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All reviews - Music (49)

Back to Black review

Posted : 10 years, 4 months ago on 29 July 2007 11:32 (A review of Back to Black)

Camden native Amy Winehouse returns to the essence of raw soul on her second LP, keeping each song about the length of an old 45. The stripped-down and dirty pop sound of the short but sweet Back to Black oozes ’60s jukebox soul, without the spit and polish reserved for most R&B made today. Singing the praises of young, urban life, Amy shines, backed by a solid rhythm and horn section on the Mark Ronson-produced future classics “Rehab” and “You Know I’m No Good.”


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The Best Damn Thing review

Posted : 10 years, 4 months ago on 29 July 2007 11:29 (A review of The Best Damn Thing)

The pint-sized, cockteasing coquette’s cheerleader twist is as calculated an attempt at monolithic crossover appeal as Nelly Furtado’s relinquishing of her career to Timbaland. Both Canucks suffered the same sophomore slump by falsely assuming we cared about their personal woes, so understandably, Avril hiked up her skirt, took off her underwear and made many a creepy music exec proud. She runs out of ideas and frequently resorts to self-plagiarizing, especially on the unbearable ballads, but she’s so girly when she’s whining about picking up the tab on a date that one can’t help but appreciate its cuteness.


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The Definition of X: Pick of The Litter review

Posted : 10 years, 4 months ago on 29 July 2007 11:26 (A review of The Definition of X: Pick of The Litter)

Big dog DMX gets the greatest-hits treatment with a DVD and woofers like “Get at Me Dog” and “What These Bitches Want.” No bones about it, he had his moments.


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Anonymous review

Posted : 10 years, 4 months ago on 29 July 2007 11:24 (A review of Anonymous)

Haunting and immersive, Tomahawk’s third release Anonymous takes you deep into the desert beyond the reservation. Under a night sky salted with stars, the bone-dry vocals of Mike Patton (Fantômas, Faith No More, Mr. Bungle) peace-pipe you into the shadows of yesteryear. Anonymous is full of rain sticks and quirky time signatures drenched in percussion. The homage to Native American traditions is paid with care, thanks to the extensive ethnomusicological research by guitarist/bassist Duane Denison (once of Jesus Lizard).


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Minutes to Midnight review

Posted : 10 years, 4 months ago on 29 July 2007 11:19 (A review of Minutes to Midnight)

Can’t shake the disease. Even with the legendary Rick Rubin at the helm, Linkin Park gets on my damn nerves. Yes, they have gotten away from the rap-rock sound, but still come off predictable. There are a few glimmers of hope here—“Shadow of the Day” is their U2 moment and “Hands Held High” is the obligatory patriotic anti-war rap, a sincere effort devoid of a phat beat and hooky chorus. There’s a strange folky feel to songs such as “Bleed It Out’, while the Katrina ode “The Little Things Give You Away” mixes in a touch of electronics, a direction worth exploring. With Minutes to Midnight, Linkin Park shows that they are a little older, a little wiser, yet still have room for improvement.


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Volta review

Posted : 10 years, 4 months ago on 29 July 2007 11:17 (A review of Volta)

Following three thematically stringent efforts, the Icelandic sound sorceress loosens up and lets her imagination run wild. As it unfolds, Volta’s hodge-podge of moods and materials echoes every stage of her career, and her collaborators (including Timbaland, Antony, Konono No.1, pipa player Min Xiao-Fen and drummers from Sunburned Hand and Lightning Bolt) are likewise literally all over the map—“Can you spot a pattern? /Relentlessly restless,” she sings in “Wanderlust.” Lyrically, the personal and political bleed into one another, and angry assertions of the essential, bone-deep commonality of our species recur throughout.


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The Mix-Up review

Posted : 10 years, 4 months ago on 29 July 2007 11:15 (A review of The Mix-Up)

A decade and change after 1996’s The In Sound From Way Out (and three years after their ill-advised return to rap with To the 5 Boroughs), the Beastie Boys again round up keyboard king Money Mark and revisit the all-instrumental record. The menu is hardly mixed up—with the possible exception of the roughhewn “The Cousin of Death,” this is entirely sugary dub soul and sun-kissed, psychedelic jazz-funk. While nothing here’s tremendously notable, as far as easygoing mood music is concerned, The Mix-Up is on the money (and the money shots are all Money Mark’s).


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Young Modern review

Posted : 10 years, 4 months ago on 29 July 2007 11:12 (A review of Young Modern)

Daniel Johns’s teenage years were spent emulating Nirvana, so only now is the hairy-chested 28-year-old encountering his awkward phase. He casts a wide net of piano-driven Britpop mediocrity, which painfully comes to a head during the seven minute-long “Those Thieving Birds.” The music is constantly upbeat, feeling more comfortable and genuine than the angst and despair of Silverchair’s carefully marketed past. Still, the blues-rock cock-waving of “Mind Reader” is as threatening as the Olsen twins in a dramatic role. I never really understood the fascination with the skeletal and effeminate Johns.


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Zeitgeist review

Posted : 10 years, 4 months ago on 29 July 2007 11:11 (A review of Zeitgeist)

This quasi-reunion album at the very least proves Billy Corgan is, and always has been, the driving creative force of the Pumpkins. Zeitgeist also confirms that after an uncomfortable foray into electronic solo music, Corgan is desperately nostalgic for the megaton rock riffs, abstract lyrics and heavy distortion only a time warp to the 1990s can provide (sans D’Arcy and Iha). The guitars are St. Anger grimy, and the political posturing, considered to be Corgan’s primary reason for returning, is nowhere near as belligerent as American Idiot. Latter half of this record is a real snoozer.


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Our Love to Admire review

Posted : 10 years, 4 months ago on 29 July 2007 11:09 (A review of Our Love to Admire)

For those who found Interpol’s Antics a pale follow-up to a fine debut, breathe easy, it’s “back to form” time. The mope rock returns straight off the top with the brooding “Pioneer to the Falls,” but this set of songs packs a lot of punch, thanks to guitar work that’s alternately mournful, melodic and adrenaline-driven, not to mention obvious production prowess that boosts the riffs and the back end, and takes the edge off Paul Banks’s nasal Ian Curtis echo. Capping the reverberating rockers and tightly coiled pop songs is another downbeat masterpiece, “The Lighthouse,” a beautiful anthemic dirge.


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