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edition is just as great as the content that made the first round. of the four extra tracks, “he about to Lose Me,” a slowerpaced token in the bunch, flirts with toni braxton lower register and sexy strolls. “selfish” puts spears behind the wheels of a sex drive akin to rihanna (“boom-boom, baby, pick you up in my Mercedes/i’mma be a lil’ selfish”). on Femme Fatale, britney doesn’t really re-invent the wheel. instead, she’s playing with all the gadgetry used on the predominant acid-trippy productions of the dance world. dr. Luke and Max Martin, who have worked with spears on previous records, knew exactly what spears needed the most on her next effort. aside from the futuristic disco, spears is treated with a satisfying dance record that compliments, even outshining, the star’s vocal performance. Looking back at the big hits that satisfied the studio 54 generation, disco records were nothing more than a producer’s canvas. as great as Femme Fatale accomplishes its mission of being a satisfying dance record, this is more a Max Martin and dr. Luke project than it is britney’s. the returning diva might have the marquee action, but the Martin and Luke combo, along with the other producers, are the ones that should be taking a bow. J MatthEW Cobb

sPIn thIs! “till the World Ends,” “i Wanna go,” “he about to Lose Me”

nKOtBsB nKOtBsB (Columbia/sony)

the powerband superteam nKotbsb is a dream come true for anxious screaming girl groupies and fan club members. it’s not the

first time two big bands have come together to form a Justice League joint tour, but the pristine organization for the combining of new Kids on the block and backstreet boys, two of the most popular pop bands of the 1990’s, is by far the most attractive and commercial to date. it’s not like the two groups were ever considered rivals, since the lifespan of new Kids started and stalled years before the backstreets started their trek. but despite the cloudy days of today’s touring and the slouching economy, the reality of these bands merging together are as congealing as peanut butter-and-jelly is on bread. both need each other and the end results will probably be more effective than any tour they’ve concocted during the height of their powers. using the r&b swagger of new Edition and the rhythm pop appeal of hall & oates, both bands culled out collections of music that celebrate the consciousness of ‘90’s music and paved the way for latter-day boy bands. because of their triumphs, they capitalize on their “Moment 4 Life” tour with a single-disc retrospective, highlighting five tracks from each band. on the surface, nKotbsb is designed to be a concert souvenir rather than a “greatest hits” replacement. Essentially, it works and rewards fans of both groups with their finer moments, particularly backstreet boys, whose glossy soundtrack seems to have survived the tests of time. “Everybody (backstreet back’s)” still has its dancefloor edginess and Max Martin’s “as Long as you Love Me” and “i Want it that Way,” with their bubbly feel-good nature, showcases the backstreet boys’ savvy for eternal pop radio airplay. the back-to-back musical chairs are probably the set’s major drawback. although the procession of the songs are designed to give off premature vibes of what one would expect during the live tour, the pacing from an early new Kids tune like 1988’s “Please don’t go girl” with Maurice starr’s dated productions and Joe Mcintyre’s pre-puberty vocals into 1999’s “i Want it that Way” feels like an unfair father versus son rivalry. the pace only is interrupted when the closing three tracks emerge to the

surface. the originals are a delight to fans of the high-profile event, bringing both bands the dream opportunity to perform together. although dreamy on the surface, they slack with originality and with the spunk of modern-day prowess. “all in My head” operates as the subtle farewell love ballad, while “don’t turn out the Lights,” not to be confused with Enrique iglesias’ song, gives the supergroup the exact same swagger of Jason derulo’s “in My head.” the nKotbsb megamix should only be played for Vegasminded purposes. J MatthEW Cobb

sPIn thIs! “don’t turn out the Lights,” “i Want it that Way”


few familiar covers (Lauryn hill’s “Everything is Everything,” gnarls barkley “Crazy”), but it is Jones’ compositions that drive the heartbeat of the record’s sensationalism. “the hive” kicks out delicious u2esque guitar arpeggios, “down in Memphis” gets the green light on a riveting al green imitation and “rent Party” sounds like the roots working overtime. some of the songs are colored with lyrics, courtesy from guest spots from sharon Jones (“representing Memphis”) and Lou reed (“the bronx”). but at the very core, the album plays like a funky, raw dance record that proves the heavyweight chef has a few more “green onions” to cook. J MatthEW Cobb

sPIn thIs! “don’t turn out the Lights,” “i Want it that Way”

BOOKer t. JOnes the road From Memphis VArIOus ArtIsts rave On Buddy holly


on 2008’s Potato hole, organ virtuoso and legendary stax sound architect booker t. Jones returned to the studio after a long break from recording. the move placed him in familiar environments via funk-soaked instrumentals, although it hardly addressed the vigor and spunk of his former M.g.’s sessions. the road From Memphis corrects some of those mistakes. despite the glowing album title, the session weren’t cut in Memphis, but Jones could’ve easily fooled you into thinking he did. With ahmir ?uestlove thompson and the roots on board and daptone records’ pro gabriel roth handling the boards, the road From Memphis sounds like the album that got away from the stax vault. Jams like “Walking Papers” and the smooth ‘70’s r&b of “Progress,” in which My Morning Jacket’s yin yames guests, prove to be rewarding to Jones’ legacy. he dips his fingers in the waters of a

(hear Music/Fantasy)

in a relatively short period of time, roughly three years, buddy holly had made such an impact on the face of rock ‘n roll with his swinging mix of rhythm-and-blues and Elvis-influenced rockabilly, which led broke ground for many of the british invasion contributors. although his life was severed from a tragic plane accident in 1959, holly’s music is still being emulated in indie rock bands and nostalgic acts today. rave on buddy holly, a labor of love orchestrated by starbucks, Fantasy and Concord Music, aims to keep holly’s memory fresh on the american conscious. With a hefty track list of nineteen tracks assembled and a versatile slate of rock heroes on board (including My Morning Jacket, Florence +

RAMBLIN’ MAN Off the heels of the Voice, country boy pulls out fifth disc


lake shelton’s newest LP red river blue aggressively plays up shelton’s charming personality and sense of humor. a solid country album, the effort never comes off ‘innovative,’ but features some solid standouts. “honey bee,” the ‘selling point,’ opens the effort brightly finding shelton expressing ‘expectations’ of the relationship to his lover (“you be my soft and sweet/i’ll be your strong and steady...”). the proceeding “ready to roll” possesses some crossover appeal with a soulful-pop groove while the honky-tonk influenced “get some” finds shelton at his most buoyant and humorous. tracks like “drink on it,” “good ole boys,” and the ludicrous “hey” continue to play up ‘country boy swag,’ while closer “red river blue” slows the tempo, aiming for sincerity. While “honey bee” may be the main attraction, red river blue features a solid ‘supporting cast’ of cuts that hardly disappoint. brEnt FauLKnEr

sPIn thIs! “honey bee,” “get some,” “red river blue”




BLAKe sheLtOn red river Blue (Warner Bros.)

HiFi Magazine #2 (Aug/Sept 2011)  
HiFi Magazine #2 (Aug/Sept 2011)  

HIFI Magazine is the new, official resource for the avid music lover. From rock to pop, R&B to hip-hop, HIFI Magazine strives to incorporate...