CD reviews: Bassilyo, Daughtry, Beyonce
He might have called it his “Greatest Hits”. For better or for worse, the unassuming singer behind the ubiquitous hit “Lord Patawad” thinks his compositions will be the subject of future revivals so the “classic” branding should be fair enough.
The simple skank of “Lord Patawad” definitely has potential, so do the joyful rhythm and carefree lyrics of opener “WOW!” and the freewheeling comedy of “Walang Kwentang Kanta.” The latter could be a street corner serenade for istambays everywhere.
“Prinsesa Ko” can be tweaked to be a love song. “Pamagat” has the makings of a great thank-you note to musical idols and rap fans alike.
This is just the tip of a mother lode of classics to come from a veteran of underground battles.
After his stint in "American Idol" some seven years ago, Chris Daughtry, namesake and all-around provocateur behind grunge-rockers Daughtry, seems to be looking for the big ticket that will keep his name in the limelight going into an unpredictable future. His last three albums painted Chris Daughtry as an emotional hard rocker in the mold of Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder and it’s probably time to step out behind Vedder’s shadow.
On their fourth and latest album, Daughtry and cohorts do not totally drop the grunge ball. Instead, they’ve defanged the “hard” part of their rock, inserting mandolin, piano and acoustic guitar to infuse a folk-rock ambience to half of the 12 songs.
The added feel may appear hardly essential, making no particular claim to originality. And yet, the band plays well, and Daughtry can get you caught up in the “boom-boboom-boom” of “Battleships” to make “Baptized” one utterly engaging affair. There’s a freshness to the drive and spirit of the players despite the obvious derivations of the individual songs.
It’s one of those rare times when inspiration gets the better of imagination.
Beyonce Knowles is executive producer, rap-mogul husband Jay-Z collaborates on one song while Drake and Frank Ocean are featured on other tracks. The album opens with a question: “What is your aspiration in life” to which a female replies, “To be happy.”
The opening music is a slow jam that could be a throwback to Beyonce’s roots in Destiny’s Child. Next track “Haunted” is just that, a spaced-out mix of industrial rock, heavy funk and cheerleader beat as Beyonce half-sings, half-raps “9-to-5 to stay alive” talking about people on this planet. On "Blow," she sexily coos, “Can you lick my Skittles/ That's the sweetest in the middle" while on “Flawless,” Beyonce puts out a kind of stern feminist viewpoint at odds with her glossy, voluptuous projection in print and on video.
So okay, pushing 30 and happily married with child, Beyonce, despite mouthing erotic lyrics, is selling a public image of a mature responsible woman. It’s something nobody has done before, not Madonna, Christian Aguillera, Katy Perry or Lady Gaga, and Jay Z’s lady love is doing it in beds upon beds of consciously ingenious music. Other than “Pretty Hurts,” you won’t be hearing many of them covered by bar bands anytime soon.
Nevertheless, it’s still provocative enough to earn a new round of respect for Ms. Knowles.
"Direct Hits (2003 – 2013)"
“All their hit songs in one album” goes the blurb on the plastic shrink wrap, and this compilation settles once and for all that Las Vegas’ The Killers is one of the best singles-oriented bands of the last decade. Each of the 18 cuts, including a Calvin Harris remix, presents The Killers at the peak of their powers starting with the seminal electro-rock of “Mr. Brightside” to the widescreen U2-like bombast of “Human” and “Spaceman”.
The single disc can be divided between the lurching new wave grooves of the early years and the prog-pop tendencies of the last five years. Except for the remix, an original demo of “Mr. Brightside” and the ballads, most of the tracks place dance-rock aesthetics up-front and center. Leader of the pack Brandon Flowers could be singing the “Ave Maria” but it’s a sure bet anyone under 30 will go bonkers, bobbing their heads and shaking their bodies to a 30-year old backbeat. The dance-rock juggernaut behind the Killers’ trademark sound can be very difficult to ignore.