CD Reviews

Jon Foreman’s Solo Seasonal Journey

In addition to keeping up with my blog, I’ve been contributing to a bunch of music Web sites, trying to get my name out there and keep up my writing skills. My most recent album review is a compilation of Switchfoot frontman, Jon Foreman’s four seasonal EP’s; Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer. It was just about this time last year that he released his first EP of his solo project, Fall. You can read my full review at

Jon Foreman fans will be happy to learn that he’s releasing a compilation album entitled, Limbs and Branches, which features the 10 most popular songs from his four EP’s voted by fans, as well as two new songs, “Broken From the Start” and “Over the River.” The album will be available October 28.

If you haven’t yet, check out my interview with Jon from last year here as he talks about his solo project, where he finds his inspiration and the next Switchfoot album.

To listen to Jon’s music be sure to check him out on MySpace or visit his Web site.

CD Reviews

Album Review From the Archives: Justin Timberlake’s “FutureSex/LoveSounds”

I remember getting a lot of criticism for this review, specifically for giving Justin Timberlake a B+ when everyone else thought it deserved better. In actuality, B+ is a pretty decent rating for any album review. I really did like the album at the time, just didn’t find it A worthy. Let me know what you think! Feel free to read below for yet another blast from my writing past.

No More Bubblegum
With high expectations, Justin almost fully delivers

‘N Sync who? Justin Timberlake, formerly known for being a member of boy band ‘N Sync, has finally established himself as a talented solo artist with his sophomore solo album, FutureSex/LoveSounds. Timberlake’s album has had high expectations from everywhere — comparisons have been made to both Michael Jackson and Prince.

Although he hasn’t reached that level just yet, the new album is still impressive. While each song is completely different from the next, they flow into each other smoothly. His current hit single, “Sexy Back,” is the second song on the album, segueing nicely from the first track, “FutureSex/LoveSound.”

Many of the tracks have interludes after each song. “What Goes Around” is comparable to his previous single, “Cry Me a River,” while this interlude and many of the others portray Timberlake’s slower rap style. “Chop Me Up” has a slow, rap feel and features Timbaland and Three 6 Mafia. “Losing My Way” sounds similar to a gospel song. Many of his tracks feature Timberlake’s high falsetto singing range, such as “Damn Girl” and “My Love.” Admist all the club anthems are mellow soul ballads, such as “Until the End of Time.”

Timberlake has moved on from the teeny-bopper icon that he used to be and this album portrays how much of an all-around artist he is.

Album: FutureSex/LoveSounds
Label: Def Jam
Sounds Like: mix of urban, rap, club, R&B;, pop and gospel
Best Songs: “SexyBack,” “My Love,” “Losing My Way”

CD Reviews

Jakob Dylan Releases First Solo Album

Debuting your first solo album after nearly 20 successful years with the Wallflowers is no easy transition. Now add being Bob Dylan’s son to the mix and that leaves a large shadow in your wake, daring you to be different. With these two hurdles to jump over, it’s an accomplishment to have even tried.

Jakob opens Seeing Things singing, “It doesn’t always have a shape/Almost never does it have a name/It maybe has a pitchfork, maybe has a tail/But evil is alive and well” on track “Evil Is Alive and Well.” A simple song, both with acoustic guitar and Jakob’s deep and at times, raspy voice, the track encompasses what’s to be expected throughout the remainder of the album — a heavy, emotional album with little voice inflection or climax in guitar accompaniment.

While Seeing Things lacks the energy and power of a full band, the album isn’t all a journey into a brooding comatose. Songs such as “Something Good This Way” has a pop style and catchy chorus. With lyrics like, “Got my window open wide/Got a good woman by my side/This kind of day has no night/Ain’t got much on my mind/’Cause I know something good this way comes” the light guitar and soothing voice lightens up the album. The following track, “On Up the Mountain” is almost reminiscent of a lullaby, Jakob singing “You’ll get tired and you’ll get weak/But you won’t abandon your masterpiece/Off to sleep you’ll go.”

When it comes down to it, Jakob’s solo debut is mostly an acoustic album that doesn’t strongly showcase his guitar playing or lyrical writing. Seeing Things lacks the energy and strength of a band behind him, with no catchy choruses and few stand-out songs. While Jacob has the previous track record set with the Wallflowers, he needs a lot more to make the high jump into a solo career.

This is only my review of Jakob’s new album, I’d love to hear what you think. If you agree or disagree, feel free to leave me comments!
To listen to “Something Good This Way Comes” click here.
For more music, check out Jakob’s MySpace or Website.

Here’s a video of Jakob Dylan playing “Evil Is Alive and Well” live.

CD Reviews Features

Most Spun 2007

So I’m trying my hardest to transcribe the 5+ hours of interviews I did this past week . . . hoping to get some up by the end of the weekend! In the meantime, feel free to check out my “Most Spun” list of albums from 2007 featured on, a website I just started writing for. Can you guess my number one? Let me know what you think! You can read my picks here.

Also, here’s a cool video of singer/songwriter/one-man band David Ford I saw in concert a few weeks ago. It’s featured on YouTube’s homepage this week. Making music while having breakfast, he makes it look so easy!

CD Reviews

Jon Foreman- Winter EP Review

Everyone is searching for that one record to listen continuously to, without ever getting tired of. For most of last year that album for me was John Mayer’s Continuum. I would bring my CD player (yes, I still used that until my recent iShuffle birthday gift from friends . . . call me old school, but I still would so much rather pick up the latest album from a music store than buy it off iTunes) back and forth on my hour-long bus rides to my internships in New York.

Currently, I’ve been listening to Jon Foreman’s latest EP, Winter, and as of right now, I can’t stop listening to it – on bus rides to my job in the city, at work and when I’m at home working on my blog. With all the music on the radio and surrounding the music industry today, Jon’s latest EP’s Fall and Winter are a breath of fresh air. Winter is probably the most pure, acoustic-sounding record I’ve ever listened to. From guitar, cello and violin features to harmonica, horns and bass clarinet accompaniment the listener really gets the feel that she is right there watching him play these songs live from his home, which I think was what he was trying to get across in these “home recordings.” I’ll write a review of his latest EP, Winter below, but be sure to check out the songs for yourself on his MySpace or purchase each EP for $5 on his website,

While the EP has its more somber songs, such as dealing with the thought of death or a homeless woman who dies alone, it definitely is a compilation of songs that makes you think, whether its about your own life or the lives of others in this world. Jon is a great storyteller throughout his songs and when the last chord is finished you’re left thinking about that song well after it’s over, a feat that demonstrates just how great a musician he is.

“Learning How To Die” starts off the EP with a simple bass clarinet and acoustic guitar with Jon shortly joining in and singing, “I’m gonna miss you, I’m gonna miss you when you’re gone.” It seems to be the story of a conversation with a friend who is talking about death while he doesn’t want “to talk about the end, and how every living thing goes away.” Very simple rhythm, but so deep in meaning.

The next track, “In Love,” may be my favorite song on the EP, mainly because of the beautiful intro. It sounds like it’s from a part of another culture, almost Middle Eastern or Asian sounding with the instruments played, first strings and then the bass clarinet coming in right before he chants, “In love, in life, in love, in you, in love, in death my love.” It’s just a very relaxing, calming song to listen to.

“White As Snow” seems to be a type of a prayer song he sings. The piece begins slowly with a string feature while Jon starts off the song by singing, “Have mercy on me oh God/according to your unfailing love, according to your great compassion/blot out my transgressions.”

Stand out song on the EP is “Somebody’s Baby” – a tale of a homeless woman struggling to get by in life alone, who later dies alone, strangely enough on her birthday. The lyrics are so moving while the strings and soft guitar rhythm featured throughout definitely help with the songs deep, somber feel. Lyrics such as “When the people don’t want you, they just throw you money for beer” get this feeling across. Even though she may be homeless and completely alone Jon sings, “she’s somebody’s baby, somebody’s baby girl/she’s somebody’s baby, somebody’s baby girl and she’s somebody’s baby still.” He continues with the heartbreaking story while singing, “She dreams about heaven remembering hell as a nightmare she visits and knows all too well.” By far the most emotion-filled song on Winter, Jon demonstrates this feeling throughout the lyrics of the song.

Overall, the EP has strong vocals and guitar sound from Jon, already familiar to many Switchfoot fans, but there is much more openness and honesty showcased from him on this EP. From “Behind Your Eyes,” a soothing acoustic guitar-driven track of wanting to see life through another person’s eyes to “I Am Still Running,” a song with lyrics such as “build me a home inside your scars/build me a home inside your song/build me a home inside your open arms/the only place I ever will belong,” Jon showcases his versatility. I’m excited to see what Spring will bring.

CD Reviews

New Music Tuesday

So I realize I’ve been slacking on the album reviews lately. I’m going to try my best to get at least one up every few weeks. We’ll see how that goes. Just released today was singer/songwriter Jon Foreman of Switchfoot’s first of four solo acoustic EP’s, entitled Fall. I’m about to download it now and will hopefully get that review up by next week. There’s actually a pretty cool offer on his website,, where you can purchase all 4 EP’s for $20 and receive a signed poster by him in the mail. I’ve read a lot of good reviews about his first EP so I can’t wait to listen!

In the mean time, another great album released recently was Alicia Keys’ fourth album, As I Am. My advice – go buy it! But if money is tight, (which I totally can relate to) I’m going to write up a review below so you can read it and decide for yourself.

Alicia Keys
As I Am
Release Date: Tuesday, November 13, 2007

As I Am marks the fourth consecutive No. 1 album debut release on the Billboard chart for Alicia Keys. Being her third studio album, As I Am encompasses a complete and thorough artistic work. First single off the album, “No One,” is already a hit on the airwaves and is only an example of the success this album will surely bring Keys. As I Am is filled with the classic R&B; and soulful sound Keys is known for. Her vocals and keyboarding talents are showcased through the entirety of her album. From her slow, piano-playing instrumental intro track to her last song, “Sure Looks Good To Me,” Keys’ album comes full circle, a feat that not many artists can pull off.

While her album includes some slower ballads, it also offers many up-tempo songs such as “Wreckless Love,” which has a faster beat to it and is reminiscent of older, classic Diana Ross songs. Another track, “Teenage Love Affair” is a moving, relatable story-book song of teenage love, telling tales in her lyrics that include secret meetings on fifth-floor staircases and writing love letters. Keys’ second track on As I Am, “Go Ahead” showcases a very refreshing sound. The strong background beats accentuate her voice extremely well on this number.

While the album has its share of slower ballads, each has a varied style, keeping the listener tuned into the entire album from the first track to the very last. “Like You’ll Never See Me Again” showcases Keys’ soothing voice and has a classic, older R&B; sound to it. “Lesson Learned” is a slower track, which features John Mayer. Mayer’s background vocals accentuate the chorus well throughout the song. On the surface it’s a very simple song, but when listening more intently to the lyrics and beats, this track has so much depth to it.

Best Songs:
“No One”
“Like You’ll Never See Me Again”
“Lesson Learned”
“Teenage Love Affair”