Category Archives: Pop

Ariana Grande- thank u, next Album Review

So I was more of a fan of Ariana’s acting career than I am her singing career. Her voice is one of the best I have heard in a long time it’s just that her songs haven’t really connected with me. I have only pre-heard two songs off of this album being, thank u, next, and 7 Rings. I have already commented on 7 Rings, which you can see on last week’s singles post so I am going to skip that one.

  1. imagine- I think over time her voice has gotten more nasally than I know it to be. She still sounds really good, her whistle notes are incredible. This is a nice song. The instrumentals aren’t anything that I haven’t heard before though. I do like Ariana I just think that she can do much better.
  2. needy-  Okay I couldn’t get through this entire song only due to the fact that there is a very loud metronome type sound that never stops. I could feel a headache coming on. I honestly couldn’t focus on anything else.
  3. NASA- This is a more subdued song than I was expecting. The vocals are really pretty. The NASA metaphor isn’t all that creative but it works. It’s a cute song.
  4. bloodline- This is really fun. The instrumentals are kind of jazzy yet poppy at the same time. Ariana’s vocals are beautiful and I love the lyrics. I enjoy when women take ownership of their sexuality as men have been allowed to do forever. I enjoyed this.
  5. fake smile- I really like the pre-chorus on this. The song as a whole is chill yet meaningful. She’s really showing her emotions through this song. It’s really smooth.
  6. bad idea- This is a fun song, her vocals are as expected great. The “Ari-Chan’s” seem weird. Especially with her tattoo controversy. Something about it doesn’t feel right. The song is nice, the outro was unexpected as well. It took a bit of a trap route. It’s okay.
  7. make up- If you take away Ariana’s vocals it kind of sounds like a trap inspired Teletubbies. The lyrics are kind of eh. It’s a fun play on words, but there isn’t anything about this that stands out all that much.
  8. ghostin- This is more of a ballad than her other songs. This song is extremely emotional considering what she has been through. Her vocals could have some more emotion in them, but the instrumentals give off enough to make it work.
  9. in my head-  Something that has been in a few of these songs but I haven’t commented on up until this point is the ‘skrrt skrrt’s’ I think they make the songs cheesy and lessen the quality. This particular song is just okay. Nothing is all that creative here.
  10. 7 rings- I commented on this before so I’m not going to repeat myself.
  11. thank u, next- I think that this song is good. Her vocals are good as are the instrumentals. This is one of the cases where the music video is better than the actual song.
  12. break up with your girlfriend, i’m bored- I don’t know how I feel about this. The instrumentals themself are kind of boring, which kind of fits the title. The song is a homewrecker song which I am not really a fan of though I do get the sentiment. It isn’t bad but it’s not for me.

Overall, I think that almost every song had a very similar vibe to the others. I expected her to sound good, which she did. I think that her singles, apart from 7 rings, were the best songs on this album. I’m still a fan, but this didn’t do it for me. I give this a C.

Nina Nesbitt- The Sun Will Come Up, The Seasons Will Change Album Review

Now, I am not very familiar with Nina. Looking at the cover art for this album I am intrigued though.

  1. Sacred- I love the intro instrumentals with added underwater sounds. The bubbles add to the atmosphere. The vocals are pretty. The instrumentals build up as does here voice to show her emotion when it comes to the lyrics, which are about fame and relationships. I like this.
  2. The Moments I’m Missing- The beat is really nice. She describes this song as bedroom pop and I can feel that throughout. Her vocals are subdued yet beautiful. The lyrics are about her life. At points though it does seem like she is just listing facts which doesn’t really work here. I think if the chorus was catchier it would help the song to not just seem like an autobiography.
  3. The Best You Had- Something that has become very popular is what she does vocally in the chorus. Her voice suddenly gets pitched up. I don’t particularly like that trend. It feels overdone. The song does feel a bit average. There isn’t anything special that would make me want to come back to this.
  4. Colder- Once again I do like the beat to this. The vocal rhythm on the chorus feels very familiar with the beat. I’m not sure where I have heard it before but I have. Her vocals remain consistent throughout. It’s a fine song.
  5. Loyal To Me- This is very 90s girl group, which is great. The song is catchy and fun. The only problem I have with this is the word repetition in the chorus. For me, it slows the momentum of the song. This is a really good song. It is very reminiscent of other girl group so it does feel a bit copied, but it is still good.
  6. Somebody Special- This song is the opposite of the last song in that there is only one thing I really like. When the beat drops in the chorus, but not in a way you’d think. The beat actually drops out and the spacey ambient sounds are featured with just a simple drum beat. I really enjoy that part. Everything else though is boring. Her vocals are good which I expected. I just want something different. If she played with ambient sounds more I would like it more.
  7. Is It Really Me You’re Missing- This is a really pretty ballad. There are times she puts power behind her voice and it is great. I would love to hear more of that. The lyrics are pretty basic. They aren’t revolutionary or anything. There is an annoying seagull types scream that happens occasionally. At first I liked it but it got old really quick.
  8. Love Letter- Gah! She does the repeated word thing in the chorus that I don’t like. For me that only works in certain cases. She does is so often that I just can’t deal with it. I really like the rhythm and beat in the chorus, probably because I have heard it before. I think this song has potential there are just little things that I don’t like.
  9. Empire- At the beginning I thought this song was going to be about why she took so long to make another album. It turned into her wanting to be rich and have an empire. I like her honesty in this song. The chorus is pretty bland. It drags down the whole song for me.
  10. Chloe- This is a great song lyrically. It’s about her friend getting pregnant and her being by her side whether she chooses to keep it or not. It’s very nice. The instrumentals match the tone of the song perfectly. Nina’s vocals are tender. I like this.
  11. Things I Say When You Sleep- This song instrumentally is pretty bare. There is a piano and some ambient sounds. I think that is really effective. It shows off the lyrics and her vocals perfectly. The lyrics are about wanting to get things off your chest but so they can’t hear it. I like that concept. This is a really simple yet beautiful song.
  12. Last December- Here we are back with the sounds of water. It sets the tone in a great way. This song was written in 2013 about her boyfriend. It’s a pretty song but something about it isn’t connecting with me. I think it’s because it sounds like a country song a bit and that threw me off. It’s not bad though.
  13. The Sun Will Come Up, The Seasons Will Change- This is the title track. I like the title and how it plays into the rest of the song. It’s not a particularly great song though. Instrumentally it feels like I have heard it on this album already. It’s kind of meh.

Overall, Nina has some good songs on this album. I liked the underwater theme that she had in some of the songs. I wish she had played with that idea more. Other songs seemed like copies of the other and became redundant. I like her voice. She has power behind it that I want her to use more. It’s a good album. It’s not amazing or anything. I’m going to give it a B-.

Broods- Don’t Feed the Pop Monster Album Review

Broods is a brother-sister duo from New Zealand who I have never heard of. I read their sound is electropop, which I am not a huge fan of, so we’ll see how this goes.

  1. Sucker- So her voice makes me think that this is going to be an electropop Maggie Rogers type album. Like Maggie, her voice is really good. The content is an interesting take on trends in society and how the subject tries to fit in even though it’s not really her thing. The synth threw me off at first, but I got used to it. It didn’t annoy me as much as I thought it would. This is a good start.
  2. Why Do You Believe Me?- This kind of has the opposite problem as the last song. This one the vocals started out beautiful. They are ethereal and airy. Except after awhile they got annoying. It started to pierce my ear and felt like my eardrums were going to burst. The beat was really nice though.
  3. Peach- I have to say this chorus is super catchy. The song is really fun. She sounds great although there are a lot of different vocal effects on her voice ranging from a baby sound to a choir. The mixing is fantastic. I like this.
  4. Falling Apart- Meh. I don’t dislike this nor do I like this. The vocals are heavily autotuned, which I understand is kind of their aesthetic, but I don’t like it. The lyrics are pretty meaningless. It’s just kind of there not doing much.
  5. Everytime You Go- I’ve noticed that almost every one of these songs follows the exact same formula down to the repetition of words at certain points in the song. The lyrics on this one are repetitive and boring. I don’t like this one.
  6. Dust- This song is cute. The lyrics are Alice and Wonderland based which is cool. The vocals are really pretty. It’s a nice song. Not great by any means but it is good.
  7. Too Proud- Finally we get to hear the brother. This song is really personal for him, but I can tell why he isn’t the main vocalist. His voice isn’t bad, but it isn’t really strong at all. It feels like he’s straining a lot. Lyrically and instrumentally it’s a good song. It’s just the vocals that don’t work.
  8. To Belong- I don’t know why but I don’t love this. The beat is funky, the vocals are beautiful, and the lyrics are cool. Something about this just isn’t clicking for me and I can’t figure out what it is.
  9. Old Dog- This song is different from what I have heard so far. It’s more 2000s pop. The lyrics are fun. It’s about a girl who calls herself an Old Dog due to her experiences. The vocals are auto tuned which adds to the 2000s atmosphere. Yeah, it’s pretty good.
  10. Hospitalized- This concept is really interesting. She wants to experience breaking a bone. That’s cool. The vocals, instrumentals, and lyrics are really fun.
  11. Everything Goes (Wow)-  I don’t care for this. Some of the vocal layering isn’t done very well. Some of the vocals sound slurred. The lyrics are fine; so are the instrumentals. It’s fine, but not my thing.
  12. Life After- This song has a 1920s tv static feel to it which I have always found cheap. The vocals and the lyrics are cute. The production is this song’s downfall.

The first couple of songs were really good. They blew my expectations away. It is the rest of the album that met my expectations. There was a lot of not so great production with lackluster lyrics. The beats are the only thing that pretty much remains consistent the whole way through. I’m going to give this a C+.

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.

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.

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-.

Alice Merton- Mint Album Review

I only know Alice because of her hit song “No Roots.” She played all over pop and rock stations almost too much. I liked the song, but there were some aspects that I didn’t like She has a good sound so hopefully with this album she will be able to define herself and show what makes her special.

  1. Learn to Live- Now, I hate to compare artists, but I’m going to do it anyway. This song and her vocal effects sound very similar, but not as good as, Florence Welch. The thing that I disliked about “No Roots” is here in this song; the so-called “millennial whoop.” The lyrics were about her facing her fears, but she didn’t appear to feel anything. For me, when a song has powerful and/or emotionally lyrics I need to hear it. In this case I didn’t and that is disappointing.
  2. 2 Kids- This song is about how she met her manager/best friend. Without Alice clarifying that then I wouldn’t be sure what this song is about. At first it seems like a romantic relationship, but then she calls him a brother so it is kind of confusing without the context. It isn’t a bad song I just can’t stand the yelling (2 kids.) It felt out of place and quite honestly whenever that happened I could feel my head pound. Take that away and it would be so much better than it is.
  3. No Roots- Like I said before, I do enjoy this song. Though after hearing it so many times it does get old. I like the beat, that vibe is what I wanted to hear more of in this album. The lyrics are relatable; not to me, but I see how they can be. Yet, as I said before, the whoop gets on my nerves. After hearing it in almost every pop song in some form I just want this trend to die.
  4. Funny Business- This song was released in November of last year, which is surprising because I hadn’t heard it yet. This song could do really well on the radio (not because it is good,) but because it is repetitive. The chorus, pre, and post are repeated four times with only two verses to separate them. I don’t know. The beat is nice, but it doesn’t have the content to back it up.
  5. Homesick- This plays with the same themes as “No Roots.” The idea that she doesn’t really have a place to call home. The electronic versus the instrumentals seem to fight against each other. I’m not even going to pretend that I can pick out the instruments used because, as I have said before, I don’t know much about music. All I can say is that there is a synth type high pitched sound that resembles electricity that overpowers the other instruments. Lyrically, at first it seemed like she was writing as herself as a child, but as the song went on it seemed as though she was an adult. So, I’m not sure exactly what to make of it.
  6. Lash Out- So far this is my favorite song on this album. The lyrics are about wanting to let go of all her emotions and not worry what others think. The song is paced well, which is something that she has had problems with before. My biggest problem with the song is that the yelling is back. Even if I didn’t already have a headache I probably would have gotten one purely based on how loud and unnecessary it is.
  7. Speak Your Mind- Okay, I lied. This is now my favorite song on the album. The instrumentals are low-key but powerful. The lyrics are about knowing someone has something to say to stand up for what they believe in, but they choose to remain silent. It is extremely relevant to what is going on in the world. I really enjoyed this song.
  8. I Don’t Hold a Grudge- I really like the message behind this song. Everyone likes to say that they don’t hold grudges, but most people do and it is important to admit that. The yelling is back, which I am still not a fan of, but it isn’t as bad in this song. It’s a good song I just think that there could have been less happening with the instrumentals.
  9. Honeymoon Heartbreak- The almost acapella beginning of the song is really cool. With all of her other songs there has been too much going on so this is great. The introduction of the instrumentals in the middle of the chorus is powerful but not overpowering her vocals.
  10. Trouble in Paradise- The song starts out with Alice creating some beats vocally by going boom boom, which I liked. Once the lyrics kicked in I wish that the booms stayed in the background. Without that being incorporated more it almost feels unnecessary. I like that in this album Alice explores multiple different kinds of relationships. I think that this is an okay song, but I’m probably not going to remember it.
  11. Why So Serious- With this title I was hoping that the song would be dark and mysterious. Instead it is a high tempo song about trying now to take life so seriously. I knew it wasn’t going to be a Joker reference I had my hopes though. The lyrics are not revolutionary. I have heard songs like this before. This song, while the message is good for the last song on an album, needed to have been better overall. The instrumentals are not experimental and don’t seem to be doing anything new along with the lyrics.

Overall this isn’t a bad album. I liked Alice’s vocals throughout it and for the most part the songs were good lyrically. It is the little things added into each song that make it not that great. The yelling and whooping is redundant and annoying. Without those things I would have enjoyed this more. I’m going to give this album a