What I've Been Listening To Lately

Lately, I've been discovering for the first time a bunch of albums released in the past few years that I somehow missed the first time around. And they've also been albums I've never expected to like. Just don't tell my Skid Row albums I've been listening to these.

Fall Out Boy ~ Infinity On High (2007)
RIAA certified platinum

Yes, there is something a little melodramatic about Pete Wentz's extremely long song titles and the blustering, pompous crunch of his lyrics - but the appeal of this album is undeniable. "Golden" is a beautiful piano ballad that is the definition of short but sweet. "Hallelujah" borrows elements from the Jeff Buckley version of the same song - the weakest point of the song, but it is certainly interesting. A lot of the lyrics' subject matter deal with the same topics as past FOB albums - love, old girlfriends, and rejection - but this album adds a new topic - fame, and all the highs and lows that go along with it. This album is perhaps their most interesting work.

Best songs:

* "I'm Like A Lawyer With The Way I'm Always Trying To Get You Off (Me & You)" -- yes I wasn't joking about long song titles
* "Thanks For The Memories"
* "G.I.N.A.S.F.S." - from the deluxe edition bonus CD (it stands for Gay is Not A Synonym For Stupid)
* "Don't You Know Who I Think I Am"

Maroon 5 ~ "Call & Response: The Remix Album" (2008)

Remix albums are a little bit superfluous, unless you're Mariah Carey and actually record new vocals for your remixes. I love Britney, but I won't be buying her "B In The Mix: The Remixes" (2005) album any time soon. But Maroon 5 broke the mold with this album. It's ambitious and it breathes new life into their already excellent music.

As one reviewer commented, this album is remixed by people who actually seem to love this music. Mark Ronson's remix of "Wake Up Call" features new vocals by Mary J. Blige, changing the meaning of the song from one jilted lover's kiss off to his cheating ex to two lovers fighting over their extracurricular activites. The Just Blaze remix of "Makes Me Wonder" turns the song into a slow ballad which enunicates all of Adam Levine's quickly delievered lyrics. Unfortunately, the remix drags on instrumentally about two minutes too long at the end. But it's still genuis.

Best songs:
* "Little Of Your Time" (Bloodshy & Avant Remix)
* "Wake Up Call" (Mark Ronson Remix f. Mary J. Blige)
* "Shiver" (DJ Quik Remix)
* "If I Never See Your Face Again" (Swizz Beatz Remix)

Justin Timberlake ~ "Future Sex/Love Sounds" (2006)
RIAA certified 4x platinum, worldwide 9x platinum

Yes, this album has been overplayed to death, but if you take the time to listen to it, really listen to it, it's a pure piece of R&B/pop heaven. Timberlake really covers all his bases on this one, from dance hits to slow ballads. The production is flawless. Timberlake really proves with this one that he was more than just a pretty face, or an ex-boy band member. It's the perfect CD for driving around with your friends.

Best songs:
* "Love Stoned/I Think She Knows"
* "Until The End of Time"
* "What Goes Around Comes Around"
* "Sexy Back"