The Sounds / Crossing The Rubicon / New Line Records
Born with tantalizing riffs and attractive lyrics, Crossing The Rubicon is a huge step up for The Sounds. The Swedish quintet may not flaunt the raw edge that made their sophomore album, but they’ve taken new wave rock, strangled it by the neck and filled it with swagger and throbbing retro beats. Along with foot-tapping melodies, singer Maja Ivarsson has evolved into a dynamite and versatile vocalist. Whether she’s spitting funk-filled spoken rhymes (“Beatbox”) or crooning like a disco songbird (“Midnight Sun”), Maja still breathes sex appeal and astounding talent. Crossing The Rubicon may seem like just another dance record, but it’s an album made of raw talent, vintage harmonies and a gifted cast that deserves a standing ovation.
Download: “Beatbox”, “No One Sleeps When I’m Awake”, “My Lover”
Green Day / 21st Century Breakdown / Reprise
Based off the same strings that pulled American Idiot into stardom, 21st Century Breakdown feels like a rock opera. With no idea where the record might be headed, each song lives on their own and sings with a different voice. The collection of 18 tracks at times show Billie Joe Armstrong’s unique skill as a songwriter and a musician, but the length and different “acts” are unecessary. Although it’s not a concept album, 21st Century Breakdown does bellow about the need of a revolution through rallying pop-punk hooks and angst-filled choruses. But do we really need a revolution? Such a question should be pondered by the once-epic band before they decide to record another album for today’s generation to indulge in.
Download: “21st Century Breakdown”, “Restless Heart Syndrome”