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CD Reviews

Review: Jeezy Keeps It Real On 'Seen It All'

September 3rd, 2014 12:53pm EDT
Review: Jeezy Keeps It Real On 'Seen It All'
The best way to describe rapper Jeezy is blunt. Jeezy is a ‘no BS’ dude, who calls it like he sees it. This has occurred every album he’s dropped, but may be particularly true of latest effort, Seen It All: The Autobiography. Anytime ‘autobiography’ is involved, the expectation is for the artist to reach deeper than ever into their personal story. While Jeezy comes off overconfident at times, he’s brutally honest, true to his artistry.

“1/4 Block” opens the album in druggy fashion – it’s about hustling cocaine. Besides the “quarter block,” references to cocaine come by way of lyrics ...
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Maroon 5 'V' (Deluxe Edition) Review: Two Sides To One Successful Record

September 2nd, 2014 12:05pm EDT
V
As mentioned in our review of Maroon 5's Overexposed, this is a band that's constantly evolving. None of their records sounds quite like any of the others; whether or not that's a good thing depends on which incarnation you prefer. Fifth album V does its part to continue the group's transition into slickly produced pop-rock that began with Overexposed, yet what makes the record worth a listen are the few tracks where it breaks from effects and goes back to the band's true musicianship.

If you've heard the first three singles - "Maps," "It Was Always You" and "Animals" - you've got a good s...
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Review: Ariana Grande Shines Vocally on ‘My Everything’

August 27th, 2014 9:50am EDT
Ariana Grande
On Ariana Grande’s sophomore album My Everything, things feel different from her debut Yours Truly from 2013. The voice still soars commandingly – there’s no difference there – but My Everything has more of the feel of a big pop album. Sure Yours Truly had some exceptional records itself and blended pop and R&B sensibilities much like this album, but My Everything feels as if Grande has better established her niche and is flexing.

My Everything is a solid second effort from Grande, feeling like the right album for the right time. That said, the album itself, while good, is by no means...
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Review: Wiz Khalifa Brings More Of The Same On ‘Blacc Hollywood’

August 20th, 2014 9:21am EDT
Wiz Khalifa, 'Blacc Hollywood'
If nothing else comes across on a Wiz Khalifa album, the MC’s love of weed does. It seems as if no Wiz song is a go without a reference to smoking. While the honesty is appreciated, it is often overplayed, growing tiresome album in and album out. On third album of note, Blacc Hollywood, weed definitely remains part of Wiz. His shallowness as an MC as well, dominates his latest album. Ultimately, Wiz Khalifa is who he is, and nothing more.

“Hope” opens Blacc Hollywood, featuring up and coming artist Ty Dolla $ign. Chevy Woods provides a lengthy intro before Wiz ever spits one bar. Ulti...
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Review: The Gaslight Anthem Show Consistency On ‘Get Hurt’

August 18th, 2014 1:29pm EDT
Review: The Gaslight Anthem Show Consistency On ‘Get Hurt’
After a two-year hiatus, rock band The Gaslight Anthem return with their fifth studio album, Get Hurt. Get Hurt follows a high watermark for the band, led by vocalist and guitarist Brian Fallon. 2012 effort Handwritten easily ranked among the best rock albums that year. Get Hurt maintains consistency and enjoyability, regardless if it trumps Handwritten or not.

“Stay Vicious” opens Get Hurt in excitedly. The riffs come ‘right at your face,’ while Fallon delivers the lyrics in gritty, emotional fashion. Interesting about “Stay Vicious” is the chorus pulls back, while the verses are...
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Review: Porter Robinson Captivates On Electronic Album ‘Worlds’

August 13th, 2014 11:31am EDT
Porter Robinson - Worlds
It could be argued that the ‘drop’ is the most anticipated moment in electronic music. In EDM, there are some ‘benchmarks’ that the music itself generally tends to meet. One of the criticisms of electronic music is that it can be somewhat predictable, despite the rich palette of synths available. Porter Robinson seeks to give electronic music something of a different look on his debut album, Worlds.

Unlike so many of his colleagues, Robinson seems to give more thought to melody, shaping, and contrast. Sure, there are some of the expected ‘benchmarks’ throughout Worlds, but it is the...
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Review: The Vamps Aim to Breakthrough Stateside on 'Somebody To You' EP

August 11th, 2014 3:10pm EDT
Review: The Vamps Aim to Breakthrough Stateside on 'Somebody To
Remember that time that Diddy said something to the effect that 'Bad Boy(s) don’t stop?' Well, in the case of the latest pop-band signing, YouTube don’t stop. British band The Vamps are the latest new discovery via the supremely popular video site and like their colleagues, The Vamps release the ‘EP’ before dropping their ‘full length’ debut stateside.

You can’t knock the business though the final product has is ups and its downs.

“Somebody To You” opens the EP exceptionally, setting the tone for the effort and gaining the attention of the listener. It doesn’t hurt to have one ...
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Review: Spoon's 'They Want My Soul' Is A Tour De Force

August 6th, 2014 1:00pm EDT
Review: Spoon's 'They Want My Soul' Is A Tour De Force
It rarely never hurts when your band gets is described as a ‘critical darling.’ For Austin, Texas indie-rock band Spoon, they exemplify the critical darling label. For years, Spoon has shown masterful consistency, delivering notable alt-classics such as “I Turn My Camera On” and “The Underdog.” On They Want My Soul, the band’s first new album in four years, Spoon continues to live up to its ‘darling’ title.

First and foremost, Spoon never misses a beat on They Want My Soul – it is a tour de force by all means. Opener and promo single “Rent I Pay” sets the tone from the jump with its ...
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Review: 5 Seconds of Summer Have a Knack for Catchy Choruses

July 26th, 2014 8:00am EDT
Review: 5 Seconds of Summer Have a Knack for Catchy Choruses
“You look so perfect standing there / in my American Apparel underwear / and I know now, that I’m so down.” Catchy! Australian teen band 5 Seconds of Summer master the art of the catchy chorus throughout their full-length, self-titled debut album. After previewing this knack on EP She Looks So Perfect, yet another young band – aimed at teens and younger – looks to dominate not only Summer, but pop itself.

5 Second of Summer don’t ‘slay’ overall as much as their choruses do, but they don’t fail either. The first couple of songs from 5 Seconds of Summer are actually pretty good (that tra...
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Review: 'Nobody's Smiling' Is Common's Best Album In Years

July 23rd, 2014 8:51am EDT
Review: 'Nobody's Smiling' Is Common's Best Album In Years
Cutting straight to the chase, Common, one of the Midwest’s preeminent MCs, delivers his best album in years with Nobody’s Smiling. Standing only 10 tracks deep (13 on the deluxe version), Common has delivered nothing short of a moody, meaningful tour de force that should get every rapper on his toes. Featuring exceptional production from NO I.D. and a couple of solid collaborations, Nobody’s Smiling has the goods to erase frowns of which it references.

“The Neighborhood,” featuring Lil Herb and Cocaine 80s, kicks off Nobody’s Smiling mysteriously and moody. James Fauntleroy’s voic...
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