Fiona Apple – The Idler Wheel…

To say that Fiona Apple is eclectic is, well, an understatement. The New York based musician shows her musical aptitude and songwriting ability with her fourth studio album The Idler Wheel… I’d use the entire title of the album, but I’d rather not write an entire sentence using an album title, she is notorious for that. Ok, I’ll shut up and get to the album. The Idler Wheel is right on par with Apple’s past releases, a trendy, unique, collage of sounds. I liked the album, although I didn’t “get” a lot of it, and I think most people who say they “get” it, are full of “shit.” While she can clearly write a catchy chorus, Fiona sometimes lost me in her deep, off-timed verses that use a completely unique chord progression. I guess what I’m saying, is that people who like Fiona Apple will love this album, and people who don’t…won’t.

Final Grade – B- – 80% – Fiona Apple – The Idler Wheel…

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1. Every Single Night – 4/5

*2. Daredevil – 5/5

3. Valentine – 4/5

4. Jonathan – 3/5

5. Left Alone – 4/5

*6. Werewolf – 5/5

7. Periphery – 3/5

8. Regret – 4/5

*9. Anything We Want – 5/5

10. Hot Knife – 3/5

* Denotes Must Here Songs

First of all, if you read that title and didn’t instantly think of the 90′s dance hit, we shouldn’t be friends. Secondly, here are some albums I’m excited for, therefore you should be excited for!

1. Earl Sweatshirt – TBA – TBA

Earl Sweatshirt

Ok, so clearly not much is known about the 18 year old’s upcoming album. What we do know is that Columbia records and Earl have signed a deal giving him his own label (Tan Cressida) under the Columbia banner. What we also know is that Earl Sweatshirt may be the most gifted mc we’ve heard in a long time. Earl’s bars are intelligent, sharp, and creative, but what else would you expect from the son of a South African Poet Laureate and a UCLA law professor. Oh, p.s. you know you’re a total badass when your momma sends you away to boarding school because your raps are too offensive.

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2. Frank Ocean – Channel Orange – July, 2012

Frank Ocean

I know what you’re saying, “c’mon you moron, two OFWGKTA members in a row?” Ok, maybe you aren’t saying that. Either way, the New Orleans based crooner returns this year with his highly anticipated Sophomore effort Channel Orange. 2011′s Nostalgia Ultra was heralded by critics across the board, and it set Frank up as the go-to hook man in hip hop. Expect a review as soon as this one is released.

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3. Minus the Bear – Infinity Overhead – August, 2012

Jake Snider of Minus the Bear

“But what if I don’t like the hip hops?” (please read that in a Zoidberg voice) Have I got an album for you! Seattle’s Minus the Bear has blazed a trail for indie bands going all the way back to 2002. The ability to write songs that hold meaning, whilst being melodic and catchy is a craft that Jake Snider has mastered. If you’ve never listened to MTB do yourself a favor and check out their 2005 release Menos el Oso…or any of their albums. They are all amazing.

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4. The Killers – Battle Born – TBA

The Killers

The Killers have taken some well deserved time off since releasing 2008′s Day & Age. Prior to this hiatus, the Las Vegas based quartet and taken virtually no time off, releasing an album every two years. Since their last effort, lead singer Brandon Flowers released his first solo work Flamingo, in 2010 to stellar reviews. In a time where a lot of music is bland and substance free, Flowers and the Killers take the necessary initiative and create some of the best material available.

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5. Metallica – TBA – TBA

James Hetfield

Things we know: 1) Rick Rubin is producing. 2) Hetfield has stated he wants a “thrashy sound” 3) It will be better than Lulu. 4) With this being their 10th studio album, Metallica is still pretty badass.

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6. Muse – The 2nd Law – September, 2012

Muse

Muse is awesome. I’ll admit I’m a little biased in that regard, but I truly think Muse is the closest thing to Queen we’ve ever heard. They put out so much sound for just being three dudes from Devin, England. Every one of their previous five studio albums have been amazing. Oh, and did I mention their newest single “Survive” is the official song of the 2012 London Olympics?

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7. Baroness – Yellow & Green – July, 2012

Total manliness

Showing true signs of a prog-metal/grunge band, Baroness will be releasing a double album. I’ve just recently been listening to a lot of the Georgia quartet, but I’ve heard enough to know this new album will be a continuous punch in the face and/or balls.

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8. Bloc Party – Four – August, 2012

Bloc Party

What’s not to like about a band that pretty much sounds like they’d do just fine if it were 1986 and they were opening for Joy Division? If you don’t like riffy, guitar driven indie rock, well…you won’t much care for Bloc Party. I am partial to the genre and the band, plus it’s been four years since their last studio album. I’m ready for a new one!

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9. Ben Folds Five – TBA – TBA

Ben Folds live

The last time we heard anything from BFF, I was 11 years old. That said, I loved them then, and I love them now. I appreciate the music a little more now, other than that I’m pretty much the same.

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10. Wolfmother – TBA – TBA

Andrew Stockdale of Wolfmother

Aussies Wolfmother are a legitimate throwback rock band. Their albums are full of awesome guitar riffs, and high pitched Boston-esque vocal melodies. To me, they sound like Jimi Hendrix had sex with Led Zeppelin and The White Stripes. Good 3-way, i know. I’m pretty pumped to hear what the follow up to 2009′s Cosmic Egg.

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I could seriously go on for days with all the albums I’m excited for, but these would be the top 1o. Let me know if there are any you guys are excited for, or if I missed anything.

Adam Yauch – MCA

“Now my name is MCA I got a license to kill
I think you know what time it is, it’s time to get ill,
Now what do we have here? An outlaw and his beer?
I run this land, you understand? I made myself clear.”

MCA absolutely destroyed the mic on Paul Revere. And even though this is just one example of Adam Yauch’s lyrical aptitude, I think this verse embodied him as a rapper, and a person. He was an absolute boss. Everything I’ve ever read, or seen about him just shows his awesome character. He truly blazed a trail for rappers black and white alike. R.I.P. MCA, you were one of the good ones.

I could keep posting these all day. MCA was an absolute beast.

Its a bad idea to treat a woman poorly. Its a very bad idea to treat a 5-time grammy winner poorly. On Jones’s 2012 release “Little Broken Hearts,” the singer harbors what seems to be resentment towards someone. Whoever you are, it sucks to be you. Jones channels more of a classic vibe this time around, while still maintaining her soft, crooning, soul style that has garnered such acclaim in the first place. I’m sure a portion of the new sound could be attributed to producer Brian Burton, (aka Danger Mouse) a producer who has gained notoriety working with acts like: The Black Keys, Beck, Broken Belles, and as a part of hip-pop duo Gnarls Barkley. Norah’s lyrics are stronger than ever on LBH, (Little Broken Hearts) an area I feel has always been her strong point. One problem I’ve run into while listening to Norah Jones in the past is how sleepy the music can become. This pattern holds true on LBH. While the songs themselves are phenomenal, it can be quite the challenge to listen to the album in its entirety without dozing off and dreaming about walking hand in hand with Norah Jones on a beach somewhere while her music plays softly in the background …um…dozing off, that is all. All in all I was very happy with the album, it is definitely worth the listen. Norah Jones has yet to make a bad album in my heart, mind.

Final Grade – B – 85% – Norah Jones – Little Broken Hearts

  1. Good Morning – 4/5
  2. Say Goodbye – 4/5
  3. Little Broken Hearts – 4/5
  4. *She’s 22 – 5/5
  5. Take It Back – 3/5
  6. After the Fall – 4/5
  7. 4 Broken Hearts – 4/5
  8. *Travelin’ On – 5/5
  9. *Out on the Road – 5/5
  10. Happy Pills – 4/5
  11. *Miriam – 5/5
  12. All a Dream – 4/5

* Denotes Best Songs

J. Cole - Cole World, The Sideline Story

J. Cole finds himself in an odd scenario with his 2011 debut “Cole World – The Sideline Story.” He’s a little too mainstream for underground or indie/backpack rap fans. Yet at the same time, lyrically he’s a little too bright to be lumped in with your run-of-the-mill radio rap stars. All the genre stereotyping aside, “Cole World” is quite the debut album from the Roc-Nation wordsmith. Cole’s album is full of hard hitting bass lines, and old school feeling melodies, which only add to the allure of the album. Singles like Work Out, and Can’t Get Enough, have earned J a fair amount of air time, but tracks like Sideline Story, and Rise and Shine really help get the album off the ground. I hate to make any type of comparison with Cole to Jay Z but, (besides the obvious Rocafella connection) their lyrical aptitude are at similar levels in accordance to their respective places in their careers. Going back and listening to Jigga’s first album “Reasonable Doubt,” I think you’ll see the comparisons. If not, well, maybe I’m an idiot.

Final Grade – B – 80% – J. Cole – Cole World – The Sideline Story

  1. Intro – 3/5
  2. Dollar and a Dream III – 4/5
  3. *Can’t Get Enough (Feat. Trey Songz) – 5/5
  4. Lights Please – 3/5
  5. Interlude – 2/5
  6. *Sideline Story – 5/5
  7. Mr. Nice Watch (Feat. Jay Z) – 4/5
  8. Cole World – 4/5
  9. In the Morning (Feat. Drake) – 3/5
  10. Lost Ones – 5/5
  11. Nobody’s Perfect (Feat. Missy Elliot) – 4/5
  12. Never Told – 4/5
  13. Rise and Shine – 5/5
  14. God’s Gift – 4/5
  15. Breakdown – 4/5
  16. *Work Out – 5/5
  17. *Who Dat – 5/5
  18. Daddy’s Little Girl – 3/5*Denotes Favorite Tracks

Ellie Goulding - Bright Lights

Let me preface this review, I have had a crush on Ellie Goulding for a few months now. I tried to be as unbiased as I could be while listening to every track on her 2011 release “Bright Lights,” but I make no promises. Ahem, *clears throat*, ELLIE GOULDING IS THE MOST PERFECT WOMAN AND ALL HER SONGS ARE BEST! Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system I can be a little less moronic. My favorite thing about Ellie is her voice. I know some people don’t like it very much, but there is something about it that makes me want to listen to her sing more and more. Call it raspy, call it annoying, call it what you want, it is unique. The album definitely has bright spots and a few less than stellar songs. One particular bright spot was in her cover of Elton John’s classic “Your Song”, which Ellie kills. (Mom, if you’re reading this, kills means its good.) While Ms. Goulding is capable of beautiful melodies and deep heartfelt  lyrics like The Writer’s “Why don’t you be the Artist and make me out of clay, why don’t you be the writer, and decide the words I’ll say”, to dumpy smatterings as found in Animal “There will be no blood, and there will be no pain, I want to fall in love with you, again, again, again. Ellie, I think you could do better. All in all though, Bright Lights is an enjoyable album. Of course you get your pop-club type hits, mixed with a little indie singer-songwriter feel.

Final Grade – C+ – 78% – Ellie Goulding – Bright Lights

  1. Guns and Horses – 4/5
  2. *Starry Eyed – 5/5
  3. This Love (will be your downfall) – 3/5
  4. Under the Sheets – 4/5
  5. *The Writer 5/5
  6. Every Time You Go – 4/5
  7. Wish I Stayed 5/5
  8. Your Biggest Mistake – 3/5
  9. I’ll Hold My Breath – 3/5
  10. Salt Skin 4/5
  11. *Lights 5/5
  12. Human 3/5
  13. Little Dreams 4/5
  14. Home 4/5
  15. Animal 2/5
  16. Believe Me 3/5
  17. Your Song 5/5*Denotes must hear songs.

Hi guys and gals!

First of all, thank you for taking time out of your day to read what my stupid face has to say. Now that I’ve been about as polite as I can be, my goal of this site is to review and rate albums/artists and possibly in the future other types of media as well ( i.e. books, movies etc.) The twist I’d like to put on my blogs is that I’d only like to review/rate media my friend or strangers alike suggest to me. So, for example, if you have a song or an artist/album you like or dislike that you’d like to hear my unimportant opinion on, let me know! Whether you are contributing ideas, or just checking in sporadically to mock what I’ve written, I thank you all the same.

Thanks,
Jordan.

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