March 18, 2013

Tuesday, March 12

A post long overdue is finally posted. This week there were four free tracks available on iTunes, and, frankly, none of them were terribly good. Forgive me for taking so damn long to get to reviewing them. That said, let's dive right in to the shallow end of the pool - just watch your head.

See what I did there? Because the songs don't have depth, duh.

Our first single, "Deja Vu," comes courtesy of a Disney Channel pop starlet by the name of Coco Jones. Miss Jones is just 15 years old, but has starred in a Disney Channel original movie - or "DCom" - and is releasing her first EP. Now, after finding this out, I have to admit that I'm impressed by her talent for a 15 year old. However, my admiration ends there.

The song is a cutesy little pop number, and there's nothing inherently wrong with it. I can dig on the drum line style drums in the piece and it's appropriately catchy for the Disney crowd. Coco's voice has me imagining a saccharine, teenage Rihanna wannabe behind the microphone. I'm no huge Rihanna fan, so I confess that bias, but regardless, this song is just nothing special. I feel iTunes normally does a good job of seeking out indie artists that will someday make some waves. Coco Jones, and most Disney-endorsed pop singers, are not likely to command any spotlight for much longer than 15 minutes. That said, I give Coco's song, "Deja Vu"...

2.5 out of 5.

Next up is a song by an artist who needs no introduction. The illustrious and famed Eric Clapton is releasing a new album, Old Sock, at the ripe age of 67. Impressive, to be sure. Unfortunately, this song, "No Sympathy," is not.

Now, I am an Eric Clapton fan. From the more recognizable hits like "Change the World" and "Tears in Heaven" to the grittier "Tales of Brave Ulysses" and "Crossroads," he is a master guitarist and singer/songwriter. Or was, at least. I admittedly haven't taken the time to sample other tracks from Old Sock, but after listening to "No Sympathy" I'm really not inclined to do so. This track just drags along at a morbid pace. I think I'm supposed to groove to the leisurely beat, but I just can't be compelled to care about a song that bores me so much. Come song's end, I don't feel I've gained anything having spent four minutes and eight seconds listening to this song. For that reason, I give this song...

2 out of 5.

This next song, "Broken Glass," is put in the "reggae" genre according to iTunes. This makes me wonder what iTunes recent fascination with reggae music is, but more importantly, it makes me wonder if I missed some memo about a reggae revolution that I missed. This track by The Veragroove incorporates some steel drums and other instrumentation along with slight reggae rhythmic influences from the genre, but I listen to this song and I hear pop music, plain and simple. 

This song proceeds in the tidiest, most contrived little four bar phrases I've ever heard. This song is oppressively formulaic: intro, section A, B, instrumental, A, B, instrumental, A, A, B, C, and fade out. The choruses abusively introduce overused metaphors to further explore the singer's heartbroken plight.

"You've got me barefoot and walking on broken glass...I hear my name with the sirens calling, calling me." And then the outro: "I'm gonna sing a tune with my friends, getting out the desert, sure I'll see you again."

This song is cookie cutter. It's not original or special, and I there are a thousand better songs I would listen to before this. No, it is not being synced on my iPod.

2.5 out of 5.

I know I've been a real Debbie Downer this post, which is why I've saved the best for last. If any of these singles are indicative of being tied to a successful album, I say it's got to be "Best of Friends" by Palma Violets.

Palma Violets hails from London, England, and they capitalize on the English rock sound. I like the gritty voices of Sam Fryer and Alexander Jesson, and the catchy melody they've concocted to accompany their lyricism about the girl that you don't want things to get too complicated with. The song is catchy, it's driving, and it's the only one out of this week's four that will make its way on to my iPod. I give it a...

3.5 out of 5.

Free singles aside, I fell in love with a different album this past week. Cardboard Castles is the premier album of rapper George Watsky. Watsky capitalizes on the genre of "intelligent" rap, as some have taken to calling it, in the same vein as Childish Gambino and the likes. His album does a great job of reminding us that rap music can still be a song, and not just spoken word over a beat. Tracks like the titular "Cardboard Castles" and "Hey, Asshole" feat. the lovely Kate Nash will have you singing along without exception. I highly recommend you look it up.

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