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Reviewed by Francisco Sandoval, 16, Nogales HS (La Puente)

I love and I hate Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter III. It’s got awesome beats and an intense flow, but lyrically it’s nothing more than an excuse for Lil Wayne to brag about himself. Lil Wayne just proclaims over and over again that he’s the best. He never raps about life’s issues, such as poverty or his personal life, the way Lupe Fiasco or Kanye West do.

The best song on the album is “A Milli,” an energetic song in which Lil Wayne flaunts his millions and claims that he’s one of a kind. “Dare me/ Don’t u compare me/ Cause there ain’t nobody near me.” Unfortunately, the production tends to get a little annoying with the constant repetition of the phrase “A Milli.”

On “Mr. Carter,” Lil Wayne raps alongside hip hop legend Jay-Z. Lil Wayne boldly compares himself to other hip hop greats: “And next time you mention Pac, Biggie, and Jay-Z/ Don’t forget Weezy baby.” It will take him a few more great albums until he can compare to them.
The song I can’t stand is “Lollipop.” It’s annoying and nothing but a sexual innuendo, “Shawty wanna li-li-li-lick me/ like a lollipop.” Songs like this give people the idea that most rappers have only sex on their minds.

Lil Wayne may claim to be the best but I disagree. I hoped this would be the best album of 2008 like many critics claim, but once I listened carefully I found out this wasn’t true. But in the end even though the lyrics are weak, I really love the beats.

ALESANA: Where Myth Fades to Legend

Reviewed by Brett Hicks, 16, Loyola HS

Emo/screamo band Alesana’s sophomore album Where Myth Fades to Legend was the album I was most looking forward to hearing this year. This album is way more exciting than the band’s debut album On Frail Wings of Vanity and Wax.

Alesana sings and screams fantastical stories both well-known and unusual. In an interview with the band that I saw online, I learned that the first track, “This is Usually the Part Where People Scream,” is about a man who is in love with a woman, and then finds out he’s a cannibal. The song is an internal struggle to let her live or to eat her.

The thing I liked was that Shaun Milke (vocalist) sings more than on their first album, rather than Dennis Lee (lead vocalist) and his screaming. The instruments generate rhythmic sounds that give me goosebumps. The guitar riffs are exciting and loud, and Lee’s screaming makes my heart beat quickly.  

Tracks such as “The Uninvited Thirteenth” and “Obsession is Such an Ugly Word” are different from the other songs on the album because in the middle of each song the music changes completely. It feels as if you aren’t even listening to the same song! I was in awe and confused, which I enjoyed.

Love is a main theme on the album. In “All Night Dance Parties in the Underground Palace,” Milke sings about his love to his girlfriend, “the stars are for you my angel.” 

This is the greatest album I have ever listened to. Each track makes me feel as if I’m in a different world with different possibilities!


Reviewed by Samantha Richards, 16, Sherman Oaks Center for Enriched Studies

After the first few seconds of listening to “Standing Still,” on Billy Boy on Poison’s first EP Sweet Mess, I was instantly captivated by the band’s unique sound, a fusion of hard rock with indie-like qualities. I couldn’t peel away from my iPod because their music had me in a haze.

Songs like “Dirty Bomb” and “On My Way” have lyrics about teen angst and rebellion (“Parents just don’t understand” from “Dirty Bomb”) set to a sound that exhibits a rebirth of the New York Dolls punkish edginess. Featuring killer guitar solos along with the mesmerizing voice and screams of lead singer, Davis LeDuke, Sweet Mess is distinctive from typical indie rock.

When I caught one of their shows at The Whisky this summer, the audience jumped up and down, swishing their hair and banging their heads to the fast beats and rhythms.

One of the reasons why I enjoy this band’s music so much is because I can relate. The band members are still in high school and because I understand the frustration and angst of teenage-dom, the songs have a personal meaning. But not all the songs depict rebellion with some badass attitude. “Angry Young Man” sounds like it would, but it’s actually about how “every young girl needs an angry young man.”

Sweet Mess only foreshadows the success to come for this band, which is still a newborn in the underground music scene.