Entertainment » Music

Dig These Discs :: All American Rejects, Peasant, Dev, Morgan Page, Katy Perry, Wilson Phillips

by Winnie McCroy
EDGE Editor
Friday Apr 13, 2012

Katy Perry drops her complete collection of hits this month, and newcomer Dev follows up her hit "Bass Down Low" with her long-awaited CD. Wilson Phillips mine the hits of their parents, and The All-American Rejects keep building on their history of success. L.A. DJ Morgan Page spins his progressive electronic music, and indie acoustic artist Peasant bares his soul.

"Kids in the Street" (The All-American Rejects)

This Oklahoma-bred band hit pay dirt just a few years out of high school in 2005 with their self-titled debut. Their fourth new album of 11 songs and four bonus tracks finally hits the street, despite numerous delays since their promised Christmas debut. In "Someday’s Gone," originally released in December 2011, lead vocalist Tyson Ritter refers to his girl as "a bad trip I can’t come back from since December." Their single, "Beekeeper’s Daughter" premiered in an episode of "90210," with the twee lyrics, "You’re a pretty little flower, I’m a busy little bee, baby that’s all you need to see." It is followed by "Fast & Slow," a more angst-ridden rock song with a fast-moving guitar riff that seems set for radio play. "Heartbeat Slowing Down" is a slow-moving song full of regrets, with a soaring chorus. "Walk Over Me" is a thwarted love song with the lyrics, "I can’t believe her pretty feet walk over me." "Affection" is another angst-ridden love song, with Ritter singing, "Even when the roses die there are some thorns left in your side." "Walk Out the Door" is a harder-rocking song with the same message. Luckily, "I For You" chronicles a love worth dying for. The title track is a percussion-driven rock song about youthful passion, with the lyrics, "We’d get so high we got lost coming down/ we were kids in the street." The band’s slapshot sound comes through in "Bleed Into Your Mind," and "Drown Next to Me" is a spacey, electronica romp. The CD also includes demos of the band’s original songs, released last winter. (Interscope Records)

Bound for Glory (Peasant)

Pennsylvania singer/songwriter Damien DeRose began his DIY recording career at the tender age of 18, dropping two homemade albums before he began touring in 2008. He sings beautifully of his hopes and fears about life and love in this 13-track release, his fourth LP, and his first on his new London-based indie label, Schnitzel Records. His scratchy acoustic guitar is the perfect backdrop for DeRose’s songs. He kicks off with the title track, singing about sunsets and feeling blue. In "The Flask," DeRose vacillates between full-throated singing and a yodeling as he cries out his despair at his love, who is leaving. "Girls" is a dreamy song with the cadence of that old Bob Seger chestnut, "Night Moves" or an old Stones track, with the lyrics, "Girls, girls, they do it all the time, breaking someone’s heart." "I don’t want to be your friend any more," DeRose sings out in "We’re Not the Same," a simple, honest, acoustic song about a love that was never there. "A Little One" has a quirky, plucked-string sound, and a country music vibe comes out of the spare, "Doesn’t Mean." He sings out like Cat Stevens in "Amends," and "Gone Far Lost," a break-up song that benefits from a smattering of percussion. "Take It Light" is among the best on the album, with its catchy Cowboy Junkies feel and its insistence on love not being a fool. "Mother Mary" features solid acoustic chops as "Mother Mary and the baby [are] looking over me." The fast-rocking "Pretty Good" shows off DeRose’s skills as he sings this hook-up ditty, "You shook, you shook it right, and you took, you took all night, and you looked pretty good, and you felt like I thought you would." He slows things down again with "Stars," with a charming hum-track and a warning to his partner, "If I should come back, turn, turn away, because you know we won’t work it out." He wraps things up with "Don’t Let Me Down," a song about trying to be someone you’re not. There is something very plain and honest about DeRose/Peasant, something that is often absent in this age of auto-tune. It may not rock the club, but "Bound for Glory" certainly rocks. (Schnitzel Records)

"The Night the Sun Came Up" (Dev)

With a whisper-soft voice that cracks seductively when she hits lower notes, singer Dev is easy on the ears. Her new album, "The Night the Sun Came Up" kicks off with "Getaway," a song about getting out of the small town to find one’s fortune. The piano-driven song begins like a ballad, but features a hip-hop break in the middle to let Dev spit out some middling rap. She follows with the electronica-heavy "In My Trunk," in which she sings, "It was a late night, no Scrabble game night/ I’m a handful, ain’t I?" As it turns out, she’s got that thump, and it’s in her trunk. In "Me," Dev gives the kiss-off to all those record executives who didn’t know what to do with her, mixing electronica with adult contemporary. Lucky for her, the production team The Cataracs heard her cover of Amy Winehouse track "Back to Black" on Myspace, and saw some potential there. She moved to L.A. in 2009 to work with them, and found that her hits "Bass Down Low" and "In the Dark" became hits in the UK, Canada, and North America. She gives many props to them in her songs. And although she has been compared to Ke$ha, she doesn’t take kindly to the comparisons, seeking to blend electropop, dubstep, hip-hop urban, rock, and club music to make her own diversified sound. Her songs on this album, whose release has been delayed twice already, explore themes of sex, partying, and debauchery, and then swing to introspection and love. "Naked" is a Latin-influenced song featuring Enrique Iglesias that deals with an ex-lover who has tried unsuccessfully to move on, and "Lightspeed" is an electronic pop cut with a house feel. "Breathe" is a catchy club track with Middle Eastern sound, peppered with nutty accordian sounds, one of the best on this 11-track album. "Dancing Shoes" definitely falls into the "pretty" camp, allowing Dev to showcase her fine singing voice. The mash-up of electro and guitar in "Perfect Match" benefits from the addition of a string section. As Dev sings, "When you need to breathe I’ll make your heart beat twice as fast, like a cigarette and I will be your perfect match," making this song an ideal backdrop for a love scene in a blockbuster movie. She saves her biggest hit, "In the Dark" for the end of the album. The house beat with a saxophone back keeps this tune moving, to which its widespread use in Zumba routines can testify. Dev sings seductively, "Tell me baby is it wrong to let my hands do what they want/ Late at night I pretend we are dancing in the dark." She teams up with Fabolous for "Hands Up," a drum-driven mash-up of Dev’s talk-singing and the rapper’s classic patter. She closes the album with the folk-influenced "Shadows." Critics may still not be sure how to classify Dev, and her rhymes are far from genius, but you can’t argue with the hits she keeps racking up. (Universal Republic Records)

"In the Air" (Morgan Page)

Relative newcomer Morgan Page is an L.A.-based progressive house and electro DJ whose 2010 debut single "Fight For You" charted at #6 on AOL’s Top 10 Dance Tracks of 2009. His new album builds on this success, with the title track making the most of vocalist Angela McClusky whose breathy vocals are the perfect accompaniment for Morgan’s pumping backbeat and synth tracks. Page also teams up with Canadian lesbian twin duo Tegan and Sara for "Body Work," a bouncy, club-ready track about a shy lover, with bold percussive breaks, and "Video, " a thrill-seeking mash-up between electronica and pop, with the girls singing, "Horror films in black and white/ close the shades from day to night. " "Where Did You Go" is a warning song about a dangerous lover, with Page singing, "I knew how this would end/ still I let it begin." He teams up with Nadia Ali for the synth-heavy "Carry Me," and turns on a Latin club beat sound in "The Only One." Page delivers a stunning cover of The Police’s "S.O.S," crooning, "I hope that someone gets my message in a bottle." He churns through the dance hits "The Actor" and "Light Years," tech-driven tracks featuring Richard Walter’s British, hangdog sound. Shelly Harland gives a much-needed boost to "Loves Mistaken," singing, "Maybe our heart’s just don’t belong to one another baby/ Maybe we got the timing wrong, maybe the love’s mistaken." Guest vocalist Shana Halligan adds a sultry air to "Gimme Plenty," and Greg Laswell brings his emotive pipes to "Addicted", singing, "I say out loud this is the last time." (Nettwerk)

"The Complete Confection: Teenage Dream" (Katy Perry)

From the candy-decked holographic cover of her new CD to the 19 tracks contained therein, saccharine pop star Katy Perry shows how sweet she can be. And despite my initial anger at Perry for upstaging singer Jill Sobule with her own homo-experimental release of "I Kissed a Girl," I am among those who admit that Perry’s made-for-radio hits are infectiously enjoyable. In this complete collection of tracks and remixes, Perry covers all of the hits that made last summertime sizzle. The first track, "Teenage Dream," features the saucy lyrics, "Let you put your hands on me in my skin-tight jeans/ Be your teenage dream tonight." She moves on to another mega-hit, "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F)," a fast-moving party anthem with lyrics like, "We danced on tabletops and we took too many shots/Think we kissed but I forgot." Like we all do, Perry promises to stop, but knows the same thing is on the menu for next Friday night. A remix version features Missy Elliott. Perry’s slowed-down anthem of self-empowerment, "Firework," follows this. Other well-known hits include "California Gurls," Perry’s peon to short-shorts, featuring stoner extraordinaire, Snoop Dogg, and "E.T.," Perry’s ghostly song about a futuristic lover from "a whole ’nother world/ a different dimension" for whom she is "ready for abduction." A Kanye West remix of this song is also included. The album even features her more recently dropped single, "The One That Got Away," a song about losing a high school love. With all these hits, how do the B-sides fare? "Peacock" is a quick-moving, naughty song in which Perry asks her boy, "Come on baby let me see/ what you hiding underneath." "Circle the Drain" is a guitar-driven song about the perils of addiction with a man who, "fall[s] asleep during foreplay, ’cause the pills you take are more your forté." Her single, "Who Am I Living For" is a grim song about sacrifice, and "Pearl" is about a girl stifled by her man. There are several more unremarkable singles, plus "Tommy Sunshine’s Megamix Smash-Up," which features all her hits in one convenient song. Perry’s lyrics are far from cerebral, but it doesn’t take a genius to realize that they are Billboard gold. Few albums come complete with nearly 20 tracks; fewer still find nearly half that number on the Billboard 100. So if their extensive radio play hasn’t already turned you off Perry’s pop tunes, this one is a winner. (Capitol Records)

"Dedicated" (Wilson Phillips)

This beloved band of the ’90s jumped back into the public eye last year with their cameo appearance in the award-winning comedy "Bridesmaids," performing their hit song, "Hold On." The trio of Carnie Wilson, Wendy Wilson, and Chynna Phillips pay homage to their musical parents, Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, and Phillips’ parents, who made up The Mamas & The Papas, with their new album "Dedicated," a dozen covers of their folks’ hits songs. The timeless classic "California Dreamin’," written by the Phillips, sounds perfect when sung by these ladies, who add their soft harmonies to a genre of music already known for its laid-back, surfer-dude vibe. A passable cover of Brian Wilson’s "Wouldn’t It Be Nice" follows, backed up by a stunning, baby-soft version of "Don’t Worry Baby," no falsetto needed. John Philips "Twelve-Thirty" gets more exposure here, and the whimsical, charming "I Can Hear Music" by Jeff Barry and Phil Spector sounds fresh in this reworking. After listening to "Monday, Monday," it may no longer rank as your least favorite day. "Do It Again" is a fast-moving song that seizes the funky side of the Beach Boys, and "Got A Feelin’" is a trip down memory lane. "Fun, Fun, Fun" is a different song when written about a wild-child daughter, but still lives up to its name. "God Only Knows" and "Good Vibrations" sound so much like the original, you wonder why the girls didn’t sing them in the first place. The harmony on "Dedicated To the One I Love" elevates the song from creepy to cheery. This isn’t the first time Wilson Phillips has dipped into the family vault for hits. Their 2004 album "California" featured "In My Room," "Monday, Monday," and "Dance, Dance, Dance," and their Christmas album showcased "Our Prayer." The band will soon get airtime in "Wilson Phillips: Still Holding On," a reality show debuting this month on the TV Guide Network. (Sony Masterworks)

Winnie McCroy is the Women on the EDGE Editor, HIV/Health Editor, and Assistant Entertainment Editor for EDGE Media Network, handling all women's news, HIV health stories and theater reviews throughout the U.S. She has contributed to other publications, including The Village Voice, Gay City News, Chelsea Now and The Advocate, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.


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