April Playlist

Hello my friends!

In my last post, I talked about how I went to visit family at the beginning of the month for my nana’s birthday, and usually I am very good at keeping track of the tunes we listen to while we’re in the car, but this time I was in the backseat with my mom and nephew, so I couldn’t hear and I may have taken a nap both times, and I was only able to remember five songs altogether.

Besides the trip, I had another great event happen. One of my favorite alternative R&B artist BANKS released her fourth album “Serpentina” and I have been trying to help spread the word about it but keep forgetting to do it, so I have decided to start on a brand-new series on here for the summer. I really miss doing my Tune Tuesday posts, and I thought it would be great idea to bring it back in some way with an artist highlight. It will be a single blog post about the artist or band in question, it will include some information about how I came across them, an individual playlist of my favorite tracks and where they will be headed next on tour. If I can get through three months, I’ll consider extended it into the fall. I don’t want to get in too over my head, so we’ll see how it goes.

How about I share my Top 25 songs of this month now. Check out the full playlist on Spotify here.

I Stand Alone by Godsmack
Fergalicious by Fergie and will.i.am
Like My Father by Jax
Ex I Never Had by LANY
Complete Mess by 5 Seconds Of Summer
Before I Ever Met You by BANKS
Numb Little Bug by Em Beihold
She Will Be Loved by Maroon 5
Meteorite by BANKS
In The Air Tonight by In This Moment
Money by The Warning
Planet Zero by Shinedown
Plastic Heart by Fame on Fire

Family by Badflower
Always Watching by Papa Roach
My Way by Limp Bizkit
Change on the Rise by Avi Kaplan
SOLD OUT by HARDY
So Called Life by Three Days Grace
Zombified by Falling In Reverse
Rest In Peace by Dorothy
Halcyon by Ellie Goulding
I Still Burn by Fozzy
Never Gonna Learn by Asking Alexandria
A Little Bit Off by Five Finger Death Punch

What were you listening to in April?

snowflake

Music Monday | Linda Perry

Hello!

This series is suppose to be about my favorite music producers, people who basically inspired me to study become one in college ten years ago. What I didn’t plan on was second guessing myself on whether or not Linda Perry is a producer. I knew she was a songwriter and musician in her own right, but I wasn’t so sure about the other part. Just before I started writing this post, I finally broke down and checked online to see if she is and everything says she is in face a producer.

Although I wanted everyone to be an established producer in these posts, I felt that in the end, it really didn’t matter if she was or wasn’t. I mostly knew her as a songwriter to artists such as P!nk and Christina Aguilera.

I didn’t write my first song until probably fifth grade, I didn’t even keep it because the words just kind of came at me all of a sudden and I wrote them on a small piece of paper. Some people would think they were poems, but I always found myself correcting everyone that they were songs, but then they would come back and ask if I had any music with it, and I’d say no. As most songwriters, they like to come up with the melody and music before figuring out the lyrics. I was the total opposite, but only by default, I can’t play any instruments and never really wanted to, so maybe they are poems after all!

For most of my middle school years, I was writing songs about what was feeling and going through during my preteen years. I still have folders upon folders of songs I wrote in classes and even at home too. I hardly ever look through them even though I want to keep them safe for later. I don’t quite know what or why I would want to do that because I was more abstract in my words back then; I hardly ever made a song specifically for one person and I definitely never put the person’s name I had in my mind while coming up with the lyrics. I was smart that way I guess!

I remember the first time I ever listened to “Beautiful” by Christina Aguilera. I always wished I could be that brave to release all of my emotions into creating something as wonderful as that song. I watched a documentary where Linda was discussing when she worked with her on second album “Stripped” back in 2002, and how she was teaching her how to let go and give herself up to the world and exposing feelings that we all feel at one point or another, and that obviously meant a lot to me in my teen years, leading up to high school. By the time, I became a freshman, I think I stopped writing them, and turned my attention to books. The last one I ever wrote was published on my old blog at the end of 2009 I think.

I do tend to like a person’s music better if they are the lead songwriter. I generally love what Linda has created for other artists, especially female singers. I have a slight obsession with singer-songwriters like Natasha Bedingfield, Halsey, Banks, Phoebe Ryan, Alessia Cara, Charlie Puth and Julia Michaels because I know they all have written songs. I hope one day I can help make my nephew understand why it’s important to start writing in a different platform; whether it’s blogging, bullet journaling, poetry, or songwriting. It’s a important habit to keep.

Have you ever written a song before? If you have, do you remember any specifics about the first one you wrote? Did you keep it? 

snowflake

 

EP Review: “Petals” by Phavors

Hello! 🙂

It has been an awful long time since I’ve done an album/EP review; even longer time since I’ve been asked to do it as well!

Back in mid-May, I was sent a message on my Instagram page from a duo called Phavors. At the time, they were just about to release an EP called “Petals” and wondered if I could write a review of it on my blog. They are my first group to be based in the U.S. to ask for my services, and even though I feel more comfortable talking about international music, I thought it would be fun for not only me, but for my audience too!

So, when the band sent me their pitch and link to the tracks included on the EP. They also included that they sound like Bon Iver but have elements of Billie Eilish, which is what sold me. I’m not a huge fan of folk music, even though I love singer-songwriters Dido, Celtic Woman, Sarah McLachlan, and The Civil Wars; I’m still pretty picky when it comes to the genre as a whole. However, I chose to look beyond that and focus my attention to Philip and Kayla’s work. I hadn’t listened to anything before I went to write this review, it’s just what I like to do for things such as this, that way I’m not overthinking my words as the music flowing in and out of my mini speaker.

The EP itself only comes with four songs, and the first happens to be the title track “Petals.”  My first thought was how beautiful it was, the light sound of the acoustic guitar with Kayla’s soft vocals, were really nice. It reminded me of waking up early and wanting something soft and mellow to begin the day on the right foot. It’s a soothing song that suddenly made me really calm inside. It’s the perfect way to begin a short musical journey. And then we move onto, “Waste Time” and I’m not going to lie, I wanted to use the title as a pun, but I didn’t. I was good, but boy! It would’ve been perfect. One thing I liked about this, was we were finally able to hear Philip’s voice. He is definitely quieter than Kayla. I really liked the slight boop of bass in the beginning, it made me think the general sound would be a little different compared to the first and it is different. I had the same vibes I experienced in the previous, but the tempo is more upbeat and happier.

Third is “Water Is Still” and I was actually looking forward to this one. I had hoped it would sound calm; almost like you should expect to hear it at a spa. In a way, it was exactly how I hoped it would be, but thanks to the addition of electric guitars to the airy beat in the background it gave it a nice little change. It was the perfect instrumental for me. I was so happy to hear something like this, where there’s no vocals at all. It’s just a nice collection of soothing sounds together. Lastly, we have “Home” and to hear Kayla and Philip’s soft words come into focus and together was wonderful, but towards the end of it, everything grows louder and I really liked it.

I was genuinely surprised by this. There were moments when I thought of them sounding like artist Banks and British band London Grammar in a way, like the second track gave me a strong Banks vibe with Kayla’s cool voice, but the whole thing had a London Grammar type of flare. I find it a bit odd that I was half expecting everything to sound a bit like Dido, but they ended up sounding more modern, almost new age type of music that I am learning to fall in love with in the last few years. After I finished listening, I started searching on my Spotify playlists for more comforting type of music like Phavors. After what’s been going on with the world lately, I needed to escape my reality a little longer.

Have you heard of Phavors yet? If you have, do you have a favorite song? What were your thoughts on their new EP too?

snowflake

 

Album Review: “III” by BANKS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Album Review: “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