Album Reviews
by Tom Beninate
Artist: Rod Stewart
Album:
Time
Year Released: 2013
Rating:

If you must listen to Stewart's hoarse voice then you want to pick one of his two or three better tracks released long ago. None of these songs qualify. The better tunes on this album are comprised of highly borrowed cliches from long ago. There is simply nothing new or original here.
Key Songs: *None*
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Artist: Vamps
Album:
Meet The Vamps
Year Released: 2014
Rating:

Two words neatly describe this record: Candy corn. This is another one of the albums targeted to children and designed to make money for the record labels. Quality music has never been considered. Two more words neatly suggest what you should do if someone hands you this CD: Skip it.
Key Songs: *None*
Artist: Madonna
Album:
Rebel Heart
Year Released: 2014
Rating:

There are two flavors of Madonna on this record. First is where she desperately and unconvincingly attempts to connect with a young audience. This simply does not work. Secondly, there are tracks clearly in the original Madonna style. Unfortunately, there is simply nothing outstanding here either.
Key Songs: "Heartbreak City" , "Wash All Over Me".
Artist: Ella Henderson
Album:
Chapter One
Year Released: 2014
Rating:

"Ghost" is the one and only hit on this CD. A couple of other tunes are not too bad. All of the other tracks are typical verse/big chorus/no hook/go nowhere pop songs. On the bright side, Henderson's vocals are pretty good and just right for pop music.
Key Songs: "Ghost", "Mirror Man".
Artist: Bob Dylan
Album:
Shadows In The Night
Year Released: 2015
Rating:

Great songs. Horrible singer! This man wrote and released great music in his time despite his inferior vocal abilities. Now, with his aging and declining voice, it is sad to hear Dylan attempting to sing these wonderful tunes. Why would he release this record? The answer my friend is blowing in the wind.
Key Songs: *Too Many To List*
Artist: Bjork
Album:
Vulnicura
Year Released: 2015
Rating:

This is a very different concept album. Lyrically, it is a story that progresses throughout the record. Musically, the tracks are interesting and often seem to come from left field. Vocally, the tracks are too similar and represent a weak link in this otherwise strong fabric. Overall, there is something refreshing and artsy spinning around here.
Key Songs: *None*
Artist: Luke Bryan
Album:
Spring Break ... Checkin' Out
Year Released: 2015
Rating:

You have to shake Luke Bryan's hand (while you are shaking your head.) The man sells a lot of records and concert tickets on the back of below-grade music laced with corporate plugs. Lyrically, he uses a small set of keywords and phrases on all of his records. Musically, most of his many tracks sound alike,
Key Songs: *None*
Artist: Adele
Album:
19
Year Released: 2008
Rating:

Adele is a unique vocalist who at times ranges from dead on pitch to an almost out of control wobbliness. However, that and her crackling chops are charming at times. The songs are not bad and some could be beefed up a bit. The arrangements are 1960s-style and minimal. There seems to be a lot of potential with this artist.
Key Songs: "Chasing Pavements"
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Artist: Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds
Album:
Chasing Yesterday
Year Released: 2015
Rating:

You get ten better than average songs here. Each tune is well-written and performed well. There is a real drummer and matching electric bass parts that fit each song. As the title suggests, Gallagher wrote these tracks with an ear back in the 1990s. You can also clearly hear remnants of his Oasis days.
Key Songs: *Too Many To List*
Artist: Mark Ronson
Album:
Uptown Special
Year Released: 2015
Rating:

On this one you get cool hooks, lots of rhythm, a ton of funk and some real good bass parts. Combine that with those interesting synthes and you have a fine record
Key Songs: "Uptown Funk", "I Can't Lose", "Daffodils".