CD Reviews

BY DI ARTS STAFF | MAY 12, 2009 7:26 AM

Dancing Divided by Night equals success

Crystal Method

Divided by Night

**** out of *****

Something of an unfortunate stigma surrounds modern electronic dance music. Namely, that it’s repetitive, boring, and lacks imagination. After all, when you’re loaded out of your mind on Ecstasy, who really cares what you’re listening to, right? While, like any genre, electronica has its share of hacks and generally poor musicianship, quality acts do in fact exist.

At the forefront of those bands consistently producing great electronic music, genre pioneers the Crystal Method just might dispel some of those negative connotations with its fourth studio effort, Divided by Night. The Los Angeles-based duo has gathered together a whole slew of collaborating artists on its first studio album since 2004’s Legion of Boom. The result is an album resistant to the stale beats and cheesy synth effects often associated with the genre, instead providing a wide variety of voices and influences for a wholly distinct listen.

Whether it’s Hasidic rapper Matisyahu on the club-ready single “Drown in the Now” or indie singer/songwriter Meiko’s dreamy vocals on “Falling Hard,” the wide spectrum of voices included on Divided by Night welcomes repeat listens, whereas the backing instrumental tracks alone might warrant nothing more than the occasional spin at a club. And with the album’s 12 tracks ranging from four to six and a half minutes, there’s plenty of time to break down the traditional verse/chorus song structure for a little synth indulgence. Even mostly instrumental tracks such as “Double Down Under” are infectiously catchy and groove hard enough to keep listeners interested.

Perhaps the most rewarding thing about Divided by Night is the album’s versatility. Spin this disc at a party, and the floors will shake with delight. Run it through your laptop, and that five-page paper will be done in no time. Toss it on your iPod and feed off the album’s high energy for a blistering run. Whether you’re a seasoned electronic veteran or a fledgling raver, Divided by Night is a no-brainer.

Brian’s Picks: “Drown in the Now,” “Double Down Under,” “Come Back Clean”

Crisis in Originality

Crisis in Hollywood

Safe and Sound

** out of *****

After first forming in 2004 under the name From Adam to Atom, Crisis in Hollywood went through some changes in 2006 — including a name switch — and emerged with more exposure and a new sound. The Orlando-based band has no problem labeling itself “pop-punk,” and the quartet’s popularity has grown steadily ever since.

Crisis in Hollywood’s latest release, Safe and Sound, is the band’s second full-length album and follows up 2007’s independently released Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. Safe and Sound is the band’s attempt to stand out in the music industry, but it doesn’t quite shine.

Safe and Sound opens with the album’s title track, which offers a catchy pop melody and a punk vocal styling that remains throughout the entire album.

For an album preaching safety in its title, “Don’t Overact” embraces creativity by taking risks. The slower melody and vocals mix well together as vocalist Adrian Snyder shows off his range.

“The Drinking Song” is an anthem testifying about the importance of never drinking alone and instead just enjoying friends while gripping a cold brew. The harsh, staccato guitar underlies the verses, and the track’s tempo varies from slow to fast especially at the end. These elements grab listeners’ attention while continuing to hone in on the basic yet fun theme of the track.

Crisis in Hollywood is a decent group with worthwhile talent, but it hasn’t quite found a distinct sound all its own. Safe and Sound may not be the next great rock album, but it works for anyone looking for some quality pop-punk tracks without a whole lot of experimentation.

Kelly’s Picks: “Falling in and Out” and “Can’t Turn Around”

The only crime here is what this album does to hip-hop


Crime Pays

* out of *****

Crime Pays is the sixth studio album from Harlem-based rapper Cam’ron and is the epitome of bad contemporary rap. On most of the tracks, the beats overpower the vocals, which might not be such a bad thing, because the lyrics don’t offer much in the way of substance. Cam’ron simply exploits the gangster lifestyle, a way of living to which most people cannot relate.

Skits between Crime Pays’ tracks just drag out the torture. Cam’ron’s music is unnecessarily crude and lacks integrity.

Songs such as “Woo Hoo” are downright cheesy with “woo hoo” constantly shouted in the background. Its lyrics allude to the gangster lifestyle, leaving listeners questioning if Cam’ron ever even lived it.

“Silky (No Homo)” is one of the few decent tracks on Crime Pays, only because it samples a James Brown song. The beats on “You Know What’s Up” are all right because they feature appropriately placed stringed instruments in an album dominated by electronic sounds, but lines like “when you see me you know it’s time to fuck” take away all of the track’s possible credibility.

My guess is “(I Hate) My Job” is the only track on the album that the average person can to relate to. The song also brings up economic issues with such lines as “I’m looking for a job, ain’t nobody hiring.” The beats on this track are dominated by piano which sounds cool and keeps the song moving.

Cam’ron needs to realize all of the songs on Crime Pays sound the same, and he should just give up. Martyrs of hip-hop turn over in their graves because of albums like this.

Nick Pick’s: “Silky (No Homo),” “(I Hate) My Job”

comments powered by Disqus
Daily Iowan Advertising
Today's Display Ads | Today's Classifieds | Advertising Info

Sponsored Links  
T-Shirt Design  
Insurance Leads Charlotte Web Design
Health Insurance Leads Home Equity Loans
Home Service Guides  
Life Insurance DMI Furniture
Custom Magnets Buy a text ad

Privacy Policy (8/15/07) | Terms of Use (4/28/08) | Content Submission Agreement (8/23/07) | Copyright Compliance Policy (8/25/07) | RSS Terms of Use

Copyright © The Daily Iowan, All Rights Reserved.