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BEYONCE: I Am … Sasha Fierce

Reviewed by Genesis Godoy, 16, Environmental Charter HS (Lawndale)

As a Beyoncé fan, I bought the album “I Am … Sasha Fierce” the day it was released on iTunes, exactly at 12:07 a.m. But as I listened to the album, I was disappointed. “I Am … Sasha Fierce,” Beyoncé’s third solo album, consists of two discs. The “I Am …” disc contains ballads revealing Beyoncé’s beautiful voice. Yet, the songs lacked creativity and soul. On the “Sasha Fierce” disc you will find a hip-hop vibe. But instead of making you dance, the songs on the “Sasha Fierce” disc make you want to turn back to her old Destiny’s Child days.

Her first single “If I Were a Boy” had strong vocals and good lyrics, which made it appealing. “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” was her second single and its fun beat made me anxious to see what the rest of the album was all about. To my surprise, the album was a disaster because of the meaningless lyrics and repetitive beats.

The worst song is “Diva.” Just imagine “Na na na diva is a female version of a hustla/ Getting money, divas getting money” repeated throughout the song. “Video Phone” is another pointless song with a beat that gives me a headache. The songs were so terrible I couldn’t listen to them again after the first time.

Before, Beyoncé actually created songs with good lyrics and extremely catchy beats. How can we forget her first solo hit “Crazy in Love” or every girl’s heartbreak anthem “Me, Myself and I.” I still think that Beyoncé is talented; she just didn’t work hard enough on this album.

JANELLE MONAE: Metropolis: The Chase Suite

Reviewed by Sharon Kim, 18, Beverly Hills HS

Janelle Monáe’s debut album, Metropolis: The Chase Suite, transports us to another world, a futuristic city called Metropolis that faces the same problems we face. On this concept album, Cindi Mayweather (a cyborg) flees her city after being found guilty of falling in love with a human, something strictly forbidden in Metropolis.

The music on Metropolis is influenced by different genres like classical, soul, opera and pop. Monáe blends these types of music so well that it’s impossible to say this is just a pop or soul album. Being a huge fan of classical music and opera, this CD’s instrumental compositions took my breath away. I was surprised by the balance of powerful vocals and harmonic instrumentals.

Each song reflects a different mood and tells a different story. “Many Moons,” my favorite song, is energetic and upbeat. In “Cybertronic Purgatory,” Cindi sorrowfully bids farewell to her lover. At the end of the song, her haunting voice loses strength and fades away.

Monáe fearlessly reveals her political views in “Sincerely, Jane” and “Mr. President.” In “Sincerely, Jane” she addresses violence and teen pregnancy. “These kids round killing each other, they lost they minds, they gone/ They quittin’ school, making babies and can barely read/ Some gone off to their fall.” Monáe explains her dissatisfaction with George W. Bush in “Mr. President.”

Metropolis is a complex album and I pick up new things every time I listen to it. Even though its influences are what most younger listeners would call “old,” her sound is fresh and captivating.

AC/DC: Black Ice

Reviewed by Rene Franco, 16, Providence HS (Burbank)

AC/DC’s Black Ice takes me back to the glory days of rock n’ roll when it stood as the reigning symbol of rebellion. I think that modern bands such as Fall Out Boy, Nickelback and Hinder have taken away much of the brute force of rock established by Led Zeppelin, The Who and AC/DC in the 70s. Black Ice is a 15-track kick in the chest that sticks to AC/DC’s formula of simple, crowd-pleasing rock n’ roll.

The lyrics on all the songs on Black Ice (as well as most AC/DC songs) can be broken down into three categories: 1) scoring gorgeous women 2) partying 3) rocking out, typically with the word “rock” somewhere in the title. But who listens to AC/DC for the lyrics anyway?

My favorite song is “Rock ’N Roll Train.” Its powerhouse chorus and Angus Young’s guitar riffs make you feel like the song is being played live. The song “Big Jack” is a funky jam with catchy riffs that sounds like something off of the band’s legendary 1980 album, Back in Black. “War Machine” is an epic song that thunders with Young’s breakneck solos.

If Black Ice has any message it’s this: keep rocking. That message goes a long way for an adrenaline junkie like me. The energy emitted by these old geezers is more than enough to get me through a pile of homework. Having Angus Young along for the ride instantly makes me forget that I have problems that are beyond my control. And that is what rock n’ roll is supposed to be about. AC/DC is proof that classic rock n’ roll won’t go away anytime soon.