Saturday, 31 December 2016

CONTROLRadiouk 2016 Albums Of The Year

I've probably mentioned once or twice I've listened to a lot of music this year. Well what better way to bring in 2017 than reviewing my Albums of 2016, which admittedly not as long a list as I'd like.

Little Mix – Glory Days

Hey, hey! A rare moment for me to talk about how much I like Little Mix & Glory Days is my favorite album from them so far

I’ve spoke before in various articles on the fact Little Mix are a band I have come to like; originally they very much were not my cup of tea. I liked the odd song from Salute but it wasn’t enough for me to buy the album, until somewhere along the line I fell into them in the build-up to Get Weird and I haven’t looked back.

It’s extremely rare for me to come across an album from an Artist/band and like every track but that is what I get with Little Mix. That’s not to say I think every song is perfect because they’re not; ‘You Gotta Not’ has a great beat running throughout the song and a good enough chorus to distract from the repetitive, basic verging on childlike rhyming pattern that plagues the verses. I don’t know who came up with ‘Blue’s Clues’, ‘Bluetooth’, ‘Whitey-tighties’ and my favorite ‘show off your muffin top’, but I hope I never hear any song they’ve had a hand in writing again. The same goes for ‘Power’ which is plagued by repetitive, simplistic lyrics everywhere you turn, but it’s again saved by good music just about making me look the other way. ‘Shout Out To My Ex’ whilst being a smash doesn’t exactly warm my heart due to the very obvious musical comparisons to another well known song, but then I could say that about most music I listen to. My musical wish for 2017? Less samples and more original music composition.

That’s the somewhat ‘bad’ of the album out the way because as I say, though I may have my issues, I can still listen to every track and be fine with it. My stand-out track from the album would have to be ‘Private Show’ though. I’ve played the album over a dozen times since I purchased and every time, I discover something new that I like about the song. Be it that smash of a chorus, or the break build-ups, it’s just perfect for my ears to listen to. Another pleaser is ‘No More Sad Songs’ which is a nice little dance number right after two back to back ballads. ‘Freak’ and ‘F.U’ tie in third for my favorites off the album. ‘Freak’ deserves better than to be a bonus track & I will be extremely sad that it probably won’t be chosen as a single because it is a fantastic song. The lyrics are Little Mix at their sassy best with a slightly more grown-up mature sound that I love. ‘F.U’ is another ballad this time covering the bitter part of a break-up, and it’s so good I will even forgive the end of the chorus which again treads into basic, childlike territory.

’ is a nice little number and Charlie Puth’s vocals gel quite well with Little Mix but the song isn’t memorable in any way. ‘Touch’ is a song I’m glad was chosen to be a single because it has quite a fun, summery dance sound to it and the chorus is memorable but musically it’s not strong enough to be a stand-out for me. ‘Your Love’ has some nice enough beats but is quite a forgettable track in terms of the albums overall quality. ‘Nobody Like You’ I’d say is my favorite ballad off the album simply for the emotion it packs in. ‘Nothing Else Matters’ is a nice enough song that reminds me of something from the late 80’s early 90’s and ‘Beep Beep’ is a song that would be amongst my favorites if not for the censoring. It feels like attempts at repeating the success of ‘Hair’ on Get Weird, but doesn’t take into equation that worked because it was so subtle. Here the censored words are rather blatant & idiotic to me. If you can’t swear on a song because of the market you’re in, or it doesn’t suit the tone of your music, then just don’t swear.

Album rating: 8/10

Foxes – All I Need

One of the more under-rated Artists of 2016 but still with an album that packs quite a punch landing at #12 on the UK Chart is Foxes.

I’ll admit that I’m still very new to Foxes music. I have previously heard and loved some of her songs, but not enough to purchase the album. Then of course I had one listen of ‘Better Love’ and ‘Cruel’ and realized I very much needed this in my life.

The only critic I can give of the album is that like some other Artists/bands out there, some of the songs blend into themselves & are a little on the repetitive side. I’ve also seen a trend in my collection this year of albums with songs that aren’t actually full songs, or anything at all really aside from a bit of noise ranging from between 30 seconds and going all the way up to just past a minute! I am not a fan of anyone who does this as it is a rip-off; you pay decent enough money for albums you should be getting an album of full tracks not half-baked.

As mentioned ‘Better Love’ is what got me into buying this album, along with reminding me that Foxes does indeed still make music, and of course this would be my favorite song from the album when it’s done with Dan from Bastille who is on the chorus backing vocals. It’s a belter of a song that will probably resonate with a lot of people. ‘Body Talk’ is a fine little number of which I love the chorus that packs quite the punch. ‘Cruel’ along with ‘Better Love’ persuaded me to buy the album, though it isn’t quite as powerful musically & lyrically lacks as well.

‘If You Leave Me Now’
is one of the albums more blended tracks that doesn’t have as much power in the chorus to really make me take notice. May of course be a deliberate move since it is one of the more emotional ballad type songs, and it is nice to listen to; but that’s about it. ‘Amazing’ is quite a fun number musically & lyrically, and amongst my favorite tracks of the album. Joining it is ’Devil Side’ which verges into blended territory, but is saved by lyrics that have depth to them and music that soars enough for me to be able to point the track out in a crowd.

‘Feet Don’t Fail Me Now’ is another which is amongst my favorites because it is so on point musically and lyrically, even if the title reminds me of Lana Del Rey’s hit ‘Born To Die’. ‘Wicked Love’ is unfortunately well and truly in the blended category & a completely forgettable song if you’re not binge listening this album (which I was cause I like my Christmas gifts) 'Scar' is an absolute masterpiece from beginning to end, sounding quite similar in places to Hozier’s ‘Take Me To Church’. The simple piano string which breaks out into the chorus works well here in not overpowering the story of the song. ‘Money’ is a nice little funky up-tempo number which helps with those mid-album blues.

‘On My Way’ is another decent track but at this point in the album I’d heard a little too many ballads for my liking and was getting a bit bored. ‘Shoot Me Down’ helped to wake me up and is a very nice pop number I wish wasn’t so deep into the album. The same goes for ‘Lose My Cool’ and the albums title track which takes us into ‘Rise Up (Reprise). All in all it’s a nice little album that will probably grow in time, but I really could’ve done without so many ballads, especially placed so close together.

Album Rating: 6/10

Two Door Cinema Club - Gameshow

Ahh Two Door Cinema Club. How it was totally worth waiting for Christmas to listen to this beauty. They fall into an extremely rare category of actually making me like remixes that are included on the bonus disk.

To fly through this I think every song is great with no issues. My stand out tracks are ‘Game Show’, ‘Je Viens De La’ and ‘Fever’, but there’s no point doing an individual track rating here because my love for Two Door Cinema Club is quite well known, and I don’t have anything to say apart from many adjectives to use in replacing the word great.

Bastille – Wild World

An album I’ve previous covered in my reviews so I’m simply going to give this a 10/10, and confirm that months late ‘Blame’ and ‘An Act of Kindness’ are still my favorites.

The Naked And Famous – Simple Forms

The only complaint I can have for The Naked And Famous is being forced to wait so long for another album, and it only having 10 tracks. They’ve been one of my favorite bands since before I started listening to OneRepublic and Bastille, and shall be my favorite for a long time to come.

Every song on the album is as brilliant and anthemic as the next. ‘Higher’ is the lead and to this day still gets me out of my seat jumping up & down because it is so damn fun. What I like most about The Naked And Famous is they combine deep lyrics with great music which takes the edge off, but without losing the point of the song. ‘The Water Beneath You’ is a perfect example of this and a future club track in the making.

‘My Energy’ is slightly less high octane and a bit more on the rock side which I again love. ‘Last Forever’ is currently my favorite track after ‘Higher’ but by my next listen that will probably have changed. ‘Losing Our Control’ is on the softer side and fits in perfectly as we pass the middle of the album and go towards the end. ‘Backslide’ fits in nicely with its neighbor and is another of my favorites with that beautiful guitar riff.

‘Laid Low’ was available as a pre-release and a nice enough track, but dare I say the only bad track on the album. ‘The Runners' is another beautiful number as we’re well and truly on the road to the end, and makes me sad for this very reason. ‘Falling' is a sleeping monster that leads into the sublime ‘Rotten’ which I can confirm is the complete opposite of the tracks name.