CD Reviews: Tap Tap, Andy Werth

Tap Tap The Re-Introduction (Lynx Records)When 21-year-old Tacoma rapper Tap Tap's latest disc, The Re-Introduction, first showed up at SW headquarters, his catchy club jam "Get Your Ass on the Floor" immediately stood out as the type of ridiculous party song that wins in every other music market except the Northwest. With a mixture of Southern crunk, Miami bass, and DJ Unk "Walk It Out" flair, it's a proper booty-shaking track just right for club DJs and urban radio. Whether the song can become a real hit here is a question I unfortunately know the answer to. Other parts of Re-Introduction have merit as well. "Time Is Now," with its Auto-Tune vocal effects and lyrics that drip confidence, help Tap Tap sound like a hungry MC. And while his song "Double My Dollas" sounds like a low-budget "Dirt Off Your Shoulder," it works production-wise and the verses are nice.But there are horrendous missteps as well. "Studder" is one of the worst hip-hop songs I've heard all year. Its beat sounds like it was made on Nintendo, and there are annoying Fergie-style vocals on the chorus. "Y'all Know Me" isn't much better, and parts of the album show growing pains. But that's partly age-appropriate, and considering the jams outnumber the duds, Re-Introduction is well worth exploring. JONATHAN CUNNINGHAMAndy Werth Burn the Maps and Bury the Compass (self-released)At a time when artists pursuing the piano-pop route to fame aren't as common as they used to be, locally based singer/songwriter Andy Werth seems focused on expanding the genre's capabilities. On his debut full-length, Burn the Maps and Bury the Compass, Werth blends sounds and songs together to fit the nuances of everyday life. Love and loss are key themes, but the music feels cinematic. The approach Werth and his backing band take at times sounds a tad overcalculated, but there's an earnestness to the lyrics that proves heartfelt. Since Werth plays frugal horns, trumpet, piano, and guitar himself, his ability to arrange these compositions stands out most. On the lead track, "Stay Here With You," there's a full-bodied sound and a touch of Maroon 5–style pop prowess that works well. Other tunes, such as "Just Like Me," touch on jazz and dialed-down Americana. But piano stays at the forefront throughout, giving the album a rounder sound. Possibly the disc's best song, "Nothing to Fix," is all about justifying a breakup, with lyrics so vivid it transports you away mid-song. All told, Werth's songs leave a deep, lasting impression. JONATHAN CUNNINGHAM

 
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