Quick Reviews: Phoenix, James Blake, A$AP Rocky, Charli XCX

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Phoenix – Bankrupt!
Rating: 83/100

Released: April 19, 2013

A worthy follow up to their exceptional 2009 album Wolfang Amadeus Phoenix, the savvy french pop band’s 5th studio album Bankrupt! is intelligent and energetic from start to finish. With sharp hooks and even sharper production, Bankrupt! is an electrifying release with excellent replay value.

Top Tracks: “Entertainment”, “Chloroform”, “SOS In Bel Air”

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James Blake – Overgrown
Rating: 72/100

Released: April 5, 2013

This young and prolifically talented producer’s sophomore album fails to match the quality of his self-titled debut despite containing one the strongest singles of 2013 (“Overgrown”). More subdued and less imaginative than previous releases, Overgrown is neither a disappointment nor a triumph . The duet with the RZA was a bizarre choice for the album and is almost comical to see performed live. James Blake is a gifted songwriter and a truly unique voice in the world of electronic music but Overgrown left me wanting for more.

Top Tracks: “Retrograde”, “Life Round Here”, “Voyeur”

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A$AP Rocky – LONG.LIVE.A$AP
Rating: 75/100

Released: January 15, 2013

Propped up by a handful of killer singles, A$AP Rocky’s consistently captivating debut album is wildly inventive though often imperfect. I’m often inclined to give too much credit to artists who sport a grand sense of style and purpose and though it has its failings LONG.LIVE.A$AP certainly strives to be something more than the surface value of the end result. With eclectic production styles, a keen mind for both storytelling and swag-talk, and quality contributions from featured rappers, LONG.LIVE.A$AP is one of the strongest hip-hop releases of 2013.

Top Tracks: “F****n’ Problems feat. Drake, 2 Chainz, Kendrick Lamar”, “1 Train feat. Kendrick Lamar, Joey Bada$$, Yelawolf, Danny Brown, Action Bronson & Big K.R.I.T.”, “Suddenly”

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Charli XCX – True Romance
Rating: 70/100
Released: April 12, 2013

Somehow reminiscent of both Phantogram and the Spice Girls, Charli XCX is a force to be reckoned with. Her charismatic and emotional electro-pop is everything an album carrying the name True Romance should be. The album has a handful of seriously infectious tracks that are irresistible but it also contains an unfortunate amount of songs that are entirely forgettable. True Romance shows a lot of promise and though its not a masterpiece, I think Charli XCX might just be one big hit away from becoming a household name

Top Tracks:“Nuclear Season”, “You (Ha Ha Ha)”, “Set Me Free”

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