Smart & Like-Minded Followers

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

The Musical Fox Reviews: Music Albums (October-November 2014 Releases)

My AS boards are finally over! God almighty, it’s been such a stressful two months and I’m sure any day more and I would have officially lost my mind (well, according to my mother I already have). But now that the storm has passed and glorious, sunny days have greeted thy atmosphere (My last paper was English Literature, clearly), I’m going to relax and spend the remainder of me days. I’ve just kicked back and binge downloaded all the latest music releases off the UK & US Charts and I thought about reviewing a few of them on my blog. Mind you, I reviewed these albums putting all prejudices and personal preferences aside. And here it is:

1.   Chapter One- Ella Henderson
Ella Henderson was one of the shock exits of X Factor UK last year, even though she was built with enough talent to supply a whole town. Chapter One is undoubtedly the strongest debut album for someone who didn’t even make it to the finals of X Factor. Chapter One has Ryan Tedder stamped all over it, the metaphorical hard-hitting lyrics and that delicacy in rhythm and beat, only the OneRepublic frontman can handle with such tenacity. Ella has done great justice to the old-school british pop but there are strong rock influences that make the album solid gold. The album perfect canvases Ella’s range and gives us music that is both meaningful and easy to listen. Packed with ballads that raise the hair at the back of your neck, to songs that are revolutionary and so catchy that you just want to dance all night long.  Ryan Tedder and Ella Henderson are a winning combination, it’s a brilliant throwback to times where lyrics were poignant, music was beautifully constructed that took you elsewhere.
Singles on the charts: Ghost, Glow
Personal Favourites: Hard Work, Pieces, Give Your Heart Away, 1996
Positives: RYAN TEDDER, background score, lyrical content
Negatives: Honestly None
Verdict: 4/5

2.   FOUR- One Direction

Has time suspended where it has passed slowly like when you’re in space because I honest to god don’t know One Direction has grown up so fast and that too within a year! From their rugged rock star appearance to even their music, there is a grittiness to their voice that never existed before. Speaking of which, is there an end to Zayn Malik’s vocal range? He just keeps going up like it’s easy-peasy. FOUR is my favourite One Direction album hands down, I think that this is their best work up till now. It seems like Midnight Memories was a prequel to this intense rock-meets-alternative-but-also-has-an-affair-with-British-pop album, FOUR. Impressive lads. More than anything, I can hear their voices collectively and not just the Harry-Zayn-Liam combination. Louis Tomlinson’s distinctive vocals are finally put to some good use but the surprise of it all was Niall Horan; his vocals are stronger than ever, and if you hear him in Midnight Memories and now in FOUR you’ll see how much depth and grit he has summoned in his voice. The best part in the album (apart from the glorious harmonies) has to be the guitar work. I want an instrumental album of FOUR because I cannot get over the guitar romancing the piano. I think I’m going to cry. To all the ‘directionaters’ (if that’s still a thing) out there, whether you like it or not, One Direction is not a cluster of pretty faces, just listen to FOUR and shut up. I’m just so happy, mainstream rock is coming back! I think I’m going cry again.

Singles on the charts: Steal My Gir, Fireproof
Personal Favourites: 18, Girl Almighty, Night Changes, Spaces
Positives: Old-school Rock, background score, lyrical content
Negatives: Honestly None
Verdict: 4/5

3.   In The Lonely Hour- Sam Smith

This is British invasion all over again. Sam Smith is glorious man-diva and I’m talking about vocals here, otherwise he’s such a respectable young man which makes sense, since he is British. I first heard about him in BBC Radio One Live Lounge and I don’t remember which song he sang but my jaw dropped to the ground the moment he started singing. His vocal range is so bloody crazy, it is driving me crazy, please explain how this man has such a strong falsesetto, he’s like a male version of Mariah Carey. In The Lonely Hour is this angelic man’s debut album that is rising up on the charts due to his hit single Stay With Me (Oh honey, I definitely will). Even though I absolutely love Sam Smith for his individuality and distinct voice, I’m not happy with his album to be very honest. His vocals are consistent throughtout the album and some songs really help display his versitality but other than a few songs, most of the remainder is a bit of a drag. The album is not everyone’s cup of tea, there are power ballads and old-school singing that not everyone in this day and age will actually enjoy. Like I said, there are some songs that are absolutely phenomenal and actually uplift the overall somber mood of the album.

Singles on the charts: Stay With Me, Like I Can
Personal Favourites: Restart, La La La, Leave Your Lover
Positives: Sam Smith’s vocals.
Negatives: A little to drag.
Verdict: 3/5

4.   1989- Taylor Swift

I’m going to be honest that I am not the biggest Taylor Swift fan and I really love her country albums a lot better than her pop-infused ones, however I actually like 1989. I think the album as a whole is a stroke of genius because the production is so good and its got a very early 2000s vibe. Plus we have Imogen Heap and Ryan Tedder working on some of the tracks, so solid gold mate! Nevertheless, there are some tracks that I just don’t care about but this album proves that Taylor Swift is such a brilliant song-writer and her vocals are better than ever. I think it’s good to see her experimenting with her myusical styles and she’s done a good job. I give credit where it’s due and this album really marks Taylor’s departure from the country princess that she used to be. The voice memos in the deluxe version where she talks about her song-writing process and gives snippets of the early stages is actually my favourite part of the track. She’s really talented and so dedicated to her music that I think is something that the haters tend to overlook. This is a lot better vocally speaking as compared to RED. She should really release acoustic versions of her songs. T-Swift strikes again!

Singles on the charts: Shake It Off, Out Of the Woods, Blank Space 
Personal Favourites: Wildest Dreams, I Know Places, You Are in Love, I Wish You Would
Positives: T-Swift’s Voice Memo on the Deluxe Version
Negatives: It’s a little too much production at some places
Verdict: 3.5/5

5.   Talking Dreams- Echosmith

Is it me or did these guys just rip off Aerosmith and called themselves Echosmith? Either way, I love family bands and Echosmith is a band of siblings, aww the feels! More than that, they’re busting the mainstream scene with their runaway hit Cool Kids which is simply amazing since they are an Indie band. I personally love Indie bands because from the production to the lyrics everything is so well thought of that the track is simply phenomenal. Talking Dreams is my favourite Indie album of the month. The album is so fresh and utterly cool that it just make you dance and at the same time kick back and relax. The album is only of 12 songs and 46 minutes long and believe me that it’s time well spent. I love the atmosphere that this album creates, it transports you to the early 2000s where the drum production and electronic keyboards were at a strange high. The music too was very laid back but the beats were clever. A shout out to the clever song-writing which would appeal to all masses regardless of what your favourite genre is. This is some god stuff, so don’t miss out and definitely listen to this new and upcoming band. They’re bloody brilliant.
Singles on the charts: Cool Kids        
Personal Favourites: Let’s Love, March Into The Sun, Tell Her You Love Her, Safest Place
Positives: its Indie and rustic
Negatives: I want more tracks!
Verdict: 4.5/5

Cheers x ;)