Welcome to Musical Druggernauts

Unlike your ordinary, run-of-the-mill music blog, Musical Druggernauts is dedicated to providing you with pertinent album release reviews, and do so in our own unique way. The fact that you are even reading this section means a lot, but please stop reading this and read about what hot new albums we have reviews for. Why are you still reading this? Since, we have grabbed your attention even further, if you like what you read, please send us any artist/band album that you feel would make for a great blog review. You can stop reading this now, we promise.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Albums That Rocked Our Socks!

Hey there, Druggernauts!

Well, the year is about to come to a close and because the world is supposed to end at some time today, every word we type is all the more important. This will surely go down as one of those sacred texts that the next civilization on Earth will discover (once they reinvent the internet that is). Rather than do our usual thing of reviewing a new album for the week, we thought that it would be good to do something different and make a list of yours and ours favorite albums for 2012. Although we can't really choose our favorite albums of the year in any numerical fashion, rest assured, we are here to provide you with what we felt really summed up a great music year. Without further adieu, check out what we have on our top 10 list. Until next year, Druggernauts!!!

Click the "Watch on Youtube" link on the videos so you can watch! (for copyright reasons)

Kendrick Lamar - good kid m.A.A.d. City

Rarely does an artist prove that you don't have to have a radio smash to sell records and generate a mass following. Lamar is a true master of his craft and his debut album is definitely something that everyone should open their ears to.

Alt-J - An Awesome Wave

Few bands are able to branch out these days and garner a real following. With a ton of blog buzz and a debut studio album that has taken years to bring to fruition, Alt-J shows that timing is everything.

Frank Ocean - Channel Orange

Anyone who isn't living under a rock knows who Frank Ocean is by now. In short, he is his own genre. Real artistry is not dead and Ocean proves this.

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis - The Heist

Many acts jump at the first opportunity to sign to a major label. Macklemore, however, has shied away from this and proven that while it may be exponentially more difficult to manage all facets of your career, the reward is definitely worth it.

Imagine Dragons - Night Visions

No rock band's debut album has sold more albums in its first week in the past six years than Imagine Dragons. The scary thing is that they only continue to grow and the ceiling doesn't appear to be remotely in site for this Vegas based band.

John Mayer - Born and Raised

He's been on the scene for over a decade and remains able to not be bound to one particular genre. "Born and Raised" is the album he has been waiting to write for several years and with the question of will he ever be able to sing again looming, this would be an honorable way to walk off into the sunset.

Dirty Projectors - Swing Lo Magellan

The wait finally came to an end this year and the Dirty Projectors came out with a new, full length album. As one who listens to them would expect, they only continue to get better.

The Lumineers - The Lumineers

With a massive hit, "Ho Hey," under the belt and a sound that is refreshingly organic, The Lumineers show that bands don't have to sacrifice who they are as musicians to make it big.

Ellie Goulding - Halcyon

With two top 40 radio hits under her belt already and a voice that is intoxicatingly different from the norm, Goulding breaks the conventional norm by being a non-bubblegum pop female artist.

Jack White - Blunderbuss

Jack White finally decided to make a solo album and lord are we happy he did! He may be an extremely awkward person (so we hear), but he has the musical gift for writing and creating bad ass guitar licks.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Bruno Mars - Unorthodox Jukebox

            Bruno Mars broke into the major music scene almost three years ago with his feature on B.oB.’s hit song, “Nothin’ On You.” Since then, he has gone on to pen some of his own hits, which have included the platinum selling hits, “Just the Way You Are” and “Grenade.” With his first album, Doo-Wops and Hooligans, Mars has shown that he has a specific niche in the music marketplace and that he is a force to be reckoned with. Now, the time has come, for his sophomore effort, titled, Unorthodox Jukebox, which hit stores earlier this week. His new, hit single, “Locked Out of Heaven,” paying a certain homage to The Police, has climbed to the top of the charts and made any doubters into resonant believers. The future seems even brighter than before, but does Unorthodox Jukebox pack the same punch as its predecessor? Only one way to find out…
            The opening track off of Unorthodox Jukebox, “Young Girls,” is an interesting choice to say the least. It is a confessional of sorts, in which Mars battles with who he is. Garnering this critical acclaim as an artist by being in the celebrity limelight has affected him in an adverse way of sorts it seems. Rather than come out with a happy-go-lucky song, Mars delivers a punch right in the stomach. He wants to stay true to himself, but isn’t sure exactly what that means anymore. Pretty thought provoking stuff, whether you can fully relate or not; in the end, we all question our core selves at times, so in some tangential manner this song strikes a nerve.
            With a kick drum that doesn’t let up throughout the entirety of the song and a heavy array of synthesizers, “Young Girls” sounds like a faster version of Mars’ earlier hit, “It Will Rain,” minus the grand, operatic hook.  This is not one of his type-A songs, but more importantly, it serves that greater purpose in opening Mars up about his own life. Making this the opening track, he is bleeding himself out for the rest of the record. From the second verse alone, this is apparent:

    “I get lost under these lights

     I get lost in the words I say

     Start believing my own lies
Like everything will be okay

     Oh, I still dream of a simple life

     Boy meets girl makes her his wife

     But love don't exist when you live like this
     That much I know, yes I know

With this now being the reported second single from the album, it is evident that Mars wants to let the world know that his musical styling and topics are not limited.
If this can reach a big audience, who knows, but being Bruno Mars sure as hell doesn’t hurt!!
            Continuing down this tunnel of self-discovery, Mars strikes it big with “When I Was Your Man.” This song is great because of its simplicity. Absent of an overly produced track, the elegant sound of the piano is all that is needed, coupled with captivating melody. Gavin Degraw would definitely want this song on one of his albums in another life. Heartbreak and regret is a poignant theme throughout this album, but in this track it is done with such sophistication that it is vicariously felt through the pain in Mars’ voice.
            Having only the piano is a gutsy call because the strength of the song rests entirely on the melody. Fortunately, the Smeezingtons (Bruno’s writing crew) get this and do not disappoint. The verses are brutally honest and the chorus is something that cuts through the surface and brands itself on our heartstrings.  Love is something that requires our full attention and effort, like anything worthwhile, and fully understanding this is something that comes only after the fact, more times than not.  Thankfully, the world has Bruno Mars to help us learn. He writes in the chorus:
    “Hmmm too young, too dumb to realize

                 That I should have bought you flowers and held your hand

     Should have gave you all my hours when I had the chance

                 Take you to every party cause all you wanted to do was dance

                Now my baby is dancing, but she’s dancing with another man.”

Other great tracks include, “If I Knew,” “Natalie,” and “Treasure.”  Overall, it’s a great effort from Mars, but is it an album that is great throughout? No.  His own sound is standing in the backdrop for a lot of these records. Vibes reminiscent of The Police, Phil Collins, and Peter Tosh, make it appear like he is just overtly implanting his influences into his own material.  Nothing wrong with this, but people fell in love with him because he was so original in the first album. Hopefully we can see that side of Bruno soon enough again. Until then Druggernauts!!!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Florida Georgia Line - Here's To The Good Times

It’s been a while since we last wrote a review on a Country album, so what better time than the present to dip our toes into that old, but familiar water? You know you missed drinking that Jack Daniel’s old no.7 while reading so we are here to please. With that, Florida Georgia Line’s debut full-length album, Here’s To The Good Times has just been released and is the perfect choice for this week’s review. After meeting at Belmont University, Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley began penning songs together, followed by the release of several EP’s.  With a track that is already garnering critical acclaim, will their album live up to all the hype? Take a double shot of those Country “Vitamins” and read on to find out!
The winter weather is upon us. That is, if you count a bitter chill of sixty degrees in Los Angeles. Sorry, New York, we got all the good weather. Even though the holiday season is upon us, Florida Georgia Line’s hit, “Cruise,” shows that summer is also a state of mind. Reaching the top spot on Hot Country Airplay this week, this infectious country hit satiates our desire to pop open a cold one on a hot Summer’s day, sit back into our chairs, and get that ever-sexy farmer’s tan.
            Opening their debut album, Here’s To The Good Times, with “Cruise” is a great call, setting the tone for the rest of the album.  Tyler and Brian’s vocals aren’t shy in starting things off. Harmonizing from the get-go, followed by a fun little electric guitar riff, it’s easy to see that this is a feel-good Country anthem that is going to be hard to dethrone. All of the typical instrumentation is there, with plucked banjo fill-ins to accompany the rhythm guitar as well as drums that help drive the record.
            In the end though, the reason that this song is so saccharine to the ears is simple – it’s all about the melody.  Not even listening to the words of the chorus, your head will be bopping up and down without your knowledge of even doing so. It flows so effortlessly and seamlessly that even a non-country fan has to respect how perfectly crafted a track it is.  For those that do find themselves tuning to that Country station on the reg, however, these lyrics are a great representation of pure Country: “Baby you a song you make me wanna roll my windows down and cruise/ Down a back road blowin’ stops signs through the middle every little farm town with you/In this brand new Chevy with a lift kit, it’ll look a hell of a lot better with you up in it/So baby you a song, you make me wanna roll my windows down and cruise.” There is no denying that a lot of country songs do not translate at times, especially to a broader audience. When a song of this genre strikes gold, however, it strikes it big. “Cruise” is no exception to the rule.

Nothing gets a songwriter more excited than a great concept and “Tip It Back” is a prime example of such. What says you’re over the workweek and ready to let loose? Hubbard and Kelly would tell you those three special words – Tip it back. Each verse is equally as clever as the next, playing on the phrasing. Furthermore, it demonstrates how intriguing this group is as songwriter’s in their own right. Hubbard and Kelly in the 2nd verse write, “When that barkeep brings you change just tip it back/When you’re two steppin’ with your baby, man tip her back/When you don’t get paid for next week, but need some drinkin’ cash, find that coffee can stash and tip it back.”  Even though the stereotypical themes of love and drinking are addressed, their ability to put an entirely different spin on it makes it a refreshing view on the subject matter. It’s a toast to the good times and something everyone feels at least once a week.  The end of a long day or week should always be celebrated properly – “Whether it’s a cold beer, tequila, or a double shot of Jack.”
“Round Here,” “Here’s To The Good Times,” and “Hell Raisin’ Heat Of The Summer” are other top notch tracks that any Country enthusiast is sure to enjoy. Like Love and Left shook the music world with “Angel Eyes,” Florida Georgia Line seems to have taken note and wants a piece of the action. If anything, emerging country bands continue to show that they can go toe-to-toe with solo acts, making for quite the amicable camaraderie. Without a doubt, kick off those Cowboy boots (if you’ve got them) and check out Here’s To The Good Times. You won’t be disappointed. Until then, Druggernauts!!!