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

5 Favorite Shows About Nature & Culture

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Howdy!

I’ve always had a difficult time watching nature documentary series on Animal Planet, mostly because I never really liked when the hunters went after their prey, most of the time they were capturing young and giving it to THEIR babies! When I started watching some nature shows on Netflix over the summer, I kind of hoped I was over that but then I realized that it doesn’t matter how old you are, you can never really be over that aspect of life in the animal kingdom! Truth be told, I’ve been watching nature shows for a long time on PBS, but it’s only now that I’ve kind of deluge a fairly large amount at one time. In my defense, prior to this happening I was binge watching both Arrow and The Flash, so I felt this would be a nice break away from the superheroes, I just didn’t think I would keep watching one right after the other like I did, but it’s been sort of helpful when it comes watching episodes of Jeopardy!

I am more drawn to the series that were made by a British or Australian company, but only because there are in two these areas on Netflix than any other country! I also like when there are people narrating each episode to the viewer, like the visual version of Audible! Thanks to this, I have become a bit of a fan of Sir David Attenborough. I’m embarrassed to say that I have watched close to three different ones where’s either in it or narrating what you’re seeing on the screen!

Galapagos (2006)

This was the first show I watched in July that basically started it all and it was narrated by the lovely Tilda Swinton. I think I watched this because I remembered that Jeopardy were running a contest for fans of the show to win tickets to go there with Alex Trebek last year. I figured that meant they would have several categories about it and I should get some knowledge about the Islands of The Tortoises.

I really loved this program! I found the fact that various birds, turtles, and seals all on this very unstable, volcanic place where hardly anything grows. The first episode basically opens up with what really surprised me, was that iguanas also live close to the edge of the cliffs. They actually live on a side where there’s an active volcano so the surface doesn’t really have anything for these creatures to eat, so they have developed a taste of algae at the bottom of the ocean. So, these spike-y little devils literally crawl to the ledge where the water is being brushed up the sides of the island by the currents and either jump or slide right down and they can SWIM! Now the really cool, and sort of adorable thing I loved about them is that when they finally come back to shore, since swallowing salt water is bad for them, they sneeze out the water out of the nose! I was really dumbfounded by this adaption.

South Pacific (2009)

This was a six episode series, narrated by Benedict Cumberbatch. Now, I have to say, I watch funny moments on the Graham Norton show on YouTube a lot, and there was a clip of Benedict discussing with Graham about how he says the word “penguin” and it was funny as crap, if you want to check it out here you click here. Anyways, it was about a year or so, since I watched that clip and I finally watched the show and realized that he definitely can’t say that word right at all, even in a British accent, it still sounds bad!

“South Pacific” was about all of the islands in their different shapes and what kind of life they support around the Pacific Ocean. One of my favorite things about these types of shows is that it gives you an insight of life on these islands, not only for the animals, but humans too! You see tribes of people, living off the land and they’re so out there away from other people. We did visit the Galapagos Islands again throughout the series, but you were transported to other smaller islands, I really enjoyed learning about the different plants, when editors use the fast-moving on how fast the landscape changes! I actually fell in love with the Birds of Paradise species, and they are usually located on New Guinea and Hawaii, but they are decorated in different colors and shapes with really unique ways of attracting a mate and fighting to be with that female as well. It can get a little weird, but their dances make it all worthwhile trust me!

National Curiosities (2013)

This show was the longest out of the whole list! It had probably 12 episodes in the three seasons it was on BBC, but what I truly liked was that they are about an hour-long, but they’re comparing origin stories of two different species so you kind of need that amount of time to explain what makes these animals so complex.

When I would watch this, I always felt like I was becoming more of a naturalist, like David Attenborough. He has this caring personality and it shows whenever he has an animal next to him or sitting on his lap, you can feel that affection aerate on the screen and it makes you want to change your mind on some of the creepy species and help support them later on, although it didn’t work on spiders or snakes! One thing that he does on this is that he’ll talk about how they discovered, and the evolution of theories they had for each one, my favorite was when they thought Platypus were a hoax in the 1800’s!

Monkey Planet (2014)

Monkey Planet was my most recent to watch and I really enjoyed myself! It was hosted by Dr. George McGavin and even though this was only three episodes, I have realized that it doesn’t take much for me to giggle as these mischievous monkeys were really my downfall when it came to watching this late at night!

I’ve always loved monkeys, but while I was watching this I realized that I don’t give them enough credit when it comes to their intelligence. I mean, they are our distant relatives. At first, I was purely watching it because I wanted to learn more about the different types, but instead of having an episode devoted to a certain type, they were squished together but after a while I was okay with it. The colors of their fur and cute facial expressions were too much and once I found out how they all get their food by banging rocks up against tough shells or grabbing a stick of some sort and poking it through small holes in a branch about killed me in the best way possible!

Baby Animals In The Wild (2015)

I really have a problem with baby animals, thankfully no babies were harmed in creating this series, thank god! This was hosted by Luisa Prosser, and consisted of 10 episodes ranging of animals located in deserts, forest, jungles, and mountains. There were times in the program where they would share snapshots of babies in captivity so you got to see them after they were just born or a few weeks old, and told about their characteristics in the wild.

I think the two places that made me wonder why these animals would still want to live in these areas where the arctic mountains and desert. However, once I saw how they were able to live, I had a change of heart pretty quickly and the one species that really grabbed me was the Ibex. The mothers give birth on top of their dry cliffs and after a few days and the babies figure out their footing, the mothers need to get around food and water so they go down these steep cliffs and their kids just follow them down, some of them being overzealous and sprint down that made me very queasy but they have these pads on their hoofs that help grip the rocks underneath to keep them stable, but good gosh! It made me really nervous, but nobody lost their balance so that made me feel better!

I have to say, it was extremely hard to pick out five shows for this post, because I have watched little over 12 of them in the several months, but they’re surprisingly fun to watch. You’re seeing these animals having a blast on top of having to continue searching for food and water, and they all have information stored up in their minds from previous generations. The fact that some of them are still able to live in their natural environment like in a dry savanna of West Africa or lush woods in the middle of France was so cool, but I’m not going to lie when I say seeing the monkeys steal fruits and vegetables off of market stands in India cracks me up! It was just so fascinating to me!

How are you when it comes to nature and cultural shows? Was there one that really made you go, “wow”? And just for good measure, what is your favorite animal(s)?

snowflake

Album Review: “Awake” by Alison Wonderland

27867580_10157216706016562_560513093906138311_nI found today’s artist back in the summer of 2016, I really wanted to find more female DJs, as I was getting to the bottom of Krewella’s music library on Spotify and I basically made it my mission to find more female based music, and with that I found Jes, Brooklyn, Helena, NERVO, Anna Lunoe, Magda, Gina Turner and finally Alison Wonderland. Apparently Australia has a fairly large selection of female DJs because half of that list above, is made up of Australian women!

Alison Wonderland, whose real name is Alex, released her debut album “Run” back in 2015. I’ve been loving the crap out of it since I discovered it, truth be told, out of all the albums I put into my female DJs playlist on Spotify, it’s the most played and no, I’m not joking! So when I found out that she was releasing a new album, I was so excited! It’s hard to describe her music in general. I’d say it’s trap mixed in with some chill music too. It’s been a nice balance so hopefully this album, titled “Awake” will be somewhat of the same of her last record, but I’m also hoping for something different too.

We start off with “Good Enough” and already we have this like circus-y type of sound in the introduction, and then we have this very orchestral element added on top of it. If you didn’t know, she was trained playing the cello, so this could very well be her in these moments. I actually love it, because for one it’s short and sweet, but it keeps you entertained and wondering else is coming. Second is “No” and something else you’ll notice with her music is that these are sung by her unless told otherwise. This song is very different, besides sounding like a regular EDM song, I kind of get this vibe that it’s ideal for the summer that’s fast approaching here! It’s fairly mellow and surprisingly, I really like it too.

“Okay” is the third track and we have a totally different sound, it has this out of the box quality that I’m always looking for, but it’s also quiet in a way. The beat and lyrics don’t sound too crazy, you still get a nice groove and it’s well-balanced. It’s good. We move onto “Easy” and without playing into the actual word too much, it’s a nice easy going type of song. I like the fact that you can actually hear the lyrics in this song, because the beat itself is very laid back, more like pop oriented. I’d consider that a good thing to all of my hardcore EDM fans out there! If it’s released as a single, it could do well on mainstream radio stations. Next we have “High” and it features Trippie Redd. I vaguely remember listening to this once when it first came out, but I quickly turned it off because I wanted to save it for this review! This is a little cukoo, and I say that in the nicest way possible! It’s very chill, synthpop-ish too. It’s very bass-y though and I really enjoy that, everybody loves a good bass drop and this has it, but the entire track has this ominous vibe that adds an edger element that I also love too.

Next we move on to our first of a matchup with another fellow DJ, this one is “Here 4 U” and it has BLESSUS in it. Honestly, I thought it was “High” because in the beginning of this track, it continues that same chill beat, so I thought we were still going but then I noticed that the male vocals had changed and I realized we had really moved onto another track entirely! I really like this one, it’s more upbeat and has this trance-like sound to it, which is interesting because this isn’t her style at all, so maybe this is BLESSUS added twist to it. It’s really good though. We now have the song that signaled that she was releasing new music, “Church” and at first, I didn’t like it because of the light sound she was going for with this track, but as I’ve been listening to the others, I actually like it a little bit more. Since the beat is so dimmed, you can really hear the lyrics and possibly the meaning behind it, so I’m glad I’ve changed my mind about it.

The eigth track is “Cry” and again, I am loving the lyrics and I have to say there’s nothing wrong with men crying! Anyways, this has summer-y based vibe, at least when we entered the choruses, it was the first thing that popped into my head. I don’t usually like music that is released close to or in the middle of summer that sounds like the season, that was one of the reasons why I didn’t really like Imagine Dragons’s new album! Since this is like the second track that is giving me that type of vibe, I don’t necessarily hate it too much! Now we go into one of my favorite tracks ever! “Happy Place” is next and weirdly enough, I’ve been listening to it so much that I think it’s inspiring me to write about my happy place on here. This track is everything that got me interested in Alison Wonderland in the first place. The bass, air-y vocals, and just fun atmosphere while listening to it. It’s awesome!

Tenth is “Good Girls Bad Boys” and when I saw this title, I was very intrigued on what this would sound like, especially after such a banger like the last one. I actually like the pop-y beginning and the slow build to the actual beat itself. It kind of has this urban feel to it, with the usage of record scratches, to be quite honest, it just brought me back to what dance music used to sound like, which was a little weird at first, because it actually starts off sort of modern, and then ends in this backspin of elements of hip hop and techno. I thought it was cool! Next we have “Dreamy Dragon” – I love how DJs title their songs. You can never really know what you’re getting after reading something like that, but this features rapper Chief Keef in it. Again, we have a very modern, light take to this track. I had a hard time not dancing to it, that’s all I can say about it!

We’re almost done, we’ve entered the last three songs, while one being an interlude called “Hope” and the best way I can explain interludes is that they can be an extra introduction to the next song or a short track in general; they’re usually under a minute long. Next we have another matchup track called, “Sometimes Love” this has SLUMBERJACK on it. This one is kind of milder compared to the other one. The bass drops are nice and it keeps me dancing and in a good mood all throughout, so that’s a plus! I didn’t really mesh with it the first time I heard it, but the second time around was better! Lastly, there’s “Awake” and this starts off very chill and I thought this would be a good idea to end the album like this, but then I started to realize in a way I was eating my words in a way because usually I enjoy bangers in the beginning and ending, but maybe my tastes are changing the longer I do this? I don’t know, but I really liked the gentleness of this song.

So now that we’re finished, I have to say I was fairly surprised with this record. It wasn’t anything that I thought it would, but honestly I liked being proved wrong. I like surprises when it comes to some of my favorite artists and bands. I will admit though, I actually haven’t listened to “Run” all the way through, I’ve always made plans of doing it, but something was there to distract me so thankfully I decided to put it on review list so I can finally say I’ve listened to an Alison Wonderland album! I know I’m a sad individual, but it’s a proud moment for me!

Have you listened to Alison Wonderland’s new album “Awake” yet? What did you initially think about the record as a whole? If you enjoyed it, do you have any favorite songs yet?

snowflake

Tune Tuesday | Australia ’17

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Hi 🙂

So we are starting off the musical summer with Australia! The Aussies have a wide array of music, a lot of rock music as we’ve seen in the previous years of talking about it on here! Last year I had plans on talking about AC/DC but I somehow talked myself out of it and decided to wait until this year to use them. I remember of leaving the band in my “tag” box so it’s haunted me ever since!

One thing that I find fascinating is that not a lot of people generally know where they’re favorite music is from, like I had mentioned last week about Seether coming from South Africa, not a lot of people know that so whenever the older generation like my parents (and aunts and uncles) learn that AC/DC is also from another country it usually blows their mind! To me, it’s fun because we all assume that a singer who has a great English voice must be American! So whenever this happens I usually have fun decoding the barrier!

Unfortunately, I don’t listen to a lot of AC/DC on my own! It’s usually whenever I’m around my mom that I have no problem of listening to them and she’s the one that tends to ask me if they’ve released any new music, but that’s an every music act kind of question with my mom, because she likes all kinds of music just like her oldest daughter! I do remember listening to the album they released either early 2016 or late 2015, I can’t think that far back but I did check it out. I don’t think I ever finished it or else I would have done a review on it if I had!

In these Tune Tuesday posts, I like to have an oldie and newbie; you can get a good mixture of people together checking out something that they use to listen to but also find a new act and figure out some kind of relationship there too! I think it’s fun so that’s why I’ve included another band called Awaken Solace! They’re a symphonic metal band, you should know how I feel about that genre as a whole! They’re “new” mostly because they only have one other released album, while still working on their second called “MYTHANDRIEL” to hopefully be out later this year!

Always looking for more Australian music! If you have suggestions for 2018’s lineup, leave them below!

snowflake

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Tune Tuesday | Australia 2016

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Hey guys!

We’re back with another week and we’re talking about Australia!

I love my Aussies! You guys have some good music! I honestly had two acts that I was going to talk about, but I changed my mind and switched them with two others that I’ve been listening to lately! Maybe you’ll get the previous two for next summer? Who knows!

Australia is starting to climb up my music list, which is sort of difficult considering I’ve got like three other countries that have been doing the same. I’ve been finding a lot of electronica music coming out of Australia, like it is insane, but in a good way! One of the DJs I want to talk about is Alison Wonderland. My memory is a little fuzzy on how I exactly found her music, but I think it was after the announcement for Diplo’s Mad Decent Block Parties dates came out last year (she’s on the line up again!) and the she was the first one listed. I thought it was two guys trying to mock the whole Alice In Wonderland concept and then I found out it was a girl, named Alex and it totally threw me off! At this time it was late March or mid-April and I decided to check out her music and instantly fell in love with it. If I didn’t know any better, I think she’s the one who turned me onto trap music!

Back in 2014, I was starting to break away from rock phase, I had spent five years just basically finding and educating myself on every rock and heavy metal band I could. I think it was July of that year that I literally tried to find new stuff to get myself to stay into it all, and the band Parkway Drive was one of the last acts to get onto my list before the end. They’re a really good band! I started listening to them while I was using my sister’s Pandora account. I was hooked! Last year, they released their new album Ire and I’ve love the song “Crushed” a lot. It seriously makes me so freaking happy!

Do you know any more Australian music I need to check out? Let me know!

Tune Tuesday | Australia

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Before I start, I wanted to give everybody an idea what you’ll be seeing in the next couple of months with these posts. Every Tuesday we’ll be “traveling” to another country, it’s purely a musical experience. Finding new or old artists and bands from each one and I’ll leave videos of my favorite tracks from them. Last year, I had a couple of countries where I had my friends help me out. I had help with Germany, Ireland and Poland from my friends who are actually from those countries. They seemed to have fun and it gave them the chance to find more music from their countries that maybe they never heard of before. I do go in alphabetical order so it makes things easier for me to keep track! So I hope you all like this year’s line up!

We’re starting off Australia!

Last year I had a heavy metal band and a pop artist, weird combination but it was all I had to work with at the time. This time around, I actually had a few on my list but I decided to ask for more suggestions from a fellow blogger friend Rosie Rockets! She said she likes more 80’s music and picked quite a few, but I only knew one and that was Dannii Minogue. I remember hearing her older sister Kylie Minogue a lot more in the 90’s, but nothing about Dannii. So I thought I would share a couple of her songs in this post.

My choices are all in the pop genre. The first one that came to mind was Sia. I mean, come on! She has basically ruled both pop/dance charts for the last two years! Her song “Chandelier” was the summertime hit last year! Despite everybody’s thoughts about the “Elastic Heart” music video, the song is actually doing really well! Another one that has done very well on the charts is Iggy Azalea. Yeah, I didn’t know she was Australian either! She did pretty good after the release of her song “Fancy” with Charli XCX. My mom will still crank it up in the car if it comes on the radio! Every time I hear her new song “Trouble” with Jennifer Hudson I can’t help but think of Miss Patti LaBelle dancing on Dancing With The Stars group dance! My favorite of hers though is “Beg For It” with MØ. I just love that song so much and really miss it playing on the radio!

The next two are ones you probably don’t hear as much! I said that all of mine were in the pop genre, but that’s not true! Orianthi has had her songs play on pop stations, but I feel like she mostly belongs in the rock category. She’s a singer and guitarist that was going to be apart of Michael Jackson’s This is tour until the sudden death of the singer changed everything. She has went on to release two albums and went on tour with Alice Cooper and become the first female guitarist touring in his band. The last is a groups of DJs, they’re sisters by the name of NERVO. Olivia and Miriam Nervo, they are songwriters and helped write for artists like, Miley Cyrus, David Guetta, and Ke$ha. I haven’t seen or heard much of them before. I’ll be honest I thought they were from The Netherlands, I won’t explain on how I got that!

I Begin To Wonder – Danni Minogue

Elastic Heart – Sia

Fancy – Iggy Azalea featuring Charli XCX

You’re Gonna Love Again – NERVO

Tune Tuesday: Australia!

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It’s the third week for the Tune Tuesday Music Travel and this time we’re going down under!! Yup, time for Australia. I feel like Australia is growing a pretty good music scene there. It’s not just the hot actors coming out of the sun, it’s the singers and pure metal heads too! Australia’s got a pretty big music festival called Soundwave in Brisbane (I think) and all kinds of bands go to play there. They just had the festival a couple of months ago, Five Finger Death Punch and Of Mice & Men went there to play. Last year I was listening to one of my favorite radio stations and they have a segment where they music from different places all over the world. The band was called The Amity Affliction. The song was called “Open Letter” and from the first listen I seriously hooked. I think a few weeks later I ended up buying it on iTunes. They are about to release their new album, “Let The Ocean Take Me” and I am excited! I love both of their new singles! Their new album comes this week so go get TODAY!!!

I know that I talk about rock and metal music a lot, but I’ve got enough for other genres too. Pop music was my first love in a sense and so anytime I hear a good pop song on the radio there’s a big chance I’ll end up liking it too. Cody Simpson has been out and about for a while. I just heard about him this year though as he was on Dancing With The Stars this past season and paired up with new pro dancer Witney Carson. I liked whenever they danced, he always tried to bring a bit of himself in all of his dances. It kept him apart from the rest and that was a good thing. He got to use one of his songs for the dance number they did in the season. They actually used it twice as he ended up performing the song live on the finale episode. It’s a catchy song but I mostly like for the beat. It’s usually never about the words anymore for these pop singers. All about the beat for me and like for you, it’s uptempo! Do you listen to any bands or singers from Australia? I’m always looking for new music so share with me! Oh and what are you listening to?

Open Letter by The Amity Affliction

Pittsburgh by The Amity Affliction

Surfboard by Cody Simpson