Neon Trees’s latest release, Pop Psychology, demonstrates growing command of both sound and lyrics. Wunderkind Hunter Hayes brings a new level of class to the often cliched world of country western music. Can’t make the trip to Rio for the 2014 World Cup soccer games? Not a problem—FIFA’s 2014 World Cup Brazil will take you there for a fraction of the cost.
Pop Psychology, Neon Trees (Mercury)
This Utah band recently released their third album Pop Psychology and continues to refashion technicolor dance rock into new wave pop rock. While full of catchy tunes and dance beats, this album has much more depth than their past work. It reflects the personal lives of its members and deals with issues like motherhood and acceptance of a gay lifestyle. The emotional heft and angst is apparent in the poetrylike lyrics which truly make this album soar. The mix of energy and insight makes Neon Tress’s Pop Psychology the kind of pop that will move listeners’ minds and souls. Check out tracks “Unavoidable,” “Living in Another World,” “Sleeping With a Friend,” and “ Voices in the Hall.”—Amalie T., grade 9, Floral Park Memorial High School
Storyline, Hunter Hayes (Atlantic Nashville)
Storyline is the follow up to Hayes’s smash self-titled album from 2011. He produced the album with veteran producer Dan Huff as well as cowrote all 14 tracks. Hayes definitely is a stand out in the country music world. His lyrics avoid the traditional clichés of beer drinking, pickup trucks, and dirt roads; instead, the focus is on up-tempo songs and ballads that deal with attraction, love, and self-esteem. His distinctive sound packs an emotional punch as he strives for something more intense and inspirational.
Check out “Tattoo,” “Invisible,” “Storyline,” and “Wild Card.”—Claire H., grade 11, Floral Park (NY) Memorial High School
2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil (EA)
Although FIFA World Cup is an added bonus in the EA franchise, this game has certain features not found in others. The ‘Be a Pro’ mode puts you against three teammates competing for a spot on the Brazilian World cup team. In order to make the cut you must continually outperform your rivals. This level of competitiveness is exciting and really keeps you on your toes. One feature which has been integrated across all game modes has been a more extreme level of training in player development. You can improve players’ stats by running them through drills in between matches. This gives you greater customization and a chance to minimize any weaknesses. On-pitch action simulates the franticness of the game and revs the action up a notch. Overall FIFA World Cup Brazil is a superb game that captures the intensity one of the greatest sporting events in the world. And just in time for summer. Rating: E for Everyone. Platform: PlayStation 3 Xbox 360.—Ryan A., grade 10,Floral Park (NY) Memorial High School
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