As I mentioned in previous posts here on the blog, specifically the April New Singles & Leaks post, as well as on the Beausic Facebook page, etc., May was all set to be a pretty major month for new music… in particular, new albums! As it turns out, I was kind of right. There have been a couple of new records released so far this month that I wanted to share some of my thoughts on with you all. There are also a couple of Extended Plays released by relative newcomers that have been released recently that I’ve discovered over the past few weeks that I really wanted to talk about, so I will include those, as well. So, let’s get right to it!
This is really the album that inspired this whole post because I just knew that I needed to talk about this album as soon as I listened to it the first time. Adam Lambert’s debut album, “For Your Entertainment,” was my second favorite album of 2009, the year it was released, so I was really excited when it was announced that his follow-up record was being released this month. The album’s debut single, “Better Than I Know Myself” was released back in December and was absolutely brilliant, and got me even more hyped for the new album. So, now that the new album has actually been released, I had to take the time to, at the very least, tell you all how absolutely stunning it is! First of all, this album takes the sound of his previous record, the dance-infused pop tracks and rock-inspired ballads, and expands upon it immensely. One of my favorite things Adam does on this record is including a dubstep influence on several tracks, most notably, in my opinion on the song “Cuckoo,” which is one of my very favorite tracks on the record. Another favorite track of mine is the album’s opener, and title track, “Trespassing,” which is a catchy, hyper sped up chant-of-sorts about questioning one’s existence and where your place is in this world. Another favorite track of mine is “Kickin’ In,” which is kind of a hyper-disco track all about a crazy night out, being various kinds of intoxicated and having an amazing time. I also wanted to mention one of the most heartfelt, intense and personal tracks on the record, the closing track, “Outlaws Of Love,” which is a gorgeous, haunting statement about gay marriage, with a chorus that states, “Everywhere we go we’re looking for the sun, Nowhere to grow old and always on the run, They say we’ll rot in hell but I don’t think we will, They’ve branded us enough, Outlaws of love.” I just had to include those lines because it is, in my opinion, such a powerful statement. That I think people need to hear. Lastly, I wanted to name drop my very favorite track on this album, by far, which was “Naked Love.” Despite the cheeky title, this is a really sweet, heartfelt song about just wanting your relationship to be simple, stripped down and real; naked. It’s a song about looking for honesty and realness in the love you give and the love you receive. It’s a beautiful message wrapped up in a glorious casing of catchy, mid-tempo pop perfection. I cannot get enough of this song! I absolutely recommend checking this album out!
How nice for Rita Wilson! I use the word “nice” because it is exactly the word I would use to describe every aspect of this record. If somebody asked me, “How is Rita Wilson’s singing voice?” It’s nice. “How is the selection of cover songs for her record?” It’s nice. “How is the production on her record?” It’s nice. The whole record is nice. Does it blow my mind in any way? No. Did I find anything about it overly impressive? A few things – like her choice of guest performers on different tracks, like Chris Cornell from Soundgarden and Audioslave singing on “All I Have To Do Is Dream,” or Sheryl Crow on both “Angel of The Morning” and “Will You Love Me Tomorrow?” There are also songs featuring Faith Hill, Vince Gill, Patti Scialfa, Jimmy Webb and Jackson Browne. That is a really impressive guest roster for a debut record. Overall, though, while I certainly enjoyed a lot of this record, I was not near as impressed with it or as excited by it as I had hoped to be when it was announced. Still, the one thing I will say is that I listened to this album one night while I was going to bed and all of these tracks is mellow, light and airy enough to make it kind of the perfect record to relax and fall asleep to. Also, let me just make mention of my very favorite track on this record, the one that I found the most exciting and impressive on the record, “River.” Rita’s version of this Joni Mitchell classic is actually quite beautiful and she really seems to get in touch with the emotional core of the song. This is a song that has been recorded hundreds of times by a wide variety of different artists and, while this is certainly not my favorite version, (that honor would go to Lea Michele’s version on “Glee,”) it is definitely a beautiful representation of the song and one worth checking out!
CARRIE UNDERWOOD – BLOWN AWAY
Key Tracks: ”Good Girl,” “Blown Away,” “Do You Think About Me?,” “Nobody Ever Told You,” “One Way Ticket,” “Thank God For Hometowns,” “Good In Goodbye” and “Cupid’s Got A Shotgun”
This album was another May release that I was kind of freaking out over. I have been a massive fan of Carrie Underwood since she won the fourth season of American Idol and have loved each of her records since that time. One thing I will say about each of her previous three records, though, is that they have remained pretty formulaic. She found a really strong niche on her first record and has stuck really closely to it ever since! So, with the release of this record I was kind of expecting more of the same but I was actually really pleasantly surprised. Don’t get me wrong – many of the elements of her previous records are included in this one, as well, like a mid-tempo track about her hometown or missing home or something along those lines, (“Thank God for Hometowns,”) an upbeat, “naughty girl” sort of track, (“Cupid’s Got A Shotgun,”) and an inspirational ballad with a message, (“Nobody Ever Told You,”) but this album also gets much more experimental with it’s sound than any of her previous records. One great example of that is the gorgeous, pop-infused mid-tempo track “Do You Think About Me?” Another great, more experimental track on this record, which is probably my favorite of them all, is “One Way Ticket,” which has a really cool, Reggae-inspired sound while maintaining a Country base, making it flow perfectly with the rest of the album. The other track that is kind of tied for my favorite would be the album’s title track, “Blown Away,” which has a really cool, interesting Fleetwood Mac-influenced sound and beautiful lyrics about a girl growing up in a bad situation and using beautiful imagery of a tornado to wish it all away. If you are into Country music or just into really strong vocals, I definitely recommend checking out this record!
Karmin are a pop duo who I discovered when they recently performed on “Saturday Night Live.” I was very curious as to why this little group I had never heard of before was asked to appear on “Saturday Night Live” and discovered that they apparently had developed a huge following on YouTube doing cover songs, kind of like a long-time favorite band of mine, Pomplamoose. Their style on “SNL” was really fun and unique, so I tried to go find their album but discovered it wasn’t out yet. They had released a couple of EPs previously but the style was quite different from what I had seen them perform. So, when they finally released the “Hello” EP, I was really excited to have their fun, hip-hop infused pop style again. The two tracks they performed on “SNL” are definitely the standout tracks on the EP but the whole thing is really good and very promising. I am excited to hear more from them in the future and recommend this EP if you are looking for some fun, party music!
CARLY RAE JEPSEN – CURIOSITY EP
Key Tracks: ALL OF THEM!
Carly Rae Jepsen released her EP “Curiosity” back in February 2012, which spawned the pretty massive hit single, “Call Me Maybe.” As much as I try my best to keep up with what’s new and interesting in the world of music, Carly, her single and this EP managed to slip right past me. I can’t imagine how – I kept hearing the name and hearing about “Call Me Maybe” but never actually took the time to listen to the song. Just last week or the week before, I stumbled upon the song and, for the first time, decided to listen to it and, well, to be quite frank, I fell in love with it. As a matter of fact, I developed what I am now calling a Carly Rae Jepsession. This is not, in any way, shape or form, replacing my obsession with Lana Del Rey, but it is definitely a full-fledged obsession at this point. I immediately sought out the full EP, (as well as her brilliant record from 2008, “Tug Of War,”) and have listened to them about 100 times each since then. Since the “Curiosity” EP is her current release, I will focus on this – it is absolutely brilliant! “Curiosity” features 6 tracks. “Call Me Maybe” is the first single, which is a really fun, catchy, flirty, bubblegum pop track asking a guy to give you a call. I cannot get enough of this song. I think that is why I have developed such an obsession with Carly, because she is making full-blown bubblegum pop, which doesn’t exist outside of the Disney Channel anymore. It’s kind of like a lot of the Disney Channel artists music but because it isn’t designed specifically for children’s programming it is able to be considerably more edgy, which I love. The title track, “Curiosity,” is a favorite of mine, as well, and her cover of one of my favorite songs of all-time, “Both Sides Now,” is absolutely gorgeous. The whole EP is absolutely stunning – there is not a single track on it that I don’t absolutely love! I HIGHLY recommend this EP to everybody! I just can’t get over it – even if I came to it a little late. Also, if you download this EP and enjoy it, I also really recommend her previous record, “Tug Of War,” which is also amazing from start-to-finish. Carly Rae is definitely an artist to watch!
So, there you have my reviews of some of my favorite or the most notable new records of May so far! Halfway into the month, this is a lot of really great stuff! Let me just say, there is much more to come, including two things that were just released/leaked yesterday that I didn’t get the chance to really listen to yet to review, that I will likely wind up doing another post like this one at the end of the month, too! Depending on the singles that get released or leak this month I may wind up doing that in lieu of a New Single & Leak post, or just in addition to that. Either way, definitely expect another May Album Reviews post, which will include some really exciting music, like the new Garbage record, Lisa Marie Presley’s “Storm & Grace” and, most importantly to me personally, Scissor Sisters’ new record “Magic Hour.” So, keep an eye out for all of this a couple of weeks from now! In the meantime, I wish you all a beautiful week and a beautiful life!