Monday, September 30, 2013

Album Review: Lorde - Pure Heroine

Quarter 3 and 4's it girl, Lorde, has released her first LP, Pure Heroine. Naturally, the album includes the worldwide smash and current iTunes No.1, Royals, as well as some previously unseen gems. As a 16 year old debut artist, she's crafted an album more clever and polished than most of the veteran acts have this year.

Her lyrics are her natural strong suit here, obsessed with the idea of regality having negative side effects she would never wish to indulge in (Royals, Tennis Court). Though she delves in this area of her mind for a majority of the album, she does show that she is a bit of fun, with songs like Ribs capitalizing on essentially all the things a teenage girl would have on her Tumblr. However, Lorde is far more advanced than that, she's light years ahead of the metagame, producing sonically advanced tracks that leave the likes of Katy Perry and Britney Spears gasping for air on mainstream radio. She's a dark horse (no pun intended), using complex images to describe simple situations in shockingly articulated music.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Vocal Ratings: The Changes Coming and How They Could Be Improved

I have been absolutely delighted at how well the site has been perceived so far from public sources, and a defining characteristic of Critic Of Music that sets the site apart are the Vocal Ratings. This highly controversial method of organizing singers has played a role in the growth of the site as a whole, and in order to address the criticism and hopefully fix the concerns, I issue this post.

I have seen some posts recently (namely one on ATRL and Exhale), read through the comments and took some time to re-evaluate the position of some singers. Unfortunately, Adam Levine and Gwen Stefani were dropped from B-List to C-List as a result of the comments, while Ariana Grande takes a fall from grace, as she drops from a Star, to an A-Lister. For some artists, they can rejoice with the heavens above, as Lady Gaga and Florence Welch take a lift from B-List to A-List. Some artists have been put more directly on my radar in terms of moving up or down, but I'm confident enough in my analysis's of their voice to keep them where they are (this includes Justin Bieber and Britney Spears).

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Album Review: This Is...Icona Pop - Icona Pop

Icona Pop: The swedish electro-pop duo that took the world by storm this year with I Don't Care (I Love It). While listening to their LP, I'm absolutely polarized in whether or not to think this is a 33 minute extended version of the aforementioned single (or perhaps even the dreadful We Cant Stop), or whether or not this is true pop genius.

There is no doubt a song like I Love It is pop perfection in every sense. Most people would be frightened at the notion of driving your car into the bridge, but Icona Pop makes it sound frighteningly appealing. However, as the album moves through its brisk tempo, the songs start to sound factory pressed, cloned from the same DNA of I Love It, with little change, if any. Songs like All Night are sharply crafted, but cannot distance itself from the track before it. Then there's Ready For The Weekend, which turns into a distorted mess, thats twists itself in more directions than a demon in The Exorcist. By track 7, the voice in your head starts screaming in horror, begging you to stop the party and read a book.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

[Promotional] Single Review: Katy Perry Feat. Juicy J - Dark Horse

Twerkaholics beware, Katy Perry has unveiled the full length version of Dark Horse, and its a banger. The first promotional single and second overall from Prism excellently captures the "dark" in "dark horse," making Circle The Drain look like Last Friday Night.

The first 13 or so seconds aren't a very strong entrance for "Dark Horse," with the strange baby-coo and Juicy J introduction. But don't despair for too long, for the trap beat kicks in with a freakishly dark and effective riff accompanying it. Katy lets the lyric quality of her voice take over here, purring the lines "Make me your Aphrodite / Make me your one and only." Once the background vocals kick in for the chorus, the song takes on a much lighter quality, but once the beat drops, we're plunged into sticky, gooey darkness. Juicy does well his verse, its nice and simple, and takes the opportunity to make use of the off beats.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Single Review: Britney Spears - Work Bitch

As the follow up to 2011's Femme Fatale, Britney Spears has unveiled the lead single from her as of yet untitled LP, entitled conservatively Work Bitch.

'Work' is much more experimental than anything we've seen from Britney, or any other pop star for that matter, this year. Its a heavy dance floor banger, not something that will easily blend into pop radio. Gritty synths, hints of dubstep and sparse lyrical content make 'Work' a bit hard to enjoy fully. Britney sounds no more human than she has on her past 4 albums, which is a tad alarming (does she even have a pulse anymore?).

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Single Review: Zedd Feat. Hayley Williams - Stay The Night

After Clarity soared into Billboard's Top 10, and while Still Into You continues its steady ascent up the same chart, Zedd and Hayley Williams have come together for Stay The Night, off of Zedd's rerelease for his album Clarity. But don't let the zombie-esque cover art deter you, its still a pretty blatant, club ready single.

Right off the bat, the Clarity shadow is pretty evident here, starting off with a similar piano riff and ballad lyrics. What made Clarity so effective as an electro-ballad was Zedd's combination of, of course, EDM and balladry. Here, the lyrics are second rate to those of Clarity, and having a superior song like that lingering over Stay The Night makes it hard to avoid comparisons.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Music Video and Single Review: Miley Cyrus - Wrecking Ball

Bashing Miley will only help her further dominate iTunes charts across the globe. Chastise her all you want, call her a slut, call her a whore. Yes, she's naked, but it's really not that big of a deal.

She's naked. Get over it. Everybody and their mother knows she likes to over sexualize things. Would it be better if she didn't? Of course. But with the music industry rewarding those who bare as much skin as possible with platinum records, it shouldn't be that shocking for people. Yes, she's 20. Yes, we also know her as Hannah Montana. Yes, she is trying to push the envelope way too hard, but really, it's the world that we live in we should blame for her turning out this way, not Billy Ray's parenting techniques.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Battle of The Teens: Lorde Vs. Birdy

Two up and coming 16 year olds in the music industry: which one comes out on top?

These two teens have broken out of the standard pop-girl mold, with Lorde adapting an Alternative sound while Birdy takes on an acoustic Folk one. Lorde has been the most successful of the two by far, sending Royals into the Top 10 of major music markets across the globe, while Birdy has been fairly modest with her success. But even though Lorde is the more successful, which one is better?

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Lady Gaga Brings ARTPOP to iTunes Festival

Lady Gaga opened up the month long iTunes festival just hours ago, bringing with her 7 new songs, including Applause and the title track.

With her voice showing an incredible amount of improvement, she hit the stage with black suit to sing Aura. Throughout the show, she brought rock music, electronic, rave, and rap together, commanding the smaller stage setting with ease. I'll withhold most judgement for the studio versions, but I will say the show had its good, and its awful (*cough* Jewels & Drugs *cough*). I'll also say that Applause was definitely the strongest single choice here, as it is easily the most radio friendly track we have seen thus far.