Album Review

passion pit gossamer

Passion Pit’s CD, Gossamer, takes you on a musical journey you hardly hear anymore amidst the constant dance beats of 2012. Trust ME, their unique and subtle sounds will draw you in.

The album starts off with the new single, “Take a Walk,” which explores the story of immigrants trying to make their way in America. While the track is full of struggle, the beat and mood of the song is not as depressing as one would expect. The song has a quiet, cheery melody, and presents itself as a journey they must get through to get where they want to be.

This appears to be the theme of Gossamer. The lead singer of Passion Pit, Michael Angelasko, takes a walk himself with this autobiographical album. To fully understand the songs, one must know the life Angelasko leads.

Angelasko has been battling bipolar disorder for some time now and started self-medicating himself. It got to the point where he almost ended his own life, and the album almost never happened.

His dark lyrics leave the audience with a haunting vibe, while the techno and R&B feel to the beat leaves you wanting more. The contrast between the tortured lyrics and cheery beats is the music of a man who is suffering from battling his demons and perfecting good music.

Tracks like “Constant Conversations” and “I’ll be Alright” show off a distant side of Angelasko. In “Constant Conversations” he explains that “drinking doesn’t make me nice,” which shows his problem with self-medicating and the effect it has on his relationships.

However his expectations do not ring true as he has said he believes his fiancé keeps him alive. In the song “On my Way” he shows this feeling toward his fiancee. The lyrics beg for a woman to understand: just believe in me, Kristina. All these demons, I can beat them.” His pleas for help continue on Hideaway,” when he croons, “come and take my heart away, someday everything will be okay.”      

The cry for help is the underlying theme for Angelasko. His life is his music and this album showcases just the kind of issues he faces in his daily life. This broken man pours his heart out to the world. While his lyrics are sometimes hard to identify with because they are not straightforward, the album is an honest honest perspective of life’s twists and turns.

-Jenna Cusumano

chris brown fortune

After listening to Chris Brown’s brand new album, Fortune, one word comes to mind: offensive. Ever since the Rihanna incident in 2009, Brown has had a rough time finding his way back into the Hollywood scene, a crowd that’s not so accepting.

Once “Turn up the Music,” the exciting and dance worthy single, made its way into the radio station rotation, I thought it was a great single to follow “YEAH 3X” and “Beautiful People.” The song had real promise and showcased Brown in the light he once used to be viewed in, a young R&B singer with great potential that made amazing club music.

However with Fortune, Brown proved otherwise. This album is Browns worst album yet. Songs like “Sweet Love,” “Strip,” “Biggest Fan” and “2012,” show that Brown constantly has sex on his mind and objectifies women to be the image of sex gods.
       
His raunchiness continues with “Bassline,” where his lyrics explain how girls will dance and take off their clothes just because they like his music. With explicit lyrics, Brown croons about not really caring who he offends. Yet, three tracks later in Don’t Judge, Brown pleas to a girl singing, “Please don’t judge me and I won’t judge you because this could get ugly before it gets beautiful.”
       
This just goes to show that Brown does not even know how he wants to be viewed in the industry, let alone what kind of direction he wants his music to take.
       
Over half of his album speaks of sex, drugs and alcohol and then all of a sudden songs like “Stuck on Stupid,” “Don’t Judge” and “4 Years Old” bring him back to the apologetic and thoughtful person we all once thought he was.
       
Fortune feels more like an identity crisis than an album, and Brown needs to take some time before he releases his next CD. Somewhere between his self-titled album and Fortune, Brown lost his way. Instead of bettering himself, he’s decided to lean on partying, sex and offensive lyrics to get him back into the game of R&B and this time it’s not working.


-Jenna Cusumano

maroon 5

Maroon 5 made their musical debut with “Songs About Jane,” which could be described as having more of an alternative rock sound while “Overexposed,” the band’s new album, has crossed over to more of the pop territory. Many of the songs on this album are potential hit radio regulars, but the quality of the music has plummeted.

The album begins with the band’s second single, “One More Night.” A hint of reggae and an upbeat tempo makes this song a catchy tune that’ll have you singing along whether you like it or not. The second song off the album and their first official single off this album is “Payphone” which features Wiz Khalifa. This song has already gained widespread success and a definite highlight of the album, with its unique sound and lead singer Adam Levine’s iconic falsetto voice.

 

A lot of the songs, such as “Lucky Strike” and “The Man Who Never Lied,” seem to blend together and it becomes hard to differentiate one from the other. The simple lyrics and the extremely fast tempo are cringe-worthy and disappointing. The only song that has a true hint to Maroon 5’s former rock foundation, the better days of the band, is the last song on the album, “Beautiful Goodbye.” It’s a slowed down song about heartbreak that strikes a chord and brings forth emotions from the listener, a concept lost on most of the other songs.

The incredible cover art, that includes a lot of pink and creativity, can’t delude from the fact that Maroon 5 will disappoint many fans with “Overexposed.” It’s a decent pop album that will more than likely generate a couple of number one hits, but this album lacks the quality music their past albums were known for.
 
Maroon 5 has abandoned quality lyrics and now have gone for the cheesy lyrics that Pop lovers crave for. If you’re a fan of Pop, then you’ll love some of the mainstream-style songs on Maroon 5’s new album. However, if you’re a fan of Maroon 5’s alternative rock sound, then hold on to your old albums because that sound you fell in love with when you first heard “Harder To Breathe” is long gone.

-Ivetta Babadjanian

linkin park living things

On June 26, 2012, Linkin Park released their 5th studio album, and to say it was filled with consistency, is an understatement. Loyal fans of the California band will be pleased with the new LP that contains 12 brand new songs. However, for those now checking out an entire Linkin Park CD, the music might be too much of the same for their taste.

Their new single, “Burn It Down,” showcases the band as a solid rock group that knows who they are as musicians. This song goes well with their past hit singles like “Numb,” “New Divide” and “What I’ve Done.”

However, once you hear the songs “Lost In The Echo” and “In My Remains,” it feels awkward that these three songs on the album all follow the same type of sound. Each song starts off with a mellow vibe to it and then once the chorus arrives it feels as if a screamo sound works its way into the music.

And the screamo effect does not stop there. In “Lies Greed Misery” and “Victimized,” Linkin Park suddenly sounds as if they are back in a garage trying to make it big. The hip-hop versus does not mesh well with the screaming and heading-banging chorus.

Linkin Park does have its moments on the album where they do sound like rock veterans. In the slower songs like “Powerless,” “Tinfoil,” “Skin To Bone” and “Castle of Glass,” they shine as a band. The voices are showcased and they leave out the hardness and screaming to these songs.

Yet while these types of music genres vary on this album, the songs that contain hip-hop and the slower songs are all way too consistent with one another. Many of these songs were hard to tell apart from each other while the album played along for its full 37 minutes.

Linkin Park fans will be pleased with this consistency since they have expected it after four albums but newer fans might find it to be a bit of a bore.

-Jenna Cusumano

justin beiber

Justin Bieber’s latest album, Believe, was released on Tuesday through Island Records. This is the artist’s third studio album and was met with fairly positive reviews from audiences. If you have always been a fan of Bieber’s music, then chances are you will continue to be a loyal follower after this album as well. However, if you are just recently attempting to jump onto the Bieber bandwagon, now would be a good time to jump right back off.

Although Bieber’s voice has matured since his first appearance on the music scene, the amount of auto-tune used on these new tracks is absurd. Added with the majority of songs using a over-powering techno style, the effect was cringe-worthy.

If you are enjoying the beat of the music, then you might not want to pay too much attention to the lyrics, as they could very easily ruin the songs for you on their own. It seems that when in doubt, Bieber’s go-to word is “yeah,” which apparently is the all-purpose syllable and is repeated way too often in every single song. Also, what exactly does it mean to “party like it’s 3012?” as Bieber is so fond of proclaiming in his song, “Beauty and a Beat,” featuring Nicki Minaj. This song also gives a shout-out to Bieber’s girlfriend, Selena Gomez, or rather, “Selener,” because really, who needs actual rhymes, especially when it’s with the word “wiener?” The album also featured the talents of Drake, Ludacris, and Big Sean, but unfortunately they could not make up for the lackluster music.
       
Believe does have a bit more of an edge than Bieber’s earlier music, which shows at least some growth on his part. Still, the overall feeling of the album is over-reaching, trying too hard. The album is unsophisticated, but for a background buzz at a dance party, it will suffice just fine.

-Amy Lauren

motion city soundtrack

Motion City Soundtrack is back with their fifth album “Go”—a sound that has grown and changed as the band pushes their boundaries in order to explore their horizons. Be sure to pay close attention to the lyrics for each of the songs, as they are the highlight of this album.
 
Most of the tracks on “Go” are upbeat and manage to bring together some of that old fashioned punk rock their fans are eager for with a hint of some synthesizers to create a relatively new sound. “Circuits and Wires” is a fun song that makes you want to jump around and rock out with an air guitar. “True Romance,” which was the first single they released from the album, is an extremely catchy song. The keyboards, however, don’t seem to add that great element the band was going for and are an unnecessary addition to the track.
 
“Sun of a Gun” starts off with the acoustic guitar and slowly builds into another upbeat song, with a bit of a slower tempo as compared to the other songs. It’s not a bad song, but it can be deemed as one of the weaker songs on the album. “Timelines,” on the other hand, is a definite high point for the album. The lyrics are relatable to everyone and I can see the chorus of this song being used as the catchy background music to a movie trailer.

The album begins to become more vulnerable with tracks like “Everyone Will Die” with dark lyrics that tug on the heartstrings. The instrumentals of the song really personify the mood of the song and gives it a more epic feel. The greatest intro of any of the songs on this album would have to go to “Happy Anniversary.” The song starts off slow and gives off a creepy feeling as the lead singer sings softly accompanied only with a few notes of a piano. The song builds after the intro, as most of the songs tend to do on this album, but manages to maintain that sense of oddity to the song which makes it truly stand out.

Overall, this album has some great songs that will help broaden Motion City Soundtrack’s popularity and prestige. While it ultimately is a rock album, the soft sound and catchy lyrics makes it more versatile. Anyone can find a song that stands out to them while listening to “Go.”

Ivetta Babadjanian

 

Adam Lambert's Trespassing AlbumThere are constant releases for new music that show how far a musician has come from where they previously were, and Adam Lambert is no exception. The dropping of his new album, “Trespassing,” will send shock waves through the listeners ears. The true potential of Lambert’s vocal skills is really emphasized in several of his songs.

There are several songs that not only portray how diverse his vocals can be, but also how a great melody can complement fun and funky vocals. This album touches upon several different genres of music such as pop, ballads and rock. With a variety of songs to choose from in this new album, Lambert really lives up to the potential that got him through American Idol.

Songs like “Cuckoo” and “Chokehold” show how Lambert’s vocal ability has reached a new level after his debut in the music industry. These seriously catchy songs work well with his vocals, while making it impossible for any listeners to resist singing and dancing along.

As a fair warning, you might not want to wear makeup when listening to this song because it might smear from the tears. “Underneath” shows us a different dimension to Lambert’s music because it’s not just him singing to a party beat, but rather a plain melody with strong vocals. Even if you pay little attention to the lyrics of the song, you can feel the strong emotions that are sung by Lambert.

Make sure to pick up a copy of Adam Lambert’s new album “Trespassing” and some comfortable dancing shoes. You might not want to stop shaking and moving to this album when the music starts so enjoy the music.

-Gabriela Castelan

John Mayer Born and Raised

There is no better way to finish the school year and welcome the summer than by the release of a new album. John Mayer’s long-awaited album “Born and Raised” finally hit the shelves, and even though he can’t sing right now due to throat surgery, he left everything on each track.

True to Mayer’s style, several of the songs are calming and slower paced with his vocals complementing the flow of instruments.  The song “Speak For Me” stays predominantly calm until Mayer builds his way up to strong vocals.  While “Love Is A Verb” shows more of lazy rhythm that is the perfect song to sit outside and just enjoy the day to.

One complaint about the album is that Mayer doesn’t take as many risks with his music. Although very calm, soothing, and sing-along material, his songs are very predictable. Mayer knows where his strengths lie and hasn’t parted from his trademark soft guitar and his vocals depicting traces of country and blues music. This album is no different from the rest.

John Mayer’s songs always have certain qualities that can distinguish them from other artists; they are pretty hard to tell apart from one another. The songs have similar tempos and feelings coming from them that label them as a “John Mayer song.” That isn’t always a bad thing though because if you are a hardcore John Mayer fan this album is right up your alley.  Who wouldn’t want to sit in their room with their bffs just listening and singing along to his inviting voice? On the other hand, if you’re looking for variety in the songs, you might want to try listening to another album because this might not be what you’re looking for. Give it a listen and judge for yourself if this John Mayer album is right for you.

—Gabriela Castelan

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