Soccer in America

A lot of people may not know this about me, but I’m a huge sports fan. Basketball, football, the Olympics-you name it, I’m watching it. However, despite my love for sports, I’ve never really payed much attention to soccer, and I don’t exactly know why. Maybe it’s because I’m American, and as far as I know, America doesn’t like soccer very much,especially not now.

Today I had the pleasure of coming home for an extended lunch, and as I ate, I decided to turn on one of my favorite sports shows, The Herd with Colin Cowherd on FS1. Colin, always the eccentric sports analyst, expressed his disdain over the US Men’s Soccer Team’s loss to Trinidad and Tobago, and he immediately got my attention. In my understanding, this match was a must win for Team USA in order for the team to qualify for the World Cup in 2018. Long story short, they lost, and people are not happy. It is the first time since 1986 that the US Men’s Soccer Team has not qualified for the World Cup. To many people, that is 30 years of progress down the drain.

Rebecca Blackwell/ Associated Press via New York Times

 

Colin ripped our treatment of soccer in the US, saying that we don’t put enough emphasis on the development of players like we do for football, basketball, baseball,etc. Meanwhile, European countries turn their kids into soccer machines at a young age.  The US is home to the best sports leagues in the world-except for soccer. Soccer is like the ugly step sister in America. We even watch golf more.  Cowherd then pointed out that soccer is a “suburban” sport, as it is the sport that every little kid in the country plays at some point in their life. When Americans think of soccer, they think of “soccer moms” and orange slices at half time, rather than a legitimate sport. In my own experience ,many critics of soccer have called it a “sissy” sport, and that’s putting it nicely, but that is to be expected when football, a “macho” sport replete  with bravado and brain damage reigns supreme in the USA.

Americans already didn’t respect soccer,  so they definitely won’t now. I’m sure our country would appreciate the sport more if the team was dominant, but since they aren’t, forget about it.

What are my thoughts? What do I think of soccer?

I had a soccer career a long time ago. It lasted a whopping three months.

I was trash, just like the quality of this picture.

 

I was one of the many kids in America that plays soccer at least once in their life time. When my family lived in England, my brothers and I played a lot of youth sports through the Air Force base, and when I was seven, my mom thought it would be a good idea to sign my brother and I up for soccer. Always, the natural athlete, my brother was really good. He had all the makings of a good soccer player-quickness, speed, agility-all of it. While my brother was the star of his team, I was the type of player that would get a “Most Improved” trophy at the end of the season. Soccer requires a lot of coordination, something that I lacked greatly at the time. I remember I had one break out game where I stole the ball from an opposing player. That was a happy day. By the conclusion of the season, I ended up getting “most improved,” and my coach never pronounced my name correctly, but I had a lot of fun. I really did. I don’t know why I never revisited the sport.

One of my best friends plays soccer and so do several of my peers, so I respect soccer as a sport and I respect the athletes that play it. Although I do get bored watching it, I don’t think I’ll ever discredit it. After all, it isn’t an easy sport. I couldn’t even play it at the youth level.

I mentioned earlier that my family lived in England. While we were there, we got to experience first hand the prominence of soccer in Europe. It is huge there. During the World Cup in, I think 2006 (We were in England from 2005-2008), I remember laying in my bed trying to go to sleep only to hear my neighbors screaming loudly in celebration or frustration over what transpired with their soccer, or I guess I should say, football team. In America, we have basketball courts everywhere. In England, they had cement soccer courts where kids would play and get into brawls all day long.

Image result for concrete soccer court

It kind if looked like this, just more “suburban”

I remember one time being up at one of these courts with my brothers and our American friends that also lived in the neighborhood. Our British peers were really getting into their little match. There was a bunch of elbowing and foul language. One kid got pushed to the ground, and his entire leg was scraped up and bloody. It looked like he needed stitches. Some cops happened to be driving around the neighborhood, and they stopped to see what was going on. They got the kid all cleaned up and then they took him home. It was quite the experience to witness.

My stepmom is Colombian, and her family is crazy about soccer. In summer of 2016 ,I took a trip to Florida where her family lives. The Copa America was going, and you’d think it was the Super Bowl. I think Colombia made it to the quarter finals before they were eliminated from the tournament. I was mostly indifferent, but her family screamed and hollered at the TV just like Americans do when football is on. It was really interesting to see the cultural differences.

It got me thinking. The entire world adores soccer except for the US. I’m very perplexed by this.  I’m going to get superficial here, but if you go to Leo Messi’s Instagram page or  Cristiano Ronaldo’s page (two of the best soccer players in the world), you will find that they have exponentially larger followings than a LeBron James or Tom Brady. This is simply because soccer is such a globalized sport. For some countries around the world, it is their pride and joy. It unites entire nations. Meanwhile, our sports leagues are dividing this nation, but that’s a whole other story…What does our disdain for soccer say about us? Do we have to be so different from the rest of the world? Is it some weird form of American exceptionalism? I mean the rest of the world has the metric system, and we use inches, Fahrenheit, and feet. Our dates are structured as 10/11/17 and theirs are structured 11/10/17. We always say that the world is backwards but maybe we are backwards. I’m all for standing out. America does a lot of things well, exceptionally even, but I do think we can be on our high horse too much. Rather than dismissing soccer as “gay,” maybe we should try to develop our soccer players better,  so that we can be dominant in yet another sport on the world stage. I’m no soccer aficionado or a soccer expert by any means, but I do think our team would perform better if they had their country’s respect. How funny is that? Americans get mad when a team they don’t even support loses. I am rolling on the floor laughing.

I’ve always thought that sometimes you have to lose before you can win. Maybe the soccer team’s loss could act as a starting point for reconstruction of the program in the United States. It’s possible that USA soccer could be just as dominant as USA Basketball or the New England Patriots in the NFL, but only time will tell. Perhaps right now could be a starting point for the US to start appreciating soccer, but after such an ugly loss, that may be a lost cause. Here’s to 30 more years of growth.

Couturely Sound ❤

Link to Cowherd’s segment: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HwepDm2mYS8

 

 

 

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Dissecting the Billboard Hot 100

Today when I was driving, I had the radio on, and of course I was annoyed by it like I always am. I don’t know why I even bother with it at this point. Sometimes the radio is enjoyable, but most of the time it’s not.

First off, it’s super repetitive. Every morning when I get into the car, the same song is on. It’s like clockwork. Apparently the stations are all in sync too. Whenever a song I don’t like starts to play I, naturally, switch the station. My efforts to escape the cruel noise flooding my ears is almost always in vain because 75 percent of the time, the song that I tried to avoid is playing on the station I switched it to! I’ve gotten to the point where I would rather listen to ads than some of the music playing on the radio. I either listen to the ads or I turn the radio off, forcing myself to listen to my own thoughts, and those are no fun to listen to either.

I will never understand for the life of me how some songs become hits…Well, actually I do understand. In order for a song to become a hit, a lot of people have to like it, buy it, and share it. What I meant to say is, I will never understand how so many people can enjoy some of the music on the radio.

For decades, Billboard magazine has ranked the top 100 songs in America from week to week on their Hot 100 list. I thought it would be fun to go in and analyze 50 (plus or minus)  songs from that list, so here goes. Enjoy my lousy since of humor and second rate criticism.

1. “Bodak Yellow (Money Moves)”-Cardi B

 

I had never heard of Cardi B until this song came out. In my understanding, this is her first number one, so, I guess, congratulations to her. It is quite the feat to get a rap song to number one, so it’s cool to see this song there. Cardi B has also seemed to inspire Instagram captions everywhere. Everyone is making “money moves” these days. Despite her impact on popular culture and her contributions to the rap game, the song is still annoying.

2. “Rockstar” -Post Malone feat. 21 Savage

“Rockstar” has a good beat. That’s about all it has going for it.

3. “Look What You Made Me Do”-Taylor Swift 

Put any other artists’s name on this song, and it’s not a hit.

4. “1-800-273-8255”-Logic feat. Alessia Cara & Khalid

I like this song. It’s catchy, it’s soulful, and it has a message.

5. “Despacito”-Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee Featuring Justin Bieber

I think it’s cool that American charts are becoming more globalized, but seriously, when “Despacito” is translated into English, it is just another trash pop song. Also, how is it still so popular? Last time I checked, summer was over.

6. “Unforgettable”- French Montana Feat. Swae Lee

The irony is that this song is forgettable. In a few months time, everyone will forget it existed.

7. “Feel It Still”-Portugal the Man

I have no idea what this song is about, and half of the lyrics are undecipherable, but I actually like this song strangely enough. It’s kind of jazzy, so that’s cool.

8. “Believer”-Imagine Dragons

Imagine Dragons are so hit or miss for me. Sometimes I really like their songs. Other times I’m not a fan.  I’m not a fan of “Believer.” It’s too repetitive for comfort, and it sounds like a lot of their other music.

9. “Rake It Up”-Yo Gotti Feat. Nicki Minaj

This song is just nasty.

10. “Sorry Not Sorry”-Demi Lovato

We’ve finally made it to another song that I like. Demi kills it on vocals, and she emanates so much confidence. I’m a fan. Sorry not sorry.

11.  “Attention”-Charlie Puth

The video for “Attention” has 503 million views. I’m sure Charlie Puth won’t notice or care that, outside of this blog post, I have invested no time or money into this song.

12. “Strip That Dawn”-Liam Payne Feat. Quavo

Of all of the One Direction solo debuts, this is by far the worst. According to Liam Payne, this is what being an adult and making “mature” music looks like.

13. “Slow Hands”-Niall Horan

Oh, look, another ex One Direction member. I feel like this and “Strip That Down” should switch places, but what does my opinion matter anyway? “Slow Hands” isn’t a bad song, but it is so darn middle of the road. I don’t know which is worse.

14. “Too Good At Goodbyes”-Sam Smith

I think Sam Smith is super talented, but a lot of his music sounds the same. While “Too Good At Goodbyes” is beautiful, it’s super boring.

15. “Bank Account”-21 Savage

I don’t really know what to say. As far as rap music goes, this song doesn’t break new ground or distinguish itself.

16. “There’s Nothing Holding Me Back”-Shawn Mendes

Shawn Mendes seems like a really nice kid, but his music is so pedestrian. “There’s Nothing Holding Me Back” sounds generic and similar to every other single he has put out in the past.

17. “Thunder”-Imagine Dragons

Remember how I said Imagine Dragons was hit or miss for me? Well, “Thunder” is a hit.

18. “Wild Thoughts”- DJ Khaled Feat. Rihanna & Bryson Tiller

I wonder if the public is aware that  the guitar riff in “Wild Thoughts” is a Santana sample. I’m beginning to wonder what DJ Khaled actually does musically besides shouting his name and “Anotha one.” Nevertheless, I like this song. I’m a fan of both Bryson Tiller and Rihanna, and I think this was a good collaboration. Wow, that’s two songs in a row that I like.

19. “Shape of You”-Ed Sheeran

This song was released in January. HOW is it still on the charts?

20. “What Lovers Do”-Maroon 5 Feat. SZA

In recent years, Maroon 5 hasn’t put out the best music, but with “What Lovers Do” they end that streak. I really like this song, and I think it was a good idea for the band to bring SZA along. “What Lovers Do” is a fun, light, and airy track that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

24. “Praying”-Kesha

Yes, I skipped 23 and 24. I don’t want to be here all day, and I’m pretty indifferent to the songs ( “Mi Gente” and “That’s What I Like”) occupying those spots. As for Kesha’s “Praying,” I’m a fan. I like the message of the song. It shows that she has overcome adversity. It shows strength, and it shows maturity. Very soulful performance by Kesha.

25. “Young Dumb and Broke”-Khalid

I love this song. It should be higher on the charts.

26. “Body Like A Back Road”-Sam Hunt

Sam Hunt graces us with a cute little pop song, and yes I said pop. Hunt may be a country artist, but take away his accent, and no one would even question that this was a pop song.

27. “XO TOUR Llif3”-Lil Uzi Vert

My Jam.

28. “Humble”-Kendrick Lamar

Kendrick can do no wrong.

32. “Love Galore”-SZA feat Travis Scott

I skipped 29-31 because why not? “Love Galore” is a brilliant song. SZA’s voice is beautiful.

33. “Location”-Khalid

It’s strange. As I move down the chart, the songs start getting better….”Location” is no exception to this trend.

34. ” Say You Won’t Let Go”-James Arthur

It’s a cute song, despite how cliched it is. This song accomplishes what it aimed to accomplish: making lonely girls feel like someone loves them.

35. “Congratulations”-Post Malone Feat. Quavo

I don’t know what to think of Post Malone. Also, what  song is Quavo not  featured in?

38. “Loyalty”-Kendrick Lamar Feat. Rihanna

Oh, look, I skipped more numbers. For those of you that are dying to know which songs I skipped, I’ll link the hot 100 list at the end of this post, but anyway, Kendrick + Rihanna= magic.

39. “Ready For It?”-Taylor Swift

 

It’s better than “Look What You Made Me Do.”

42. “I’m the One”-DJ Khaled Feat. Justin Bieber, Quavo, Chance the Rapper, & Lil Wayne

This was a great collaboration for the summertime.

43. “Redbone”- Childish Gambino

Groovy.

44. “Havana”- Camilla Cabello Feat. Young Thug

This song has a lot of flavor. I like it.

47. “Stay”-Zedd & Alessia Cara

Although “Stay” has been on the charts for too long, I enjoy the song. I think Alessia Cara is very talented.

50. “The Weekend”-SZA

I heard this is supposed to be some kind of “side chick” anthem. While I can’t get behind the subject matter of this song, I can get behind the musicality and SZA’s vocal performance. Girl’s talented.

It may seem like I don’t like music, but that’s not true. I love music-when it’s good. Today’s hits are pretty disappointing, but I will say that the music this year is much better than it was last year. I guess I’ll just have to suck it up when I listen to the radio on my various commutes. If only my car had an aux cord….

Couturely Sound ❤

Link to the Billboard Hot 100: http://www.billboard.com/charts/hot-100

 

Gossip Girl 10th Aniversary

Do you ever think back to a time or event and wish you could have been around for it? Or, at least a little older? I feel that way all of the time. Over the years, there have been so many great things circulating through our culture in the forms of entertainment, sports, and beyond.

There are a few moments in pop culture history that I wish I could have been, not only alive for, but more specifically, a teenager for.  Titanic is my favorite movie ever. It came out two years before I was even born, and I wish I could have been around when it first hit( no pun intended). There is no doubt in my mind that I would have been one of the rabid fan girls screaming for Leo DiCaprio. The Twilight series was a staple of my preteen years. I was the ultimate Twilight fan girl or, twihard if you will, but I often wish I could have been a teen during the height of its popularity. I could have gone to midnights, participated in fan events, and I would have had an even better understanding of the story. It would have been more relevant to my life, and besides, its always more fun to be a part of things when they are current. I’ve come to realize that so much of what I enjoy is after the fact, mostly due to being too young at the time these phenomena occured. Yeah, I can watch Titanic whenever I want, or read Twilight and watch the movies whenever I want, but it doesn’t hold the same excitement as it would if it were all happening right now when I’m 17 and not 7.

On that same token, Gossip Girl is one of those phenomena I wish I could have been a teen for. I mean, I watched it as a teen, but I wasnt a teen during its original run. It wasn’t until 2013, when I was 13, that I finally watched. Many of my peers started to watch too. We were only 6 years behind schedule, but can you blame us? Not exactly a show for second graders. Gossip Girl first premiered on this day in 2007. It came to a close in 2012. Thanks to Netflix, it still remains popular to this day. I wonder what it would have been like to be a teen back in 2007, watching Gossip Girl as I marveled at a keyboard on my cute little flip phone or checked MySpace. That’s the thing though. As our society changes, so does our pop culture. By the time I reached my teenage years, flip phones were obsolete, and on the show they were the main feature. Not exactly relatable as much as it was reminiscent of the past. I mean I had a flip phone( that I could only call on) at one point, but cell phones were not first introduced to me during my teens. I’m sure that was a very exciting time for people whenever phones started to first rule the world. I guess what I’m saying is, I would have loved to have been around for that ride as it was happening.

As I said before, Gossip Girl premiered in September of 2007. 10 whopping years ago. When I think of 2007, I don’t think “decade ago.” In a lot of ways, it feels like yesterday. Pretty crazy how time flies and how much things have changed. To celebrate,Gossip Girl’s 10th anniversary, I thought I’d showcase 10 of some of my favorite looks from the show because let’s be real-Blair and Serena, played by Leighton Meester and Blake Lively respectively, killed it every single episode. I mean could we expect anything less from New York’s elite? Introductions aside, here are my favorite ensembles from the iconic show.
These outfits have me singing if “If I was  a rich girl nananana….”

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Why not start with the very first look viewers were ever exposed to? This photo was taken from the first episode of the show, the one where Serena(pictured above)  returns from boarding school to the shock, and maybe annoyance, of all of her peers in the Upper East Side. I love this look because she looks so cosmopolitan. The contrast between the brown jacket and the black and white stripes is perfect, and I love the neck scarf. It’s a nice touch. It’s a simple look, but it’s oh so stylish.

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Blair(pictured above) was an extremely flawed character, but her style never disappointed. She was the master of preppy girl chic, totally owning her role as a New York elite . If you know me, you know I love ponchos, so it should be to no surprise that I adore this look. The pop of yellow throughout the outfit is a nice touch, and I love that the ensemble was styled with burgundy heels. The contrast is everything.

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The Upper East Siders were  at events or parties non stop. Such occasions call for the best fashion had to offer , and Serena always killed it in her party dresses . This dress stands out to me because of the print and the cut. The pearls add some sophistication to the look as well, making Serena really look the part of the socialite that she is.

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More yellow from Blair and I love it! This looks is so flirty and sweet. I love the bright colors, the prints, and the accents.

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Ponchos, peeptoes, and a Chanel bag for the win!

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Serena rocked this poncho dress! It is so cute, so polished, and perfect for fall. I love the contrast of the ensemble with the brown booties, and the tights are a perfect addition.

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So classy, so fabulous, and the purse just pops.

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I am just loving the colors in this outfit. The plumbs and the greens are so pleasing to the eye. The shoes are killer , and the cut of the dress is perfect. I need this dress, and the purse….and the shoes.

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I love the simplicity of this look and the super cute headband. I never see people wearing headbands like that anymore! The plumb color is beautiful, and this dress would be perfect for a party!

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Olive green heels with gold bottoms? Yes, please! This look is so gorgeous and perfect for spring time. The statement necklace, the soft prints, the blazer…I need it all.

Gossip Girl was a very entertaining show, even though it was somewhat toxic and pretty unrealistic( I mean c’mon all of the characters, who were high school aged, never once got ID checked when they frequented clubs and bars). Serena and Blair, frenemies to the end, made a lot of bad decisions, but at least they looked good while doing it!

Happy 10th Anniversary to Gossip Girl! There is no denying the impact it has had on popular culture. Maybe I enjoyed it late, but I’m glad I got to enjoy it all.

P.S. I still can’t get over who gossip girl was hahahaha.

XOXO

Couturely Sound

The Best Looks From New York Fashion Week 2017

September means a lot of things to me. It signifies the arrival of fall, the start of football season, and of course, the return of New York Fashion Week.

This year, there were so many stunning looks sent down the runway, but there were a collection of ensembles that really made a statement in my mind. Without further ado, I present to you( in no particular order) the best looks from New York Fashion Week.

Oscar de la Renta Spring 2018 Ready-To-Wear

Luca Tombolini / Indigital.tv

Despite Oscar de la Renta’s death in October of 2014, his fashion house has continued to prosper, producing some of the world’s most beautiful gowns. I saw this look as I was scrolling through my Instagram feed, and my mouth actually dropped. I don’t know if it was the fullness of the tulle skirt or the vibrant orange ombre, but I completely fell in love with this look. The model looks like a fiery princess. I love fashion that evokes fantasy, and this look does all of that and more.

Marchesa Spring 2018 Ready-to-Wear

Luca Tombolini / Indigital.tv

Like Oscar de la Renta, Marchessa also dabbles in gowns. Their spring collection for 2018 was whimsical and feminine with lots of airy fabric and floral embroidery. However, the look pictured up above was an exception to this pattern, which is why it stood out to me. I love this look because it looks expensive, as if someone important would wear it. It’s chic, polished, and reminiscent of something Chanel would put out. Some might think the fringe details are a little excessive, but I think that’s the point. It’s supposed to be over the top. Also, fashion never goes wrong when it goes neutral. The beige/ champagne color is classy and timeless.

Reem Acra Spring 2018 Ready-to Wear

Courtesy of Reem Acra

There is so much to say about this look, that I don’t even know where to start. First off, this dress is extremely well made. The tailoring is clean and polished, the skirt is full and balanced, and the waist line is nicely cinched. The metallic quality to this piece is stunning. It shines, it glows, it radiates-who wouldn’t want to wear this? The pairing of the gold with the pink is absolutely beautiful. If I had the money to afford this dress, I would envision myself wearing this look to a fancy tea or brunch.

J. Mendel Spring 2018 Ready-to -Wear

Courtesy of J.Mendel

If you are an individual that is a fan of Gossip Girl, then you are probably subconsciously familiar with J. Mendel. After all, many of his looks were worn by Blake Lively and Leighton Meester on the show. So, it is no surprise that his entire  Spring 2018 collection was beautiful. I loved the colors that he went with, such as the burnt pink of the dress pictured above. The white organic polka dots are a very nice touch. They look as if they were painted on to the fabric, making the look that much more intricate. I think what  I like most about this look is that it is wearable and looks like something the everyday person could wear. J. Mendel is an artist, and this dress was his canvas.

J. Mendel Spring 2018 Ready-to-Wear

Courtesy of J. Mendel

J. Mendel delivered on yet another ensemble. This look is so classy, so feminine, and so vivacious. The coloring is beautiful, the tailoring is top notch, and the layering is pristine. I also love a good paint suit. This is an A+.

Oh, look, more from J. Mendel. I know it may look like I’m going in that direction, but I promise I’m not about to post the entire collection.

Courtesy of J. Mendel

The material on this is like a cloud. The colors are so soft and pretty. Heart. Eyes.

 

Courtesy of J. Mendel

Classy and fabulous. That is all.

Courtesy of J. Mendel

Beautiful colors-again-and the model looks like a warrior princess.

Courtesy of J. Mendel

This is, grudgingly, the last look I’m sharing from J. Mendel’s immaculate collection. The layers, the airy fabric, the soft color scheme,  and the delicate beading at the bust makes this dress everything.

Zac Posen Spring 2018 Ready-to-Wear

Courtesy of Zac Posen

This ensemble simply showcases Zac Posen doing Zac Posen things. The Project Runway judge does not disappoint with this playful dress and all of its delicate details. Love this look and all of its depth.

Alexander Wang Spring 2018 Ready-to-Wear

Yannis Vlamos / Indigital.tv

As I’ve progressed through this post, I realized that most of my favorite looks have been dresses, but that trend stops here. I adore this look from Alexander Wang. It’s sporty, edgy, and cool. The asymmetry  of the top, the color contrast, the mixed mediums of the pants, and the details really take the cake. I like to feel cool in whatever I’m wearing. A look like this would make me feel just that.

I just love fashion. Seeing such great looks from these talented designers makes me so excited about where the industry is going.

Happy New York Fashion Week!

Until next year,

Couturely Sound ❤

New Music Round Up 9/3/17

Happy Sunday everyone! To celebrate the fact that we don’t have to go to school and work tomorrow, I thought I’d share some of my favorite tracks right now because what’s Labor Day weekend without a little music right?

Anyway, this roundup is wayyy behind schedule. I meant to post a roundup back in late July, and then another one in August, but I’ve been so swamped that I haven’t had the time. With that being said, a lot of these songs aren’t necessarily new, but they are fairly recent or just new to me.

Introductions aside, let the round up begin.

1. “Young Dumb and Broke”-Khalid

If you haven’t heard of Khalid by now, you’re probably living under a rock. Don’t worry though, I just crawled from under a rock too. Khalid, a 19 year old singer from Texas, is all the rage right now. My first encounter with his music was his single “Location.” My initial impressions of Khalid were that he’s very talented and mature, but somehow still youthful. His youth is present in his teen anthem “Young Dumb and Broke.” There really isn’t much to the track. It’s easy listening to the core, not that easy listening is bad or anything. The track is carefree in nature, and it’s relatable. I mean I’m young, sometimes I’m dumb, and I’m definitely broke. I like what Khalid is doing right now. I hope he keeps it up.

2. “Love Galore”-SZA ft. Travis Scott

 

“Love Galore” is a prime example of how overdue this round up is. I listened to this song throughout the entire summer basically. SZA (pronounced Sizzah) is an up and coming R&B act. A lot of people are saying SZA’s music is reminiscent of Erykah Badu’s alternative style of R&B. Like I said earlier, I grooved to this track all summer. SZA’s voice is so melodic, the production is organic, and Travis Scott complements her sound very well in a less produced vocal performance. I like this different approach to R&B. Like Khalid, I’m interested  in seeing what SZA does in the future.

3. “Homemade Dynamite” Lorde

Lorde strikes again. “Homemade Dynamite” has been out since June when Lorde released her latest album Melodrama , but it has only recently gained traction for me. This song is such a bop. It’s so infectious, sonically pleasing, and well written. Lorde’s personality shines through and that really puts this song over the top for me. Long live Lorde. (P.S. The original version of “Homemade Dynamite” isn’t linked. The video above is a cool rendition Lorde did of the song. It’s worth watching.)

4. “XO TOUR Llif3”-Lil Uzi Vert

Rap music is heading into a new direction. In a lot of ways, the music we consider “rap” today isn’t rap at all, at least not traditionally. The rise of artists like Migos and Lil Uzi Vert showcase rap in a trap spotlight, meaning auto-toned vocals and big pop-influenced beats.  “XO Tour Life” is probably Lil Uzi Vert’s biggest hit as a solo act, and it is not a rap song. Does it have trap influences or rap influences? Yeah, but “XO Tour Life” is basically a pop song. This isn’t a bad thing, as it only adds to Uzi’s cross over appeal. Drake did this with tracks like “Passionfruit,” “One Dance,” and “Hotline Bling.” By creating a pop song with hip hop influences, Uzi doesn’t alienate any one group. His music, while ambiguous, is accessible, and  super catchy on top of all of that. “XO Tour Life” is a banger, but if you listen closely, it’s actually a pretty sad song lyrically. I’m a fan of it. I think Uzi’s approach to hip hop is cool. His eclectic taste shines through his own music which is probably why he’s so exciting to the public right now. Would I consider Uzi a rapper? This concept, I’m still debating.

5. “1-800-273-8255 ” Logic ft. Alessia Cara and Khalid

I’m an avid Spotify user, and I’d be lying to you if I said I didn’t discover songs from hearing ads over and over again. This track by Logic was on one of those ads I heard constantly. I thought it was pretty catchy, but I didn’t really listen to the lyrics. I forgot about the track until last week after I saw it performed on the VMAs. It’s a pretty “woke”( I can’t believe I just said that)  track if you will. I love a good socially conscious song every now and then. Logic brought Alessia Cara and ya boy Khalid along for the ride. All three artists give very soulful performances, resulting in a powerful, clever, and sensitive track that aims at preventing suicide.

6. “Feels”-Calvin Harris ft. Pharell, Katy Perry, and Big Sean

I like the direction Calvin Harris is going in. His music has more groove than ever before, and I love a good groove. “Feels” is just a fun track, weaved with Caribbean influences and light vocals. In my opinion, Katy Perry’s performance against the funky production is the best part of the song. The chorus is airy and infectious, and those elements are essential for a great pop song.

Well, that’s it for this round up. Sorry for the long delay! Hopefully you were able to discover or revisit some cool music! Have a great rest of your long weekend.

Couturely Sound ❤

New Music Roundup 7/8/17

 

Happy Saturday! This week was pretty long and stressful. I’m so happy I conquered this week and all of its challenges. Maybe your week had challenges as well, so let’s celebrate the weekend with some music!

Here are 7 new tracks that I’m currently enjoying:

1. Lorde-“Perfect Places”

I recently reviewed Lorde’s new album Melodrama, and “Perfect Places” was one of the standouts. Its explosive chorus and honest lyrics have been playing in my head on repeat.

2. Paramore-Drake “Passionfruit” Cover

 

This cover manages to incorporate two things I love: Paramore and Drake’s song “Passionfruit,”which made my round up a couple of months ago. Whenever artist make the rounds and go to the bbc live lounge, I always get pretty excited because they always perform a cover. I would have never expected Paramore to cover a Drake song, but then again their sound has evolved quite a bit. I was so pleased by this unlikely cover.

3. Bryson Tiller- “Sorry Not Sorry”

Sometimes I love really biting lyrics that cut deep and aren’t even remotely nice. I think songs that have these types of lyrics are really honest. Such is the case with Tiller’s “Sorry Not Sorry.” The greatness doesn’t stop with his words though-the beat is also pretty sick. I know this song is a year old, but it’s new to me, so that’s why it’s on this list.

4. Childish Gambino-“Redbone”

I remember hearing “3005” a couple years ago, and it was a song that I enjoyed listening to. When I first heard “Redbone,” I never would have thought that the artist performing it was the same man behind “3005”-Childish Gambino. “Redbone” is a smooth jam, with raspy vocals and a throwback feel. I love jamming out to this track on car rides or when I’m just chilling.

5. Lorde-“Supercut”

Another track from Lorde’s Melodrama has made this list. “Supercut” is such a bop. The production is so full and polished. Lorde’s vocals are emotive, and the lyrics are-you guessed it-honest. I think Lorde is great for pop music. “Supercut” has all the makings of a great pop song, but it is so much smarter than most pop we hear today. It somehow manages to make you want to dance but also cry. Keep doing what you’re doing Lorde.

6. Coldplay- ” A L I E N S”

It’s funny because Coldplay are my favorite band, and probably artist, but they have never made my new music roundup up until this point. This is probably because they haven’t released new music since I started this series. “Aliens” is a brilliant track, not only sonically, but thematically. The music is urgent, spacy electronic sounds are weaved throughout, and Coldplay even get a little experimental with the phrasing and vocal delivery. One of the reasons I love Coldplay so much is because they are so worldy. “Aliens” outlines the story of aliens fleeing their home planet and then wanting to return home. It seems pretty simple but it’s actually a metaphor for the ongoing refugee crisis-like the aliens Coldplay describes, refugees have been forced out of their mother countries. Not only is aliens socially conscious, but it’s also pleasing to the ear. Brian Eno co-wrote and co-produced the track. He was one of the architects behind Coldplay’s acclaimed album Viva La Vida.  I hope he works with Coldplay more in the future. This song is evidence that Eno and Coldplay truly bring out the best in each other.

7. Paramore-“Forgiveness”

The last track on this round up is “Forgiveness” by Paramore. “Forgiveness” is featured on their new album After Laughter. I was initially lukewarm to this track, but I’ve been listening to After Laughter a lot lately, and it has really grown on me. The track is a heartbreaker-but it’s honest( if you couldn’t tell already, I like my music honest). Due to the new developments going on within the band, the song also has so much more context than it had before. Hayley Williams’s vocals shine, the guitars are sensitive, and the backing vocals add a fullness and vulnerability that I didn’t detect until now. It also gives off major 80s vibes, which is always a good thing. This song has been, and probably will remain,on repeat for a long time.

 

That’s it for this round up! Have a good weekend!

Couturely Sound ❤️

Lorde-“Melodrama” Album Review

So many artists dream of having a number one song on the Billboard Hot 100. To reach this achievement, an artist might make sure their song has the best hook, catchiest melodies, and coolest video. All of these components sound like the makings of a great hit right? Wrong, just ask Lorde.

 

Back in 2013, New Zealand native Lorde burst on to the scene with her smash hit “Royals” at the tender age of sixteen. The single quickly rose to number one and stayed there for quite some time. The success of “Royals” is interesting. While it had a catchy hook, it featured, at that point, a relatively unknown artist and, it did not have a glamorous video. What I find the most funny about “Royals” is that it rose to the number one spot on Billboard by, for lack of a better word, roasting numbers 2-100. “Royals” is an extremely clever song, and I’m not sure a lot of top 40 listeners ever realized this, myself included( until I did my research). The song is critical of excess and celebrity culture, so while it sounded great to the ear, it also had deeper meaning.

I was never a big fan of “Royals” when it first came out. I found it annoying, and I thought Lorde was kind of strange and stuck up.  I think at this point I misunderstood her. It wasn’t until I heard her next single, “Team,” that I began to look into Lorde more. From there, I delved into her debut album Pure Heroine, and now I can say that not only is it one of the best debut albums I have ever heard, but it is also one of my favorite albums ever. Pure Heroine was a masterpiece, and listening to it made me realize that I actually understood Lorde quite a bit. The album had excellent social commentary, honesty, and just enough teenage angst( remember, Lorde was 16 when she wrote it), but it was also so smart and mature. In the following years, I always thought “How is Lorde ever going to top this. What will she do next?” She had set the bar so high.

Well, now its 2017, and Lorde is back with her new album Melodrama. I had high hopes for this album. Let’s see what I thought of it in my track by track review.

Image result for melodrama

1. “Green Light”

“Green Light”, the first single, was a great way for Lorde to kick start her new era. I  liked the song from the start because it’s such a bop. The beginning is a bit slow for me, but soon the groovy piano takes over, and from there “Green Light” shines. As far as lyrics go, I really like the ones in this song. We all know what it’s like to wait for the green light-literally and figuratively.

2. “Sober”

“Sober” is a well produced and performed track. Lorde’s artistry is on full display throughout. The track sounds kind of sinister and frantic. “What will we do when we’re sober?” she asks throughout.

3. “Homemade Dynamite”

Again, I have to praise Lorde’s vocals and the overall production of this track. “Homemade Dynamite” tells the story of a party that got a little too crazy. Perhaps the greatest standout in this track is the flute-sounding riff that repeats throughout. The song gets a little bit repetitive, but overall “Homemade Dynamite” is a solid song.

4. “The Louvre”

I like how atmospheric “The Louvre” is. Lorde’s vocals in this song are some of my favorite of hers on the album. I like the subtle  guitar on  the verses leading up to the chorus. This kind of instrumentation wasn’t seen a lot on Pure Heroine. The lyrics are also stand outs, as they show Lorde’s personality. “They’ll hang us in the Louvre, Down the back, but who cares-still the Louvre” and “Megaphone to my chest , Broadcast the boom boom boom boom and make ’em all dance for it” are two stand out lyrical phrases.

5. “Liability”

“Liability” was the second track released from Melodrama.  It is a sweet little piano ballad, with lyrics that I can relate too as they outline the feeling of being a burden. I initially really liked the track. It even made one of my new music roundups.  However, as I listen to it in the context of the album, it’s kind of a low point for me. It’s a little bit too slow, and there isn’t enough going on . Up until this point, the album has really nice, colorful production, and then everything kind of slows to a stop once it reaches “Liability”. I’m not saying it’s bad by any means, but I wish there were more to it.

6. “Hard Feelings/Loveless”

“Hard Feelings/Loveless” is a weird track (or I guess two tracks) for me. The first track “Hard Feelings” is an atmospheric spilling of emotions. The production is good, and so are the vocals. However, I get kind of bored with it quickly. The second track “Loveless” is my favorite track in this 2-in-1 song. Melodrama is a bit more emotional than Pure Heroine, and I can’t lie, I kind of missed Lorde’s snarky attitude from her debut. “Loveless” gave me this attitude that I craved. Her lyrics are biting and she deems our generation as L-O-V-E-L-E-S-S. The one problem I have with “Loveless” is that there isn’t more of it! I would have preferred Lorde to build on “Loveless” rather than combine it with “Hard Feelings.” That would have been a great song.

7.  “Sober II (Melodrama)

To start off, I want to say that I like the melancholy feel to this song and the strings throughout. However, it is kind of slow, until the beat drops at about a minute in. That is when the song truly reaches its full potential. The fluff at the beginning seems kind of unnecessary.

8. “Writer in the Dark”

I don’t have much to say about “Writer in the Dark.” It definitely isn’t my favorite song on the album, but Lorde’s vocals really shine.

9. “Supercut”

“Supercut” is one of my favorite tracks on the album. It  has such a light feeling. I’m probably getting repetitive by now, but the production and the vocals were pristine-again. My favorite lines are when Lorde repeats “In your car, the radio up.” Not bad for what fans are calling Melodrama’s “Ribs.”

10.” Liability (Reprise)”

This song is best described as a filler. It kind of sounds like “Hard Feelings” because of the chill tempo and atmospheric sound. Overall, while it’s not bad quality, I find it pretty boring.

11. “Perfect Places”

I did not like “Perfect Places” when I first heard it. I though it sounded like generic pop, but after several listens, my opinion has changed. Lorde saved the best song for last. I love the lyrics. “I’m 19 and I’m on fire” and “I can’t stand to be alone” are stand outs for me. I applaud this song for being the only song apart from “Green Light” that is memorable. I find myself humming it and remembering it the best. The other songs are good, but they don’t have quite the same staying power that this ones has. With “Perfect Places” I never have to ask myself “What did that song sound like again?” Lorde is the queen of closers.

 

I applaud Lorde. So many artists breakout with great debuts and then fall victim to sophomore slumps. Lorde had such high expectations to meet, and I think she did a great job with Melodrama. I always knew Lorde would be around for a while, but this release has validated that she is not a one hit  or one album wonder. Melodrama is not imperfect, but I love how it showcases Lorde’s raw talent and uniqueness. Her strangeness is her hallmark, and I think it’s so refreshing.

I couldn’t relate to Melodrama as much as I could relate to Pure Heroine, but I’m not surprised by this-Lorde is now 20 and I am still a teenager. She’s less angsty, and she’s experienced more life. With that being said, Pure Heroine will always hold a special place in my heart, but I’m happy to make room for Melodrama.

My rating: 7/10

Couturely Sound ❤