Originally published on El Estoque.
Album shootout is a weekly 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.