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Sunday, April 21, 2024
The Eagle

Album Reviews Brew No. 5

Katy PerryPRISM
“Let’s rage,” guest rapper Juicy J exclaims in the opening seconds of “Dark Horse,” the sixth track on Katy Perry’s “PRISM.” The problem with the album is that Juicy J never gets his wish, in any sense of the word. Despite a few solid tracks and competent production, “PRISM” fails to extend the Katy Perry brand beyond her unimpeachable hit-making prowess. The generic first single and lead-off track “Roar” sets the blueprint: sonically catchy but lyrically empty, with plenty of references to other music but little to set Perry apart from the pop music herd. After a record-setting string of No. 1 hits from her previous album “Teenage Dream” Perry likely didn’t feel the need to experiment too much, a seemingly smart business strategy that makes for dull listening. The innovations are only on the surface: Juicy J’s toothless feature, the ‘90s-Eurodance homage “Walking on Air,” a pair of dour album-closing ballads. Perry is nothing if not a brilliant marketer, though. Second single “Unconditionally,” an alleged ode to her current boyfriend John Mayer, represents the album’s peak with a soaring chorus and genuine feeling that the rest of the album grasps only sparingly. Perhaps the lesson here is that the best music comes from a place of honesty, not corporate greed. – Mark Lieberman

Ryan Hemsworth- Guilt Trips
“Guilt Trips” marks the debut full-length LP for Canadian DJ and producer Ryan Hemsworth. For a guy who’s been spinning some sick ‘90s R&B remixes, he certainly stepped up his game for this album. The field of EDM can be challenging to break out in, especially when the latter is really pop music hidden behind electronic noise, but Hemsworth proves that he is a real contender. From the core, this “Guilt Trips” contains hard-hitting trap rap beats that are accented with sharp syncopation. The instrumentation has a multitude of layers and the lyrics are well-developed, showing Hemsworth’s attention to detail and strength as a songwriter. Standout tracks are “Still Cold,” “Ryan Must Be Destroyed,” One for Me” and “Day / Night / Sleep System.” Hemsworth has his moments where he gives listeners a taste of electro-pop, but always reverts to his electro-R&B and trap rap tendencies. Either way, “Guilt Trips” is a crowd pleaser in the club on the dance floor, or at a low-key house party. Hemsworth has a little bit of something to offer everyone as he experiments with every sound he can get his hands on. – Sydney Gore

For those who are already fans of the New York City indie pop duo Cults, their sophomore album “Static” is a solid follow-up to their acclaimed 2011 self-titled debut. Comprised of vocalist Madeline Follin and instrumentalist Brian Oblivion, this band continues to refine their dreamy, retro pop sound, playing around with orchestral elements and layering vocals to create an album that’s pleasant to listen to but not exactly attention-grabbing. It’s good to put on during study sessions or while cooking because nothing about the album is distracting. However, the layers become too thick and Follin’s lyrics are lost underneath the muddle of distorted guitars and wispy melodies. Stand out tracks include “Were Before” for its somber duet between Follin and Oblivion, “I Can Hardly Make You Mine” for its bubbly rhythm amidst its melancholic lyrics, and “Always Forever” has a charming piano line that matches Follin’s saccharine vocals. – Teta Alim

Cage the ElephantMelophobia
Cage the Elephant’s third studio-released album “Melophobia” has the ability to fuel any indie music lover’s house party. “Melophobia” consists of 10 songs including “Come a Little Closer,” pre-released in early August. While the album features a little more variety than past works, it distinguishes itself with the surprising use of psychedelic sounds (similar to the band Foxygen). Through “Melophobia,” Cage the Elephant seems to have changed their image from a popular rock-and-roll bunch to a more selective and indie-oriented band. – Zach Ewell

Section 202 host Gabrielle and friends go over some sports that aren’t in the sports media spotlight often, and review some sports based on their difficulty to play. 

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