EP Review: “Born Again” by RAIGN

27072414_10157649396617837_3755914508397942992_nIn 2014, I discovered a bunch of singer-songwriters making music in the alternative genre. I remember that I had three straight days of where I did nothing but look on Spotify for more artists Banks, Zella Day, Laurel, Ruelle and RAIGN. What’s even weird about the four ladies is that I managed to find all of them in one show, as their music was being played on the episodes of The Vampire Diaries! 

For this review, I’ll be discussing RAIGN’s third extended play called “Born Again”. It was released back on January 26th, and I actually didn’t even know about it. I saw a track she released a couple of weeks before called “Believe With Me’ and I figured that if she had released one that more should be coming soon and I was right! Unfortunately, the song is not included on the EP, but we do hear four new tracks so I think that’s a good trade!

So we start with a song that was originally on her first EP, Knocking On Heavens Door that came out in 2015. The track is “Empire Of Our Own” and instead of releasing an acoustic version in which she’s done in the past, this one has a totally different vibe. Since her music is mostly played on trailers to movies and television shows, this was given a cinematic feel to it as it is an orchestra mix. I’ll honestly say that I wasn’t a fan of the original version of the song, I thought it was dull and boring so when I saw this, I thought “well, maybe it’ll make it better!” It does have a very ominous sound, and with Raign’s deep raspy voice, it has more depth to it. I do enjoy the entrance to the chorus at the beginning with those loud bangs of the drums, but as a whole, I’m still not a fan of it. There’s not much that makes special to the others that I’m used to seeing with these certain mixes.

Second song is “One Thing Leads To Another” and this has a fast paced beat to it that I really like, I feel like this one has a lot of possibilities to it. There are high pitched sirens that go off right before the choruses start and to me they sounded like a bunch of trains signaling their coming through. I don’t know that could be just me hearing things. I like the commanding section of the horns though, they add a very strong force to the song. Next we have “The World Is Ours” and even though it’s quieter, you can feel all of the emotions of both Raign’s voice and beat itself. I really like the stripped section, where the sound takes its time to surface with her voice. I think we’re all expecting songs with these types of titles, that they’re supposed to dramatic and heavy, but I think this is a clear example that they don’t have to be!

Lastly we have “This Is The End” and I remember when I saw the title at first, I had to do a double take because Ruelle has a song “This Is The Hunt” and I swore I saw it written like that too, but it was just my eyes playing games with me! I was hoping that it would have that epic sound that she’s used to releasing here lately and I definitely wasn’t disappointed as it went over my expectations. I really like the gentleness of the beat itself, but of course it has this commanding sound with the deep banging of the drums and it sort of has this metallic vibe added by some electric guitars. It has a lot of different elements included on it, but I’m happy to say that they don’t make it so chaotic and overwhelming!

I’m really happy to see Raign get stronger as a cinematic-pop artist. Yes, this title does exist and I’m very happy it does! Considering I don’t like too many of her songs at one time, I’m actually pretty happy with these tracks on this EP. I think with time, she’ll just continue to kill and get better! I’m still hopeful that one day we’ll actually get a full length album as she’s only put out these extended plays plus a few singles here and there, but for now we have this to enjoy!

Are you a fan of RAIGN? Have you listened to her new “Born Again” EP yet? What were your favorites?

Album Review: “Kicker” by Zella Day

I became a fan of Zella Day’s music after finding her song “Sweet Ophelia” on Spotify one afternoon. After that not only did I hear her everywhere I started to look forward to everything she put out. When she released her first EP last year I was very happy because I could stop buying the singles and just buy all five songs in one batch. Now that her debut album is out I can add a few others to my iPod. However, I need a working iTunes first to get any of new songs onto my iPod again. Going on six months now! Anyways, I’ve been so excited for this album. I was more pumped about this and another album that came out in the same week than Arthrogryposis Awareness Day!

Zella Day is an indie pop artist and the whole album is so chill and different from other pop albums I’ve listened to over the years. I like the uniqueness a lot. The album is called “Kicker” and we first start off this review with the song “Jerome” and it’s so catchy, it’ll be an easy song to learn the words. There’s really nothing special about it other than its got like a good old west vibe to it but it sounds pretty neat. The second song that was on her EP and its called “High” and boy, do I love this song! I love the introduction of the piano and Zella’s soft vocals and the soft dramatic entrance of guitars and drums. The third song is called “Ace Of Hearts” and I actually really like this one. I don’t love it yet. It’s a little boring towards the chorus but it’s not like bad, bad. It sounds differently from the first two as they had a dreamy sound to them, this one is a bit more electronica. The next is called “1965” and I really love this one. It’s so catchy, but it doesn’t sound like other poppy songs on the radio. I would love to know the story behind this song.

The fifth song is another favorite of mine, it’s called “East Of Eden” and this one is more of a dance-y song. She doesn’t have a lot of these songs on her album and I’m choosing to see that as a blessing! I think in every pop album or EP, artists think they NEED a dance-y track and sometimes they really don’t. Zella has more uptempo songs than EDM type of songs. It’s a nice change of a world that’s addicted to dance music. This is just my honest opinion here! Back to my review here, the next song is “Hypnotic” and it’s got an old west vibe again and I don’t know why, but it’s a unique sound and it’s just that something that kind of grabs you and makes you want to listen to it. It’s quite hypnotic! You only hear the actual sound of the guitar in certain places, so it’s not overwhelming! The next song is the only song that features another singer, the song is called “Mustang Kids” and it features Baby E. I love the beat of this song, it’s more of a sassy sound and this will become a favorite of mine!

Next up is a song called “The Outlaw Josey Wales” and I didn’t like it when I first heard it and I’m still not liking it unfortunately. I think it’s a bit chaotic. You can hear different sounds coming at you in different sections and it’s a bit overwhelming. The ninth song is called “Jameson” and since this is the third song with the title of a “J” name I’m starting to think she’s got an obsession here! This one is softer than any other track on the album. This is also the only true country feel song too! It’s very beautiful and I don’t like a lot of slow, country songs but this is great! She sounds a bit like Jewel in this song, is it bad that I just said that? This next one is a favorite of mine, during the first listen I had it on shuffle and I only heard the intro and it kind of took over me as some usually do sometimes! It’s called “Shadow Preachers” and even though it kind of sounds like another one of her songs at the beginning, I really looked beyond that at the “boom, boom, booms” of drums towards the start of the choruses. I also love the what the strings bring to the song too! There are too many elements that I liked as you can tell! The last two songs are “Sweet Ophelia” if you’ve never heard of SO it’s got poppy vibe, good song to dance to in your bedroom. And as for “Compass” it’s nice and gentle, perfect for any type of ending.

So have you heard of Zella Day’s music yet? If you haven’t, I definitely recommend that you do! If you have listened to the album, what were your favorite songs? 

Top 3: Indie

UntitledI’ve been getting into a lot of Indie music lately. I love to listen to Indie music whenever the artists and/or bands are already soft, calm, and sometimes dark whenever I’m feeling the same way. I’ve had a few days were I’ve been feeling pretty crappy. I’ve tried to keep myself energetic as I possibly can but it’s being a pain in the ass when your body is too lazy. Yesterday, it was such a struggle getting myself to sit up for more than an hour. I wasn’t in the mood to read, watch TV, I barely had enough energy to listen to music that’s how crazy it all is, if I’m denying any kind of music at all, you know something’s wrong with me. Most of my problem is the fact that I’ve lost my will to sleep. My whole pattern is messed up, getting it back on track is also a pain in the ass! I’m getting tired of sleeping in til noon or two in the afternoon, but after I’ve stayed up for half of the night after getting maybe two hours of sleep, even flickering my eyes open to roll over in my bed, makes me wanna go back to sleep. I’m weak that’s all there’s to it. If I can get myself to stay up all night and all day that next day, then I could probably get it all back on track where I wouldn’t feel like crap all day long and I’d actually be happy to do things again.

I’m surprised that NONE of the mellowish music that I have on my playlist on Spotify cures my problem because majority of the music on there is fairly simple and sweet – gentle and lullaby-like. I’ve decided to start a new series that represents something with me on Thursday’s, Since I’m talking about music, I thought I’d start there. There are different artists and groups that I’ve slowly gotten into recently, but there a couple that I love and have loved for years it seems like Plumb and Dido. They really started the playlist for me. Anything that sounds like Dido’s music in a way can do wonders with me. If I could get away with listening to this type of music at night without learning the words and just letting myself drift off to dreamland, that basically cure any problems I have I would imagine. Do you have a specific genre of music were you can listen to at night and just completely shut off the world and let it take over your senses and muscles to the point were you’re lifeless but awake? I do and the top three artists and groups are:

  1. Banks – I am a newly fan of the California native, Banks. I was actually not a fan of her in the beginning because I thought she looked too much like Sara Bareilles. I was introduced to her music by another blogger, I skimmed through the post and was not yet hooked to anything in particular yet. Somehow I heard “Before I Met You” on one of the Sirius XM radio stations or just on a TV show I don’t remember, all I remember was feeling connected to her low voice and the soft but dark beat of the song. From there, I went on my Spotify and just started listening to her released singles and EPs. I hate myself for never giving her a chance at first but I’m glad I was given a second chance and saw the light. I’m all ready for September when her debut album comes out. Thank God!
  2. Zella Day – Zella Day, I found her on accident. I was searching for new music in May, going through the new music releases on Spotify and the song “Sweet Ophelia” showed up first and I was hooked as soon as it started. It wasn’t just the beat of the song that made me melt, her vocals were so strong but gentle. It was a catchy song, easy to remember all of the lyrics of the song. I’m ready for my next iTunes card, because I’m buying the rest that I don’t have yet but maybe I can hold out until her new EP comes out.
  3. London Grammar – This band consists of three members, Hannah, Dan, and Dot. They were another I found on accident, I was really looking for soft and calming songs, very Indie honestly. The song “Strong” began to play and the different sounds of the guitars gave me a very interesting feeling, I was hoping it wasn’t going to be too upbeat because I am a lover of songs starting off slow and then end up getting more and more uptempo. This song was a good balance of the two, I think the only reason it has that kind of balance is because of the girl’s voice, it’s very low but also high in a way too. I even have a little bit of trouble getting MY voice to go back and forth, she does sound a bit like Florence Walsh of Florence + The Machine but I feel like Hannah’s voice is stronger than Florence’s in a way. It’s hard to explain and I’m not about to start a debate of how I’m wrong so I’ll just stop there.