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Sound Check

11/25/2015

Justin BieberJustin Bieber
“Purpose”
Def Jam

If there is an overarching theme to be found in “Purpose,” it is one of mia culpa. Surprisingly, Beiber seems to be at a point in his life when he has at least enough self-awareness to understand that he has made some mistakes along the way. Almost all of the tracks on “Purpose” seem to be offering up some kind of apology, while at the same time attempting to show fans and critics that he has a new, more grown-up sound. But the problem is that, when the effort works, it is not Beiber’s doing, like in last summer’s ubiquitous “Where Are U Now,” where the song’s brilliance comes from what Diplo did to it after the fact more than what Bieber spit out in the studio. The result is a highly collaborative album that is at its worst when the star is given the stage. CV

King Gizzard & The Lizard WizardKing Gizzard
“Paper Mache Dream Balloon”
ATO

“Paper Mache Dream Balloon” is actually the band’s second release this year, following “I’m in Your Mind Fuzz” back in January. Despite the extremely close release dates, these albums could not be more different. Whereas the previous album was electrified psycho-jam at its best, the new effort is completely unplugged and acoustic and manages to remain fundamentally King Gizzard while stripping away everything fans thought the band was. The move will not be for everyone, especially those who are hardcore fans of the speedy thrash of the band’s electric sound. But for anyone who appreciates a well-turned phrase and solid songwriting, “Paper Mache Dream Balloon” is worth a listen, especially on the heels of “Mind Fuzz.” CV

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