Category Archives: CD reviews

Under Review: Beck, ‘Morning Phase’

“Morning Phase” is Beck’s first album in five years and it’s an echo of an album from 12 years ago. But like an echo, the reflection lacks some of the definition that made the original what it was. “Sea Change” … Continue reading

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Under Review: Broken Bells, ‘After the Disco’

James Mercer’s best quality as a songwriter is that he knows how to write a great pop song. With his indie rock band, The Shins, those songs are masked in shimmering guitar and folk rock sounds. With Broken Bells, you … Continue reading

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Under Review: Britney Spears, ‘Britney Jean’

“There was a time that I was one of a kind,” Britney Spears sings in the opening lines of her new record. Yeah, there was a time. It was 1999 and she was the reigning ruler of pop at the … Continue reading

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Under Review: Lady Gaga, ‘ARTPOP’

There was a time when a new Lady Gaga album would drop a new album and we’d dance around our living rooms and at the clubs and in our cars to her latest litany of catchy dance tracks. This is … Continue reading

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Under Review: Eminem, ‘The Marshall Mathers LP 2′

Sequels are almost never a good idea. And with ”The Marshall Mathers LP” being generally considered one of the best hip-hop albums of all time, who thought that “The Marshall Mathers LP 2″ was a good idea? Well, Eminem did. He … Continue reading

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Under Review: Bright Eyes, ‘A Christmas Album’ (reissue)

More than a decade ago, Bright Eyes put out its 11-song album of Christmas classics somewhat quietly. Until this week, the album was only ever available from the Saddle Creek Records online store. “A Christmas Album” has been a holiday … Continue reading

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Under Review: Arcade Fire, ‘Reflektor’

Arcade Fire is searching for an identity. Are they the grandiose rockers of our time — today’s analog to 1991’s U2? Or are they another dance-rock band? Maybe do they want to become a guitar rock/trip hop hybrid? With LCD … Continue reading

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Under Review: The Avett Brothers, “Magpie and the Dandelion”

The most reliable artist producing good folk music is not Mumford & Sons and it’s not Bob Dylan. It’s actually the other band that performed with those notable names on The Grammys a couple years back: The Avett Brothers. But … Continue reading

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Under Review: Katy Perry, ‘PRISM’

Katy Perry’s power lies in singable pop anthems that just won’t leave our brains — and we’re OK with that. That’s lead-off track (and the song we’ve already heard a thousand times) “Roar” in essence: an inspirational earworm that we just want … Continue reading

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Under Review: The Head and the Heart, ‘Let’s Be Still’

The Head and the Heart have a lot to live up to. What started as an open mic project grew into a band that started selling out rock clubs and storming festivals with campfire folk and foot-stamping dance. (And the … Continue reading

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