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1989
1989
Price: £16.99

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Taylor does it again!, 31 Oct 2014
This review is from: 1989 (Audio CD)
Taylor Swift announced her 5th album earlier this year in a live stream where she also announced this would be her first official foray into pop. This isn't a big surprise as the songstress has been heading further and further into this direction with each subsequent album. The album titled after the year Taylor was born was influenced by the music of the 1980's with emphasis on the latter part of the decade. Taylor manages to effectively weave 80's pop with the musical styling s of the present to create a strong new sound however while this is different to her previous work long-term fans don't have to worry as the album is still very much Taylor Swift at the core. The powerful lyrics and mind-blowing couplets that made the world fall in love with Taylor Swift still exist just wrapped in an irresistible synth pop package.

The album opens with the anthemic Welcome to New York which is a very 80's sounding pop song reflecting on Taylor's move to New York. I didn't like this song much on 1st listen but after a couple listens I really fell in love with it. The production is incredible and lyrically it's very strong (I particularly loved the opening lines "Walking through a crowd, the village's aglow, Kaleidoscope of loud heartbeats under coats"). While I don't live in New York (unfortunately) I think the song is relatable to anyone moving to anywhere new or even just reinventing yourself in general. It's a great start to the album and instantly gives the listener a strong 80's vibe.

The next track Blank Space has Taylor poking fun at her public image mockingly singing about her long list of ex-lovers and how she's actually a nightmare dressed as a daydream. I love sassy Taylor and this song is pop perfection (it is a scarily accurate representation of me though). Following this we get the not so subtle Style which is one of my favourites. It's a very 80's sounding fun throwback track which is extremely catchy and really sticks out. It also shows a more mature adult side of Taylor which she's never really explored before.

Following this we get Taylor's 1st promo single Out Of the Woods which paints a very vivid image of a relationship and while repetitive has some very powerful lyrics that really stick with the listener. Vocally she gives somewhat of a Lorde vibe and pulls it off very well and the song is another that will get stuck in your head. Next up is the breezy All You Had To Do Was Stay which looks back on a relationship and has Taylor reminiscing over what could of been. Still Taylor is doing ok and that's an important part of this album. Things may not have gone the way Taylor wanted but she's not heartbroken.

Next up we get mega hit Shake it Off which sees the pop pioneer shrugging off the haters who just a few years ago on 2010's Mean made her "feel like a nothing". This again reinforces the positive message of the album. After this we get I Wish You Would which is about a boyfriend who lives near her but avoids her due to thinking she hates him even though this song shows that's far from the truth. It's a very breezy track and again showcases a maturer side of Swift who is looking at both sides of the relationship.

After this we get one of Taylor's angriest songs to date allegedly written about fellow pop star Katy Perry. The song's chorus is reminiscent of Hey Mickey or a number of Avril Lavigne's earlier songs seeing Taylor engaging in playground chanting while the verses follow Taylor's more traditional style. After this we get one of the albums most interesting tracks; Wildest Dreams. Vocally this song see's Swift channeling her inner Lana Del Rey while lyrically it's one of Swift's strongest offerings. While she doesn't see the relationship lasting; she still see's it as worthwhile and simply asks the man remember her when all is said and done. There's also some interesting parallel's with her debut single Tim McGraw where she famously asked her boyfriend to think of her whenever he hears Tim McGraw. However Taylor see's that it might not be happy ever after but that doesn't mean it isn't worthwhile again highlighting her newfound maturity.

Following this we get a lighter song with How You Get The Girl which sounds like it belongs on a John Hughes movie. It's very anthemic and sounds like 22's breezier little sister. After this the album takes a slightly darker turn with the completely self-penned This Love. This track took a few listens to grow on me but it got better with each listen and lyrically it's one of the more emotive tracks and is the nearest thing to country 1989 will see. After this we get the brilliant Ryan Tedder produced I Know Places which uses the metaphor of hunting to describe a relationship that is being ruined by other people invading (in Taylor's case this being the paparazzi). It's a great track and different to anything Taylor has done before.

The standard edition of the album closes with Imogen Heap co-penned electronic ballad Clean. This is one of Taylor's most haunting tracks to date and is something you wouldn't expect to find on an album full of Max Martin tracks yet it fits perfectly and is one of the albums highlights. Comparing a relationship to being sober this track manages to paint a vivid picture of fragility reaching it's climax in the 2nd verse (So I punched a hole in the roof/Let the flood carry away all my pictures of you/The water filled my lungs, I screamed so loud but no one heard a thing) but ultimately it's a story of perseverance which is the main theme on 1989.

For anyone who bought the deluxe version there's 3 additional tracks as well as several voice memo's. The first bonus track uses the metaphor of Wonderland to describe the story of a relationship. It utilizes the same dubstep inspired production that made I Knew You Were Trouble a mega-hit. It's definitely a highlight and it on par with the songs on the standard edition. Following this we get the ballad You Are In Love which is a beautiful track that incorporates Bruce Springstreen's Secret Garden. It's far more solemn than the rest of the album but I'm sure many fans will appreciate a Taylor ballad. Finally we get New Romantics which see's Swift celebrating her newfound single life and reigning victorious over the vicious criticism she received over her personal style. Again this song gave somewhat of a Lorde vibe which Taylor pulls off perfectly. The voice memo's are quite funny too and it's interesting to see the songwriting process of a world renowned superstar.

Overall 1989 is a strong departure from her previous work but still retains the fundamental features of a Swift album. Lyrically she has matured a lot and views things from multiple sides rather than just her being right. She also played with a lot of different writing structures and pop sensibilities but fortunately it's pays off and is one of the strongest pop albums to be released this year. She achieved her goal of being sonically cohesive as the album flows perfectly and nothing really sticks out strongly. I would recommend using a pair of high quality headphones while listening to the album to really appreciate the slick high quality production.

Best Tracks: Style, Wildest Dreams, All You Had To Do Was Stay, Clean, Wonderland, New Romantics


Avril Lavigne
Avril Lavigne
Price: £5.47

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another solid release from the Avril Lavigne, 4 Nov 2013
This review is from: Avril Lavigne (Audio CD)
Well it's been over 2 and a half years since Avril Lavigne last released an album but she's back and spirited as ever. The album opens with the anthemic Rock N Roll which serves as the 2nd single and is one of my faves. Its full of attitude and is one of the most addictive songs Avril's ever recorded. I love the message about being yourself and not caring what people think. After this comes the lead single Here's To Never Growing Up which is another fun upbeat song that was my anthem this summer. Not her best song but still a solid track. Then comes 17 which follows the theme of youth with Avril reminiscing about a love from when she was younger and the good times they had. Avril premiered this song earlier this year performing an acoustic version and while I love the studio version I've gotta admit I prefer it more stripped down.

After this comes another upbeat track and the 1st unheard song which is called Bitchin' Summer. While this isn't my favourite song it's still a good track and will make a great summer song. Avril rapping was pretty cute too. Next up is the 3rd single Let Me Go featuring Avril's husband Chad Kroeger (who's also the lead singer of Nickelback). It sounds kinda like a Nickelback song and while their not my cup of tea this song is great. The vocals especially Avril's are incredible and I like how it starts as a break up song but turns into a love song. The next track titled Give You What You Like is my favourite song off the album. The song is quite dark and has some of Avril's best lyrics to date with her calling describing it as her best written song since I'm With You. It's beautiful and the vocals are out of this world. She really pushed herself with this song. Following this we get the album 2nd and final collaboration featuring one of rock's biggest figures. Yes it's none other than Marilyn Manson and this collab works surprisingly well. The song is one of my faves and is my new party anthem. Most of Manson's vocals are in the background but they add a lot to the song. It's also one of the most rock songs on the album which is awesome.

After this the next few songs are a little lighter and poppier with Hello Kitty being a dubstep j-pop inspired song about her love for the beloved Japanese cat. The production is really good and while the lyrics are silly and immature they suit the song. You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet is a classic Avril song which is upbeat and really catchy. It's a really relatable fun love song and was written solely by Avril. Following this we get Sippin' On Sunshine which is a super catchy song that will be perfect for summer. Not the best but it's still worth a listen.

Following this the album takes a more serious tone again and the final 3 songs are all amazing especially the 11th track Hello Heartache. Avril's voice is amazing on this. The la's add a lot too it as well. Next up is Falling Fast which is a beautiful love song penned solely by Avril. The vocals are quite gentle but you can really hear the emotion in this song and how much she put her heart into it. Finally we have Hush Hush which is another solid ballad with beautiful lyrics and vocals about letting go of someone you love. It's a great closer to an amazing album

Overall this album is incredible. It shows all the different sides of Avril from the fun Avril we saw with The Best Damn Thing, to the confused teenager we saw in Let Go, to the vulnerable songstress she showed us with Goodbye Lullaby, to the opinionated young women she displayed with Under My Skin as well as a whole new side. The album flows really well and is highly enjoyable for Avril fans everywhere.


Nevermind
Nevermind
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £5.88

5.0 out of 5 stars The album that redifined rock, 28 Mar 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Nevermind (Audio CD)
This album changed the landscape of rock in the 90's. Gone was the glam polished rock that rode so high in the 80's. In it's place stood heavy distorted guitars, angry passionate lyrics and gruff raw vocals. Nirvana were not only the 1st to start this trend but they were the best at grunge too. Packed with timeless angsty classics from the haunting Polly to tongue in cheek Lithium to the anthem that defined a generation known as Smells Like Teen Spirit this album is truly one of the greatest and most iconic albums of all time. Every song is an easy 10/10. Stop reading this review and purchase your own copy to get a piece of music history you don't want to miss out on. Kurt Cobain may be gone but his music will live on forever.


Red
Red
Price: £12.49

31 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great album, 5 Nov 2012
This review is from: Red (Audio CD)
I've been eagerly anticipating this album ever since Taylor dropped the amazing Speak Now. When talking about this album Taylor described it as a collaborative effort unlike Speak Now which was very internal (she wrote every song alone without co-writers and co-produced every song). She worked with a lot of new people on this album including Max Martin (pops biggest producer who's worked with many huge pop stars such as Britney Spears and Ke$ha), Butch Walker (a rock singer but he's produced for pop artists such as Avril Lavigne (My Happy Ending) and Katy Perry (Thinking Of You)) not to mention collaborating with newcomer Ed Sheeran and Snow Patrol's Gary Lightbody. Despite this she wrote 9 songs alone.

Anyway getting back to the point this album see's Taylor experiment with a lot of new sound from the Dubstep influence I Knew You Were Trouble to the U2 inspired State Of Grace. This was a risky move but it paid off. The catchy bubblegum tracks like the hit single We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together and 22 are completely irresistible. State Of Grace is an incredible track and a perfect opener. Despite what the lead single may have you believe a lot of these songs are quite slow such as the introspective Treacherous, the incredible All Too Well which produced some of the best lyrics she's ever wrote and several more. There are some more pop songs on the album such as Red and Starlight which are 2 of the albums strongest tracks. Red is a guitar based pop song using colours as a metaphor for emotion and Starlight is an incredible synth based pop songs which is infectious but it still has great lyrics telling of an adventure she had with a boy aged 17. It's like Enchanted funner sister. Both the collaborations are very good. The Last Time featuring Gary Lightbody is a dark song reminiscent of Safe and Sound that is haunting and has some of Taylor's best vocals yet. Everything Has Changed featuring Ed Sheeran is an uptempo number that will have you bopping along. There's still some songs for fans who prefer Taylor's country stuff such as the beautiful ballad Begin Again and the fun up-tempo Stay Stay Stay.

These are my thoughts on each track

State Of Grace-10/10 A great opener inspired by U2. Taylor sings about how love should be over epic guitars

Red-10/10 This is the catchiest song on the album. I like how it compares colours to emotions. It's a great pop-rock song with clever lyrics.

Treacherous-8/10 This is a slower song and is beautiful. You can see how much Taylor has grown as a writer on this album.

I Knew You Were Trouble-10/10 I never thought Taylor could pull off dubstep but this song is amazing. It's catchy, has good lyrics and is just a great bop.

All Too Well-10/10 This is one of my favourite tracks. It's a beautiful song with some of Taylor's best lyrics yet. My favourite part is "Hey you called me up again just to break me like a promise, So casually cruel in the name of being honest
I'm a crumbled up piece of paper lying here, Cause I remember it all all all too well"

22-9/10 This is a really fun song celebrating the complications of being young and confused

I Almost Do-8/10 This is a slower song where Taylor contemplates about a former lover and how she almost goes to contact him but never quite manages.

We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together-8/10 This is the ultra poppy ultra fun lead single. While it's not her best song it's still a fun jam and is greater to dance around and be silly too.

Stay Stay Stay-8/10 This is another fun country song telling a story about an ex-boyfriend

The Last Time-9/10 This is a dark track featuring Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol. It's like hearing 2 sides of the same story from Taylor and Gary. Taylor's voice is amazing on this as well.

Holy Ground-7/10 This is probably the weakest song on the album but still enjoyable and the drums are great in this song.

Sad Beautiful Tragic-8/10 This is a beautiful ballad reflecting on a relationship and everything that came with it.

The Lucky One-10/10 This is a great song where Taylor talks about the Perils of fame praising an artist (rumored to be Joni Mitchell) for getting out before it became to consuming.

Everything Has Changed-9/10This is a great guitar based track featuring Ed Sheeran. It's a really sweet song and is really catchy.

Starlight-10/10 This is an amazing synth based pop song where Taylor's tells about an adventure she had as a teen. It's one of my favourites on the album and is irresistible.

Begin Again-10/10 This is a perfect end to the album. This is a beautiful very personal country ballad where Taylor says about how she starts to fall in love again after a turbulent relationship.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 29, 2013 8:47 AM BST


Sticks  + Stones
Sticks + Stones
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £4.25

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Catchy Debut, 19 Dec 2011
This review is from: Sticks + Stones (Audio CD)
Grow Up-This is one of the best songs on the album. I find it really relatable and Cher's and Busta Rhymes spit fire raps are amazing and it's really catchy too. 10/10

Want U Back-A catchy bratty anthem that's fun and very in your face 9/10

With Ur Love-This is the 2nd single and is catchy. The lyrics are fun and the Mike Posner feature is awesome too 9/10

Swagger Jagger-This song is amazing. It's one of the catchiest songs of the year. The lyrics are the perfect send off to anyones haters and it's a totally irresistable pop gem. 10/10

Beautiful People-This is a really meaningful song and shows off Cher's unique and beautiful voice 10/10

Playa Boi-This is another fun perfect send off song that's relatable and fun 8/10

Superhero-This song isn't that good. I find it a little annoying and too autotuned. It's ok though 5/10

Over The Moon-This is a catchy song. Not the best but you don't have to skip it. 6/10

Dub On The Track-The production on this song is amazing and it's really catchy. A definite gem 9/10

End Up Here-This is a more meaningful song and a perfect end to a great album. 10/10

Overall this is a fantastic debut and probably my favourite album ever released by an X-Factor star. Cher Lloyd's got a really unique voice and has teamed up with great producers to make one of the hottest albums of the year. The standout tracks are Swagger Jagger, Grow Up, Beautiful People and End Up Here.


Stronger
Stronger
Offered by FLASH
Price: £6.65

4.0 out of 5 stars Another good album by Kelly, 6 Nov 2011
This review is from: Stronger (Audio CD)
Well it's been a while but Kelly's 5th album is finally here. The first track to open the album is Mr Know It All. This is the 1st single and is a catchy song you can dedicate to any Know It Alls whether it be a former lover, a friend or even your osey next door neighbor. Next song is What Doesn't Kill You (stronger). This is a sing-a-long empowerment anthem. She always pulls her empowerment anthems off perfectly and this is no exception. Dark Side is a beautiful song starting off slower before going into a kick ass chorus exploring her darker side. Lyrically it's one of the best and her vocals are beautiful. Honestly is a beautiful dark sweeping ballad showcasing Kelly's strong voice but in addition to strong vocals and a wide vocal range her voice is also capable of showcasing the emotions of the song perfectly. You can feel the sadness and desperation in her voice as she sings. The next song just feel like a filler song and though she's made it 100 times. Lyrically and in-terms of production it's just ok. The next song Einstein makes up for it. It's the perrfect send off to an ex telling him dumb + dumb=You it's catchy, fun,sung perfectly and gets me dancing. The next song is a slower song and although it has beautiful vocals I find it dull and once again it just feels like filler. Next up is I Forgive You. This is an epic up-tempo pop-rock song with great lyrics and production. After this is Hello which is a good catchy song about needing someone. The war is over is a bit slower and is a nice song. I thought the next song was a filler till it got into the kick-ass chorus but the verses are still boring. You Can't Win is a really fun relatable song that could sum up my life so perfectly at times. Breaking Your Own Heart is a beautiful mid-tempo song with great vocals that once again capture her emotions perfectly although it can get a tad boring towards the end but it's still a good song and worth listening. Don't You Wanna Stay is a beautiful big ccountry power ballad with someone called Jason Aldean who I haven't heard of. There voices mesh perfectly and country really suits Kelly. The next album is a racing pop-rock boy-bashing anthem that Kelly's known for. It's a good song. The next song sounds kinda like a P!nk song but it's still a good song although it's a bit repetitive. Finally is The Sun Will Rise-This is a slower song showing Kelly's multi-octave range. It's about how the sun will rise and it will be alright. It's a good song and worth a listen.

Overall Stronger is a good album showing Kelly's beautiful voice and showing she's here to stay. There a plenty of great songs on this album and despite there being a few fillers it's worth a listen. The Standout tracks are What Doesn't Kill You (stronger), Dark Side, Einstein, I Forgive You and Don't You Wanna Stay. I would recccomend it for any Kelly fan.


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