The Strokes

(RCA Records)

Ten years since their first album floored critics and fans, and five since their last release, The Strokes have grown up in “Angles.” Fast-paced, distorted riffs are still present, as in “Taken for A Fool,” but they share the spotlight with songs of worry, as in, “Call Me Back.” All five members contributed equally, but vocals were recorded separately, perhaps a reflection of the band’s age. Influences vary, from the new-wave sound of today’s electro-indie music in “Games” to “Gratisfaction”‘s nod to the Rolling Stones, but the refined sound and chemistry of the band remain undeniable. “Don’t try to stop us/ Get out of the way,” Julian Casablancas sings in the beautiful closer “Life Is Simple In The Moonlight.” And no one should. These five are single-handedly saving Rock ‘n’ Roll.
Madeline Twomey

Lupe Fiasco

(Atlantic Records)

Lupe Fiasco’s third studio album, “Lasers,” is arguably his strongest and most intense album to date. After facing problems with his record label to even release an album, much of the album’s message is about moving forward and going after what you want. One of the album’s singles, “Words I Never Said,” features singer Skylar Grey and proves that Lupe doesn’t mind controversy, referencing 9/11 and abortion in this powerful rap-driven song. Other standouts on the album include the John Legend-assisted “Never Forget You” and the lead single, “The Show Goes On.” Despite setbacks, this is a strong effort by Fiasco, and like the title of his collaboration with Trey Songz, I can’t get these songs “Out of My Head.”
Max Schwager

Frank Ocean

“Nostalgia, Ultra”

If you are not aware of the Los Angeles-based hip-hop collective known as Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All, then checking them out is your first priority. Providing the group with singing and its R&B facet, Frank Ocean steps away from the group with his solo album consisting of extremely catchy and radio-friendly beats. While “Swim Good” and “There Will Be Tears,” about Ocean’s absent father, are anthemic highlights, the best part is the album is free to download from Ocean’s Tumblr.
Lucy Westcott

The Script

“Science & Faith”
(101 Distribution)

From the Irish trio that has a knack for barefaced lyrics about love and the emotional roller-coaster that comes with it, listeners can expect a familiar collection of melodies telling tales of break-ups, make-ups and, this time, unemployment in The Script’s second album “Science & Faith.” “For The First Time” is the story of a couple that reignites its relationship even when the two lovers find themselves in economic despair – encapsulating the band’s ability to intertwine poetic lyrics and artistic melodies with ease. “Walk Away” and “This is Love” demonstrate what I truly love about this band – its ability to infuse storytelling lyrics and flowing melodies to a backdrop of alternatively blended and up-beat hip-hop rhythms. In “Walk Away,” it collaborates with American R&B artist B.O.B. and, surprisingly, these young Irishmen can rap. Whether you’re an original fan of this Dublin-born band or just a love-crazed college student, most of us can relate to the heartfelt lyrics, and best of all, these soul-felt songs come with head-bopping beats.
Samantha Zeldin

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.