Summer Music Review

By Marcy Pedzwater – Staff Writer – mpedzwat@unca.edu

Summer 2013 found itself jam-packed with new album releases from John Mayer, Golden Suits, and the Backstreet Boys.

John Mayer’s August 20 release, Paradise Valley, showcases Mayer’s talents as an artist. Golden Suits’ self-titled record showed a need for serious fine tuning. The Backstreet Boys new album, In a World like This, disappointed fans as it lacked the grandiosity of the boy band’s previous albums.

Mayer’s album stands out as a triumphant success for the seasoned artist. The album’s distinct style reflects Mayer’s unique vocals. Bringing together strong vocals, thoughtful lyrics, and successful instrumentation to create a masterpiece. A feel-good album, Paradise Valley features uplifting, optimistic lyrics that seem to match the laid back style of Mayer’s vocals.

Each song has its own style, highlighted by the variety of instruments Mayer employs. One of the strongest songs of the album is “I Will Be Found (Lost At Sea),” containing a beautiful piano entrance with a blend of lyrics, vocals, and instrumentation that is pleasing to the ear. Overall, Mayer’s album is a fun listen. 4/5 stars.

Golden Suits’ self-titled release proved fairly lukewarm in quality. The first track, “Swimming in ’99,” starts out strong with a blend of instrumentals that make it nearly impossible to resist tapping your fingers or feet along with the music. However, the vocals seem to tear down what the instrumentals started to build, detracting from the quality of the song. The style of the vocals and lyrics seem nearly abrasive against the style of the instrumentals. Rather than blending together, they oppose one another.

The genre would be better suited for a different voice. One of the most interesting tracks is “Restaurant Song,” which starts with a piano melody that is fairly simple in composition. The song has an elementary style but manages to be alluring as well. Overall, Golden Suits showed potential, but they need some major revisions and style changes to reach their full potential. 3/5 stars.

The Backstreet Boys’ album, In a World like This, displays a very mature sound. For most acts that would be high praise, but for a boy band it is detrimental. The Backstreet Boys have grown up, and unfortunately their music reflects it. None of their songs reflect the style of their hits from the ‘90s and early 2000s, but rather attempt to take the band in a new direction.

Their music is more laid back with lower energy, but still reflects some of their boy band qualities. Unfortunately, this awkward mix is entirely unsatisfactory. Their new album lacks the cheesy mega pop sound that made the Backstreet Boys a staple during their prime years. Their new album shows that their glory days are long gone.

They lack the previous upbeat tempo and indisputable catchiness their previous albums had. While experimentation is normal and shows development, In a World Like This transforms them from the Backstreet Boys to the Backstreet Men. In turn, that takes them from boy band to man band, which, for the Backstreet Boys, is not a good place to be. While the album would be positive work for another band, coming from the Backstreet Boys it lacks the caliber of their previous work.  2.5/5 stars.

 

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