Album Reviews
by Tom Beninate
Artist: Atoms For Peace
Album:
Amok
Year Released: 2013
Rating:

The music sans vocals would be great for the next Tron movie. With vocals, the tracks tend to be sleepy. Many songs start with a cool beat or hook but somehow manage to go nowhere. The result is a CD that borders on laziness.
Key Songs: "Judge, Jury and Executioner", "Reverse Running".
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Artist: Nine Inch Nails
Album:
Hesitation Marks
Year Released: 2013
Rating:

Here, we have a good album containing good to better tunes with a lot of good to very good hooks. The Nails compose each track from an original perspective. So, you are not going to get bored listening to this entire record.
Key Songs: "Come Back Haunted", "Copy Of A", "Everything".
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Artist: Diana Krall
Album:
Wall Flower
Year Released: 2014
Rating:

Krall expertly captures the essence of a number of easy listening pop tunes. Her vocals are perfect and float nicely on top of light, yet professional arrangements.

Key Songs: *Too Many To List*
Artist: Jason Mraz
Album:
Yes!
Year Released: 2014
Rating:

Yes!? No! The songwriting here is below par. Too much of this material is either uninteresting or borrowed from Mraz's past work. Generally, the lyrics are positive but we need more than that to hook us in.
Key Songs: *None*
Artist: Arcade Fire
Album:
Reflektor
Year Released: 2013
Rating:

You get two CDs packed with thirteen songs all of which are way too long. This is your ticket if you want to fall asleep. Arcade Fire seems to have struggled writing the opening tune and continued in a slump throughout this release.
Key Songs: *None*
Artist: Johannes Linsteade
Album:
Midnight Rhumba
Year Released: 2014
Rating:

This is an easy to listen to album of acoustic based instrumentals. Linstead's tracks are perfect for get togethers when you want to hear mood-setting and exotic world music that is not too distracting. For a special treat, listen to this on your own so you can pick out his precision guitar playing.
Key Songs: *They Are All Fun*
Artist: Zola Jesus
Album:
Taiga
Year Released: 2014
Rating:

This strong vocalist is loaded with character. Her harmonies are precise with an abundance of overtones. All tracks are good and most have interesting hooks. The arrangements are good and unique and are comprised of a cool blend of synthe sounds.
Key Songs: *Listen To All Of Them*.
Artist: Mikky Ekko
Album:
Time
Year Released: 2015
Rating:

There are a number of genuinely good songs here. Many of these could easily have been ramped up to a higher level. But that would require these guys to move away from the crutch of their pop song format.
Key Songs: "Burning Doves"
Artist: Robin Thicke
Album:
Blurred Lines
Year Released: 2013
Rating:

If you did not get enough 1970s and 1980s disco, then you can get your fill here. Additionally, you will get some up-to-date variations. The songs are simple and often repetitive. The lyrics are simple as well. There is not a lot of philosophy on this one.
Key Songs: "Ain't No Hat 4 That", "4 The Rest Of My Life", "Top Of The World".
Artist: Neil Diamond
Album:
Melody Road
Year Released: 2014
Rating:

This somewhat gifted songwriter included (with the CD) a massive 36-page booklet complete with lyrics and chord progressions. Diamond says some songs on this record are new and some are "older song sketches" that he "lacked either the insight or drive to complete." Well, they still need work. The new tracks are borrowed from past works.
Key Songs: *None*
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