Noise 101: CD Reviews for Jan 29
Forest Hills Drive
In a year that was relatively weak for the genre, J. Cole’s Forest Hills Drive came as a breath of fresh air for hip hop fans everywhere. The much anticipated album serves as a form of reflection for J. Cole, with the songs telling the story of the struggles he had growing up and how he made it big in hip hop. The album should be listened to in the order of the CD, a strategy that other rappers have done previously. Known for his creative wordplay and rather gruff singing voice, J. Cole puts all of his talent on display in this third studio album. While songs like “Fire Squad” and “Tale of 2 Citiez” show what J. Cole is capable of, the rest of the album is rather forgettable aside from four or five select songs. Not to discredit J. Cole, those five songs are good. Hip hop fans will still very much appreciate the superb lyricism and instrumentals that Forest Hills Drive brings to the table.
— Bigoa Machar
No Cities to Love
The fierce female rockers of Sleater-Kinney have returned to the music scene in full swing after a ten-year hiatus. Their reunion album, No Cities to Love, proves that even a decade apart can’t slow their music down.
“Bury Our Friends,” “Price Tag,” and title track called “No Cities to Love” could be seen as more melodic than some of the group’s previous work. The main difference between this album and their 2005 release The Woods is that you could probably play this album for your mom and she wouldn’t even flinch. Not a bad thing.
No Cities to Love is a necessary addition to any punk-rocker’s collection, even if just to relive those angst days of the mid-90’s. In case you missed it, girls really do rock.
— Michelle Vaniersel
The world’s favourite boy band is back with their fourth studio release, aptly named FOUR.
Definitely featuring a more put-together and grown-up sound, FOUR opens with the single, “Steal My Girl,” a mellow-yet-powerful love song. “Spaces,” is a softer, emotional track. The album ends on a high note with “Act My Age,” an upbeat track with an almost-folky vibe that celebrates youthful fun and love.
FOUR is probably one of One Direction’s most refined sounding albums to date. Gone seem to be the days of “Up All Night” partying, because these boys are getting more serious. It seems to be working for them.
— Beck Paterson