Sunday, 25 November 2012

Girl On Fire by Alicia Keys

Rated: A Kind of Magic

Alcia Keys is back with a slightly but flawless modern style, refreshing commercial music with the perfect balance of new beats and her very own classic way to make music. Maybe co-writers and producers influences are very there but Alicia's style overshadows that. 

This new album has everything to sound hip, even has Nicky Minaj, but the interesting thing is how it is manage to still being very Alicia Keys. The album is update but without nowadays cliches because is pure R&B with just tiny bits of electronic pop and even rock guitars and a tiny beat of dubstep. The record is so powerful from lyrics to sound, especially from 'Fire We Make' to the very end where she gets more intimated. 
What connects every song in the album is the fantastic percussion, sometimes are marching drums sometimes African sounds or just a classic kit playing jazz or rock .The record is not boring at all music is entertaining it passes through very chilling beats to more dramatic sounds, has moments of dance, fun, neo-soul and ballads, very complete. Perhaps at some points the music is not up to Alicia's voice and is a bit dull and plain but when both merge the result is brilliant.

Although Alicia has a great amazing voice what makes her records very good is that she doesn't like to show off and this album is that, perfect voice accompanied by good beats,though in some points gets very Christina Aguilera ,or any other girl who likes to vocalize very much, and seems like losing her essence but then she gets back and these floppy moments are forgettable.A really charming album, beautiful done that sounds up to date with out falling in the 'consumerism, lack of ideas'. 

Highlights:. Brand New Me,Listen To Your Heart,Fire We Make,101

Wildlife by The Lovely Eggs

Rated: Music is my Radar

The third album from the married lovely couple has nothing but fun. Nothing really new but very refreshing to what most 'indie' bands are doing nowadays. Although are 18 songs the album goes very fast because most of the songs (less than a minute) are sort of intros to others.

This album has a 1990's vibes mixed with energy of the 70's, some craziness and sounding like early 00's  all in the idea of a teenage sitcom. With a very vintage soul but still sounding modern the album reminds of the most indie bands from the early noughties , the sort of bands you can only found  on MySpace and in electronics gadgets  adverts on tv. Also has like familiar childish beats, in a good way, like is the Pink Panther Theme on 'I am' ?

The band stays true their sound lite punk, rampant pop and dance rocky beats. The rawness of the record and the multiple sounds is what makes the album so entertaining and refreshing. Most of the bands try so hard to polish everything and the essence get lost but The Lovely Eggs are not doing that and taking the wildness to the next level and really works well. Screams and psychedelia sounds prepares you through the album to an epic rocky end.The album goes all ways from melancholia and church music to some sorts of nursery rhymes.

Is a proper fun record and a breath to the dust of very commercial music. It's obviously album of the year but it is not disappointing especially for the fans and a open window to the "classic" independent  essence of doing things for fun and not money.

Highlights:The Castle,Lee Mellon's Teeth,Scooter's Got Itchy,I Just Want Someone to Fall in Love With,Allergies

Sunday, 18 November 2012

The Evolution Of Man by Example

Rated: Enjoy the Silence 

Where to start! I knew is going to be bad but not THAT bad. Don't know if should be called a disappointment or chronicles of a death foretold. The messiest record of the year, the blend didn't work and result is catastrophic. Trying to recreate Katy Perry sound  but more edgy and with something that reminds of annoying dubstep is not impressive if ends like this. 

This new Example's record must be a bad joke because it isn't funny. Songs are so produced and faked, it sound like he's trying to score what Plan B did with 'Ill Manors' but something went wrong really wrong. Example tries so hard to sound tough but maybe the weak lyrics fail or is his pop voice or the fact he can't reach the heaviness the song requiers but it ends like a  Justin Bieber meets One Direction and even have the instrumental bridges to do choreographies.

The sound of the album can't even save it because the blend of guitar rock with electronic and hip hop didn't mixed well. A failed attept to do something like what Kasabian does ended like a bad awful hybrid of Linkin Park and Limp Bizkit just listen to Close Enemies,a single by the way. The rock sound is very amateur like whe a bubblegum pop singer mix it to sound edgy and wild, sounds a lot like Miley Cyrus' Can Be Tamed but dull, and the torture never ends, songs are very very long.  

The album at least has a direction but Example get lost or do not follows it all the time. In songs like 'Blood From a Stone' and 'The Evolution Of Man' where he go back to his old sound, is good but that doesn't last long some horrible twists and when Example's voice is in the mood the music is not and vice versa. Nothing is in tuning or harmony everything is so pretentious and some tracks need to end before it gets to ugly but that didn't happened is all repetitive and too much of everything and songs are about the same always which in previous albums worked but for this one the tone should be other and needs more guts to be reliable and to be less like just a failed experiment.Also going mad with the guitar doest make you tough even if is with Graham Coxon neither does doing a mix that many musicians are doing great

just don't worth a listen. 

The Connection by Papa Roach

Rated:Music is my Radar 

First studio album since 2009 and probably most surprising and slightly different but familiar at the same time since their second album 'Infest'. From a great start the album just gets better and better.
The band still (or now,again) sounding fresh and without loosing their style they're are mixing with more electronic and synths. What makes a perfect mix is that has a bit more guitars and drums over synthesizers or any other electronic sound. The album also has some great hip-hop vibes and very well done creating even more interesting compositions. In some parts could be very teenage rock and mellow but the good vibes are overcasting this tiny beats.

At some points the tracks could sound like cliché but the way the band manage the get rid of it fast is impressive. The obvious rock paradigms with screams and everything are heavenly blended with rock'n'roll making almost dance-y songs, beats are easy to follow and sometimes gets more pop-rock which is so acceptable because sounds good. All the sounds sound like old stuff but modernized and up to date and flows nicely.  

The perfect amount of everything they wanted created a very elaborated work which entertaining and very in Papa Roach style. If there's an album to recommend to someone who's in a transition to commercial pop and wants new rocky adventures this is it. The album is fast, not forced, very gentle and catchy, a few slow songs, a few hard ones and sort of anthems is a very complete and competent album.

To Listen: Before I Die,Give Me Back My Life, Breathe You In,Leader of the Broken Hearts,Walking Dead,Won’t Let Up,As Far As I Remember

Nothing to Avoid 

Unapologetic by Rihanna

Rated: A Kind of Magic

A year since Rihanna released an album and the new one keeps her style but with some grateful new ideas. Songs are more deep and less pop from what we are used to from Rihanna and is in the predictable tracks where everything goes overrated and boring.

The album is not really amazing or outstanding is just another one but have some interesting beats specially when she is trying new things and duets, except the one with Eminem, which is foolish and not fun, and tried to be fun. The good sounds are the ones with less electronic and dubstep-y pieces and where it gets "dark". The album also have some rock guitars in a Christina Aguilera's Fighter style to make be more edgy and rocky. The dace stills there in songs like 'Nobodys Business' so it still Rihanna but a little more raw.

There's plenty of personal songs, which is obviously to sale but are kind of nice to give a rest to bublegum pop, electronic and Calvin Harris-ish pop which are also sounds sadly included. This new facet of Rihanna is great because is more easy to conect with her although is fake and probably she will release a new album in 6-8 months and this one could be the most forgetabble because of the lack of massive hits but could be the most "sincere" to date.

To Listen: Diamonds,  Love Song, Stay,
Avoid: Numb,Jump, Fresh Off The Runway

Sunday, 11 November 2012

¡Dos! by Green Day

Rated: A Kind of Magic

More raw and "dirt" than '¡Uno!' the second album of the trilogy is more in the style of the last 2 albums of Green Day.A little further away from they beginnings but without losing the essence and tracks are short enjoyable, if they were 3 seconds or more longer it will be boring and the charm will be gone, so everything is once again in perfect state.

The mix is less worked and producer so this album has more punk attitude than '¡uno!'. Guitars and drums sound brilliant and in harmony but as a whole the blend sounds a bit like an American version of Arctic Monkeys, so sound a lot like Black Keys' El Camino. Is very American rock and roll from 50-70's including bits of rockabilly and surf rock but more inclined to pop-rock, and a bit more like The Killers, or at least Billie's voice is there a mix of Brandon Flowers and Alex Turner. Although the sound is more rock and roll-y and modern than 'Uno! ' , both have the same vibe to sound like their old works.

That there's nothing really remarkable is what make the album a little less interesting. 'Amy' is the only song that has a slightly different and interesting style. Also 'NightLife' is kind of different with a Mexican feeling but still not being really surprising. There's a lack of something edgy  and really wild like "wow this is why i love green day" but  everything is pleasant  and safe they need to spice up things maybe for 'Tre!' ?. And is Fuck time sampling 'song 2' by Blur??

To Listen: Nightlife, Ashley, Stray Heart, Makeout Party, Lazy Bones
Avoid:Fuck Time, Wow! That’s Loud  

Take Me Home by One Direction

Rated:Mr. Personality 

If you are a grown up this album will be so boring. A bunch of catchy (or trying to be catchy) songs that last too much. Unless you are a die hard fan you won't notice the boredom of the album and that is too produced to be all catchy and that sounds like a one long song.

The good thing about the album is that the band sound more mature on the second half. One Direction are slowly becoming the next Beatles, (HA! they wish), actually are becoming like Back Street Boys in the Millennium and Blue era,could say  5ive but they were more complete. Some songs are very acceptable and instead of being so boring have some interesting bits when they get to different styles .

Basically the sound in every song are the same: a mellow acoustic guitar playing same note and lite electronic beats, the arrangements are the ones that create slightly different tracks. Voices are like pretending to be more faint and to sound less kiddish but are not blending very fine. The intention to do something different is there but probably producers managers and stuff wanted to go for the safe way.  

To Listen:Kiss You,Rock Me,Back for You
Avoid: Live While We're Young,Last First Kiss,Little Things,I Would

Lotus by Christina Aguilera

Rated:A Kind of Magic

As many other artists Christina wants to go back and create music like from her beginnings and give a modern twist but she went too much time back and the sound is her but very amateur. 

What is confusing is that Christina Aguilera was pioneer in the prototype of "Pop Princess" and now this album sounds like she is one new girl trying to emulate The Queen or any princess , which is fine, and she wants to be remarkable once again. The album starts with a nice "intro" sampling M83 and sounding like a midpoint within Ellie Goulding and Madonna's synthetic voices  in American Life, that is actually the sound of entire record with bits of Christina's very own Stripped. So the album is in the 00's mood which is good, soft electro-pop and somehow more personal. As to her voice in some parts is too much, almost boring, but is kind of nice, mostly.

The sound sometimes gets experimental which makes the album interesting and not dull. At moments it sounds like it could be a collaboration with Calvin Harris but less heavy electronic so she can stands out.In  'Make The World Move' (featuring CeeLo Green) the sound is like vintage sounds a lot like a sample and in 'Cease Fire' and 'Circles' the sound is more Rihanna-ish with African touches. The best beats of the album are the slow ones, as always from Christina Aguilera, where she sings her heart out etc.  there for the second half is better and cleaning the bad from first half. 

Perhaps with less hip sounds,less pop as well, more R&B and more passion  like 'Back to Basics' or 'Stripped' the "come back" would been better. Her essence still there, more immature though, just needs to get back her style instead of pretending to still searching for her style. 

To Listen: Just A Fool, Cease Fire, Blank Page
Avoid: Your Body, Around The World

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Take the Crown by Robbie Williams

RatedMr. Personality 

The album is all what you/we expected, Robbie Williams trying to go "back to his roots" and give it a modern twist but in most of the album it isn't working. From the starting song, 'Be A Boy' ,that sounds like Coldplay & Rihanna featuring a light version of Calvin Harris mixed with Lady Gaga (Hip ain't it? ), is very predictable what the album is going to be about.

What unite the album is the 1980's sound but not in the good classics way but in a old dusty way. The record has tracks that could be part of a "worst of the 80s" compilation because songs are trying to sound like someone else, Robbie even try to sound like Freddy Mercury in 'Into the Silence'. Another thing that is not good is his voice, maybe Robbie is too old or something but his voice is not gentle in this album, almost hurts, all the yells he's giving, the voice is to forced. That's not the only thing forced most of the fun songs like 'Candy' and 'Gospel' are over-cheesy.

The album would be better with more edition work. Some songs are entertaining but too long so they become boring, other ones have too much for a song, others don't have a way just try to sound like Katy Perry meets One Direction, or like  'Hey Wow Yeah Yeah' that have a nice 90's vibe but would be a good one if it was from Gorillaz, instead it ended like a bad mix of Cobra Starship and JC Chasez and not only the songs co-wrote with Gary Barlow have that feeling of "it should NOT sound like Take That" and in the end it sounds like weird Take That forced to do different stuff ,on drugs.

So too much pretentious songs and too much yelling and nothing really interesting make the album sink badly. Some songs trying to save the record, are the ones that sound like his old sound blended with bits of modern trend: electro-pop. The best tracks are on the end of the album, at least a slightly better end, and obviously the Deluxe edition is better with a Take That's  original demo, 'Eight Letters'. A complete mess with some tiny bits of charm.

To Listen: Not Like the Others,Hunting for You
Avoid:  Be a Boy, Gospel,Into the Silence,