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Various Artists - The Giver: Music Collection Album Review

As someone who's long been a fan of the book, to see 'The Giver' movie finally come to fruition has been quite the nostalgic trip. Headed and ended by OneRepublic and featuring rising stars such as Tori Kelly ('Silent'), Capital Cities ('One Minute More') and other solid up-and-comers in the music industry, 'The Giver: Music Collection' has a perfect mix of superstar power and the flair of still-indie but progressively more mainstream acts to inspire confidence in its pedigree. But is that confidence warranted?

The Giver: OST Music Collection Album Review

One Republic's first track 'Ordinary Human' has a pleasant synthetic backing and uplifting, optimistic lyrics that, with a certain "sci-fi" vibe, is reminiscent of Muse combined with the nouveau-disco feel common to contemporary popular music. 'One Minute More' plants the album more firmly in the territory of contemporary pop-rock with a light, airy and upbeat tone alongside, again, positive lyrics, and some interesting mid-paced synth. From there we go into the only female vocals on the album with Tori Kelly's 'Silent', which is a competent acoustic guitar song with a country twang. Where 'Silent' takes that distinct country flavor, 'Feel What's Good' by Jake Bugg brings in a dash of classic rock in some electric guitar. It's not strictly acoustic, of course, but it maintains a certain soulful element to its lyrics that resembles that of more acoustic and instrumental music. Bruno Major's 'Children' is more stripped down, its lyrics taking center-stage over a lightly strumming guitar.

Rixton's 'Whole', oddly enough, sounds more like a OneRepublic song than the actual OneRepublic. The music seems unnecessarily slow to the point of lethargy. However, Rixton give way to album highlight Aloe Blacc's 'Here Today'; the strong vibe of gospel and blues give it a certain dynamism and very inspirational quality. 'Shine My Way' by Sheppard has a lot of the same sound, and its more subdued lyrics carry all the richness that the swinging beat demands. The album departs with two more acoustic style songs - NEEDTOBREATHE's 'Difference' and OneRepublic's closer 'I Lived'. 'Difference' is slow and somber throughout, invoking the same vibe that made 'Children' work, while 'I Lived' picks up the pace around the time it gets to the bridge.

Continue reading: Various Artists - The Giver: Music Collection Album Review

Frozen Soundtrack Scores Biggest Sales Week In America For 11th Week At The Top


The Frozen soundtrack continues to wow chart experts in America after scoring an 11th week at number one on the album chart.

The 2013 release, which features songs by the film's stars Idina Menzel and Kristen Bell, has just notched up its biggest sales week yet, selling 259,000 units to rule the Billboard 200 again.

The album, which has now sold a total of 2.3 million copies in the U.S., has become one of 15 soundtracks to spend at least 11 weeks at number one since Billboard began publishing a weekly chart in 1956.

Continue reading: Frozen Soundtrack Scores Biggest Sales Week In America For 11th Week At The Top

NEEDTOBREATHE - The Reckoning Album Review

Album number four from this South Carolina outfit was actually released in 2011, but comes to our attention as the band wrap up US tour dates and prepare for a jaunt to the UK.  A top ten record in their homeland, those awaiting the next Kings Of Leon output could well be interested in this LP.

NEEDTOBREATHE - The Reckoning Album Review

Whilst a massive radio hit in the style of 'Use Somebody' isn't present, NTB clearly know how to put a bluegrass-influenced tune together and, like the Followill family, their sound could easily be placed in arena settings.  'Oohs And Ahhs' is a stomping rocker with a simple chorus that the title betrays, while the mid-tempo 'White Fences' is obvious sing-a-long material.  More gleaming guitar anthems can be found in the shape of 'Devil's Been Talkin'' and 'Keep Your Eyes Open', while 'Maybe They're On To Us' could well find you involuntarily grooving along.

Where many guitar bands lose momentum is when the acoustic guitars come out, or at the very least when their sound takes a more subtle approach.  It is a pitfall mainly avoided here, with 'Slumber' as glorious as opening the curtains to the first sunny day of spring and 'Angel At My Door' flowing with positivity.  Only 'Able' falls foul, proving unable to entertain as it moves to a gospel crescendo, but it is a very small blot on what is a very impressive copybook.  NTB are princes to the Kings for now, but on this evidence they could challenge for their crown in future.

Continue reading: NEEDTOBREATHE - The Reckoning Album Review

Needtobreathe Rockers Cringed At Employee Of The Month Song Use


Rockers NEEDTOBREATHE no longer attend previews of films their songs feature on after sitting through an "awkward" screening of Jessica Simpson movie Employee Of The Month - because they didn't find the comedy funny at all.

The South Carolina stars have had their tracks featured on movies like P.S. I Love You and When In Rome, and TV series including The Hills, Prison Break and Cougar Town.

Frontman Bear Rinehart reveals the group has "very little" input into where their songs are placed, and one particular film feature, for their tune Shine On in 2006, left them cringing with embarrassment.

He tells WENN, "The first time we were ever in a big thing, this movie called Employee of the Month, everybody wanted us to go watch it.

Continue reading: Needtobreathe Rockers Cringed At Employee Of The Month Song Use

Rock Band Surprised Taylor Swift Hand-picked Them As Tour Support


Rockers NEEDTOBREATHE were stunned to receive a call from Taylor Swift inviting them to join her on tour, because playing for the singer's country/pop fans "didn't totally make sense" for the band.

The quartet, which has mainly scored hits on the Christian music charts, will open for Swift on the North American leg of her Speak Now trek, but frontman Bear Rinehart admits he was surprised to hear from the Love Story hitmaker.

And Rinehart hints Swift had to fight label bosses to land Needtobreathe as her main support act.

He tells WENN, "It was actually really natural. She just called - she's a big fan, which is really nice... She's been a fan for a little while... and even though it didn't totally make sense for us, we're probably not what people (record label bosses) would have had, she really liked the band a lot and made it happen."

Continue reading: Rock Band Surprised Taylor Swift Hand-picked Them As Tour Support

Casting Crowns Land Top Dove Award


Canadian Christians Casting Crowns were the big winners at Wednesday's (21Apr10) Dove Awards, taking home the night's Artist of the Year honours.

The group, who also performed at the annual celebration of gospel and inspirational music, has claimed the event's Group of the Year title for the past five years. This year, that award went to South Carolina band NEEDTOBREATHE.

Sidewalk Prophets claimed the Best New Artist Dove, while Brandon Heath picked up his second successive Male Vocalist prize and Francesca Battistelli ended Natalie Grant's four-year Female Vocalist run.

It was a very happy night for Battistelli, who also claimed the award for Short Form Music Video (Free to be Me) and performed - she used the event to announce she is pregnant.

Continue reading: Casting Crowns Land Top Dove Award


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