Music of the Week
By Lauren Harris
While the term 'supergroup' would feel like false advertising, Operation Aloha's members are no strangers to the top of the charts. Like some type of musical, long-running bachelor party, lesser known members of better known bands like Phantom Planet, Gomez and Maroon 5 lit out for Hawaii, rented a house for a month and recorded the results. While the visual component could have been sold to MTV for their latest in brain-deadening programming, the audio gets its release today, an album that allegedly puts to music the Kerouac-ian precepts of bohemian living. Unclear if any of the fourteen members knew they were naming their band after a military tactic employed during the Iraqi occupation where soldiers went Jehovah's Witness style, knocking on doors to ask if they could search citizens for weapons.
21st Century Breakdown
In more ways than one, the Bay Area trio's eighth studio album is aptly titled. It's been five years since their massive American Idiot, and from the look of it, many started to wonder whether the group had choked on their own success. To the contrary: they were working out ways to top the epic rock tapestry of Idiot and reach the same storytelling depths. Though the band refuse to call it a concept album, the songs here are concerned with Christian and Gloria (no imagery there) ' a young couple dealing with 'the mess our 43rd president left behind,' lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong has explained. Borrowing as much from the Boss as they ever have from the Clash, this might be the band's masterpiece.
Cam's had a tough few years. The formerly prolific, mostly drug-centric Diplomats founder was pacing to go down as one of the more creative artists rap has ever seen, but when his mom got sick, his crew fell apart and he started picking fights with anyone who got near the charts, Cam lost his way. Having broken publicly with Jim Jones and Juelz Santana, fought with 50 Cent in a less-than-Kanye way and found himself on the business end of Jay-Z, it took an additional year to get Crime Pays out, and features songs that retread the well-worn topics of drugs and bling.