Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Single Review: Demi Lovato - "Skyscraper"

Review: (2.5/5)

Demi Lovato has been in the press a lot lately for everything other than her music.  I was very excited that she was getting back to work and recording an album with a "brand new sound."  When I heard "Skyscraper" for the first time, I expected to hear this new sound she was talking about.  This sounds like a bonus track from her last album.  I was hoping for something new and exciting.  This isn't even as good as her previous singles which were very good and fun.  I can imagine why she would want a more serious song after all she has been going through, but I just don't believe this was the right way to start out a brand new album.  The positive is the fact that you can really feel her emotions coming through the song.  That part is very impressive.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Album Review - Selena Gomez & The Scene, "When The Sun Goes Down."

Track by Track:

1. Love You Like A Love Song - (4/5)

Selena Gomez & The Scene start off their third album with a mid-tempo 80's dance song.  I really like this song.  The lyrics are very catchy and sing-songy.  The highlight of the song comes with the bridge where the song is slowed down.  Selena smooth vocals slide over the beautiful melodies in the hook.  The song also plays with dub-step which was recently brought to the forefront of music by Pop Princess Britney Spears.  This should be released as a single.

2. Bang Bang Bang - (3/5)

This continues in the same vein as the first song.  It is very 80's with a flashy synth which is quite addictive.  The main hindrance of this song is the quite boring chorus and hook.  It would have been much better to have a bigger chorus which could have built from the verses.  The highlight of this song is once again the bridge.  I like the song somewhat, but it seems to be a reject from Britney Spears' current album, "Femme Fatale."

3. Who Says - (2.5/5)

Next up is the album's debut single.  It is quite a departure from the other songs on the album.  "Who Says" is a lot like Selena's previous singles.  It is an easy sing-along, bubblegum pop anthem for young girls.  What I can't get over is the fact that the album's first two songs sound nothing like this one.  So much for a "full" album.  It annoys me when artists change their whole style of music just to have a single.

4. We Own The Night featuring Pixie Lot - (2/5)

My first thought is that this is a very interesting collaboration.  This song also goes back to the pop/rock feel of her first two albums.  It is very bubblegum and destined to be the second official single.  The mood of the song is very chill, but it quickly becomes quite boring.  It will not appeal to a mass audience, but Selena's pre-teen fans will most likely know all of the words.

5. Hit The Lights - (4/5)

The title had me hoping for a dance-pop club banger.  I was very upset when I heard the beginning of the song, but my mood turned around after I heard the chorus.  It is a more serious very of a Ke$ha song which is a compliment.  Selena is much more reserved than Ke$ha on her fun, pop anthems.  This is very much positive considering the age of Selena's fans.  I would have to consider this song one of my favorites on the album.  It shows growth for Selena as an artist.

6. Whiplash - (4.5/5)

I have been comparing songs from this album to songs from Britney Spears' latest album, "Femme Fatale," in this review.  It is because their styles are fairly similar when it comes to these newer albums.  I now understand why after reading the credits for this song.  "Whiplash" was actually co-written by the Pop Princess herself.  Britney rarely writes, but she is written all over this song.  It is very classic and current Britney.  Selena sounds great on the track.  She has a Britney inspired sexy tone to her voice in this song.  I have not heard Selena like this before, but it seems like it is a very big step in the direction of becoming a mature recording artist.  She is treading her toes and slowly transitioning.  Hollywood Records is probably very cautious after Miley Cyrus' very mature album failed to generate much of a buzz.  This song has the possibility to become a crossover hit for Selena.  *Suggestion: Get Britney Spears on a remix of this song!!!  That will guarantee a top 10 spot for the song!*

7. When The Sun Goes Down - (4/5)

This is another Ke$ha/Britney Spears inspired dance/pop song.  I can see this song being a pretty big summer hit for Selena.  A beach themed music video would really set this song in the right direction.  This song is making me like this album a lot more.  It is again a transitional song which isn't too much of a stretch.

8. My Dilemma - (4.5/5)

This song's driving beat hooked me immediately.  The lyrics are very relatable for Selena's middle school-aged fans.  It is a catchy tune which makes you want more.

9. The More I Like It - (4/5)

It is getting much harder to critique these songs because they just get better and better.  I can already tell that Selena will gain a lot of new fans with this record.

10. Outlaw - (4/5)

When I first saw this title, I immediately thought of Britney Spears' soon-to-be single, "Criminal."  Selena's team obviously is looking to Britney's latest album as a model for this one.  The song starts off with an intriguing beat which sucks you in at first listen.  My only complaint is that the chorus does not much the magical sounding verses.

11. Middle Of Nowhere - (3.5/5)

Another bumping dance/pop beat with catchy lyrics.  I wonder if Selena will perform these songs with dance routines.  Not quite as good as the others which are much more current.  This is an odd mix of dance and pop/rock.

Overall Thoughts: (3.5/5)

This album is a fun dance/pop album that Selena's fan will eat up!  I also think she is going to gain quite a few new fans because of this album.  It goes right with the dance/pop trends of the moment which work in it's favor.  This album is a great step in the mature direction for Selena Gomez.  She and her record label are being very careful with her transition though.  This is the smartest thing they can do after Miley Cyrus's failed attempt at being a mature recording artist. - Jonathan

Songs To Download:

Love You Like A Love Song
Hit The Lights

Songs To Avoid:

Who Says
We Own The Night featuring Pixie Lot

Worth The Money:

This album is worth the money.  It is an easygoing and fun summer listen.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Album Review - Lloyd, "King Of Hearts"

Track by Track:

1. Intro (MDMA) featuring Game - (N/A)

I'm not going to give a review for this song because its a very short intro which only featuring Game.

2. Dedication To My Ex (Miss That) featuring Andre 3000 and Lil Wayne - (1.5/5)

First, I just want to say that i'm thrilled that Andre 3000 is making a comeback.  He also appears on a song on Beyonce's new album, "4."  His part may be the only decent thing in this mess of a song.  The lyrics are pretty silly.  Sometimes that works on a hip hop/rap song, but it did not work on this one.  The concept of the song will most likely turn off Lloyd's general female fan-base.  Lil Wayne disappoints on this track as well.

3. Cupid featuring Awesome Jones - (4/5)

The song starts off with a pretty sweet beats.  You think it is gonna be a club banger, but it turns out to be a very sweet love song.  This song is the antithesis of the previous song.  Lloyd's female fan-base will go crazy about this one.  I love the lyrics especially on the verses.  The chorus even reminds me of something that the late King of Pop Michael Jackson would record.

4. Luv Me Girl featuring Chris Brown and Vega - (3/5)

This song has a very different vibe to it.  It reminds me of some of the songs off of Chris Brown's newest album, "F.A.M.E."  After the song gets started and Lloyd starts singing, I really like the beat, lyrics, and the flow.  Chris Brown adds a solid verse as he usually does.  I would actually prefer him to record the entire song by himself.  I prefer the tone of his voice of Lloyds.  Vega adds a verse and a part in the chorus which sounds fine.  All in all, this is another good club record.

5. Naked - (3.5/5)

I really think it would benefit Lloyd a great deal to get rid of the garbage which plays at the beginning of this song, as well as some of the others.  The song is great after all of this excess sound dissipates.  It is a very sexy and fun song.  This is exactly what Lloyd's fans expect from him.

6. Jigsaw - (4/5)

This is an old school, 1990's RnB slow jam, which I love!  This is probably my favorite song from the album so far.  *Suggestion - Do a remix with some rappers (Lil Wayne or Nicki Minaj) and singers (Rihanna or Ciara).  This reminds me a lot of Young Money's hit song with Lloyd, "Bedrock."*  This could really turn this into a huge hit.  It is not quite there yet though.

7. Bang featuring Titi Boy and Salo - (2/5)

Again I must say that the background noise in the beginning is very annoying and unnecessary.  The rap verse in the beginning is also unnecessary to me.  I would have started the song with Lloyd's part and put the verse later in the song.  The song's hook is not strong or catchy enough.

8. Be The One featuring Trey Songz and Young Jeezy - (3.5/5)

Once again, the song starts with some awkward vocals at the beginning from someone else.  The song would start off much better without them.  Otherwise, this is a pretty good song.  The chorus/hook is quite strong and catchy.  I can see this song appealing to a female audience as well as the club crowd.  So far, this album is all about grinding in the club.  Trey Songz and Young Jeezy add to the sexiness of the song.  This has the potential to be a hit for the trio.

9. Shake It 4 Daddy - (2/5)

My first thought is that it sounds quite outdated.  Then I hear that weird voice at the beginning again.  After it goes away, I like the song more as usual.  This one is geared more to a male audience.  I don't think it has the potential to be a hit without a remix.  I can see Drake adding a verse to this and making it much more hot.

10. Lay It Down - (3/5)

I love the beat at the beginning of the song.  It makes me think of old school R. Kelly songs.  The lyrics aren't quite new or fresh, but the song has a pretty awesome vibe to it.  "Lay It Down" is a very pretty and melodic song which could also benefit with a remix featuring a rapper.  I would suggest up-and-comer Big Sean.

11. Angel - (5/5)

By this point in the album, most of the songs are starting to all sound the same.  "Angel" really changes this though.  Lloyd moves away from the sexy slow jam genre and moves into more of a pop ballad.  This is my favorite track on the album.  It really showcases Lloyd's potential to be a huge pop artist.  This should 100 percent be released as a single.  It is perfect for radio!

12. This Is 4 My Baby - (4/5)

Now we are back to the same sexy slow jam vibe.  This one is a lot better than the rest.  Lloyd melodies are perfect in this strongly produced song.  I think that this song would do very well on the RnB charts.  It isn't a smash, but its quite good.

13. You 2 - (4/5)

I was expecting this song to once again sound the same as the others, but this song is more in the vein of "Angel."  This is a very sweet and beautiful song that has a great message.  What is odd is that Lloyd has two personas on this album.  In songs such as this he is a sweet innocent boy looking for love.  This is a stark difference from songs on the album such as "Dedication To My Ex (Miss That)."  Not sure which audience he is really going after with this odd mix of songs.  I think his main probably is that he has yet to find his true persona.  He needs to decide which of these he wants to be so he can focus all of his energy on it.

14. World Cry featuring R. Kelly, Keri Hilson, and K Naan - (1/5)

Lloyd obviously has a thing for Michael Jackson because he is trying pretty hard to copy the late King of Pop.  I have to say that this is a pretty silly attempt at making a heartfelt world peace anthem.  It comes off very forced and fake.  R. Kelly's verse is very weird.  The cursing does not help the message one bit. Lloyd needs to stick to sexy slow jams.  This kinda song is obviously not for him.  I discussed above about Lloyd not having a specific persona.  This song gives another view of Lloyd that just add up with the rest of them.  He really needs to pick who he wants to be and be portrayed as.  Keri Hilson does not help the song at all.  The "da da da's" at the end just make the song seem more silly and senseless.

Overall Thoughts: (3/5)

This album is really Lloyd breaking away and becoming free from The Inc.  He had a chance to create a completely new type of record and to establish himself as a real star.  I can see this in certain songs, but the album as a whole does not convey this.  The album has its good songs, but it has an equal number of disasters.  The worst of all comes from his odd world peace anthem, "World Crys."  I actually have a little advice for Lloyd.  He needs to go in a completely new direction.  Lloyd needs to record many more pop and radio friendly songs such as "Angel" and stop trying to be a hip hop star.  It just isn't going to happen.

Songs To Download:

You 2

Songs To Avoid:

Dedication To My Ex (Miss That)
World Crys

Worth The Money?

It is worth the money to purchase certain songs, but not the album as a whole.

Album Review - Beyonce, "4"

This is my first review for this site, and I am very happy that it is for Beyonce.  I have been a big Beyonce fan for years, but after the release of Sasha-Fierce I sort of moved past Beyonce.  This album was a purchase that I made hoping that it would reignite my love and devotion to Beyonce.  I purchased this album after only hearing a few previews of the tracks.  The previews were in no way impressive to me.  I will now begin my very honest review of Beyonce's fourth album, "4."

Track by Track:

1. 1+1 - (2/5)

I believe that the first track on an album sets the pace of the entire album.  This is completely true in this case.  "4" starts out very slow with 1+1 and continues with that pace throughout most of the album.  I have a few comments on this song.  Some of them are positive, but most are negative.  First, Beyonce sounds very strong on the song.  Second, the lyrics are very strange in parts which makes this song seem silly and less serious.  This is an issue because the song if very slow and serious.  Third, the music of the song gets very interesting in some spots.  There is an odd background noise for part of the song which distracts you from the lyrics.  This could be a good thing though.  There is also a long instrumental section at the end of the song that makes the song even more boring.  This song is really not worth a listen.

2. I Care - (3/5)

One of Beyonce's main strengths is the way she conveys emotion in her voice.  This is what saves this song from being another boring filler track on this album.  Something else interesting that I heard on this song is the heavy use of effects on Beyonce's voice.  This strategy works for some artists, but it doesn't for someone as gifted as Beyonce.  I believe that I would like this song a lot more if they had just used her natural voice.  Not quite as boring as "1+1," but it doesn't come near Beyonce's preview works.

3. I Miss You - (2/5)

My first thought on this tracks comes right back to the vocal effects.  This was discussed on my review of, "I Care."  The producers are using too many tricks which drowns the emotion out of Beyonce's beautiful voice.  Also, the way that layer her vocals is very odd.  One of the layers sounds like a whisper while the other is a near scream.  The final product sounds very strange.  This is just another boring but beautiful filler track.  I have yet to hear a song that is anywhere near radio-ready or commercial.

4. Best Thing I Never Had - (3.5/5)

This song is much more classic Beyonce than the others.  The chorus is very catchy, and this song has the potential to be a breakup anthem.  It is also much more commercial than any of the other songs I have heard from this album.  This song is much better and could serve as a pretty successful single.

5. Party featuring Andre 3000 - (2/5)

At first I really loved the 80's vibe to this song, but it quickly became quite boring.  The hook is not anywhere near catchy enough to be a single.  This turns into another filler track for me.  I was quite surprised to find out that Kanye West produced this song.  It really isn't his sort of vibe as of late.  The aspect that really saves this song for me is Andre 3000's verse.  It really makes me miss the old days when Outkast was ruling the airwaves.  *Suggestion* - Make a club remix which is much more upbeat.  This could have a chance at invading the clubs then.

6. Rather Die Young - (2.5/5)

The beginning of this song really sucked me in with the over dramatic and creepy vibe.  It is very theatrical which is a good thing for this quite slow album.  Then the chorus kicks in, and I hate it.  It has way too much of a 60's/70's sound.  The chorus ruined this song for me, but I still love the verses and the bridge.  Beyonce is killing it vocally with this album, but this is just another non-commerical song.

7. Start Over - (4/5)

My first thought is that the beat is amazing.  Beyonce starts and i'm hooked.  Her vocals are incredible even though they are over-processed.  The lyrics are very powerful and effective.  Shea Taylor and Beyonce kill it lyrically with this song.  The chorus and hook are both very effective and catchy.  Where "Best Thing I Never Had" is a breakup anthem, this song is a make-up anthem.  This song is very current, commercial, and radio friendly.

8. Love On Top - (4/5)

Another great track written by Beyonce and Shea Taylor.  After hearing this the first time I became quite angry for an interesting reason.  This SHOULD have been released as the first single!!!  It could have been a huge summer song!  They really missed an opportunity to have a big hit, and we all know that Beyonce needs a big hit after the first single tanked.

9. Countdown - (3.5/5)

The beginning of this song is like magic to me!  It starts out so epic and powerful.  The lyrics are masterful.  I then didn't like the rest of the song near as much until the chorus came back around.  This has the potential to be a single, but i'm not sure how it would do.  I'm quite indifferent about this song.  I half love/half hate it.

10. End Of Time - (3/5)

I really do not like the way the song starts.  The beat and odd voice in the background certainly do not connect with me.  I like it much better after Beyonce starts singing.  It continues the trend of the songs becoming more commercial.  They are still nowhere near her preview hits.  This is another filler track in my mind, but it is better than some of the songs at the beginning of this album.

11. I Was Here - (5/5)

Diane Warren wrote an amazing song, and Beyonce sang her face off!!!  Incredible, thought provoking, and magical!  This is the highlight of the entire album for me.  Perform this at the Grammy's Beyonce!!!  It will be a magical moment!  I also think Diane Warren will win a songwriting Grammy for this song.

12. Run The World (Girls) - (1/5)

"I Was Here" should have been the last track on this album.  It would be a perfect ending.  "Run The World (Girls)" pretty much ruins the album for me.  I was wanting few more upbeat/radio friendly songs, but this song is ridiculous.  This song just makes Beyonce look desperate for a radio single.  I can't even listen to the whole song.  It's just terrible.

Overall Thoughts: (3/5)

This album had a lot of negative publicity before it was released.  I bought the album because I was very curious about it.  Many critics were very negative when it comes to the album.  It is indeed nowhere near perfect, but it is not as bad as people were saying it is.  Beyonce had one goal when she recorded this album.  She wanted to show everyone that she is a true artist, future-legend, and diva.  "4" did indeed show her as a diva, but like a true diva there are crowning moments and flat-out failures.  Where "I Was Here" is a crowning moment, "Run The World (Girls)" is a devastating failure for Beyonce.

The true test of this album will come when more songs are released as singles.  It is of dire importance for these upcoming singles to be hits.  If there is not a hit in this album, they are going to have to start over or do a re-release.  I truly hope that one of the upcoming singles is a hit because Beyonce is a true professional and hard worker.  She deserves all the success that she gets, but album sales will suffer if there is not a commercial hit single.  All the best of luck! - Jonathan

Songs To Download:

Start Over
Love On Top
I Was Hear

Songs To Avoid:

I Miss You
Run The World (Girls)

Worth The Money?

This album is totally worth purchasing if you are a fan of contemporary RnB and Soul music.  *Note* The best deal when purchasing this album is the Target Special Edition which contains six bonus tracks.