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Tag Archive 'Contemporary Pop/Rock'

Brian Wilson: No Pier Pressure

“Caught halfway between a back-to-basics move along the lines of TWGMTR and a star-studded extravaganza, No Pier Pressure certainly doesn’t have much to do with the high art that’s marked Wilson’s new millennium; there’s nary an echo of the SMiLE revival or the Van Dyke Parks collaboration That Lucky Old Sun. This is all sand, […]

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Madonna: Rebel Heart

“Rebel Heart was introduced to the world with an indiscipline uncharacteristic of Madonna. Blame it on hackers who rushed out a clutch of unfinished tracks at the end of 2014, a few months before the record’s scheduled spring release. Madonna countered by putting six full tracks up on a digital service, a move that likely […]

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Kelly Clarkson: Piece by Piece

“These cuts, along with the title track, manage to strike the right balance of Kelly’s indomitable character and fresh electronic beats but overall Piece by Piece sounds a shade too desperate, which means it winds up having the opposite effect than intended: instead of sounding like a new start, Clarkson sounds a little bit behind […]

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Butch Walker: Afraid of Ghosts

“As it somewhat deemphasizes Walker’s way with big hooks — the very thing that made him an in-demand session man — Afraid of Ghosts isn’t as immediate as some of his other records, but it will suit the needs of anybody craving a record that sounds like Ryan Adams used to make them back in […]

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Various: 2015 Grammy Nominees

“Issued by RCA three weeks prior to the 57th Annual Grammy Awards telecast, 2015 Grammy Nominees, like yearly releases before it, emphasizes the ‘big four’ categories. Since four of the nominees for Record of the Year (namely ‘Chandelier,’ ‘Stay with Me,’ ‘Shake It Off,’ and ‘All About That Bass’ — were also up for Song […]

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Meghan Trainor: Title

“By the time the record winds its way around to the Motown bounce of ‘Lips Are Movin’ — a single equally inspired by vintage 45s and Amy Winehouse’s snazzy new-millennial revival that’s the best song here — Trainor’s giddiness has become ingratiating, so it’s easier to warm to her considerable skill at pastiche and performance. […]

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Big Star: Live in Memphis

“Here, it’s possible to hear the band gel — Alex Chilton and Jody Stephens found a balance with Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow, something that’s obvious by the group’s subsequent history, but on this spirited show you can hear the gears fall into place and that’s worth the price of admission, perhaps more than once.” […]

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“In a sense, nearly every album Eric Clapton recorded after 1970 has been a tribute to J.J. Cale. On that first solo album, Clapton cut a cover of Cale’s ‘After Midnight’ and while he was under the spell of Delaney Bramlett for that album, soon enough Slowhand began drifting toward the laconic shuffle that was […]

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Bryan Ferry: Avonmore

“On the album art of Avonmore, the record he released when he was a year shy of 70, Bryan Ferry showcases himself as a dashing young man — a portrait of an artist not as a glam trailblazer or distinguished elder statesman, but rather caught in an indeterminate time between the gorgeous heartbreak of Roxy […]

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Bette Midler: It’s the Girls!

“Bette Midler’s 2014 effort, It’s the Girls!, finds the legendary vocalist paying homage to female girl groups from the ’40s, ’50s, and ’60s. Never one to be underestimated, however, Midler also brings the homage full circle with a reworking of TLC’s 1995 R&B hit ‘Waterfalls.’ Midler’s 14th studio album and 25th album overall, It’s the […]

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Maroon 5: V

“…the vibe shifts slightly back to the soulful pop that’s remained at Maroon 5’s core since the beginning, here given an ever so slight maturation to balance the modern moves heard on the rest of the record. Sometimes, the group achieves a delicate balance between the two extremes — ‘It Was Always You,’ ‘New Love,’ […]

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“The reading of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Going Home’ recalls the half-spoken/half-sung delivery (with Brian Eno on backing vocals no less) and places the singer in the place of the subject’s muse, observing him without pity or condemnation. Hoagy Carmichael’s ‘I Get Along Without You Very Well’ is reinterpreted through the Weimar Republic’s cabaret musical vocabulary, too: […]

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Garth Brooks: Man Against Machine

“From its beefy arena rock arrangements to its preponderance of power ballads, this is an album constructed from remnants of the golden age of the diamond album, a cross-demographical blockbuster that’s now a bit of accidental narrowcasting. This is for audiences who wish they made country records like they used to — not when Hank, […]

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Colbie Caillat: Gypsy Heart

“Four albums in, Colbie Caillat decided it was time for a cool change. The singer/songwriter remains quintessentially Southern Californian — her spirit is sunny, her melodies breezy — but she no longer dresses her songs in beachwear. She’s ditched the peasant skirts for stylish black dresses; she’s no longer strumming an acoustic guitar; she’s singing […]

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“…Billy doesn’t really throw himself into autobiography here, preferring to merely write from the perspective of an old punk rocker on the verge of senior citizenship. Frankly, that’s enough to give Kings & Queen of the Underground character if not quite a kick. Idol may be posturing — that’s what he does for a living, […]

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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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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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“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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“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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“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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