Album Review: “Sign” by RAIGN

40393523_10158372717632837_5296621834853154816_nBack in January, British singer-songwriter RAIGN released her extended play “Born Again” and I put out a review of it on here about a month later. Now I’m back to talk about her debut album that came out in mid-September. It is called “Sign” and even though I kept seeing a couple of singles pop up on the new music tab on Spotify, I did not expect this at all! Despite only really listening to one single before working on this, I didn’t know what I was getting into but I was open to new sounds and some of the familiar stuff that made me fall in love with her music in the first place.

The album itself consists of 12 songs, which is standard for any musician but also with that amount, means you can hear a wider range of her style. I am hoping for an eclectic mix as I continue down the list of tracks. So, let’s start!

We begin with an introduction, “Sign” and it’s an instrumental start to the album. It has a dreamy quality to it as it’s soft but haunting too. I really like hearing the orchestra build up and sound like the second song “Out Of Time”. This song has a completely different tone, as it has a pop-rock sound which wasn’t something that I expected but I actually liked it! It’s something we haven’t heard from her yet and I thought it was perfect to break that barrier so early in the album. Next we have “Who Are You” and it has that familiar mysterious vibe playing throughout it. It’s very powerful but in a way gentle too!

We move on to “God Only Knows” and what I really like about this one was the fact that it started off in this soft way, with only her echo-y but deep voice and a light epic drumming in the background. It was so beautiful to only have those elements, before adding the orchestra back in too. The fourth track “Into Heaven Alone” has a melancholy sound but it does have a rock-y vibe on top of that cinematic beat, it’s not an overwhelming. I liked the uniqueness it gave the song! I feel the next song “Inside Of Me” has this motivational statement to make, as it gave you the strength to get through whatever is bothering you at that moment. The beat itself was strong in terms of matching the emotions and lyrics to the song, but it was also really light too. It was a nice balance.

When we first started the album, we had a nice epic intro with “Sign” but for the sixth track, it is the vocal version of the actual song. It still has this gentleness about it, but now that we are hearing the words along with the ominous ballad of violins, bells and of course Raign’s deep voice. It will take you away into a magical place whenever you listen to it, at least that’s what it did for me. I felt like I was walking in a snow-y, forest wonderland, I love it when music can do that in a matter of three minutes! Next, there’s “Calling” and this has another interesting quality. At first, I thought it was going to continue what we heard in the last song. I’m hearing more pop-y notes in the beat, it still has that cinematic sound in it, but it is very mild so you can hear them both at the same time. It is a cool song.

We are on the last four songs. “Hold On To The Sky” is kind of tame, almost dreamy in a way. One way to explain it, is if you were in a deep amount of water. Your body is weightless so dancing inside is a breeze. If this was a song, this would be it. I’m sorry for the weird metaphor, but that’s what I instantly thought of when it started playing! Next there’s “Find My Own Way” and this has a sexy beat behind it. It keeps you on your toes because it’s a somewhat simple song, but there’s that underling feeling you could be surprised soon. It was a pleasing track and probably one of my favorites out of the whole thing.

I was really curious about the eleventh song and final track because the titles seem so easy to figure out, I just hoped I wouldn’t get disappointed in the end. However, “Sunrise” starts with this very loud bass boom and then her voice gets echo-y and the beat itself builds into the monstrous beast. As it continues, Raign basically stays the same as far as tempo goes, but I’m glad she’s like that because the dynamic between these two makes it that much better. It has an edge, a jaggered edge that makes it powerful! Finally, we end with “Evergreen” and after the previous one, I was a little worried but thankfully it was at the same vibe, but I think I fell in love with the lyrics a lot faster than I did with “Sunrise”, plus it has a happier beat. It had a motivated outlook on it, but everything about it was inviting to me, and it made me like I could do anything so I was thinking of good things rather than the negative and that’s what I like the most about it.

One of my favorite things to do now whenever I watch a movie or television show, is that I keep an eye out for the music being played on a certain scene. When The Vampire Diaries started playing Raign’s music throughout the last four or five seasons, I did not expect to still crave her music but I do! I think she has a gorgeous voice and the beats she uses to showcase it, make me extremely happy! Raign was at the forefront of my taste for cinematic music, and I deeply encourage you to check out some of her songs! This album gave me feeling after feeling, and although I tend to listen to her music whenever I’m sad, I was happy listening to all the way through and for that to happen rarely works anymore.

Have you heard of RAIGN’s new album “SIGN” yet? If I wasn’t the one to introduce you to her music, how did you find her? What is your favorite song(s)?

snowflake

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Album Review: “Dogviolet” by Laurel

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I am very behind on some of my new releases lately. I had plans on putting up at least four reviews throughout September, but I just didn’t feel like it, so I eventually decided on the two that I knew I wanted to talk about the most, and we start with Laurel’s first full album called “Dogviolet” that was came out on August 24th 2018! The album itself consists of 12 songs so we’re going to be here for a while.

I have talked about Laurel before, the first time I was introduce to her mysterious voice, was during a steamy scene on The Vampire Diaries with Damon and Elena, they were basically having vampire sex and her song “Fire Breather” came on and I remember rewinding that scene so I could hear that song again. At that time, I wasn’t a “Delena” fan so that definitely wasn’t the reason for the repeat of that activity I swear! When she released her EP “Holy Water” back in 2014, and it kept that dark alternative sound to it and I just loved it! However, I’ve noticed that her music has went in a totally different direction, it’s more in the indie rock category now and even though I was a bit taken back at this new sound, I did slowly coming into it with an open heart purely because I love her voice, and honestly it works with both genres in a way.

Laurel did release a first single back in June I think and afterwards she began to put out three to four songs on EPs throughout the summer. I was tempted to listen to those but I knew this was coming so I kept myself away for as long as I could! So, let’s start with the first track “Life Worth Living,” I want to say that I like the title, but the song itself is fairly soft, although I do like when the drums make their presence known, against her raspy voice, she has such a blues-y tone that it works that good with this sound. It actually made me feel good, and I was even dancing too! I liked it a lot. Next we have “All Star” and this one has a seductive tone to it in the way she sings her way through the story, and again I had trouble not dancing to the gentle groove of the guitars.

Third is “Same Mistakes” and this has a more hearty sound, it still that soft undertone but the best way I can describe to what I’m hearing is a sassy sound. I think it fits with the topic of the actual song, because it’s very upbeat and I was somewhat surprised that I liked it that way even though it was basically a break-up song. After that is “South Coast,” I generally loved this. I thought it’s an ideal autumnal type of song by the fact that it’s so easy-going and full of emotions. I didn’t really want it to end that’s how much I enjoyed this one! Next is “Hold Tight” and from the moment it started, I was glad to hear a different cord on the guitars. It’s definitely a lot calmer in the groove. The song is so different compared to the previous tracks, and I’m so glad because I can’t stand when most, if not, all of the songs on an album sound alike, it’s annoying!

“Adored” is next and I really love this one! When it first came on, I was like “this is going to be good” and I was right. It has this fierceness quality about it, and another uniqueness that I enjoyed was the “ah, ah, ah” throughout the choruses, they just added another element to this track.  Next is “Sun King” which at first reminded of what people called the Kings in France before the monarchy was overthrown in the 1700’s. That’s strange, I know! Anyways, the song itself is interesting because it’s an admiration song for whoever she’s talking about, and the sound is quiet but in a good way. You only hear two things: Laurel’s beautiful and dreamy voice and a breezy electric guitar. It’s actually very pretty!

We move on to “Crave” and as I figured we have a song that has a more seductive way about it. It’s not that dirty but with just the cords and velvet voice, it gives the song a sexy vibe. I can tell it more so with this track than any of the other songs which surprised me because they all are somewhat similar in their own ways, but we’ll get that in a bit. Next there’s the first single that came out in the early part of summer, “Lovesick” and what shocked the most was when I heard this for the first time, I didn’t think I’d really like this direction, but the song changed my point of view. Unfortunately, there is one bad part of this song. Since I’ve heard the rest of the album after listening to this on repeat, it does sound incredibly similar to “South Coast” as far as the tone and sound around the choruses, so that is a bit of a let down for me. but it makes sense in a way since I really meshed with both tracks in the same way!

We’re almost done with the review, we only have three songs left. “Take It Back” is this fun song to listen while cruising in the countryside in the middle of the afternoon. At least, that was came to me when I started listening to it! It’s upbeat and chill at the same time, and I really liked it. There’s “Empty Kisses” and I hoped that this would be a quieter sound to it, and I wasn’t necessarily happy or sad on what I got with this, because the sound itself was a little cheerful – although the tempo never went away so it still kept that quiet way to be counted as a sweet, love song to my standards. Lastly, we have “Recover” and I decided to let it play and see what the outcome would be and somehow what I wanted in the previous song, I got with this one but I actually liked it better because I would rather have an album like this, fade off into the distance. I’ve always been this way and I’m glad that this is how it ended. It even ended with this last shard of uniqueness of what sounded like a ukulele in the background of the song, I thought it was an interesting element to add for this song.

 Now that we’re done officially, I can say that even though there were many songs that sounded like the other, it was actually pretty good! One of the things that I thoroughly enjoyed (which freaked me out) was the clear 1970’s vibe I was getting from majority of the songs on this album. I thought at first, that this was caused by Laurel’s voice but then my views quickly changed when I discovered that it was the blues-y guitars. It was a fun and interesting pop-rock album, definitely not what I was expecting, but a good end of the summer release though!

Have you listened to Laurel’s new album yet? We’re you supportive in the change to her music? I’d like to hear some of your thoughts in the comments below!

snowflake

 

What The Vampire Diaries Taught Me

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Howdy!

It’s been a whole year since the final season of The Vampire Diaries aired on The CW. I haven’t accepted it fully, mostly because we still have The Originals for the time being, and as it was just announced a last month that Hope Mikealson will get her own show called Legacies with Matt Davis, as he was on the banner with the older “Hope” played by Danielle Rose Russell! So that’s all exciting that we’re going to get another TVD spin-off soon!

Today’s post was inspired by a meme I saw on Pinterest, literally stating “what TVD taught me” with what the general fan base could agree with, so I wanted to play off of that idea and come up with my own. If you loved the shows, because even though I’ve only put “TVD” on the title/banner above, we do have to include TO in there too!

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6. ) You may or may not have a doppelganger out there!

Before this show, I never really heard of the word “doppelganger” and now that’s it’s over, I actually hear and see it frequently online and other shows! It’s actually started a weird obsession that I now have, where I’ve gone on different sites to see exact replicas of people, mostly celebrities throughout history! It’s actually fun but also strange too, but they are so dead on with facial expressions and alignments too.

One of my favorite seasons of TVD was season two, we got to dive into the history of Katherine Pierce and why she and Elena look so alike, and how the both of them have the Salvatore brothers under their spells. No pun intended. I also feel after this happened, that should have prepared us for season four and eventually meeting “Tatia” in an episode of TO! We have officially met all four doppelgangers of “Amara” and then on top of that, we met “Silas” who just so happened to be Stefan’s doppelganger and we met other smaller versions of his distant relatives too. It was cool.

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5. ) Nobody ever dies.

I know a lot of people will think this probably should be #1 but I had others that I felt as though they needed to be higher on the list.

Nobody ever dies on either show, and if they have died, their character has been brought back in some form, like in a dream or flashback. It’s always these two moments though that can create the most tears though! Only a couple of people have actually came back in living form, which had better consequences for them then the first time around! My favorites were: Grams, Alaric, Lexi, Katherine, and Liz of course! And we have to admit, nobody can say they are the top of this phrase, but Mama Salvatore! She was the best surprise of them all, even if her introduction scared the living shit out of me!

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4. )  It’s hard to resist.

One thing that I’m really missing on my TV screen are the scenes with Mr. Tyler Lockwood. I will admit, I hated that character during the first season, but once Uncle Mason showed up and Tyler broke his werewolf curse, I started crushing on him hardcore. His death about killed me!

We’re just going to continue confessing up some things on this post. Matt Donavon! Oh. My. God. Again, this was another character that I never meshed well in the beginning, actually if I’m being honest, there’s been many times where he aggravated me, but who can deny his baby blue eyes! Everybody had a thing for Damon, which yes, I did too, but to me Matty is the true blue eyed boy that all of the girls loved!

And we can’t forget about the ladies. Hell, I’d be pissed off at myself for not saying anything about the women of both TVD and TO. So let’s discuss Anna first, yes, I thought she was very pretty. I could understand why Jeremy had the hots for her in season one and two. Hayley, was another favorite, I mentioned her on my top hottest vampire diaries and originals characters post, and I still love her to pieces! Her character just continued to get better and better!

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3. )  You need a good bourbon on hand for any occasion!

There are scenes, especially in the early seasons where you could literally play a drinking game of whenever Damon (or Stefan) grabbed a bottle and a glass, everytime he took a sip, you would too! Thankfully, I wasn’t 21 during that time frame so I never could join in with some crazy, hardcore fans on that little adventure! My emotions were already messed up as it is, I did not need alcohol to cope, I’d prefer ice cream to be quite honest with you!

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2. ) It doesn’t matter if it’s one witch or a dozen, don’t mess with them!

I think if there’s one thing we’ve learned from both shows, is that do NOT mess a witch. I think between the Gemini coven during season five and the addition of the dead New Orleans witches were probably the strongest group of characters. I’ve always loved Bonnie. I think she’s one of the most underrated people on the series, but the storylines of where these two covens belong in their respected shows was very neat.

I think being able to put Kai into another world and then as Kai went on to kill Jo, her family went on to basically give their lives to safe the lasting reminder of their coven. So they transferred the twins into the only living (or in this case, un-living) thing they could, Miss Caroline Forbes. Even if that whole plot was designed to hide Candice King’s real life pregnancy, it was still unbelievable considering what we just watched beforehand; out of all that bad was this miracle.

And then you have the influence of the NOLA (New Orleans, Louisiana) witches after they’re dead and gone, you knew that once they brought back both Celeste DuBois (season 1) and Esther (season 2) you know they had a bigger story to the mix and when Davina destroyed the control that the Ancestors had over not only her, as they didn’t like her one bit, but the other witches.

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1. ) Don’t break a brother’s heart.

This kind of goes with the doppelganger point I made earlier. Before Elijah and Niklaus showed up in Mystic Falls during season three, we thought the only sob story was the fact that Katherine used both Stefan and Damon’s affections against them. I know Damon gave Stefan a lot of shit for being the reason he killed/fed on his first victim, thus turning him into a vampire afterwards.

When the whole story of why Katherine became a vampire in the first place, everything started to make sense. She was also flirting her ass off to the Mikaelson brothers as well! I find it hilarious that one of those brothers wasn’t Kol. I feel like he would have been a better candidate since he was pure evil, I just want to clarify this suggestion is prior to meeting Davina! Anyways, I think it’s fair to say that Klaus never really fell in love with Katherine, he just wanted to use her as part of breaking the Sun and Moon curse, but we can say he dived all in as much as Damon did. He loved Katherine, he would do anything for her, obviously, but I don’t think there was anything else to expect out of Damon then destruction after she confessed that she never loved him.

After I finished writing and scheduling this, I accidentally went through my other vampire related blog posts I’ve done, and it’s shocking how many of these I’ve done since the beginning of The Vampire Diaries in general! I really do miss the show, but I have the first two seasons on DVD and I know both series are on Netflix so if I ever decide to create it as “Vampire Day” I can, well.. when it decides to work again!

What are some things you learned on both The Vampire Diaries and The Originals? What do you miss the most about now that TVD is over? Who were your favorite characters too?

snowflake 

EP Review: “Born Again” by RAIGN

27072414_10157649396617837_3755914508397942992_nIn 2014, I discovered a bunch of singer-songwriters making music in the alternative genre. I remember that I had three straight days of where I did nothing but look on Spotify for more artists Banks, Zella Day, Laurel, Ruelle and RAIGN. What’s even weird about the four ladies is that I managed to find all of them in one show, as their music was being played on the episodes of The Vampire Diaries! 

For this review, I’ll be discussing RAIGN’s third extended play called “Born Again”. It was released back on January 26th, and I actually didn’t even know about it. I saw a track she released a couple of weeks before called “Believe With Me’ and I figured that if she had released one that more should be coming soon and I was right! Unfortunately, the song is not included on the EP, but we do hear four new tracks so I think that’s a good trade!

So we start with a song that was originally on her first EP, Knocking On Heavens Door that came out in 2015. The track is “Empire Of Our Own” and instead of releasing an acoustic version in which she’s done in the past, this one has a totally different vibe. Since her music is mostly played on trailers to movies and television shows, this was given a cinematic feel to it as it is an orchestra mix. I’ll honestly say that I wasn’t a fan of the original version of the song, I thought it was dull and boring so when I saw this, I thought “well, maybe it’ll make it better!” It does have a very ominous sound, and with Raign’s deep raspy voice, it has more depth to it. I do enjoy the entrance to the chorus at the beginning with those loud bangs of the drums, but as a whole, I’m still not a fan of it. There’s not much that makes special to the others that I’m used to seeing with these certain mixes.

Second song is “One Thing Leads To Another” and this has a fast paced beat to it that I really like, I feel like this one has a lot of possibilities to it. There are high pitched sirens that go off right before the choruses start and to me they sounded like a bunch of trains signaling their coming through. I don’t know that could be just me hearing things. I like the commanding section of the horns though, they add a very strong force to the song. Next we have “The World Is Ours” and even though it’s quieter, you can feel all of the emotions of both Raign’s voice and beat itself. I really like the stripped section, where the sound takes its time to surface with her voice. I think we’re all expecting songs with these types of titles, that they’re supposed to dramatic and heavy, but I think this is a clear example that they don’t have to be!

Lastly we have “This Is The End” and I remember when I saw the title at first, I had to do a double take because Ruelle has a song “This Is The Hunt” and I swore I saw it written like that too, but it was just my eyes playing games with me! I was hoping that it would have that epic sound that she’s used to releasing here lately and I definitely wasn’t disappointed as it went over my expectations. I really like the gentleness of the beat itself, but of course it has this commanding sound with the deep banging of the drums and it sort of has this metallic vibe added by some electric guitars. It has a lot of different elements included on it, but I’m happy to say that they don’t make it so chaotic and overwhelming!

I’m really happy to see Raign get stronger as a cinematic-pop artist. Yes, this title does exist and I’m very happy it does! Considering I don’t like too many of her songs at one time, I’m actually pretty happy with these tracks on this EP. I think with time, she’ll just continue to kill and get better! I’m still hopeful that one day we’ll actually get a full length album as she’s only put out these extended plays plus a few singles here and there, but for now we have this to enjoy!

Are you a fan of RAIGN? Have you listened to her new “Born Again” EP yet? What were your favorites?