Katy Perry – One of the Boys – review

Ever since the November 2007 digital release of the hilarious, zeitgeist-capturing single “Ur So Gay,” Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter Katy Perry has been wowing critics and fans alike (including the Queen of Pop herself, Madonna) with her big voice, sassy attitude, and feisty, confessional songs.

Katy Perry
Artist: Katy Perry
Title: One of the Boys
Label: Capitol
Rating: 5/10

Corporate line:
Ever since the November 2007 digital release of the hilarious, zeitgeist-capturing single “Ur So Gay,” Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter Katy Perry has been wowing critics and fans alike (including the Queen of Pop herself, Madonna) with her big voice, sassy attitude, and feisty, confessional songs. Katy’s debut album, One of the Boys, is a sharp, witty pop-rock gem filled with candid tales of neurotic ex-boyfriends (“Hot N Cold,” “Ur So Gay”), crazy road trips with friends (“Waking Up in Vegas”), and figuring out who you are along the way (first single “I Kissed A Girl,” “Fingerprints”). While the album displays Katy’s feisty, girl-power swagger, it also reveals her more vulnerable side on such regretful ballads as “Lost,” “I’m Still Breathing,” and “Thinking of You.” Although just 23, the Santa Barbara, CA-born native has been writing songs and playing guitar for several years, and possesses the flair and confidence of a veteran storyteller. Catch her in all her glory this summer when she joins the Vans Warped Tour for its entire coast-to-coast run.

The hits:

Good ideas that go nowhere.

The rest:
“One of the Boys” – Some of the most asinine lyrics you’ll ever hear–ever.
“I Kissed A Girl” – Not nearly as interesting or exciting as you’d expect. It’s not even half as good as Jill Sobule’s song “I Kissed A Girl.”
“Mannequin” – This reminds me of all those bad ’80s pop songs by female singers that would come and go which each and every season–wonder if Katy Perry is next to come and go into oblivion.

Finally:
Frankly, this album sounds like an adult woman trying too hard to be a rebellious teen. It’s not surprising when you realize her parents were pastors.

It’s hard to tell when listening to this album if Katy Perry has any redeemable qualities. Her voice sounds serviceable but the lyrics are average at best. You’d think working with Glen Ballard would have given Katy more depth than lyrics like “I hope you hang yourself with your H&M scarf/While jacking off listening to Mozart.” At least Perry is occasionally good for a laugh.

Video for “I Kissed A Girl:

Video for “Ur So Gay”

The Offspring – Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace – review

“Rise And Fall, Rage And Grace,” the eighth studio album from the OC punksters, is an impressive new set of songs from one of rock’s most exciting and enduring bands. The Offspring entered the studio with legendary producer Bob Rock (Metallica, The Cult) to record 12 new songs culled from the most productive songwriting period in the band’s history.

the offspring rise and fall
Artist: Title
Title: The Offspring
Label: Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace
Rating: 7.5/10

Corporate line:
“Rise And Fall, Rage And Grace,” the eighth studio album from the OC punksters, is an impressive new set of songs from one of rock’s most exciting and enduring bands. The Offspring entered the studio with legendary producer Bob Rock (Metallica, The Cult) to record 12 new songs culled from the most productive songwriting period in the band’s history. This is the band’s first full-length studio release in four and a half years, the longest gap between The Offspring’s studio albums to date. ‘Hammerhead’ the 1st single from “Rise And Fall, Rage And Grace” debuted at #5 on the U.S Billboard Modern Rock Tracks and #18 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks respectively. The Offspring has performed over 1000 shows and they have sold more than 34 million albums worldwide, including their 1994 release “Smash,” which more than a decade after its release remains the highest-selling album of all time on an independent label.

The hits:
“Half-Truism” – A long missing, and desired, Offspring song. This is their core strength–pop/punk. The chorus is easy to remember and sing-a-long to. Could it be a comeback?
“Trust In You” – This sounds like a retread, but it still holds up to most of their hits. It’s a fun pop/punk track. They still have it.
“You’re Gonna Go Far, Kid” – It’s a bit wacky: “dance, f**ker dance, you never had a chance.” But wacky or not its catchy as hell.

The rest:

“Hammerhead” – The typical big chorus and harmony–just not as strong of a chorus as previous iterations of Offspring songs.
“Takes Me Nowhere” – An average filler track.
“Kristy, Are You Doing Ok?” – A song about sexual molestation isn’t anything to take lightly. I just wish the song matched the sentiment.
“Lets Hear It From Rock Bottom” – This song could have been left off the album.

Frankly:
There are a few songs that left me unsure on how to react. “Fix You” doesn’t really sound like The Offspring. It’s a ballad that sounds like it could have been sung by Fuel or a similar band. But its not corny nor does it diminish the punk flavor of The Offspring. After a few listens its obvious its an lovely song; the question how do feel about The Offspring singing it? I don’t have an answer.

Frankly, I’m extremely surprised by this new Offspring offering. “Rise And Fall, Rage And Grace” is good from beginning to end. There are a few songs that could have been left behind but the songs aren’t terrible they just don’t hold up to the better songs. The Offspring have proven themselves to be as good as advertised.