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

 

Music Monday | Missy Elliott

Howdy!

When I was thinking about doing the series, I know I wanted to keep it diverse, not because my love of music is all of the place, but it is very important to say that there are women music producers out there. In fact, I decided to talk about two of them that I knew were important to my life and musical journey. However, if you know and love of any other women producers out there, please tell me about them in the comments. I would love to learn more about why you adore them, and of course check out their music too!

A couple of years ago, Missy Elliott was awarded by MTV’s VMAs (Video Music Awards) with the Lifetime Achievement award. Back when MTV did play hours and hours (boy, do I miss those days!) of music videos, you probably saw one or if you were really lucky two Missy Elliott videos within 20-30 minutes of each other. I’d say from 1998 to 2004 is when she was just creating all kinds of stuff. A lot of them included dancing, but she was very known for her crazy antics and style in those days. They all looked fun every single time they appeared on your television screen. I’m sad to say I haven’t seen any of her previous videos, but remembering her others, I know she would continue going down that way for as long as she is allowed.

Missy is most known for her songs and friendship with Timbaland and Aaliyah, but I think it’s important to say that she has worked with all kinds of acts throughout the years! In 2004, when the R&B artist Ciara appeared, especially after watching her first music video for “Goodies” you probably hoped that she’d work with Missy one day. Dancing played a big part in the two artists, but it also just seemed like a great combination because Ciara has that same soft voice that Aaliyah was known for–even though nobody could ever be as good as her–you still hoped that they would work together. So, by the time “1, 2, Step” came out on the radio, it was like the music gods were really hearing our prayers and then it happened again in 2004 with Missy’s track “Lose Control” with Fatman Scoop. It was an awesome sequel to the story of these two big female singers.

Since we’re on the subject of girl power, I think we should discuss the remake of Patti LaBelle’s “Lady Marmalade” of the film Moulin Rouge in early 2002. Instead of having one singer do the entire song, she produced and worked with four powerhouses of the popular genres of that time. You had the R&B artist Mya to start off and then we move on to Pink, who at the time was a mixture of pop-R&B at the time. Brooklyn’s own Queen rapper Lil’ Kim lended a nice section and gave the song an added flare, and finally Christina Aguilera graced us at the end. I still think this is where she began weaning herself out of the cookie cutter bubblegum pop music. The song itself went on to win lots of awards but I think a lot of people either don’t know and/or forget that Missy Elliott was a huge part of making this happen. I mean, think of it as like the first time The Avengers assembled. Yes, I just did that and I’m not even sorry about it either!

Are you a fan of Missy Elliott? Do you have a favorite music video from over the years? Is there any other artists that you think she should consider working or maybe not collaborating with next? Please give me your thoughts about that down in the comments.

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

Music Video Review: “No” by Meghan Trainor

I have been loving Meghan Trainor’s new single!!

I told you last week that I would do a review of my thoughts of both the song and of course, music video! I’ll start off with the actual song. I only had to hear it once, that was it! After that first time I did have to rewind my TV to hear it again because I thought it was the best damn thing I heard all day long! I think it sounds a bit old school pop, like early 00’s Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera! That record static in the intro makes it like Christina’s Back To Basics era, but the whole thing is so catchy and gives you those happy vibes from start to the end. I seriously can’t get enough!

The music video had a similar vibe especially when you first play it and it has a futuristic theme, at first it made me think of Britney Spears’ video for “Hold It Against Me” but you see Meghan and these other women dance together. Meghan did a lot of sexy dancing in this video! …I am loving the red hair by the way! As much as I love dancing in music videos, I didn’t think the moves were very sharp. I think I might be watching too munch DWTS because I sound like Len Goodman! I mean, it wasn’t bad. I felt some of the arm gestures weren’t “attacked” enough, it was very loose and maybe that’s what she wanted who knows!

Do you like Meghan Trainor’s new single? 

 

Album Review: Christina Aguilera’s “Lotus”

It is here!!! Finally after two years since Bionic was released. She finally released her new album, Lotus. She has said in many interviews, that this album is an empowering album, and she was right. I have funny story to tell before I go on with this album review. When “Your Body” came out, Spotify was very quick to put it on and I listened to it immediately. I was up at 11pm last night and I was very tempted to wait up and see if they put it up at midnight. I ended up taking off my headphones and falling asleep. I got up again, at 4am and it was the first thing I did, I clicked on her name and it was there, waiting for me to listen. Like I said though, it was four in the morning, nobody was awake, and I had my headphones off. So many wrongs. I went back to sleep, but got up again a little before 8am and I plugged in my speakers and started listening to it. Both of my parents were in the living room. I couldn’t wait any longer, so you can’t blame me really.

The lotus introduction starts off the album. It is very relaxing and something interesting. It is a very empowering beginning to the album. It sounds so calming but you could dance to it as well. The second song was part of the album listening she had for some of her fans (lucky fans!) and she said it is supposed to be “Fighter 2.0” for the new generation. Honestly, when I listened to it at first, it was good, but nothing can be like the original. This song is called, “Army Of Me” and it kind of sounds disco-y, yeah, I said DISCO-y. You could easily put it in that category. That doesn’t mean it’s not good. I’m listening to it again for my second time and I like it more than I first did. So don’t worry.  The next song is called, “Red Hot Kinda Love” and how the chorus sounds it will make you dance. The “ooh’s” and the car horns make it different from other pop songs. Next is one of two songs with her fellow The Voice coaches, Mr. CeeLo Green features in this song and it’s called, “Make The World Move” and you can the light piano and old school hip hop throughout the song. It’s like a bit from her Back To Basics days. I like what CeeLo brings, that added bonus to give it some soul. Such a fun song to listen to!

The song after “Your Body” is called “Let There Be Love” showcases her strong lungs during the chorus. It is very dance-y and it will probably be played in clubs a lot. It kind of has that old school vibe too, but it’s more complicated to explain which part it is. I love this song because it’s very inviting and catchy too! The seventh song is supposed to be dedicated for her fans. It is called, “Sing For Me” and it starts out kind of slow and sad. I love songs like these because there are most meaningful songs she has. The fact that this song is for us, her fans. It’s very sweet, but has a strong meaning behind it. I can’t wait until she performs this song live, because you know it’s going to be emotional. There is another slow and sad song after that one. It is called, “Blank Page” and it is just a piano and her gorgeous voice. The next song starts off kind of suspicious. Almost something out of a horror movie, but luckily for me I like those kinds of introductions. That’s how it sounds in the first few seconds, then you start hearing these different drums. This song is called, “Cease Fire” and if you listen very closely, it is very empowering. The next song starts with drums and it is very sexual. It is called, “Around The World” and if you haven’t listened to any of Christina’s past albums, you wouldn’t know she’s very open with her sexuality in her songs. This is very Christina and plus, it’s catchy in the chorus!

I’ve got to say, I’ve listened to a lot songs by Christina Aguilera, but on Bionic, there’s a song called, “Bobblehead” and it is basically for every hater out there. The song on this album for the haters out in the world is called, “Circles” and it is very straight forward and the only song on the album that is explicated. When you listen to it for the first time, you’ll realize why and won’t want to have the uncensored version that’s for sure. Anyways, it is probably my favorite song! That is how much I love it. It has fun lyrics and it is a pop-rock song. Not as “rocky” as “Fighter” was, but still you get what I mean. After that jaw dropper, the next song is called, “Best Of Me” and it is my second favorite song of the album. If you’ve had some rough days, months, or years. People trying to destroy you, this is the ideal song for you. Honestly, this sounds more like a “Fighter” than “Army Of Me.” I love the military like drumming throughout the song. It makes it more and makes you want to stay strong. The last song of the standard edition is the second song to feature her, fellow coach, Mr. Blake Shelton. I don’t think I’d ever hear Christina bring some country to the mix, but might as well. We’ve heard everything else from here, might as well do something new. I love this duet more than her duet with CeeLo. I didn’t think Blake could get that high either. It is definitely a break-up/love song.

On the deluxe edition of the album, there are three other songs, plus a remix of “Your Body” by Martin Garrix. The first song is called, “Light Up The Sky” and it starts out with a piano and then 30 seconds later, her voice goes in and out, and then major drumming comes out during the chorus. It sounds very weird in parts, but overall it is lovely. I love the chorus part and how it sounds. The next song is called, “Empty Words” and it is like, “Best Of Me” kind of like part two to that song. I love these “stay strong” songs so much, can you tell? You can hear the drums, strings, the piano, and every word she says. The last song is called, “Shut Up” and with that kind of title, you know it has to with the haters. It has these weird sounding horns, like an old school hip hop. The one bad thing is it’s not explicated during the chorus. It’s probably the only time you want to hear those words out loud. It is a very Christina song through and through. That’s how you should end an album. End with a bang, right? Too bad, it’s not the last song though because right after it is over, the remix for “Your Body” starts up and it kind of takes over your ears. Thank god it’s a 5 minute song. Yes!

So now that I’ve finished, have you listened to it yet? What is your favorite song(s) off of it? I obviously loved it and the only sad part is I’m probably only going to be hearing by my Spotify account. If anybody gets it for me, I’d have to wait for it since it’s almost December. It’s okay though, in 2011 I got surprised on Christmas morning, when I got the Bionic deluxe edition. Thank god it’s also explicited too. (: