Tag Archives: Album Review

A Review Of Christina Aguilera’s ‘Lotus’ By Brittani ~ The Girl You Want

 

Christina Aguilera has found success as one of the coaches of ‘The Voice,’ helping others to try to achieve their dreams of superstardom. She returns to her roots with her new album Lotus,” her seventh studio release. After the commercial and critical failure that was her last album “Bionic” and a canceled tour as a result, many wondered if she would be able to bounce back and reclaim her throne on the pop music mountain.

Even though she insists that people didn’t “get” “Bionic,” I think she learned her lesson as the problems that plagued that album aren’t here on “Lotus.” For one, producers like Max Martin and Alex da Kid are used better here than some of the people she worked with on “Bionic.” The latter of whom she worked with on T.I.‘s “Castle Walls,” one of the best songs she’s done that isn’t her own. Although I’m much more of a fan of artists like M.I.A. and Goldfrapp, maybe it was for the best that she went more mainstream for this one even though it gives the album my only real issue, it sounds too much like what’s popular these days.

Christina has been accused of “chasing hits,” which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. and it’s good that she did it with some of the most capable hit makers in the business right now. “Lotus” opens with an intro that samples M83‘s ubiquitous “Midnight City,” where she sings “To the sky I rise/ Spread my wings and fly” before going on a spiel about the lotus flower which inspired the album’s title and imagery. I put this up there with the intro from “Stripped,” it perfectly sets the tone of the album.

I was hoping the next cut “Army of Me” was a cover of Bjork‘s song, how great would she sound doing something like that! It is however, a good kiss off song, perhaps aimed at her ex-husband Jordan Bratman. The next track “Red Hot Kind Of Love” details her starting over and trying to win over a guy. There’s too much going on vocally here, but the beat is fun and I love the way she sings the “coooools.”

Cee Lo Green makes an appearance on the chorus of  “Make the World Move“.  I do wish they would have really sung together, as they both know how to belt it out. Her lead single “Your Body” might not have gotten the love I think it deserved but it works as a sassy bridge to songs like Let There Be Love which is much more radio friendly.

It wouldn’t be a Christina Aguilera album without some soaring, piano driven ballads. The best of which is “Blank Page,” which was co-written by Sia Furler, showcases her voice the way songs like “The Voice Within” do. The other big ballad, “Best of Me,” features the line “I won’t let you bring me down.” Sound familiar?

Christina also duets with Blake Shelton on “Just A Fool,” one of the later tracks that has a bit of a Country feel to it. They sound great together and surprisingly she doesn’t overpower him on the song. The closer “Light Up The Sky,” which is on the deluxe edition along with a remix of “Your Body,” ends the album on a positive note. Christina has earned a reputation for being a Bitchy McBitch, but damn if she can’t deliver some emotional and uplifting songs.

The standout track for me, and in my opinion the best on the album is “Circles” where she repeats “Spin around in circles on my middle, middle finger” in the chorus and coos out “motherf***er” throughout. It reminds me a lot of “Make Over” from “Stripped” which was kind of an underrated gem. I wouldn’t rank this up there with “Stripped” or her debut, but “Lotus” is a much more cohesive and mature record for her that I hope fans and naysayers embrace.

Brittani’s Album Review – Dragonette’s ‘Bodyparts’

You’ve probably never heard of Candian electro-pop trio Dragonette, but you have heard their collaboration with French DJ Martin SolveigHello” in every other commercial and trailer for anything remotely cutesy. They prove that they are more than just commercial pop fodder with their third studio album release, Bodyparts.

Dragonette first grabbed me with their cover of Calvin Harris‘  “Girls,” their version was called “Boys” and I’ve been hooked ever since. A big part of why I like them is the salacious subject matter of some of their songs. Lead singer Martina Sorbara met her husband,  Dan Kurtz when he was still with someone else, and the two have been together ever since.

Dragonettes

Cheating, and wanting to cheat, have been the inspiration behind “Liar” from their last album “Fixin To Thrill”, and “I Get Around” from their first album Galore. It’s mostly fun affairs with dancing on Bodyparts, “My Legs” and the official lead single “Live In This City” are the popiest tunes on the album. “Right Woman” and the opener “Run Run Run” simmer amongst tracks like “Giddy Up” which might be this album’s “Gone Too Far.” Perfect for a sweaty, hipster hoedown.

Dragonette’s sound has changed a bit over the last couple of albums, but they are more mature here and I hope this opens them up to an even larger audience. EDM (electonic dance music) is popular right now, almost too popular, but they do it right.  They’re also competing with No Doubt this Tuesday for your money, check them out!

Bodyparts gets 4 Bleakeys!  

 

No Doubt Return With ‘Push and Shove’

Push and Shove

No Doubt is without a doubt my favorite band of all time, and I was excited to listen to their latest Push and Shove. It’s their sixth studio album release, and their first in more than ten years. Checking out the album sampler, I was worried that I wouldn’t absolutely love the album, and even more worried that maybe ND wasn’t the same band that I have loved for over 15 years.

After Gwen Stefani‘s solo releases in 2004 and 2006 , it seemed the band was still taking their time with another album. While I patiently waited, they headed out on a Summer tour in 2009 while working on what would become Push and Shove. The album was originally supposed to be released last year but the band felt the album wasn’t ready and went back into the studio to tweak some songs. “Settle Down” was the first single released, and I think it served it’s purpose of being a good Summer Buzz single, although I don’t think it was the comeback song fans were hoping for.

Photo via: WILSON WEBB. By Rolling Stone

 

The title track “Push and Shove” was released as a promo single a couple of weeks ago, co-produced by Major Lazer and featuring Jamaican artist Busy Signal, it still didn’t get as hype for this new album as it should have. Bassist Tony Kanal said that it was the band’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” One of the many things that made that song so great was that it lacked a traditional chorus, where as the problem with “Push and Shove” is it’s chorus. The transition from the pumping beat by Diplo to the slowed down, dubstep part just doesn’t work.

Push and Shove as a whole however, does work. It is much more cohesive than “Rock Steady”, and I have to say a lot less whiny than “Return of Saturn”. Whatever Gwen and the gang’s inspiration was, it came from a pretty good place but there are still the “I know I’m cool, but I’m a little unsure and I need you to remind me” lyrics from Stefani. She also seems to be obsessed with the word “hustle“, which appears in three songs.

While it isn’t “Tragic Kingdom:, which we can all agree was No Doubt’s best album, the band isn’t in the same place they were when “Don’t Speak” came about. I wish this would have been released a couple of months ago so that “One More Summer” could have been a proper Summer jam with a video set on the beach. While most albums fall apart in the second half, ND finishes strong with “Sparkle” and “Heaven”, which quickly became my two favorite cuts. “Looking Hot” is another stand-out that you’ll be hearing on the radio soon.

It might have taken me a couple iTunes plays to really appreciate “Push and Shove”, it is definitely an album that grows on you. I do wonder if it would have sounded any different if they hadn’t gone back “perfected” the final product. I’m just glad that I can continue my love for the band.

“Push and Shove” gets 4 1/2 Bleakeys out of 5!