Tag Archives: album review

ALBUM REVIEW: Britney Spears – ‘Glory’

GLORY is IN THE ZONE and BLACKOUT’s sophisticated and refined older sister.

…or immaculate child. You pick.

 

You guys, when I tell you that Britney Spears’ new album induced goosebumps from start to finish, I am not lying. This album is no joke. 

When the album starts Britney is literally introducing your ears to an acoustic equivalent of HEAVEN with “Invitation“! The production is the most angelic and inspiring sound Britney has possibly ever done. “Here’s my invitation, baby // hope it sets us free // to know each other better.” She’s inviting us in to get to know her better!? HAVE WE ENTERED INTO THE PERSONAL SPACE THAT ‘BRITNEY JEAN‘ MISSED THE MARK ON? The answer is, “YES!”

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Circus‘ was great; ‘Femme Fatale‘ was great; ‘Britney Jean‘ was great…. But there was always something missing in those albums. They were dance-pop perfection and formulaic collections of straight-forward pop songs and the occasional ballad. But no matter how perfect those pop anthems felt to the body, they never reached the heart. (Not always a bad thing because we get songs like “Till the World Ends” from that! It’s an anthem!) But until you listen to ‘Glory’ you will discover that every song on the album has a magic and heart that was missing in her three prior albums — as if she was almost phoning-in on songs that were chosen for her before. Britney takes her power back and is definitely the driving force on this album. And this feels as if she’s singing directly and intimately into your ear. If that even makes any sense!? Her voice is undistorted and extremely clear throughout this album. These vocals are so pure and powerful.. And not in a Christina or Demi kind of way. It’s in a very confident and assertive manner. There’s not a single doubt that Britney took her time with each and every song on this album with pretense to connect to it more than any of her other albums. You can’t get much more personal than that!

 

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If you loved Selena Gomez’s ‘Revival’… ‘Glory’ is that album on steroids + soaking in Cristal champagne + covered in diamonds and multiplied to the Nth degree… 

After “Invitation” the album makes its seductive way through “Make Me…” and “Private Show” that have been previewed since July. Then we delve back into the album’s magic again when the fourth track “Man On The Moon” begins. “I can’t compete with the stars in the sky // I’m invisible.” — The song is euphoric! A majority of the instruments and elements on this album are organic which gives its listener the most full-bodied experience from it. “Just Luv Me” is easily the album’s centerpiece. “I’m gonna keep it really simple – real simple // Just luv me.” — A lyric all fans of Britney Spears should take into consideration. All deep-criticisms, dissections and expectations from Britney should be put aside so that we can continue to appreciate and love her brilliance in current presentations.giphy

The album expands with a cohesive sound and style that is fine-tuned better than any of her albums. The songs presented individually (i.e. her 4 previewed tracks) sound like they are from different planets. However, the mastering of this album is so well that every song feels like a single continuation. The tempo is personal (mid) throughout but still graduates into a full-on dance club beats within its tracks… And when it does — IT’S PHENOMENAL! “Love Me Down” and “What You Need” will put a clap in you so quick you’ll have no choice but sing along. The Deluxe version of the album has standouts “Change your Mind (No Seas Cortes)” and “Liar” but it bats completely out of the park with “If I’m Dancing“! This track is absolutely B-A-N-A-N-A-S! “Coupure Électrique” closes the album with mysteriously budding bass features and completely French lyrics. Coupure électrique translates into “blackout” by the way. Could this album be anymore iconic?! No!

This is possibly Britney Spears’ best album ever! The VOCALS, PRODUCTION, LYRICS AND ALL-TOGETHER BALANCE as a complete album make it one of her finest pieces of work.

 

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Pre-Order ‘Glory’ right now on iTunes! The album will be available everywhere August 26th! Buy a copy for every person in your life that you wish to bless with the GLORY of Britney Spears! And make sure you tune into her appearance on Carpool Karaoke with James Cordon this Thursday and her PERFORMANCE at the 2016 MTV Music Video Awards this Sunday!

Let me know what you think of my review and your own thoughts of the album on my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

ALBUM REVIEW: Ariana Grande’s ‘Dangerous Woman’

Ariana Grande wears a few different hats in ‘Dangerous Woman’ and luckily none are latex bunny ears.

 

I had a few reservations approaching Ariana Grande’s ‘Dangerous Woman’ considering that I was a bigger fan of “Focus” and the aesthetic she was previewing with that song over “Dangerous Woman.” And maybe she was right about changing the direction of the album… If its opening track “Moonlight” (former title and direction of this album) offers any glimpse about it. The song is an utter bore. It is cute, but I feel like I’ve heard her do these dreamy fifties doo-wop songs too many times along with that damn ponytail of hers.

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Ariana Grande shows off her “moon” tattoo as a tribute to her track “Moonlight.” And much like its effect on myself, the song seems to have her eyes heavy and head bobbing back from fighting sleep.

She follows “Moonlight” with “Dangerous Woman” and we’ve all heard it and moved on from it. So after that is “Be Alright” which is actually a really delightful song that’s also been available for a while. “Into You” is the first track that really captured my attention for the album. It begins with a budding beat as she intercepts with an assuring whisper, “I’m so into you // I can barely breathe.” Claps and other elements are softly introduced with precise timing until she reaches the song’s ultra-catchy and dance-provoking chorus. The song is one of the standouts from the album.

Ariana Grande makes a questionable creative decision to bring an island sound to her collaboration with Nicki Minaj Side To Side.” It’s not a very interesting or great song. And Nicki’s participation feels more like a cheap stand-in for Rihanna, who could have really validated this track. Another collaboration follows with “Let Me Love You.” Lil Wayne is on the track which actually sums up the delinquency of this track; It sounds horribly dated (bad side of 2008-ish).

Greedy” would be better placed after “Focus” than here behind the uncomfortably stale Lil Wayne collaboration. It’s still a fun track though. I was really surprised when I finally made it to her unexpected collaboration with Macy Gray. “Leave Me Lonely” is the single-best ballad of the album. And the song perfectly executes a smokey jazz club singer vibe for which Ariana always shoots for but rarely hits. Macy Gray painfully coos, “Dangerous love // your no good for me” and I was immediately impressed.

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The next few tracks (Everyday, Sometimes, I Don’t Care and Bad Decisions) kind of flatline. And just as I was thinking of quitting and giving myself a break from the album — a bright shining moment happens….. “Touch It” is possibly the best song Ariana Grande’s ever recorded. It is almost a refined, and better, second-take of “Dangerous Woman” and sees Ariana’s lyrics and vocals in a more off-kilter, uncontrolled and powerful way. All of these elements are what I felt DW was missing. For the first time her vocals had some grit and pain to give the conviction her voice has always lacked. The entire production is a bouncing but perfectly balanced explosion of R&B, electro-synth and dynamic/unpredictable melodies. The song bests the entire albums offerings. I will be playing it till the end of time.

‘Dangerous Woman’ is not an entirely solid or cohesive project but there are a handful of songs that would make the dive into it worth the commitment to its lengthy 55-minute listen.

Buy Ariana Grande’s ‘Dangerous Woman’ album now on iTunes and in stores! You can also stream it now (below) on Spotify!

 

What are you favorite songs from the album? Let me know here or on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

#QuickListen Review: ‘Confident’ – Demi Lovato

(Originally blogged: October 16, 2015)

I approached this album with the thought of ‘Confident’ being Demi Lovato’s bid for her first Grammy nomination. The bar was set pretty high. Do I believe this is a Grammy-worthy collection of tracks? No, but I wouldn’t write-off this album entirely. Though few and far in-between, there are a few shining moments.

Album Cover for 'Confident'Album Cover for ‘Confident’

Expectations for this album were pretty high because she introduced it as her most “confident” and “best” album to date. I’m doubtful it took much confidence to produce an album that is a near-complete rehash of melodies and sounds from her previous albums. Nor are there any new lyrical themes to aid and intrigue to the vulnerability she’s also attempting to express. And if she’s not repeating herself, she borrows Iggy Azalea to give a Demi-version of “Black Widow” with their collaboration “Kingdom Come”.

Demi Lovato hits the triumphant mark she’s (always) aiming for with the standout mid-tempo track “Lionheart”, which has all the optimism and energy you’d expect from her. Few tracks like “Old Ways” and “Waiting for You” seem to benefit from an urban/trap influence under her Disney-rocker vocals. The album ends with “Father”, a well-written song about her late father, which really didn’t deserve that overzealous and overstated gospel production it was given.

‘Confident’ is hardly a departure from her previous albums. Lovatics should still be pleased with the offerings of this album. Although I wouldn’t bet a penny on her getting an album nomination at the Grammys, hopefully there’s a pot of gold or a genie lamp she can wish upon to have “Cool for the Summer” nominated in a pop category.

#QuickListen Review: ‘Revival’ – Selena Gomez

(Originally blogged: October 10, 2015)

Selena Gomez has the arduous task of proving to everyone that she can be taken seriously as a mainstream pop star.

After her successful 4-album stint as a teen pop sensation, she’s left Disney’s Hollywood Records and signed to a proper music label, Interscope. ‘Revival’ is not as exciting nor has a fraction of the energy ‘Stars Dance’ had but it offers all the sensuality and depth its predecessor lacked.

Album Cover for 'Revival'Album Cover for ‘Revival’

Coming off the energy of ‘Stars Dance’, ‘Revival’ is like coming home after few drinks with your friends and finding your home lit only by candles with a trail of rose petals leading up to your bedroom. At first, you’re thrown off by the change of energy. But the curiosity moves you slowly through the candlelit foyer to the sensual vibes of tracks like “Same Old Love” and “Sober” before making it to the hallway. This is where Selena reminisces of previous relationships and offers the mysterious sounds of “Good For You” and “Camouflage”. Here, she proclaims she has, “so much shit to say.” You finally reach the bedroom to find it empty. The climax is not a lover but actually yourself with self-empowering tracks like “Survivors” and the finale track “Rise”.

The album takes your mind outside of the “schoolyard crushes” and “intro to house parties” environments that her previous teen albums seemed to have taken place. And this successfully allows Selena to tell her story as an empowered and mature young woman. Though mostly a sensual #BedroomMusic vibe through the entire album, tracks like “Body Heat” and “Me and the Rhythm” give a spark of fire to keep the album interesting and fun.

Overall, I think Selena Gomez perfectly executed her emancipation (in her own way) from the teen image she once had and offers a cohesive album for the more experienced listener.

#QuickListen Review: ‘Unbreakable’ – Janet Jackson

(Originally blogged: October 5, 2015)

Album Cover for 'Unbreakable'Album Cover for ‘Unbreakable’

Basically this is the new veteran standard: Release an understated album to support a major tour. This album honestly gives me familiar feelings. She’s made a retrospective album with a lot of sounds similar to some of her previous work. The album’s theme is like getting a grateful hug from Queen Janet! So cheesy, but if you love Janet it is worth the commitment it takes to listen to the 17-track album. Janet has nothing to prove anymore. It’s almost like this album is asking you to prove something to yourself. Inspirations by Janet.