CD Reviews

5 Seconds Of Summer Delivers Album That Should Please Their Fans

10/28/2015 10:03am EDT
5 Seconds Of Summer Keeps Things Fun On 'Sounds Good Feel Good'
Ah, the Aussie band that made an unforgettable American Apparel underwear reference one of the coolest ever returns with its sophomore album. 5 Seconds of Summer had a breakout year in 2014, including hit “She Looks So Perfect”, and with Sounds Good Feels Good, the collective seeks to keep things rolling. The question is, do they?

Overall, Sounds Good Feels Good lives up to its title – ultimately it does “sound good” and the music itself “feels good.” That said, Sounds Good Feels Good is by no means some sort of punk-pop magnum opus, if there is such a thing. It’s an enjoyable album, but ...

How Does Carrie Underwood’s Fifth Studio Album Stack Up?

10/27/2015 9:04am EDT
Carrie Underwood Keeps The Stories Captivating On 'Storyteller'
After a three-year hiatus, country sensation Carrie Underwood is back with her fifth studio album, Storyteller. Lots can change in the music industry in the span of three years, hence making it seem like it’s been a lifetime since one of American Idol’s hottest commodities that actually transcended the show released a new album. Despite the break, Underwood proves that her ‘vacation’ didn’t affect her pipes in the least.

Storyteller kicks off with a bang with “Renegade Runaway,” a fierce, driving country-pop record with the intensity of a rock song. Perhaps it’s the aggressive guitars tha...

Pentatonix Doesn’t Disappoint On Self-Titled Album

10/21/2015 11:27am EDT
Pentatonix Showcase Superb Vocal Skill On Self-Titled Album
“Rock on,” or more appropriately, “Vox On!” The best attribute for quintet Pentatonix is their awesome vocals, which have made them a hot commodity in pop music. Even in a time where trendiness and conformity seem to be the M.O., Pentatonix’s clever covers of contemporary pop music have made them stars. On Pentatonix, Pentatonix (PTX for short) go the originals route, and the results are excellent.

PTX opens their self-titled album energetically with the infectious “Na Na Na.” “Na Na Na” doesn’t necessarily blow you away with profundity lyrically, but vocally, they are impressive as ever. ...

Demi Lovato Moves Beyond Her Disney Years With 'Confident'

10/19/2015 11:15am EDT
Demi Lovato Delivers The Most 'Confident' Album Of Her Career
How does one break away from being a teen pop idol? Former teen pop idols have been asking the same mind-boggling question for years. While it doesn’t work for everybody, the answer is pretty simple – drop a mature album that breaks with the past. It doesn’t always work because some artists can’t get past the hump showing themselves relevant as adults, but for Demi Lovato on her fifth album Confident she doesn’t have that issue.

“Confident” opens the effort confidently – who expected any less? This driving, biting pop with heroic synthesized brass and fierce, commanding vocals from Lovato...

There Is A Lot To Like On The Game's 'The Documentary 2'

10/15/2015 1:26pm EDT
The Game Keeps It Real On 'The Documentary 2'
West Coast rapper The Game has released many albums since his 2005 debut The Documentary. Even so, The Documentary ranks as the rapper's most notable album – certainly the one that "put him on the map." 10 years after The Documentary, The Game returns with its proper follow up, The Documentary 2. How does The Documentary 2 compare to the original? Overall it’s sensational sequel, even if it falls a smidgen short of the glory of the original. Still, The Documentary 2 is jam-packed.

Following the intro, The Documentary 2 erupts on the fiery “On Me,” featuring Kendrick Lamar and brilliantly ...

How Does Selena Gomez’s New Album ‘Revival’ Stack Up?

10/12/2015 1:30pm EDT
Review: Selena Gomez Shows Growth On ‘Revival’
“I dive into the future / But I am blinded by the sun / I’m reborn in every moment / so who knows what I’ll become.” Okay Selena Gomez – whatever you say – after all it’s your Revival! That time has come once again – the time for a new Selena Gomez album. Stars Dance, Gomez’s 2013 album, was…um…so-so. The main issue was a lack of distinct personality coupled with unmemorable material. Some of the same can be said of new album Revival, but overall, Gomez does show growth.

Revival opens with the futuristic “Revival” (imagine that), which comes off as more sound than substance. Arguably t...

Janet Jackson Proves She Still Has It

10/5/2015 10:45am EDT
Janet Jackson, Unbreakable © Rhythm Nation / BMG
There used to be a time when a new Janet Jackson album was “kind of a big deal.” Since the infamous Super Bowl incident in 2004, things cooled off for “Miss Jackson.” Sure, she continued to have chart-topping albums, but arguably, they failed to have staying power beyond the initial buzz. Whether or not Jackson’s comeback album Unbreakable can “get past this hump” to quote Erykah Badu is debatable, but her first LP in seven years is definitely worth listening to.

“Unbreakable” commences Unbreakable exceptionally, sounding vintage. Jackson sounds best on the chorus, where her upper-regi...

Fetty Wap Has Arrived, How Does His Debut Album Stack Up?

9/30/2015 11:30am EDT
Review: Fetty Wap Shows Promise On Self-Titled Debut Album
Perhaps had Future not arrived before him, the views on rap newcomer Fetty Wap would be different. Future and Fetty Wap aren’t “one and the same,” but there are some clear similarities. Both rappers incorporate more pitch into their respective flows, at times nearly sounding like singers as opposed to rappers. This was off-putting about Future early in his career, but he’s definitely grown on the detractors. This quasi-rap/sung approach is definitely part of the allure of Fetty Wap. His debut album Fetty Wap isn’t ‘the second coming’ by any means, but there’s clearly something there with...

How Good Is Drake And Future’s Collaboration 'What A Time To Be Alive'?

9/28/2015 11:30am EDT
Six Takeaways From Drake And Future’s ‘What A Time To Be Alive’
On Sunday, September 21, Drake and Future gave the music industry a gift – a collaborative mixtape. Two of the biggest triumphs in 2015 have come at the hands of Drake and Future. Future’s DS2 didn’t come anywhere close to Drake’s numbers with If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, but the rapper had the biggest debut of his career and scored his first number one album. Furthermore with their respective albums, the two MCs have had some staying power on the charts. This makes a collaborative mixtape something of a godsend, hence the gargantuan numbers.

Rather than your standard album...

Lana Del Rey Keeps Things Dark And Mysterious On 'Honeymoon'

9/23/2015 10:24am EDT
Lana Del Rey, Honeymoon © Interscope
Honestly, it doesn’t seem like alternative pop singer/songwriter Lana Del Rey is going to be changing anytime soon. On her latest album Honeymoon, her idea of a honeymoon definitely doesn’t match up with the happy occasion in which newlyweds partake of. But this is Lana Del Rey, who has embraced darkness on previous albums as well as the media. With the modus operandi well established, Honeymoon does end up being a sound addition to her discography, even if it isn’t absent of flaws.

“Honeymoon” initiates the effort mysteriously, characterized by its haunting strings. Once Del Rey ente...

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