Archive for January, 2012

Angels & Airwaves / Love Album Parts One & Two

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 270000001UTC 12 by marky7235

Love Part One & Part Two

Angels & Airwaves is an American alternative rock supergroup led by Blink-182 guitarist and vocalist Tom DeLonge. Other members are guitarist David Kennedy (from Over My Dead Body, Hazen Street and Box Car Racer), bassist Matt Wachter (from 30 Seconds to Mars) and drummer Ilan Rubin (from Lostprophets and Nine Inch Nails). Former original members are bass guitarist Ryan Sinn (formerly of The Distillers), who left the group in 2007 for reasons which are still unclear, as well as drummer Adam “Atom” Willard (formerly of The Offspring), who amicably parted ways with the band in fall 2011 after completion of their fourth album.

Formed after the break up of Blink-182 in 2005, the band has continued to record and tour despite DeLonge reigniting his career with Blink-182 in 2009. For the five years cade of the band’s existence, they have established themselves as extremely prolific artists, having released four studio albums We Don’t Need to Whisper (2006), I-Empire (2007), Love (2010) and Love: Part Two (2011). The project also resulted in the documentary film Start the Machine (2008). In 2011, accompanying the two Love albums, the group scored and produced the science fiction drama film Love by director William Eubank in 460 theatres nationwide during their multimedia event, Love Live. Tom Delonge has said in an interview that the band is working on two new films with accompanying studio albums.

The Analysis:

LOVE Pt. 1

Et Ducit Mundem Per Luce—-My favorite band on the face of the planet does not dissapoint….even with the few opening strains that begins this epic journey! If you are at all familiar with this band, the opening strains allows you the knowledge that you are home again and that this not intend to disappoint. The sound is huge and epic…the strings and keyboards move with little effort…..and causes me a smile within the first 30 seconds of the track…the smile only continues as we move into…..

The Flight Of Apollo—-The slight blips and beeps that introduce this track are so exciting….delivering an amped up feeling that I can’t ignore. Tom enters with his vocal…a bit muted and displaced but soon comes out with a full force and the majesty of the band is right in your face. The melody of every track on this release is incredible…but this…the epic beginning is so important to me….tom delivers line after line of love forlorn and yet sounds hopeful……my band of the future…I am sure there is much more to come!!!!

Young London—-Never losing the energy or the melody of the previous track, Tom continues to weave his magic story of love and the search for it in a magical and seamless way. The entire release never once loses a bit of energy or intensity…this is simply magical…the drums on this track are outstanding……and the emotion blows me away!!!

Shove—-Many could complain that this track is rather predictable in it’s beginning….but none the less, this is just what i expect and demand. There are certain bands who give you everything you need with the same delivery…this is one of those. when Tom enters with his slight whine and laments on love and distant girls, you feel his feeling and his need. When the melody and the chorus kicks in, you are on a beach with a magnificent sunset…reminding you that you should never see such a site alone….magnificent!

Epic Holiday—-With an almost seemless segue, this is another of those tracks that I tend to listen to over and over and over. tom has a clear and concise vision for this band and he has never faltered from it…in fact the newest release from BlinK 182…..sounds much more like an AVA record than ever! It takes a few moments for this to really pick up and start…but the bombast is there from the very onset….there is an underlying melody and energy to the music that this band produces and you never get lost in the layers and layers of different sounds that come at you from a million directions…this is not happy music…per se….but it makes me feel so damn good!

Hallucinations—-Perhaps one of my favorite releases on this entire double disc, this shows Tom and the band at their very best! This hearkens back to the earlier days of the band…when the music was less epic and more heartfelt….not to say that this is any less epic!!!! The guitars are huge…but there is so much going on in the backdrop of the entire thing…I’m just amazed at the versatility of the band…Tom leads but is empty without all of this magnificent sound…and the sound IS magnificent. This is incredible…I can listen to this 100 times in a row……no problem!!!

The Moon-Atomic [Fragments and Fiction]—-Another epic, almost 7 minute track that is full of bombastic beats and a vocal that almost makes me weep. Some of my friends complain about the whiney mode of vocal delivery from Tom….I call it emotion. you really seem to feel that this guy is singing about stuff that is important to him and in a way that allows you, the listener, to really feel it! This is exquisite!

Clever Love—-Evolving seamlessly from the previous track, this is a bit morose and pretty damn intense. I don’t know who tom is singing about in some of these songs…..I only wish I had someone who felt this way about me. When the chorus hits, I have goose bumps all over my ENTIRE body…this is real and not contrived…if tom & Co. is pulling a big trick on us…consider me fooled as hell!!!

Soul Survivor […..2012]—-The intro gives a nice nod to the 80’s……and as the song progresses, it just grows larger and larger. This is a bit morose…via the vocal. but the music in the back drop is huge and moving. When Tom really comes forward, the track just gets even larger…speaking of love….but on the downslide…love is not always grand…sometimes it hurts damn bad….and this is a good example of that feeling!

Letters To God Pt. 2—-With some really fantastic guitar riffs, this song moves at a really nice pace…….Tom enters with his vocal and again takes me some place that I don’t often visit….emotion. I try to hide the fact that I feel anything….but this guy makes me realize how deeply I do feel…..this band makes me want, makes me need and makes me lonely…..and happy!

Some Origins Of Fire—-Ending Part One with incredible energy….AND ……MELODY. this band never disappoints me…only leaves me so hungry for more. Although this is pretty reminiscent of other things the band has released, the energy makes it new and fresh…..I love this band……..

LOVE Pt. 2

Saturday Love—-Kicking off Part 2, it is like a constant continuation…..that is what i love about this band…you can listen from the first release to the last…and never skip a page or lose your place. This is a huge song…epic and reminding me of U2 or such…there is such energy and intention. tom has never sounded better and the harmonies and melodies carry from Pt. 1 to Pt. 2 with ZERO effort!!!!

Surrender—-Feeling much more 80’s oriented than the previous part of this release, there seems to be much more keyboard influence on this record. this takes me back to the energy of the very first release as well….tom seems to be invigorated and further propelled by his Blink influence…this song is simply fantastic!

Anxiety—-The mood…..the music…..the urgency…the vocal….the words…..the entire thing reminds me why I take so many drugs…thanks for the huge validation Tom…..someone, somewhere…is like me…..! THIS SONG ROCKS!!!!

My Heroine [It’s Not Over]—-Delivering a rather morose vocal, tom manages to deliver a song with little or no whine!!!! Instead, the song is full of huge emotional words and intense vivid imagery of sadness and despair. Tom reminds me that I’m not the only desolate person in the world…my emotions are ok…and others feel like me….I could never ask for more…EVER!!!!

Moon As Witness—-Creeping up on you, yet still congealed with the previous track, AVA manages to agin create a landscape that is brilliant…like a blank canvas being met with 20 paintbrushes at once. This is full of deep synths that seem to get louder with every measure, but never grows in sound…just emotion….I fuckin’ love this band!!!!!

Dry Your Eyes—-Tom falls a bit on familiar territory…..seemingly repeatind some of the stuff we have received in previous release…..the beauty is that the lyrics are new and the energy is still as intense…so who am I to complain….I would never. This track has a rather nice tempo…moving along at an incredible pace….nice all the way around!

The Revelator—-A bit more bass heavy, the band still manages to keep the original sound they have always had. The drums are monumental…..right up in the front of the mix and in your face. Tom never let up…delivering line after line that makes you think, reflect and question….all the while trying to escape the melody that will be with you for the next 48 hours…this IS music!!!

One Last Thing—-A bit of a surprise. the song starts rather drum heavy and continues that way throughout!!!! Even when the vocal enters, the synth and the drums are in the very front of the mix…this is melodic and another catchy as hell track…thanks to the vocal overlays and the melodic quality of Tom’s voice. When DeLonge reaches for that upper register…you feel pain, emotion and feelings I wish he never disturbed…fantastic!!!!

Inertia—-This seems to me, yet another retread with a fresh and new sound though. I love the way the vocal manages to creep up on you….emerging from the back drop. the band freakin’ rips at times on this song…sounding even better than the full on Blink….the only thing that separates them are the emotions in the lyrics and the vocal…..the new Blink 182…..melds these two rather nicely!!!!

Behold A Pale Horse—-Returning to a more morose sound at the onset, I pause and wonder if I can think about feelings that much in one day….but Tom comes through with lyrics that remind me that it is not all about me but the world in general. this is epic…full of energy and reminding me of the synth from classic Asia songs….really a retread….but this song really works for me right now!!!! Phenomenal!!!!

All That We Are—-Rounding out and ending this collection, the band only leaves me thirsty….almost parched……wondering when I will get the next release! This is typical…but special…..piano laden with wisps of synths and morose sounds…you just wait….and Tom enters and delivers yet more sentences that leave you questioning and asking and wondering……BECAUSE MUSIC MATTERS!!!!!!

***** out of 5 [Perfection]

 

 

 

Duran Duran / All You Need Is Now

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 260000001UTC 12 by marky7235

All You Need Is NowAll You Need Is Now is the thirteenth studio album by the British pop/rock band Duran Duran. Produced by Grammy Award-winner Mark Ronson, a truncated version of the album was released as a download on 21 December 2010. It is the band’s first album not released by a major record label; it appeared on the band’s own label, Tapemodern, and Mark Ronson’s Allido Records in the UK. A physical package was released on March 21, 2011 in Europe on the Tape Modern label (distributed by Edel[1]), and on March 22, 2011 in the USA and Canada on S-Curve Records (distributed by Universal),[2] coinciding with the 30th anniversary of the band’s first release. According to Hits Daily Double, the physical release moved 14,642 units in its opening week. [1] Duran Duran are currently promoting the album through the All You Need Is Now Tour.

The Analysis:

All You Need Is Now—-Taking a huge step back into the classic days of the 80’s……peppered with the brilliant production of Ronson and bolstered by Simon Le Bon sounding better than he has in years, the kick off to this release is simply brilliant. I smile every single time i hear this…it is both retro and a step ahead in the new direction of music….simply fantastic!

Blame The Machines—-This begins with a huge retro beat that takes you back to the glory days of this band…do any of you remember when Duran Duran was the biggest band in the world? This is the sound that propelled them to that status…this is reminiscent of that great sound. The vocal overlays are fantastic and the updated technology allows them to sound even more important….this is great!!!

Being Followed—-Carrying a much more typical Ronson sound at the onset of the song, this track quickly falls back into the sound of a OO7 track with an edge that makes you think of an action film. the classic Duran sounding guitar finally emerges and you realize that this band has never gone anywhere. the Ronson touch gives to track a bit of an Euro-Trash sound that makes me smile!!!

Leave A Light On—-Duran Duran was always masterful at delivering a heartfelt ballad in the mix of all the electro driven sound of the 80’s….this song is no exception…it falls perfectly in the ballad catalog. Le Bon delivers a vocal that is a bit deeper and more sedate…but the emotion magically comes through in his voice…this is classic!

Safe [In The Heat Of The Moment]—-This track seems to borrow bits and pieces from every Duran song that managed to crack the top ten and adds a bit more with the Ronson tweak. Le Bon still delivers a vocal that belies his age, and the slight funk of the band is in full swing with the backdrop of female vocalist…..giving the song a nice lift. This is great!

Girl Panic!—-Again, the band returns to the sound of it’s very first LP with what seems like little effort. The guitar is in full swing…Duran always had a very particular guitar sound and it never seems to have left…just got lost for a bit. this is old school 80’s New Wave with the new Ronson touch…why was this not huge? Oh, I forgot….duran is not cool anymore…I still love it!

A Diamond In The Mind—-Much darker from the onset, Ronson seems to add layers and layers on instrumentation to the song…picking a few snippets from the intro track…this is a brilliant interlude…I am floored with this built-in remix!

The Man Who Stole A Leopard—-Slow to begin with, the song never really goes to far for me. This is too soon for another predictable and somewhat boring ballad…there is too much of a morose sound to the song…although there are some bright spots mired throughout…if you have the patience to sit through it.

Other People’s Lives—-Wow…..the onset of the track reminds me of DEVO!!!! As soon as Simon opens his mouth and the familiar Taylor guitar sound begins to surface, you are transported right back to 1983. This is a really cool updated retro sound for this band….I am not disappointed with this…in fact I love it!

Mediterranea—-Another slowed tempo track that is a surprise to me…this soon. But the saving grace are the layers of sound that allow this to remind me of classic Duran Ballads once again….Le Bon sings in that upper strained register of his…reminding me that he is still the King Of Drama…..this is full of drama, and memories…this should have been the sequel to the very first record!

Too Bad You’re So Beautiful—-Once more, the magic direction of Ronson seems like a permission slip for Duran to step way back in time and take us on another retro trip. this is fantastic…reminding me of Rio and Girls On Film at the same time…this has an overt sexual overtone and a magical classic return trip to a decade that is looked upon with scorn….this is brilliant!

Runaway Runaway—-This track is rather generic for me…although the classic guitar sound really shines through the mix of the song and Simon sounds rather fantastic. The track just lacks a substance for me…otherwise it is pretty …well…..Duran Duran……LOL!

Return To Now—-Just Brilliant….this orchestrated version of All You Need Is now is even more emotive with instrumentation and no vocals…a fantastic interlude!!!!

Before The Rain—-Ending this release with another ballad, Simon sounds forlorn and sad and full of emotion…perhaps telling a story of the past decade to us out loud. This is sedate and without pretension…this is heartfelt and touching……a fantastic way to end this release!

**** out of 5

 

Jay-Z / The Blueprint 3

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on 250000001UTC 12 by marky7235

The Blueprint 3 (Explicit)

The Blueprint 3 is the eleventh studio album by American rapper Jay-Z, released September 8, 2009, on Roc Nation. It is the final installment in The Blueprint trilogy, preceded by The Blueprint (2001) and The Blueprint2: The Gift & The Curse (2002). Production for the album took place during 2008 to 2009 at several recording studios and was handled by Kanye West, The Neptunes, Jeff Bhasker, Al Shux, Jermone Harmon, No I.D., The Inkredibles, Swizz Beatz, and Timbaland.

The album debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 chart, selling 476,000 copies in its first week. It became Jay-Z’s eleventh US number-one album, breaking the record he had previously shared with Elvis Presley, and produced five singles that achieved chart success. Upon its release, The Blueprint 3 received generally mixed to positive reviews from music critics. Rolling Stone named it the fourth best album of 2009.

The Analysis:

What We Talkin’ Bout—-Kicking right off with a musical sound that carries through most of this release. Jay enters with the familiar and welcome flow that he has always delivered. the song has many messages mixed in with a foolproof flow and a chorus that was designed to stick in your head…..proving to everyone that Jay still is the king of the New York scene…as well as the rap scene in general!

Thank You—-Full of slight irony and a bombastic bass beat, Jay almost breaks his arm patting himself on the back…but I guess that is what the rap game is all about. Jay never fails to mention himself as a King, a Hero, a legend….but we made him so…and we keep him there. This has a great shuffling beat that is contagious as hell…one of my favorites!

D.O.A. [Death Of Auto Tune]—-Meant as a backlash to the constant release of pop and rap songs featuring the annoying yet ingenious Auto-Tune, Jay delivers a song that is full of actual instrumentation and a clear and smooth flow that needs no alteration of any kind. After a bit, this becomes a bit erratic and annoying…but really is important because it is an honest address to the decline of talent in the rap game in this new era of music making!

Run This Town—-Featuring an irresistible chorus from R n B Diva Rhianna, this another of those tracks that will live in your brain….FOREVER. The beats are classic Jay…the vocal delivery is as smooth as silk…you cannot deny that this dude knows all the tricks, has the hooks and makes music for the masses…..the shuffle beat gets me everytime!!!!

Empire State Of Mind—-The only thing better than a genius delivering an impeccable record is the combination of two separate musical genius minds coming together and delivering one of the catchiest songs ever written in the history of rap and/or pop music! Alicia Keys adds so much to this song and the contrast between the two voices makes this a permanent favorite…this is incredible…one of the most popular tracks of 2009…it still plays well three years later…this is PURE GENIUS!

Real As It Gets—-With a classic cameo from Young Jeezy and that rough vocal of his, i am always surprised how well the entire plays with the backdrop created by Jay. There is much boasting and typical rhetoric, you still cannot deny the thought that is put into the layers and layers of music and beats that are delivered. the music works as well for Jeezy as it does for Jay….fantastic!

On To The Next One—-Featuring the masterminds of Swiss Beatz, this track has an almost MIA hype to it that becomes addictive from the first listen. There are some nice old school moments of the song….the breaks and the erratic backdrop sounds are classic. This is a genius at work…the wordplay shows through the entire track…just brilliant!

Off That—-The reigning King of Rap allows nice cameos on this release from the up and coming kings…like Drake….This just shows that Jay knows he runs the game but does not own the game. This is remarkable…the beats are faster than you would expect and the deeper tone from Drake serves as a fantastic contrast.

A Star Is Born—-J. Cole lends his smooth vocal to the hook of this song and takes a general track to a whole new level. the erratic beats are fantastic and the rhymes pay tribute to all those coming up and those who are emerging as well as those who reign…this is fantastic…name droppin like a Mutha!!!!

Venus VS. Mars—-Finally tackling a track all by himself, Jay delivers a flow that is classic although the music is a bit more sedate and a bit gloomy. this is kind of different for me…not really my favorite track, but I love all the phrasing and word play!

Already Home—-Returning to the colab formula with Kid Cudi, Jay is back in hype mode with a musical landscape that is energetic and damn addictive. Cudi delivers a vocal that is a bit flat for me…it seems to ride over the energetic beats and makes me wonder if he was even listening to the music when he was recording. Jay on the other hand hits his inflections with the bass beats like a freakin’ master. this has high points and low points….Jay could have handled this alone with no problem!

Hate—-Another guest appearance from Kanye, this release just set us up for the monumental Throne CD!!! This is kind of bit of a silly track, but could have fit on the later release fairly well. this time period kind of caught West in his down swing…but he still manages to fit with jay masterfully. This is exquisite…a bit aggravating but still listen worthy on any given day! This really is a big poke in the chest at Southern Rap!!!!

Reminder—-Returning to the flow solo, Jay delivers a track that is worthy of anything he ever put on any Blueprint release. Laughing at those who think he has passed his prime, Jay just reminds us that he is far from retirement age….watch your back younglings’!

So Ambitious—-With a guest appearance from the ultra smooth Pharell Williams, this track still fails to live up to my expectations…I rather expected a masterpiece from these two powerhouses. Williams never gets the chance to live up to his true potential, but still the track is CD worthy. This is nice…but not what I expected.

Young Forever—-With the elusive Mr. Hudson sampling the classic Forever Young chorus from Alphaville, this track is another masterpiece that one is lucky to have once in their career rather than as many times as Jay has had. This is rather brillinat…reminding us that despite his age….Jay still manages to run the game with no problem…delivering classic release after classic release….Jay Z is Young Forever…and he has no problem reminding us of that!!!!

**** out of 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bad Meets Evil / Hell: The Sequel

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on 240000001UTC 12 by marky7235

Hell: The Sequel (Deluxe Version) [Explicit]

Hell: The Sequel is the debut extended play by Bad Meets Evil, an American hip hop duo composed of Royce da 5’9″ and Eminem. It was released on June 13, 2011 in some countries by Shady Records and Interscope Records and on June 14, 2011 in the United States.[1][2] The EP focuses on hardcore hip hop and midwest hip hop. Songs such as “Welcome 2 Hell”, “Above the Law” & “Loud Noises” feature violent lyrical content while trying to maintain a humorous tone. “Fast Lane“, “A Kiss” & “The Reunion” feature sexual themes – “I’m on Everything” is a humorous song about drugs, while “Lighters” & “Take From Me” feature focus on more serious themes such as success and stealing music on the internet.

The EP’s title and artwork was revealed sometime in May. It features executive producers Eminem and Mr. Porter, with production from Bangladesh, DJ Khalil, Sid Roams, Havoc, The Smeezingtons, and Supa Dups amongst others. Following the reunion of the duo, recording began in late 2010, when two tracks, “Living Proof” and “Echo” having leaked onto the Internet. The first single, “Fast Lane“, released on May 3, 2011, was considered a highlight from the EP, while the second single, “Lighters“, was met with mixed reviews.

Hell: The Sequel was met with positive reception. Critics favored the chemistry between Eminem and Royce da 5’9″ and their rapping ability as well. The EP debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 chart with sales of 171,000.

The Analysis:

Welcome 2 Hell—-This track still remains one of my favorite on this ‘so-called’ EP….the mood is dark and lyrics are full of darker themes and more violent imagery. Royce and Eminem seem to gel so well together….I wonder why there has not been collaboration after collaboration with these two. The classic line is from Eminem……”kissing the shit stains from my underwear that ain’t even there’!!!! It always get a chuckle from me….this is dark…overtly darly sexual and full of beats that make you hang your head.

Fastlane—-This track begins with Royce delivering a flow that surprises even me…while Em seems to supply the melody of the song that is necessary to pull it off. there are of course sexual overtones….but even more remarkable is the wordplay and the play of the two very different vocal styles. This is pretty awesome….another favorite of mine, at some points in the song Royce raps so damn fast I thought he was part of Bone!!!

The Reunion—-Another track, that from the onset has a darker tone to it, this is much more in the vein of classic Em…..the screaming girl at the intro sets the tone for the song and it never lets up throughout the whole song. although the chorus is damn catchy and defies the true dark nature of the song, it just further defines the genius of Em and Royce adds a few lines that are nice,,,,but do not even come close to the dark and sarcastic nature of Marshall!

Above The Law—-With a scratchy and fun beginning, the huge and contagious chorus gives way to yet another track that is wrought with a dark and sublime message. Eminem has never been shy about delivering line after line of dark and violent themes and this song is nothing but perfection if you prefer that type of rap. Em sounds damn right pissed off at the attraction of the female genitalia and the beats are just incredible magnificent. I could not ask for more emotion, anger, and mixed messages from one track….to me Royce does not even seem to matter…..

I’m On Everything—-Introducing the track with some great comedic lines, this seems to be an ode back to the wonderfully carefree days when Marshall never cared what he was pumping into his body. This has so many references….from addiction…to comedy…to Wu-Tang…..to video games…..you can’t ask for more from one song. I love it when Em actually allows himself to sing for a bit…reminding us of the true talent that he is. The lyrics and lines are biting and true…real and almost hurtful…..extraordinary!!!!

A Kiss—-Beginning with such a pleasant, yet overtly sexual overtone, Royce enters and delivers a clear and concise vocal that tells of the rap worlds treatment and vision of women….kind of sad and misogynistic…..but comical at the same time. Em delivers rapid fire lines over a fun and almost lullaby sounding backing track that tries to remind you this is not as sexist as it really is…such is the magic of Em and his brillance…this is fantastic!

Lighters—-With another addictive introduction that sucks you in and forces you to listen to the entire song…just to hear the fantastic melodic chorus, this man [Eminem], know the true formula of creating an incredible song…with many messages all inter-weaved in one single 3 minute track, it is pure genius. The song is a bit throwback…yet brand new….fantastic yet lame….happy yet sad……the same but so very different!

Take From Me—-Another of those addictive tracks, this has snippets of different sounds from everywhere!!!! How does he manage to create stuff like this? This features the intro vocal from Royce but you know where the ideas and the verses came from…you can feel it in your bones. This track has a nice dark tone to it….I would expect nothing less and the result is one of those songs I can’t stop listening to….Mission Accomplished!!!!

Loud Noises—-Ending the release much as it began, Em enters with a rapid fire delivery that has an almost violent edge to it…..this has anger, sarcasm and a delivery that is freakin classic….but the backdrop music is what makes the track a masterpiece. This is huge and epic…even Royce sounds a bit possessed and driven by the Em energy….the words come almost faster than he is capable of….leaving you with a memory that will make you reach for this Cd over and over and over!!!!

**** out of 5