PARTY OF FIVE
After the unbridled success of 2011’s infectious hit single “Moves Like Jagger,” lust-pop kings Maroon 5 appear adamant on recreating similarly revenue-inducing moments in their latest album, “V.” Employing a host of bigshot producers to help them justify the hype, the band stays well within their comfort zone throughout an album that is jammed with energetic, pristine pop songs with catchy—and cringe worthy lyrics. “Only In Your Pocket” is a classic example as Levine shamelessly sings, “Show me yours, I’ll show you mine!” If you’re looking for anything more than skin deep on this album, you are unlikely to find it. However, the falsetto-crooning front man Levine appears to still have the skills to pay the bills.
TROUBLE IN PARADISE
Five years between a smash debut and an eagerly awaited follow-up is an almost tortuous amount of time yet La Roux has somehow made it worth the wait. While reasons for the delay were numerous, they no longer matter. “Trouble in Paradise” builds on the ‘80s nostalgia so vividly apparent in La Roux’s debut album and is an earnest tapestry of tributes to the best of an era, creatively executed with talents and sonic originality.
Facing tough competition from younger, edgier pop prodigies such as Ed Sheeran, 37-year-old Mraz’ new album is more softly spoken than you might hope. Featuring subtle arrangements and harmonies from LA band “Raining Jane,” the album showcases a reflective Mraz who ponders “Every time I hear music they’ve added more stuff to it” in “Quiet.” Ironically, the somewhat lackluster “YES!” could probably benefit from taking this advice.
When The Kooks front man Luke Pritchard described their upcoming release as a “world music album,” the scraggly-haired singer had many people worried. However, in actuality, the indie group’s fourth album is a fun and unapologetically retro offering, using vintage instruments to inspire the listener to dream of a bygone era.
WORLD PEACE IS NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS
Another few years down the line and Morrissey has returned in typically divisive form. Having been busy writing an autobiography that became the fastestselling memoir of all time, he has delivered yet another enjoyable album that laments over a socially unjust and trivial world. A stage-stomping indie rock formula, accessorized with synonymous Latin accents, provides the background for Morrissey’s trademark hollering. A couple of album highlights include the superbly melodic “Istanbul” and “Oboe Concert.”
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