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CD reviews (October 2008)

JASON MRAZ: We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things.

Reviewed by Janie Lee, 15, Troy HS

When I heard Jason Mraz was releasing a new album, I thought it would be impossible for him to top his sophomore album, Mr. A-Z (all of the songs are on the “Most Played” playlist on my iPod). However, his third album, We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things., stole my heart with its insightful lyrics and smooth melodies.

Unlike his last album, Mraz’s new album has many more songs with upbeat tempos. Without sounding too mainstream, he manages to make his new album more pop. Songs like “Coyotes” and “Butterfly” have an easy-to-sing-along-with chorus with a catchy beat. These songs create a great relaxing mood when I’m in the car or hanging out with my friends.

“Lucky” is my favorite song on the album, because I love the collaboration with Mraz and Colbie Caillat. It’s nice to hear the pair sing a song that sounds similar to his old style.

On “Love for a Child” he sings about his parents’ breakup. “It’s probably because when you’re young/ It’s okay to be easily ignored/ I like to believe it was all about love for a child.” It made me feel like I personally knew Mraz because he shared a part of his life in this song.

This album is close to flawless because it provides a variety of songs I can listen to depending on my mood—some of them are very deep while others are mellow. Regardless of how someone is feeling, they will be able to find comfort in Mraz’s new CD.

CHRIS BROWN: Exclusive: The Forever Edition

Reviewed by Aaron Sayago, 17, Fairfax HS

R&B phenomenon Chris Brown continues to grow more mature in The Forever Edition, the re-release of his second album, Exclusive. Brown’s enchanting voice hasn’t changed much from his self-titled first album, but his lyrics have.

In The Forever Edition, which features special guests Kayne West, will.i.am, T-Pain and more, Brown still captures the hearts of young girls, but he’s begun to sing about the always sensitive subject of sex in a mature way. In “Damage,” Brown sings about how he  cheated on his girlfriend with another girl.

Compared to his debut album, Brown has produced much better music, such as the hit “With You.” It’s a romantic song that is perfect to play during a high school prom. The 19-year-old Brown sings about his love for a special lady, showing the world that he is looking for his sweetheart. Brown sings: “Hey, little shorty, say you care for me/ you know I care for you, you know that I’ll be true,” which shows that Brown, like average teens, has to assure his love that he will be there for her.

Fast-paced tracks like “Forever,” one of four new songs on the re-release, and “Kiss Kiss,” which features T-Pain, pumped me and my friends up so much that we couldn’t help but dance to them. With fast and slow songs, The Forever Edition is a hit album that pumps up, slows down and melts my heart.

Brown’s charm is what makes me believe that he is the real thing. I feel like he’s really putting his heart into his songs. This is an album that I truly can listen to “forever.”


Reviewed by Jean Park, 15, Harvard-Westlake School (North Hollywood)

With The Game’s controversies with other rappers and run-ins with the law, he wanted to earn respect as a rapper with his third album, LAX. However, I feel like he was paying too much attention to what other people think of him and forgot to be creative.

Lyrically, Game took lots of risks by calling out other rappers like Snoop Dogg, Fat Joe and 50 Cent. He also talks about his criminal past and how he grew up in the hood, “Come to my hood (hood)/ Look at my block (block)/ That’s that project building, yeah that’s where I got shot (shot)” beginning with “LAX,” the first song. But since the music industry is full of artists singing about their difficult pasts, the lyrics were disappointing and clichéd.

Although most of his lyrics were repetitive, Game included a unique shout out for a fellow rapper, Kanye West, on the most popular song, “My Life,” which features Lil Wayne. He raps, “Sometimes I think about my life with my face down/ Then I see my sons and put on that Kanye smile/ Damn, I know his momma’s proud/ And since you helped me sell my dream, we can share my momma now.” Saying this is respectable because the message of this song is to overcome struggles and he is helping a friend overcome his mother’s death.

Despite the fact that this album featured artists like Ice Cube, Ludacris and Ne-Yo, the songs lack excitement. Game has a great mix of slow and fast beats with LAX, but the album could have been better if he did more than rap about his past struggles for 17 songs.