It seems that Nell never disappoints. Once again proving its musical finesse and sensibilities, Korea’s signature rock band Nell has returned strong with its sixth studio album, “Newton’s Apple,” equipped with original instrumentals and Kim Jong-wan’s yearning vocals.
Nell has also completed its “Gravity” trilogy series with the new album featuring two CDs -- the first holding 11 new tracks and the other featuring tracks from Nell’s two previous EPs, “Holding onto Gravity” (2012) and “Escaping Gravity” (2013).
Opening with the anticipatory instrumental track “Decompose,” filled with grandiose synthesizer sounds, the album explores various emotions such as nostalgia, empathy, despair, love and loneliness.
In “Memories of Stranger,” melodic guitar chords and a steady drumbeat blend well with Kim’s nostalgic vocals, delivering a strikingly emotional listening experience.
The title track “Four Times Around the Sun” describes inescapable memories that tug at the heart, similar to how gravity pulls the earth to the sun. The sentimental piano melody and lively rhythm combine to create the band’s unique sound.
All in all, Nell’s new album is one that truly speaks to its listeners.
Hats off to Pharrell’s new album
“G I R L”
(Columbia Records/Back Lot Music)
On the heels of two monster hits on which he was the co-star, the Daft Punk jaunty funk jam “Get Lucky” and the much vilified yet utterly catchy “Blurred Lines” with Robin Thicke, Pharrell is taking the lead with the relentless “Happy,” which appears on the “Despicable Me 2” soundtrack and was nominated for best original song on Sunday’s Oscars. The cheerful tune is also on his second studio album, “G I R L,” released perhaps coincidentally the day after the Academy Award winners are announced.
The 10-track set is an ode to the female form and spirit, peppered with sexy vibes and brash come-ons. A definite change from his raspier, more alternative first album, which wasn’t particularly successful, “G I R L” proves Pharrell -- a member of N.E.R.D. and the hit-making Neptunes -- is a true, and exceptional, front man.
The record’s tempo matches the upbeat “Happy,” and it deploys killer hooks. The sound is eclectic, ranging from dramatic violins in the Daft Punk-assisted “Gust of Wind” to Motown disco beats in “Hunter” and tribal drums in “Lost Queen.”
A definite homage to women is the female empowerment ballad “Know Who You Are,” where Pharrell sings with piano queen Alicia Keys. He croons on the mellow reggae tune, “I know who you are and I know what you’re feeling.” (AP)
Dianne Reeves mixes jazz, soul on new CD
On her first studio album in five years, four-time Grammy winner Dianne Reeves comes back strong with a genre-crossing collection of 12 love-themed songs on which she infuses her impressive jazz stylings with a healthy dose of soul.
The singer puts her own stamp on an eclectic selection of covers. These include a sultry version of Marvin Gaye’s “I Want You,” with Sean Jones adding simmering trumpet lines; a neo-soul take on Fleetwood Mac’s soft-rock classic “Dreams,” arranged by pianist Glasper; and a shimmering vocal duet with Lalah Hathaway on Bob Marley’s “Waiting in Vain.” The only traditional standard is “Stormy Weather,” which Reeves floats through in an extended eight-minute version, colorfully stretching the lyrics.
The new songs by Reeves and her session mates include the joyful “Feels So Good (Lifted),” embellished by a synth solo from Reeves’ cousin George Duke, who died last year; Carrington’s soulful “Satiated (Been Waiting),” with Reeves engaging in a seductive vocal duet with Porter; and the smoothly flowing “Wild Rose,” featuring its composer Spalding on bass and background vocals.
Reeves best displays her virtuosity on her wordless, Latin-beat composition “Tango,” with Raul Midon vocally imitating a trumpet, on which she improvises scat vocals, suddenly shifts tempos and makes full use of her impressive multi-octave range. (AP)