• Avril Lavigne's self-titled album review

    5 nov 2013, 01:04 av PegasusGX



    DISCLAIMER: May contain traces of bias like everything else you read on social media networks.

    Avril, Avril, Avril. Oh, what a disastrous era you have had. Time to put that behind you and spring back with a...self-titled album? Hmm, we'll take it, but keep in mind that you're on your fifth album and there's no need to pull a Demi Lovato on this one. Plus, what's up with that album cover...?

    Fans have clamored for another Avril album after Goodbye Lullaby failed to impress. Although it had its fair share of top notch songs, her singles seemed to drop into the endless void of the iTunes charts (and every other chart, really...). Since sales are at a premium, it was time to change image and sound (like Lady Gaga does on a daily basis).

    And so she has. Avril Lavigne is definitely a welcome departure from her previous album...but it sounds like an spinoff version of The Best Damn Thing (for all you forgotten people, that's her third album where she went all crazy with that Girlfriend song).

    Here's to Never Growing Up was chosen as the debut single. Avril did relatively well with this release, but I feel Rock N' Roll was the better song and should have performed better. Luckily, its video was extremely creative: who thinks of a bearshark? Not to mention that tribute to Slash which is always respectful, even if your music is pop.

    17 is one of the best tracks on this record. For diehard Avril fans, this is a no-brainer: it reminisces her Let Go debut era, and even she is nostalgic: "those times are long gone, but when I hear that song, it takes me back". It has incredible single potential with a killer hook that only really falls short to Complicated. I'll be very disappointed if she doesn't cash in on this opportunity.

    Bitchin' Summer sounds like something you could play during the credits of Spring Breakers (if you manage to make it that far in the movie). Love the hook, but lyrics are a letdown (essentially: getting drunk, partying, maybe the occasional DUI). Still having mixed feelings about the rap, but I feel that Avril could just make it to the finals of 8 Mile.

    Let Me Go sounds like a song that failed to make the cut of Nickelback's last album (don't ask me how many they have). Based on popular culture, does this mean you should avoid it like a live Selena Gomez performance? Surprisingly, no. It's actually astonishing how well Avril and Chad's voices go together, as they deliver a great ballad here.

    Give You What You Like is above average, though it tries to fool you into thinking it's the best ballad on this record. The lyrics aren't enough to justify it, leaving only Avril's consistently good vocals to do the work. While they succeed, they fall short of what could have been a slightly better song. When paired in a vote against Hello Kitty for next single, the results should be a blowout win for GYWYL.

    Bad Girl is where Avril really hit the jackpot. I was skeptic of this collaboration with Marilyn Manson, but it turned out fantastic. It's rock at its very best (for Avril standards). This should most definitely make the cut of the 50 Shades of Grey soundtrack: Avril wants her ego fed (you know, just like Anastasia Steele), while the mysterious Marilyn - ahem, Christian Grey - screams to not tell her what to do. Sex in a rock package.

    Avril comes unstuck with Hello Kitty. Her Japanese skills are equivalent to a "fat kid on a pack of smarties" watching the latest filler of Naruto while trying to become a ninja. It's just not happening, no matter how many times she repeats "kawaii".

    You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet is quite possibly the most desperate attempt at a sex song of her discography (and she has many in that department), but it's damn catchy. It's impossible to resist its fast-paced beat, although some repetitiveness is present.

    How can you not smile while listening to Sippin' on Sunshine? Its cute metaphors of that beautiful summer day are great. Couple that with its melody and you have a keeper here.

    Hello Heartache, more like Goodbye Lullaby all over again. This song starts out "à la Avril" - with the repeated 'la la la's - and ends in the same manner. It seems that apart from a couple of good lines, Avril's heart wasn't the only thing in pain here.

    Falling Fast sounds and feels like a Taylor Swift song. It's quite shocking to listen to how versatile Avril can be with her vocals. This raises the question: will that be her next sound direction? Maybe not, but Avril has always been a pop-rock princess with a pinch of randomness.

    There are some songs that initially don't steal the spotlight, but gradually creep up the charts and become major hits. Conversely, Hush Hush is like that girl at high school that you never noticed, and now she's a Victoria's Secret model. It evokes adrenaline-packed emotions: sadness, anger, desperation, remorse and...hope. At its most simplistic form, this is the track that defines Avril Lavigne. A golden masterpiece.

    In essence, Avril is your unique pop-rock chick (excuse me, married woman) that thinks the idea of rock n' roll is getting wasted on the nearest bottle, running down the street yelling obscenities and having sex every day and twice on weekends. Actually...it probably is. But she still has time to deliver amazing ballads that knock the socks off many artists on the charts. It's Avril, no strings attached, varying between her forte - slow tempo songs (major bonus points for the gem named "Hush Hush") - and those immature but catchy pop tunes. Replay value if you can skip "Hello Kitty".

    It won't dethrone Let Go as my top Avril Lavigne album, but it's a solid and fresh effort that builds on her eleven year old career.

    Final rating: A- (89/100)
  • Demi Lovato 'Demi' album review

    7 maj 2013, 19:10 av PegasusGX



    A BRIEF OVERVIEW

    Self-titled albums have generally been the best way for an artist to introduce themselves, as this tends to be employed for a debut. It is quite uncommon, therefore, when a multi-platinum, established artist decides to use this as the title of her fourth album. I'm talking about Demi Lovato, of course.

    Trials and tribulations have always accompanied Lovato, both in her career and personal life. After releasing two acclaimed pop-rock infused albums whilst performing as a Disney actress on her show Sonny With A Chance, the increasing pressure got to the young starlet. In October 2010, breaking point hit, making her drop out of her support role from the Jonas tour and checking into a treatment facility. Issues such as bipolar disorder, low self-esteem, and bulimia all gave a field day to the press and caused desperation amongst her millions of loyal fans. Thankfully, 2011 represented a new start for Demi.

    Unbroken (her third album) was released during the fall of that year, and it alternated upon versing about her personal struggles (Skyscraper) to presenting the listener with heavy-laden pop songs (Who's That Boy). It's low debut sales, coupled with mediocre collaborations, set it short of some people's expectations. However, the general consensus was that it revealed a different side to Demi, with some excellent yet underrated tracks. One, however, managed to shine bright - Give Your Heart a Break. Dance-pop inspired, this radio friendly song was a sleeper hit, taking 2 months to hit the pinnacle of pop radio, as well as #1 on Billboard's Pop Songs chart. This elevated its sales to platinum status, making it Demi's biggest hit.

    Until Heart Attack, that is.

    Demi's lead single took just 2 months to hit platinum, which represented a turning point in her career. Building immense hype for her record, she has managed to secure a considerable audience that will surely be essential to the album's success when it finally drops, on May 14th. In the meantime, let's take a look at how 'Demi' shapes up with individual track reviews.

    INDIVIDUAL TRACK REVIEWS

    1. Heart Attack

    Familiarity is key, and Heart Attack gives it major value. The placement of this track at #1, as well as it being the lead single, gives the listener a sense of recognition and it lays foundation for what else Demi has in store.

    It's not shy of its flaws, however. Lyrics such as I can play 'em like a Ken doll, make em bounce like a basketball are borderline generic. This would be an issue, if it weren't for the flip side - Demi is practically faultless in delivery. Her vocals are really, really impressive and the bridge and final chorus belt really showcase what sets her apart from her Disney counterparts.

    It is no doubt Demi's best single to date. It's radio-friendly, pure pop goodness. In the context of the album, however, Heart Attack doesn't do much to stand out. It's an above average effort that only does shine as a single.

    2. Made in the USA

    Pop is a very volatile market, and more often than not we find ourselves amongst charts and charts of subpar songs. However, Made In The USA is perfection. This is a very high claim to make, but its selection as Demi's second single off this album just goes one step further to confirm my conviction that this is the best pop track on Demi, and a huge improvement over Heart Attack.

    Right from the offset, the line Our love runs deep like a Chevy might not cause heads to turn, but this is ingenious. Taking a slogan from a very well-known American company and applying it to a song whose main theme is love and the USA is fantastic, and really shows how little details make a difference.

    When we get into the core of the song, its catchiness just keeps you on lock. Demi's vocals and the lyric fluidity are just seamless. It ends with a reiteration of made in the US(A), which can be interpreted as symbol of patriotism, as its vocalist is obviously American. The only thing you'll regret is not hitting that repeat button sooner.

    It's everything a pop song should be. And then more.

    3. Without the Love

    The first verse of this song provides a great build up, in particular with the lyric And you work so hard to get me, just to let me go. The chorus is a completely different story, however. Repeating We're good as a love song, we're good as a love song without the love is just too much. It's a tad of a disappointment, as this is lyrically a great track (sparing the chorus).

    The bridge is definitely its best part, with This is how water colors fade into destined memories showcasing some great songwriting abilities. But in terms of overall production, it's generic. It feels and sounds like an Unbroken leftover.

    4. Neon Lights

    Party anthem. Club banger. Remix gold. This is Neon Lights.

    This is the kind of song that can turn a boring night at a club to getting everyone on the dance floor. The heavy beats aren't anything new, but take Demi's vocals and you have an irresistible combination. It also adopts the same kind of catchy buildup elements that Psy's multi-platinum Gangnam Style has before the second chorus. A huge improvement over similar, much weaker efforts present on Unbroken that mostly failed to impress.

    5. Two Pieces

    This is a song that draws some inspiration from Demi's sophomore album, Here We Go Again, and blends it with elements of contemporary pop music. It is suited for nostalgic purposes. Definitely a great track that transitions between calmer, more intimate moments and a chorus that is sure to give it that pop feel and not set it apart from the rest of the album.

    6. Nightingale

    There is always that song that stands apart from the rest. For some, it's a catchy pop tune. For others, it's a ballad.

    By its musical definition, a ballad is a love song that showcases emotions and favors talent and vocals over catchiness. It is a soul mover. Nightingale not only does that, but it is perfect in songwriting and vocals.

    The lyrics are simple, yet deep. Demi begs for a nightingale in her life, a guider, one that can be with her (can you be my nightingale?). And then she evokes the main characteristic this species of birds are known for - singing. This nightingale is unseen, but its melody is omnipresent (sing to me, I know you're there).

    It's a truly faultless song which majestically showcases her immense talent. And for me, it is the best on the album.

    7. In Case

    Following the trend of Nightingale, we have another, though slower and piano-only ballad. It verses upon the slim possibility of a relationship rekindling, should Demi's lover want the same as her. It's a very relatable song for all those who go through love's treacherous paths, and Demi delivers it brilliantly.

    In Case puts Lovato's fantastic vocals front and center - an artist who can maintain a passion towards lyrics, keeping up with melody and delivering the end result simply with one instrument.

    8. Really Don't Care (feat. Cher Lloyd)

    The first thing that springs to mind when this song comes on is One Direction's insanely popular hit What Makes You Beautiful. And it's true, as its instrumental and song structure is practically the same.

    Despite this, this song somewhat taints what was practically an immaculate album. Demi carries most of it pretty decently, which is a good thing, as Cher Lloyd's contribution is neither here nor there. Her Nicki Minaj-wannabe rap does little to impress, and it leaves no room for the imagination that this track would be better off without her.

    9. Fire Starter

    Fire Starter restarts the catchy flame as we are put under a fast paced song with humorous lines such as I'm a badass jumping off a moving train to start the pre-chorus and express her volatile and daring personality. As for the lyric: There's an 'S' under my clothes on my chest where nobody else can see, it is the key to this song and album overall.

    Not only a tribute to Superman (in her case, Superwoman), but it also symbolizes her inner strength.

    10. Something That We're Not

    Who said only Taylor Swift was capable of subtle shade? This song is filled with indirect gold! Not gonna happen dude à la He called me up and I still love you (We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together) almost seems like America's sweetheart made a cameo on this track. While the other is about denying a second chance, this one doesn't even give the poor guy a chance at a relationship.

    Nonetheless, it's funny, the melody is catchy, and it leaves one wondering if this song targets a certain member of a particular popular band...

    11. Never Been Hurt

    This song rushes through you like a fast train on the way to a broken frame of mind, as Demi puts her love on the line, fearlessly proclaiming I will love you, like I've never been hurt. It might end in disaster, but that isn't even on her mind as she, ever the optimist, desires to love. An everlasting love without lies or goodbyes.

    Magnificent vocals as expected, great beat and an powerful love song with potential for more.

    12. Shouldn't Come Back

    This song is melancholically beautiful. As a reference to her biological father, this is her final farewell. For the Love of a Daughter portrayed her childhood, as some sort of prologue. This is the the present: a wounded, vulnerable girl sings in an amazing display of heartfelt emotion.

    13. Warrior

    As we draw to a close, Warrior is the appropriate finale. If Skyscraper was praised for being the start of her comeback, this is certainly her anthem of strength as she stands, fearless and unbroken.

    Warrior transcends love. It combines references from her childhood (There's a part of me I can't get back / A little girl grew up too fast), the overcoming of her struggles (I've got shame, I've got scars), and finally, the professing of her courage (I'm stronger than I've ever been
    And my armor, is made of steel, you can't get in
    ), ending with a line full of self-confidence.

    You can never hurt me again.

    FINAL APPRECIATION AND RATING

    The final rating combines appreciations made at the level of lyrical & production quality, vocal performance, replay value, and genre standout potential on a scale of 0 (disaster) to 10 (masterpiece).

    Demi Lovato has moved on from her R&B dabble from the past era in Unbroken to her comfort zone with her self-titled fourth album, Demi. It was clear that Unbroken was far from being her best effort, with quirky collaborations, and few truly amazing songs. Most of the tracks on that album remain underrated, and it was only with Give Your Heart A Break that she managed to garner major audience.

    Much has changed in the past two years. The music industry has evolved, and so has Demi's music - again. But this is a step in the right direction. It manages to take the crown away from what many consider to be her best overall album - Here We Go Again - and provide a collection of extremely good songs overall.

    The production includes lots of pop elements and notable figures into this album, some more subtly than others - from the Psy-inspired beat in Neon Lights, to 1D's instrumental in Really Don't Care and a leaf out of Taylor's playbook in Something That We're Not, Lovato loves to mix the best and popular and make it something hers. Her lyrics, her rules. Something personal, yet modern.

    The lyrical quality in this album is nearly faultless, with some nuances. Her vocal performances throughout, however, elevate this pop star to the level of Christina Aguilera, Kelly Clarkson, and other noticeable high-profile pop contemporary vocalists.

    This album has a little for everyone. From pop gems like Made in the USA, club bangers like Neon Lights, nostalgia in the form of Two Pieces, upbeat music lovers will adore it. And then we have the ballads, those beauties. The trio of Nightingale, Shouldn't Come Back & Warrior is unprecedented in Demi's discography and a real joy to listen to.

    Throughout all those songs, one thing is clear. This is very personal and beautiful album. It reflects her versatility and her talent as a singer and songwriter that packs in a ton of replay value.

    And thus, after listening to it, everything becomes clear as crystal as to the reason why Demi decided to self-title her fourth album: every song describes a part of her.

    FINAL RATING:

    LYRICS (9.0):


    PRODUCTION (8.5):


    VOCALS (10):


    GENRE STANDOUT POTENTIAL (9.5):


    REPLAY VALUE (9.5):


    OVERALL (9.5):
  • Taylor Swift 'Red' promo single review

    2 okt 2012, 16:56 av PegasusGX



    Red is the second promo single, and also the album title of Taylor Swift's new era. As an avid fan, I jumped on this release immediately. For the first time ever, Taylor Swift has disappointed (me).

    This pop/rock influenced song is exquisite by nature - lyrically hopeful, yet a letdown in hook. Taylor describes the various emotions of loving someone throughout the tune, and concludes that 'loving him is red'. Red, according to her, symbolizes all the emotions combined - love, anger, fear, heartbreak, loneliness. It is, per se, the 'white' of Taylor's world.

    However, as much as this song aims to set the bar high with Taylor's own penned lyrics, the chorus completely destroys what could have been one of the best songs on this album. The electro, autotuned stuttering of the word 'red' in the background is downright atrocious and obnoxious. Also, her awkward phrasing attenuates the ability of this being a grower song - unlike We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together, which was a winner just by chorus itself and had amazing replay value.

    Taylor Swift had never let me down - ever. I have faith in her to produce good quality music. In this song, she didn't meet (my) expectations. I understand that she wants to please both crowds with this album (country and pop fans), but this is just not the way to go. 'Never Ever' pleased pop fans, Begin Again rejoiced the country ones, but this song is nowhere near the quality of the previous two.

    As a lover of both genres, I consider this a setback, especially since it's the title track and it leaves me wary of what kind of letdowns I'm about to encounter when Red (album) finally hits the shelves.

    The bottom line: a mediocre pop/rock inspired song, featuring good, original lyrics that are essentially overcast and forgotten due to its terrible chorus. Red falls short on delivery. Way short.

    FINAL RATING:
  • Carly Rae Jepsen 'Kiss' album review

    15 sep 2012, 23:02 av PegasusGX



    A BRIEF OVERVIEW

    “I guess there’s a part of you that always wants to try something a little bit different than what you’ve done before," says Carly Rae Jepsen.

    That’s curiosity for you. It’s a good instinct to have. Without it, this Vancouver-based musician would never have left her Mission, B.C. hometown for the life of a singer-songwriter — a career that so far has produced an acclaimed debut album (2008's Tug of War), a MuchMusic Video Award nomination, two gold-certified singles (Bucket, Tug of War) and — to top it all — two 2010 Juno Award nominations for Best New Artist and Songwriter of the Year.

    Catchiness is the word on the street in 2012, and Top 40 radios gobble it up like no other. It shouldn't be a surprise, then, that Carly Rae Jepsen has managed to spawn one of the biggest earworms of the decade, the insane smash hit Call Me Maybe.

    Apart from its cultural impact, which exploded when Justin Bieber took Carly under his wing and started promoting the single, she had never been a major icon. In fact, she was quite unknown to the world.

    Everything changed once Call Me Maybe was released. Justin notices young Carly (as in 26 years old) and her aspirations to become a mainstream pop artist and decides to release a video of him and some other celebs singing along to the catchy tune. It starts climbing Billboard Hot 100. Radios start playing it like no other. Suddenly, it is everywhere. At its peak, it's #1 practically worldwide (iTunes, Amazon, Billboard, digital sales, every pop music chart in existence), and all over social networks. Millions of parodies and remixes are uploaded to YouTube. Some can't get enough of it. Others are begging for it to die off.

    But it doesn't. Instead, it places itself firmly at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, and stays there for 9 consecutive weeks (from early June to mid August) - a feat that only Ke$ha managed to obtain recently, with TiK ToK (in 2009) and only beat by Rihanna's We Found Love (10 weeks), last fall. Regardless, in the aftermath of its dominance, it is certified 5x platinum, becoming the 3rd best selling song of the year (to date), and the unquestionable summer song of 2012.

    Simultaneously, Good Time (a duet with the king of catchiness, Owl City) is released in late June, instantly becoming a summer hit. While not as iconic as Call Me Maybe, it manages to sell over 1 million copies in the US, as of September.

    With this in mind, Carly Rae Jepsen has sold over 9,500,000 worldwide records to date (more than 80% of sales due to just Call Me Maybe). An impressive figure...but alas, doubts arise with major, rapid success.

    'One hit wonder' is the phrase most commonly thrown around by those skeptical of her ability to be an repetitive hit maker. But Carly was quick to try and prove that she isn't just riding off the success of Call Me Maybe, releasing This Kiss, on September 10th.

    We arrive at Kiss (her second studio album), which promises to change the game. But are these empty promises, or does Carly really have an inherent ability to become an established pop star with her cute, catchy songs alone? We shall see.

    INDIVIDUAL TRACK REVIEWS

    1. Tiny Little Bows

    It has been said that a good album opener sets the tone for what is to come, and the wrong message can completely disort the natural harmony of an album. However, nothing of the sort happens here.

    Right from the get-go, it sets up an infectious, cutesy 80s pop environment, as Carly starts versing about her love interest. Regardless of location, she desires to be with them. The 'tiny little bows' metaphor refers to Cupid's love bow & arrows, a universal symbol for love and attraction - and how they can affect anyone, anywhere.

    The short verses lead up to the long, yet catchy and sing along worthy chorus. By the end of this song, Carly has captivated the listener enough that the last, dramatic beat is a perfect conclusion.

    Good luck getting this out of your head.

    Did you know? This song's lyrics were significantly modified to fit the catchy pop environment of Kiss. The original acoustic version versed upon more heartfelt feelings.

    2. This Kiss

    Just when you thought the previous song was addicting, This Kiss just comes along and takes the cake.

    This song is pure pop perfection. It combines elements from Katy Perry's California Gurls, and practically everything rhymes. Carly not only has the tune on lock, but the lyrics are impossible to forget.

    The best part? The lyrics are nothing short of clever and witty. They may not seem that deep at first, but the sheer use and rhyme of the word sentimental with detrimental would make even the most harsh lyric critic smile.

    3. Call Me Maybe

    Ah, yes. The song of the summer and the smash pop hit of the year. Few can compare to its success, none can really match up to its cultural impact.

    It has one of the most memorable and adaptable hooks ever, and this is either a song you hate or you love. But regardless, everyone sings along.

    4. Curiosity

    Being the title of Carly's EP, released early this year, you would think she'd just slap this on her album and be done with it. However, it has received a beat makeover - now catchier and featuring a heavier pop melody.

    This decision has swayed the general reception of the song: most criticize her for changing what was already a great acoustic-oriented song, few welcome the makeover with open arms. And I agree with the former: while the beats are a nice flow to the overall album, the original version ends up better.

    5. Good Time (feat. Owl City)

    Owl City (Adam Young) has naturally been pushing out catchy, electropop sounds for years, but none have garnered as much success since Fireflies as this.

    Good Time is the epitome of feel-good pop and literally a definition of a summer song. It probably assumes itself, somewhat discreetly, as the most innocent one, too (there are no explicit sexual or drug use references, common in songs tailored for the season).

    It is safe to say that this has managed to become a great hit and, and is Carly's best collaboration to date.

    6. More Than a Memory

    A cute little song about the strong desire of a relationship to be something more than a memory. Carly's vocals seem less alluring on this track than the previous ones, and this is probably because of the busy melody - there is simply too much happening in the background after the chorus buildup.

    However, it comes out as one of the standout tracks, because it can withstand multiple plays without becoming obnoxious and the bridge is great.

    7. Turn Me Up

    We've heard songs of this nature so many times over - a calm intro, gradually increasing in beats, followed by a pre-chorus, and then the pinnacle of catchiness with a fantastic chorus delivery. Rinse and repeat.

    But this formula works, and Carly takes advantage of it. She holds nothing back as this song does exactly what it says on the title. The best part is definitely the repeating hook, in which her vocals are pure candy to the ears.

    8. Hurt So Good

    No buildup here - we're immediately immersed in upbeat goodness. Definitely has potential to become a club banger, if released as a single (her label would be foolish not to).

    This is a prime example of what Carly can do well - no moment is wasted on tempo changes when you have a song like this on your hands. The lyrics aren't as well thought out as This Kiss, but Hurt So Good is so, so good.

    9. Beautiful (ft. Justin Bieber)

    The first ballad of the album appears after 8 songs, but it smarly appears right after a huge upbeat monster track, and that allows a breather for the listener.

    You can really notice that Justin and Carly were meant to be together - on the track, I mean! Their harmonizing voices are good enough to carry a song that unfortunately isn't that lyrically appealing. This kind of 'you're beautiful and you don't know it' songs have been done countless times and this is just trying to reinvent the wheel.

    The attempt ends up cute, but underwhelming. It is the weakest track on the regular album; however, it will probably end up being a single, appealing to Justin's target audience (which will be more than happy to make it a moderate hit).

    10. Tonight I'm Getting Over You

    At first, this seems like a calm ballad, but it quickly spirals into a hybrid between an emotional break up song and a massive upbeat song in its peak.

    If Rihanna's Where Have You Been and Nicki Minaj's Pound the Alarm were meshed together, this would likely be the result. There are elements of both songs here, and the chorus obviously evidences it.

    Max Martin (the main producer of this track) is known for his signature catchy beats and hooks, and it is clearly on display here.

    11. Guitar String / Wedding Ring

    An incredible guilty pleasure. This is the song you don't want to be caught singing in public, but let yourself loose with alone.

    Nothing special in terms of lyrics and the comparison between a guitar string and a wedding ring is cute, yet incredibly cheesy. But oh boy, is it contagious!

    12. Your Heart Is a Muscle

    As the last song on the regular album, this track provides a great album closer - it's calm, has nice, simple lyrics and closer to the acoustic Carly from her EP/debut album.

    The melody is enough to place Carly's sweet vocals front and center, while she reiterates the need for a heart to be 'worked out' (in the form of love). The title is also pretty interesting, to say the least.

    It really is the best ballad on Kiss, and could easily be single-worthy for the slower seasons.

    BONUS TRACKS

    13. Drive

    Moving in to the bonus tracks, one would hope that they'd continue the flow of the regular album and be a complement to the album instead of just 'filler' material.

    Yet again, Carly doesn't disappoint, with an incredibly sing-along worthy song.The repetition of 'love, love, love' confers it the sliver of uniqueness it needs to set it apart as one of the songs that should have been on the regular album.

    14. Wrong Feels So Right

    The dubstep vibe present on this track is sure to please many looking for that quick fix of catchiness. Wrong Feels So Right is just checking off all the requirements - addicting, sick beat, nice lyrics, good tempo progression, and decent vocals.

    I just am surprised that, as a bonus track, it was cast aside in favor of other weaker songs that made the main cut. This really is a standout track.

    15. Sweetie

    This explosion of cuteness deserves major appraise. It will likely be underrated, due to the fact that it's a bonus track and many others will prefer the club vibe of Wrong Feels So Right.

    But Sweetie really is something. If Call Me Maybe is Carly Rae's career defining song, Sweetie is the summary to her 80s-inspired, addicting, delightful sugary pop material.

    It really stands out from the first playthrough (just like This Kiss). Curiously, this track isn't a standout in melody, vocals, production, or even lyrics. Instead, it's the sheer combination and great harmony of all that make it absolutely fantastic. This is the perfect dessert.

    16. Almost Said It

    This is a very different song from the rest on Kiss, and it's nearly an acoustic rendition. It's a slow ballad, that leaves something unsaid. The ending is very prompt and leaves the listener wondering something along the lines of 'wait...that's it?'. However, this is exactly the intended message - read the title again and you'll see why.

    The lyrics and message are more original than Beautiful (extra points here), but it stands out too much from the rest of the album - and for the first time, this is exactly not a good thing.

    [I Know You Have a Girlfriend (alternate track on some editions)]

    This just doesn't work. It's an okay song that will cause more annoyance than good. The beat and hook are just too heavy and repetitive, and they are overkill to what is left of Carly's vocals. As for the message, there is cute and cheesy - this is just the latter.

    It's not bad, but it's subpar enough that I'm glad they kept it out of some editions of the album.


    FINAL APPRECIATION AND RATING

    Kiss represents the true worldwide debut of Carly Rae Jepsen. While Tug of War is a nice, acoustic-driven album, it wasn't released outside the US & Canada.

    The album features a consistent and predominant 80s style pop, which is a throwback to the times and influences of Cyndi Lauper, Kylie Minogue and Madonna. But Kiss doesn't feel old and dated - it was reenginereed and adapted to the modern day and age, with tracks like Call Me Maybe, Tonight I'm Getting Over You and Good Time.

    Some downsides are present, however. At times, Carly's delivery feels tired and unoriginal. This is notorious in Beautiful, which despite being a cute ballad, is not enough to keep up with the high standards of the rest of the album. The overuse of background elements in some songs are also detrimental to her vocals.

    With the knack to grow on you rapidly, many will end up being her fans after a couple of playthroughs. Call Me Maybe alone is not enough to condense this album into a single song, and she must be given a chance to impress. There are about 7 huge, catchy and potential singles that could net Carly a huge amount of sales and recognition.

    Make no doubt about it, Carly is here to stay.

    FINAL RATING:

    Recommended Tracks (10): Tiny Little Bows, This Kiss, Call Me Maybe, Good Time, Turn Me Up, Hurt So Good, Tonight I'm Getting Over You, Your Heart Is A Muscle, Wrong Feels So Right, Sweetie

    The bottom line: A very solid transition between the soft ballads on Tug Of War to a full-blown feel-good pop artist on Kiss. Carly is practically faultless in delivery - this is clearly an album with massive replay value and catchiness to boot, stimulated by Carly's sweet, sugary vocals.
  • Demi Lovato Unbroken album review

    20 sep 2011, 02:40 av PegasusGX



    A BRIEF OVERVIEW

    It's no doubt people love a comeback story, and Demi Lovato plans to make her return one for the history books.

    Ever since her first triumphant lead role in Camp Rock, Demi sought to not only showcase her admirable acting skills, but primarily revolutionize the Disney music machine. With the aid of the Jonas Brothers, her debut album Don't Forget (released in late 2008) entered the Billboard 200 chart at #2, shipping 89,000 copies in its first week of release. The album was eventually certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), for shipments in excess of 500,000. Musically, Don't Forget focused heavily on pop rock and power pop, with lyrics versing upon teenage topics, appropriate for a young Disney starlet.

    The following year saw the release of her follow-up Here We Go Again, an album that explored a more acoustic/synthpop side of pop rock/power pop, due to new contributing songwriters, such as John Mayer (on World of Chances). It marked Lovato's first #1 album on the Billboard 200, with sales of 108,000 in its debut week (and has sold 450,000 copies so far).

    However, not everything was a bed of roses. Demi gradually felt the consuming pressure of her personal problems. In October of 2010, they hit breaking point, which caused her to drop out of the Jonas tour. Social media were quickly abuzz with stories of her mental issues: bulimia, low self-esteem, which had led to self-harming over the course of years. Diagnosed with bipolar disorder, it led to her checking into a rehabilitation facility shortly after, for 3 months, until late January.

    Quick to satisfy and give back to her supportive fans, the former Sonny With A Chance star hit the studios as soon as March, to work on her third studio album, Unbroken. The first single, Skyscraper, verses upon personal struggles in a very dark phase of Demi's life which recently came to light. It rapidly became a anthem representing strength and overcoming of personal battles, by selling over 400,000 units within the first two months of release (the fastest selling single in Demi's career to date).

    As for Unbroken, let's take into account that she has ultimately changed her game from a pop/rock sweetheart to a soulful R&B vocalist. The 180 degree-turn she has taken in terms of genre and subject material make this album a shot in the dark, a place where even Demi herself had never explored. That being said, life changes people, and Demi has had her fair share of turmoils along the years. Therefore, it's natural that she would want to close a chapter on pop/rock and venture into something new for her return. Although, debatably, two questions linger: how does Unbroken fare in this urban, more mainstream environment? And can it be used as a launchpad for bigger, greater things? Let's find out.

    INDIVIDUAL TRACK REVIEWS

    1. All Night Long (feat. Missy Elliott & Timbaland)

    There's really no underestimating the power and influence of a great album opener. Right from the get-go, Demi gives us a taste of the new world she has dived headfirst into, with her first of four continuous collaborations. This one features veteran singer Missy Elliot and producer Timbaland. Even though they are both twice her age, Demi holds nothing back as she insistently vocalizes the urge to stay up all night long with a special boy.

    The track features an heavy R&B beat, characteristic from Timbaland's unorthodox production, which adds catchiness to Demi's repetitive lyrics. Missy adds the final touch by singing the bridge that leads to Timbaland taking a background presence, as Demi once again conducts the song to its conclusion.

    Lyrically, All Night Long offers nothing extremely worthwhile, but that's not the focus here. This is a song that is more than appropriate for mainstream radio, and would clearly be a huge hit - it stays in your head, is fabulously repetitive, the overall production is terrific, and vocals are spot on.

    2. Who's That Boy (feat. Dev)

    Just when you thought All Night Long was catchy enough, along comes this track and promptly steals that award.

    Dev takes over the intro, although it's Demi that really adds a sensual flair with her dynamic vocals, asking 'Who's That Boy' repeatedly. While we might never find out who he really is, truth is that this is another song appropriate for mainstream hip-hop/Top 40 radios. The beats are fresh and pop perfectly. Dev's rap just adds the cherry on top, making the song extremely seductive and appealing to an older audience.

    3. You're My Only Shorty (feat. Iyaz)

    A genius collaboration. You're My Only Shorty" is a pure earworm from start to finish, and this is primarily due to the fact that Iyaz takes over the chorus, while Demi is in charge of wowing everybody with her terrific vocals - killing those high notes and providing effective background support. It mixes lots of synth effects, but they pan out exceptionally well.

    Another potential radio hit which would stay on their playlists for a long time - and ultimately in your head.

    5. Together (feat. Jason Derulo)

    This is the last collaboration on the album, and what a stunner! Jason Derulo was dubbed as the impossible to get collaboration, and you can see exactly why. This is a slightly less upbeat track than any of the previous ones, but that holds nothing back for both.

    Singing fervently on how the power of love can bring people together, this provides an excellent bridge song between Demi's more radio/club-worthy features and her personal material to follow.

    As far as lyrics are concerned, this is clearly the best collaboration and the closest to R&B. The musical chemistry between both is simply staggering, as they soulfully chant together on an easily relatable song - the remembrance of love and its necessity to the world, which unfortunately many seem oblivious to.

    5. Lightweight

    As we jump out of four opening collaborations, we are blown away by Demi's solo voice at the start of her solo songs, and Lightweight is nothing short of brilliantly mesmerizing.

    It verses upon an ethereal trait and how how simple words can completely take over someone fragile, filling them with promises that could eventually break them. Thus, Demi begs: handle with care, say you'll be there (...) keep me from falling apart, laying her vulnerability on the line for the world to hear.

    Production for this track was assured by Timbaland, and it delivers, adding composition to Demi's flawless vocals. This is arguably the paramount track on Unbroken and one of the best in her catalog - full of raw, genuine emotions and outstanding lyrics being delivered by her first-class set of pipes.

    6. Unbroken

    Contrary to popular belief and early speculation, the album title song is not actually a ballad, but indeed a club-banging track (which undoubtedly comes as a surprise). Instead of versing upon struggles and personal demons like Skyscraper, it takes a very different approach: the full confidence in love, almost to the point of despair: stuck in some kind of love prison, and threw away the key.

    It features a sick beat, and a great electric mid-tempo that really adds some flair to the song. The chorus buildup is great, and when it is reached, Demi determinately repeats the lyrics Tonight, tonight, I'm letting go, go, go, go... at the end of each verse. Pleasantly unpredictable overall.

    7. Fix a Heart

    This is yet another personal and emotional ballad, rapidly becoming a fan favorite and easily one of the most quotable and relatable songs on the album.

    Demi appears painstakingly vulnerable: It's like you're pouring salt in my cuts, and reaching toward a very creative metaphor involving band-aids and fixing of hearts: emotional pain caused by love can be patched up - hence the band-aid reference, as a temporary heal - but never forgotten.

    Her cries are delivered with impeccable sensibility, making the listener really feel the sheer amount of her anguish, and the song ends on a soft, yet lingering verse.

    8. Hold Up

    The song initiates with a fast driven lyric and ends as it started: If the weapon is your love, I got my hands up! Extremely charismatic, it sets the tone for the rest of the track: upbeat gold, filled with Lovato comparing the force of someone's love to a hold up. She begs them to leave her alone, even though she's simultaneously aroused by the danger of it all.

    The lyrics aren't groundbreaking, but they're fantastically witty. Coupled with a contagious beat (frequent on this album), it makes for a very enjoyable song.

    9. Mistake

    With the same beautiful melody of Korean girl group SNSD's BORN TO BE A LADY (the producer legally sold the melody to both), many could raise a (valid) point that this is the English version of their song. Regarding Demi's, however, her vocals are the thing that really sets this one apart (disregarding the obvious language barrier).

    This isn't your typical breakup-you-blew-it song, it's much, much more than that. It arguably features one of the best lyrical displays of the album, flowing naturally with Demi's harmonious, yet powerful vocals. The bridge is fast paced, building up to a dramatic pause, and resulting in pre-chorus of I hope you ache, ache, ache. That isn't the end though, as Demi concludes by taking it a notch higher for a truly epic chorus rendition.

    10. Give Your Heart a Break

    Quite possibly Demi's most catchy solo song - ever! The lyrics regard someone scared to fall in love, to avoid having their heart broken. Yet, Demi assures that she's not like the rest, inciting the relationship.

    Lovato's vocals are, once more, irreproachable. She takes it to new heights during the chorus, delivering several absolute belters that sets it apart from anything we've heard on this album. When you join the extremely epidemic melody, truth is we really do fall in love, with Demi and this track.

    This is a song that enters your soul, and makes you want to jump around like a maniac. There's simply no other way to put it.

    11. Skyscraper

    In modern culture, a skyscraper is a tall, sturdy building rising toward the sky. For Demi Lovato, it represents an anthem of courage and fearlessness.

    The lead single verses upon Demi's very dark and troubled past and how she managed to stay strong, defining her comeback as rising from the ground like a skyscraper. It puts everything on the line as Demi's exposed voice illustrates her troubled self, with just an angelic piano instrumental in the background.

    This ballad is the definition of Unbroken's solemn side - raw emotion and almighty vocals.

    You can read my full, extensive review of the single Skyscraper here.

    12. In Real Life

    The shortest track on Unbroken, but no less of a contender. With an intro similar to a less intense version of Avril's What The Hell, this song stands out amongst all the others not by vocals or melody (although they are equally praiseful), but overall ingenious lyrical production.

    The harsh battle between expectation vs reality pans out idealistically as Lovato imagines waking up to roses, champagne, kisses...but then she realizes this is real life. A bit of a clichéd, predictable "happy" ending lowers the overall appreciation slightly, although this isn't reason enough to outweigh the massive fun this song provides.

    13. My Love Is Like a Star

    Soulful from the get-go, this track is finger-clickable material to its full extent.

    The melody features amazing 90's R&B style, pure and flowing at its core. One of the most important things in a singer of this music style is the ability to transmit the emotion and rhythm to the listener. And Demi holds nothing back as her vocals are timed perfectly with the melody.

    The lyrics are beautiful and expressive - the association between love and a star is creatively stimulating, typical of this style. Production is fantastic overall, and the vocals are passionate.

    Natural and flawless.

    14. For the Love of a Daughter

    As we move into the penultimate song of the album, we encounter a track that was previously scheduled to be present on Here We Go Again's track listing, but later removed, as Demi considered fans weren't prepared for this early emotional chapter of her life.

    It finally made the cut on Unbroken, and it's perfect for the theme of this album. HWGA versed upon teen subjects - certainly not the place for a deep, meaningful song about the painful experiences of Demi's childhood.

    It's not expected that newcomers or casual listeners fully understand the meaning behind this song and the sensitive nature it verses upon.

    Being a very special track for Demi's fans (designated Lovatics) ever since it was announced, two years ago, For The Love Of A Daughter starts off with a melancholic piano intro. Throughout the course of the song, Demi's vocals increase in power, but also grief. The climax initiates at 2:55 and carries on for 45 raw, woeful seconds as she begs at her merciless father: Oh father, please father, put the bottle down, for the love of a daughter.

    Lovato crashes through everything with shock waves of emotion in unprecedented happenings. This is a song that is raw and real to its core and needs emotional versatility to fully deliver a mesmerizing performance.

    In its essence, a song that would make a full grown man cry buckets.

    15. Skyscraper [Wizz Dumb Remix]

    When I hear the word remix, I expect something fresh and innovative, while not ruining the original song. While the Wizz Dumb remix of Skyscraper doesn't exactly violate the latter, less could be said about the former. The vocals remain the same, the only thing that was added were a couple of continuous (and monotonous) beats that don't really add anything worthwhile.

    This should be considered more of a bonus track than an album closer per se - an insult to the extremely heartfelt For The Love Of A Daughter, the true album ender.

    As I usually say to remixes - the original proves better.


    FINAL APPRECIATION & RATING

    A year ago, if anyone betted me Demi Lovato would change her style to R&B and succeed at it, I would have laughed in their faces - she had talent, but was notoriously infused a pop/rock world. Well, it's a good thing I didn't make any bets, or I would certainly be bankrupt by now!

    Unbroken displays a magnitude of remarkable talent from this promising ex-Disney starlet. Pure R&B is not a cosy world like pop - you either have talent at something or you go home. With tracks such as All Night Long, Together and the notorious My Love Is Like A Star, Lovato not only proves her ability at singing this genre, but passes with flying colors.

    There is little to dislike or fault on Unbroken apart from some lyrical downgrades from previous album Here We Go Again. However, she makes up for it with better vocals, which is ultimately a big advantage. While the collaborations are clearly meant for airplay and recognition in her new world, the solo tracks bring her back to what she really is - a raw, mature, emotional artist. Having the best of both worlds on one album - power-singing through problems and simply dancing your butt off - is something very pleasant. This is also by far her best album, overall.

    As for the fans reception, most will be over the moon with this album. The change to R&B will undoubtedly bring in new, older, more mature fans - something Demi is trying to appeal to as she gains influence. Of course, you can't please everyone, and some pop/rock lovers will be sad to see her leaving the environment which started her career and that produced amazing songs, such as World of Chances, Believe in Me, Don't Forget, Solo, just to name a few.

    Overall, her voice is leaps and bounds ahead any current teen star, and with a jaw-dropping vocal range at such a young age of 19, you can see why. While some of the tracks employ the use of auto-tune (the collaborations), all the rest of her solo tracks remain raw and natural. She doesn't need any vocal correctors at all, her vocals are a natural talent. She has the potential to become the next Christina Aguilera/Kelly Clarkson..or even better.

    Whitney Houston dominated the 80s, Mariah Carey shone in the 90s, Christina Aguilera wow'ed the 00s....could the 10s belong to Demi Lovato? That remains to be seen as she matures into a full-blown artist. This album is just the start of her metamorphosis.

    Without rehab and facing her personal issues head-on, this album wouldn't have been possible - Demi has changed as a person (by staying strong), which reflects her style as an artist. It is said that good always comes out of something bad - but Unbroken isn't just good, it's stunning!

    All in all, a new R&B star is born - and she's shining brighter than the sun.

    FINAL RATING:

    Recommended Tracks: All Night Long, Together, Lightweight, Fix A Heart, Mistake, Give Your Heart A Break, Skyscraper, In Real Life, My Love Is Like A Star, For The Love Of A Daughter

    The bottom line: Featuring huge potential radio/club collaborations, and solo gems, Unbroken is a highly enjoyable voyage between Demi Lovato's personal, vulnerable, emotional side, and the other that just wants to have a good time, all night long.
  • Lady Antebellum "Own The Night" album review

    12 sep 2011, 21:09 av PegasusGX



    Lady Antebellum, contrary to popular belief, never had been a band in the spotlight. That was, however, until their sophomore album Need You Now debuted #1 on the Billboard 200, selling little under 500,000 copies in its debut week. Just four weeks after release, it was certified platinum.

    However, this wasn't the end. The band then went on to the 2011 Grammys, becoming the top winners of the night and taking home 5 gold gramophones, and Need You Now became the most awarded crossover album in recent times. They had truly made it to the top of country music, becoming the most recognized band (and arguably the best).

    Even before their multiple Grammy accolades, Hilary, Charles and Dave were hard at work recording their third studio album, Own the Night. In May 2011, they released their first single off the new album, Just a Kiss, which rapidly became a commercial success.

    As a whole, though, do Lady Antebellum deliver with their most recent tunes? Let's find out.

    We Owned the Night: A very solid and refreshing opener to a promising album. It's a perfect end of summer song that carries a sorrowful reminiscence to a lost love. It features a new, "rock-ish" sound from a band that is traditionally country pop. Catchy, upbeat and a perfect harmony to set the tone for the rest of the album. And the bridge is fantastic.

    Favorite lyric: When the summer rolls around, and the sun starts sinking down, I still remember you...oh, I remember you. And I wonder where you are...are you looking at those same stars again? Do you remember when?

    Just a Kiss: The band wastes no time in providing us with one of the best singles that graced country music in 2011. Just A Kiss is a wonderful song about how love should be done - slow and steady. The chorus is engaging and memorable and we definitely see a return to the pop sound that made Need You Now (the single) so popular. Definitely a fan favorite.

    Favorite lyric: Just a kiss on your lips in the moonlight, just a touch in the fire burning so bright, and I don’t want to mess this thing up, I don’t want to push too far. Just a shot in the dark that you just might be the one I’ve been waiting for my whole life. So baby I’m alright, with just a kiss goodnight...

    Dancin' Away With My Heart: What fabulous chemistry! They really outdid themselves here - the lyrics, the meaning, and the music combine to form emotion that only Lady A can transmit perfectly. It evokes nostalgia of past friends, making it a very relatable song.

    Favorite lyric: Oh you headed out to college at the end of that summer when we lost touch. I guess I didn’t realize even at that moment we lost so much...

    Friday Night: This is an upbeat, country sounding track about the good moments of Friday nights and enjoying them with someone you love. Lyrically, there's not much that really stands out and they are somewhat cheesy (I wanna be your lemonade in the shade, money in your pocket, 'cause you just got paid, babe). This is their weakest track on the album. Not filler material, but not exactly memorable.

    Favorite lyric: I wanna be your get away, at the end of every day, that window's rolled down kinda song you love to play.

    When You Were Mine: This is another beautiful song about the nostalgia of lost love - something that Lady A love to verse about. And they do it fantastically - the lyrics are on point, the rhetorical questions adequate and everything flows nicely with a great, uptempo beat.

    Favorite lyric: What if this was it, baby? What if this was our time? (Back when we were in love) Back when you were mine...back when we were in love, in loveeee!

    Cold as Stone: On an album, sometimes there are those songs that you listen to once and they will be forever with you. They are the hidden gems (songs that are amazing, but aren't singles - at least not yet).

    Cold As Stone is a masterpiece in itself. It is my favorite song on the album - the lyrics are nothing short of epic, captivating you from the first listen, and the emotion of the three is visible. It's a ballad, but this is where Lady A shine brightly. And the ending...it will make you cry. A flawless instrumental end with somewhat Asian-styled music. Beautiful. And that is what makes it unique and different from any Lady A song - ever.

    Favorite lyric: Yeah, it's gonna take forever to get over you...oh and I don't think this pain's gonna go away. Oh, scars left when it's said and done remain...

    Singing Me Home: Following in the footsteps of Friday Night, this track does little to improve. It's upbeat, with repeating lyrics: "my sweet love keeps singing me home". Not exactly a stunner per se, but flows nicely.

    Favorite lyric: Sunshine shining through the windshield (...) love, love, love, love, why don't you sing me home?

    Wanted You More: An excellent track - slowly increases tempo until the chorus, where the trio sing harmoniously. The lyrics are great, the melody is a perfect match for their vocals and it finishes off greatly.

    Favorite lyric: I guess I wanted you more, and looking back now I'm sure, I guess I wanted you more! I don't need you any more...

    As You Turn Away: The bridge highlights the differences in tempo in this song as piano sets the key for a final, powerful chorus. It verses on the fact that there is nothing more to be said or done as a love turns away and leaves, though they "keep reaching out for you".

    Favorite lyric: Nothing more to say, nothing left to break...nothing left to give, nothing left to take, I keep reaching out for you (x3)...as you turn away.

    Love I've Found in You: This is such a pleasing song and the best uptempo here. The instrumental is joyful, the band sings with continuous emotion, and it retains that nice country riff.

    Favorite lyric: Some people search the whole world over, just to find a love that's even half as true...as the love I've found in you!

    Somewhere Love Remains: On the penultimate track, the trio act out two sides - one trying to stop a love from running away, and the other (sung by Hilary) asking for reasons why they should stay. It's really nice to see this side of Lady Antebellum, with hearty rebuttals, being overall very engaging to the listener. This song also carries what I consider to be one of the most inspiring love lyrics of all time.

    Favorite lyric: Love takes time to build its defenses, and trust takes time to tear down those fences, and love remains that's stronger than ever before. So don't walk out that door, I don't wanna hurt anymore!

    Heart of the World: The closing song is a ballad that focuses on the importance of love (which the whole album versed on) and how it makes the world go round. Not only is this extremely heartwarming, but it provides for a glorious anthem. Lady Antebellum prove that love is louder than anything, considering it "the heart of the world".

    Favorite lyric: 'Cause love is the heart, love is the heart, love is the heart of the world.

    Final comments & rating: Lady Antebellum really have crafted an excellent album here. The trio prove that they deserve to be at the pinnacle of country music, and that Need You Now wasn't their one-hit wonder.

    Their songwriting is (once more) Grammy-worthy (having written/co-written nearly every song on the album) and their vocals are on point in nearly every song, providing such an unique harmony. The tunes on this album are mellifluous, versing about love: relationships, break ups, the lot. While there are a couple of upbeat tracks that don't really fit into the whole ballad style the album portrays, they still manage to show a band eager to try new styles and shake it up a little. However, where they really shine are at the slow songs - sincere, intense and soothing.

    Some will be dubious if this album would be as good as its predecessor. Everyone had high expectations, after the success of Need You Now, but the truth is...

    ...it's better. I'd recommend this album to anyone that wants to experience what modern country is all about.

    Final Rating: A (9/10)
    Recommended Tracks: We Owned The Night, Just A Kiss, Dancin' Away With My Heart, Cold As Stone, Wanted You More, Love I've Found In You, Somewhere Love Remains, Heart Of The World

    The bottom line: Lady Antebellum prove their worth again, with an album containing a fantastic set of well-written, beautiful love songs that bring a refreshing sound to country music, and very few flaws along the way.
  • Top 10 Albums of 2011 (Jan - Jun)

    4 aug 2011, 20:32 av PegasusGX

    It's hard to believe that half of the year 2011 is over. There have been some very good albums released in the first two yearly quarters, spanning all genres. Some have been highly publicized, others are sleeper hits, and the rest are just hidden gems. Nonetheless, all the present albums are deserving of their position on my Top 10.

    Eligible period is January 1, 2011 to June 30, 2011, counting official release date.

    Without further ado, let's begin.

    10. Brad Paisley - This Is Country Music (May 23)

    A solid album that showcases exactly why Brad Paisley is CMA Entertainer of The Year. A Man Don't Have To Die is genius, but the star of the show is definitely Remind Me, the duet with Carrie Underwood. A song so emotional, perfect for this album, with fabulous chemistry and vocals from both. So far, this is the best thing in country music this year.

    9. The Script - Science & Faith (Jan 18)

    A magnificent record overall from a band that rarely disappoints. For the First Time became a huge hit, and its a song that can be on repeat all day long - the ending is pure epic.

    8. The Decemberists - The King Is Dead (Jan 14)

    This album is like marmite - you either love it or hate it. Most would say that this is their worst, others defend the opposite. I support the latter crowd. A lot of harmonica and country roots are present, and songs like Don't Carry It All, January Hymn, June Hymn and Down by the Water define it. Country music lovers will enjoy this stripped down album, although it still is inside the Alternative genre. Still, whichever "side" you're on, the truth is that The Decemberists's worst album is better than a lot of bands' best album.

    7. Britney Spears - Femme Fatale (Mar 25)

    One of the many artists to make a comeback. And this album is good, very good. It's hard to believe this is her 7th album, but it's impressive how she can still influence millions in a Gaga-dominated era. Fantastic dance album.

    6. Andy Grammer - Andy Grammer (Jun 14)

    A breakthrough artist with a hidden gem of an album. Incredibly catchy and great lyrics set the tone of this album, with Miss Me, Biggest Man in Los Angeles, Lunatic and Fine By Me deserving honors, but it is Keep Your Head Up that has captivated many listeners. If you enjoy meaningful pop music, look no further.
    Get used to hearing his name.

    5. Owl City - All Things Bright And Beautiful (Jun 14)

    The simple definition of Adam Young? Dreamy, catchy, creatively brilliant. This album is no exception, it features naturally pleasing music that one cannot hope but smile at (hence the album's name). He has transcended all limits of his previous album and wrote songs that are just pure amazing. Highlights go toThe Real World, Deer in the Headlights, Angels, Galaxies and Alligator Sky.

    4. Avril Lavigne - Goodbye Lullaby (Mar 8)

    Another comeback by an artist that influenced and rocked the early-mid 2000s. This is an meditative, reflective album, full of mature songs that really make you think. It's an album for you to LISTEN, cherish and take seriously. Avril has matured so much, while still retaining elements from all her previous albums, and this is evident throughout Goodbye Lullaby's listening process.

    Picture this album as a long spiraling staircase that starts high up.Black Star is at the top, and Goodbye is the very pit. As you make your way down, you'll encounter a lot of different emotions that twist and turn, increasingly darker, but they are all necessary to understand the album completely, just like each step is essential in a staircase to complete it.

    3. Lady Gaga - Born This Way (May 23)

    Moving into the podium spots, we have Gaga, which many could say is the current queen of pop. She has taken the world by storm, especially with this album - proof are album sales, with over 1 million just in the first week of release. This album marks Gaga down as one of only 5 women to ever sell a million albums on debut week.

    Musically and lyrically, she is a genius. The simple fusion of pop and dance with rock and metal elements is fantastic, and this albums spans nearly all genres - from the industrial sounding Judas, bubblegum pop Hair nirvana, international Americano and Scheiße, country-style Yoü and I, and finishing with jazz perfection, we can easily say that Gaga isn't on The Edge of Glory - she's already in it.

    2. Ellie Goulding - Lights (Mar 8)

    Marking a firm presence in the UK with this album, Ellie is an artist with an ethereal voice and lyrics to boot, writing/co-writing all songs with astounding lyrical perfection, with the obvious exception of Your Song, by Sir Elton John (which is the best cover I've ever heard). She masterfully dominates the electronic side of pop, making her into a female Owl City of sorts.

    Make no doubt about it, this is pop magic. Every single song is unique and perfect (and there are no fillers whatsoever), making this an extremely deserving album of second place. The lights of the music industry will definitely continue to shine bright for Ellie, after she delivered such a magnificent debut album.

    1. Adele - 21 (Feb 22)

    What a breathtaking album. Adele's voice is powerful, vulnerable, assured and heartbreaking all in one fell swoop. While most of today's pop stars rely on auto-tune, flashy video pyrotechnics, and guest rappers, Adele takes music back to its core and makes you feel, live and have an opinion on every single word. Dripping with raw emotion, it's hard to believe someone so young could produce such a masterpiece.

    She is an artist to be treasured - with a voice beyond compare, and lyrical capacity beyond belief, this album deserves nothing less than a Grammy for Album of Year at next year's Grammy Awards. On this countdown, however, Adele has already taken gold.

    ----

    Honorable Mentions:

    Beyoncé - 4
    Eric Church - Chief
    Selena Gomez & the Scene - When the Sun Goes Down

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    Well, it seems that UK artists are definitely leaving a mark all over the world, with Ellie Goulding and Adele showcasing excellent albums for this first half of 2011, even though Gaga's album proved her worthy of the Queen of Pop title.

    What were your favorites? Do you have other suggestions for great albums released this year? Leave a comment below!
  • Rebecca Black My Moment (Single) Review

    19 jul 2011, 02:00 av PegasusGX



    Those who said Rebecca Black would never make it in the music scene were sorely mistaken. After the release of the terribly catchy, autotuned-to-hell, debut song Friday, on February 10th, 2011, it only took roughly 1 month for her to make worldwide headlines. Parodied, mocked at, joked about - this girl knows the word "hate". After all, she had the whole world go mental with the release of such a charismatic song. Laugh all you like, but the truth is that it still is one of the most played, if not the #1 played song on Fridays. And considering they come around once a week, after Thursday and before Saturday (if Rebecca taught me the days right, that should be correct), it is a big deal.

    Rebecca was only 13 when Ark Music Factory released Friday, but her sophomore single release has her a year older, stripped down, with a better record label. And thus My Moment makes its debut in the shadows of Friday.

    She starts off with Were you the one who said that I would be nothing...well, I'm about to prove you wrong, lyrics that directly target all those who thought she would be "just another artist", following with I'm not the only one who believes in something, my one wish is about to come true, demonstrating that she's not the only one with aspirations, and her one dream [singing, being successful in the music industry] is close to reality, if not already.

    The second verse highlights one particular sentence: My head up in the clouds when nobody is around to see.... Here we can visibly see that Rebecca is completely alienated by her dream, and she thinks about it all the time. In a larger scope, we could say it's about ignoring all those who pull you down and just take "to the sky", following your goals.

    And thus, it's time for the chorus - extremely catchy and sufficiently repetitive to get the point through. The basic rundown is: This is my moment, my moment...feels like my moment, my moment, I've waited for so long, but now everybody knows this is my moment, my moment.

    The bridge is where this song really shines. It's simple, pinpointing negativity, and the most brilliant thing, mocking it: Haters, said I'll see you later, can't talk to you right now...said I'm doing big things, things you never dreamed of, I hope you are happy cause I'm 'bout to blow up. Absolute genius. For a girl this age, it's sufficient and it gets the point through perfectly. Thus, it proves, in a nutshell, that haters will never attain the level of fame she has, and she'll be meeting people and doing things they can only dream of. Rebecca is taking advantage of the haters to fuel her passion, transpiring an extremely resilient girl.

    This is a great anti-hater anthem that displays Rebecca's potential for bigger and better things. Arrogant and cocky to some, strong and passionate to others, the bottom line is it shines the light on a new Rebecca, that has notoriously changed her game.

    Let's face it: Friday was never radio-intended. It was catchy, sure, but extremely negative reviews meant that a song as atrocious as critics made it out to be would never even play on the radio on non-mockery grounds.

    My Moment, though, opens the door to Rebecca as a serious artist. She's has had her launchpad, even if she received pretty harsh criticism, and this song is her view on all the hate she's has been getting. If she continues to show this side, who knows, she might just be the next big thing. She's taken the Internet world by storm earlier this year, now all she needs to conquer is the real, physical world - that means airplay, physical copies, a better record deal and vocal lessons to strip her off the auto-tune that so negatively leads others into prejudice. Not necessarily in that order.

    Overall, though, My Moment is probably the greatest follow up of all time.

    Final Rating: B (8/10)

    Bottom line: My Moment is an anti-hater anthem at its core and mockery at its vantage point.
  • My 2007 Hot 100

    12 maj 2011, 20:10 av FelipeCostaG



    2007’s Hot 100 Singles

    #SONGARTISTPEAK
    1Ordinary DayDolores O' Riordan1
    2PromiseCiara1
    3M-a-k-e-l-o-v-e-t-o-m-eVanessa Carlton / Channel 7 (7 Aurelius)1
    4All Good Things (Come To An End)Nelly Furtado1
    5AnythingJojo1
    6Take ControlAmerie3
    7UmbrellaRihanna / Jay Z5
    8GlamorousFergie / Ludacris1
    9Say It RightNelly Furtado1
    10Before He CheatsCarrie Underwood2
    11RubyKaiser Chiefs1
    12No Hay IgualNelly Furtado / Calle 131
    13Stay FlyThree 6 Mafia / Young Buck1
    14GirlfriendAvril Lavigne5
    15It's Going DownYung Joc1
    16Give It To MeTimbaland / Nelly Furtado / Justin Timberlake1
    17LithiumEvanescence1
    18U + Ur HandsP!nk6
    19LDNLily Allen2
    20Upgrade UBeyonce / Jay Z1
    21I Want CandyMelanie C2
    22Love Like WinterAFI1
    23Summer LoveJustin Timberlake2
    24What I've DoneLinkin Park4
    25Nolita FairytaleVanessa Carlton1
    26Like A BoyCiara1
    27RehabAmy Winehouse2
    28Makes Me WonderMaroon 54
    29Falling AwayMarion Raven1
    30Never AgainKelly Clarkson8
    31Long Way 2 GoCassie1
    32The Sweet EscapeGwen Stefani / Akon3
    33IrreplaceableBeyonce3
    34Who KnewP!nk5
    35Like ThisKelly Rowland / Eve2
    36Crank That (Soulja Boy)Soulja Boy1
    37Coming For YouJojo2
    38Keep Holding OnAvril Lavigne2
    39The Potential Break-Up SongAly And Aj6
    40Show Me What You GotJay Z4
    41Aim At MeThe Hall Effect2
    42The Way I AreTimbaland / Keri Hilson / Sebastian / DOE1
    43Do ItNelly Furtado1
    44Murder (I Get Away With It)Ashlee Simpson / Travis McCoy (Gym Class Heroes)1
    45Anna MollyIncubus7
    46Hook Me UpThe Veronicas1
    47StrongerKanye West1
    48Shut Up And DriveRihanna1
    49Heroes And ThievesVanessa Carlton9
    50CarolynaMelanie C5
    51Quien Eres Tu?Maria Jose / Trey Songz2
    52When Your Heart Stops BeatingPlus 442
    53Sweet SacrificeEvanescence2
    54AlfieLily Allen3
    55Gotta WorkAmerie6
    56With LoveHilary Duff7
    57Cupid's Chokehold / Breakfast In AmericaGym Class Heroes3
    58Big Girls Don't CryFergie6
    59Fired UpJessica Simpson3
    60This Ain't A Scene, It's An Arms RaceFall Out Boy5
    61What Goes Around... Comes AroundJustin Timberlake2
    62Too Little Too LateJojo2
    63HeartbeatParis Hilton6
    64Me And YouCassie1
    65Say OkVanessa Hudgens6
    66SognareDivisión Minúscula2
    67Beautiful LiarBeyonce / Shakira2
    68WastedCarrie Underwood4
    69You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)Jessica Simpson2
    70When You're GoneAvril Lavigne8
    714 In The MorningGwen Stefani5
    72Gimme MoreBritney Spears8
    73Play With FireHilary Duff3
    74ApologyzeTimbaland / One Republic2
    75Don't Stop The MusicRihanna1
    76ClumsyFergie1
    77Hold It, Don't Drop ItJennifer Lopez9
    78RunawayP!nk8
    79Zun Da Da (The Perfect Melody)Zion8
    80Get Me BodiedBeyonce1
    81But It's Better That You DoPanic! At The Disco6
    82StrangerHilary Duff6
    83In God's HandsNelly Furtado8
    84InvisibleAshlee Simpson2
    85Beautiful GirlsSean Kingston9
    86Thnks Fr Th MmrsFall Out Boy10
    87ImpactoDaddy Yankee / Fergie9
    88Going BlindLilyjets2
    89Throw It On MeTimbaland / The Hives / WWE Divas7
    90DulceFrancisca Valenzuela10
    91Outta My HeadAshlee Simpson2
    92HotAvril Lavigne3
    93The Kill30 Seconds To Mars7
    94Icky ThumpThe White Stripes8
    95BullseyeAly And Aj4
    96UntouchedThe Veronicas5
    97Come Back To MeVanessa Hudgens3
    98Now That You Got ItGwen Stefani2
    99This TimeJojo9
    100One ShotDanity Kane11

    BUBBLING UNDER HOT 100

    101Ayo Technology50 Cent / Timbaland / Justin Timberlake12
    102Want It For MeDanity Kane10
    103ButtonsThe Pussycat Dolls3
    104Never Gonna Be The SameSean Paul7
    105CandymanChristina Aguilera7
    106From Yesterday30 Seconds To Mars9
    107Not Like ThatAshley Tisdale10
    108Tango Del PecadoCalle 132
    109He Said She SaidAshley Tisdale9
    110Cuz I CanP!nk10
    111Te BusqueNelly Furtado / Juanes10
    112Eres Para MiJulieta Venegas / Anita Tijoux3
    113Igual Que AyerRakim y Ken-Y2
    114I Don't Love YouMy Chemical Romance8
    115Bleed It OutLinkin Park9
    116Do You Know (The Ping Pong Song)Enrique Iglesias10
    117LovestonedJustin Timberlake11
    118Hate That I Love YouRihanna / Ne-Yo10
    119Do It WellJennifer Lopez12
    120ScrewedParis Hilton12
    121Luz Sin GravedadBelinda13
    122Muérdete La LenguaFrancisca Valenzuela11
    123SismoDivisión Minúscula9
    124Piece Of MeBritney Spears11
    125VeoZion11
    126So SmallCarrie Underwood12
    127Rock StarNickelback12
    128Good EnoughEvanescence10
    129Clothes Off!!Gym Class Heroes11
    130Chemicals ReactAly And Aj3
    131Bella TraiciónBelinda12
    132Wind It UpGwen Stefani4
    133Get UpCiara / Chamillionaire6
    134Suga MamaBeyonce13
    135Hanging OnCheyenne Kimball12
    136Let's DanceVanessa Hudgens12
    137Hold Me DownDanity Kane11
    138Break It OffRihanna / Sean Paul9
    139JumpMadonna10
    140That's Why I'm HotMims13
    141Slow Down BabyChristina Aguilera13
    142IllegalShakira / Santana10
    143Dear Mr. PresidentP!nk13
    144Jesus, Take The WheelCarrie Underwood9
    145Here I ComeFergie10
    146No OneAlicia Keys10
    147We RideRihanna9
    148Ever Blazin'Sean Paul10
    149Shame For YouLily Allen10
    150This TimeMelanie C14

    Year’s Chart-topped Singles

    WEEKSONGARTIST
    1AnythingJojo
    2AnythingJojo
    3M-a-k-e-l-o-v-e-t-o-m-eVanessa Carlton / Channel 7 (7 Aurelius)
    4M-a-k-e-l-o-v-e-t-o-m-eVanessa Carlton / Channel 7 (7 Aurelius)
    5No Hay IgualNelly Furtado / Calle 13
    6Love Like WinterAFI
    7Me And YouCassie
    8PromiseCiara
    9PromiseCiara
    10PromiseCiara
    11LithiumEvanescence
    12LithiumEvanescence
    13Ordinary DayDolores O' Riordan
    14Ordinary DayDolores O' Riordan
    15Long Way 2 GoCassie
    16Falling AwayMarion Raven
    17GlamorousFergie / Ludacris
    18RubyKaiser Chiefs
    19RubyKaiser Chiefs
    20Give It To MeTimbaland / Nelly Furtado / Justin Timberlake
    21Upgrade UBeyonce / Jay Z
    22Say It RightNelly Furtado
    23Get Me BodiedBeyonce
    24All Good Things (Come To An End)Nelly Furtado
    25All Good Things (Come To An End)Nelly Furtado
    26The Way I AreTimbaland / Keri Hilson / Sebastian / DOE
    27The Way I AreTimbaland / Keri Hilson / Sebastian / DOE
    28Do ItNelly Furtado
    29Do ItNelly Furtado
    30Like A BoyCiara
    31Like A BoyCiara
    32Shut Up And DriveRihanna
    33Stay FlyThree 6 Mafia / Young Buck
    34Stay FlyThree 6 Mafia / Young Buck
    35Stay FlyThree 6 Mafia / Young Buck
    36It's Going DownYung Joc
    37StrongerKanye West
    38Hook Me UpThe Veronicas
    39Crank That (Soulja Boy)Soulja Boy
    40Crank That (Soulja Boy)Soulja Boy
    41Nolita FairytaleVanessa Carlton
    42Crank That (Soulja Boy)Soulja Boy
    43Nolita FairytaleVanessa Carlton
    44Nolita FairytaleVanessa Carlton
    45Nolita FairytaleVanessa Carlton
    46Nolita FairytaleVanessa Carlton
    47Don't Stop The MusicRihanna
    48Murder (I Get Away With It)Ashlee Simpson / Travis McCoy
    49Murder (I Get Away With It)Ashlee Simpson / Travis McCoy
    50Murder (I Get Away With It)Ashlee Simpson / Travis McCoy
    51ClumsyFergie
    52ClumsyFergie

    Other Charts

    TOP 10 CD'S

    1LOOSENELLY FURTADO
    2ALRIGHT, STILLLILY ALLEN
    3THE EVOLUTIONCIARA
    4THE HIGH ROADJOJO
    5VVANESSA HUDGENS
    6B' DAYBEYONCÉ
    7I'M NOT DEADP!NK
    8SOME HEARTSCARRIE UNDERWOOD
    9THE DUTCHESSFERGIE
    10BECAUSE I LOVE ITAMERIE

    TOP 10 POP

    1Before He CheatsCarrie Underwood
    2U + Ur HandsP!nk
    3Ordinary DayDolores O' Riordan
    4GirlfriendAvril Lavigne
    5Nolita FairytaleVanessa Carlton
    6LDNLily Allen
    7I Want CandyMelanie C
    8The Potential Break-Up SongAly And Aj
    9With LoveHilary Duff
    10Never AgainKelly Clarkson

    TOP 10 ROCK

    1Makes Me WonderMaroon 5
    2Love Like WinterAFI
    3Anna MollyIncubus
    4When Your Heart Stops BeatingPlus 44
    5What I've DoneLinkin Park
    6Aim At MeThe Hall Effect
    7This Ain't A Scene, It's An Arms RaceFall Out Boy
    8But It's Better That You DoPanic! At The Disco
    9Icky ThumpThe White Stripes
    10Thnks Fr Th MmrsFall Out Boy

    TOP 10 R&B / HIP-HOP

    1All Good Things (Come To An End)Nelly Furtado
    2Upgrade UBeyonce / Jay Z
    3PromiseCiara
    4The Way I AreTimbaland / Keri Hilson / Sebastian / DOE
    5Like ThisKelly Rowland / Eve
    6Long Way 2 GoCassie
    7Show Me What You GotJay Z
    8Cupid's Chokehold / Breakfast In AmericaGym Class Heroes
    9Throw It On MeTimbaland / The Hives / WWE Divas
    10Like A BoyCiara

    MORE WKS ON

    1AnythingJojo
    2Stay FlyThree 6 Mafia / Young Buck
    3Take ControlAmerie
    4Before He CheatsCarrie Underwood
    5It's Going DownYung Joc
    6M-a-k-e-l-o-v-e-t-o-m-eVanessa Carlton / Channel 7 (7 Aurelius)
    7Keep Holding OnAvril Lavigne
    8Never AgainKelly Clarkson
    9Fired UpJessica Simpson
    10Me And YouCassie