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Reviewed by Jacky Garcia, 15, Lynwood HS

Cute Is What We Aim For’s sound has really changed with the indie band’s second album Rotation. With this album, they paid more attention to making whole songs great, instead of just having catchy hooks. And I like how their songs are not all about breakups or depressing things. They sing about trying to be a better person, crime, the nice side of love and the obsession with fame.

One of my favorite songs is “Hollywood.” While everyone is so obsessed with being famous, lead singer Shaant Hacikyan wishes things could go back to how they used to be. “The way we’re living makes no sense/ Take me back to the age of innocence.” The variety of sounds—Latin-style trumpets and horns and a rap-like verse—makes the song more interesting, instead of the usual guitar and drums.

Another great song is “The Lock Down Denial.” This song is about how Hacikyan imagines life behind bars and being on trial. At the beginning of the song, there are sounds from a courtroom, which give the song more meaning. “So I served time for my addiction/ I pay the price for my affliction/ A judge took my life with this conviction/ For the last time.” This song has awesome guitar and drums. I can rock out to it all day!

Overall, the band has matured. Their lyrics are about more important things, and the band’s sound has gone from boy-bandish to more sophisticated. I really love this album.

UNDEROATH: Lost in the Sound of Separation

Reviewed by Carla Love, 15, College-Ready Academy HS #6

Underoath’s Lost in the Sound of Separation is the Christian metal group’s highly anticipated fourth studio release. It features 11 amazing tracks and critics say it is one of the band’s more experimental albums.

The bass and keyboard are more distinguishable than on their previous records, but I would not say it is experimental. It’s true to the music the band has been making but the lyrics are better because of the experiences that the band has gone through.

The album starts off with “Breathing In A New Mentality.” It’s a song with clashing drums and screaming vocals. It has a very in-your-face, messy intro but the album only gets better with each track.

“Desperate Times Desperate Measures” is the album’s ear-splitting pleasure. With screams and belting of awesome lyrics: “God, where have I been?/ I’m terrible company/ With zero apologies,” it is one of their best singles.

The next song, “Too Bright To See, Too Loud To Hear,” has wonderful, ambiguous lyrics, “Good God, if Your song leaves our lips/ If Your work leaves our hands/ Then we will be wonders and vagabonds.” I love the melody because it takes me to a serene place.

Every time I listen to this album I become so hypnotized by the vocals and the harmonious sounds. For a band that pulled out of the 2006 Warped Tour due to differences and dealing with a member with substance abuse problems, Underoath came out with one of the most brilliant albums ever.

OASIS: Dig Out Your Soul

Reviewed by Jasper Nahid, 14, New Roads School (Santa Monica)

Oasis’ Dig Out Your Soul is what you would expect from a veteran rock band’s seventh album: mostly solid and well produced. The whole album flows together, from upbeat songs to slower, more typical Oasis songs, and back again. There were some great songs with a lot of emotion but there were also several songs that fell flat.

The first time I listened to the album all the songs reminded me of classic rock groups like The Beatles, Queen and AC/DC. I liked the retro sound. In “I’m Outta Time” the melody has a Beatles sound like Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

The album starts out with raw, energetic singles like “Bag it Up” and “The Shock of the Lightning,” which sound like Oasis, but with a bigger, rougher, guitar-heavy sound. I really liked the strong beat and Southern sound in “(Get Off Your) High Horse Lady.”

Mixed in are more melodic songs like “Falling Down,” which is classic Oasis—light on the guitar and heavy on the vocals, which makes it intense. It’s the music I listen to in my headphones when I want to hear all the sounds that are going on in the song.

One song that annoyed me was “The Turning.” The “wooh” that is repeated throughout most of the song made me want to bang my head against a wall.

If you like Oasis, you should definitely buy this album. It doesn’t have a huge hit single like “Wonderwall” but Oasis certainly doesn’t seem burned out yet.