CD Reviews

We Think You'll Enjoy Elton John's 'Wonderful Crazy Night'

2/11/2016 8:00am EST
Elton John Expands His Legacy On 'Wonderful Crazy Night'
New albums by veteran musicians aren’t typically as highly anticipated as those by contemporary musicians. That’s unfortunate considering many new albums by veterans clearly inspire the listener with the greatness and musicianship the artist retains following an illustrious musical career. That is the case with Elton John who hasn’t been nearly as popular as he once was in some time, but continues to deliver quality music. Wonderful Crazy Night further expands upon John’s unquestionable legacy, arguably besting his previous studio album in exceptionalness (The Diving Board, 2013).


Does Future’s 'EVOL' Impress?

2/10/2016 6:40pm EST
Future Remains Consistent On Surprise New Album 'EVOL'
“Look like I stepped on the runway / they try to tell me to calm down / peep how I came in the game and I started rocking that Tom Ford.” Sigh, there’s nothing more intriguing than an unlikely star, and that’s exactly what Future has become. 2015 was a breakout year for the rapper who looks to keep the momentum rolling in 2016. Does he get the job done with surprise album EVOL? For the most part, he picks up where DS2 and What A Time Be Alive left off.

The aforementioned quote hails from opener “Ain’t No Time,” which sets the tone for EVOL much like “Thought It Was Drought” would for DS2....

Does Wiz Khalifa Hit The Mark On His Sixth Album 'Khalifa'?

2/8/2016 12:40pm EST
Wiz Khalifa Doesn’t Switch Things Up On Sixth Album 'Khalifa'
Everybody’s favorite weed-loving pop-rapper is back! Yes, that would be the one and only Wiz Khalifa who for years has professed a love through his rhymes about “Mary Jane.” On his sixth studio album Khalifa, Wiz continues to reference his love of marijuana (“Smoke weed everyday”), but also spits about his come-up and includes a touching moment when young son Sebastian. The question is is Khalifa vastly different or ‘brand new’ compared to Wiz’s discography? No, not really; he doesn’t dramatically switch things up on Khalifa.

“BTS” is a solid opener, but not life changing. Wiz raps about ...

Charlie Puth Shows Potential On 'Nine Track Mind'

2/4/2016 9:09am EST
Charlie Puth Shows Potential, Lacks Oomph On 'Nine Track Mind'
It must be good to be Charlie Puth right now. WHO is Charlie Puth you ask? Oh, he’s just the piano-playing, pop dude who delivered one of 2015’s biggest hits, “See You Again” alongside Wiz Khalifa. After earning Grammy nominations for his breakthrough pop hit, the 23-year old newcomer drops his debut album Nine Track Mind. Listening to the album, Puth’s potential is apparent; so are the flaws.

“One Call Away” is a respectable start but don’t call it a spirited salvo; it lacks a bit of the killer instinct an opener should possess. For all of Puth’s efforts to rise to “soaring heights,” “...

How Does Sia's Latest Album 'This Is Acting' Stack Up?

2/3/2016 2:45pm EST
Sia Showcases Moments Of Greatness And Flaws On 'This Is Acting'
2014 was a fantastic year for Australian singer/songwriter Sia. She released a number one album (1000 Forms of Fear) and scored two hit singles, most notably the Grammy-nominated “Chandelier.” Less than two years later, Sia returns with another new album, This Is Acting. There’s a catch though – most of the songs written by the songwriter were intended for other artists, not Sia herself. That said, sometimes Sia sounds superb and other times song and singer isn’t a perfect match.

“Bird Set Free” kicks the album off respectably. A soaring pop ballad, “Bird Set Free” shows off Sia’s powerh...

Rihanna Returns From A 4-year Hiatus With ‘Anti’

2/1/2016 9:00am EST
Review: Rihanna Switches Things Up On 'Anti'
Following an uncharacteristic four-year hiatus, Rihanna returns with the oddest album of her decade-long career, Anti. Unlike previous albums jam-packed with hits, Anti lacks the catchy gems that made her a superstar. Even with a lack of surefire hits, Anti ends up being a compelling listen that will likely have to ‘grown on’ some listeners.

“I got to do things my own way, darling / Will you let me?” Hmm, what’s the best reaction to opener “Consideration” (featuring SZA)? Perhaps WTF is appropriate, considering this is Rihanna like we’ve never seen before. It settles in more with successi...

Trevor Moran Shows Great Potential On 'Alive'

1/28/2016 6:00pm EST
Album Review: Trevor Moran Shows Great Potential On 'Alive'
On an EP, there is little room for error? Why – because it’s a brief snapshot into what an artist can offer. The EP has become popular because it is a preview of what is potentially to come from an artist. On his second EP Alive, beloved teen YouTube personality and recording artist Trevor Moran shows he has plenty to offer as an artist. Alive isn’t transcendent or anything along those lines (can a five-song EP be transcendent), but Moran has things rolling out right.

“Let’s Roll” kicks things off fiercely, with Moran’s feisty attitude translating clear as day from his YouTube channel. In ...

How Does Tank's Album 'Sex, Love & Pain II' Stack Up

1/25/2016 9:21am EST
Tank Is Too Reliant On Trendiness On 'Sex Love & Pain II'
Following his tepidly selling, so-so 2014 album (Stronger), R&B singer/songwriter Durrell Babbs – best know as Tank – returns with Sex Love & Pain II, a follow-up to his Grammy-nominated original, Sex Love & Pain. A talented vocalist who’s penned songs for numerous artists, how does Tank’s latest effort measure up? Well…sometimes it’s great or, at least, respectable, while others it relies too much on trendiness and that god-awful thing known as conformity.

“SLP2” kicks things off lusciously, truly foreshadowing the pronounced role of sex on the album. Not a bad opener, it’s sophomore cut...

Anderson Paak Electrifies On Breakthrough 'Malibu'

1/22/2016 1:54pm EST
Anderson Paak's Latest Album 'Malibu' Shows He’s Clearly An Arti
Sometimes it only takes a narrow opening to achieve greater success. For Anderson Paak, guesting on prominent West Coast rapper’s albums (Dr. Dre’s Compton and The Game’s The Documentary 2) has certainly elevated the talented R&B singer, rapper, and producer’s profile. Given his elevated status, Paak takes it and runs with it on his superb album, Malibu, clearly one of the early triumphs of 2016.

“The Bird” kick starts Malibu soulfully, clearly embracing a throwback vibe. The chorus isn’t the catchiest ever, it’s poetically penned: “A bird with a word came to me / the sweetness of a honeyc...

Panic! At The Disco's 'Death of a Bachelor' Is Eccentrically Brilliant

1/17/2016 12:46pm EST
Panic! At The Disco's 'Death of a Bachelor' Is Eccentrically Bri
Brendon Urie is eccentric – no ifs, ands or buts about it! Eccentricity is what we love about Urie, aka Panic! At The Disco. As the final member of the eclectic alternative collective, Urie doesn’t miss a beat on Panic’s fifth studio album, Death of a Bachelor. If anything, Death of a Bachelor proves to be the band’s most ambitious effort yet.

Single “Victorious” gives Death of a Bachelor a fierce opening salvo, setting the tone for the entire course. All things unite terrifically: Urie’s left of center lyrics, his monstrously epic pipes, and terrific production work. This is Panic! At ...