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Daily Media Consumption – The Coral, “Move Through The Dawn”

The Coral “Move Through The Dawn”, released August 10,  2018.

The Coral, despite how kooky-zany and fun their album cover may make them appear to be, are perhaps the most straight-forward, disappointingly efficient, soft indie-pop 70’s and 60’s throwback bands I’ve listened to in a minute.

This album “Move Through The Dawn, is comprised of mostly seemingly random tracks that could have all been solicited as a possible radio single (nothing inherently wrong that, either…), most of which fall just shy under 3 minutes. While I am no hater of short, succinct, and ‘to-the-point’ type songs, and in many genres of music I prefer my songs that way (and it made reviewing this album very quick and easy to do, which I’m grateful for), however, The Coral isn’t really doing anything groundbreaking, experimental, or really memorable in any of these songs. You aren’t going to find anything on this album you can’t already heard elsewhere.

 

This is also keeping in mind that the band does have, in fact, solid production, and as far as the technical aspects of the over-all sound of the music, the group can, without a doubt, sound good. The issue is that these songs never go anywhere beyond just “good enough” for casual listeners who really don’t think that hard or long about their music, or perhaps even care all that much about which artist or what song they are listening to, most of whom will surely be able to pick and attach themselves to these songs and, perhaps even love them. They are distinctly made to be incredibly accessible and digestible modernized 60’s and 70’s soft-rock throwbacks; and if that’s all you’re looking for – end of the conversation – then The Coral will likely be a solid addition to your Spotify or Pandora listening experience. However, a lot of music fans, I feel, will be a bit bored or bummed out that such a solid sounding group is really not trying to do much of anything on this album.

 

I feel like the album should’ve been just called “Okay Music”, honestly. Other than the few strandout tracks I will mention later, we are typically offered on this album a lot of very simple song structures, repetitive choruses, woos and oos, acoustic smooth guitar (sometimes with some sporadic, light distorted guitars, for good measure) with unobtrusive piano, drumming that is certainly there. Nothing to really hate as being objectively bad, certainly, but only to be somewhat bored about.

The few standout moments here are on “Sweet Release”, where the band actually kicks out the electric guitars instead of their typical acoustic arrangement, and give us an early 90’s pop-rock track, with yet still slightly 80’s sounding due to the song’s dance-y vibe. Another song, “Strangers in the Hollow” is a bit more in your face, while still sounding like an almost edge-less Blue Oyster Cult meets something a bit more softer in that same time period. “Undercover” stands out a bit for some tom-based percussion going on, a bit more of an emotional performance by the vocalist, and bit more powerful music all-around; but still suffering from being a bit repetitive with the chorus and plagued with woooo and oooos. “Eyes of The Moon” is easily my favorite, giving us a southern sounding 70’s style song that does sound great, even if it’s admittedly simple and does nothing new or different – again, it’s still executed well enough. On “Stormbreaker” we get a bit of what sounds like a simplistic early Cream, or any other number of late 60’s or early 70’s bands in that same distorted proto-hard rock style… only without the actual musical and instrumental exploration a lot of bands from that period would have featured in their songs. I think, overall musically, “Stormbreaker” is probably their best song on the album, with the most interesting instrumental variation, successful stylized homage, and some catchy bass and electric guitar (finally appearing on this album, beyond basic atmospheric distortion).

 

This is a 6/10 album. The band knows how to sound “good” but lacks the ability to really sound unique or memorable. The songs are less catchy then the legendary archetypes that the band’s style is attempting to emulate or utilize, and this is true even when compared to other contemporary acts in the same lane as the band. Check them out if you want more of this style of music, are just fine with how the music works and it’s straightforward catchiness, and aren’t particularly too picky about the kinds of factors I’ve listed above – otherwise, you aren’t really missing all too much.

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Daily Media Consumption - Music, Uncategorized

Daily Media Consumption – 7/21/2018

The Internet – Hive Mind

Image result for The Internet Hive Mind

With their fourth album release, The Internet have really solidified themselves as a leading force in the Neo-soul movement. In their past releases, The Internet had more of it’s focus in electronic-sounding production, along with other modern pop/hip-hop musical influences in their music; we could blatantly see tracks that are more hip-hop, tracks that are more just electro, and so on. However, on “Hive Mind,” the band really dives deeper in a overall more pure funk and soul kind of sound, which I couldn’t be more than happy to hear.

One thing that is true about The Internet, which I always appreciate, is their ability to change their from sound, particularly on this album – and not just how some bands do, to try and cash-in on a popular fad or craze, but to change in a way that the band wants to do for their own purely artistic urges. I feel like The Internet have created a very relate-able, groovy, and overall sexy soul album, that has just enough modern production touches to help keep their sound distinct and accessible to both the modern pop-listener crowd, and the more strictly soul and funk crowds. We saw light elements of this shift starting in Ego-death, which was significantly more upbeat but still carried blatant elements of funk music, and the result is a beautiful entry in the Neo-soul/funk landscape.

Starting off with “Come Together”, we have what seems like a straight 1970’s style track, with that entrancing bass playing, straight up funk beat and instrumentation, light and beautiful synth notes lingering in the back; the vibe is incredibly recreated, and I love it. We roll into “Burbank Funk”, with that classic sound we all should remember.

Next on the tracklist we have the sleek, sexy, and pure funk “Come Over”, which while it’s purpose and lyrical depth is pretty basic, the vibe and and sound is just so damn solid, I don’t even really mind. Not to mention, the vocalist sounds the better on this album then on any other release involving her – she was always one of the weaker aspects of the band, always sounding a bit awkward or off, but distinctive in also some positive way, also. Seems here the band really figured out how to not only craft catchy, memorable, groovy songs, but also how to combine everything. vocals included, properly in the mix.

While I am aware of the vibe/style that “La Di Da” was going for, I feel like the song is kindof wobbly and fumbling around, instrumentally, and while it’s executed well, certainly, it’s not precisely enjoyable to the ears. It feels messy and kind of hard to groove with, and nothing in particular really stands out or captures you during the duration. Again, I get the intent of the track, as the sound is absolutely 70’s funk/nearly jazz, but it just doesn’t work, especially when compared to how directly beautifully the first couple of tracks were so far.

After that, we get one of the most annoying songs on the whole album, whose promising minimalist guitar-driven instrumentation is completely ruined by the repetitive and seemingly endless repetition of “MAYBE YOU SHOULD STAY THE NIGHT” that appears throughout the song. The rest of the track is great, but at a point she repeats it so many times it actually starts to hurt my brain. The guitar solo that plays is solid, and everything else about the song is pretty solid… just please… I get it… you want them to stay the night… say something else please.

While Bravo can pretty much be skipped, we get to a fantastic modern RnB with 70’s funk influence on the song “Mood”. This is a clear example that the hip-hop and modern RnB style, which the band had been using more often they didn’t in the past, is still very much present in this new album, as well. This is another sexy track, with that incredible impossible-to-not-move-when-you-hear bass-line, coupled with distorted funk guitar, even a delightful little flute, saxophone, and synth sections that slowly seep into the track near the end of the song. Excellent track.

I also do enjoy the following track “Next Time”, it suffers the curse of following “Mood”, and sounding very similar to “Mood”, but being vastly inferior in every element: No harmonic and instrumental build-up, no hypnotic and sexy bass drum foundation, and overall the song has just a meandering kind of “filler” feeling to it. Don’t fill your album with stuff just because it’s stuff – think hard about your music. This song, and it’s accompanying song “Humble Pie” while not horrible, because the production and technical ability of everyone involved is just overall too good for that, they are completely throw-away as far as this album is concerned, and really makes this album feel longer than it needs to. It almost ruins what could have been a near perfect string of really memorable songs.

The band brings everything back though, once we get to “Look What You Started”, which has one of the funkiest bass lines I’ve honestly heard in a while. The band just, once again, perfectly nails that sound, and makes another great song. If anything, the introduction with the rapper was kind of awkward, even I get the intent of the message being made… it just is irritating that it’s at the start of the track, and I have to listen to it every time in order to get to this great, simplistic, funk homage of a song.

Then we get to goddamn “Wanna Be”, which almost made me feel like I was listening to a D’Angelo and the Vanguard song, a la Black Messiah, with that guitar sound and drum set. However, by 30 seconds in, it’s clear that this song is it’s own unique, albeit simplistic, idea – and succeeds in being this somber, yet-somewhat upbeat, and bitter sweet song. Again, surface level lyricism, but that’s honestly good enough for setting a straight-forward and relate-able vibe.

I’m okay with “Beat Goes On”, which sounds like one of the more meandering and messy “Thundercat” songs, where the singing feels a bit goofy, and the melodies kind of suddenly and stiffly just pop-up out of nowhere; which, while I love a lot of Thundercat’s music, it’s an element to some of his jazzier funk songs, which remind me of this, that I simply can’t wrap my head around enough to enjoy.

I don’t really know what to think of “Hold On”… I love the last few minutes of it, when it becomes an instrumental mixing pot, with all kinds of little touches here and there of bass, xylophone, synth, samples, and guitar. It’s okay… but perhaps a bit too wandering and dreamy for my taste.

Rank:
Classic

Excellent – The internet have been inconsistent in regards to their place in the Neo-soul movement, but have absolutely solidified themselves as not only distinctly in apart of that musical front, but perhaps one of the more technically proficient, memorable, and accessible bands, too. Without the filler songs, and perhaps a bit more depth, complexity, or originality with the lyrics and themes, and this could have become an absolutely classic for me. However, in reality, this is simply an excellent Neo-soul (more-so funk), album that is groovy and sexy. Check it out.

Good

Average

Troubled

Trash

 

 

Deafheaven – Ordinary Corrupt Human Love

Image result for deafheaven ordinary corrupt human love

“You Without End” begins with a beautiful piano and guitar making me think of dreamy, tropical weather, coupled with rain entering and leaving the track. Then the beat kicks in, and it’s this incredible, softer, a la Chroma Key,  soft-rock piece, paired with a sample (also a la Chroma Key) over the top of the track, and unintelligible lyrics lightly echoing under the mix, at times. This is some interesting Elton John meets Kevin Moore, with early Genesis guitar work. Then, the vocals creep up underneath the beat, and while at first it’s the last thing you expect, and for most arn’t going to be for them, I personally find it so uniquely strange, that it’s really interesting. Love the originality, the musical and instrumental competence.

Next,  we go to “Honeycomb”, which begins with a solid post-rock infused Black Metal offering, that focuses on beautiful sustained notes, as opposed to the typical tremolo picking style, giving the song a more melodic and engaging sound, while still being crippling and heavy with the drums and vocals. The transitions, the various kinds of melodies and emotions being thrown out there here make this sound particularly unique for a something that’s clearly Black Metal. Love when the beat kicks back in at the 3 and a half minute mark, and then the rocky and blusey sections and transitions at 4 minutes and beyond just just hits you and sounds amazing throughout. This song is such a bizzare, yet entrancing exercise in progressive, post-metal, post-rock, black metal, soft-rock that I can’t really wrap my head around it. Not to mention, the production is absolutely PERFECT for this sound, somehow.

Then we go to “Canary Yellow”, which sounds like this beautiful alt/indie-pop song, with just fantastic drum playing, and awesome, gentle, tranquil vibes. Then the metal fucking hits, and man that short guitar riff is satisfying. Unconventional drumming continues, as well. Whole song is quite a trip, full of transitions, and just ultimately very satisfying. Around the 8 minute mark we get a cool-down section, with some very Rush or early Genesis style experimental drumming, which leads it into kicking back into action right after. That purely rock/blues solo calmly plays over the music around the late 9 minute mark, evolving in sound all over the place as the song continues.

On the next track, “Near”, we get a more clear shoe-gaze/psychedelic sound, still with engaging and memorable drumming, and a very dreamy elegant vibe. It’s not necessarily my cup of tea, as it is way too meandering and kind of, in my opinion. However, I can understand it’s placement on the album, and it’s use as a pleasant reprieve from the previous song, if thinking about this album’s experience as a straight full-listen through. For it’s kind of music, it doesn’t bother me, and gets the job done, I’m just not crazy about it.

Up next we have “Glint”, which continues the catchy and memorable “post-rock” instrumentation from what we’ve seen earlier on the album, and certainly performs this sound well, allowing every band member so sort of morph and grow their playing gradually as the song progresses. I get a distinct Baroness Green/Yellow and Purple vibe from this song in particular, as the kind of retro-psychedelic nature of the echo-y guitar sound that appears, along with the kind of dancey drumming, and overall tone in fact. While I didn’t quite get that feeling on the earlier tracks, I love the Baroness influence. Then, the metal kicks in, somehow even heavier than we’ve seen on previous transitions on the album before. Once again, totally enjoy their blusey guitar licks around the late 6 minute to 7 minute mark, which is absolutely refreshing around the black metal sound. The song just becomes straight up catchy right after this, somehow.

We are then treated the almost un-explainable “Night People”, which other than being a clear Post-metal track with prominent heavy drums and piano focus, and creepy vocals, I can’t make heads or tails of. My hipster pants simply aren’t tight enough to appreciate the almost Pink Floyd or classical elements being toyed with here. I just don’t like particular sound, and I don’t like it in this particular exercise either.

Finally, on “Worthless Animal”, we get a more direct fusion of gentle soft-rock with black metal vocals, that really does sound like Yellow/Green album Baroness with black metal vocals, changed up a bit in direction to being more free-form as opposed to straightforward as that Baroness record was. While difficult to describe, this track is probably the most catchy and engaging of black metal-incorporated songs on the album.

 

Rank:
Classic

Excellent

Good – While incredibly niche and experimental, it’s also simultaneously accessible in odd ways due to it’s Post-rock/Post-metal side, bluesy and rock elements, and the competence of the musicians to craft catchy and memorable sections in almost all of their songs. This is the strangest combination of genres that feels like music itself is being broken down and played with.

Average

Troubled

Trash

 

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Daily Media Consumption - Music, Uncategorized

Daily Media Consumption – 4/15/2018

Daily Metal/Rock Album:

Borgne – [infinity symobol]

Borgne, a Swedish industrial black metal outfit, have just released an album with letters I can’t pronounce; I’m going to assume it’s infinity? Whatever. Anyway, the industrial edge to Borgne is unique in that isn’t only limited to sampling and overall playing style: Borgne actually occasionally incorporates a nearly sounding EDM style of electronic noise and synth work (particularly early on in their first track) that is all over the place, enriching the already chaotic nature of their music by placing us in the equivalent of a robot hell, I suppose. The black metal side plays the dominant role in the album, but it is certainly carried by it’s industrial influences well enough that it plays off the strengths of both sides. The black metal brutality is both raw and brutal, and somehow feels right in place with the clear and haunting electronic noise in the background.

While symphonic elements are present, Borgne strayed more to the side of unapologetic heaviness and brutality a la late Celtic Frost, incorporating enough progressions and musical evolution within each song to keep things from getting too monotonous. A pleasant surprise appears in the third track  “Un temps perit”, with a young female angelic chorus, transitioned to this badass organ segment. I appreciate ANY TIME an album can switch up it’s shtick, and explore different sounds/tempos/instruments to bring a memorable quality. The band actually sounds pretty somber and kind of beautiful on the aforementioned track at one point, where the vocals kind of take a break and this sorrowful lonely guitar peers through the electronic noise fog. After that, “Stone” reminds you, as I expected, that is still a black metal album, and is as brutal as you might expect. I also enjoy the transition to “I Tear Apart My Blackened Wings”, which definitely stands out, with what almost seems like a huge production style shift, giving the song an almost thrashy pummeling sound. I love the drumming on this track, and the guitar onslaught that proceeds. Later in the album a fantastic acoustic ballad, giving me strange flashbacks of like a folky Ulver, which I is something I would have to love, and helps to continue spread out the brutality of this album. The very last track is also a slow, ballad-like performance with haunting electronic voices and static just engulfing the mix.

Plenty of surprises on here without comprising at all their brutality, Borgne are easily top quality for their lane, and deserve a listening to if you are at all into this kind of music.

Rank:
Classic

Excellent (For an Industrial Black Metal band there are few things one could expect their band to do better than what we see on this album. While the creativity and brilliance is there, it’s difficult to see this appealing outside of it’s niche nature, which it likely has no intentions to even try to do.)

Good

Average

Troubled

Trash

 

Daily Pop/Other Genre Album

Despite his age, John Prine seems to be able to continue and provide us with some personal, classic, and heartwarming songs. This album elicits similar feelings to what I experienced when I first listened Nicole Atkins’ album “Goodnight Rhonda Lee”: as if I was in some sort of time capsule that transported me back to the 70s era of folky/country soft rock where the music is un-apologetically personal, with clever and straightforward song concepts accompanied with very appropriate and effective instrumental pieces and lyrics. This is yet another time-capsule album that somehow modernizes a sound that I’ve so often missed. The production and overall on this album is subtle, yet just detailed enough, letting Prine’s voice shine and the instruments really pierce your heart and mind while you listen.

Every song that Prine puts on here explores a different idea, often carries a different tone or message, keeping each track on this album a very fresh and interesting experience, and in a concise amount of time. “When I Get To Heaven” is a rather sad, despite the upbeat and silly nature of the music, thinking about his feelings about death; and how inspiring it is to hear him take it in such a positive way. He’s going to smoke and drink ginger ale! One “The Lonesome Friends Of Science” I enjoyed the concept of picking fun of the fact that Prine is an old time man living in this new world where science appears counter-productive to simplistic happiness. We get to hear some dark, foreboding and powerful Johnny Cash style acoustic work with “Caravan Of Fools”.

Look, I could sit here and type all day about each individual song and how excellently written, and effectively and simply this album is executed; but I think the album completely speaks for itself. Prine is in his 70s, and after seeing a recent live performance of his, he is simply blowing away far younger equivalent artists who try to make music in the same realm as Prine – but just don’t know how to tie the soul, blues, and country together into easily identifiable music that artists like Prine can.

Rank:
Classic – (I will be listening to this album for a long time after this. If you enjoy that classic 70s and 60s country/folky/western music that many indie acts try their best to recpature in this day in age – or if you like any music at all, for that matter – you will enjoy Prine’s performances. This isn’t experimental new age nonsense, this is heartfelt and classic songwriting.)

Excellent

Good

Average

Troubled

Trash

 

 

Daily Rap/Hip-hop

E-40 and B-Legit are old-school hip-hop legends, and have both been in the game since the late 80s, and E-40 in particular (B-Legit does too, but E-40 is truly one of a kind) has been easily one of the most distinguishable voices and personalities in hip-hop for over 3 decades. Connected and Respected is what you would expect from a couple of old-heads getting their hands on some of the new-school production tools – bringing flavor from both the new-school while blending it with old-school attitude/rhymes/mentality. E-40 brings the high energy and erratic behavior with lyrics that range from every possible angle you could imagine: from being ignorant, to wise, and to everything in-between. B-Legit acts as the straightforward no bullshit partner in crime, and the duo, as we all come to expect, compliment each other quite well.

The very first 3 tracks are straightforward bangers, and classic examples of how E-40 and B-Legit can be when they are at their best. I will say “Guilty By Affiliation” has an interesting concept and lyrical contents, but something about the beat just doesn’t work for me – the song should be great, but something about the beat just seems a bit too randomly clunky. The second “Carpal Tunnel” comes on you know this is a classic E-40 track, ONLY the hook is just… bad, unfortunately, because I love the rest of this song and the beat. A problem with this project is that it does last a bit too long, and the instrumentals at a point do start to get a bit too similar, which makes certain songs hard to differentiate from others. The middle of the album definitely falls a bit flat in places, but the proceeding tracks “Whooped”, which starts with a refreshing sample, followed by those heavy synth hits that litter this album, and “Barbershop” or energetic funky “So High” (easily one of my favorite songs on the album, and such a stand-out track from this, easily my favorite) kinda help brings things back up. I don’t what the hell they were thinking on “Tap In” which is basically un-listenable to me. The choruses/hooks are easily the weakest part of this project – which is frustrating, considering how great these guys are on the mic.

Those who are already in love with E-40 and B-Legit are going to blindly love this, as you would think, but I think even people who aren’t familiar with the group might find themselves some pretty accessible and fun tracks to introduce themselves to these guys. The first 3 tracks on this album made me want to call this a classic, but they just let this album run too long, and have to many similar ideas/similar sounding instrumentals this time around. This doesn’t make the album necessarily bad, not by a long-shot, but does bring it down from the Excellent grade I desperately wanted to give it. Still recommend it to anyone who’s a hip-hop fan, because E-40’s diligence deserves everyone’s expect at this point, if nothing else.

Rank:
Classic

Excellent

Good – (This should have been an excellent album, and goddamn did it smell like it for the first 3 songs, and still smells like at different points in this album. Probably 6 or 7 songs could have been booted, and this would be – no contest – an excellent album)

Average

Troubled

Trash

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Uncategorized

Exploring Discographies – Prince – For You (1978)

In “Exploring Discographies” we (albeit, slowly) go through the discographies of various artists and analyze the musical evolution of their music and identity throughout the years. The goal is to really understand the story of each artist, and give my opinion on the nature and potential appeal of the music.

1978 Prince – For You

An often overlooked masterpiece in funk, soul, and even early Rock Crossover sound that Prince would really take in full stride by the next 2 albums. Every time I come back to “For You”, I find myself excited to re-hear pretty much every song on the album. The songs are incredibly concise, quirky, emotional, and I usually can’t help but want to dance (and I typically hate dancing) to almost all of them. Prince’s vocals alone gives the music it’s distinct sound (a particularly distinct falsetto dominates, but is not the ONLY style prince uses) – all the while the musical production feels incredibly detailed, being pleasantly soaking in a variety of both soft and warm synths, funk and normal guitar, and bass. Prince, supposedly, performed most – if not all – the instrumentation on this album, and it only makes the experience that much more interesting and satisfying.

This album works incredibly well as a “Day 1” in the musical journey of Prince, as it very telling of the musical influences and overall style that he would explore later. The funk sound is quite overwhelming on this album (as it is, to some degree, in all his music) – and as someone who is really infatuated with that sound, this album manages to be both catchy, and incredibly unique. Prince’s little touches in the production and instrumentation really keep his music distinguishable from other funk acts during, before, and after the time of this album. There is detail, subtlety, and the few instances where guitar solos pop up, like in “My Love Is Forever” and “For You”, keep you yearning for more.

One aspect of Prince’s early music (and most music at that time, anyway, due to the nature of vinyl) is that his projects are short – and every song is very much unique, and memorable. This allows the listener to really get absorbed in the atmosphere that prince creates, and not feel tired or bored quickly; rather, I almost always want to listen through a second or third time – especially to my favorites.

Prince gives you plenty of dancey, almost disco-y tracks like the latter half of “Soft and Wet”, “Just As Long As We Are Together”, and  “My Love Is Forever”. He brings you soft balads, like “Crazy You”, “
So Blue” and “Baby” (all of which are actually amazing, to my surprise) and then at the very end of the album, he then goes Guitar God and drops “I’m Yours”, which is in my own personal top 10 favorite songs. Prince seems to realize that he’s onto something here – combining the guitar ferocity of almost hair-metal rock music, yet still making an overall funk song. Prince will later explore the reversal of this, making rock music that has a funk influence; something we will see in full force as soon as the very next album after this.

This album isn’t for everyone – while it was both ahead of it’s time in a few little ways, it is a Funky-slightly disco, album from 1978, so most kids nowadays (unless they are cool, and liked Gambino’s newest project, and are into the neo-soul movement) are going to potentially find the music rather lacking in a punch… Though I would personally say this album holds up incredibly well, when you give it a serious chance and compare it to other music today. There is plenty of depth yet fullness to he music, that makes this album perfect for plenty of occasions and settings. I can keep coming back and rediscovering something new about the music I didn’t notice before. New listeners may have trouble adjusting to the older style sounds from that period, but give it a few rotations – and you might just start to understand what I’m talking about.

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Everything Everything – A Fever Dream

In June of 2015 we were treated to one of the more interesting pop albums of that year – Everything Everything’s Get to Heaven. The album featured an assortment of catchy, yet uniquely experimental/quirky up-beat songs, occasionally equipped with a undertone of melancholy or fear (“No Reptiles”). While the album was mostly an energetic trip into rein-visioned 80’s new wave meets fast-tempo rhyming, there was always a slight atmosphere of danger and madness that made the band feel unpredictable – particularly on the first listen. I can recall being repeatedly surprised by each new track, and being rather engrossed with every song’s unique experience. It’s rare for an entire album to keep my attention and receive such repeated rotation as Get to Heaven did.

The band’s latest album Fever Dream doesn’t stray too far from the musical tone of Get to Heaven, though it seems it attempts to be more subdued and subtle then the latter, and more instrumentally progressive and varied. I can recall listening to songs on Get to Heaven, like “No Reptiles” where the stripped down/basic instrumentation was contrasted with an assault of lyrical bullets being fired by lead vocalist Jonathan Higgs, and being completely encapsulated by the experience. Unfortunately I can’t say I felt that way at all on Fever Dream, nor was I particularly enthusiastic about any of the more straight-forward dance/pop songs (not that there were too many of them this time around).

One thing Fever Dream does do is feature song structure that seems to meander and get lost like on  “Good Shot Good Soldier”, for example. The song starts out okay, with a catchy and stripped down beat, but quickly becomes rather boring and stagnant – as Jonathan constantly repeats his lines, which was interesting and refreshing to hear the first time around on Get to Heaven, which by this point in the album had already begun to feel tired. “Put Me Together” attempted to be a ballad of some sort, but the unrelenting high-hats, which often compliment Everything Everything’s music, in this case distracts from whatever atmosphere/emotion that this song was trying to convey; resulting in a boring mess of a song that, at least, ends a tad bit stronger than it begins.

At times Everything Everything stray into more straightforward rock territory (reminiscent of a more electronic Arctic Monkeys ala their last album), like on “Run the Numbers” and “White Whale”, but it unfortunately ends up being nothing memorable. These songs are decent, and instrumentally solid, but they don’t stick around in memory (“White Whale” slightly more so than “Run the Numbers” nor does anything (besides the focus on guitar) to warrant much recognition.

The slightly more subdued approach of Fever Dream does not pay off much, as the album instrumentation, while impressive and enjoyable, is not particularly memorable or immediately striking upon listening. I can still return to Get to Heaven and immediately be entranced in more than half of the album, jumping in at any point – this is not, however, the case for Fever Dream, as every song on here feels like an attempt to reach musical and emotional depth, without being particularly too interesting while doing it.  The best part of the title track, “Fever Dream”, ends up sounding like a catchy “Plastic Beach” era Gorillaz song meets Cut Copy.  Unfortunately, what I liked about Everything Everything has nothing to do with either of those bands, so it’s immensely unfortunate.

I thought the  first half of the song song “Ivory Tower” could have been taken off of Get to Heaven, as it just sounds like a bizarre amalgamation of a few songs from the previous album, which may just be their fans’ fancy, but it’s mostly disappointing to me. The payoff at the end of the track makes up for it though, as I did find myself repeat listening to the solo and enjoying it.

Overall, this is far from a bad album, but considering how impressive Get to Heaven was, it’s difficult to give compliments to this album – knowing how much better in nearly every way the previous album was. I give considerable credit to the band for attempting to expand and vary their sound on this album, going far more progressive and incorporating some impressive guitar solos (“Ivory Tower”), but I am also considerable dissapointed in Fever Dream being essentially a bland and forgettable version of Get to Heaven,with half of the energy.

 

6.75/10

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Please, Trend Lightly… On You-tube 7/6/2017

Kesha – Praying

Now, I’m not going to even try to dip my toes in the mess of a pool that is the Kesha-and-manager controversy, though you can’t help but feel this song is an active product/reflection of all the attitudes and views imposed upon her. I will say this: anyone can be a horrible person, artist, CEO, ANYONE. Never believe just what’s convenient.

That aside, lets look at the song: a piano driven ballad, accompanied by a combination of bright yet dark, moody yet bizarrely uplifting, and clearly a demonstration of frustration mangled with confrontation… The most personal song written, that I’ve heard, by the artist.

While Kesha’s opening monologue can either be taken as hear-wrenching, or eye-rolling (depending on your stance), most of the song is simplistic and straight-forward as far as a ballad goes. It’s biggest flaw is becoming instrumentally un-powerful during the last half… Which is a shame, because she is attempting to put as much emotion and effort into singing, which is definitely endearing.

God, do I start hating the song once the bass drum and chorus comes in, though. All the originality feels like it leaves it feeling kinda boring.

Can’t complain about someone trying to acquire artistic depth – so, kudos to you, Kesha – the artist formally known as Ke$ha.

 

JAY-Z – The Story of O.J.

The theme and artistic vision of the accompanying video is impeccable, haunting, and powerful… Jay-Z’s performance is solid, has a message, and manages to sound great here. Beat is great, too (as you can imagine).

It’s been a long time since I’ve genuinely enjoyed a Jay-Z track, so this was incredibly refreshing.

Look, there’s plenty to be said about this track that others could possibly articulate in greater detail – so explore this video if you haven’t yet. Pretty refreshing to hear an inspired, deep, and honest song, so kudos to Jay-Z.

MACKLEMORE FEAT SKYLAR GREY

Look, Macklemore was never an artist I really listened to in my spare time – despite acknowledging the technical ability, lyrical depth and creativity that is indicative of his music thus far.

Macklemore returns with a new track/music video, where he takes his Grandma out for a day, and speaks on a variety of topics. The instrumental is that same galloping hip-hop beat we heard all over the place on his last project, which is admittedly getting annoying at this point, but his heart and lyrical ability are both on point here.

Chorus sucks. Wherever is singing is annoying, and makes the hook unbearable. Ruins it, honestly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Please, Trend Lightly… On Youtube – 6/27/2017

Lecrae – I’ll Find You

Don’t worry my friend, we’re here to help you: you might have almost listened to an artistic expression that could be described as actually creative or innovative today -BUT DON’T WORRY! YOU ARE SAVED!

Luckily Lecrae and Tori Kelly are here to softly toss those ever so loved and NEVER tired 808-drum snares and hi-hats, accompanied by a lightly auto-tuned and generic sounding hook (though I don’t think Tori is all that bad a singer, she just doesn’t stand out at all, and tries her best to sing in the most trendy of styles). This song also happens to be so bland that it dulls your brain activity, allowing you to forget about all those useless thoughts in your head like: am I just listening to some guy who sounds like Dizzy Wright mixed with Drake? Oh, wait, this is a different artist? But… why?

I’m sure people will love it because it’s like so cool man, and like, speaks to me, and has all the things every other song has too. Nom nom nom more chips-esqe music please, my arteries still work.

 

Calvin Harris – Feels (Official Video) ft. Pharrell Williams, Katy Perry, Big Sean

What is… happening…? Honestly, that was my main thought throughout the entire song.

So we have what SHOULD be a pretty refreshing, fun, and catchy funk beat that just sounds kinda off… unpolished, boring, and generic. How did this obnoxious over-stocked team of artists screw this up?

Look, I’m all about the funk revival train (though, according to intensely ‘academic’ articles as of late, the train has been in a bit of a state of havoc as liberal white people started discovering the bruno mars isn’t actually “black” – causing all kinds of fun cultural appropriation arguments that makes everyone uncomfortable, unsure, and likely aggravated) and while I hated Bruno until Uptown and 24k Magic brought back 80’s and 70’s funk influenced hip-hop back into popular circulation, SOMETHING went horribly wrong with this song.

First of all, I almost ALWAYS love Pharrell – the man has a wonderful falsetto, look, and personality that has been successful for over two decades. However, this song manages to make HIM sound just BAD. It sounds like his voice is unnecessarily auto-tuned (so does everyone’s, actually). Now, I’m not saying it’s terrible, but just extremely underwhelming considering how fresh and clean he normally sounds on almost every beat he’s thrown on.

Big Sean is still not good. He sounds like he’s too cool to care about doing his job well, but only because he’s convinced himself that he’s actually Drake.

Katy Perry… What is-what are… “FEEELSHhh”… Sounds so untalented and uninterested, here. Katy Perry is either dialing it in, or thinks she’s being seductive? I personally like to believe they are all just as bored performing this song as I am listening to it.

Thanks guys. Bruno Bars was doing just fine bringing an actual musical genre back to mainstream, and now you guys are ruining it already. (It’s not really THAT bad, but if you look at it closely… it’s pretty damn hollow and boring in comparison to other funk revivals).

 

Nick Jonas – Remember I Told You ft. Anne-Marie, Mike Posner

New Theme: Everyone just sounds like goddamn Drake

It’s like Nick Jonas was trying to make a Justin Timberlake song, but doesn’t have the same raw singing talent (at least not on this track, anyway), so instead he tried to make a Drake song, but doesn’t have the raw singing talent or personality, and finally resulted in a Drakerlake song that sounds like 20 or 30 different songs in this past week that I heard for about a few seconds on the radio before changing the station to the polka station to hear REAL music…

The light funk influence in the background of the instrumental at parts are… welcome, and the production overall is decent, but feels very jumpy and the song doesn’t feel like it wants to stay around long. It’s basic, somewhat effective, and is only annoying if you are a sane human being.

Also, why is Mike Posner rapping here? He’s usually singing… role swapping, eh? Well, he sounds alright over the beat, though he’s not saying anything important (but was anyone listening for anything important?), so kudos to Mike Posner for his wonderful 25 second contribution.

The song is okay, Nick Jonas is okay, Anne-Marie isn’t even on the song long enough to verify being okay, and Mike Posner is still not auto-tuned [NOT VERIFIED – MAY BE ACTUALLY AUTO-TUNED]. You’ll like it if you like the light dancey pop-music that everyone is making.

 

 

 

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