Album Review: Jason Derulo – Everything Is 4

Jason Derulo released his 4th studio album last May 29, 2015. Everything is 4 is a genre spectacle as Jason Derulo explores various genre to compose this album. After the worldwide hit that his 3rd Album, Talk Dirty, is. The expectation for the fourth one is quite huge, at least for my stand point. The album explores a variety of sensuality and women intent themes that you would wonder what kind of message does Jason want to give. But then, one particular thing that Jason Derulo worked pretty well is the fact that he managed to keep hook-laiden tracks on point and catchy beats that sohow stand out of the rest. The album got still some throwaway Justin Timberlake-like tunes, some Usher-lite vocal weaknesses and a lot of collaborations from the likes of Stevie Wonder, Jennifer Lopez, Meghan Trainor and Keith Urban to name some few.

Here is a track by track short review of the album:

1. WANT TO WANT ME – As we all know, this track is currently enjoying radio airplays and chart ranks. It is a pretty start for the album as it set the tone of the album as a whole. The po track is simple, nothing ballistic nor heavy. The beat is pleasant. The vocals were decent. The verses had enough hook to get you groovin’.

2. CHEYENNE – This track is like the second coming of Taylor Swift’s “Style”. From the quality behind the vocals to the play on the vocals, Cheyenne is a perfect break between two upbeat tracks.

3. GET UGLY – This track will remind us of Wiggle, Wiggle from his Talk Dirty album. It has a hook laiden chorus and beat banger that will surely make you move.

4. PULL-UP – The good thing about this track is that it felt like an extension of track 3 (Get Ugly) but it could also stand alone as an individual track which is what it is. Again, there are alof of things going on in here but that has been the case for Jason’s track before.

5. LOVE LIKE THAT (ft. K. Michelle) – This is the first collaboration out of the series of collaborations in the album. This will definitely set an inevitable comparison from the succeeding collaborations. Love Like That is a mid-tempo R&B track. It didn’t have that hook that is usually evident on a Jason Derulo track but there is a playful show of dynamics between Jason and K. Michelle. Could have gone with more tempo and rhythm but I digress.

6. PAINKILLER (ft. Meghan Trainor) – This track did Meghan more favors than Jason in my book. The track just proved that Meghan is a versatile vocalist. On paper, this is looking like a trainwreck collaboration but somehow, it worked. The vocals here were pretty. The track is beat driven and has a hook that is memorable enough.

7. BROKE (ft. Stevie Wonder & Keith Urban) – I absolutely adore this collaboration. I didn’t really think this will work but it did! The track had some funk but not too much. It sounded great. The tempo was lovely. It has that country vibe but still keeping a good pop tune. So there is so much going on with track but it never felt really messy. So great stuff!

8. TRY ME (ft. Jennifer Lopez & Matoma) – I didn’t really see it coming. Really. But with Jason’s theme mostly being really sensual tracks, there couldn’t be any other perfect artist to collaborate than Jenny from the block. Surprisingly, Jennifer sounded pretty here. Her voice had some sweetness and nuanced sensuality in here. Maybe because the track worked more like a dance track that I won’t be surprised if in the future DWTS they will use this track. Good stuff! Good collaboration.

9. LOVE ME DOWN – There is a build up in this track that I like but the whole of it felt more like a Michael Jackson rip-off. But then, maybe, it is just the tempo play and the rhythm. Nonetheless, this is a decent track and Jason sounded pretty good here. No autotune which is good!

10. TRADE HEARTS (ft. Julia Michaels) – The R&B ballad works because of the contrast vocals between Jason and Julia. Jason provided the usual pop quality while Julia offers a quirk on her tone that allows the ballad to hollow over the beat behind and create a more textured vocal.

11. X2CU – Again, Jason was able to provide a beat driven track that is light, pop and pleasant. This track is like a throwaway JT song but at the end you will realize this could really work well on Jason’s vocals. I must say though, that breakdown towards the end sounded gorgeous. I wouldn’t say this is the perfect end track for his album but this is a decent pop tune.

Album Rating: 7/10

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Album Review: Hale – Time & Space EP

Time & Space EP (Hale)

OPM band, Hale is back! I think the break or their temporary break up did a good job for them to refresh some musical quality and explore new folds of style. In which, when they came back, I thought it was also smart for them to stick with their usual sound. I’ve always considered them as a local counterpart of popular band, Coldplay — especially with Champ as the lead vocals and his haunting, melancholic quality of voice is what really separates them from the others. Now, also, is it risky and smart for them to choose an EP as a comeback vehicle. Y’know people prefer to listen 4-6 songs or singles in this age of music than actually indulging on a whole album with 2-3 songs they prefer.

“Time & Space EP”, their newest album and their first EP boasts the same style that the band was known for. A variety of haunting, melancholic, gloomy and mid-tempo kinds of music are seen here.

We start the album with Saint Or Sinner, which is surprising intro to their album. It was a mid-tempo pop that plays along on its melody more than its content. It will then be followed by another mid-tempo track, this time with a better and catchy hook in the middle. You Or Nothing is like a sequence follow up of the first track.

The album then goes on the third track, which is also the band’s carrier single this year. See You takes you back to the “Broken Sonnet” or “The Day You Said Goodnight” moment and liberates you with how gorgeous and hauntingly beautiful, Champ’s voice is. Then we go to the fourth track, One Of These Days, where it is more in a sense of a loop of hooks in a symmetrical play of rhythms.

Plasticine is the album’s fifth track and surprisingly, the band’s folk track. In which the guitar strum is gorgeous here and Champ’s vocals actually worked here. Lastly, the album concludes with Home, which is a smart return to what the album has introduced in terms of sound. Not my favorite though but it is yet another folk-pop infused take of the band which I think they really explore new style ha.

Nonetheless, this is a decent album. Could’ve have been better since Champ is actually a fantastic song writer. None stood out from the track list but I do think the songs had certain audience.

Album Rating: 6.5/10

Album Review: James Reid – Reid Alert EP

Reid Alert EP (James Reid)

I did this album review for a friend and surprisingly I enjoyed listening to this 6 track EP. A little background: James Reid is a former Big Brother (Philippines) housemate and eventually won his season. He took a hiatus in his showbiz career and out of nowhere, he was launched together with another up and coming teen star, in a movie that was well received and put them in the rising stars seat.

Backed up with a successful management team and a giant network, James Reid has managed to showcased his talent in acting, dancing and singing, making him a dangerous triple threat. Recently, under Viva Records, he launched his EP album that contains 6 tracks.

Reid Alert EP – the album title is cliche but witty – boasts a couple of dance tune, two collaboration and the unusual english track titles with Filipino verses inflections. One thing I noticed though, the songs sound really close to each other no? They sound almost alike. Haha.

Huwag Ka Nang Humirit is the opening track which also is a good introduction of what to expect in the totality of the album. Probably my favorite track from this EP, “Huwag ka nang humirit” has an infectious chorus with James vocals smooth and slick that at some point I thought it was a Sam Concepcion song.

Following up a strong first track: Hanap-Hanap is a collaboration of James’ on screen partner, Nadine Lustre. This will mark as their third or fourth collaboration and why one will complain if they actually sound good together. With the song, a little generic for my taste and it never really allow itself to differentiate from their past collaborations, it is still a song that is radio ready, current and would appeal greatly to a mass number of listeners.

Next is the song entitled, 10, and this will mark as the other collaboration on the album. This time it is with Elise Estrada and I don’t have any idea who she is. But here’s my problem or maybe issue with this especially “10” is a follow up track of “Hanap-hanap”: They sound so (almost) similar that I feel like, “10” is a continuation of “Hanap-Hanap” and for me, personally, it just didn’t work. Of course, the Nadine collaboration worked well but the Elise Estrada felt underproduced.

Randomantic and Bonfire Love Song are the 4th and 5th track and suffer the same case of the 2nd and 3rd track. But here, a play of english title track with inflection of Filipino verses is tricky but somehow worked in most parts. Again, James sounded really nice but the tracks felt underproduced.

Lastly, the album concludes with Babalik, mid-tempo pop track that allows James to keep his vocals mostly front and center. Yet, keeps a refreshing ball of sexy attitude in the track that wasn’t overkilled. Nonetheless, I thought it really worked especially with James’ quality of voice.

All in all, the EP will definitely satisfy his followers but will find it hard to olease musical critics. Nonetheless, I enjoyed most of his songs with “Huwag Ka Nang Humirit” flagshipping the album.

Album Rating: 6/10

Album Review: Fifth Harmony – Reflection

Fifth_Harmony_-_Reflection_(Official_Album_Cover)

Fifth Harmony has arrived and their first full length album dropped tonight, February 3, 2015. The verdict? It’s so good! I am personally lovin’ the entirity of the album with so much variety, beat thumping and potential radio hits. These girls deserve so much because they are the future of music industry and right now they’ve flag bearer of the girl group category since Destiny’s Child’s reign.

And I am lovin’ the vibe of the album too. It isn’t the usual bubblegum pop cliche but there are dynamics and range in their selection that people could relate to. Of course, there are still tracks that allow them to be young but I love how they take riskier beats, edgy themes, sexier femme fatale brand yet maintaining that youthful feel. There are a lot of spunk, catchy and radio friendly songs in here as well. And can I just say that the whole album is vibing that Destiny’s Child quality where someone, especially the girls, could really engage well. Songs from heartbreak, love notes, self empowerment and girl power, the album has it all!

The album starts with Top Down an upbeat funk track that has some good rhythm capturing the thought that we are in to an explosive set of songs. The track is like a crack of what to expect on the whole album, giving us this uptempo track a good start.

It will then be followed by the group’s first single release and their 3rd hit since “Miss Movin’ On” and “Me & My Girls” from their EP Album, and probably one of their most recognizable track to date. The track which also solidifies the group’s rally as one of the best new artist of the recent 2 years. Bo$$ is rhythmic, dynamically thumping and emerges as women’s empowering track. It is catchy, beat driven and you just can’t help but dive in with its repetitive lyrics yet simply will won you over.

The third track of the album is Sledgehammer and this is the girls’ second single after “Bo$$” and their biggest hit to date. Their first song to reach top 40 on the Hot 100 chart. The song is everywhere with numerous radio plays, ranking in the charts and even reaching #2 on itunes top singles. This song boasts a blossoming hook in each and every verse making it sound so infectious each and every time you listen to it. With a theme that is about lovesick, the uptempo track suddenly hit a breakdown in the bridge in where it exposes a yearning feeling that is perfect with the song’s theme and then will hit its climax on the upbeat hooks towards the end.

Worth It, which is assisted by rapper Kid Ink is the album’s fourth track. The horn-themed track offers a braggadocious beats while a reminiscent of Jason Derulo’s “Talk Dirty” is undeniable with the strong horn hooks that is happening around the song. But still it offers another variety from the album with the girls vocals were mostly front and center.

The synthpop, This Is How We Roll, comes after an array of big produced tracks. The power chords in the chorus part, the electro-pop vibe of verses and that flip in the end chorus made this track, compelling and entertaining.

A good break from the movement themed songs, the girls gave us an easy, breezy, pleasant love track that is their attempt to give us back the 90s R&B vibe that they successfully accomplished in here. The lyrics may be cliche, far from what the other tracks exhibited, Everlasting Love is youthful, warm and reminds us that these girls are still young and enthusiastic.

At first when I found out about the title of their seventh track, I really thought it would be a train wreck. Like Mariah, assisted by Tyga, is the group’s ode to one of the more famous pop diva. With a title like that and a hook that involves Ms. Carey’s hit “Always Be My Baby”, Fifth Harmony was able to distinguish themselves with this fun, uptempo track that is infectious, admirably catchy and really pleasant. i’m pretty sure Mariah would love this and I could hear this all over the radio once they decide to release it as their next single.

Them Girls Be Like follows next with a gutsy, self assured and an ode to the current trend. As the eighth track of the album, the song was able to vibe what is current while keeping the girl’s theme to self respect, confidence and a blast of beats.

The album’s title track and their ninth song is Reflection is probably one of their strongest work. The dynamics display, the powerful beats, the compelling rhythm and the play of confidence, relate-ability, and Beyonce inspired track to boast a lyrics that gives one self assuredness, especially with flip in the script once you dig in to the lyrics. Sheer genius!

Suga Mama is lyrically “No Scrubs” inspired but the beat reminds me of a Destiny’s Child song. A little polarizing but still a strong track with the girls didn’t overproduce the track with vocal chops, but keeping the essence of a low, beat-inspired track.

We Know probably is the group’s lone almost ballad track but one of their best songs from the album. The live version sounds amazing and the studio version didn’t disappoint as well. Again, in here we are given another variety from the beat to the theme that one could potentially relate. Also, in this track the girls went back to what they do best — sing! — making their vocals front and center.

The 12th track, yet again, has a tempo that celebrates a popping beat. The vocals of the girls were terrific in here as well. It was pleasurably eargasmic and the pop quality playfully won you over. Going Nowhere, proved how strong these girls are as a potential and legitimate pop group.

Body Rock is the 13th track and probably my least favorite. It is oddly unappealing as an R&B or pop track. It’s uptempo quality fails to dominate a mass love and there is something disconnected with the track that I can’t really pinpoint well. But then, I think some would love this but I guess I am not part of that “some”.

Featuring Meghan Trainor, Brave Honest Beautiful ends the album with its catchy tempo, infectious lyrics and a reminder to its audience what the entirety of the album is all about — girl power, self assuredness and self confidence!

All in all, the album is a strong one. I could see potential Grammy nominations with this album and if the trend will continue with its sales and the reception of people, these girls will be unstoppable and we could probably see a reborn of girl group in this era. I mean, Spice Girls, TLC, En Vogue and Destiny’s Child dominated their eras and after that, we never really saw any girl group domination.

Album Rating: 8/10