November 5th is definitely heating up the fourth quarter. All the big dogs come out to play at the end of the year for that holiday money. If you’re wondering how I form my own opinions about the albums, here are a few points I like to take in to account when listening. First, I think about previous works and how much the artist has evolved. Second, I take in to account the genre and what is expected from the artist to deliver within that genre. Third, I look for creativity and originality. In other words, what makes this album stand out from the rest. The last thing and most important things are lyrical content and production. Where did this album take us as far as content and production is concerned? Let’s get in to it.
Eminem – Marshall Mathers 2
Eminem has been through hell and back. He brought classic albums that shocked the world and then dropped off the face of the earth. Since his close encounter with death, it has been like learning how to walk all over again. He has shown flashes of his old self, but overall the last two albums were just missing something. That something that made him who he is to Hip-Hop. On This new album, he holds nothing back and gets back to having fun. More Eminem doing what he does and less talking about what he’s about to do. The production is on point and his word play is the best it’s ever been.
Score – 9
Avril Lavigne – Avril Lavigne
Avril is one of those artists that I feel has the talent, fan base and status to experiment and really push the envelope. The problem is she has not done it yet. Something you may not know about Avril, is she started off singing country music in her birth country Canada. Her introduction to America was as a pop/punk singer. Unlike most pop artists, Avril really writes her songs. Her first album Let Go, she had the help from a man I respect Peter Izzo. She nailed a classic album for the genre, though she took a lot of slack from critics and other bands for claiming to be punk. Her second album Under My Skin was decent but her third album The Best Damn Thing; she colored her hair and went straight Mickey Mouse Club, not a good look. Her 4th album Black Star had its moments but I’m still not getting the artistry I expect from her. As this album began I thought here we go again, but as I get to the middle of the album I found some attempts to break the monotony. An appearance from Marilyn Manson and a few tracks outside of her element. She’s heading in the right direction, but as a whole I still expect more from you Avril. It’s time to think outside of the box and write your name in history.
Score – 7.5
James Blunt – Moon Landing
Moon landing is 12 Tracks of slow love ballads. No surprise here, I am trying to stay awake. It’s not a bad album and his voice is phenomenal, reminiscent to Elton John. The problem is he’s boring and every song sounds the same. If James Blunt came on to the scene in the 90s, he would have been a one hit wonder. He would have struck gold with his hit single “Your Beautiful” and then faded in to the black. If you love ballads and James Blunt, well he gave you exactly what you expected, but for me it was average at best.
Score – 5
Snoop Dogg and DJ Drama – That’s My Work vol. 2
Snoop Dogg brought his a game this week with his new mixtape. All original beats and yes it is a free download. Snoop took this project to his West Coast roots. The mixtape is very West Coast from the production to the lyrics. If his core fan base was wondering if Snoop Dogg was coming back from his reggae vacation, here is the answer. It’s not ground breaking, it’s not his best work and it’s not even close to a classic but it is necessary.
Score – 6
Lloyd Banks and DJ Drama – Failure’s No Option
I was just searching milk cartons look for this ex G – Unit member and here he is with a new mixtape. It has a 90s New York feel. There is something refreshing about that but if your looking for the aggressive G – Unit sound it’s not there. His flow is consistent, but I feel he has lost a little confidence. Then again who wouldn’t? He went from G – Unit to that one guy. The mixtape is at a slow tempo, no upbeat tracks and raps with heads hanging down. He’s not moving forward, but it’s worth a listen. I’d call it just above average.
Score – 5
M.I.A. – Matangi
M.I.A.’s album has been pushed back more times then the Wonder Woman movie. Maybe that’s an exaggeration, but no worries because it well worth wait. She’s always been great at themeing her albums as far as production and content. Thus making them stand apart from each other. She hit with the big single Paper Plans and taught American Hip-Hop a new English slang word “Swagger”, which we all know hip hop took and ran with it.
Her last album pissed off club DJs all over America, because she purposely distorted the production. It made it hard to play, mix in and sound good on a quality sound system. This is M.I.A. though. We all know her music is her music. She is artistic and unique and Matangi is no exception. The production starts the album off using primarily sounds of her home country India. It then takes many twists and turns through different genres and sounds and she murders the tracks lyrically. You have to have an open mind, but my opinion of the album as a whole is that it is phenomenal and DJs can feel at ease because there is no distortion on this one.
Score – 9
Tech N9NE – Therapy
Tech N9ne may be the most successful independent rapper of all time. If you don’t believe me check the charts and stats. However, he has released fifteen studio albums and that is not counting the countless EPs, side projects and mixtapes. It’s been sounding like he has said and done all that he can. My feeling is he was becoming redundant. Well Therapy is an EP and it’s very heavy metal. This is not a hip-hop record at all. All live instruments and this is not an imitation of metal, but a really dark and hard metal album. He did an excellent job. When you’ve been in the game as long as Tech you have to experiment. He rocked it.
Score – 9
Yelawolf and DJ Paul – Black Fall
Yelawolf took a lot of slack from fans and critics for going from underground Trunk Music to a polished Shady/Aftermath radio rapper. Well on this EP he teams up with DJ Paul of Three Six Mafia and gets rowdy. Back to his down south roots and the EP is short but entertaining from start to finish.
Score – 8.5
Celine Dion – Love Me Back To Life
Still making albums and still a regular fixture in Vegas. I am not a die-hard fan of hers but I will not deny her talent. This album is not anything ground breaking nor does she step out side of her element, but she does a solid job putting together a solid collection of songs that her fan base should enjoy. It was much better than I expected and she even brought in some guest duets with Neo and Stevie Wonder. I was impressed enough to say it is an album worth supporting.
Score – 7
Jacob Latimore – This Is Me 2
Jacob Latimore at the age of 17 has a mature voice for his age. This is a free mixtape though it’s all original songs. I say good job and he’s an artist to watch on the R&B scene. The mixtape is not at all a stand out project or is it pushing any envelopes but a good solid R&B release.
Score – 7
Action Bronson – Blue Chips 2
This Queens New York Rapper is also an artist to watch. His style reminds me of Ghostface Killah from the Wu – Tang Clan and this mixtape is very, very, very gritty New York. Sample heavy and most of those samples come from the 90s. He doesn’t have a lot of content other than street talk and bragging but I guarantee you won’t get bored.
Score – 8
The Wanted – Word of Mouth
As of right now The Wanted are tearing up top 40 radio with two chart topping singles. The first half of the album is a serious downtown dance party. The second half filled with more emotion. If you like the radio singles then you’ll love the album. For me it was mediocre and average. It’s a polished, overproduced pop record that I’ve heard several times before. There is some good moments in the production and arrangements where I thought to myself that was cool. It is what is supposed to be and nothing else. One thing that you can bank on though, it is filled with top forty hits so they will continue to play every hour on the hour on your local top forty radio.
Score – 6.5
Jake Miller – Us Against Them
So Jake is 20 years old, he likes girls, Netflix and parties. He raps his verses and sings his hooks. If the next recording artist was to come from the Disney Family tree was a rapper you would have Jake. This is the album that twelve-year-old girls go crazy over. I can’t complain too much though because I actually listened to his album twice. His lyrics were cute for a lack of better vocab. It will be interesting to see where he goes from here in the future. Judge for your self. Will he fade away or end up all over your radio.
Score – 5
So this week was a long one. There was lots of music to process but well worth the ride. I’m going to have a hell of weekend jamming to the new Lady Gaga. Much lighter week coming up so look for my review on Lady Gaga’s Art Pop before it drops on Tuesday the 11th.
10 – Instant Classic – must have
09 – Great Album just short of classic
08 – Good Album recommend checking out
07 – Above average more upside then down
06 – Worth the listen, has a few moments
05 – Average, maybe core fan base will enjoy
04 – You’re not missing much if you skip this one
03 – Bad album let down
02 – Trash- don’t waste your time
01 – Everyone involved in this album needs to reevaluate their life