Category Archives: Album Reviews

Summer of Paradise: La Roux and Tiesto’s new albums

Hello Everybody!

La Roux Trouble in Paradise album cover

La Roux – Trouble in Paradise 

Some cool music has been released lately, just in time for the hot weather to start rolling in. Funny how the two albums I’m talking about today both have “Paradise” in the title. Seriously, I didn’t plan it! Haha.

I’ve been anticipating La Roux’s album release of “Trouble in Paradise” on July 22, 2014, but for now, you can download some of her singles. I recommend “Let Me Down Gently”. For fans of La Roux, you’re used to the up-tempo “BulletProof” and “In for the Kill”, and upon first hearing “Let Me Down Gently” and was annoyed that it wasn’t more upbeat. But I kept listening to it, and you know what? It totally grew on me and I think La Roux does a great job mixing 80s synths and modern pop for a perfect blend of music.

Check out the music video here:

In the music video, it’s pretty toned down with La Roux singing to the camera and a gorgeous landscape later on in the music video. The song speak for itself.

Tiesto - A Town Called Paradise

Tiesto – A Town Called Paradise

Tiesto is has also released “A Town Called Paradise” which is available now on iTunes. It’s a great album, I’d give it 4 out of 5 stars for sure. Some awesome banging tracks on there. There really isn’t one song on the album that ISN’T catchy. But the thing is, I LOVE pop music, I love catchy stuff, but just because a song is catchy doesn’t mean I’ll automatically like it, songs like “Let’s Go” with Icona Pop… yeah, sure, it’s ok… but I’m kind of not so thrilled with it. I think the best banger out of the album is “Wasted” and after that “Light Years Away”.

Check out “Wasted” here:

I really don’t care for the music video at all. Seriously, *yawn* they should have just had people partying at a festival with cool lights or something. But listen to the song, it’s awesome.

What do you think of Tiesto’s new album? Excited for the new La Roux album?

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under Album Reviews, New Music

Tron Legacy R3conf1gur3d Album Review

“And then one day… I got in.”

Rumors surfaced a month ago that Daft Punk’s Tron Legacy soundtrack was going to be remixed by artists such as Moby, The Crystal Method and M83. Fans of the music genre “House” complained that the wrong producers and DJs were picked for this remix album, or claimed that a remix album wasn’t needed at all.

Such as ice cream and Twitter isn’t needed, it’s still fun, right?

I was excited about this album, and hearing leaks of the album just confirmed my predictions. I disagree with the negative reviews of this album. Critics are saying this album is Disney’s feeble attempt at making a House/Dub step album. Although I disagree with the critics, I don’t think every single song on this album is audio gold. The album starts off strong and about mid-way through starts to disintegrate. In the following paragraphs, I will explain my reasoning.

The album starts off strong with The Glitch Mob remixing the most popular song on the Tron Legacy soundtrack, “Derezzed“. This is a remix in the true sense of the word. The Glitch Mob took the same synths from the original version of the song and repeats certain segments, and adding a different melody. It’s similar enough that you know it’s a remix of “Derezzed” but different enough to make it very interesting. One of the hardest hitting songs on the entire album. This song is amazing loud. I saw a Youtube clip of this song being performed live and it sounds brilliant live.

The next song, “Fall” remixed by M83 and Big Black Delta, wow. This song has elements of the original, with the first twenty seconds taking the original synth build-up, but this song has a completely different feel and M83 and Big Black Delta made this their own song. I love the vocals. Love it. I’m now caught singing, “na na na na~”. I’m not sure what the actual lyrics, I’m guessing they’re saying, “so long stairway, so long sun”. Please correct me if you do know the lyrics! This song is extremely catchy and pretty much nothing I ever heard before. Hard bass, catchy childlike vocals, this really is a true original song. I cannot compare it to anything I’ve ever heard before.

The Crystal Method comes in next remixing, “The Grid“. Great remix, when I first heard it, I wasn’t too sure about it, but it has definitely grown on me. This song is very close to the original, and I think they did a great job remixing Jeff Bridge’s vocals numerous times throughout the song. The song ends in a great way too, bringing in the original synths and bringing a whole new synth chord structure to make the song even more epic. The last minute of the song is the best part. I’m talking about the synths that come in right at 3:50.

Adagio for Tron” was the surprise remix of the album. Not really thinking this song could be remixed in such a way, the Teddybears has made a beautiful remix. The song starts off with little blips that turn into triplets and then builds into more hard hitting synths. The song even breaks down and comes back like a slap in the face at 4:40 along with disco-like synths. I never knew I would like those disco sounds, but it works. I may be stretching it here, but I can’t help but compare this to Bach’s “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor”. The repeating triplets, the sad, somber feel. This remix is best compared to classical music in its groundwork, with introducing the motif, taking it away and re-imagining the motif. You hear the comparison and let me know if I’m off my rocker.

I love that remix more and more every time I hear it.

Next is Ki:Theory with the remix of my favorite song off of the original soundtrack, “The Son of Flynn“. Another great remix, and what makes the remix so great is the electric guitar that is turned into a repeating synth right at “0:36”. Some amazing instruments on this remix, with synth sounding bells to give the song just a bit of an organic feel. The song breaks down and builds back up. Just another great remix.

Paul Oakenfold remixes “C.L.U” next. I’m not a huge fan of this remix, it took me a while to get used to it. I did like the remix. I’m just not a fan of the melody of synths at 2:20. I was kind of expecting more. It’s a good remix, done very well, I think maybe it’s just that melody at that point I was hoping for more variety than those three notes repeated over and over.

Moby remixes a sexy version of “The Son of Flynn“. He brings in this bass beat at “0:09” that I find very satisfying. Moby brings in a lot of violins that keep building up throughout the song. It’s a little unnerving because the song just continues to grow and doesn’t seem like the chords come back to the cadence, it just keeps going. Although, other than that, the song is very beautiful.

End of Line” by Boyz Noise, another great remix. They took the original sounds, reworked it a little and then made their own anthem, a kind of similar remix style like The Glitch Mob’s remix of “Derezzed“. I’m glad they kept the original synths and melodies from the original soundtrack.

Now this is the part where the album starts to go downhill. It’s not a quick downward spiral, but a slow, downhill trek from where we started. Kaskade remixed, “Rinzler“. I have to emphasize, not a bad remix, but the excitement of the first half of the album gradually declines. This is a more mellow remix, taking the original melody and making it more chill, more like lounge music. Not really the hard hitting house we were introduced with in the beginning of the album.

Encom Part 2” by Com Truise, an interesting sounding remix, kind of hard to sit through. There’s definitely elements from the 80s in this remix and I do like how the song ends with the violins, but this one doesn’t grab my attention that much.

End of Line” by Photek, a good remix, not as good as Boyz Noise’s remix, kind of a more chill remix, lounge version similar to Kaskade’s remix. I think Boys Noise killed their remix, so this isn’t as good in comparison.

Arena” by The Japanese Popstars takes way too long to get started, and even when it does get started, it just seems to be dragging on and on. I feel like this song was meant to be an eight-minute song, because it just seems like it takes forever to get anywhere.

I think “Derezzed” by Avicii is the biggest disappointment on the album. The song sounds nothing like “Derezzed”. As far as I’m concerned, it’s just it’s own song. I think this song has no business being on this album. For the song itself, it’s not even that compelling. Kind of light and airy, but maybe there’s some mathematical reason how this was a remix, but I would think whoever the music supervisor on this album totally dropped the ball on picking this remix.

Solar Sailor” by Pretty Lights comes back for another interesting remix. The original is a beautiful track, and this remix makes it a bit more like dub step. This is a chill song, great to have in the background, and probably deserves to be part of the first half of the album.

TRON Legacy (End Titles)” by Sander Kleinenberg is kind of the oddball on the album. It doesn’t sound like any of the other remixes, more of a poppy, club remix. More happier, there are some good elements of the song, but not enough for me to be completely sold on it. It is a good remix, but not part of my top favorites from this album.

This album has its ups and downs. There are amazing, original remixes that are a must-buy, and some we could really do without. This soundtrack wasn’t needing a remix, as it stood on it’s own as a classic soundtrack, but this remix album was a pleasant surprise, reworking these fabulous melodies. I get these songs stuck in my head and it has been a lot of fun.

My advice? Buy the CD, better sounding quality, and you definitely want to hear The Glitch Mob’sDerezzed” in the best speakers possible. If not, buy the first twelve songs on iTunes.

Best Songs on Album:

The first 12 songs in that order on the album itself. Seriously.

Let me know if you bought the album or any of the songs and what you think of the remixes.

2 Comments

Filed under Album Reviews

Blast from the Past Fridays- Aaliyah

Aaliyah’s death was such a tragedy. Right when her career was really taking off, her life was taken while flying out of location for a music video.

Growing up, I heard “One in a Million” and other hits. I didn’t become a fan until her last red album, “Aaliyah”. That album was brilliant. That was a true R&B album, with soul, heart and smoothness. I bought her last album after her death and I knew I would have become a big fan. I’m picky with who I become a fan of, Madonna is my idol, I love Michael Jackson, but Aaliyah was going to be up there for me too. I would have went to concerts, etc.

With that last album, it starts off strong with “We Need a Resolution”. The production on that song is still relevant today and doesn’t sound old at all. It’s also not mimicked at all, it stands alone as an original sounding song.

“Rock the Boat” is such a calming song, great groove and this song is the last music video Aaliyah performed in. This song is special for me. I always think of white sandy beaches and clear blue waters.

“I Care 4 U”, wow, if you are really crushing hard on someone, this song will pull on your heartstrings until you can’t bare it anymore. “Extra Smooth” and “More Than a Woman” have good upbeat grooves, something you can jam to and dance to.

This album is also interesting and unique because it also discusses domestic abuse, something I don’t really hear much of and still don’t hear much of. Of becoming a stronger woman and leaving a bad situation, and I think these songs are sorely needed to inspire women to reflect on a negative relationship. “Never No More” and “I Refuse” talk about domestic abuse, and “I Refuse” is a beautiful song, with good harmonies, and a dramatic piano.

Also, another interesting topic Aaliyah discusses, is cheating. In “I Can Be” the intro is haunting, and the song discusses being “the other woman”, letting the man cheat on his girlfriend with her. Although it’s a taboo topic, not really something a girl strives for in life, this song has a seductive energy to it, and it is one of my favorite songs on the album.

In “Those Were the Days” Aaliyah sings about a broken relationship. What it’s like when a relationship is over. Something everyone can relate to.

The album ends with “What If”, a very distorted guitar, I can’t describe what the instruments are. Disturbing sounds, but it works and this song is about turning the tables on a man and treating him the way she is treated by him.

This album has stories about being a strong woman, giving into weaknesses and all the rhythm and soul packed into a beautiful album.

And this album is over ten years old, and it stands the test of time. RIP Aaliyah.

 

 

1 Comment

Filed under Album Reviews, Blast from the Past, Music Video Review

An Introduction to Ellie Goulding

Quite an introduction indeed.

I stumbled upon this English singer-songwriter, guitarist on Vevo. I posted her “Lights” video in my previous post “Girl Power- Female Music Videos” and I continued to look into her music. I started to fall in love and now I am a fan. That takes a lot for me to become an instant fan.

I checked out her EP, “An Introduction to Ellie Goulding” the only downloadable version for the U.S., there are other albums only available to Europe. How unfortunate. There is also some other songs available online, like the cover of Elton John’s “Your Song”

On her EP, there are four songs “Starry Eyed”, “Guns and Horses”, “The Writer” and “Lights”. I’m not really a fan of “Guns and Horses” but the other songs are very good. I love her soft, innocent voice. Her voice is simply sweet. “Starry Eyed” definitely has a European pop feel to it. I think “Lights” has a more crossover feel. “Lights” has an American electro-pop feel that could rival Goldfrapp and Ladyhawke. I think her voice fits slow ballads and the electro pop as well. When I first heard her voice, it reminded me a little of Florence + the Machine and Bjork. I always categorize artists from previous artists that I’ve heard. I really like her look as well. Very soft features and she has her left side of her hair shaved, so she has a slight rocker edge, even if it’s subtly. It’s hard to find artists that inspire you and also make you want to emulate them. Her lyrics are cute and light. Honestly, I probably could just listen to her talk, her voice is mesmerizing.

I’m eagerly waiting for her to explode into the U.S. market. Although, I am afraid there’s a possibility of that never happening, only because the U.S. market is saturated with songs about sex, anything shocking and hip hop. I’m hoping a great and unique artist like Ellie will find an American audience, because she definitely deserves it.

You can buy her EP here: http://www.amazon.com/Introduction-Ellie-Goulding-EP/dp/B0043CM504/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1296586179&sr=8-1

For some reason I was having trouble finding her again on iTunes.

“Starry Eyed”

“Under the Sheets” not available to U.S. Markets…

6 Comments

Filed under Album Reviews

“Michael” MJ’s Final Triumph?

The proclaimed last album from Michael Jackson,  Michael released last week.

Being an MJ fan, (the King and Queen of Pop will always be MJ and Madonna for me) I wanted to see if Michael had any of the magic we’ve all come to expect from the King of Pop.

Scandals circulated this album, crying that this wasn’t what Michael would have wanted, to release an album without his approval, and that it wasn’t even his voice. This album would have come out regardless if he would have wanted it or not, and it did. I’m sure Tupac will have new songs coming out in the next few years as well. After death, these icons don’t have a say what will be released. Is this right or wrong? Can’t really say, but I think it’s important to remember from which context this album came out of.

I don’t know if this album will cure the insatiable need of MJ music the public has been digesting since his passing. I think it will please the die-hard fans, and for the rest of the public? I think they will buy it to complete albums and only a few songs will somewhat come close the the collection of classics MJ has accumulated over his 45 year career.

Now, for the songs.

The single released, “Hold My Hand” is your typical slow jam, uplifting song. In that respect, the song is good, tolerable. The title, “Hold my Hand” sounds like an afterthought tribute to the King. Written before he passed, but after his passing, the song has a reminiscent feel, as if MJ wrote it for his fans. It’s a great tribute song that wasn’t originally written to be a tribute song.

As pretty and light as the song is, I’m disappointed to hear Akon all over the song. I know it’s a duet, but I really don’t want to her Akon in one of his typical songs. Akon makes the song forgettable. I rather hear Michael sing the whole song in its entirety.

Next is “Hollywood. “Hollywood” seems to be a theme in the ‘album’ (I don’t even know if these collection of songs were meant to be released together in the same album). The intro is slightly reminiscent of the Dangerous album, “Who is It” (one of my favorite MJ tracks). I’m not too thrilled with this song. It’s ok, the chorus is catchy, but nothing ground breaking here. Also, in the more upbeat songs, for some reason, MJ’s voice is lowered and the production made louder. It just sounds like MJ’s voice is compressed with a reverb to give it a slight retro feel to it. I rather hear MJ’s voice loud and clear. I’m just not sold on the production at all.

With “Keep your Head Up”, “(I Like) The Way You Love Me” and “Best of Joy” these three are the slow songs, we can hear MJ’s voice more clearly, as it should be. These songs will please fans of “You Are Not Alone”, “Childhood” and “The Lost Children”. These songs are for those who are fans of the slower MJ ballads. These songs aren’t classics, but for fans of the genre, it will suffice. “(I Like) The Way You Love Me”, is probably the best out of the slow songs. Uplifting and cute.

“Monster” comes in to shake things up a bit. The album placement is a little weird, between all the slow songs, this should have been after “Breaking News”. Anyways, this is my favorite track on the album. This song reminds me of the Blood on the Dance Floor album with almost an 80s touch to it. After “Thriller” MJ was one of the only artists that I know that wrote about scary themes. MJ explains the scary theme in Blood on the Dance Floor and Invincible albums with songs like “Blood on the Dance Floor”, “Ghost”, “Is it Scary”, “Scream Louder”, “Morphine” and “Threatened”. “Monster” is one of the many sequels to “Thriller”. The verses have enough breathing room and the pre-chorus with the chorus vocals are a very good build-up to the chorus. 50 Cents’ rap, eh, it’s fine. Again, sounds like the Invincible album and “Jam” with raps inserted within the song.

Next comes “Breaking News”, this one when I first heard it, was boring. It’s kind of growing on me. The song doesn’t really pick up until 2 minutes at the chorus. This song follows a theme MJ has been touting since 1989’s “Leave Me Alone”, with other songs with the exact same theme of being tabloid fodder in “Tabloid Junkie”, “Why You Wanna Trip on Me”, “Privacy” and I’m sure I’m missing something else. Michael Jackson, as everyone knows, has had mostly a hate relationship with the media. Although, MJ is one of the only artists that actually addresses how they feel about the media. Even after death, his life is still making news. His life was “on display” as his lyrics explain, and this was definitely something Michael had to battle for the majority of his life.

“(I Can’t Make it) Another Day” with Lenny Kravitz, is when the album finally starts to pick up. This one is catchy, something I can imagine on the radio, and Lenny Kravitz is a great artist for MJ to collaborate with. A little “Dirty Diana” feel to it. Just a little.

“Behind the Mask” has a very nice saxophone jazz intro to the song. The synths sound 80s. I think it works. At first it sounds a little old. This song literally sounds like it could have come off of the Bad album. The post chorus has a 70s robot reverb going on. Man, if you like MJ’s 80s songs, this song will fit right in seemlessly.

The album ends with “Much too Soon” This one is a classic. Very fitting and sad.

The best singles off of this album:

Monster, Behind the Mask, Much Too Soon, (I Can’t Make It) Another Day, (I Like) The Way You Love Me.

This album definitely needs time to grow on you. It needs room to breathe and settle in. At first glance, I wasn’t liking it. It’s growing on me, the only classic, would be “Much Too Soon”. “Monster” is my favorite track and over time, I’m interested to hear how this album will be revered by the public.

Leave a comment

Filed under Album Reviews

Tron Legacy Soundtrack Album Review

I eagerly awaited the Tron Legacy Soundtrack. When I first heard Daft Punk would create the soundtrack, I thought it was one of the most brilliant movie soundtrack moves since pairing Marilyn Manson to Resident Evil.

Well, there has been other great soundtracks in the meantime, but the pairing of a band commonly known for dance music for a movie soundtrack, this I couldn’t wait to hear.

From the first track “Overture” we are introduced to the Tron motif which I believe is best composed during the second track, “The Grid” when the synths take over the orchestration and the listener gets to hear what a video-game soundtrack should sound like. I can’t help but feel giddy hearing the 80s sounding synths. It definitely “sounds” like the 80s, but the accompaniment makes the song modern day.

The album continues with short songs, each one with a synth or a percussion element to carry the song. A forewarning about this soundtrack, it can definitely make you feel on edge and nervous. I was mostly listening to this soundtrack in my car and I felt the tension while driving. “The Game Has Changed” definitely has tension and the percussion sounds like a heavy heartbeat.

For those who aren’t too keen on synths, “Outlands” and “Outlands, Pt. II” comes into the mix with violins adding even more tension and drama. “Adagio for Tron” is the only track that has a lone violin playing a mourning reverence melody.

“End of the Line” blends 80s video game sounds into the track. “Derezzed” the first single off of the soundtrack, is the most upbeat song of the album. The synths blend into each other, and my only complaint is that I wish there were even more upbeat songs like “Derezzed”. I’m waiting for a “Derezzed remix for sure.

But wait! The tension isn’t over! “Fall” brings in even more gripping tension with slow-rising synths to really build up the drama. “Solar Sailor” is the calmest track in the album. Slow and melancholy, it really is a beautiful song.

The “Tron Legacy (End Titles)” is another enjoyable track, with the “Overture” motif making an orchestrated comeback.

This album is great for anyone who loves dramatic movie soundtracks, and those who are fans of Daft Punk and dance/trance music. The mixture of orchestrated music with 80s synths isn’t completely foreign terrain, however, Daft Punk has brought the drama, tension and a unique take on the new sound of Tron Legacy.

I can’t wait to hear it in the movies.

The top 5 songs in my opinion:

The Grid, Derezzed, The Game has Changed, Solar Sailor and Tron Legacy (End Titles)

Honorable Mentions:

Outlands, Pt. II, Fall, The Son of Flynn, Rinzler, Adagio for Tron

3 Comments

Filed under Album Reviews