Album Reviews
by Tom Beninate
Artist: David Byrne & St. Vincent
Album:
Love This Giant
Year Released: 2012
Rating:

How can it be that two creative artists combine efforts only to release a dull record? It is as if both songwriters brought forth floor scraps and previously rejected material to this collaboration. The arrangements tend to be distracting. Byrne and St. Vincent are much better than this.
Key Songs: *None*
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Artist: Ellie Goulding
Album:
Lights
Year Released: 2011
Rating:

The first song, "Lights" (co-written by Goulding) and the last song, "Your Song" (written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin) are the best tracks on this record. There are also a couple of "B" tunes mixed in among the mostly average tracks. This is not a bad record and it is not a great one.
Key Songs: "Lights", "Your Song".
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Artist: Katy Perry
Album:
Teenage Dream
Year Released: 2010
Rating:

There are six radio cuts from this album of twelve (plus two hidden remixed) tracks. That is impressive. There are no great songs. The lyrics are not poetically spectacular. The rhythms are not necessarily infectious. But this is one really good pop record.
Key Songs: "Teenage Dream", "Last Friday Night", "E.T." "Pearl".
Artist: Nick Jonas
Album:
Nick Jonas
Year Released: 2014
Rating:

Overall, you get slightly better than average songs on this record. The large number of credited songwriters seemed to have paid off. The recordings and mixes are professional. Jonas' vocals are fine for pop music. Perhaps his next record might contain a killer track?
Key Songs: "Jealous", "Take Over".
Artist: Paul McCartney
Album:
Kisses On The Bottom
Year Released: 2012
Rating:

Paul McCartney is a great songwriter and a capable pop vocalist. This collection of mostly great pop standards is more suited towards great vocalists like Tony Bennett, Nat King Cole, and Frank Sinatra. I'd rather hear McCartney sing "Yesterday". Actually, I'd rather that he write a new song as good as "Yesterday" and then sing that song.
Key Songs: *Too Many To List*
Artist: Beyonce
Album:
4
Year Released: 2011
Rating:

One of the great pop vocalists of today shows off on this smooth, mostly rhythm and blues album with an aggressive kick. The harmonies are impeccable. Beyonce's improvisation and melisma are perfectly done as she sets the bar high. Few others are in this club.
Key Songs: "Love On Top", "I Was Here".
Artist: Ellie Goulding
Album:
Halecyon
Year Released: 2012
Rating:

The songwriting here is a bit below average. Actually the best song, "Lights" is added as a bonus track since it was released on Goulding's previous record. This type of modular songwriting is predicable and uninspiring.
Key Songs: "Lights"
Artist: Cold Play
Album:
Mylo Xyloto
Year Released: 2012
Rating:

One marginally better than average song, ("Paradise") does not make for a great album. Coldplay's upbeat tunes sound too similar. Their ballads tend to sound alike as well. Okay guys, it is time to sit down and write a new song from scratch.
Key Songs: "Paradise"
Artist: Meghan Trainor
Album:
Title
Year Released: 2014
Rating:

EPs generally do not get reviewed here but this one slipped through because the song, "All About The Bass' got heavy airplay. You get four silly fad tunes sounding like the 1950s and 1960s. Trainor and company performed okay but wouldn't you rather hear the great songs actually recorded in that era?
Key Songs: "All About The Bass"
Artist: Fifth Harmony
Album:
Reflection
Year Released: 2014
Rating:

American Idol made it clear there are a lot of people who sing well. But people who buy records generally want to hear great (or at least good) songs. The ladies on this record can sing. They just need to pick a better batch of songs.
Key Songs: *None*
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