Tag Archives: Review

Grammys Review

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Disclaimer: So, it’s 1am and I’m attempting to write a review of the Grammys because my family asked me to multiple times. I only mention this because I want them to read this and recognize that I just spent approximately 10 hours doing homework today and if I become sleep deprived, I blame them. 

The Grammys… I think the best way to sum up the Grammys is to just go over a few highlights – both good and bad.

1. Taylor Swift

Here’s what was wrong with Taylor Swift at The Grammys: everything. First, her performance. When did Tim Burton sign on to direct her Grammy performance? Or was that some creepy take on Alice in Wonderland? Either way, no. And seriously, did I not say I never wanted to hear that god awful song again? I’ll be honest, I didn’t catch the supposed diss on Harry Styles because about 45 seconds into her performance, my twitter news feed of everyone wondering who in their right mind decided that Taylor Swift of all people should open the Grammys and wishing she would get off stage became much more entertaining. However, if the diss to the 19-year-old 1D singer did happen, can someone please remind T Swift that she’s 23 years old and just seems pathetic? Then we have to discuss her dancing during The Lumineers performance because that just made me want to barf and then throw my television out the window. 

I guess some actual comments regarding music could be made too… as in, Taylor Swift use to be original and she used to have talent, but in my opinion, she’s just as sold-out as the rest of the other musical artists nowadays. 

2. Ed Sheeran & Elton John

This truly made me die and go to Heaven for a bit. This is music in case anyone needed a refresher. It also put Taylor Swift to shame. As if Ed Sheeran’s voice wasn’t enough, the Grammys added Elton John, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with Elton John (at least, until Juanes covers “Your Song” and translates it into Spanglish).

3. Carly Rae Jepsen

…didn’t win an award so I still have faith in the Grammys. 

4. LL Cool J’s closing performance

So after watching Taylor Swift’s opening act, I’m sure you were all thinking the same thing as me: “Well this can’t get any worse.” Wrong. False. WTF. Because then LL Cool J announced that he needed to do his part in the Grammys. Wrong. False. WTF. Hosting was your contribution to the Grammys – you did not need to perform too. Even bringing Travis Barker and Co. on the stage didn’t help this performance. Then I’m sure you were all thinking the same thing as me again: “Oh this can’t be the way the Grammys ends! Surely something better will come along!” Except all that came along were the credits…

5. Elton John, Mavis Staples, Zac Brown, Alabama Shakes, Mumford and Sons, and T Bone Burnett performed “The Weight”

For full video check out TheDailyBeast.

Hands down the best moment of the Grammys. If you can argue that, then you don’t know what real music is. I’m so happy this was the group that did a tribute piece – I’m so sick and tired of seeing untalented musicians honoring some of the best music talent in history. Also, if I see one more social media post about people not knowing who Mavis Staples is, I’m going to cut them off from music because they’re clearly listening to absolute sh*t (sorry, Mom).

6. The Awards

Honestly, I think they did a great job awarding extremely talented musicians. By far and absolutely unarguably, Mumford & Sons’ Babel deserved Album of The Year more than any other nominee. The other nominees in that category were truly tremendous albums, but Babel was just so spectacular.

The award for Best New Artist was a little disappointing because in my opinion, I feel that The Lumineers are much more original than Fun., but regardless both bands have a certain degree of originality to them. However, real fans of Fun. would recognize that they are not a “new” artist since their first album came out in 2009 – catch up, Grammys.

Best Pop Vocal Album should have gone to Florence and the Machine’s Ceremonials and not because that is my favorite band but because I’ve listened to both Ceremonials and Kelly Clarkson’s Stronger and, while Stronger is great, Ceremonials is just heavenly and a true forward progression in the music industry.

Taylor Swift won a Grammy, but it was for a song that included The Civil Wars so I’ll allow it – not that anything I disapprove of really matters to anyone but me.

7. Carrie Underwood’s … Dress …

So at first, you’re like “oh Carrie Underwood’s wearing another big dress so she doesn’t have to actually move on the stage” and then quickly you’re like…. “wait, why is her dress a projection screen?” Seriously, I love Carrie Underwood’s voice and I think she’s truly talented despite my hate for country music, but the dress. I want whoever planned this performance fired. I couldn’t even pay attention to the song because I couldn’t figure out what was going on or why.

8. Ellen

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Until next year, Grammys. Try to get some better openers and closers though.

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Calvin Harris’s latest single “Sweet Nothing” with Florence Welch

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So, I won’t completely admit to downloading this song on September 20th when it first hit YouTube, but I will say that prior to the early release today, my iTunes play count was up to 78 plays. This song taunted me too much to not give it an early listen; I mean, they started advertising “Sweet Nothing” all over Facebook in July. You can’t combine two of my favorite things – Calvin Harris and Florence Welch – and expect me to remain completely legal.

For those of you who are just hearing “Sweet Nothing” today, I both applaud you, and welcome you to one of the best collaborations of the year. It’s not even just Florence’s voice that attached me to this song; without Calvin Harris, the goddess herself couldn’t even complete this tune. In fact, it isn’t even until the chorus of the song that Flo’s power flies out of her vocals. Throughout the song, Harris’s beats are the heart and center of the song. There’s literally never a dull moment in the song: Calvin keeps pushing the beats, building suspense all the way up until the chorus.

The fifth official single from his album, 18 Months, due out October 30th, “Sweet Nothing” has got to be some of Calvin Harris’s best work. Even without Flo, the beats themselves could have made for a fantastic dance song; we were just lucky we got Flo’s vocals added.

Download here!

Good, Bad, Good – Music Releases for February 1-15

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It’s been a while since I posted. Where I have I been, you ask? Sitting on my couch catching up on Gossip Girl and in the library… catching up on Gossip Girl while staring at my textbooks pretending I understand anything about politics and the legal system. So, basically, I have no acceptable reason for not posting since that extremely memorable night when Avicii came to Madison. (Unless of course, like me, you count Blair Waldorf and Chuck Bass’s not-so-fictional love consuming my life an acceptable reason.)

There’s been a lot of music released in the past couple weeks. Let me warn you though because it’s not all good. So we are going to play a little game of good, bad, good.

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1) GOOD: Katy Perry, “Part of Me”

So, I’ve never really heard of this Katy Perry character, but this song is pretty good. Kidding. Obviously I am obsessed with her and this song has already been played an absurd amount of times on my computer (not to mention that it’s on repeat on my iPod and is the only song that’s been played since Sunday night). Debuted on Sunday night during Katy Perry’s Grammy performance, “Part of Me” is already number one on iTunes top 10 and I’m very excited to see where it lands on Billboard’s Top 100 tomorrow.

Any guesses about which person this song is about? That’s a joke. It literally could not be any more obvious. What I particularly like about this song is that it doesn’t stray away from the coined Katy Perry sound. It’s got the same colorful lollipop and candy sound as her other great hits such as “Firework” and “Hummingbird Heartbeat.” Of course, it also has the soon to be over-quoted line, “This is the part of me that you’re never gonna ever take away from me.”

However, let me tell you that this song does bother me and make me a little angry. Katy, when are you going to give up on trying to get six singles from one album and breaking the Billboard record? At this point, I’m just losing respect for you and your pathetic attempts. If you actually had to re-release your album with new singles just to break the record, then it wasn’t meant to be. Of course, I love the fact that I am currently jamming to a new song and, in a few weeks, there will be two more for me to hear, but in my mind, I will not accept this as breaking the record if you do.

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2) BAD: Madonna, “Give Me All Your Lovin’”

God. It kills me to admit that Madonna just does not have it anymore. This song is a disgrace to the 1980s Madonna. This song screams why she should have stopped making new music. So, on that note – anyone want to loan me $300 so I can see her in Chicago on her tour this year?

First issue: “L.U.V. Madonna! Y.O.U. You wanna!” I’m sorry… one, that is NOT how you spell love, and two, really clever lyrics – how long did it take you to write those? I just expect more from her, but apparently that’s too much to ask for? The fact that she even references “Lucky Star” is a disgrace. Don’t go back to your glory days while singing this song, please. Also, Madonna, as you sang, “Every record sounds the same, you gotta step into my world,” did you not realize that this song sounds exactly like every other pop song released this year?

Second issue: Nicki Minaj. She has ZERO talent. Seriously, as a society, have we not recognized this?? Why do we keep putting her in all these songs? She’s terrible. Did you not see her performance at The Grammy’s? Offense, disgusting, and terrible. I’m ashamed that Madonna even paired herself with Nicki Minaj.

All in all, Madonna is not who she used to be. At this point, she no longer stands out from the crowd, but blends in more and more with each new song. Not excited for the new record to drop on March 26th. However, seriously… I want to see her live (as long as I can get some of The Immaculate Collection being performed).

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3) GOOD: The Fray, Scars & Stories

The Fray has yet to ever let me down. It’s kind of hard to review an entire album that’s this good in a short segment, but I can do it. The first single, “Heartbeat,” took over radio stations and my iTunes recently played playlist. The message of it was amazing, the lyrics were catchy, and the sound was perfectly “Fray-ish:” mature and alternative.

Then, before the album was released, the band was kind enough to put the entire album on iTunes available for free streaming. Naturally, I was too busy catching up on Gossip Girl, 90210, and other seemingly identical shows to hear the album for free, so I waited until it was available for full-price purchase.

The entire album is absolutely amazing. One issue is that none of the songs are really different… meaning that as a whole, the album is great, but individually the songs kind of start to sound identical. That’s fine though because the sound is mesmerizing. Personal favorites are “The Fighter,” “1961,” and the beautiful ballad, “Be Still.”

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BOOM! There it is. I know you were all sitting on the edge of your seats (basically about to fall off because it’s been so long) waiting for a new post. I’ll be back tomorrow, no worries.

WTF’s Review of 2011’s Music Industry. Shockingly, it was positive.

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I think last year, at this time, I made a prediction that the music in 2011 was basically just going to suck. However, I think I have been proven wrong with the impact of Adele and the advancing of the indie genre with Bon Iver and Mumford & Sons. We had the introduction of Beats by Dr. Dre (which I’m happy to say that, thanks to Santa Claus and Christmas, I am currently listening to music through right now), and Spotify brought a new way of launching a variety of music to listeners (furthering the idea of the Long Tail. The music industry also transitioned from a business model to a subscription model (which thanks to UW-Madison’s fine, fine education, I actually understand what that means now… well, sort of).

Before you can discuss the rest of the positives of the music industry’s bounce back in 2011, you have to understand the state it was in before. In February, EMI, the record label for The Beatles and Pink Floyd in the past and Katy Perry and Coldplay in the present, hit bottom and was split in half: its recording division being sold to Universal $1.9 billion and its publishing division to Sony for $2.2 billion (Knopper, 2011). On a smaller level, Chicago’s Q101 and New York’s WRXP, two alternative radio stations responsible for the introduction of Coldplay and The Black Keys, left the music industry and switched to talk radio. The most obvious, we lost a music legend, Amy Winehouse.

So, moving on to the positives. According to Rolling Stone magazine, The Year of Adele had a major impact on the music industry. Her album, 21, sold 14.5 million copies in 10 months and boosted the overall album sales by three percent in the US. Then, there was the introduction of, and fight over the control of, the Music Cloud – Spotify, iTunes Match, Google Music, Amazon Cloud, and MOG. (For more information on those, check out Rolling Stone’s article “Digital Music’s Cloud Revolution.”)

I think that Billboard.biz editor Jem Aswad sums it up best: “…we all continue to wrap our heads, hearts and wallets around a world in which music isn’t an object or even a possession anymore, but – in terms of artist’ livelihood, anyway – a means to sell tickets, placements, merch, swag, scents, booze, and every other conceivable revenue tributary of Brand Me.”

With that in mind, let me introduce the Top 30 Songs of 2011, my way.

There are some general guidelines for my list. First, it was created based on an average rating compiled from Billboard Top 100 Songs of 2011, iTunes Rewind 2011, and Rolling Stone’s Top 50 Singles from 2011. Second, the song had to be on a minimum of two lists in order to be eligible for WTF Music Review’s list (as much as I wanted OneRepublic’s “Good Life” to be on my list, I had to cut it). Third, I did not count a Not Rated (NR) as a 0, but instead I just did an average based out of two; therefore, it might not be the most reliable list, but who cares. Fourth, if an artist had more than one song on my list of 30 Songs of 2011, I don’t bother repeating myself so the second (or third, fourth, etc.) song doesn’t have information to go along with it. Fifth, and finally, I’m only talking about the top 10 songs because I realize how long this post is already and I need to take into account the “news hole” (check out what I learned in my Journalism class this past semester). Deal with it.

1. Adele – “Rolling in the Deep”

(Billboard = 1, iTunes = 1, Rolling Stone = 1)

Adele had a great year, hence why all three lists had her hit single, “Rolling in the Deep” ranked number one of 2011. Her album itself, 21, sold 14.3 million copies.  “Rolling in the Deep” spent 51 weeks on Billboard’s Hot 100, just jumping up six spots this past week to number 35. Although Adele did not take away any American Music Awards for “Rolling in the Deep, the single won Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, and Best Editing in the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards. Recently, the single was listed as a 2012 Grammy nomination for Record of the Year, Best Short Form Music Video, and Song of the Year; in addition, the producer of the Record, Paul Epworth, was nominated for Producer of the Year. It’s no argument that this song should be number one (and believe me, I tried really hard to figure out a way to put Katy Perry at number one). The most current rumor, according to Billboard.biz and Rolling Stone Magazine is that Adele is currently slated for two performances in 2012 and a tour, but with her recent surgery and two cancelations in 2011, I can’t be too sure. All I know is, we definitely have not heard the last of Adele.

2. LMFAO – “Party Rock Anthem”

(Billboard = 2, iTunes = 2, Rolling Stone = NR)

Although not present on iTunes or Billboard’s top albums of 2011 lists, LMFAO’s album Sorry for Party Rocking did a pretty nice job on its sales this year. Also, to be honest, Billboard’s list is a little less than trusting seeing as it has three Justin Bieber albums and two Glee soundtrack albums on it. The song had an extraordinary amount of radio airplay time, not just for a season, but also for a prolonged period of time. In addition, the memorable video was nominated for Best Choreography at the 2011 VMAs. Then, LMFAO closed the AMAs by performing this song, as well as their second single “Sexy and I Know It,” even bringing on guests such as Justin Bieber (who completely embarrassed himself) and David Haselhoff, followed by parading the stage in their underwear.

3. Katy Perry – “Firework”

(Billboard = 3, iTunes = 3, Rolling Stone = NR)

Katy Perry had a record-tying year, proving to be extremely successful overall. Teenage Dream was not a new album to the year – it was actually released in August 2010. However, “Firework” was the third single from the album to reach the number one spot on Billboard’s Hot 100, preceded by “California Gurls” and “Teenage Dream.” Katy did not stop at “Firework,” however, as she followed up with two more number one singles from the same album, “E.T.” and “Last Friday Night,” allowing her to tie Michael Jackson’s Billboard record. This accomplishment didn’t go unnoticed since Katy Perry was awarded with an achievement award at the 2011 American Music Awards after giving an acoustic performance of her current sixth single, “The One That Got Away,” which is currently sitting at number three on the Hot 100 chart.  Currently, “Firework” is also nominated for the Record of the Year Grammy, along with Best Pop Solo Performance. At the VMAs, it took Video of the Year, but Katy Perry was nominated for a total of 10 awards. Finally, Katy Perry wrapped up her California Dreams Tour this year after visiting 94 cities and performing 122 times. Billboard rated it the number 13 tour of 2011.

4. Bruno Mars – “Grenade”

(Billboard = 6, iTunes = 4, Rolling Stone = NR)

I genuinely did not think this song did as well as it did, and was extremely shocked when I saw it rated so high on the end-of-the-year charts. The only real thing I remember about this song is all the comments mocking the lyrics of the song, including ones like, “Why would someone be throwing a grenade at a woman?” Regardless, it was a good song. “Grenade” is up for Record of the Year in the Grammys this upcoming February. The album which the song is off of, Doo-Wops & Hooligans, is nominated for Best Pop Vocal Album in the 2012 Grammys. For Bruno Mars himself in 2011, he performed a tribute to Amy Winehouse and proceeded to pick up his first AMA, winning Favorite Pop/Rock Male.

5. Pitbull – “Give Me Everything”

(Billboard = 5, iTunes = 6, Rolling Stone = NR)

The most overplayed song… ever. To me, it was really catchy at first and I listened to it all the time, then the radio caught on, and I listened to it a lot less. The song did really well though. Pitbull performed this song at the 2011 VMAs, though it was not nominated for any awards. In addition, “Give Me Everything” peaked at number one on Billboard’s Hot 100; the song is now falling off the chart, but has been on it for 39-running weeks. However, the song’s reign did not end in the US, as it also reached number one on the U.K. Singles Chart. However, the song also got some negative PR this year when Lindsay Lohan sued Pitbull for referencing her in the song… really, Linds, get over it.

6. Katy Perry feat Kanye West – “E.T.”

(Billboard = 4, iTunes = 7, Rolling Stone = NR)

See Katy Perry “Firework”

7. Cee Lo Green – “Forget You”

(Billboard = 7, iTunes = 5, Rolling Stone = NR)

I remember driving around to this song this past spring, but after a while, it became one of the many songs archived on my iPod never to be played again. It was not a bad song; I just don’t necessarily see what was so great about it to make it to an average of number seven on this list for 2011. In fact, its presence was most prominent in 2010, when it released in August, and was nominated for multiple Grammys (Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Short Form Music Video), as well as won Best Urban/Alternative Performance. It did have presence in 2011 though, when, in March, it became the best-selling song in the USA in 2011, selling 1,865,000 times.

8. Maroon 5 feat Christina Aguilera – “Moves Like Jagger”

(Billboard = 9, iTunes = 8, Rolling Stone = NR)

This song, as well as Adam Levine’s appearance on Christina Aguilera’s “The Voice,” really helped boost both Aguilera’s and Maroon5’s success this year. “Moves Like Jagger” reached number one on Billboard’s Hot 100 the week of September 10. This song has also been nominated for a 2012 Grammy: Best Pop Duo/Group Performance. The song has been listed for a total of 453 weeks in 21 different charts, which according to acharts.us, is more than any other Maroon 5 and Christina Aguilera song.

9. Nicki Minaj – “Super Bass”

(Billboard = 8, iTunes = 10, Rolling Stone = NR)

Along with Adele and Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj owned 2011. Currently, she is nominated for Best New Artist, Best Rap Performance (for “Moment 4 Life”), and Best Rap Album (for Pink Friday) in the 2012 Grammys. In addition, “Moment 4 Life” was nominated for Best Collaboration in the 2011 VMAs. Specifically, “Super Bass” won the VMA for Best Hip-Hop Video and was also nominated for Best Female Video. There was also the YouTube sensation Sophia Grace that grew famous from their cover of “Super Bass.” This song has been on Billboard’s Hot 100 for a total of 20 weeks, peaking at number one. Also, look out for Nicki Minaj’s one-of-a-kind Barbie doll in 2012… uh, enough said.

10. Foster the People – “Pumped Up Kicks”

(Billboard = 13, iTunes = 9, Rolling Stone = 11)

It’s nice to see this kind of music in the top 10 songs of the year. First, I’d like to encourage everyone to pick up the rest of Foster the People’s album, Torches, because it is exceptional. “Pumped Up Kicks” was overplayed this year, which would have killed it… if it weren’t so good. I like to call it a unique sound. The song was nominated for Best Rock Video at the VMAs, but sadly did not win. The song also never reached number one on Billboard’s Hot 100; it peaked at number three where it remained for eight weeks.

11. The Black Eyed Peas – “Just Can’t Get Enough”

(Billboard = 10, iTunes = 14, Rolling Stone = NR)

12. Jennifer Lopez – “On The Floor”

(Billboard = 11, iTunes = 15, Rolling Stone = NR)

13. Lady Gaga – “Born This Way”

(Billboard = 18, iTunes = 11, Rolling Stone = NR)

14. Britney Spears – “Til the World Ends”

(Billboard = 27, iTunes = NR, Rolling Stone = 3)

15. Enrique Iglesias – “Tonight (I’m Lovin’ You)”

(Billboard = 16, iTunes = 16, Rolling Stone = NR)

16. Chris Brown – “Look at Me Now”

(Billboard = 21, iTunes = 13, Rolling Stone = NR)

17. Adele – “Someone Like You”

(Billboard = 24, iTunes = 12, Rolling Stone = NR)

17. Rihanna – “S&M”

(Billboard = 12, iTunes = 24, Rolling Stone = NR)

17. Lady Gaga – “The Edge of Glory”

(Billboard = 29, iTunes = NR, Rolling Stone = 7)

20. P!nk – “F**kin’ Perfect”

(Billboard = 19, iTunes = 20, Rolling Stone = NR)

20. P!nk – “Raise Your Glass”

(Billboard = 17, iTunes = 22, Rolling Stone = NR)

20. Katy Perry – “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)”

(Billboard = 14, iTunes = 25, Rolling Stone = NR)

23. Bruno Mars – “The Lazy Song”

(Billboard = 26, iTunes = 18, Rolling Stone = NR)

24. Wiz Khalifa – “Black and Yellow”

(Billboard = 31, iTunes = 17, Rolling Stone = NR)

25. Lupe Fiasco – “The Show Goes On”

(Billboard = 28, iTunes = 21, Rolling Stone = NR)

26. Ke$ha – “Blow”

(Billboard = 33, iTunes = 19, Rolling Stone = NR)

26. Jeremih & 50 Cent – “Down on Me”

(Billboard = 22, iTunes = 30, Rolling Stone = NR)

26. Lil Wayne – “6 Foot 7 Foot”

(Billboard = 41, iTunes = 28, Rolling Stone = 9)

29. Ke$ha – “We R Who We R”

(Billboard = 30, iTunes = 27, Rolling Stone = NR)

30. The Black Eyed Peas – “This Time (Dirty Bit)”

(Billboard = 37, iTunes = 23, Rolling Stone = NR)

Ha! You thought I was done? Never. The year still had more great music. Now, it’s obvious that the album of the year was Adele’s 21, but how about the other albums that were released in 2011 that never quite made it to the top of the charts? First, there was Wisconsin’s finest Bon Iver’s album Bon Iver. Not only did it help me focus on my studies, but the song “Holocene” received Grammy nominations for Record of the Year and Song of the Year. Then, the album as a whole was nominated for Best Alternative Music Album. In addition, Bon Iver was nominated for Best New Artist himself. Bon Iver had a big impact on music in 2011: it helped bring the indie music world to big time music industry with its Grammy nominations.

Another album I must discuss is Florence + the Machine’s Ceremonials. The album, which was just released in late October/early November, depending on where you live (which we all know I lived in the UK that day), although did not sell as many copies as the group’s first album, Lungs, is sure to continue being a big hit in 2012. Already, it has had two big hits, “What the Water Gave Me” and “Shake It Out,” and the group was recently seen performing on Good Morning America’s Fall Concert Series. In addition, they have already announced a UK tour for next year, and hopefully, for my sake, will visit the US very soon.

FOR THE FINALE! Music has had a good year. Physical album sales dropped 10 percent in 2010, but with the help of Adele, rose three percent in 2011. It was also expected that in 2011, digital sales would jump 10 percent. In general, the music didn’t suck too bad either – I mean, I’m thrilled to have the Artist of the Year be Adele rather than a no-talent rap star (lots of offense should be taken there). I can’t predict where music will go in 2012, but I’m hoping it continues to improve. Adele’s reign will end and will hopefully be followed with another album (23, perhaps?). Katy Perry will either break the record or peak at number three. Indie music might continue to make its way up the popular music ladder. Radio stations might continue to replay the same ten songs on a loop. The Cloud might change music, as we know it, forever. Hey, Kelly Clarkson came back this year… maybe The Spice Girls will come back in 2012. There’s no way to really predict what will happen. The music industry always seems to surprise us. What I know is that I’ll be here to make more sarcastic comments along the way.

A Jack’s Mannequin Review that’s way better than the first.

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This article originally posted on Blogcritics as Music Review: Jack’s Mannequin – People and Things.

The most recent album released from Jack’s Mannequin titled People and Things rewards dedicated fans for their listening over the years. The band successfully integrates the sounds of the first two albums and adds a new touch to make it sound much more powerful. The album takes the loose ends of Everything in Transit and The Glass Passenger and ties them together to create a mind-blowing sound throughout every song.

Jack's Mannequin - People And ThingsThe first single from the album, “My Racing Thoughts,” introduced People and Things and stirred up the anticipation in each fan. The vocals emerging from Andrew McMahon tells the story of a man waiting for a love to make up her mind: “I think I’m running low on inspiration/She’s running long on borrowed time.” The perfect amount of guitar and piano help make this song so enjoyable. The song progresses, moving from a soft introduction to a chilling chorus.

Sure to be a next big hit, “Release Me” follows the same tune as “My Racing Thoughts” and is sure to treat a listener’s ear. The drums stand out in the song, as they keep a steady, yet enchanting beat throughout the song, even reserving a stand-alone moment in one of the later hooks. “Television” keeps the signature Jack’s Mannequin sound, but with a new twist. The song has a deeper sound, introducing new instruments and perfectly tuned guitar chords. “Television” takes a little longer to work up to the powerful moment when everything comes together, but it does pull it together at the perfect moment when the piano begins, McMahon’s voice gets stronger, and when the drum begins a new rhythm.

People and Things also incorporates a pop alternative sound from the band in songs like “People Running.” This song will have your body singing along within seconds. With the help of drums and a piano, this song has a more upbeat rhythm and more relaxed vocals from McMahon. In addition, the song delivers a carefree attitude that relates to any listener with lyrics such as, “We are just these people running around in search of water” and “There’s no need to worry/We’ll figure it out.”

With songs like “Hey Hey Hey (We’re All Gonna Die)” and “Amelia Jean,” the album slows down the rhythm to add variety. Both songs contain songs that focus on steady, beat-keeping drums and soft guitar strokes. In addition, McMahon sings softer and is supported by back-up vocals. On a similar note, the album closes with the acoustic song “Restless Dreams,”

From a band like Jack’s Mannequin, acoustic songs are greatly appreciated, and seeing them on an album is an absolute treat. “Restless Dreams” contains lyrics and vocals similar to other slower songs on the album. Thus, it is the guitar that receives all the credit on the tune.

Overall, People and Things brings a similar sound from an adored band, but delivers it in such a more powerful way that it is sure to bring in more fans and keep dedicated fans close.

I’m on a YACHT.

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Short post today. Bringing back Dance Party Friday this week too!

This was introduced to me over one month ago by someone who apparently has excellent music taste, but is too cool for a shout-out so we shall just refer to her as “The Betch.” Moral of that sentence: this post is a little overdue.

YACHT is the exact sound I prefer to listen to… outside of Katy Perry (no post would be complete without a reference to her). They are the perfect combination of electronic and indie that is music to my ears. In particular, my official favorite song, “Dystopia (The Earth is on Fire)” could be played on repeat for hours straight and I would never get tired of it. I know that’s true because it’s played seven times already today and I haven’t grown annoyed.

In this song, the vocals of the two members of YACHT, Jona Bechtolt and Claire E. Evans, create harmonies so mesmerizing that it’s almost seemingly impossible and unbelievable. Even the first nine seconds of the song, when there’s no instruments and it’s just the two voices, it sounds perfect. Then, when the tenth second hits and the synthesized beats start dropping, the song becomes a dance anthem that you can feel completely free moving to.

The lyrics are something new, too. How often do you get to hear a song about the apocalyptic implosion of the earth? It’s impressive when a group can make the lyrics “The earth is on fire! We don’t have no daughter, let the motherfucker burn” sound fun and inviting to listen to.

Don’t stop at this song though. YACHT has so much more to offer especially with the release of their second official (and fifth overall) album, Shangri-La, this past July. The second album is a much different sound than the first album, See Mystery Lights, but both are definitely worth checking out!

Thank you Liverpool Marriott for giving me Florence + the Machine.

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Today, I lived in the UK. My address was 1 Queen Square, Liverpool, L1 1RH, United Kingdom – home of the Liverpool Marriott Hotel City Centre. Today, I paid in Euros. Now, you may be asking, “Why in any state of mind would some crazy fool change her address to the UK?” Well, on this most wonderful Halloween, Florence + the Machine released their second album, Ceremonials, but only in the United Kingdom (selfish). Naturally, I had to have it. So, I tricked the system. I tricked iTunes. Is that legal? I hope so, but with my luck, probably not. I changed my address to Liverpool and I downloaded my well-deserved Florence album, and it is so worth it. Ceremonials is Lungs on drugs, specifically ecstasy.

Obviously this YouTube user put this up illegally (silly them for participating in illegal music downloads) so if it gets deleted, I will try to post a new video as soon as possible.

Let’s just go through every song. Yep, all 20 of them (assuming no one is backing out of the Deluxe Edition version).

“Only If For a Night” is, by far, my favorite of the album. It actually sends chills down my spine. It’s not even Florence Welch’s voice that makes this song so spectacular; it’s the Machine. It’s the piano accompaniment mixed with the pounding of drums. It’s the  meaning of this song that brings tears to my eyes and reminds me of a good friend: “I had a dream about my old school, and she was there all pink and gold and glittering. I threw my arms around her legs, came to weeping.” This is the song that proves the amazing progress Florence + the Machine continues to make as they release new music.

If you’ve read my blog before, you know I already have a love for both “Shake it Out” and “What the Water Gave Me,” so I won’t reiterate. The only addition I have to add about these two songs is that they were the perfect introduction to Ceremonials. They were the perfect teaser to every fan’s ears. Accompanied by a choir, “Never Let Me Go,” allows Florence Welch’s voice to shine. Although the song does not start with the usual entrancing sounds of The Machine, Florence’s voice makes up for it in every way possible. And, no need to fear, eventually the adored Machine does chime in.

“Breaking Down” might be the happiest sounding Florence + the Machine song I’ve ever heard, but also features some of the deepest vocals that Florence has produced. Seems like an oxymoron, right? It is, and it’s that oxymoron that makes the song work. Think happy drums beats with faster, deeper vocals. It works, I promise. The sound carries over to the next song, “Lover to Lover,” as the piano and bass create an uplifted Machine sound and Florence heightens her vocals. This song emulates the sound of a gospel church choir.

Another one that I’ve been jamming to today while walking to class is “No Light, No Light.” It works the organ and the singing whispers of Florence: two things that every Florence song needs. This song is actually “Rabbit Heart [Raise It Up]” from Lungs on adderall. (It really should concern you all how many references to drugs I make). It’s the same general tone – starting soft and slow and working up to this powerful explosion where everything comes together – but it’s also so much more focused and mature.

“Seven Devils” is where the album gets creepy; obviously, a good creepy though. The song is clearly new territory for the band, unless you’re like me and you’ve heard all the unreleased tracks that Florence has leaked. Compare this one to “Heavy in Your Arms.” The Machine is less congested and has a steady beat throughout the entirety of the song. During the chorus, Florence, accompanied by a very dark choir, belt out the lyrics, “Seven devils all around me, seven devils in my house. See they were there when I woke up this morning; I’ll be dead before the day is done.” What about that is not creepy? Yet, I can’t stop listening.

“Heartlines” actually starts with the sound of birds and African chants. I cannot make that stuff up. With a similar R&B sound, “Spectrum” focuses on the fast repetition of drum beats, alluding again to an African drum. Both songs illustrate the range of notes that Florence can hit in a beautiful way. I could actually picture both of these songs being on a Lion King 4 soundtrack. With “All This and Heaven Too,” Florence + the Machine pulls away from the African sound while still keeping the signature drum beat. In this song, however, Florence’s voice makes so many varied sounds that it stands apart from the entire album – you hear high notes, low notes, grunge sounds, and giant slides.

The end of the album does not lose its unique Florence + the Machine sound. “Leave My Body” has the great drums, exploding sound, and high-pitches of Florence. In addition, the song also features the background choir that seems to be a new feature to each song on Ceremonials. “Remain Nameless” starts off sounding like a song from Tron or Star Trek, but Florence Welch’s voice pulls it all together to keep it a Florence + the Machine sound. Finally, I’m pretty sure that “Strangeness and Charm,” a song that the band introduced on their tour this summer, is not even in English, contrary to songlyrics.com. However, Florence is just singing that fast – an amazing skill, if you ask me. It’s got that addicting sound that every listener wants to hear end the album.

It’s the fact that every song on this album produces such an original and individual sound that makes it that much more profound. Ceremonials was the perfect follow-up album to Lungs, and after almost two years, every Florence + the Machine fan needed a follow-up. Nothing about this album is disappointing. So, citizens of the United States, I hope you enjoy your delayed release date tomorrow. Sorry you weren’t smart enough to trick the system like I was.