Trap Back 2
By Gucci Mane
Gucci Mane has had some ups and downs with full-length releases and singles. His mumbling, over-used metaphors and references to food are what make him Gucci Mane. Some people love it and others hate it.
It’s unclear whether he is trying to stay relevant in the current rap game or trying to showcase his talent with the many mixtape releases, but the most recent lacks the qualities present in his first installment of Trap Back.
Trap Back 2 at first seems similar to other Gucci Mane mixtapes – there’s the memorable intro by DJ Holiday screaming in your ears, the beats are as heavy as possible, and the lyrics still focus on food and are occasionally incomprehensible. But it seems like so much less effort was put into this mixtape than the first. Songs like “Thirsty” and “James Worthy” sound like Gucci Mane has lost interest in his own songs. They’re boring and not clever. You can tell that ambition is lacking on Trap Back 2.
Gucci Mane hasn’t been able to continue providing masterpieces like the ones from early in his career, and it seems like he’s on a slippery slope. Trap Back 3, his next project coming out in July, will prove weather Trap Back 2 was minor bump in the road or if it’s the new Big Guwop.
By: Sonya Kahlon
Worchester-based band Peace has been making headlines in the UK, appearing in the BBC's "Sound of 2013" poll and receiving early critical acclaim from publications including NME and The Guardian. Peace's debut album In Love lives up to all the early hype and delivers ten tracks of invigorating youthfulness.
Listening to In Love feels like falling in love – there’s the rush of emotion and the promise of adventure. This blast of energy is best seen on the infectious songs "Lovesick" and the lead single "Wraith". Both of these songs contain choruses that are sure to be imbedded in your head for days.
Although a feeling of youth is all over In Love, what makes it stand apart from similar albums is the maturity of the song writing. Verses are well structured and choruses are aptly placed and repeated the perfect number of times. This maturity is best seen on closer "California Daze", which layers Beach Boys-like vocals overtop of trance-inducing guitar riffs.
On In Love, Peace makes their mark by contextualizing themselves in music history by taking a note from one of the greats, Oasis. Oasis was notable for making musical references (almost too blatantly) to their idols, which Peace does on multiple songs."Follow Baby" references Oasis' "Live Forever" and "Waste of Paint" is a musical nod to Blur's "There's No Other Way". Some detractors might see this as a lack of ingenuity, but Peace is bursting with creativity and fresh ideas on every track of In Love. Although much in music is uncertain, at least one thing’s for sure: if Peace continues on this path, their own (What's The Story) Morning Glory? won't be too far around the corner.
My Shame is True
On My Shame is True¸ Alkaline Trio show why they have been a major player in the Chicago hardcore scene for almost 17 years. On their first album since 2010's acoustic-tinged Damnesia, Alkaline Trio displays no sign of losing energy or the ability to write darkened, bleak lyrics.
My Shame is True finds the Trio fixing the flaws that were present on their last full effort, This Addiction. Gone are the gimmicky 80's synthesizers and trumpets; simple driving bass-lines and attacking barre chords are back in the forefront. This is necessary because it is in this simplicity where Alkaline Trio thrives; simple, infectious melodies that compel you to sing along with their lyrics of death and depression. The melodies are highly developed on My Shame is True and are best displayed on the tracks "I'm Only Here to Disappoint" and the lead single " I Wanna Be A Warhol".
Alkaline Trio have two solid lead vocalists and songwriters in Dan Andriano and Matt Skiba, but what’s really great is when they work together, like on "She Lied to the FBI", where the harmonized vocals are done perfectly. To further strengthen the vocal talent on My Shame Is True, Alkaline Trio recruited Tim McIlrath (of Rise Against) for the hardcore tinged "I, Pessimist" and Brendan Kelly (of the Lawrence Arms) on "I Wanna Be a Warhol". Both of these guest vocals are done tastefully and the former track, "I, Pessimist", is a brilliant back-and-forth punk duet.
The major drawback to My Shame is True is that it loses the interest of the listener at the half-way mark. Although the first half of the album is strong, the latter tracks drag on, producing few memorable moments. At times the songs become difficult to differentiate, but Alkaline Trio have still produced a handful of highly-successful songs and continue to find relevance in today's scene 17 years later.
By: Spencer Jones