Review Roundup: Weezer, Kanye, Eminem, Linkin Park, Filter, Stone Sour, Maroon 5, Stone Temple Pilots
Filter – The Inevitable Relapse
Quoted to focus on the industrial and electronic elements that gave Filter their signature, “The Inevitable Relapse” makes good on that promise. It avoids the missteps of “Soldiers of Fortune,” setting its sights on Title of Record. Although it doesn’t attain the electronic of “The Best Things,” it aims for the chorus force of “Welcome to the Fold.” Radio has not heard quality industrial rock since early in the decade; with this molten lead single, expect that to change.
Eminem – Love the Way You Lie (feat. Rihanna)
More controversial than Kanye, Eminem’s Recovery debut presents Rihanna in an awkward stance that has left listeners hushed over, “What is she singing about?” given recent history. “Love the Way You Lie” is a phenomenal fork in his road that swerves towards “Like Toy Soldiers” before Rihanna lends a new depth to the music of Detroit’s son. The acoustic guitar lends reflection and contemplation, something that most Eminem singles lacked. This time it’s personal without being overbearing.
Kanye West – Power (feat. Dwele)
Always controversial, Kanye fails to break the ground 808s made in 2008. “Power” does revive the commanding element of drums similar to when “Love Lockdown” was unveiled on MTV. With a sample from King Crimson’s “21st Century Schizoid Man,” Mr. West’s “Power” is an (unattainable for some) philosophical reflection on his hyper stardom. The one honorable act Dark Twisted Fantasy has bestowed upon us thus far in this single is the definitive lack of auto-tune. It’s Kanye. It’s a hit.
Linkin Park – The Catalyst
“The Catalyst” single features a distorted image of what will be A Thousand Suns‘s album art coming into focus. The lead single to Minutes to Midnight‘s five-single album exudes Meteora through a electronic symphonic blend. Mike Shinoda and the band held major creative control, and to start this next deluge with a slower, subversive single constructs a welcome launching pad upwards towards the rest of A Thousand Suns.
Maroon 5 – Misery
Spearheading Hands All Over, “Misery” is exactly how you would expect a Maroon 5 single to sound like. Hooks, pops, slight funk. They toned down the funk, inserted a masked cello and overproduced it this time that makes elements muddied. It’s still catchy, but could have been better to be more distinguished.
Stone Sour – Say You’ll Haunt Me
Written about his wife, Corey Taylor opens up more than expected and thus required a more perfectionist stance to the sound of the lead single. Sonically it meets halfway between “Through Glass” and “30/30-150,” the latter of which was too Slipknot for Stone Sour’s good. “Say You’ll Haunt Me” instrumentally starts slow before heavy drums and the chorus impacts to support the lyrics.
Stone Temple Pilots – Take A Load Off
Lyrically “Take A Load Off” edges into Bush territory with “Summer med fly ruled the airways, mostly superstitious. Now the kings of media invent the swine flu visions.” All around a better follow-up to the haphazard “Between the Lines.” It restores STP back to 2001, and with a downtempo tune with bright guitars we just may see them reach 1996 soon enough. The harmonies and lightness have returned…Shangri-La Dee Da.
Weezer – Memories
I wrote off Weezer. Raditude and The Red Album were mostly poor pop coming up at an unfortunate time that the rest of independent pop rock was churning forward at full speed, leaving Rivers Cuomo and crew behind. Well, Epitaph kicked them into gear! The chugging, steam rolling rambunctiousness highlights Brian Bell and Rivers with a fuzz guitar that scours that famous pop. For the first time in years it’s Weezer, with teeth.