JUSTIN Bieber is working his way from the mall to the club. The second full-length album from the 18-yearold superstar finds him straddling the line between the tween-friendly pop that introduced him to the world and more adult-oriented fare that features heavier beats, some trendy dubstep, a roster of guest stars, including Drake, Nicki Minaj and Ludacris, and the best producers money can buy.
Believe starts with the shiny synthpop banger All Around the World that sounds like something off Britney Spears’ Femme Fatale album, complete with stuttering vocal effects and a beat designed to be blasted in dance bars. The hit single, Boyfriend, finds Bieber in a more laid-back mood with handclaps and electronic effects adding some colour to his promise of fidelity. Swedish hit maker Max Martin writes and produces the disco-fied Beauty and a Beat, featuring a guest turn by Minaj.
When Bieber is just allowed to sing without any effects there is a new maturity to his voice that comes from getting older, but some of his large production team just can’t help digitally altering it.
And no matter the style, from thumping dance pop to the numerous ballads, Bieber’s lyrics are never coarse or crass so parents THE latest album from Atlantabased belter Kelly Hogan is a collection of covers (and songs written specifically for her warm, supple voice) that includes tracks by Andrew Bird, Stephin Merritt and Robyn Hitchcock. I Like to Keep Myself in Pain features a blend of pop, country and soul with a sweet, old-fashioned sound, partly owing to her backing band, which features Booker T. Jones (who will be in Winnipeg tonight at the Burton Cummings Theatre as part of the Jazz Winnipeg Festival) and Gabe Roth of the Dap-Kings.
With a voice that can sound sultry, raw, heartbroken or hopeful, Hogan is a great interpreter of different song styles. On Ways of This World, written for Hogan by the late Vic Chesnutt, she gets at the mournful but defiant core of his writing. On Daddy’s Little Girl, an elegiac, retro number penned by M. Ward about Frank Sinatra, Hogan is narrating as Old Blue Eyes and, however improbably, she sells it.
Her pain is our pleasure on this classy, classic album. don’t have to worry, he hasn’t gone PG yet. Mostly the songs are versions of romantic fantasies that some of his fans probably have of him. On As Long as You Love Me he claims, “We could be starving/ we could be homeless/ we could be broke... as long as you love me.” On the sunny R&B ballad Die in Your Arms he samples Michael Jackson’s We’ve Got a Good Thing Going while crooning about how he wouldn’t mind dying in your arms (there aren’t a lot of metaphors in a Bieber song). Be Alright is an acoustic ballad about missing his girlfriend Selena Gomez while on tour. What a sweetie. Fans will definitely want the deluxe 16-track edition with Maria, the song that addresses Mariah Yeater’s false allegations that Bieber fathered her child. The beat and subject matter are reminiscent of Jackson’s Billie Jean with a chorus of, “She’s not my baby/she’s not my girl.”
No one truly believed the allegations, but his fans shouldn’t have a hard time continuing to keep believing in Bieber as he takes the next step in his whirlwind career with an album that positions him nicely to make the move into adulthood. to a song about a father with Alzheimer’s. The first single, Feel Like a Rock Star, is a duet with Tim McGraw destined to bring down the house every time they play it together on tour this summer.
But for every party anthem there’s a melancholy tune.
The result feels like an uneven album, but in a world where the money is made on singles and tours, fans probably won’t care because just as they start to cry in their beer, they’ll sing along with these lines from Time Flies: “Talkin’ to a cutie/headin’ for the booty/The riptides rippin’, the sunset’s dippin’/Smile that smile, you’ll be sayin’.”
½ AFTER a rough start when first tapped to host Late Night, comedian Jimmy Fallon has come into his own. One of the things that has made his show worth watching (or catching later on YouTube) are his music sketches where he impersonates famous singers and/or is joined by other artists and comedians.
Blow Your Pants Off features 15 of those televised performances, including a duet with Paul McCartney on Scrambled Eggs (an early version of Yesterday), the medley History of Rap with Justin Timberlake and his impersonation of Jim Morrison singing the Reading Rainbow theme. His impressions are spot-on and his Neil Young is particularly impressive. Fallon does Young twice: once singing the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme and again with Bruce Springsteen on the Willow Smith single Whip My Hair.
Unfortunately, no DVD is included and all of these songs work better with the video. No one really wants to hear the Fallon/Stephen Colbert/Taylor Hicks version of Friday, but the choreographed spectacle was worth a laugh. ANTON Bruckner was composing a fourth movement finale of his last symphony the year he died. Typical performances of this moving work, written for “Dear God,” end with the third movement adagio that Bruckner called his “Farewell to Life.”
But Bruckner had intended a fourth movement, sketching some 600 fully scored measures of about 650 in his plan. After his death in 1896, his Vienna home was ransacked and the folios were widely dispersed with some found later in Australia.
Attempts to reconstruct the finale have taken place over the years. Here we get the newest and latest results of a staggering forensic effort by four musicologists and one gets the feeling it does come from the composer himself in the finale’s scope and culmination, leaving the sense that a performance of Bruckner’s Ninth without its fourth movement would be incomplete. There are no issues with the performance either as Rattle and the Berliners maintain Bruckner’s elusive current through the many climaxes and counter statements, plotting the work’s drama superbly without overstating.
A most important release.