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>Katy PerryTeenage Dream

If Katy Perry’s goal on her second outing was to put together an album full of potential top 10 pop hits, than she more than succeeded with “Teenage Dream” her second studio album. She was already the queen of summer with two #1’s from the title track and “California Gurls”. And the light fun and catchy tracks like “Last Nite (TGIF)” “Peacock” and “The One that Got Away” are almost Pop radio guarantees. The most surprising thing about the album is that the pop singer goes a little deeper than you’d think with beautiful and well-written tracks like “Firework” “Pearl” and “Not Like the Movies”. And even her subject matter (ditching an addict boyfriend on “Circle the Drain”) and production (“E.T.”) are superior to a lot of generic Pop songs out now. Katy shows them all how to do Pop music, and though it’s still really light and just a Fun album overall, it does show some growth as well as charm.

Rating: Four Stars
Best: Teenage Dream, Not Like the Movies, E.T.

Bruno MarsDoo-Wops & Hooligans

Bruno Mars became a name this summer from his various feature work, his debut album “Doo-Wops & Hooligans” is in the same vein of most of his features, laid back and breezy poppy hip hop/r&b odes, and his voice does help to fill out some of the songs. Overall though, the album has some catchy songs that are fun to listen to, but are so bogged down by lyrics that cater to the lowest denominator. On “Marry You” he proposes as something “dumb to do”, rhymes “snuggie” with “Teach me how to dougie” on “The Lazy Song”, and it gets no lazier than “Count on Me” with it’s hook “1,2,3… A,B,C”. Mars has a lot of qualities that could make him a star, but his elementary lyricism is really a distracting part of the total package. And really makes the album a lot less enjoyable.

Rating: Two Stars
Best: Talking to the Moon, Just the Way You Are, Our First Time

Maroon 5Hands All Over

Maroon 5’s single “Misery” should have been a summer blockbuster as it’s catchy, fun and upbeat. However the song lingered in the mid-20’s of the Hot 100 throughout most of the summer, and unfortunatley when their 4th album “Hands All Over” there weren’t many songs to match that first single and confirms why I’ve never been a big fan of the group. There are a handful of highlights on the album, namely the beautifully produced and sung “Just a Feeling”, as well as “I Can’t Lie” “Never Gonna Leave this Bed” and “Out of Goodbyes” with Lady Antebellum. The biggest complaint about the album and the group is that they very rarely just go with the flow, it seems like on alot of songs the raw soul and natural energy is dilluted by trying to make everything a perfect package for radio. Leaving the listener with a somewhat sterile and over-worked and over-produced Pop album.

Rating: Two Stars
Best: Just a Feeling, Misery, Never Gonna Leave This Bed