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CD: Ceremonials

Reviewed by Christian Santiago
18, Santa Monica College

Florence + the Machine’s latest album, Ceremonials, was my favorite album of 2011. There was a lot of pressure on Florence Welch and her band to come out with new music that would be just as good as their first album, Lungs. The band stays true to their sound but Welch’s lyrics have become more personal. Ceremonials is a masterpiece.

The first track, “Only If for a Night,” is my favorite on the album. She sings, “I heard your voice clear as day/ And you told me I should concentrate/ It was so strange and so surreal/ That a ghost should be so practical.” In an interview she said she had a dream of her late grandmother telling her to concentrate on her career. I find it beautiful how honest she was.

Welch uses religious references to portray the difficulties in her life on both albums, but you hear it more on Ceremonials. In “Shake It Out,” she chants, “Shake it out, shake it out, oh whoa/ And it’s hard to dance with a devil on your back/ So shake him off, oh whoa.” Lyrics like “It’s always darkest before the dawn” send a great message about moving on from your past or a sad place.

In “Breaking Down,” her voice is slower. Welch sings in a soft voice until the last two lines, when she shouts, “I think I’m breaking down again, Oh, I think I’m breaking down,” showing her frustration.

On this album you get to know more about Welch. The more I listen to this album, the more in love I am with Welch’s imagination. 

CD: Smile, It’s the End of the World 

Reviewed by Kiera Peltz
18, CHAMPS (Van Nuys)

Whatever mood I’m in, I always like sad, slow music because I find peace in the lyrics. That’s why Hawk Nelson’s Smile, It’s the End of the World is one of my favorite albums. Filled with songs about the meaning of life, disappointments and living up to others’ expectations, the album touches on sensitive subjects I struggle with every day.

One of my favorite songs, “Everything You Ever Wanted,” blasts a strong beat while pumping out powerful lyrics. When lead singer Jason Dunn sings, “I tried to be perfect/ Tried to be honest/ Tried to be everything that you ever wanted,” I’m brought back to a time when I tried so hard to earn my father’s approval and love. This song helped me cope with the harsh reality of never having my father love me back and made me realize it wasn’t my fault.

While I usually prefer slow and sad songs, the fast-paced and upbeat songs on this album, like “Head on Collision,” still make me think about my life. Dunn sings, “Let’s go/ Back to the days when we were young and not restless/ We still believed and hadn’t built our defenses.” When I think about leaving my childhood behind, I wish nothing more than to go back to when I didn’t understand that people will hurt me or the stresses of getting into a good college. 

Hawk Nelson’s Smile, It’s the End of the World focuses on issues all teenagers deal with. Listening to this album helps me deal with my problems.

CD: Sorry for Party Rocking

Reviewed by Jennifer Gonzales-Romero
19, University of La Verne

When I first heard “Party Rock Anthem” on the radio, I got excited because that meant LMFAO was finally coming out with new music. I looked up some of their new songs on YouTube and fell in love with them. I bought the CD, Sorry for Party Rocking, on iTunes as soon as it came out. 

The album’s second song is “Sorry for Party Rocking.” Redfoo and Sky Blu sing “People always say that my music’s loud/ Sorry for party rocking/ Neighbors complain saying ‘turn it down’/ Sorry for party rocking.” I can’t help but blast this song on my car radio whenever I’m driving around.

I also love that I can dance to a lot of their songs. My friend Alex and I love to get crazy at the “wiggle” part of “Sexy and I Know It.” LMFAO also has good shuffling songs like “Champagne Showers” and “Party Rock Anthem.” I don’t know how to shuffle, but whenever I hear those songs I wish I knew how. 

Other than “party rock” music, LMFAO also writes good love songs like “Best Night” and “One Day.” In “One Day” they sing, “When I get you girl, you’re gonna be so in love with me/ Every day we gonna play what’s your fantasy/ Every night I think of you in every way/ And when I get you, I’m going to celebrate/ Cuz I’m going to get you one day.” Whenever I hear this song I get hopeful about one day finding that special person.

Some people may complain about LMFAO’s music being too autotuned, but I think that if people don’t like their music then they shouldn’t listen to it. LMFAO’s album makes you want to get up and dance. I hope they continue making party rock music.