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Category Archive for 'Rock/Pop'

Neil Young: Storytone

“…Storytone is fairly messy — which is quite an achievement for an album recorded in large part live in front of a full orchestra. Young does indeed croon over those strings, often rhapsodizing about the powers of new love or pleading to save the Earth, although he sometimes gets restless and rolls out a swinging [...]

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“While much of Springtime Carnivore walks in a Twilight Zone between indie pop and clever appropriations of the past, Morgan does manage to reveal a personality of her own over the course of these 14 tracks, and she comes off as clever, confident, and a sure hand with a tune on this set, while her [...]

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Billy Joel: The Essential Billy Joel

“…for the most part, this has every one of Joel’s heavy-hitters, and his craftsmanship, both as a songsmith and record maker, has never shone brighter. The biggest fault is that there is a notable drop-off in quality after 1986′s The Bridge (which ends midway through disc two), but even so, this is as good a [...]

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Birdy: Fire Within

“While the songs on Fire Within display vocal maturity beyond her young years, Birdy’s lyrics don’t stray far from the same emotions as every other 17-year-old — love, broken hearts, confusion — and this honesty feels natural and sincere without becoming cliché. With a flurry of teen internet sensations — singers such as Gabrielle Aplin [...]

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Hozier: Hozier

“The album’s best tracks, like the warm, laid-back ‘Someone New’ and the grandiose shuffling of ‘From Eden’ are all front loaded in the first half, while side two feels a bit weighed down with a few too many slow, contemplative pieces. When you’re dealing with the kind of spells Hozier is casting, it’s always best [...]

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Charli XCX: Sucker

“On Sucker, she (XCX) keeps more of that hit-making swagger for herself, delivering attention-getting pop that’s bold enough to ensure she isn’t overshadowed by anybody. She makes her purpose clear with the album’s title track, a musical middle finger to the clueless set to revved-up synths and stabbing guitars. It’s a big change from the [...]

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Ed Sheeran: X

“It’s a little glib to call Ed Sheeran the U.K.’s answer to Jason Mraz, yet there’s a grain of truth in that statement. Like Mraz, Sheeran plays around with hip-hop cadences but at his core he’s a singer/songwriter, and a sensitive one at that, one who prefers love tunes to songs of protest, something that [...]

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One Direction: Four

“[O]n Four the scales are tipped heavily in favor of the kind of songs they do best, with the majority of them sounding like good-time hits that will go a long way toward warming up a cold November night.” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog

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“The new songs are a nice touch, but the real purpose of this set is to offer casual fans a way to get all of Brooks’ best-known hits in one package, and in that regard The Ultimate Hits not only succeeds, it’s long overdue.” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog

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“Curated by international pop star Lorde, the soundtrack for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Pt. 1 transcends the level of both quality and daring normally offered up on soundtrack albums for big-budget movies, opting to lean more toward indie acts in sculpting a dark, menacing environment that matches the film’s heavy atmospheres.” –All Music Guide Check [...]

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“Rimes’ decision to play it cool in addition to having a bit of fun makes One Christmas a neat little seasonal treat.” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog

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Betty Who: Take Me When You Go

“On Betty Who’s debut album, Take Me When You Go, the 23-year-old Australian singer basks in pop’s sunshine….Almost all of the songs could score high-energy musical versions of classic ’80s teen-flicks like The Breakfast Club or Pretty in Pink. That’s no dig, either: Take Me is expressive and emotional, smartly written, and quick to get to the point without pandering to [...]

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“A quarterback-turned-country songwriter-turned-country star, Sam Hunt never makes apologies for his inherent bro-ness on his 2014 debut Montevallo….Hunt’s ability to fuse his classical construction with modern flair and pass it off as no big thing is what makes his debut something more than just another album from the bro next door.” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog [...]

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Taylor Swift: 1989

“When Taylor Swift decides to do something, the girl really knows how to overdo it. So on her fifth album, when she indulges her crush on Eighties synth-pop, she goes full blast….Deeply weird, feverishly emotional, wildly enthusiastic, 1989 sounds exactly like Taylor Swift, even when it sounds like nothing she’s ever tried before.” –Rolling Stone Check Our Catalog

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“Retrospectively, it’s a surprise that Nicks sat on these songs for years, but that only indicates just how purple a patch she had during Fleetwood Mac’s glory days. It’s a good thing she dug through her back pages and finished these songs, as she’s wound up with one of her strongest albums.” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog [...]

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“Beal continues the eclectic and wild streak he began on his debut, but takes it into more refined, if not completely more accessible zones with Nobody Knows. It’s hard to tell if the album feels angrier and grittier than its predecessor, or if peeling off the layers of lo-fidelity actually reveal an artist more raw and without rules than [...]

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T.I.: Paperwork

“It is… the most excited he’s sounded to be rapping since Paper Trail. His voice and flow patterns are so inimitable they run the risk of becoming sound effects, but he’s pushing himself out of familiar cadences and revisiting some of the demented, spitfire youthful energy that used to make him unpredictable.” –Pitchfork Check Our Catalog

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You + Me: Rose Ave

“Pop singer Pink’s country/folk album – words you probably never expected to read – came about when she found common musical ground with Dallas Green, formerly of Canadian hardcore band Alexisonfire. As You + Me, the pair explore pastoral byways, and it’s a partnership of equals….Pink, credited here under her real name, Alecia Moore, slips in a few scaled-down [...]

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“There have been many ways to qualify praise for Weezer and with each successive listen, Everything Will Be Alright in the End certainly earns the typically backhanded compliments: ‘actually not terrible,’ ‘certainly better than Hurley,’ ‘probably their best since…Maladroit, that was good right?’ Or, Everything could be accepted for what it is and be held to [...]

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Jolie Holland: Wine Dark Sea

“Holland is that rare performer whose reach extends in many directions and dimensions without sacrificing her distinct core identity. Across eras and genres, tempos and tendencies, she sounds exactly like Jolie Holland and no one else.” –NPR Check Our Catalog Listen Now

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