Vere Views & Reviews; Music, Books &

REBOOT, REMIXED, RECHARGED

Linkin Park – RECHARGED (Album)

Linkin Park’s brand of Nu-Metal/Rap has suited well to the addition Urban Rap; the band are not averse to playing around and mixing up their back catalogue with Reanimation and Collision Course. This time around they have taken to remixing & recharging the majority of tracks on Living Things and have incorporated Dubstep, House and EDM into the mix, however, is this money for old rope or the sound for future frat parties?

RECHARGED is book ended with the new single; A LIGHT THAT NEVER COMES; the first version is co-credited x Steve Akoi, with Mike rapping and Chester singing the verses this, melodic hybrid that gets better with each listen and closes with Rick Rubin’s Reboot which is not too dissimilar in style to heavily from Sympathy For Devil.

CASTLE OF GLASS (M.Shinoda Remix) has a hymn like quality about it, the muffled open vocals show me how to be whole again getting louder and louder and then Chester’s vocals emphasizes the hymn like feel. We get aural assault on the tracks LOST IN THE ECHO (KillSonik Remix) & VICTIMIZED (M.Shinoda Remix) although the tracks are high octane and full of energy it comes as light relief when they are over. We also get 2 versions of I’LL BE GONE- The Vice Remix feat Pusha T which starts off with a sweet vocal from Chester then a laid back rap from Pusha T followed by a fast flowing rap by Mike and the Schoolboy Remix which appears to be more house orientated.

BURN IT DOWN (Tom Swoon Remix) takes to the dance floor with gusto the track dispenses with most of the vocals, using the refrain “we are building it up” this is a remix to fill stadiums.

VeReViews is a great admirer of artists that venture into musical genres beyond the ones that they are famed for. Linkin Park purists may be divided on Recharged; claiming that the essence of the band has been remixed out of the tracks,VeReviews would counter argue that the foundations of the songs are all Linkin Park based with additional ingredients added by the remixes. VeReviews expects Recharged to be the sound of many frat house Christmas parties this year!

VeReView Star Rating VVV/5

VeReView Linkin Park x Steve Akoi –A LIGHT THAT NEVER COMES

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Newman’s Wall Of Sound

John Newman – Tribute (Album)

With Plan B reverting back to hip hop; Ill Manors, there is a vacancy for a blue eyed soul boy, step forward John Newman. Tribute Fuses together northern soul, blues, gospel, break beat, house music, pop melodies, motown all given a 2013 sheen and added dance beats.

On the Tribute Tree on his website and also on the opening track Tribute Newman lists numerous acts which have inspired him from, acts as diverse as Queens of The Stone Age, The Supremes, Jackie Wilson, Solomon Burke, Otis Redding, Spencer Davis Group, New Order, Radiohead, MGMT and Rudimental to name a few and it is with Rudimental that we start as John Newman first came to prominence as the lead vocalist on Rudimental’s No.1hit Feel The Love and its follow up Not Giving In, however there are no Rudimental collaborations on Tribute.

Tribute includes Newman’s No.1 hit single Love Me Again and its follow up break up song Cheating. On Losing Sleep Newman’s delivery evokes Otis Redding. Try is another Northern Soul toe tapper with a dash of Italo House piano. I think a trick was missed by not putting Goodnight Goodbye last on the running order of this album. All I Need Is You feels like a distant relation of Primal Scream’s Movin On Up.

Newman’s big voice belies his young years, that’s not to say that Newman hasn’t lived, his documented brain tumour & brain surgery, his father walking out on him and two close friends dying in a car accident One minor criticism of Newman’s voice is that listening to one song it sounds supreme however stretched to nearly fifty minutes it takes on a fog hornish quality.

Newman and his producers (Mike Spencer, Steve Booker and Ant Whiting) stick to a newly acquired formula a new kind of “Wall Of Sound.” Using a close knit writing and production team means that Tribute has an even consistent feel throughout, which isn’t a bad thing but a Rudimental , conspicuous by their absence, injection would have given the album a different dimension.

Tribute is Newman’s way of thanking everyone who has inspired and helped, loved and supported him to this point in his life. Newman wont be Losing Sleep as his Tribute is set to dominate the charts and remember its all for you.

VeReView Star Rating VVVV/5

VeReView Cheating

Bastille Of The Night (single)

Bastille have gone from being an alternative act to mainstream success with their debut album Bad Blood on both sides of the pond. After starting off with the No.2 single Pompeii; Bastille have not been able to place another single in the Top 10 of the official charts, therefore release a surprising new single taken from their forthcoming repackaged album All This Bad Blood.

Of The Night is a cover version mash up starting off with the chorus of Snap’s Rhythm Is A Dancer, blink before you realised what song it was and Dan Smith then effortlessly slips into Corona‘s 1994 hit The Rhythm Of The Night.

Bastille have done something quite clever, they have added depth to a big slice of Euro dance cheese, the video also gives the song extra gravitas. The group have slowed down the BPM this could also explain why they have omitted Rhythm from the title of the song.

So Bastille end up a quite successful year courting mainstream single success by taking something cheesy old and making it sound very fresh and new.

VeReView Star Rating VVV/5

VeReView Of The Night

Chase & Status – Brand New Machine – (Album)

Following on from the No. 2 success of 2011 No More Idols & seeing new acts Disclosure & Rudimental release critically acclaimed big unit shifting debuts the pressure is on Chase & Status to deliver, Brand New Machine got off to a good start with the lead off single Lost Not Found featuring Louis MÙ ttrs reaching No.9 in July and Count On Me Featuring Moko reaching No.5 in October, however does Brand New Machine malfunction or does it fire on all cylinders?

Chase and Status have opted to use relatively unknown artists like Bo Saris, Jacob Banks, Moko, Louis MÙ ttrs & Abigail Wyles, however like most of the best dance albums in 2013 a Niles Rodgers collaboration is course de rigueur and Brand New Machine is no exception.

Nile Rodgers makes an appearance on What Is Right which features a sublime vocal by Abigail Wyles. If Soul II Soul were current high profile record makers they would be making songs like this.

Chase and Status take us on a journey of most the dance music scenes that have taken place in the UK over the last 20 years we get UK Garage in the track Blk & Blu – A house rave hybrid onDeeper Devotion, Old Skool Rave on Count On Me (which oddly has a co-writing credit by Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe) , Ragga on International and Dancehall on Pressure, Hip Hop on Gangsta Boogie, Trip Hop on Heaven Knows, Dubstep on Alive and Drum & Bass on Breathing

VereViews reckons that the standout track on Brand New Machine is Like That featuring Moko, this is a classy break beat song with strings, think Emeli Sande Heaven but grittier.
Brand New Machine never seems pedestrian just as you get used to one dance genre another one hits you on the next song. They say that variety is the spice of life, this adage is true for the musical stylings of Brand New Machine.

Making a cohesive album with so many different genres could have left other artists with a huge mountain to climb, however Chase and Status pull it off with their Brand New Machine pleasing on all fronts whilst giving the listener a potted history of most of the music scenes heard on British shores in the last twenty years.

VeReViews Star Rating VVV/5

VeReView Count On Me

Wanna Be Startin Some Haim

 Haim – Days Are Gone (Album)

Haim are sisters Alana, Danelle & Este who hail from Los Angeles California, they have steadily gained a devoted fan base and have been acquiring critical acclaim by the truck load with every single release.

The Haim Hype machine has been in full flow all year, as critical acclaim was bestowed upon them with each single release with those said critics salivating over the prospect of a full long player. So Days Are Gone has landed are Haim just a female Hanson with better legs or is the Haim Hype justified?

We get the opening salvo of hits Failing, Forever, The Wire, most artists would kill for tracks like these. VeReviews reckons that if you listen very closely to Falling and Forever you can hear a similarity to Michael Jackson’s Wanna Be Startin Somethin. After these tracks we get the excellent If I Could Change Your Mind; this track has the exuberance of early Madonna tracks and must be a contender for a single release.

My Song 5 is one of the most intriguing tracks on the album, it starts of like filler but then turns into the most experimental track on the album, it shows that the girls are not afraid to tack a few risks along the way. Go Slow and Running If You Call My Name feel like a tribute to Kate Bush with added Californian harmonies.

It would have been easy to knock Haim as they had been put on such a high critical pedestal as the only way seemed to be down, however, they have come up with the goods and the hype, a strong album with influences from Madonna, Fleetwood Mac and Kate Bush and the odd borrow from Wanna Be Startin Somethin; Haim have delievered a debut album that will win over the naysayers. Haim have definitely changed my mind!

VeReView Star Rating VVVV/5

VeReView The Wire

Justin Timberlake – 20/20 Expereince Part 2 of 2 (album)

3 singles and 6 months after the 20/20 Experience we get Justin Timberlake’s follow up Experience part 2 of 2; now anyone thinking that after taking nearly seven years away from the music scene Timberlake would only manage to gather enough material for one album think again, with most of the song writing and production credit’s virtually the same as Part1, one can only assume these are the tracks that didn’t make the final cut for Part1.

With the lead off single Take Back The Night taking a disco direction, with luscious horns, one could be forgiven for thinking that 2of 2 would take a different direction then the second single TKO was premiered, which sounded like an Aaliyah off cut leaving VeReViews with a feeling that 2 of 2 would be more of the same, Timbaland’s trademarked kitchen sink production and heavy beats with Timberlake’s Jackson aping vocals.

Part 2 of 2 weighs in at a mighty 75 minutes with 1 track – True Blood coming in at 9 minutes and 31 seconds, this track could have done with being edited down, it morphs into a sub Thriller like track but to be honest it doesn’t’ cut the mustard, this song is for hardcore fans only.

Highlights on Part 2 are Take Back The Night on which Justin does disco; Drink You Away is this the closest we have come to a commercial country track from Justin? Amnesia and Not A Bad Thing and finally the hidden track the delightful and Timbaland free Pair Of Wings

Now Timberlake and Timbaland do not scrimp on the amount of songs and minutes they give you on both experiences but sometimes less is more

VeReView Star Rating VVV/5

HearView Not A Bad Thing (Audio Only)

Zedd Feat Hayley Williams from Paramore – Stay The Night (Single)
Anton Zaslavski, known to EDM fans as Zedd has re-released his debut album Clarity with bonus tracks and Stay The Night featuring Hayley Williams from Paramore is the lead off single.

Now I am a sucker for artists who record material outside the confines from the music that their bands release, think Noel Gallagher and The Chemical Brothers, Chris Cornell’s Scream with Timbaland and the upcoming Linkin Park album, Recharged. The artist that has genre hopped on this single is Hayley Williams from Paramore, Lest not forget that Hayley sang on B.O.B’s international hit Airplanes, but does Stay The Night outlive its welcome?

Stay The Night starts off with just Hayley singing with a backed by piano, simple but effective, before launching into a big chorus, this structure follows throughout the song, with Hayley’s vocals being well suited to the EDM genre.

Zedd hasn’t done anything new but what he has done, he has done well. This track may propel Zedd into EDM big league as Stay The Night does not outstay its welcome and will probably pave the way for a bigger uptake on Clarity

VereView Star Rating VVV/5

VeReView Stay The Night

Foxes Chases Her Youth

Foxes – Youth (Single)

Foxes has been making her way as a featured on other artists hits, but that’s all about to change, as Foxes strikes out on her own, with the might of Debenhams behind her, Foxes unleashes her Youth.

Foxes would seem to imply more than one, however Foxes consists of just one fox; born Louisa Allen – will her fans be known as Little Foxes?

Foxes has lent her vocal talents to diverse acts such as Fall Out Boy (Just One More Yesterday); Zedd (Clarity); Sub Focus (Until The End) and Rudimental (Right Here). In her own right Foxes released her Echo EP in November 2012 and Beauty Queen earlier this year, however, it is with her new single Youth that Foxes is set to strike.

To categorise Youth as just pop does Foxes a disservice, however, Youth is a slice of radio friendly music of undoubtable quality which also lends itself well to be being remixed; mournful lyrics -“Don’t tell me our Youth is running out – Its only just begun” and a trance-lite backing gives way to tribal drums with Foxes vocal holding the whole thing together, musically somewhere between Kate Bush, Florence Welch and Ellie Goulding.

“They didn’t want me when I was running wild” Foxes sings on the opening lines on Youth, however, on the strength of this single everyone will be chasing after Foxes’s Youth.

VereView Star Rating VVVV/5

VereView Youth

 

Boys Don’t Cry

Diana Vickers – Music To Make The Boys Cry (Album)

Diana Vickers appeared in series 5 of X Factor and has appeared on two number 1 records and saw her debut album Songs From The Tainted Cherry Tree reach Number 1 in 2010. Three years on from that and on a new record label, Vickers releases her sophomore album, Music To Make The Boys Cry. The omens for this album do not look good as the lead off single Cinderella couldn’t’t make the top 40. So does Vickers have the tunes to Make The Boys Cry with euphoria or boredom?

3 years is a long time in pop, fellow X factor finalists and finalists from other shows have been more productive than Vickers; JLS & Olly Murs have both released 3 albums, One Direction will be releasing their third album soon and Ellie Goulding, who co wrote Remake Me + You on Vickers’s debut, has released 2.5 albums, no doubt with changing labels there would have been some behind the scenes wrangling going on which could have delayed the follow-up, but has the worth the wait?

Music To Make The Boys Cry, which is also the current single release, kicks off the album nicely followed by Cinderella which had the potential to be big limped into the chart at No.55, its chorus gets better with each listen maybe a remix from one of today’s hot DJ’s could have propelled this single to greater heights. After this the album dips and picks up with the track Boy In Paris. I imagine if Debbie Gibson was still making hit records they would sound like Mad At Me. Then events take a turn southwards but pick up on the closing two songs Better in French and Blame Game. Has Vickers got an infatuation with France, as after Boy in Paris we get better in French, this a very Kylieesque number and hints at what could have been. Blame Game rounds off a pretty disappointing album.

Music To Make The Boys Cry has an impressive list of credits including Miranda Cooper, Jimmy Harry and  David Gamson on song writing and production duties, however, they cobbled a batch of electro-lite tracks which are neither one thing or the other, the record label should have been more courageous and got some tougher mixes in place. I predict a Top 50 placing and then a rapid fall, which is a shame because with this collection of songs Vickers should be hitting the heights that Ellie Goulding is currently reaching. The 3 year wait between albums is in my opinion too long for an artist like Vickers. For it to be Music To Make Boys Cry, boys would have to listen to it first and I am afraid to say that few will.

VereVeiw Star Rating VV/5

VereView Music To Make Boys Cry

Avicii – True (Album)

Avicii aka Tim Bergling or Tim Berg or Tom Hangs releases his first full length album; True. Like many DJ’s who make albums Avicii enlists a number of collaborators on True, however, he doesn’t’t take the David Guetta or Calvin Harris route of making an album, most of the artists on True are not what you would call household names save for Nile Rodgers, Adam Lambert and possibly Aloe (I Need A Dollar) Blacc, with this in mind has Avicii made a True classic or a True Mess?

The album starts off with the worldwide hit Wake Me Up featuring Aloe Blacc, this track set up the album nicely as Wake Me Up is not a straightforward dance track but a hybrid of Soul, folk, country and EDM; an almighty mix but Avicii and Aloe Blacc succeed in making a truly original dance track.

Addicted To You featuring Mac Davis & Audra Mae is a full on big diva house number. Liar Liar starts off as a dreamy wistful Italo house number before a 60’s inspired chorus kick in with chant Liar Liar.

It seems that any dance artist worth their salt is collaborating with Nile Rodgers, Avicii does so twice on this album first on

Shame On Me – which has a driving beat similar to The Race by Yellow. Rodgers pops up again on the enjoyable Lay Me Down. Vocals on this track are handled by Adam Lambert, this is Lambert’s second hook up with Rodgers on the cruelly overlooked Shadey. Lay Me Down will no doubt hit the top of the charts when released as a single.

Avicii offers his version of Antony And The Johnsons Hope There’s Someone, featuring Linnea Henriksson;Avicii takes a mournful ode about finding someone in the afterlife and turns it into an arms raised aloft dance number.Whilst Linnea executes the vocals well. the song doesn’t quite work for me as it fails to convey the depth of emotions of the original version which is spine tingling, however, full credit must go to Avicii for bringing this song to a new audience

Avicii has made an ambitious album, he has taken dance music into a different direction, encompassing, folk, country, soul & EDM along the way. This is not your typical dance album which makes it an intriguing listen, whilst I wouldn’t’t say True was a classic, I wouldn’t’t call True a mess either but would say it is somewhere in between.

VereView Star Rating VVV/5

VereView You Make Me

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