Album Reviews
by Tom Beninate
Artist: Rise Against
Album:
The Black Market
Year Released: 2014
Rating:

These retro-rockers super-charged this disc with enough energy to power a city. Unfortunately, the cliche-hooks and styles employed are highly borrowed. High octave is good, but you really need a couple of breakout tunes to float this ship.
Key Songs: "People Live Here".
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Artist: Linkin Park
Album:
The Hunting Party
Year Released: 2014
Rating:

This testosterone-filled record will certainly keep you awake any time during the day (or night). Although these guys bust through with new riffs, some of the verses and choruses seem revisited. Nonetheless, the Park play perfectly in sync no matter how high the beats per minute count goes.
Key Songs: "Guilty All The Same". "Wastelands", "Until It's Gone".
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Artist: Iggy Azalea
Album:
The New Classic
Year Released: 2014
Rating:

The New Classic is Azalea's debut album. And her attitude is center stage on this one. Yet, there's a nice balance between autobiography and inspiration. The raps and rapid raps are quite good and are perfectly in the groove. The choruses are original and fresh especially on the key songs.
Key Songs: "Fancy", "Impossible Is Nothing".
Artist: Eric Church
Album:
The Outsiders
Year Released: 2014
Rating:

Eric Church borrows heavily from the 1970s and 1980s. The electric guitar solos are second-tier. You do get some nice hooks throughout. Each songs stands up on its own and there are a few actual country tunes scattered about.
Key Songs: "The Outsiders".
Artist: Jenny Lewis
Album:
The Voyager
Year Released: 2014
Rating:

Every commercially successful pop record needs at least one hit to reel in the fans. Unfortunately, there are none here. Overall, the music isn't bad, but it lacks inspiration. So, how does a record like this get fans? I don't know.
Key Songs: "Voyager".
Artist: Trey Songz
Album:
Trigga
Year Released: 2014
Rating:

This record is loaded with cool hooks and original arrangements. Each song is built solidly from the ground up. Those two parameters indicate a capable songwriter. The icing on this audio cake is Songz's excellent vocals. Checkout the vocal arrangements which are equally refreshing.
Key Songs: "Foreign", "Late Night", "Change Your Mind".
Artist: The Black Keys
Album:
Turn Blue
Year Released: 2014
Rating:

Songs one and six begin with a blatant Pink Floyd rip-off but segues into their own descent songs. Additionally, there is a John Lennon flavor to a number of these tunes. Moving forward, there are a nice amount of hooks as the album wants to sit back in the 60s and 70s. You can easily listen to this entire record.
Key Songs: "10 Lovers".
Artist: Lana Del Rey
Album:
Ultraviolence
Year Released: 2014
Rating:

Here is a collection of slow-paced, slightly jazz influenced, moody tunes. Del Rey wrote (or co-wrote) all of the songs except "The Other Woman". As with her previous release, her vocals are drenched in reverb and/or delay. The electric guitar leads sometimes do not sit well in the mix and the solos could be better.
Key Songs: "West Coast", "Shades Of Cool", "Sad Girl".
Artist: Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks
Album:
Wig Out At Jagbags
Year Released: 2014
Rating:

Malkus and company step back in time to the late 1960s and early 1970s. A good dose of 1990s grunge is added to spice up the mix. The tracks were recorded "live" in the studio. Some of the songs are second-rate, but the album is charming to listen to nonetheless
Key Songs:
Artist: Morrissey
Album:
World Peace Is None Of Your Business
Year Released: 2014
Rating:

The crooning Morrissey belts out politically-charged lyrics in this retro-sounding album of twelve songs. Some of the glue that keeps this record together is in the form of repetition although each cut does have its own signature. There are no hits, yet the energy level is maintained throughout.
Key Songs: "World Peace Is None Of Your Business".
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