Review Roundup: B.o.B., Muse, Jack Johnson, Drowning Pool, We Are The Fallen, The Black Keys, Katy Perry, Black Sunshine

The Black KeysTighten Up
Accelerating into the song akin to Spoon, the dirty blues rock duo returns with a Rubber Factory sounding single. Patrick Carney’s drumming tugs you in like Hugo and a black mysterious chord before Dan Auerbach’s grunge-tinged blues seizes you from behind with a surprising, well-placed breakdown. Best since before they broke into radio.

Black SunshineOnce in My Life
Picking up hard rock members from the likes of Filter, Frank Zappa, and Loser, Matt Reardon is off the slopes and trying at music. He has the formula down, and the voice. The Filter-esque breakdown, coupled with early Tantric acoustic tones, gives a solid debut single.

B.o.B.Airplanes (feat. Hayley Williams)
First off, you should know who Paramore is without the need to note it on the album art. Then again they deserve as much promotion as possible with their consistency since emerging with 2005’s All We Know is Falling. Hayley Williams and Paramore have endured when fellow female-fronted pop punks deteriorated with time (e.g., 1997, The Hush Sound and hopefully not the shooting stars of Rochester, NY’s Dasha).

It is because “Airplanes” attains and exceeds expected marks that potentially mirrors Gwen Stefani’s rise and departure with No Doubt and her solo career. B.o.B.’s rhymes are given a vibrant layer through Hayley as he pensively speaks of “pandemonium and madness” accompanying his ascent. “We’re rapping to stay relevant” is the mission statement of hip-hop, pop and music today.

B.o.B.Nothin’ on You (feat. Bruno Mars)
The talk of the industry has been a lack of male R&B singer reaching the masses as Usher did in 1997 through 2001 with “You Make Me Wanna…” and “U Remind Me”. Bruno Mars’ chorused voice strikes in this rich vein unlike the nasally natured (and utterly unique) Akon. B.o.B. rhymes, far from typical distortions, ride the realism jet streams of KiD CuDi despite not rapping nearly as much as KiD. If hip-hop’s trying to wedge into the accessibility previously only addressed by indie rap, those two wordslingers show promise.

Drowning PoolFeel Like I Do
Sinner and Desensitized has given into the barroom shouts and chants bands use to get their fans (typically their friends) riled up-when starting out. Drowning Pool is better than this, yet came out with such a single with “Feel Like I Do.” Their ferociousness and vicious metal is gone on this one, as if someone thought it would be a good idea to follow an unrelated popular rock group’s lead instead of what got this metal powerhouse where they were.

Jack JohnsonYou and Your Heart
“If I Had Eyes” and “Hope” failed to capture the same attention as “Upside Down” or “Breakdown.” Blame it on the overload once Jason Mraz and John Mayer flooded the sun-filled beach pop. This is the much-needed break in the dull clouds; catchy, bright and with just a hint of Ben Folds-esque piano backing up slightly fuzzy acoustic.

Katy PerryCalifornia Gurls (feat. Snoop Dogg)
As much as I prefer Zaho’s remix of Sean Paul’s “Hold My Hand” to be the summer song, here comes Katy Perry and the cooler than an ice cream truck Snoop Dogg with a supposed response to Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind.” “Waking Up In Vegas” stumbled on the city blocks, but the funk and electro of “California Gurls” happens to raise this Santa Barbara girl back up-proving she’s here to stay like the Hollywood sign.

MuseNeutron Star Collision (Love Is Forever)
Briefly, we have heard this song before with different notes. Too operatic with overreaching Queen guitars attempting to ride the horse to…no clue. Bring back Absolution or steal their rocket fuel-there is only so much epic-ness to go around. Less is more.

We Are The FallenTear the World Down
Amy Lee has disappeared from the radar, and that’s given former member Ben Moody more than an opportunity to show off his new group featuring Carly Smithson of American Idol. Carly harnesses similar vocal chops, permeating through Ben’s anthemic riffs and staple, yet touch out-of-place, string section. As a debut, it will be targeting straight for Flyleaf.


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