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CD Reviews

Review: Big Sean Brings The Heat On 'Dark Sky Paradise'

March 2nd, 2015 11:30am EST
Big Sean - Dark Sky Paradise
“Oh God!” How many times has Detroit bred MC Big Sean uttered that phrase? On his third studio album Dark Sky Paradise, Sean strives to establish himself as a heavyweight in the rap game, even if he has no shortage of skeptics or haters. His previous album Hall of Fame wasn’t a hit like his debut Finally Famous, so Sean aims to step up his game the third time around. Dark Sky Paradise isn’t perfect, but there are plenty of exceptional moments to be had.

Opener “Dark Sky (Skyscrapers)” is somewhat off-putting, yet establishes the overall tenor of the album. As listeners have become accu...
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Review: Imagine Dragons Keep The Momentum Rolling On ‘Smoke And Mirrors’

February 22nd, 2015 6:20pm EST
Imagine Dragons
How does a breakout rock band follow-up a double platinum, Grammy-winning debut album – The very best that they can in all honesty! With Night Visions, Las Vegas rock collective Imagine Dragons constructed a juggernaut, led by an even more gargantuan single “Radioactive” and a superb follow-up with “Demons.” Sophomore album Smoke and Mirrors rightfully arrives with ‘larger than life’ anticipation, and for Imagine Dragons’ efforts, for the most part, album two does well for itself.

“Shots” initiates Smokes And Mirrors epically, alluring with it synths, slick production, and addictive ch...
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8 Takeaways From Drake’s ‘If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late’

February 17th, 2015 8:30pm EST
8 Takeaways From Drake’s ‘If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late’
The music industry got a serious lift on Friday the 13th of all days – who would’ve thought? Why – well one ubiquitous Canadian rapper/R&B singer named Drake released a surprise album entitled If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late. Anytime that Drake drops anything, it’s huge – gargantuan! After listening to Drake’s 17-track fourth album, here are eight takeaways to sink your teeth into.

1) Drake’s loaded – aka he’s rich!

One thing that Drake is NOT hurting for is money. The dude is frickin’ loaded peeps! As if everybody didn’t already know this fact about Drake, he spends plenty of...
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Review: Estelle Shows Off Impressive Vocal Prowess On 'True Romance'

February 16th, 2015 6:00pm EST
Review: Estelle Shows Off Impressive Vocal Prowess On 'True Roma
When the name Estelle comes to mind, there is one song most will cite without question: “American Boy.” “American Boy” was the British singer/rapper’s breakout hit, winning her a Grammy along the way. That said there is more to Estelle’s than “American Boy,” and on her fourth studio album True Romance, Estelle shows off immense artistic versatility. True Romance has a bit of everything, oscillating between boldness and conservativeness, all the while finding the Estelle on top of her game. Throughout its course, Estelle’s vocals are always on-point.

“Time After Time” initiates True Roma...
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Review: Fifth Harmony Keep It Fierce On 'Reflection'

February 9th, 2015 2:30pm EST
Fifth Harmony - Reflection
The US version of X Factor certainly couldn’t be called a success, much to Simon Cowell’s chagrin. The first season victor, Melanie Amaro, never even dropped an album. What a mess! Regardless, the short-lived show did deliver one group with impressive potential in Fifth Harmony. After a hot single (“Bo$$”), debut album Reflection became victim to the delay bug. Even so in February 2015, Reflection finally saw the light of day, and the results are ‘fiercely’ good!

“Top Down” initiates Reflection, smothered in swag and something of a tongue in cheek approach. Riding with the top down i...
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Review: Ne-Yo Lacks Inspiration And Punch On 'Non-Fiction'

February 2nd, 2015 4:30pm EST
Ne-Yo
One question – what happened to the old Ne-Yo? The R&B singer/songwriter had a magnificent run between debut album In My Own Words and third album, Year of the Gentlemen. Since Gentleman though, Ne-Yo has lost some of his luster. Sure, fourth album Libra Scale was sound, but didn’t receive the same recognition as previous efforts. Fifth album, Red would become the most flawed of his career, despite standouts like “Lazy Love” and “Let Me Love You (Until You Learn To Love Yourself).” Similarly, sixth album Non-Fiction suffers from its share of flaws.

Non-Fiction begins in off-putting fashio...
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5 Takeaways From Marilyn Manson’s 'The Pale Emperor'

January 28th, 2015 1:00pm EST
5 Takeaways From Marilyn Manson’s 'The Pale Emperor'
What comes to mind when you hear the name Marilyn Manson? Crazy, satanic, atheistic, odd, left of center? All those adjectives are fair game for one of music’s most shocking musicians/bands, period. Manson had parents shivering back in the 1990s, and the controversies surrounding him during the period of the ’99 Columbine High School shootings will never be forgotten.

But that was then and this is now, and Manson’s shocking peak has been far behind him and his collective. That said there’s still that sense of fear, rebelliousness, and hellishness when one partakes of a Marilyn Manson...
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Review: Fall Out Boy ‘American Beauty/American Psycho’

January 25th, 2015 3:30pm EST
Review: Fall Out Boy Keep The Hits Coming On ‘American Beauty/Am
Every new Fall Out Boy album is “kind of a big deal” – yep. Face it – the boys who are now men have hit it big with hits like “Sugar We’re Going Down,” “This Ain’t A Scene,” and “My Songs Know What You Did In the Dark” just to name a few. And why shouldn’t their sixth studio album be highly anticipated? Led by surefire hit “Centuries” and sporting some of their fiercest artwork yet, American Beauty/American Psycho just screams, “listen to me!” Well maybe not literally, but those who partake of album ‘numero seis’ won’t be disappointed.

American Beauty/American Psycho opens with an “I...
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Review: Mark Ronson Delivers Vibrant Funk On 'Uptown Special'

January 19th, 2015 3:20pm EST
Review: Mark Ronson Delivers Vibrant Funk On 'Uptown Special'
“They tried to make me go to rehab but I said no, no, no!” If you’ve ever heard those immortal lyrics from Amy Winehouse Grammy-winning “Rehab,” then you’ve heard the awe inspiring work of Mark Ronson. Ronson gained notoriety for producing Winehouse’s Back To Black album, one of the more important releases of the 00s. Though his work with Winehouse really brought Ronson to the forefront, he’s released a couple of albums himself. His latest, the infectious, soul-driven Uptown Special marks his first in five-years (Record Collection dropping in 2010) and is led by killer funked-up Bruno Ma...
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Music Review: Meghan Trainor Goes Retro On Debut ‘Title’

January 14th, 2015 2:15pm EST
Meghan Trainor- Epic
Four words – “All About That Bass.” The song was ubiquitous, so much so that it remained number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for eight weeks. After garnering so much success from one song as a newbie, the question geared toward pop singer/songwriter Meghan Trainor was, can she deliver more hits? The answer is three words – “Lips Are Movin.” On her full-length debut Title, more often than not, Trainor checks off the boxes delivering a fun, svelte, retro pop/soul effort.

On opening interlude “The Best Part (Interlude),” Trainor sets the tone of aiming for a vintage sound, layered with ...
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