Album Reviews
by Tom Beninate
Artist: Luke Bryan
Album:
Crash My Party
Year Released: 2013
Rating:

There's a lot of pickup truck-drinking-girlfriend stuff being released from Nashville. The stlye is verse, big chorus, verse, big chorus, etc. Luke Bryan's latest effort is no exception. The problem is no one checked him from writing similar sounding verses and average big choruses in every song. The guitars sound stale and uninspiring.
Key Songs: "Crash My Party", "That's My Kind Of Night", "Drink A Beer", "Play It Again".
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Artist: Lorde
Album:
Pure Heroine
Year Released: 2013
Rating:

Artists like Ella Yelich O'Connor (Lorde) exist because record labels pour big money into teenage fads. Sure, Yelich wrote the song, "Royals" which managed to connect with a lot of people. But the rest of this CD is a watered down version of the same song. Yelich sounds a bit like Lana Del Rey. She'll need to work a lot harder to approach Rey's Level.
Key Songs: "Royals", "Team".
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Artist: St. Vincent
Album:
St. Vincent
Year Released: 2014
Rating:

St. Vincent is unique and has taken a different approach to writing current music. Yet these worthy parameters do not substitute for great songwriting. Nonetheless, this is one interesting record and the tunes are okay. Perhaps with more work St. Vincent can connect all the dots and release an excellent record.
Key Songs: "Birth In Reverse", "Digital Witness".
Artist: Selena Gomez
Album:
Stars Dance
Year Released: 2013
Rating:

Stars Dance is one of the quintessential Female-pop-EDM records of the early 2010 decade. You get great sounds and (Pro Tools) effects, in-your-face kick drums, and drum machine-type rhythms. Selena nails the vocals on each song. There are no outstandingly great tracks but there are also no duds.
Key Songs: "Come And Get It", "Forget Forever", "Love Will Remember".
Artist: Justin Timberlake
Album:
The 20/20 Experience 2 of 2
Year Released: 2013
Rating:

The CD starts off with a few too-long mediocre songs. Afterwards, a number of good tunes pop up. As usual, JT aces the vocals and the vocal arrangements. The overall arrangements are quite good as well. Kudos to Timberlake for releasing a record with more originality than average.
Key Songs: "Take Back The Night", "You Got It On", "Amnesia", "Not A Bad Thing".
Artist: Sara Bareilles
Album:
The Blessed Unrest
Year Released: 2013
Rating:

The Blessed Unrest is an easy-listening pop record. Bareilles wrote all of these piano-based tracks with co-writing assistance on some tunes. Her vocals are emotionally-charged and sit perfectly in the mix. She takes some risks with the vocal compositions and it pay off.
Key Songs: "Brave", "I Choose You".
Artist: Alice In Chains
Album:
The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here
Year Released: 2013
Rating:

The songs are new and the hypnotic A.I.C. hooks, layered guitars, and layered vocals are unmistakable. Jerry Cantrell wrote (or co-wrote) all of the songs. Some tunes sound a bit familiar and there is no new ground broken here. Nonetheless, The album is worth listening to.
Key Songs: "Voices", "Low Ceiling", "Choke".
Artist: Sting
Album:
The Last Ship
Year Released: 2013
Rating:

Warning: This record is not for the typical Sting or Police fan. Here, Sting wrote "sea and ship" songs for a play and sings with a heavy ethnic accent. The small audience familiar with this genre of music may consider this to be a worthy release. However, the typical pop-listener and rocker will not be interested.
Key Songs: "Practical Arrangement", "And Yet".
Artist: Eminem
Album:
The Marshall Mathers LP 2
Year Released: 2013
Rating:

The Marshall Mathers LP 2 starts off slowly but finds its stride soon enough. Some of the material has been revisited as the title suggests. You get the usual rhymes, wit, and autobiographical lines. The big tune is "The Monster" where Rhianna chips in on the infectious chorus.
Key Songs: "Survival", "The Monster", "Headlights".
Artist: Avicii
Album:
True
Year Released: 2013
Rating:

This is a decent record that suffers from a common flaw: several tunes share a variation of a hit, which in this case is "Wake Me Up". What was the producer Tim Berling thinking? The good news is that the core song structure of all ten songs actually stand on their own legs. Additionally, all vocalists convincingly bring each of the songs home.
Key Songs: "Wake Me Up", "Addicted To You", "Hope There's Someone".
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