Friday, November 20, 2015

Album Review: Adele - 25

After largely disappearing from the public eye from the past three years, the (arguably) biggest star of the millennium is back. Coming off the unfathomable success of Adele's sophomore album "21" - 30 million albums, 3 #1 hits, over half a dozen Grammy's - 25 is tearing records down on its own. 

21 was largely pulled by four fantastic songs: The epic "Rolling in the Deep," the masterful "Someone Like You," the dramatic "Set Fire to the Rain" and the underrated magnum opus "Turning Tables." The rest of the album was largely uneventful, but the four aforementioned tracks were so damn good that it didn't matter. 25 doesn't have a blatant standout group of songs; while lead single "Hello" largely triumphs over its neighbors in a similar manner to Rolling in the Deep, no song is bold enough to warrant any comparisons to the Big Four of 21.

What is perhaps 25's biggest fault is that it feels ironically rushed. After four years, one would think that 25 would be fully developed in every foreseeable direction. Yet the tracklisting is on BeyoncĂ©'s "4" level of horrendous: "Hello" is the only understandable choice as it's a clear album opener, but the terrifyingly poppy "Send My Love (To Your New Lover)" as track number 2 while songs like "Love in the Dark" and "All I Ask" are stuffed in the albums latter half? A clear mistake on the part of team Adele.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Album Review: Ellie Goulding - Delirium

When people listen to UK songstress Ellie Goulding, people are generally divided on what they hear: they either hear her folk and indie influences as her sonic center and others hear her Electronica roots, and push her into the larger category of Pop. With "Delirium," the difference is not apparent at all, Delirium is blatant Electro-Pop.

From the swirling guitars of On My Mind, to the Urban tinged Don't Need Nobody, Delirium delivers mid and up-tempos track after track, never stopping for a ballad like her previous albums have (the last half of "Halcyon" or The Writer on "Lights"). The result is an album that to its modern audience will scream Taylor Swift's "1989," while to it's broader and older audience, it will sound completely millennial. 

The main difference between Delirium and previous pure-pop offerings this past year from Carly Rae Jepsen and Taylor Swift, is that there is there is no breathing room. From the moment Aftertaste hits its stride, the audience is locked in for a roller coaster ride of strict tempos. While most artists would struggle to keep up with this pace, Goulding does so with the expertise of a near-pro, only stumbling on the forgettable and rather lifeless We Can't Move to This and Holding on For Life. Midtempo power ballads like the mega-hit Love Me Like You Do and Army offer some release - and standout amongst an album of bangers - but don't offer enough to quench the hunger for ballads like Halcyon Days' I Know You Care and How Long Will I Love You. This is perhaps Delirium's biggest fault, that it lacks lyrical and sonic beauty that can be found on Goulding's prior works.