By: Andrew McNallyColumnist
Taylor Swift – Red Grade: C+
Contain yourselves, country fans – this isn’t a country album. Or at least, not really. For her fourth album, Swift is branching out and trying to erase the stereotype that her songs have garnered. She doesn’t succeed, but any progress is accepted. “Red” is an eclectic work – traditional Swift songs, synthy pop songs, even a duet with the singer from Snow Patrol. Points to Swift for experimenting. But eclectic albums run the line of seeming unfocused, and at sixteen tracks and over an hour of music, “Red” falls into that category. It’s over-long and bloated, but there’s something for almost everyone.
If You Like: Leona Lewis, Shania Twain
Paul Banks – Banks Grade: B
Paul Banks, better known as the lead singer of New York based indie band Interpol, released his first solo album under his own name. Solo albums have a reputation of being leftover songs from a band’s previous work, but Banks manages to expand upon Interpol into his own thing. His unique voice still rings of Interpol, but he uses it as an expansion, with eclectic music and soundclips, far beyond Interpol’s scope. Its experimental indie rock, and while it doesn’t try to be anything special, its progression beyond a tried format still desires multiple plays. A must for Interpol fans.
If You Like: : Interpol, The Cure
Pig Destroyer - Book Burner Grade: B+
Excursions into three- and four-minute songs do not mean a break from brutality for the grind metal band. In fact, the album is more concise than those before it. The album’s four tracks that hover close to or over three minutes allow for some development, and split the album’s fifteen other less-than-two-minute tracks into sections. The album is percussion-heavy and utterly devoid of guitar work, unlike other metal bands. But that’s what Pig Destroyer is about: relentless, heavy and quick songs that almost fracture your skull. And “Book Burner” delivers. Repetitive, sure, but it’s grindcore at its finest.
If You Like: Cattle Decapitation, The Locust