David Archuleta / The Other Side Of Down

The Other Side Of Down

David James Archuleta (born December 28, 1990) is an American singer-songwriter, musician, and actor. At ten years old, he won the children’s division of the Utah Talent Competition leading to other television singing appearances. When he was twelve years old, Archuleta became the Junior Vocal Champion on Star Search 2. In 2007, at sixteen years old, he became one of the youngest contestants on the seventh season of American Idol. In May 2008 he finished as the runner-up, receiving 44 percent of over 97 million votes.

In August 2008 Archuleta released “Crush“, the first single from his self-titled debut albumThe album, released three months later, debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 chart; it has sold over 750,000 copies in the U.S., and over 900,000 worldwide. In October 2010 he released a third album, The Other Side of Down, featuring lead single “Something ‘Bout Love“. On March 28, 2012, Archuleta left on a two-year hiatus to be a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Chile, but stated that he will continue his music career after that.[14][15] As of February 2012, Archuleta has sold 1,108,000 albums and 3,327,000 tracks in the United States.

In March 2012, Archuleta released his fourth album, Forevermore, exclusively in the Philippines. This was his first Original Pilipino Music album, composed of several covers of Filipino songs. The album was certified gold in the Philippines (10,000 units) as of June 2012. Archuleta’s fifth album, Begin, was released on August 7, 2012, in the United States. His sixth album, No Matter How Far, was released on March 26, 2013.

The Analysis—-

The Other Side Of Down—-There is something about the purity of Archuletas’ voice, combined with the syrupy pop perfection that is contained on his releases that attracts me. I love the smooth delivery…the ‘heart on my sleeve’ type of music that he delivers…combined with vocal overlays and a stellar production team…it becomes rather addictive.

Something ‘Bout Love—-Right from the very first note, you can tell this is one of those perfect recipe songs that deliver all the ingredients required to stay in your head for days and days…even if you hate it!. The chorus of this track is pure pop perfection…..containing the melody and the lyric that digs in and refuses to let go. For me, as far as pop music goes…this might be as perfect as it gets.

Elevator—-With a magical guitar intro, the voice enters with a remarkable purity and lyrics that are relate able and catchy. You can catch every word and then you are smacked in the face with the chorus that again threatens to take over your brain…waking you up in the middle of the night playing to loud in your brain. There is no denying the genius of this writing team….this guy has a perfect relationship with pop music.

Stomping The Roses—-Brilliant instrumentation that never really seems to require an actual band, this wraps itself around you and threatens to strangle your sensibilities. The strong message of empowerment is remarkable…Archuleta still delivers that boyish charm of a vocal…appearing so pure and naive. The appeal is undeniable.

Who Am I—-Although this stays in the same vein, the track still has a magical quality. David rarely veers away from the recipe that has made him successful…..meaningful lyrics and a powerhouse chorus that threatens to explode your brain. There is not a ton of substance….but there is talent…and that is important also.

Falling Stars—-Gentle and remarkably poignant, David delivers a vocal the emits emotion without even trying…he just has that talent. The breaths in between words and the falsetto words….overlay ed with double track voice makes for a huge full song. As the track opens up in the second bar…it still maintains the magic melancholy that started it all. It just all seems so damn genuine.

Parachutes And Airplanes—-Sounding as if I have heard this before at the onset, the appeal is still very present. The pure pop perfection of the music is what sucks me in and chose to review it in the first place. The mastery of the world of music production and image is a remarkable thing…add in Marketing and you have the true genius of the career of this guy. This is a wonderful journey of pop mastery.

Look Around—-For me, one of the weaker tracks on the release, I still zero in on certain aspects of the song. The overlay ed melodic vocal…the huge chorus….the simple melody and the hook that stays with you. Even at weak the song is still strong. The lyrical content…a bit juvenile…but still reeks of human emotion.

Good Place—-A perfect ballad that seems to musically wrap itself around David’s voice, the production is incredible. All of the vocal overlays makes me think how hard it must be to make a record like this…he has to record each overlay right? And then it is all played on a backtrack. This is remarkable perfect production.

Complain—-Although this track offers little new…it is the consistency that is remarkable. I love the hook of the song….with an almost underlying Country feel to the whole thing. The vocal is so pure and un-adulterated. Production tricks are not required for this…because the voice is as perfect as it sounds. Just remarkable.

Things Are Gonna Get Better—-This really did nothing for me….the music is a little weak and falls flat on my ears. But of course you have the magical chorus that again tries to FORCE you to love the song. This is not a throwaway……but not something you would listen to on a regular basis.

My Kind Of Perfect—-Ending the release with a track that moves the vocal to the very front of the mix, this shows the purity of the whole damn thing. This is simple and pure….which is what makes it so damn nice. I need to get the newer releases…..I still love that voice.

***** out of 5

 

Jean-Michel Jarre / Electronica 2: The Heart Of Noise

Electronica 2: The Heart of Noise

Jean-Michel André Jarre (pronounced: [ʒɑ̃ miʃɛl ɑ̃dʁe ʒaʁ], born 24 August 1948) is a French composer, performer, and record producer. He is a pioneer in the electronic, ambient, and new-age genres, and known as an organiser of outdoor spectacles of his music featuring lights, laser displays, and fireworks.

Jarre was raised in Lyon by his mother and grandparents, and trained on the piano. From an early age, he was introduced to a variety of art forms, including those of street performers, jazz musicians, and the artist Pierre Soulages. He played guitar in a band, but his musical style was perhaps most heavily influenced by Pierre Schaeffer, a pioneer of musique concrète at the Groupe de Recherches Musicales.

His first mainstream success was the 1976 album Oxygène. Recorded in a makeshift studio at his home, the album sold an estimated 12 million copies. Oxygène was followed in 1978 by Équinoxe, and in 1979, Jarre performed to a record-breaking audience of more than a million people at the Place de la Concorde, a record he has since broken three times. More albums were to follow, but his 1979 concert served as a blueprint for his future performances around the world. Several of his albums have been released to coincide with large-scale outdoor events, and he is now perhaps as well known as a performer as he is as a musician.

As of 2004, Jarre had sold an estimated 80 million albums. He was the first Western musician officially invited to perform in the People’s Republic of China, and holds the world record for the largest-ever audience at an outdoor event.

Electronica 2: The Heart of Noise is the eighteenth studio album of French electronic musician and composer Jean Michel Jarre, released on 6 May 2016 by Columbia Records. It is the second of a two-part album (the first being Electronica 1: The Time Machine) that is based around collaborations with other electronic musicians from a wide range of decades and styles.

Electronica 1 included artists such as Vince Clarke, Gesaffelstein, M83, Armin van Buuren, John Carpenter, 3D (of Massive Attack), Pete Townshend, Tangerine Dream, and others, while Electronica 2 includes collaborations with Pet Shop Boys, Rone, Julia Holter, Primal Scream, Gary Numan, Hans Zimmer, Edward Snowden, Peaches, Sébastien Tellier, The Orb, Siriusmo, Yello, Jeff Mills, Cyndi Lauper and Christophe. In all, the two-album collaboration has some 30 collaborators, and Jarre has described it as his “most ambitious project.”

The Analysis—-

The Heart Of Noise Pt. 1 featuring Rone—-At the onset, the sound of this recording is lush and deep. The synth lines literally wrap themselves around your body…often reminding me of later enigma recordings. The beautiful and unadorned synth line creates an almost visual landscape in your brain as you listen to the progression of the song…..beautifully constructed and delivered.

The Heart Of Noise Pt. 2 featuring Rone—-Continuing in the same vein, Pt. 2 delivers a bit more of a space filled experimentation that magically lulls you into your own thoughts and allows your brain to magically wander. There is a nice break when the rhythmic bass lines enters the song and allows it to become much bigger and ambient. This is truly brilliant!

Brick England featuring The Pet Shop Boys—-Fantastic…..that about sums this track up from the very first note. This is brilliant. Tenant delivers his distinctive trademark vocal and the synth line is right out of the Lowe playbook. The arrangement is lush and filled with that underlying sad hum found in most of The Boys recordings. This is classic electronica with a brilliant atmospheric twist I can’t seem to walk away from.

These Creatures featuring Julia Holter—-Wonderfully full of computerized synth bleeps and bursts of beautiful sounds, the vocal enters with a ghostly beautiful delivery that literally transports me somewhere else as I listen. Never overdone or overblown, this has the magical element of everything needed to create a masterpiece of a song. I love this vocal!!!

As One featuring Primal Scream—-Coming out of the calm like the opening credits to a masterful movie, this song is layered and textured with an ambiance that almost lulls you into a beautiful nothing. Then the strains from Primal Scream steer the song into an almost joyous romp that encourages you to shed inhibitions and dance like no one is looking. This is fantastic…..a step right back into 90’s Dance Floor masterpieces…..I’m in love!!!

Here For You featuring Gary Numan—-It is impossible for me to find the correct words for this track. How could it possibly go wrong….combing contemporary synth lines and the current direction of the Numan sound, this is a journey that encompasses everything wonderful and right in the world of music. This is simply brilliant….Numan sounds driven and haunted…..the music fits him perfectly. Just incredible! Numan sounds literally driven with emotion and the need to be there for someone……I love this!!!

Electrees featuring Hans Zimmer—-How could this brilliant pairing of two incredible talents possibly go wrong. This has wonderful stamped on it from the very first notes. Atmospheric and laden with dense beautiful sound effects, this takes me out of my very body every time I listen to it. Lush and wonderfully constructed…..this can make you happy as fuck or sleepy as hell…..wonderful!

Exit featuring Edward Snowden—-Perhaps the most interesting collaboration on this release, the music that is delivered here has the urgency that you would expect….making you lean forward on your chair as you are driven into the spy like element of the music. The Snowden vocal overlays are incredibly fascinating and a fantastic concept. This is yet another standout track…..I have to think Jarre is a pure genius.

What You Want featuring Peaches—- Combining a bass heavy sexy synth with the vocal of one of the ‘queens or sleaze’ is a magnificent journey though a trail of seductive vocals and electronics that seem to add to the sexy nature of the track….another brilliant collaboration…in both content and delivery.

Gisele featuring Sebastien Tellier—-Moving at an incredibly nice pace, the song has a Kraftwerk element for me….the feel of the mainstream type electronics are interspersed with a blip filled fun turn. The vocal enters and you are right back in the beginning era of electronica……filled with the best elements of Kraftwerk….with a modern contagious twist.

Switch On Leon featuring The Orb—-Bright and poppy with just the right elements of ambiance and experimentation, you would expect nothing less from this pairing. The effects and the heavy laden synth lines that combine background vocal effects and noises from all directions make you a little crazy……but it is incredible none the less.

Circus featuring Siriusmo—-Dense and epic in sound right from the onset, the music builds and builds and becomes a surprising romp through dance-land. This is full of jaunty dance synths and breaks in the music that keep you guessing where everything is going. Then a magical synth line enters and makes the track even larger….just fantastic.

Why This Why That And Why featuring Yello—-Beautifully constructed and filled with atmosphere, the vocal on this track reminds me so much of Leonard Cohen…..it just all comes together like a magnificent musical poem. I am in heaven with this experience…..I really need to investigate more of this man’s music…I am stunned by the beauty and genius of it all.

The Architect featuring Jeff Mills—-A bit eccentric and muted in delivery, it takes a bit for this song to take any shape or form. The bass keeps creeping on you…promising to explode but leaves me exhausted with the anticipation of joyous abandon. A weak track for me….but still nice.

Swipe To The Right featuring Cyndi Lauper —-Wonderfully full and energy filled from the first strains of the song, Lauper delivers a vocal that belies age and allows you to climb right back into the 80’s heyday. This is energy filled and upbeat with huge crashing synths and crashing timbres. Just fantastic….I am in love with this man. This is the best I have heard Cyndi sound since Bring Me To The Brink release.

Walking The Mile featuring Christope—-A bi dense and dark, the vocal enters and sounds muted and in a tunnel. The delivery is odd….trying to sound psychedelic over a rather bright synth line. Not a favorite…..but it seems to fit in the entire picture well.

Falling Down—-Filled with an undeniable melody line that runs underneath the synth line, the song is so well constructed and is contagious as hell. This has every right element included in it…you can’t escape the tune…it will live in your head…with a bit of throw back to the 80’s fun sound….but still modern, this is fantastic.

The Heart Of Noise [The Origin]—-A bit mundane and filled with much of the sound and melody we have heard thus far, it is a throwback to the opening strains of this release. I would have preferred another collab rather than a redux of something heard before. This is pleasant but tried.

Conquistador [JMJ RMX] featuring Gesaffelstein—-Nicely delivered with an urgent synth line, this song has a pace to it that begs you to pay attention. I like the higer pitched synth lines and the split second breaks that keep everything incredibly interesting before it all dives back into a bass heavy sea, Magnificent!

***** out of 5

 

 

Loudwire.com 1989 Metal Album Of The Year—-Morbid Angel / Altars Of Madness

Altars of Madness (Full Dynamic Range Edition)

Morbid Angel is an American death metal band based in Tampa, Florida. The band was one of the original death metal bands signed to Earache Records, and was also influential in the transition of death metal from its thrash metal roots to its current form by incorporating guttural vocals, up-tempo blast beats, atonality in guitar soloing, and dark, chunky, mid-paced rhythms. They have been described as one of “the most influential and emulated bands in death metal”, alongside Cannibal Corpse, and have been cited as an influence by many later bands. They were also the first death metal band to experience mainstream success in connection with being signed to Giant Records in 1992, heavy rotation of their music videos on MTV, and having the music video for the song “God of Emptiness” shown on an episode of Beavis and Butt-head. Their first four albums are considered classics in the genre.

UK music magazine Terrorizer ranked Morbid Angel’s 1989 debut Altars of Madness first in its list “Top 40 greatest death metal albums”. Decibel magazine also rated guitarist Trey Azagthoth as the number one “death metal guitarist ever”. The band’s songs are complex in arrangement, owing to the considerable technical skills of both Azagthoth as well as drummer Pete Sandoval, the latter of whom also played in the grindcore band Terrorizer. According to Nielsen SoundScan, Morbid Angel is the third best-selling death metal band in the United States (after Cannibal Corpse and Deicide up until 2003 with sales of over 445,000), with their third album Covenant being the best-selling death metal album during the beginning of the Soundscan era time with over 150,000 units sold.

Altars of Madness is the debut album of Florida-based death metal band Morbid Angel. Bonus tracks were included on the CD version as well as the remastered 2003 release. These are remixed versions of songs from the album. 2006 saw a dualdisc release with the 2003 remaster on the audio side and Live Madness 89 recorded at Nottingham Rock City on November 14, 1989, on the DVD side.

The cover artwork, by Dan Seagrave, depicts “a flat disk made of a fossil material, that has captured souls”.

The Analysis—-

Immortal Rites—-Really having no exposure to this band, as much as I love Cannibal, I guess I’m  a late bloomer…or a poser…lol. This, upon first listen is a pretty fantastic band. The vocals are not as guttural as many Death bands…you can actually catch some words. The guitar squeals are classic of the Florida scene….they all sound somewhat alike. the lyrical imagery is not as extreme…but it is very listenable. The different moods of the song are great…I can see why this is a ‘classic’.

Suffocation—-Right out of the gate the music smacks you in the face. The pace of the drums are absolutely incredible…..they pummel you right in the forehead. The vocal on this track has more of a dark and evil tone…the lyrics are very dark…as you would expect. What is amazing to me is how tight this band is….well practiced and schooled in the ways of Death Metal.There are great shifts in the music….the bass line appears very heavy at times and then clears for the leads. Remarkable.

Visions From The Dark Side—-Again, there is no time from song to song to give your brain a rest…..you are smacked..literally from the moment the song begins. The melody line that runs underneath this track is just incredible. So far…my favorite track from this release. The leads are a bit fuzzy…the voice not as clear…but the energy and aggression are simply palatable. This is fantastic.

Maze Of Torment—-A great bass ushers in the track……a literal wall of sound as the track progresses with huge power chords and incredible drums. The track kicks into high gear and then ebbs and flows…the noise and aggression is incredible. The vocal enters…..singing so fast you barely catch a word…but it is impossible to not be enthusiastic about the whole damn thing. Amazing. The shifts in the music…..really must take a lot of finesse’….I’m really impressed.

Lords Of All Fevers & Plague—-Right off the bat….you get the same treatment as you have been subjected to. The vocal comes at you so fast, this borders of pure classic Thrash. The drummer on this recording is just incredible…how a human can do that is beyond me…not to mention for an extended amount of time. The guitars are brilliant…..the bass line apparent but never overshadowing the leads.

Chapel Of Ghouls—-With a bit more of a structured sound at the onset of this song, I fall right into the delivery from the music. The chaos gets a bit more extreme as the song continues…the vocal and the lyrics are almost laughable at the attempt to be truly evil…with any band that falls in this genre’….one treads carefully as to how much they buy into. This is still fantastic aggressive music…the break mid song….the downshift of the instrumentation….really shows a lot of talent.

Bleed For The Devil—-Really aggressive from the first notes, the vocal enters rather quickly and full of venom. It is hard to catch the words…but it really is not necessary…the intent and song title are clear. The drums remain just incredible…the lead guitars soar above the bass line…but it is always there smacking you in the face.

Damnation—-The vocal growl that opens up the track in incredible….the music continues to blast your brain right through your ears…but you really never tire of the sameness of the recording. The band plays so tight, I keep shaking my head wondering how long these guys were kicking around practicing before they scored this contract. This is well rehearsed and delivered.

Blasphemy—-What sounds like muted gunshots opens the track and then the music enters to stuff you back into the blender of mayhem. This has an almost sing song vocal delivery that is really accessible…despite the aggression and energy. Really incredible.

Evil Spells—-Ending the release much as it started…unrelenting and full of an aggressive musical attack, the bass line here is just incredible…interrupted only by the classic Death Metal guitar squeals that shock  your ears and make you shake your head in amazement. I can see very clearly why this is considered to be a classic……a fantastic listen.

****1/2 out of 5

 

 

A Note Of Explanation —-A ‘ Review Experiment’

I recently came across a list, published by Loudwire.Com, that named the #1 Metal Album Of The Year from 1970-2016. I thought it might be fun….at least for me…..in the next few weeks to review these #1 picks…..beginning with 1970…..I hope you will all indulge me on this journey. Until tomorrow……thanks!

Boston / Life, Love & Hope

Life, Love & Hope

Boston is an American rock band from Boston, Massachusetts, that achieved their most notable successes during the 1970s and 1980s. Centered on guitarist, keyboardist, songwriter, and producer Tom Scholz, the band is a staple of classic rock radio playlists. Boston’s best-known works include the songs “More Than a Feeling“, “Peace of Mind“, “Foreplay/Long Time“, “Rock and Roll Band“, “Smokin’“, “Don’t Look Back“, and “Amanda“. They have sold more than 75 million records worldwide, including 31 million albums in the United States, of which 17 million were from their self-titled debut album and seven million were for their second album, Don’t Look Back. Altogether, the band has released six studio albums.

Life, Love & Hope is the sixth studio album by American rock band Boston. It was released on December 3, 2013 by Frontiers Records, making it their first studio album in eleven years.It is the first album released following the death of Brad Delp, Delp recorded vocals on the songs “Didn’t Mean to Fall in Love”, “Sail Away”, “Someone”, and “Te Quiero Mia”, the last of which being a re-arrangement of “I Had a Good Time”, from Corporate America.

The Analysis—-

Heaven On Earth—-When you first hear the strains of this music, the trademark sounds of Scholz are so familiar…it is that classic sound of modern day classic radio. The vocal is extraordinary…transporting me magically to a time long ago when this was the biggest band in the world. The vocal is incredible…not sure who is singing here…but the vocal melodies are right out of the classic Boston songbook…this is fantastic to me.

Didn’t Mean To Fall In Love—-This really, right from the onset sounds like an incomplete demo that was not really ready for release. The music drowns out the vocal at times almost totally. This was a cheap attempt to release something that Brad had contributed to…but it was not ready to go. Tom and his sound overwhelms and makes the vocal unforgettable….sad……

Last Day Of School—-Nicely guitar driven but still keeping that old school Boston sound, this has a driving instrumental backing that is huge and full of that Scholz magic. There is an almost sad feel that runs underneath the majestic music….this is almost epic…sounds really great.

Sail Away—-The beginning of this track gave me no hope what so ever. The vocal enters and helps to redeem the song a bit….I like the vocal…even though it sounds a bit hollow at times. I like the epic feel of the music…the female spoken word is unnecessary. I like this…but it is under produced and just a demo…needed more vocal work but Brad was gone by then. Just a way to cash in…I think.

Life, Love & Hope—-A much more Boston friendly sound, even this vocal sounds full and powerful. The trademark sound is here…the one I grew up with. Even though this is not Brad, the vocal matches the ebbs and flows of the music the same as the classic songs did. This is a modern day Prog-rock piece of great music. I really like this!

If You Were In Love—-Hmmm…..really almost unacceptable to me. I don’t like the vocal at all…this is not Boston but an imitation. Even the music that backs this track sounds uninspired and half finished…I rally do not like this…..done!

Someday—-Not a bad song…but not the Boston you expect or are accustomed to. I like the double tracked vocal…it almost impersonates Brad and that full sound that the band used to have. This just seems to be music that is going through the motions….the lack of inspiration is evident and clear. Time to retire the name and move onto something else. The female vocal that interrupts the song ruins any good feeling I had about this track…..

Love Got Away—-A nice ballad that is more acoustic at the onset and gives a fresh perspective of sound rather than trying to repeat the past. The harmonies are very Boston inspired but work well on this track. I don’t know who is doing the vocal…but the harmonies match and the song sounds full and rehearsed rather than rushed and incomplete. I rather like this.

Someone [2.0]—-I like the feel of the music as this track begins….full of the trademark Boston sound. The vocal is really nice…same as the song previous…the voice is clear and harmonious with the instruments…as Boston always was. The odd spoken word BS that enters before the chorus ruins this song for me. Just stick to the basics guys….you really know how to ruin a song.

You Gave Up On Love [2.0]—-This begins really great…with the chorus being the opening lines. The harmonies are huge and full…I like that….This sounds suspiciously like the last track in many spots though. The huge chorus…combined with Scholz music is great…the vocal really soars at points. This is nice….not to much fault with this.

The Way You Look Tonight—-Piano based from the onset, not something you normally associate with Boston. The vocal enters and is very pleasant and acceptable…there are few stellar moments to speak of though. This all just sounds flat and uninspired. This is sludge in my ears.

* out of 5