Now that I’ve stopped running around screaming her name for the better portion of a day, I’ve actually had a chance to sit down and really listen to the album we all freaked out over yesterday. Yes, as everyone and their grandmother knows, the Queen B unexpectedly dropped a bomb on the music industry with the surprise release of her fifth studio album, the self titled Beyoncé.
After a year of album releases from our pop princesses that were “just okay”, Beyoncé has served up a game changer in every sense of the word, just in time to ruin everyone’s end of year lists. Normally I’d talk about the highlights and low points of the album, but on an album with no filler, no remixes of the lead single or a previous hit, a track-by-track review is in order.
One of our most favorite shows returns to HBO this Sunday and I could NOT be more excited. To coincide with the beginning of its second season, Girls has released a soundtrack compilation filled with songs from the most memorable moments of season one, and a few sneak peaks into season two. The album is an eclectic mix that is perfectly reflective of the show itself.
The album opens up with one of my favorite songs, and best moments of season one. Robyn’s “Dancing on My Own” was the perfect song choice for Hannah and Marnie’s dance break after Hannah learns her ex-boyfriend Elijah (Andrew Rannelis) is gay. An amazing scene and probably where I started to fall in love with the show. Next up is a new song from the band fun. which will appear in season two.
Trash Pop pioneer, Ke$ha, released her second full-length album, Warrior, today. Either this girl hasn’t been showing us her full abilities on previous releases or she has been saving it for the ever so important sophomore album because she just KILLS IT here. Whether you love her or hate her, this once thought one trick pony has had staying power, and doesn’t seem to show signs of stopping.
Like any true warrior, this album adapts itself multiple times, changing form, jumping high, ducking down, taking it slow, and aggressively attacking. Because of this, it’s impossible to classify this album under one genre other than the large pop umbrella. Ke$ha uses her talent for songwriting (she was an accomplished songwriter before her solo album), to explore a myriad of influences resulting in a pop music masterpiece. Who knew this late entry could be a serious contender for pop album of the year?
Kelly Clarkson stepped onto the music scene and into the lives of many when she became the first winner of American Idol. That was 10 years ago. Since then she has released 5 studio albums, and has had 10 top ten singles. She has won countless awards and maintained a steady and solid career. Today she releases her first compilation album. Greatest Hits: Chapter One is a fantastic playlist of the American Idol winner’s top hits. Check out the playlist below…
For me this isn’t a complete greatest hits playlist. Noticeably missing from the track list is the Katy Perry penned “I Do Not Hook Up”. This could be due to its medium performance on the charts. Either way, myself and every other Kelly Clarkson fan has been gifted with three new songs that I’m sure will not disappoint.
Christina Aguilera has constantly been trying to differentiate herself from other mainstream pop vocalists. Starting off in a time when young blonde pop singers were a dime a dozen, she has spent more than ten years trying on different musical styles. From R&B to electro-pop, not all were a success commercially. (I loved Bionic, shh!)
Aguilera’s latest “rebirth”, Lotus, is a solid album but on the whole disappoints me. Sia, a friend and collaborator of Aguilera’s, was once quoted saying, “Christina Aguilera could shit in a bottle and her fans would still love it.” And it’s true. I do love this album, but after a commercial bomb, a divorce, a flop film, and a few too many trips to Burger King, I was hoping for something more raw, exposed, vulnerable and reflective (see: Stripped). While Aguilera has always maintained that her last album was a work of art, a success in her eyes, it would seem that its failure to achieve commercial results has either pushed her or her label into making an album where overall… she plays it safe.
This week, Brandy‘s new album Two Eleven dropped and I couldn’t be happier. This Brandy’s first album with new labels Chameleon and RCA after leaving Epic Records in 2008. That’s also when we had an album from Brandy last. This new disc boasts a load of production and song writing collaborators which is also a first for Brandy. I’m glad to say that she put all the right people in place to make sure that this album was R&B gold. While many artists in this genre have slipped more into the dance/pop genre like Ne-Yo, Chris Brown and Kelly Clarkson, Brandy stays true to herself.
I think I may be one of the few folks that actually loved her lead-off single from the album which featured, Chris Brown. I couldn’t get the hook of Put It Down out of my head for weeks after hearing it for the first time. But don’t fret, that track doesn’t even come close to giving you an example of what the album is like. Oh, and if you’re curious about the title, it definitely carries a heavy meaning. Two Eleven refers to Brandy Norwood’s birthday and is also the day her dear friend and music legend, Whitney Houston passed away. Audio clips and my full album review below.
My favorite pop/trip-hop duo The Cataracs have been producing hits like mad for the likes of Far East Movement and Dev. Now, it’s their turn to shine in the spotlight with the debut of their own EP titled, “Gordo Taqueria.” While I thought I would know what to expect from the boys on this album, I was completely caught off guard, and in a good way. Members Campa and Cyranizzy definitely turned the bass up high for all eight tracks. Get ready to feel your stomach rumble.
The album starts off with the club thumping “Calling Me” which is a track I would have never expected to hear from this production team. It’s so synth, drum and bass heavy you’d think you were listening to a deadmau5 track. That’s followed up by “Cantaloupe” which is your typical Cataracs track. Great beat with skillful and witty lyrics. The third track is their current single, “All You” which definitely grew on me upon first listen. Then BAM, we are hit with the deep hip hop track that is “Mouthful.” Definitely different from the trip-hop we’ve heard from the group before.
“Ooo Yeah” is one of my favorite tracks on the new EP. The heavily produced vocals work well against the synth and drums and is really space-y sounding. “Synthesizer” is a sexy little number which is basically a euphemism for hooking up with a chick. The deep bass synth in the hook will definitely rattle your teeth. I love it. The EP wraps up with the tracks “Roll The Dice” and “Alcohol.” Dice definitely has some Guetta influence in the production side of things and the last track is straight up for the clubs. Give the full EP a listen below and tell us what you think.
Today, I was lucky enough to get a free preview of Maroon 5′s new studio album, “Overexposed,” and let me tell you – it’s really good. From top to bottom, the album is a jam packed full of great tunes from the band fronted by vocalist, Adam Levine. A part of me was expecting to not like the efforts put forth on this album after hearing “Payphone” and initially not being impressed with “One More Night.” But now, after hearing the album in it’s entirety, it has exceeded my expectations.
The album kicks off with two tracks, we’ve already heard. “One More Night” gives us a more, reggae-infused track kind of like what we heard on Adam Levine’s collaboration with Gym Class Heroes. While I didn’t like the track at first, I have to admit, it completely grew on me. And, it completely fits with the flow of the entire album and starts the album off right. Track two is the infamous “Payphone.” The only part I like about that track is Wiz Khalifa’s rap. Maybe I’m just over the song already. Let me share my thoughts track-by-track for you below.