- Last Updated: 12:08 AM, January 31, 2013
- Posted: 10:16 PM, January 28, 2013
Albums of the Week
THE best Destiny’s Child songs always had funk and feminine flair in abundance, so almost by definition, this compilation of sappy R&B tunes drawn from the trio’s romance-themed output is bound to be second-rate. It may even come as a shock to hear how a modern symbol of empowerment like Beyoncé was once willing to sing passive schmaltz like “Cater 2 U.”
“Got your slippers, your dinner, your dessert,” she coos to her man, who presumably just got back from a hard day at work in the 1950s.
Although the lyrical themes aren’t all so worryingly subservient, dull make-out songs such as “Heaven” and the sole new tune, “Nuclear,” are more likely to inspire apathy than arousal. If they do reunite at the Super Bowl on Sunday (as strongly rumored), let’s just hope that they don’t play any of these tracks.
CALL it a nice little gift to his older fans or just a blatant attempt to get gullible teenage girls to buy more of his records, but Justin Bieber’s penchant for stripping his songs down continues. Largely uninspired reworkings of material from last year’s “Believe” make up most of this album, but the real point of interest is the trio of new songs tacked on to the end.
The genteel “Yellow Raincoat” finds Bieber in a contemplative mood, hinting at the burdens of fame again. But it’s the soul-baring piano ballad “Nothing Like Us” (credited as a “bonus track”) that will draw the most attention, not only because it points heavily at his split with Selena Gomez but also because it’s one of the most emotionally affecting songs Bieber has written for some time. Seems as though the heartbreak kid is slowly developing some manly talent.
Downloads of the Week
“One Way Trigger”
THE Strokes are back, and more than ever it sounds as if Julian Casablancas is telling them what to do. This action-packed track — the first to be issued from the band’s fifth album, due later this year — echoes the singer’s ’80s-indebted solo work with its glistening, new-wave pulse, and features the frontman singing a mean falsetto. Sometimes it really is a good idea to show ’em who’s boss.
THEY were once the leading lights of teen emo-pop, but judging by the lead single from their forthcoming self-titled album (scheduled for April), Paramore truly have become too cool for school. Singer Hayley Williams channels Karen O, while the band creates searing and spiky post-punk for a song that’s certainly obvious with its references, but impressive in how it uses them.
RUMORS of Prince emerging from seclusion to tour this year are currently swirling, and this track — released for free via his Web site — will whet the appetite even further. The purple one swaggers like a Rolling Stone on this gloriously dumb glam-rocker, which he probably knocked out in an afternoon. Even so, “Screw Driver” still serves as a painful poke in the eye for those who think Prince has had his day.
HAVE your moral outrage at the ready, because Lady Antebellum’s comeback is pretty racy. The flirty first track from their untitled fourth album (due later this year) is an annoyingly catchy, country-lite number that glorifies such daredevil activities as smoking and jaywalking. Next they’ll be shamelessly exposing their ankles. Anarchy!