Steve’s Media Blog

Archive for the ‘pop’ Category

I decided to review Britney Spears’ latest album, Circus, because I was genuinely curious about what it sounded like.  Plus, it’s streamed for free over at ArtistDirect.  To spell out what it is I’m saying, I’m reviewing it because I didn’t have to spend a dime to hear a Britney Spears album.

I should have expected it to be what it is: heavily-produced pop.  That’s basically what Britney is all about, and has been all about, since day one; I’m not intimately familiar with her earlier albums, but from the songs my girlfriend has on her ipod, it is all the same sort of stuff.  I mean, the music itself is different but it’s all heavily-produced.

That said, she is able to crank out some decent-quality stuff.  This album definitely isn’t a top album of 2008 material CD, but put it in the “heavily-produced pop” category and it shoots right up there.  All of the tracks on here, or at least the majority of them, are engineered to be hits.  Not all of them will be, but I guess it would be rather silly for someone to produce an album with the hopes that none of the songs will be in the top of the top 40.

Womanizer is obviously the “flagship” single for the album, and it’s probably the best track on there.  The only other song that’s jumped out at me at being listenable and enjoyable is Radar but you don’t get to that one until the end of the album.  I’m going to go ahead and guess that Radar will be the next single off the album; I’m usually able to pick them out before I read/hear about it, but I am also occasionally wrong.  Though it could be slotted at #3 behind Circus.

I will rate this album an arbitrary 3 out of 5.  It’s decent enough if you’re looking for some light pop.

** Side Note ** I wanted to include a copy of the album art, but google images can’t find one!  Weird.

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I remember about a year and a half ago (or longer – I am not positive on this one) I downloaded Paul McCartney’s latest album.  It was nice, it was okay…it wasn’t anything special though.  Not like I was expecting anothe Beatles album – I’m not stupid.  But it wasn’t really my style of music.  A little too light and poppy for me (even though I do like pop music, but usually not the light stuff).  So of course my ears were pleasantly surprised to hear Paul’s latest work in his collaboration with producer Youth: The Firemen‘s third album, Electric Arguments.  You can listen to it the same place I did: on myspace.

The first track, Nothing Too Much Just Out of Sight is a little misleading for the album as a whole – and it actually reminded me of later Beatles music.  But overall the album does have a sort of pop sound but I don’t find it nearly as off-putting as I did Paul’s solo album I’m talking about (I don’t even know the name of it, to be honest).  It sounds though like a mix of U2 and something else that I’m not sure of; but thankfully the U2 elements aren’t prominent, or else I would probably have stopped listening (there’s some U2 news after the review, actually…does that make me slightly hypocritical?).

The album has a good mix – as mentioned it does get a little slow after the first track, but picks up at Highway.  I am very happy that Paul McCartney teamed up with a producer because otherwise I could see some of these tracks as being a lot less interesting.  The production is definitely noticeable on this album, and it adds to the enjoyment of it.  My enjoyment, at least.

I like to rate albums based on what situation I would listen to it.  Unfortunately that rating system depends highly on the type of music.  Most of the time though, I use the car as a good measure.  Could I listen to this in the car?  I think so, but not on a road trip.  This would be something I’d listen to while puttering around the city.  That’s still pretty good, though, because there’s some music that just won’t set foot outside the house – and that’s bad (sometimes).

After listening to the album on myspace, I can say with 100% certainty that I will acquire this album – either purchasing it at a later date or getting it for Christmas, whichever comes first.  Either/or would work for me.

***

I mentioned there is some U2 news.  We know that Via Rail is busy staring at its navel deciding whether they want to launch their own music downloading service, but Bono has announced the launch of a DRM-free music service of his own.  It’s called (RED) WIRE, and will cost $5/month, launching in December.  The proceeds of this service will go toward “the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.”  Quite a list!

And to clarify, it’s not going to be exactly the same as something like itunes or napster or whatever.  The service will offer an exclusive song from a major artist every week, as well as a smaller artist and “other content”.  And according to exclaim.ca, U2 is on track to releasing their album No Line On The Horizon in February.

Now that I’m feeling dirty enough I should mention something that excites me a little bit more than Bono and U2: No Doubt announced touring and a new album in 2009!  I’ve been waiting for this for a while since I heard the rumours a couple years ago.  Great stuff!  There is also word of Guns N Roses laying down a lawsuit on Dr. Pepper, but I’ll have more on that tomorrow after Friday Morning Free Music.

I don’t know if this is going to be an ongoing feature, but in case it is I decided to give it a name: Friday Morning Free Music.  It’s basically just a link to some free music.  Today it’s Sara Bareilles’ hit single “Love Song”.  I was pointed to it over at the Red Flag Deals forums.

Just click here to get all the necessary information.  Please note that this is an offer for residents of Canada only, and is limited to one per person.

I heard Britney’s latest song on the radio this morning; is this another one of her come back attempts?  I’m not sure what to think of the song at all, to be honest.  I’m rather neutral – I don’t hate it, but I don’t particularly like it either.  Probably would prefer something from her last album (what was it called?  Blackout?) than this track.  As a side note, I appreciate that she called her latest album “Circus”, as that seems to describe the Spears family of late.

I meant to write about something else yesterday I forgot about; came across a blog post about some Pete Seeger covers, and I wanted to let people know about it.  I have no opinions on the music listed there as I haven’t had the chance to listen (don’t you hate it when you are away from the house for almost 14 hours?  At least I got free yogurt).


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