Kyle Loomis is a journalism senior and Mustang Daily music columnist.
In a never-ending attempt to try to keep you all caught up with the happenings of the music industry, I have reviewed some noteworthy album releases that you may have heard about these past couple weeks. Like last time, I’ve rated these albums on a scale of one to 10, to make it easier for you to decide what to download illegally or not. No thanks are necessary.
“Album Title Goes Here”
released Sept. 25
Electronic dance music (EDM) producer deadmau5 called his sixth studio album, “Album Title Goes Here,” more of a “compilation of projects” instead of just another dance album of just dance tracks. Joel Zimmerman, the man under the mouse head, told USA Today he “felt constrained to that, so (‘Album Title Goes Here’) is just a good way out for me.”
Indeed, many of the tracks from his new album are not the big-room bass anthems that made his previous work — “4×4=12” (2010) — extremely popular in the EDM community.
This time around, deadmau5 included a few collaboration efforts with artists from other genres. “Telemiscommunications” features singer Imogen Heap, “Failbait” features hip-hop group Cypress Hill and the popular single “Professional Griefers” is sung by My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way.
I respect Zimmerman’s desire to experiment with different sounds, but I felt his tracks with Imogen Heap and Cypress Hill came out flat. They lack the jaw-dropping effect I associate with deadmau5’s traditionally fast-paced, pulsating beats.
The rest of the album satisfied my fix for good house music. “Channel 42” (featuring Los Osos native Wolfgang Gartner), “Fn Pig,” “Maths” and “Professional Griefers” will make huge waves in dance clubs in the coming months.
Wholly speaking, “Album Title Goes Here” is not as impressive as its immensely popular predecessor, until you consider the fact that Zimmerman was producing most of it while on tour. I award kudos to any artist that can produce a full-length studio album and tour at the same time.
Furthermore, deadmau5 went that extra mile for his fans by consistently posting previews and samples of “Album Title Goes Here” tracks on his SoundCloud page. His willingness to use social media as a method for his fans to get a glimpse into his creative process is something artists in all music genres should consider emulating.
Mumford & Sons
released Sept. 25
The English folk band Mumford & Sons released its sophomore album this past Tuesday, and fans are already raving that it’s just as good as the band’s critically acclaimed debut, “Sigh No More” (2009).
After giving them both a good listen, it’s hard for me to tell much of a difference between them. So yes, I would have to agree.
This genre of music is not for everyone — I consider myself a folk music fan and Mumford’s sound was still an acquired taste for me. There just aren’t many widely popular bands that feature a banjo.
However, the London quartet has always had a certain charm to its sound. It’s nostalgic, yet refreshingly original. The band’s music brings about a strong craving for frolicking in meadows and dancing in barns.
Passive, quiet verses transition into the explosive guitar melodies and soulful cries of the chorus in many of the tracks, including “Babel” and “Hopeless Wanderer.” The album’s hit single, “I Will Wait,” is 45th on the Billboard Hot 100 Songs list, and is flooding radio station playlists.
I really enjoy the well-done cover of Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Boxer,” sung with Paul Simon and Jerry Douglas, included in the deluxe version of the album. I feel compelled to respect any band that can cover a classic tune and add its own flavor to it without changing the song drastically.
If you enjoyed “Sigh No More,” then you will definitely find “Babel” just as captivating. However, the songs on the two albums sound too similar for me to give nothing but praise to Mumford & Sons. Before “Babel” was released, I was hoping to see the indie-folk group take some risks and add some variety to its album, and was a little disappointed to that end.
“Push and Shove”
released Sept. 21
No Doubt fans (myself included) rejoiced at the news of a reunion tour and a new album in the works, announced in 2009. After three years of waiting and wondering, I pressed play and dove head-first into “Push and Shove.”
Practically drowning in unfamiliarity, I came out gasping for air, bewildered by what I had heard.
Perhaps it was unrealistic of me to expect to hear the ska-punk fusion that made No Doubt so popular in the 90s. Those genres have long disappeared from the mainstream, and I can’t really blame Gwen Stefani and company for wanting to be relevant again.
“Push and Shove” isn’t all bad. Stefani sounds just as fun and lively as she ever has, and the album’s instrumentals will surely create a great atmosphere for dancing when played in concert. The tracks from the album seem reminiscent of Stefani’s solo dance-pop side projects, “Love. Angel. Music. Baby.” (2004) and “The Sweet Escape” (2006). It seems that No Doubt has incorporated those EDM influences to try and repeat the success of Stefani’s albums.
One notable track from “Push and Shove” is “Sparkle,” the only track from the album where the band kept some of its ska influences. The title track features Major Lazer and Busy Signal, who bring some EDM expertise.
“Push and Shove” is nowhere close to as great as “Tragic Kingdom” (1995) was, but I’m happy to see No Doubt making music again, and they remain close to the top of my list of bands that I need to see live.