Music, Movies & More: "Josh Doyle," “good kid, m.A.A.d city”

Jake Tapley

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Josh Doyle

“Josh Doyle”

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Often times, a debut album is the pinnacle of an artist’s career. However, in Josh Doyle’s case, I would like to think otherwise.


 

Now, don’t get me wrong – with his self-titled release, Doyle has definitely left a stylistic impression. Combining elements of folk, pop and rock, the album jumps around from a Mumford and Sons sound in “When Your Heart Can’t Make Up Its Mind” to a pre-Millenium Matchbox Twenty sound in “Bird of Prey.”

As the winner of the Guitar Center Songwriter competition, Doyle was provided an easy entry path into the music industry, and he’s taking it. That is the main problem I have with his first studio effort.

The album, chock full of commendable songwriting and impressive instrument arrangement, comes off as being too produced at times, which isn’t always a terrible thing (when done correctly), but I don’t really like it as a starting point.

Songs such as “Meaning of Life” and “Bird of Prey” are the silver lining for me. They don’t feel like Doyle is “playing it safe.”

However, the opening track, “Everyone’s Alone,” and lead single, “Solarstorms,” both feel overly polished to me. An edgier, rougher sound could do them a bit of justice.

Josh Doyle definitely has a lot of talent to work with. I just don’t know if I can fully agree with how he (or his record label) is allocating that talent.

By: JAKE TAPLEY, Staff writer

 

Kendrick Lamar

“good kid, m.A.A.d city”

Rating: 5/5 stars

Lamar’s second studio album is an autobiographical account of a young black male growing up in Compton, Calif., with all the vices in the world to either run from or become saturated in.

The album, released from Interscope/Aftermath Records, shows incredible new West Coast style. 

Subtitled “A Short Film by Kendrick Lamar,” the story is set in three acts. Delivering lines with ease, “good kid, m.A.A.d city” starts off with a prayer, and leads into what could easily be named one of the best rap albums of 2012.

The first act starts off with Kendrick being young and infatuated with life. The description of the 90s in Compton presented a different world from living in Indiana, but his story is relatable.

His rhymes consist of thoughts that went through his mind back then, dealing with drugs, gang violence and peer pressure in the streets. “The Art of Peer Pressure” is a pivotal part of the story. Kendrick describes a dark story about the influence in the streets.

In the lyrics of the song, Lamar says, “I never was a gang banger. I mean, I never was a stranger to the funk, neither. … I’ve never been violent until I’m with the homies.”

The album transitions with the second and third acts which serve as the evolution of Kendrick’s realization of the death of the streets. Kendrick tells not just his story but one of so many others.

“good kid, m.A.A.d city” is the “short film” it’s supposed to be with clips of Kendrick Lamar’s young life that gives a voice to the voiceless.

The album ends bittersweet. The last song, “Compton” featuring Dr. Dre, is a shoutout to Lamar’s home and the place that made both rappers the men they are today.

By: ARI BEEDIE, Staff writer

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