Due to the sheer number of fall 2015 albums I didn't end up reviewing, I've decided to do smaller reviews of some albums I have less to say about and compile them into one post. This is part 1 of that post, featuring reviews of 25 by Adele, Light Up The Dark by Gabrielle Aplin, Thirty One by Jana Kramer and Storyteller by Carrie Underwood.
I've been a fan of Little Mix's music since 2013, and absolutely adored their sophomore album, Salute (review here). Thanks to their single Black Magic, they're finally getting some of the recognition they deserve in the United States, taking home their very first Teen Choice Award and becoming much more of a recognized name. Get Weird, their third album, tells more of a story than their previous two releases, while maintaining the confident attitude seen in DNA and Salute, but the attitude seems much more genuine with more ballads that seem to be there for reasons other than "oh wait, we have to have a few ballads on this album, don't we?!" That being said, the album does seem a bit more transitional than Salute did, with a few more weak spots, but it is overall a very strong album.
There's no denying that Selena Gomez is on a winning streak, whether you measure "winning" by commercial success or quality. She hasn't released a full album since 2013's Stars Dance, but in between eras she released the heartbreaking The Heart Wants What It Wants as well as experimenting with a different genre by providing vocals on Zedd's I Want You To Know. With her first album on her new record label, Revival, she proves that she's a force to be reckoned with in the pop world, along with the likes of Katy Perry and Taylor Swift.
Hailee Steinfeld is one of many (many, many, many) actresses who have tried their hand at a music career, in a move to establish more of a musical personality. Several reviewers have dismissed her debut EP as unoriginal and presenting a confusing image of her as a musical artist, but I disagree with them. Although there is a mix of ballads and upbeat songs on this EP (as there should be), the EP gives a nice taste of Steinfeld's musical style, moreso than her debut single did.
Carly Rae Jepsen’s had a tough time in the spotlight since the release of her breakout 2012 single, Call Me Maybe. Along with all the obligatory “one hit wonder!!!” comments following Call Me Maybe, music critics have done their job in criticizing her debut Kiss, which is likely why she’s striving for critical acclaim on her third album. Oh, and of course, there was that whole pawn shop rumor, too. Although Emotion has a large number of co-writers, similar to Kiss, it doesn’t seem nearly as all manufactured, and has substantial lyrics now, similar to lyrics from her debut, Tug of War, and the original version of Tiny Little Bows or even Curiosity. If that’s what it takes for an album to be considered indie, then okay. But in my opinion, Emotion is a pop album, and a fantastic, substantial varied one at that. This is the kind of music Jepsen seems at home with — and for that matter, a sound that’s a lot more appropriate for her age that only occasionally falters.
It's been five years since Laura Bell Bundy released her last album, and after many delays, the wait is finally over . Another Piece of Me is released on Big Machine Records, the same label group that houses Taylor Swift and Maddie & Tae. Another Piece of Me is well worth the wait (it was second place in the most anticipated summer albums poll on this blog), with excellent tracks written by Laura Bell Bundy herself, as well as almost all the well known country songwriters you can think of. Seriously. Name one, and that person probably worked on her album.
Tessa Mouzourakis is an upcoming Canadian country-pop artist. Her EP was released in February on iTunes, and was recently released on Noisetrade for free download. It has a smooth blend of country, folk and pop, as well as some excellent guitar in the background. Some of the songs on her EP, however, can sound a bit too similar.
Independent country artist SaraBeth's latest EP is fun introduction to her, featuring co-writes from country songwriters such as Glenn Mitchell. Despite being an independent release, the EP has great songwriting, crisp production, and is the perfect release for the summer.
It’s evident from one look at the cover of Cam’s first EP that her songs will be more on the poppy side of the divide than the traditional side of country. Despite My Mistake, the first single, having the potential for a crossover hit and not being particularly country at all if you don’t consider the mention of bars, the rest of her EP has more country-esque lyrics and instrumentation. The songs that appear to be more personal (that also happen to be more country) tend to be the best.
In country music this year, women supporting other women has been a strong theme, and as Kalie Shorr noted in a recent tweet, Mickey Guyton always comes up as an example of that. Unsurprisingly, Guyton’s EP has a strong adherence to that theme, with many motivational songs that women or girls can jam to in order to improve their mood.
About the Blog
Fountain Pen Girl Album Reviews is a blog writing track-by-track reviews of new popular and independent music with a focus on female artists. The main genres that are covered on this blog are pop, country, singer-songwriter and alternative music, focusing especially on independent artists and female country artists. Enjoy my blog!
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