Saturday, October 13, 2007

Brave by Jennifer Lopez album review

This is the fifth English language studio album recorded by Jennifer Lopez and beyond any predetermined ideas it is not that bad. Her previous release which was named Rebirth lacked many things and the R&B act was not that good. She goes for a 70s/80s pop sound and manages to keep you listening to it. There are no tracks which are remarcable but they manage to keep things upbeat and interesting. This retro sound she goes for is an interesting choice.

But it is hard to expect greatness when she puts out an album. Her voice is not that good and the thing which makes the release charming is the beat she uses. She uses the sparkling jams to hide her vocal flaws which appear. She also sounds a bit weak and left behind but she does manage to salvage what could be salvaged and make the tracks; the kind of music that sounds good at first but then when you listen to it does not bring anything better. There is no substance to sustain her beat and “Mile in These Shoes,” as good as it sounds, is a testament to the big hypocrisy of Brave.

There are not so many things you could say about the tracks because they are as the artist puts it feel-good music. “Stay Together” opens and reminds of Beyoncé’s “Déjà Vu”. “Do It Well” is a pop-fast paced song similar to “Get Right” and “Hold It Don’t Drop It” is another strong track that thrives on its disco sound. “Forever” is bringing back something from the 80s and it sounds something like the slow-building funk epics that Timbaland has written. The track which stands out is “Mile in These Shoes.”; it is for the haters. It brings intrigue and mystery, but the chorus is filled with a hip-hop/rock barrage of drums which sound just like Janet. It does sound good but it is not that true because it talks about the standards we have and it does not fit her.

The tracks are not bad but something lacks; they just do not have the hook and they lose themselves. Some are a bit catchy but not that many. Her voice is not as good as she should to sing ballads and so she prefers this radio and club friendly mood.

Track Listing:

1. Stay Together
2. Forever
3. Hold It Don’t Drop It
4. Do It Well
5. Gotta Be There
6. Never Gonna Give Up
7. Mile In These Shoes
8. The Way It Is
9. Be Mine
10. I Need Love
11. Wrong When You’re Gone
12. Brave
13. Do It Well (Bonus Track Featuring Ludacris)

My Rating is 4.8 out of 5

You can buy Jennifer Lopez's "Brave" legally at Mp3Fiesta.

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Thursday, October 4, 2007

ll the Lost Souls by James Blunt album review

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To a lot of rock-crit types and “serious music fans”, James Blunt is the Antichrist. The British singer/songwriter’s pinched, high-pitched voice is definitely an acquired taste, while from a musical standpoint, he suggests a watered down version of artists like Ray Lamontagne. Blunt’s debut album, 2005’s Back to Bedlam was downbeat and folky in a way that most singer-songwriters are, with a bit of a retro appeal. From a distance, you got kind of an Elton John or Cat Stevens vibe from him. His acoustic-flavored ballads could have been made in 1975… or 1985… or, well, you get the picture.

Watch his video, its pretty nice:

While the sensitive singer-songwriter will never go out of style, most of them don’t have hits like Blunt’s “You’re Beautiful”. The ubiquitous ballad became the first #1 single by a male British artist in a decade. While purists rolled their eyes at the song’s sappy lyrical sentiment (fellow British singer-songwriter David Gray called the song “dreadful, staggering nonsense” in a magazine interview), Blunt was appearing on Oprah, selling three million records, dating models, hanging with Puffy and becoming a Hollywood scene regular. Take THAT, brooding songwriters!!

The fact that neither of the two other singles from Bedlam really took hold with a mass audience also means that Blunt is now tagged with the label “one-hit wonder”, MTV award and five Grammy nominations be damned. All the Lost Souls is the perilous follow-up release for Blunt. Will this album keep him on the fickle music industry’s A-list, or will the sophomore slump wreak havoc on this release and toss Blunt onto the large pile of musicians who have failed to capitalize on initial success?

Well, I’ve gotta at least give Blunt props for not sticking exactly to the same old same old. All the Lost Souls has a less-folky, more pop/rock vibe, with elements of genres from country to electronica. Part of the album was recorded in the holiday capital of Ibiza, Spain, although don’t expect an album chock-full of party anthems. Don’t think for a second that Blunt doesn’t know where his bread is buttered. “Same Mistake” is a fairly obvious rewrite of “You’re Beautiful”, only Blunt neglected to write an actual chorus and instead, coos in falsetto for the hook. I found it pretty easy to sing along with-only when I did, I was impersonating a dog howling.

Not to say that this album is awful, but there’s definitely something lacking here. Blunt’s voice is quite the acquired taste, and nothing on here really stands out or connects from a thematic or lyrical standpoint. Nothing really hits the heart; it’s all very precise and workmanlike, and… well, boring, to be honest.

While not particularly exciting, songs like “1973” (the album’s first single) at least provide a diversion by offering beats you can tap your foot to. This is a good thing, because the ballads just seem to pile on slabs of corniness and false sincerity. However, I’m not quite sure where Blunt was going with a song reminiscing about the year before he was born. “Give Me Some Love” has a slightly crunchy guitar stomp—it rocks harder than anything else on the album, which is all relative—it’s like the hardest-rocking song on a Christopher Cross album. However, lyrics like “Why don’t you give me some love/ I’ll take a shitload of drugs” almost completely capsize one of the album’s more interesting tunes, with a Beatles-esque arrangement and even some pedal steel near the end.

While All the Lost Souls will very likely appeal to the exact same folks who made Blunt’s first album a success, I listen to this album and can’t help thinking that this has all been done before-and better! Tracks like “I Really Want You” just rehash the clichés that singer-songwriters have been working with for the past decade, right down to the faux-electronic embellishments. All of this is to say: there’s really nothing that makes Blunt unique, nothing that justifies his standing over the other folks who make similar music. The man got lucky with a hit single, Oprah came calling, and you know the rest. Something tells me that without a perfect alignment of the stars (or another phone call from the Queen of TV), Blunt’s going to find that sophomore jinx pretty difficult to beat.

You can buy James Blunt's "All the Los Souls" legally at Mp3Fiesta.

My Rating is 4.3 out of 5

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