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Tag Archive 'Contemporary Pop/Rock'

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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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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