Don't Look Down

This is what happens when hipster meets hip-hop. It's kind of magical.

I had no idea who Skylar Grey was until today, but I am so glad I do now. Skylar Grey is the best thing to happen to music this year - mark my words. Blending folk, pop, and hip-hop is not easily mastered, and Skylar is setting the bar high. If this album doesn't speak to your soul, then I think you'd better check your pulse.

After writing the hook the Eminem's best-selling single ("Love the Way You Lie" feat. Rihanna), Skylar Grey decided it might be a good idea to write her own record. She didn't just do it; she did it well. Among the sea of auto-tuned, over-sexualized, brainless "talent" dominating the radio today, I'd say Skylar's got a pretty bright future to look forward to.

(Fun fact: she's also the female vocals on Fort Minor's 2005 single "Where'd You Go")!

Back from the Dead feat. Big Sean, Travis Barker *****

Appropriately titled, the first song is an evocative mix of piano and cluttered effects. Though this song contains much noise, Grey outshines the effects, showcasing her breathy vocals (with a little help from her friends).

"I held a funeral the day you left, a black umbrella and a sad song in my head. Buried your picture that I loved the most, cause if you survived me I just didn't wanna know."

Final Warning *****

Lyrically, this is Carrie Underwood's "Before He Cheats" on steroids. Musically, it's raw, complex, and vivid. Brilliant storytelling combined with a sick beat is always a win in my book.

"Good morning, gorgeous. I drove your truck in a lake last night, hope she was worth it. Don't worry, I slept just fine."

Wear Me Out *****

The third track of the album could have easily been written for one of the great vocalists of our time, like Adele or the late Amy Winehouse... but Skylar wrote it for herself and I'm not at all disappointed.

"Too young to drink, too green to think - you say these things and you wear me out."

Religion ***

A folk-ish pop song with a simple melody, spruced up with some synth and vocal effects. A refreshing break to the urban inspired opening tracks.

"It's a fucked up world that we live in, so let me be your religion."

C'Mon Let Me Ride feat. Eminem *****

This song is about sex... I think?

"I'm not like the sluts in this town, they make me bleh in my mouth."

Only Thing I Hear feat. Travis Barker *****

Grey recounts a love affair with someone from the other side of the tracks in this childlike love song. Featuring haunting vocals and strong percussion (obviously), this somber feeling song is easily my favorite of the album.

"When there's gunshots in the street (you're the only thing I hear) there's no place I'd rather be."

Sunshine ****

Simple lyrics and a catchy chorus solidify a place in my head for this one. The theme of this song is simplicity, which I most certainly can dig.

"Look at the sky, there's no need to cry, ain't got money but we got sunshine."

Pulse ***

Not my favorite on the album, but this one would definitely appeal to those who enjoy a more electro-sound. Grey's vocals are powerful and flawless against the steady percussion-driven rhythm of this song.

"Sometimes I touch myself at night as if you're dreaming of me."

Glow in the Dark *****

The most beautiful pop song. This is one that had to grow on me, due to its slow tempo and breathy vocals... but when I decided I loved it, I loved it hard.

"From where I was before to how far I get to go, I'm gonna raise my hands, gonna take a stand, gonna turn my voice up loud."

Shit, Man! feat. Angel Haze ***

This track loses points for the awkward female rapper, but its theme is definitely relate able. The chorus is dangerously catchy - so listen with caution!

"How we gonna do this babe? How we gonna do this, shit man. We don't even got no ring, and we don't got the money, shit man."

Clear Blue Sky ****

A piano driven love song cluttered with a few vocal effects and beautiful storytelling.

"I'm getting in my own way, getting high on heartbreak and all the shit that you say is making my world all grey."

Tower (Don't Look Down) *****

One of the most intimate songs on the album, this track starts with Skylar and a piano, and transitions into a chart-worthy song complete with electric guitar.

"Just leave me here to die as I watch you climb up to the top of your ambitions."

White Suburban ****

If you still need evidence of Grey's massive range of talent, then listen to this. It is chilling, piano-driven, and melancholic. Every album needs one of these.

"I crawl back into the shadows of my heart and just sit there in the dark, where you don't requite the love you still take."

Recommended for those who like: Lily Allen, Lana del Rey, Natalia Kills

My Album Rating: 4/5