[This week Houstoned Rocks will run several CD reviews written by Press music/nightlife writer Shea Serrano's students at Stevenson Middle School. We like to start them young around here. These are the first two.]
Usher Here I Stand www.usherworld.com
The new Usher CD Here I Stand was okay - not great, just okay. The CD is a lot different than some of his others, and in that sense, Here I Stand is kinda like Frankie J’s Priceless. Priceless had slow songs, sad songs, and one or two fast/party songs. The Usher CD also had slow songs, sad songs, and a fast/party song. That is why I thought they were kind of the same in a way; well, to me, anyway.
Like most songs you hear, a few of these reminded me of things. The sad songs (“His Mistakes,” for example) made me want to sit and think about how life works. The fast songs (like “Love In This Club”) made want to dance and turn the volume up. The slow songs (“Moving Mountains”) made me want to lie down and listen to the words.
In the songs other people took part in, like Will.I.Am in “What’s Your Name” and Jay-Z in “Best Thing,” it was surely noticeable. Also, in “Love In This Club Part II,” Usher clearly wanted people aware that it was the remixed version.
The song that stood out the most to me was the second song, "Love in This Club." I liked the beat because it went with the song, and I liked the lyrics; I learned them quickly because they were cool. The song that I thought was one of the worst songs was the first one, "Intro," because it was really short and I couldn't really understand it that well.
I am sure Usher worked really hard on this CD and many people will probably like it, but to me it was kind of too mellow. - Laura Cabrera
Coldplay Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends www.coldplay.com
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The band Coldplay is one of my favorite bands ever. They’re not better then Three Days Grace, Three Doors Down, Papa Roach or Plain White T’s, but they’re good, and so is their new CD Viva La Vida.
One of my favorite songs they sing is the title song, “Viva La Vida.” It’s the kind of song that reminds you of the first day you met your best friend. In my case, it’s Jazmin and the day was in the fifth grade. Long story short, we talked and talked for hours so then we had become best friends. Our friendship was a little emotional for me and Jazmin because one time when I had hurt myself bad she was there for me; we cried. “Viva La Vida” reminded me of that. It’s a cool song. I insist you listen to it.
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Another song I liked was “Strawberry Swing,” because of the softish kind of way the guitar sounds, like how a love song sounds. One song I never understood is called “Life in Technicolor.” They don’t use any words in it, which is kinda weird, but it can become a cool song if you listen to it a few times.
“Cemeteries of London” seems like it wants to be confusing - it sounds like it’s soft and hard at the same time - but I understood what it said, so it was a cool song after all. There’s a part where he says “The midnight ride” (or something like that), which reminds me of Mayra, my other best friend, because we talk till midnight or even later.
“Lost” is the kind of song you listen to while you’re doing a slideshow on the computer of your best friend, (which is exactly what I was doing for Mayra, because she had left to Mexico for a month and I didn’t want her to forget me while she was gone so that was perfect. It made me cry a bit.) In “Lovers in Japan/Reign of Love,” they played the guitar in a kind of soft country song kind of way that was pretty cool after listening to it a few times.
Overall, the band was very interesting to listen to on Viva la Vida, so I recommend you to listen to it. Ranking the songs, I’d put “Viva La Vida” as number one, “ Cemeteries of London” number two, “Lost” as number three, “Life in Technicolor” as number four, “42” as fifth, “Lovers of Japan” as sixth, “Yes” as seventh, “Violet Hills” as eighth, “Death and All his Friends” as ninth and, last but not least, “Strawberry Swing.” - Gerardo Castillo