Archive | 1:10 PM

Honorable Mentions: Artists to Watch

4 Dec

Mandy Moore

I forgot at first what album I was checking out.  Because Moore sounds adult.  There is zero bubble-gum teeny bopper pop here anymore.  Still catchy though, with a definite maturity.  Good piano work also.  I think it reminds me of Amy Grant?  Is that who I’m thinking of?  Very adult contemporary, easy listening.  And that’s not criticism–just accurate.

Fifteen:  It’s interesting to hear the perspective of a grown-up former teen pop star. Her descriptive language really sets the scene and takes the listener back to that time.  Also, Moore talks about the milestones she had to miss for her singing career, which people forget about.  Fame is cool and neat, especially for a teen, but it also sucks and steals your childhood.  “Still a part of me” drives the point of the song home.

Forgiveness:  One of the strongest songs on her album.  Lyrically driven but catchy.  “Will I forgive you?  You don’t get to know.” Also, a little more melancholy and assertive than we’re used to seeing Moore.

Vanessa Carlton

All of it is very stripped down, like a new artist singing alone in a school gym. Yes, complete with the echo of the gym.  I was disappointed all the strings of the last album were absent, and when there’s any instrumentation, it’s soft piano.  Turns into background music readily.  It would be good study music, because it’s not distracting or overpowering in any way.  It’s also not super memorable either, except for:  Back to Life, The Only Way to Love, Salesman, and Miner’s Canary.

Mt. Joy 

Very mellow.  After “Come With Me” the album improves.  The latter half of the album starts to give me something to listen to.  The choruses become more catchy, the instrumentation a little harder and intricate, and some beat.  More emotion and excitement are in the latter half.  I’m going to name this year’s album collection (all of them) something about editing your work.

CeLo Green

Lead Me:  I like how it sounds like Sunday morning.  And I think that it’s hopeful.

I Wonder How Love Feels:  I like the waltz for Green.  It’s his brand, but new and interesting too.

Down with the Sun:  The falsetto salvaged this tune.  It’s a little vanilla save for that.

The Way:  This song kind of reminds me of an old Western, with the sort of bell tolling sounds.  And deep, voice telling a story.  It’s an unexpected for Green to wander, which makes it all the more exciting to the listener.

What I like is the extra funk flavor  put in many of the songs.  It’s almost a disco feel.  And the falsetto singing.  And the excitement some of the tracks generate.  What i do not like is:  Too many superficial topics, such as People Watching.  Also, I have a difficult time buying heterosexual songs from flamboyant (probably internally homophobic) Green.  I suspect he’s what I call a ‘dick in a wall’ playing straight, but then going to a truckstop/porn-store bathroom and well you know the rest.

So that’s not the way I wanted to end the post, so instead I’ll talk up giving a variety of music a listen.

JoJo: Good to Know Album Review

4 Dec

The two words I would use to describe this album are sizzlin’ and sexy.  

Man:  This song has some low-key Mariah Carey moments.  And the syncopation is catchy as hell.

Gold:  As a gay, I found lines like, “your movin’ inside of me” gross.  So on my personal list, the album isn’t going to be in the top.

Small Things:  The singing is emotive and rangy.  It’s a nice ballad with some relatable lyrics.

Think About You:  I don’t like rebounding, or songs about that.

Lonely Hearts:  Too explicit about straight sex–yuck!

Don;t Talk Me Down:  Another relatable topic talking about someone convincing you not to end a relationship.  About wanting to stand strong about your convictions, but feeling weakened by that person.  Strong singing to boot.

Proud:  A song full of good advice.

Nada Surf: Never Not Together Album Review

4 Dec

Not the “Popular” sound at all!  Far from it.  It’s actually more of a Death Cab for Cutie sound.  I was surprised this one ranked above my honorable mentions list.  It’s mellow, but not boring, and they gave me just a taste of their 1990s sound, but mostly had a new vibe.

So Much Love:  Soft rock and repetitive.

Come Get Me:  Interesting musically.  Introspective lyrically.  That higher note in the middle of words makes the song catchy.  Unlike the repeated line in the last song, these “come get me” and “I’m ready” repeated over increasingly demanding background music, convey importance.  The phrases are repeated to show more and more passion and resolve.

Live Learn and Forget:  This may be the song that sounds most like Death Cab for Cutie to me.  It’s very catchy.

Just Wait:  I like how they use the tempo to make it interesting.  And the bridge reminds me of the L-Word’s theme song–in a good way.

Something I Should Do:  The instrumentals are kinda 1980’s.  And can I just ask, when they sing, “dis-tance” don’t you think that’s what Fall Out Boy was probably saying when they first performed their song?  And maybe the crowd misheard it as, “Dance Dance” so they just went with it?  I totally do!  With the spoken word, reminds me of “Popular” and I think it is a welcome return.  The spoken word is effective at catching attention.

Looking for You:  The orchestral background is nice, and the guitar sounds awesome like Trans Siberian Orchestra.  The baseline is cool.

Crowded Star:  A nice little quiet song, as Dave Matthews would say.

Mathilda:  A song about gender which is very timely of a subject.  It asks society why we adhere so firmly to norms.  And it asks if you are who you are, or are you who society forces you to be?  Good beat, it catches your attention.  I can’t believe how much Nada Surf is reminding me of Death Cab for Cutie, but this also has some Minus the Bear flair.  After the more amped up middle of the song, it returns to a little quieter, I actually thought the next song had come on.  Until I heard the consistent lyrics.  I like the questions this song asks, and I like how Nada Surf is asking the listener to consider what we take for granted.

Ride in the Unknown:  Sounds very similar to the first song.