Bring Me The Horizon – Amo
Bring Me The Horizon is one of the fastest changing acts in rock n’ roll, evolving from a simple and heavy death core act in the mid 2000’s to a pop-rock/emo-punk act just over a decade later. Amo is the band’s foray into the worlds of industrial and electronic rock and, while there are a few bright points, most of the album falls flat and lifeless. The lyrics are weak, the instrumentation is uninspired, and the band’s pop sensibilities make reaching the interesting side of industrial rock virtually impossible. Worst of all, the bland production sucks all life from record, leaving only a shell of whatever potential was there.
Backstreet Boys – DNA
This record is a lot of fun. One of the most successful boybands of the late 90’s and the minds behind one of the most successful albums of all time in 1999’s Millennium, Backstreet Boys are still hard at work dropping their 9th LP. DNA is every bit as cheesy and indulgent as one would expect, sporting some fairly well made instrumentals, some nice vocal melodies, and a few very tight harmonies. On the other hand, we get some of the worst lyrics I’ve heard in several years and the production doesn’t seem to have changed since their debut. Ultimately, it’s a relatively enjoyable project that doesn’t overstay it’s welcome.
Papa Roach – Who Do You Trust?
The first half of this album is slightly better than you might expect, and the latter half is even worse. Papa Roach was one of the best selling bands of the Nu-Metal movement, but today, they’re largely viewed as an embarrassing phase for rock music. Who Do You Trust does little to dispel that idea as it ranges from completely forgettable to totally unlistenable. The lyrics are cringe-worthy, the production is horrible, and it is virtually devoid of an interesting or listenable melody across the thankfully modest runtime. A very weak showing for the nu-metal veterans.
Sharron Van Etten – Remind Me Tomorrow
I regret missing this album more than any other on this list. Sharron Van Etten is a prolific, indie rocker from New Jersey and Remind Me Tomorrow is her 14th LP since debuting in 2005. The album shows every sign of an experienced writer in its solid pacing, thematic cohesion, and tight, 40 minute runtime. The influences of 80’s and 90’s synth-pop are strong and with the aide of great lyricism and vocal performances, Remind Me Tomorrow is an enjoyable record for a wide audience, despite a few meandering moments. It also features the best album cover of year thus far.