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Brent Faulkner Brent Faulkner
Starpulse Contributing Writer
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Brent Faulkner is a music educator, composer, music journalist, blogger, and all around music enthusiast. Faulkner holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in music education as well as a Masters degree in music theory/composition. Faulkner contributes his pen to several sites.

Review: Coldplay, 'Ghost Stories'

5/20/2014 10:37am EDT
Coldplay, 'Ghost Stories'
On sixth album Ghost Stories, Coldplay opt for subtlety, mysteriousness, and restraint.

“I’m kind of a big deal.” That quote perfectly describes any album released by British alt-rock band Coldplay. Anytime the collective releases a new single or new album, you just know it is going to be huge news. Perhaps the only news that is on the same level as the quartet’s newest LP Ghost Stories is that of the separation between front man Chris Martin and his A-list actress wife Gwyneth Paltrow. What’s the connection between new album and breakup – well, Ghost Stories is all about a four-letter wor...

Review: The Black Keys ‘Turn Blue’ Channels Devastating Divorce

5/19/2014 1:45pm EDT
Black Keys Turn Blue
Divorce typically carries a negative connotation; it’s a heart-wrenching experience for both parties involved. Turning the horrid experience that is a divorce into an album certainly can be as therapeutic as a diary – it is a way to release the pain. Indie-rockers The Black Keys channel the topic of love gone wrong via divorce on their latest LP, Turn Blue, the follow-up to 2011 hit LP El Camino. Turn Blue is a very different album from El Camino, possessing a much darker, often pessimistic vibe. Genuinely upbeat, up-tempo tracks like “Howling For You” and “Lonely Boy” are hard to find with...

The Black Keys And Michael Jackson Expected To Top Charts Next Week

5/16/2014 12:15pm EDT
The Black Keys
Unsurprising, two familiar savvy chart performers – The Black Keys and Michael Jackson – are expected to reside in the top two spots on the Billboard 200 Albums Chart. I predicted this before reading the official predictions from Billboard – go me! Previously, I wrote that likely these two power releases would help to infuse some more life into the music industry. Well, only to a certain extent… this is where my sharpness sort of fell off… Currently (according to, The Black Keys are being prognosticated around 150,000 copies (Turn Blue) while Michael Jackson is being progn...

Review: Michael Jackson, ‘Xscape’ Proves To Be A Much Better Than Expected Posthumous Album

5/15/2014 8:45pm EDT
Michael Jackson, ‘Xscape’
“Couldn’t have said it better myself!” – my thoughts on another new Michael Jackson album that is, as excerpted from a previous post: “Let’s not kid ourselves at all here – Michael Jackson’s most important/best work has come and gone. No questions or skepticisms whatsoever. The classic albums that the late pop/R&B star previously released are what cement his legendary status, not something like the highly anticipated, posthumously released Xscape.” Perhaps I was a bit harsh or the slightest bit too pre-judgmental, but truthfully, unless MJ had released another Thriller posthumously someho...

Review: Hunter Hayes, 'Storyline' - An Enjoyable Listen Highlighting Strengths More Often Than Not

5/13/2014 9:45pm EDT
Hunter Hayes - Storyline
With all the talk of “blurred lines” these days, young country singer/songwriter Hunter Hayes very much exemplifies that sentiment throughout his albums. His latest album, Storyline, is no different. Hayes artistically doesn’t sound like your traditional country artist. Vocally, his tone is too pure, smooth, and ‘boyish’ in sound (not negatively of course). Pop sensibility is written throughout his artistic script, much like any number of youthful country artists (Taylor Swift), hence his fan base is one that doesn’t mind if their country follows the ‘prescribed’ script line by line. Storyl...

Review: Lily Allen's, ‘Sheezus’ Has Its Flaws But Makes Artistic Statement

5/13/2014 11:30am EDT
Lily Allen - Sheezus
Sometimes, even music critics find themselves confused or ‘on the fence’ about an album. Several listens can endear that confounding album to the respective critic, or make them further question it. British alternative pop singer Lily Allen is the sort of artist who catalyzes different reactions from any number of critics. Her third studio album, Sheezus is definitely one of the more arduous to nail efforts of the year. It is bold, unapologetic, and scattered. On the other hand, there’s plenty to rave about – at least in spots – and even despite Allen’s unforgiving persona, there is a degre...

Review: Lykke Li's 'I Never Learn' Brilliantly Captures Heartbreak

5/8/2014 8:30pm EDT
Lykke Li
Love and heartbreak are a universal topic, regardless of what place or walk of life you come from. Crafting the perfect or near-perfect heartbreak album, then, shouldn’t be a difficult task. Unfortunately, that is not the case, as making a truly distinct, thoughtfully crafted breakup album requires skill. Swedish alternative-pop singer Lykke Li luckily possesses the talents to craft that caliber of album, doing so exceptionally on I Never Learn. In the brief period of about 33 minutes, Lykke Li is able to produce one of the year’s very best albums genre aside, no questions asked. Though her...

Could Mariah Carey’s New Album Flop?

5/3/2014 4:00pm EDT
Mariah Carey
Years ago, the notion that one of today’s most gifted, preeminent artists could release an album that could potentially ‘flop’ would have been laughable – absurd. However, as R&B/pop diva Mariah Carey continually prolonged her long-awaited follow-up to the underperforming, oddly titled Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel, one has to wonder if the album even has a shot. That’s not throwing shade towards Carey or diminishing her immense musical gifts, but several factors make a once surefire bet a potential big-time underdog.

Delayed albums have a history of underwhelming sales. Honestly, this...

Review: Eli Paperboy Reed, 'Nights Like This'

5/1/2014 7:45pm EDT
Nights Like This
Reed’s latest LP finds the soulful singer updating his sound

Retro-soul music isn’t exactly the most lucrative style of music in 2014 (neither is R&B for that matter, LOL). Sure, the preservation of soul is incredibly important, but it doesn’t sell many albums nor ignite the airwaves. There have been exceptions mind you as a couple of retro-inspired R&B singles have enjoyed radio success as of late – namely “Happy” (Pharrell Williams) and “The Man” (Aloe Blacc). Otherwise, retro-/ and neo-soul styles aren’t the best means of financially setting up one’s career. That seems to be the thinkin...

Review: Neon Trees, 'Pop Psychology'

5/1/2014 10:04am EDT
Review: Neon Trees, 'Pop Psychology'
Neon Trees do neo-new wave up right on third LP Pop Psychology

“Sleeping With a Friend” was the first thing that caught my eye about alternative band Neon Trees’ third LP, Pop Psychology. The cover of the latest album didn’t hurt, but having never heard the single, the title itself was enough to grasp my interest – DON’T JUDGE ME! After all, don’t they say that ‘sex sells’? But honestly, that’s beside the point, and “Sleeping With A Friend” is definitely much tamer than had it been performed by an R&B or rap artist – that’s almost definitely a blessing. What Pop Psychology does have tha...