Music reviews: Green Day, Deftones, The Weeknd (AUDIO)
Green Day, "Dos!"
Green Day's release of "Uno!," the first album in a trilogy, in September brought about several questions. The biggest mystery was where exactly these three albums are headed. Would they all sound similar? Should we be following a storyline within the lyrics? Will the final two albums show a little more imagination than "Uno!'? Let's face it, "Uno!" was kind of a flop heading out of the gate. Most of the songs felt too much alike, making it difficult to believe there would be two more albums of that stuff.
But "Dos!" succeeds at breaking away from the previous release by offering a lot more in music and, for the most part, lyrics. You realize that once the album begins with the stripped-down "See You Tonight." It's far from anything heard on "Uno!" That track is followed by the ridiculously-written "F--- Time." Band members have performed this song in the past as their garage rock alter-egos, the Foxboro Hot Tubs. Regardless of Green Day's bratty punk past, the song probably should have never been included on one of their albums.
Thankfully the band recovers from the misstep and delivers on the rest of "Dos!" The bouncy "Stray Heart" isn't one of the best written songs in the Green Day catalog, but an upbeat poppy sound and tight rhythm section makes this one a standout track.
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The trio also looks to break new musical ground with the laid-back "Nightlife." The song includes female vocals that fall just short of being a rap verse. Somehow it works and doesn't fall too far outside of Green Day's sound.
It's nice to hear Green Day push themselves a little more on "Dos!" It makes up for the lackluster "Uno!" and gives hope for a strong finish to the trilogy when "Tre!" is released Dec. 11.
Deftones, "Koi No Yokan"
Deftones came along at a time when bands such as Korn and Limp Bizkit ruled the rock world. While their peers and their baggy cargo pants have faded, the Deftones have remained somewhat relevant. "Koi No Yokan," the band's seventh studio album, heads down a familiar path. It follows a sound that has set the Deftones apart from their late 90s couterparts. Crunching guitar riffs on songs such as "Tempest" and "Leathers" immediately cease in favor of hushed vocals and a more quiet approach. It's these types of dynamics that have helped Deftones stick around a few more years. Their music has always had more depth than the tunes produced by others of their ilk. The band keeps you guessing what's around the next corner as they shift between loud and quiet. This works for about half of "Koi No Yokan." After that, the album gets slightly predictable, but still chugs ahead.
The Weeknd. "Trilogy"
It would have been easy to miss the release of Canadian singer The Weeknd's three mix tapes that came out last year. The 22-year-old who was born Abel Tesfaye posted the three releases on his website for anyone to download for free. The first of the three, "House of Balloons," was among the best albums released in 2011. The other two weren't too far off that mark either. The three mix tapes coupled with an appearance on fellow Canadian Drake's last album has helped establish The Weeknd among the voices leading the charge in a genre best described as alternative R&B. Now the three mix tapes have been repackaged as a three-disc set and released under the title,"Trilogy." All of the songs from the original releases are included on what is technically The Weeknd's major label debut. Here they sound a little more crisp than they did the first time around. Also included are three previously unreleased songs. The piano-laden "Twenty Eight" isn't exactly The Weeknd's best. He does a better job of hitting his stride on "Valerie" and "Til Dawn (Here Comes The Sun)." None of the three make this worth buying if you already have all three of the mix tapes from 2011. But if you missed out the first time around, then you need to get this one.
Out this week: Christina Aguilera, "Lotus"; The All-American Rejects, "Flatline"; Travis Barker & Yelawolf, "Psycho White"; Bobby Bare, "Darker Than Light"; Susan Boyle, "Standing Ovation: The Greatest Songs From the Stage"; Clinic, "Free Reign"; Joe Cocker, "Fire It Up"; Crystal Castles, "(III)"; Lana Del Rey, "Paradise"; Brian Eno, "LUX"; Guided By Voices, "The Bears For Lunch"; Beres Hammond, "One Love, One Life"; Hercules and Love Affair, "DJ-Kicks"; How to destroy angels_, "An omen EP_"; Cledus T. Judd, "Parodyziac!!"; Aaron Lewis, "The Road"; Madness, "Oui, Oui, Si, Si, Ja, Ja, Da, Da"; Midnight Magic, "Walking the Midnight Streets"; One Direction, "Take Me Home"; Placebo, "B3 EP"; Soundgarden, "King Animal"; John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John, "This Christmas"; The Rolling Stones, "GRRR!"; The Walkabouts, "Berlin"; Amy Winehouse, "Amy Winehouse at the BBC."