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Tag Archive 'Contemporary Pop/Rock'

Leonard Cohen: Popular Problems

“As always, Cohen’s songs — delivered in his deepest earth rasp — offer protagonists who are ambivalent spiritual seekers, lusty, commitment-phobic lovers, and jaded, untrusting / untrustworthy world citizens. He is them, they are him: strangers hiding in plain sight….Popular Problems reveals that at 80, Cohen not only has plenty left in the tank, but [...]

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Neil Young: A Letter Home

“‘What the hell?!?’ is an appropriate first response to Neil Young’s A Letter Home. Not for its content: Echoing Bob Dylan’s Self Portrait, Young covers 11 songs that mean a lot to him with tender, unfeigned affection. Less straightforward is how they’re presented. Young cut the mostly solo acoustic performances at Jack White’s lo-fi Voice-O-Graph [...]

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Jason Mraz: Yes!

“[I]t emphasizes Jason Mraz the sensitive singer/songwriter with an acoustic guitar slung across his shoulders. He flirts with rhythms floating up from the Caribbean, he covers Boyz II Men’s ‘It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday,’ he cops a bit of the Lumineers’ big-beat folk stomp, and he strums a ukulele — but these are all mild, complementary [...]

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“O’Connor is pushing herself on every song here…  always with some purpose. A quarter-century into a career that has swung unpredictably from acoustic dissent to big-band jazz to reggae and dub experimentation, she continues to lay claim to every musical possibility and refuses to define herself with only one particular style.” –Pitchfork Check Our Catalog [...]

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Blondie: 4(0)-Ever

“Blondie 4(0)-Ever bundles together two albums, a collection of new material called Ghosts of Download, and Greatest Hits Deluxe Redux, a re-recorded set of Blondie favorites….As for Harry, her vocals are cool, stylish, and well-controlled” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog Listen Now

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“Hypnotic Eye is Petty’s 13th studio album with the Heartbreakers… emboldened or sweetened… by Mike Campbell’s inexhaustible supply of riffs and Petty’s devotion to the chorus….As a band, the Heartbreakers sound great….No myths to sell, just the idea of a working rock band reclaiming what’s left of a center-right boomer rock coalition. Hynoptic Eye gets my vote.” –Spin [...]

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“Feeling neither pent-up nor fussy, the eponymous album is handsome, deliberate, and familiar; she’s not picking up where she left off, she’s merely resuming her career, not acting like any time or fashion has passed in her absence….[I]t offers a quiet comfort for anyone who has ever loved her music.” –All Music Guide Check Our [...]

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Sarah McLachlan: Shine On

“Twenty-five years into her career, Sarah McLachlan does what she does and you’re either out or in when it comes to the Canadian songbird’s pleasant, gorgeously sung… adult contemporary pop. Fans will definitely want in on ‘Shine On,’ McLachlan’s first new release in four years and home to several standout tracks in the11-song collection.” –The [...]

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Lily Allen: Sheezus

“At her best, Lily Allen operates just at the edge of a crowd, slyly and snidely passing judgment from a safe distance….Allen is no provincial pop star; she belongs in the big leagues.” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog Listen Now

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Bruce Springsteen: High Hopes

“Much of this record oscillates between the moody and militant, particularly in the politically charged numbers, which are often colored by percussive guitar squalls….Strictly speaking, these 12 songs don’t cohere into a mood or narrative but after two decades of deliberate, purposeful albums, it’s rather thrilling to hear Springsteen revel in a mess of contradictions.” [...]

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“This time around, Hendrix is his chief influence, as evidenced by the roaring title track, and he does expand that with his traditional Lennon, Curtis Mayfield, and Prince obsessions. Song for song, it’s his most consistent album….” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog

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Jennifer Nettles: That Girl

“That Girl is Jennifer Nettles’ first solo record since she co-founded pop-country’s superstar act Sugarland. Produced by Rick Rubin, it’s mostly a collection of originals, co-written with some of the music industry’s most successful songwriters….That Girl was obviously designed to showcase her diversity as a vocalist and songwriter, and to cross over to a pop [...]

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“Three years in gestation — which, in Peter Gabriel time, is a mere handful of months — And I’ll Scratch Yours, the companion piece to the 2010 covers album Scratch My Back, finds most (but certainly not all) of the artists who were interpreted on Gabriel’s album returning the favor by tackling the progressive singer/songwriter’s [...]

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“[T]he banter contains a similar sense of excitement; as this concentrates on 1963, the Beatles have yet to grow tired of their shtick, so it’s fun to hear them trade barbs with the BBC hosts and with each other. When the dialogue is combined with those wonderful performances, On Air: Live at the BBC, Vol. [...]

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Elvis Presley: Elvis At Stax

“What impresses is Presley’s virtuosity and how he cannily constructed his performances to seem effortless: there’s sweat fueling these tight, punchy renditions, and heart behind his ballads, and you can hear him work it all out on the alternate takes, then reach full flight on the finished masters. None of this was readily evident on [...]

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“Jewel isn’t looking to reinterpret the songs we know and love, but rather deliver satisfyingly sweet versions of melodies embedded in our subconscious….[E]verything feels sincere and nothing gets bogged down with sticky sentiment. Let It Snow may not transcend the conventions of a Christmas album, but it also avoids the pitfalls and, on the whole, [...]

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“Def Leppard dove into the classic-albums-in-their-entirety trend via an 11-date residency at the Hard Rock in Las Vegas, performing 1987′s Hysteria from start to finish, adding other classic hits to round out the set….Def Leppard show their glam rock heart, which is one reason their music has aged so well and why it still sounds [...]

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OneRepublic: Native

“As a songwriter for other contemporary pop stars, Ryan Tedder has proven his talent for writing intensely catchy songs that stick in people’s heads whether they like it or not….[T]his might seem like more of a knock against OneRepublic as pop opportunists, if the music weren’t so dang catchy.” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog

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“These tracks feel much more like an album of alternate versions than a typical live recording. The intimacy and raw beauty of Live at the Cellar Door makes it not just a must for super fans, but a valuable companion piece to any of Young’s early studio output.” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog

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Celine Dion: Loved Me Back To Life

“[T]he album is livelier, less self-conscious, less beholden to the expected, and quick-footed enough to not seem mired in show biz glitz. That doesn’t mean Loved Me Back to Life will reverse her Billboard chart trajectory — there’s nothing here that screams big hit –- but it’s something better: the work of a diva who [...]

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