In the previous issue, you’ve seen previews of the new albums released this year by the legendary English artist David Bowie, the iconic Metal band Megadeth, and the pioneering Britpop group Suede. However, these are just the tip of the so-called sonic iceberg. If you’re a music buff who does not discriminate on music–meaning, you are the type of a music enthusiast who appreciates any genre of music–then you should know that every year is a good year in music. Whatever kind of music you dig, there should be something for you in any given year. All you need are a pair of open ears, initiative, and the guide of music journalists who are always on top of whatever’s new in the music world. So now, let me recommend to you another batch of new albums released this year that are worth checking out.
Dream Theater – Astonishing
Inarguably, Dream Theater is one of the most revered bands in the Progressive Metal arena. Every album that the American band releases is worth the wait–well-conceived, well-arranged, and well-produced. That should be unsurprising, considering the musical background and instrument proficiency of each of the band’s members. Formed in 1985, Dream Theater released its 13th studio album in January. Entitled Astonishing, this latest oeuvre is a concept album divided into two acts comprised by 34 songs and instrumentals, musically expressed in varying sonic styles.
James – Girl at the End of the World
For fans of Indie Pop music, the English band James is no longer unheard of; after all, James has been in the Alternative music circuit since 1982, now armed with 14 studio albums’ worth of discography, not counting various non-album releases. James’s list of classic hits include “What For,” Ya Ho,” “Stripmining,” “Come Home,” “Born of Frustration,” and the commercial favorite “Say Something.” Last March, the prolific band released its 14th work, entitled Girl at the End of the World. True to the band’s trademark sonic style, the sound of the album is unmistakable–jangly and chiming guitars, rolling basslines, upbeat tempo, trumpet flourishes, and of course vocalist Tim Booth’s distinct yelpy voice. Recommended songs are the guitar stomper “To My Surprise,” the piano-led, Gospel-flavored “Nothing but Love,” the eerie-sounding, carnivalesque “Dear John,” the driving and engaging “Surfer’s Song,” and the album’s ballad title track.
Rihanna – Anti
By now, the one-word moniker Rihanna is already a household name. Well, why not? After all, the U.S.-based Barbadian singer has become one of the popular singers in the recent years who has achieved celebrity status. Thanks to her international Pop hits that include “Umbrella,” “Disturbia,” and “Birthday Cake,” all of which have become regular radio staples. If you’re regularly tuned in on the radio, then the R’n’B-flavored Hip-hop song “Work” must by now have become a worm to you ears. That song is actually a single off Rihanna’s eighth studio album, entitled Anti. Released in January, Rihanna’s latest offering is a powerhouse of dancey, upbeat, groovy, and sexy songs that will certainly adorn any dancefloor or dimly lit entertainment basement. Aside from “Work,” other catchy songs from the album include the sinister-sounding “Kiss It Better,” the midtempo bass-heavy “Same Ol’ Mistakes,” the big-hall ballad “Love on the Brain,” and the lyrically provocative “Sex with Me.”
In the next issue, join me again in this exciting sound trip. Expect the new releases by the English Synthpop duo Pet Shop Boys, the pioneering Britpop band Kula Shaker, and the Greek New Age–music composer Yanni.