The short version:
Goldfrapp—Tales of Us: 6/10
Robin Thicke—Blurred Lines: 6/10
Eminem—The Marshall Mathers LP2: 5/10
MS MR—Secondhand Rapture: 8/10
Penguin Prison—Penguin Prison: 6/10
Above and Beyond—Acoustic: 9/10
Blue Foundation—In My Mind I Am Free: 7/10
The Glitch Mob—Love Death Immortality: 6/10
Huh. Guess I haven't posted here since the last batch of music. Oops.
Goldfrapp's latest album Tales of Us is a strange case of "worse than the sum of its parts." What I mean by that is that there are a bunch of songs that are very pretty in isolation, but listening the the whole album is sort of a chore. The best tracks on here are Drew, Stranger, and Clay. All three of those are beautiful songs with breathy vocals and dreamy instrumentals. And they all sound alike, and like almost every other track on the disc. Thea is quite good too, and it's the exception, but the other nine tracks all just blur together.
Robin Thicke's "everyone's so sick of this single now" album Blurred Lines is pretty decent. Not being one to really listen to the radio, I'm not actually sick of the title track yet, and there are a couple other really solid songs on there: Top of the World and Go Stupid 4 U. The rest is all at least okay.
I'm not really a fan of Eminem, but The Marshall Mathers LP2 was a free download from Xbox Music, and it's not terrible. My feelings are actually kind of similar to Goldfrapp's album: there are some good songs on here, but my desire to listen to Eminem ends after one or two tracks. Halfway through a whole Eminem album and I want to Van Gogh myself. Berzerk is rather catchy, and then So Much Better and Desperation are probably the best after that. The production and beats are really solid—I sort of wish that someone else would rap or sing on top of them instead.
MS MR's album Secondhand Rapture sort of reminds me of Florence and the Machine but with softer vocals. Bones is great and totally sounds like something that could have Florence singing in it, and Hurricane and BTSK are both quite good. Definitely worth checking out.
Penguin Prison's self-titled album is cheery funky indie pop. Don't Fuck with My Money, Golden Train, and Multi-Millionaire are all great. Most of the rest of the album is decent but doesn't live up to those standards.
Above and Beyond is a band that I respect but don't really love, but their new acoustic album is fantastic, and I like it a lot more than their "normal" work, which I suppose is well-executed music in an electronic dance genre that doesn't really entice me. Acoustic is in a vaguely Sarah Brightman-ish pop-opera format, with emotional vocals and swelling strings. A Thing Called Love is the perfect example and an excellent song, Love Is Not Enough is gorgeous, and Satellite / Stealing Time is quite good too. Worth checking out, and it's irrelevant if you like Above and Beyond or dance music. I have a feeling that a live performance would have been phenomenal; the recording of the strings here seems a little dull and fake, and I'm sure they'd be fantastic in person.
In My Mind I Am Free by Blue Foundation is somewhere between electronica and alternative, I guess. I think that if I heard an instrumental version of the album first, I'd never suspect that there were supposed to be vocals; it's not that they're forgettable, but they don't seem to be the primary focus. I'm fine with that; there are some interesting soundscapes on the CD and it's all just very entrancing. Needles, Hard Life, and Ground Control are my top three. The vocals on the whole album are like those, but the backing instrumentals offer a nice amount of variety.
The Glitch Mob's second full-length album Love Death Immortality is a bit disappointing. There are several good tracks, but a lot of the album is pretty grating on the ears, and it leans too much toward generic dubstep to be as excellent as their first album was. The best track is Carry the Sun, which is great all-around, but unfortunately nothing else on the album matches it. Fly by Night Only and Can't Kill Us are pretty good too, but wouldn't even be middle-of-the-road on their first album. First world problems.