Album Reviews
by Tom Beninate
Artist: Tom Petty
Album:
Hypnotic Eye
Year Released: 2014
Rating:

This is classic Tom Petty. You get all of that classic sound with a descent batch of songs. All tunes were written by Petty except one he co-wrote with Mike Campbell. Unfortunately, there is nothing as good as "Free Falling" but you don't get any garbage either. The usual "Heartbreakers" are in top form as are the few guests that you occasionally hear.
Key Songs: "Full Grown Boy", "Sins Of My Youth", "Shadow People".
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Artist: Sia
Album:
1000 Forms Of Fear
Year Released: 2014
Rating:

What Sia Furler's voice lacks in enunciation she makes up with character despite her cracking and wobbliness. The format of key song, "Chandelier" is used as a template for a few other tracks, yet there is plenty of originality to go around. Furler and Greg Kurstin wrote most of the songs. Kurstin played most of the instruments.
Key Songs: "Chandelier", "Big Girls Cry".
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Artist: Sam Smith
Album:
In The Lonely Hour
Year Released: 2014
Rating:

Smith and co-writers are responsible for the ten tunes on this record. The lyrics are very narrowly focused (with being drowned in sorrow) and there is a noticeable lack of hooks. If you can get past the whinning falsetto, you'll notice that several verses and choruses among the songs sound alike.
Key Songs: "Stay With Me".
Artist: Blake Shelton
Album:
Bringing Back The Sunshine
Year Released: 2014
Rating:

Here, Shelton picked a better batch of songs than on his previous release. The hooks are a bit better as well. However, the commercial plugs are still abundant as is the formulated songwriting. That's too bad because Shelton is a convincing vocalist
Key Songs: "Bringing Back The Sunshine".
Artist: Weezer
Album:
Everything Will Be Alright In The End
Year Released: 2014
Rating:

Weezer's previous album bombed. So they went back to basics by bringing in Ric Ocasek (from The Cars) to produce this one. And it sounds "Cars" like. The issue is there are no good songs here. It is as if we are hearing the worst of The Cars and Weezer.
Key Songs:
Artist: T.I.
Album:
Paperwork
Year Released: 2014
Rating:

T.I. enlists a hot group of all-stars to fill out this record. The hooks are good. But it is the rhythm and blues based tracks that shine.
Key Songs: "New National Anthem"", "Private Show"", "Stay", "About My Issue", "Let Your Hear Go".
Artist: Nickelback
Album:
No Fixed Address
Year Released: 2014
Rating:

This album suffers from a rigid and formulated songwriting approach that spans all of the band's records. Although there are some interesting hooks scattered around, Chad Kroeger and company continue to tug their familiar safety line. As usual, the engineering and production is extremely good.
Key Songs: "Edge Of Revolution", "What Are You Waiting For".
Artist: Ariana Grande
Album:
My Everything
Year Released: 2014
Rating:

Okay, we get it: Ariana Grande can sing. However, Grande, utilizing three executive producers (including herself) and over a dozen ("regular") producers failed to select enough good songs. The two key tunes are better than average and a couple of other tracks are okay, but that's it.
Key Songs: "Problem", "Love Me Harder".
Artist: Imogen Heap
Album:
Sparks
Year Released: 2014
Rating:

Imogen (Jennifer) Heap's specialized approach to songwriting is interesting and different. Her off-on-a-tangent style works when it is supported within the framework of a good tune. Otherwise, it sinks into a pool of dullness. Perhaps a good producer could have steered this car closer to main street.
Key Songs: "Lifeline", "Run Time".
Artist: Pink Floyd
Album:
The Endless River
Year Released: 2014
Rating:

Those new to Pink Floyd should skip this record and listen to Dark Side of the Moon for starters. The sounds, chord progressions, and solos on this album have been mostly regurgitated from Floyd's mid-1970s to mid-1980s era. Unfortunately, one of my favorite bands prostituted themselves in the red light district of nonsense.
Key Songs:
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