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Florence & The Machine – Ceremonials (Island, 2011)

CELEBRATION OF PERFECTION

Imagine: You enter some old, rustic cathedral. You see the full orchestra and choir. In front of them there is only one woman. Red-haired, mystical Florence Welch whose voice and stature is a combination of Kate Bush, Annie Lennox and PJ Harvey. That mixture cannot fail. And for an hour of “Ceremonials” it doesn’t.

Very rich orchestration, deep, layered and spiritual lyrics, amazing production etc. deliver an album that is probably the best one in the year 2011. Florence and the Machine managed to transfer chamber music into beautiful mainstream pop. So, it’s not hard to see why she is being labeled as an art/baroque pop musician. As I already wrote when reviewing her single “What the water gave me”, she confirms strong feminist attitude, starting from the first album, but less obvious and better shaped. Aside from the mentioned female musicians, Welch is heavily influenced by Virginia Wolf, Frida Kahlo and many more.

It’s really hard to find enough words to describe an album as good as this one, and not make it sound like pure praises. So… to cut the long story short: “Ceremonials” is a masterpiece.

Recommended songs: “Shake it out”, “What the water gave”, “Never let me go”, “Heartlines”, ” Leave my body”, “Strangeness and charm”…

SLAVLJENJE SAVRŠENOG

Zamislite sledeće: Ulazite u neke staru katedralu. Vidite orkestar i hor. Ispred njih stoji samo jedna žena. Crvenokosa, mistična Florens Velč čiji su glas i stas kombinacija Kejt Buš, Eni Lenoks i Pi Džej Harvi. Ta mešavina ne može izneveriti što celočasovni „Ceremonials“ upravo potvrđuje.

Veoma bogata orkestracija, duboki, slojeviti i duhovni stihovi, sjajna produkcija i drugo, predstavljaju jedan od verovatno najboljih albuma u 2011. godini. Florens je uspela da pretopi kamernu muziku u lep mejnstrim pop. Tako da nije teško razumeti zašto je etiketirana kao izvođač umetničkog/baroknog popa. Kao što sam već pisao kada sam recenzirao njen singl “What the water gave me“, ona potvrđuje čvrste feminističke stavove, počevši od njenog prvog albuma, ali manje očigledno i bolje oblikovano. Pored pomenutih muzičarki, Velčova je dosta inspirisana Virdžinijom Vulf, Fridom Kalo i mnogim drugima.

Vrlo je teško pronaći prave reči koje mogu opisati album ovoliko dobar kao ovaj, a da ne ispadne kao puki hvalospev. Dakle… da skratimo, “Ceremonials“ je remek-delo.

Preporučujem: “Shake it out”, “What the water gave”, “Never let me go”, “Heartlines”, ” Leave my body”, “Strangeness and charm”…

Categories: Albums - Albumi

Coldplay – Mylo Xyloto (Parlophone, 2011)

SYNTH ME UP

I put the new Coldplay record on, turn the volume up and I go to the Internet, trying to learn more about “Mylo Xyloto” background. There was a mention of the intellectual anti-Nazi movement called White rose, and while reading about it, at first I couldn’t hear it, but I start detail reading about the movement’s history, and suddenly it gets so hard. The story is sad and something is amplifying those feelings. I realize it’s the music in the background, it was the fifth song on the album – “Us against the World”, and it just made perfect sense.

Chris Martin also mentions that album is a concept one with the love story in the center, but it’s a bit far-fetched. Every album has a concept or some kind of story that follows through, but I wouldn’t go and compare it to likes of David Bowie or Pink Floyd which wrote a book on concept albums.

“Mylo Xyloto” is so much different than its predecessors. It is heavily synth oriented, probably that’s what the band was trying to imply with Xylo(phone) in the album’s title. As a shock came a guest appearance of pop diva Rihanna on the song “Princess of China”, but it’s one of the best songs on the record. This new Coldplay sounds very odd and unusual, but it sends a powerful message. Like it’s reaching out to the audience and telling them: “Go! Move!  Change the world!“

Recommended songs: “Paradise”, “Us Against The World”, “Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall”, “Princess of China”, ”Major Minus”, ”Charlie Brown”…

POTPUNA SINTIZACIJA

Puštam novi Coldplay, pojačavam i odlazim na Internet, pokušavajući da saznam što više o pozadini “Mylo Xyloto“-a. Pominje se intelektualni anti-Nacistički pokret Bela ruža i dok sam čitao o njemu, u početku nisam mogao to da čujem na albumu. Ali sam nastavio sa detaljnim čitanjem o istorijatu pokreta i odjednom je postajalo sve teže. Priča je tužna, ali je nešto pojačavalo te emocije. Shvatio sam da je to muzika u pozadini, bila je to peta pesma na albumu – “Us Against The World“, i jednostavno je imalo savršen smisao.

Kris Martin je takođe pominjao da je album konceptualan sa temom ljubavi u centru, ali je to možda olako rečeno. Svaki album ima koncept ili priču neke vrste koja ga prati, ali ne bih išao toliko daleko i poredio ga sa delima Dejvida Bouvija ili Pink Floyd-a koji su „napisali knjigu“ o konceptualnim albumima.

“Mylo Xyloto“ se dosta razlikuje od svojih prethodnika. Dosta je sintisajzerski orijentisan, verovatno je to bend i pokušavao da sugeriše sa „Xylo“ (ksilofon) u naslovu diska. Kao šok je došla saradnja sa pop divom Rijanom na pesmi “Princess of China“, ali je jedna od najboljih na ploči. Novi Coldplay zvuči veoma čudno i neuobičajno, ali šalje jaku poruku. Kao da se okreće publici i govori joj: „Pokreni se! Promeni svet!“

Pesme za preporuku: “Paradise”, “Us Against The World”, “Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall”, “Princess of China”, ”Major Minus”, ”Charlie Brown”…

Categories: Albums - Albumi

Evanescence – Evanescence (Wind-up, 2011)

“NOTHING IMPORTANT HAPPENED TODAY”

A five year wait for new Evanescence album is over. After five years it looks like nothing has changed. Self-titled album has nothing new or innovative to offer compared to its predecessors “Fallen” and “The Open Door”. Evanescence have established themselves as a commercial metal band (I like to define them as pop metal) since their debut, and with their third record they still don’t feel free to experiment and move forward. They swim in the familiar waters which are leading them to music mediocrity. Evanescence have even changed the producer, hired experienced Nick Raskulinecz and still made record that sounds same as previous ones. I’m not trying to badmouth album, because, it isn’t bad at all. It is everything you can expect from Evanescence, but without music progress they risk losing reputation and eventually selling numbers will drop.

Recommended songs: “What You Want”, “Made of Stone, “The Other Side”, “Oceans”, “Never Go Back” & “Swimming Home”.

NA ZAPADU NIŠTA NOVO

Petogodišnje čekanje na novi Evanescence album je okončano. Nakon pet godina, izgleda kao da se ništa nije promenilo. Novi album, nazvan po bendu, ne donosi ništa novo ili inovativno u poređenju sa prethodnicima “Fallen“ i “The Open Door“. Evanescence su od samog starta karijere sebe postavili u ruho komercijalnog metal benda (ili pop metala, kako lično volim da ih zovem), i sa svojim trećim albumom i dalje nemaju slobodu da eksperimentišu i naprave stilski pomak. Plivaju u poznatim vodama koje ih vode ka mediokritetu. Bend je čak promenio i producenta, unajmili su iskusnog Nika Raskulinaca ali su opet uspeli da naprave izdanje koje zvuči isto kao prethodna dva. Nije mi namera da kudim ploču, jer uopšte nije loša. Štaviše, ona je sve što se očekuje od Evanescence, ali bez progresije u zvuku rizikuju da izgube reputaciju, pa čak da im vremenom opadne i prodaja diskova.

Preporučujem:   “What You Want”, “Made of Stone, “The Other Side”, “Oceans”, “Never Go Back” & “Swimming Home”.

Categories: Albums - Albumi

SuperHeavy – SuperHeavy (Universal, 2011)

GREAT NAMES DON’T MAKE GREAT ALBUM

SuperHeavy is a new music project featuring Mick Jagger (The Rolling Stones), Dave Stewart (Eurhythmics), Damian Marley (Bob Marley’s youngest son), Joss Stone and A. R. Rahman (Academy award winner for “Slumdog Millionaire” score). Although filled with great music talent, the album fails to deliver a high-quality fusion of different musical genres. Instead of a nice combination of styles, the album has Damian’s reggae songs, Rahman’s Indian compositions and few classic Rolling Stones numbers. SuperHeavy seems too artificial and forced. Looks like the only chameleons in this story are veteran Dave Stewart and the young talent Joss Stone, because they successfully introduced their musical style and adjusted to the album’s needs. All around, SuperHaevy’s debut is pretty much chaotic and varying, with a couple of nice songs. In addition, thumbs up for Damian and Joss who carry this album.

Recommended songs: “Miracle Worker”, “Energy”, “Beautiful People” & “World Keeps Turning”.

ODELO NE ČINI ČOVEKA

SuperHeavy je novi muzički projekat koji čine Mik Džeger (The Rolling Stones), Dejv Stjuart (Eurhythmics), Demijan Marli (najmlađi sin Boba Marlija), Džoš Stoun i Ej Ar Rahman (Oskarom nagrađen za muziku u filmu “Milioner iz blata”). Iako je sastavljen od velikih muzičkih talenata, album nije uspeo da ostvari kvalitetnu fuziju različitih muzičkih žanrova. Umesto dobre kombinacije stilova, album ima Demijanove rege pesme, Rahmanove indijske melose i nekoliko Rolling Stones klasika. SuperHeavy deluju previše veštačko i usiljeno. Izgleda da su jedini kameleoni u ovoj priči veteran Dejv Stjuart i mlada talentovana pevačica Džoš Stoun, jer su uspešno prilagodili svoje stilove zahtevima albuma. Sveobuhvatno, debi SuperHeavy-a je poprilično haotičan i previše mešovit. Dodatno bih još pohvalio Demijana i Džoš koji su izneli album na svojim leđima.

Preporučujem: “Miracle Worker”, “Energy”, “Beautiful People” i “World Keeps Turning”.

Categories: Albums - Albumi

Beirut – The Rip Tide (Pompeii, 2011)

MULTICULTURAL BEIRUT

Unlike the previous albums, Beirut’s “The Rip Tide” has less Balkan folk trumpet, and it is more Mexican, which is expected from the band that comes from Santa Fe, New Mexico. This is the first album that was recorded in New York, which explains the more “pop” sound with fewer instruments on it. However, no matter how American the band is, their music is definitively a European product. They have Mediterranean accordion, and Zach Condon’s vocals have French/Belgian chanson characteristics. With addition of piano, violin and Portuguese ukuleles we have an excellent world music record.

Beirut somewhat stuck to their sound. They have reoriented it [sound] and simplified it, but stayed unique and they continue to make relaxing music with high artistic value, contrary to the market demands. That’s probably why they released the disc through their own label “Pompeii records”.

Recommended songs: “Santa Fe“, “East Harlem“, “Vagabon“ and “Port of Call“.

MULTIKULTURNI BEIRUT

“The Rip Tide“ je u odnosu na prethodne albume doneo neke promene. Trube su više američko-meksičke, što je normalno za bend iz Santa Fea koji se nalazi na samom jugu SAD, na granici sa Meksikom. Za razliku od prethodnika, disk je sniman u Njujorku što objašnjava njegov nešto „popičastiji“ zvuk, čak je i instumentarij znatno smanjen.

Koliko god bili američki bend, njihova muzika je definitivno evropski proizvod. Imaju mediteransku harmoniku, a Zek Kondonovi vokali imaju karakteristike francuskih šansona i verujem, kada bi tekstovi bili na francuskom, da bi zvučali autentično za tu zemlju. Kada se formuli doda klavir, violina i portugalski ukulele melos dobija se odlična world music ploča. Od pesama se izdvajaju “Santa Fe“, “East Harlem“, “Vagabon“ i “Port of Call“.

Beirut su donekle ostali dosledni svom zvuku, malo su se preorijentisali i pojednostavili ga, ali su ostali jedinstveni i nastavljaju da prave opuštajuću muziku sa visokom umetničkom vrednošću, naspram komercijalizmu. A da bi ostali svoji, disk su objavili preko sopstvene izdavačke kuće “Pompeii“.

Preporučujem: “Santa Fe“, “East Harlem“, “Vagabon“ i “Port of Call“.

Categories: Albums - Albumi

Red Hot Chili Peppers – I’m With You (Warner Bros, 2011)

(THE) PEPPER ISN’T HOT ENOUGH

When Red Hot Chili Peppers are mentioned, my first association is their record “Californication” (1999). That disc was an important part of my youth. With its release the rock scene was redefined and RHCP ruled it. Since then, there have been high expectations from every record that would follow. It has been five years since “Stadium Arcadium” and with the release of “I’m With You” those expectations were not met.

John Frusciante has left the band and he was replaced by Josh Klinghoffer, but those shoes were too big to fill. Klinghoffer guitar has a role of rhythm guitar and there is a big lack of authentic and noticeable riffs and solos, so you can feel some sort of gap in the songs. It seem like the band tried to fill this gap by introducing the trumpet, organ, piano and some electronic beats, but it turned to be too much for them to handle. It really distorted their original sound towards pop. Lyrics and song themes are more sociopolitical and less personal (like we are used to hearing from Kiedis), which brings us to what may be the biggest flaw of this record – its lack of emotions.

Recommended songs: “Monarchy of Roses”, “Brendan’s Death Song”, “Look Around”, “The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie”, “Happiness Loves Company”, “Dance Dance Dance”.

PAPRIČICE IZGUBILE LJUTINU

Kada se pomenu Red Hot Chili Peppers, moja prva asocijacija je njihova ploča „Californication“ (1999). Taj disk je bio važan deo mog odrastanja. Sa njegovim izlaskom rok scena se promenila i njome su vladali RHCP. Od tada su postojala velika očekivanja od njihovog svakog sledećeg albuma. Prošlo je pet godina od „Stadium Arcadium“ i sa izlaskom „I’m With You“, ta iščekivanja nisu ispunjena.

Džon Frušante je napustio bend i zamenio ga je Džoš Klinghofer, ali su te cipele bile prevelike. Klinghoferova gitara je više ritam orijentisana i postoji veliki nedostatak originalnih i prepoznatljivih rifova i solaža, tako da se može osetiti neka vrsta praznine u pesmama. Čini se kao da je bend pokušao tu prazninu da popuni uvođenjem trube, klavira, orgulja i elektronskih bitova, ali se ispostavilo da je to preveliki zalogaj za njih. To im je izmenilo zvuk u pravcu popa. Tekstovi i teme pesama su više socijalno-političke a manje lične (nego na šta nas je Kijedis navikao), što nas dovodi do možda najveće mane ovog izdanja – njegov nedostatak emocija.

Preporučujem pesme:  “Monarchy of Roses”, “Brendan’s Death Song”, “Look Around”, “The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie”, “Happiness Loves Company”, “Dance Dance Dance”.

Categories: Albums - Albumi

Lenny Kravitz – Black And White America (Roadrunner/Atlantic, 2011)

BACK TO THE FUNK

After a successful love adventure shaped into an album “Love Revolution”, Lenny Kravitz wanted to try something different. “Black and White America” is his own time machine which he uses to get in touch with his childhood music. It is a retrospective of the music from the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s with exploration of genres such as funk, disco and soul. Album has catchy summer hits, Marvin Gaye charisma love songs and Isaac Hayes Shaft-like funky tunes with a little bit of synth-pop and disco feeling.

This is most certainly not a typical Lenny Kravitz album, but all in all it’s a decent record which is meant to be listened on a vinyl so you can get its groove.

Recommended songs: “Black And White America”, “Come On Get It”, “Liquid Jesus”, “Stand”, “Superlove”, “Looking Back On Love”, “Dream”.

POVRATAK FANKU

Nakon uspešne avanture sa „Love Revolution“ albumom, Leni Kravic je želeo da proba nešto drugačije. „Black And White America“ je njegova svojevrsna vremenska mašina koju koristi da bi ponovo osetio muziku iz svog detinjstva. U pitanju je retrospektiva muzike iz ’60ih, ’70ih i ’80ih sa proputovanjem kroz žanrove poput fanka, diskoa i soula. Disk ima pevljive letnje hitove, harizmatične i ljubavne pesme vične Marvinu Geju i Ajzak Hejzove Šaftovske fanki numere sa uplivima sint-popa i diskoa.

Ovo definitivno nije ploča tipična za Lenija Kravica, ali je generalno pristojan album koji je kao stvoren za slušanje na vinilu ne bi li ga osetili na pravi način.

Preporučujem pesme: “Black And White America”, “Come On Get It”, “Liquid Jesus”, “Stand”, “Superlove”, “Looking Back On Love”, “Dream”.

Categories: Albums - Albumi