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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
One More Song- This is Mike and his dad dialoguing. This is cute.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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-.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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+.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
The Delines are a self described “retro country” group formed with members from The Decemberists, Richmond Fontaine, and Minus 5. Those groups were rock based so the knowledge that The Delines are country is intriguing.
Cheer Up Charley- This song, instrumentally, isn’t interesting. While the production is sleek the guitar lines remain the same the entire time. There needed to be something to break up the monotony. The vocals are nice, they are reserved and fit well with the instrumental tone. The content is about a man who is sad about losing his girl, which isn’t groundbreaking but I wasn’t expecting it to be.
The Imperial- This song has the same tempo as Cheer Up Charley. I hope going forward that we get something a little more fast paced just to see whether the quality is the same. This song is about a woman who has been surrounded by people addicted to drugs. I like that the content is subtle. While it is easy to pick up on the themes, it’s not glaringly obvious. The vocals are good, but they are a bit monotone so I was hoping there would be a change in her tone but there wasn’t.
Where Are You Sonny?- The instrumentals on this song are really Jazzy. The trumpet is the most prominent with the slow guitar add to this aesthetic. The lyrics are about a woman who is leaving her man because he is always getting caught up doing bad things. The chorus repeating “three days” isn’t exactly clear as to what that means which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I think if the chorus is confusing it at least needs to be catchy which this is not. I have noticed a theme in these songs in that sad and/or bad men are the main focus. Let’s see if that theme is consistent.
Let’s Be Us Again- This song again is trumpet heavy. The tempo remains slow which I hope changes pretty soon. While I think that this slowness sounds nice I would like to see something different. The lyrics have shifted a little. This time it is about a woman wanting her and her partner to go back to what they used to be. It isn’t focused on a particular person’s problem or traits it’s pretty general. The repetitiveness of the title gets really old.
Roll Back My Life- The beginning of the song is focused on the vocals with a subtle piano in the background which is really pretty. There is a guitar in the background that I almost didn’t notice, but it adds to the vibe of the song which is passive and reflective. There aren’t many lyrics because the instrumentals tell the story. I didn’t think I would enjoy a song like this, but I did.
Eddie & Polly- This song is more lively than the others with the background vocals adding a new dimension to their music. The song is once again about relationship,except this time it is about a young couple who don’t know how to become adults. They party all the time and he becomes abusive and she cheats. I really like the repeating lines “The party never stops and the pressure starts.”
Holly the Hustle- This song tells a fantastic story about a girl who grew up with an abusive father and how that affected her as an adult. The trumpet and guitar add to the feeling of this being a story someone tells their grandkids. So far this is my favorite song from this album.
That Old Haunted Place- The first guitar riff immediately give off a Western vibe which I doubt will remain, but I noticed it. Okay, the song does keep the Western guitar just a little bit. The song doesn’t get to a full swell but in the chorus it gets as loud as I think this band can get. Is that shade? Probably. But anyway, the lyrics are great because they show what it is like for someone to become famous and have all of these people from their past come forward to try to claim some of their success. I enjoyed this song.
He Don’t Burn for Me- This song is sad which is evident by the drawn out trumpet and drums. The lyrics are about a woman who notices that her man isn’t in love with her anymore. The vocals match the message of the song in that I can feel a sense of sadness within Amy’s voice. For this song it is good, but because that has been the case for the whole album I can’t be too impressed.
Waiting on the Blue- This song has a similar format as Roll Back my Life. The instrumentals are minimal along with the lyrics. The main difference between the two songs is that I have no clue what the lyrics to this song are supposed to mean. They appear to be deep and meaningful I just can’t figure it out.
Overall, I think that this album was fairly consistent in its messaging. The themes, instrumentals, and vocals were similar throughout every song. I honestly don’t know how to feel about that. While I did want a more upbeat song, it probably would have felt out of place with the rest of the songs. I liked their sound as a whole. It isn’t something that I would go out of my way to listen to, but I can appreciate it for what it is. I give this album a
Here we are, exploring an album from another band that I have not heard of. In general, I like to think that I know a lot about music, but discovering all of these people I don’t know makes me think otherwise. Soilwork is a Swedish death metal band formed in 1995. They have a huge discography so I am looking forward to getting introduced to them.
Verkligheten- This should be the main focus of the album as it shares its name with it. It is strange that they have it first as normally these songs are at the end so here goes… Oh this is interesting, it is an instrumental track which I did not expect. It reminds me of a song that would work on the Assassin’s Creed soundtrack. This is a fairly relaxed start to a metal album, which is interesting.
Arrival- For a metal group the instrumentals are really clean. It is really melodic at times which is cool.The vocals are actually really good while there is screaming elements, it is mixed perfectly with powerful clear vocals. I like that I can understand what is being said because some metal bands are hard to hear. The guitar riffs are clean and prove that they are a melodic death metal band.
Bleeder Despoiler- I have to say that the vocals are my favorite part of this group so far. While the instrumentals are hard hitting, there is a tenderness (which might not be there I’m just picking it up) to Bjorn’s voice that makes Soilwork so much more interesting than other bands. This song is about a woman bleeding this man dry, but it is hard to pick up on that theme.
Full Moon Shoals- I’ve noticed that this album has repeated the same song structure through their songs. Hopefully, they change it up a bit. The chorus maintains that singing that has been throughout the songs. It is a little pop-rocky which is not what I was expecting or necessarily wanting, but his voice sounds great. The bridge picks up the pace a bit, but the rhythm change makes the song sound hectic which is what I thought the album would be like.
The Nurturing Glance- The instrumentals change throughout this song from hints of classic rock to what I now know to be Soilwork’s sound. This song is about the end of the world. They use biblical references which creates an interesting juxtaposition with their sound.
When the Universe Spoke- The intro to this song creates a certain expectation of what the song is going to be and once the vocals start it shifts. Not sure how I feel about that. The content is interesting because it is about the idea that God’s creation isn’t what the universe wanted which is a cool idea. I wish they strayed a bit from the template that they seem to have.
Stalfagel- The electronic influence is interesting especially keeping the music video in mind. The use of a female singer (Alissa White-Gluz) adds something new to their sound. The content itself is mediocre. It isn’t anything that I haven’t heard before, but it isn’t bad.
The Wolves Are Back in Town- This is the point in most albums that if the songs are going to get stale it is here. Sadly, that is what happens. While once again, the vocals are good, there is not much to comment on. The content is basic along with the classic metal instrumentals.
Witan- This song has a cool concept in the corruption and darkness of governments. It’s about control which is interesting. I think there is more they could have done. The song isn’t as powerful as it could have been.
The Ageless Whisper- Another basic song. I knew this wouldn’t happen but I was hoping it would be a metal reimagining of Careless Whisper. The instrumental break is cool but it doesn’t add anything to the song.
Needles and Kin- This song features Tomi Joutsen- who sounds amazing. The song itself is sonically pleasing, but I wish that it could have been good enough to make the album better overall. The lyrics are really repetitive which is nice if they are catchy but that isn’t the case here.
You Aquiver- I can immediately tell that they brought in Dave Sheldon for the guitars. Even though I don’t know who he is, the instrumentals are so much better than in their other songs. It is a lot cleaner than the last few songs which calls back to the first few songs on the album. The lyrics are metal stereotypes, which this entire album has been, it’s not necessarily bad but it is expected.
Overall, the first few songs got me excited that I would be hearing something new. Verkligheten and Arrival set up the album to be melodic and clean, which I was excited for. The middle songs reverted back to what I thought metal was and I wanted something new. You Aquiver was a good ending song because it brought back the things that I had liked before. My main problem with this album is its inconsistencies. With a great lead vocalists like Bjorn Strid is, I thought that he would be challenged more. I give this album a
Here it is, another genre I don’t listen to. Although I grew up with country music, when I started developing my own musical taste, I left country behind. It isn’t a complete shock that I haven’t heard of this guy, but maybe he will make me miss country, who knows.
No Stone Unturned-First thing I noticed is that he has a cool voice. For me, I always think male country singers sound the same, but he has a different voice. The groove is nice, basic, but nice. I expected more from the chorus but it isn’t anything memorable. The last line in the chorus “No stone unturned, no turn unstoned” seems to be pretending to be deep. It sounds meaningful, but it has nothing mind-blowing about it. This being the single from this album, I was hoping for more.
Our Hearts- The pacing of this song is confusing, while the music is about mid-tempo, Randy slows down his words in a way that doesn’t make too much sense. Lucie Silva sounds lovely, but she isn’t showcased at all. This is a cute love song, but she seems like a second thought. This song isn’t amazing, but it is competent.
What Whiskey Does- First thoughts: Toby Keith vibe. This song is about an alcoholic thinking of reasons to drink more. The rhythm is slow and relaxed, which lets Randy show off his voice. Once again, he brought in a female singer, Hillary Lindsey, who sounds nice, but is only an echo to Randy. The chorus is nice, easy to sing along to, but it’s the bridge that brings the song together, it is reflective and punchy. This man coming to the realization that his actions will have consequences. At the end though, he seems not to care, which isn’t how I would have ended it, but it works.
Whole Lotta Quit- The harmonica in the beginning sets the tone entirely. In this song, Randy has a bit of a country Elvis in his voice that I hadn’t heard before which is possibly due to the faster pace of the song. He sounds really nice here. There’s a lot of marijuana references, which is not something that I remember being in country music at all. I don’t mind it because I don’t think the substance is an issue, but I thought that was taboo in the country scene. It’s about his experience wanting to smoke all day and the repercussions of doing so, but not caring which is a theme I’ve noticed. The final chorus, he puts his all into his vocals and it shows
No Good Place To Cry- This is really toned down, a subtle guitar with an R&B vibe to it. The focus is on his voice which is a good thing since his is good. Although it is slow, which is not something I normally like, the content is great. The lyrics are important because it shows that men showing emotions is normal and fine, even if society hasn’t adapted to that truth yet.
New Buzz- Another song about getting high, at least this time he sounds the part. His voice is monotone, for the first verse, but it picks up as the song goes on. It is about his new drug being this girl, which is where his voice picks up. I found that to be interesting because it shows that he thought carefully about his storytelling.
Nothin On You- This song sounds like every country stereotype put into one song, which I hope is on purpose. Randy just listing off typical country tropes sounds self-aware but who knows. There isn’t much to say about this song because it is like so many songs that I have heard before.
What Leaving Looks Like- This song is about this guy’s girl cheating on him. This could have been an average cheating song but there are clues that he has cheated in past relationships as well which makes this more interesting. He puts all the blame on the girl even though he has done the same this which is weird. This song is partially self-aware. There could have been more done with the idea that he is a s guilty as here but it isn’t explored much at all.
High Time- The guitar with the tambourine and harmonica sound awesome at the beginning. Something I admire is how obvious he is about his love for a good joint. I respect it. The groove is nice, what makes this good is the use of the tambourine, it adds a bit of personality to the song. When Randy goes for those long notes with his growl coming through it shows that he is a talented singer. Most country guys stick to their low sound because it works, but he isn’t afraid to go for it, which I appreciate.
Mamma Don’t Know- The beginning reminds me of Gary Clark Jr. it is very much his vibe. Houser either has a lot of great influences or I know to much music and constantly have to connect them. This song is about the things that a mom thinks about her daughter that are actually wrong. She has a rebellious child who is wilder than she thought. The instrumentals are very rock and roll but Houser’s voice turns it into a great southern rock song.
Running Man- Immediately, through the instrumentals, I’m getting church. I’m not sure what this song is about, he keeps referencing a running man which makes me think he is possibly a traveler who doesn’t have a place. But his referencing a van made me think of a kidnapping, which more than likely isn’t what was intending but I have a strange mind. It is a nice song, but I wish I knew what it was about.
Evangeline- This is the last song on the album so I’m hoping it is worthy of ending it. I think with last songs on albums they either need to be really emotional or vocally impactful. This song is about wanting to leave with a girl, but it feels kind of stale. The vocals are basic, he isn’t doing anything special or that I particularly enjoyed in other songs on this album. The instrumentals also isn’t anything new. They feel like an afterthought.
Overall, I thought this album, being a genre I don’t like, was okay. There were some songs that showed a side to country that I hadn’t heard before, but he kept reverting to habits that I don’t like in the genre. He has a good voice I just wish he had showcased different aspects to it more. I give this album a
Today I will be reviewing Gregory Porter’s album One Night Only which is live orchestral versions of cover songs from his past. I have never heard of this guy before, probably because I don’t listen to this genre of music, but I’m looking forward to hearing his take on these classic songs.
Mona Lisa- Intro reminds me of Beauty and the Beast. Dang this guys voice is incredible.There have been very many songs about Mona Lisa and why she is/isn’t smiling. There is nothing revolutionary about the content, but the background lets me imagine Gregory at a speakeasy because he has that kind of vibe. I’m not going to pretend to know about orchestral music so that’s more than likely not going to be brought up that much because I am self aware.
But Beautiful- music is fluttery and I can picture someone (a Disney princess) in a field or forest with animals around. I like that the music seemed to cut out when he started singing because it lets his full voice sink in. I’m waiting for a big swell, because I feel like it should get to that point. And here we go, the music got bigger and enhanced the princess vision I had, and he follows with his voice swelling showing the love he has for the woman in the song.
Nature Boy- this was originally a Nat “King” Cole song so lets see how he does. The quietness of the orchestra is interesting because Porter is such a good storyteller that with this song in particular allows the listener to fully understand the intent behind the song. The ending was impactful because his voice fades out and allows the message to sink in.
L-O-V-E- I love the original version of this song, probably my favorite of Nat “King” Cole’s so I’m hoping Porter can have the same energy as the original. This is probably because he is singing live that I am not feeling like he is into this song. He might be tired but for a high energy song he isn’t bringing it even though he does sound okay. There are parts where he sounds rushed or out of breathe so that doesn’t help.
Quizas, Quizas, Quizas- although I took Spanish for four semesters I really don’t speak it or understand most of it. Originally this was “King” Cole’s song where, of course, he sounded incredible.From what very little I remember, Porter’s pronunciations are fairly accurate although it is clear that he is American.
Miss Otis Regrets- Sounds like a Disney action scene. A classic Ella Fitzgerald song. I know Porter has to have song original songs. I wonder what his sound is. He is a great singer, but I want to know what makes him unique. Again, I don’t know much about this genre so he might be super famous, but I don’t know.
I think that he has a great voice. The orchestra brought something new to well-know songs. My only big problem is that is didn’t seem like he took any risks. I wanted something new from him vocally. He kept within a small bit of his range and I wanted to see how far in each end he could truly go. I’m going to give this a
To start things off, although my favorite super-genre of music is rock, I don’t listen to metal. It’s not that I dislike it I just don’t go out of my way to listen to it. For this review, and all of my reviews in the future, I will be writing whatever I’m feeling while listening. It might be dumb or misinformed, but it is my experience. Oh, it will also be incoherent because I want this blog to show every thought that comes to my mind while listening.
I have never heard of this band although they have been around since 1992. I have absolutely no expectations so here we go.
The Widow’s Breed- I found out that this was the single form this album that was released in October. It’s a very fast stereotypical metal beat. Electric guitar is the star with drums providing backup. Rhythm change brings a bit of confused feeling as the new rhythm seems shaky. The lyrics are about a serial killer who uses remains for witchcraft. The lyrics aren’t anything new and appear to be a bit random at points. They don’t tell a consistent story and don’t provide anything to think about
Nocturnal Commando- Almost sounds the same as last. Electric guitar in the first 1:30 broke up the monotony of the instrumentals. Night slaughter imagery is prevalent. About taking revenge in the night. Nothing exciting or unexpected. It’s very difficult to understand, which is expected. Wish there were lyrics so I could follow along.
Charnal confession- finally, something that isn’t the exact same as before. Lots of religious imagery. Guitar and drums are fighting with each other. About confessing sins. Another electric guitar spotlight. Someone who sees themselves as a god of revolution.
Slaves of Southern Cross- No time to settle into the instrumentals immediate vocals. Layering of the vocals gives a demonic sound, but I feel like it could be amplified to be more effective. About being a slave to the devil. Everything is sounding the same. If this is different than the first two songs then I’m not picking it up.
Warhounds of Hades- Much slower beginning. The drums are given the most attention and allow for a build up of suspense. Disappointing that when the lyrics begin it sounds the same as others. Roars in the background add to the intended atmosphere. If there were more then the idea of being in the underworld would have worked better. Rhythm change brings a new, more powerful feel to the song. This band sounds better when they aren’t so focused on being fast and hard but rather powerful and slow. Sadly, it reverts back to old habits.
Black Banners in Flames- interesting beginning with guitar being main focus, yet it sounds the same. The pause set expectations for something new. Have to focus hard to hear lyrics from this group. Religious themes. New voice other than the lead singer allow for a slightly different sound.
Shadow Realm of the Demonic Mind- Sounds like a soft ballad at beginning, electric kicks in with the soft piano in the background. Gives a nice new sound. Makes me hopeful of where this goes… and it reverts back to the same. So much hope through many of these songs yet I get let down.
Palace of Sin- Once again- same fast electric guitar. I wonder if this was on purpose or if they just didn’t try very hard. With everything sounding the same I want to focus on lyrics, but I just can’t understand very much. This proves that I really don’t listen to metal. Near the end it started to slow but picked up again almost right away which, once again, left me disappointed. It’s not that I don’t like fast I just want something new. It’s about being a servant to the devil. At least their themes are consistent.
Priest Hunt- Something new! Hopefully, sounds like a demonic yet angelic choir. Please don’t disappoint me. Jumps in to metal sound, luckily it is a bit different. While the general rhythm is similar the guitar is slower. The vocals are echoed by a few different voices and it adds a bit of the choir theme back into the song which makes sense due to the content. It’s about demons hunting priests which is pretty obvious by the title.
Azazel’s Crown- Basic. About a fallen angel who earns his crown in hell. Electric riff in the middle was cool, but it didn’t add anything to the song because we heard them try to use the same tactic before. The longer guitar section was a good divider between the two portions of the song because the second half vocals were slightly slower.
Dark Coronation/ Outro- seems to pick up from where the last song left off. For an outro song I was expecting something with a bit more impact. There is a mystical kind of spacey guitar portion in the middle. The last 1:20 brings back the horror space galaxy theme with the guitar totally gone with a toned down droning. Feels ethereal but also like something bad is about to happen. Interesting ending but it feels random. It might be a stretch but with the religious themes of the album the spacey theme might be a counter to heaven and hell.
Final thoughts: Meh, although I do not listen to this genre fairly often, I feel like I have heard this exact sound so many times before. I want something new, something that could possibly make me want to listen to metal more. This album, although there were some interesting themes, felt lazy. With just about every song sounding the same, it didn’t allow me to get invested in the journey that they could have possibly taken me on. If I had to give it a grade it would be a