Ariana Grande - Yours Truly (2013, USA) Rating: 3.5/5
Favorite Tracks: n/a
I've been hearing a lot of good things about the "ditzy" actress Ariana from Facebook and college friends that I got curious. I looked up couple videos for "The Way" and "Baby I" and I thought both were pretty good, excluding the fact that I thought Mac Miller was completely pointless. Listening to the album was like a blast from the past and revived those feelings of 90's R&B. I know in this day and age it's hard finding your own sound and all, but I couldn't help but noticing the music sampling in "Right There" and how much she sounds like Mariah Carey. The vocal similarities did bother me a little bit in certain songs, but she does have an amazing vocal range for her age. I'm curious what direction she'll take on her next project. Despite my criticisms, I really did enjoy this album and it's difficult to pick favorites as everything seems to fit together on the same level of enjoyment.
Lorde - Pure Heroine (2013, USA) Rating: 4/5
Favorite Tracks: Tennis Court, Team, Glory and Gore, A World Alone
I heard about Lorde through a commercial on TV. I guess everyone else was exposed to repeated plays of "Royals" on the radio and little old me doesn't really listen to the radio. Honestly, I don't. Anyway, after seeing said commercial enough times, I decided to YouTube her and watched "Royals" and "Tennis Court". I immediately understood her subtle popularity as that "artistic" singer like one-hit wonder Gotye. She has something odd about her musically and visually and she's only 17. The whole album has this indie/mainstream mix with lots of atmospheric sounds. It reminds me a little of old Fiona Apple. The whole album is worth experiencing. Yes, experiencing not listening.
Lady Gaga - ARTPOP (2013, USA) Rating: 2.5/5
Favorite Tracks: Applause, Swine, G.U.Y, Jewels N' Drugs
Some of you may know that I wasn't overly excited about this new album. I stalled a little, but when it was time to listen to it, I went in with no expectations and an open mind. Well, I guess I'm still in the process of completely formulating a concrete emotion toward it. It's not as great as The Fame, but definitely not as bad as Born This Way. It somehow falls in between in the neutral area. It's definitely not cohesive and it seems like it tries to please fans of the first and last album by mixing the sounds together. It also tries to step out of the usual Gaga box and reach out to those who enjoy her piano work. In other words, it's all of the place. I guess Gaga is trying to find her place in music again or something. I have to mention one specific track though, "Jewels N' Drugs". This is where most of my confusion lies. It sadly reminds me of that horrible "23" song with Miley Cyrus, but way more tolerable. I don't think I want Gaga to be delving into this genre too much...or that R&B track she did with R. Kelly (ick!). I guess it's a guilty pleasure track. It's definitely gimmicky, the rap lines are decent overall, and there's just something intriguing about it that keeps me coming back to it. Final verdict, if you haven't listened to this album yet, listen to it if you're really curious what it sounds like. Otherwise, you can just listen to those 4 favorite tracks and call it a day.
Linkin Park - Recharged (2013, USA) Rating: 2/5
Favorite Tracks: A LIGHT THAT NEVER COMES, I'LL BE GONE (Vice Remix)
This was another album I wasn't looking forward to, but I kept an open mind when listening to it. I must confess that I had no idea it existed, until a hardcord LP fan and close friend told me about it. I heard some samples from him and my heart instantly sunk. Well, overall...my mind completely rejected this as canon to their discography, if that's possible. With Reanimation, I expected the usual remix tactics everyone else was doing but somehow LP took their original tracks to a different direction and level. With Recharged, it falls into the typical remix territory which makes it disappointing. Some tracks sound like something from Dance Dance Revolution or novice dance remixes for a small club. Sadly, I'll be breaking my consistent purchases and skipping out on this one for the collection.
KoRn - The Paradigm Shift (2013, USA) Rating: 4.5/5
Favorite Tracks: Love & Meth, Never Never, Lullaby For a Sadist
The Path of Totality was a complete misstep for KoRn, despite enjoying a couple songs from it. I didn't have any expectations for this album, but it was nice that they took the good parts from their previous album and mixed it in with their signature nu-metal sound. I really, really enjoyed this album and I've been using it to stall on the two albums above. In short, it's a solid album and makes up for the dubstep experimentation. It also makes me feel nostalgic for a live. Hopefully, they'll keep up in this direction.
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