CD Reviews

J. Cole Is Fiery On ‘2014 Forest Hills Drive’

December 16th, 2014 3:12pm EST
J. Cole Forest Hills Drive
Sometimes the best musicians don’t receive the recognition that they should – call it the ‘underrated bug.’ For rapper J. Cole, being underrated seems to be his middle name. Sure, he’s racked up two number one albums, but the über talented rapper still feels less heralded than some of his contemporaries. 2014 Forest Hills Drive, much like previous effort, Born Sinner, exemplifies why J. Cole ranks among the best in the game.

Following the mysterious “Intro,” “January 28th” finds Cole is on autopilot – cocky and confident from the jump. “The real is back, the 'ville is back,” Cole spi...

Will You Like Mary J. Blige's New Album 'The London Sessions'?

December 3rd, 2014 2:18pm EST
Mary J. Blige Keeps On Shining On 'The London Sessions'
Sometimes changing things up can be a terrific thing. Other times, change is a pain in the butt. For veteran R&B diva Mary J. Blige – best known as the “Queen of hip-hop soul” – change works out splendidly overall on her latest studio album, The London Sessions. Tapping out some of the best talent in London, England, Mary J. Blige reaps the benefits of expanding her musical palette beyond the tried and true.

The London Sessions opens in electrifying fashion with the funky, upbeat “Therapy,” a stark contrast from Blige’s previous work. Focusing her vocals in her surprisingly powerfu...

CD Review: His Dream Of Lions - 'Part II'

December 1st, 2014 7:33pm EST
CD Review: His Dream Of Lions - 'Part II'
An impressive array of profound, heart-on-sleeve showmanship (“Next Stop, Fall City”) mingles with slightly less weighty offerings brimming with precision hooks and captivating melodies (“The Ordinary,” “Dreams Equipped”) throughout Part II, an EP that offers up a lot to like as a mere six-song clip. There’s the Jimmy Eat World meets Something Corporate meets Get Up Kids swagger of the opening single “The Pace Car” and the deliciously not-so-subtle underlay of keys on the subsequent “Summer Song,” not to mention the set closer “All the Salt In the World,” which somehow manages to encapsulat...

CD Review: Falling Through April - 'Risks And Rewards'

December 1st, 2014 7:26pm EST
CD Review: Falling Through April - 'Risks And Rewards'
Risks and Rewards is bookended by two solid entries littered with modern rock tropes including, but not limited to, explosive hooks, churning guitars and euphoric melody (“Breakdown,” “In Control”), though the solo in the latter is not to be missed. But in the case of Risks and Rewards, it’s not about how Falling Through April starts, or even how they finish. It’s all about the journey, not the destination as they say, as the body of the EP morphs in something entirely different and unexpected, something akin to say Yellowcard or Jimmy Eat World, as 90’s alt-rock meets emo-pop to create a t...

CD Review: The Paramedic - 'Diary Of My Demons' (Bullet Tooth)

December 1st, 2014 7:22pm EST
CD Review: The Paramedic - 'Diary Of My Demons' (Bullet Tooth)
With Diary of My Demons, The Paramedic has just put the entire scene on blast. The album’s devastating opening triumverate (“Have a Nice Day,” “Who I’ve Become,” “Proud”) levels the battlefield immediately via lion-sized barks and throat shredding screams, hyperactive guitars, frantic riffs, manic drumming, which combine to create an immersive sound. Lead vocalist Mike Luciano delivers one of the year’s best vocal performances - reminiscent of …An Ocean Between Us-era As I Lay Dying. “Make Me Feel,” one of the only tracks on Diary of My Demons that is out of place, sounds like a The Bunny T...

Review: 8 Takeaways From Rick Ross' 'Hood Billionaire'

December 1st, 2014 4:15pm EST
Rick Ross Hood Billionaire
Rick Ross did something that few artists were brave enough to do in 2014 – release two studio albums. Yep, everyone should be dropping his or her jaws. After dropping a fifth number one album in Mastermind earlier in 2014, he issues Hood Billionaire. Maybe Ross just wanted to flex his ‘boss-ness.’ Regardless, he has given the hip-hop world more to listen, analyze, and of course critique. After listening and analyzing Ross’ latest, here are eight takeaways.

1) Ross attempts to be conceptual

Give Ross some credit (the key word being some). To an extent, it seems on Hood Billionai...

Iggy Azalea Celebrates Newfound Fame On ‘Reclassified’

November 25th, 2014 11:50am EST
Review: Iggy Azalea Celebrates Newfound Fame On ‘Reclassified’
“What’s a world with no I-G-G in this b*tch?” In 2014, the music industry without Australian rapper Iggy Azalea definitely would be less interesting, so Iggy has a point here. After releasing The New Classic to surprising success thanks to exceptional singles in “Fancy” and “Black Widow,” Azalea seeks to keep her ‘star’ rising and visible to the world on Reclassified. Reclassified is a compilation mixing hits and highlights from her breakout debut, along with new material.

Reclassified opens confidently with newbie “We In This B*tch,” where Azalea proudly spits, “Now let’s reflect on wh...

One Direction Transition To Adulthood On 'Four'

November 19th, 2014 1:34pm EST
Review: One Direction Transition To Adulthood On 'Four'
“You’re insecure / don’t know what for / you’re turning heads when you walk through the door.” Grunt! It wasn’t that long ago that one of the most annoyingly, a catchy boy band song was born, to the delight of girls and to the chagrin of (many) guys. However, beginning with One Direction’s Midnight Memories album, any Directioner or non-Directioner could feel the band was beginning a transition stylistically and in regards to overall maturity.

The British-Irish band’s fourth album, Four is a full-fledged transitional album, finding the once schmaltzy boys transitioning gracefully to adu...

Foo Fighters Keep Rocking Hard On 'Sonic Highways'

November 17th, 2014 1:30pm EST
Review: Foo Fighters Keep Rocking Hard On 'Sonic Highways'
How do you one-up a juggernaut – “that is the question!” For Foo Fighters, following up an alt-rock classic in 2011’s Grammy-winning Wasting Light is no easy task. But no one can continue to live in the shadow of one epic project. As that Jay-Z song goes, it’s “On To The Next One.” Foo Fighter’s latest project Sonic Highways proves to be no slouch, delivering another eight rocking, enjoyable songs to the band’s body of work.

Interestingly, all eight of Sonic Highways’ tracks were recorded in different cities in notable recording studios in each. The project accompanies the band’s HBO...

Whitney Houston’s Spirit Endures

November 12th, 2014 7:21pm EST
Whitney Houston - Her Greatest Performances
Among the saddest parts of life is death – the ultimate ending that no one escapes. For some life is long, while others it’s short. When a celebrity dies, even though fans of that celebrity weren’t acquainted with that person, the fans are saddened by the loss of a great musician, actor, or otherwise. When it was announced that prodigious voiced diva Whitney Houston had passed away at age 48, it was considered to be another great one gone too soon.

Though Whitney Houston is gone physically, she has left behind timeless music and irreplaceable legacy. One of the most powerful voices of ...