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411 Music Buy or Sell 11.02.12: Hey Ho Boys, Catch Your Breaths
Posted by Jeremy Thomas on 11.03.2012




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 Games Zone's presider over the Top 5, Sean Garmer, taking on our resident Music Zone editor...oh yeah, that's me, Jeremy Thomas!

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



1) Taylor Swift - "Begin Again"
From Red (Big Machine)
Released October 1, 2012
Sean Garmer: BUY.

All right here goes me losing all my credibility with the hating internet, but I actually don't mind Taylor Swift. Sure, she does write poppy country stuff for the teeny boppers, but it goes deeper than that. Take this song for instance, Swift sings about how "he" never liked such and such thing she liked to do. Eventually this led to a break-up and her feeling that "all love is lost." However, it only took her meeting this one guy that does all these things she describes and she "begins feeling love again." For a lot of people love does become a cycle as she describes in the song and it starts up again once you find someone else. So, I think it's a nice, sweet, piece of storytelling. Sometimes not everything has to be flashy.

Jeremy Thomas: SELL.

I am normally a fan of Taylor Swift's for what she is. She can't legitimately be called a country artist at this point, which has helped my appreciation of her as I don't like country. Is she great? No, but she's a solid storyteller in her songs and her voice is good without the need for massive amounts of AutoTune. This song just doesn't do it for me; it is one of those songs where she does try to do country without letting go of her pop sensibilities. Pick one or the other, Taylor. You gotta commit.

ANALYSIS: SPLIT




2) Avenged Sevenfold - "Carry On"
From Call of Duty: Black Ops II (Warner Bros.)
Released September 24, 2012
Sean Garmer: BUY.

The instrumentation on the track is top notch as you can always expect with Avenged Sevenfold (R.I.P. Rev) I will say this, I think the lyrics fit well with Call of Duty and all of that, but it is not a track I totally am in love with. I think it is missing something that I can't quite put my finger on, but I do like it. I think its fine for what it is, but it just doesn't having me going "oh this is a classic already from Avenged Sevenfold." Maybe it's something I will enjoy more with more listens.

Jeremy Thomas: BUY.

I'm actually not normally a huge Avenged Sevenfold fan but damn if this isn't a great little aggressive hard rock track. I can totally see it fitting in well with a Call of Duty game as it gets the blood pumping and the trigger finger itchy. The sudden shift to melodic tones in the chorus is a bit off-putting but otherwise I dug it pretty well.

ANALYSIS: BUY




3) The Lumineers - "Ho Hey"
From The Lumineers (Dualtone Records)
Released June 4, 2012
Sean Garmer: BUY BUY BUY.

If for some reason you have not heard this song yet, you need to do so. It should be a kick in the pants to all of the people that say "original music is dead" because the Lumineers manage to take a simple love song and turn it into this audio odyssey. The shouting and stomping "Ho Hey" to the nice guitar and banjo parts, and then add in a very sing a long chorus and you not only have a hit, but just an awesome song. My 18-month-old daughter loves dancing to this and I taught her how to clap and stomp to the Ho Hey parts, which makes me enjoy the song more lol.

Jeremy Thomas: BUY.

Maybe its just because I've heard this song so damned much in that Bing commercial when I watch stuff on Hulu, but this one has seeped thoroughly into my brain and I really like it. The band's alt-folk sound is one that is increasingly welcome to me in an indy rock scene that seems to be diversifying a bit again after a few years of everyone sounding the same. The rhythm is incredibly catchy and in the massively-produced era of popular music, this sounds more stripped down. I definitely appreciate that.

ANALYSIS: BUY




4) Kelly Clarkson - "Catch My Breath"
From Girl on Fire (RCA)
Released September 4, 2012
Sean Garmer: BUY.

I have never disliked anything that Kelly Clarkson has put out because she manages to always find meaning behind her lyrics that make you feel whatever emotion she is trying to convey. This is certainly the weakest of the singles we have seen from her this year, but "Darkside" and "Stronger" are damn good songs, so that's a lot to contend with ya know. In the end, it is still a good song that I would buy just to support her music, but very much like Avenged Sevenfold's track it is not something I am totally digging either.

Jeremy Thomas: BUY.

I am probably Kelly Clarkson's biggest fan on this site, so its no surprise that I like this. I actually think this is an improvement from "Dark Side," though not from "Stronger." Clarkson is able to frame her songs firmly within the mainstream pop sound but it doesn't sound like the artificial, overproduced tripe that often hits the top of the charts. Don't get me wrong; artificial, overproduced tripe has its place and can be fun, but I'll take Clarkson any day over Rihanna. This is one of her uplifting, "strong woman" style anthems that she does incredibly well and I really like it.

ANALYSIS: BUY




5) Green Day - "Stray Heart"
From Dos! (Reprise)
Released October 23, 2012
Sean Garmer: SELL.

I reviewed Green Day's first of the trilogy albums "Uno" and I thought it was a lot like Warning and a lot like them trying to recapture old glory days. This first single from "Dos" actually sounds like them trying to go in a more garage rock sound. The bass line and the instrumental part sound as if they were ripped straight out of Jet's "Are You Gonna Be My Girl." But it still has a lot of this poppy, middle of the road Green Day in it too. At least you have to commend them for going to a different place musically.

Jeremy Thomas: BUY.

This is a really, really mild Buy, to the point that I may as well have flipped a coin to make the decision. I could really probably take it or leave it, but it's got a solid sound and while its not the Green Day I know and (sometimes) love, it is an attempt for them to do something slightly different. There's a bit of that Motown-esque rockabilly sound to it that I kind of dig and despite the fact that it is exceptionally tame for Green Day, that sound is what pushes it over the edge.

ANALYSIS: BUY




6) Nicki Minaj & Cassie - "The Boys"
From Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded - The Re-Up (Cash Money/Young Money/Universal Republic)
Released September 13, 2012
Sean Garmer: BUY.

I actually like the chorus that Cassie provides the song more than Nicki's raps here. However, they do work well together and it all ties together to be a listenable song that I could see becoming one of Nicki's bigger hits off of Roman Reloaded now that the video has been released. It isn't catchy like "Starships" or "pound the alarm" but it has its own vibe and that's ok too.

Jeremy Thomas: BUY.
Wow, did they really briefly riff off "Hey Soul Sister" for this? Not where I would have expected Nicki Minaj to go. Anyway, I can't stand Cassie's pre-chorus portion, as it's so AutoTuned as to be indistinguishable from a robot. She gets a hell of a lot better in the chorus though, and Nicki does better with her rhymes here than pretty much any song off the first version of Pink Friday. This is worlds ahead of "Stupid Hoe," "Starships" and the rest of the crap off that LP. Is it worth buying? Eh, I'm giving it to her, if only because of low expectations.

ANALYSIS: BUY


Damn good week this time around as Avenged Sevenfold, The Lumineers, Kelly Clarkson and Nicki Minaj and Cassie all get Buys and even the ones that don't are Split votes! Thanks to Sean 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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