Friday, January 21, 2022

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Sound Check


Boys II MenBoyz II Men



There is something great about an old group making a really clever comeback. It reminds me of when the Beach Boys released “Kokomo” and we all remembered how great those guys can harmonize. They made us feel sexy and beachy all over again. Boyz II Men, with its new release, “Collide,” have come back to us with exactly what you remember: standout singing performed in nice arrangements. But “Collide” isn’t as sexy as what we’ve been conditioned to believe a Boyz II Men album really should be, and therein lies the only real knock: this album could have been a bang of a comeback, taking us all back to the wine, fires and slow jams of 1996. However, what they’ve brought us is a solid, nice sounding album that can be filed safely away under “music your parents like.” CV

Steve AokiSteve Aoki


“Neon Future I”


Steve Aoki has been plying his trade, on and off, since 1999, and he’s done it with just about anyone of note in the EDM world. It’s precisely because of that level of time and dedication to his art that “Neon Future I” feels so hollow. It’s short, for one thing. There are just 10 tracks, two of which are extended intro and outro tracks. That doesn’t leave Aoki a lot of time for exploring themes or establishing any kind of voice for the album. As a result, it feels like something that would come from an artist who hasn’t decided yet what he wants to be when he grows up. Aoki has proven himself capable of making genuinely interesting, legitimately engaging music. But he’s done so little of it on his own, and it’s time to wonder how much of the quality stuff is a result of the people he’s chosen to surround himself with. CV

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