New Music Round-Up 11/3/17

Well my friends, we have finally made it to Friday. After a long week, I feel like this is an appropriate time to share some new music. Below are seven songs that I’m enjoying at the moment. Let’s party.

1. “The Way Life Goes”-Lil Uzi Vert

Lil Uzi is back at again with the bangers. “The Way Life Goes” is no “XO TOURLIFE,” but it’s still a solid effort from the Philadelphia rapper. Like “XO TOURLIFE,”  “The Way Life Goes” is a fusion of different genres. It has trap influences, pop influences, hip hop influences, and it has an alternative vibe to it, especially through the lyrical content. Life is hard. I think we all know that. On this track, Lil Uzi assures listeners that we’ll get through life, as nothing lasts forever, not even hardship. The lyrical content  paired with a catchy trap beat makes this song a 10/10.

2. “Bad at Love”-Halsey

 

Never in a million years did I think I’d like a Halsey song, but “Bad at Love” is too great to ignore. Halsey delivers a surprisingly soulful performance. As she belts “I’m bad at love” in the chorus, I’m convinced as a listener. For once, she isn’t pandering to the hipster crowd( although she might think differently), and the result is a well crafted pop song.

3. “Good Old Days”-Macklemore feat Kesha

Everyone remembers when Macklemore took over in 2013 after “Thrift Shop” took off. The guy was inescapable. In recent years however, he has maintained a lower profile, and I hadn’t heard much from him in the realm of radio. This track seems to be the beginning of a new era for the Seattle rapper. The featured artist on this track, Kesha, also seems to be starting  a new era of her own. The track is feel-good through and through. The subject matter is not too deep, there are nice melodies, and there is a sense of nostalgia. Kesha delivers a solid vocal performance, and Macklemore contributes greatly to the sentimental feel of the song.

4. “Sky Walker”-Miguel feat. Travis Scott

When I first heard this song, it immediately caught my attention. It’s super catchy and it has a nice beat. I think what I like most about this song is Miguel’s vocal performance because of its personality and swagger. I think “Sky Walker” is  a fun song. The word play really takes the cake.

5. “LOVE” Kendrick Lamar feat Zacari

“LOVE” is probably my favorite song on this round up. I’ve had it on repeat for days. Not only is “LOVE” a jam, but it’s also really sensitive. I didn’t know that Kendrick Lamar was capable of making me “feel all the feels,” but he did. Kendrick doesn’t do it alone. By enlisting the help of Zacari, who is an exceptional vocalist, and employing nice, atmospheric production, Kendrick creates a  well-rounded song. What makes this track so sensitive is its lyrical content. Kendrick asks of his lover, “If I didn’t ride blade on curb (drive expensive foreign cars) would you still love me?” There’s no question that Kendrick has made it, so he has to wonder if his significant other’s love is unconditional. Is she there for him or for the money? I love this song.

6. “Supermodel”-SZA

SZA continues to deliver. The song opens with SZA showcasing her melodic voice over subtle guitars. “Supermodel” has an organic sound which makes it especially soulful. The song reaches a climax at the end as more instruments, particularly percussion, begin to come to center stage. Much like SZA’s track “The Weekend,” I don’t agree with the song’s subject matter, but the track is so sonically pleasing, and this girl can really sing.

7. “Too Much to Ask”-Niall Horan

Niall Horan on my new music round up? I can’t believe it either. I knew I had to add this song to this list when I started singing it one day in the car without even thinking about it. Niall is doing pretty well as a solo artist. I would say he’s had one of the better solo debuts among his former 1D band mates. While “Too Much to Ask” is pretty generic, I can’t help but like it. It’s emotive and it has a nice, soaring chorus.

Well, that’s all for this roundup.

Have a great weekend!

Couturely Sound ❤

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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

 

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 ❤

New Music Roundup 6/2/17

Happy Friday! I thought it was a good time to share some of my favorite tracks right now. Enjoy!

Lady Gaga-“The Cure”

I’ve never been much of a Gaga fan, but “The Cure” doesn’t disappoint. It’s really catchy and it’s probably one of the best pop tracks on the radio right now.

DJ Khaled feat. Justin Bieber, Chance the Rapper, Quavo, and Lil Wayne-“I’m the One”

I’m really liking this track and the summer vibes it gives off. The beat is good, I like Bieber’s delivery on the chorus, and the verses from each rapper go well with the song even if there isn’t much to them. I definitely see this song becoming one of the big hits of the summer.

Miley Cyrus-“Malibu”

I never thought we would see Miley Cyrus in this way ever again. She seems to be taking a new musical and personal direction. When I first heard Malibu I wasn’t feeling it. I thought it flowed kind of funny, but it has become a bit of a slow burner for me. I thinks it’s calming, catchy, and emotional(as far as radio goes). The track is perfect for summer, and I’m excited to see where Miley goes with her music.

Russ-“Losin’ Control”

I had never heard of Russ up until this point. I just realized his track Losin’ Control has been out for a year, but it is just now getting airplay, so it’s new to me. Losin’ Control is a great R&B track. It’s atmospheric and the vocal performance is great.  If you haven’t  listened to Losin’ Control I would check it out!

 

Thats all for this round up. I hope you have a great weekend!

Couturely Sound ❤

Paramore-After Laughter Review

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Paramore are one of my favorite bands. In my opinion, they have never released a bad album. Paramore’s roots are mostly focused in the alternative rock/ pop-punk scene, but they have slowly moved away from that sound. In fact, their last album, Paramore (2013), saw the band slowly making a transition into a more pop oriented, new wave type of sound. Some examples of this would be their top 10 hit “Ain’t it Fun” and the power-pop/ pop rock anthem “Still Into You.” Despite the self-titled album’s poppier sound, Paramore still included plenty of alternative tracks such as “Part II,” “Now,” and “Anklebiters.”

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The bands newest release After Laughter is different from their previous releases in the way that their old pop punk sound is essentially absent. However, Paramore still manages to sound like themselves, angsty lyrics and all. After Laughter is a tribute to 80’s synth pop and new wave. So yes, Paramore made a pop record, but I see nothing wrong with this. Pop music has become synonymous with bad music and this really confounds me. Anyway, bands evolve and change. I can’t expect Paramore to make the same music all of the time. There sound is different, but  Paramore still sounds alternative. The songs on After Laughter are poppy, but they are not your average pop songs that you would hear on the radio. And I can’t forget, there are still guitars and actual instruments. Many might say Paramore sold out on “After Laughter,” but I think they sound sharper and  more polished than ever before, while still maintaining their identity. Introductions aside, here is my track by track review of Paramore’s 5th studio album After Laughter.

1. Hard Times

“Hard Times” was the first single released from After Laughter. I really like this song. I think Hayley Williams does a fantastic job on vocals and the instrumentation is cool, interesting, and feet-tapping inducing. The song sounds theatrical to me and that’s what I love about it. Lyrically, I relate to it pretty well. I mean we all go through “Hard Times ” right?

2. Rose-Colored Boy

“Rose-Colored Boy” showcases on full display the 80s sound that Paramore was going for. It has become a favorite track from the album by fans and critics alike. For this reason, I found it strange that I was lukewarm to the song initially. I wasn’t a fan of the cheerleader sounding chants at the beginning of the song, and it almost sounded too throwback for me. However, after several listens, my opinion has changed. “Rose-Colored Boy” is not my favorite track on the album, but it is pretty darn good. It is catchy, and the lyrics are great, as they outline that it is hard to be positive all of the time. Who knows? Maybe “Rose-Colored Boy” will grow on me even more.

3. Told You So

“Told You So” is such a gem. I seriously think it is one of my favorite Paramore songs. The guitar riff and the bass line running through the song is electric. The lyrics are great.  This song is just wow. I really can’t put words to how much I love it.

4. Forgiveness

“Forgiveness” is a sweet little song, even though it’s also a heartbreaker. Hayley Williams delivers a soulful performance over sensitive guitars. There isn’t a lot to the track but I like it nonetheless. The 80s vibes are pretty strong in this one, and it evokes a lot of nostalgia.

5. Fake Happy

“Fake Happy” has themes similar to “Rose-Colored Boy.” We aren’t always going to be happy all of the time, so why pretend that we are? I like the lyrical content of this song-it’s honest-and Hayley Williams truly delivers on vocals. “I bet everybody here is fake happy too.”

6. 26

“26” isn’t a bad song by any means, but it just doesn’t move me like I would want it to. One of  After Laughter’s two ballads, 26 just isn’t memorable enough for me. I think as far as ballads go, Paramore has done better in the past. Nonetheless “26” is still a good song even though it fell a bit flat for me.

7. Pool

“Pool” has to be one of my favorite songs on the album. The lyrics, the vocals, the instrumentation-it’s all terrific. I love the glossy production and the bell/ chime sounds throughout.  I also love the pool metaphor.

8. Grudges

It’s funny because a lot of my favorite songs from the album are clustered together on the track listing. “Grudges” just makes me feel good, and sounds so terrifically 80s. That’s all there is to say.

9. Caught in the Middle

“Caught in the Middle” is fire. This track has perhaps the catchiest hook on the album. I love the guitars and the reggae feel. Hayley Williams’s vocal performance is pristine and I could not relate to the lyrics any more. The “I don’t need no help, I can sabotage me by myself” bridge really resonates with me and communicates how we all can be pretty self destructive.

10. Idle Worship

“Idle Worship” is probably the track that sounds most like the “old Paramore,” whatever that means. While I love Hayley’s theatrical and disjointed vocal performance, “Idle Worship” is kind of like “26” in the way that I don’t find it very memorable, but I like its message to not put people onto pedestals.

11. No Friend

“No Friend” is the worst song on the album. I’m not really sure what Paramore was going for here, or maybe I just don’t get it, but this track was kind of a let down for me. The instrumentation and the singing on it are very sub par(It should be noted that Hayley Williams isn’t singing on this track, which makes sense because she always sounds amazing). Essentially, “No Friend” just doesn’t fit with the album.

12. Tell Me How

“Tell Me How” is After Laughter’s closer. I like the song. I think it is a stronger ballad than “26,” mostly because it has more layers and a more emotive performance by Williams. It is a beautiful song, but it is also a bit unmemorable for me like some of the other tracks on this record.

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Overall, Paramore delivered a very solid album. I’m not quite sure how it stands amongst the rest of their albums at this point, but I definitely liked a lot of what was happening on After Laughter. If I had any complaints it would be that some of the songs weren’t very memorable and that I feel like the 80s throwback tribute has been overdone. I mean so many artists are making throwback music at this point in time. What was very clever about this record is that a lot of the songs were actually pretty sad, but they were disguised as happy songs. I guess that’s the way to do it right? Turn bad situations into good ones. Find beauty in pain.

My Rating: 7/10

Couturely Sound ❤