Death of the Critic

Pop

Memories... Do Not Open - Review

Written by: Tom Blaich

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My opinion on The Chainsmokers is well documented, but somehow I had hoped that their first real album could somehow be different, break new ground and make good music. To say that didn’t happen is an understatement. There is nothing new here, just more of the same beats, more of the same subjects. More of the same everything. I’m not mad. I’m disappointed.

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SweetSexySavage - Review

Written by: Tom Blaich

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After the success of her mixtape,
You Should Be Here, overnight R&B hit Kehlani is back with her debut studio album SweetSexySavage (all one word of course) which luckily fixes many of the problems that I had with the mixtape, and manages to deliver a solid, if unimpressive set of tracks. It is a pop/R&B album, heavy on the pop, and it does a good job at being easy to listen to, but it doesn’t go anywhere special or break any new ground while it does it. I hate to call something generic, but as I coasted through song after song, I couldn’t help but think that I had heard this all before.

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Starboy - Review

Written by: Tom Blaich

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It is hard to capture lightning in a bottle. Even harder is to do it more than once. With Starboy, Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, aka The Weeknd, tried to follow up the smash success of last year's Beauty Behind the Madness, but amidst his ruminations on fame, sex, and drugs, he forgot what made the last project so great. Starboy is, at it's heart, stagnant; a too long collection of well-produced, pop/electrosoul tracks that fail to go anywhere new in their quest to make more chart topping hits. You can clearly see the Daft Punk influence, and the appearance by both Kendrick Lamar and Lana Del Rey stand out as highlights. The songs sound good, but they have lost some of that raw, emotional quality that felt so great, and instead take on a more manufactured feel that brings the album down.

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Collage EP - Review

Written by: Tom Blaich

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Think for a moment about bologna sandwiches. I love a good bologna sandwich every now and then. Some Wonder Bread, a slice of Kraft American cheese, and some crappy bologna. They are cheap, technically tasty, and just generic enough to be good sometimes. You hand me a bologna sandwich and I’m generally a happy guy. You give me two of them, and I’ll probably be okay for a while. Give me five of them, and I’ll be like “Please stop with the bologna sandwiches, you’re ruining my life.”

The Chainsmokers like bologna sandwiches, which is appropriate because they are the Wonder Bread of EDM. They are pretty good at making them, and they want to make sure that everyone is eating them. And if they were a little more conscious of this fact, it would be fine. Instead they think that every sandwich they make is gilded, when in reality, they’re just shitty bologna sandwiches. Or in this case, some of the most formulaic EDM-lite that I’ve heard in a while.

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Lady Wood - Review

Written by: Tom Blaich

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Sex and drugs are a fact of life for Tove Lo. Ones that she won’t lie about. You can fault her for many things, but her honesty is not one of them. And in
Lady wood, she carries this candor over a haze of smooth pop beats. She owns everything about herself, every flaw and imperfection, which brings an interesting side to pop that we don’t normally get to see. Her imperfections are real and she is very imperfect, as compared to a lot of the more plastic imperfections of many pop stars. She’s messed up, but stronger for it. Lady Wood is about owning the sex and drugs lifestyle that she has found herself living, with a candor that would make the vanilla pop of Taylor Swift blush.

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Sit Still, Look Pretty - Review

Written by: Tom Blaich

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Saccharine sweet bubblegum pop. Daya’s album is nothing you haven’t heard before if you’ve turned on a radio in the last ten years. Yet at the same time that she exists firmly within the realm of generic pop music, the relentlessly positive anthems hit good notes to make some good, if forgettable pop songs. I couldn’t help but find myself singing along, even if the lyrics were a bit cheesy.

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