Roupa Nova are one of my favorite Brazilian bands. They started out as a type of semi-Progressive Rock band with strong Pop roots, but then transformed into a full-fledged Pop band. This is a four-disc remastered collection of their greatest hits–and, no, four discs are not too much for a greatest hits collection for a band of this caliber. Roupa Nova were extremely popular in Brazil in the mid- to late-eighties and early nineties. I found myself singing along with nearly every song in this repertoire. This was certainly worth the investment!
Bruce Springsteen surprised everyone with a brand new album in early 2014. And the surprise was not limited to the release, but to the way the songs sound too. The first two or three tracks are very ’70s-like; what is ironic about it is that Bruce Springsteen did not sound like this in the ’70s. Maybe he’s been hanging out with Sergio Mendes? The beats and keyboards of the first few tracks are Mendes-like. But then the sound reverts back to good, solid Rock. My favorite song of the album is a retake on “The Ghost of Tom Joad,” performed with Tom Morello (Rage Against The Machine). Overall this is a very good album… just the first few tracks were a little off.
I was very excited when I heard that Boston had released a new album. This band is responsible for reshaping the way Hard Rock was played on the radio, and I had the opportunity to see them live a couple of years ago. But was I in for a disappointment! They sound old and deflated–almost like a parody of what they used to be. Most of the songs sound like they are trying to relive the ’80s but with little success. The best tracks in this album are those where the band is trying something different and not relying so much on the same guitar riffs. Some bands are meant to change frequently, and it may be the case with Boston.
This Modern Folk album had such potential to be a great one! But insted, due to Valerie June’s annoying voice, it turned out to be an annoying exercise in patience. She sounds a lot like June Carter Cash (yes, another June) and her voice does not match this genre at all. The music on this record could be a perfect fit for Norah Jones, Dido, or even Lorde.
I am not a big Beyoncé fan. I think her songs all tend to sound the same and she relies too much on her appearance to gain attention. But this new album is revolutionary in that it was released without any promotion and alongside a video for each track. I watched the “visual album” today and will say this: this record is by far Beyoncé’s best. It has quality R&B with a theme of personal agony vs. self-confidence that permeates all songs and dictates the transitions between them. Maybe there is too much skin in the visual album (typical of this artist), but to see the visual representation of what she is trying to communicate was certainly a more complete experience than just listening to the album. Kudos to her for daring to release an album in such a way and to try to rescue the experience of listening to an entire album accompanied by its visual counterpart.
I was sick today and listened to this album while resting in bed. My expectations were not very high (considering the cover!), but I was entertained and cheered up by Empire of the Sun’s style of Electronic Pop. The lyrics are fun, the rhythm is upbeat and the music is well executed. They fall somewhere between Pet Shop Boys and Erasure. Very good!