June Playlist

Hello!

Now I know it’s the first day of July, but since I added another week into my regular schedule, I thought posting the monthly playlist now would work out perfectly for me!

Since the death of George Floyd and the beginning of Black Lives Matter protests happening all over the world, a lot of musicians have been taking out their emotions into their music. For the most part, I have actually fallen in love with quite a bit lately. There were two specific tracks that were released earlier in the month. The first being “ROCKSTAR” by DaBaby featuring Roddy Ricch. They remixed it for the BLM movement and what I really enjoyed about it was the fact that music wasn’t too loud, so you were forced to hear the lyrics from start to end. Usually, I’m not a huge fan of this but I thought it was just perfect!

The next song is “Love Is Gone” by G-Eazy. This one was a little bit more political forward compared to the other, but like with “ROCKSTAR” the music itself wasn’t as prominent as I would have liked on any other day. Gerald is speaking a lot of truths–actually every single song I listened to, had a lot of truths about our past and present, and whether we in fact deserve peace. I didn’t think he could sing, until about a month ago! When I say, it surprised me, it did. If you listen to his brand new album “Something’s Strange Here” you’ll find out that he has a pretty good singing voice. For those of you who have listened to it, please list your favorites in the comments.

Anyways, those are the only songs I have liked since everything began and I’m sure by the time this post goes live, there will be even more coming out and you know I’ve been adding them into my Spotify playlist.

Here are my Top 20 songs I enjoyed in the month of June!

Take Care Of You by Ella Henderson
Footprints On The Moon by Gabby Barrett
Dust and Bone by Syd Duran
I Love You’s by Hailee Steinfeld
OMG by Camila Cabello featuring Quavo
Martyr Of The Free World by Epica
Sleepwalking by DIAMANTE
Secrets by Written By Wolves
Burning Bridges by Delain
Not That Beautiful by Papa Roach
X by Jonas Brothers featuring KAROL G
Ballad of Terrasen by Victoria Carbol
You Should See Me In A Crown by Halocene
Cut The Cord by Shinedown
Like You’ll Never See Me Again by Alicia Keys
I Take What I Want by Unions
Have You Ever Brandy
I See Fire by Feuerschwanz
Show Stopper by Danity Kane
Revangels by Akoma

Towards the middle of the month, I had a strong urge to get back into one of my favorite genres ever: symphonic metal. The Dutch band Epica are working on their eighth record, and they have been posting short studio vlogs on YouTube. One afternoon I was so bored that I literally watched all five videos and ended up finding a full recording of a concert they did back in 2015, which is after they had released “The Quantum Enigma” and I have to say, it is such a spectacular album and one of my all-time favorite albums. Unfortunately, I haven’t been keeping up with the band itself so when I saw they were on album #8, I was a bit shocked but excited at the same time!

After spending an hour and half listening to nothing but Epica, I made another playlist on Spotify for my favorite songs in the genre itself. I included a lot of albums I’ve listened in the past and picked out some tracks from other bands that I loved but didn’t really care for the whole album too! I’m pretty sure the playlist is over 200 songs by now! I’m not sharing it publicly though – it’s my own personal stash of music to enjoy by myself.

Before I go, I want to include Monday’s review of “Petals” by PHARVOS, in case anyone missed it the first round! Here is also the main monthly playlist as well. Hope you enjoy both links!

What were your listening to in June?

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

 

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

 

May Playlist

Hello!

Welcome back to another monthly playlist! We are nearing the summer months and even though the big festivals might not happen this year, it doesn’t mean that music won’t stop. I think it’s very important to say this out loud because for a lot of people out there, myself included, are always looking for the next big song that is sure to become their summer anthem. I think I might have found mine already but I’m not quite sure about everybody else’s tastes this year.

For me, May was definitely a heavy metal kind of month. At the beginning, I was listening to Sirius XM Octane and every week they help promote and play new songs from undiscovered talent all over the world. I have included two songs that I heard and immediately fell in love with on the spot. The first “Popular Monster” by Falling In Reverse and I think the main reason why I enjoy it so much is because it sounds like a Linkin Park song. I love how bands are changing up their styles with every record but I have started hearing a lot of older bands experimenting within their genre and really elevating what each is suppose to sound like, and I like how the legacy is the band is living on in that way!

The second song I recently heard is by a band called Dream State. They are a female fronted band based in the UK. Their new track called “Primrose” is so good and it came from their first album Primrose Path which came out in January. To me, it sounds like a mixture of In This Moment, Flyleaf (with Lacey Strum as vocals!) and The Pretty Reckless. If you haven’t heard the song or the full album yet, you need to do that soon! After discovering this band, I realized it was time to create another playlist on my Spotify dedicated to all and any new female fronted bands’ music and trust me when I say, it is glorious! You can click here to check out that playlist now!

Here are the rest of my Top 20 songs mentioned in the main May playlist!

Damn by LIVVIA
Why Do You Love Me by Charlotte Lawrence
Up All Night by Rachel Crow
Breathin by Perlo
Sick Individual by Halestorm
Sunday Best by Surfaces
Diamonds by Megan Thee Stallion featuring Normani
Ain’t It Fun by Paramore
Rainbow by Kacey Musgraves
Eye Of The Tiger by Tommee Profitt x FJORA
Riich by Grace Mitchell
Claws by Charli XCX
You Better Run by Unions
Be Kind by Marshmello featuring Halsey
If The World Was Ending by JP Saxe featuring Julia Michaels
You Say by Lauren Diagle
The In-Between by In This Moment
Devil Pray by Madonna
Break by Eyes Set To Kill
Come For Me by New Years Day

Something that I have been doing a lot lately is actually listening to more albums. I always feel kind of guilty that I am not posting reviews of them, but I am proud of the fact that I can finally listen to a full album in one sitting and love it! My younger self would be somewhat horrified because I never did that until I was in high school. Speaking of which, I celebrate 10 years of being a high school graduate this month and I think I might do a blog post about my Top 10 songs I loved in the year 2010 in June. Oh, by the way, I was talking about my summer anthem at the top, but I forgot to mention that I even had one back in 2010 too. Can you guess what song it was? I doubt anybody will be able to get it right, but who knows somebody might surprise me!

If you want to look into the rest of this month’s playlist, click here and you will directed back to the page. Hope everyone has enjoyed this post!

What were you listening to this May?

snowflake