Five Minute Record Reviews: Ke$ha, Smashing Pumpkins, Hinder, McFly and Mogwai!



Ke$ha - Warrior

Wow, what year is it and why is the talentless Ke$sha dressed up like Patty Smyth?  In the almost thirty years since Smyth and her band Scandal rocketed to stardom with their song, "Warrior", is this all the further we've come?  I heard Ke$ha doing some press for this album and she was very adamant about wanting to actually sing on this album, as her previous stuff was all run through the ever-present Auto-tune.  Okay, I think, so this album will be free of Auto-tune.  Think again.  This album sounds like Siri finally decided to make a solo album.  Complete assembly-line songs, brain-dead hooks that rely on stuttering and other once-abhored human defects.  However low the bar was already, Ke$ha just lowered it.


Smashing Pumpkins - Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness

Got $75 burning a hole in your pocket?  If so, grab this remastered version of the album on vinyl and this iconic record the way it was meant to be heard.  Truth be told, Billy Corgan was born too late to have been a rock star in the 70's, but this album always sounded to us like his homage to that era.  There is a certain craftsmanship and attention to the little things that's on display here - something not often shared by other bands of the grunge era.  As a result, a lot of folks started to view Corgan and the Pumpkins through skeptical eyes.  As you listen, you can actually hear the fair-weather fans starting to fall away, muttering,"Hey, what's with all this trying to be artful and shit?  Just gimme my grunge!"  If you ever dug the band, this is the album to revisit, even if you didn't "get it" back then.


Hinder - Welcome To The Freakshow

Welcome to the Freakshow?  Really?! We haven't seen a safer, more musically predictable rock band than the guys in Hinder.  Who are Hinder, you ask?  Imagine a more generic, personality-free version of Three Doors Down and there you have Hinder.  I mean, strip away the distorto-guitars and this album is now more freaky than a Blake Shelton record, yet these guys seem fully convinced that they are a gang of wild-eyed social deviants.  "Hey, watch us while we JAYWALK!"  Frankly, we don't get the need to "freak" up their image.   They've been doing just fine serving up a heapin' helpin' of vanilla.  If you ARE determined to welcome folks to your rock & roll freakshow, you've got to realize that the stakes are pretty high already.  I mean, unless your willing to go where the likes of Ozzy Osbourne, Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson and the Butthole Surfers were unwilling to go, then you've got absolutely no basis on which to call this musical ice cream cone a "freak show".


McFly - Memory Lane

Whoa, whoa, whoa, if you're releasing what is actually your second greatest hits album in five years, shouldn't we have heard of you?  Turns out McFly is actually HUGE in the UK.  Over there, of course, boy bands are still all-the-rage while we in the US gave them up for a never-ending assembly-line of scantily clad female singers of varying degrees of talent.  Granted, we Americans do seem to have taken to One Direction, for whatever reason.  These guys actually play their instruments, though.  Having now listened to their "greatest hits" over there, I would like to apologize for calling Hinder the most vanilla-sounding band on the planet.  Turns out these guys have got vanilla down to a science!


Mogwai - Wrenched Vile Lore

Gotta go out on a positive note in this week's edition of Five Minute Record Reviews...how about something that is decades ahead of its time while at the same time being just as warm and inviting as that perfect song played in a car with the top down on the most beautiful of days.  Mogwai's new Wrenched Vile Lore is a companion piece to the absolutely essential Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will, wherein those songs are re-interpreted and remixed by the likes of Justin K Broadrick, Klad Hest and Tim Hecker.  The results are astounding, creating an album that alternately simmers and soars, relaxing one moment and taking your breath away the next. If you buy only one album this month, make it this one.  Your ears will thank you.

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