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Published : 2012-12-07 19:20
Updated : 2012-12-07 19:20

Ke$ha gets better on ‘Warrior’



Ke$ha
``Warrior‘’
(RCA Records)

Don‘t hate me - but this new Ke$ha album is good. Kind of really good.

``Warrior,’‘ the 25-year-old’s sophomore release, is entertaining from top to bottom. Ke$ha _ along with hitmaker Dr. Luke _ has a knack for creating carefree and upbeat electro-pop songs that make you want to have a good time. It‘s pure fun.

Yes, some of her lyrics are vapid and need work, but melodically, she’s got a winner, especially on the hooks throughout ``Warrior.‘’ The will.i.am-assisted ``Crazy Kids,‘’ which kicks off with whistling, is anthemic; ``C‘mon’‘ is oh-so-fun; and ``Thinking of You,’‘ about an ex, transitions pleasantly from its thumping verse to its groovy hook. The lead single, ``Die Young,’‘ is just as addictive and was co-written with Nate Ruess of fun.

While Ke$ha deserves credit for putting together a nearly-great album, she’s still Ke$ha _ therefore, she has her limitations. The songwriting on ``Warrior‘’ _ which includes contributions from her mother, Pebe _ can be ridiculous. On ``C‘mon,’‘ she rhymes ``saber tooth tiger’‘ with ``warm Budweiser.’‘ Also, Auto-tune remains her best friend: When Ke$ha hits a semi-high note, she can’t pull it off without the help of studio manipulation.

Her singing is better on ``Wonderland,‘’ a slow groove about how her life has changed since she became a pop star (it gets a great drum assist from Patrick Carney of The Black Keys). And ``Warrior‘’ is much better than Ke$ha‘s other releases, including her so-so 2010 debut, ``Animal,’‘ and her terrible ``Cannibal’‘ EP. The ``TiK ToK’‘ singer has stretched her 15 minutes _ and surprisingly, she’s worth the extra time.

(AP)


Shiny Toy Guns‘ ’III‘ is impeccable

Shiny Toy Guns
``III’‘
(Five Seven Music)

From its opening track, the runaway love jam ``Somewhere to Hide,’‘ to its closing number, the piano tune ``Take Me Back to Where I Was,’‘ Shiny Toy Guns delivers a flawless collection of tunes on its third album, ``III.’‘

The beats throughout are flavored with dance, rock and synth-pop sounds enhanced by vocals from Chad Petree and Carah Faye, who has rejoined the Los Angeles quartet after leaving the band and missing out on 2008 album ``Season of Poison.’‘

Her voice _ light and satisfying _ blends magically with Petree’s on songs like ``Waiting Alone‘’ and the outstanding ``Carrie.‘’ Faye also brings on the swag on the rock-charged ``Speaking Japanese‘’ and ``Fading Listening,‘’ with its summertime hip-hop beat. Her return is much appreciated _ and much needed, helping make ``III‘’ one of 2012‘s best.

CHECK OUT THIS TRACK: “Somewhere to Hide,” the first track, is where you should start.

(AP)


Galaxy Express album good, but not impressive

Galaxy Express
“3rd Album Galaxy Express”
Sony Music

The Korean psychedelic rock group Galaxy Express stuck to their funky sounding rock ‘n’ roots and a third album that’s not bad, but not actually over the moon. Over the years, we’ve come to expect more from the three rockers, who have decided to stay old school, but maybe to their own detriment.

The second track on the album “Cha! Cha! Cha! Cha!” -- which as the title suggests is energetic and upbeat -- is catchy, however it doesn’t quite get you to the point where you want to start a mosh pit.

The album tends to get repetitive, with parts just sounding like white noise; however, there are a couple tracks that are worth a listen. "Always” shows off the band’s softer vocal side, and it works. The song is not their coined heavy rock sound, but a good listen nevertheless.

“Like that night” shows off less of the trio’s acid rock and more of their garage punk style, which suits them much better than their psychedelic attempts.

Their third album is certainly not their best work, but it still has its moments. If there’s one thing you can’t deny about the members of Galaxy Express is there ability to shred it on the guitar.

By Julie Jackson (juliejackson@heraldcorp.com)

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