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Ranking Seven Reviewed Albums From January 2014

Brent Faulkner Brent Faulkner
February 4th, 2014 11:45am EST

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In January 2014, I reviewed seven new album releases.  Sure, there were some other reviews thrown in the mix, including the Arctic Monkey’s AM that I’d slept on previously in September, a Pitbull EP from last November (Meltdown) housing a former number one hit called “Timber”, and a P!nk live tour DVD, but none apply to ‘brand new’ albums.  This list ranks those seven new albums I reviewed from 1ST to 7TH – favorite to least favorite / best-reviewed vs. worst reviewed.  Here goes nothing!

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1st

Tribute, John Newman

Previously, Tribute was summed up as follows:

Ultimately, Tribute epitomizes musical excellence through and through.  In an age where many question ‘where the soul has gone,’ Newman shows that soul music is still very much alive.  For any further questioning if the British soul movement was a thing of the past in it self, well, question no more.  John Newman is legit as they come and he has top-notch material working in his favor on this affair.  For pop and R&B fans alike, Tribute should easily tickle your fancy.

Favorites:

“Tribute”; “Love Me Again”; “Losing Sleep”; “Out Of My Head”; “Cheating”; “Down The Line”

Verdict: ★★★★½

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2nd

Transgender Dysphoria Blues, Against Me!

Previously, Transgender Dysphoria Blues was summed up as follows:

Ultimately, Transgender Dysphoria Blues is an exceptional affair.  It both educates and compels, giving voice to a group of people who many don’t understand or know very little about.  While Transgender Dysphoria Blues may not answer all the questions those who are green in regards to transgender/transsexuals, it does give the listener a snapshot. Overall, nothing short of high quality from Against Me!

Favorites:

“Transgender Dysphoria Blues”; “True Trans Soul Rebel”; “Drinking With The Jocks”; “Osama Bin Laden as the Crucified Christ”; “Paralytic States”

Verdict: ★★★★ 

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3rd

High Hopes, Bruce Springsteen 

Previously, High Hopes was summed up as follows:

Overall, High Hopes isn’t Springsteen’s best album, nor is it merely average.  Vocally, Springsteen can still deliver a rousing performance, and the production throughout High Hopes is quite compelling.  Perhaps the fact the album isn’t completely new is a bit of a bummer, but there is plenty of quality material to tide casual and hardcore Springsteen fans alike.

Favorites:

“High Hopes”;  “American Skin (41 Shots)”; “Just Like Fire Would”; “Frankie Fell In Love”; “Hunter Of Invisible Game”

Verdict: ★★★★

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4th

Give the People What They Want, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings

Previously, Give the People What They Want was summed up as follows:

Ultimately, Give The People What They Want is a fantastic album period. Brief at only 34 minutes and consistent from start to finish, there is truly little to criticize.  Sharon Jones sounds superb throughout, as do the Dap-Kings.  It’s not innovative, but the fact that Jones and company hearkens back to the classic sound, that is refreshing enough in itself.

Favorites:

“Retreat”; “We Get Along”; “You’ll Be Lonely”; “People Don’t Get What They Deserve”

Verdict: ★★★★ 

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5th

Recovery, Algebra Blessett 

Previously, Recovery was summed up as follows:

All said and done, Recovery is a fine R&B album, particularly to be released in a quiet January.  There is a classiness and coolness about this effort that is appealing.  Algebra never over sings; she always gives just the right amount of oomph and emotion to connect with the audience.  Recovery is nothing flashy, but it doesn’t need to be.  It is what it is – a narrative that a many of folk have experienced in real life, not merely an R&B album.  Kudos Algebra – kudos.

Favorites:

“Recovery”; “Nobody But You”; “Struggle To Be” featuring Q. Parker; “Paper Heart”; “Mystery”

Verdict: ★★★★

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6th

A Great Big World, Is There Anybody Out There?

Previously, Is There Anybody Out There? was summed up as follows:

Overall, A Great Big World delivers a compelling debut with Is There Anybody Out There?.  It’s not the perfect album mind you, but its pros easily outweigh its cons.  In a generation where optimism in music or anything seems to be rare, A Great Big World deliver an album that thrives on its positivity and reminds the listener its okay to be ambitious and dream.  Perhaps Chad and Ian’s tremendous jubilance will rub off on the world.  We can only hope.

Favorites:

“Rockstar”; “Land of Opportunity”; “I Really Want It”; “There Is An Answer”; “Say Something” featuring Christina Aguilera

Verdict: ★★★½

51GAgaeFo3L._SL500_AA280_ 7th

My Own Lane, Kid Ink

Previously, My Own Lane was summed up as follows: 

Overall, My Own Lane is a solid album with enough captivating tracks to make it worth the money ($7.99 seems to be the common price).  That said My Own Lane also has its flaws, price aside.  When Kid Ink settles for clichés like on “Rollin’” for example, he’s not at his best, failing to distinguish himself from others.  When he is on his game, however, he’s lethal.

Favorites:

“The Movement”; “Show Me”; “Iz U Down?”; “Murda”; “No Miracles”; “Bad Ass”

Verdict: ★★★½

Final Summarization:

510nrTStAjL._SL500_AA280_John Newman was the best-reviewed album from January 2014, hence one top honors in my rankings.  Kid Ink’s album, the worst reviewed of the seven, was by no means a bad album; comparatively, I enjoyed the others more.  Although it landed second in the rankings (and nearly at the top), Transgender Dysphoria Blues was definitely the most interesting album of the bunch.


Filed under: adult contemporary R&B, Alternative, contemporary R&B, Hip-Hop/Rap, Music, neo-soul, Opinion, Pop, Pop Culture, R&B/Soul, retro-soul, Reviews, Rock, Singer/Songwriter, Urban Tagged: "Recovery", A Great Big World, Against Me!, album reviews, albums 2014, Algebra Blessett, Bruce Springsteen, Give The People What They Want, High Hopes, Is There Anybody Out There?, January albums 2014, John Newman, Kid Ink, My Own Lane, ranking albums, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, Transgender Dysphoria Blues, Tribute



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