Recently, I've mostly been listening to a bunch of the same stuff from previous months, but I've finished passing judgment on two more albums.
The short version:
Chali 2na—Fish Market: 4/10
The first album was Chali 2na's Fish Market, essentially a compilation album of collaborations with this Jurassic 5 rapper. Now, I love 2na's voice, and this album obviously has plenty of it, and his band Jurassic 5, but this "official mixtape" just isn't doing it for me. (I debated even giving it a 4 out of 10; I was pretty close to a 3.) Most of the songs just aren't very good; good vocals won't save a track that's not worth saving. Some aren't just bad; some are outright obnoxious.
The best tracks here are probably Join the Dots with Roots Manuva, the annoyingly-titled Frgt/10 with Linkin Park (which I already had on the Linkin Park CD Reanimation), and the just-as-annoyingly-titled Whose 2 Blame with Don Coleon. It's tough to find samples of many tracks on the disc; it's not on Napster, there are no samples on Amazon, and the back of the case doesn't even have a track listening. But, it's probably not worth your time. Just skip it, even if you're a big Jurassic 5 fan.
The second one was much better: Go, by the Newsboys. It's somewhere around their twelveth album, so they know what they're doing by this point, and it's very well constructed from start to finish. Their last two released albums weren't even in their normal style, and this one is their return to the realm of pop. They're one of the very first groups whose CD I purchased (possibly the second), and I even got a signed copy of this one. They're a Christian band, and while that usually seems to mean festering crap-pile, these guys are quite talented, and their music is neither sappy nor horrible.
This one was another tough one to rate. On one hand, it's definitely not my favorite album they've released—maybe third or so. On the other hand, every song on the disc is at least good, and some are excellent. So, compared to all albums, it's still a really great CD. I was listening to one of the tracks, Something Beautiful (:30 sample), about ten times a day for a while—it's delicious pop music candy that did not lose its flavor. Other favorites from the disc are Wherever We Go (full song), Your Love Is Better than Life (:30 sample), and The Letter (:30 sample).
I've made it through most of the CDs I've bought now; I'll probably check out some of the instrumental discs now... maybe some Mozart and that multi-disc collection of movie score favorites.