CD Reviews

Review: Charli XCX Is The Real Deal on ‘Sucker’

January 5th, 2015 2:15pm EST
Review: Charli XCX Is The Real Deal on ‘Sucker’
For many, listeners who’ve heard Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy” were likely introduced to their first encounters with Charli XCX, the British pop/rock singer who delivered the memorable hook to the number one hit. Despite her status as a relative unknown, prior to “Fancy,” Charli XCX had already released a debut album, True Romance in 2013. Nonetheless, Charli’s sophomore album, Sucker serves as her notable introduction, particularly stateside. Throughout it’s course, Sucker proves she’s the real deal.

“Sucker” opens the effort energetically. Quite feisty, Charli exemplifies the unapologetic ...

Fabolous Hits A Homerun With 'The Young OG Project'

December 30th, 2014 8:00am EST
Review: Fabolous Hits A Homerun With 'The Young OG Project'
Sometimes, you just have to wait. As the old expression goes, “the best is yet to come.” For hip-hop music, that quote exemplifies the game in 2014. Some of the year’s strongest albums came late – efforts including Logic’s Under Pressure, Big K.R.I.T.’s Cadillactica, and J. Cole’s 2014 Forest Hills Drive truly represent the elite. Fabolous’s 1990s-inspired LP, The Young OG Project joins the aforementioned as one of the best rap albums of 2014, dropping at the tail end on Christmas Day.

The Young OG Project opens with a bang with “Lituation” where Fabolous is on autopilot from the jump...

Why Nicki Minaj’s ‘The Pinkprint’ Is A Must Buy

December 26th, 2014 4:00pm EST
The Pinkprint
On December 15, 2014, The Pinkprint was unleashed to the world, and it was epic! Nicki Minaj released an album nothing short of her own Nicki Minaj-ness filled with a taste of everything – the refined, the raunchy, and the indescribable. To celebrate the ‘artistic’ gift that was bestowed upon the world prior to Christmas, here are seven reasons why The Pinkprint is a must buy.

1) The album opens ‘seriously’

Surprisingly, Minaj’s latest album doesn’t open with brash, unapologetic fare. Instead on opener “All Things Go,” Nicki is in serious, mature mode, incorporating more personal...

CD Review: The Relapse Symphony – “Shadows: The Acoustic Sessions” (Standby Records)

December 22nd, 2014 7:19pm EST
CD Review: The Relapse Symphony – “Shadows: The Acoustic Session
By unplugging the amps and tripping the breakers, The Relapse Symphony has accomplished a difficult task – they’ve managed to make their catchy debut Shadows even more infectious. On Shadows: The Acoustic Sessions, the resistance to singing along is futile (“Make Your Move,” “Walls”), plain and simple. And, as if you ever had any doubt, yes, vocalist Bret Von Dehl is this good. Perhaps the strongest part of Shadows: The Acoustic Sessions is that the move from electric to acoustic doesn’t cause all that much of a drop off in song quality or bite, which speaks to the sheer veracity of this co...

CD Review: Billy Talent – 'Hits' (The End Records)

December 22nd, 2014 7:17pm EST
CD Review: Billy Talent – 'Hits' (The End Records)
It’s hard to say anything negative about a compilation album that houses Billy Talent cuts like “Try Honesty,” “Rusted From The Rain” and “Viking Death March,” but by that same token, it’s hard to see the necessity of a greatest hits album after only a handful of studio releases. Regardless, that’s what we have with Billy Talent’s Hits, a collection of the best the Mississauga, Ontario, Canada quartet has to offer. From old school heavy hitters like “Nothing To Lose” and “Red Flag” to more contemporary offerings like “Surprise Surprise” and “Stand Up And Run,” Hits is arguably the best Bill...

CD Review: Drowning Pool – 'Sinner 13th Unlucky Anniversary Deluxe Edition' (Bicycle Music)

December 22nd, 2014 7:16pm EST
CD Review: Drowning Pool – 'Sinner 13th Unlucky Anniversary Delu
Given Drowning Pool’s revolving door of frontmen since his untimely and tragic passing, there’s something so comfortable about hearing the voice of Dave ‘Stage’ Williams again. Williams was a true showman in every sense of the world, and honestly, there’s no better way to revisit the bands seminal debut full length Sinner than with him leading the charge. From the unforgettable opening cavalcade of guitars of “Sinner,” the timeless hit single “Bodies” and the heartbreakingly endearing “Tear Away” to deeper cuts such as the Mike Luce-led “Mute”(seriously the albums best drum work), the seari...

What Were The 25 Best Albums Of 2014?

December 22nd, 2014 11:00am EST
25 Best Albums Of 2014
Another year, another group of albums ranging from awesome to nothing short of horrid – blah! Although sales overall for 2014 have been at times as dreadful as a four-letter word, that doesn’t mean that there weren’t some awesome, truly dynamic albums to be found. The motto of 2014 definitely would have to be, “don’t judge an album by its sales.” Some truly terrific albums grace this list of the best albums of 2014.

1) Sam Smith, In The Lonely Hour

On his debut album In The Lonely Hour, Sam Smith shared with the world that a star was born – one transcendent of genre and otherwise. ...

D'Angelo Returns With An R&B Masterpiece

December 21st, 2014 7:15pm EST
DAngelo and the Vanguard
What is better than a surprise Christmas gift? The answer is nothing. For the music – even more specifically the R&B world – D’Angelo delivered the best, most surprising gift of the year, by way of Black Messiah. Black Messiah is D’Angelo’s third studio album, but more notable than that is the fact that it is his first in 14, nearly 15 years. Dropped in Beyoncé fashion, Black Messiah, much like Beyoncé was in December 2013, is nothing short of exceptional. If 2014 hadn’t experience a three-point jumper Black Messiah delivers the game winner.

Black Messiah opens drenched in soul from t...

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...