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Album Review: Justin Timberlake – ‘The 20/20 Experience’

Easily one of the most anticipated albums of the year, there’s both a pressure and excitement that ushers in the release of Justin Timberlake’s comeback LP ‘The 20/20 Experience’.

Due in stores on March 18th, the ten-track set is the star’s first collection of new material since the super-selling ‘FutureSex/LoveSounds’ hit the charts almost seven years ago. And while it’s this very fact fueling this project’s hype, being an artist of Timberlake’s caliber means there’s also ample expectation of the songs housed on the album.

Naturally, then, That Grape Juice were elated to be among the few outlets invited to listen to the LP late last month in London town. Introduced by the man himself on the eve of the BRIT Awards, the album was played in its entirety – allowing us to taste, chew, and digest Pop’s most anticipated offering.

In the weeks since, the album has been streamed for the masses – with ample debate surrounding how good it actually is.

Ever keen to plough through the smoke and mirrors, That Grape Juice has your answer after the jump…


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Album Review (With A Twist): Rihanna – ‘Unapologetic’

Seven years. Seven albums. And seven million opinions. Rihanna has undoubtedly become one of Pop’s most pronounced polarizers.  Indeed, in an industry which sees tastes and consumption pattens change with the wind, some cultural commentators see the star’s candy-coloured wigs and annual albums as the blueprint for commercial survival. For others, her quantity over quality approach is the root cause of everything wrong with the once flourishing music business.

Whatever one’s take on the Bajan bombshell, the fact is…you have one; an ethos the 24 year old is all-too-aware of on her latest opus ‘Unapologetic’.

A flagrant courter of controversy, the album ironically takes aim with the tabloid flames she and her team ignited to burn her name into mass consciousness. Smartly, though, such themes are merely a light undercoat to an otherwise “business as usual” Rihanna LP. Catchy hooks, stellar production, and questionable vocals characterise much of the record; again, polarizing opinion. For, while some love her for this, it’s these exact traits that certain sects loathe.

Alas, in tipping our hats to the Roc Nation star’s status as That Grape Juice’s most-talked-about act, we want to hear YOUR review of ‘Unapologetic’! Did she deliver? Did she disappoint? Sound off below!

That Grape Juice’s Favourite ‘Unapologetic’ Tracks:


* Nobody’s Business (ft. Chris Brown)

* No Love Allowed

* Stay

* Jump

That Grape Juice’s Least Favourite ‘Unapologetic’ Tracks:


* Fresh Off The Runway

* Numb (ft. Eminem)

*Right Now (ft. David Guetta)

That Grape Juice Rating: 3/5

Conclusive: Album boasts strong moments, yet is plagued by disturbing and heavy portions of filler.


Your thoughts?

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Album Review: Christina Aguilera – ‘Lotus’

Two years may not be the longest window of time. Yet, in the career of superstar Christina Aguilera the last 730 days have brought with them a series of challenges. For many, the most notable of these is the under-performance of  ‘Bionic’ – her ill-fated 2010 LP. Received well critically, the set struggled to ignite the charts in the manner Aguilera’s past releases had, quickly fading into Pop abyss.

Fast-forward to today and the climate looks altogether brighter for the self-branded ‘Fighter’. A rejuvenating stint on NBC’s The Voice has seen “Brand Xtina” back in business, clearing the commercial freeway for the 31 year old’s “comeback”.

Christened ‘Lotus’, the singer’s 5th studio outing is immediately noteworthy in that, despite boasting a loose narrative of “freedom” and “self-expression”, it’s the first of Aguilera’s post-teen-queen releases not tied to an overt “theme”. A fact that re-affirms her position as one of Pop’s most renown risk-takers. For, not only has the length and breadth of her success come from concept records, we’re in an era where top ten tallies often sound like the same song with different lyrics.

As such, from the onset, Aguilera tasks herself with standing out from the pack – in an era where the stakes are both higher and harsher. That Grape Juice attended the exclusive ‘Lotus’ album playback at Sony Music London today. Find out whether her risk paid off below…


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Album Review: Nicki Minaj – ‘Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded’

After whipping up a frenzy with her debut ‘Pink Friday’ in 2010this week sees Nicki Minaj stake her claim as a formidable chart force with the arrival of her eagerly awaited sophomore set ‘Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded‘.

A pick ‘n’ mix of genres, the project is split loosely in two; a musical melee, the set finds itself divided between songs rolled in Hip-Hop grit and others soaked in Pop fantasy.

Boasting a tracklist as polarised as the artist performing them, the question on the lips of many remains: beyond the wigs, schtick, and “eccentric”, does Nicki deliver on the most important release of her career?


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Album Review: Madonna – ‘MDNA’

For Madonna‘s twelfth studio album, the Material Girl has ditched the ‘hard candy’ in favor of something stronger, something meaner. Something she bills, her ‘MDNA’.

A Pop triangulation of sorts, the set was primary produced by the singer’s longtime collaborator William Orbit and two contemporary composers, Benny Benassi and Martin Solveig, to inject an air of “fresh” and “exciting”. As always, being the businesswoman that she is, M shares a songwriting and producing credit on every track.

As her first release not to be associated with Warner Bros. Records (the label she called home since 1982), all eyes are on whether the ‘Queen of Pop’ has crafted a blockbuster Pop LP. One which firmly plants her as a viable contender against the Rihanna‘s and Katy Perry‘s of the world. And one which, at the same time, reintroduces her brand to the ‘YouTube Generation’.

Beyond this, there also remains the penultimate question: as a solid body of work, how hard does ‘MDNA’ hit? Swallow the full review after the jump.


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Album Review: Rihanna – ‘Talk That Talk’

Six albums in six years. Say what you want about Rihanna, but that is quite the feat.

Yet, it’s this very fact that has divided fans and critics alike. For, the Bajan star has crammed into her short career releases and achievements her predecessors have worked decades to amass.

Predictably, the 23 year old’s supporters lap up each annual effort. One after the other, after the other. However, growing ever wider is the sect of listeners who attribute her success to being little more than a record label puppet. Indeed, with few writing credits, a limited vocal range, and a “change-with-the-sway” sound, it’s hard to posit the contrary.

Whatever the reality, the singer remains a staple on the tongues of many.  A sentiment well captured on the title of her sixth studio album ‘Talk That Talk’.

However, with ample doubt still surrounding Ri’s legitimacy, it quite – literally – is time for her to ‘walk that walk’.

After attending Def Jam’s London playback, That Grape Juice gives you the WORLD EXCLUSIVE first full review of the album everyone’s waiting for.


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Album Review: Kelly Rowland – ‘Here I Am’

Things really do appear to have come full circle for a certain Kelly Rowland.

It’s almost 4 years to the day that the songbird unleashed her sophomore set ‘Ms. Kelly’ on the marketplace. As history goes; political and managerial mishaps unfortunately sunk that ship. As such, Rowland was seemingly cast to a fate as the lesser child of Destiny.

Fast forward to today, and the climate looks altogether different for the singer. Having severed ties with manager Mathew Knowles in 2009, her career has climbed from strength to strength. Indeed, the time since then has seen her notch up heightened success Internationally, land a role as a judge on the UK’s X Factor, and – perhaps most notably – score her biggest Stateside hit to date with the sizzling ‘Motivation’.

Hoping to legitimate this success, the 30 year old lined up an all-star cast of songwriters and producers to craft her third studio album ‘Here I Am’.

With past efforts not hitting the commercial strides they, perhaps, should have, will it be third time lucky for the songstress?


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