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411 Music Buy or Sell 06.27.13: Misery Loves My Crooked Smile
Posted by Jeremy Thomas on 06.27.2013

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). Our listeners this week are the editor of the Movie Zone, Chad Webb, taking on the Music Zone writer Bill Wannop!

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

1) Bruno Mars - "Treasure"
From Unorthodox Jukebox (Atlantic)
Released June 17, 2013
Chad Webb: BUY

Bruno Mars is extremely popular right now, but good music is good music. This guy has a lot of talent. I would have said "Buy" probably no matter what since I bought this for my wife when it was released in stores, but I've always enjoyed Mars. I just get annoyed when certain songs are overplayed. This track is fantastic, one of the best on Unorthodox Jukebox. It's catchy, fun, and makes you want to dance, which means something coming from me because I hate dancing. The lyrics are simple and typical of Mars, but that matters little. I also love the old-school approach to the music video.

Bill Wannop: BUY.

Bruno Mars continues the promotion of his latest album released in December. The latest single really has hit single written all over it. It actually feels as though Bruno Mars harnessed the powers of Michael Jackson and Prince on the track, as the funky guitars mixed with the disco feeling truly brings back memories of that era. Mars manages to make the track feel modern, not dated and the result is a great track.


2) Machine Gun Kelly - "Breaking News"
From Black Flag (Bad Boy/Interscope)
Released June 24, 2013
Chad Webb: BUY.

This was a tough one. On one hand, his speedy lyrical delivery sets him apart from most rappers. Certainly he's not the first to use a rapid-fire approach, but it does make him stand out. I dig the name Machine Gun Kelly more than going by MGK, even if it is a bit corny. However, I feel like he can do much better than this track. It's satisfactory and I'll definitely be checking out more of what this guy has to offer, but I doubt this is his best work. Still not sure this is good enough for me to purchase, but I'll give a marginal pass. You can't help but get caught up in his fast, in-your-face flow.

Bill Wannop: SELL.

This is the latest track off the upcoming mixtape from MGK, Black Flag. The track is average at best, and really doesn't have a lot of substance to it aside from the typical hip hop boasting. The beat is somewhat simplistic and not even a P.Diddy sample on the intro can save the track (the sample is basically Diddy saying how good MGK is). While I think MGK is trying to go back to his hip hop roots and move away from the radio friendly tracks that Diddy had him making, this track is not going to win him any fans.


3) Three Days Grace - "Misery Loves My Company"
From Transit of Venus (RCA)
Released May 14, 2013
Chad Webb: SELL.

I won't pretend that I don't like bands in the vein of Three Days Grace, but for whatever reason this group has never done it for me. They have some radio friendly tracks that I'll gladly listen to if they're played, but other than that, I tend to forget about them. One of the reasons for this is that their sound is too much like dozens of other alternative/post-grunge rock bands. If you're a fan of the genre overall, as I am, I think we all have certain groups we cling to. Three Days Grace was never that for me. But anyway, this song is ok, leaning towards mediocre, not good enough for me to buy.

Bill Wannop: SELL.

Three Days Grace releases their third single off of their album which was released back in October, and the Canadian group really could not have picked a worse track as their latest single. While the track is not bad, it really is one of the weakest tracks off their latest album. The group managed to progress and experiment with their song throughout the album, yet this song is somewhat the typical rock song. The guitar chords are somewhat simple and the chorus is not that catchy.


4) Of Monsters And Men - "King & Lionheart"
From My Head Is an Animal (Record/Republic)
Released March 4, 2013
Chad Webb: BUY.

I like Of Monsters And Men well enough. They're an indie folk/rock group that sound like many other indie folk/rock groups around right now. "Little Talks" is better than this track. It has more of an anthem vibe, is upbeat and memorable. Upon first listen of "King & Lionheart," I was inclined to say "Sell," but I gave it a second whirl and it has begun to grow on me. The video is a bizarre downer, but this song is passionate, well written, and solid overall. One of my issues with indie bands such as this is that their songs tend to sound all the same. "King & Lionheart" very nearly falls into that trap, but I will probably pick it up.

Bill Wannop: SELL.

Of Monster and Men release their fourth single from their album that was first released way back in 2011. The track is typical of the group, with its alternative folk sound, but you can tell from the quality of the track compared to the first couple singles that this song is unlikely to get them any new fans, and is really for people that are already fans of the group. While the song is decent, it is simply not my cup of tea.


5) J. Cole (ft. TLC) - "Crooked Smile"
From Born Sinner (Roc Nation/Columbia)
Released June 4, 2013
Chad Webb: SELL.

Damn, so many of the selections this week fall right on the edge between "Buy" & "Sell." I guess I should be thankful they weren't all terrible. This song is alright. Similar to Machine Gun Kelly, I definitely want to hear more of J. Cole, which means I'll be listening to his album on Spotify. That does not mean I'll purchase it or any of the songs though. He strikes me as an average rapper, but hey, getting TLC on your song is a commendable feat. What keeps me from saying "Buy" is that "Crooked Smile" is a bit too much of a standard rap/R&B number, plus I didn't care for the gospel style chorus at the end.

Bill Wannop: BUY.

Another track from the second major release of J Cole, has Cole teaming with TLC for a good love/girl type track. J. Cole has really developed as a lyricist and he truly has grown as an artist. TLC does a good job on the hook and the production is also good, which results in a good track that should be played on the radio for the summertime. All in all this is a good track, that gives a god taste of what J. Cole has to offer on his latest album.


6) Stone Temple Pilots - "Out of Time"
Single (Self-Released)
Released May 19th, 2013
Chad Webb: BUY.

Wow, I didn't want to like this. On paper, the mixture of Stone Temple Pilots and Chester Bennington of Linkin Park struck me as odd and uninteresting, but this is a hard-rocking, fairly awesome track. It is the standard STP style, but just different enough to get your attention. You can hear how Scott Weiland would have sung this. What I appreciated about Bennington as the lead singer is that he did not force any Linkin Park sensibilities into STP. He adapted his voice to fit their groove, which is terrific. This is not the first time the DeLeo brothers have explored other options. See Army of Anyone and Talk Show. I'm glad they've moved on with STP. I'm on board and look forward to a full album of material.

Bill Wannop: BUY.

STP dropped their first new song since firing Scott Weiland and replacing him with Linkin Park lead singer, Chester. The two groups (STP and Weiland) have been involved in a heated debate that has involved legal action so we shall see where everything eventually ends up, but from the music side of things, this track does what it is supposed to do. It is a good song, not great, and really is a paint by numbers STP song, which is what they needed to do for their fans. The groups sound has not changed very much with the introduction of Chester, and in reality Chester may sound better with STP then he does with his own group Linkin Park. If the entire album follows this formula or if Chester's involvement changes the group going forward remains to be seen, but from here it is business as usual for STP fans.


Bruno Mars and Stone Temple Pilots earn a pass this week as they both get Bought while Three Days Grace is the only full-on Sell! Thanks to Chad and Bill for their 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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