Taylor Swift- I Knew You Were Trouble, single
ANOTHER? Taylor, we'll hear the whole album before it drops. It's not very country and it has electronic elements. It's different from any of her other songs. Judging it as a regular song, we don't love it, but we can see it growing on us as good album filler when we get the entire contents of Red. The lyrics aren't that original or heartfelt, but it's another song about a past relationship, so her fans should eat the lyrics up. Whether they will accept a more Selena Gomez-sounding chorus is another question.
ADELE- Skyfall, single
It's not that this song is bad; it's that it's a little boring. It never hits the climax we wanted. It's pretty and sounds like a good James Bond movie song though, so it did its job. ADELE sounds good, as usual.
The Script- #3
Pleasant. If you like their stuff, you'll like this album. The sound and lyrical content haven't changed except for becoming a little catchier and more mainstream. They've even thrown in some rap this time, which may annoy longtime fans. If you're new to The Script, we assure you that you're not. You've heard "For the First Time" and "Breakeven" on the radio. There aren't many standout songs, but there aren't many bad ones either. We don't necessarily recommend this band and we won't buy the album, but we wouldn't make fun of someone for listening to them either. When some of these songs hit the radio, we won't change the station.
Ellie Goulding- Halcyon
After the hit song "Lights," hopes are high for this one. She has a pretty (if sometimes breath-y) voice. Her voices is clearer on this CD, and she stays in her high register enough that some of these songs remind us of Celtec Woman. There are a TON of songs on the iTunes deluxe version (19). Is there a song like "Lights" on here? It's hard to tell, since Lights was a song that had to grow on most people. We liked the title track, "Halcyon." We also liked "Joy," "Hanging On," "Explosions," "Atlantis," and "I Need Your Love." We worried that the CD would be too electronic, robbing it of any rawness and turning it into noise. But there was a good mix. On her last album, we liked her version of Elton John's "Your Song," and we also liked "The Writer." We think this album is better and more mature than her last, overall, but everything is so high-pitched that if you listen to it all at once, you might get a headache.
Album grade: A-
Brandon Heath- Blue Mountain
This album let us know that Brandon is the person who wrote the hella-lame "Jesus in Disguise." Ugh, Brandon, you can do better than that. Brandon is best known for actual good spiritual songs, like "Give Me Your Eyes" and "Your Love." On this new album, there are plenty of slow songs, and not much of that heartfelt, accessible pop. Lots of songs, most notably "Blue Mountain," even sound country. He needs to stick to his best genre, light pop, rather than swap on his fans. This is a disappointing album for fans because Brandon usually writes some of the best lyrics on contemporary Christian radio. They aren't as good here.
Album grade: C
Barbra Streisand- Release Me
The voice is still there. It's great. The songs Barbra chooses to cover, however, are not songs we want to own. This isn't a first for Barbra albums. "Home" from the Wiz is the best song.
Album grade: C (Voice: A)
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