Does this song remind you of the Blackout days? Yeah. But I'm utterly confused, speechless and feeling rather figurative about this song. It's a rather 'on the fence' thing, but with more jagged edges down both aisle.
Audio for Work Bitch.
So Work Bitch (apparently for censored versions, it's B**ch), is Britney Spears' new single for her forthcoming 8th studio album. And with this tussle and fuss over the pop crown on Billboard, it seems Katy Perry and soon to be crowned Miley Cyrus, will take helm. Over the past few months, pop majors such as Lady Gaga and Britney herself have just thrown in their new singles and prepared for an ultimatum. This time, it's vying a spot against Perry's Roar, Cyrus' Wrecking Ball and Gaga's Applause on the indisputable and hardened Hot 100. The thing is; is the wait worth it? Leaked a day before it's scheduled release, this song might justify some of the things we've come to love of Britney. But is justice enough?
I had hopes of a good single from Britney ever since Hold It Against Me (I didn't fancy that single, nope), but I thought Till' The World Ends was pretty engaging and dancey. So here I am, never thought that a full-on EDM track would simplify so much of Britney's lifestyle into just a few pretty accurate words: 'You better work bitch!'. The song itself starts off with what seems to be robotic drums that just hooks you in, before a slight tease of the synthesizers starts swooning in. The lyrics go: 'You want a hot body?; You want a Bugatti?; You want a Maserati? You better work bitch!'. While I approve that it's mostly just a workout song, I would never have relished the chance of Britney talking more than singing, even though she does a little of it as soon as the bass drops first just 45 seconds in. You can hear it, but I expected more. Am I wrong to expect a classy, salivated chorus that would sweep audiences away, that featured daring verses and a banging hook? I got none of that. While the song does tire itself out, it doesn't seem to be the best Britney offering I've heard in a long time. Let's talk about the song's positive points.
The song garners enough energy to make you sweat and just workout almost instantly. It's pro-active and really hip, so that you can really groove with the song and get swathed in by EDM madness that makes you outrun yourself higher and faster. Even the lyrics tells you to, that if you want something of a Maserati, it's best to work! While I am not generally liking Britney's talk-over verses, she does pull of some British accents pretty well, especially on the second verse. And she also has a reference to her previous song that made her famous with the tagline, 'It's Britney bitch!', and she once again pulls it off this time, saying/singing: 'I am the bad bitch; The bitch that you're loving up'. The song also breaks down for the bridge, something that pulls you out from the beat. It's catchy and seems very easily digestible compared to the first two and a half minutes. The bridge also contains some of the best lines and it's motivational somewhat if you really listen and chuck the vibe forward. It will take some time from here till' you reach the restart point of the beat, and from there on it's back to work.
So while you leave the positives at that, the song moreover doesn't connect. The lyrics don't, and the beat, while sustainable and energetic, gets numb and ridiculously overpowered to the point that not only is it sick, but it's annoying. I've not exactly reached that peak but the curve seems to be dithering that way. While I praise Britney's usage of EDM on a pop track and you take it as a single, I really wonder what's the tone of the new album going to be. EDM-heavy? Or is it going to be just ballads like her past hits or, even just layered heavy music would be amazingly fine. At this stage, you don't necessarily have to comply with me, but the song to me is just on the fence and at times amazing, but at times just downright overplaying will cause aftereffects.
Originality: 8/10 - Smart and bold move by Britney. While this song is going to be splashing in the markets with her brand, it's going to cover up charts across the world.
Sound: 7/10 - I'm a little swayed by this as said above, so 7 is being as accurate as I can.
Lyrics: 7/10 - It seems dumbed down, but I'm not disagreeing with the fact that we're just as lazy. So better get up and start working, she says. Well, that's if you want a Maserati.
Overall: 22/30 - The song is repetitive at times and simply just feels like a wreckage. Lyrically, it's not really promising and the song overall, except for the bridge, is seasonal. I get it that it's a new age and new gears are moving up, but overall this song is just averagely okay. For a pop artist to go insanely hard on an EDM track that tells you to work it out, I just am quite speechless. However, that's the best shot I can give you, while still adding it to my playlist. Because I too need to work out. Someday.
Classic album, and classic band. The 70s are revived and re sung. This is Earth, Wind And Fire's new album, Now, Then Forever.
If you don't know this classic jazz rock band, then clearly you've not been in the pool of music I got to hear growing up. One of my favourite bands during my childhood, songs like Boogie Wonderland, September and Fantasy are just classic EWF songs, and it's even remarkable that they are making a new album, let alone song. What captures my attention to this album is the touch that they still had back in their past albums. All songs are ultimate renaissance to their past hits. So amazing that this album is just seemingly a passion to recreate their old hits, letting this generation know the music that their parents had heard back in the day.
Right off the bat, all the songs are relatively similar, consisting of some of the best jazz style and tambourines that the current artists aren't exactly fond of using anymore. Re-emerging enthusiasms on songs such as Sign On, Love Is Law and My Promise, the first three songs on the album. The bass and everything else is magical, feeling almost being transported back to that century of music. Which, in fact, is a good thing. Not all songs sound typically similar, which by today's musical standards, would be claimed as 'a disaster'.
It's really great to hear Phillip Bailey's vocals again, the sharp edge we all loved back in the 70s. What was even better was when Bailey collaborated with Phil Collins, too, one of my favourite artists of all time, released Easy Lover, a jam that is just truly an experience to recapture. However, what was even better was Verdin White on the bass and man! He killed it! I can no say enough of the band, although this album might not be able to tremble quakes of their previous albums, but it's a good recollection and a needed breathe taker from all the funk pop business that music has now been overtaken by. It's always good to know that they are around the corner. And a revisit seems more than timely.
The tracks on the album blend sophisticatedly well. Tracks like Guiding Light is soothing, while Belo Horizonte was just harmonious. The only track I had problem with was probably Splashes, but the rest of the album is smooth and jazz. It is glory days for Earth, Wind And Fire, even adding innovation to their creativity and I'm glad that they have put out something because this business, while bleak, hasn't been all that jarring to say the least.
8.5/10 - There really isn't much too say. Now, Then And Forever will surely bring back the 70s. If you have never heard of them before, then this moment will last truly a while. I suggest listening to their past hits such as Let's Groove, Getaway, Boogie Wonderland, September and many others! I don't care what others might think about this album nor it's redundancy for the band to release something new. It's their music, and I'm glad I'm one of the few songs that put them up there with one of the best bands of all time. This is a truly classical album, and don't forget to let your parents hear it too!
Avicii's True album debuted on Spotify. You can go take a listen and come back because while you're feeling the aftermath of the album, I will give you my honest opinions on whether this album is truly amazing.
So if you checked out my reviews for the first and second singles, Wake Me Up and You Make Me respectively, you will know I am eagerly awaiting True even though I did not put it in the top 5 of my most anticipated fall albums. It was just too soon, and I'm glad I got to listen to it firsthand before it's release worldwide. Let's get to it.
So the first two tracks are Wake Me Up and You Make Me, easily setting the tone for the album, and just chucks you straight into it. While you may get refreshed from these hits, the album has a lot more to offer than the first two. Just after relishing from the excitement you've had from the second track, comes another Wake Me Up-esque type track in the form of Hey Brother. What this track once again Avicii does so well is blend it together with country, as you can hear from the start, reminiscent to the first single. However, this track also is emotionally steadfast, entirely focused on bridging a gap towards brothers and sisters. Lyrically, the song is constructed to such amazing words and yet, offers the vibe that once again sets you off to dance mayhem just like the first single. I know I'm comparing much, but the similarities are clear and can be heard, with even the synthesizers blaring straight right after the chorus. It's one of the highlights of the track definitely, and is just great from start to finish. Addicted To You is also one of my favourites. You may mistake the singer for Adele, but it really isn't. Audre Mae is the singer, and so smooth and soothing that she sings that it brings another tone for the album. Once again, Avicii's amazing talent sprawls over the track like a net to catch it. It's one I recommend you to listening to, as it's entirely different yet powerful. Mae's vocals soar and eclipses something else entirely, but I wished the song was longer as it could've been transformed into a well-pried single. What's next may surprise everyone, with the longest song on the record, Dear Boy may look to you as a very poignant track and it might feel very dreading. On the contrary, Avicii sets the pace so well that you don't feel bored from the play button. The Danish singer, known as Mø, sets the tone pretty well just like all the other features. Besting even Mae's soaring vocals, the track has everything settled in nicely.
Make no mistake, the whole album has no bad songs. I may not like some, but while most of these tracks may seem repetitive, but the positive point to note is you never get sick and tired of any of the songs on the album. While people are pointing out on Liar Liar and Heart Upon My Sleeve's different renditions of which Avicii played a month back at Tomorrowland, it's no surprise that these two tracks aren't exactly the ones you'd skip as well. Liar Liar has astute vocals while my problem was Spotify's version which didn't include Dan Reynold's of Imagine Dragons on the latter track. With that, I went out to find the song that had it, and man, the song was immediately radioactive (pun intended). The songs otherwise, are great additions while not really accompanying the vibe and tone which has been set before.
Now on to the biggest highlight for me, Lay Me Down. With appearances and contributions from Nile Rodgers (who also helped Daft Punk's Get Lucky and another on their recent album) and Adam Lambert, this was the track I wanted to listen to due to lofty expectations I had set for it. Does it deliver? Hell yes. Avicii's memorable drum beats and Lambert's amazing vocals once again is put in a dish that is so well served that listening to it once is not enough. You never get tired, just like any of the tracks on the album, and Lay Me Down would even top my favourites list off this album alongside Wake Me Up. So viciously offered and magnificently laid that Rodgers, Lambert and Avicii should get even more credit for this track. It's infused very well with house, pop and the ultimate EDM of the album. The breakdown also includes Rodger's signature guitar plays.
Overall, the album is fat with EDM surprises and ferociously driven by highlighting tracks such as Wake Me Up, Hey Brother, Addicted To You, Lay Me Down and Heart On My Sleeve, all of which are the voraciously daring tracks that you should and need to listen to. It's not demanding, as each track is amazing in it's own way. Through genre-mashing and capable assistance, Avicii has delivered on all directions. While I didn't really comment on the cover of Hope There's Someone and Shame on Me, they certainly are EDM-filled tracks that packs a huge punch as well.
9.5/10 - True is Avicii's collection of well-acclaimed hits and amazing tracks. It doesn't disappoint, but rather the anticipation is well worth it. You will love every single track on the album, and Avicii's debut album certainly won't just top charts around the world. It will set off an amazing chain reaction, so go off and tell your friends about this amazing album. Avicii deserves a standing ovation for such glorious work and he has not only just set the pace, but the EDM bar has been raised so much higher. And I'll say it: True is one of this year's best albums for sure.
So if you aren't hyped after listening to the snippet, then clearly you aren't exactly excited for this collaboration. Zedd should've been a name in the music industry by now if he still isn't yet, and Hayley Williams - may I ask who is unfamiliar with the name?
Audio for Stay The Night.
So Stay The Night is announced to be the fourth overall single, succeeding the widely critical and renowned single, Clarity featuring Foxes. Since then, Zedd has become almost recognisable on radio, albeit one song bringing him and the Foxes ultimate stardom. This time, he works with one of the well-loved lead vocalist from the punk-rock band, Paramore: Hayley Williams. Further up the pipeline, Zedd is also working on Lady Gaga's new album, ARTPOP on the songs G.U.Y, Aura and Donatella. However, Hayley is not the only big name collaborator he's worked with in the past, as the track record also includes British mega star Ellie Goulding, together with OneRepublic front-man Ryan Tedder. Slowly but gradually, Zedd could emerge to be a diamond in the rust - but while people are positively being amazed by his work, there are those who doubt his ability, claiming his songs are rather similar and often not as differentiating as other songs. Stay The Night seems to offer a different vibe, but all of it mostly hinges on whether or not Zedd's mixes and Hayley herself can seem to power through and give us the party song we oh so need.
Let's talk about Zedd's mixes first. He provided the vibe in which this track was easily able to be comforted into, something that Zedd does really well in. While it remains to be seen if he can still carry on from here, it is to be known that the vibe in his tracks are very thick and offers a more emotional ring to it. Though you may want to compare him to probably more renowned DJs such as David Guetta, and others, you may find distinct and very fragile differences such as the way the samples are used. While Guetta distorts, Zedd recreates. Not saying that Guetta isn't good, but sometimes his choices of singles leads me to question the track's true identity. But in this case, you know this is different due to the feature that's stuck on to the name tag.
This is Hayley's second feature alone as a guest spot of a single, in which the first one, Airplanes with B.o.B, was a critical success and peaked as high as number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. Since then, she's been helping out Paramore a lot, focusing on their recent self-titled album as it garnered critical acclaim around the world. And now, she's up the porch on the song as a really woven feature. Her vocals aren't pressed, making Hayley able to relive the vibe and navigate it towards the same direction with Zedd. The product wasn't meant to sound really pop, if you think that is what Hayley would bring to the table. Still sticking to his roots, Zedd's EDM factor still shines and brings about another great single. You could hate on Zedd's production, but you have to give credit to Hayley. She is what made t enjohe song sound unique, special and gratifying. Without her, it's the same as Clarity without Foxes. It's true anybody can replace Hayley's role, but then again, the differences would be marked.
Are you gonna' stay the night
Originality: 8/10 - Zedd really brings something new to the table, and it's an enjoyment to revel in it.
Sound: 9/10 - The instrumentations are able to be heard clearly. From the acoustics to the robotic drums, the snares to the synthesizers. Not to mention, Hayley's vocals shine radiantly.
Lyrics: 8/10 - The lyrics could need some work, especially on the chorus. It feels iffy and repetitive, but the verses are specifically well-written and deserve a mention.
Overall: 25/30 - This is going to be an achievement for not only Zedd, but Hayley herself. While others may deem Hayley as the lead singer of the band Paramore and that's it, on this track, she showcased another side of her. And Zedd too, memorable sounds always intricate and this is bound to be loved by many across the globe. I'll be playing it for days, and we might need to check in after a few weeks to see if Stay The Night can fly up the charts. For now, just play the song and have a twirl.
Travie McCoy releases a new track with one my favorite artists of all-time, Jason Mraz. And one thing's for sure: this musical duo is working out.
Audio for Rough Water.
So Travie's new single has me reeling in with filled ecstasy right now, even though Mraz is the one holding all of these clouds down. I was the first few to get to listen to it once it was uploaded onto Fueled By Ramen's YouTube channel page. While Lazarus, Travie's debut album back in 2010, wasn't a commercial success, coming in at number 25 on the Billboard 200 selling 15,000 copies, the first single, Billionaire which featured Bruno Mars who wasn't as famous as he was, managed to peak at number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100. That is a proven, despite his following singles Need You and We'll Be Alright aren't exactly high-flying, chart-topping singles. Now, it's almost three years since we've last heard from his sole expedition, and this time he manages to reach out to one of America's most loved artists, Jason Mraz. This is obviously a sign of a good charting reign if history repeats itself, as I'm already in love with the track greatly.
Let's talk about Travie McCoy. To me, Travie isn't a really good rapper, no doubt, but he does it in a way where it's simplified and yet very heartfelt, sometimes proving that while being on the fence of both sides, he can still please the fans wholly. He's always been himself, and as an artist, that's already enough. While many can disagree about his personal life with his relationships and whatnot, it's safe to say Travie is a 'safe' artist, and most liked around other celebrities. In this case, he doesn't have the track record of say Chris Brown, and even wished Katy Perry, his girlfriend back then, the best future endeavors and wished Perry and Russell 'nothing but the best'. In return, Katy released Circle the Drain darting at Travie on her sophomore debut Teenage Dream (the one with 5 number one singles - yeah). On the track itself, Travie talks about some of the close quarter topics, such as love, never letting go somebody you hold dearly with and just let it be if it isn't ours. He talks about something that is important, rather than building on redundancy and I'm already a big fan of it.
This is my message in a bottle, I hope that you receive it
However, as much as we all love Travie McCoy for who he is, there's undoubtedly no stealing the spotlight from Jason Mraz. Known for hits such as I'm Yours, I Won't Give Up and my personal favorite, Lucky with Colbie Caillat. His appearance on a Travie McCoy track really surprised me. The track starts off without any introduction, and you can instantly hear Mraz's signature acoustic guitar and his soul-pop vocals really changing the tone of the voice from the get-go. What he brings to the song is unbelievable. On the chorus, he makes it smooth, emotional and really powerful at the same time. Simultaneously, he offers a mood that is just caring, heartening and equally amazing in his vocals. On the second chorus and beyond, he really makes it radio-friendly and just anthemic, another touch of gloss that seemingly makes him bond with the song and almost made it his, if not for Travie's well-written verses that made sense. I can't say enough of Jason Mraz; his appearance in this single has changed my whole perception, and I'm loving the attention he is seeping away. He's definitely added to the song than degrade it - the same way Bruno Mars did with Billionaire. Will this song top the charts in weeks to come? I hope so.
Heyo, never let go of me
Originality: 9/10 - Travie McCoy's sound and Mraz's acoustic guitar adds a whole new level of amazement and greatness.
Sound: 9/10 - This duo is working out pretty well. That's an indication of how well Travie's done since Mraz's vocals and songwriting fragments have so far helped and not hinged any records. And I can't say enough of both artists who have made this single truly heartfelt and emotional.
Lyrics: 8/10 - Coupled with well-time choruses and a busy verse for Travie, the songwriting here is top-notch and very well done.
Overall: 26/30 - The track is emotional, well-written and heartfelt straight through it's core. I'll just put it out there, that you'll love the track and it'll be buzzing around you from the first listen onwards. I'll be playing it for days. And so will you. For sure.
So True has it's track list and I'm surprised, but let's talk about the second single off Avicii's upcoming major debut album: You Make Me.
Lyric video for You Make Me.
Make no mistake when I say True is one of my most anticipated albums, and You Make Me certainly ups the ante and the hype even much more. Featuring fellow Swedish singer Salem Al Fakir, the track could very well be a 'make or break' single for the DJ, especially coming off a highly and commercially successful first single in the form of Wake Me Up: emotionally amazing, gratuitously harmonious and effortless, the single is harder to top than anything else. But you want your fans to know the tone of your album am I right? What better way with You Make Me. The single might just be adequately enough served, as we await Avicii's album.
The piano replaces the acoustic in which it sits from the first single, Wake Me Up, as the song gets up to a very productive start. In kicks the vocals, as the instrumentation gets put on the back pedal, with Salem's soaring vocals angling high accompanied with hand-clapping invigoration. Not too bad, as the song does seem to struggle from some cracks, but Avicii's never been bad. Then the chorus foams in, as you finally see a clear and bigger picture of what it really is. The falsettos that is laid down feels tight and seemingly out of place. While you may point at the chorus and say, 'that wasn't what I was expecting', then you might as well guarantee Avicii's talent as something even extraordinary. Mixing EDM with acoustic guitars in Wake Me Up, he does it again with piano, and making production life seem as easy as bread and butter. You Make Me doesn't guarantee life after success from Wake Me Up, but it's enough to leave you thinking that the space for the album True in Avicii's closet might've opened up.
It's amazing how Avicii's genre matching skills are unmatched so far in the EDM world, maybe Calvin Harris coming in close second, but nothing so far really proves to be a match in Avicii's competition. You Make Me, if anything at all, is pure EDM while remaining in his roots, making sure that it's overall a club banger. The beats are notoriously infectious, while Salem's vocals needing more than just one listen to really get used to due to it's unorthodox style. Overall, it may not seem like it, but you'll be chasing down Avicii's coat-tails once the album comes out.
All my life
Originality: 8/10 - You Make Me is the next step in Avicii's pipeline, and such an extent with genre-mashing that he has done it again. Superbly.
Sound: 8/10 - While the Salem's falsettos may feel out of place, the overall track comprises of most new boundaries, and needs to be listened to be surprised.
Lyrics: 8/10 - Not exactly good nor flattering, but for an EDM track, it's standard issue.
Overall: 24/30 - You Make Me isn't as flashy nor radio-play definite, but it's not atrocious nor utterly un-listenable. While it will make you dance, it's memorable at the same time but not as meaningful as the single before. Overall, it's a nice change of pace and I will be playing it for days, no doubt.
During September to November, many albums are going to be released, and I will be giving you my top 5 anticipated albums I'm looking forward to.
5. Katy Perry's 'Prism' / Lady Gaga's 'ARTPOP'
This is a pop conversation and so messed up it is, that both sides of fans have now come to a specific brawl. But the attention is clear, and both celebrities have calmed each side's faithful down, but all boils down to the sales of both's anticipated album, Prism and ARTPOP for Perry and Gaga, respectively.
Let's talk about Katy Perry's Prism. It's anticipated, no doubt, but it's probably very hardened and wanting because of the fact of how successful her previous album, Teenage Dream, released back in 2010 was. 5 number one singles, while The One That Got Away managed to peak at number 10 in the Hot 100? This is no normal feat, and as said, only Michael Jackson has had it before with his album Bad. It's true that it's going to be tough now that the music industry is more loaded and complex, but ideally one cannot take away the fact that Roar, Perry's new single off Prism, has already reached number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with 400,000 iTunes sales alone. Can she carry on this explosive phenomenon? We shall see, but she's managed to dethrone Blurred Lines' before it hits it's 13th week at the top, and Thicke won't have it, especially he's caused a stir at the VMAs along with co-partner Miley Cyrus. Still, time will tell if Katy can continue this unbeatable streak, and if history repeats itself, Prism will most likely land atop safe and sound of the Billboard 200. Just sayin'.
Release Date: October 22.
On to Mother Monster, Lady Gaga. Well, things have shifted directions ever since she's had her upheaval to modern pop with The Fame, before building and strengthening her position with Born This Way. Both are classic Gaga albums, but fans will expect more now as it's her third time with proceedings, even though I'd still hope she'd go back to her Fame roots as her sophomore debut wasn't the best of her work. So the first single we've heard from the album, Applause, and undeniably so, was a disappointment for me. While fans can say that they enjoyed it, I got used to it after more and more listens, but still could not find a way to lock down a specific stretch that can make me say that I liked it more than the first time I heard it. While I did not enjoy Applause, it's safe to say tracks such as Aura and Manicure, are actually not as bad as they seem. Artpop too, signifying a very smooth pop tone with Gaga's performance during the iTunes festival seemingly enjoying herself while performing. Though not as good as her previous albums, it is after all not a whole lot of songs. If the war of pop continues, Gaga's ARTPOP would have to come in with some high notes and vocal highlights as this is the album we're ultimately looking at when it's release date draws near.
Release Date: November 11.
4. Avril Lavigne's Self-Titled Album
So when I heard that Avril Lavigne was putting out a new album soon, I was indefinitely stoked. Powered with high-flying singles such as Here's to Never Growing Up and the rock anthem, Rock N Roll, it seems as though Lavigne is going deep back to her rock star roots with her older hits such as Complicated and Sk8ter Boi. While I gave props to Rock N Roll, it is undoubtedly a test of whether Lavigne can still continue her tradition as to me, Goodbye Lullaby wasn't really excellent. While yes, some songs were amazing, others felt unneeded and not really Lavigne's style. The singles off of the album do shine in their sole directions, but overall, there weren't many of the same to celebrate with. While such factors hinge in the balance, it is safe to say that Avril's albums have yet to be really bad letdowns over her careers. Be it pop punk sweet Avril, or just amazed punk Avril, it's safe to say she's a well-received singer, and her self-titled album will do justice and once again reinvigorate her glorious fan base. Not to forget, she's got hubby Chad Kroeger, the Nickelback frontman who also did most of the co-writings. No hating, but I am quite a huge fan of Nickelback in general, and also have their recent album Here And Now. It's really interesting to see how their songwriting skills would pair up when the album finally releases. For now, let's suspiciously start a rumor.
Release Date: November 5th.
3. Panic! At The Disco's 'Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die!'
I've been a big Panic! fan ever since A Fever You Can't Sweat Out was released many years ago. While the CD hasn't been around since then, it's obviously a big accomplishment for Brendon Urie and band to finally cope with the loss of their drummer, Ryan Ross. Obviously this album will mean so much more than just trying to continue their form from Vices and Virtues, but it's also a testament and a much needed warmth to Spencer's drug rehabilitation. Panic! fans will know of Spencer's conditions, and that he had just been sent into rehab last month. While the tour happened, it was all with their drummer's absence, as Brendon has to take it all in his own. And so much so, that Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die is seemingly a personal portrayal of Brendon's life, and the events that happened. Such is pop punk first single Miss Jackson, and the thereafter emotional vocoder ballad This Is Gospel, of which the latter has received much praise from. Miss Jackson speaks about Brendon's sex life with friends, while This Is Gospel is more of an emotional assessment, and fans are now already craving to hear more (including me). While it remains to be seen whether this new album can match or even go back to prior Vices and Virtues era of Panic! At The Disco, I would hope not. With a fresh new start and a fresh new pair of songwriting hands in Brendon Urie, this is one of my most anticipated albums for sure.
Release Date: October 8.
2. Justin Timberlake's 'The 20/20 Experience: 2 Of 2'
So The 20/20 Experience came out this year March, and has had so far critical acclaim and commercial success. Now, due out in a couple of weeks, is probably more so anticipated due to it's predecessor scoring so well. Suit And Tie, commercially successful, spear-headed the album's sales, as the album opened up to over 900,000 copies sold in the United States alone. That tells you how much Justin Timberlake is in the United States alone, before making another hit through Mirrors. As said above, these attributes to the naturally built anticipation that everyone has for the next part. If anything, the bars should be raised even higher. With the first taste through Take Back the Night, it's not even a slightest of indication of what the album would be like. While Suit And Tie offered sort of like an R&B vibe, yet smooth and jazz, the overall album turned out to be a surprise from front to back. Tunnel Vision, the last single to be released from the first Experience, showcased some of the best production from Timbaland once again. Though Mirrors was an overall highlight, it is probably going to be included in many top 10 year-end songs for sure. For now, we eagerly await Experience 2 of 2, if proving to be a smash hit, rounding up Timberlake's decade-near singing career at the top. Let's not forget, he was also awarded with the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award at the VMAs. If you aren't anticipated by this album, you should be by now.
Release Date: 17 September.
1. Eminem's 'Marshall Mathers Lp 2'
Eminem's Marshall Mathers LP 2 is probably one of my most anticipated album of the year, let alone this fall. Ever since Recovery, Eminem hasn't released any new tracks lately, and while depressingly so, he finally tingled the fan's ears with Survival featuring Liz Rodriguez which was used for the Call of Duty game's trailer released on August 14th. While it is far from the best tracks that he's known for, it has been a fresh change of pace as Recovery wasn't really one of Em's best albums after all. Then a week later, a Beats commercial featuring a sneak peak of Em's new single, Berzerk, went bonkers during the VMAs. The album title, executive producers and a release date was all flipped on screen. When it showed the words 'MMLP2', any long-time Eminem fan will tell you, 'that is the sequel to his third album, The Marshall Mathers LP', released back in 2000. What's the commotion with this third album? Personally, it is my one of my all-time favorite Eminem albums, though I still have a long regard to The Eminem Show, but it's up there. Critically, it's been praised as Eminem's all-time best album. It spawned commercial hits which shot him into stardom, such as The Real Slim Shady and The Way I Am. It included one the best songs ever written by Eminem and any other artist, with Stan. With that said, there is bound to be hype, with others hoping that Berzerk, the single, would at least be sub-par and Recovery standard. And as I've said in my review, it's gone high and beyond that, surpassing my expectations greatly. It's been a success so far, selling 362,000 units on iTunes to debut atop number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100, behind Katy Perry's Roar and Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines. With that said, since Eminem is one of my all-time favorite artists, it's no surprise that Marshall Mathers LP 2 would be my most anticipated album this fall.
Release Date: 5 November.
So what is your most anticipated album this fall? Is it Justin Timberlake's? Or Avril Lavigne's? Anyways, I'd like to hear from you. Tell me in the comments box below. Or tweet me @TheRealB30.
Coldplay just released Atlas, and being the first of the few to have a listen since it's release, let's start the review straight away.
Lyric video for Atlas.
So Atlas is apparently the first track to be released from The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Soundtrack, undoubtedly one of the fan favorite movies go-to this fall when it hits theaters November 22. That's not the notion, but rather the ethic which has comprised and was built into Atlas, that Coldplay has done has left me swooning over their ability once again. Let's start with the beginning.
Atlas opens up to soothing piano plays before Martin, the lead singer, says it slowly yet tensely, 'Some saw the sun; Some saw the smoke; Some heard the gun; Some bent the bow,' it all slowly forthcoming yet being intricate, and somewhat also reminiscent of old Coldplay days (before Mylo Xyloto to be exact). The track then sets up for it's mighty big leap of faith; the chorus which is destined to hit the peak all fans are expecting. And before it reaches there, Martin expresses 'caught in the fire; Say 'oh'; We're about; To explode.' Before the epic snare drum sound eclipses it and the vocals soar, going 'Carry your world; I'll carry your world,' before doing a refrain twice, and going on with the song. I felt this was a good way to picture the scenario when you first listen to the song. There were some issues, but it was all confined under one space: the chorus.
So Coldplay are known for some of the best catchy hooks in their entire career. I'm not saying that this chorus in Atlas wasn't catchy, but while Martin's voice is memorable, I had wished the chorus to be of something more. It wasn't as exciting as I thought it would be, considered the amount of work being laid before it's pavement stockpiled into this abrupt yet sudden change of tone. It was big, yes, but it was tense and felt like it wasn't enough. Lyrically, it possess it's strength well and holds it down over the song. But the chorus to me, was the biggest letdown in my opinion. Not only was it not sufficient, while it was strong, it did not prove anything that the verse could not do on it's own. Other than that, the piano, drums and vocals all worked for me. But slight adjustments to it could've been far, far better done, and Atlas would've been one of the best week-ending singles you'll hear yet.
Don't hold that thought down though, as Atlas jaunts you on a journey, especially during the verses. If you listen hard enough, you might get some lyrical tidbits that you'd never expect, coming off The Hunger Game's sophomore movie due November.
Some far away
Originality: 8/10 - Coldplay has an amazing agglomeration of classics, and Atlas might sit up on the porch alongsides Viva La Vida and even Lost!.
Sound: 7/10 - Despite the flaws bridging in to the overall side of the song from the chorus, it still holds it's place simply well.
Lyrics: 9/10 - It's really metaphorical and should take some time to understand and delve into further.
Overall: 24/30 - Atlas is jarringly good. While the chorus may seem to disappoint in my favor, give it a few more listens. It will grow on you. It's tense yet soothing; undeniably rich in depth and rewarding if you stayed until the end. It's ultimately a re-collective soul-searching experience the song provides. I will be playing it for days - Coldplay is one of my favorite UK bands anyway! Be sure to catch Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games' sequel on November 22 and mark that date down on your calendar.
On top of Billboard and on top of their game. But does it really show the true return of form?
So Avenged Sevenfold's seventh studio album, a decade and two years after their debut album, Sounding the Seventh Trumpent, has finally arrived and I finally got to peek my ears to listen to it. I have to say that A7X, as their known in short, really does not disappoint in all of their albums. From the widely acclaimed Waking the Fallen to their superb, jarring self-titled album to the voraciously written Nightmare tribute to their band member The Rev, they have probably had the most consistent fans across the world. It is universal support, and that's also one of the reason why they've topped the Billboard 200 once again, successor to Nightmare, also debuting at number one with a margin more sales compared. But what does Hail to the King, the album, have in store for us?
Let's talk a little about the single we got to hear prior to the release; Hail to the King, the track title with the same album name. The guitars are just divine once the track opens, reigniting the hearts of the faithful. It's anthemic, dark and astounding, delivering some of the best drums and guitar plays in the entire album. It is one of the highlights of the album, no doubt, but does the album really circle around this one track? We've got to hear it all to really know though.
The opening track, Shepherd of Fire, really shows off Shadows' neat aggressive tone, the scruffy vocals are really focused and hard-hitting. Along with the usual round of compelling drum beats and electric guitars, it is the right track to open with before we cut straight deep into the album title track, as I've mentioned above. It's pacing really set the tone right before we hit Requiem, one of my favorites and a conclusive highlight that really should be heard to be surprised and amazed. It's gang vocals are superb, and what a change or turn the album takes that the ferocious guitars lunge in to eat disposition alike. Shadows' really does it once again, and fits well with the grudging guitars seemingly very multitude and huge. What comes after that really made me jaw-drop even further as Crimson Day is emotionally well-written and cinematic. So far it seems the tracks have been superb and well done.
I have a little problem with the album on a whole though. While the songs are excellent individually, the combined process and track-list don't really seem to comprise very well together, seemingly at the middle, they've been told by the label to mix-and-match so that the tracks 'run well enough' and just so as to put it and concentrate on solely the tracks and songs. Other than some of the other songs mentioned, the album seems to be really easy to not be surprised, more of a usual routine than what I've heard before from their past albums. It's like the same with it mostly, with some exceptions like I've said, Crimson Day. The general consensus is the album seems to have empty fillers of guitar chords and drumming, which would be better replaced with tracks that would have been equipped of handling both the filler voids and really deliver another side of the band we've not heard. Other than that, the album is solid, so let me pick out my favorites and recall some highlights.
Nothing tops Crimson Day and Hail to the King as high as I would've expected. These two tracks are humongous, especially Crimson Day, the emotional bred breathing throughout and Hail to the King is the ultimate single that the album deserves and needs. Another of my favorites that is hard-hitting and solid as a whole, is Coming Home. It's loud, desperate and ferocious. All in all, the track is stunning. Acid Rain is also an overall favorite, almost comparable to Crimson Day, but Shadows' vocals shine here than on the former track, and really shows the lyrical presentation that is well-thought and carefully written. It's calm and generally nearing the end of the track, it's subtly soothing and offers tranquility to the soul.
Overall: 8.5/10 - The album is solid throughout, offering different vibes and often leaving you with bated breath and jarred. Avenged Sevenfold's reappearance from the music world seems to have left other rock acts to gather their guitars and write something better. Hail to the King has not just raised the bar of the rock and metal genre, but it's reminded us of the band's talents and their prolific return in true honorary style. You will not be disappointed, trust me.
Cher Lloyd's clearly releasing her new second album soon. Unlike the first one though, the difference is pretty perspicuous: I Wish is not Swagger Jagger.
Lyric video for I Wish.
The X-Factor second runner-up for season 7 is finally back with her new single! Well, which Brat isn't excited for Cher ever since she broke into the US charts with Want U Back and Oath, charting positions 12 and 73 on the Billboard Hot 100 respectively. Although it seemed that she received quite a lot of criticism and negativity towards her previous first single, Swagger Jagger, before winning them over again with the UK hit With Ur Love, it's safe to say there's no repeat of history this time. This song is going to be a hit with the fans for sure. However, I'm not really sure if others are going to be appealed towards T.I.'s rap verses.
So I Wish kind of has the vibe with Want U Back. You can hear it instantly, the style switching almost feels as if Cher had ditched her old tracks back on the Sticks + Stones album. I might be a little on the fence with the track, but it is overall a fun record aimed at pretty much girls who are big fans of Cher's musical representation. She's come a long way since her audition days, be it Sticks + Stones selling well or not. The track also feels very unfamiliar at the pre-chorus, where Cher's vocals becomes smooth, definitely not the type of note she hits often. However, the chorus doesn't disappoint, even with the sweet end to it (come, come, kiss me boy). With the variety of instruments used (you might have to guess it), the track doesn't come up easy and Cher herself did most of the heavy lifting for the most part. While this track is good, the lyrics, in comparison to her older hits, don't exactly feel estranged nor satisfactory. They feel averagely moderate, but we all know there's better lyrics to the song. I think there's one thing that could've either been better or worse, and that's T.I.'s feature.
I wish I was tall
I don't know what to call T.I.'s appearance; extraordinary or weak? It's in the middle it seems, as T.I.'s raps don't really essentially mean anything. That said, it doesn't destroy the song nor salvage it, thus his whole meddling with his bars might not have come in effect, and might've been better without him than with him. Though, no complaints, it doesn't sound too bad than others with the rap hats on other pop songs.
I'm not sure what kind of fella' you like
Originality: 7/10 - The song seems to have a little ingenuity lacked, but it doesn't bring down the scale of it though.
Sound: 8/10 - Catchy, relatable and light; Cher Lloyd has really put it up for fans.
Lyrics: 7/10 - The lyrics don't really matter as much and don't coincide, but the content on it is enough to suffice for it fully.
Overall: 22/30 - All in all, the song is what it is. Catchy, poppy and relatable. Nothing more and nothing less. I'm a big Cher fan, so it's really hard now to even predict what the new sound could be like on the upcoming album. Overall, I'll definitely be playing it for days.
Gorilla is apparently the fourth single off of Unorthodox Jukebox, and not Moonshine, to my disappointment. But I have to say, the VMA's certainly held Gorilla as it's highlight machine.
Audio for Gorilla.
So Gorilla comes under the pecking order for singles after we've heard the fun, exciting first single of Locked Out of Heaven. Then comes heart-breaking ballad When I Was Your Man and thereafter, the party, 80's-esque theme of Treasure. I guess I would've hoped for a re-release of Moonshine, considering I loved it more than Gorilla, or even Old & Crazy featuring Esperanza Spalding was a better and more obvious choice then this semi-rock, pop escapade love song. However, I never doubted it was a good song, nor claimed to hate it either way. I did listen to the whole album quite a few times, but Gorilla is one I've skipped aplenty. So let's go ahead and jump right into Gorilla.
If you don't know Bruno Mars, or have never heard of him before, then Gorilla might suit you best. But for a trend of Mars' followers, it might be the most unorthodox of singles to be chosen, considering the previous singles were all of big production (When I Was Your Man wasn't big, but was amazing enough to be listed up top), but since Mark Ronson is on it, you don't have to worry a mustache about it. The song starts off with the drum beats hanging over, and instantly Mars' explosive vocals kick-in. As he finishes his line, the drum bass hits a peak, before going subtle and hitting it again. That was a small point won, considering the song's vocals was just on fire, and Mars' obviously outdoing himself time and time again.
You cannot deny how much you love this track once it reaches it's focal point; the devastating, ear-ripping, high-octane vocals just shredding through as Bruno sings with pure infection and solitude. The whole track points at the chorus as it's body of weight, the one that carries the song throughout and does not mess up at any rhythm or time. Though the lyrical content does slow down and often doesn't live up to the strength the song has overall, it doesn't matter as it's the Bruno Mars show, and it's what we came for.
If you haven't seen the VMA performance for Bruno's Gorilla, I recommend you to highly go and watch it. It's pure amazing and it's given me a double take on the song so far. However, it is a good point to note that Bruno doesn't disappoint when it comes to live shows. So get a ticket and a sweater once he arrives to hold a concert.
Originality: 7/10 - Gorillas does add the weighted scale of being oblivious at the start, thus it's approach is something Bruno Mars doesn't cope well with.
Sound: 9/10 - This is Bruno Mars. What more do you ask for? Punchy vocals, explosives and mesmerizing talent spewing right in your face. Just take it.
Lyrics: 7/10 - The song does well enough to put it up atop the scale of being overly-average, yet the lyrics don't provide the serving impetus to really make this single anything more than radio-hip and adequately mainstream.
Overall: 23/30 - Gorillas will give you a good time, no alcohol required. I'll be playing it for days, and as long as this song sees the light of day, it is ensured that this song will be quite a hit.
All Time Low is back with a new single and I'd say it took me quite a while to actually get the review started.
Music video for A Love Like War.
So if you don't know All Time Low by now (what?), they're a band from Baltimore, America and they're quite successful if anything. Known for their punk-rock guitars and their lead singer, Alex's amazing vocals, All Time Low should've been amazing if not for undercurrent success and mishits of certain albums. By far, Nothing Personal and Don't Panic are two of my favorite albums by the band, while many judged Dirty Work as underrated, to me it was kind of a mix-and-match, with a batch of songs such as Time Bomb and Get On Your Knees And Tell Me Your Love Me was just on the receiving end of great. Still, it doesn't take away that they are re-releasing Don't Panic, released last year, with a couple more songs together with A Love Like War featuring Vic Fuentes, which will be spear-heading the album. Let's get on to the song.
So at first listen, the guitars were matched highly. Then, there was the intertwine with it dying out before the chords lifted back up again. Though it took me quite awhile to get hold of it, the rest of the song is just simply golden. The drumming is irresistibly clear and sharp, while Alex Garskath's vocals roared. It has that Dirty Work vibe to it, but there's really huge differences overlaying the sea of years that have changed since it's release two years ago. A Love Like War seemingly turns their attention to just punk rock at times, while remaining vibrantly soulful at the verses, something which they've kept in check since Nothing Personal and I guess it's sort of a tradition which some bands follow throughout their careers. Nothing bad about it, just that it really shows a different perspective of the song as a whole and shines where it needs to.
It's catchy and really energetic, and I think that it's going to be a hit since it's already climbing the iTunes alternative charts already. That said, Vic Fuentes of Pierce the Veil ended up on the featured desk and boy did he do wonders to the track. Appearing for the first time at the chorus, he brings something new to the table and adds a variation to Alex's vocals. Yet, staying on point and not really overdoing it, he really keeps it in check most of the time and I'd say it was a warm welcome to have on the track as well.
Give the track a few spins if you haven't already, and you might just like it. The lyrical content also shoves the class above 'averagely distinct', and it really shows that since Dirty Work, Alex's lyrical songwriting has improved tremendously.
Heart's on fire tonight
Feels like war, war
Originality: 8/10 - The band has seemingly come away fortuitous of their Don't Panic creativity. If they hold it in, I believe the new songs might be just better.
Sound: 8/10 - The drums, guitars, and vocals are all in check. Vibrant and soulful, the song embraces the term of love and delivers the crunchy parts carefully yet amazingly.
Lyrics: 8/10 - The lyrics do mean something, and it's really a pleasant sight to get on with the bandwagon to understand it and rejoice.
Overall: 24/30 - The track is great from top to bottom and All Time Low's progressive return is slowly building up. Engineered together with Vic Fuentes, this song could be larger and explosive than one might think. Play it for days, for sure.
Benny Ong: Just your regular guy who likes soccer more than most people, and also a little downtime is pretty nice.