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CD reviews (September 2011)

CD: Born This Way

Reviewed by Victor Beteta
18, University HS

Lady GaGa’s Born This Way is one of my favorite albums this year. A day doesn’t go by that I don’t listen to at least one song from it. The album is a passionate and daring tale of love and acceptance. GaGa also pushes the boundaries of what a pop song is. In “Scheiße” she sings in German. “The Edge Of Glory” has a saxophone solo.

The song “Born This Way” reminds us that we are not alone. She sings about how it doesn’t matter if you’re gay, straight or bi, everyone is beautiful because that’s the way god made us. The first time I heard the song I wanted to dance to it because it’s very upbeat, and I kept singing, “ooh there ain’t no other way/ baby I was born this way.” But even if the song is abut a serious subject, she didn’t want people to be sad when they hear it; she wanted people to feel powerful and happy about who they are.

One of my favorite songs is “Americano.” In it she sings “Mis canciones son de la revolucion/ Mi corazon me duele por mi generacion” (My songs are of the revolution/ My heart aches for my generation). The song has a mariachi undertone and a techno beat that make it fun to listen to. “Yoü & I” is different from the rest of the album because it’s a country pop song. I really like that it sounded like other country pop artists such as Lady Antebellum and Taylor Swift.

GaGa’s overall message is to accept each other no matter race or sex, to be “free as your hair” (as she says in her song “Hair”) and to let go of all your fears. She’s created a dark romantic album that inspires hope and love.

CD: Original Broadway Cast Recording

Reviewed by Brian Yu
16, Walnut HS

Since I’m not a morning person, I’ve been popping in The Book of Mormon soundtrack as I get ready for school, because it’s hard to be in a bad mood when you’re listening to the cast recording of the hit Broadway musical. The play is a satire of the Mormon religion. Elder Price and Elder Cunningham, two Mormon missionaries, journey from Utah to Uganda to convert the villagers.

I like the CD because it has a range of musical styles from Broadway to rock and roll to mimicking Mormon choirs. It starts off with “Hello!,” a cheery song that pokes fun at Mormon missionaries who go door to door. The song cleverly uses chimes as a substitute for doorbells. The song includes lyrics like, “This book will change your life” when all of a sudden it is rudely interrupted by a voice shouting, “Hello, would you like to change religions? I have a free book written by Jesus.”

The songs mock and pay homage to other musicals. “You and Me (But Mostly Me)” imitates the song “Defying Gravity” from the musical Wicked, with similar themes of rising above the status quo.
The musical is incredibly filthy at times. (What else do you expect from the creators of South Park?) But despite the cussing and dirty jokes, the songs are at their core, heartwarming. It is the story of two friends and the bond that develops between them.

I wouldn’t recommend this CD if you’re offended by jokes about religion, homosexuality and racial inequality. But if you enjoy raw humor, listen to The Book of Mormon and consider yourself converted.

CD: 4

Reviewed by Merryck Dickerson
16, Pacifica Christian HS (Santa Monica)

During the American Idol season finale, I was excited to see Beyoncé perform because her album was coming out and I wasn’t too impressed with her new song, “Run The World (Girls).” It’s a great song to dance to, which she shows in the music video (she looks fierce), but it doesn’t show her vocal talent. That night on American Idol she sang “1+1,”which is a slow song that she sang flawlessly. I immediately went upstairs to listen to the song again on YouTube. By the end of the night I knew the chorus by heart.

Her new album, 4, is a perfect blend between “Run The World (Girls)” and “1+1.” The CD is technically a pop album but the song styles go from R&B with a 90s feel on songs like “Love On Top” and “Rather Die Young,” to hip-hop on “Countdown.” The album shows her growth from her first CD, Dangerously in Love, which was mostly R&B.

My favorite song is “Best Thing I Never Had,” an empowering song. She says, “Did you expect me to care?/ You don’t deserve my tears/ I guess that’s why they ain’t there … I’m so over you/ Baby good lookin’ out.” Anyone who has ever felt not good enough or let down in a relationship can connect with these lyrics. The song’s message is a lot like “Irreplaceable.”

I loved all of the songs except “I Was Here,” which is too slow and has an echo behind her that makes the song sound repetitive and annoying. Otherwise, Beyoncé has done it again with another amazing album that hit number one on the charts!