I MOVED!!!!!

No, not actual re-location phsyically. My flop ass blog here has moved to Wordpress, and I actually love it over there. It's a little simpler, it looks cleaner, and they provide important site stats to let me know who is reading and where they were referred from.
Anyway go check it out d1esel6.wordpress.com , I'll probably leave this up for a few weeks and after that ... DELETE!!!!
I enjoyed the time I had here, but sometimes you gotta move on.


TV Review: So You Think You Can Dance Week 2 & 3 Recaps

Sorry about skipping last week's "So You Think You Can Dance" performances recap, because overall the show was a little lackluster compared to the debut week of performances. Last night's performance show was definitely a step up with some really good routines, good judges and it gives the viewers a good sense of which contestants are great and which should be on the chopping block soon.
Since in a few weeks, the couples will be switched up I wanted to run down who in these past three weeks have been the best, which couples are terribly mismatched and who just needs to go home.

1. Melanie and Marko.
These two are flawless in every way. They both are excellent technical dancers and they both are able to convey whatever character they pick effortlessly. Melanie from her first audition was one of my favorites, there's just a real X-Factor with her. After the phenomenal Travis Wall routine from week 1, Melanie got all sexy on us with week 2's Mandy Moore's Jazz routine. And she proved more than capable of the quick staccato movements of one of NappyTabs best lyrical Hip Hop routines last night (clip below).
Her partner Marko is no slouch either, and is so far really underrated. He is just as fantastic as Melanie, he's a technically excellent dancer and he also is able to really bring it with the characters he's asked to portray. These two also have the strongest connection it seems when they are dancing together. Last nights Hip Hop routine was perfection because they were great, it could have fallen apart with other dancers but because they have such a great relationship it worked probably better than NappyTabs even imagined.
It will be sad to see this couple split up, but they both should be in the competition long enough to be paired up again towards the end.

2. Sasha and Alexander
Unlike Melanie and Marko, Sasha is clearly the standout in this pairing. The NappyTabs routine they pulled last week (clip below) was great, but Sasha's solo in the very beginning of the routine shows that she's a powerhouse dancer. With every movement she makes she's making a clear and strong statement. Alexander is great technically, but he doesn't seem to match to power and intensity that Sasha brings. Despite the somewhat unevenness of this couple, they probably have had the most emotionally draining routines consistently and they always deliver.
In this case, I see Sasha going further than Alexander. Although last night Nigel gave him a critique that might end up helping Alexander, he told him his emoting needed work and that's really his only flaw so we'll see if he works on it next week.

3. Clarice and Jess
The Broadway dancer Jess was not my favorite in the beginning, or the first week. However these past two weeks he's emerged as a bit of a favorite. Last weeks routine, his character alone sold me, he completely owned the Prince role he was playing with so much grace, class and romance. And this week, he turned in a truly elegant and smooth rendition of a 1940's Lounge singer and sold the vibe effortlessly (clip below). Add to that, he's been a standout in some of the group numbers. His partner Clarice is just flawlessly beautiful with a great body, however her physical attributes aren't her only shining grace. True, on last weeks routine Nigel was right, the chemistry wasn't totally there, but last nights routine was so beautiful and flawless and she looked incredibly beautiful and carrying off the grace needed for one of the best routines of the night.

4.  Jordan and Tadd
Easily the cutest most adorable couple of the show, these two deliver but just not with the sheer strength of the above mentioned couples. They have had a pretty diverse run so far with a powerful African Jazz, a very elegant Viennese Waltz (clip below) and a fun Hip Hop last night. The problem is that with the other couples getting such great routines and owning, Jordan and Tadd's routines are sometimes forgotten. They just need to up their performance levels to stand out, but I think in the next few weeks they'll get a routine that really showcases both of their abilities and they will nail it and this won't be a problem for them anymore.

5.  Caitlynn and Mitchell
The first week, Mitchell let Caitlyn down due to an injury. This week, I personally felt like Caitlynn let Mitchell down in their Samba where he killed but she seemed to fall flat. However their week 2 contemporary routine (clip below) was a perfect combination of both of their skills and their chemistry worked really well. Caitlynn on that number was excellent with her emotion and really understood what choreographer Stacey Tookey was asking of her. While Mitchell held his end of the deal by becoming really masculine and powerful in his dance.
So that's only one great performance in three weeks, I feel like these two have potential but somehow are just finding it difficult to get a real connection going. However they are both individually two of the best on this season, so if they get it together they can be true competitors.

6.  Ashley and Chris
These two seem to suffer the same fate as Jordan and Tadd. Week after week they deliver, but just nothing too stand out. Last week's Jazz routine by Tyce Diorio (clip below) was amazing in it's uniqueness, and they did great with the choreography but personally they didn't really over shadow the routine themselves. They are the type of couple who are good at executing the steps but don't bring much else to the routines. Last night is a great example, the Sonya Tayeh routine was weird and creepy and the music was the same. They did good, but I couldn't shake the feeling that if it were two other dancers, the routine would have been one of my favorites.
I'm not sure what this couple needs to become more dynamic and memorable, but they need to figure it out soon. (I actually feel they might be going home tonight!)

7.  Ryan and Ricky
This is a perfect case of a couple who really should have re-drawn from that hat. They are both really great dancers (of course Ricky is better than Ryan), but their chemistry is just all off. For all three of their routines so far, it seems like they are both in their OWN heads while dancing and not thinking of the couple aspect. Last nights Sonya routine (clip below) was unique and I give them major props for working with the long cloth which could have easily ruined their night, but I didn't feel anything from them at all. They are both great technical dancers, but together there's just nothing and that routine should have been way more epic than it was.
Also, aesthetically they don't match up well. They have great height, and they both look like just long legs and long arms, but there's something about their roles... sexually that bothers me. Second week they dressed Ricky up in what appeared to be a corset, and it only enhanced the fact that he's a bit of a feminine dancer while Ricky sometimes is so focused it comes off harder and more masculine than it needs to be. Both of them are probably praying for the week they get paired up with an All-Star and Ricky will definitely shine when this happens. Not too sure about Ryan who has been decent this season, but has yet to really WOW.

8.  Miranda and Robert
Poor Things. They both seem to  be pretty cool people in general, and they aren't bad dancers, it's just them combined doesn't making for a winning duo at all. Robert has surprised me though, last nights Broadway routine (clip below) showed he's capable of venturing out of his Hip Hop style just not far enough at this point in the season. Miranda has the misfortune of being with a dancer who isn't as skilled as her, so sometimes I feel like she's taking her performance down a notch as to not overshadow her partner which is a mistake. This is a competition after all and she'd be smart to out dance him if she has it in her. These two I also fear might be in the Bottom tonight.

I'm on the west coast, so if you're on the east coast you have probably already seen who was eliminated this week... my predictions though are that Ryan/Ricky, Ashley/Chris and Miranda/Robert will land in the bottom. And I think Miranda and Robert might be the ones going home, unless Robert's personality overshadows his shortcomings than Ashley and Chris will be out.

Thanks to:
for the clips!


Album Review: Beyoncé

With all huge Stars of the music industry and their new albums, expectations are the biggest hurdle. And for Beyoncé and her fourth solo album "4" it's no different.
Her discography up until this release has been quite diverse but also relatively safe, and for this outing people might be expecting something a little more out there from her. Maybe expanding on the Rock and Electronica she flirted with on her last album "I Am... Sasha Fierce", or going into a totally different direction with something more worldly and international given the year hiatus she spent traveling the world.Or the album could be commercial tripe made specifically for chart dominance.

"4" is none of those things, and that is it's biggest strength and at the same time it's weakness. Beyoncé is much more subdued than on any of her previous works, and it's because this album is her covering material that is right in her comfort zone. "4" plays like a continuation of her R&B heavy debut solo album "Dangerously In Love", but showing her vocal growth in the 7 years since than. While some might complain that she didn't push herself enough, others will say that she's taking a big risk by staying true to herself. Either way, when you put expectations aside "4" is a more than solid album, it's not nearly as safe as her previous albums, but it still manages to be really familiar and classic.This is truly the album of an artist that is no longer trying to prove anything, but just making music she enjoys.

Vocally she's the best we've ever heard her, and not in the showy way of past hits like "Halo" or "Listen", she barely belts or has any soaring notes on this album. Even on the Dianne Warren penned "I Was Here", she resists the urge to turn the somewhat schlocky lyrics into a 90's style power ballad ala Celine or Whitney. She focuses on singing the lyrics with conviction and emotion. Same with most of the albums best material, the stunning electro-ballad "I Miss You", the Prince inspired "1+1" and the soulful "Rather Die Young". When she does show out, it comes out of nowhere like on "I Care" (probably the worst Beyonce hook ever!) where towards the middle she starts running with the melody and pumps out some impressive high notes. Everything she does with her voice here feels natural and again, it's because this album is totally within her comfort zone. Several songs even feel like the music she probably loved pre-Destiny's Child. "Love on Top" is a breezy R&B tune that might have been released in 87 or 88 by LeVert or Whitney Houston. "Party" is a chilled-out Hip Hop track similar to an SWV or En Vogue from the early 90's. And than there are the Prince, Michael Jackson and Earth Wind and Fire influences. At times the album is so nostalgic and smooth it almost doesn't feel like a Beyonce album, than you have "Countdown" which has the King B stamp all over it with it's staccato phrasing and attitude. Earlier, the second single "Best Thing I Never Had" plays like a mash up of her previous hits "Irreplaceable" and "Halo" with the female empowerment and "neck twisting" kiss-off lyrics.

"4" is the album that right now might be surprising to listeners, but it will hold up years from now when matched with other albums in her career. It's not as aggressive and confident as "B'Day", and it's not as experimental and diverse as "I Am... Sasha Fierce", but it really does in a simple subtle way show all of the talents she's amassed over the years and why she's easily one of the most respected in her field. She has the goods, and "4" is proof that she doesn't even have to go overboard to prove it.

4.5 of 5
Best: End of Time (this link is from her performance at Glastonbury), I Miss You, Party  << not able to find links for the other two. sorry.


Album Review: Yuck, Cage The Elephant

Two Rock releases caught my eye this year, one thanks to Pitchfork and the other thanks to iTunes. Both albums surprised me, one was a good surprise while the other was, well, not so much. So here's my take on the two.

Yuck caught my attention on Pitchfork, when the first single from their debut self titled album was posted to their site. However "Rubber" (the first single) is not only the standout of the album it's one of only two really great songs on the album while the rest fall really flat.
"Get Away" is a perfect Rock album opener, great hook and melody and some seriously amped up instrumentation from the band. By the time you get to "Rubber" which closes the album, it feels almost like you've listened to an hour of a Alternative Tribute radio station as most of Yuck's album feels like retreads of other Rockers material from the 90's. You can hear all the greats heavily influencing the sound on this album. Nirvana, Weezer ("Suck"), Green Day ("Holing Out"), Pearl Jam, Blind Melon ("Stutter"), there's even some Blues Traveler-like material here. Not to say that the band doesn't do well with the sounds, it's just the album becomes too much of a hodge podge mess to enjoy as a whole. It's not a terrible album, there are songs that are probably really good on their own but jumbled with everything else they lose some luster. The biggest problem is there's nothing there that really screams Yuck, nothing that shows they have a unique identity in the rock field. There are still good moments that come from the album, "Operation" is another stand out as well as the instrumental "Rose Gives a Lilly", the album just doesn't make a great statement about who this band actually is.

2.5 of 5
Best: Rubber, Get Away, Operation

The sophomore album from Cage The Elephant "Thank You Happy Birthday" has its faults but no one can say those faults are a lack of excitement and energy.
The album is a great diverse mix of different Rock sounds, but unlike Yuck this group manages to make every song their own by putting a unique stamp on each song be it with vocals or the arrangements. They go from really loud and aggressive Hard rock tracks like "Indy Kidz" and "Sabertooth Tiger", to subdued acoustic leaning tracks like the fabulous album closer "Flow".  A slight departure from their more acoustic-y Hip Hop/Rock of their debut album, "Thank You Happy Birthday" is alot more exciting and feels like a group just really having fun recording and trying to push boundaries and try new things in different ways. Lead singer Matthew Shultz brings a weird high pitched vocal, but he's really confident and experimental with it giving the listeners something new with every song. The band and the albums Producer Jay Joyce are just as adventurous giving us a very hard sound but adding really creative starts and stops, backing electronic blips.At times the album can be a little too much to handle, but I definitely commend the group for staying true to who they are. Their sound is new and unique and that's something one should always look for in new music.

3.5 of 5
Best: Aberdeen, Shake Me Down, Flow


TV Review: So You Think You Can Dance, Week One Recap

FOX's "So You Think You Can Dance" is easily one of my favorite shows. And really the only reality competition show on television that exposes it's viewers to things they wouldn't normally see. In season's past we've seen dance styles as diverse as African Jazz, Bollywood, Samba, even Russian Folk Dancing and you really won't see any of those styles anywhere else on television. That's why I love the show, and even with the styles that we have seen, the choreographers the show employs are at the top of their game when it comes to creativity. After the auditions, this past Wednesday the choreographers were back on their game for the first performance show of the season. Much like past season openers, there are still some dancers that aren't quite at the star level yet and are probably just in awe that they made the show, but there were some truly great performances and at least one future classic.
Here is my opinion on who did the best, and later will talk about the "elimination" this week and my thoughts on it.

the GREAT!!

1. Melanie Marko

This Travis Wall routine is not only one of HIS best pieces ever, but it's one of the greatest the show has ever seen. The concept is beautiful on it's own, two statues who are trying to combine and become one statue, and the music ("Turn to Stone" by Ingrid Michaelson) is perfectly fitting.  It's creative, beautiful, emotional and a fine example of why this show is so groundbreaking. Before this show started in 2005, I honestly didn't feel like Dance could illicit real emotions from the viewer and this, like past routines, has blown that idea out of my mind. And while the storyline and choreography were great, lesser dancers could have ruined this and taken all the emotion and realness out of it. Thankfully, Travis got two great dancers on this one. Melanie has been one of my favorites since her first audition, and this is a great example of why. Her control over the moves was amazing, and Marko more than held his own. They both really got the story and embodied everything they needed to, their technique was flawless and you could freeze-frame most of the moments of this routine and it would make for beautiful and classic statues. They also as a team brought the appropriate amount of emotion to make everybody feel what they would have felt if they were really in that situation. Nigel said this should be the first Emmy nomination of the season, and he's right it would truly deserve it because it's one of those perfect moments in Dance where just everything falls into place perfectly.


2. Jordan Tadd
3. Sasha Alexander
4. Missy Wadi

These three routines were fantastic in so many ways. Energy, Emotion, Creativity. They only lack a sense of uniqueness because while they were some of the best of the night, they weren't exactly breaking new ground. Jordan and Tadd completely attacked African Jazz in this Sean Cheesman routine, but it's not the best routine in that genre that we've seen. Same with Sasha and Alexander on their Contemporary Sonya Tayeh routine where Sasha was the star with her intensity and power, but it still wasn't the best. Missy and Wadi's routine was a bit more original, using Wadi's unique dancing talent, but it really reminded me of a routine from Season 5 performed by Kayla and Maksim.

the GOOD

5. Iveta Nick
6. Miranda Robert

These two routines were fun fun fun, but nothing in the choreography or the dancers technique really screamed fantastic or stand out. For one, Iveta (as it was noted by Mary) is the World Champion in her genre and has been doing Quickstep since she was 7 years old. Kind of an unfair advantage if you ask me, but she was destined to pull her genre out of the hat at least one time this season so might as well get it over with. The routine overall was really cute, and Nick, a tap dancer, did his part even if he sometimes seemed overly conscious of the steps. And Robert, the annoying "woooo" guy, was perfectly matched in this Jason Gilkison routine. His upbeat and goofy personality was perfect for this Jive number, and though he wasn't technically the best he out shined his partner Miranda who did respectable but just didn't match Robert's personality which was radiating and saved the whole performance.

the MEH.

7. Ryan Ricky
8. Ashley Chris
9. Caitlynn Robert
10. Jess Clarice

The rest of the routines are not terrible, nobody really messed up enough this season to ruin any of the routines, but this bunch were just a little unimpressive. Ryan and Ricky's Lyrical Hip Hop choreographed by douchebag Christopher Scott. This is one of those cases where the dancers were better than the routine, as both Ryan and Ricky gave their all (and went outside their comfort zone a little) and both had some great moments, but the choreography was just dull and it actually reminded me of the famous "Bleeding Love" routine from Season 5. Chris "Douchebag" Scott also choreographed another so-so Hip Hop routine for Ashly and b-boy Chris, Chris to me was better because he was more effortless and smooth while Ashly brought the personality but was a little too technical with her steps. Caitlynn's partner Mitchell was out due to an injury so she got the chance to dance with last seasons Robert on a Sonya Tayeh routine, which was probably one of my least favorites from Sonya, very dull in comparison to her best stuff. Finally Jess, the Broadway guy, pulled Broadway with his partner Clarice. It was a fun routine, but not fun enough in my opinion. Clarice was really pretty and graceful, while Jess didn't seem to be at 100% though he was praised by the judges.

Once the credits rolled, Thursday was a bit anti-climactic because nobody went home. Seemed like a bit of planning on the producers part, but Nigel made it seem like there was some big mix up with the judges (he actually even blamed guest judge Megan Mulally of "Karen" fame), he made Mitchell and Robert dance for their lives twice. Than he lined everyone in the Bottom up, praised each one, and than said nobody was going home. Next week though two couples will be going home, so maybe it was a way for the show to get the dancers to amp their game up.

I want to add, Sonya Tayeh's group routine that opened up Thursday's show was A-MA-ZING!! It was so fierce and powerful and intense. I've loved pretty much all of her group routines in the past and this one is up there with my all time favorites, just perfection when it comes to the moves and also the look and the song choice.

So until next week, Enjoy the clips.(Thank you to and of Youtube for uploading the clips)
I love comments on this blog.


Album Review: tUnE-yArDs

Hipster RunOff has become a go-to site for me to find new music and I saw a mention of Merrill Garbus, better known under the moniker tUnE-YaRdS (annoying spelling right?), a one woman band whose sophomore album "w h o k i l l" is easily one of the freshest and most unique outings of the year.
The album has such an eclectic mix of genres and she herself brings major diversity vocally going from a really aggressive spoken word vibe to a soft almost jazzy tone (and this is sometimes within the same song). "w h o k i l l" is the most adventurous and fearless album I've heard maybe since Dirty Projectors "Bitte Orca" which was so far outside the box but still very catchy. tUnE-YaRdS are totally different from that group but in the same ways her approach works on so many different levels.

The albums first single, and my first introduction to this talent, "Bizness" goes from a soft electronica track with a replayed vocal sample in the beginning to a joyous and highly energetic jam session towards the end. And this is the best representation of what the album holds in store for the listeners, an album where each individual song is it's own musical movement. Garbus really throws everything into the pot from Folk, Salsa, R&B, Rock and Hip Hop. At times she recalls the aggressive spoken word of a PJ Harvey over beats likened to (believe it or not) A Tribe Called Quest (try "Es-So") , and than on other tracks she's flowing softly about love-making over something Erykah Badu or Jill Scott might attack. With all the highs and lows of each track, and the overall diversity of the album you'd think it would be too much... and at times it is, but the album of the whole is a very pleasant listen because she's very skilled at balancing out all of her influences. "w h o k i l l" is a great showcase for a very talented artist, and though there's not much here that would typically be considered commercial, she's the type of artist people do need to know about.

4.5 of 5
Best: Powa, Gangsta, Riotriot


Album Review: Lady GaGa

Lady GaGa's rise from the dance clubs to world domination didn't take too long, less than 4 years actually. For her arty and controversial performances, and her headline grabbing outfits she's definitely become a household name. And now with 5 Grammys for her first two albums and countless Top 10 Hit singles she's a force in the industry as well. The only thing lacking in GaGa's arsenal thus far has been, to put it simply, good songs. Her 8-track EP "The Fame Monster" showed promise, but her full length debut album was almost all pure Pop/Dance fluff with pretty tepid dance beats and insanely stupid lyrics. On her latest sales-smashing release "Born This Way", GaGa manages to show sneak peeks of the artist she is while not totally shedding the commercial sound that made her who she is. Truth be told, the production on the album (taken on mostly by Fernando Garibay) is the best element by being four to the floor club fodder yet still managing to be a little more dark. The production highlight is "Highway Unicorn (Road to Love)" a dance song on ADD that refuses to stay put with it's constantly changing drum beats and off kilter tempo changes. This weird, almost Industrial meets House sound is present throughout most of the tracks so the albums sound is something a little familiar but also something not typical on Pop releases like this.

And here's where GaGa shows her greatness, by not getting drowned out by all the goings on within each track. Whether she's paying homage to herself with her stretched and exagerrated vocals on "Judas" (vocally a "Bad Romance" part two), playfully experimenting with German on "Scheiße", or emulating 90's Power balladeering over dance beats on the title track or "Edge of Glory", she always makes herself the main event somehow. Her vocal abilities really shine through on this album, not only that she can belt like some of the greats but that on nearly every song she attacks the vocals in a completely different way. By the time you get to her almost country/western ode "Yoü and I" you can fully appreciate her diverse talents. Even lyrically she brings something different to the table this time, by making themes and concepts a little more abstract yet still making the songs fun and catchy. All in all the album is a win and a nice step into a more artistic direction for GaGa, seems her music is finally starting to match up with her unique and creative personality which is a great thing. She's not fully escaping her Pop chains, but she's definitley stepping out and delivering something on this album you wouldn't hear from any of her competitors.

4 of 5
Best: Electric Chapel, You and I, Marry The Night


Album Review: Quick Updates, James Blake and Toro Y Moi... The Growers

Sorry for all these breaks, you know sometimes just LIFE gets in the way (life and laziness LOL!!) but I have a to-do list of a couple albums I need to get through so this will be the first of a few new blog posts so get ready! This first post will be about The Growers, two albums that didn't immediately blow me away but have since shown their worth. 

Two Indie favorites of this year James Blake and Toro Y Moi have been sitting in my iTunes for a few months, and while initially I had lukewarm feelings about both albums they have really grown on me and showed that subtlety can be a stand out.

Toro Y Moi's second album "Underneath The Pine"
is a really relaxing chill album with heavy disco, R&B and funk inspiration. The albums first single "Still Sound" is the best example for his sound, a late 70's track that Chaka Khan could have easily wailed over, while "New Beat" could have been an Evelyn "Champagne" King disco stomper. The album isn't devoted to disco though, Toro manages to merge the lush instrumentation of the 70's with the chilled out electronic sound of today and with great effect especially on the album closer "Elise". The problem with the album however is Toro's vocal chops, when you hear these songs that could easily be taken on by powerhouse singers it sounds a little off when he comes on the tracks with his very limited vocal ability. In fact some of the better tracks on the album have little to no vocals, leaving the listener to wonder how much more effective the album would have been as a straight instrumental album.  The vocals are definitely in the vain of the Indie scene he is a part of  where they seem to have no care about things like tone and pitch when singing. And as mentioned before this isn't just a typical 70's throwback album so the off-kilter overall production makes sense after a few listens. All in all the album is a great groovy listen and shows promise, if not for his singing definitley for his production which would match nicely with some of the top artists of the day (Christina Aguilera needs to swoop him up quick, his sound and her voice would match up perfectly).

3 of 5
Best: Still Sound, New Beat, Elise

James Blake's self titled debut came earlier this year, and he's almost the opposite of Toro Y Moi. Blake possesses a really strong, husky and soulful voice but on this album he uses it on top of some very low-key and chilled electronic tracks. Critics have considered him a Dubstep artist which confused me as nothing on this album is traditionally Dubstep, maybe more Dub than  Step since most of the album is very moody and calm with electro-effects playing subtly in the background. Rarely ever using more than 10 words for a full song, the songs swell and build up to pretty amazing climaxes. Upon first listen, the songs might seem dull or too weird, but on repeated listens you can appreciate the nuances Blake uses as a producer. "I Never Learnt To Share" and "I Mind" are great examples, very simple stuff but with the correct headphones or speaker system you can feel the love and patience he put into every electro-tweek and keyboard sequence. And even with a majority of the tracks being very ambient and experimental, there are a few tracks that could actually work on radio like first single "Limit To Your Love" and "The Wilhelm Scream" which are both a lot less stark than the rest of the album and show off both his voice and his production skills.

4 of 5
Best: The Wilhelm Scream, I Never Learnt To Share, Limit To Your Love


Album Review: Foo Fighters

I might be at a slight disadvantage in trying to review Foo Fighters' latest album "Wasting Light", the reason being I've just been a casual fan of the group over the years, and I only heard their breakthrough 1997 album "Colour & The Shape" within the past few weeks. The Grohl-fronted band has had quite a long history of classic songs, and in the ever changing world of Rock they've been the most consistent with delivering that harder edged sound.
Even though I may not know all the musical history behind the band, upon first listen I can say that their seventh album is easily one of the best of the year so far, a near flawless outing. It's the kind of Rock album that is diverse, mature and what some might call "all killer and no filler".
The group goes from re-creating the sounds of their biggest musical successes of the past, to doing things that are totally new and fresh, from straining their vocal chords on hyped up rock cuts and softening it up on more acoustic leaning tracks. Still on the whole the album has a unified sound, and never tries too hard to be anything outside of who they are as a group. The album opens with a great one-two punch, "Bridges Burning" calls to mind the greatness of the Foo's past while first single "Rope" feels like a completely new and fresh sound for the group. Thankfully the energy never really dies on this album, with stadium sized anthems like "Matter of Time" "Back and Forth" and one of the easy stand outs "Arlandria". There are times when it feels like they are going to soften their sound, the intros to "These Days" (simple but really powerful lyrics here) and another stellar stand out "I Should Have Known" start with an acoustic subdued feel but end up amping it way up.
The album isn't without it's minor faults though, "White Limo" is a little too loud for me. "Dear Rosemary" and "Miss the Misery" lack a little something that the other tracks have, but  even than they are more than bearable to listen to. On the whole the album is pretty fantastic, the songs stay true to the bands Rock roots but also manage to be very catchy and memorable. Now will any of these songs be classics like "Everlong" or "Best of You"? Probably not (maybe "Rope"), but that doesn't seem to be their purpose on this outing. All in all it's just a fantastic Rock album, the kind that hasn't been heard in a long time.

Rating: 4.5 of 5
Best: Arlandria, Rope, I Should Have Known