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

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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

Album Review: “Dogviolet” by Laurel

review2017

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

 

Album Review: “Liberation” by Christina Aguilera

33830132_10204311988437936_4957651496750546944_nToday, we’re going to be talking about Christina Aguilera’s new album “Liberation” and I have been looking forward to this since before she had her daughter Summer back in 2014. Her last album “Lotus” came out in 2012 so it’s been a good six years since she’s put out a good batch of songs so I was more than ready to see this pop up on my Spotify on June 15th!

Let’s get into this, shall we?

One of the things I’ve really enjoyed about listening Christina’s music, especially her albums is how she tells a story within each song, including little introductions that go with the next track. So when the album begins, you have the title track “Liberation” and all it is, is a very elegant, orchestral and you hear a happy little child in the background with it. It’s very mysterious but gentle too. Next is “Searching For Maria” and this is a great example to the real beginning to the song that starts afterwards. Again, it’s only a snippet of Christina’s voice in the softest quality. Finally, the albums starts with “Maria” and it has a sweet, string introduction but then turns into this sharp hip hop beat, which is really good. I like it!

Fourth is “Sick Of Sittin'” and I really liked it, but at first I was little weirded out on how it sounded, because it reminded me something that we’d hear from Joss Stone, not Xtina! However, I thought this was a different song and I actually like it. Next is “Dreamers” which is another introduction to “Fall In Line” but firstly we have to discuss how cute but powerful hearing those girls, in various ages, say what they wanted to be when they grew up and I thought was such a touching reminder to put in front of a popular song that “Fall In Line” has turned into, because you have both Christina Aguilera and Demi Lovato! They’re telling other little girls to not fall in line with what other people expect them to be. Personally, I don’t like the song, it starts off good, but towards the end, having both of their voices at full blast is kind of annoying.

As we discussed the musical direction of “Sick Of Sittin” when have “Right Moves” and it also has a different route than we’re used to hearing from her. This definitely has a smooth, slow Caribbean beat. You can dance to it, more like sway but still it’s good. This features both Keida and Shenseea too. Next there’s “Like I Do” and this has GoldLink in it. When I first listened to this song when it came out, I didn’t really like it and now as I am hearing it again, I still don’t know what I think of it. A part of me thought the beat is so chill that it doesn’t really mesh with GoldLink. I feel like he wasn’t needed for it, but I do think Christina’s vocals are okay, but I still don’t like the track as a whole.

The ninth track is “Deserve” and when this first started, I thought to myself, is this going to be dance beat? I was a little disappointed when I was wrong, but I do love the lyrics though so that made up for that. Afterwards, we have “Twice” which came out probably four days after the first single, and I absolutely love this one. I like the acapella beginning and the piano, it’s beautiful and raw.

Now she has also an interlude on this album, and it’s titled “I Don’t Need It Anymore” and I was fairly curious on what we would hear on this. The track is of her and her background singers, singing acapella and it’s so dreamy! I really wish it was longer, I had an issue with another of her many interludes on her Back To Basics album in 2007.

Her first single was “Accelerate” and it features both Ty Dolla $ign and 2 Chainz. I like the beat and I’m perfectly fine with the sexual messages mentioned in it, because if you call yourself a hardcore Xtina fan but yet you hate it when she talks about sex, you’re not a real fan! Sorry not sorry! I will say, I didn’t like either rapper on it. Whoever’s on the chorus with her, did a bad job! His voice cracked and it just sounds weird. “Pipe” is afterwards and it has XNDA I figured once we’d get through the interlude, we would see the sexy songs of the album, but I do like this one. I like the sultry, but chill tone of the track.

The final two songs of the album begins with “Masochist” and I’m not going to lie, but I had to look up what this word was, because I didn’t know it. So thanks to Google I now know that it means, “a person who derives sexual or other gratification from their own pain or humiliation.” After reading the definition, and begin to really listen to the lyrics, everything started on make a little sense to me. The beat itself is very light and sweet, despite the direction you take the meaning of the lyrics. And lastly, we have “Unless It’s With You” and I really liked the soft piano introduction. I really enjoy hearing a singer’s voice, especially ones like Christina Aguilera. She has such a large range, but here she is, in the smallest quantity. It’s so pretty!

I have to say I’ve actually only loved one of her albums straight through and that is “Lotus” so in a way, I knew there would be a 50/50 chance that would actually happen again. Overall, the album is good. There’s not a lot of heavy hitters, but I liked the many different musical changes she went through, but it’s not that bad, I just know how I am whenever I listen to her music, and unfortunately I don’t think that part will ever change about me.

Have you listened to Christina Aguilera’s new album “Liberation” yet? What did you think about it?

snowflake

Album Review: “Modern Alchemy” by Zayde Wolf

34880138_1296168613848824_1392279993358221312_nYou guys know how much I love my dark alternative music; artists like Banks and Verite, are like my guilty pleasures, so that fact that there’s a male artist with that same flare is kind of cool and interesting.

Earlier this month Zayde Wolf released a new album called “Modern Alchemy” which the title alone, sounds freaking cool! I am very curious to see what we would hear on this release, because when this came out, I only listened to one song because I needed to make sure I had made up my mind about whether or not I wanted to review this. The album has a total of thirteen songs, and as far as I know, no other artists are featured on it.

The first song we start off is “Dangerous” and I liked this. I think it’s more pop oriented than I thought it was going to be, but honestly I really liked it for that though. It wasn’t overwhelming in any way, and has a great groove to dance along. Next is “No Mercy” and its a little sexy but sharp tone. I think it has an interesting indie rock vibe going on, but I really like the combination the darkness it brings. Third is “Next Level” and this one is a little bit more mellow compared to the first two songs. I think it has more of an urban feel to it, full of attitude kind of track! I feel like people could have a lot of fun dancing to this song, because it has that perfect adventurous atmosphere from the moment it starts to finish.

Considering we started on such a high note, it’s nice to see that “Won’t Ever Let You Go” has a totally different sound. It makes me think of summertime, full of youth–not calling myself old or anything–and wanting to fun all of the time with friends and in life. I really like it. Next there’s “Do What We Wanna Do” and the fusion of alternative and cinematic is strong with this one. However, it’s not as intense, but I’m okay with that. It has a party anthem sound to it, but it’s not at all in your face, claiming the title off the bat, type of songs and I think that’s why I like it a little more than I thought I would. This next one is right up my alley. I love a bold introduction and this definitely has it. Of course, this is called “Gladiator” and it has such a strong, motivational outlook to it. I just love it so much!

I always love how certain words can excite me and something about “The Crown” made me really pumped, and I was right with my thinking because this is great! You have that dark cinematic tone coming alive in this! It’s so action packed, but I’m always so worried that the lyrics will get lost with having such an intense sound included, but Zayde’s voice isn’t in a “cocky” tone, so it’s a nice medium. So good! The eighth song is “Billionaires” and since I’m in the middle of Arrow, I instantly thought of Oliver Green, but then I realized he was a millionaire, not the other one! Anyways, I am conflicted by it as a whole. As much as I just wanted a softer track, because usually once we get to a certain section of an album, we finally start hearing ballads, but not yet for this. However, it’s another summer type of song, so it has that perfect lighter sound but has a feel good vibe to it. I don’t know, it’s interesting, in a good way!

The last five songs start with “Higher Than High” and again, the mellow beat is in full force, but surprisingly I’m not over it. I’m not exactly thinking of “summer” while listening to it, but since I’ve been dealing with a number of emotional things at the moment, it gave me a sense of calm, which is really nice! You don’t have too many of those songs nowadays, or at least I don’t! Next there’s “Rule The World” and we’re back on the cinematic kick! I’m not going to lie, I would have been disappointment if it didn’t have a kick-ass beat to go with that title! I really, really love the fact that there’s drum solo on this sucker, like yes! It gives it a totally different flare, it actually brings everything out. What I think is interesting is that it brings out that fighter in the listener, at least the phoenix inside of me was awakened, even if only for three minutes and twelve seconds. I always want these types of songs to be longer!

I have to say, I was really curious about “Breathing Oxygen” I didn’t want to guess on how it would say, even though I really wanted to! I like the fact that you can find the rhythm almost instantly. It has a nice groove to it and just has thought perfect notes to it. I really like the breakdown, it’s intense with the semi-slow sections of the beat.

“Animal” is next and you have this ominous introduction but then it kind of shifts to this mellow beat. It never quite changes when you want it to, but then again it’s not that bad! I think anybody who enjoys cinematic music like me will like that it’s not following the normal standards of the other songs of the genre. It’s unique and I really enjoy the drums in it, so I can live with that.  Lastly, we have “Take A Look At This” and we somehow went back to pop music. I seriously thought I was listening to Justin Timberlake when this first started like no joke. I like being able to dance to it and the fact that it’s asking you to pay attention to it. It’s a fun song and that’s what makes me love it so much!

I will say this and I swear to goodness that I don’t take this lightly, but I seriously LOVED this album like wholeheartedly! Every song was so good. There wasn’t anything that I can pinpoint that I hated and wanted to change, and that rarely happens to any of the albums I listen to! If I had money and obviously a stereo system, I would buy the album and listen to it proudly on full blast, that’s how much I loved it!

Have you heard of Zayde Wolf’s “Modern Alchemy” yet? If so, what were your thoughts and favorite(s)?

snowflake

Album Review: “R.O.S.E.” by Jessie J

33753506_1835560959820656_690480477470982144_nI originally had another review for you today, but I decided to scrap that idea and move on to this album instead. British singer Jessie J has a new album since releasing “Sweet Talker” in 2014. “R.O.S.E.” came out on the 25th of May, in basically four different sections on Spotify, each with a different theme spelling out the title of the record. The R represents Realisations, O is for Obsessions, S for Sex, and finally E means Empowerment.

Once I figured it all out, I started to get really curious because I felt as though she was going in a direction that Swedish artist Tove Lo took her debut album, Queen Of The Clouds in 2014, I don’t know if it is going to sound the same, but nobody ever creates sections and list a number of songs that represent that certain word or meaning for no reason at all. So to say I was intrigued was an understatement! I do want to say that I didn’t listen to any of the songs before starting this review, so this is a straight up first impressions discussion and I have to say I am a little more excited to hear the songs in both “Realisations” and “Empowerment” than the other two, but we’ll see at the end which part I liked the most!

So like I said, we start with the first letter R and the first song to begin the album itself is “Oh Lord” and from the moment it starts it has this sad sound brought out by emotions playing out in her beautiful deep voice and that bluesy sound. It’s a bittersweet introduction and gets you into the mood of the album as a whole. Second is “Think About That” and you instantly have this R&B vibe going on, which is sort of her genre and she has a wonderful voice for it too, so everything is kind of perfect. You definitely hear the pain and the sass in her voice, but the beat is somewhat upbeat too. It’s really good.

Next there’s “Dopamine” and I really liked this song. I really enjoyed the beat, it had a classic soulful sound, but I actually liked the lyrics to this one as you can easily understand what she’s talking about, and it’s definitely a song that everybody needs to listen to, so even though the beat makes me want to dance, I really made myself listen to the words too. The ending was kind of adorable, because you hear a little girl singing her ABC’s in the background, it kind of brightened the mood a bit. And then we move on to “Easy On Me” and I liked the idyllic sound, the jazz-y piano section at the last was so pretty but the lyrics were definitely dark, but it wasn’t bad. The only thing that popped into my mind while I listened to it was “nothing is what it seems” and I think that’s the perfect way to explain this song.

The next section is O and so we explore the songs in the Obsessions slot. Instantly the mood swifts with the fifth track “Real Deal” and the beat and lyrics are both positive and I was actually happy to hear something so fun after the first four tracks and how they sounded, despite the fact that I do enjoy hearing Jessie’s full capacity in her voice in those dark and slower songs, so it was nice! Next was “Petty” and with that kind of title, I knew this would have a sharp beat and somewhat sassy tone in her voice. So, in other words, I really liked it.

“Not My Ex” was after that, I tried to keep an open mind after I saw the title of it. Those words together can many means and I’m glad I decided to switch it because it wasn’t in the same badass-y sound like with the previous track, instead it was very lighthearted and soft. It was a different kind of love song, definitely not what people would expect at first. Lastly there’s “Four Letter Word” and it’s very love-y dovey but not in a bad way, because if you know me well enough, I’m not into love songs so sometimes I’m liable to just write it off, but I actually liked it. Very sweet!

Now we are on the letter S and that means we probably move onto sexually based songs, since it is literally titled Sex. We start with a song called “Queen” and it has that sultry flare I was expecting to hear in this section. It actually has a beauty positive kind of vibe going on with the lyrics, and that does change the expectations and how Jessie is going about these songs. So moving on to “One Night Lover” and it does have sexy tone to it, but the storytelling is what I liked about it the most. Almost every women out there has had been in the same situations so right there, it’s relatable to people and I really enjoyed that aspect of it.

“Dangerous” is the eleventh song and from the moment it started, I knew I wasn’t going to like it. For one, the beginning was very boring, nothing was there to grab my attention and even when the beat actually came on, it wasn’t enough to keep me there. We have the song “Play” next and I was really hoping for a banger with this one and that’s exactly what I got and what kind of made me feel strange was that the beat felt so old school and Jessie made her voice sound fun and playful that I became to remember my crushes in grade school, so that alone was interesting enough for me!

We are finally on the last section of songs, E is made up of songs representing the word Empowerment in some way and the first one you hear is “Glory” and it has a strong almost 80’s R&B flare, between the horn section and the way of words is actually really good! It does build you up mentally and musically, so that was nice! “Rose Challenge” is next and from the moment I saw this, I wondered if this would kind of explain each letter and word meaning, because I was really curious about why she wanted to go this route with the album. The song itself is actually a longer introduction to the next song, which I thought was good because we really hadn’t had in the last three words, it leads into “Someone’s Lady” and if I was standing up, I’d probably collapse because it just sounds so gorgeous, with just her angelic voice and piano behind her. It’s so soft but it still has this affirmative outlook lyrically, it’s really good. And finally the last song is “I Believe In Love” and it has this really sweet and classic outlook, it reminds me of my papaw in a way.

I’m really impressed with this album. As curious as I felt in the beginning, I was also a little bit nervous too because I’m not used to reviewing R&B music, even though there are some artists I listen to on a daily basis that dabble in it every once in a while, so it’s not like I don’t hear it anymore because I do, I just don’t discuss it out loud like I probably should. Now I know you’re probably curious about what part was my favorite and honestly I liked all of them! The four sections were interesting, you got to hear different stories representing something that was possibly based on what has happened to Jessie at some point in her life. It had it had both good and bad moments–lyric wise and the fact that I only disliked one song out of the whole thing is pretty impressive!

Have you listened to Jessie J’s new album “R.O.S.E” yet? If you have, what were your thoughts? Which section was your favorite and why?

snowflake

Album Review: “Unusual” by Marian Hill

27540920_1766139436764641_5691408952034562692_nToday, I will be talking about a very fun and unique duo’s second album. American artists, Jeremy Lloyd and Samantha Gongol, who make up Marian Hill have finally put out their new record, called Unusual!

The album was released on May 11th, and consists of ten songs total. I’m actually very excited but also a little nervous because I’ve only really listened to their singles, and unfortunately I never did hear Act One (2016) all the way through, but after I saw this on Spotify’s new music, I knew I wanted to hear it and review it on here!

Marian Hill is kind of known for their electronica beats, mixed in with a very chill vibe to it, and their first song off the album called “Subtle Thing” and its everything you know of MH, however, it’s a little edgier, and I really love the seductive, whisper way of Sam’s voice. Despite the fact that it has a mellow sound to it, you can still dance to it! I really like it. Second is “Differently” and this has an urban feel to it. I didn’t necessarily like the introduction, I didn’t think it meshed well together, the booping sounds with Samantha’s low voice, she was fine though. If it didn’t have that sound, I don’t think I would have had any care about it. Once the song continues, that element starts to intertwine with the rest of it, but by itself isn’t good. Next is “All Night Long” and this features Steve Davit, all three has made it into a modern jazz-y sound. That’s actually the best way to describe their music in the first place. They have a very light approach to electric music, so it honestly sounds more like a modern take to jazz and blues. I think this is the perfect track to showcase that type of subgenre, because it has that horn solo, like regular jazz music would, but it’s a totally different sound then what you’re used to hearing.

Fourth is “Don’t Miss You” and this has a darker sound, kind of sassy in a way. It has more of a pop element to it towards the end, so I really like it! Next is “Wish You Would” and to show you their quirkiness, you can hear these obsessive snapping sound and a mixture of computer sounds throughout that make a whole beat around Samantha’s words. It’s really cool.  If their song “Down” had a part two, sound wise, this would be that song! Afterwards is “Don’t Do It” and I really like Sam’s high pitched voice in the beginning of the verses, usually I don’t like it, because I think it’s too much, but I thought it was very pretty. This has another ominous, almost hip hop-y beat behind her lyrics, I can hear a small exotic taste in it too! It’s very interesting!

“Sideways” is next and finally we have a slower track. This could be the perfect song to put in a sad scene of a television show or movie. If you need something to calm you down, this is your song to listen to on those gloomy days! This will probably become a favorite of mine. We have “No Hesitation” now and and we’re back on the eccentric train with this one, but I don’t hate it. It’s not so outlandish like the other one, so it’s very mild and has a nice chill vibe. It’s good with me. Steve Davit makes another appearance with this next track, “Listening” and we have that urban feel to it, but gives me an old school pop vibe too. And lastly we have “Go Quietly” and its a straight up ballad. Yay! I love the dreamscape-y beat, it’s absolutely beautiful!

I thought this album was really great! I’m always to listen to different kinds of music, because I don’t want to hear the same stuff over and over again, and I think with Marian Hill, since they’re so out there, as they don’t necessarily fit the general pop and electric dance music standards, they are really unusual to what we’re used to hearing on the radio on a daily basis! You kind of have to train your mind to look beyond your normal tastes, and see for the smoothness of the music!

Have you listened to Marian Hill’s second album yet? If you have, what were your favorite(s) so far? Let me know below!

snowflake