Author Archives: kschumm

The Dandy Warhols- Why You so Crazy Album Review

While I have heard of this group, and I love the name, I haven’t heard their music nor do I know anything about them. This is me going into this with an open mind and no expectations.

  1. Fred n Ginger- This is a 40 second old timey dedication to the iconic duo. There isn’t much to say other than I wonder if this is the vibe the album will give.
  2. Terraform- This is short on lyrics, but not short on groove. It’s a funky retro song with instrumentals that take me to the 80s. The lyrics are about who knows what. After the lyrics end it gets spacey and hypnotic. I might be hypnotised right now I don’t know.
  3. Highlife- This is a funky robotic country song. I don’t like it nor do I dislike it. I just don’t know what to make of it. Zia’s vocals are definitely interesting. It’s a fun song with sometimes grating guitar. I’m very confused.
  4. Be Alright- Again this song has some psych pop spacey instrumentals. The lyrics themselves are pretty basic and the vocals are shrouded in a filter that sets the tone for the space theme. I don’t like it, but I commend the consistency of the theme throughout each song apart from the first which was meant to contrast the others.
  5. Thee Elegant Burn- This song is toned down in terms of instrumentals and the vocals. Lyrically I still don’t understand what they are trying to say, but then again I’m not taking too much time to figure it out. It is nice on the ears if you aren’t focused on it too much.
  6. Sins Are Forgiven- This song takes a Johnny Cash sound and mixes it with the spacey electronics that I have come to expect. This song is a take on the crucifiction and seems a bit random but then again all of this is random.
  7. Next Thing I Know- The into to this song is very long. Once again there aren’t many lyrics and the ones there are word jumble. It isn’t bad it’s just not something that I am well acquainted with.
  8. Small Town Girls- So this song is about small town girls. And that’s it I think. I guess I need to stop focusing on the lyrics because if I continue this way then I’m not going to enjoy any of this. Instrumentally it isn’t that good either so I can’t appreciate this as much as I want to
  9. To the Church- the instrumentals sound like we are in a laboratory. It’s strange and I might like it. The lyrics consist of the chorus repeated twice and that is it. When the lyrics kick in though the vocals don’t allow for them to be clearly heard. I’ve decided I don’t like it. The instrumentals are starting to give me a headache.
  10. Motor City Steel- This returns to the country esque vibe. It’s their best song so far but that doesn’t mean this is good. The vocals are pretty decent along with the instrumentals. Again it is decent but not great.
  11. Forever- The instrumentals are a bit operatic at times which is interesting with the electronic elements. I can see this being in a weird musical. Not bad. Again though what is up with the lyrics.
  12. Ondine- So this is purely instrumental which is a good way to end an album. It is a piano solo which I was not expecting at all. Not much to say.

So this was interesting to say the very least. The first and last song was kind of confusing in the context of the rest of the album. I think they were trying to offset the main theme, but it wasn’t entirely clear their purpose. I liked the theme they went with instrumentally, but it was ruined by the lyrics and vocals. It wasn’t too bad I’m just not a fan. I’m going to give this a C-.  

Boogie- Everythings for Sale Abum Review

So this is Boogie’s debut album. Lately there haven’t been any really good rap albums, even songs in general due to this new soundcloud era. Not saying that all soundcloud rappers are bad there is just not a good reputation as of yet. Who knows this guy could be the next big thing. Let’s see.

  1. Tired/Reflections- This song is mostly spoken word about his life and whether he wants to be alive anymore. His flow is decent. The instrumentals are pretty subtle which allow Boogie to say his piece. I like that he is talking about mental health, even though it isn’t touched on too much other than him wanting to die. I think that it is an important topic for artists, especially rappers to talk about.
  2. Silent Ride- This song is about his girlfriend discovering incriminating texts from other women while driving home. He says that this actually happened to him. The lyrics are a mess, he is talking about his girl, but also bragging about all these other women he has on the side. It ain’t cute. He also sings in this song, pretty terribly might I add. This song is not good at all.
  3. Swap Meet- This song is pretty chill and focuses on the idea of love in the metaphor of a swap meet. The instrumentals are subtle and the female backup vocalist sounds beautiful. Boogie actually sings pretty well on the chorus it’s when he gets to the verses and sings a bit that he sounds bad. He has a very specific pocket that he knows about but doesn’t stick to a lot.
  4. Lolsmh (interlude)- His interludes are longer than his main songs which is strange. He confesses to being a terrible boyfriend, but he mainly blames her. This is my problem with mostly male songs about bad relationships, they take hardly any blame and act like she is the worst thing to ever happen. So annoying
  5. Soho- This song is about people pretending to be his friend. Sonically his vocals are pretty static. He doesn’t change up his tone at all so it gets old quickly. The chorus is kind of catchy. It’s easy to pick up on. JID’s verse is short so we don’t get enough of him at all.
  6. Skydive- This song is about being ready to be committed to someone. Lyrically, it tells the story very well. The instrumentals are soft which contrast with his extremely nasally vocals. When he raps the nasality goes away a little, but when he sings it gets real bad. It gets worse when his vocals are layered. He sounds sick but not in a good way.
  7. Live 95- This song is confusing. He is talking about how he grew up broke, but also bragging about all these girls he can get. If he had chosen one topic it would have made sense, but his flexing seems unnecessary. His flow isn’t that great either.
  8. Rainy Days- Okay first thing, he says he has thick skin but in his past songs he said he has thin skin. Pick one! So this song is mostly an Eminem record. Em’s rhythm is great as usual. He raps about his legacy and how he is no longer sober. He also mentions that he doesn’t care about whether or not people are offended by his lyrics which he follows by making fun of Janice Dickinson who was raped by Bill Cosby. So, that’s a thing Eminem did…yeah I don’t know. I’m not going to comment anymore.
  9. Skydive II- This song is a soft instrumental ballad type feel. Of course Boogie’s singing isn’t very good. 6lack sounds better but also not that great. The lyrics are really generic and nothing to get all that into.
  10. Whose Fault- This song tells the story of a break up and talks about taking care of a child. The story is told very well. The instrumentals are jazzy and smooth. I think this is his best song so far.
  11. No Warning- This song is super chill. The chorus vocals are nice and Boogie actually sounds pretty good as well. The lyrics are about him wanting his girl to end it because he no longer wants to be in a toxic relationship that he admits is his fault. Kind of confusing but the vibe is nice.
  12. Self Destruction- This song is about him destroying his relationships and his career which I think is interesting. The beat is nice and the instrumentals are trippy. I surprisingly like the chorus even though it’s him not knowing the lyrics. It’s a fine song.
  13. Time- And here we go again his vocals are bad. This song is about him using girls he is in relationships with. I like his honesty, but that’s it. Snoh sounds beautiful but that’s it.

Overall I’m not a fan of this. The only two songs that were decent were No Warning and Whose Fault. Everything else is not good at all. He says multiple things that contradict each other. It’s a mess. I’m going to give this a D.  

Bring Me the Horizon- Amo Album Review

While I love rock and all of its subcategories, I have to admit I haven’t heard music from this group. If I have then I didn’t know it was them. I know they are a staple in 2000s rock, but I guess I just missed out. I’m hoping that this album is good enough to make me want to listen to their older stuff.

  1. i apologize if you feel something- This is the intro to the album, it is short and sweet. The mixing is spacey and beautiful. It is modern and new, but not overdone. I’ve learned in the past not to give my hopes up so we’ll see if the rest is as good as this.
  2. MANTRA- This is different from the first song in terms of tone. It is fast paced and fun. I love the lyrics because it tells a complete story. The instrumentals are a perfect fit for the vibe and the vocals are great.
  3. nihilist blues- This song was inspired by 90s dance music which is very evident through the instrumentals. While this song is experimental for the group, I think that it is done well. Grimes sounds…like Grimes which is cool. Yeah I like this, not my thing but it is good.
  4. in the dark- This song is very personal for Oliver because it is about his ex-wife cheating on him. This is a pop-rock song more on the pop side. The instrumentals are good as are the vocals. The lyrics don’t seem personal which I would have wanted because it is something he experienced. I normally don’t like artists to switch genres throughout an album but this works because it seems sporadic and confused which makes sense considering his life experiences.
  5. wonderful life-  This song is word vomit. Luckily, the band realizes that and have described it as such. This is a heavier sounding song with great vocals from Oliver and Dani Filth. It isn’t my favorite, but it’s fun.
  6. ouch- This is another interlude type song about his split. There are some clever lyrics that I read reference a love song he wrote about her when they were together. I like that idea of how songs capture moments in time and how he is able to use that moment and bring it back is pretty clever.
  7. medicine- This is probably my least favorite song so far. While it is a good song, the rest of them have been so great that good doesn’t make the cute. It is a very poppy song which isn’t bad it just makes the song not feel as genuine as I know it is.
  8. sugar honey ice & tea- This song emphasizes my own feeling that people in general are terrible. The lyrics are good, they are a bit childish with the title, but I understand wanting to make this song radio friendly. At first I thought the chorus was annoying, but it ended up growing on me so yeah this is good.
  9. why you gotta kick me when i’m down?- This song is a bop. The lyrics are so catchy and the vocals are amazing. The children’s choir is an adorable addition to the song. The instrumentals are funky and fun. I love it,
  10. fresh bruises- This interlude is trippy. The instrumentals are hypnotic. The same lyric is repeated over and over, but it isn’t as loud as boisterous so that it gets annoying.
  11. mother tongue- This song is about Oliver’s new wife and how he loves her when she speaks her native Portuguese. It’s a cute song, but it feels weird because most of the album was about his ex-wife and now there are songs about a new wife. It feels rushed, as does his marriages, but that’s just me being judgy.
  12. heavy metal- This song is about fans wanting them to stick to their heavy sound and not going pop which is something that I have commented on. Rahzel beatboxing sounds incredible. Lyrically, it’s a good song and it’s fun. I love how in the outro they go full on metal. I love the passive-aggressiveness. Not my favorite, but it’s still good.
  13. i don’t know what to say- This song is about Oliver’s friend who died from cancer. It’s a beautiful orchestral/rock tribute to him. The lyrics show the emotion that comes from being a witness to the deterioration of someone. I like this a lot.

Overall, this is a great album. They played with themes of love and also relationships between themselves and their fans. Each song had something different to offer and was a surprise every time. While some songs were a bit lackluster, the overall quality of the album didn’t take too much of a hit from them. I’m going to give this an A-.

Backstreet Boys- DNA Album Review

Okay here we go. It is always difficult when a beloved artist or group from the past comes back. Most of the times it is kind of cringy because they try too hard to sound modern. Here goes.

  1. Don’t Go Breaking My Heart- Okay so they definitely still sound the same as they did in their heyday. Instrumentally they are trying to be more modern with the slick electronic groove. The vocals are a little too high at some points that didn’t sound good. This is kind of a bop though.
  2. Nobody Else- The vocals are a bit better on this song. I think that the sentiment of not wanting to share someone is a bit cliched. I mean it sounds like an average pop song that I have heard before. It feels like they are succumbing to wanting to keep with the times.
  3. Breathe (DNA)- Is this acapella? I’m pretty sure it is. There vocals sound great here. If this is what they can do without instruments then I want that to continue. This is so beautiful. The lyrics are a bit basic, but because it overall is good it doesn’t matter.
  4. New Love- Oh no this is the opposite of what I wanted based on the last song. It is super instrumental. The vocals aren’t great and the lyrics are so icky. It’s all about sex, which is fine I don’t care, it’s the vocals matched with that theme that is bad.This is going the wrong direction. I can’t.
  5. Passionate- This song is icky in a different way. He’s excusing himself basically sexually harassing a girl by saying that he is passionate. Most of these guys have daughters so I hope they don’t learn to be treated like this.
  6. Is It Just Me-The auto-tune on this is so bad. They only sound slightly human. The song sounds like a Halsey song that she gave to them because she didn’t want it. No boys no.
  7. Chances- This song is better than the last two that’s for sure. Every guy gets his chance to shine. For me AJ really should get more time his voice sounds better than everyone else’s. This is a good song. I’m not going to get my hopes up for the rest of the album though I learned my lesson.
  8. No Place- I can’t even comment on this song because he says “could care less” instead of couldn’t and I can’t deal with it.
  9. Chateau- The vocals are a mix of chipmunk and droning. I’m not sure how that combination could happen, but it does. Kevin and AJ sound incredible though so there’s that. The lyrics and instrumentals are boring so yeah.
  10. The Way It Was- The first thing I noticed is that they sample Rihanna’s ‘Love On the Brain’ They sound good. It’s another love song. I want something new lyrically.
  11. Just Like You Like It-  I almost fell asleep. That’s it. That’s my review.
  12. OK- The instrumentals are cute. The clapping and the guitar sound good together. The vocal breaks are strange and the chorus vocals are not good either. Of course the second verse vocally is great. I don’t know I’m just not impressed with this album.

Overall, this is not a good album. I was really excited after hearing Breathe (DNA) but they didn’t give me anything at the level afterwards. The singles that were released were also really good, but they weren’t a good indicator of how the album would turn out. I’m going to give this a C.

Papa Roach- Who Do You Trust? Album Review

Papa Roach always makes me feel really nostalgic. I can’t help but sing along to ‘Last Resort’ and ‘Help’ among others. Hopefully this album makes me as happy as I know it can.

  1. The Ending- I love how the first song is called the ending. I can tell they are evolving to sound more modern, but it also makes them sound like other rock bands. For me they have such a distinct sound that if that is what I am looking for I am not getting it here. If I ignore my expectations I would say that this is a good song if a bit generic.
  2. Renegade Music- This song is about people fighting for what is right even though it might make them outsiders. The chorus is catchy and the vocals are good. I can picture myself rocking out to this. While it isn’t as good as what I know they can be I still really like this.
  3. Not The Only One- This is a more melodic tune about not being alone in your struggles. I really like this sound it suits them well. I’m getting used to them exploring with their sound and I think that this is a good path to go down. The instrumentals are beautiful and I just like this a lot.
  4. Who Do You Trust?- After such a great last song I was hoping that the title song was going to be great. Sadly, it isn’t. It is extremely repetitive and the instrumentals don’t offer anything new. The lyrics are about not being able to trust people around you, which is kinda my thing so I don’t have a problem with that, but the vocals on the pre chorus are bland. Nah.
  5. Elevate- The vocals on this are good. It is rare that Jacoby sounds bad so that is expected from him. The instrumentals are reminiscent of a few other bands that I can’t think of right now. I think it is a decent song, but it isn’t anything spectacular.
  6. Come Around- This song has a good message about how everyone has problems, but they say they are happy. He wants people to know that he is there for them. It’s a cute song, isn’t what I particularly want or need from Papa Roach, but it isn’t bad by any means.
  7. Feel Like Home- The intro sounds very early 2000s rock, which I love. The vocal effects remind me of the Foo Fighters ‘Learn to Fly.’ The chorus is sort of catchy, but it doesn’t really contain anything of substance. It’s about not feeling comfortable with the person he is with, which would be strange if true because he’s been married over 20 years. Anyway, yeah it’s an okay song.
  8. Problems- This is very poppy. It is a good pop song, but it isn’t a good Papa Roach song if that makes any sense. It even feels like a departure from what has been going on in this album. The song is about accepting that you have a problem, which is good considering they put this song in the album so they have recognized their problems.
  9. Top of the World- This song is a commentary on our current political climate. The rap verses are done very well, but they do feel a bit forced. The change in pitch in the pre-chorus is annoying. While I like the message a lot I think that this song doesn’t particularly do it justice.
  10. I Suffer Well- This is a short burst of energy. It’s about someone who is depressed and no one seems to care. I really like the double meaning of the word ‘well.’ I actually like this quite a bit.
  11. Maniac- This is another song about mental illness. I like how he is questioning whether he is crazy or not because mental illness still has a stigma about it and the word, while it is bad, crazy is thrown around a lot. I can feel the emotion through the vocals and the instrumentals. I like this quite a bit.
  12. Better Than Life- The beat on this is sick. I’m not entirely sure who the subject of this song is about. It is either a partner or a religious figure that knows the singer to such a personal extent that he can be convinced that whatever they have to offer is better than life. Because mental illness is a theme in this album it makes me feel like it could be a religious figure and Jacoby is talking about death being better than life. If that is true then I think this is an interesting way to end the album. Throughout the album there were some lyrics taken from Linkin Park albums so it very well could be the end that the first song is talking about.

Overall, I can’t be too mad about this album. There are some good songs and the ones I wasn’t too keen on was due to how little it sounded the way I like them to sound. I am extremely biased and I am admitting that now. I’m going to give this album a B- I feel like that’s fair.

Mike Posner- A Real Good Kid Album Review

  1. Introduction- In the intro Mike wants listeners to take 40 minutes to listen to this album without any distractions. While I won’t be doing that because I am writing this. I hope that it doesn’t affect my experience.
  2. January 11th, 2017- To start off, the acapella rhythms before the lyrics kick in are beautiful. When Mike started to sing I was thrown off. I don’t know if it is that his voice isn’t strong enough to match the backing or if it is the production, but it sound strange. I hate being so negative about this song because it is about his dad’s death, but I don’t like his mid-range vocals. He also sounds off beat. The repetitiveness of the backing vocals don’t match what he is trying to do vocally. I like his bursts of power and I want to see more of that. He doesn’t really sound emotional for such an emotional song. I love that he included lines from his dad which added some of the emotion.
  3. Wide Open- This song is airy and ethereal yet there is an electronic element that doesn’t seem to fit. I’m getting mixed signals from this song, and I don’t know what to think about it.
  4. Song About You- This song is about not wanting to think about his ex yet he can’t stop. He wrote this song about not wanting to write a song, which I find interesting. It is more electro-pop than the previous songs, and I have felt like that is mostly his thing. I like this song from an instrumental standpoint. It is groovy and fun.
  5. Move On- This song is about the death of his dad, his friend Avicci, and his recent break-up. It’s about wanting to get passed those things. The pre-chorus is powerful, but the chorus feels like a road trip which I think is what the message behind the song needs more of. This is a decent song, if a bit repetitive.
  6. Drip- When I saw the title, I was hoping that is isn’t like another song with that same title. There are elements of trap, acoustic, pop, and electronic. I’m still not quite sure what to make of it. It’s about him finding out Avicci died. I love the interlude because it brings the emotion that his vocals don’t. Actually, I might really like this. I’m not sure how to feel.
  7. Staring At The Fire- This song is about focusing on the negative and not being able to look away from that perspective. His vocals are….there. I’m not keen on how he sounds on this song. The production is warbly and confused.
  8. Perfect- This song has song blues instrumentals mixed with the electronics. It’s about people thinking his life is perfect while it isn’t. His vocals are good but the vocal effects are strange. The repetition of the word ‘perfect’ buy backing vocals feels unnecessary. Oh wow he threw in some gospel. I’m not sure exactly what he is going for here. It isn’t bad by any means I just don’t know what to make of it. I want him to use that power more because it really suits his voice.
  9. Amen- Ummmmm Literally that is what this was. I know Mike has been focusing on his spirituality so I guess this is him letting that part of him really come through.
  10. Stuck In The Middle- This is Mike’s reflection on his fame. He wants to be famous, but not too famous, which I totally understand. The instrumentals are cute, nothing crazy. His voice sounds good, and I feel like this song is a bit of fun for him in the midst of insanely personal songs.
  11. One More Song- This is Mike and his dad dialoguing. This is cute.
  12. How It’s Supposed To Be- This song is a reflection on his life that ends with acceptance. It’s a nice closing song. While his voice is shaky throughout, it’s still a nice song.

Overall, I thought this was a mediocre album. While I like that he is finding his sound, I think he is still unsure. This is vastly different from the singles that really made him popular. This is a personal album so I think this was more about getting his emotions out rather than fine tuning and perfecting each song. I’m going to give this album a C.

Singles Released January 18-24

7 Rings by Ariana Grande- I’m going to start this off by saying while I am an Ariana fan, I’m willing to be honest with her music. I’ve seen some accusations by other artists that she has ripped off their music. I haven’t heard the originals so I can’t comment on that. At first I liked the modern flexing version of My Favorite Things from The Sound of Music. I thought it was cheeky and knowing Ariana, wasn’t meant to be all that serious. When she started to rap is where it got cringy for me. Her voice just isn’t meant for that style of music. If this is someone’s introduction to Grande they would think she is stuck up and not that talented, which I wouldn’t blame them for thinking that. Definitely not her best work.

Keanu Reeves by Logic- Once again Logic has a really good flow. He is likable and knows how to rap about important topics. This confused me a bit though. He made fun of himself, which is nice, shows he can take a joke. He seems to understand the power that comes along with being famous. There is a part where he jokes about being the 1-800 guy. That song was important for so many people that I can’t tell whether he regrets making it or not. I think some clarification was needed. It’s not a bad track. I just want more from him.

Girl by Maren Morris- Lately, Maren has been delving into pop more so than country. This song is a perfect mixture of both genres. While I find the writing a bit lazy. Only because it focuses on tropes that we have heard a million times. I don’t think this will be a hit, but it’s not a flop either.

Almost (Sweet Music) by Hozier- Before listening, I have a gigantic crush on Hozier so I hope this doesn’t disappoint. Hozier’s voice once again sound amazing. Out of all the singles from his upcoming album this is my least favorite. “Nina Cried Power” and “Movement” are so soulful and powerful that this is kind of a let down. In this song he uses jazz song titles as the lyrics. He used this same kind of tactic in “Nina Cried Power” where it worked so much better. He’s still great though.

One Man Band by Old Dominion- The beat is…how do I describe it…sweet. It is nice, but it isn’t anything all that special. The same goes for the lyrics. It has all the ingredient for a country love song, but it doesn’t offer anything new. Whenever I have problems with country songs it is because of this exact thing. It’s bland and doesn’t offer any new perspective.

LBD by Becky G.- The autotune in the chorus is so bad. Becky G has a good voice so the need to autotune her this much is a problem. The trap influence and sound effects is random and unnecessary. It doesn’t work with her voice and vibe. The lyrics are about a girl and her little black dress that makes her feel her oats. Not a fan, yet, we’ll see.

7 Minutes by Dean Lewis-  This is a nice song. The drums and guitar work well together and the production is good. The content is okay. I feel like I say this a lot but it’s nothing special. The chorus is kind of annoying, but other than that it’s fine.

Young by Parachute- I almost forgot this was a band. I used to hear them on the radio and then they just went away. This song isn’t representative of how I remember them. The lead vocals are just okay. The falsetto does not work at all. I hope to hear better music from them.

Left of Me by Caleb Lee Hutchinson- I remember this kid from American Idol. Wow his voice has gotten deeper. Or maybe I don’t exactly remember how deep his voice was but it sound different in my memory. The beginning guitar sounded like it was going to be a southern rock song, but it seems to shift in and out of that. The lyrics are about he was a bad boyfriend. It’s good to see that version instead of the girl being the problem. The only thing I’m thinking of is if he and Maddie broke up. That shows how little I actually care about this song.

If My Heart Had A Heart by Cassadee Pope- This song is about trying to move on from a relationship but your heart won’t let you. There are a ton of cliches throughout the song about stakes in hearts and other heart metaphors. Her voice sounds kind of squeaky, which makes the listening experience grating. The instrumentals don’t help much either.

Middle Child by J. Cole- This song is a tribute to the OG rappers and the new ones. He sees himself as being between the two generations. While his lyrics are good the first verse is really long and doesn’t offer any vocal variation. He sings on the refrain and chorus which definitely isn’t his strong suit. The beat is pretty static. I just wish that he offered more in terms of his vocals. Other than that this is a fine song.

Girls Have Fun by Tyga, G- Eazy, and Rich the Kid- This is the kind of rap that I can’t stand. It’s purely about a guy thinking that he is the best thing the world has to offer and sexualizes women to a point where they don’t seem real. Tyga sounds like Tyga. Take that how you will. Rich the Kid sounds like he has never rapped before. He doesn’t sound confident, and it’s really cringy. I mean the whole song is cringy but especially his verse. There are also ideas that are prevalent in music that I hate. It’s women who are into women being told by men to stop and have sex with them instead. I hate that so much. I just can’t with this.

This wasn’t a great week in terms of singles in my opinion. Most of the songs were bad, nothing special. If I had to pick a favorite it would be Almost (Sweet Music) It is a competent song with great vocals. It isn’t bad in any sense. My least favorite should be obvious, it’s Girls Have Fun by Tyga, G-Eazy, and Rich the Kid. I don’t need to explain myself do I?

Maggie Rogers-Heard It In A Past Life Album Review

I know of Maggie due to her single ‘Light On,’ which is also on this album, blowing up last year. I will comment on the song once it appears in the album, but I will say that  I am curious to hear what else she has to offer.

  1. Give A Little- To start off the album, Maggie has chosen this song which is about gun violence and learning to love each other. It is super upbeat which is strange considering the content. Her voice sounds great, but the instrumentals are nothing special. When a song has such important content and is happy sounding, (unironically) it feels like it is demeaning the subject.
  2. Overnight- This song is about her feelings after the video of Pharrell hearing her music for the first time went viral. In that video Pharrell commented that no one sounded like her. She combined folk with pop, but with this she is going with pop and not really folk at all. This isn’t a bad song the production is great, but she defined herself early. Now,she sounds like every other pop star, not vocally, but stylistically.
  3. The Knife- This song is about her coming to knowledge suddenly. The production on this song is really good. The metaphor about the knife is interesting, it’s one I haven’t heard before. I don’t know why, but I don’t like it. I think I had such high expectations of her that just aren’t being met.
  4. Alaska- This was the song that made her go viral. This is what I was wanting from her album. It perfectly blends folk and pop music. Her vocals are lush and beautiful. The lyrics really paint a picture and the instrumentals are everything. More of this please.
  5. Light On- This is the first song I heard of Maggie’s. It is folk-pop at it’s finest and I was extremely excited to hear more songs with this vibe. It’s a beautiful nod to not knowing what you’re doing and the journey to figuring it out.
  6. Past Life- My immediate thought was that it sounds, at times, like Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Rhiannon.’ This is heading back way to the opposite direction as the first few songs. In the beginning of the album she focused on pop, but here she is embracing the folk. I’ve seen in interviews she doesn’t believe in sticking to genres, which is fine, but it’s not my cup of tea. I like having an idea of what I’m getting.
  7. Say It- I don’t really like the production on this song. Her vocals are mixed strangely. I like the lyrics because I can relate to them. Her voice does sound good and it is decent overall.
  8. On + Off- The beat and the chorus are my favorite parts of this song. If I could dance I would because it is so vibey. While the lyrics make obvious what it is about, her voice is great and the instrumentals make for a fantastic song.   
  9. Fallingwater- This song is pretty. It showcases how delicate and powerful she can be. The production is the outro is a bit funky. There’s a lot of vocals and layering that is overpowering.
  10. Retrograde- The instrumentals are louder than her voice so at times it isn’t easy to hear her. She does, as always, sound great. This song is about a breakdown that Maggie experienced. I wish that I could hear the breakdown in her voice. I want more emotion from her.
  11. Burning- These instrumentals and mixing is strange but good. It sounds like an old video game whose audio is fading a bit. With such a cool backing I think that she could have done more vocally. The lyrics are fine nothing special, but I really wanted her to work with what she had.
  12. Back In My Body- This song is extremely personal to her. It’s about finding herself and learning to be happy. The production is good the vocal layering actually works this time. It’s a good song.

Overall, I had high expectation, which is my problem, but she didn’t meet them. My favorite songs from this album ended up being the two that I had heard before and other folk focused songs. I’m not a huge folk fan I was just wanting something different to enter the mainstream. When she started to become famous I was excited that people would get to experience a different sound. And we did a little bit but she could have pushed it more. I’m going to give this album a B-.

James Blake- Assume Form Album Review

So when I wrote this album into my schedule, I thought I knew who James Blake was. I believed he was famous in the early 2000s with some singer-songwriter music. Turns out I was wrong, I guess he just has one of those names. I found out that I actually had no idea who this is so I’m curious as to what I’m going to hear. In doing some research, it seems he doesn’t have one set genre. Soul, R&B, and electronic are ascribed to James so I have no clue what is ahead.

  1. Assume Form- Now I know why sou, r&b, and electronic music are used in conjunction with him. This song truly incorporated all three of those genres, which I wasn’t expecting. This is a cool song. His voice is smooth yet powerful at the same time. The mixing was kind of weird as there were some verses that felt lower quality than others. I enjoyed the incorporation of slam poetry, and I hope that there is more of that throughout the album.
  2. Mile High- This song shouldn’t work, at least based on the theme of the mile high club being the entire purpose of the song. Yet, James and Travis Scott come together to create a good song that has a nice groove and isn’t explicit, which it easily could have been. James’ voice sounds beautiful and Travis sounds good as well. The auto-tune on Travis’ verses is there, but it isn’t overpowering. This is a decent song.
  3. Tell Them- Moses Sumney is featured on this song, who I hadn’t heard of before. He has a strange, but awesome, voice. This song is a monologue about a one night stand. The groove is great and I feel like this song is perfect for getting in the mood purely based on the instrumentals. The smooth vocals only add to that feeling.
  4. Into the Red- The meaning behind the song is cute. It’s about his partner, who I love, Jameela Jamil pouring everything she has emotionally and financially into their relationship. Vocally it is in falsetto almost the whole time which got old very quickly. The second verse is terribly autotuned. This is a middle of the road song for me.
  5. Barefoot In The Park- Let me start by saying Rosalia and James sound absolutely gorgeous together. I had never heard her voice before and I need to hear more. This song is so tender and lovely. I don’t love the song, but it is really cute. The one thing that annoyed me is the chipmunk outro. It is completely unnecessary and is overused.
  6. Can’t Believe The Way We Flow- As soon as the song started I knew I wasn’t going to like this song. The electronic elements weren’t done very well and were annoying. Once the vocals kicked in that portion went to the background. Love is the main theme throughout this album, which is nice especially because we have a specific person to latch on to unlike most love songs. I just really did not like the production. There was repetitive electronic beep that gave me a headache.
  7. Are You In Love?- This song could have been better, but there is a weird synthy piano that is grating. Luckily, it isn’t throughout the entire song, but it keeps making appearances and I can’t deal with it. It makes the meaning of being in love that this song tries to convey less meaningful. His vocals were great though so I guess I can’t be too mad.
  8. Where’s the Catch?- While I enjoy Andre 3000 in his verse, it felt like there were two different songs put into one. James’ verse in the beginning had some trap inspiration with the instrumentals and it fit into Andre’s verse. After that though there was a shift musically that didn’t make sense. Not a fan of this.
  9. I’ll Come Too- This song is a bit more relaxed than some of the ones before this. The vocal choices in the chorus are strange with random falsetto moments that didn’t add anything to the song. It’s a song about doing anything to be with someone and it doesn’t bring anything new. Again, the vocals generally are good other than the chorus weirdness.
  10. Power On- This song is about realizing he made a mistake in the relationship but understanding not to do it again and not fight about it. I like the message because it isn’t talked about much. The song is really repetitive and I feel like I don’t ever want to hear the words ‘on’ and ‘wrong’ ever again.
  11. Don’t Miss It- At first I was really into the song. Him talking about mental health is really important and I felt this song could pull that off. It isn’t until the first verse that this auto-tuned mess comes in. It takes away from the power that this song could have had. James has a great voice so auto-tuning it is completely unnecessary and takes away from every song that it has been blatantly featured on.
  12. Lullaby For My Insomniac- How this song was written is so cute. He wrote it to help someone, probably Jameela, get to sleep. I think this is effective as an outro because although it is slow with few lyrics, the instrumentals, and lack thereof, is so powerful. Strangely, I think this is my favorite song off of this album.

Overall, I think that Blake is extremely talented. His voice is incredible and he has some decent songs. Some of the songs felt disjointed and confused. The production wasn’t that good at points with vocal effects and autotune almost ruining the songs completely. I’m going to give this album a C+.

Steve Gunn- The Unseen In Between Album Review

  1. New Moon- This is a quiet, harmonica and shaker filled song whose meaning would take a while for me to try to figure out. Quite frankly, I don’t feel like trying to understand it. I can tell he didn’t start off as a singer. He has a good voice he just feels one dimensional thus far. I have only heard one song so that hopefully will change.
  2. Vagabond- This song immediately, with the guitars, feels like an alternative country song. The verse’s, to the average listener (assuming I’m average) feel like he is trying to be intellectual. They probably have a deep meaning, but for me they appear random. It is clear that he is telling vagabond storied it is just some of the lines that are confusing. The beat is mid-tempo and he could have fun with it, but his voice remains monotone with the backing female vocals only emphasizing that fact.
  3. Chance- While the song is fairly long at four and a half minutes, there aren’t very many lyrics. In cases like that the lyrics needs to be important and/or impactful. Sadly, these aren’t. His vocals aren’t that great. The layering of his vocals was a choice. It just made his average vocal performance more pronounced. So far, I’m not impressed. I’m hoping there is at least one song that I will enjoy.
  4. Stonehurst Cowboy- The pacing of this song is strange. The instrumentals remained almost the same throughout. Gunn’s vocals during the chorus seemed as though he was off beat. It may have been done of purpose, but Im not a fan of that. Some people can pull off not being on beat, but he doesn’t have the voice that allows him to do that.
  5. Luciano- I feel like I’m repeating the same stuff over and over on this album. I guess this is his best vocals so far even though they are pretty much the same as the other songs. The pacing in the chorus is off once again, and the song as a whole bores me. Some people might enjoy this I’m just not one of them.
  6. New Familiar- In the beginning, I was actually digging the instrumentals. Once the vocals kicked in I noticed how altered his voice was and it threw me off completely. They’ve slightly auto-tuned and echoed his voice and it contrasts with the guitar melody. It makes me wonder what he would sound like with little to no voice modulation.
  7. Lightning Field- The instrumentals are more modern country than the other songs have been. I’m not quite sure what genre he is fitting in to. While I know it isn’t entirely important to perfectly fit into one genre I like being able to label people that way. Maybe I’m judgmental when it comes to my music. I accept it though. His vocals are better than they have been. I’m still bored though. It’s not that I dislike slower songs it’s just that he as a person bores me. Am I being harsh? Yes, mostly because I know that no one reads this.
  8. Morning is Mended- Once again, I’m not going to attempt to understand what this song means because I don’t think there is one. Maybe none of these songs have any purpose. I’m going to go with that in order to feel better about myself. He is emotionless in this song, and the ones before it and more than likely the one after this. At this point I am literally typing everything that comes to my mind because why not.
  9. Paranoid- I can’t with this.

Overall, yawn. I was being extremely harsh, but that’s because that was the mood I was in. Music is about how it makes you feel and my review reflected how it made me feel. The songs felt meaningless, yet they tried to deceive you into thinking they had meaning. The vocals were okay and the instrumentals were boring.  I’m sure Steve is a good guy I just have to give this album a D.