The re-release of Native for this year certainly has seen a new single emerge from the band with an enthusiastic approach. However, can Ryan Tedder and co. see success with life after Counting Stars?
As I've said with a throwback review, production was one of the highlights of Native. Every aspect was crafted very well, which we've heard from some tracks like What You Wanted, Preacher and the successful single, Counting Stars. But the lyrics under-delivered slightly, which was a problem that has plagued the band since their debut album back in 2007. Still, what Ryan Tedder brings to the table is just simply exceptional.
Named Rolling In The Deep v.2 by most fans, Love Runs Out sinks back into the band's prominent side of an engaging melody and simply giving into what they do best. Ryan's falsettos does feel out of place (similarly to Ed Sheeran's Sing I reviewed a week ago) but it is no doubt able to groove and move without having to pull off fantastic high notes so as to keep the melody flowing.
The track itself does start off with what is a very intriguing fashion, before going on a piano-chord rampage that strings all the way to the chorus, which explodes like a dormant volcano. The best part of the track has no doubt got to be it's hook. So satisfying, enriching and livid that Ryan's vocals bring to the chorus is just simply too good to miss out, which made their original Native singles (Feel Again, If I Lose Myself, etc.) so enjoyable while not exactly covering all of the cracks which are simply obvious to the listener.
All in all, Love Runs Out is too easy to like and definitely fits OneRepublic's catalog. You could say that had the song been on the album in the first place, it would've made a difference. Truth is, it doesn't matter and there are
Track is solid. Nothing more has to be said about it.
I have always been a huge fan of Ed Sheeran and also liked his previous solo debut album, +. With that being said, and having heard his new announcement of a new single and a new album this summer titled x, I am just really excited. And then Sing was released thereafter which was produced and co-written by none other than the falsetto-singer, Pharrell Williams. How does the new single fair to it's previous ones?
If you guys don't know who Ed Sheeran is or have never heard of him at all, he is one of the guys who uses, to a very large extent, the loop pedal to create some of the best works I've heard of in a long time. Some of the tracks includes one of my all-time favourites, You Need Me. If you've never heard of his live room performance, I highly suggest you to listen to it.
While probably a glimpse among his peers, Ed's amazing acoustic guitar plays probably won more fans than accolades, which transitioned him into one of mainstream's gems while not really getting as much airplay as the likes of Passenger or other UK artists. While you may feel it is a bad thing, Ed Sheeran's features have never looked dull and his releases so far has been equally consistent on a level footing. Then comes his new single, which is produced by the talented Pharrell and here we are.
On first listens, Sing feels like a Timberlake-esque song, invoking vibes of that falsettos in which Ed creates and showcases on the chorus. And also, the song might not pick up as quickly like a moss stone. It really takes quite some time to get along to it and doesn't dissipate quickly. The standout of the track probably comes in Ed's verses. They are a mean shudder that sends shock-waves to his previous releases and to me, is probably what I know of the Ed Sheeran on +.
And obviously, the song will take gradually almost many listens (if you aren't noticeable to change nor haven't had much transitions nor heard of most transitions within bands, then it will take awhile considering Ed's caliber). While change feels weird, I have to admit, Ed's vocals are tantalizingly smooth and silky. That also makes him a very versatile singer-songwriter.
Then the negatives, which is largely the exaggerated production that consists of multiple layers of electric guitars and synthesizers that just seems to overcrowd each other. It feels like a result of too many fingers on the sample that made it feel extremely overloaded. On a side note, while this may not be Ed's best songs in awhile, I'm eagerly anticipating the album though.
Decent single, some great lines and the right Ed Sheeran vibe, which is pretty much all I think would fit well into the singer's catalog. It's added onto my playlist and let's see where we go from here.
It seems Christina Perri's problems not only lie in the decision of whether if she should choose the head or the heart, but rather vocally and tonally, she needs to make up her mind as well. Does this album live up to the hype (if there is any) and does it succeed at being better than her debut album? All these questions add to the stickiness of intrigue.
For starters, I'm not a big fan of Christina Perri and never was since her debut album, Lovestrong. Albeit the album had decent tracks (the famous Jar of Hearts and one of my favourites, Distance), it's just not on the level that other peers work with in the same genre. That is a very troubling message considering her popularity rose even higher with the release of the Twilight-driven single, A Thousand Years. Though she did deserve some of the attention, I guess the criticism did too.
Bare in mind I haven't touched on Lovestrong for the most part, and you could consider this an album review solely on Head or Heart, but the album just falls apart so, so heavily. Let's touch on some of the better points in my opinion.
Firstly, the album starts out relatively strong with Burning Gold and Be My Forever probably being the stand-out tracks out of the three (Ed Sheeran was amazing on the latter track as always). Then Human picks up the slack, which for me, I didn't like from the beginning of it's release back in November. If you notice now, Perri relies very heavily on the instrumental tracks to lead her rather than taking charge with her vocal delivery. That is a plus point, considering she is self-aware in most occasions, and she doesn't overdo it as well. Another track that stands out is One Night which shows the piano lurking, overbearing on the chorus but the problem lies in another category (which I will talk about later).
Secondly, the melodies are more of a hit than miss, and considering the tracks are somewhat dramatic and high-toned, Perri matches it to a certain weight at the extent of her not-so-high vocal delivery which actually does drag her down on too many conditions. Still, it worked very well.
Thirdly, most of the tracks are capable of being more than what they are, and Perri knows that, and the tracks do showcase most of her vocal delivery (which doesn't necessarily has to peak high every single time), on songs such as Run and Lonely Child.
Now that we've got the good points out of the way, this is when Christina Perri capitulates on her own solo album. None of the tracks run well on their own, and since most of the tracks are strong when played on repetition, none of them stand up well enough to even earn it. Human certainly doesn't. Burning Gold certainly doesn't. That's when it fell apart almost very quickly. It seemed as though for this album, the foundation was built upon what thrived exceptionally well on A Thousand Years, which wasn't really all that talent-precision considering the fan base pushed it well beyond borders when it wasn't possible. Christina Perri focuses too much on grabbing her own attention, and extending her vocals rather than keeping it on her own footing and letting the songs go on their own. Her efforts makes the songs almost dull, Broadway-esque and similarly lacking in other areas.
There are standout tracks, but even the flaws outweighs the goods. The album is inconsistent from the get-go, the build-ups don't work and many of the tracks don't deserve a spot on the album. The album makes Jar of Hearts and A Thousand Years feel like fluke popular tracks that were designed for mainstream, which the former probably is while the latter was certainly not. The self-aware measures weren't high enough and while Perri might've strained herself to reach those peaks and valleys vocally, she does it while not noticing her versatility and her vocal range, making the tracks stumble and crumble almost immediately.
Favourite Tracks: Be My Forever (featuring Ed Sheeran)
Least Favourite Tracks: Human, Run, Shot In The Heart, (And Others)
If you're a Christina Perri fan, you'll love it. If you're not, I might recommend some tracks but even those are under-worked, under-developed and are just not good enough. Perri has work to do. A lot of work to do.
So Painkiller is Three Days Grace's official new track with a changed front-man, in the form of Matt Walst, who is part of the band My Darkest Days (which released a single a few years back with Ludacris and Chad Kroeger titled Porn Star Dancing). Is this return to roots, or is the band lost in direction?
Listen to the track here.
I'm pretty sure I don't want to see anymore bands breaking, especially some of which I've listened to and liked in the past (My Chemical Romance, Breaking Benjamin although it seems Burnley could form a new group but under the same name), so I would say it's decent handling to bring Matt Walst in to replace one of my favourite songwriters and long-time lead vocalist, Adam Gontier. Like any other band, usually the lead vocalist is kind of the nucleus and the main core of the band. Gontier not just built a foundation, but he stuck it thick and thin with the band and wrote his troubles into a fan-favourite album, One-X. With that said, it was sad to see him go considering the band's songwriting was respectfully crafted under his guise and I guess it had to happen. With that, in steps Matt Walst and Painkiller seems to a bit hard to swallow for long-time fans.
On one hand, Painkiller is like the perfect track record for the band: incredible electric guitars swinging by and the drums are hard. On the other hand, it will take a long time getting used to Walst's vocals considering they aren't as rough and glaring as Adam's, but he's not a bad choice anyway. We all need to accept Adam's gone now and he isn't coming back, so let's stick by the band and prepare for their new album hopefully in the fall of this year. While Walst does what he can with the song, the rest of the band is still rock solid. The singer does sound a little stiff, but hopefully he's a great choice and I will look forward to their new album.
And yes, it will take some time to soak in the song, but it's a good track nonetheless and most audience should feel the same. Unless their on the diving board with an atrocious spirit of having Adam Gontier leave, otherwise it's a good track. I will be reverting to my singles rating, and it will be added to my playlist.
Benny Ong: Just your regular guy who likes soccer more than most people, and also a little downtime is pretty nice.