Wednesday, December 3, 2008

New Release Tuesday (Review)

If you know me well you're well aware that I am a music 'fiene and crave the latest songs. Only in their full original state from the album itself! Last Tuesday, the 24th, offered 2 exciting new releases: the Day & Age - the Killers and 808s & Hearbreaks - Kanye West. Both albums were highly anticipated given each artist's status!

Day & Age - the Killers
4 out of 5 stars

After exploding onto the scene in 2002 with Hot Fuss the Killers have stayed "On Top" with an incredible balance of energetic indie rock instrumentals and powerful lyrics that give you an immediate sensation to dance. Day & Age will surely excite fans and catch new interest from listeners. From the opening track "Losing Touch" the Killers formulate a familiar feeling from previous albums, but don't be fooled, this is definitely a re-invented sound (which is NOT a bad thing).This album seems well controled and on course with a firm sense of direction. Losing touch certainly isn't refering to the bands capabilities. I can hear the effort and developement from the band. Of course "Human" and "Spaceman" stand out as the first two singles but listen for more on the radio to come. The Killers have an amazing ability to stand out in this Day and Age with unique melodies that never cease to amaze! I highly recommend this album!

808s & Heartbreaks - Kanye West
3.5 out of 5 stars

When Kanye West released Graduation he left a shadow over the entire hip-hop scene. If an artist is going to redefine this genre you can count on Kanye...or could have counted on him. I have mixed feelings with 808s. It is more focused than Graduation but never reaches its full potential because of an unfortunate dependence on Auto-Tune (pitch-correction software).

West delivers in the lyrics department where it counts most. And as always raps to impressive beats but not the over the top sounds that dominate the hip-hop genre. After listening to his album I can completely understand and feel Kanye's pain. 808s is intriguing and undeniably fearless, showing us the troubled side of West's soul. I commend West for departing far from what is "accepted" and showing us his ability to address cultural themes as well as emotional honesty.

As I mentioned this album falls short of a masterpiece because West chose to rely on Auto-Tune as a crutch. It wasn't necessary and hides some of the deeper feelings that could have been heard in his natural voice. As the album name implies it prominently features the Roland TR-808. West clearly displays his intentions with this intrument emphesizing tribal drums that evoke emotion. He sings 'life's just not fair' in the track "Street Lights"; I want to know what happened to the heartfelt tracks that move me more like 'Hey Mama'. I love the singles and ALL the other tracks! I'm sure you'll feel the same way too. I just know Kanye could have made this album perfect with a stronger balance between electronic hip-hop and his own original touch.

P.S. I also picked up T.I.'s - Paper Trail. 2.5 out 5 stars. Download the 3 singles and you won't miss anything.

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