Tuesday, July 30, 2013

New Tunes Reviews, July 30: T. Hardy Morris, Backstreet Boys, Michael Franti

Again, there were not many notable releases this week but that didn't stop me from listening to some of them.

T. Hardy Morris Audition Tape
Backstreet Boys In a World Like This
Michael Franti & Spearhead All People

Although I lack the background to compare this release with Dead Confederate albums, I was charmed by the vocals and melodies found on T. Hardy Morris's Audition Tape.  The vocals remind me of Kurt Vile (who released a rather enjoyable album called Wakin' on a Pretty Daze this year).

As I listened through the tracks, the tempo gets a bit tired.  The album would benefit from one or two more faster tracks, like "Share the Needle" But as a solo release, it does the job of highlighting Morris as an artist independent of the band.  So I'd say give this release a listen. If you enjoy mellowed-out, post-grunge vocals and twangy guitars, you  may enjoy this release.  It definitely made me want to check out Dead Confederate.

When I realized there was a new album by the Backstreet Boys this week, I started thinking about who actually IS their target audience for new stuff?

  • Is it today's tweens who are fans of One Direction and other current boy bands? 
  • Is it 20 somethings like me who grew up listening to boy bands and enjoys a throwback once in while?  
  • Or is it older moms who listen to adult contemporary radio? 

After listening to the album, I will guess the third one. The classic harmonies are there.  The melodies are great. Each song feels like it would fit well after Train's "Hey Soul Sister" or "Drive By."  The programmers (and listeners) of 95.5 WPLJ probably love these songs. Tracks are very catchy but does not even compete with "I Want It That Way" and "Quit Playing Games."

Michael Franti &; Spearhead's All People is probably the strongest release of the week.  It has the rapping vocals and the sing-along vocals. The tempo and tone feels like summer. "11:59" is extremely catchy. "I'm Alive" is another one of those "songs with whistling" (like Foster The People's "Pumped Up Kicks"). The lyrics of this song throws back to current songs (specifically "Hey Soul Sister") and pop culture (Ice and Coco, John and Yoko).

With releases like this, I am also weary of if its a gimmick or a real thing.  But some of the songs were toned down (like "Life is Better With You"), showing that Michael Franti & Spearhead can do mellow but chooses to record outdoor party songs.  

I just wonder why this album wasn't released earlier in the summer. Multiple songs would have fit perfectly on 4th of July playlists, right next to the catchiest song of 2009 "Say Hey".

[Ed. note: I can't believe I mentioned "Hey Soul Sister" twice in this post.]

No comments:

Post a Comment