December 28, 2016

WWE - Raw Greatest Hits: The Music (15th Anniversary) (2007)

*This pressing contains 2 bonus tracks including "Slow Chemical" & "Line In The Sand" by Finger Eleven & Motörhead. Contains 17 tracks total.

Country: U.S.A
Genre: Theme Music, Alternative Metal, Heavy Metal, Hip-Hop
.FLAC via Mega (Link)
.AAC 256 kbps via Mega (Link)


© 2007 Columbia Records
AllMusic Review by Mark Deming
World Wrestling Entertainment's best-known wrestlers all make their way to the ring with the right arena-rocking anthem backing them up, and this album collects 19 songs made famous as theme music from WWE's broadcasts. WWE Presents Raw Greatest Hits: The Music features songs associated with John Cena ("The Time Is Now"), the Rock ("If You Smell"), Stone Cold Steve Austin ("I Won't Do What You Tell Me"), the Undertaker ("Rest in Peace"), Evolution ("Line in the Sand"), Rey Mysterio ("[619]"), and more.

tags: wwf, wwe, raw greatest hits, the music, 15th anniversary, 2007, flac,

December 24, 2016

Michael Jackson - HIStory: Past, Present & Future (Book I) (1995)

Country: U.S.A
Genre: Pop
.FLAC via Mega (Link) (Disc 1)
.FLAC via Mega (Link) (Disc 2)
                  *****
.AAC 256 kbps via Mega (Link)

© 1995 Epic Records
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Michael Jackson's double-disc HIStory: Past, Present, and Future, Book I is a monumental achievement of ego. Titled "HIStory Begins," the first disc is a collection of his post-Motown hits, featuring some of the greatest music in pop history, including "Billie Jean," "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough," "Beat It," and "Rock with You." It leaves some hits out -- including the number ones "Say Say Say" and "Dirty Diana" -- yet it's filled with enough prime material to be thoroughly intoxicating. That can't be said for the second disc, called "HIStory Continues" and consisting entirely of new material -- which also happens to be the first material he released since being accused of child molestation. "HIStory Continues" is easily the most personal album Jackson has recorded. References to the scandal permeate almost every song, creating a thick atmosphere of paranoia. If Jackson's music had been the equal of Thriller or Bad, the nervous, vindictive lyrics wouldn't have been quite as overbearing. However, "HIStory Continues" reiterates musical ideas Jackson had been exploring since Bad. Jackson certainly tries to stay contemporary, yet he has a tendency to smooth out all of his rougher musical edges with show-biz schmaltz. Occasionally, Jackson produces some well-crafted pop that ranks with his best material: R. Kelly's "You Are Not Alone" is seductive, "Scream" improves on the slamming beats of his earlier single "Jam," and "Stranger in Moscow" is one of his most haunting ballads. Nevertheless, "HIStory Continues" stands as his weakest album since the mid-'70s.

tags: michael jackson, history, past present and future, book 1, 1995, flac,

Michael Jackson - Forever, Michael (1975)

Country: U.S.A
Genre: Pop, R&B
.FLAC via Mega (Link)
.AAC 256 kbps via Mega (Link)

© 1975-1989 Motown Records
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann
Michael Jackson's fourth and final new studio album for Motown came nearly two years after its predecessor, Music and Me. It was a more mature effort for the 16-year-old singer but lacked the contemporary dance style that had given Jackson and his brothers a career rebirth with "Dancing Machine" the year before. The album did spawn two minor chart singles, "We're Almost There" and "Just a Little Bit of You" (both produced by Brian Holland of the Holland-Dozier-Holland production team), and a third track, "One Day in Your Life," would chart as a reissue six years later. But though Jackson sang appealingly, the arrangements were noticeably similar to many older Motown charts, and there was little here to hint that, four years hence, on his next solo album, Off the Wall, Jackson would emerge as a major star.

tags: michael jackson, forever michael, 1975, flac,

Kylie Minogue - Kylie (1988) ☠

Country: Australia
Genre: Pop
Label Number: HFCD 3
.FLAC via Florenfile
.AAC 256 kbps Florenfile

© 1988 PWL Records
AllMusic Review by Chris True
While the production values on Kylie's debut are dated at best and the tunes are nothing but standard late-'80s Stock-Aitken-Waterman bubblegum, there are some rather endearing qualities to it. Firstly, she shows a lot more personality than the other Stock, et al. frontperson, Rick Astley. Secondly, her cuteness makes these rather vapid tracks bearable. Her cover of "The Loco-Motion" made only small waves in the U.S., but this was the album that launched her career as both pop star and icon in Europe.

tags: kylie minogue, kylie, 1988, flac,

December 22, 2016

Backstreet Boys - Never Gone (2005)

Country: U.S.A
Genre: Pop
Label Number: 82876-70534-2

© 2005 Jive Records
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
It's been nearly five years since the Backstreet Boys have released a new album, but as the all-too-literal title of 2005's Never Gone makes clear, they don't want you to call their fourth LP a comeback -- in their mind, they've been here for years. That's not strictly true, since all five members have disappeared from the charts, if not the tabloid headlines, since their 2000 flop, Black & Blue. While fellow teen pop icons like Justin Timberlake and Christina Aguilera had successful transitions into adulthood, while Jessica Simpson turned reality TV star and Mandy Moore turned genuine actress (for pity's sake, we will ignore Britney Spears' horrifying descent into white trash abyss), Kevin Richardson, Howie Dorough, and Brian Littrell all faded away as A.J. McLean suffered a very public addiction to various substances. Nick Carter also suffered at the hands of the tabloids, in large part due to a very stormy relationship with Paris Hilton, but he also had the distinction of being the only Backstreet Boy to deliver a solo album -- Now or Never in 2002 -- which meant that he was the only BSB with an ignoble flop to his credit, as well. Now or Never had the distinction of being an old-school teen pop album being delivered too far after the craze. Carter's peers were changing their stripes, but he stuck to the tried and true BSB formula and was punished by the fickle public accordingly. Given that public humiliation, it shouldn't come as a surprise that Carter and the other Boys are wise enough to try something new on Never Gone: they've abandoned the teen pop of the late '90s for anthemic adult contemporary that sounds a bit like Bryan Adams circa 1990. It's not a reinvention as much as a lateral move, shifting from one kind of pop that's not selling to another that's not selling, but to their credit, Backstreet Boys acquit themselves reasonably well here. First of all, there's a bit of pleasure in hearing a group throw itself into the big, resolutely square sound of '90s adult contemporary, since nobody else is doing this sound in 2005, but also it fits the group well, particularly Carter, with his newly raspy lead vocals. Second, this is by and large a well-made record, with a handful of standout tracks, notably the first single "Incomplete," the John Ondrasik-written "Weird World," which is a lot more fun than any Five for Fighting tune, the Max Martin-helmed "Just Want You to Know," and "Lose It All," which bizarrely and appealingly sounds like an MOR version of an Oasis ballad. Although the rest of the record is essentially well-made filler, it does sound good; this is one time that a pop record benefits by having a different production team for nearly every one of the album's tracks, since the sound of each tune is just different enough to keep things interesting yet unified enough to make it pleasant background music. This is all enough to make Never Gone a solid adult contemporary album, which will please both BSB diehards and the dwindling ranks who wish that the glory days of Jon Secada never ended, but its relative strength does highlight one problem with the album: this kind of music doesn't sound quite as convincing when delivered by a group of guys as it does by one singer. If Never Gone had been released as Nick Carter's second solo album or A.J. McLean's first, it would have felt more genuine, since these (marginally) more mature songs of love and relationships would have more resonance sung by a solo singer instead of a pack of guys. But that's nitpicking, because even if it never sells as well as Millennium did at the turn of the century, Never Gone is at the very least a successful musical makeover from the onetime teen pop kings. [Never Gone was released in several editions, including a copy-protected CD that will not play on your computer without installing a separate media player, and a DualDisc, containing a CD on one side and a DVD on the other. The DualDisc has a 5.1 mix version of the album on the DVD side, along with the video for "Incomplete" as well as a brief documentary about the making of the video for "Incomplete." The CD side of the DualDisc may not register on some computers.]

tags: backstreet boys, never gone, 2005, flac,

Witchcraft - The Alchemist (2007)

Country: Sweden
Language: English
Genre: Doom Metal, Psychedelic Rock
Style: Traditional Doom

© 2007 Candlelight Records
AllMusic Review by Greg Prato
Black Sabbath is rightfully considered a trailblazer of the doom metal genre. But the next group in line to carry the doom torch was Pentagram, a U.S. band well versed in their Ozzy and Iommi-isms. While Pentagram never scaled the heights that the Sabs did, they certainly left their mark on countless subsequent bands throughout the world -- especially Sweden's Witchcraft. On their third release overall, 2007's The Alchemist, the quartet continues attempting to turn the clock back to 1975 -- Magnus Pelander's vocal delivery is an awful lot like Pentagram's Bobby Liebling, while the music would provide a fine soundtrack to a high school stoner's basement party -- when the folks were out of town, the bong smoke was thick, and the black light posters were proudly on display. However, as with most doom metallists, quite a few bits have a certain familiarity to them -- case in point, "If Crimson Was Your Colour," which contains a riff reminiscent of Megadeth's "Symphony of Destruction," while "Hey Doctor" contains the same drum breakdown in the middle of Sabbath's Vol. 4 obscurity "Under the Sun/Every Day Comes and Goes." But the group also shows they aren't afraid of laying down a Wolfmother-esque groove from time to time, as evidenced by the opening of "Samaritan Burden." Doom metal continues to thrive in the early 21st century, as evidenced by the emergence of Witchcraft.

tags: witchcraft, the alchemist, 2007, flac,

December 19, 2016

Backstreet Boys - Backstreet's Back (1997)

*European pressing. 
Contains 11 tracks total.
Country: U.S.A
Genre: Pop
Label Number: 82876 53557 2

© 1997 Jive/Trans Continental Records
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
The Backstreet Boys finally achieved American success with their second album, Backstreet's Back. The reason for the sudden success had more to do with good marketing than the music itself, since Backstreet's Back is nearly identical to Backstreet Boys. Loaded with dance-pop and ballads, the album is as glossy as mainstream pop can possibly be. That slick production adds luster to the singles "Quit Playin' Games (With My Heart)" and "As Long as You Love Me," making them as irresistible as teen pop can be. There isn't anything else that really matches those twin peaks, but there's enough craft, hooks, and fun on the rest of the album to make it quite entertaining.

tags: backstreet boys, backstreets back, 1997, flac,

Backstreet Boys - Millennium (1999) ☠

Country: U.S.A
Genre: Pop
Label Number: 01241-41672-2R
☠: Selected by Lass
© 1999 Jive Records
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
The Backstreet Boys finally broke (and broke big) in America during 1998, as if by design. They had been Euro sensations for a couple of years, but it wasn't until Backstreet's Back was unleashed in the U.S. in 1997 that they had a presence in the States, and it was no small presence, either -- after selling over ten million copies, the album remained in the Top 40 on the eve of the release of its sequel, Millennium. And sequel is the appropriate word -- Millennium has no pretense of being anything other than an album for the moment, delivering more of everything that made Backstreet's Back a blockbuster. There's a familiar blend of ballads and dance-pop, a similar shiny production, a reliance on the Boys' charisma that brings to mind the debut. If Millennium were anything other than big, glossy mainstream pop, such calculation may be a little unseemly, but in this context, it can be rather fun. True, the album doesn't pack as much punch as its predecessor -- there's a number of good songs, but more filler than before, and the Backstreet sound isn't as fresh as it was the first time around -- but it does deliver what fans want: more of the same. And since there are singles as infectious as "I Want It That Way" and a handful of good ballads, that will be enough to satisfy anyone craving more, more, more.

tags: backstreet boys, millennium, 1999, flac,

December 18, 2016

Sisqó - Unleash The Dragon (1999)

Country: U.S.A
Genre: R&B
.FLAC via Mega (Link)
.AAC 256 kbps via Mega (Link)


© 1999 Def Soul/Dragon Records
AllMusic Review by Michael Gallucci
By the end of his debut solo album, Dru Hill's finest singer, Sisqó, has beaten the same rhythmic pattern, which is churned in and out of nearly every song, into the ground. Loaded with whispered bedroom moans, which have become late-'90s R&B clichés, Unleash the Dragon is short on any real songs to justify the pointless replay of these familiar grooves. Only when he actually unleashes his inner dragon, like on the club thumper "Thong Song," does Sisqó sound at all like the ferocious soulman he fancies himself to be. There's also little distinction among the guest spots here (though Make It Hot's turn on the jittery "Got to Get It" offers some sparks). And once the beats -- which borrow heavily from the contemporary R&B playbook -- are programmed, there's little for Sisqó to do but coast along the grooves, with all the conviction and commitment of a soul robot.

tags: sisqo, unleash the dragon, 1999, flac,

December 16, 2016

NSYNC - Greatest Hits (2005) ☠

Country: U.S.A
Genre: Pop
Label Number: 82876 74637 2
.FLAC via Mega (Link)
.AAC 256 kbps via Mega (Link)
☠: Selected by Lass
© 2005 Jive Records
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Hard to believe that *NSYNC released a mere three proper albums over the course of a mere three years in their reign as one of the two most-popular boy bands in the great teen pop boom at the turn of the millennium. Given their constant presence on the charts, on MTV, on the airwaves and on magazine covers, it seems like their time in the spotlight lasted much, much longer, but such mass multimedia saturation only gives the illusion of longevity and it doesn't give much of an indication of the durability of the group's music, either. Of course, pop music isn't necessarily meant to be durable -- it's meant to exist in the moment, and once that moment passes, the hit singles of a given day either wind up as classics that retain some of their initial power, or they become an aural snapshot of a given moment, a way to revisit a particular place in time. And nowhere is that better illustrated than on *NSYNC's first compilation, 2005's lean 12-song Greatest Hits. Appearing four years after their final album, 2001's Celebrity, Greatest Hits contains every one of their 11 non-holiday-themed Billboard Hot 100 singles, adding "I'll Never Stop" -- previously featured as a bonus track on certain foreign-market pressings of No Strings Attached -- to round things out. Since this has all the hits, along with surprisingly detailed liner notes from Chuck Taylor, this not only is a good overview and introduction to *NSYNC, but it's also their most consistent and enjoyable album since their proper records, like most teen pop records, were cluttered with filler. But that doesn't necessarily mean that their hits have stood the test of time. This collection proves that *NSYNC's music evokes a time and place -- the heady days of the Y2K roll-over, just before the stock market crashed, just before George W. Bush took office -- but it doesn't transcend their era. This is because the group not only doesn't have much on-record charisma, but their singles are constructed as records, existing entirely on the surface, lacking the backbone of a strong song. There are hooks scattered throughout here -- almost all arriving on the chorus, whether on propulsive dance numbers like "Bye Bye Bye" or on ballads like "Tearin' Up My Heart" -- but the tracks rarely, if ever, have the narrative momentum of a good song. This is not as great a trouble as it may seem -- after all, these singles were hits because of their sound, which is gleaming, attractive and proudly, even defiantly, lightweight. It may not be lasting, but it's a real pleasure for many listeners and anyone that wants to relive *NSYNC's glory years will find this satisfies their needs.

tags: nsync, greatest hits, 2005, flac,,

R. Kelly - Chocolate Factory (Limited Edition) (2003) ☠

 *Contains the "Loveland: E.P." as a bonus disc.

Country: U.S.A
Genre: R&B
.FLAC via Mega (Link)
.AAC 256 kbps via Mega (Link)

© 2003 Jive, Sony Records
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson
R. Kelly was hardly a stranger to controversy in the early 2000s. In addition to being hit with 21 counts of child pornography in Chicago and 12 more in Polk County, FL, the beleaguered singer/producer faced various sex-related civil suits. All those scandals have, at times, overshadowed his music, which is regrettable because Chocolate Factory has a lot going for it. Emphasizing romantic slow jams, and not as ambitious or risk-taking as 1998's R. -- which is arguably Kelly's best, most essential release despite its own imperfections -- Chocolate Factory, like 2000s TP-2.Com, tends to play it safe. But that doesn't mean Chocolate Factory is without merit; what it lacks in ambition, it makes up for in terms of quality and craftsmanship. Many of the influences that have served Kelly well on previous efforts continue to serve him well on this 2003 release; influences that range from the Isley Brothers, Marvin Gaye, Al Green, Michael Jackson, and Stevie Wonder to Prince, Babyface, and hip-hop. All of those influences were noticeable on Kelly's '90s albums, and they are still noticeable on Chocolate Factory. Nonetheless, Kelly has always been his own man; that is especially obvious when he features Ronald Isley on "Showdown" (not to be confused with the Isley Brothers' 1978 recording). Hearing Kelly and Isley side by side, listeners can easily see how Kelly is able to draw on Isley's influence while projecting a firm, recognizable identity of his own. One hopes that in the future, Kelly will come out with some more albums that are as challenging as R.; even so, Chocolate Factory will go down in history as a solid and pleasing, if somewhat predictable, addition to the Chicagoan's catalog.

tags: r kelly, r. kelly, chocolate factory, liited edition, 2003, flac,

December 12, 2016

Blink-182 - The Mark, Tom & Travis Show (The Enema Strikes Back!) (2000)

Country: U.S.A
Genre: Pop Punk
.FLAC via Mega (Link)
.AAC 256 kbps via Mega (Link)

© 2000 MCA Records
AllMusic Review by MacKenzie Wilson
Power punk funny guys blink-182 capture their witty stage presence on the limited-edition release The Mark, Tom and Travis Show (The Enema Strikes Back). Celebrating the quick success of their major-label debut, 1999's Enema of the State, The Mark, Tom and Travis Show showcases playful live cuts and previously unreleased tracks and, in keeping with blink-182's punk revivalism, the album is only available from the time of release and January 2001. The Mark, Tom and Travis Show is indeed a real rock show and catches blink-182's shameless personalities and childlike giggling about oral sex, dog semen, and masturbation. But that's what makes blink-182 popular: the band's ability to not care about anything is a carefree look for the pop kids buying its records. The bandmembers' immaturity is harmless and fans love it. The quick guitar riffs and swirling percussion are intact, and guitarist Tom DeLonge's hyperactive retaliations against the audience are merely an act for the sake of being cool. DeLonge and bassist Mark Hoppus are even funnier with their on-stage brotherly love affair. It's high-speed energy at it's finest, probably the cheekiest punk rock stake since Green Day's "Longview." And in the midst of teen pop mediocrity and post-grunge rollickers, it's good to see a band such as blink-182 enjoying its time on top of the world.

tags: blink 182, blink-182, the mark tom and travis show, the enema strikes back, 2000, flac,

December 11, 2016

NSYNC - Celebrity (2001)

Country: U.S.A
Genre: Pop
.FLAC via Mega (Link)
.AAC 256 kbps via Mega (Link)

© 2001 Jive Records
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
*NSYNC is nothing if not literal. Last time around, they freed themselves from their manager and titled the record No Strings Attached. This time around, after that album moved millions of copies, they've released an album called Celebrity, none too subtly drawing attention to the fact that they're stars. That's right -- this is a trials-n-tribulations of fame album, in the grand tradition of Bad, Use Your Illusion, and In Utero, complete with a garish cover that's a cross between Sgt. Pepper and a Sammy video. The difference is, of course, that the boys have been thirsting for this attention since they were children, so they're entirely comfortable with their position as kings of teen pop, and they celebrate their celebrity. And, let it not be said that they're not clever, since "Pop" isn't just a defense of their music, it stands as a rallying cry for their fans. And that signals what is so right about the record too -- *NSYNC is self-aware, not just of their position in the pop world, but how to consolidate their strengths while pushing forward. Since time immemorial (or at least since 1987), any pop group rounds up hot producers before making a new record, but *NSYNC has found producers that accentuate different sides of their music, from Brian McKnight smoothly delivering JC Chasez's "Selfish" to the Neptunes' subtle harpsichord groove on "Girlfriend." Nobody sticks around for too long -- only Riprock and Alex G are granted two tracks, with lead SYNC Justin Timberlake manning the board for no less than three songs, more than anybody else on the record -- and that's a blessing, since it keeps the album moving. As soon as BT's "Pop" wraps up, we're in Rodney Jerkins territory for the skittering title track and, not long afterward, Max Martin returns with "Tell Me, Tell Me...Baby," just in case old-school fans are missing Martin's patented Euro-schtick. All this means, on at least a superficial level, is that it's the group's most varied album yet, but the emergence of Timberlake and Chasez as credible soulful singers and, yes, songwriters makes it their best album yet, and one of the best of the teen pop boom of 1999-2001 (and, if the first week sales of Celebrity are any indication, it will extend even longer).

tags: nsync, celebrity, 2001, flac,

December 06, 2016

NSYNC - No Strings Attached (2000) ☠

Country: U.S.A
Genre: Pop
.FLAC via Mega (Link)
.AAC 256 kbps via Mega (Link)
☠: Selected by Lass
© 2000 Jive Records
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Prior to the release of their second album, *NSYNC split from their manager in a bitter dispute and signed with Jive, the kings of teen pop. For *NSYNC, the move provided them with an opportunity to, in the immortal words of George W. Bush, "define themselves," to prove that they were an independent unit -- hence the title No Strings Attached. To cynical critics, they very well might sound the same as ever, yet this really blows away their previous record. That much is clear from the storming lead single "Bye Bye Bye," a piledriving dance number with the catchiest chorus they've ever sang. However, the album isn't really just singles'n'filler; it actually is well sequenced and fairly balanced, much like the Backstreet Boys' Millennium or Christina Aguilera's album. Like those records, No Strings Attached pulls away from the standard dance-pop formula, strengthening it with harder street beats, electronica flourishes, ballads with some grit, and well-crafted pop tunes. Nobody is going to mistake this for Fatboy Slim, Beck, or TLC -- it's still lightweight teen pop. Yet, it's very good teen pop, managing to not only work well within its limitations, but to push it slightly while retaining its breezy, hooky identity. *NSYNC still can seem a little ordinary, lacking a truly charismatic punch à la Britney or Christina, yet they do deserve credit for shaking things up a little bit, since it's resulted in an effervescent, ingratiatingly cheerful album that's a vast improvement on the debut.

tags: nsync, no strings attached, 2000, flac,

November 29, 2016

HIM - Greatest Lovesongs Vol. 666 (1997) ☠

Country: Finland
Language: English
Genre: Gothic Rock
Label Number: 74321 53106 2
☠: Selected by Lass
© 1997 Terrier
AllMusic Review by Antti J. Ravelin
You wouldn't expect a lot from a band whose debut album is entitled Greatest Lovesongs, Vol. 666, but H.I.M. surprises in a very positive way. H.I.M.'s stigma of so-called "love metal" is actually undeserved and relates only to Ville Valo's love-oriented lyrics; the music itself combines metal with '80s rock and some goth influences, and the album as a whole has a very diverse sound. Songs such as "The Beginning of the End" and "It's All Tears" especially prove that H.I.M. can do a lot better than their poor single track "When Love and Death Embrace." Two cover songs on a nine-track debut album might be too much, but Ville Valo seems to beg the difference. In fact, H.I.M.'s versions of Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game" and Blue Öyster Cult's "Don't Fear the Reaper" are very idiosyncratic and fit very well on Greatest Lovesongs, Vol. 666. "Wicked Game," especially, is somehow even better than Isaak's original version, or at least it proves that H.I.M. does have a sense for dynamics instead of playing just quiet or loud, which is pretty typical of H.I.M.'s contemporaries. "Don't Fear the Reaper" intriguingly reduces the volume at the end of the album and the female vocals and piano add hopeful tenderness. Greatest Lovesongs, Vol. 666 succeeds in pleasing everyone, whether they're into rock or pop.

tags: him, h.i.m., greatest lovesongs vol 666, 1997, flac,

November 26, 2016

Iced Earth - The Dark Saga (Limited Edtion) (1996)

*U.K. & European pressing. 
Contains 1 bonus track and 11 tracks total.

Country: U.S.A
Genre: Heavy Metal, Thrash Metal
.FLAC via Mega (Link)
.AAC 256 kbps via Mega (Link)


© 1996 Century Media
AllMusic Review by Eduardo Rivadavia
As the cover artwork would suggest, Iced Earth's fourth album, 1996's The Dark Saga, is a concept album based on the popular Todd MacFarlane comic book series Spawn. Though most of the album poses the band in an uncommonly laid-back, non-thrashy mood, the songwriting of leader and guitarist Jon Schaffer is at an all-time inspirational high. In fact the band knocks out both the title track and the excellent "I Died for You" before the furious "Violate" provides the first taste of a double kick drum. Versatile singer Matthew Barlow is impressive throughout but the remarkable interplay between Schaffer and lead guitarist Randall Shawver is the album's true highlight, most notably on the dual harmonies of "The Hunter." Some of the momentum is lost with "The Suffering," a three-song suite that tends to plod along at times, but overall this is a strong album, and one of the band's best.

November 25, 2016

T.T. Quick - Sloppy Seconds (1989)

Country: U.S.A
Genre: Heavy Metal
.FLAC via Mega (Link)
.AAC 256 kbps via Mega (Link)

© 1989-1992 Halycon Recording Corporation
*No professional reviews available for this release.

tags: tt quick, sloppy seconds, 1989, flac,

November 24, 2016

P!nk - Can't Take Me Home (2000)

Country: U.S.A
Genre: R&B
.FLAC via Mega (Link)
.AAC 256 kbps via Mega (Link)

© 2000 LaFace Records
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
It may be hard to listen to Pink's debut album Can't Take Me Home without hearing TLC, specifically their 1999 album Fanmail. After all, L.A. Reid and Babyface were the executive producers for both albums, and they decided to use a skittering, post-jungle rhythm for the bedrock of these savvy, club-ready dance-pop productions -- a sound exploited expertly on TLC's record. If Can't Take Me Home pales next to Fanmail, it's not Pink's fault, nor is it because the album is sub-par; it's simply because it follows in the footsteps of a record that's as close to a modern classic as contemporary soul gets. Judged as its own entity, Pink's debut is quite strong, even if it isn't perfect. The production is masterminded by Babyface and LA Reid, who oversee such producers as Kevin "She'kspere" Briggs, Terence "Tramp-Baby" Abney, Daryl Simmons, and Tricky (not to be confused with the dark trip-hop genius, of course), and throughout this album, their work sparkles, from the deft layers of drum machines to the sultriness of the slow grooves. For the most part, Pink's performances match that production -- she may not be able to deliver ballads with assurance and soul just yet, but she never over-sings. She also not only has an appealing voice, but displays a fair amount of chops. So, with the production and performances in place, that leaves just the songs. While there are no bad cuts on Can't Take Me Home, there aren't any knock-out punches, either. They're all fairly well-crafted, but they're more ingratiating than immediate, and if dance-pop should be anything, it should be indelible upon at least the second listen, if not the first. Many of the songs on Can't Take Me Home need a few spins before they truly sink in, which is a bit unfortunate. Still, it's not the worst situation in the world, either, especially since a lot of the tunes actually do make an impression with repeated plays. So, Can't Take Me Home doesn't really escape many of the pitfalls of a debut, but thanks to LA Reid and Babyface's production and Pink's engaging talents, it's a promising first effort all the same.

tags: p!nk, pink, cant take me home, 2000, flac,

November 16, 2016

Various Artists - WWF Forceable Entry (2002)

* U.S. release. This version does not contain the track "Slow Chemical"

Country: U.S.A
Genres: Alternative Rock, Rapcore, Nü-Metal, Industrial Rock, Alternative Metal
.FLAC via Mega (Link)
.AAC 256 kbps via Mega (Link)


© 2002 Smackdown Records/Columbia
AllMusic Review by Johnny Loftus
Forceable Entry features 18 alt.metal, hard rock, and otherwise heavy tracks that double as entrance themes for WWF wrestlers like Stone Cold Steve Austin (Disturbed, "Glass Shatters"), Triple H (Drowning Pool, "The Game"), and Chris Jericho (Sevendust's reference-appropriate "Break the Walls Down"). Marilyn Manson's "Beautiful People" gets an exclusive, more gothically rocking WWF remix; heavy moaners Union Underground's "Move to the Music" serves as the theme for Raw itself. Even federation kingpin Vince McMahon gets into the act, adopting the grinding metal of Dope's "No Chance" as his own. Forceable Entry will be most relevant for wrestling fans. But fans of heavy music -- or anyone curious about Kid Rock covering ZZ Top -- might seek this set out in the local sale bin.

tags: wwf forceable entry, wwe, 2002, flac,

November 13, 2016

Blink-182 - Cheshire Cat (1994)

Country: U.S.A
Genre: Pop Punk
.FLAC via Mega (Link)
.AAC 256 kbps via Mega (Link)

© 1994 Cargo Music/Grilled Cheese
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Looking back, it's possible to see the roots of blink-182's tuneful frat punk on Cheshire Cat, but the fact of the matter is, this isn't as good an album as the ones that came later. That doesn't mean it's bad, since it skates by on its impish pranks and brash musicality, but the group is rather scattershot here, hitting the target as often as they miss it. There's enough here to dig into if you're a fan, but you have to be a fan to appreciate it.

 tags: blink 182, blink-182, cheshire cat, 1994, flac,

Blink-182 - Neighborhoods (Deluxe Edition) (2011)

Country: U.S.A
Genre: Pop Punk, Pop Rock
.FLAC via Mega (Link)
.AAC 256 kbps via Mega (Link)


© 2011 DGC Records
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
So here it is, Neighborhoods, the inevitable reunion album, delivered eight years after blink-182’s last album, six years after Tom DeLonge indulged his U2 worship via Angels & Airwaves, five years after Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker whiled away their time with +44, and two years after the trio re-formed for a tour, igniting the long fuse that led to this sixth blink-182 album. Produced by the three blinkers themselves, Neighborhoods certainly is a different beast than any of the cheerfully snotty early blink-182 albums, as the band picks up the gloomy thread left hanging on its eponymous 2003 album, the one that was connected ever so slightly to “Stay Together for the Kids,” the hit from 2001’s Take Off Your Pants and Jacket that signaled some deeper emotions behind the goofy façade. Very little of that slapstick is retained on Neighborhoods; it’s been replaced by atmospheric echoes stripped from Angels & Airwaves, a pretension from DeLonge that’s given form and a pulse by Barker and Hoppus. Although there’s considerably more momentum -- and hooks! -- on Neighborhoods than either A&A album, this still gets plenty ponderous, taking so many scenic detours that the three-minute songs often seem twice as long. Blink-182 are hardly the first band to equate maturity with prog rock, going so far to cop a good chunk of their themes and artistic aesthetic for Neighborhoods from Rush’s “Subdivisions,” yet it’s far better to hear blink-182 grapple with adolescent angst via the perspective of middle age than vainly attempting to re-create their youth. Perhaps blink could stand to sharpen their words but it’s better that they concentrated on their music, creating a fairly ridiculous yet mildly compelling prog-punk spin on the suburbs here. Guess the hiatus did them some good.

 tags: blink 182, blink-182, neighborhoods, deluxe edition, 2011, flac,

November 12, 2016

Blink-182 - Dude Ranch (1997) ☠

Country: U.S.A
Genre: Pop Punk
.FLAC via Mega (Link)
.AAC 256 kbps via Mega (Link)
☠: Selected by Lass
© 1997 Cargo/MCA Records
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
On their third album, Dude Ranch, blink-182 follow in the same path as their first two, turning out 15 tracks of juvenile, adrenaline-fueled punk-pop. Some listeners will find their potty humor ("Dick Lips") somewhat irritating, but the group has written some surprisingly catchy hooks, which might win over skeptics. The songwriting is still a little uneven, but overall, Dude Ranch is an improvement over their first album, Cheshire Cat.

tags: blink 182, blink-182, dude ranch, 1997, flac,

Blink-182 - Take Off Your Pants & Jacket (2001)

Country: U.S.A
Genre: Pop Punk
.FLAC via Mega (Link)
.AAC 256 kbps via Mega (Link)

© 2001 MCA Records
AllMusic Review by Darren Ratner
Not too much has changed since we last left blink-182. You might hear the same snap, crackle, and pop that the trio has prided themselves on for almost ten years. There's even the continual cabbage-patch screech of Tom Delonge and support for rampant teen angst. But five albums later, these San Diego natives grab their rosy-cheek punkadelics and add a bit more of a flamboyant, passionate maturation on Take Off Your Pants and Jacket. When Enema of the State leaped onto the charts in 1999, the lyrical direction was 90 percent party-boy mentality, leaving little room for traces of a growth spurt. And while we're still feeling the continual back-drip of tracks from Enema, the fresh plethora of tunes from these rambunctious Toys-R-Us rockers have more purpose than ever. With a fight-for-your-right joviality that's often irresistible, songs like "Anthem Part 2" and "Stay Together for the Kids" house a indomitable school-kid voice where a surging vapor of knockout speed chords meet wrecking-ball percussion. The meanings are bucketed and spilled, with lines like "If we're f*cked up/You're to blame" ("Anthem Part 2"). And forget about escaping lyrics such as, "I'll never talk to you again/Unless your dad 'ill suck me off," which stems from the hilarious, almost brilliant 42-second clash called "Happy Holidays, You Bastard." "First Date" and "Roller Coaster" are only a couple of their tunes that act as therapy for post-pubescent dilemma, also present on previous efforts like Enema and Dude Ranch. Each song about the rotten girlfriend or unhip parent speaks loud and often to the 2000 MTV generation. Nevertheless, the dumped-in-the-amusement-park tone and lyrical progression are sharp, if not entertaining. The band's stint on the Vans Warped Tour, with veteran punksters such as Pennywise and Rancid, has become a supreme outlet for blink-182. Take Off Your Pants is one of their finest works to date, with almost every track sporting a commanding articulation and new-school punk sounds. They've definitely put a big-time notch in the win column.

 tags: blink 182, blink-182,take off your pants and jacket, 2001, flac,