CD Reviews (Summer 2010)
Reviewed by Julia Waldow
15, Beverly Hills HS
Sheryl Crow’s album, C’mon C’mon, is perfect for listening to during summer days and nights. I’ve listened to it many times this summer—while shooting hoops in the backyard, cleaning my room and running on the treadmill. It’s fun, sweet, laid-back and energizing, so it fits every mood I had during summer break. Sometimes it makes me want to dance, and other times it makes me want to relax. It’s an album that will stay a favorite of mine for a long time.
Released in 2002, this CD has 13 songs, and every one is perfect in its own way. My favorite, “Lucky Kid,” is a catchy, rock n’ roll song that makes me want to get up and dance. My favorite lines, “I want to turn you into a Corvette/ I want to drive you out of your mind,” show just how cool and clever the song is.
A feel good song on the album is “Soak Up the Sun.” An old friend and I used to dance around my living room when we were younger, belting out the lyrics at full volume. I still shout “I’m gonna soak up the sun/ While it’s still free/ I’m gonna soak up the sun/ Before it goes out on me” whenever I listen to the song.
Catchy pop tunes that make me tap my feet include “Steve McQueen” and “You’re an Original.” I like Lenny Kravitz’s backup vocals on “You’re an Original” because his voice is really compatible with Crow’s. Plus, the music for these songs is very upbeat.
My parents got this album when I was in second grade, and I remember listening to it in my dad’s car. It was the first CD of Crow’s that I listened to. At the time, I probably didn’t understand everything Crow was singing about, but now I can connect to her lyrics more. I listened to the album a lot when I was younger and rediscovered it couple years ago. I’m still hooked on the amazing beats, great vocals and cool choruses. When I had a crush, I’d listen to “It’s Only Love.” When I was upset about a guy, “Over You” was my song of the moment.
Crow’s other albums include slower songs than the ones on this album, so I recommend getting C’mon, C’mon before you try any of her others. Hopefully, it will be a favorite of yours just like it is for me.
CD: Thank Me Later
Reviewed by Dana Green
15, North Hollywood High School Zoo Magnet
It’s hard to believe that 16 months ago Aubrey Graham aka Drake was on Degrassi as the handicapped jock, Jimmy, and is now one of most popular hip-hop artists. The more I hear his music, the more I fall in love with him. Drake’s debut album, Thank Me Later, shows off his talent and creativity and features sensational guests artists like Alicia Keys, Jay-Z and Lil’ Wayne.
The first single, “Over,” is my favorite track and one of my top played songs on iTunes. Drake raps about his newly-found fame, “… this life is the sweetest thing I’ve ever known/ …I did it overnight, it couldn’t happen any quicker.” The forceful snare drum during each verse fits perfectly with the mood of the song. Drake knows how to show plenty of swagger without sounding too arrogant. I love how honest Drake is about his new rich and famous lifestyle.
Following “Over,” “Show Me a Good Time,” brings down the tempo with some relaxing piano. This song was produced by Kanye West. Drake talks about the jealously and anger coming his way because of his success. He raps, “People really hate when a backpack rapper get rich and start livin’ that life dog/ Feels like when you get into that paper, hip hop hates you.”
“Light Up” featuring Jay-Z will soon be playing on the radio nonstop. It starts off with mellow piano before releasing loud, intimidating drums. Drake revisits the topic of the downside of fame, singing, “They always tell me nobody’s workin’ as hard as you/ And even though I laugh it off, man, it’s probably true/ ‘Cause while all my closest friends are out partying/ I’m just here making all the music they party to.” Jay-Z also delivers in the second half when he gives Drake advice about the rap game.
Overall, I think the album is a huge success. Even though I can’t relate to his experiences, Drake’s emotion shows listeners how he is passionate about what he loves. Drake offers songs that are upbeat and perfect for a party as well as tracks that are relaxing to listen to. Drake is still new to music but compared to his independently released mixtape “So Far Gone,” he is growing stronger as an artist. After listening to this album, I am excited to see what else Drake is going to do in the future.
CD: 21st Century Breakdown
Reviewed by Chantelle Moghadam
15, Viewpoint School
When listening to Green Day’s latest album, 21st Century Breakdown, listen to the songs in order, from beginning to end. The singles “Know Your Enemy” and “21 Guns” are great songs, but they are nothing alone compared to what they are with the rest of the album.
21st Century Breakdown’s concept of creating a story with the album is similar to what Green Day did with American Idiot. However, American Idiot is the story of one person, Jesus of Suburbia, or St. Jimmy, while 21st Century Breakdown splits and rejoins as the story of two people—Christian and Gloria.
The first three songs, “Song of the Century,” “21st Century Breakdown,” and “Know Your Enemy” set the rebellious tone of the album.
Then, the characters are introduced in “¡Viva La Gloria!” and “Christian’s Inferno.” Gloria and Christian are two law-breaking teenagers in love, as told in “Last Night on Earth.” The album tells of their lives together, such as in “East Jesus Nowhere” as well as apart, as in “¿Viva la Gloria? (Little Girl)” and “Restless Heart Syndrome.”
The popular single “21 Guns” is about Christian and Gloria reuniting, as is suggested when Billie Joe Armstrong sings “Lay down your arms, give up the fight.” When I first heard 21st Century Breakdown all the way through, I fell in love with Christian and Gloria’s story because it has a happy ending, unlike the story in American Idiot. While American Idiot was a criticism of the Bush administration, what Green Day is trying to accomplish with 21st Century Breakdown is a photograph of the changes and issues facing my generation, such as drugs (“Christian’s Inferno”), the hypocrisy of the Christian church (“East Jesus Nowhere”), and the hysteria created by politics (“American Eulogy”). in the 21st Century, though there is more of an element of hope than on American Idiot.
I especially loved this album because of Green Day’s ability to create such an intricate story and characters in just 18 songs. I feel that Green Day is the defining artist of our generation because they manage to create albums like 21st Century Breakdown with political messages as well as giving their audience a story to connect to.
THE DEAD WEATHER
Reviewed by Jacky Garcia
16, Lynwood HS
Jack White has been very successful with The White Stripes and The Raconteurs. And last year, he embarked on a new project, The Dead Weather, along with Alison Mosshart of The Kills, Dean Fertita of Queens of the Stone Age and Jack Lawrence of The Raconteurs. When I heard about this I thought they would sound similar to his other two bands, but instead the band’s debut album Horehound turned out to have a unique sound of bluesy-goth.
My favorite song is “Treat Me Like Your Mother.” The song is about a woman who knows how to manipulate a guy by acting like his mother. “You want to try to tell a lie?/ I bet you can’t and you know why?/ I’m just like your mother.” But the guy knows about her manipulative ways, expressed with the lyrics, “You blink when you breathe/And you breathe when you lie/ You blink when you lie.” Each song tells a story of the flaws and the irresistible aspects of love.
Unlike the more alternative rock sound of White’s other bands, Horehound has a more bluesy-gothic sound. This sound works perfectly with singer Mosshart’s voice. Horehound makes me think of guys hanging at a bar. I really feel that with the song “Rocking Horse” which has dark -sounding bass and guitars.
Mosshart leads the band with her edgy vocals, while White works his magic on drums. Anything White does musically is pure genius and The Dead Weather proves their excellence with Horehound.