Monarch Music Minute: Kelly Clarkson, Weezer and Hollywood Undead
Adam Flores | Senior Writer
Kelly Clarkson – ‘Meaning of Life’ 💿💿💿💿💿
Kelly Clarkson’s “Meaning of Life” is her eighth studio album and first with Atlantic Records. She successfully completed the terms of her recording contract with RCA Records in 2016, part of a prize package she received as winner of the inaugural season of American Idol in 2002.
While Clarkson brought back some of the production assistance found on her 2015 “Piece by Piece” LP, switching record companies also saw the three-time Grammy Award winner change her genre approach found on “Meaning of Life” exploring soul and R&B. She noted that in the past, she had wanted to record these types of songs, but the opportunity never presented itself.
Dual release of the singles “Love So Soft” and “Move You” present Clarkson under a different spotlight with an impressively soulful and commanding voice rivaling femme fatale vocal divas in the genre and music, today.
“Whole Lotta Woman” brings in Earth, Wind & Fire accompanying her metaphoric American Southern culture narrative. “Go High” finds inspiration from Michelle Obama’s “When they go low, we go high” quote said during her speech at the 2016 Democratic National Convention.
Rich in its presentation, “Meaning of Life” displays Kelly Clarkson at her best, vocally and musically.
Weezer – ‘Pacific Daydream’ 💿💿💿💿💿
Los Angeles-born Weezer bring on “Pacific Daydream,” their eleventh studio album that continues hearing the band explore sounds and ideas in creating unforgettable pop tunes. Lead single “Feels Like Summer” and second single “Happy Hour” both emanate an uplifting spirit, no matter how bad life may seem.
Third promotional single “Weekend Woman,” pays homage to The Zombies’ “Time of the Season.” Also, the single’s verse melody comes from “Burning Sun,” an outtake from Weezer’s “Green Album.”
According to frontman Rivers Cuomo, Weezer’s 2016 “The White Album” was to be followed by its companion, “The Black Album.” This wasn’t the case as Cuomo and producer Butch Walker wrote material that saw itself more modern-sounding than its antecedent. “The Black Album’s” conceptual theme was eventually put on hiatus during production.
Cuomo masterfully croons about love and loss effortlessly throughout as the rest of the band conflates eclectic rock, contemporary R&B and baroque pop mixes.
“Pacific Daydream” sees itself as Beach Boys meets The Clash as heard on “Mexican Fender,” “Beach Boys” along with their Phil Spector wall of sound approach within “Sweet Mary.” Weezer’s new set is a welcome addition to their discography with plenty of hue for listeners to dream about.
Hollywood Undead – ‘Five’ 💿💿💿💿💿
Los Angeles-based rap rock and nü-metal act Hollywood Undead have unleashed their fifth studio epic, “Five” (stylized as “V”). The new record hears the group aggressively explore new sonic territories aside from the rapcore and hip-hop hues dominating their previous releases.
“Five” was preceded by the lead single “California Dreaming” and follow-up single releases “Whatever It Takes,” “Renegade” and “We Own the Night,” a track which was released on and in celebration of Friday the 13th. It is also the first compilation sans drummer and vocalist Matthew “Da Kurlzz” Busek, who departed the group earlier this year.
The band, who sport face masks and pseudonyms, is unlike Slipknot, Insane Clown Posse or even Ghost B.C. Brought to the forefront through Myspace in 2005, Hollywood Undead found their niche amid a growing and vibrant music market thanks to the internet and social media.
Lead track “California Dreaming” takes on an anthemic stance as to what “Five” holds. “Renegade” and “Bang “Bang” follow the same hard-driving metal formula. “Cashed Out” and “Riot” revert momentarily to their rap-rock upbringing.
Hollywood Undead’s “Five” unmasks rich explorations of musical influences and ideas expertly crafted into a dynamic set of tracks worth checking out.
💿 – Face palm.
💿💿 – Eh…
💿💿💿 – We’re getting there.
💿💿💿💿 – I’ll listen to it twice, even.
💿💿💿💿💿 – Hell yes!