Stop everything! Beyonce just dropped an album

beyonceWhen you wake up tomorrow, and your kids are still awake, Beyonce is to blame. When you get to class/work and your teacher/boss is not in, Beyonce is to blame. When December 13th is declared a new federal holiday, Beyonce is to blame.

While most everyone was falling asleep last night, sleep-deprived college kids cramming for finals, night owls, third-shift workers, and west coasters were hyperventilating while dancing to the tunes of Beyonce’s latest album–um, “Beyonce.” It is called a “visual album,” and although I’m not exactly sure what that means, other than the fact there are music videos included, I just do what Beyonce tells me to do. If she says it’s a visual album, it’s a visual album. No questions asked.

The pop and r&b diva announced the release across her social media platforms at the strike of twelve this morning. “Beyonce,” includes 14 new songs and 17 videos. And let me just forewarn you: Hot. Hot. Hot. The style of the set is apart from anything Bey has done in the past. It’s not commercial. It’s not traditional. And it surely isn’t real. Equipped with empowering anthems (“Pretty Hurts,” “Partition,” and “***Flawless”), steamy jams (“Drunk In Love,” “Blow,” and “Rocket”), and softer touches (“Blue,” and “Heaven”), Queen Bey is taking her musicality to the next level. My personal faves are “Haunted,” “XO,” and “Mine” Ft. Drake.

One would think producing top-notch, progressive music would be a feat fit for any superstar, but it wasn’t enough for the Houston native. All tracks are paired with stunning videos, which collectively reflect her vision and insane creativity. Her fans call her the Queen, and I’m beginning to wonder if we just all should. Would anyone object?

And to think that she produced all of this while being a mother and a wife during a world tour is certifiably insane. I will never complain in my humble existence that I am ever too busy to do anything ever again. Thanks, Bey.

You can check out “Beyonce” on iTunes. Individual track sales will begin on Dec. 20th, but the entire album is up for grabs right now. What are you waiting for?! GO!

Here is some of the buzz:

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Album Review: ‘Midnight Memories,’ One Direction

onedirectionmidnightmemories2If there is one thing One Direction is not good at, it’s taking a breather. These boys have been hitting the ground running for the past three years nonstop. The management team is so keen on not letting the ephemeral nature of boy bands hit the fellas that they are sucking every ounce of their souls out to keep them alive and relevant. But for our own selfish desires, this is quite lovely. Last year’s “Take Me Home” was such a beaming bundle of happiness and eternal youth that it left me wanting more–and more I am now receiving one short-year later.

1. Best Song Ever: 10/10

This was such a good lead track for many reasons. First, it’s just infectious and an all around good time. The track also is a good transition from the “Take Me Home” sound to the new sound of “Memories.” I love choruses that just have so much depth and dimension and this one in particular soars. Can we talk about how great the video was too?

2. Story of My Life: 9/10

“Best Song Ever” is the transition and this is the start. The sound on this album has a more mature sound, while still keeping true to who they are. There are two distinct styles that are played with: 80’s pop/rock and, what I call, the “Mumford Effect,” which is the use of country/folk elements in pop music after Mumford & Sons made it cool and mainstream. I just wrote about that exact same thing on Avril Lavigne’s new album, and there have been countless other examples of it in recent releases. Anyway, this song just reminds me of sitting next to a warm campfire all bundled up.

3. Diana: 7/10

Why Diana? That is so not a hot name anymore in 2013. Let the 80’s begin. Fun little retro pop song. Could be in an 80’s high school movie. This has grown on me a lot.

4. Midnight Memories: 7/10

From 80’s pop to 80’s rock. This song is like a mix of Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar on Me” and Kiss’ “Rock N’ Roll All Night.” An ode to the crazy rockstar lifestyle they’re living. Sounds like fun. I’d join. I just honestly want to be in a boy band so much.

5. You and I: 9/10

This might be my favorite 1D ballad ever. Their voices sound so good on this. And the production is understated but powerful. This is going to be such a killer arena hit. I see the lighters now.

6. Don’t Forget Where You Belong: 6/10

Intro sounds like “Somewhere Only We Know.” They’re like…growing up. I am getting a little emotional. Even their artistry is evolving. Well, the chorus is a bit like a bad church youth group performance. I can relate to this song a lot though.

7. Strong: 6/10

This is one of those songs that just kind of sits in the middle. It’s not terrible, but it’s also not being raped on replay. Zayn’s little solo toward the end is obvi my favorite part, but that’s slightly biased 🙂

8. Happily: 8/10

Back to the country/folk sound. “We’re on fire, we’re all on fire.” I don’t ever want to grow up, and as long as I have 1D, I never will. This is so much fun. It’s like a swampy summertime jam. For some reason this sound matches them so well. The “oh, oh, oh, oh” breakdown is like amazing.

9. Right Now: 8/10

This so sounds like a One Republic song. Zayn’s voice is just growing so much. There is so much depth to it now. God help me. This is definitely an example of their sound maturing. It’s like no longer being able to play on the playground for recess. So sad, yet necessary.

10. Little Black Dress: 5/10

Fun, flirty song. Not really much else to say. It was over so fast.

11. Through the Dark: 10/10

Mumford-esque. Love. Love. Love. I think this is officially my favorite track on the album. “Oh, I would carry you over fire and water for your love.” You can’t help singing along and being happy, especially when Zayn is telling you all of the things he would do to be with you! Or, whatever bandmate you have claimed as yours.

12. Something Great: 6/10

It’s so magical. The music is so infectious. I feel like I’m in an enchanted forest with tea lights hanging from the trees and fairies whizzing around. That could just be the shrooms talking…. It’s kind of static though, the melody, and doesn’t really stray from the same note.

13. Little White Lies: 10/10

This was the first track I heard outside of the two lead singles and I was sold. Sold. SOLD. One Direction just hits such a sweet spot in my ears and heart. The chorus is great.

14. Better Than Words: 7/10

The sound is a bit eclectic. I can’t really put a finger on it. It’s really hard to dislike any 1D song because they’re so masterfully produced by dream teams so they kind of always sound good, but this is another one of those down-the-middle ones. Definitely has a good melody that is stuck in my head.

15. Why Don’t We Go There: 4/10

Sounds like Neon Trees. It doesn’t really seem to flow though. Love the bass and “ooh ooh oohs.” Probably my least favorite song on the album.

16. Does He Know?: 9/10

Straight up “Jessie’s Girl” re-make. Dancing like an absolute lunatic right now. Feel-good pop-ery. The melody is so incredibly catchy, especially in the pre-chorus. This should be a summer 2014 release.

17. Alive: 7/10

Another 80’s rock song. There is definitely a reoccurring theme on the album: be young and love. “Don’t look back, live your life.” That line toward the end when the bass kicks back in is golden.

18. Half a Heart: 6/10

It’s like the “Little Things” sequel. Their voices sound good over the gentle guitar strums, well, save for Louis. I know I’m going to catch hell for this, but I just don’t like Louis’ voice (on slow ballads); it doesn’t blend with the rest of the group. It’s so jarring because it’s so high and nasal. Anyway, it’s really sweet, but in the battle of the ballads, I prefer “You and I.”

Overall: 7/10

I am exhausted from this album. All this jamming and smiling. Worn. Out. It’s such a departure from their sound on the first two albums but this somehow feels more genuine. Gradually the label will allow them to exert more influence in what the albums sound like, but you can definitely hear the rebellious, good vibes in this album. Can’t wait for the next album, which at this pace, should be out by summer!

Album Review: Lady Gaga, “ARTPOP”

ladygagaartpop2It’s been a while since we’ve had new creations from the Mother Monster. Twenty Madonna feuds and a disintegrating hip later, ARTPOP has arrived. Even though it was just released this week, five tracks (from my count) had already surfaced, so we all had a pretty good inclination that this album was going to be completely weird and dance happy–in a good way.

1. Aura: 8/10

Interesting intro, a kind of Middle Eastern meets country-western vibe. I like the message behind the song. The robot man breakdown is so good. Oh, hell, now there’s clapping. We all love clapping. I could see how some would find this disjointed; it’s kind of like five songs in one, but I don’t mind it…This is fun! If this is any indication for what’s to come, we’re in for one hell of a spacey, jamming concoction of Gaga-ness.

2. Venus: 3/10

If Gaga, Abba and David Bowie had a threesome and birthed a child, this would be it. I would give the child up for adoption. Next.

3. G.U.Y.: 5/10

I feel like I’m sitting in a rocket ship getting ready to blast off into something absolutely crazy and slightly terrifying, and Gaga is my flight attendant. Such good build in the pre-chorus and then it falls flat. Nice beats though. And there she goes shouting random German words again.

4. Sexxx Dreams: 7/10

OOohhhh. Dark, mysterious and sexy. Shocking given the title, right? The quasi-sequel to “So Happy I Could Die.” Good cruising song for nighttime. Approved.

5. Jewels n’ Drugs Ft. T.I., Too Short & Twista: 9/10

I don’t even know what to think going into this one. This is actually pretty tight so far. OK, OK, Gaga is a bonafide hood bitch now. This song is so dope. I’m really liking this. This is going to be a hot club jam.

6. Manicure: 8/10

Oh, Mickey you’re so fine. You’re so fine, you blow my mind. Anyone else hearing that? Or what about “This shit is bananas, b-a-n-a-n-a-s? An angst-y, clap-happy anthem everyone will love. This song is oodles of pop/rock fun. I thought it was called “Manicure” though? What’s this “Man-Chuh”?

7. Do What U Want Ft. R. Kelly: 10/10

I love this collaboration. Their voices mesh so well together. Is it weird I’m liking the R&B Gaga more than the pop Gaga ARTPOP? I know this wasn’t supposed to be a single, but then it took off like crazy on iTunes so Gaga just kind of went with it. This song is just much more commercial and mainstream than the rest of this very…avant garde pop-ery. One of my favorites, for sure.

8. Artpop: 4/10

Robotica. Spacey. I don’t know what it is, but sometimes there’s this weird pitch thing when she morphs her voice and it’s so discordant, as in the pre-chorus. Modern disco with some groove, but pretty underwhelming.

9. Swine: 2/10

Gross. Just the name makes me want to skip. Here we go…another club banger. Can’t wait to get down to “Swine.” Awkward. “You’re just a pig in a human body.” Well, I think we all get what this is about. I just can’t . I can’t. Ew, pigs. I refuse to be caught jamming to a pig-inspired celebration.

10. Donatella: 7/10

“And I’m a little bit of a bitch.” Mhmm. I’m liking where this is going. Actually, that’s all I like. It’s funky and witty, but not really hitting that sweet spot in my ears in parts. I know I’m going to like it though when I hear it out at clubs though, just not while walking to class. The second half is definitely better than the first half. An instant gay culture classic. Now I have to go watch “The Devil Wears Prada.” Damn you, Gaga.

11. Fashion!: 4/10

Was not expecting the piano intro. How many songs can one have about fashion, though. Seriously. A bit much. Sounds like a bad musical. Over-the-top vocals. Where are the fashion police? Arrest this!

12. Mary Jane Holland: 4/10

Hmm. I wonder what oh what this could be about. I feel like the album is just slipping away at this point. This just isn’t offering much. It’s OK at best.

13. Dope: 3/10

Eerie. Way dramatic. The only ballad thus far. Nope to Dope.

14. Gypsy: 9/10

That beat in the chorus just dropped. I’m seeing hearts and stars. It’s like an upbeat “You and I.” This song is really cute. It’s all about being in love and traveling the world, but in my head it’s from Four Seasons to Four Seasons. Still romantic-ish. Ok, well I could do without the “Finding Nemo” “MINE!” “MINE!” bit of the song–just a tad off-putting.

15. Applause: 8/10

This was such an underwhelming debut track after months off of the charts. I mean, it’s not terrible, but it’s not like a HERE I AM, BACK IN BUSINESS kinda record. Plus I have haunting memories of that drag Peter Pan from the lyric video. Legit creeps. Catchy and appealing to the masses so it was a smart choice, just was waiting for something groundbreaking. Nice way to close out the album.

Overall: 6/10

This album left me feeling kind of lost and questioning Gaga’s musical direction. Many of the tracks are heavily, heavily produced, and the vocals are overly theatrical and dramatic, for. That’s fine if that’s what she wants to do, it just doesn’t sit well with me. I miss “The Fame Monster” Gaga. It seems with each album she progressively gets farther and farther away from a sound that is appealing to me. It’s becoming so abstract that it is leaving the realm of identifiable pop music. Not that it’s bad, again, I just won’t be on this train much longer if that’s the case. However, there are some elements that I wish she would continue to explore, mostly the R&B flare; her voice suits it surprisingly well.

Album Review: Kelly Clarkson, “Wrapped In Red”

kellyclarksonwrappedinred2Pardon the late review, I made it halfway through and took a week off–pesky schoolwork. But it was almost more appropriate that I got to do it now, since I’m 100% in the Christmas spirit. Kelly was off to the holiday race very, very early with her October release, which sold 70,000 copies opening week. Let’s get festive!

1. Wrapped In Red: 5/10

“Everybody’s happy.” What a beautiful way to start off a song. Thank you, Kelly. I am happy. I don’t like the fact that it seems angsty though. Kinda kills my Christmas mood.

2. Underneath the Tree: 11/10

I have no words. Utter perfection. I don’t give out extra credit points to songs, but this deserves it. It’s the 21st century’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You.” Instant holiday classic. Commercial. Fun. Christmas-on-crack. Yay! This could be the only track on the album 12 times and I’d be fine with that.

3. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas: 9/10

The opening line just hits you with warmth. This is one of my favorite Christmas songs and I already have like four versions of it–make that five.

4. Run, Run Rudolph: 10/10

Yup. Quintessential Christmas track. Oh, Kelly you are amazing. American Bandstand meets Christmas glam. This is a fun one y’all!

5. Please Come Home for Christmas (Bells Will Be Ringing): 8/10

Slow, bluesy track. She’s really not holding back. Not. At. All. It’s the feisty, loud Kelly we’ve always known–well, before she kinda went country on us…

6. Every Christmas: 6/10

This sounds like a track off of “Thankful.” It has the soulful edge. And her  voice sounds like it did in 2002. Not that her voice doesn’t sound like…her voice…but, I don’t know. Just ignore what I said. It makes sense in my head.

7. Blue Christmas: 3/10

I don’t even like the original. I’m trying to give her a fair shot. It’s just too honky-tonky for me. Very vintage. I can picture her singing in a 70’s movie as a soldier and his girlfriend are dancing in a mess hall. But, I’m going to pass…next!

8. Baby It’s Cold Outside: 5/10

I like her…but Ronnie, not so much. There’s no connection here. It’s supposed to be flirty, but I don’t believe it. Where’s Michael Bublé when you need him? It’s like a creepy, old pedophile chiming in. I have the creeps.

9. Winter Dreams (Brandon’s Song): 8/10

LOL I thought she said “fucking” glass. Oh, “foggy.” This is so cute! Well now it seems kind of weird and awkwardly arranged. Oh, it’s cute again!

10. White Christmas: 9/10

Five seconds in and I’m sold. Those piano keys. I just know this is going to be good. Her voice was made for this. Such a classic and she does it justice.

11. My Favorite Things: 7/10

“Sound of Music”! As a young, little boy, I was obsessed with this film–like all other little boys 😉 This sounds like a very glitzy Broadway version. Like if Disney were to add this song to one of their outdoor concert shows, it would sound just like this.

12. 4 Carats: 6/10

A grungy Christmas song? Hm, interesting. Now it’s pepping up. Fun lyrics. Just four carats? Girl, this is Santa–20 carats please!

13. Just For Now: 5/10

I love parts of it, hate other parts. When her voice is trailing off and she has the grit, it’s golden. But I don’t like the yelling and heavy percussion. It kind of puts me not in the Christmas mood, but in more of a “My December” place.

14. Silent Night Ft. Reba & Trisha Yearwood: 5/10

The only traditional, religious song on the album. Very nice and pacifying. I just can’t stop singing the Mariah version in my head. A little safe.

15. I’ll Be Home for Christmas: 10/10

Too good. Everything you want a Christmas song to sound like. You can almost feel the fireplace listening to this. I want to snuggle up in blankets with a peppermint hot cocoa and listen to this while watching the snow fall. As you can see, I get very visual when listening to songs. I love that she shows some restraint too and has some delicate touches. Gah! Perfection.

16. Oh Come, Oh Come Emmanuel: 8/10

She sounds great, but why so scary, gurrrl? I feel like I’m being watched. It’s pretty at the same time though.

Overall: 7/10

I was curious to see which direction Kelly was going to go for Christmas, stylistically. And that curiosity was answered: a little bit of everything. While predominantly soulful and brassy, there is some sugary pop, country twang and vintage bandstand. It’s a unique album in that there aren’t the usual suspect songs that are getting rendered yet again; there are many new songs that were crafted for this album. I think it’s a perfect marriage: Clarkson’s husky pipes and Christmas. Now let me resume raping the replay on “Underneath the Tree” until the end of time.

Album Review: “Avril Lavigne”

avrillavigne2Aren’t we all ecstatic Avril is releasing new music?! I know I am. She’s always one of those artists that just slips through the cracks, but then you hear any of her songs and you’re reminded how much you absolutely love her. Her fifth album was always going to be a tall order, for me, because “Goodbye Lullaby” is not only my favorite release from Lavigne, but perhaps one of my favorite albums ever. Let’s take a look!

1. Rock n Roll: 10/10

Yep. She’s still the mother effin’ princess of pop/rock. I love the vintage sounding rock and roll track with a killer pop hook. I feel so badass walking around LA listening to this–putting my middle fingers up in a salute to “Let ’em know we’re still rock n roll.” It’s all about doing what you want and being that loud, obnoxious person you wish to be–or are. And then when I pass through Silver Lake I turn it up really loud and yell out the “hipster bullshit” line. Whatchu gonna do? Write a sarcastic, passive-aggressive Reddit post and send it to me? BRING it.

2. Here’s to Never Growing Up: 8/10

I love, love, love this song. One of my altar egos is Peter Pan, because I am a child on the inside and I have always said I refuse to grow up. And then this song is released. It’s just finally nice to sing along to an anthemic song that is more age-appropriate than One Direction–not that there is anything wrong with that. I just imagine sitting in a dodgy bar while everyone chinks their beers and shouts along at the top of their lungs. And then we go outside and dance around a bonfire.

3. 17: 9/10

Lyrically, it’s very Taylor Swift. Even when the song started, I thought, this seem so T-Swift. Maybe it’s because she has “23” AND a “17.” And then there’s Miley’s “23”…and Adele’s “19” and “21.” What is going on?! Anyway, the chorus hits and it’s that feisty Avril we met in the “Complicated” days. She is just a catchy melodic pop genius, like Ms. Katy Perry.

4. Bitchin’ Summer: 9/10

Very country-feeling opening. I’m feeling “Sweet Home Alabama” busting out at any moment. Ooooh the pre-chorus is sucking me in. Why is this album a November release? This is clearly a summer album–this record and all of the tracks thus far. And now she’s half-rapping. Interesting. Wasn’t expecting that. This song is so pleasant! I’ve never felt so endeared that someone is picking me up at the liquor store. Aw.

5. Let Me Go Ft. Chad Kroeger: 8/10

This just reminded me how odd it is that they are married. Would’ve never picked this couple–ever. Slowing things down on this one. Funny, it sounds like a Nickelback song. Like exactly like a Nickelback song. Their voices complement each other very well. It’s good! Typical rock love song. Don’t let her go, Chad! Um, really loving this piano solo at the end…

6. Give You What You Like: 6/10

Keeping on with the subdued mood. “Please wrap your drunken arms around me. And I’ll let you call me yours tonight. Slightly broken is just what I need.” This feels really…dirty. Something stylistically is ringing “Teeth” by Gaga. So basically this is the aftermath to my PG vision of “Never Growing Up.” Now we’ve moved to the drunken love making in a dark corner. Not a fan of the chorus and the falsetto. I wish it would stay grittier and dirtier.

7. Bad Girl Ft. Marilyn Manson: 7/10

I’m already scared. Hold me. His voice. Angsty. Avril is a badass. I feel like if the devil were a singer, he would sound exactly like Marilyn Manson. It’s definitely a song to rock out to. It’s like a demonic and edgier version of Blondie’s “Call Me.” It’s the type of song that plays in a dark room lit only by red lights, if you know what I mean.

8. Hello Kitty: 5/10

It was only a matter of time before her Japan obsession came to life. I like the “Come, come kitty, kitty” bits but the electronic follow-up is…I don’t know. Not feeling it. This song is a hot mess. It’s like fifty songs and EDM beats wrapped into one with random Japanese words. Is it a tribute to the chaotic and hot messery that is the world’s largest city, Tokyo? Because then I get it, I guess. There are parts I love, and parts I hate. I’m left slightly confused by what just happened. Wait, I think I like it. Well, not really.

9. You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet: 6/10

Back to bubblegum pop-rock. “If you’re loving this, just give me one more kiss, cuz you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.” It’s cute. Nothing mind-blowing.

10. Sippin’ on Sunshine: 10/10

This song is adorable! Again, WHY is this coming out in November?–I’m so lost. The verses sound like Jay-Z’s “Hard Knock Life.” And then the chorus is so relaxing and feel-good. I can close my eyes and see the beach and the sun shining. This is one of my favs.

11. Hello Heartache: 7/10

It has a folky, swampy feel. “I was stupid to think that I could stay… It’s not the end, but it’s not the same.” The break down with the “La la la la la las” is perfection. I really hope people understand my stream of consciousness style of writing.

12. Falling Fast: 10/10

Super cute. It sounds like a “Goodbye Lullaby” track, which is an automatic download for me. Very warm and comforting. Lyrics are striking very close to home in recent memory. “If seeing is believing, I already know.”

13. Hush Hush: 8/10

Ending with a ballad. Really pretty. Love the contrasting vibes of the piano and percussion.

Overall: 8/10

Avril is just killing it. It’s a bit of a weird direction for her; you can almost see the immediate influence Mr. Kroeger is having on her artistry. The album has shades of vintage rock n roll, but also some country/folky-twang. I’m still calling this the “Mumford Effect.” It happened to Kesha (“Die Young,” “Last Goodbye”), Avicii (“Wake Me Up”), One Direction (“Story of My Life”),  and more that I can’t think of. There are all of these bluesy, let’s play around a campfire vibes and I’m loving it. It’s good to see Avril back in a good place, mentally, and it’s reflecting back in the old sassy, upbeat Avril of yesteryear. Yes, I just used the word yesteryear in 2013. Deal with it. And what is up with the album artwork? It is so misrepresentative of the message on the inside. I was waiting for the doom and gloom of “Take Me Away” meets vulnerable and sweet “Goodbye Lullaby.” There was none on both accounts, in fact, probably the most upbeat album…ever?

Album Review: Jessica Mauboy, “Beautiful”

jessmauboyMany of you might not know who Jessica Mauboy is so, here’s a brief intro:

Jess was the runner-up on “Australian Idol” in 2006. Shortly after, her career blew up with her 2008 debut album, “Been Waiting,” and its lead single, “Running Back,” which went double-platinum. She has enjoyed commercial success in Australia throughout her career and opened for Beyoncé on her Down Under leg of the “I Am…” tour. Jess is a hybrid version of Katy Perry and Beyonce; her sultry, edgy voice lends itself well to R&B, and her larger-than-life personality exudes sunny pop. “Beautiful,” is her third album, following 2010’s “Get ‘Em Girls.”

1. Beautiful: 6/10

Catchy, but the chorus is lacking when it hits its stride repeating “beautiful.” Generic. Man, the start was so promising.

2. Kiss Me Hello: 7/10

Ooh. Fun intro–like Britney’s “Touch of My Hand” opener. Better than “Beautiful,” but still not jumping at me. Cool production though.

3. Pop A Bottle: 9/10

Obvious catchy pop masterpiece. Feel good. Wish this would have been out during our summer. The second half of the song is magical starting with the : “Give me, give me more, let it pour, till it overflows…” bit to the break down of the chorus. Yay to senseless pop music that puts a smile on my face!

4. I Believe: 9/10

Wasn’t expecting this to be clubby. But ok. Mhmm. Liking it. I hate when clowns rain on me too. Such a pain. “You live and learn.” Amen sister. Self-empowering club music. Always a good combo. Wait…is anyone else hearing “Good Time” in the verses? The phrasing is very similar. I’m definitely going to be stupid dancing to this in my room or in the shower. Yup. Gonna happen. This needs a remix though. Good starting point.

5. Never Be the Same: 6/10

Here comes the inner-Beyoncé. The phrasing is very “Halo”-esque in the verses. Production reminds me of “Scariest Part” from “Get ‘Em Girls.” It’s all about growing up and moving away from home to do big things and forever being changed. It’s actually kind of depressing…and “Beautiful” takes a turn for the melancholic.

6. In Love Again: 7/10

And now back to the R&B Jess from “Been Waiting.” Her voice just sounds awesome on this. She almost has a Mariah-like tonality in her lower register…that rugged whisper. Beauteous.

7. Honest: 6/10

Like the ominous sound. This album is hella master produced. Who can’t relate to a liar? The arrangement reminds me of Riri’s “Cold Case Lover.” Decent track.

8. I’ll Be There: 10/10

Oh damn. Loving it. Yup. This is my fav track on the album. Sounds very Mike Will Made It. Chill cruising song. You know I love those. My jam. Lyrics are a tad corny but I don’t care. Vibing right now.

9. Go (I Don’t Need You): 6/10

Eerie and haunting. My head was moving. Not earth-shattering.

10. Heartbreak Party: 10/10

My second fav on the album. That bass. That chorus. “I got one thing on my mind and you need to know it isn’t you.” #burn. It’s a breakup anthem that is irresistibly addicting. I’m not going through a breakup but I feel like a badass bitch. Take that you non-existent betrayer!

11. Barriers: 8/10

I really like this one! At first I passed it up, but it’s growing. The melody is so good. Makes you wanna sing along and harmonize. It sounds very Jordin Sparks-y and I can’t really explain why.

12. To the End of the Earth: 8/10

OK I was so pumped when this came out: it signaled new J-Mally material! It starts so well. Love the ethereal, space-y vibe. I remember being disappointed with the chorus at first for being to restrained because you have that huge build up with the clapping–clapping is always good–and then it falls a little flat with some chanting and minimalist lyrics. Well, I still kind of that way but I’ve gotten over it. It’s interesting she chose this as the first release because it sounds nothing like the rest of the album, then again, Jess doesn’t really ever create “thematic” albums. I mean, what does “Beautiful,” mean?

13. Kick Up Your Heels: 4/10

No. No. No……No. It was kind of fun and peppy until the bridge and then I just couldn’t handle it anymore. Oh, and then the chorus hit! Stop the madness! It’s like Mr. Saxobeat had a baby with Pitbull’s “Back In Time.” Obvz that’s no cute child. I’m going to have nightmares of vigorous jazz hands.

***

Album Average: 7/10. I feel “Beautiful” is similar to “Get ‘Em Girls” in a lot of ways. There tends to be the same mix-matched selection of juicy pop creations and dramatic R&B tunes. It would be nice to see Jess maybe release a more personal album next. I’m thinking something more along the lines of Beyonce’s “4,” which stylistically would suit Jess’s voice very well! But this is overall a good set of fun-loving songs to keep you infected until the next release.

[Image via Josepvinaixa.com]

Album Review: Prism

Prism

Hey you people! Here’s my review for our beloved Katy Perry’s new album. If nothing else, fill out the poll at the end! Please?

1. Roar: 10/10

I know a lot of people are “eh” about Roar, but I unabashedly love it. Maybe I like it so much because I was physically withering away in the absence of Katy music that when she began the teasers for this I latched on like it would be the last song ever? But it’s still so empowering and fun to belt to. And it’s Katy catchy:  “wuh uh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh, wuh uh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh”

Teenage Dream twinsie: Part of Me

2. Legendary Lovers: 8/10

Definitely the ode to her Indian wedding. It’s kind of all over the place though, not necessarily in a bad way…Slumdog Millionaire meets Kesha’s “Last Goodbye.” I see leprechauns dancing Bollywood style. Not a fan of the half-rapped lyrics. Another good song to belt to. It’s a… unique track.

Teenage Dream twinsie: Hummingbird Heartbeat (It’s a stretch, but hey…)

3. Birthday: 10/10

I remember reading the Billboard track-by-track review for this and thinking, “I can’t wait to hear that one.” The hype was definitely worth it. Katy going disco is good for anyone. It’s like California Gurls meets Teenage Dream and a sun-filled, pink balloon magical glitter bomb happened. Summer jam of 2014, for sure.

Teenage Dream twinsie: Teenage Dream

4. Walking On Air: 10/10

I think it’s funny that in the VMA Pepsi voting for which song to release second, this or Dark Horse, I voted Dark Horse, yet when the full-length versions of both dropped, I prefer Walking On Air. Anyone else feel the same? It’s so sultry yet clubby, who could resist? Normally a fan of hitting harder and having more words filling up house-type choruses than just a “to-night…pause…pause…I’m walking on air…pause….pause…to-night….” but at some point I stopped caring.

Teenage Dream twinsie: Peacock

5. Unconditionally: 7/10

Love the background production. Love the verses. The heavy percussion is amazing. There’s just something about screaming words with a gajillion syllables that is just awkward to me. Favorite part is the “Open up your heart and just let it begin” refrain.

Teenage Dream twinsie: Pearl

6. Dark Horse: 8/10

I thought I was going to like this so much more, not that it isn’t good, because it is. Don’t like Juicy J on the track. I’ve come to not be bothered by it, but I think it would be better without. Bass is still siiiiick. The bridge is still my favorite part of the song; I love the way it builds. Even though I love it, it for some reason doesn’t “stick” with me.

Teenage Dream twinsie: E.T.

7. This Is How We Do: 9/10

I at first passed this one up as just being an “OK” track. And then I heard it again. And again. OK, this is actually pretty great. It’s such a “Katy” song: the my generation-ish relatable experiences, the quirky shout outs, the even quirkier lyrics “getting our nails did japanes-ey.” She’s an oddball genius.

Teenage Dream twinsie: Last Friday Night

8. International Smile: 7/10

At first I was like, “Eh,” generic song. And then, the magical catchy spell Katy bakes up in her pop meth lab comes creeping in and then you just listen to it because you can’t help not doing so. Still, I’m not a fan of saxophones so toward the end it was like the awful 10 seconds of Last Friday Night all over again. I’m also kind of jaded with naming cities in songs, Pitbull has us all worn out with geography lessons.

Teenage Dream twinsie: California Gurls

9. Ghost: 6/10

Starts of like a bad ‘80’s song. But then the chorus is magical. “There’s just an echo where your heart used to beat.” I’ve been humming that line over and over. Just reminds us how much we hate Russell Brand too. Jerk.

Teenage Dream twinsie: The One that Got Away

10. Love Me: 9/10

After reading a lot of reviews, I see this is NOT a popular choice. But I love it! Sometimes I like the more chill, mid-tempo songs that are just delicate, light and ethereal. It sounds a lot like Tegan and Sara and even includes the word “closer” toward the end, which is ironic. I love her tone in the verses and that bass line—heavenly.

Teenage Dream twinsie: Can’t find one 😦

11. This Moment: 5/10

When it starts you’re like, “Mhmm, ok. Yup. Liking this.” And you’re head’s bobbing. You’re thinking this is going somewhere great and then uh-oh, wtf happened? She starts shouting and holding out notes way too long. It killed the vibe. And toward the ending the shouting is just too much. It had potential, like Kim Kardashian’s singing career…well…

Teenage Dream twinsie: Nope.

12. Double Rainbow: 5/10

This sounds a lot like “By the Time,” a duet between Mika and Imogen Heap. I’m also a stickler with very off-putting lyrics, like, don’t use the “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” saying in a song. It’s not cute.

Teenage Dream twinsie: Got nothing…

13. By the Grace of God: 4/10

This sounds like a really bad church groupie song. Who let Kate Hudson back out of the basement? Like I really just can’t handle this. It starts alright and then she says, “By the grace of God,” and then I say “Nope.” Trying too hard too, it feels. What was that Nicki Minaj quote from American Idol? Oh, right:

Nicki Min

14. Spiritual:5/10

It has a cool vibe, I’ll give it that. It’s just one of those that doesn’t do anything for me. Not memorable. I think it’s the chorus that kills it for me. Don’t’ really have much to say about this….

Teenage Dream twinsie: Wide Awake

15. It Takes Two: 6/10

Love the Rambo-esque opening. Again, the chorus kind of falls flat for me. She really is loving the heavy percussion isn’t she? Every song is starting to be the same mix of elements with different words.

Teenage Dream twinsie: Circle the Drain

16. Choose Your Battles: 8/10

Love the brooding beats and falsetto in this song. Has a very Alanis-esque feeling to it. I think this one is going to grow even more on me. And what’s up with the Celine Dion inflections/accents? Especially when she says “anyMORE.” For all you gays that would actually understand what I just wrote.

Teenage Dream Twinsie: Who Am I Living For?

***

Album average: 7/10. So we’ve had a sunshine happy album, and a dark, heavy album. What is next? Hopefully it doesn’t take 3 years. Never again, Katy. Never ever…getting back together—Sorry, had to.