MUSIC: Oct. 2 album shootout

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MUSIC: Oct. 2 album shootout

Yimeng Han

Two promotional singles from Taylor Swift and Rihanna and one full album from Muse were released this week. Both singles are from albums that will be released later this year. Album art taken from Def Jam, Big Machine and Helium 3 Records.

Album shootout is a recurring feature where we review recently released songs and albums. This week we listened to tracks from Taylor Swift, Rihanna and Muse.

Taylor Swift: Red (from “Red”)

Taylor Swift has never been a powerhouse vocalist, but that hasn’t stopped her from selling 22 million records about boys who keep dumping her. “Red,” a promotional track from her yet-to-be-released fourth album, is more of the same: a simple “country” melody, just beautiful enough to distract listeners from the fact that she’s publicly humiliating an ex-boyfriend. The lyrics are a bit of a mess though. “Loving him was red,” she croons, referring to either the passion of her previous relationship or her insatiable, demonic lust for revenge.

Rihanna: Diamonds (from her upcoming 7th studio album)

Rihanna changes appearances and vocal styles for every new album, so taking a new direction isn’t unexpected. However, she always sounds distinctive even if she’s cameoing on someone else’s song. That’s why “Diamonds” is so surprising — her voice is almost unrecognizable in this husky, somewhat lifeless track. It’s not a bad effort, but it’s missing the exuberant energy that we’ve come to expect from RiRi.

Muse: Unsustainable (from “The 2nd Law”)

“Unsustainable”’s gothic, doom-filled opening belongs in an apocalypse movie. Ominous orchestral pulses in the background build a sense of foreboding, only to be ruined by a bizarre robotic monologue that teaches you about heat exchange, entropy and disorder. It’s basically your standard AP Chemistry lecture.