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Album Reviews

We Love Disney: Various Artists
★★★☆☆ We Love Disney

Disney will always be in our hearts. Many of us have grown up watching Disney movies and singing the amazing songs from the various soundtracks. It is crazy to think about how many of these songs have been around for over fifteen years or more, and the audience still loves them. Disney songs are the songs that are perfect to sing in karaoke style with friends, in any location from the car to parties. On October 30th Disney released a new album called We Love Disney This album features the amazing Disney songs we grew up with, sung by some popular modern artists. Some of the artists featured on this album are; Ariana Grande, Fall Out Boy and Tori Kelly. It was interesting to see Fall Out Boy take on the song, “I Wanna Be Like You” from The Jungle Book. The song didn’t completely sound like the original but it was still a pretty good cover. Jason Derulo did a beautiful job with “Can You Feel The Love Tonight from The Lion King. It is very interesting to see how modern artists put their own spins on Disney classics. We cannot deny that the original will always be special, and nothing will beat them, but the album is refreshing. Disney has made several other albums featuring “modern” artists covering songs but this has been the best one. The lyrics and instrumentals have been in sync together unlike some others sung by the young Disney stars. If you are a Disney nut and do not mind hearing someone else singing the songs this album would be good for you.
Review written by: Shannon Reagan

Disenchanted: Handguns

I have been following this band for a long time. Their newest album is perfect for our generation. Self-portrait is the first song, and the signature single release. This song is essential Handguns, a rapidly paced pop-punk “screw-the world” anthem. In “The Worst in Me” Taylor Eby, lead vocals, defends his title as one of the strongest voices in modern pop-punk. His voice is even, strong and powerful. The third track keeps up the steady pace. Handguns does an excellent job of relating to twenty something college kids thematically. This song “My Lowest Point” proves my point. This song is about a twenty something year old kid who is confused about life. He is just trying to find his place, while trying to pick up the pieces. The band slows things down a tad for the fourth track, “Low Spirits.” This song is a bit monotonous, one of those songs where the chorus is repeated over and over. “Bury Me” is one of the songs that people will be listening to on repeat. This “love” song fluctuates between singing about a terrible ex-girlfriend, and singing about the hope that he has found with someone new. That is what I love about pop-punk, the songs of the genre are saturated with lyrics of hope and unity and understanding. This is punk for the new generation. “Carbon Copy Elitist” is by far my favorite track from the entire album. This song is a hilarious parody-ish track that utterly destroys the hipsters of the pop-punk scene. This song makes fun of everything from annoying vinyl collectors to people who brag that they’re friends with band members. The title track “Disenchanted “has yet another vocal track at the beginning, there are so many on this record. This song seems weak and more than a little washed-up. It is too similar to other tracks. “Conjuring my Youth” is a nostalgic song wherein Taylor reminisces on his childhood. He talks about the best memories of his childhood; campfires, days swimming in the local river, and cloud gazing. This album is my favorite drop by this band so far, and the best that PN has put out in a while.
Review written by:Avery Sapetko

Higher Truth:Chris Cornell

With “Higher Truth,” Chris Cornell offers up a reliably candid album filled with introspective, personal lyrics and an appropriately throttled sound. However, some of the uniformly well-made songs that don’t have much to set them apart from the rest on the album, suffer slightly from homogeny. Naturally, a few gems shine brighter than the rest. To start Chris breaks out with a catchy number called “Nearly Forgot My Broken Heart.” This song grabs our attention with his impressive vocal work and then sets aside his anger for the rest of the album. “Dead Wishes” takes us down a new path that feels much more relatable. It’s optimistic and broad in its lyrical scope, enough to be moving. A supporting acoustic guitar riff acts as a firm foundation to build on. “Worried Moon,” on the other hand, features a similarly good lead guitar and memorable chorus, but fails to build up the same emotion. A rut gets made deeper with another equally acceptable song, track 3 “Before We Disappear,” but quality is lost from monotony. Eventually, we see this trend continue. “Through The Window” travels down the same road, but tries to jump out of the loop. Lyrically, this song is a treasure. Musically, it came across slightly boring. Little glimmers pop up here and there throughout the next few songs. “Through The Window,” “Josephine,” “Murderer of Blue Skies,” and “Higher Truth” throw in creative variations on the same theme, but felt to me like they could all generally be the same song. On a lighter note, though, that’s pretty much the worst I can say about these songs: they’d be a great song if they just weren’t separate songs. “Let Your Eyes Wander” refreshed me. Chris Cornell’s cerebral wandering comes full circle in this one and we get a sense of growth. He accepts that things will work out. It’s calmer, more modest, and ultimately less addled in terms of theme. We’re gently woken up from the albums middle slump with an uptick in positivity on “Only These Words.” Although it comes off as a bit cheesy, this is one you could both hum to and get lost in – in a good way. In a momentary lapse, “Circling” draws from the same well of ideas that the middle tracks did. Its saving element is the pick-up bridge and inventive lines “Circling around the drain/Show me the way back home/the road is long//It never ends/Dark is the heart that wanders.” Finally “Our Time in the Universe” is a splash room temperature water sonically. The idea that it’s his time to do what he wants is an inspiring revelation. Chris reads his listener’s mind and answers the call impeccably. He places a Bend in the Road with a sensitive ballad asking for variety in life, and the ability to accept it. Reaching the top of the mountain, “Wrong Side” dominates as my favorite. Cornell weaves an unforgettable story. Overall, this album was a wonderful effort but could have been cut shorter.
Review written by:Allan Frei

Purpose: Justin Bieber


Justin Bieber has had fans waiting for months for this release, and it was well worth it. Purpose shows how much he has progressed and matured over the last few years, as well as how he is becoming his own person despite what the media wants him to become. A few songs were released earlier this year, including “What Do You Mean,” “Where R U Now” and his most recent release, “Sorry.” All 3 of those songs still have the pop sound Bieber is known for, but also have an R&B and rap feel. The album starts out with “Mark My Words” and “I’ll Show You,” which I believe are a statement to paparazzi, explaining that he won’t put up with them any longer. “Love Yourself” is probably one of my favorites, especially since it seems directed towards Selena Gomez. This track is all about wanting to tell someone off, but being the bigger person. My absolute favorite from Purpose is “Life is Worth Living.” A slower song, this one is about losing yourself and fighting through anything that comes your way. Other great songs include “Children,” “Purpose” and a song that features Halsey, “The Feeling.” The music videos that have been produced so far are also wonderful. The video for “Where R U Now is my favorite.” Overall, the Biebs spent some time and effort working on this album, and it certainly shows. He has come such a long way and I know he will progress and mature even further.
Review written by: Nikki Lawrence

Made in the AM : One Direction

One Direction’s new album “Made in the A.M.” is arguably the most anticipated album to come out in 2015. The band’s superstardom status, combined with former member Zayn Malik leaving the band back in the summer and their announcement to go on hiatus after this album drop, made the hype for this album grow ten-fold over the past few months. After listening to the album, it seems as though “Made in the A.M.” was overhyped. The album is well produced and One Direction’s vocals are great even with Malik in the group, however the creativity on this album is lacking. The album opens up with a song called “Hey Angel.” It’s a slower love song filled with pop melodies and beautiful harmonies from the band. It’s a good song off the album, however it loses some of its magic when you listen to the rest of the album. There are songs that sound nearly identical to “Hey Angel,” including “If I Could Fly” and “A.M.” These are good songs, however they sound so similar to one another that you could easily confuse one song for another. One Direction has a huge amount of talent, and they could have done a lot more with some of those songs. They did not need to have such similar melodies or background music. This album is mixed with love ballads and pop blockbuster songs. “Drag Me Down” is already a big hit on the charts. The song is a bit edgier from their previous music, but it’s a nice change to hear from One Direction. They are showing how they have grown as artists by producing music like that. Another song that’s edgier off this album is “Temporary Fix.” It’s a raw song about wanting to be someone’s temporary fix for loneliness. It’s edgy enough to make you take notice to it, but not too edgy that it’s a completely new sound for One Direction. I really like “Temporary Fix” and I highly suggest you take a listen to it if you want to hear a slightly different sound from One Direction. Another song that is unique on the album is “History.” This song combines a little bit of folk with a little bit of pop to create a beautiful song. It’s upbeat and enlightening, and the acoustic sound it has is great. If you listen to “History” and find that you really like it, I suggest you listen to “Wolves.” This album is full of potential number one hits, but I think the song that will be most successful off the album will be “Perfect.” It’s a catchy pop song that talks about embracing who you are and how someone thinks you are perfect. The content of the song and the sound will be sure to hook anyone who listens. Overall, “Made in the A.M.” sounds like it will be a commercial success for One Direction. However, the songs on the album all have the same theme to them: love. It would be nice to hear what One Direction has to say about something other than love, but until that day comes, I’ll be listening to “Made in the A.M.”
Review written by:Kelly Kuehn

Your Face Sideways:Wildhoney

The band Wildhoney seems to be fairly new. They have not released any albums before Your Face Sideways. A tumblr website dedicated to the band has described them as a “melodic shoegaze/dream pop band.” While I liked the CD and thought that the songs were fairly different the album isn’t anything spectacular. The first song on this six-piece album was called “Ceiling Fan.” The voice for the song had a kind of fuzzy effect and held my attention from the moment that it was introduced. The instrumental reminded me of the sound that you would get when watching a ceiling fan cut through the air while you lie in bed wide awake but wanting to go to sleep. This song picked up after the instruments introduced it, but there was never a point that I wanted to get up and move around and dance. “Laura” is the second song on the album and it wasn’t very good. Of all of the songs on the album I felt like “Laura” was the weakest. It would be a great song to put on in the background of maybe a New Years party as background noise to cover up any lapses of silence between guests. The third song on Your Face Sideways was called “Slow Motion.” Of all of the songs on this album “Slow Motion” had one of the best intros. The song made me want to get up and move around. “Hurts to Hear” was a very laidback song. I didn’t think that the music fit the title of the song at all. The song reminded me of flowers bursting out of the ground in the spring and the feeling of the sun. I would’ve liked this song more, I think if it had a different title. “Hurts to Hear” makes me think of slower more expressive sad music as opposed to what Wildhoney gave their listeners. The second to last song on the album sounded pretty awesome. The music itself brought to mind the feeling that you get when you take a deep breath in the cold and dry winter air. The best song on the album seems to have been saved for last. Although “FSA II” was almost thirteen minutes long it was wonderful. The song itself had no vocals, and it didn’t need them. This song stuck to the winter feeling that the previous song had and brought back memories of a racing heartbeat, lying down in the snow to make a snow angel, and watching as the snow fell towards the ground and onto my face. Overall, the album wasn’t bad, I actually really enjoyed it, however, it was missing the piece that wows the listener. I would definitely give this album another listen though, it was overall something nice to just sit down and listen to.
Review written by:Charlotte Luft

Astoria: Marianas Trench


Marianas Trench is an up-and-coming band from Canada but their music is slowly scaling the globe. After 4 years dry, the band has FINALLY released “Astoria,” their best piece of work to date. The band has always followed the idea of their music telling a story and this album is no different. After months of teasing and promoting the new music, even playing some clips and shows over the Summer, the band is opening up about everything in their life with Astoria, while still incorporating hints of old music. The band has a very distinct sound, but any Trench fan can tell them apart from other bands in a heartbeat. Ramsay’s lead vocals are phenomenal on every single track, no shocker there. He put his heart and soul into this album, all while dealing with several health conditions, proving his dedication to fans. The opening track “Astoria” is a perfect #1, teasing at just some of the emotions and fantastic-ness you’ll encounter throughout the other songs. This specific song talks about health and addiction, but fighting through it for the better. ‘While We’re Young” is exactly what the title says; a beautiful song about living life now and embracing every moment. Not only will the vocals give you chills, but the build and power throughout is hypnotizing. “This Means War” is my ABSOLUTE favorite, even though its hard to pick any. It has a 90’s feel while staying current and catchy, with an incredible build to a chorus youll be dancing to in no time. “Wildfire” is a softer single the band released earlier in the year, touching on the emotional spectrum that hits you right in the feels. With a catchy beat lacing through the background, the chorus EXPLODES, explaining how love doesn’t always burn like the wildfire you expected. “Burning Up” is VERY different from the band’s usual sound, having a 70’s funk feel similar to MJ. It’s a simple love song to get you moving and singing along in seconds. “Dearly Departed” is a close second for me, being an acoustic ukulele song about losing someone close to you and how to cope with the loss. ‘Who Do You Love” is most like their older music, having an accapella open and a slow start to a big and powerful chorus about, of course, love. “One Love” is also a tribute to their older sound, reminding me of “Fallout” from their last album Ever After. “Shut Up and Kiss Me” also has a very funk sound to it, so much that the band references MJ in the lyrics. Other tracks include “Yesterday,” “Hollywood Renaissance,” “Never Say Die,” “Forget Me Not,” ‘End of an Era” and even several interludes to tie it all together. Overall, this is the best album I have heard in months. Definitely a stellar release from the band and I cannot wait to see them live this month.
Review written by:Nikki Lawrence

OCCULT CLASSIC: Kill the Noise

Kill the Noise

The Rochester native DJ Kill The Noise, who normally releases EP’s, has finally gone and released a full LP. I’m a huge fan of EDM myself, so it was great to get the chance to review this album in particular. However, what I found in this EP is more of the same Kill The Noise, while there is nothing wrong with that, it just kind of left me wanting more. This album starts off really strong. The first track, “Kill It 4 The Kids” which features AWOLNATION and R. City, is a complete banger that you would easily be able to hear at a club or party. This leads into the equally awesome second track “F** UR MGMT”. Both of these songs are the high intensity kind of EDM music that you can really jam out too. They have great rhythm and flow and are all around great tracks. The next song, “Mine” slowed things down a bit, but the great lyrics and vocals from Bryn Christopher really helped make this track memorable for me. Then comes the song “I Do Coke”. I found this to be one of the more generic songs on the album. This is where the album starts to really lose the momentum it started out so strongly with. It falls into the same EDM trends every artist uses. The song “Without A Trace” uses a big blasting beat behind a melodic female singer, this time it’s Stalking Gia. It’s like this song was trying hard to be a Krewella song, but it just doesn’t feel finished. However, the rest of the album isn’t all generic, there is actually one of the most unique songs I’ve heard in quite a while on it. That song is “Dolphin On Wheels” and it has Dillon Francis joining as a collaborator on the track. The song builds up to the beat drop, which features dolphin cries. Never in my life did I expect to hear dolphin cries used for a beat drop. Dillon Francis, one of the more unique DJ’s out there today, really did some awesome work with Kill The Noise on this track, it’s my favorite song on the album. Like I said the rest of the album really just kind of suffered from being a bit too generic sounding, but I know Kill The Noise is going to keep releasing quality music, so a few duds on the album shouldn’t be too worrisome. Overall this was a very enjoyable album.
Review written by:Chris Liberati

Pentatonix: Pentatonix


Pentatonix has such a beautiful sound. Acappella can be difficult to work with so hats off to them for sticking with it. Their album named after themselves, Pentatonix, is proof that they can produce great sounds. Pentatonix started off in 2011 and won first place on the NBC show, The Sing-Off for the third season. They then formed their YouTube channel and put music out with Madison Gate Records. Pentatonix has five members. They are Avi Kaplan, Scott Hoying, Kirstin Maldonado, Kevin Olusola, and Mitch Grassi. Pentatonix is very cool because they don’t only make their own music but sing popular covers in acappella. One of their covers they made was “Can’t hold us” originally by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. Something else Pentatonix is known for is their medley covers. One of their biggest ones was a tribute to Daft Punk which went past 150 million views. The first time I heard them was when they performed on the Disney show KC Undercover. That performance really hit me as they performed a popular Ariana Grande song I like to listen to. It’s great to see that although they are great at covers they now have their own songs to listen to. The only song on their album that is a cover is “If I ever fall in love” by Shai. In the end, Pentatonix has great potential to become something huge in the music world. If you liked the show Glee and/or the group Cimorelli you should check out Pentatonix.
Review written by:Shannon Reagan

Happiness in Self-Destruction: The Plot In You

The Plot in You, from Hancock County Ohio, has brought the beat down once again. Their newest release “Happiness in Self-destruction” is an instruction manual for metal-core 101. The clean and unclean vocals are evenly sprinkled throughout each song. There are enough synth breakdowns to get you dancing yet not too nay as to be compared to Brokencyde. This album was released on Stay Sick recordings, the label owned by Chris “Fronzilla” Fronzak. He is the vocalist of Attila. One of my favorite tracks from the album is the emotional, “Dear Old Friend.” This song is about someone on the verge of suicide, yet is trying to save recover. He is asking his friends to help save his life. “I fall asleep to escape all the guilt and all the pain/ pillowcases soaked in blood/ I smoked away my f****** lungs/ and if it hurts you just to face me/ and if you're trying to erase me/know I'll be waiting for the next time and I'll be praying that you take my life. “Better Vibes” is another of the best songs on the album. This semi-acoustic tracks gives the vocalist’s clean vocals a chance to shine. “She was careless/I could not see straight/couldn't stay/ I had too much on my plate/you were angry and scared/ I was never prepared to take this on” “My Old Ways” is the song after “Better Vibes,” it is another strong semi-acoustic track. It was an interesting choice to save the title track for the last spot on the album. I don’t like the title track at all. The vocalist uses this weird raspy-whispery-voice. I will say this for the track, it does tie together the whole album. It solidifies the running theme.
Review written by: Avery Sapetko