Green Day tops CD reviews

Green Day lead vocalist and guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong performs during the 2012 iHeart Radio...

Green Day lead vocalist and guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong performs during the 2012 iHeart Radio Music Festival at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada September 21, 2012. REUTERS/Steve Marcus/Files

Darryl Sterdan, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:22 PM ET

Welcome to the last roundup of new releases for 2012.

Green Day
¡Tre!

Wrapping up a trilogy is never easy. Not even for Billie Joe Armstrong and Green Day. The power trio’s third studio album in as many months has a shorter attention span than its pop-punk and garage-rock predecessors, bouncing between shots of ambitious stadium rock, feisty punk, strummy folk-rock, Beatle-pop and even doo-wop. Unfocused? Sure. But at least it’s a happy ending.

Download: Sex, Drugs & Violence; 99 Revolutions

RATING: 3.5 (out of 5)

Big Boi
Vicious Lies & Dangerous Rumors

Some guys want to sell razors. And some want to make music. While erstwhile OutKast partner Andre 3000 pimps for Gillette, Big Boi captures his freak flag and flies it high on his second solo joint. Aided by everyone from A$AP and B.o.B to electro-Swedes Little Dragon, Antwan Patton continues to push the borders of southern hip-hop into uncharted terrain. Ball’s in your court, Dre.

Download: Apple of My Eye; Lines

RATING: 3 (out of 5)

Bruno Mars
Unorthodox Jukebox

Less doo-wop, more hooligan. For this followup to his career-making debut, soul-pop phenom Mars drops the squeaky-clean image and gets down ’n’ dirty with expletive-laced odes to animalistic sex and avaricious strippers. Coupled with his Jacko-style vocals and sure-footed melodies — along with fittingly daring production — it makes for songs you can love just the way they are.

Download: Locked Out of Heaven; Natalie

RATING: 4 (out of 5)

The Game
Jesus Piece

To paraphrase The Wire’s Bubbles: There’s a thin line between heaven and the street. And it’s the line Game walks on his fifth CD. Backed by gospel-tinged gangsta-rap grooves and joined by a VIP cast that includes Kanye, Wiz and Wayne, the L.A. rapper thoughtfully moves from the church to the strip club, a Bible in one hand and a blunt in the other. Ain’t nothin’ but a G-O-D thing.

Download: Ali Bomaye; Jesus Piece

RATING: 3.5 (out of 5)

Wiz Khalifa
O.N.I.F.C.

The titular acronym of Khalifa’s fourth album stands for Only N-word in First Class. Fittingly, the pothead Pittsburgh rapper is flying high here — in more ways than one. The good news: Thanks to Wiz’s mellow flow and sense of melody, these trippy tracks are often more musical than the hip-hop norm. The bad: Too many slow-burning grooves and repetitive choruses blunt the appeal.

Download: Work Hard, Play Hard; Initiation

RATING: 3 (out of 5)

Alicia Keys
Girl on Fire

Fire might be overstating it. But there is plenty of smoke on Keys’ fifth disc. If you’ve heard the soaring title cut — and given its near-ubiquity in that credit-card ad, you likely have — you know what to expect: Another batch of intimate and passionate but ultimately similar-sounding piano ballads tastefully decorated with dynamic rhythms and stylish underproduction. Close but no cigar.

Download: Girl on Fire; New Day

RATING: 3 (out of 5)

Ke$ha
Warrior

Ke$ha wants to have her cake and smash it too. With her second album, the irritatingly outrageous singer continues to position herself as a white-trash troublemaker via low-rent party tales of cheating exes, dirty lovin’ and acting crazy. But even though her big-budget productions expose her true ambitions, she’ll win you over with her undeniable pop-chart smarts and dance-floor fare.

Download: Die Young; Dirty Love (feat. Iggy Pop)

RATING: 3 (out of 5)

Graham Parker & The Rumour
Three Chords Good

How do you like your comeback albums? Nostalgic or evolved? Either way, the first disc in 32 years from the underappreciated Parker and his reunited Rumour hits the spot. Granted, it seldom packs the acerbic, angry-young-lad punch of old. Even so, hearing Parker’s sharp-eyed lyrics backed by the band’s rich repertoire of folk, reggae, soul, jazz and blues is more than good enough.

Download: Coathangers; Live in Shadows

RATING: 3.5 (out of 5)

Florida Georgia Line
Here’s to the Good Times

Two heads really are better than one — especially when they belong to the hunky country boys in this rapidly rising Nashville duo. It don’t hurt that they use their purty mouths to harmonize on a succession of hooky country-pop singles and hick-hop ditties about hot summer nights spent cruising the back roads in your truck with a tipsy hottie in a bikini. Who doesn’t wanna drink to that?

Download: It’z Just What We Do; Tip it Back

RATING: 2.5 (out of 5)

Alexisonfire
Death Letter
All good things must end. Some just take longer. More than a year after their breakup, beloved punk vets Alexisonfire have reconvened for a farewell tour — and put a period on their recording life with this six-track missive. No new songs, sadly — but these haunting, mostly acoustic renditions of recent highlights and old faves prove even a delayed parting really can be sweet sorrow.
Download: You Burn First; Burial
RATING: 3 (out of 5)

Bryan Ferry Orchestra
The Jazz Age

Do the Dixieland, love. Eternal lounge lizard and sometime-Roxy frontman Ferry hits the speakeasy on this odd outing, recruiting a horn-driven band to re-make/re-model his classics into zippy New Orleans jazz and viper blues straight from the Roaring ’20s. Pity he doesn’t grace these retro mono recordings with vocals. On the plus side, it’s nice that he’s enjoying Boardwalk Empire.

Download: Love is the Drug; Avalon

RATING: 3 (out of 5)

Scott Walker
Bish Bosch

The sun ain’t gonna shine anymore. But the darkness is magnificent. Reformed ’60s balladeer Walker continues his fearless, peerless flight into the musical wilds with his third disc in 17 years. Between his unsettling avant-garde soundscapes, his desperate baritone and his demented tales of death, disease and dictators, Walker makes Radiohead seem like Rihanna. Uneasy listening.

Download: See You Don’t Bump His Head; SDSS14+13B (Zercon, A Flagpole Sitter)

RATING: 4 (out of 5)

Serj Tankian
Orca

He’s still bucking systems. And making waves. Mere months after his rock outing Harikiri, prolific and eclectic System of a Down frontman Tankian changes his tune once again. His first full-length symphony — which uses killer whales as a symbol of man’s dichotomy — is appropriately fluid and graceful, while simultaneously bombastic and majestic. A live version is due in June.

Download: Act I; Act IV

RATING: 2.5 (out of 5)

Don Felder
Road to Forever

The Eagle has landed again. Singer-guitarist and Hotel California co-writer Felder — dumped from the California combo in 2001 — finally returns with his first album in 28 years. Naturally, guitar-driven country-rock is the order of the day, with all the dusty vocals, high harmonies and twangy riffs you’d expect. Guess it’s true: You can check out of Eagles, but you can never truly leave.

Download: Girls in Black; You Don’t Have Me

RATING: 3 (out of 5)

Paloma Faith
Fall to Grace

Faith may move mountains — but listeners are another matter. The flamboyantly powerful U.K. singer’s 2009 debut was likened to Amy; this collection of grandly soaring soul-pop and sweeping balladry (released in her homeland back in spring) has quite rightly brought out the Adele comparisons. Until she can escape those shadows, she’ll have trouble staying in anyone’s good graces.

Download: Picking up the Pieces; Let Me Down Easy

RATING: 3 (out of 5)

Hinder
Welcome to the Freakshow

Freakshow is not the word I would use to describe the Oklahoma rockers’ fourth studio set. Though admittedly, it does make for a catchier title than Welcome to 37 Minutes of Totally Unoriginal Post-Grunge Sleaze-Rockers About Anonymous Sex and Substance Abuse, Along With a Handful of Modern-Rock Ballads Designed to Play Over the Closing Credits of Comic Book Movies.

Download: Save Me; Freakshow

RATING: 2 (out of 5)

DVDs

Pitbull
Live at Rock in Rio

Still putting together the soundtrack for your New Year’s party? You could do worse than this DVD of Mr. Worldwide’s recent appearance at Rock in Rio Madrid. The 50-minute set is basically a high-energy video dance party of Pitbull’s biggest club tracks, peppered with covers of Black Eyed Peas, LMFAO and umpteen more. One drawback: It doesn’t include the countdown cut 11:59.

RATING: 2.5 (out of 5)

Lady Antebellum
Own the Night World Tour

Everyone remembers their first time. Particularly when it’s on film. The down-to-earth country-pop superstars capture a typically upbeat stop on their debut headlining tour for their DVD premiere — and pepper the 95-minute main event with the usual assortment of bonus cuts, archival home movies, rehearsal and documentary footage and tour-bus shenanigans. Fans will want to own it.

RATING: 3 (out of 5)


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