Subscribing to the time-honored practice of striking when the iron is hot, the Jonas Brothers put out Lines, Vines and Trying Times in June of 2009, making it their third album in one year. True, Lines and A Little Bit Longer were separated by a soundtrack to a concert film, but the flood of product is a true reflection of the peak of the group's popularity, just as how the over-produced, stretched-thin Lines is a reflection of their hectic schedule. Where A Little Bit Longer was built on a strong song foundation, Lines, Vines and Trying Times feels constructed from the outside in, with the concepts coming before the tunes, concepts that all take the Brothers Jonas further away from the fizzy, power pop fun. Lines is designed to showcase a mature Jonas Brothers, who wear their maturation in an increased stylistic range, and fussed-over arrangements that lend this a stiffness of a band well beyond their years. Pop classicists that they are, the Jonases are a bit more comfortable with immaculate arrangements than they are with the expansion, as they fumble through a couple of country songs and "Don't Charge Me for the Crime," a truly bizarre duet with Common where they gamely, lamely affect a hard-boiled pose. Tellingly, most of the forced moments were written in collaboration with outsiders such as Cathy Dennis and Greg Garbowsky, the latter being responsible for co-writing "Poison Ivy," a power pop tune so labored it reveals just how good A Little Bit Longer was. Overthinking and over-production are the primary flaws on Lines, where every point is hammered home by horns transported from the waning days of the Reagan administration. This oddly yuppified production is more Taylor Hicks than Taylor Swift, but the presence of Joe's former girlfriend is felt elsewhere, whether it's in the lyric's heartbroken love songs (as well as a couple of rocking accusations), or how Miley Cyrus stands in for Taylor on one of those country songs. But Swift also comes to mind because she and the Jonas Brothers are trying to do a similar thing: make teen pop that skews adult in its sound and form. The JoBros did it effortlessly on A Little Bit Longer but on Lines, Vines and Trying Times the seams are showing, which makes it a little bit harder to enjoy, even if there are certainly moments where all their craft and charm click, resulting in some fine pop that points out what's missing from the rest of the record.- Allmusic
2016 release, the first new album in eight years from Chrissie Hynde and Co. Originally intended as s follow-up to Hynde's 2014 solo album Stockholm, Alone evolved into a bonafide Pretenders album although she is the only original band member to appear on the album. Alone was recorded with the Black Keys' Dan Auerbach at his Easy Eye Studio in Nashville. The album features Hynde on vocals and guitar joined by bassist Dave Roe (Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn, Sturgill Simpson), pedal steel guitarist Russ Pahl (Blake Shelton), guitarist Kenny Vaughan (Lana Del Rey), keyboardist Leon Michels, and drummer Richard Swift.
This performance goes right to the top. Not since the amazing mono Ancerl recording has there been a version of this work of such intensity, such expressive urgency, and (yes, believe it or not) such incredible orchestral playing. It’s impossible to praise the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic enough: they put their London colleagues to shame. The cellos and basses have a dark, tactile presence in pianissimo not heard since the old Kondrashin Melodiya recording. The horns play the daylights out of their solos in the first and third movements, while Petrenko has the violins sustaining, articulating, and phrasing the climax of the first movement with a passion and grit that’s beyond praise. Indeed, as an essay in Shostakovich conducting alone this performance deserves an honored place in every collection. Petrenko has the players digging into the second movement with unbridled ferocity at an ideally swift tempo.
Kanye West’s new album, ‘The Life Of Pablo,’ is finally here and we’ve listened to every song! The album is everything Yeezus fans have been waiting for and it’s full of diss tracks!
Kanye West dropped his most extreme album yet during the early morning hours of Feb. 14, following his appearance on Saturday Night Live! The rapper’s highly-anticipated The Life Of Pablo made its world debut, and it’s a masterful work of art. On his 17 tracks, he raps about everything from having sex with Kim Kardashian to slamming Taylor Swift. And while most of the lyrics are shocking — as expected — Kanye’s new album is one of his best yet.