Album Review: “Reawakenings Vol. 2” by Hidden Citizens

I have been looking forward to this for over two months. I think in a couple of weeks, I’ll write a post about my favorite modern cinematic composers/producers, so you can see that there are many others out there that are really interesting. Hidden Citizens were probably the second act that I found once I started on this crazy journey. I look forward to every new single, EP that they release but here we actually have a new album. One thing to keep in mind with these guys is that they mainly reinvent older songs, so you’re hearing covers of generally cinematic and trailer music.

For this album, there are a total of 12 songs with some songs you may or may not recognize, plus some special guests that you might’ve heard on their previous releases. We have a long list to get through so I think we should just start it.

We begin with “You’re No Good” and I have to say, it’s the only song that I have listened to prior working on this review. It features Ranya, who has worked with them before and you will continue to see her throughout this album as well. I really like the strong introduction, Ranya has a strong presence on it too. I like the fact that we start very strong and have an oddly heavy metal sound. There are a few songs on here that I know to be in that genre, but with this one I’m not really sure about but I definitely like this version. The second track is “Shattered Dreams” and it features VE. To me, it’s a little bit more mellow but I like the softness of it. Whenever you have a large selection of cinematic songs, it is best to have a couple gentle ones in the mix to let everything breathe. So, it’s okay for my standard – I think I would have loved it more if it was down the list honestly.

Now this next one, I have heard before, but I had to look up who it was originally by, ahh Pat Benatar! Once I saw it on the tracklist, I instantly heard a female singing in my brain. It’s definitely more of an 80’s song than anything else, so to see it with a modern flare is very interesting! What’s even cooler is that instead of using a female singer for this, we have Adam Christopher. He has a high falsetto voice so it mimics what you remember, but with everything added in, he makes it ‘cooler’ for this generation. Now, unfortunately, if I were to let my parents–especially my mom–I don’t think they would approve but that’s expected sometimes! For anyone born in the 90’s, might remember this 2000’s pop classic “Don’t Speak” by No Doubt. I grew up on pop music so the fact that I knew the lyrics to this one, but could not figure out who it was by at the top of my head is somewhat sad. Anyways, this is actually very good and quiet too. Tim Halperin was a very interesting choice for this rendition, but I actually enjoyed it!

Our next song is “Paint It Black”, now I’ve heard R&B singer Ciara’s version of it for The Last Witch Hunter soundtrack but I haven’t found any others that I liked just as much. Overall, the song is pretty and dark, even Ranya’s voice is gorgeous on it, but I still prefer this other one right now! We move on to “Nowhere To Run” with Keeley Bumford. I really love this song! It’s fierce, ominous and pulls you right into the ride. I’ve always had a weakness to these types of songs!

We are nearing the end of our adventure with the last six songs, “Crazy On You” is where we go to next. Ranya is back. I really liked this one as it was fast paced and really strong. However that’s all I can say about it! Leave it to me to forget one while writing them out the list on my notepad. We’re back to normal now, and Adam Christopher comes back with “Everywhere” and I really liked the softness of it.Of course, it does branch off with a heavier tone later on but Adam has a really nice voice for all genres, it’s not overwhelming at all. It’s like smoke, it just flows away slowly. I never thought I woul ever have to use that metaphor but here we are right?

“No Easy Way Out” by VE is on now, and we have another still type of song but out of all the songs on the album, I think this is my favorite. It was very emotional and I have found out recently that I am a sucker for these types of songs now! I guess it’s a side effect of listening to a lot of epic music! This is our final track with Ranya and it is “Beware Of darkness” and I was really hoping for a desolate type of song and that’s exactly what I got, but instead of it being in your face at all times, it is still pretty mellow for the majority of it. I still loved it though!

Tim Halperin makes his last appearance with “We Are All Made Of Stars” and again, we have this rock sound but what I really like about it is that it gives the song this extra edge but it still has a nice beat to be used as part of your workout playlist. It’s a unique song! Lastly, we have “Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be” now the singer on this track is a favorite of mine because she was once apart Celtic Woman: Chloe Agnew. I’m not really sure if this is a Irish song but I love the fact that it has this quiet almost like a lullaby but the built up gives it a nice mysterious flare. It’s really beautiful and exactly what I want for the perfect finish.

This album as a whole was good; unfortunately I can’t say I loved it either. I was a little torn with it, because I did this to myself on the fact that I expected it to be amazingly awesome, when in reality it really wasn’t. A part of me thinks it was because of the amount of times that some of the artists come back throughout the album. There wasn’t a variety of voices in the songs as maybe I would have liked, but don’t get me wrong the artists are really great but I wanted more than what we were given! Of course, this is only my opinion.

Are you a fan of Hidden Citizens? What were your thoughts on their new album? did you enjoy it just as much as their previous releases or not?

Album Review: “III” by BANKS

Today I am finally going to talk about BANKS! Sometimes it can be harder to talk about your favorite artists than it is for newer artists, at least it has been for me! You see, I’ve tried in the past to review her previous album The Altar back in 2017 but I just could not get myself to do it and I’ve been kicking myself ever since! So, for this post I am basically conquering my fear and discussing what I like or maybe dislike about this album.

I actually didn’t know she was going to put out an album until a whole bunch of songs on YouTube and I thought, “well, this is strange!” So, I went on her Facebook page and quickly figured it out. This record has thirteen tracks with only one that credits another artist and/or band, but we’ll get to that in a minute,. I have only heard probably three or four songs but the rest I have saved for you guys, because you know how much I like to express my thoughts during that first listening. I hope you enjoy the rest of this post. Let’s get to it!

The first song we have is “Till Now” and I think everyone will agree with me on forgetting that the actual word “till” is spelled with 2 “L’s” the fact that Google and everybody else in the world has no problem with leaving it with one is fine. However, it is nice to be reminded of that every once in a while. Anyways, when the song first started it actually made me think of another song of hers “Better” because it was pretty empty with only her vocalizations in the background but the one difference with this is that it sounds more upbeat. Towards the ending it sound really static-y and I was really concerned that it was my speaker but her vocals never changed so I let it go. I really liked it, just wish it wasn’t so short though!

Next we have the first single, “Gimme” and I loved this from the moment it was released! I really approve of her seductive side coming out in this song. I have a really tough time not dancing to this and that’s what made me fall in love with it first, because it just has this great meaty beat to move to. It was an awesome little taste of what was to come next. The third track is “Contaminated” and we have continued on this mysterious train with the beat itself. Even though it does have darker notes, it also has these sweet vibes going through it as well. I can’t quite explain it, maybe it’s the undertone of the song that I’m feeling but I liked it!

We move on to “Stroke” and the first thing that popped into my mind when I saw the title was the word “heatstroke” I don’t know about my brain sometimes. The song is on a totally different level that what we’ve heard from her; she’s given us everything I thought until I heard this one. The bass on it is amazing! If you know me well enough, you know I have a slight obsession with bass. I may not jam as loud as I use to, but I still love to feel the bass on a speaker. By the way, you read that right. I said feel instead of hear. One thing that I really like about it is that once you get to the bridge, the sound changes and you have this almost jazz-y worthy type of beat going on for a bit and what really gets me is that it all works really nicely!

“Godless” is next and I love that her vocals are soft, really sensual this time around. It is still sexy in every sense of the word but it’s not as overwhelming as the last track–and I mean that in the best way possible! I just like how everything about the song is milder. It is a nice change, but it isn’t anything like the next song: “Sawzall” as this has a true acoustic feel. You can hear everything individually, and it’s wonderful. I love her dark-alternative music but it is amazing to hear her as naturally as possible. These two songs really surprised on how different they could be, compared the rest of her music.

We move on to “Look What You’re Doing To Me” and this is, dare I say, very cheery and playful! This is the song that features another artist, it is Francis & The Lights. I have never heard of them before but I really enjoyed the subtle way they came into the track. So far, this is the only one that sound like a regular R&B song, although it still has the essence of what we all love about BANKS, but thanks to adding another voice, it has an edge compared to the others. Unfortunately, it isn’t one of my favorites but it’s still pretty good though!

Next we have “Hawaiian Mazes” and I really loved the quiet introduction. It was just a sweet kiss. The tempo stays very mellow throughout the whole thing. The “uh, uh, uhs” are also nice too, the whole thing brings out a sensual vibe. Perfect for the summertime! After that, we travel to “Alaska” basically. I thought it was interesting that we had these back-to-back. As the last one was very chill, this is fun and mild beat wise. It has a nice groove to dance to, and has a unique flare to it. The recent song that I allowed myself to hear was “Propaganda” and I thought it was great! I really think it has more of a House feeling going on, it does match the other two with the lightness of the beat, but thankfully all of them have something to make them different from each other.

“The Fall” is the one of the three tracks left on the album. This one threw me for a loop. While you listen to the verses, the beat is very gentle, almost relaxing in a way. After the last few songs, it shouldn’t really surprise you that this could happen, but once you get the chorus, it explodes. Suddenly, you feel this fierce tone and if I’m not mistaken, she’s rapping towards the end? Yummy! We have “If We Were Made Out Of Water” and I love the sounds of birds in the beginning. When you first hear them, you kind of think that it’s going to be a happy song but it’s not. It’s rather sad, especially when you read the lyrics along, you feel like you could cry. despite this, I think it’s one of my favorites! We are at “What About Love” which is the final song. I really enjoyed the bluesy, but gospel sound going on. It does a bittersweet tone, but I like how simple it was; kind of the perfect way to end the story.

I will be honest when I say, I have yet to actually listen to any of BANKS’ albums all the way through, and this was the main reason why I wanted to review her last record because I knew I wouldn’t without having a reason to do so. However, because of this too, I was very hesitant to review it at all. I am normally very picky with her music so going into this was a bit scary for me, but everything is fine. I actually loved it!

I can’t say her music has changed, I don’t feel like I can say that officially, but it hit my needs as to start on a high note and end kind of softly. For an album like this, a summer record basically, it wasn’t overwhelming with tropical sounds and full of sex, although it does have a bit of it on here, but it’s pleasant. You finally get to hear her voice and raw emotions as the album continues on. The lyrics are different, certain words that maybe you wouldn’t expect to be in a song. It was a unique experience, that’s all I can say!

Have you listened to BANKS’ new album III yet? What did you love it or not liked it as much? What were your favorites? Put your answers below in the comments!

Album Review: “Hearing Colour” by Svrcina

I am back with another review for you! As you all know, I love doing these blog posts but unfortunately being able to find new full releases is tricky so when I find a stack of music, even if it’s small, I will try to talk about on here!

For today, I will be reviewing an album that came out in early June, by an artist that I have discussed on here before. She is Svrcina, and her newest album “Hearing Colour” came out on the 14th, and I found out about it on the 27th! Honestly, if I do end up writing all three reviews, I’m pretty sure all of them were released sometime last month.

Check out the review of her previous album simply titled “Svrcina” that came out in 2017 now!

We have firstly, the title track “Hearing Colour” and it is a gentle introduction of what is essentially to come. It has that synth-pop sound that she is sort of known for, so I really liked it. Finally, it’s with “Dragonflies” that starts the music journey. We have that little exotic flare that I really love about her music. It’s not too much or too little, just enough to give it that edge. The song itself is very upbeat with a pop-y tone. Great way to begin the album! Next is a song called “Pages” and here again, we have a happy but unique kind of beat going on. I was imagining myself relaxing at a Japanese spa, surrounded by a small stream and some waterlilies here and there. I can really see it while listening to this song, but I like the actual song too. !

When I first wrote out the list, I thought to myself, please be a ballad. From the moment it started playing, I instantly got excited because even though it wasn’t what I initially wanted I still enjoyed it anyways. “Insecure” has that light but mysterious sound that I love in her music, but it’s not too much. I think some people would consider this a House track just by the vibe of it. It’s pretty groove-y so I really liked that. It was better than I expected it, which was awesome! Next, we have “All I Wanna Do” and here we have what i like to think of a regular pop song, because there wasn’t really anything too interesting about it, but it was good anyways!

The album is coming to an end; “Back 2 Good” has a nice little upbeat tone. I really like the bubble popping type of sound in the verses, the reason why I say “bubble popping” is because it was literally the first thing that came to me when I focused my attention on it. I really enjoyed the song, despite not liking it the first time I listened to it a few months ago. It’ll put you in a good mood, I was humming and dancing towards the end of it so that’s always a good sign! And finally, we have “Come Together” and I thought it was a nice balance between her slower songs and a pop-y track. Out of all the songs on the album, I still love this one the most!

I think because she came out as a cinematic artist, working with Tommee Profitt for his cinematic volumes for the past three years, I’ve gotten so use d to that voice of hers in that thundering light that when she went in an another direction, I wasn’t necessarily ready for it. I’m not saying any of this release was bad, for a pop album, it was pretty good but not what I was expecting it to be. I also had a thought that since her first album was in a somber tone, this was bubbly and warm, perfect for the summertime! So, what I’m really trying to say is that it was a nice surprise.

Have you listened to Svrcina’s music before? If you have heard this release, what were your thoughts on it? A fan or not?

Album Review: “For The Throne” by Game Of Thrones, Various Artists

I don’t know what made me decide to do this review, but I thought it would be fun and I also really wanted to talk about how you feel about these types of releases, are you fan of them or think they’re kind of annoying because they don’t match what you pictured in your head for the last nine years? You’ll find out my answer soon!

This album is pretty hefty, which I was kind of surprised but grew to like it because that leaves more room for other artists and genres they mainly work in on a daily basis. It’s also a collection of popular and no-so-popular artists as there were two that I have never heard of before so I am a bit intrigued to begin with so that’s a plus! When I started writing this review, I was already listening to the album but quickly stopped before I went too far to come back. Hmmm… sounds like something you’d hear before going over The Wall. Anyways, let’s start, shall we?

The first track is called “Kingdom Of One” by Country singer Maren Morris. It is such an eerie, but soft song that definitely embodies that Game Of Thrones vibe, as it’s darkness and somber look with every episode. I think it has the right amount of edge and makes you curious to what the rest of the record will sound like after it’s over. It’s perfect. The first single to be released was “Power Is Power” by The Weeknd featuring SZA & Travis Scott. I thought it was interesting how different this one and the previous song were, but I liked them for what they bring to the album as a whole! However, it does sound like the Black Panther song, “Pray For Me” with this popping beat at the end of the chorus, so that pretty much bummed me out a bit.

Check out music producer Tommee Profitt and artist Fleurie’s cinematic release “Gloria Regali” that was also inspired by the HBO series “Game Of Thrones.” 

We move on to “Nightshade” and I cannot lie, the first thing that jumped up at me was the big green explosion in season six. It is sung by The Lumineers, and thanks to the band’s background in folk music, the vibe of this song is totally new. In a way, it has this peppy sound mostly because of the pianist using the higher notes, so it has this urgent but calming atmosphere. I kept thinking something else was coming but it never doesn’t. It just stays in this one place and usually I’d find this really annoying but I liked it. The fifth track is “Hollow Crown” by Ellie Goulding and this may be an unpopular opinion to some, but you can’t have a movie or in this case a television show soundtrack without Ellie Goulding in it. Now as I say that, I thought this wasn’t as good as some of her others. I figured it would be much darker like the title somewhat suggests, but it’s not like that at all. The beat is fairly boring; nothing about it really grabs my attention and I was really shocked by it.

Next there’s “Baptize Me” by X Ambassadors featuring Jacob Banks. This was one of the artists I was unfamiliar with, so I had to go check him out after I was finished. I swore up and down it was Rag’Bone Man with his deep voice. I enjoyed the laid back vibe of this one. It has a nice groove to it, and I thought it was weird because I didn’t think it was a GoT type of song but then I thought, we need a light=heart song because it’s not all about blood and glory. One song that I thought brought out the most GoT feelings, was “Too Many Gods” by A$AP Rocky featuring Joey BadA$$. This was very mellow as far as rap songs go, so I ended up really loving it! It wasn’t too much in your face and gave you this calming perspective. Our seventh track is “Turn On Me’ by The National. They are a rock band that have been making music since 1999. I really, really liked the softness of it. I am so used to hearing epic songs for movies that I keep forgetting that rock-pop could be a really good change, because there are sweet moments between our characters and so I have grown to appreciate this take on these songs.

The ninth song is “From The Grave” by James Arthur. I love James Arthur. He gives out so much emotion and a rawness that I feel like I need to hear on a weekly basis to remind me “this is what men sound me”. I really loved this one because I feel like it could be a dedication to the characters that died throughout the duration of the show. We move on to “Me Traicionaste” by ROSALIA and A.CHAL. I thought this was an interesting track because this completely in Spanish. So, we bring in other worldly sounds to the album and despite having a couple of rap songs included for some reason I didn’t think there should be a song like this on it, but I enjoyed having it be apart of it too!

Our next song is “When I Lie” and it’s a remix of the original version. It’s by Lil Peep and features Ty Dolla $ign too. One thing that I really liked about it was this hip hop mixing with rock sound. It’s one of my favorite combinations! I’m familiar with Ty but not Lil Peep, but I thought both of their voices were great in that echo-y sense and it all has a nice groove to it so I thoroughly enjoyed myself with this. We move on to, “Love Can Kill” by another artist I never heard of before, but I grew to like her voice anyways. Her name is Lennon Stella. She reminded me of Alessia Cara and Billie Eilish. Anyways, I like this pop-y thing going on, but I didn’t get it was inspired by GoT but then once I really paid attention to it, I thought it could work. The twelfth song is “Wolf At Your Door” by Chloe x Hallie. I think these girls each have a beautiful voice and the beat itself embodied that vibe of the show. It was eerie but pop-y at the same time, it’s really good honestly!

These are the last couple of songs on the album. We have “Devil In Your Eye” by Mumford & Sons. I was surprised we didn’t have an Ed Sheeran song on here, but if there was an alternative route I guess Mumford & Sons is a good way to go! This was a great song, I liked the lightness of it, between the lead vocalist’s voice and the overall sound itself. It was nice. The final song is “Pray (High Valyrian)” and I’m really glad to see this type of track on the album. It is an essentially an instrumental, there are words but you can’t really hear them clearly to make out anything but maybe “pray” and unless you are an expert on Valyrian language, you’re kind of screwed. However, the song itself is really good. It’s mysterious and makes you wonder if it’s a clue to the ending of the series.

I was really surprised with this album. I actually ended up liking the majority of the songs on it. I also really enjoyed the variety of genres on it as well. It gave everybody a chance to release something they thought needed to be expressed, whether or not they are fans of the show. However, I’d hope everyone involved are fans in the first place! I definitely didn’t picture any of these songs and the artists on this, but I thought it was really cool to see this basically come alive.Anyways, I definitely recommend any fan of Game Of Thrones to listen to this soundtrack!

Have you listened to the “For The Throne” soundtrack yet? If you have, what were your favorite track(s) on it? 

Album Review: “Breathing In Colours” by Forever Still

Today I will be talking about another album that just recently came out this month. I’ve already talked about this band back in 2016, but now we have a bran new release and I am so excited to do this review for you! I’m also really happy to finally be able to listen to all of the songs too, since I’ve been trying to save them specifically for this post. 

Forever Still is a female fronted band straight out of Denmark. The group consists of Maja the lead vocalist and her band mates: Mikkel, Rune, and Inuuteg. They make some really fun and exciting hard rock music. You cannot tell that they are an international band, and Maja is true rocker as she has an amazing voice for both singing and screaming! If you’ve never heard of them or want to make your own judgement about Maja’s singing ability then you should check out the rest of their music afterwards. 

This album has a total of 12 tracks and we start it with a song called “Rewind”. It has an eerie introduction that only lasts a few seconds and immediately hear this static-y sound before Maja starts singing. I enjoyed the familiarity in the entire song. I don’t listen to them a lot, much less rock music, as I used to so it was nice to instantly fall back in love with the band again. One thing that I noticed was the range in Maja’s voice. Whenever she went up to do those high notes in the choruses, you could hear the power. It wasn’t forced so it was perfectly done. I really liked this the most I think. Next, there’s “Fight” and you have this hard, head-banging kind of song. It still has these softer notes in it, which I ended up liking a lot more than I thought I would. I also want to say that I think Maja has learned the safer way to conduct her screams, because it did feel a little bit held in parts, it wasn’t as intense as I’m used to hearing it but that doesn’t mean it was bad though. 

Click here to read Forever Still’s “Tied Down” album review now!

Our third track is “Breathe In Colours” and this is much more gritty compared to the first two songs. When it starts, you think it’s going to stay in one lane but it doesn’t, everything changes during the choruses. One giveaway for this, is when Maja suddenly goes quiet and whispers a few words before screaming into the microphone. I like the commanding presence it had, I wanted it to continue on and on just so I could absorb that vibe a little bit more. I think it’s my favorite, but we have to keep going to see what else we have on here. “Is It Gone?” was actually on one of my favorite rock stations, Sirius XM Octane a couple of weeks ago and as much as I was excited for them to be played on there, I forced myself away and I was really sad I did to myself. The song itself is really light, it’s not obnoxious like I thought but I really liked it for what it was, a really hard rock song that is perfect for radio too! 

We move on to, “Survive” and I really hoped for another loud, in your face type of song and that’s exactly what I got! It was strong and made me chill out, which was strange in a way because usually this type of music has the opposite effect. I have to point out though, I wasn’t just swaying side-to-side, whenever the pace increased, I was head-banging right along to her screams! It was a good and interesting mix! Number six was “Do Your Worst” and this is a monster! From the time it starts until the ends, it’s just intense! Maja does a lot of singing in this one, but I actually prefer it, you can feel and the emotions coming out of her in this, and that was what really made me fall in love with it. 

We are almost done, and I am already sad! Next there’s “Pieces” and it’s another light rock song. The screams are not at the forefront of the song, so instead you hear this angelic singing and mysterious choir in the background too. It was really great! We go back to the heavy hitters in the eighth track, “Rising Over You” and it actually gave me “Scars” vibes in various parts of the song. If you don’t know, “Scars” is one of my favorites on their previous album, so the fact that we have a similarity between these two songs kind of made me worried at first, but this is a completely different song, and I’m glad the whole thing a whole new identity. 

We move on to, “Say Your Goodbyes” the song that I forgot to write down on my list before I got started on this post. It happens sometimes, especially with me! Anyways, this has a darker direction but the sound itself is not muddled, meaning the softer and gritty sounds don’t overwhelm each other as they trade off. Our final song, is “Embrace The Tide” ends this journey on a very easy-going note. It’s not in your face, heavy, but it still has a soul with the orchestral elements added onto it. I really liked, even though it isn’t what I would normally like for the end of this album, still it’s really good too! 

I know I mentioned in the beginning that this had twelve songs on here, but I don’t normally like to talk about acoustic versions of the same song I just listened to. Normally I do say something about it, but honestly I don’t really care for acoustic songs, so I apologize for the false advertisement there. Other than that, this was a really good album. I really actually surprised in a way because I hadn’t seen that much about it online, so I was a bit scared going into this. Second albums are usually a hit or a miss too, so that was my other worry about listening to it, but we’re good! It was a great album with some nice changes too.

Have you heard Forever Still’s new release “Breathing In Colours” yet? If you have, what did think of it?  Do you have any favorites that you’d like to share with us?