One Republic – Native (Interscope; 2013)
Lead singer Ryan Tedder and his band members seem to want to cater to two audiences: those who would head-bang to rock music and those who would head-bang to electro house music.
The songs’ big sounds and meaningful lyrics demonstrate that the band has put a lot of emotional and mental hard work into the album. It is a product of the band’s evolution from their 2009 album Waking Up, and their social networking as they widen their fan base outside of North America.
While some songs like “If I Lose Myself” and “Feel Again” are upbeat and evoke a sense of joy and positivity, others like “Can’t Stop” and “Au Revoir” suggest a more sombre tone.
Trial Track: “Counting Stars”
Justin Timberlake is back and he’s got a new sound. He brought sexy back in 2006 along with a series of hip-hop dance songs. This time around, he brings a sexier, old-school sound to our ears.
I don’t see any teenagers blasting the album in their cars, but instead more of a 21-and-up audience. The album’s old-school feel has me thinking of a Marvin Gaye meets H-Town mix. The album’s track list mostly gives measured, steady beats but always brings it up a notch mid-track. “Spaceship Coupe” leaves you a bit dazed until the sound of the bass guitar comes on and makes you feel.
Most tracks last about seven minutes. The album’s tempo is much slower compared to his sophomore album FutureSex/ LoveSounds. With the more mellow tempos and longer tracks, Timberlake leaves listeners to slowly sway their hips and nod their heads.
Trail Track: “Let the Groove Get In”
Caveman – Caveman (Fat Possum; 2013)
It is a strange mixture of synthesizers, ethereal vocals and effects, but it’s a beautiful soundscape. Revealed through the mist of reverb and delay, with dreamy guitars melding together with drums, the band takes you on a journey that is extremely relaxed, pensive and reflective. It is as if the right stuff from the ‘80s has meshed with City and Colour’s songwriting style.
Don’t be surprised when one of these tracks ends up as a closing track to an episode on the next season of HBO’s Girls — this record is seductive, with vocals by Matthew Iwanusa that will please almost any listening ear.
Be sure to put this record on when staring at the clouds during the summer. At just over 45 minutes in length, it will provide the perfect soundtrack for your time away from the classroom.
Trial Track: “In the City”