Thursday, January 21, 2010

Kesha's Animal

Ke$ha's Animal has been out for a few weeks now and somehow found it way to my speakers and I am not happy about it.

The opener, "Your Love Is My Drug," is bubblegum pop at its finest with autotune all over the place merged with a few rap-esque verses by Ke$ha (prononced KESH-AH). "Tik Tok," is Animal's best cut featuring Adobe Audition effects seldomly used on songs and dripping with a club feel. There is a reason why the song has shot its way to #1, because of the snappy production by Benny Blanco (Britney Spears' "Circus") and Dr. Luke (Flo Rida's "Right Round").

The roar falls slightly thereafter as Ke$ha continues in a sugary coating of weak lyricism and regurgitated sounds. It feels like Animal is a repeat of something we've heard before, despite the appeal it has received. "Blah Blah Blah," does indeed save the day midstream, but the boat starts to rock again after the under three minute morsel finishes whirring.

Animal has tapped its way to #1 on the album charts. This isn't surprising. In an age of iTunes downloads and superfluous nonsense being targeted and directed at us from the radio, Ke$ha, is on her way to the top - well, perhaps she's already there. At least "errbody's gettin' crunk" right?

Final Grade: C-

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

50 Cent's Before I Self Destruct

Before I Self Destruct is an aggressive vent from the multi-platinum rapper. One of the eighteen true to form lyricals is "Then Days Went By," where 50 Cent shows off over Rich Harrison audio magic. The cold and brazen verses offer a raw slant into the Queens musician. The ruckus of "Strong Enough," finds 50 returning to the select style seen on 2000's Power of the Dollar and 2003's Get Rich or Die Tryin'.

50 Cent unleashes heavy verbal disses on "So Disrepectful." The cut has a simple chorus but explodes as 50 Cent takes on The Game and Young Buck. The quick bar "your homies shoot dawgs, my n***as shoot people," proves that 50 is by far no Wanksta.

The angry "Psycho," is a mangled pictoral snapped by both 50 and Eminem. Both flow so well over the paralyzing beat, it is hard to determine who delivers better. "Ok, You're Right," the Dr.Dre produced third single complements the aloof style fans of 50 Cent have come to know. It lifts its hand to The Massacre's "Outta Control" and Curtis' "I Get Money," in that it speaks on ego in a crafty way with lines like "N**a I ain't crazy, b****es like me cause I'm paid/They want me, LeBron, Kobe or Dwyane Wade/When I say I'm ballin I'm not talkin 'bout a ball/I'm talkin 'bout Tiffany & Co. stones out the mall/N***as they can hate all they want but they know they like this."

Before I Self Destruct comes complete with the courting treasures similar to "Candy Shop" and "Amusement Park." "Baby By Me," featuring Ne-Yo feels like a hookup between "Disco Inferno" and "Just a Lil Bit," whereas "Do You Think About Me" and "Get It Hot," relish in relationship enjoyment on their own and seemingly uproot his previous radio gratification.

In an interview with MTV, 50 Cent was quoted as saying that "Before I Self Destruct will be the best record of that [this] time period." Perhaps this batch of dark tidbits testify to how relentless of a rapper he is.

Final Grade: A

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Leona Lewis' Echo

From the UK to the USA, pop sensation Leona Lewis totes a peaceful vocal. With a platinum debut under her belt, she was quoted in an interview saying she hoped Echo, would follow in Spirit's footsteps.

The mood of Echo is a cocktail of electropop/R&B that is inviting. The first single, "Happy," is a distinguished takeoff into hope and courage. The following cut, "I Got You," is a wave of percussion as Leona commutes to vocal heights that follow in the same refrain as "Bleeding Love." The electronics of "Can't Breathe," allow for a more hectic sound from Lewis, while "Love Letter," conveys remixed folk.

Leona Lewis enlisted the help of American Idol's Simon Cowell and the Clive Davis machine to put together an organic record of thirteen songs. Each of Echo's properties feel tragic yet reassuring; complementing the twenty-four year old's voice. Unlike the aperitif, Spirit, Echo, needs to be sipped slowly for the collection of songs give off an edgier taste.

As with any sophomore release, the artist is always excited to record better and more tuneful works of art. Echo does achieve this - but will undoubtedly have to claw its way to the sexy character exhibited on the debut.

Final Grade: B-

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Hidden Neo-Soul Gems: Beverley Knight

Illustrations of impressive vocal power are prominently displayed on the sixth release by Beverley Knight. Aptly titled, 100%, the album comes across as soul but wades in the waters of glittery pop and distances itself from the robust Affirmation and the sweet sounding, Prodigal Sista. Beverley Knight has not lost her smooth touch, however.

"Beautiful Night," starts the project off and hints at house/dance stomping with twinkling synths and percussion. The mid tempo register of the UK star is exhibited here.

The bursting "In Your Shoes," is a heavily produced composition that is simplified by striking lyricism from the artist herself. The song is memorable and noteworthy as catchy and shameless.

The title track is a grower and captures an artist who has graced the neo-soul scene with longevity. The production provided by musician, Kevin Bacon, allows for Knight to show off her ravenous range. Inspiration arrives with "Every Step." Beverley's vocals soar on the chorus, "If I have my time again/There's no one I'd rather be/If I walk this world again/I'll take every step as Me." Produced by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, the cut is both stirring and heartfelt.

Beverley revisits the rightly named urban style on "Moneyback," a circular on closure and reproduces the Bee Gees' classic, "Too Much Heaven," with exquisite melisma and timbre.

Beverley Knight was nominated for the best UK Act at the 2009 Mobo Awards. 100% was released on September 7 on Knight's own label, Hurricane Records. 100% is an expressive undertaking from a stunning vocalist.
Final Grade: A-

Monday, October 26, 2009

Saw VI

Saw VI is an engaging leap into the repugnant. The plot continues along the path of the Jigsaw Killer's successor as the FBI tries to find him.

The movie is finely tuned to meet today's horror standards as the GAME is finally understood. Saw VI is probably the most elaborately done of the Saw saga. With gruesome traps and the rich setup, provided by Patrick Melton & Marcus Dunstan, Saw VI is a maniacal movie with gore
more sinister than the Friday the 13th movies. The final trap puts the cherry on top inciting
sickening brouhaha.

Saw VI is the most definitely the most pleasing of the Saw movies since the twisted, Saw III. Costas Mandylor (Hoffman), Tobin Bell (Jigsaw) and Betsy Russell (Jill Tuck) all add intense delirium to the film.

Fans of the movie will be outdone. This is horrific carnage at its finest.

Final Grade: A

Friday, October 23, 2009

SoundMasons' Classy Debut

Funk and rhythmic effervescence are the dominating forces driving SoundMasons' The Manor. The album is an assortment of schematic illustrations that paint a swanky vibe.

The trio from Los Angeles, California includes guitarist and lead vocalist, Miles Moore; bass player, Jelani Thomas and drummer, Alex Lopez. SoundMasons seem to define their sound by crafting music that gives a nod to rock legends such as Jimi Hendrix, The Moody Blues and Steve Miller Band, while keeping the mood refreshing and modern.

"Starry Nites," is an overtaking opener that careens towards the speakers. The track is a multiformed piece of epic proportions. It has addicting properties due its nimble chorus. "Pipe Dreams," continues in the same vein of "Starry Nites," but drifts away because of bellowing guitar riffs and drum pitter patters.

"MoodRing," is the most stylish composition on The Manor. The atmosphere on the cut is nonchalant. "Tell Her," has a Beatles feel to it staggering breathlessly for four minutes; while "Truth," mellows with superb instrumentation and captures the essence of rock music.

The Manor is a welcoming debut from a trio looking to cement themselves amongst the music greats. SoundMasons achieve sonic creativity with The Manor leaving the listener wondering what they'll think of to create next.

Final Grade: A

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Dr. McNamara Flips Out

The Stepfather follows a homicidal killer who is now living under a different name. The plot seemingly tells the story of John List, who was accused and found guilty of killing his wife, mother and three children.

Nip/Tuck's Dylan Walsh gives a believable performance as the psychopath, but does not begin to touch the creepiness of Terry O'Quinn's performance in the 1987 version. Although, there are numerous delightful moments in the film, it drags and drags and drags. The only highpoint was when his wife's friends and family start to figure out how bonkers the man is.

It is too soon to tell if this remake will spawn another as the original did. The movie was overall amusing and entertaining, for its bravery in tackling List's insanity, but the lacked the bravado seen in the original.

Final Grade: C+