Music Monday | Scott Storch

Hello!

For this week, the next music producer is going to be Scott Storch. Scott has always been at the top of my list of best composers and definitely the inspiration for this series. Dr. Dre, Rick Rubin, Timbaland, Scott and Joost van der Breok were the five I originally wanted to discuss for the entire summer but I didn’t think I would have enough material so I made a last minute decision to add a few more people to the list and that was the end of it.

Despite my love of him being a producer, I fell in love with his way to create a killer beat. A lot of people tend to forget that a producer are also the ones making the actual music too! Back when the network VH1 use to air those episodes of The Lives of Rich and Famous. Scott was selected to be featured in one of them and he gave everyone a sneak peak into the way he came up with three of the biggest songs in 2003-04. He would play snippets of 50 Cent’s “Candy Shop” and “Just A Little Bit” and Fat Joe’s “Lean Back”. I always found it hilarious that while both of these rappers were feuding with each other, they were working with the same person who was helping them their music! Anyways, once I figured out how these songs were made, I was floored! I knew both “Candy Shop” and “Just A Little Bit” sounded similar, but I didn’t know how to explain what I was hearing; everybody would have thought I was overly obsessed because at that time I was a huge fun of 50 Cent.

Unfortunately, Scott sort of disappeared from the music world for a while. I think he finally came back out of the shadows in 2014 or sometime after that. I know he had produced songs for Fat Joe in the last year and recently released a brand new song helping carry out the reggaetón flavor, that I definitely enjoy hearing, in the summertime. The track is called “Fuego Del Calor” and it features Ozuna and Tyga. I honestly thought I wouldn’t really enjoy it, because when I want to listen to that type of music, I’d rather have someone who knows that genre in and out, and can make it sound completely different than the others on the radio. So, it was a surprise that I actually enjoyed the whole thing!

Do you know any Scott Storch albums he’s worked on in the past? What are your favorite songs ever?

snowflake

Music Monday | Diddy

Hello!

We are in another month: June. Hope everyone has been enjoying your summer so far! If you have missed out on what the special meaning of this blog series, you can check it out here. Back in April, I started off with the big dogs: Dr. Dre and Rick Rubin. And then last month, I talked about the influence both Timbaland and Missy Elliott had on me in the late 90’s and early 00’s.

The last two months were kind of easy to sort out because I’ve known who I wanted to talk about, but once I started working on my June content, my mind went blank. I knew I wanted to discuss my love of Scott Storch, but I had no idea to pair him up with originally, until it hit me of another producer who was at the heart of my teenage years too.


Although my mom enjoys The Notorious B.I.G. now, I actually don’t remember anything by him or Diddy when I was child, so I’m basing this post on what I loved during my pre-teenage years.

In 2002, before MTV was probably in the early days of creating Jersey Shore, they still had music on their minds. TRL was still well and kicking – I even think both Carson Daly and Vanessa Lachey (nee Miliano) were still hosting the show too! The time was new for everybody, even the music competition shows. American Idol would have been on their second or third season around this time, and thanks to the success of AI, Diddy worked with MTV to create something similar, titling it “Making The Band”. Some of you might remember the show; I remember seeing the promos while TRL went on commercial breaks but I didn’t actually watch it until 2004.

I loved when Diddy decided on creating the ultimate all girl group for his label Bad Boy Records. I still remember (vaguely) of the first season and finding Aubrey O’Day and Aundrea Fimbres, but he wasn’t ready to build a group with the girls on that season, so they came back for a second shot and both Aubrey, Aundrea were joined with Shannon Bex, Dawn Richard, and D. Woods. By the time, they released their first album, I had never listened to a whole album all the way through before, so the fact I can do this for this and Welcome To The Dollhouse was an absolute shock but a very good sign or so I thought. I loved Danity Kane and still do, but my favorite was always Aundrea and since she really never came back to the group over the last few years, I haven’t been as excited as I was in the beginning.

While Diddy was seemingly busy creating one group, he actually went back to MTV with the intentions to make an all male group too! I did watch that season and the finale shocked me, because after the creation of what we know as Day26, absolutely nobody figured he would give Donnie Klang a solo contract! Unfortunately, neither Day26 or Donnie really broke out on their own like DK. I think they each had one decent album release and everything was over.

At the beginning of the year, I heard that the series was coming back but since the COVOID-19 mess, I hadn’t heard anything else about it. Honestly, the only thing I can say about it is, not everything should be rebooted. Back then, there were only two or three music shows whereas now, there are so many to literally drive a person go a bit nutty! I think one of the main differences it worked back then was because, if you wanted to watch something on TV, you had to watch it that night or else you were screwed unless they showed it over the weekend as an encore. Now, we rely on our DVRs and would rather wait until the season is over and binge a large collection at a time.

I really don’t think I’d watch the new reboot, that is, if it ever gets off the ground! I think I’d try it – watch the pilot and see if that magic is still there inside of me. Honestly, it will take a lot of twists and turns in just that hour premiere to capture my full attention to keep coming back for more each week.

Do you remember the ‘Making The Band’ show? What are your thoughts on the prospect of it coming back to TV? 

snowflake

 

Album Review: “Reawakenings Vol. 2” by Hidden Citizens

I have been looking forward to this for over two months. I think in a couple of weeks, I’ll write a post about my favorite modern cinematic composers/producers, so you can see that there are many others out there that are really interesting. Hidden Citizens were probably the second act that I found once I started on this crazy journey. I look forward to every new single, EP that they release but here we actually have a new album. One thing to keep in mind with these guys is that they mainly reinvent older songs, so you’re hearing covers of generally cinematic and trailer music.

For this album, there are a total of 12 songs with some songs you may or may not recognize, plus some special guests that you might’ve heard on their previous releases. We have a long list to get through so I think we should just start it.

We begin with “You’re No Good” and I have to say, it’s the only song that I have listened to prior working on this review. It features Ranya, who has worked with them before and you will continue to see her throughout this album as well. I really like the strong introduction, Ranya has a strong presence on it too. I like the fact that we start very strong and have an oddly heavy metal sound. There are a few songs on here that I know to be in that genre, but with this one I’m not really sure about but I definitely like this version. The second track is “Shattered Dreams” and it features VE. To me, it’s a little bit more mellow but I like the softness of it. Whenever you have a large selection of cinematic songs, it is best to have a couple gentle ones in the mix to let everything breathe. So, it’s okay for my standard – I think I would have loved it more if it was down the list honestly.

Now this next one, I have heard before, but I had to look up who it was originally by, ahh Pat Benatar! Once I saw it on the tracklist, I instantly heard a female singing in my brain. It’s definitely more of an 80’s song than anything else, so to see it with a modern flare is very interesting! What’s even cooler is that instead of using a female singer for this, we have Adam Christopher. He has a high falsetto voice so it mimics what you remember, but with everything added in, he makes it ‘cooler’ for this generation. Now, unfortunately, if I were to let my parents–especially my mom–I don’t think they would approve but that’s expected sometimes! For anyone born in the 90’s, might remember this 2000’s pop classic “Don’t Speak” by No Doubt. I grew up on pop music so the fact that I knew the lyrics to this one, but could not figure out who it was by at the top of my head is somewhat sad. Anyways, this is actually very good and quiet too. Tim Halperin was a very interesting choice for this rendition, but I actually enjoyed it!

Our next song is “Paint It Black”, now I’ve heard R&B singer Ciara’s version of it for The Last Witch Hunter soundtrack but I haven’t found any others that I liked just as much. Overall, the song is pretty and dark, even Ranya’s voice is gorgeous on it, but I still prefer this other one right now! We move on to “Nowhere To Run” with Keeley Bumford. I really love this song! It’s fierce, ominous and pulls you right into the ride. I’ve always had a weakness to these types of songs!

We are nearing the end of our adventure with the last six songs, “Crazy On You” is where we go to next. Ranya is back. I really liked this one as it was fast paced and really strong. However that’s all I can say about it! Leave it to me to forget one while writing them out the list on my notepad. We’re back to normal now, and Adam Christopher comes back with “Everywhere” and I really liked the softness of it.Of course, it does branch off with a heavier tone later on but Adam has a really nice voice for all genres, it’s not overwhelming at all. It’s like smoke, it just flows away slowly. I never thought I woul ever have to use that metaphor but here we are right?

“No Easy Way Out” by VE is on now, and we have another still type of song but out of all the songs on the album, I think this is my favorite. It was very emotional and I have found out recently that I am a sucker for these types of songs now! I guess it’s a side effect of listening to a lot of epic music! This is our final track with Ranya and it is “Beware Of darkness” and I was really hoping for a desolate type of song and that’s exactly what I got, but instead of it being in your face at all times, it is still pretty mellow for the majority of it. I still loved it though!

Tim Halperin makes his last appearance with “We Are All Made Of Stars” and again, we have this rock sound but what I really like about it is that it gives the song this extra edge but it still has a nice beat to be used as part of your workout playlist. It’s a unique song! Lastly, we have “Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be” now the singer on this track is a favorite of mine because she was once apart Celtic Woman: Chloe Agnew. I’m not really sure if this is a Irish song but I love the fact that it has this quiet almost like a lullaby but the built up gives it a nice mysterious flare. It’s really beautiful and exactly what I want for the perfect finish.

This album as a whole was good; unfortunately I can’t say I loved it either. I was a little torn with it, because I did this to myself on the fact that I expected it to be amazingly awesome, when in reality it really wasn’t. A part of me thinks it was because of the amount of times that some of the artists come back throughout the album. There wasn’t a variety of voices in the songs as maybe I would have liked, but don’t get me wrong the artists are really great but I wanted more than what we were given! Of course, this is only my opinion.

Are you a fan of Hidden Citizens? What were your thoughts on their new album? did you enjoy it just as much as their previous releases or not?