Thursday, December 17, 2009

ALBUM REVIEWS: Justin Bieber's "My World," John Mayer's "Battle Studies," and Chris Brown's "Graffiti"

These three male artists are either known for causing riots and deafening entire arenas, or publicly wronging a Hollywood starlet. Either way, their business is love and for some of them, business is booming. Justin Bieber is enjoying a ridiculously successful rise to stardom. John Mayer is taking a "break" from romancing the ladies and has instead opted to gripe about his heartache. Meanwhile, Chris Brown infuses nearly every lyric with apologies, implorations, and remorseful declarations directed towards Rihanna. Interested in updating your crooner's playlist? Download these choice-tracks:

Justin's album My World is actually just Part I. The second installment hits iTunes in March, probably slated to coincide with his bday. I can just hear the little girls screaming now, "Happy Birthday Justin!" Needless to say, his hit "One Time," is a must-buy. It's catchy, it's sweet, and it's as close to a serenade that most of us will ever get. Surprisingly enough though, the 15-year-old Canadian, co-wrote several songs ("Down to Earth," "Bigger," and "First Dance" feat. Usher), all of which have actually charted at the bottom of the Top 100, despite the fact that they weren't officially released as singles. With every actual single ("One less lonely girl," "Love me," and "Favorite Girl") released, however, he looses steam. Hopefully, Part II will reinvigorate sales. Until then, I'd recommend the super-sweet "Favorite Girl" (below) and the slow-jam "Common Denominator."

John Mayer's Battle Studies is heavy on the war metaphors and the heartbreak, which is even proven by the title of his second single "Heartbreak Warfare." I wasn't really a fan of his first single, "Who Says," and definitely not a fan of its video. As a sample of the album, it didn't get me too excited for the release. Then when I finally heard it, I found it difficult to get lost in the songs like I have with previous albums, but I guess I'm just not feeling heartbroken-Mayer, especially after listening to his half-assed collaboration with Taylor Swift in "Half of my heart." If there was a 1-10 volume scale controlling her mike, I'd say hers was on 2. My favorite track is "Assassins," where he describes how he realized that even a player can get played, which is very amusing to me:
"I was a killer/was the best they'd ever seen/I'd steal your heart/before you ever heard a thing/I'm an assassin/and I had a job to do/Little did I know/that girl was an assassin too."

Ahh, Chris Brown. How you've even managed to survive after the massive error you made in judgement, I have no idea. Alas, I love music, not musicians, so let's see what Graffiti has to offer. I ignored the apology songs ("Crawl" and "So Cold"), all of the bragging songs, and anything where he suggests that he can satisfy me in bed ("Take my time"). I generally hate any sex songs sung by anyone under 21. I have no confidence that they actually know what they're talking about. Unfortunately, that nixes "Wait," which actually has a good beat. "I.Y.A." just sounds like really bad techno music, like he thought he could branch out into a different genre. In "Lucky me," he whines about the press with African chanting in the chorus—super random—and in "Girlfriend," he wastes Lupe Fiasco's time.

The tracks to download are "Transform ya" for the robotic beat, "Famous Girl" for the clever references to other artists' songs, "Falling Down" for the Michael-Jackson-like rhythms, despite the fact that he's whining about his lack of popularity, and "Gotta Be Ur Man" and "I Love U" for being light-hearted Poppy songs. So if you can manage to pretend like all of these songs aren't geared towards someone he turned into a victim, you just might enjoy them.

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