‘Love is Dead’ newest CD from Estonian pop star Kerli | VailDaily.com

‘Love is Dead’ newest CD from Estonian pop star Kerli

Daily Staff ReportVail, CO, Colorado

Special to the Daily

Love Is Dead Island Def Jam3 stars of 5Kerli, an Estonian-born singer and songwriter, is going for something big and different on her first full-length release. Love is Dead is reminiscent of Nelly Furtados dance-hook style and the soft-punk rebellion of Avril Lavigne, but in fairness, some of Kerlis songs stand on their own two feet as completely original. The Creationist is a pure piece of pop bliss and should be getting massive national radio play. Kerlis upbeat sincerity on this song is just too bright to ignore. Then she launches into I Want Nothing, a Pink-esque party song with lyrics that define her inner strength and tenacity.It must be hard to cast your lot in the music industry as a female. There just arent a heck of a lot of great women (or male) artists to come out of the MTV generation, but Kerli, at age 21, does a good job of avoiding the pitfalls many of the really bad ones fell into. But with the bar set so low, it doesnt take much to clear it these days. Love Is Dead reveals Kerlis talent but sounds more like shes trying to find a direction than blazing a trail.Charlie Owen, High Life writer

The Red Album, Geffen4 stars of 5Weezer is a band thats pretty stingy with its releases: only six albums so far in a 14-year career. They usually make the wait worth it, though, and thats definitely the case with yet another eponymous release, known simply as The Red Album.Its been a long three years since 2005s Make Believe, which thrust the band higher into the charts than theyd been in a while with the silly but catchy Beverly Hills. Amid speculation that bandleader Rivers Cuomo was calling it quits, he nonetheless announced last year that Weezer was in the studio and working on something a little different.The Red Album is unmistakably Weezer on several cuts, most notably fun, hook-laden tracks like the advance single Pork & Beans; Troublemaker; and Everybody Get Dangerous. Weezer rocks through these like the veteran power-pop band it is, giving long-time fans something to hang onto while still presenting some fresh sounds.The most ambitious track on the album is The Greatest Man That Ever Lived, which sounds almost like a homage to the multi-element style of classics like Bohemian Rhapsody. With its mix of hip-hop, Celtic and choir arrangements, this is Weezer at its best, pushing the boundaries of pop while still giving the listener plenty of hooks to hang onto. Weezer has always been open to harkening back to its musical influences, a tendency thats articulated in Heart Songs, where Cuomo gives a shout-out to hit-makers of his youth from Slayer to Eddie Rabbit. Another familiar track is Dreamin, which recalls some of the power-ballads of the bands Blue Album.Some may find Weezer throwing a few too many things at the wall to make them stick in this collection. The lyrics are a little darker and even nihilistic in places, but the band keeps most of the tunes themselves on the bright side, with the signature power chords and dizzying range of Cuomos voice keeping Weezer high above most of the pop acts working today. Alex Miller, Vail Daily Editor

Lay It Down Blue Note Records3.5 stars of 5Toward the end of May, Al Green did a radio interview with NPRs Michele Norris. They talked about Greens new album, his journey from being the most soulful man in music to being a gospel pioneer (a soulful one), and his choice of new blood for production on Lay It Down.Mostly, though, Green talked about how happy he was, and is, with his life and the music thats shaped it. Al Green loves everything and everyone. He loves you, and thats why you love his music. On Lay It Down, Green soars through classic R&B choruses and cutting horn lines, with the help of Anthony Hamilton, John Legend and The Roots Ahmir ?uestlove Thompson.Good soul music requires honesty and genuine feeling. Green always has been honest with us, and his work on Lay It Down keeps with that.The laid back soul on tracks such as Just For Me and No One Like You isnt quite the vehicle for heartbreaking joy that Lets Stay Together or Back Up Train were, but Green, at 62, is just as smooth as he ever was. Margaret Hair, Steamboat Pilot & Today

Narrow Stairs Atlantic3 stars of 5On the sixth track of Narrow Stairs, Death Cab for Cutie singer/songwriter Ben Gibbard shares a sentiment thats deeper than he might have meant it to be:I have to face the truth, that nobody could ever look at me like you do / Like Im something worth holding on to / These times I think of leaving, but its something Ill never do / Because you can do better than me, but I cant do better than you.This probably is how most of the music critics who hate everything about Ben Gibbard feel about his music. They dont actually hate him. They just feel like they could do better and that Gibbard probably could, too.Narrow Stairs is a continuation of 2005s Plans, a mix of melancholy and pop rock that is plenty palatable, even if it is exaggerated in its emotions. Its not music for every occasion, and its not really supposed to be.The five-minute introduction to the albums single, I Will Possess Your Heart, shows Gibbard allowing himself to indulge symphonic tendencies and embrace structures he hadnt considered before. The effect is darker and more solitary than Death Cabs previous output, a shift that broadens the bands range and gives Narrow Stairs an unpredictability that wasnt there before.Gibbards still a little rocky with his use of metaphor (Long Division is especially unfortunate), and hes still a little too stompy in sadness for his own good.But Narrow Stairs is full of quality, thoughtful and emotional pop songs tracks that dont make Gibbard the god of modern songwriting some tout him to be, but that dont make him despicable, either. Margaret Hair, Steamboat Pilot & Today