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“Brett Young”

By Jimmy Sears

Brett Young is a newer artist who recently raked in a “Number One” hit with “Sleep Without You.” Born and raised in California, Young was inspired by Gavin DeGraw. Young released a self-titled EP in 2007 and eventually made it in Tennesee. Now he releases another ambitious EP also titled “Brett Young” on February 10.

Young claims his sound is of the “California” persuasion, though admittedly it comes off as a typical country fair, with banjos and the poppy Toby Keith sound that’s common with modern country music. Maybe if one cuffs their ear a slight hint of Beach Boys could be heard, however this is more country than anything. Not that there’s anything wrong with that; my Yankee-roots love to embrace its southern surroundings by guzzling beer and listening to sentimental songs about relationships past, but as I listened I found most of the album redundant.

Many tracks, such as “Sleep Without You,” are about relationships, as the constant spouting of “baby” suggest. The melodies carry an optimistic flair to create a driven prose that masks its common themes. Young’s vocals also carry a light-hearted yet rugged sound that is each track’s strong point. However, while music itself is easy to hear, I find the constant relationship sentiment to be overplayed, which made each track sound similar to the last.

Album Reviews 0

‘”Oczy Mlody” by The Flaming Lips

By John Samuel Mecum

The Flaming Lips have had a quiet couple of years. Apart from accompanying Miley Cyrus on her “Dead Petz” project, the psychedelic-rock journeymen have kept to themselves. They are back and in full-swing with their latest release, “Oczy Mlody.” This hypnotic, fifty-eight-minute album focuses more on a vibe than it does telling a story. Not to say that it doesn’t have a story to tell, it does; one about sunsets that last for three hours, frogs with demon eyes, and sex on top of unicorns. The thing that sticks with you throughout the album however is not the narrative: It is the deep textures of the sound and the depths that The Flaming Lips take that sound to as things progress. This depth causes this album to feel more like an hour-long hallucination that gently carries you from beginning to end rather than a collection of songs that are isolated from each other.

The album starts off with the title track, a pulsating instrumental with a simple melody that bounces around and sets the mood for the rest of the album. This track does not showcase the depth and layers of sound that develops as the album goes on. “How” and “There Should Be Unicorns” feature a thick heavy synth that begins to scratch the surface of how far down the rabbit hole goes. From there the music flows in a way that feels reminiscent of old Flaming Lips albums, or the spaghetti-western guitar that somehow feels totally appropriate among the synths and electronic beats. Miley Cyrus who, as mentioned earlier, having spent a good portion of last year with The Flaming Lips is also rumored to have been an influence on the modern rap-beat sound of “Oczy Mlody.” Cyrus can be heard singing on the last song of the album, “We a Famly.”

Not to say that there weren’t some rough patches on the album. Some of the rap-like beats sound a tad forced. It drags in some areas and feels a tad incoherent in others, however one may argue that the incoherence is a staple of The Flaming Lips sound. The biggest issue is probably the slow start as the album begins and starts to take shape. Even with a couple bumps in the road, “Oczy Mlody” is well worth the trip taken, and is a good introduction for those not yet familiar with The Flaming Lips.

Album Reviews 0

“Identity” by Far East Movement

By April Latham

“Identity” by Far East Movement was released on October 20. I used to be a big fan of FEM, but to be honest, I fell off the wagon a bit, so when I heard that they released new music, I was pumped!

Now, if you know me, I am a big fan of strong intros that catch their audience. They missed the mark on this one. It’s a great song, don’t get me wrong, but it could’ve been stronger. The rest of the album has a smooth vibe to it, but I can’t help the feeling that it’s missing something. They have the nice beats that I remember, but there’s something about it that makes me not want to keep this in rotation. “Identity” is a solid album for some people, but I would only recommend this album to people if I know for a fact that they are into this kind of music.

2.5 out of 5 OWLS.

Album Reviews 0

“H.E.R. Vol. 1”

By April Latham

With her first album released mid-September, H.E.R. is an upcoming R&B artist with talent to show. H.E.R. Vol. 1 is so soothing and relaxing.

The first song, “Losing,” is a soft ballad that entices her audience and makes the listener want to continue listening. She even covers “Jungle” by Drake later in the EP. “Focus” is another noteworthy song on the self-titled album because it is a little more upbeat than the majority of her songs, and that gives the entire project a wholesome and complete feeling.

It’s hard to listen to the album in its entirety and think, “there’s something off with this album. I just can’t put my finger on it.” I think adding a couple fast beats here and there gives the illusion that she covers almost everything in the book. Even though there’s only seven songs on this album, that’s all she needs to make an impression. Go give “H.E.R., Vol. 1” a listen!

3.5 out of 5 OWLS.

Album Reviews 0

Sum 41’s “13 Voices”

By Jimmy Sears

Sum 41 returns with their sixth studio album, “13 Voices,” and the epic intensity that defines Sum 41 is still present.

“Fake My Own Death” starts out with a quiet overture of guitar riffs slowed down specifically to ready the listener before the swift movement seeps in to transform the track into a wild ride. The high points of the track are when “You’ve got to take me away” is sung. Also notable is the “Fake My Own Death” music video, which features edited-in stills of Chuck and Red (From Angry Birds fame) along with the infamous Kim Kardashian “oily butt” photo (You know the one.) crashing down like meteors. Among many other stills, it also features Hulk Hogan, Bill O’Reilly and, of course, Donald Trump to add to the hilarity.

Then we have “War,” which is less intense than “Fake My Own Death” with war-esk claps at the beginning, but, while softer, “War” still gives a powerful impression within its melody, which suggests an even battle where the pendulum swings back and forth between both sides to suggest an even and valiantly fought war.

“13 Voices” proves to be a tremendous fare of empowering rock and Sum 41 once again grants us a head-banging good time.

4 out of 5 owls