Music Review: Fort Minor & John Mayer Trio

The master mind behind Linkin Park, Mike Shinoda, goes solo on this debut album from his side project: Fort Minor. The album, The Rising Tide, is Linkin Park without the mainstream rock elements and without the harmony the band achieved in balancing hip hop and rock lyrics and sounds. This is a return to Mike Shinoda’s hip hop roots where he has written, produced and played nearly every instrument on every track on the album (executive produced by Jay-Z). The only dissapointing thing seems to be some of the themes on some of the songs, the “I, I, I” and “Me, Me, Me” songs never appealed to me. Nevertheless in the 15 track album you are bound to find a few favorites. “Remember the name” is Shinoda introducing himself along with “Petrefied” both songs had become the first lead singles. Although in my opinion the most amazing songs on this album are the hard hitters: “Believe Me” which unless my ears betray me I think features a tabla (arabian drum) solo, as well as the serious “Where’d You Go?” that reminds me of Eminem’s “Stan” and Linkin Park’s “In the End”. Nearly every track features Shinoda’s (classically trained) catchy piano “riffs”.

For hip hop fans it may not be a big enough departure from Linkin Park but it’s bound to catch a few new fans and at least capture the Linkin Park base. It will be tough for Shinoda to gain credibility in this genre of music all alone. Although the “The Rising Tide” is packed with artists helping him out like rappers Common and Black Thought and singers John Legend and Kenna, as well as Linkin Park DJ Joe Hahn.

Bottom Line: 4/5

john mayer trioUntil John Mayer finishes his next album “Continuum” some time next year, he moves away from pop and indulges a bit in his first love: the blues, rock, and a bit of jazz. Try! is a live album from the John Mayer trio which features himself as well as, Steve Jordan (Bruce Springsteen, the Rolling Stones) and bassist Pino Palladino (the Who, Jeff Beck, Simon & Garfunkel)

While John has one of the coolest vocal chords in the industry today people fail to realise what a guitar virtuoso he really is. If his hero, Stevie Ray Vaughn, were alive today he’d probably be pointing out the same thing. Give him a few years and John Mayer will write his name in the books along side the likes of Vaughn and Hendrix.

The Album contains some old tracks and covers such as his own “Daughters” and “Something’s Missing” and “Another Kind of Green” but now available with more ‘blues’. As well as a Ray Charles cover of “I Got a Woman”. The most original songs that stand out for the Trio are the lead singles “Who did you think I was?” and “Gravity”. However “Good Love is on the way” has to be one of my favorites here.

It’s a good thing this album came out now, it’s an anthem for depressing winters, especially if you live in Canada.

Bottom Line: 5/5


You can hear both albums on AOL’s Listening Party for a limited time

Fort Minor’s “Where’d You Go?” is up on the Black Iris Radio

John Mayer Trio will perform on David Letterman on Thursday 24th of November.


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