Reviewed by Camille Didelot-Hearn
16, Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies
The boy band craze from the 90s is back. I was a huge fan of the Backstreet Boys and ‘N Sync, and my new favorite album is Up All Night by One Direction. It has catchy pop songs that instantly put me in a good mood. My friends and I always play it whenever we hang out and I also blast it in the car.
One Direction is a group of five boys put together on the British version of The X Factor. I can’t help but love Liam Payne, Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson, Zayn Malik and Harry Styles. They can all sing and when they harmonize they sound incredible.
My heart flutters when I hear the lyrics on “One Thing,” which go “I don’t, I don’t, don’t know what it is/ But I need that one thing/ And you’ve got that one thing.” I belt out this song in the shower or whenever I’m home alone, pretending they’re singing to me.
“I Want” sounds a bit like Queen because it has a great guitar solo and piano parts. It describes when girls go crazy about them. I like the different sound.
My favorite is “More Than This,” which has my favorite line: “When he opens his arms and holds you close tonight/ It just won’t feel right/ ‘Cuz I can love you more than this, yeah.” It’s a romantic song about a boy with a broken heart who is about to lose the girl he loves. It gives me chills every time I listen to it.
Most people don’t take boy bands seriously, but give these boys a chance. Their music may not be the best ever written, but it is definitely fun to listen to. This album will make you want to stay up all night because you’ll never be able to let go of these boys once you hear their music.
Reviewed by Jaanvi Sant
14, San Marino HS
Brand New Eyes, alternative rock band Paramore’s third album, is one of my favorite CDs. The album has gentle acoustic guitar songs and fast, upbeat ones, so the different styles match my different moods. I also like that the lead singer, Hayley Williams, is female, which I haven’t come across in many bands. Her clear, strong voice conveys so much emotion that I feel what she is feeling.
The calming song “Misguided Ghosts” never gets old to me. Williams sings, “See, I’m trying to find my place/ But it might not be here where I feel safe.” I interpret her words as saying that sometimes we have to leave our comfort zone because fear holds us back from reaching our full potential. It reminds me that I have to take chances and try new things even though it might be scary.
The slow song “All I Wanted” is about still having feelings for someone who has already moved on. Williams’ voice is more powerful on this track as she belts out, “All I wanted was you.” My heart beats fast, especially during the high notes, when I listen to this song because the emotion is so raw.
One more ballad I love is “The Only Exception.” My favorite part is when Williams says, “I’d never sing of love if it does not exist,” but the last line is “I’m on my way to believing.” The song is like the “happily ever after” of a storybook.
The lyrics on Brand New Eyes are like a sibling who gives me advice and guides me through life. If I’m having a bad day and want cheering up, or I just feel like hearing great guitar riffs, I can count on Paramore.
Reviewed by Andrea Lopez
17, Chavez Learning Academies (San Fernando)
When I listen to Maps & Atlases’ album Perch Patchwork it’s like going on three-minute vacations. The island-like sounds make me feel like I’m traveling to the most remote and exotic places in the world. And lead singer and guitarist Dave Davison’s lyrics let me see the world through his eyes.
When I listen to Davison sing I feel like I’m stepping into a world I cannot understand, but where I’d love to venture. On “Israeli Caves” he sings: “When you look out on the Midwest plain/ Do you realize the moon is still the same?/ That rose above the Israeli caves/ The day the words you praised were written.” I imagine myself prancing through a meadow where the environment is fresh, free and peaceful, unlike my neighborhood in the Valley. And every time I listen to “The Charm” I am heartbroken, pretending that I am Davison as he shares emotions that everyone feels. “I don’t think there is a sound that I hate more/ Than the sound of your voice/ When you say that you don’t love me anymore.”
Perch Patchwork’s songs are referred to in some reviews as a combination of folk and math rock. I feel that “math rock” fits Maps & Atlases because the band’s music uses unusual beats. When I move to songs like “Living Decorations” and “Banished Be Cavalier” it looks like my foot is having a seizure.
Maps & Atlases risk combining happy melodies and riffs with sad lyrics. But they’re able to pull it off. Their music sounds fun and spontaneous, like the lyrics and music belong together.