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

301486594_620434109437183_8754173305038667336_n

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?

snowflake

Song Review: “Stereotypes” by Black Violin

I have one real weakness in music. Difference.

It’s one of the things I strive to find in every genre, artist or band. I like to be surprised with my music. I always go for things that are a little out of the box. I get bored with what I hear on the radio and even on my iPod that whenever I get into this mood, I have to go out of my way to find something out of the ordinary, but maybe in a way that’s a good thing. It’s almost like a secret club, you’ve invited to listen to something different and everybody doesn’t know about it and when they want to, you get to be the one to invite them in or keep them out.

I am a big fan of instrumental groups like Finnish group Apocalypatica to all female French group Elikpse and lastly American violinist Lindsey Stirling. Now I’ve found a duo called Black Violin and they’re from Florida. These two dudes creating music with only a violin and viola, but they’re songs are in all types of genres. I found this album on Spotify after not having it for four days! Technically I saw this as a win for me! Truth be told, if I see a violin or piano as a cover for anything, music, books etc there’s a pretty good chance I’ll cave and check it out. When I put it in my Starred playlist, I thought it was only one song. Nope, it put ALL 11 tracks on it. While I was busy removing the tracks on the playlist, I kept up one of the songs included and figured out my first theory was right. Kev Marcus and Will Baptiste are creating beautiful music with real¬†instruments, but they’re doing it in different genres! I was sold and I had only heard one song!

I had originally wanted to do an album review, but I decided to shorten it down because there are far too many songs for me to talk about, I’m really sorry! Honestly though, their title track “Stereotypes” is amazing!! I think the story behind each part has like a double meaning to it. The song starts off pretty slow, almost creepy like and it breaks off with each one going on their own in different sections. These are classical instruments that you’re used to hearing in symphonies and during ballet showcases, but they have made this song sound more like hip hop. I’ve always felt that with hip hop music there’s a firm tone to it, almost like when an artist has said something truthful or what they care about, You can feel the emotions through the music too. Although it’s a very strong sound, it’s really simple too. You can basically only hear the violin, viola and synth beat. I mean, that’s it and sometimes that’s all that is needed to create something interesting.

And then while you’ve got this incredible music, there’s the word part; It’s not lyrics or a poem really the first section is of different voices, women, men, and children saying what the definition of the word “stereotype” means. I thought it was very interesting to not use that in the actual song, but while this section is being played on the music video you’ve got people in different clothes, whether it’s a doctor’s uniform, a young girl in a dress, or a guy looking like a “terrorist” since us Americans think everybody from the Middle East is out to kill us. We stereotyped them because of what happened in 2001, which I understand why people would but not EVERYBODY in this world wants to kill people. Some of us want world peace. I love the last bit of the song though! Since I don’t know who is who because I just found them, but one of them says what his perspective of what people tend to think about him and how he feels about stereotyped. It was all very educational in a way!

If anybody is curious I have listened to the whole album and it’s like REALLY good! You should definitely check it out!

Have you heard of Black Violin before? You may have, just so you know! What do you think of the concept of this song? What’s your thoughts about it?