Blogmas | Album Review: “Snow Waltz” by Lindsey Stirling

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It has been a long time since I’ve actually done a proper album review. I had plans on changing that this year, but I couldn’t find the right album to make my comeback, that is, until I found out Lindsey Stirling had released a brand-new holiday album.

In 2018, I watched the music video of her version to “Carol Of The Bells” and I still love that reedition of that song. I have found one other cover that could rival it by the artist Ashnikko. I like the symphonic way that Lindsey brought while I also enjoy how creepy Ashnikko was able to do with hers. Anyways, after I heard that song in general, I ended up doing a first impression album review of “Warmer In The Winter” as part of that year’s blogmas content.

Last month, Lindsey unleashed her second album called, “Snow Waltz” and I was smitten. When I saw it on Spotify, I immediately stopped listening to the title track and saved the album so I could do a review of the whole thing you guys. I ended up watching the music video for it, and I absolutely loved how it felt like a live action of the film, ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ as that’s the perfect way to explain how the music video looked like to me. I’ll share it with you later in the post, so you can check it out for yourselves.

For this album, we have 14 songs, and it features two other artists, which is interesting as the previous album had more than that, so I’m hoping this means the rest of the songs are instrumentals. I like hearing Lindsey’s creativity and personality with those types of songs, so I’m hoping I don’t become too disappointed this early in the post.

So, let’s begin with the first track, “Sleigh Ride” and this is a popular tune for many people in the world. If you’ve never listened to anything by Lindsey Stirling, it probably would be strange to only hear a bubbly violin, but this is what I enjoy about her music. It’s usually happy sounds, and I’ve always thought this was a sweet song, and I’m glad the violin sounds don’t take away that tone of the song. What I wasn’t expecting was the way the next song sounded like, “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” was so strange at first. Don’t get me wrong, I like it. I tend to enjoy the “weirder” versions of songs, but this sort of had a tiny bit of hip hop throughout and I liked the fact that there were vocals but not a lot of them though.

“Crazy For Christmas” is the first to feature another singer, Bonnie McKee. They have written songs for many, many pop artists and released her own music too. I think they have a beautiful voice, full of sass. This song in particular most be an original as I’ve never heard of it before; I like it though. It gives me Christina Aguilera’s “Candyman” vibes. It has a nice 1940’s flair to it, but it was still very mellow too. It was cute! Next, there’s “Feliz Navidad” which is “Merry Christmas” in Spanish and this one is full of holiday tones but in a faster tempo with Lindsey and the violin on full display.

You don’t see too many artists doing little introductions like these anymore but it’s an interesting way to breaking down part of the album and giving it something else. Honestly, the intro brought me back to her song “Roundabout Rival” with those bold and intense sounds that would go absolutely great with an even powerful Paso Dable choreography! Afterwards, we finally have the title track and I mostly like the fact that it does sound a tiny bit like “Carol Of The Bells” but it also doesn’t sound a true Christmas song either, it can be enjoyed in any season.

Next, there’s “Christmas Time With You” with an artist by the name of Frawley. I have never heard of them, but that’s okay though. I feel like with Frawley’s voice, the entire song has a country vibe. You could do the Charleston to this one honestly! It’s bobby enough to consider with a row of dancers kicking their feet out, kind of like the Rockettes! Okay, let’s move on to our ninth track, “Little Drummer Boy” and since this is essentially about and made for the drums, I loved this route of exchanging the drumming effects to a slow and subtle violin beat instead. I like when overtime a song such as this one with its traditional roots can be turned into something else for the next generation to enjoy.

Another well-known tune to the lineup is, “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” and this has a beautiful introduction with an almost ethereal way about it. We have a mysterious singer that fades in and out majority of the song, but I’ve found over the years that Lindsey has sang in a lot of her songs, now whether or not this is her is unknown. Other than that, the song itself reminds me of beloved tune of hers, “Crystalize” as it sort of has the same vibe and it’s very pop forward too. Next, we have “O Holy Night” and this one definitely has a cinematic approach to it, which made me really happy because I love anything with some excitement and this rendition definitely has everything I usually enjoy when it comes to that subgenre.

We now come to our final three tracks of the album; and this one is probably an original because I’ve never quite heard of it before, but this wasn’t the oddest part of it. Well, “oddest” is probably the worst word to use here but I couldn’t figure out a better way to describe my surprise when hearing David Achuleta’s voice after all of these years. “Magic” is very bubbly in the best way, and despite David has grown up since his days on Americal Idol, I still liked how sweet his voice was able to mesh with Lindsey’s melody. The thirteenth track is, “Deck The Halls” and I really liked the pop sound mixed with symphonic notes throughout, it was very lovely. And finally, the last song is, “Ice Storm” and again, it’s another original by Lindsey herself and it has a faster and harder tempo, but it could keep up a holiday cheer about it too. I thought it was a great way to end the album.

Well, now we are done with Lindsey Stirling’s second holiday album, and I can’t say I was surprised I enjoyed it because I tend to love the majority of her work anyways, but I also don’t want to seem biased either. My only problem with this collection of songs is that there weren’t any shockers anywhere, whereas with “Warmer In the Winter” had many familiar artists and interesting ways to transform these oldies (but still great!) into something other people would adopt into their family get-togethers every year, and I’m not saying people won’t do this with this album, it was just a tiny bit plain for me that’s all.

Have you listened to “Snow Waltz” by Lindsey Stirling yet? What were your thoughts about it? Any favorites?

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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?

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October Playlist 👻🖤

Hello!

It is FINALLY the week of Halloween!

I’ve been looking forward to the holiday since July but you would never know it if you saw my room right now. I only put out my plaid pumpkins around my window like last year, and mom managed to hang up the wreath that Rumer did nothing but bark at throughout the month of August. Thankfully Rumer doesn’t have a glue about it so we’ve been enjoying the quiet there. I’d still like to get another one for Christmas/winter with lights on it but I fear that’ll just provoke her so I’ll have to find something else…

Since we’re discussing festive music, I thought I’d let you know that I have updated my ultimate Halloween playlist I created about two years ago. It still has all of the classics but I have also tried to save anything I share on my Insta too, just in case you can’t check those out because you don’t have an account. If you’d like to take a listen to my favorites lately, click here I would also like to add that I did not forget about my promise about including my September playlist too! .

Here are my Top 25 songs for October, and if you are curious to see what else I got into, here is your final link of the post.

This Fire Inside by NerdOur featuring Halocene
Invincible by Saysh x Anderson Rocio
Legend by Holy Wars
Get Better by Leslie Mosier
This Town by ELLA EX
Queen by Hidden Citizens featuring Ranya
Ain’t My Fault by Zara Larsson
Let Me Love You by Love and Death featuring Lacey Sturm
Whose Side Are You On by Tommee Profitt featuring Ruelle
Parachaute by Saint Chaos
Rebel by Pep Squad
God Only Knowns by for KING & COUNTRY featuring Echosmith
Show Yourself by Idina Menzel and Evan Rachel Wood

Down by The Birthday Massacre
Wicked Game by Violet Orlandi
Crawl Back In by Dead By Sunrise
Everybody Hurts by Avril Lavigne
Somebody Else by VERITE
Does He Love You by Reba McEntire featuring Dolly Parton
Dead Inside by Nita Struass featuring David Draiman
Emily by James Arthur
Friday by Jeris Johnson featuring Trippie Redd
No Rest For The Wicked by Lykke Li
How Soon Is Noe by AG x Dressage
Gravedigger by MXMS

One thing I have been really enjoying is sharing my “Halloween Inspired” theme of ‘Song of the Day’ on Instagram’s stories in the evenings. It is the only thing I was able to keep up with throughout the entire month as the others failed fairly quickly!

I try to change it up every other day with various backgrounds and of course the music too. We started off with Ice Nine Kills’ new track featuring Jacoby Shaddix of Papa Roach “Hip To Be Scared” as I felt like it was a great way to start off the spooky season. The band itself is really interesting, they are definitely a metalcore type of band but like to muddle with other subgenres like my ultimate favorite: symphonic metal. I love anyone who is different from the rest and what I love about this band is that, they focus on horror films. All of the elements of those amazing, cult-like, movies like American Psycho, Halloween, etc. They recently released their newest album: “Welcome to Horrorwood: The Silver Scream 2” which is totally awesome, you should definitely check it out before the month is over.

What were your listening to this month?

Album Review: “Epochal” by Matias Bacoñsky

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As promised I am back with another album review, but this is a tiny bit different.

You see, I was asked to check this release out and I am still wondering why I agreed because I had been asked over and over in the past two months to listen to this person or that and I always said “no” to them. Despite wanting to come back to doing more music reviews, I just don’t want another pop or indie artist. I want someone that creates music that I am truly interested in and right now, the genre is cinematic or epic music. So, that’s why I ended up agreeing to listen to Matias’s work with “Epochal” and I hope you all will enjoy what comes forth in this post.

Who is Matias Bacoñsky? Well he is an Argentinian pianist and composer for one. He has three other albums under his belt, so if you’re not exactly into this style of music, you should check out: “When The World Ends,” “Straight From The Heart,” and “Life and Death.” For this album, Epochal he is doing something unique, he was inspired to create a full on symphonic metal type of work with the addition of using a choir and has some electronical elements here and there too. Matias was lucky enough to work with two top singers in the symphonic metal world and they are: Marina La Torroaca of Exit Eden and Zuberoa Azarnez from Diabulus In Musica. So, now that I have grabbed your attention, let’s get into the songs, shall we?

We start with a great title, “New Dawn” and I like it when you begin an album on the right foot–no disability pun intended there!–and this was certainly a soft introduction as far as temple and overall sound. It had a mild earthily tone to it and I really enjoyed the pictures it allowed me to create in my mind. Next up is, “The Immortal” and as much as I wanted something very explosive, I liked the gentle build to that space I was originally hoping for, and it was somewhat subtle but again I enjoyed it. I loved the little breakthrough in the middle as I imagined myself bursting through something and flying around in the sky like a fairy. For a person who hasn’t paid that much attention to The Hobbit films, that’s all I kept seeing in my brain were images of elves and greenery!

Third in line is “A Second Chance” and no, that is not a typo! On this track, I thoroughly loved it because I thought you could hear the piano a lot easier without any other elements going on, but it was somewhat short lived because more and more things started to happen and the entire song built into a happier note. I thought the choir in the background was a tad bit much as it brought the vibe down into this mysterious atmosphere,, but it wasn’t too bad though! We move on to, “Reason To Believe” and even though we hadn’t made it too far in the album, I stopped trying to guess what each song would sound like because I was already one out of four. Anyways, I definitely sensed a shift with this track that we’d move on to the more serious take and I didn’t know if it was intentional but it was a simple turn of events.

“Breakdown” was next and it was the track featuring one of the guest artists. Zuberoa Aznarez of Diabulus In Música. I have dabbled through DIM’s music in the past but I was curious as to what Zuberoa would bring to the table. Her vocals are absolutely beautiful and soothing. She has a deeper sound to her voice and it is really powerful and yet quiet up against the piano and various bells in the background. She’s not really singing anything, I mean there are no words but you can certainly feel her presence on this song and it was very lovely! After completing that one, we have “Light On The Horizon” and it didn’t take me very long to make my overall judgements because I knew everything was perfect from the moment it begun. It was hauntingly mystic and I just couldn’t get enough of it honestly! There’s not much else I can say about it so we’re going to continue on with the list.

Our next track is called “Ambivalence” and this was another one that I noticed had a different take to it, although for me, it didn’t happen until the middle of the song but it started out with this slow almost icy way about it and then with the addition of the choir, everything became heightened and darkened at the same time. It was interesting because I wasn’t really feeling it as it began but once that door opened, my thoughts changed and so it was an odd one for me. We are nearing the end of the line and with the eighth spot, “Tree Of Life” was so pretty! I love trees in general, their way of ever growing below in the roots or up towards the sky. They are older than anyone of us, so I thought this was just gorgeous! I kept seeing the evolution of trees throughout the different seasons plus many, many shades of green too.

Next we have, “All In Vain” and despite telling myself to not judge on what it could sound like, the first words after looking at the title were “uh oh” so I was mentally prepared in case this one brought out my emotions a little bit. It did, but not in the way I expected it so that was good! The bells are notable and I have grown to appreciate them just as much as Matias’s piano skills! And finally, there’s “You” with Marina La Torraca of Exit Eden. From the moment it started, it was slightly dark and Marina’s voice is definitely higher and has a petite appeal to them so it lightens up everything and it was a fantastic finish to the whole thing. Normally, I would like to go off with a bang and thought it was different but strong at the same time.

As much as I adore music like this, unfortunately, I don’t listen to it like my heavy metal and pop records. I really thought it was enjoyable! I can definitely say without a doubt, “Light On The Horizon” is my ultimate favorite track. All of the songs were beautiful in their own ways but this really captured my heart and clearly hasn’t let it go yet and I am perfectly fine with it!

Have you listened to “Epochal” by Matias Bacoñsky yet? If you have, what were your thoughts on it? Do you have any favorites from the track list?

Album Review: “Cinematic Songs Vol. 7” by Tommee Profitt

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When Tommee Profitt comes out with something new, especially an album, you know I have to come out of hiatus for it. Fortunately, this isn’t the only review I am doing this summer. There is a big possibility you will get another when I come back for the end of July.

I didn’t even know it was coming out until about four days before it was released. As of the 20th of June, I still hadn’t listened to it because I kept going back and forth whether I wanted to blog about it, like as a proper album review, but since I hadn’t done one of these in so long that I literally almost vetoed it altogether. Thankfully, I changed my mind because I am in need of a cinematic binge, what about you?

So, let’s recap before we go too far into this post. Tommee started launching these clusters back in 2017. It doesn’t seem that long ago, but it might have something to do with the fact I never talked about volume six–I still don’t understand why I never did anything with it but I will say, it is still an album that isn’t as popular compared to the others for me. After that release, he took a mini break and worked with Fleurie (who frequently lends her voice and lyrics on past works) with their ‘Game of Thrones’ project “Gloria Regali” and then he devoted his time with Christian rapper NF on “The Search” (2019) and “CLOUDS MIXTAPE” (2021), but now he’s back with this bad boy, and I think we’re ready to get into it now.

The first track, “Who Will Save Us” actually features Fleurie, which honestly doesn’t surprise me. Tommee is known to work with both veterans in the cinematic world and some newbies too! I really liked the mild sounding of the introduction, it collides into Fleurie’s voice really well and even when the song explodes with this fierce power, neither one of these aspects are lost in the chaos. My only bad thing about is, it’s pretty short and I think I would have liked it more if it was a little longer and surprised me a little more too. Next we move on to, “Sinners & Saints” and this was the song that made me think we could be getting some new music by Tommee but I did not think an album would follow suit! I adore Beacon Light and I always feel happy and sort of lighter while listening to his songs and this one wasn’t any different. The one thing I wasn’t expecting was Moilba Mustapha and that country vibe coming through in the choruses. It is really good and definitely hits differently!

The artist Stanaj has a gorgeous voice! Personally, I am still obsessed with their track “Love Me” so I was thoroughly ecstatic to see them on here working with Tommee. “I Will Be Your Hero” really cuts you deeply with that slow beginning with just Stanaj’s soft vocals and piano in the background. You always know the song is going to be good if the piano is the main instrument–at least for me it always is! This song is so full of emotions and raw; it’s almost sexy in a way. Our fourth song is “Be Careful” with Laney Jones. I’m pretty sure Laney has been on the other albums but don’t hold me against that because I could be wrong. Anyways, I am in love with the music box lullaby start because it gives it a sweetly dark vibe and thankfully we glide into that feeling for the entire track. I need more of these type of songs honestly. I am surprised it was playing during the promos for the new Conjuring film that came out earlier last month.

As much as I didn’t want it the previous to end, we move to “Reign” with Anna Graceman. Now I will say, I don’t recognize Anna’s name nor her voice, but I like it. She has a soulful element that I didn’t think I needed until I heard it for this song. The track is very pop oriented but with her type of voice, it kind of gives off this bluesy vibe that isn’t overbearing by any means, but it is there as she hits those high notes towards the end. One thing I definitely approve of these albums–well, technically, I approve of a lot of things, but this is a favorite of mine!–s that he will include one or two instrumentals and with this installment, we get two of them. We begin with “Nocturnal Opus” and it definitely gives off that feeling it was created either late at night or after you’ve been up wayy over your limit. However, I really enjoy the eerie sound of the choir in the background. The entire track is spooky and wonderful. It ties in beautiful with “Be Careful” although they are two songs apart from each other.

“Powerful” is the one that I’ve been looking forward to the most as it has two of my favorites: Sam Tinnesz and Ruelle. These artists are very well-known in the cinematic pop world, as Ruelle has worked with the TV series Shadowhunters and Sam Tinnesz is basically everywhere now! I hear them all the time and it always makes so happy to see them getting all of this attention. The song itself is pretty mild but I honestly enjoy this seductive balance between Sam and Ruelle’s voices. They are both quite soft and it was nice to hear a beat match their octaves in this way. I had to listen to this one about three times to actually relish in it for a while. However, I had to go on and “Frontlines” was a nice sequel. It has another guest artist that has worked with Tommee before, Jessie Early. She reminds me of Ruelle but with an extra punch, I think Ruelle is very airy, dreamy sound whereas Jessie has a darker edge and is perfect fit on these fast paced tracks. I think my overall favorite element of this one are the string section near the end. They really make the song better!

The eighth record is called “Wake Up” and we have Xeah and this is so beautiful! I really adored the simple introduction, where its just their voice in that low, almost monotone sound and nothing else. We get a few lines like that but then it explodes and it is really strong and suspenseful in every way. The most interesting thing is, Xeah doesn’t have a lot of lyrics so the rest is instrumental, and it is super hypnotic. I thought this was the coolest one on the album, until I heard the next one. “Lament From The Grave” features Stanaj again, and I don’t want language Stanaj is singing but I love it! It kind of gave me like Hans Zimmer vibes because I’ve heard several tracks that are similar, so it was an interesting and new thing for not only me, but Tommee too, because we haven’t heard anything like this before. It sounds exotic and heartwarming at the same time though.

We are nearing the end of our time together; I hope you’re still with me.

I am such a sucker for anything with a little bit of moxie in it. “Welcome to my world” is definitely one of those types of songs. The artist included in this one is :LYRA, and I don’t quite know if they have been on previous numbers or not, but I like their voice. I feel like this could be great playing on the first episode of “Riverdale” new season this fall or perhaps the reboot of “Gossip Girl” It has a gripping but flirty sound and it is so good! Next is our final instrumental, “The Day Before” and I don’t know about you, but anything with these three words will have a sad element to it. You may not hear it at first but it’s there. I think it was really good, not at all crazy but perfectly balanced to showcase both a lighter and sort of panic atmosphere and it really works well with the final track, which is “Tragic” with Fleurie. It is a beautiful broken type of song and I really like these different sounds of bells going on in the background. It was the perfect ending.

I was honestly a little worried after I started this post, because I wasn’t sure I could do it anymore. I feel like I’m not the best person to review albums because I’m not great at describing things–I feel like I’m worse at discussing music. So, I took a big risk at jumping in with a Tommee Profitt produced album but I did it. I may never understand why I didn’t talk about volume seven but this one was really impressive! It was definitely needed after we went through in 2020, so I would rate it as six out of ten stars altogether.

Have you listened to “Cinematic Songs (Vol 7)” by Tommee Profitt yet? If you have, what song(s) was your favorite? What about the guest singers too?