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Album Review
Danger Radio - Used and Abused Album Cover

Danger Radio - Used and Abused

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6.8
Danger Radio - Used and Abused
Record Label: Photo Finish Records
Release Date: July 8, 2008
Music fans with a pop-rock sweet tooth to satisfy have reason to rejoice. Danger Radio have released their full-length Photo Finish debut and it’s an unapologetically pop effort. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who heard their 2007 EP, Punch Your Lights Out. That EP was a telling precursor for what was about to come from this band. Those who found it endearing will probably find a lot to like on Used and Abused. Likewise, this album is unlikely to sway opinions among those who were less than impressed with the EP.

The opener, “So Far Gone,” has an almost Latin feel with some electronic elements in the mix. It sets the tone for the album in terms of production. Producers Mike Green (Paramore, the Matches) and Mike Elizondo (50 Cent, Maroon 5) apparently didn’t want to make just another synth-heavy album with a dusting of pop-punk guitars in the vein of the Cab or Forever the Sickest Kids. They incorporate varied influences from the straight-up Justin Timberlake vibe of “One More Chance” to the jazz-influenced “Kiss n’ Tell” with it’s brass flourishes to the title track, which sounds like it could have been lifted from Hall and Oates’ catalog. It’s refreshing to hear a pop band try to step out of the proverbial box, but this album is not without its faults.

For one, Andrew de Torres’ wavering vocal sounds awkward at times, much like it does on the EP, particularly on the verses of most of the songs. His attempts to sing softer sound laughably frail and fragile (making the aforementioned Timberlake sound like the very embodiment of masculinity), and it doesn’t fit well with the songs. Maybe he’s just trying too hard to sound soulful (or something), but it just doesn’t sound natural. When allowed to sing out on the choruses, he sounds much smoother and more comfortable.

In addition, the opening track sets the bar high, with its pop single appeal, and the rest of the album often fails to meet the standard. All of the tracks are fairly uptempo with some degree of catchiness, but moderately catchy isn’t enough to cut it with a pop album. An album like the Audition’s Champion is a good standard to which to compare albums in this genre: Danger Radio have achieved on a few songs what the Audition was able to achieve with pretty much that whole album. Used and Abused probably would have been more effective if a few of the thirteen tracks had been cut. Thirteen is just too many songs for a this type of album, unless they are thirteen really good songs.

This album is at least good for a listen or two. You might come away with a couple of tunes to add to your party playlist and possibly revisit from time to time. The album as a whole is unlikely to have much staying power, though. De Torres really needs to improve his vocal delivery and the band needs to further explore the varied influences on display here, and possibly expand upon them, in order to make a name for themselves and realize the potential they hint at on this debut.

Recommended if You LikeThe Audition, Cobra Starship, Young Love

myspace.com/dangerradio
This review is a user submitted review from Jeremy Aaron. You can see all of Jeremy Aaron's submitted reviews here.
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 23
07:00 PM on 07/23/08
#2
11:11
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This is a good review. I believe the album is a great initial effort, they just have to try and make it so every song sounds a little different. I had trouble listening the first time because I couldn't tell when some of the songs switched. However, I did find myself liking some of the songs.
08:51 AM on 07/24/08
#3
BlackpoolLights
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Completely disagree. Decent review, but I don't think you understand the purpose of the CD. And nearly every song kicks ass.

The ratings suck too - unrealistic. Sorry man.
09:58 AM on 07/24/08
#4
richie
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I like the third track a lot, he really sounds like Justin. But I don't agree with you on the vocals, I like them, they're different at least and he's not singing like everyone else out there.
Besides that, I find them a lot like The cab and I think Elizondo's producing can be heard a lot.
06:12 PM on 07/24/08
#5
laloser
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I really enjoyed listening to the cd i love danger radio and i love andrews voice i think it's different and that's what makes it so awesome
11:52 PM on 07/24/08
#6
fly_guy
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Dont like it.
02:27 PM on 07/25/08
#7
mysensesfailed3
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i agree with your review and the person who said your rating was "unrealistic" must be a fan boy. how can someones opinion on a cd be unrealistic?
10:45 AM on 07/26/08
#8
BlackpoolLights
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Well, my sadly obtuse friend, an 8/10 on production is "unrealistic" because anyone with half an ear for production can hear how well it was produced and engineered. The other ratings, too, seem swung down a notch or two to emphasize how much the reviewer disliked the CD rather than to portray the CD accurately. The production one stands out the most, however, because it is obvious that the reviewer only gave it that low of a rating in keeping with his other low ratings.

Perhaps you should consider alternatives and connotations before you speak.
09:43 AM on 07/27/08
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lucygray
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This was a well-written review, but I respectfully disagree with some of what you have to say. I love this CD and I feel Andrew's voice works well on it. Also, the EP is actually from 2005, the guys spoke about it in an interview and stated that the new CD is different from it, which is something I definitely agree with. The Audition comparison kind of threw me off as well, since I'm used to seeing them being compared to The Cab (who, imo, they are much better than).
09:15 AM on 07/28/08
Jeremy Aaron
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Well, my sadly obtuse friend, an 8/10 on production is "unrealistic" because anyone with half an ear for production can hear how well it was produced and engineered. The other ratings, too, seem swung down a notch or two to emphasize how much the reviewer disliked the CD rather than to portray the CD accurately. The production one stands out the most, however, because it is obvious that the reviewer only gave it that low of a rating in keeping with his other low ratings.

Perhaps you should consider alternatives and connotations before you speak.

Ratings are largely arbitrary. I don't consider the ratings to be low at all. A rating in the 7's for me indicates the album was average to good. Ratings of 8 and above would indicate "very good," and anything above 9 would indicate an album is excellent in that area. I like to use the whole ratings system to better differentiate album quality. I've written reviews with final scores in the 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s, so I'm comfortable giving high and truly low scores. I gave this album an 8 in production because I felt it stood out against similar artists playing this type of music. There are production elements on this album that you just don't hear on the Cab's album, for example. So, I thought it was very good. However, I don't believe the production was great. The album has a good sound, but at no time did I feel a sense of "wow, listen to what they did there!" during the album. It's that factor that separates something that's merely good from something truly great. Recent albums that I feel nailed this include the Helio Sequence's Keep Your Eyes Ahead, the Republic Tigers' Keep Color (Album of the Year material), Ashes Divide's Keep Telling Myself It's All Right, and Damiera's Quiet Mouth, Loud Hands. In terms of production values, these records are in a totally different class from Used and Abused.

Also, I don't dislike the CD at all. However, I feel that, as a reviewer, I need to provide an accurate depiction of the album. As a listener, I may be able to overlook an album's shortcomings and enjoy it for what it is. The point of a review is not to explain whether I liked an album or not and why, but to offer a critical assessment. This album is rather like a popcorn action flick in that, while it entertains, it will not be mentioned in any Best Picture conversations. My intention was to present a balanced portrayal of an enjoyable, but ultimately imperfect record. As such, I feel it succeeds, and I stand by it.
08:03 PM on 07/29/08
BlackpoolLights
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Ratings are largely arbitrary. I don't consider the ratings to be low at all. A rating in the 7's for me indicates the album was average to good. Ratings of 8 and above would indicate "very good," and anything above 9 would indicate an album is excellent in that area. I like to use the whole ratings system to better differentiate album quality. I've written reviews with final scores in the 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s, so I'm comfortable giving high and truly low scores. I gave this album an 8 in production because I felt it stood out against similar artists playing this type of music. There are production elements on this album that you just don't hear on the Cab's album, for example. So, I thought it was very good. However, I don't believe the production was great. The album has a good sound, but at no time did I feel a sense of "wow, listen to what they did there!" during the album. It's that factor that separates something that's merely good from something truly great. Recent albums that I feel nailed this include the Helio Sequence's Keep Your Eyes Ahead, the Republic Tigers' Keep Color (Album of the Year material), Ashes Divide's Keep Telling Myself It's All Right, and Damiera's Quiet Mouth, Loud Hands. In terms of production values, these records are in a totally different class from Used and Abused.

Also, I don't dislike the CD at all. However, I feel that, as a reviewer, I need to provide an accurate depiction of the album. As a listener, I may be able to overlook an album's shortcomings and enjoy it for what it is. The point of a review is not to explain whether I liked an album or not and why, but to offer a critical assessment. This album is rather like a popcorn action flick in that, while it entertains, it will not be mentioned in any Best Picture conversations. My intention was to present a balanced portrayal of an enjoyable, but ultimately imperfect record. As such, I feel it succeeds, and I stand by it.

Well said. Very well said. I respectfully disagree with your opinion that the production is 8/10, and would proffer that production is not so much about "elements" you can hear in the music, but about how well those elements mesh and the quality of the engineering. Also, I did have that sense of "wow!" while listening to it - perhaps I am friendlier to the pop genre than you are? Anyhow, I certainly believe it deserves an A (which would correspond with 90%+) in production. Secondly, I apologize for my heavy-handed and rather inarticulate diatribe above. I certainly did not mean to insult you - as opposed to the person who labeled me a "fan boy".

Lastly, I disagree with your second paragraph, but respect the intentions you describe. And I shall check out those albums you mentioned - Ashes Divide is the only one I'm familiar with.
09:04 AM on 07/30/08
polostud18
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I like the third track a lot, he really sounds like Justin. But I don't agree with you on the vocals, I like them, they're different at least and he's not singing like everyone else out there.
Besides that, I find them a lot like The cab and I think Elizondo's producing can be heard a lot.

Oh come on... Justin Timberlake... It sounds like someone is plugging this guys nose shut when he sings... or it sounds like someone kept the music at the correct speed but sped up the singers voice to chipmunk mode... Cannot get into this cd at all... annoying voice. The Cab had a much more solid release... the bands aren't comparable
11:55 AM on 07/31/08
blindrider529
***NICKEL CREEK*** <--GO LISTEN NOW
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I like most of the review...but I have to say that this album KILLS The Audition (yes...I have their albums AND love them)
03:27 PM on 07/31/08
Romancebled
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personally, i would've rated this a lot higher. it's a fun and catchy album.
05:15 PM on 07/31/08
foreverSWEET
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This was a well-written review, but I respectfully disagree with some of what you have to say. I love this CD and I feel Andrew's voice works well on it. Also, the EP is actually from 2005, the guys spoke about it in an interview and stated that the new CD is different from it, which is something I definitely agree with. The Audition comparison kind of threw me off as well, since I'm used to seeing them being compared to The Cab (who, imo, they are much better than).

Agree with as a whole (even though I love The Cab, Danger Radio blows them out of the water).

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