Wednesday, November 2, 2011

New Music Review

Last Monday was exciting for me - both Kelly Clarkson and Coldplay released new albums on the same day! After steeping in both for about a week, I have some thoughts:

Even as a diehard Kelly Clarkson fan, I have to admit that Stronger fell a little flat for me. It's more My December than All I Ever Wanted. As one great review (which I regret not bookmarking because I can't find it again) noted, is Kelly surrounding herself with an endless supply of losers? I enjoy a sassy musical kiss-off as much as anyone, but enough is enough. I loved some of the songs immediately, but with others, I wondered how they made it past the final cut. Kelly, you're better than this!

That said, my emerging favorites are "You Love Me," "Let Me Down," "You Can't Win," and the title track. And though many pixels have been spilled over "Einstein" with its chorus of "Dumb plus dumb equals you," it really is a guilty pleasure (and still better than anything Ke$ha has produced).

One of my favorite things about Coldplay is their ability to deliver a cohesive album (including cross-references to the other songs!). Apparently the concept of Mylo Xyloto is a star-crossed couple in a dystopian society, which surprised me because of the hope that pervades the entire thing. Where Viva la Vida was dark and brooding, MX is overwhelmingly joyful - joy in the face of despair? Maybe I'm just projecting my own emotional state onto this record, but I'm extremely moved by it. I don't care what the electronica influences mean for their direction as a band, or how supposedly inane the lyrics are. I can't even pick a favorite track because I love them all. (The chipmunk effects on "Charlie Brown" are a little annoying, though.)

BONUS: I planned to write a "real" review of Needtobreathe's The Reckoning (which was released in September) and try to submit it to a website. But I think it's too late now, so I'll go ahead and talk about it here. I wasn't sure this band could top The Outsiders, but they've moved to a different level. The consistent message of The Reckoning is the importance of seeing and facing truth - the need to stop running, open our eyes, and accept the healing that comes with knowing the truth. I appreciate that message, and the fact that it also rocks as only Needtobreathe can is just icing on the cake. My current favorite selections are "Slumber" and "Drive All Night" (which seriously makes me want to drive all night).

What new music are you enjoying right now?

1 comment:

  1. I love NEEDTOBREATHE so stinkin' much. So good.

    Still not sure about the Coldplay album. I like them, and I love a couple of the songs, but I need to sit down and listen uninterrupted to really form an opinion. I was working when I first heard it and large chunks of it passed by without me even hearing them. I don't know if that was my concentration on work, or the music's inability to grab me. I want to like it!