Bush – Afterlife
Gavin Rossdale returned briefly on Apocalyptica‘s “End of Me” just prior to Bush releasing “Afterlife” following 2001’s “The People That We Love” and “Headful of Ghosts.” The new single reintroduces the band, preparing Everything Always Now, in pursuing the pounding nature behind “Machinehead” or “The Chemicals Between Us.” It feels like a farmland road; familiar, straightforward, though lacking something to grip your attention. Here’s to the hope the follow-up slows things down and ups the labyrinthian lyrics.
Jimmy Eat World – My Best Theory
Jim Adkins missed the beat with “Always Be” off 2007’s Chase This Light. It failed the achieve the same success as “Big Casino” or anything from Bleed American/Jimmy Eat World. “My Best Theory” has a strong, supercharged chorus Jimmy Eat World does best. Although it’s thoroughly enjoyable, makes me just want to dig back into Clarity and Bleed American (which isn’t a bad thing).
Katy Perry – Teenage Dream
Following up the Summer of 2010’s smash “California Gurls” is no easy feat. “Teenage Dream” takes the tempo up for the chorus while pulling the beats-per-minute down. A balance that her punctuated chorus and inescapable vocals concoct an inescapable catchiness. You’re foolish to expect better than “California Gurls,” since music tends to ease back as the season cools to autumn. It helps the song is the most accessible in content yet.
Lo-Pro – Alive
Every so often a band unfairly succumbs to the lack of radio or commercial support and disappears. Lo-Pro did so despite a strong string of singles in “Sunday” and “1 Day” in 2003. “Alive” ends the seven-year drought. Vocals and guitars rarely coincide so well as they do with Pete Murray and Neil Godfrey, hence the appeal of Lo-Pro. It is standard, yet nothing has been standard with this alternative rock outfit.
Shy’m – Je sais (iTunes France)
The Beyoncé, on pourrait dire, of France in the R&B sense. She has dominated that genre since 2006 with singles such as “Femme de Couleur” and “Oublie Moi.” Off of Prendre l’air, “Je sais” sheds the dated production that lagged prior singles back five or ten years than they should for a more pop-orientated R&B sound contemporary in today’s U.S. hits. The piano kicks, the guitar could be brought forward, on her most memorable achievement yet.
The Smashing Pumpkins – Freak
Billy Corgan’s new Smashing Pumpkins are supposedly returning to their psychedelic roots with Teargarden by Kaleidyscope. The ambitious project lacked a beachhead single until “Freak” and its heavily fuzzed bass and accompanying guitar. It may not draw in the sing-alongs though feels like an upbeat “Ava Adore.” Corgan’s starting to shake off Zwan, taking on Bush‘s cryptic lyrics along the way. It’s brings us closer to the earlier, lighter Pumpkins and away from “G.L.O.W.”‘s gloomy brethren.
Soundgarden – Black Rain
How do you review in 2010 a song that was recorded back in 1991? Good question. Briefly, it makes me forgive whatever happened between 1995 and Lollapalooza from Chris Cornell and Audioslave; except Cornell’s Timbaland album. The cymbal taps contradicted by a downward spiraling guitar, where Chris Cornell is not the centerpiece but a part of something bigger than just sole pieces joined collectively, is what made Soundgarden as big as they were. We have a long way to go to be convinced that we’ll have another “Burden in My Hand” on the radio, but they’ve got my confidence going.
Switchfoot – The Sound (John M. Perkins’ Blues)
The San Diego alternative edges on pop rock while retaining its edge. Case in point? “The Sound” cuts back halfway through, submerging guitars and bass over “oohs” before a cleverly placed static sample backs up Jon Foreman’s vocals. The production is top notch, and the hooks as always. “Meant to Live” and “Stars” are the other singles that reach the quality of Switchfoot’s latest.