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?

July Playlist

Howdy!

We’re quickly approaching the en of summer! I know some schools will be back in session next week, which is just crazy to me! For most of my school days, school would start in the middle of the month, not at the start of it. I actually saw a school supplies sheet the other day and it floored me, they were asking for students to bring earbuds and mouse for their laptops in their classes! It wasn’t until I was a senior in high school that I got a small taste of what school was to become for not only my sister but the rest of younger generations!

Let’s move on to this month’s playlist before I feel any older than I already do, okay?

It was a pretty good month for music. I wasn’t too into rock or hip hop music as much as I have been lately. I think I might be a little bored with both genres right now because I’ve been doing a lot of searching, and apparently it doesn’t matter if I’m listening to music on TV or my iPod, I am literally changing them for something different! I am still in that state of mind so you have any new music for me to check please let me know below!

Here are my Top 20 songs for July!

Stroke by BANKS
Raise Hell by Dorothy
Beautiful People by Ed Sheeran featuring Khalid
Toxic by 2WEi
Sucker by Jonas Brothers
The Search by NF

Be There by Krewella
Never Be Like You by Flume featuring Kai
Peaches & Cream by 112
Built That Way by Emotional Oranges
Sad Forever by Lauv
Mad Love (Acoustic) by Mabel
Wings by Little Mix
You Need To Calm Down by Taylor Swift
Boucin by Kiana Lede featuring Offset
Money by Cardi B

This Is Our Time by Hidden Citizens featuring Ranya
I Am Defiant by The Seige
La La Land by Bryce Vine featuring YG
Sucker For Pain by Logic featuring Ty Dolla $ign, Imagine Dragons, Wiz Khallifa, Lil Wayne & X Ambassadors

I think one thing I am going to get started on my list for the annual Summer Playlist at the end of September. It might be a little different from the previous years because I haven’t been keeping up with this year’s music. I mean, I’ve been trying to but I keep going back through the past and relishing in them for a while. So, you might get a playlist with both newer and some old goodies in it.

If you missed the recent reviews I did on here, you can check them out again. I will include the newest post on Thursday after it is published that morning. Or at least I will try to put it below, because you all know how I am about forgetting things! Since I also talked about my favorite Taylor Swift songs, and treated it as a review as well, I think I should add it on this section too.

III by BANKS | Top 13 Taylor Swift Songs |

What were you listening to this month? Are you looking forward to any new releases for August?

Album Review: “III” by BANKS

Today I am finally going to talk about BANKS! Sometimes it can be harder to talk about your favorite artists than it is for newer artists, at least it has been for me! You see, I’ve tried in the past to review her previous album The Altar back in 2017 but I just could not get myself to do it and I’ve been kicking myself ever since! So, for this post I am basically conquering my fear and discussing what I like or maybe dislike about this album.

I actually didn’t know she was going to put out an album until a whole bunch of songs on YouTube and I thought, “well, this is strange!” So, I went on her Facebook page and quickly figured it out. This record has thirteen tracks with only one that credits another artist and/or band, but we’ll get to that in a minute,. I have only heard probably three or four songs but the rest I have saved for you guys, because you know how much I like to express my thoughts during that first listening. I hope you enjoy the rest of this post. Let’s get to it!

The first song we have is “Till Now” and I think everyone will agree with me on forgetting that the actual word “till” is spelled with 2 “L’s” the fact that Google and everybody else in the world has no problem with leaving it with one is fine. However, it is nice to be reminded of that every once in a while. Anyways, when the song first started it actually made me think of another song of hers “Better” because it was pretty empty with only her vocalizations in the background but the one difference with this is that it sounds more upbeat. Towards the ending it sound really static-y and I was really concerned that it was my speaker but her vocals never changed so I let it go. I really liked it, just wish it wasn’t so short though!

Next we have the first single, “Gimme” and I loved this from the moment it was released! I really approve of her seductive side coming out in this song. I have a really tough time not dancing to this and that’s what made me fall in love with it first, because it just has this great meaty beat to move to. It was an awesome little taste of what was to come next. The third track is “Contaminated” and we have continued on this mysterious train with the beat itself. Even though it does have darker notes, it also has these sweet vibes going through it as well. I can’t quite explain it, maybe it’s the undertone of the song that I’m feeling but I liked it!

We move on to “Stroke” and the first thing that popped into my mind when I saw the title was the word “heatstroke” I don’t know about my brain sometimes. The song is on a totally different level that what we’ve heard from her; she’s given us everything I thought until I heard this one. The bass on it is amazing! If you know me well enough, you know I have a slight obsession with bass. I may not jam as loud as I use to, but I still love to feel the bass on a speaker. By the way, you read that right. I said feel instead of hear. One thing that I really like about it is that once you get to the bridge, the sound changes and you have this almost jazz-y worthy type of beat going on for a bit and what really gets me is that it all works really nicely!

“Godless” is next and I love that her vocals are soft, really sensual this time around. It is still sexy in every sense of the word but it’s not as overwhelming as the last track–and I mean that in the best way possible! I just like how everything about the song is milder. It is a nice change, but it isn’t anything like the next song: “Sawzall” as this has a true acoustic feel. You can hear everything individually, and it’s wonderful. I love her dark-alternative music but it is amazing to hear her as naturally as possible. These two songs really surprised on how different they could be, compared the rest of her music.

We move on to “Look What You’re Doing To Me” and this is, dare I say, very cheery and playful! This is the song that features another artist, it is Francis & The Lights. I have never heard of them before but I really enjoyed the subtle way they came into the track. So far, this is the only one that sound like a regular R&B song, although it still has the essence of what we all love about BANKS, but thanks to adding another voice, it has an edge compared to the others. Unfortunately, it isn’t one of my favorites but it’s still pretty good though!

Next we have “Hawaiian Mazes” and I really loved the quiet introduction. It was just a sweet kiss. The tempo stays very mellow throughout the whole thing. The “uh, uh, uhs” are also nice too, the whole thing brings out a sensual vibe. Perfect for the summertime! After that, we travel to “Alaska” basically. I thought it was interesting that we had these back-to-back. As the last one was very chill, this is fun and mild beat wise. It has a nice groove to dance to, and has a unique flare to it. The recent song that I allowed myself to hear was “Propaganda” and I thought it was great! I really think it has more of a House feeling going on, it does match the other two with the lightness of the beat, but thankfully all of them have something to make them different from each other.

“The Fall” is the one of the three tracks left on the album. This one threw me for a loop. While you listen to the verses, the beat is very gentle, almost relaxing in a way. After the last few songs, it shouldn’t really surprise you that this could happen, but once you get the chorus, it explodes. Suddenly, you feel this fierce tone and if I’m not mistaken, she’s rapping towards the end? Yummy! We have “If We Were Made Out Of Water” and I love the sounds of birds in the beginning. When you first hear them, you kind of think that it’s going to be a happy song but it’s not. It’s rather sad, especially when you read the lyrics along, you feel like you could cry. despite this, I think it’s one of my favorites! We are at “What About Love” which is the final song. I really enjoyed the bluesy, but gospel sound going on. It does a bittersweet tone, but I like how simple it was; kind of the perfect way to end the story.

I will be honest when I say, I have yet to actually listen to any of BANKS’ albums all the way through, and this was the main reason why I wanted to review her last record because I knew I wouldn’t without having a reason to do so. However, because of this too, I was very hesitant to review it at all. I am normally very picky with her music so going into this was a bit scary for me, but everything is fine. I actually loved it!

I can’t say her music has changed, I don’t feel like I can say that officially, but it hit my needs as to start on a high note and end kind of softly. For an album like this, a summer record basically, it wasn’t overwhelming with tropical sounds and full of sex, although it does have a bit of it on here, but it’s pleasant. You finally get to hear her voice and raw emotions as the album continues on. The lyrics are different, certain words that maybe you wouldn’t expect to be in a song. It was a unique experience, that’s all I can say!

Have you listened to BANKS’ new album III yet? What did you love it or not liked it as much? What were your favorites? Put your answers below in the comments!

Top 13 Taylor Swift Songs!

Howdy!

Back in mid-June I posted a question on my Twitter to all of the Taylor Swift fans, on what they’re favorite ‘underrated’ song was by the lovely T. Swift. Unfortunately, I never got any feedback on it, but this came about after I had a great afternoon of listening to her music on both my iPod and YouTube. I felt there were a lot of great songs that weren’t as popular or in some cases made their way to radio. So, I thought about creating a blog post of all of my favorite songs from the albums that I really love the most.

Since Taylor Swift has the thing about the number 13, I figure it was only right to create this list of songs in that exact number. Also, what is coming up soon? Her new album “Lover” will be releasing next month. I am a little nervous, but that’s how I’ve been since probably “Speak Now” came out. So, we’ll just have to see what happens!

If I end up like doing this post, I might talk about my other favorites by Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys, Christina Aguilera, and others in the future. What do you think, is that something you would be interested in?


Cold As You

I remember the first time I ever got Taylor Swift’s album. Of course, I listened to the singles that were increasingly becoming popular with half of my friends at school, but there were two songs out of the lineup that I actually loved just as much.

This one was light, but had a mysterious tone to it. That’s what mainly drew me into it at first, but then after I actually listened to it, I began to understand the lyrics and I really thought it went well with my outlook of high school, especially around the boys. They weren’t cruel, I just didn’t understand why they weren’t looking at me more than just a friend. Now as I’m older, I realize how much of an idiot I was, chasing after these poor boys, but thankfully I can still listen to the song and love singing it.

The Outside

As the previous song has a sadder sound to it, this one is the total opposite. It’s a fun song, which is probably why I liked it so much in early 2007. I still have trouble figuring out if it’s a breakup or just a cheery song. I’ve listened to it for an awful long time and I’m still trying to figure things out! I don’t know if that’s good or not.

You Belong With Me

If there was a song that reflected any part of my high school experience, it would be this one. For about three years, this was my go-to, especially football season since majority of the guys I liked played it. The song itself has sports involved because she’s talking about being the one sitting on the sidelines while he was interested in the cheerleader type of girl, like my sister. Once I graduated, it was shocking how many guys that I liked, and who were even a grade higher than me trying to get with my sister. She was a cheerleader too, so it was like the song was playing out in front of me for a good five years or so!

Breathe

“Breathe” was a song that took me a while to enjoy. I really love Colbie Calliet’s music so I always thought it was strange that I wasn’t as into it. I do seek out the softer songs, it’s not very often of course, but I am a fan of them whenever I am in a somber mood.

This has the ballad quality, but it is definitely a lot softer in everything. At this time, Taylor was still making true country music, but with this song you really couldn’t tell that it was different from the rest, because of how gentle it was. I like to think of it as the calm before the storm, because it would two more albums before she felt ready to branch out of the genre and create more pop oriented songs.

Change

I don’t know about you, but I love really motivational songs. They’re not as popular as the sassy, breakup songs that she has made over the years, but they are great to keep on hand. As “You Belong With Me” became my anthem for dealing with the guys, this was my jam for getting through everything in life. Since this album came out while I was a Junior, it really hit home for me because I was struggling a lot with school work and everything in between. It sucked for the first six months, but I know listening to this on repeat helped a lot. It kept me on the path I had created for not only myself but for others like me. So, I endured the hell I went through, thanks to this song!

The Story Of Us

I am known to take forever to like songs or a genre. It does happen eventually, well sometimes! The album that this was on, I have never enjoyed as much as the others. She was increasingly going into the world of pop so I was very hesitate to follow her in that direction. Honestly, I still feel the same way everytime she gears up to release a new album!

I don’t remember how I got into this song, I feel like it’s fair to say my sister might’ve had something to do with it, but it also could have been playing on the radio suddenly and took a late chance on it; any of those are good possibilities! It does give me the same vibes as “Love Story” so that is one thing I love about it! You have a fast pace, but sweet type of song that a lot of people enjoy, some at the time it came out or years down the road!

We Are Never Getting Back Together

After I explained above that I am not the best at listening to a track and like it in that first try, I should probably confess that every once in a blue moon, I allow myself to dive into one and instantly fall in love with it. This is one of those songs as I just loved this song! Again, it was itching farther out of the country sound but it still had that sassiness that almost everyone loves about Taylor’s music. Another part of it that I really liked was how catchy it was, the lyrics were fun and you could be as animated while singing along as you wanted and not feel ashamed to show that side of yourself. It allowed you to let yourself go crazy, even though it’s a total breakup song!

Welcome To New York

The “1989” album was one that my sister bought while she was at college, she had a car with a CD outlet, so was still using the heck of it and I remember when she said something about it on her Twitter, my reply to that tweet was “Sweet! Please bring it with you when you get home so I can put it on my iPod!”

As with all of Taylor’s albums, I don’t like every single song on it, but the fact that this was first song out the gate, I was enjoyed it! What really made in a way was by the time I started liking it, it was being overplayed on the radio and on TV! I know a lot of fans like saying they loved a song before it became popular, I have found it to be extremely heartbreaking because if I hear a song too much and that can happen, especially if you’re not the one doing it to yourself. That’s how I’ve lost interest in a lot of music over the years unfortunately!

All You Had To Do Was Stay

Thankfully, this track was never made into a single. I could have this one all to myself, and I still relish in it every time I listen to it on my iPod. Yes, some of us still use those things!

I think I found this song at the perfect time because I was dealing with some personal things in my life with somebody wanting to leave and come back as if nothing happened. The first time it occurred, I was a wreck, and it happened again, this song was on repeat. I’m not going to lie when I say, I cried a lot when this song and those memories collided, but now I can actually listen to it in peace.

I Did Something Bad

Despite saying I have never liked every song off her albums, you definitely wouldn’t believe me after the next four songs! I really loved “Reputation” because of how dark and different it was compared to her previous albums!

As I don’t exactly remember all of my favorites after the first listen, this was one track that I definitely loved but I think it had some help as it was the third track on the lineup, after both “Ready For It” and “Endgame” so the pop-y, but hard hitting type of sound was still present, and I thought that was excellent to keep those vibes going on a little bit longer. I really enjoy singing to this, it brings out my sassy side a lot!

Don’t Blame Me

I feel like I would have loved these next three songs when I first listened to the album the week it came out on Spotify! Unfortunately, it wasn’t until they were featured on her Reputation concert that came out on Netflix last December. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve watched it!

I like this though, I really approve of the sultry vibe you get with Taylor’s vocals. They’re soft and it helps that the lyrics are easy to learn too, so it’s fun song to listen to by yourself and relish with the thought of someone who’ve been talking to, or in my case scroll through my Pinterest board of hot men. Hey, whatever works I say!

So It Goes

I was a little bummed at the fact that Taylor did not perform this song on stage, but I actually fell in love with it at the credits, so explain that one to me?

“So It Goes” has this sexy tone to it, and the lyrics really establish it as that kind of song but I don’t think its too much. I like the fact that she is shedding that goody-too-shoes image and unleashing this other part of her that is all woman. So, despite the fact that her audience is still young, she’s not keeping everything rated “G” anymore.

Dress

This is another one with a very seductive take, I am actually very addicted to this song! I mean, between the two songs, this is probably the most subjective track of my list but that’s what I’ve grown to like for some odd reason. The only thing I don’t like about it is how her voice sounds somewhat hoarse, as it is almost breathless throughout, and usually I would be fine with this, I just wish she’d let up on it a bit. Over than that, it deserves to be apart of this list!

Are you or were a fan of Taylor’s music? Do you have a favorite album? Can you number your favorite 13 songs?

Album Review: “Hearing Colour” by Svrcina

I am back with another review for you! As you all know, I love doing these blog posts but unfortunately being able to find new full releases is tricky so when I find a stack of music, even if it’s small, I will try to talk about on here!

For today, I will be reviewing an album that came out in early June, by an artist that I have discussed on here before. She is Svrcina, and her newest album “Hearing Colour” came out on the 14th, and I found out about it on the 27th! Honestly, if I do end up writing all three reviews, I’m pretty sure all of them were released sometime last month.

Check out the review of her previous album simply titled “Svrcina” that came out in 2017 now!

We have firstly, the title track “Hearing Colour” and it is a gentle introduction of what is essentially to come. It has that synth-pop sound that she is sort of known for, so I really liked it. Finally, it’s with “Dragonflies” that starts the music journey. We have that little exotic flare that I really love about her music. It’s not too much or too little, just enough to give it that edge. The song itself is very upbeat with a pop-y tone. Great way to begin the album! Next is a song called “Pages” and here again, we have a happy but unique kind of beat going on. I was imagining myself relaxing at a Japanese spa, surrounded by a small stream and some waterlilies here and there. I can really see it while listening to this song, but I like the actual song too. !

When I first wrote out the list, I thought to myself, please be a ballad. From the moment it started playing, I instantly got excited because even though it wasn’t what I initially wanted I still enjoyed it anyways. “Insecure” has that light but mysterious sound that I love in her music, but it’s not too much. I think some people would consider this a House track just by the vibe of it. It’s pretty groove-y so I really liked that. It was better than I expected it, which was awesome! Next, we have “All I Wanna Do” and here we have what i like to think of a regular pop song, because there wasn’t really anything too interesting about it, but it was good anyways!

The album is coming to an end; “Back 2 Good” has a nice little upbeat tone. I really like the bubble popping type of sound in the verses, the reason why I say “bubble popping” is because it was literally the first thing that came to me when I focused my attention on it. I really enjoyed the song, despite not liking it the first time I listened to it a few months ago. It’ll put you in a good mood, I was humming and dancing towards the end of it so that’s always a good sign! And finally, we have “Come Together” and I thought it was a nice balance between her slower songs and a pop-y track. Out of all the songs on the album, I still love this one the most!

I think because she came out as a cinematic artist, working with Tommee Profitt for his cinematic volumes for the past three years, I’ve gotten so use d to that voice of hers in that thundering light that when she went in an another direction, I wasn’t necessarily ready for it. I’m not saying any of this release was bad, for a pop album, it was pretty good but not what I was expecting it to be. I also had a thought that since her first album was in a somber tone, this was bubbly and warm, perfect for the summertime! So, what I’m really trying to say is that it was a nice surprise.

Have you listened to Svrcina’s music before? If you have heard this release, what were your thoughts on it? A fan or not?