CD Reviews

Five Albums to Prolong Your Summer

Photo Credit: Wendy Hu

Labor Day has come and gone and as much as we’d like to deny it, autumn is officially here. While it may be time to pack up that bikini, there’s no need to turn the music down. With tunes this good, who said summer has to be over?

Black Eyed Peas – The E.N.D.

The E.N.D., short for The Energy Never Dies, does just that. Released in June, many of the tracks could be heard in clubs and parties all summer long. In fact, it didn’t seem right if the night ended having never heard at least one of Black Eyed Peas’ songs. Hit singles, “Boom Boom Pow,” “I Gotta Feeling,” and “Meet Me Halfway” are undeniably 2009 summer anthems. With their electrifying dance beats, catchy choruses and synth-fused tracks, Black Eyed Peas prove they still know how to get the party started.

Colbie Caillat – Breakthrough

If Colbie Caillat’s new album, Breakthrough, doesn’t emit summer nostalgia, I don’t know what will. You can practically hear the ocean waves and smell the sea salt as she’s singing current radio hit “Fallin’ For You” and moving opening track, “I Won’t.” Of course, that could be because she wrote the album while vacationing in Hawaii. Songs like the laidback acoustic “Droplets,” featuring co-singer/songwriter Jason Reeves, and emotional “I Never Told You” are a breath of fresh air. Bet you can’t help but reminisce about that summer romance.

The Gaslight Anthem – The ’59 Sound

Jersey’s own the Gaslight Anthem have had quite the summer. Having toured the globe in support of their incredibly well received sophomore effort, The ’59 Sound, the band also shared the stage with Bruce Springsteen at Glastonbury Festival in England. If there was one album that epitomized driving down the shore with the top down and radio blasting, it would be this one. Tracks like “Great Expectations,” “Here’s Lookin’ At You, Kid” and “Backseats” are filled with vivid imagery and descriptive narratives of failed relationships, lost youth and somber regrets masked by energetic musical accompaniment. With a punk rock feel combined with that classic Springsteen sound, The ’59 Sound references those long summer days and endless summer nights.

Gloriana – Gloriana

The country outfit’s debut self-titled release encompasses upbeat, high energy songs bound to get the crowd on their feet. This is no summer campfire music. Currently on the road supporting Taylor Swift, the four-piece, made up of brothers Tom and Mike Gossin, Rachel Reinert and Cheyenne Kimball, are sure to change the everyday music lover’s opinion on country. Catchy hit single “Wild At Heart” has been gaining attention throughout the summer, garnering them best single by a new country act in 2009 while tracks like “The Way It Goes” are sure to be just as successful. With fitting fiddle, steel and guitar accompaniment along with the bands’ emotive lyrics, Gloriana is sure to win over music fans everywhere.

Sean Paul – Imperial Blaze

The reggae king is back with his 20-track summer release, Imperial Blaze. Including smash club-centric tracks like “So Fine,” “Now That I’ve Got Your Love” and “Press It Up,” Sean Paul continues to prove his success as a producer and solo reggae artist. At a press conference earlier this summer, Paul talked of his new single. “I think [“So Fine”] is a perfect summer giant. It’s very bouncy. I usually cover stuff that you can hear in the clubs, in the cars. It’s raunchy but also sounds smooth. It has a cool attitude.” After listening to the track, I couldn’t agree more. In fact, most of Imperial Blaze has that same flavor: jams that make you want to get out on the dance floor.

What do you think? What albums did I leave out that should be considered? What’s your favorite summer album?


Sean Paul

Releasing his first album in over three years, Sean Paul is back on the road and as busy as ever. Having produced hit singles for Beyoncé and Rihanna in the past, Sean Paul has made a name for himself not only as a hit producer, but also as a solo reggae artist. While singles “Gimme the Light” and Billboard Hot 100 hit “Get Busy” accelerated his solo career, being heard on Beyoncé’s No. 1 single “Baby Boy” helped to elevate his staying power.

Last week Sean Paul filled us in on his newest single, “So Fine” as well as life dealing with the constant camera attention. Read below for more on his upcoming album and passion for music.

Tell us about your new single.
New single is called “So Fine.” I think it’s a perfect summer giant. It’s very bouncy. I usually cover stuff that you can hear in the clubs, in the cars. It’s raunchy but also sounds smooth. It has a cool attitude.

Other than that, the record I’ve been working on for three long years. I’m glad to be back on the road. The road is hectic right now. It’s called Imperial Blaze suggesting the king’s fire. I feel like I am a king of certain types of music right now. I’m doing it as hot as ever. Imperial Blaze comes out August 18th. I’m shooting a video for the first single next week.

You’ve collaborated with so many artists over the years. Is there one specific artist or song that stands out as a favorite or most memorable?
All of my work, to me, is just something I’ve put so much thought into. I want people to feel a good feeling off of it. I remember when I heard songs that I like, I try to put that feeling, whatever it is. It might be a madness that nobody else is understanding what I’m talking about. But, that’s what I try to do. All of them have been special to me. I can’t. Every experience; working with a different producer or a different artist is something that you learn from.

What triggers the passion inside of you?
There’s a lot of different things. My motivation towards music is always wanting to have my say out there. To be able to have my five minutes with all these press people and say, “Yo, what up?” And if there’s something really on my mind at the time, I can say it. That’s what motivates me. It’s good to be in the public eye and have my own opinions.

Do you ever get used to the camera flashes?
That’s crazy. It’s very blinding. They’re like, “Sean, here. Here.” I don’t know where I’m looking. I’m not used to it. When do I get used to it? I don’t know. Who is used to people screaming, “Hey! Hey!” in your face and taking pictures? I’m not used to it. It’s cool. I’m liking that they’re taking it, but I’m just not the type of person into that type of thing. I’m usually the person that likes to see everyone else before they see me. Sort of incognito.