Review: The Weeknd Shines Bright On ‘Starboy,’ One Of The Best Albums Of 2016

The Weeknd (Abel Tesfaye) is one of those rare talents that seemingly comes out of nowhere before entrancing you with his original and consistently striking music. He suddenly appeared on the music scene in 2010 with a series of mixtapes - eventually packaged as the compilation Trilogy in 2012 - before releasing his first studio album,…

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Review: Bruno Mars Trades In Charm For Riches On ’24K Magic’

Bruno Mars has had an enviable career so far. After writing songs for other artists as he struggled to be taken seriously as a performer himself, he took the world by storm with his debut album, Doowops & Hooligans. “Just The Way You Are” was a stellar first single that showed both quality writing and…

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Review: Metallica ‘Hardwired… To Self-Destruct’: Thrash Is Back!

Hardwired... To Self-Destruct is arguably the most anticipated metal album of 2016. It’s been 8 years since Death Magnetic came out, and Metallica has some good excuses for the long gap. They founded their own record label, released a full length album with Lou Reed, released a self-produced movie, and of course toured around the…

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Review: Alicia Keys Navigates Personal & Social Issues Earnestly On ‘Here’

Ever since Alicia Keys burst onto the music scene 15 years ago, she's had important things to say with the inspired music to back them up. Although her last two albums have felt a bit predictable and safe, her latest record brings back some of her early spark. Her sixth album, Here is Alicia's biggest statement…

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Review: Green Day Is Back On Top With ‘Revolution Radio’

Green Day’s career arc has been one most bands would envy. It’s rare for a band to continue strong for 25+ years, and rarer still for them to have continued success into their later years. But Green Day has always been special. After a strong underground start in the Bay Area, the trio released their…

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Review: Banks Boasts Vulnerability & Defiance On Dazzling ‘The Altar’

Banks emerged quietly yet suddenly, impressing with her 2014 debut album, Goddess. It followed a series of EPs the year before, taking songs from those while adding some new ones in, too. Goddess wasn’t just one of the best debut albums of the year; it was one of the best albums of the year, period. And…

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Review: ‘Sorceress’ Strikes Balance Between Old And New Opeth

It’s been a while since Opeth left their death metal origins behind to focus on a more melodic, late '60s and early '70s prog rock approach. While 2014’s Pale Communion was confirmation of this relatively new style, Sorceress brings back a few elements from their darker and heavier early 2000s approach. Perhaps what makes Sorceress…

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Review: Gavin DeGraw Finds Perfect Balance On ‘Something Worth Saving’

Since he first came out in 2003, Gavin DeGraw has made music that is timeless. He somehow combines relatable, guy-next-door ease with cool, city-boy charm. He's romantic and sensitive one minute, random and joking the next. Even with his first album, he'a always seemed familiar, like an old friend. His newest release, Something Worth Saving, is…

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