Will.i.am has released a new interactive music video for “The world is Crazy” off his 2013 #willpower album. The Touchcast video is a newscast with WIl.i.am as a newscaster mothing out the lyrics to his song. As the stories of, Eric Garner, protest, and climate change paly on the screen the viewer is able to click or touch the story which directs them to a hyper link of the specific image. This new technology can give new meaning to “protest music” and shed light on things other than big butts and boat loads of money. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Will.i.am uses Bob Marley as an example to the type of music that would have greatly benefited from this the technology. “I wish I could see exactly what Bob Marley was talking about. If he was to have these tools today, he would’ve shown you all the trials and tribulations that he was talking about in the songs.”
The video can be seen on i.am/NEWS or it can be downloaded on the iTunes app store.
This weekend the Mayan Theatre in Downtown Los Angeles was flooded was fans eagerly waiting to experience Charli XCX. Her performance was every bit her, raw and wild. Punk inspired but definitely pop. She graced the stage donning a cheer uniform, team ‘Sucker,’ perfectly paired with platform creepers and a tiara fit for a queen because after all ‘It’s Prom Suckers.’
While the 22 year old artist was the queen of her own created prom night, she reigns as queen of singable anthems in our books. From Icona Pop’s ‘I Love It’ which she wrote and was featured on, to ‘Fancy’ to ‘Boom Clap,’ need we say more? Charli’s ‘Sucker’ album is slated to drop at the top of next year and will be nothing less than a surefire hit with all her Charli’sAngels as the album was written for girls to ‘empower’ us!
So 2014 is almost over, and I’ve decided to put together a playlist of some of my favorite songs this year. Picking favorites is the hardest thing for me to do, especially with music because I love so much. I actually have a never-ending playlist that I add onto with favorites, but I’m going to filter it down for you guys, and give you some of my favorites of the year so far!
“Rather Be” – Clean Bandit ft. Jess Glyne
So for one of my classes at Ohio University last Spring, we got to venture down to SXSW. We spent the week seeing shows, attending panels, and meeting with individuals in the music industry, and when we got back to school, we had to present our experiences. I volunteered to put together our group’s presentation, collecting stories, videos, and pictures form each classmates, then went ahead and put everything together into a short little video recapping our trip. That was the easy part. The hard part was figuring out what song to put to the video. I’m weird, and when I only have one shot to pick a song to impress people, I spend forever making my decision. I was shuffling through my iTunes library, yes I said iTunes, and yes I still use iTunes. After about two hours of searching through my collection, all of a sudden these lyrics came through my headphones – “We’re a thousand miles from comfort, we have traveled land and sea. But as long as you are with me, there is no place I’d rather be.” The first thirty seconds described it perfectly. I spoke for our entire group, and we all felt the same way. What we experienced in Austin together couldn’t be replicated, we all had a special place in our hearts for Austin and our times together that week. Now whenever I hear this song, it immediately takes me back to Austin, Texas with some of my best friends.
“Restart” – Sam Smith
Where do I start here? I could’ve made this entire post about Sam Smith’s debut album, In The Lonely Hour. Back to SXSW, I remember planning to see him at this church one evening because I could only imagine the beauty of his voice bouncing off the tall church walls. Unfortunately I switched my schedule around, but I still got to see him perform at the MTV Woodie Awards, but from the roof of a BBQ restaurant next door. I anxiously waited for this album to release, and when it did, it was the only album that was played for the next month. Listening to the album, I was thinking it was great, and then I get to “Restart.” I was a little thrown off, as this one isn’t a slow, romantic love song, or a slow song about heartbreak. Upbeat and fun, this had me thinking of some 80s pop that I had recently got into during high school. Then all of a sudden, about three-fourths of the way through the song, I flipped out. I can’t even describe what happens, but it’s almost glitchy, but yet so beautiful, and after this section ends I find myself singing louder and dancing even more than I originally was. This actually might be my favorite song of the year, so far, and I’m not sure if something can beat it.
“Like Real People Do” – Hozier
One of the best new artists of 2014, and Hozier’s self-titled debut album was just released in the U.S. “Take Me to Church,” is their most recognizable and popular song so far, but this band is going to have many chart-toppers in the near future. This song starts off with an acoustic guitar plucking along, soon joined by Andrew’s voice, delivering soft and sweet lyrics. His voice grabs my full attention, and makes me just want to sit there and listen, forgetting about anything troubling me at the moment. “Honey just put your sweet lips on my lips, we could just kiss like real people do,” is sung, followed by a hymn-like chorus, but with a folk twist. I remember the first time I heard this song; I was just mesmerized and did not want to get up or do anything after hearing it. It brought me this happiness, this self-peace that I hadn’t found in a song for a long time.
“God’s Whisper” – Raury
I don’t even remember how I discovered Raury. Which is weird because when I discover a new artist, especially one that starts to gain popularity, I can recall the first time I heard them and how I found them. What I do remember is my initial reaction to this song. I asked myself, “how does this seventeen year old kid have all of this wisdom and emotion when he’s so young?” It’s not a bad thing at all, I was just so impressed, and when I found out he was only 17, I couldn’t have been more excited. He just released his debut album for free, Indigo Child, and to download it you had to play a video game on his website and reach a certain score to get the download link. Again, I was impressed, nobody’s done that. Then I put the whole album on my phone and listened to it as I drove from Colorado to California. I remember driving with the windows down, through a couple tunnels, and hearing Raury’s powerful vocals echo through the tunnels. It took me by storm, and gave me chills. If Kanye is giving him attention, you better be too.
“Sad Machine” – Porter Robinson
Before finding this song this summer, I had no clue who Porter Robinson was. I found this song, and was in love. I could never get into any sort of electronic music, but something changed. This was one of the first that I truly loved. The vocals are so beautiful, then all of a sudden are distorted, and the song expands and the journey begins. This song changed my outlook on music and had me appreciate so much more. His new album, Worlds, was just released at the end of the summer and it was amazing. If you like this song, you need to listen to the album. The album is a story, and “Sad Machine” is only a chapter of it. Imagine only reading one random chapter of a Harry Potter book; you might enjoy it, but put it with the rest of the project, and you’ll love it so much more. That’s the case with this song and Porter Robinson’s album.
“Slow Motion” – PHOX
This summer I spent a lot of time looking up new bands, and if I were to count the hours I would lose track. Phox is from Wisconsin, which proves they can produce more than beer and cheese. This song is the band’s most popular, but they also just released their self-titled debut album, and have a new single, “1936″ that should get some attention soon. This song is so uplifting and will definitely put a smile on your face. Monica Martin’s vocal range is shown off in this song as she quickly flips between lower and higher registers, often leaving in the cracks in her voice too, showing that she is, in fact, human.
“Hey Mami” – Sylvan Esso
This song starts off with distant wind, followed by a couple different vocal tracks singing in a round. Then Amelia comes in and sings over the original vocals, and that’s the beginning of the song; no instruments, just vocals. It’s not until about halfway done where we get some drums, chimes, and synths in addition to all of the original vocals. I remember hearing this and thinking it was such a cool approach to a song, not relying on instruments, and just using them to enhance the song’s beauty.
“Just One Of The Guys” – Jenny Lewis
Jenny Lewis made a splash this summer with her hit “Just One Of The Guys.” This song actually took me a couple listens to fall in love with. I wasn’t a fan of the song other than the chorus for the first few listens, but that quickly changed. I would actually listen to it right after Sylvan Esso, and her take on her vocal tracks amazed me. Just a ‘normal, folk-ish, pop song’ but she’s going out of the box on her approach, sowing the true grittiness of her voice at times, singing with distortion, and naturally shows the range of talent that Jenny Lewis has. After hearing this song I went ahead and listened to her album, The Voyager, where I found the song “Slippery Slopes,” and truly appreciated all of the little things she is doing in each song she releases. I could listen to ant song of hers and find something new each time that I love, that I might’ve missed the listen prior.
“Ordinary” – Copeland
So from what I’ve heard Copeland was a pretty big deal in the early-mid 2000s. At this point I was mainly playing sports all of the time, and music -wise I was only listening to hip-hop and didn’t know about much else. So I actually didn’t know of Copeland until earlier this year when my girlfriend told me they were her favorite band. So I listened, and I liked them, but I wasn’t in love. A couple weeks later, they announce their return and released a new song “Ordinary,” and I remember I actually got chills from this song. Aaron’s vocals swept through my body, and during that first listen, I felt as if I was paralyzed. A similar feeling that I had with the Hozier song I mentioned earlier, but the lyrics on this song had a little more substance to them. When the lyrics stop, and the piano takes over, my mind was completely empty. This never happens, as something is always going through my head, but during that first listen of “Ordinary,” it was a feeling I never had. After this experience, I had to go back through their catalog to see what I missed out on in the 2000s, and I missed a lot. But, I find myself listening to them more and more, almost once a day, and truly one of my favorites to listen to.
“Kanye” – The Chainsmokers + SirenXX
So earlier the Chainsmokers released their song “Selfie,” and I absolutely hated it. There wasn’t a part of it I enjoyed, and the more I heard it played, or even blogged about irked me. One week on Spotify, looking through the new releases, I see they released this song, “Kanye.” Completely got rid of my disgust towards them, as Kanye is one of my favorite people and musicians, and thought that it must be good. So I gave it a listen, and I’m so glad I did. An upbeat piano keeps the song going, while the vocals scream “I wanna be like Kanye, I’ll be the king of me always,” and I soon found myself dancing and a huge smile across my face. I couldn’t stop listening to this song, and I pretty much forget that they made “Selfie,” and when I do remember, I don’t care because I love this song so much.
“Telemiscommunications” – deadmau5 + Imogen Heap
Most of the population knows Imogen Heap only from the Jason Derulo sample, “Watcha Say,” and they’re truly missing out. She has one of the most beautiful and captivating voices I’ve ever heard. I was listening to the new deadmau5 album, and I was pleasantly surprised when I saw her name on the tracklist. I decided to wait to listen until it came on, and it was one of the best decisions I’ve made. The anticipation I created for myself was at such an unreal level and was not let down. I can’t give her all of the credit on this song though, as deadmau5 deserves a lot of it for the amazing production, and reaching out to Imogen Heap to collaborate on this beautiful ballad.
“Say You Love Me” – Jessie Ware
Right now, in today’s pop music, if I had to pick my favorite female vocalist it would be Jessie Ware. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. An untraditional love ballad, “Say You Love Me,” shows off the raw power and emotion she has in her vocals. Early is the song, you can hear the dynamics heighten, and all of a sudden she rips it away and goes back to her soft and delicate style. Before the 3:00 minute mark, the guitar starts to build suspense, and more vocals are added into the mix, and it hits. The power and emotion of her voice is back, paired with a choir in the background, and she can do no wrong. She actually settles back down and brings all of her emotions together to finish out the song with the softer and more delicate style she opens with. Then I found out that she wrote this song with Ed Sheeran, and loved it even more. Her album Tough Love is released on October 24th, and cannot wait to hear the whole album in one sitting.
“Love Me Harder” – Ariana Grande ft. The Weeknd
Last, but not least, Ariana Grande finds herself on this list with one of her newest singles. Her album, My Everything, has a lot of great features on it and I actually couldn’t decide between this song and her song with Donald Glover to put on this list, both are amazing. I decided with this one because this song with The Weeknd has more potential to be a global hit. The Weeknd comes in for the second verse on his own, and his soulful, and seductive vocals fill the airwaves. The duo then plays off one another’s vocal riffs on the chorus, and I remember laughing the first time I heard it because I could tell how much fun they had recording it. After hearing this song, I just wanted to listen to more of the Weeknd because I felt like he was underused on the song, and just can never get enough of his vocals. But as a whole, her album was great, and can see at least 4 singles from this album to hit the top of the charts.
These are an extremely small sample of my favorites I’ve came across this year, but there’s something for everyone on this list and I hope you enjoy! Here’s the Spotify playlist for the songs:
Fresh off of his release of his Let It Go EP, James Bay is preparing to take the world by storm. He was found by a YouTube upload of a performance at a local pub; oh the wonders of the Internet. Now he finds himself joining Hozier on a world tour, one that you don’t want to miss. Starting as a local artist from Hitchin, UK, to a global name, and making his way around the world with another emerging, soon-to-be famous band.
About four months ago, James released Let It Go, a five song EP via Soundcloud. His title track “Let It Go,” was the first I heard of him, and it was a great first impression. I was surfing through a couple music blogs and came across it on multiple sources which made me give it a listen, and I’m glad I did. A soft, smooth, yet powerful song about independence quickly found its way in my daily playlist. Perfect to relax to, gather your thoughts, and become one with yourself.
“If You Ever Want To Be In Love,” takes a complete 180 degree turn, and is an upbeat folk-pop love song. The layers of vocals on the chorus grabbed my attention during my first listen, as well as the background guitar riffs, reminding me of those played by John Mayer. Towards the end of the song, it gets stripped down for a couple seconds, focusing on the vocals and those few seconds gave me chills. I imagine hearing an acapella track by him, or more stripped down songs, and cannot wait for what I hear next.
“Heavy Handed,” is written about him dwelling on the past, something a lot of us do a lot. When it comes to the composition itself, I’m not that big of a fan of this song. The electric guitar hidden beneath the upfront acoustic is nice, but other than that, I’ve heard it all before, and so has everyone else, as its the least played song of his on Soundcloud. But the lyrics. The songwriting is what makes this song special. Almost everyone can relate to dwelling over something in the past that they can do nothing about; whether its a past love, a loss in your family, a fight, career-related, or whatever it may be, James reassures it’ll all be alright.
“Hear Your Heart” starts of with hearing the sweeps across the neck of the guitar, making it feel as if your right in front of him playing it for you. Soft, raspy vocals sing the lyrics of this love song, kept in time with the shakers in the background. James reassures again that everything will be alright in the present and future, you just have to let everything go. He also sings how its much easier to move on, when you have someone by your side, wanting to be there with every move you make.
The final song on the EP, “Running,” is a simple, yet powerful love song driven by his soft vocals and piano. Written about him running home being next to his love, when he is needed the most. Running to the place he belongs, by his love’s side. Everyone has that one person who’ll they’ll drop everything in a heartbeat for. This song is written for them, the loves of our lives. This song hit me hard the first time I heard it this summer, and made me realize how lucky I was to have the friends and family I do; it put into perspective that I owe a lot of thank you’s (more than I could ever say) for all of the support they’ve given me through the thick and thin.
Go ahead and check out James’ Soundcloud page, and listen to the EP yourself, as well as his new single “Hold Back the River.”
So it was October 2nd, I get back from work and haven’t been able to check Twitter for what’s happening around the music world all day, when I come across something. I’m scrolling through Twitter, from posts at least 4 or 5 hours prior, and what do I find? That Childish Gambino, aka Donald Glover, has released his new mixtape. If I wasn’t already sitting down I would’ve fallen over with joy, there’s no doubt to that.
Everyone that knows me knows how much I love Kanye West, and all assume he’s my favorite..well, Donald Glover tops him by far. It’s not even close. The fact that he’s so successful in anything he tries, whether its music, acting, stand up, or improv, he motivates me to be just as successful with anything I do. He’s more than just my favorite musicians, but is one of the most influential icons in my life. So when I saw his new mixtape released, without him ever having a release date, it instantly brightened my day.
So this mixtape is something that has never been done, and let me repeat, never. His mixtapes in the past have been bright and quirky remixes, some originals, and more building a brand/team/family of artists. This one is way different for him, and any other rapper. The first half of this mixtape is entitled “STN MTN,” which stands for Stone Mountain, a natural attraction in the Atlanta area, where Donald is from. The second half is entitled “Kauai,” which is the oldest of the main Hawaiian islands.
STN MTN, is a Gangsta Grillz produced mixtape, something rap fans will recognize and appreciate as some of the greatest projects in hip-hop has been produced by Gangsta Grillz. The STN MTN part is songs 1-11, and all eleven songs are impressive. The first song “Dream/Southern Hospitality/Partna Dem” starts off saying “I had a dream I ran Atlanta,” and you get a reminiscent vibe of Donald looking back on his hometown, and wondering “what if?” What if Donald had stayed in Atlanta and pursued music from the start instead of venturing to NYC, writing for 30 rock, and then finding his musical talent? Nobody knows what would’ve happened, Donald doesn’t even know what would’ve happened, but I think this is an attempt for him to try and relive what could’ve been.
A lot of hip-hop fans don’t really care for Donald because they claim he doesn’t have an identity, he sings, he raps, he acts, he does stand up, who is he? But then they catch themselves singing along to 3005, or Oakland, and think wait, he actually is good, but they rarely admit to it. The first half of the mixtape, he shows off his rap skills where he can impress any rap fan with songs: “F***s Given,” “No Small Talk,” “Money Baby,” his remix of “Move That Dope,” “Poke,” or “AssShots.” Sprinkled within the more of traditional rap songs, he shows off his singing in “Sober,” “Pop Thieves,” “Retro,” and “The Palisades.”
The transition into Kauai, which is the half album at the end of the free project, starts with “Late Night in Kauai,” featuring Jaden Smith. Yes, you read that right, Jaden Smith. On the artwork it actually says “ft. Jaden Smith as ‘The Boy.’” The Boy is a fictional character that Donald made for his movie script for his album Because the Internet. Now we have a face to the name. Now if only he would shoot it into an actual movie, which I think and hope is his next project.
Kauai is a lot shorter than the STN MTN part because I think Donald wanted to address the doubters first, and give them all of the rap they wanted and asked for. Then made the second half for the rest of his fans, giving them 6 tracks that are pretty much perfect. The only track on it that I don’t like is, “Childish Gambino @ The Atrium,” which is a radio commercial for his show at the Atrium in ATL, something that would’ve been made if he were to pursue music early on in his hometown, and had to rely on radio promotions for his concerts, rather than label promotion nowadays.
This whole project, both sides, is a must listen. No matter which Donald you prefer. The mixtape shows off Donald’s personality and character perfectly. He wasn’t just going to sing or just rap, that’s not him, he does both and he’s going to stand by it, no matter how much fans want one or the other.
Some of my favorite tracks off of this mixtape are:
I had already hear “Sober” a couple weeks ago when Donald released it, so this was the first new ‘singing’ track of his, and after hearing it I knew this was going to be a special mixtape. Easily 30 seconds into the song, I found myself nodding my head to the beat, and not even a minute in I found myself singing the lyrics. Seagulls in the background, waves crashing, Donald takes us to Kauai with this one. “When your song is on, and your hands in mine, and I’m holding ya tight, make it feel good.” Donald follows up his hit love song “3005″ with this one, and could find itself into airwaves soon enough.
Another song from “singing Donald,” but this is actually my favorite song on the mixtape, and reminds me so much of earlier songs in his catalogue. The falsetto chorus mixed with the witty, clever verses, Donald sets his bar high 6 songs into the mixtape. This is another one I found myself singing along to by the end of my first listen.
This song comes in with the traditional Gangsta Grillz tags on the song, which normally I hate tags but these I’ve always liked. This song has a catchy hook, but that’s not where the focus is, you can tell Donald focused a lot on lyrics and production most, showing everyone he indeed can rap.
“3005 (Beach Picnic Remix)”
So I saw this on the tracklist and my first reaction to seeing it was, eh. The original song already had an emotional connection with me, and I didn’t want it to be ruined. I went into it with an open mind, and here it enters “No matter what you say or what you do….” pitch shifted, and sped up, which I loved instantly. The rest of the song doesn’t have too much going on which bored me a little.
BUT, when the screenplay was made for Because the Internet, there’s a point that it says “Play Secret Song Here.” After this, the Internet went wild trying to look through the coding of his website for anymore info, but after months of investigation, nothing was found. I assume everyone sort of dismissed it, giving up on finding it, I know I did, but that’s until this week. Donald reopened the case by tweeting this song would help with the secret song. Begin the frantic search now. Is it a real song, hidden somewhere out in the Web, or is it going to remain a forever mystery alongside “Roscoe’s Wetsuit?”
“You Don’t Have to Call”
Another beautiful song made by Donald. As it begins the song is stripped down to his vocals alongside some snapping. Slowly enters the piano alongside chimes, and then the drums. And piece by piece, the song comes to life. After his falsetto intro, Donald narrates a story to the instrumentation, something he became familiar with while recording Because the Internet.
The closing song on the mixtape/album is a remix to Lil Wayne’s “Go DJ.” This one hit a special place for me because it was one of the first songs that got me into rap. Donald knows this would draw attention to himself, taking on a rap classic. Within his first lines, Donald plays around with his vocals as he plays around with pronunciation and definitely drew a laugh form me; a laugh because I thought “alright, Donald, I see what you’re doing here.” About 3 minutes of rapping, closing out the project strong, then the last minute and a half to two minutes, Donald shouts out DJs from all over the country. Something artists don’t really do, unless they’re appearing on their radio shows, but never “just because.”
Go download and listen to STN MTN/Kauai here:
Up and coming R&B singer/hip-hop cover artist/pop star, Niykee Heaton, is finding herself quickly climbing the charts as her debut album Bad Intentions, topped the Billboard Real Time Twitter charts when released this past week. She also partnered with the new label, All Def Digital, ran by Def-Jam creator Russell Simmons. The label finds talents through YouTube and works with promotion and artist development afterwards. Heaton’s track “Bad Intentions,” actually was awarded Single of the Week in May, and has seen over 6+ Million new listeners across both YouTube and Spotify since its release.
With that being said, it would be worth noticing Heaton’s career on YouTube was going to be successful no matter what, covering well known hip hop songs on her own, without any outside help. Some of her standout covers are Kendrick Lamar’s “Swimming Pools,” Future’s “Turn On the Lights,” and “Poetic Justice,” by Kendrick Lamar and Drake. Its quite a feat for her to be able to cross these songs over into acoustic covers, because with hip hop there’s not always chords, its just a pattern of different loops, and not always composed as other genres.
Now to her debut album Bad Intentions. While being signed to All Def Digital, she got to choose which imprint of Universal she signed to, and Niykee chose Capitol Records. With one of the most star studded in line-ups in music, Capitol added more versatility to their label with the R&B, Soul, and Pop star in Niykee Heaton. Her debut EP with Capitol, has 6 songs, with her lead single “Bad Intentions,” which is the one that got Russell Simmons’ attention when submitted to his label.
The first song on the album “Sober,” Niykee starts off almost rapping, bringing back her roots of her hip hop covers onto the album. Then all of a sudden when the chorus comes in she flips the switch and goes into ‘R&B Niykee,” where she channels her inner-Rihanna. This one song, which most importantly is her intro song, she shows she can wear whatever hat is thrown her way. If she wants to rap, she can, if she wants to slow things down and seduce the listeners, she most certainly can. “Champagne,” sounds like it could easily be remixed by Schoolboy Q, Childish Gambino, Kendrick Lamar, A$AP Rocky, or even Drake and would be a huge success. Hearing her on this song has me imagining of a Drake collaboration, resembling the professional relationship he has with Rihanna, turning everything they touch into gold…and sometimes platinum.
Then comes “Bad Intentions.” The first time I heard this over the summer, I was speechless. I had no clue who she was. But she made this beautiful, slow, smooth, angelic, and seductive song and that’s all that mattered. Throughout the verses Niykee layers on some background vocals of her own and its just unfair on how great it sounds. Kudos to Niykee, her producer, Russell Simmons, ADD, Capitol, and Universal, they have a star in the making and her lead single is the perfect example of the work she’ll release in the future. The next single “Skin Tight,” comes in with some familiar synths that sound a lot like the synths from “Look At Me Now” by Chris Brown, Lil Wayne and Busta Rhymes. I’m not sure if I should call this one a love ballad, but more of a love appreciation song. Hitting all of the Rihanna comparisons in this song with a little bit of Cher Lloyd thrown in her sound as well.
“Rolling Stone,” is actually my favorite song on the album. Going back to her acoustic roots on this song with a choir of her own vocals, I hear a repeating comparison. Her vocals sound so similar to Rihanna’s vocals in “What’s My Name?” featuring Drake. This right here is why I think the Niykee/Drake collaboration would do exceptionally well. The last song on her debut album, “Villa,” is another acoustic, R&B, pop mashup that only a few people could pull off. Joined by shakers, salsa music, a horn section, gives this song a Southern American vibe, reassuring me she has been inspired by Rihanna and learning from the best.
I can’t wait to hear more from Niykee soon. Until then I’ll be listening to this album non-stop, along with rewatching all of her YouTube covers. This is not an artist to sleep on, as I can guarantee she will hit radio airwaves soon and become a household name.
Listen to her debut album, Bad Intentions, here:
Last week I wrote an excerpt on the new duo You + Me. For those that didn’t see, the duo consists of pop star Pink, and Dallas Green, the lead singer of City and Colour. It’s not a surprise that the two pop singers got together to form a duo, but it is strange in the matter of how they did it.
Their first single “You and Me,” is a dark folk love ballad. Two pop stars join forces for a love ballad, but wait, its folk not pop. An odd combo. At first listen I was mesmerized. The two go out of their comfort zone and make a beautiful piece of music, that impresses me more and more after each listen. In my opinion, this song is more powerful than any pop composition they could make with these lyrics. The instrumentation sounds so…depressing, but the lyrics say otherwise, confirming the love within the song. This juxtaposition stopped me in my tracks, because when the first chords come in I thought it would be a sad, more honest folk song. But I was wrong. Really wrong. It’s actually a positive, reassuring folk love ballad. You know when you listen to a new song so many times you start to feel animosity towards that song, or just get bored with it? Well, I don’t think that’s actually ever going to happen with this song.
The next single “Capsized,” was just released, and it’s another dark sounding song. The slower tempo, chord progression, and background ambience creates this mysterious and unknown. This is actually my least favorite of the three singles released, but I still do enjoy it. I’m madly in love with Pink’s vocals and background vocals on this song and personally I think she steals the show on this one.
The third single released “Break the Cycle,” sounds more of what we are used to from Pink. Vibrant strings welcome you into this song followed by Pink’s perfect vocals. The harmony created by her and Dallas during the chorus is unreal. Almost as if they were created to join forces and make music together. Again, not a pop song for the two, more of a singer-songwriter and folk vibe on this one, but still some pop elements thrown within. This is my favorite song released by the duo. When the chorus comes in Pink and Dallas’s vocals are joined by more of an upbeat, syncopated string and guitar part that builds up power and emotion soon to be collapse back down with the use of the strings. In no way can my words describe the beauty of their harmonies, so if you haven’t heard anything by the duo, I highly suggest you listen to this song first, you’ll fall in love.
October 14 we get their debut album, Rose Ave., in its entirety, in which I will write a review of the whole piece. Until then I will be updating their playlist on Spotify with any new released singles between now and then.
Let us know what you think of the three singles are, and any expectations you have for the album!
So we’ve all seen movies or TV shows where some of the characters are in a band and wonder why they can’t be real. This story will feature 5 fictional bands, from both TV and film:
1) Infant Sorrow
Starting in Forgetting Sarah Marshall and thriving in Get Him to the Greek, Russell Brand surprised me with his skills as musician Aldous Snow. After I saw Get Him to the Greek, I remember going home to listen to the soundtrack. The top songs by Infant Sorrow are “Going Up,” and “Bangers, Beans, and Mash.” I couldn’t get enough, and part of me wanted more music by Russell Brand, but then realized I’d much rather have him as a comedian.
2) The Blues Brothers
One of the most recognizable bands in general, not just from movies, are played by John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd, both iconic roles. “Shake Your Tail Feather,” was one of the first songs I remember listening to growing up, and it doesn’t get old. Getting Ray Charles to sing on that song makes it even better; there’s not way you can’t dance to it. “Jailhouse Rock,” and “Riot in Cell Block Number Nine,” are probably my two favorite Blues Brothers’ songs and always play those two first when listening to them.
3) Sex Bob-Omb
Created of Mark Webber, Michael Cera, and Alison Pill, they show that they can actually play well themselves without having to fake it and hire other musicians to record the songs. They landed 4 songs on the Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, which is a lot for a made up band. We saw Infant Sorrow have the whole soundtrack themselves, but in Scott Pilgrim, there are more bands to be featured as well, but Sex Bob-Omb gets more recognition than the others.
4) The Soggy Bottom Boys
Lead by George Clooney in O Brother, Where Art Thou, The Soggy Bottom Boys worked with T-Bone Burnett to perfect their sound for the movie. Growing up listening to T-Bone, I could definitely hear the resemblance, and enjoyed them in the film. “I Am A Man of Constant Sorrow,” was their only song on the soundtrack, but I wish there was more.
5) Mouse Rat
This is just ONE of the names of Chris Pratt’s band in Parks and Recreation, which is hilariously awesome. Andy Dwyer changes the name to something just as outlandish as Mouse Rat whenever he hears something odd. In one episode he plays a concert in memory of Lil’ Sebastian (Pawnee’s cherished mini-horse) and when hearing him play in this episode his voice resembled that of Dave Matthews. Again, I would love to hear Chris Pratt sing all the time! It’s the same case as Russell Brand though, I’d rather have Chris Pratt starring in Guardians of the Galaxy, Jurassic World, The Lego Movie, Moneyball, and Her.
I love the crossover of music in film and television, and can’t wait to hear more outstanding fictional bands!
Since the end of the year is quickly creeping upon us, we’re bound to get an abundance of new great releases across all genres.
Here are ten albums to look out for for the remainder of the year:
1. Steve Aoki - Neon Future (September 30)
The second studio album of Steve Aoki’s will be released this week, with an amazing tracklist. With features consisting of: Fall Out Boy, Waka Flocka Flame, Flux Pavilion, and Will.I.Am, most of the songs should find themselves being played at almost every night club.
2. Weezer - Everything Will Be Alright In The End (October 7)
The 9th studio album by the band will be released this year, and the anticipation grows as the release nears. This is their first album since 2010, and according to Rivers Cuomo, the band considered over 200 songs for the album, recorded 20 and then cut it down to 11. This album should find its way at the top of the Billboard charts after its first week.
3. Hozier - Hozier (October 7)
Hozier is by far one of my favorite new bands. The debut album has already been released in Ireland, but isn’t far away form its release worldwide. After hearing “Take Me To Church” earlier this year I fell in love. A soulful, emotion packed voice won me over after my first listen, and soon will win over the rest of the world after this album.
4. Jessie Ware - Tough Love (October 21)
Her second studio album will be released in just under a month, and she’s ready to make an impact in the music industry. Her debut album, Devotion, was released in 2012 and reached number 5 in the U.K., but didn’t make that much of a splash anywhere else. This album she hopes it’ll change. There are no features on the album, but the writers she worked with will make this album amazing. She brought in Miguel, Ed Sheeran, Jimmy Napier, and James Ford, so I am excited to hear the well-written love ballads sang by Jessie Ware.
5. Taylor Swift – 1989 (October 27)
She announced that she was going to step away from “country” and work on a pop album for her next release. After hearing her first single “Shake It Off,” it sounds like she has stepped away from her guitar driven love pop/country songs, and will sound like more traditional pop. The song is catchy, and I often find myself singing along whenever I hear it. It’ll be interesting to hear how different this album was to hers in the past.
6. She & Him - Classics (October 27)
American singer-songwriter duo consisting of Matthew Ward and Zoey Deschanel, will release their fifth studio album this fall. They actually met on the set of the film The Go Getter, and were asked to sing a duet for the end credits, and now have their fifth album recorded together. Definitely a great story behind the duo, and I can’t wait to hear more from them.
7. Lil Wayne - The Carter V (October 28)
A lot of people have claimed that Lil Wayne has “fallen off” but there’s no doubting he’s one of the most influential artists in today’s era of hip hop. His eleventh studio album, and reportedly his last, comes out October 28 after being pushed back multiple times. I would love to see him go out with a bang, returning to his roots and show people that he hasn’t lost his touch.
8. Copeland - Ixora (October 31)
In 2008 Copeland released their last album You Are My Sunshine, which was soon followed by the band parting ways. Earlier this year they announced that the hiatus was over and had a new album releasing on Halloween. Along with the announcement, they released their new single “Ordinary,” and was absolutely beautiful. Nobody knows what to expect from this album, but if it sounds at all like their first single, it’ll be a huge success.
9. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt. 1 Soundtrack (November 18)
All of the details regarding this soundtrack are still up in the air, and are a mystery to most. The soundtrack will be curated by Lorde, which makes the mystery factor so much higher. She’s a mysterious artist, and if you’ve seen her live, or just pictures of her live performances you’ll agree. She’s also providing the soundtrack its lead single, “Yellow Flicker Beat,” which will be released on September 29.
10. Kanye West’s 8th Studio Album – Release Date TBD
No release date set in stone just yet, but Yeezy season is quickly approaching us. After he signed a deal with Adidas, a snipper of a new song “All In,” was heard on their World Cup commercial. Kanye has said that a new single will be released soon, and shouldn’t be long until all of the details are released. Earlier this week he was in Paris for an official album listening party. So its confirmed that the album is finished, and won’t be long until its in our album rotation.
This will be a popular series I will begin posting, as I will pick a new artist each week. This week’s artist is CHVRCHES.
The premise behind this idea is that I will recommend new artists for you to listen to based on the original band posted. So in this post I will give you new recommendations that are similar to the sound and style of CHVRCHES. CHVRCHES is an electro-synth-pop band, whose single “The Mother We Share,” is still talking over airwaves. Soon enough their song, “Gun,” will join it on the top charts.
So now to the recommendations:
1) MS MR, a duo from New York, has the same vibe to them as CHVRCHES has. The vocals and composition by Lizzy are beautiful. The lyrics and composition of their single “Hurricane,” are much darker than CHVRCHES, and its evident without the bright synths. But nonetheless phenomenal. I suggest listening to “Hurricane,” and “Bones,” both dark but yet both beautiful when it comes to talent and storytelling.
2) BANKS, a signee of Capitol Records, fresh of her debut album Goddess is making listeners turn heads. “Beggin For Thread,” is a combination of MS MR and CHVRCHES. The storytelling and artistry behind it is similar to MS MR’s style, and the instrumentation is more similar to CHVRCHES. I’ve probably have played her new album over 30 times so far since its release. The second song I suggest listening to is “Warm Water.” It’s a very popular track for DJ’s to remix and for good reasons; her vocals in this song are breathtaking. Less instrumentation in this song, which has a “stripped down” vibe to it, where you need to listen to the vocals and the story being told.
3) Grimes, a Canadian producer as well as artist, takes the chilling vocals that are similar from each band so far listed, but combines it with driving drums, and hints of EDM in her work. “Go,” has a lot of the EDM feel to it, but only when the chorus comes in. Other than that part of the song, it sounds more like a faster pace BANKS. “Genesis” has a lot less of an EDM feel to it. This song makes me feel like all time around me has sped up, and I’m in slo-mo just floating there, watching everything happen normally. No idea why I feel that way, but I close my eyes and that’s what I feel. But the beauty is there’s no right answer. Close your eyes and listen to “Genesis” yourself, and see what it feels like to you!
I’m in love with female vocalists. Radio will usually only play normal pop, cookie-cutter songs with female vocals. Nothing dark, nothing experimental, nothing true. I could sit here and submerge myself into my own thoughts to music like this, but still be able to have a smile on my face and be happy while listening! Let me know what you think of these artists, and here is the Spotify playlist for you to check out!