November is always such a ridiculously busy month for music I just can't keep up. Here are brief reviews of albums released this week. Full reviews of all of them will be up shortly, I use the term 'shortly' loosely:
Leona Lewis - Echo. Leona returns with her sophomore effort. Echo is more confident than her debut but still rather tame, using the formula of big ballads ("Happy") and uptempo dance-pop ("Outta My Head"). I'm very impressed with this.
N-Dubz - Against All Odds. Fantastic follow-up to Uncle B, an even more comfortable blend of grime, hip-hop, pop and R&B--touching sensitive teen-oriented subjects such as the teen-pregnancy driven "Shoulda Put Something On" and the tastefully cocky "I Don't Wanna Go to Sleep." Second single "Play with Fire" with Mr. Hudson is awesome.
Nora Jones - The Fall. I wasn't a fan of Nora's last album, Never Too Late, which found the jazz singer try to branch out into different territories away from the blend of acoustic-pop and bluesy jazz that made her first album so successful. Her fourth album confirms she won't be returning to that any time soon, but it's still pretty good showcasing a solid blend of subtle-rock and more apparent acoustic-pop.
John Mayer - Battle Studies. Not as great as his masterpiece last album Continuum as Mayer decided to stray away from the winning blend of acoustic-pop and soul and indulge in a more folksy, country and rock endeavour.
Justin Bieber - My World. Possibly the least impressive of the bunch. Justin Bieber's music is lighthearted pop fun aimed at teenagers girls, which would explain why I don't get the appeal but I did check it out, but with such a limited 8-track set, mostly filled with the same beat-driven stuff it's hard to elude Bieber from the 'just another pretty face teen fad' category. Remember what Jesse McCartney used to be? But ballad "One Less Lonely Girl" is pretty cool.