Five-Minute Record Reviews: Pink, The Killers, Aimee Mann and More!

P!nk - The Truth About Love

From the first time I heard her voice, I've always thought Pink could be this generation's Annie Lennogaglee x.  Whether or not a foul-mouthed tomboy with a predilection for well-worn sexual entendres - "Blow Me (One Last Kiss)" and "Walk Of Shame", for example - is what constitutes Annie Lennox Y2K, Pink's sixth album proves Pink is all about the party and the sexual politics that come with it.

While the studio bells & whistles are first rate "circa 2012", there's just something about the material that doesn't quite match up to the material most of these writers contributed to the latest "Katy Gaga" records.  It's a shame, too, because Pink can sing circles around those gals.

The Killers - Battle Born

This one leaves me speechless.  Was it not this very same "gang of four" who had arrived so fully-formed on their magnificent debut, Hot Fuss eight years ago?  Hard to tell at this point, as each subsequent record has seemed like a musical regression of sorts, with the band seemingly trying to fit in rather than break the mold. 

Of course, Brandon Flowers' Springsteen influences become more and more obvious, which is good or bad depending on whether you consider imitation the sincerest form of stealing, er, flattery.  "When You Were Young" was almost jarring in its many Boss-isms, but "Runaways" is a blatant re-write of "Born To Run" for a new generation.

Would The Killers be a household name if this had been their first album?  No, but that's not to say this album is without merit.  The occasional moments of greatness - the country-tinged "From Here On Out" and the atmospheric Brandon Flowers vocal showcase "Be Still" are just enough to remind you how great The Killers are when they break the mold.

Ben Folds Five - The Sound of The Life of The Mind

Like many fans of the band, we were chuffed as hell to hear the Five had reunited.  Since then, we've been fortunate enough to see them live three times and while we've enjoyed the chance to relive this short-lived band's past greatness, we worried if the band's new album would be able to pick up where they left off thirteen years ago.

By the time the ELO-inspired opening track "Erase Me" fades out, fans can rest assured that the BF5 are BACK!  "Michael Praytor, Five Years" immediately up's the ante with one of Fold's best vocal performances EVER!

While the lyrical themes describe to frank perfection the trials and tribulations of middle age, the sheer ambition, angst and energy of this album belies musicians half their age and reveals the wistful joy in aging disgracefully.

Aimee Mann - Charmer

Remember when U2 kinda lost their audience with the super-indulgent PopMart tour and then released the more rock-oriented All That You Can't Leave Behind or when REM lost much of their fans with a string of somber, introspective records and then tried to win them back with the hard-rocking Accelerate?  Well, Aimee Mann's eighth solo album is a pretty blatant attempt to win back some of the folks who found The Forgotten Arm a little too morose and still haven't found their way back.

Even as Aimee lets some sun into the room in an obvious attempt to lighten the mood, the songs and sentiments just don't seem to be coming from the heart.  It's obvious she'd much rather be bumming us out, but if she does stick with the more pop-oriented production, here's to hoping the songs are at least on-par with the sorely underrated second Til Tuesday record, Welcome Home.  Perhaps she should think about re-recording that album in this setting.

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