EP Review: “Suncity” by Khalid

44023286_1032213136985526_8345004508463497216_nYeah, you’re getting a bonus post for today! I’d say “don’t use to it” but I don’t think I can say that anymore. What I want to do for December is a little up in the air too, because I checked to see what all comes out for this month and there’s a lot, so my normal weekly blogging schedule might be a little different. We’ll just have to see what happens!

I am going to be talking about the R&B artist Khalid and his new extended play that came out on the 19th of October. Earlier in the year, I discovered Khalid’s amazing deep voice with his song “Young, Dumb & Broke” and then afterwards, I found “Love Lies” with former singer of Fifth Harmony, Normani and recently, he joined Benny Blanco’s track “Eastside” with Halsey. I was going to review his debut album, American Teen but I talked myself out of somehow so I am very happy to see this collection of songs, I can finally share my thoughts with you!

The first is called, “9:13” and the introduction sounds very echo-y, almost ethereal sound going on. All you hear is this other person in the background, like you would hear at a press conference basically giving Khalid the keys of El Paso, Texas. I thought this was a very interesting way to start the EP. Next is actually a real song, “Vertigo” and we keep this dreamy sound, it makes you really calm too. You only really hear it in certain places, as the gurgling sound pretty much commands your full attention. I like the fact that it’s an love song, because the beat is so seductive with the orchestra going on in the background. I have to say, four minutes and thirty seconds were definitely not enough for me! I wanted it to go on forever, that’s how I loved it!

“Saturday Nights” is on now and I kind of wished I had waited another day to write this post, but I was impressed with this because I liked the soft pop beat it has, it works so well with Khalid’s soulful voice. Is it weird to say that he could be a great country singer too? I mean, I swear I sense a southern drawl in his voice, especially in the choruses of this song! I really enjoyed the easy-going, autumnal feeling you get with this track. We move to “Salem’s Interlude” which is really a small snippet of anything, some people say a short poem or in this case, you hear a young woman speaking about what’s she afraid of in her life on top of this mellow beat, that doesn’t try to overpower her message to the listeners.

Afterwards, we have”Motion” I really liked this too, it’s so gentle and has a new groove. I was a bit worried when it first played whether there was another singer featured on the track with him, because the beginning does not sound like him at all, the tone is so low, lower then how he usually sings in the first place. I have to give him kudos for that! The sixth track is the first single”Better” that came out in mid-September, it was really the reason why I was excited and hoping to see new music by him soon. I just didn’t know it would come out this fast! The beat is really fun and quite substantial compared to the others, but I really liked the dance-y quality it brings. A good hip hop song! Finally, we end this with the title track “Suncity” that features  Californian based artist Empress Of. This has a nice reggaeton sound, that I really enjoyed a lot. All I really wanted to do was dance along to it. Khalid’s voice really works well with Empress Of as hers is higher and it brings a nice sweet vibe to the song.

Khalid has such a unique voice to him, with being able to let out those long notes in such a deep tone is difficult. I mean, I can barely do it for so long until my throat hurts. I always have admiration for artists who can get their voices that low, but I felt like it sort of limits him as far as choosing different beats. One thing that I noticed was the fact the first three songs had similarities and especially with both “Motion” and “Better” too, they kind of blend right into each other. Overall, I thought it was good, but I really only loved two tracks out of the whole thing!

Have you listened to Khalid’s new EP “Suncity” yet? If you have, what were your thoughts about it? Do you have a favorite track?

snowflake

EP Review: “Mad Love The Prequel” by Sean Paul

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So, I have to say this firstly, I am a big fan of Sean Paul! In my teenage years, I would just listen to his music if I was wanting to dance, like no joke! I am still that way, but my hips ache and pop more frequently than before.

I am very excited to talk about this EP finally! I am very proud of myself, I actually stayed away from listening to it. I like to express what I’ve heard for the first time because I think when I listen to it multiple times before reviewing it, my general thoughts will change with each play. However, when it comes to dancehall or EDM music in general, my thoughts rarely change – I usually like it or I don’t. That’s just how I roll sometimes.

So, we’re going to get into this right now and hopefully you like it.

We start off with “Naked Truth” that has Jhene Aiko, and it’s very light, definitely not exactly what I was expecting. I usually prefer heavier songs to begin an album or in this case EP, but I like the balance between Sean and Jhene’s dynamic vocals. What I thought was interesting though was since Sean is originally based in Jamaica, why does this sounds more bollywood to me, especially the drum beats. I’m not saying I didn’t like it or anything, it was just the first thing that popped into my head. Second is “Bad Love” with Ellie Goulding, and I really miss Ellie! This is also a mild song too, but it still has a nice groove. It’s not overwhelming and works really well with Ellie’s soft voice. I had a hard time not dancing to this, so we’ll say it’s a winner!

Next we have “Mad Love” and it features both David Guetta and Becky G. After hearing the two quieter tracks, you have this sucker and I love it to pieces! This is another one that I love dancing to, both day and night. I really like the exotic feel, such a party anthem and Becky G’s vocals are fun and kind of seductive in a way. The only song that doesn’t have a guest artist on board is “Jump On It” and I’m very happy that there is at least one with just Sean, although I would have liked to have more but since this is an EP, maybe if he releases an album later on, I’m sure there will be more like this. Anywho, the song itself is pretty mellow, the beat isn’t crazy but I like it as it was though. It was sexy too!

From the moment I saw that Major Lazer would be on this “Tip Pon It”, I was instantly like, “well, this is going to be awesome” and it definitely didn’t disappoint! It was so much fun and I couldn’t stop dancing when the bass dropped. Although it wasn’t a big drop, the sound itself changed and got bigger and I think that’s why I ultimately ended falling in love with it! Next there’s “Jet Plane Trip” with an artist that I had only heard once and it was a couple of months ago, Stefflon Don. This is actually kind of calming, if that’s the right word to use, it had a nice rhythm but it has more of a slow dance vibe. It was good though!

These are the last three songs on the EP, and we have “Body” featuring Migos. One of the reasons why I really liked this was because it mixed both dancehall and hip hop together. I love that combination, and I actually liked Migos on the track. I’ve always been so-so about them, and I don’t know why so don’t bother asking me that question. Next there’s “Tek Weh Yuh Heart” with Tory Lanez. This is another good one! I thought at first I’d be a little bored with it, but it’s actually pretty great! I think Tory was a good addition to it, his voice is soft and goes with the beat well. The last song is “No Lie” with Dua Lipa, and I have heard this one other time before starting this review and I don’t think I liked it very much. I am turning into a fan of Dua Lipa, but I am also very picky with her songs. This has a great beat and it’s fun. It’s the ideal, light end of summer type of song to me.

I think in general the EP was very good. It had a lot of interesting artists on it, each brought their own sound with them. One thing that I always tend to have issues with is that whenever Sean Paul works with other artists, they seem to be more prominent in the actual song and he just kind of fades into the back, so it’s just the singers and the happy, dance-y beat. That’s why I ended up track #4 a lot more than some of the others.

Have you listened to Sean Paul’s new EP yet? What were some of your favorites and thoughts?

snowflake

 

May Playlist

moviws

Howdy!

May has been an interesting month, music wise.

You know when it’s almost summer when Enrique Iglesias comes out with another banger! And of course, it’s with his good buddy Pitbull too! What shocked me though was how quickly my brain screamed “SUMMER” the moment I pushed play on this song the first time. Between this track and Liam Payne’s new one with J. Balvin, I’ve been doing a lot of dancing lately!

Ohh, and we have to talk about the fact that my queen Christina Aguilera is back in action! I am SO excited, like I was literally stalking her Facebook for a good three days to see what the hell was going on, because the cryptic videos in the beginning were really weird, but now that we know I cannot contain myself with how much excitement this has been for me lately!

Has anybody else went on Netflix “Music & Musicals” and watched any of the live concerts? I found Hans Zimmer “live in Prague” concert and after that, I’ve been really curious about it. Well, this month, I finally watched it and I really enjoyed it! I’m really falling in love with movie scores in the past several years so it kind of felt normal to me to watch this one first. As a fair warning, you will cry during the performance of The Lion King! I guess that’s my warning for the day, I ever get invited to see the Broadway musical one day!

For this playlist, I’ve tried to put everything that I’ve heard from movies, TV shows and outings as a way to help remember what happened that day. I’ve also been getting back into hip hop so there are quite a bit of rap music on there too! If you’d like to see more of what I’ve been listening to for May, here is the Spotify playlist!

Here is my Top 10 songs for this month!

Bad Girlfriend by Anne-Marie
Move To Maimi by Enrique Iglesias and Pitbull
Adore by Amy Shark
Pynk by Janelle Monae featuring Grimes
Tomorrow We Fight by Tommee Profitt and Svrcina
Passionfruit by Drake
For You by Serena Ryder
Girls by Rita Ora featuring BeBe Rexha, Charli XCX and Cardi B
Twice by Christina Aguilera
Lovesick by Laurel

Before I go, I’m doing something very different for this summer’s Tune Tuesday series. I need some time to update my list of international musicians, so I’m having an artist of a band that you may not have heard of, write some pieces for both June and maybe July too! So you’ll have to keep an eye out for them! And like always, here are the previously featured music reviews I’ve done–except for Thursday’s, it’ll be on my next monthly playlist instead!

Ledger by Ledger | America by Thirty Seconds To Mars | Awake by Alison Wonderland | Sick Boy by The Chainsmokers | Church Of Scars by Bishop Briggs

So what have you been listening to lately?

snowflake

EP Review: “Sick Boy” by The Chainsmokers

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It’s crazy to think that last year The Chainsmokers finally released their debut album to the world! It was a long time coming for not only Alex and Drew, but for their entire fanbase, myself included of course. Now we move on to 2018, where the guys are still in fact touring all over the world, but now they’ve been slowly but surely putting out new music. This EP was released on the 20th of April and is properly titled “Sick Boy” and it has four tracks. So let’s get on with the review, shall we?

First we have “Somebody” which has two Drews in it. The other singer is Drew Love of the R&B duo THEY. He brought in some soulful elements, to an already chill beat. I really like it for the quietness, it’s the ideal song for those gloomy days. One thing that I’m learning to love is the fact that The Chainsmokers are sort of growing out of the EDM (electronic dance music) standard. They have a more mainstream sound, but it still has that dance-y feel to it. This track itself is very mellow, but it’s still dance worthy!  Next we have “Everybody Hates Me” and this one has a summer vibe. It might’ve been the fact they say “tequila” a few times, but I think it’s more upbeat; where you feel like you feel the need to jump up and down to it, even though it’s a little slowed down on tempo. It’s good!

We move to “You Own Me” and this is another unique track. The first thing that it made me think of was driving around in a small town. I know it’s completely random, but that’s just what popped up first and I ran with it! You definitely hear an overwhelming low horn sound in the background of this one. It’s very chill and different, but in a good way! And finally, we have “Sick Boy” and from the moment I heard this on the radio, I instantly fell in love with it. I don’t know what the term “Sick Boy” means, but I’m not asking so I’ll just assume it’s a good thing, possibly?

I like the fact that the guys have added two really, chill and slowed and two upbeat and dance-y tracks onto this EP! It’s a good introduction, if we are getting ready for another big release in the next coming months! I want the songs to be as unique like these were on this effort. I don’t want to assume the rumors are true, and I don’t want to be a pest and ask anybody, so we’ll just have to see.

Are you a fan of The Chainsmokers too? Would you like to hear another record soon? If you’ve listened to their “Sick Boy” EP, were you happy with the tracks they included or not? Let me know below!

snowflake

How I Became A Music Blogger

music

Howdy!

I’ve been trying to figure what to blog about for a few days and I thought about some advice posts; I like them but I’m also one of those people who doesn’t feel the need to follow the same set of rules of others. These will be things that I do that might be useful to the newbies or somebody who would like to experiment every once in a while.

What does it mean to be a music blogger?

I started writing reviews back in 2011, probably four months after I actually created this blog. I will say, those first few reviews are really bad. I have the worst grammar and I cannot describe what I hear for the life of me! I will say though, since I’ve been doing them and the fact that I try to get out of my comfort zone, I feel like I am getting better at it.

In the beginning, I wasn’t really thinking about what could come out of the review itself, I just knew that I needed to express myself about what I hearing inside of my headphones. Towards the end of 2012, I’d say my music choices started to go in a darker direction and since I was already listening to tons of international music, I knew I wanted to share it with more people, whether it be my Twitter followers, friends and/or family. Everybody wants new music, so why shouldn’t I help promote these artists and groups?

What can you talk about on your blog?

Well, that’s up to you really!

I think it’s important to establish what kind of music blogger you want to be from the very beginning. To me, there are two ways you can go about this, you can be like me and only focus on the music itself–that means you discuss nothing about anything else but whatever you’re presented. Second way is you talk about that artist’s personal life, which is something that I do NOT participate in because I think it’s absolutely rude!

There are a lot of bloggers out there that only review new artists, which is good because they need all of the promotion they can get from people. However, if you do put your email address on your about or contact page, be aware that you may not always get to talk with that particular artist or group, majority of the time you’re talking to a third party. It has its ups and downs, because honestly the artist will make you feel welcomed and allow you to have time to listen and get your words figured out, but the third party does not. At least, from my own experience, they haven’t made me feel like I was going fast enough to reply back to them about anything.

Besides the new artists, you can talk about your favorites, but in reality you’re really closing up opportunities to get to know other musicians. Thankfully, when I started blogging about music, I was already in the thick of international music, so I was listening to stuff all over the world and it didn’t really matter if they were singing in English or not.

There are different ways to review music:

  • Albums/EPs – These are pretty much the only way I review anything to do with music at the moment. However, I do have my own limit. I do discuss an album that’s over 20 tracks. It just puts a lot of pressure on me to stay open enough to speak my thoughts and I never want the number of songs to change my mind about a particular track. 
  • Single – If you’re going to write about a single, be prepared for that post of yours to be pretty short. I think I always had two or three paragraphs whenever I’d review just a single, but on the bright side, I always thought it would be fair to release two single reviews in one day!
  • Music Videos – Music videos are pretty easy to talk about, as you can just find it on YouTube’s recently added and go from there, but you also need to think about something else. Are you going to only discuss the song, the content of the video itself, or both? I always found it to be easier to do both, but whenever I would listen to the heavy metal music, I wouldn’t review the actual video in fear something creepy would pop out and scare me! 

What kind of ways to listen to music to review?

I mostly only use Spotify to listen to my music. They are convenient, because they have the new music on their browse tab. Once you start using it a lot, and you “follow” more and more artists and bands, then it’ll create a “release radar” playlist for you of the music and you basically go from there. After I’ve found an album or EP, or even a selection of them, I’ll create a playlist of each one and save them for later until I’m ready to work on them.

If you can’t use Spotify, then YouTube is my second option. Unfortunately, you will have some issues going in this direction. Musicians and record companies will not always upload a full album onto the artist or band’s main page, it’ll just depend on the circumstance honestly, so if you’re unable to find all of the music on the record, you’re going to need to hope another fan has put it up without tampering with the sound too much and of course YouTube has taken all of them down!

My last suggestion is whether or not, you want to purchase the album on iTunes. I mean, all your doing is reviewing the album, and in case you’re not sure about the genre or if you’re going to like it in general, you’ve just spend $11.29 or $14.99 that you now have to keep in your library. So, everything is up to you on what you want to do.

Here are some tips on what I do before I start the reviewing process!

  1. Have a notepad nearby! It’ll be smarter to write or type out the song titles and date of when the record came out. Something else you should look into, is some information about the artist you’re talking about, you have to remember that you are not only selling the album, but the musician too!
  2. Trust your gut, and I mean this in the nicest way possible. If you are not comfortable talking about a certain subject, do NOT push yourself to write about it. However, on the flip side, if you can’t figure out how to describe the song and how it sounds, go with your next best option. I’ll usually say whatever I’m feeling at that moment. I’ve described song(s) as “driving around in a small town while the sun is setting!” So whatever comes to your head first, then say it!
  3. Don’t rush the process, if you need to take a break in between a group of songs, then do it! I have started reviews in the mornings and finished them at night, and I’ve even spread them out over a couple of days since I usually schedule them at a later date.
  4. If you’re unable to find the album cover on the artist’s social media accounts, then I recommend you making a banner for your future review posts. I’ve used Paint to create mine, but I’m sure you can make really clever ones using your own photos!

I think that are all of my tips and tricks that I can share with you today! If you are thinking about starting on music reviews, or reviewing anything such as books, movies, etc, it’s a fun experience for you as a blogger but it also helps promote the musicians you’re talking about too!

snowflake

EP Review: “Ledger” by Ledger

30688228_929567243880109_6462951484328771584_nI know I don’t usually publish a review on Tuesdays anymore, but I didn’t have any other ideas for today so I decided on scheduling this for today since it would be somewhat shorter compared to the other reviews. Now that we have that out of the way, we can discuss everything about LEDGER!

If you read my four songs that got me through high school post I put up last month, you already know the story of how I got into the band Skillet. Well, I have to say finding out that their drummer Jen Ledger was breaking out a bit and releasing a solo record didn’t surprise me one bit, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t nervous though. Skillet is a big rock band, so I didn’t know what kind of direction she was going with her music. I was open to it, but like I said, a bit nervous too! The EP was released on the 6th of April and it has six songs on it.

We start with “Not Dead Yet” and from the start of it, I knew that I would like it. It’s kind of different to only her voice on entire song. Since she joined Skillet, she’s only been a very noticeable background singer, so it’s something to get used to, but it’s really nice though! The song itself has a very pop-rock vibe going on, I really like it. Second is “Warrior” and you instantly hear this static-y, but jam packed introduction. I really like the lighter notes, but it is definitely a mood booster, I will say that! This actually features John Cooper, the lead vocalist of Skillet. I feel like this is kind of like payback, but in a good way! He gives it an added edge to it.

Next we have “Bold” and it has a mellow sound, but on top of that, whereas the first two had a strong rock influence, this one doesn’t. It has a little bit urban flare to it, but it also goes with the meaning of the song, so I really like it for being unique in that way! Fourth is “Foreigner” and if you didn’t know Jen and the rest of the members of Skillet are Christians, the band itself is considered a “Christian rock band,” so I figured she’d speak about different things and incorporate God in some way. This one is very interesting, because I thought it also plays with her heritage too. She’s actually from England, you can kind of hear it in her voice in different songs, I actually like it, because it’s all about perspective, you can say she’s talking about one thing but really it’s about the other.

Last two songs, we have “Ruins” and it’s the only ballad track on the EP. You really get to hear the beauty in her voice. I’ve actually heard her sing a few slower songs on YouTube before, but it’s nice to finally hear her do her own music. And then, we have “Iconic” and we’re back on this pop-rock sound, but thankfully I really like this subgenre anyways. It also plays with some electronica elements too, so it’s like a best of all three worlds! After this one was over, I wish there were more. Hopefully one day, she’ll finally release a full album!

I thought this was a really good release, it wasn’t what I was expecting by any means, but I’m really glad I was wrong! I liked the fact that she didn’t have a full on rock record. People would have probably grilled her for going in that direction. I don’t want to hear Skillet music, I want to hear what she enjoys and basically get a look inside her mind as an individual musician.

Have you heard of Ledger’s first extended play? What did you think of it? Do you have any favorite tracks?

April Playlist

moviws

Howdy!

April was another weird month for me. I had to use YouTube for the most of the month. I’m actually thankful that YT just automatically creates mixes for me to every song that I listen to on there. If you’d like to see the rest of the music I’ve been loving lately, you are welcome to listen to my full April playlist on Spotify!

Curious by Hayley Kiyoko
Yes by Louisa featuring 2Chainz
Who Are You by Svrcina
When You’re Gone by Verite
Poltergeist by Banks
No Roots by Alice Merton
Preview by Mackenzie Nicole
Rebel Renegade by Tommee Profitt featuring Beacon Light
Psycho by Post Malone featuring Ty Dolla $ign
I Never Told You by Colbie Calliat
Emergency by Icona Pop
Nothing But Trouble – Instagram Models by Charlie Puth featuring Lil Wayne
Queendom by Aurora
Familiar by Liam Payne featuring J Balvin
Sham Pain by Five Finger Death Punch
Let Me by Zayn
Young, Dumb & Broke by Khalid
Say Amen (Saturday Night) by Panic! At The Disco
Technicolor Beat by Oh Wonder
Rats by Ghost
Love Is Madness by Thirty Seconds Of Mars featuring Halsey
Tell Me You Love Me by Demi Lovato
W/O U by Gems
Glorious by Foxes
Still Hungry by Adelitas Way
You Will Become by Glen Hansard
No Tears Left To Cry by Ariana Grande
IDGAF by Dua Lipa
Say Something by Justin Timberlake featuring Chris Stapleton

Honestly, there’s a lot of good music out there. Now that March is gone, I’m starting to hear ones that were constantly playing nonstop on the radio are slowly fading away making way for the new stuff. I’m not hearing “Lights Down Low” by MAX featuring Gnash and “Let You Down” by NF as much anymore. I’m excited to see what’s in store!

Visions by UNSECRET | California by Diplo | Svrcina by Svrcina

What was your most played song for the month of April?

snowflake