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CD: Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme

Reviewed by Lia Dun
17, Marshall HS

I always got annoyed when my father played the music of 60s folk duo Simon and Garfunkel on our living room stereo. I always turned off his “old people music” and switched the radio to KIIS 102.7. But one day, he made me listen to the entire Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme CD. By the end, I was shocked to find that I enjoyed their music.

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme is unlike most of the music on the radio today. There are no cheesy love songs (I hate love songs. They’re lame.), and the lyrics do not resort to clichés but experiment with language.  “The Dangling Conversation,” is about a disintegrating relationship: “You’re a stranger now unto me/ Lost in the dangling conversation/ And the superficial sighs/ In the borders of our lives.”

My favorite song, “A Poem on the Underground Wall,” is about a man lurking in a subway station. The song starts with a light tapping that sounds like train wheels moving across the tracks. I also love the lyrics—“And the train is gone suddenly/ On wheels clicking silently/ Like a gently tapping litany/ And he holds his crayon rosary/ Tighter in his hand”—because their descriptions are so specific. Most of all, the song is a story that builds up to an exciting surprise ending that I won’t reveal here.

The other songs are also excellent. Two of my other favorites are “Cloudy” and “Homeward Bound” because the lyrics are so vivid. The only song I didn’t like is “7 O’Clock News/ Silent Night” because I think it tries to hard to make a point about politics. Overall, though, I thought the songs were incredibly well-written and I really enjoyed the folk-sound because it’s different than the music I usually listen to.

CD: Ocean Eyes

Reviewed by Michelle Ruan
17, Alhambra HS

If an insomniac poet were to make an album, it would sound exactly like Owl City’s third album, Ocean Eyes. With soft melodies and explosive images along with Shel Silverstein-like lyrics, the album is easy to fall in love with. The name, Owl City, may sound like a group, but it’s just one guy named Adam Young.

The album has a happy-go-lucky vibe. Some people argue that the lyrics can sometimes be on the corny side, like “the spaces between my fingers are right where yours fit perfectly.” I like them because even if they are blush worthy, I would love for someone to sing this to me. Wouldn’t you?

Songs that are must-listens are “The Saltwater Room,” “Fireflies” and “Vanilla Twilight.” “The Saltwater Room” is about missing someone and overloads on corny lyrics, so be prepared to swoon. The radio favorite “Fireflies” has a fantasy feel with its whimsical lyrics, “I’d get a thousand hugs/ from ten thousand lightning bugs/ as they tried to teach me how to dance,” making me want to join in the fun and dance the whole night away. “Vanilla Twilight” gave me an urge to sit outside my house and watch the stars with that special someone.

“If My Heart Was A House,” which is included on the iTunes version of the album, really hit the romantic meter; I kept imagining the days when we all waited for our Prince Charming.

So, if it’s nighttime or anytime, pop Ocean Eyes into your CD player. You won’t regret it as Young’s soft voice washes your troubles away and sweeps you into Owl City’s world.

CD: When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Sh** Gold

Reviewed by Brett Hicks
18, Loyola HS

Hip-hop duo Atmosphere’s fifth album When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Sh** Gold is excellent. The Minneapolis pair Ant and Slug deliver perfect rhymes and amazing choruses that keep me listening to their songs over and over.

I began listening to Atmosphere last summer and I wish I had discovered them earlier. This album has incredible songs such as “Dreamer,” “Shoulda Known,” “Yesterday” and “You.” Each song tells a different story that captivated me by the first verse.

My favorite songs, “Shoulda Known” and “Yesterday,” deal with important issues of everyday people. “Shoulda Known” is about a man who realizes that he is in love with a drug addict. He is not sure whether to leave her because he still loves her. He can’t deny it because even if he doesn’t see her use drugs, he sees the effects of her drug abuse, “And when we get there/ You can sit there and stare/ From behind your mascara and thick hair.” I like this song because the beat is good and it’s unique because I don’t usually hear rap songs about drug addicts.

“Yesterday” is the story of a man who has a vision of his dead father. It makes the young man wish he could have sat down with his dad to patch things up from their difficult relationship when he was alive. This song is inspirational because even though his father is gone, he still feels connected to him.

Atmosphere is one of my favorite hip-hop groups. I can’t wait for their next album.

CD: Zee Avi

Reviewed by Meagan Almazan
16, Warren HS (Downey)

With unique and jazzy songs, Zee Avi’s debut album, Zee Avi, is delightful. Avi’s soulful and sweet voice is sure to grab and keep your attention.

The album has upbeat and catchy songs like “Darling” and “Just You and Me,” and brooding numbers such as “Is This the End” and “I Am Me Once More.” Avi sings stories of love, loss and slice-of-life experiences, showing her realistic and dark view on life.

Avi rhymes English with her native Malaysian language, Malay, like in the song Kantoi: “Tapi last kita tau/ She was cheating too.” (Which translates to: “But in the end we found out/ She was cheating too.”) The song is about men who cheat and have to face the consequences of karma. She combines her more moody songs with cheerful melodies. “Bitter Heart,” a song about a rocky relationship in which one lover is frustrated with the other, is my favorite. The melody of Avi’s voice with the soft piano, simple lyrics and the rhythm of the guitar makes “Bitter Heart” a number hard to resist.

The most appealing part of Avi’s album is the simplicity of her songs like “First of the Gang.” The lyrics, “You have never been in love/ Till you see the stars/ Reflected in the resevoirs,” accompanied by only the guitar, deliver a refreshing feeling. The song is about the beauty of nature being a retreat from the complications of life.

While Zee Avi is not an album with electrifying beats that you can dance to, the smooth songs are moving with simple yet deep meanings.

CD: Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel

Reviewed by Michelle Ruan
17, Alhambra HS

I’m not the biggest Mariah Carey fan out there, but I loved The Emancipation of Mimi and hoped that I would feel the same about her latest album, Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel. I was disappointed because it was a good album for an average singer, but from Mariah, I expected more. 

I liked only three songs: “H.A.T.E.U.,” “Inseparable” and “The Impossible.” “H.A.T.E.U.” talks about how she just wants to hate a guy, but can’t because she still loves him. She sings in a low voice, making it sound like she’s whispering her secret that she doesn’t really hate him but finds it frustrating that the relationship ended the way it did. “Inseparable” showcases her strong vocals, reminding me of one of her famous ballads, “Hero.” “The Impossible” is a slow ballad that is twice as addictive as Twix candy bars and just as sweet.

The popular single “Obsessed” was OK, but after listening to it repeatedly, the “oh, oh, oh”s began to grate on me. I wish that she had put the same amount of emotion as she had when singing “H.A.T.E.U.” into every one of her songs. Coasting through the album with soft murmurs, a breathy voice and lyrics such as “But some days I sit and wish we was in love again” from “Candy Bling” make her seem desperate to appear young and fresh.

Even if the lyrics are mediocre, these songs are stories that everyone has in their life of first loves, heartbreak and renewal. This CD is her way of telling us that she’s like us—an “imperfect angel.”