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Old 23-10-2020, 04:04 PM #426
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...ughhhh apologies, Shaun...I did listen to it, I was just hoping to have another listen and didn’t realise how long I’d taken....with one listen...?...I would say 7.5...it was very good but slightly disappointing to what I’d hoped, it was one that I’d been quite excited about...it is an overall good album though and I feel thats a great score...

...Fake it Flowers...7.5...

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Old 23-10-2020, 04:06 PM #427
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...I agree, it does need repeated listens, which I will do...I just hadn’t gotten around to it yet...
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Old 23-10-2020, 04:08 PM #428
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...on the whole, all of the albums have been excellent choices so I guess that it’s waiting for that WOW one again to shake us up a bit...and that’s a difficult ask when they are all so good...

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Old 25-10-2020, 06:39 PM #429
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Forgot to update the OP oops. I think this might have run out of steam but here's a semi-major pop release this week. I know it's a bit late but I've always accepted late reviews for albums, you could even submit one for Album #1 if you wanted.
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Old 26-10-2020, 04:22 AM #430
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...so I’ve given Heaven & Hell/Ava Max, one listen...I could wait to give it another one, which is what I prefer when I’m not entirely sure enough to rate or I could be brutal and just dive right in there...I’m actually going to go for the dive right in there, just because I don’t know if I’ll get another chance and I don’t want you to think, Shaun...that I’m just not bothering etc...anyways, that’s the first time I’ve listened to her...I’m sure we had a music question in the pub quiz that was Ava and I had thought it was GaGa..(...forgive me, Smithy...because I can see now that they don’t look alike...but one that one little still pic...)...anyways, just nothing memorable about the album and nothing particularly stand out...so sorry, Ava...you’re lovely...and a 6.5/10 is not too shabby at all...
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Old 26-10-2020, 04:24 AM #431
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...gosh, if I rated Lady GaGa and she wasn’t a complete 10/10, the pressure...the Twitter war that Smithy would be waging....the stress, the anxiety, the panic attacks etc...
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Old 26-10-2020, 04:24 AM #432
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...I might have a listen tomorrow though, I think I will...
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Old 27-10-2020, 07:19 AM #433
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...so Chromatica...I’m not going to give much of a review as such because I’m so the late comer and just about everything has been said already...a music world without GaGa would be unimaginable....she’s such a goddess and brings so much depth to her music.....

...standouts for me are Rain on Me, 911, Enigma and Replay....I would say a totally worth while catch up listen of 8.8/10.....
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Old 28-10-2020, 08:20 PM #434
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I'll try and work out the new score for that later on

For Ava Max... I've been pretty vocal about not understanding the appeal with her this year (and last; I was mortified to discover it's already been almost two years since the release of 'Sweet But Psycho'), and I was going into this album somewhat open minded. There are some strong highlights; I love the most recent single 'Naked', the production is crystal clear and full of pop excellence. The gothic melodrama of 'Born to the Night' is also relatively fun, and evocative of this campy, Cascada-does-Halloween vibe that also resurfaces on 'Belladonna' (which, if you can get past the facade that seems purpose-built for Tiktok kids to insert into their clips of putting on skeletal makeup, is also fun). Earlier single 'Torn' is probably her best; a catchy vocal and a melody that borders a little close to ABBA's "Gimme Gimme Gimme" (or Madonna's "Hung Up", if you prefer).

But for every highlight there's a single like 'OMG What's Happening' or 'So Am I'; the former is a mundane listen, alluding to a vague lover-spurned story that lazily tries to inject personality with a spoken middle part, whilst the latter is just... grating. Repeating the same line over and over again can sometimes work (just ask 2017 Carly Rae Jepsen) but it needs a melody or a backing to pack the punch in lieu of clever wordplay, and this is lacking in both.

There are other moments that just can't disguise their filler roles; 'Call Me Tonight' underwhelms in every sense, whilst the padding out of the album to match the title's thematics results in a completely pointless show from 'H.E.A.V.E.N.' and 'Take You To Hell' (the latter shows promise with a Stranger Thingsesque intro, but then just turns into something Sia might slap together for a crappy animated movie).

A lot of the production and writing that goes into 'Heaven & Hell' is some impressive billing... for 2011. Chief producer 'Cirkut' was responsible for hits including Kesha's Die Young and C'Mon, Katy Perry's Roar and Part of Me, and Miley Cyrus' Wrecking Ball. If you search further down his list of contributions, you begin to get to the struggling careers and forgettable 'hits' of the likes of Iggy Azalea, Fergie and Jennifer Lopez. And so, we're left with Ava Max. Last decade's sound... today. I give this a 5.
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Old 28-10-2020, 09:01 PM #435
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Ava Max

This is an album with a sound too recent to be considered retro yet too dated to be relevant. Everything about this album feels like it's fallen out of a time capsule buried in 2009 and sometimes it works, but often, it simply doesn't. A lot of the songs are bland and uninspired and some of them are painful to listen to simply because Ava Max tries to present herself as this crazy out there person when she's as basic and milquetoast as it gets. Like, her album is called Heaven & Hell and the cover is literally her in a blonde and red wig to represent the two afterlifes and it's just... really?

It also doesn't help that a lot of songs sound the same, whether that's sonically or lyrically. There's the occasional song that I wouldn't skip if I heard it again but for the most part, it's all pretty bland, and at worst, grating and cringey.

I'm gonna give it a 3/10 because there's a few listenable songs but everything else is a complete and utter abortion of taste and execution.
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Old 30-10-2020, 03:43 AM #436
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Before we fall any further behind from last week with waiting for any straggling Ava Max scores, I'll open up the new album week for probably the year's biggest release. It'll soon be edited into the OP.
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Old 30-10-2020, 04:16 AM #437
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...I don’t think that Ariana’s full album is on YouTube yet, Shaun...it’s not coming up for me...
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Old 30-10-2020, 06:17 PM #438
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Hmm... is Spotify not possible for you? I'm not sure how long it'd be until that whole thing is up on YouTube. Did you give Ava Max a go, perchance? Edit: oh you did! Way before Dean and I! Oops!
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Old 30-10-2020, 06:20 PM #439
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The YouTube playlist for positions is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Mog...0aaJuhOnfss7eq

I'll try and embed it but idk how to with playlists.

Edit: nah you can't post a whole playlist in one preview here.
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Old 30-10-2020, 06:36 PM #440
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Quote:
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Hmm... is Spotify not possible for you? I'm not sure how long it'd be until that whole thing is up on YouTube. Did you give Ava Max a go, perchance? Edit: oh you did! Way before Dean and I! Oops!
...no worries, I was totally dazzled by Dezzy’s review as well...../.. milquetoast...
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Old 31-10-2020, 05:14 AM #441
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...I think that I’ve listened to the whole album...all I’ve really heard with Positions is ‘disappointing’../...type criticism...these songs are ‘lockdown’ songs...?...written when she was locked away with her guy and in a place of huge contentment...?...I can’t imagine that she’s ever been in a position to have spent that kind of time with a love in her life before because of her busy work/lifestyle etc...so I think the title ‘Positions’ and the position she’s felt in her life, really fitting...no pain, no angst, no heartache, no breakup etc...just happiness and contentment and in love, is what I feel...

....although there aren’t for me any huge standout tracks, there are some really delightful and pretty ones...I think the main colab I like is with Doja ...Motive, I think it was...Love Language and My Hair are really lovely......and I do like the last track, POV....I was thinking of an 8/10 because I do think it’s a good album and I don’t feel disappointed in her sharing the position she’s in, in her life and love etc and how she felt that during lockdown and writing it, just enjoying her guy...but I know I’ll listen to probably every track again....and then again...and again...so goddamnit, this is Ariana and Ariana deserves a 9/10 so that’s how it is...Positions 9/10...
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Old 31-10-2020, 01:16 PM #442
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I listened to it earlier but I think I'm gonna give it another listen over the next few days to get my thoughts together.
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Old 31-10-2020, 04:43 PM #443
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Hi if u review Moral Panic can I join in?
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Old 02-11-2020, 03:05 AM #444
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Ariana

This is an album that should have been an EP, at best. The highs are high and the lows are boring and indistinct. There's some tracks (most noticeably 34+35) that feel like they've taken the bones of far better songs from Thank U, Next and Sweetener and have just repurposed them into songs that are just lacking.

On the plus side though, most of the features are pretty great, Doja and Weeknd's offerings are particular highlights, but most of the songs where it's just Ariana alone are just lacking in anything unique or of substance. Ghostin and Imagine were two songs I really loved from her last album and I was hoping she'd explore those sounds and themes more but instead we just got some bangers mixed in with a lot of filler. Less is more, Ariana.

It's not a complete wash of an album though, as I said, there's a number of bangers and a few more that I wouldn't mind listening to again but the other half of the album is just production line disposable trash.

For the high points alone, I'm gonna give it a 6/10 but that's a low, barely passable 6. I hope she takes a year or two off so she can actually serve something a bit more fully realised than this album.
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Old 07-11-2020, 03:50 AM #445
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normally I would be annoyed by the complete lack of votes for one of the year's biggest pop releases, but I completely understand that this has been some week (Halloween, Bonfire night, start of lockdown, the very public exorcism of that vicious orange prick) and therefore I'll take a slightly different approach and extend Ariana's go until Thursday, making her the first (and hopefully only) fortnighter.
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Old 07-11-2020, 05:37 AM #446
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...this is Ariana and an Ariana album is such a moment in time, it really does deserve some moments of our time to acknowledge it...
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Old 09-11-2020, 08:02 PM #447
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Finally finished it and - as is the case with the past 3 years - I'm once again left frustrated. I just don't understand the hype behind her at the moment. It's just payola

There are some good moments: "pov", "love language", "safety net" and "motive" are the chief four. All of them play with different styles and influences, and introduce interesting instrumentals into the mix... the problem is they've just been incredibly diluted by the samey, tired dreamy R&B that pollutes the rest of the album.

"shut up" and "six thirty" are my two least favourites; the former is just a directionless string of harmonies with absolutely nothing else going on, whilst the latter is perhaps the most boring song I've heard all year.

I'm just... losing patience with her at the moment. In fact, I'm fairly sure it's all gone; 'Sweetener' was pretty bland, 'thank u next' was worse. This one... I think I prefer it to TUN but not by much.

I'm giving this a 5.5
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Old 11-11-2020, 07:38 PM #448
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I gather I am supposed to be under the impression that only 3 members have heard Ariana Grande's album and have an opinion on it. Alright then! (this is the death knell, btw, cba if nobody can be bothered to just type in a bloody score for an album they're already listening to)
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Old 12-11-2020, 03:52 AM #449
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......I’ve loved this......your music reviews have always been such a treat, Shaun...and when Dezzy dislikes an album, his dragging to filth is just everything, also.....

...I’m listening to PJ Harvey/Is This Desire atm but then will to listen to Little Mix/Confetti and Kylie/Disco anyway...because you’ve inspired me to listen to whole albums again as a daily thing and I don’t want to lose that again...it’s the only way to properly feel the artist...thank you.....

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Old 13-11-2020, 05:43 AM #450
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...I love Disco/Kylie album so much......it’s the sprinkling of joy that we needed in 2020...

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