Listen Up: Maroon 5, Linkin Park, more
This week in music
By Elysa Gardner, Jerry Shriver and Brian Mansfield, USA TODAYJune 25, 2012
On her latest superb album, Wilson's earthy virtuosity seems even more effortless than usual. Collaborating with guitarist/producer Fabrizio Sotti, she crafts spare, acoustic-guitar-driven reveries (including a couple of lovely instrumental tracks) that cradle her gorgeously expressive alto like a warm breeze.
Be careful with this album: The melodies are so infectious and the dance beats so compelling that you'll barely notice that you're lip-syncing some of the sourest lyrics on the pop charts. Singer Adam Levine and crew apparently don't just covet Jagger's moves, they want to wallow in Stones-ian misogyny. "Perfect on the outside but nothing at the core'' describes the woman of Tickets. "I know you like it when it hurts," taunts Doin' Dirt. "All those fairy tales are full of (expletive)," snipes single Payphone. Elsewhere, women are "insane," "eat you alive," "ruin the night" and fight in the middle of Hollywood Boulevard. And yet... Be careful with this album.
All but gone now are the nu-metal guitars of Hybrid Theory. Working with producer Rick Rubin helps the ever-chameleonic Linkin Park to "switch styles on a dime." The mechanized electronics of Living Things reinvigorate the band, allowing it to adapt to life in an EDM world.
The Offspring has long been one of the more versatile California pop-punk acts, but some directions the band takes on Days Go By are just bizarre. What starts with punk tunes about staple topics like social anger and father-son issues quickly detours into grunge, low-rider soul and rock-radio positivity, such as the title track. But not even the memory of Pretty Fly (For a White Guy) will prepare people for Cruising California (Bumpin' in My Trunk), which treads unnervingly close to Katy Perry turf.
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