15 Days of International Music – Day 2 (Ireland): Our second day in this series features Irish veteran artist Sinéad O’Connor with a strange album that lacks focus. It seems like she is aiming in all directions to see what sticks. There are songs that sound pretty much like Rock, while others are Pop and Easy Listening. This lack of clear direction for her music has been a constant in her career, though. Maybe her early success spoiled what otherwise could have been a great run that made some musical sense.
15 Days of International Music – Day 1 (Japan): Today we start a new series featuring a band or artist from a different country every day for 15 straight days! Japanese Experimental Rock group Boris has surpassed my expectations for this album… what a great collection of sounds that are at the same time strange and familiar. There are elements of Indie Rock, Metalcore, Hard Rock, and others–most of the time in the same song! This is a truly entertaining record that showcases this band’s talent and helps me understand why they have been around for so long.
Country legend Garth Brooks is officially back with his Man Against Machine. This is vintage-sounding Brooks with a Country style that has a lot in common with Rock and features powerful vocals and meaningful lyrics. This career-long combination has helped him become one of the best-selling music artists of all time with over 150 million albums sold. It is nice to see him pick up right where he left off after so many years; it clearly looks as though his residency in Las Vegas has helped keep his talents sharp and ready for action. Come back tomorrow for the first of 15 Days of International Music featuring an artist or band each day from a different country!
Brad Paisley always manages to release entertaining and involving Country albums. His style is different from others artists in that he is a virtuoso guitar player… he can really jam! This album continues in that tradition and has several good songs. As you know, Country is not my favorite genre, but Brad Paisley is one of the few Country artists I enjoy. We’ll review another one I like tomorrow: Garth Brooks.
This was a disappointment. Hard rockers Foo Fighters, a band known for powerful songs that are full of energy, managed to release an album that lacks the “bite” we’re always expecting of them. This record sounded deflated and uninteresting, featuring slower tempo and more intricate instrumentation than their previous works. Maybe they’re in the middle of a transition as they mature and cater to an older audience. What I know for sure is that this is probably their worst album so far.
David Crosby hasn’t sounded this good in years! This is high quality Folk Rock that had me wondering where Crosby had been in the last 15 years or so. His voice is crisp and even reminded me of Neil Young. And the songs are solid and arranged in a logical sequence that builds on a unifying theme. If you like Crosby & Stills, CSN, or CSNY, you’ll love this album.
Nikki Sixx (bassist for Mötley Crüe) is back with his side-project (soon to be his main project) Sixx:A.M. I was taken aback by this album: it sounded very young and modern (maybe to fit with the title?)… this was not necessarily a good thing, though, as some songs were not good at all. In fact, the worst song of all was a cover of The Cars’ “Drive” in a style that turned that song into an auditory torture chamber. Of all tracks, only two or three were of good quality Hard Rock. Let’s hope they turn things around when Nikki can pay full attention to this band (once Mötley Crüe’s farewell tour is over next year).
Nothing’s debut album was very good indeed. The musicianship was spot on, the vocals were involving and a purposely subdued (very uncommon for a first album). This kind of maturity may be a taste of things to come, and I will be watching this band in the future. The sound is a mixture of Punk Rock with Shoegazing; but, as I said, the vocals are not as crazy as fit well with the rest of the band.