Album Review: “LM5” by Little Mix

I am a BIG Little Mix fan! I’ve reviewed two out of the four albums, and now I get to listen and chat about their new album that came out in November. I’m always late to the party, but time and space on my blog gets away from me and it is best to wait it out. It gets me going in the right direction for the new year too!

I think Little Mix is unique because even though there are four girls in the group: Jesy, Leigh-Anne, Jade, and Perrie – they sound like one person, especially when it comes to their ballads. This album consists of 14 songs, with an addition of four more songs in the deluxe edition. I will not be talking about those tracks unfortunately, because the regular amount is a lot for me anyways. So, how about we get started, huh?

The first track of the album is “The National Manthem” and I tried my best to come up with what the title could mean before listening to the actual song, but I came back empty. I ended figuring it was actual an introduction of the whole thing, so that made me feel a bit better about that. You only hear the girls sing in harmony without any music in the background. It was different but I liked it for some odd reason. So, that means “Woman Like Me” is actually the first real song of the album. It features Nicki Minaj and I really enjoyed the tropical and hip hop mixture of the beat. It’s fierce and fun at the same time. Third is “Think About Us” and it has a prominent pop-y sound that I could get behind, towards the choruses the beat grows and considering the theme and lyrics, I was half expecting the song to have a softer sound, but I was okay with this though. I liked the fact that I could not stop dancing to it while it played on, so that’s a good sign!

The fourth track is “Strip” it features Sharaya J., who is a rapper and former choreographer. I thought that was interesting! Anyways, this song is very seductive but I loved it. I liked it for the minimal music on the track. The popping sound gives it all it really needed because the girls’ personalities and voices made it better than anything that I’ve heard in a while, like no joke! I also liked it for the body positive message of the lyrics. Next we have “Monster In Me” and I was really hoping for a banger so imagine my face when it become a slower track. I cannot win. However, as it went on, I did like the calmer vibe it brought and since it was gloomy as hell outside on the day I wrote out this review, it matched my mood for that moment. I really love it! “Joan Of Arc” is next and I was really curious about this track. I always love when artists and bands talk about historical figures, even if the lyrics don’t go well with the person. I just like the different ways they can use the figure in their message, and this was no different. This is definitely a song about independent women, feminism theme. I’m not about feminism message, but I liked this though!

Seventh track is “Love A Girl Right,” the song has a real pop-rock sound. It kind of reminded me of a recent song; the beat, especially the usage of a guitar sounded like DJ Khaled’s “Wild Thoughts” and at first, I wasn’t really feeling it but it started to kind of grow on me. I don’t know what I really think about it. We move on to “American Boy” and even though it’s about the love of American boys, it has a real tropical sound to it. I kind of thought that was a bit weird, to me this wouldn’t be the first beat I’d choose for these lyrics, but okeydokey! I was hoping “Told You So” was better than the last two, and I am happy to say we finally have our first acoustic song off the album. I figured this one would be a ballad, but I didn’t think I’d like it this much. This is a beautiful about supporting your best friend through a breakup or cheating scandal.

The next song is, “Wasabi” and I would be lying if I didn’t tell you, how confused I was about this one. When it finally started those thoughts went away quickly. If you liked the monotone speaking of the fourth track, you get a second slightly different version of it. I like the quirkiness of it. And of course, the little rock-y elements in it too. It gave it a whole different edge and I loved it! Next is, “More Than Words” it features an artist by the name of Kamille. She is a notable songwriter and has worked with Little Mix throughout their career, so I thought was a cool thing to finally be featured as a guest singer on a track she helped write for them. The song is a good medium between a ballad and having an upbeat sound. I really liked this one too!

We’re starting to get to the end of the line, “Motivate” gave me a some party vibes. I did this post on NYE, so I was dancing and enjoying myself a little too early, but it’s not like I would stay awake until midnight anyways! I didn’t! The song has a sexy sound to it, but I didn’t care about that at this point. Next, we have “Notice” and this had a mysterious introduction and the seductive tone continues through the entire thing, but I think I liked this one compared the last song. The girls’ voices are so powerful in this song, so really this is right up my alley! And finally, our last song is “The Cure” and thankfully it is a ballad. I felt there wasn’t enough of these types of songs, which made me kind of sad but I liked the ones we were given though. You still hear the girls and their emotions in each song, and this was no different. It was so good!

The album itself was pretty good, it had a lot of different genres and topics mentioned so I definitely appreciated that a lot, but I think my favorite part was how mature their music is becoming with each album. They’re no longer young girls that won The X-Factor, and the fact they’re no longer signed to Simon Crowell’s recording company, I think of that as a good thing. They can grow as women and don’t have to worry about having to hide themselves in their music.

Have you listened to Little Mix’s new album yet? If you have, what were your favorite song(s) in it? What other thoughts did you have about it? Let me know!

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Album Review: “Everyday Is Christmas” by Sia

22815397_10155910264913408_3424297924083747063_nI am finally starting on my Christmas album reviews! Originally, I had an idea of doubling up the amount of music. I even made up two of the same poll for Facebook and Twitter and apparently everybody likes Christmas music because they won by a landslide! Unfortunately, I was dealing with some things, mostly worried about if I had enough time to get all six reviews up and ready for you. So, I scratched that idea and went with my normal routine of three brand new Christmas albums for you instead. I apologize for the voters that looked forward to it, but it’s now something to possibly look into for next year’s blogmas!

The Australian singer-songwriter Sia recently released her first ever holiday album to the world back at the end of October! I don’t necessarily follow her anywhere, so when I found it on Spotify a while back, I knew it would probably find its way to my Thursday lineup! As far as I know, it’s all Sia, there’s no featured singers listed, but there are 10 festive songs on the album itself, so let’s have some fun!

The first song is “Santa’s Coming For Us” and first off, I want to say I love her unique voice. It’s not really raspy, because she can hit some legendary notes! What I like to call it, is a happy voice, because you instantly get kind of cheerful while listening to her music. So, she really has the perfect Christmas music type of voice! Anyways, the beginning is sort of slow and quiet, which I really liked but what I really enjoyed was this like tropical feeling, almost reggae sound coming through my speakers! It wasn’t your everyday Christmas song and that’s what I love about reviewing these albums the most! Now as I say that, we have a very traditional take to a festive song with “Candy Cane Lane”. There’s a nice whimsical feel to it and it was really hard to stop dancing and type, so I thought that was a good sign!

Third is “Snowman” and I’ll be honest, I really don’t think I’ve made a snowman before. I’ve thrown a small, puny snowball at my mom once while coming down the ramp, but I’m pretty sure it all landed on me instead. Anyways, the song itself has a real jazz-y feel to it. My papaw would have been semi proud of me for that. Generally I thought it would be a lively type of song, but it’s not, you can’t help swaying back and forth in the darkness of night whenever it comes on. The next is something similar as it’s called, “Snowflake” and I really liked the piano introduction. The jazz atmosphere is there, but it’s not as prominent as the previous song. One word to describe it: romantic. If snow can actually do it, some people would disagree with me here.

We move on with “Ho Ho Ho” and I am happy that this has an adult themed lyrics in it, because I really didn’t know how this was going to call when I first saw this on the track list! Now you’re probably wondering how this was made for the adults in mind? Well, for starters, Sia literally lists different alcohols in the verses. If anybody out there watches The Kitchen on Saturdays via the Food Network channel, do you think this is like GZ’s theme song for the segment “Kitchen Cocktail”? It’s the first thing that popped into my mind when I heard it! The sixth song is “Puppies Are Forever” and I’m not going to lie, I was a bit insulted… what about the cats? They love Christmas, I mean they love destroying the decorated trees every year so they must love it too! Anyways, this is so freaking cute! We’ve all had these moments with any baby animals–both domestic and exotic! You just want to take them home every single time and when you can’t, you know you’re not the only one leaving with a broken heart

“Sunshine” is on now and I thought this was interesting, since you don’t normally see anything about the sun in a holiday themed album, but I was open to it though! This was pretty mellow, it was just upbeat enough to capture the likeness of sunshine, at least to my eyes! I was really surprised about how much I would end up liking it. Next there’s “Underneath The Mistletoe’ and if you follow me on Twitter, I’ve already changed my name on there to “Mistletoe Megz” so I’m fully in tune with Christmastime. I was instantly grateful that this was much softer, I really do gravitate towards her ballads because I just want to hear her slow down and become this gentle giant in the music industry.

We are at the final songs, beginning with the title track “Everyday Is Christmas” and again, we have this sort of melancholy and jazz-y type of beat. I think I like this one compared to the other one I listened to earlier. This has both of the classic jazz and bluesy track mixed with a slow pop ballad. It’s a nice medium between generations! And finally, we stop with “Underneath The Christmas Lights” and this is stripped down to its core with this lonely piano and I really love it, mostly because of the way we started this journey, it was such on a high note–no pun intended–and then it just slowly fades away, kind of like at the end of Christmas day.

Have you listened to Sia’s first Christmas album? If you did, what were some of your thoughts about it?

snowflake

Album Review: “The Fire Within” by Jennifer Thomas

40139219_10155514913606689_6789604461816840192_nAs you guys know, I like a lot of different music. I think with the amount of times I’ve talked about my love of symphonic metal, cinematic and Celtic music on here, it definitely wouldn’t surprise you to hear anything else out of the ordinary.

Today, I will be talking about a pianist that I really enjoy, her name is Jennifer Thomas. She’s released four albums since 2006, but I found her music in 2014, with a track called “Requiem Of A Dream” off the album Illumination and I still play it on my iPod every once in a while if I need that nudge of strength in the middle of the afternoon.

On the 16th of October, I was on my Release Radar playlist on Spotify that keeps track of what has recently come out by my favorite artists and bands. It’s a great thing to have if you are like me and have a boarder range of music, this can help you find new music that isn’t always highlighted on New Music Friday that everybody usually uses during the start of the weekend. Anyways, this was where I found out that Jennifer had a new song out, but once I clicked on there, I quickly realized that it was more than just a single release and that I had missed the whole launch date completely since the album came out the week before. Yeah, that’s my luck for you!

This is called, The Fire Within and it’s kind of short, as there’s only ten tracks on it. There are two songs that feature another pianist and a vocalist, which is usually outside of the norm for her music, but I’m open to it especially since the singer has a lovely voice, but we’ll get to that in a bit. There are things I need to say before we go on with this. Since the music is relativity instrumental, I will be going about this in a totally different way then I normally do. I will be focusing on how I’m feeling and what kind of pictures the song itself will create, sort of like a dream, in other words there will be a lot of metaphors down below!

We start with the title track, “The Fire Within” and we have our first special guest, The Rogue Pianist, who really goes by Kimberly Starkey, helps Jennifer out with it. I like the fact that it’s well-balanced between the heaviness and almost epic-ly tone of the orchestra, but still have a touch of mellow sounds of the pianos throughout that the ladies bring is very beautiful. It’s a very intense, but yet romantic type of song. Second is “Awakening” and the beginning is so pretty, but I have to say, the piano isn’t as dominant in this as I thought it would, but I still like it. The upbeat drumming with that violin coming out of the darkness, pretty much takes things up a notch. I was immediately taken to a beach with only a black piano and brightly red violin playing as the sun was going down when the song continued on; that wouldn’t be a half bad idea for a music video, just saying!

“Girl In The Mirror” is next and I remember writing this out and hoping this had some kind of creepy vibe going through it, as it was getting closer to Halloween at the time. I mean, you can’t exactly blame me here! I wasn’t too disappointed with the ending result, as it still had an eerie tone to it, but honestly you get this sad, empathy feeling within you when you really start to listen to the piano coming to focus. I really liked the fact that you could clearly hear a flute at the end, it added to that gentleness of the song. Afterwards, we have another track that I was very curious about, “Rise Of The Phoenix” which could go perfect with my little story about a phoenix that will die, but for eternity. I figured this would be a powerful type of song, and it’s exactly that–in your face, but not in the way that I originally saw it to be. It was really lively, and the drums gave it another edge, you nod your head to it, because it was a constant beat that you could follow through, and sometimes with instrumental that simple act can be difficult to do. The whole thing is mischievous kind of like a phoenix would sort be, rising out of its ashes as a baby.

We move on to “Ascension” and after the last one, I’m kind of glad we’re back on the softer side of things. The sound isn’t overpowering, and the piano and violin bring out a fun element to the song. Despite having the instant calmer feeling, as I kept picturing a woman running around in a densely woods, she’s dancing on top of brooks and just enjoying the sunshine above her. This only occurred when the tempo increased and become of a symphonic beat.  The sixth track “Soaring” has the artist Eurielle on it. She specializes in the cinematic world, mainly works on fantasy driven music. She doesn’t exactly sing in this, more like “ahh-ing” her way through it, which I’m perfectly okay with that. This has a humble beginning, but the whole thing turns into this magical tune that made me instantly think of fairies flying around in a lush green forest.

These will be the last four songs of the album. We have “Because Of You” now and I’m always fascinated when pianists or any composer have a modern title, like this, because even though they are no lyrics involved, how do the titles come about for that person? Forgive me for going off subject a bit, but is anybody else like that too? Anyways, this is a gentle song. It’s not obnoxious or too quiet, to me it’s right in the middle and can be perfect for any time of the day. Next, there’s “Believer” and at first, when I wrote out the title on my notepad I was like, “oh, Imagine Dragons! I haven’t heard that in awhile.” So imagine my face when I realized that I didn’t have to go look it up afterwards, because here it was playing right in front of me, but this time the sound itself isn’t as grand but it still has the essence of it which I really liked. If you truly know the song by heart, I dare you to belt it out while listening to this version, because there are no singer featured besides the choir in the background towards the end!

“Time” is on and I was almost curious to know if this would be a piano version of another song, but even if it was, I don’t think I would have recognized it right away! It is generally a slow start, there’s a kind of somber vibe going on with this one. I kept seeing a woman covered in gray with a bright red coffee mug pacing back and forth in a hospital hallway. It’s one of those songs that make you visualize depressing things going on; it was interesting as this rarely happens whenever I listen to certain sad songs but in a way I think I liked it. And lastly, there’s “Glorious” and I really loved the lively introduction. After having such a downer in the previous song, this is just beautiful. It’s so bright and happy with all of the instruments going together in harmony. I kept thinking of small children skipping along on top of a hill, having the best time ever. I thought it was a gracious end to the whole collection.

I really enjoyed listening to the album. I thought every song had it’s own story and even a personality built into them. I think Jennifer created an interesting batch of music. It incorporated two of my favorites: piano and a cinematic vibe. There were many different things that I liked about it. I thoroughly love piano music, and always have since I was little. I was never able to learn how to play, although many people did try their hardest to educate me on how to read sheet music in the past, I just wasn’t able to keep up with it. So, I have grown up appreciating it in a different way and I find that to be more helpful to board other people’s horizons as well. I definitely recommend checking this out and the rest of Jennifer’s music if you want to explore piano music on your own!

Have you listened to Jennifer Thomas’s new album “The Fire Within” yet? If you have, what did you like or not like the most about it? Do you have a favorite track?

snowflake

Album Review: “Ancient Land” by Celtic Woman

42278081_10156688847302838_3619016091595964416_nIt is two years since I actually reviewed a Celtic Woman release. They did have a Live album come out last fall, but since it was really the songs featured on the “Voices Of Angels” album, I decided to not talk about it in fear of repeating myself. The group has experiences some changes here lately, with Susan McFadden becoming pregnant after the summer, she was replaced with Megan Walsh with the rest of the girls: Máiréad Carlin, Éabha McMahon, and violinist Tara McNeil.

The album “Ancient Land” apparently has 18 tracks, but Spotify only has the standard edition with 16 songs instead, so I will not talk about my thoughts for both “The Enchanted Way” and “Ballroom Of Romance” even though the titles read beautifully. I will try to have the English translation of two songs on the list, they may not be correct as I’m using Google to help me there. Okay, I think that’s everything before we begin the review.

We start off the album with our title track “Ancient Land” and I really love this, as it’s an instrumental with minimal vocals in the background. It sounds so gorgeous, you have that authentic Irish sound with the flute and Tara playing the violin throughout. It has this ancient vibe going through it, and sets the tone for what’s to come with the rest of the songs! Next is the first single, “Homeland” and you finally get to hear all three girls singing together. Eabha starts off with her semi-deep voice as she’s an alto, with Megan has a nice high-pitched voice that doesn’t exactly match Mairead, but I like it that way because they’re all unique with their ranges. The song itself is very light and cheery, and you feel that pride for your homeland–no matter where you’re originally from–deep inside whenever you listen to it.

Third is “Moorlough Shore” and of course, I looked this up because I was unsure about it. Apparently, it’s a love song that originally came out in the late 1800’s. Eabha is the soloist featured on this and the lyrics are in English, but she gives it this sweet vibe that I kind of felt like I was in a trance and got lost in her voice! Yup, that happened! The music itself is very loving, but mysterious which works well Eabha’s beautiful soft voice. We move onto “Follow Me” and it had this slow and quiet introduction, that you wouldn’t think it could turn into this is fun song! The first thing that popped into my mind was the fact that it sounds like “Níl Sé’n Lá” in a way where it is a party song. You can easily dance and if you want to, you can sing along too. These last two tracks are my favorite so far!

“County Down” is next with Mairead as the singer on the track. It is this cute little song, with only her almost child-like voice and a guitar and piano playing together in this gentle way at the start of it. Eventually, you can hear more violins joining in and it’s this nice chill out song, that weirdly enough I like a lot! Afterwards, we have “Love & Honour” and this is absolutely beautiful. It’s another instrumental with Tara highlighting the softer side of Irish music. The music does change towards the end into this powerhouse but it still keeps that enchanting sound that makes you want to walk around deep in the woods somewhere.

This next song is “Mná Na hÉireann” which translates into Women of Ireland. I am happy to see a song like this, basically dedicated to all of the beautiful Irish women out there, in the past, present and future. The whole song is in Gaelic of course, which I think is better to if it was to be in English. Now we move on to another cheery track, “Sive” and I was completely surprised because I knew I recognized the beginning but I was sort of unsure, until I heard Eabha singing and then it dawned on me, as she had done it at their Homecoming Live concert. So the song is actually “Sadhbh Ni Bhruinneallaigh” This time, it features all three girls taking different verses. It still sounds the same way but just cleaner as far as audio goes. “Shenandoah” is next and I was shocked again, as this is an American based song! The most important part is that we finally hear our newest member at front, and Megan sings it so good! I feel like she has a relatable voice, as it doesn’t have that classical quality, but I don’t mean that in a bad way. I feel like it’s a nice country tone for a song like this.

The tenth track is “Long Journey Home” and it is gentle and easy-going. So far, this is the only one that has featured the bagpipes. I had trouble finding the backstory to this one, so if I have any Irish readers out there, do you have any answers for me? I would really appreciate it. Next there’s, “Tara’s Tunes” so it’s a four minute track with only an orchestra and the great Tara McNeil playing her fabulous fiddle in a very fast pace! It is a fun track and it has those good authentic Irish elements too! Now this one, when I wrote out the tracklist after it was posted on Facebook, I was a bit confused if the person who wrote it made a mistake and forgot to correct themselves, but nope it’s correct. “Ae Fond Kiss” is such a mellow sound going all throughout the song. I love the caring nature of this one though. I keep seeing people slow dancing to it in my head.

These are the last four songs off of the album, we have “Faith’s Song” and this is a pretty song, as it’s nice and slow. Celtic Woman creates fantastic slow dance tracks! Megan is at the front of this too, and at first I thought I was listening to Carrie Underwood! She has such an American voice when she sings, this is what I was trying to explain in the beginning where I was talking about her voice compared to Mairead’s. They kind of soundalike, but it has a distinctive drawl in Megan that isn’t shared in Mairead, which again, is totally fine! “Garden Of Eden” is after, and we hear Eabha at the start, and she and the flute that peeks out, are so sweet but it’s still upbeat to dance to with a fairly large crowd as well.

“Be Still” comes in, in this quiet way. Honestly, the whole thing is very soft song, but the only elements are the girls and the male choir in the background. It’s a very short track, but like the saying goes, “great things come in small packages” but honestly, I wanted it to go on a little longer! Our final song is “Going Home” and thankfully, we go back to the lively Irish sound with the pipes in the introduction, but the song starts in this silently way with Mairead and then Eabha and Megan taking over as the tempo expands back to what we heard in the beginning. The bagpipes come back at the end of it, but the song as a whole is really good! If anybody is away from home, whether it’s for school or a job, and you’re really homesick, I don’t necessarily recommend listening to this song.

Well, we are finished and I have to say I really enjoyed this album! I actually liked this one a lot more compared to their previous release. I was never able to truly mesh with it. I feared that “Destiny” would be my only favorite, but I’m glad to say that this quickly another favorite of mine too. What made it better is something that is easily noticed by fans of CW is that, they tend to do newer versions of some of their previous songs, but for this collection seems all new for the fans out there. It is a nice discovery to find out later on. The only one that I knew was “Sive” of course. I am glad they went and recorded that in a studio because it is really good and exciting song to listen to!

Have you listened to Celtic Woman’s brand new album yet? If you have, what were your thoughts? Do you have any favorite(s) that you can list below?

snowflake