Album Reviews
by Tom Beninate
Artist: Boston
Album:
Life, Love & Hope
Year Released: 2013
Rating:

Simply put, this is recycled leftovers from decades ago. The mixes are subpar and originality is non-existant. You have to adjust the listening volume a few times when listening to the record because of the poor mastering job. Many of these tunes were simply lifted from their big hit song, "More Than A Feeling", yet lack that energy level.
Key Songs:
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Artist: Pitbull
Album:
Global Warming
Year Released: 2012
Rating:

Pitbull aced the formula for combining strong melodies, smooth rap, and EDM. Of course with this you get the complimentary, amped up, in-your-face kick drums. There are lots of big guest appearances on this record and several instantly recognizable samples from the past.
Key Songs: "Don't Stop The Party", "Feel This Moment", "Outta Nowhere".
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Artist: John Legend
Album:
Love In The Future
Year Released: 2013
Rating:

If you like rhythm and blues (with a mix a soul) then you will like this one. John (Stephens) Legend (and co-authors) wrote most of the songs. Kanye West and Dave Tozer have a heavy presence. No tunes are too long. This is one of those records you will want to hear from beginning to end.
Key Songs: "Made To Love", "All Of Me", "You & I".
Artist: Jay Z
Album:
Magna Carta Holy Grail
Year Released: 2013
Rating:

This record contains some impressive lyrics and moments of driving energy. Some tracks seem rushed or unfinished. We know what Jay Z is capable of, but there is not a lot of that "A" material here. The three keys songs listed below are good, but not good enough to support the balance of this CD
Key Songs: "Holy Grail", "Tom Ford", "Nickles & Dimes".
Artist: Paul McCartney
Album:
New
Year Released: 2013
Rating:

Here we have an album of reasonably good songs that simply is no match for McCartney's great stuff. He slips into the rut of borrowing too much from previously written tunes. Most of the musical cliches used will remind you of other (much better) Beatles songs. If you are patient enough, there is a hidden track.
Key Songs: "Alligator Appreciate", "Road".
Artist: Drake
Album:
Nothing Was The Same
Year Released: 2013
Rating:

There are a lot of good hooks on this record. Each track was individually crafted from scratch. If you like rap then listen to the entire record. If you don't, then at least listen to the key songs (listed below). Naturally, you get a fair amount of self-trumpeting and interesting language. Nonetheless, the man has tremendous potential.
Key Songs: "Hold On, We're Going Home", "Pound Cake", "Too Much".
Artist: James Blake
Album:
Overgrown
Year Released: 2013
Rating:

Overgrown is (essentially) James Blake's one-man effort to feature his capable vocals on a minimal synthe and rhythm bed. The album as a whole is very unique but some tracks suffer from recurring effects. With a couple of strong songs, this album could have had a big impact.
Key Songs: "Retrograde", "Overgrown", Life Around Here".
Artist: Parachute
Album:
Overnight
Year Released: 2013
Rating:

Parachute's songwriter, Will Anderson filled this album with formulated, second-rate, Maroon 5-like tunes. The songs are uninteresting, short of hooks, and uninspiring. The kernel of each cut is marginal. The production seems to be okay but very clearly filled with stock techniques.
Key Songs: "Can't Help".
Artist: Paramore
Album:
Paramore
Year Released: 2013
Rating:

Paramore, the band, blends the retro sound of say, Blonde, Pat Benetar, and the Go Gos, with today's sounds, synthes, and production. Most songs are generally good but lack the punch and power of the two huge key songs. Vocalist, Haley Williams' unconventional phrasing makes her unique while reinforcing the groove of each song.
Key Songs: "Ain't It Fun", "Still Into You".
Artist: Katy Perry
Album:
Prism
Year Released: 2013
Rating:

With Katy Perry records you typically get a few big hits, and there is no exception here. The songwriting lacks the intensity of previous releases and is a bit darker, but it is still a fun-to-listen-to pop album. As usual, the production is big with one exception - the annoying holding bass note on "Dark Horse".
Key Songs: "Roar", "Unconditionally", "Dark Horse".
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