Album Reviews

One of my most anticipated albums of the summer gets released today. The album whispers by Passenger has had great reviews already since it was released a week earlier in the UK. Passenger has had a rapid rise to fame and it has NOT been on the back of one hit song. 

Tigers Jaw, Charmer

Tigers Jaw
Charmer
Run For Cover Records
June 3, 2014

The buzz surrounding Tigers Jaw’s new album Charmer has been simply insatiable. With the release of “Hum” and “Cool” off of the album, the band showcased their growth as a band and gave an idea as to how great the new album would sound.

First listen through Charmer and I was hooked. The album is so cohesive and insanely catchy. With lyrics like “you are the leaves at my feet, you are the hum of electric heat” from “Hum” and “if i could frame you it would be the only way to keep you in one place, but I couldn’t blame you for running away” from “Frame You” it’s easy to see why Brianna Collins, Ben Walsh and Adam McIlwee are lyrical idols.

“A masterpiece”. (The New York Times) “The best hip-hop record ever made” (Prefix Mag). Simply “the greatest album of all time” (PopMatters). These are all phrases that have been bestowed upon Nas’ Illmatic, the rapper’s/poet’s/voice of a generation’s debut and probably best album. A benchmark of hip-hop culture, the record features intelligent lyricism, groundbreaking soulful production and an urban aesthetic that paints violent, sorrowful, powerful pictures as vivid as Nas’ actual wordplay. Or so I’ve been told.

And yet, I can’t get into it.

A little over 10 years ago, R&B staple Usher released his fourth studio album confessions which turned out to be one of history’s best albums

Confession’s for me is usher’s best album not only because of the quality of each song but it makes me reminisce of a certain period of my life, as I feel most people do.  Confessions, to date, the album has accumulated sales of over 20 million copies worldwide,over 10 million of which were sold in the United States earning a Diamond certification by the Recording Industry Assocation of America (RIAA).

*This review was done based on the Deluxe edition of the album.*

At the age of 19, Nina Nesbitt’s career is exploding. Her debut album, Peroxide, came out February 17, and is a good start to her discography. Despite prior EP releases, Peroxide is the first full release from Nesbitt. Included on it are a few of her prior singles, as well as many completely new songs.

I had always heard of the Arctic Monkeys and their success amongst a younger, alternative audience, but never listened to more then one or two of their songs and definitely would not have called myself a fan. However in early December, I found myself jamming out to a song “Do I Wanna Know?,” a chart-topping single from their new album AM. Since then, The Artic Monkeys are consistently blasted in my dorm room.

The English indie-rock group was founded in 2002, and since then have released 5 albums including their newest AM. Most of which, I was unfamiliar of until hearing their newest album. Combining both psychedelic and hard rock, the album jams through 14 tracks that all feature a unique blend of old-school with a classic Artic Monkeys touch of weirdness and creativity. The big hits that are most likely to be recognized include the single “Do I Wanna Know,” which was featured in the Billboard Top 100 and hit number 11 on the UK Singles charts. With an unforgettable guitar riff, and drums that make you want to bang your head, the only thing that could top it off would be lead singer Alex Turner’s cool vocals.  Another hit track off the album includes “R U Mine?” Reaching number 23 on the UK Top Singles charts, it is almost impossible to listen to without singing along, or turning up the volume to a dangerous level. Turner seems to sing impossible rhymes that you are forced to remember. Topping off the album is the song “Arabella.” A hit that hints on the past with the feel of hard rock predecessors such as Led Zeppelin, it adds the perfect cherry on top of a great album.

Although the Arctic Monkeys have been on the map for quite some time, I believe this album is helping to make them a house hold name. Hits from AM can be heard on most radio stations, and are repeated constantly. It is my hope that the band will continue to produce great music, as they have earned a life-long fan with this album.

Bruce Springsteen may be my favorite musician, and that is one opinion that I think I share with a number of people. Since his debut album in 1973, The Boss has consistently released albums that are all very good, and all very different. His latest album, High Hopes, was released January 22, and is a CD that all Bruce fans will want to add to their collection.

highhopes

High Hopes is a glued-together type of album. Previous Bruce CDs have had stories interwoven between the songs, and can all be seen as one continuation of the same theme. This is not true for High Hopes.  It is best to think of this as a collection of B-Sides rather than a completely new collection of songs. This is not to say that High Hopes feels disconnected or stale in any way; instead, what High Hopes does is take old Springsteen songs–Ghost of Tom Joad, for example–and re-record them. Added to this mix of re-done classics is covers of songs that Bruce Springsteen enjoys and some tracks that were only performed live, but have been made relevant again–for example, “American Skin” was a song originally about the shooting of Amadou Diallo and performed in 2001. On High Hopes, however, Springsteen has re-purposed the song to be about the Trayvon Martin incident. While not completely new, the work on this album is original and fresh, and very welcome.

Joining Bruce this time is Tom Morello, the guitarist from Rage Against the Machine, with whom Springsteen has worked in the past. His musical style contrasts a little with the E-Street Band, but together they make a good-sounding team. The end result is a powerful sound with the occasional hint that someone else has had a hand in the music.

High Hopes is a solid album by Bruce Springsteen. The sound is instantly familiar to fans of The Boss, and the songs deserve a place in Springsteen’s discography. While it may not be a starting point for new Springsteen fans, for those that already love The Boss it will be a solid addition.

Watch the High Hopes single music video here.

High Hopes by Bruce Springsteen is available now in stores and online.

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