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411 Music Buy or Sell 10.10.12: I Will Wait to Dive Into the Skyfall
Posted by Jeremy Thomas on 10.10.2012

Greetings and salutations, Music Zone readers! Welcome to your top choice in music single opinion columns, 411 Music Buy or Sell! I'm your host Jeremy Thomas, and each week we'll look at some of the hottest new and hit singles and a couple of our esteemed writers will decide if they want to keep the song (Buy) or drop it like it's hot (Sell). This week's listeners are the Movie Zone editor Chad Webb, taking on yours truly Jeremy Thomas!

All right, enough of the introductions and rules…let's hop to it!

1) Mumford & Sons - "I Will Wait"
From Babel (Island)
Released August 7, 2012
Chad Webb: BUY.

I actually really enjoyed their newest album, Babel, just as much, if not more so than their debut. "I Will Wait" is a terrific lead single. The lyrics, vocals, and overall playing are genuine and passionate. When those qualities are conveyed, the song is hard to shake. The song reflects their life on the road, but carries with it an anthem-like chorus that is customary for the group. The mix of the instruments is really what makes this song, and the band in general, work so well. The horns, percussion, guitar, and banjo blend to form an infectious sound. I don't think I'd call this the best song on the album, but It's worth buying in my opinion.

Jeremy Thomas: BUY.

I've found myself quite a fan of Mumford and Sons and rate Babel about the same as Sigh No More. "I Will Wait" is not the best song off of Babel but it does make a great first single and it provides a great refresher for people who have been waiting three years for another album while clearly spelling out to new fans who they are as a group. I think it's a little less folksy than quintessneital Mumford & Sons but there's nothing necessarily wrong with that. It's a winner for sure either way.


2) The Weeknd - "Rolling Stone"
From Trilogy (XO/Universal Republic)
Released October 3, 2012
Chad Webb: SELL.

I was scratching my head when I initially saw this track on the Buy or Sell list because well, it's been out for over a year. Upon further research I now see that The Weeknd will release an album that compiles the best of his three mix-tapes from 2011 along with a few new tracks. This song is good and all, but by itself I feel it comes across as rather unimpressive. I grabbed all of Weeknd's mix-tapes for free and they're largely fantastic, but Thursday (from which this song originates) is perhaps the weakest of the trilogy. If I were to introduce Weeknd's style of indie R&B/soul to someone, it would be material from House of Balloon first. His falsetto vocals are strong here, but combined with the restrained minor chords "Rolling Stone" is too simple to stand out. This is one of those songs that flows better within the context of an album.

Jeremy Thomas: SELL.

Yeah, this is a re-release that has just hit the charts. I was surprised by the fact that I enjoyed this at little as I did; its okay but that it's not up to the level of what The Weeknd is capable of. I enjoy the vocal work and the laid-back, stripped-down sound; I think it does stand out compared to a lot of the overproduced music that hits the radio. My problem with it is that there was no real texture to the song. It starts out at one level and never varies from that straight line. It's listenable, but that doesn't mean I would buy it.


3) The xx - "Angels"
From Coexist (Young Turks)
Released August 7, 2012
Chad Webb: BUY.

The xx's new album, Coexist, is fabulous from start to finish, so I will not hesitate to recommend this song or any other from it. The entire record embraces the minimalist style that fans of the group are accustomed to and this track demonstrates what they bring to the table as well as any other. The chords and vocals are reserved and gentle, but emotionally fulfilling, absorbing, and optimistic in a lovesick sort of way. Romy Madley Croft sings the memorable ballad on her own and in truth there is not much to the song, but it has been carefully constructed and is effective as the opener for Coexist. The only issue I could take with the album is that some songs tend to blend together, but "Angels" is one of the best of the setlist, so if you don't enjoy it, you probably won't dig the rest.

Jeremy Thomas: BUY.

A good alt-pop band is always gonna win me over, and this is no exception. The xx is one of those groups that I really found myself digging when I wasn't sure if I would when I first heard about them. This is a fantastic little ballad that like "Wicked Games" is more stripped down, but this one has those emotional peaks and valleys that The Weeknd lacked. It's a really evocative track and definitely pushes my appreciation of the band higher.


4) Imagine Dragons - "Amsterdam"
From Night Visions (Interscope/KIDinaKORNER)
Released September 04, 2012
Chad Webb: SELL.

Honestly, this song is not all that terrible, and if the rest of their debut album sounds like this, I'm sure it's very listenable, but I'm getting too much of a Coldplay vibe from this song. I'm just not feeling it overall. There is nothing wrong with playing to the same audience as alternative/indie rock bands like Chris Martin and company, but this strikes me as too similar with not enough of their own identity. This is an extremely "plain" track that tries hard to be a mainstream anthem. One of their previous singles, "It's Time," is about the same quality-wise and I have no doubt the other numbers of the album echo the repetitive, radio friendliness. I like big stadium rock as much as the next guy, but Imagine Dragons are just too generic and lack much needed depth for me to really care about them.

Jeremy Thomas: BUY.

What I've heard of Imagine Dragons thus far, I've really enjoyed. This isn't really their best work but it's still very enjoyable. Chad is right in that it plays to the indie rock crowd, but I appreciate the more electronic and yet less refined touch that is on this compared to the likes of Coldplay. I would never call Imagine Dragons a revolutionary band, but they do some interesting things with their music and I'm intrigued enough to see where they take it from here.


5) Usher - "Dive"
From Looking 4 Myself (RCA)
Released August 28, 2012
Chad Webb: BUY.

I'm a bit torn here because I really like Usher's new album Looking 4 Myself, but this track is neither the greatest nor the worst from it. There is no funk or hip-hop included here and only little elements of pop music. This is a soulful R&B song, nothing more nothing less. It does accentuate his falsetto vocals rather well though and that's what strengthens "Dive" more than anything else because the lyrics are typical sappy, sexual fare from this genre. Howeveer, this line should be noted: "It's raining inside your bed/ No parts are dry/ Lovin' made you so wet/ Your Legs/ Your thighs". Nevertheless, it is a satisfactory piece from an album that is excellent, so it deserves a pass.

Jeremy Thomas: SELL.

Man, I try so hard to get into Usher but no matter what I do, I just can't get over how dull his music is to my ears. There's nothing in his work that isn't safe, by-the-numbers R&B. There are a couple songs I enjoy off Looking 4 Myself but this is by no means one of them. It covers the same sort of thematic material we've heard from him before and the sound is almost identical to a dozen other Usher songs. No thanks.


6) Adele - "Skyfall"
From Skyfall (Columbia/Sony)
Released October 5, 2012
Chad Webb: BUY.

Adele has been on top of the world for quite awhile now and though it might be a cliche to praise her music, she deserves it for the new James Bond theme. Actually I think the rebooted Daniel Craig 007 films have had a string of strong themes with the likes of Chris Cornell and then a collaboration between Jack White and Alicia Keys. Adele is a great artist to follow-up from that duo. Not does this exhibit her vocal prowess and distinctiveness, but it falls right in line with how a Bond theme should sound. This is not a departure as far as these songs get and who cares? We never got to hear Amy Winehouse nail one of these for various reasons, so we should be thankful that a powerhouse singer like Adele has completed one now. Her performance is cut from the same vein as past female artists to contribute such as Shirley Bassey, Tina Turner, Nancy Sinatra and more.

Jeremy Thomas: BUY.

I spoke about this in my Top 8 Bond Themes, so to echo what I said there: Adele was a perfect choice for a Bond song. She can do that classic Bond-era sound with near-perfect aim and yet she also sounds very modern at the same time. "Skyfall" has that exact quality to it; if not for the title, you could see this fitting with a James Bond film of any era. And at the same time, it's pure Adele in its arrangement and her unmistakable voice. It doesn't ever feel the need to overwhelm and it has, for lack of a better term, class. It's a song that stands strong not just as a James Bond song, but as a great song in its own right.


Great week this time around as Adele, The xx and Mumford & Sons all get Buys! Thanks to Chad for his participation this week; that will do it us! What do you think of the singles we covered? Agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments!


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