Review Category : Album Reviews

Why I Don’t Dig Illmatic, or The Responsibilities of Art

“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.

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Rewind: Confessions 10 years later

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).

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Album Review- Peroxide, by Nina Nesbitt

*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.

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Arctic Monkeys Chart Topping Album

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.

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Review of We The Fallen by Psyclon Nine

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Review of We The Fallen

Sound: Psyclon Nine’s We the Fallen, comes in a torrent of Black Metal and Aggrotech influences to blow you away in an epic combination of well-made American Industrial Metal. Soulless (The Makers Reflection) starts off the album with a spine tingling chant intertwined with the cheers of a full coliseum eager to hear more.

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Bruce Springsteen High Hopes Album Review

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.

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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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Rewind: The College Dropout the 10 yr. Anniversary

On February 10th, 2004, the world was introduced to Kanye West.  On that day he released his debut album and  to many people change the Hip-hop game. Regardless of what he may be now or how people think of him as a person he is gifted and this album is the Kanye I like.

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Most Anticipated Rock Albums of 2014

2013 was a pretty great year for music, and with these new releases on the near horizon, 2014 looks to be another promising year. Here is Ryan’s most anticipated rock albums of 2014:

1. Skindred – Kill the Power

skindred kill the power

Their last release, Union Black, was an innovative genre mashup of dubstep with the standard Skindred reggae-metal sound. Here’s hoping this one will be just as fun to listen to. UK Release Date: January 27

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Alisha’s Best Albums of the Year

I am awful at picking favorites. So here are my favorite top albums of 2013 in no particular order.

Balance and Composure- The Things We Think We’re Missing

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The BEST album of the year for me easily goes to Balance and Composure’s second full-length album. The Things We Think We’re Missing exceeded all of my expectations. The Brand New-esque, grunge riddled album is dark, thoughtful and at times haunting. Every song is put together perfectly to form a cohesive album.

Check Out: “Reflection” and “Tiny Raindrop”

 

 

 

 

 

 Citizen- Youth

Youth Album Art

 

Ohio pop-punk band, Citizen’s debut album was definitely my top played album of the year. It’s almost impossible to listen to one song off of the album and not listen to the whole thing. Mat Kerekes’ growling lyrics pair perfectly with their grunge, pop-punk guitars and bass.

Check Out: “The Summer” and “Sick and Impatient

 

 

 

 

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