This is Music History Today the Album Review Show 10. On this week’s show, we review new releases from Maroon 5, Sam Smith, Plumb, & Kygo. Plus, our indie artist of the week is Helena Hauff.
First, a little housekeeping. When I do my reviews, I like to keep them short & to the point; that much you know if you’ve listened to this podcast before. However, I also do my reviews from my basic standpoint which is this: would I actually spend my money to own the album? I know that streaming music is the thing these days but to me, owning the music is the true nature of what makes a good album because if you’re will to put money down to get something that you can honestly get for free, then it must be good. Now, on to the reviews.
This first album review is Red Pill Blues by Maroon 5. This 15 song album is about as smart a pop album as you can get. It’s got catchy songs, great production value, & great lyrics. There’s just something missing & I can’t quite put my finger on it. Maybe it’s the fact that there isn’t one song on it where three years from now, I’ll look back on it fondly & say remember when. It’s what I like to call a cotton candy album, where it fills you up with sweetness but leaves you feeling sort of empty afterwards. I could be wrong. There have been more than a few Maroon 5 songs that I still love over the years like She Will Be Loved & This Love. Maybe down the road, I’ll love Cold, Wait, What Lovers Do, or Whiskey. In any event, the album’s good going down.
This next review is the Thrill of It All by Sam Smith. After some down time dealing with some personal emotional wreckage, he’s back. You can tell he poured it all out on this album. The 14 songs tear at your heart & make you feel something. His voice drives the point home with perfect emotion. His mix of old school r&b along with ballads leave an imprint on you like no album has done in quite some time. Do not listen to this album if you are in a bad mood but DO listen to it. It’s damn good.
Singer Plumb started out in the Christian pop realm but has since moved over to EDM & alt rock. Her new one is a 5 song EP called God Help Me. This new album is more Christian pop with songs like God Help Me & I’m Not Alone. The songs breath you in & out. The production’s great on it. The album strays from recent Christian releases in that it’s kind of preachy. Not my cup of tea but if you like that sort of thing, then this album might not be too bad for you.
Norwegian producer Kygo is back with a new EDM album called Kids in Love. This 8 song album isn’t so much EDM as it is pop songs with electronic music; which is the trend this day. There really isn’t much music to dance to here. Still, taken strictly as a pop album, it’s ok. The songs are crafted well. His choice of vocalists to sing them is a big problem with it. I’m not sure if that was done purposely or not. Overall, you can probably skip this album.
The indie artist this week is German DJ & record producer Helena Hauff. Her 4 song EP is called Have You Been There, Have You seen It. This album is different from other EDM in that it’s made with analog equipment & is pretty stripped down. That’s what makes it so fresh & yet, so retro. I would definitely check it out.
Let’s do a quick recap. Out of 5 albums this week, the only ones I would actually buy are from Sam Smith & Helena Hauff. As far as Maroon 5, Plumb, & Kygo, meh. Not great, not bad, & not worth my money but I would probably stream Maroon 5’s album.