Spring break jams

We’ve skimmed a few hyped albums, and now you’ll know what should make its way onto your spring playlist.

John Sand

.Joseph Arthur’s new EP “Could We Survive” is a refreshing departure from the current popular airbrushed indie music. It features six heart-wrenchingly honest tracks.

On his Web site, Arthur says, “(EPs) are like poems. Plus, the EP is like the stepchild of a record – people root for them.”

The EP opens with the anti-war hymn “Rages of Babylon.” The song strums “Fighting in a rich man’s war, blood can’t fill oceans of sand. I no longer possess my hand.” It is the stark imagery of Arthur’s lyrics and hoarse voice that pushes the song to success.

“In The Sun,” a previously released track, pleads for another chance at love. “I was caught in between all you wish for and all you need Ö if I find my way, how much will I find?”

Arthur’s revitalizing honesty succeeds in its quest to function as a poem. In the six-song album Arthur is able to trim down the tracks, leaving only the rhythm and heartfelt verses to thrive. As he clearly states in “King of the Pavement,” “The gods can hear me sing from inside the basement. It’s good to be king.”


The five girls of Danity Kane, who blossomed from Diddy’s fourth season of “Making the Band,” will release their sophomore album, “Welcome to the Dollhouse” on March 18.

After their successful self-titled debut album sold more than a million copies, complete with two top 10 hits, the girls failed to pull together a solid comeback.

The group’s vocal talent is undeniable, but that doesn’t always translate into an effective album. Many of the tracks mix overly complicated rhythm with extremely trite lyrics. The girls fall hardest in their corny ballads, like “Poetry.” The ridiculous lyrics mumble things like, “When you talk cold to me, I can see your breath in the air.” The songs’ attempts at poetic depth are laughable.

While there are a few upbeat songs that may translate nicely to successful singles, like “Bad Girl” featuring Missy Elliott or the sexy dancer anthem “Strip Tease,” the album is almost entirely a lame attempt to score another round of faux-popularity.

This simpleminded album could have been a hit – the harmonies are strong and the power is there, but Danity Kane needs to grow up and escape from this dollhouse.


After receiving a nod at the 2007 Golden Globes for her work on the soundtrack of “Into the Wild,” Kaki King finished off her fourth solo album, “Dreaming of Revenge.” The album features looping percussive rhythm and inventive acoustic guitar riffs.

The Georgian singer-songwriter is known for her innovative use of sound layering to form complex instrumental tracks. After a listen to “Dreaming of Revenge,” it is no wonder that she was the first woman to snag the title “Guitar God” by Rolling Stone magazine in 2006.

“Dreaming of Revenge” stumbles only in its presence of vague lyrics in songs like “Pull Me Out Alive” that border adolescent angst and immature ramblings. King’s music is best when left to her involved, multi-layered instrumental tracks.

The track “Can Anyone Who Has Heard this Music Really Be a Bad Person?” is a meandering mesh of guitar and piano, while “Bone Chaos in the Castle” showcases the energy available in King’s originality.

Both complicated and accessible, focusing on any single element of King’s music is sure to lead to confusion. Her melodies are best if enjoyed as a solid mass of audio art, and not scrutinized as separate brushstrokes.


You almost undoubtedly know Yael Naim as the French singer of the bouncy single “New Soul,” featured in Apple’s current advertisement for the MacBook Air.

The French-Isreali’s second, self-titled album, available in France since October 2007, makes its American debut next week.

“New Soul,” with its energetic melody and humming la-la-las, showcases Naim’s greatest strengths: her charming melodies and delightful accent. Similarly, “Far Far” examines her own place in the world as an artist through simplistic, quaint lyrics “Far far there was this little girl. She was praying for something good to happen to her Ö There is a beautiful mess inside.”

Another brilliant addition to the album is the French song “Paris,” charming even, and perhaps especially, to those with no knowledge of the French language. The simple melody and rhythm springs from verse to verse energetically.

Naim only falters in her witchy cover of Britney Spears’s 2004 single “Toxic,” which is difficult to suffer through in its entirety.

Naim has what it takes to break into the American music scene, but will be best received by fans of Regina Spektor or MIA.