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Album reviews for days

Critiques on some new albums

Cute little CD’s. / Haley Klassen
Cute little CD’s. / Haley Klassen

Authors: Liam Fitz-Gerald, Simon Feser

U2: Songs of Innocence
Release Date: Sept. 9, 2014
Reviewed by Liam Fitz-Gerald

The boys are back with their thirteenth studio album, and the Irish quarto of Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen Jr. have released a not-so-great record. However, there are a couple of songs that deserve recognition for being well-written, both musically and lyrically; “Iris (Hold Me Close)” is driven by melodic guitar and the closest thing to classic U2. “This Is Where You Can Reach Me Now” and “Raised by Wolves” are two other standouts, whose very politically driven lyrics really create nostalgia for the war era.

But, that’s it really. The rest of the album sounds and feels like a band trying to sound like U2 and not actually being U2. The songs that stand out only create nostalgia for old records and make one tempted to go listen to those instead.

None of the aforementioned songs will join the ranks of hits like “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” “Where the Streets Have No Name,” and “Walk On.” The listener never really connects with this album on a political level like they would on Boy and War, and it lacks the epic-anthem drive of The Joshua Tree, The Unforgettable Fire, and All That You Can’t Leave Behind. Needless to say, let’s hope this isn’t the last U2 record because they would go out with quite the whimper if so.

Imogen Heap: Sparks
Release Date: Aug. 19, 2014
Reviewed by Liam Fitz-Gerald 

English songwriter Imogen Heap is on quite the roll since her record Speak for Yourself hit the top ten charts. Her 2010 Grammy award-winning album Ellipse (2009) was simply a musical masterpiece: a testament to her hard work and dedication to creating beautiful sounds. It seems she’s matched the quality of her last album with her new release, Sparks, an explosion of musical style that weaves together nicely.

Like her previous releases, Sparks continues to build upon the ambient electronica sounds that Imogen Heap is known for. From the haunting keyboard that characterizes her opening song, “You Know Where to Find Me,” to the juxtaposition of her voice with stunning electronic clamour in “Lifeline,” to the fast-paced, futuristic “Xizi She Knows,” this is an album that will keep one listening from beginning to end.

The album itself is a concept album that was released over three years with some of the songs out since 2011. Fans collaborated on the album with Heap by sending her ordinary sounds encountered during the day (sound of dishwashers, etc.), which were used by her in creating it. As far as creative albums go, this one is definitely at the top of the list.

 Indigo Joseph: Collage
Release Date: Sept. 12, 2014
Reviewed by Liam Fitz-Gerald 

Regina’s own Indigo Joseph has released a stunning and powerful, full-length, debut album. Indeed, musicians Eric Tessier, Etienne Fletcher, Byrun Boutin-Malony, and Sean McCannell have given listeners a refreshing Alternative/Indie Rock album that sounds like The Police and Pearl Jam having an experimental jam session with Bloc Party and Tegan and Sara. Fans of those bands will love this new record. The album opens with the beat driven by very Sting-sounding “Opus III” and keeps the energy strong and consistent. Definite highlights on the record include “Pills,” “Dumb Animals,” and “Collage.”

The mix for the album is done well and gives a very crisp, professional sound to it. One of the instrumental highlights are the guitar solos in this album. Added to that is the sound of keyboard and powerful drumbeats that keep the record driving forward. What’s really unique about this album is there are many songs sung in French, which really adds to the beauty of songs like “Oiseau Mort” and “La Balance.”

All in all a fun and fabulous record that’s a pleasure to listen to and a must have for any Indie Rock fans this year.

Nicki Minaj: Anaconda (The Pinkprint)
Release Date: Aug. 4, 2014 
Reviewed by Simon Feser

When I was thirteen, I had a deep desire to own a reptile, which I don’t understand as I had no need for a reptile, nor did I have the money to pay for a pet, but I wanted one nonetheless; specifically I was interested in a bearded dragon, which I wanted because it can grow up to three feet long, not quite as long as an anaconda, but I think an anaconda might be too big of a project for a thirteen year old to handle anyways, it could wreck a house or just eat a lot of food, which is something that a bearded dragon would not do seeing as bearded dragons mostly eat crickets which live all over the place anyways, so maybe it could have just lived in the backyard. 11/10, would not purchase.

Favourite Tracks – The one with all the butts I guess.

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