by Jordyn Smith
KIP MOORE – WILD ONES
Kip Moore’s sophomore album “Wild Ones” is an eclectic mix of country and rock. The album flows well from track to track, mixing up-beat anthems with several ballads that pull at memories of summers past. Moore has found a sound that connects him better to his audience. The title track “Wild Ones” is a classic rebel anthem and the title would suggest. Similar to Eric Church’s “The Outsiders” track, “Wild Ones” delivers a single that encourages all of us to unleash our wild side. Tracks like “Come And Get It” and “What Ya Got On Tonight” have a Springsteen quality that resonates well with listeners. Kip’s country roots comes through in “Burn The Whole World Down” and “What I Do.” “Backseat” and “Girl Of The Summer” take the listener back in time to young, summer-love. Overall, the album brings a great variety to the season’s country music.
GRACE POTTER – MIDNIGHT
The new 12-track album from Grace Potter expertly showcases her wide range and ability to pull her listeners in for more. “Midnight” is the kind of album that you crank the volume up for and shamelessly sing at the top of your lungs as you’re going down the road. Comprised of up-tempo tracks “Hot to the Touch,” “Alive Tonight,” and “Delirious” are complimented by a funky set—“Your Girl” and “Nobody’s Born With a Broken Heart”—but the emotional highlight of the record goes to “Let You Go.” Grace displays her incredible range in every song on “Midnight”, putting her brilliantly evolved sound on full display.
CARLY RAE JEPSEN – EMOTION
Upon hearing the name “Carly Rae Jepsen” most would remember her mega-hit “Call Me Maybe.” Many wondered if Jepsen could evolve and mature her music after 2012’s summer anthem. Emotion has exceeded expectations. Jepsen has created a 15-track deluxe album that encompasses all of the pop genre. Several tracks on the album have a great 80’s pop vibe to them with title track leading the way. Jepsen covers a wide variety of topic, including a great job of not sticking to one-dimensional love-songs. From falling in love in “Run Away with Me” to having bigger issues than boy trouble in “Boy Problems” to even being friend-zoned in “Your Type.”
DR. DRE – COMPTON
For the first time in 16 years, Dr. Dre has dropped a new album with “Compton.” Serving as the soundtrack for the summer blockbuster smash“Straight Outta Compton,” this album is chock-full of hooks, impressive lyrics, and star-studded cameos. Dr. Dre enlists his protégées Kendrick Lamar and Jon Connor, along with friends Snoop Dog, and Xzibit, as well as his former N.W.A members Eazy-E, Ice Cube, MC Ren and DJ Yella. Dr. Dre and his comrades harness pain, determination, and strength to compose this record, brilliantly illustrating the struggles they faced as well as their hopes and dreams. Dre is back, and in superb fashion.