CD Reviews

The Vamps Sophomore Album Lacks Identity

11/30/2015 1:00pm EST
The Vamps Struggle To Distinguish Themselves On Sophomore Album
The term boy band naturally incites eye rolls, rightfully so. Why? – Because boy bands tend to be among the most formulaic, corny acts in the music biz. There have been some great ones historically, but not everybody is/can be the Jackson 5. Also, in more modern context, not everybody can achieve the success of One Direction, particularly if you’re also a British boy band. Perhaps that’s the glaring issue for British boy band The Vamps on their average-at-best sophomore album, Wake Up.

“Wake Up” kicks things off pleasantly. Slickly produced, “Wake Up” shines thanks to its signature synth...

Jadakiss Is Tough As Nail On Comeback Album

11/25/2015 1:18pm EST
© Def Jam
It’s been a while since the world heard from Yonkers, New York MC Jadakiss – 2009 to be exact. Despite releasing The Last Kiss in ‘09, Jadakiss’ last notable album is arguably Kiss Of Death from 2004, featuring #11 hit single “Why?” featuring Anthony Hamilton. After a six-year hiatus, Jadakiss returns with his fourth album, Top 5 Dead or Alive. Despite what could be considered an eternity out of the spotlight in the music biz, the brash, distinct voiced MC doesn’t miss a beat on his comeback album.

Over the course of Top 5 Dead or Alive, Jadakiss seems to collaborate with “everybody and h...

'25' Is Another Superb Album By Adele

11/23/2015 11:45am EST
Review: Adele Delivers Another Stellar Album With '25'   
After four long years, big-voiced, British pop singer/songwriter phenomenon (mouthful) Adele returns with her highly anticipated third studio album, 25. In a short amount of time, the accolades that Adele has achieved in her career are remarkable: 10 Grammy awards, an academy award for best original song, and a diamond certified album (21). 25 seeks to continue the greatness which Adele seems to exemplify with ease. While following 21 is an arduous task, Adele picks right up where she left off on 25.

“Hello” rightfully initiates 25 in stellar fashion. Following up juggernaut singles that m...

Review: Chris Young, ‘I’m Comin’ Over’ 

11/19/2015 5:25pm EST
Chris Young Shines On Fifth Album ‘I’m Comin’ Over’ 
Country music is all over the map in 2015 – the movements are endless. Some country musicians opt for the traditional fare while others expand the palette of genre to include elements of pop, rock and hip-hop. For Chris Young, he sticks with country’s traditional means, and the results are superb on latest album I’m Comin’ Over. While Young never reinvents the wheel, or can be characterized as possessing ‘swag’ like some of his contemporaries, he delivers an enjoyable, consistent country effort the plays to his strengths.

“Heartbeat” kicks things off soundly, with Young’s rich baritone ...

Jeezy Gets 4 Stars For 'Church In These Streets'

11/18/2015 12:30pm EST
Jeezy Remains Street Smart On 'Church In These Streets'   
There are x number of rappers on the hip-hop scene in modern times. The palette of hip-hop has expanded exponentially, hence inviting a higher level of eclecticism. That said is there anybody who delivers a harder, brasher approach to rap than Jeezy? The answer to that question is very few, as Jeezy has “gone hard” from day one, his “Soul Survivor” days. On Church In These Streets Jeezy didn’t need to convert any souls, but he does nonetheless – in a musical way of course, not spiritually!

From the start, Jeezy is on…autopilot that is! “Grind State” opens with Jeezy proclaiming, “Sounds g...

One Direction Compel On Fifth Album ‘Made In The A.M.’

11/16/2015 4:40pm EST
One Direction’s Fifth Album ‘Made In The A.M.’ Has Chemistry And
On One Direction’s fifth studio album Made In The A.M. as the saying goes, “No Zayn Malik, no problem!” Well, there’s no such official saying, but with the former quintet reduced to a quartet, there is no significant drop-off. That isn’t to understate the impact of Zayn by any means, but Harry, Liam, Louis, and Niall carry on just fine on Made In The A.M. Here’s a little secret – even non-boy band enthusiasts just MIGHT enjoy Made In The A.M.

Folk-rock opener “Hey Angel” sets the tone, featuring a hint more personality from the collective. All four members aim big, which amplifies the edg...

There Is Plenty To Like On Justin Bieber’s ‘Purpose’

11/16/2015 11:30am EST
8 Takeaways From Justin Bieber’s ‘Purpose’
Following a three-year hiatus, pop heartthrob turned bad boy Justin Bieber returns with his fourth studio album, Purpose. Bieber has released numerous projects beyond his ‘studio’ output, including holiday effort Under The Mistletoe and the unplugged effort Believe Acoustic, both of which debuted atop the charts. Regardless one’s respective opinion is of the embattled pop star, his commercial success has been undeniable.

Three years, however, is like an eternity in pop music, so how does a more mature Bieber do? Ultimately, he picks up where he left off, but definitely feels and sounds mor...

See Why We Gave Cee Lo Green's 'Heart Blanche' 4 Stars

11/11/2015 5:20pm EST
Cee Lo Green Retains Soulfulness And Eccentric Personality On ‘H
What’s the best way for an embattled musician to heal? Release new music. That’s exactly what the once beloved, eccentric Cee Lo Green does on his latest studio album, Heart Blanche. Excluding his 2012 holiday effort, Heart Blanche marks Cee Lo’s first new studio album in five years. A lot has changed since he shocked the world with breakout hit “F**k You,” so can Cee Lo keep it going on Heart Blanche? For the most part, the answer is a resounding yes.

Following the soul-sampling intro, Green is clearly on autopilot. Pop/rock infused opener “Est. 1980s” finds the eclectic musician singing...

What’s New And Different On ‘In The Lonely Hour’ With ‘Drowning Shadows Edition’?

11/9/2015 11:35am EST
Sam Smith Expands ‘In The Lonely Hour’ With ‘Drowning Shadows Ed
Sam Smith has already ‘had his moment’ with his debut studio album, In The Lonely Hour. In The Lonely Hour was nominated for six Grammys at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards, winning four (record of the year, song of the year, best new artist, and pop vocal album). Most critics have already given In The Lonely their blessings, including our own favorable take on the effort. So, why is the album being revisited? Because Smith reissued his crowning achievement with a special edition – Drowning Shadows Edition.

The first disc of In The Lonely Hour Drowning Shadows Edition should sound familiar – ...

The Neighbourhood Steps Up Its Game In 'Wiped Out'

11/4/2015 1:20pm EST
The Neighbourhood Deliver An Enigmatic Sophomore Album With ‘Wip
Sometimes, a band’s career can get off to a rocky start. That was the case for alternative band The Neighbourhood, who arrived in 2013 with debut album I Love You. I Love You was by no means a success, earning a tepid score of 48 on critic aggregate site Metacritic and peaking at a modest #25 on the Billboard 200. It’s biggest redeeming quality? "Sweater Weather," a single worth the listen and leaving the door of better things to come. Now releasing sophomore album Wiped Out!, has The Neighbourhood perfected their craft? Definitely.

Wiped Out! kicks off with a 30-second intro “A Moment ...

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