Album Review: Ed Sheeran ‘+’

Ed Sheeran has taken the charts by storm this year, with a fan base who have been established since 2005. In the lead-up to Ed’s album release, the Guardian review compared a track on ‘+’ to the “grisly” Match.com adverts. Ed’s army of fans rushed to Twitter to defend him and the journalist involved with the review even made contact with Ed directly to acknowledge the overwhelming support that Sheeran has amassed  (see here). Read on to see if I agree with what he said… Continue reading

Album Review: Red Hot Chili Peppers ‘I’m With You’

After 2006’s bloated 28-track ‘Stadium Arcadium’, Red Hot Chili Peppers are back with a new lead guitarist, a handlebar moustache, and a new album, offering flirtations of rock, funk and disco (yes, disco). Following a career that has spanned over 30 years, bassist Flea cites “life and death” as the major theme of ‘I’m With You’, their 10th album. For the most part, it’s business as usual….and that’s not such a bad thing. Continue reading

Album Review: Mona ‘Mona’

Since appearing in the BBC’s Sound of 2011 poll, and winning the Brand New for 2011 title at the MTV Awards, the Nashville 4-piece Mona have gone from strength to strength. Their debut album, ‘Mona’ was released in May 2011 and was accompanied with the following blurb on their website:

“The only thing slick about Mona is their hair. The rest is arm-pumping, vein-throbbing, knee-jittering, raw-throated, singalong rock’n’roll.”

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Album Review: Lady Gaga ‘Born This Way’

Born This Way is Lady Gaga’s 2nd official studio album, after 2008’s ‘The Fame’ was spun off in 2009, released as ‘The Fame Monster’ with 8 new tracks.

Since 2009, the Madonna comparisons have escalated, her online following has grown (Gaga now has a Twitter following of over 10 milion ‘little monsters’), and her extreme image has entered bizarre new heights. She was also recently named Time Magazine’s 5th most powerful person in the world. Not bad for a girl who started her career aged 14, playing clubs on New York’s lower east side.

In the run-up to the release, Gaga explained:

The album is my absolute greatest work I’ve ever done and I’m so excited about it. The message, the melodies, the direction, the meaning, what it will mean to my fans and what it will mean in my own life – it’s utter liberation.

Can the most-anticipated album of the 2011 live-up to this kind of hype?

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Album Review: Train ‘Save Me San Francisco’

I’m not going to lie. I’m a massive Train fan, and have been since the moment I heard the first few bars of ‘Drops of Jupiter ‘ back in 2001.

You’ll even find me covering that song on my website. Despite releasing and selling millions of albums since then, they have remained relatively obscure, even enjoying a three-year hiatus, until new song ‘Hey Soul Sister’ exploded onto radio stations last year, along with ‘Save Me San Francisco’, their fifth studio album. And it’s a corker.

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Album Review: Imelda May ‘Mayhem’

I remember first watching Imelda May perform ‘Johnny Got A Boom Boom’ on Jools Holland in 2008. Her music was straight out of another time, a bass-heavy rockabilly band fronted by Imelda – a red-lipped, raven-haired Irish stunner. Now in her 30s, her career began at age 16, touring the Irish club circuit singing with blues bands, she was frequently barred from her own gigs for being underage. “I was getting tips from the best musicians in Dublin,” May said. “One of them said, ‘your voice is great, but it needs to roughen.” It was around this time, when driving a tearful Imelda to a gig, that her father asked her “”Is your heart broken? Excellent. Now you can sing the blues.”

‘Mayhem’, her third studio album, fuses rockabilly, jazz, Elvis and blues together – forging a refreshingly retro sound.

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Album Review: Elbow ‘Build A Rocket Boys!’

A full decade since the release of their debut album, Elbow follow-up 2008’s Mercury Award and Ivor-Novello-winning ‘Seldom Seen Kid’ with their latest effort.  Their previous album’s lead singles ‘Grounds For Divorce’ and ‘One Day Like This’ were so successful, Elbow were propelled into dizzy new heights, appearing at Glastonbury & Latitude festivals in 2008, and supporting the likes of Coldplay & U2 in 2009. In the space of one album, they went from performing at intimate one-off gigs to entire stadiums.

It’s safe to say then, that expectations for this album were high.

New fans wanted more of singer Guy Garvey’s heavily-accented choirboy vocals, but old fans feared a cop-out of Kings Of Leon-esque proportions, knowing that an album full of ‘One Day Like This‘ duplicates would never work. Perhaps the success had gone to their head and this new album will be filled with songs of touring and press attention?

I’m happy to report that ‘Build A Rocket Boys!’ doesn’t disappoint.

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Album Review: Bruno Mars ‘Doo Wops and Hooligans’

Hawaiian-born Bruno Mars, AKA Peter Hernandez, has been a rising star for some time. A successful songwriter, he has written songs for Adam Levine, Travie McCoy, Sugababes, and most-recently penned the worldwide smash by Cee-Lo Green “F*ck You”.

He was first credited on B.O.B.’s “Nothin On  You” back in Feburary 2010, closely followed by a feature on Travie McCoy’s “Billionare”.
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