam’s vocal range, but it can sound pretty generic in spots. “Broken English” is another experimental track. It seems a little overproduced with the straining electronics, out of placed loud vocals, and awkward dubstep moments. “Underneath” brings me back on board of cheering the runner-up with this piano track. It has a good balance of softness, vulnerability, and passion. “Chokehold” eases you into a heavier track without being overwhelming to the ears. It’s not full on hard rock, but a balance of electronic and rock that compliment Adam’s vocals. “Outlaws of Love” is by far my favorite track on this album. Its beautiful arrangement and passionately written and it shows when you listen to this track. It has a soft piano and acoustic guitar to emphasis the personal emotions in Adam’s voice. If there’s one track you should really listen to, it’s definitely this one. “Runnin’” has some hard hitting drums and beats. It doesn’t quite transition as smoothly from the previous song, but it’s not too overwhelming. “Take Back” combines the hard hitting sound from the previous tracks and throws in some piano and electro-pop. It’s an interesting sound that’ll take some adjusting, but it’s an okay song. “Nirvana” eases us out of the album with some piano and a soothing electo-pop track accompanying it to support Adam’s smooth vocals.
Rita Ora - Ora (2012, USA) Rating: 3/5
Favorite Tracks: Roc the Life, R.I.P, Love and War, Hot Right Now
“Facemelt” revs up this album with deep growling sounds and some strong vocal delivery that might make your body wind to the griminess. “Roc the Life” has a simply drum beat and some vocal remnants that Rihanna decided to leave behind in her “Pon da Replay” days, but improved. There might be some seemingly vocal filler with the repeated “life”, but it really works for this song and has major confidence in the vocal delivery. “How We Do (Party)” is even more simplistic and borderline generic. It reminds me Jessie J’s “Domino”, but more basic. It could be consider boring for an artist like Rita Ora, but it’s passable. “R.I.P” was given to Drake, but Rita delivers quite well with her rendition, although it really makes that Rihanna comparison more obvious vocally. Tinie Tempah’s contribution is a little unnecessary, but doesn’t kill the fierceness of this track. “Radioactive” kinda sounds like your generic mainstream dance pop track. Maybe something Kelly Rowland could pull off, but this is a pretty good song. It does what it needs to do as a dance track: danceable beat, catchy chorus, and booming vocals. “Shine Ya Light” brings in Rita’s roots with some island sounds and vocal arrangement. “Love and War” was an unexpected track that I happened to like. Rita and J.Cole’s vocals work out quite well with this conflicting atmosphere that usually goes along with simpler R&B sounds. “Uneasy” brings in some guitars and choppy vocal delivery to this rock pop track. It doesn’t really work with Rita’s voice. It sounds like a song mocking
Icon For Hire - Scripted (2011, USA) Rating: 4/5
Favorite Tracks: Theater, Make a Move, Get Well, Off With Her Head
I’m going to push aside that I recently saw this band live, because I initially wanted to review this band because they were new to me. They still are. Anyway, “Overture” is practically a guide to the first track “Theater”. It’s a high energy song with some appropriate theatrics both musically and vocally. “Make a Move” smoothly transitions from the previous track with just as much energy. It softens and taunts just enough during the verses to get its point across. “Get Well” was the track responsible for me getting into this band. I like the incorporation of electronics and the hard hitting rock sound. It has pain filled and aggressive vocal delivery that works well with the music. “The Grey” gives us a little break from the aggressive rock to a nice, vulnerable track with piano and soft vocals. I must admit I didn’t properly appreciate this song until I heard it live and really paid attention to the arrangement. It’s very cleverly done and transitions well. “Off With Her Head” returns to the aggressive rock sound and confident vocals to back it up. “Fight” is something that went under the radar until recently. It’s slow building until you get to the slightly aggressive chorus. I love the bridge leading up to the chants of chorus. “Up In Flames” has a Three Days Grace vibe with some great energy and megaphone-like vocals dictating the motion of the beat and the audience’s possible movements. “Iodine” is very in your face and continues slightly off of “Get Well” in lyrics and sound. “Only a Memory” gives us a break with something a little softer with guitar, violin, and a pinch of orchestral elements. It’s something I can hear Paramore doing. “Pieces” concludes with a heavy sound to balance out the sound of “Theater” in the beginning. It’s not super heavy. It tends to speed up and slow down smoothly with the music.
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