Album Reviews
by Tom Beninate
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Artist: Imagine Dragons
Album:
Smoke + Mirrors
Year Released: 2015
Rating:

There are no great songs on this record. Actually, each tune has remnants of past Dragons' work, especially with the many references to their previously-released fine track, "Radioactive".
Key Songs: "I Bet My Life"
Artist: Mumford & Sons
Album:
Babel
Year Released: 2012
Rating:

Mumford's vision of a connected folk/pop/rock sound comes to fruition on Babel. The lyrics are sensible and the foot-stomping beats draw you in. There are some sleepers and repeaters here but overall this is a good effort.
Key Songs: "I Will Wait", "Hopeless Wanderer".
Artist: Kid Rock
Album:
First Kiss
Year Released: 2015
Rating:

Kid Rock has one of those fine rock and roll voices. And his vocals shine on these ten tracks despite the fact that the songwriting is average. Interestingly, the bonus track is one of the better cuts.
Key Songs: "Say Goodbye".
Artist: Tobias Jesso Jr.
Album:
Goon
Year Released: 2015
Rating:

These mainly piano and (some) guitar-based tracks are heavily borrowed from John Lennon. In fact, Jesso's vocals are often processed similar to Lennon's. Also, the drummer seemed to imitate Ringo Star. It is too bad that the songs are not up to Beatles specs.
Key Songs: "Can't Stop thinking About You"
Artist: Lumineers
Album:
The Lumineers
Year Released: 2012
Rating:

These folks managed to score a big hit with "Ho Hey". This song and their other key song, "Morning Song" are okay but are not strong enough to support an entire album.
Key Songs: "Ho Hey", "Morning Song".
Artist: Bette Midler
Album:
It's The Girls
Year Released: 2014
Rating:

Midler's tribute to female groups and harmonies is fun and enjoyable. Her vocals sit perfectly with each one of these time-tested songs. It goes to show how a great vocalist can elevate a great tune.
Key Songs: *Too Many To List*
Artist: Modest Mouse
Album:
Strangers To Ourselves
Year Released: 2015
Rating:

This interesting CD has some originality, so you ought to listen to it in it's entirety. The songwriting on each track is mostly different, although there is some commonality among the verses. Unfortunately, there are no really big tunes here.
Key Songs: "The Tortoise And The Tourist"
<prev ... next> ... review index ... page 18
Artist: Mark Knopfler
Album:
Tracker
Year Released: 2015
Rating:

The first cut's hook is lifted from Paul Desmond's "Take Five" which was made famous by The Dave Brubeck Quartet. The remaining tracks are stretched out and sleepy. Knopfler's dull vocals do not help. However, his (too few) guitar riffs sparkle. Do not expect anything close to his decades old hit, "Sultans Of Swing".
Key Songs: "Heart Of Oak", Terminal Of Tribute To".
Artist: George Michael
Album:
Symphonica
Year Released: 2014
Rating:

You get more than an hour of Michael singing time-tested tunes and some of his own creations. The mood is generally soft and easy but not dull. His delivery is convincing but falls short of the great vocalists. Yet his live performance is outstanding as there are no sour notes.
Key Songs: "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face", "Feeling Good".
Artist: Kings Of Leon
Album:
Mechanical Bull
Year Released: 2013
Rating:

The Followill brothers wrote the tunes for this record. There are no hits as these tracks simply do not break out from an interesting though mediocre perspective. The guys perform as a a well-oiled team without encroaching over each other.
Key Songs: "Tonight", "On The Chin".