Maroon 5 - Overexposed
Mostly crap. Even when the band is trying to be self aware with this title, they come across as douche-y. People hoping for a return to the Songs About Jane style should be disappointed. The band’s lyrics used to be romantic, loving, supportive, and intimate. After their first album, songs like “She Will Be Loved” take a back seat to songs about casual sex and bitter break-ups. Adam Levine is such a ho bag that it’s not a rare thing for the average person to know someone who has hooked up with him. Most of this is autotuned, forgettable pop. We’d recommend screening this album and taking three or four of your favorite tracks rather than buying the whole thing, even if it is only $5 on the Amazon MP3 right now. Stick with Amazon, kids. It’s less expensive and the deals fly. They stick the songs right in your iTunes too.
Album Grade: C+
Favorite songs: “Payphone”, “One More Night”, “Daylight”, “Wipe Your Eyes”.
Casey Abrams - Casey Abrams
Remember this American Idol contestant? Well, he’s a little less growly and much sweeter on his CD. The lyrics are mostly sunny, nice, and simple. “Wore Out My Soul” is the exception. Wow, that’s quite a diss. If a guy ever told us that we “wore out his soul,” we’d feel awful. Casey sometimes sounds a little like the lead singer of Relient K. We loved the idea of pairing him and Haley Reinhart for a track, but they covered “Hit the Road Jack,” and does anyone want to listen to even an admittedly good version of that song? Why didn’t they release a single of their cover of “Moanin”? That would have been worth buying. The best thing for these two to do would be to get together and start a two-person band. Both of their releases were nice and better than most American Idol alum releases, but together, they would really be something. As it is, Casey is reminding us of a male Colbie Callait. That’s not what we expected from him. We expected jazz. Still, the melodies are solid.
Album Grade: B-
Favorite Songs: “Ghosts”, “A Boy Can Dream”
Linkin Park - Living Things
These guys are still making music, but, weirdly, they’ve gotten more pop. There’s still some rap. Overall, this is not a special album. We like the short track "LIES GREED MISERY" because it takes the band away from its usual self-flagellation and turns its miniscule rage outward for a nice track about being wronged.
Album grade: C-
Favorite song: “LIES GREED MISERY”
The Offspring - Days Go By
The sound on this album is less hard than this band’s usual music and more of a soft punk reminiscence of days gone by. We’re not really fans of these guys, and this album did nothing to convert us. You can always tell it’s them. Their hits are all similar sounding. In a good way, usually.
Album grade: C
Favorite song: “The Future Is Now”
The Flaming Lips - The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends
Don’t worry, Ke$ha, your mind is already completely toast. The Flaming Lips are for hipsters and lots of people think their stuff is just noise. The tracks are too long for our taste, but we found this album interesting. We wouldn’t necessarily buy it, but we aren’t going to trash it too hard either.
Album Grade: B-
Favorite song: “2012”. Oh Ke$ha.
R. Kelly - Write Me Back
Yes, the "I Believe I Can Fly" singer who allegedly peed on an underage woman has a new R&B album. A lot of this is kind of lame, but some of it is alright. Most of it just made us wish Justin Timberlake were back to making this kind of music. But he enjoys acting and he’s okay at it, so more power to him. At least we have R. Kelly? Meh. If you love the genre, check it out, otherwise, skip it.
Album grade: B-
Favorite song: They are all about the same to us.
Single we like this week: "Bitch Bad" by Lupe Fiasco (deep lyrics for rap/we’re digging it)