Spotify Listen Link: Annalise Emerick – Starry-Eyed
This is a friend of mine from back at Belmont. She was always ridiculously talented, and it's been exciting to see her put her music really out there, and even book herself a tour up and down the coast. Let's get her music out there and listened to, shall we?
This is a shorter collection of songs, and we start things off with "You Win." I forgot how light her voice could be. The lyrics are just put out there as real words from a girl. The music itself plays behind her with a folk/country sound that is perfect for a warm September day like today. And the background vocals come in support in just the slightest way to give the right amount of support. Interesting end like to the choir - "Dear old Music City, you win." I couldn't tell you if this is a metaphor to a guy, but having been a college kid in Nashville, if this is a legit love song to that city, it absolutely makes sense.
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"Time of Day" comes in even more solemnly, so I invite you to take a serious listen to the words throughout this. She's a deeper writer for sure, who puts more words into her songs than we're all probably used to hearing. This is the real meaning of poetry through music.
Interesting rocking little number up next with "I Came Around." "Everyone changes with a chance." My guess it's about a lost love (btw, reviewing friend's music is tough - you don't want to mess up the interpretation of what they're trying to do). But it's also about learning and growing because of it, though reflecting on what could've been. I don't know, it's just a really well-crafted idea here, and her voice lends so much credence to that. The music picks up for this one, bordering more on rock than the gentle first two tracks did.
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"Round and Round" slows things back down. There's a breakup in there. There's the attempt to rekindle, but it's not happening, because as she says "it's just too much to begin again." Admit it, you've all been there. I love when the chorus comes in with this awesome power of emotion. That's something awesome and fulfilling in a song. The music throughout actually is pretty interesting. In the second verse, for instance, the beat is just a little off compared to the melody, but it almost sounds like a march. It's really different.
You know why we love folk songs, even though we probably would forget it if asked what our favorite genres are? The stories that they tell. "A Runner and a Singer" does just that, and even asks "what if?" It's a great listen to get that mini-movie playing in your head while you figure out why it's effecting you quite so much.
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"This Love Won't Break Your Heart" is the song I kept seeing across her Facebook page, so we'll qualify it as a single. It takes an old song with an interesting twist. Annalise remains light in her vocal approach, and it's lovely. There's just as much love and warmth wrapped in that voice and the light use of strings throughout the song as any singer belong out something loud and emotional.
We end this collection with Annalise's take on a classic, "Stand By Me." Again, her voice remains light and on the air in an easy, good way. It's the perfect mellow way to end out this album, showing off both her gentler nature and power as a singer.
| | Added to My Playlist:
- "You Win"
- "Round and Round"
- "This Love Won't Break Your Heart"
- "Stand By Me"
Annalise is something special in music. She has a very different voice and approach to music than almost anything you'll hear on mainstream radio. This is really music you need to concentrate on and delve into whole-heartedly - and trust me, you won't be disappointed when you do.
2013 Grammy WIN for Best Pop Solo Performance
So, a little different approach to this one. There is a CD available with the tracks form this live performance, which was recorded and released as a DVD. However, it's not available to listen to on Spotify, and all of the buy links are for the DVD, so I can't preview things.
Okay, really, I'm just excited because the whole thing is on YouTube (or, at least, I'll be tracking all of the parts down somehow) and I can just have fun watching a concert. You know, here, at home, alone, on a Saturday night.
And we fade in, coming up on the hall itself and the music starting up. We get a hand playing chords not he piano, and the crowd anxiously awaiting Adele herself. And up comes a giant silhouette against a white curtain as she leads us in to "Hometown Glory." She breaks after the gentle opening verse and waves excitedly to her adoring crowd, flashes going off everywhere. And now she's home singing it simply to them all. Nothing flashy here (other than the camera) - just an awesome voice going about her business.
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"Royal Albert Fucking Hall!" I love that she's excited!! Also, I'm a sucker for balcony call outs. And she left a note in the audience for a girl! "I'll Be Waiting" is up next, and she considers this a fast one, hehe. It's really just slightly more upbeat and not quite as serious. I honestly don't remember this one quite as well as the others, but it's kind of cool.
"I'm pretty miserable on record, really." I adore this lady. "Don't You Remember" takes us 'swimming' into the sad songs. Ugh, and here we go - Janelle's sad Sunday afternoon. She's brilliant, this Adele. She takes these heartbreaking lyrics and weaves a story that will make you feel heartbreak like never before, even if you've never experienced it. And if you have? You're screwed for trying to hold back tears. Thank goodness this lady's smiling while she sings.
"Turning Tables" is next, and you'll have to excise me for not commenting on whatever inevitable banter she included in-between the songs - part 2 of 7 was impossible to find on YouTube, so I found someone who uploaded some CD tracks. Anywhos, this song still lives up to its twisting loveliness. It hurts so fantastically. It's an assertion of independence after the torture of someone who can't make up their mind. Oh the irony of personal issues.
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And now for one of the most mentally powerful imagery songs I've heard in a while, "Set Fire to the Rain." I just want to see glowing orange rain fall down in the background here. This is the first one I hear a difference from the album in the live version. It's actually even better, if that's possible. She's putting even more behind it as she sings. More intensity, more anger, more power. I really hated this song when it first came out. I resisted, but man, when you give over to it, there's not much better.
Well before we get to "If It Hadn't Been For Love" (a cover of Nashville-based band Steeldrivers), we get to hear about her love for Dolly Parton! And they re-set the stage in a way you actually do see quite a lot in Nashville. It's a more intimate setting with everyone closer in playing together. Also, she does this funny little disgust thing at the end of the first chorus. It's a different sound for Adele, for sure, but she brings her own soul/jazz sound to the whole country scene. Very different, but very cool.
Yay, part three is up and running! If I missed something, I'm very, very sorry. Anywhos, I'm jumping back into the show with Adele introducing her best friend, Laura. (at this moment I'd like to say HI JESS!) They've been friends for a very long time. In the meantime, the hi hat is just keeping beat with Adele as she talks about her friends and how amazing they are. How she fell out of touch with them and they reunited. (annddd Hi Panda. and Erin. and so many others.) Finally we launch into a song about Laura, which Adele wrote at 16, called… come on Shazam, help me out here. It's called "My Same." A cute little jazz number, I have to say. It's really interesting melodically (of course) and just feels like a nice little chill moment for Adele, her friends, and this sold-out audience.
"Take It All" is the next one up, and she gives us the story of how it was accidentally written when she came back to work with an old songwriter friend. She didn't want to write this, didn't want to be this angry, and hid it from her boyfriend for a few days. When she did play is for him, well, I won't blame the song itself, but they did break up a few weeks later. And a line in, she hates how she hits a note, stops, and starts again. Very few people can get away with that, but she's that conscious. Plus, she's recording this on the come back from that infection that took our girl away from us for so damn long.
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Her saying they're upbeat and rare is sort of lost on me when she just did that a couple of songs ago. Though she did manage a "Sex In The City" reference, so that's fun. And that leads us into "Rumor Has It," one of my favorite and most clever Adele songs. This is, for sure, a song with a beat and a message and a damn good clever one at that. I love this because it just sticks it to the guy who can get his damn head on straight. And the way she trails down with those end-of-verse lines is just freaking hot. And holy shit, she just flipped the double bird at the end. I want to be Adele.
More, more, more! She gets this little groovy, almost reggae beat, going on with "Right As Rain." Yes, this is an upbeat one for sure. I'm also loving the audience members that are dancing in the crowd. How much friction' fun is this really simple concert? So simple, no wonder they recognized it for music's night.
Cool shout out to her background singers, since their "dancing professionals," and acknowledgment of the chair being out of laziness. Adorable. This is apparently the only song on the record that's not about her ex (whom she owes her fame to). This one is about the last guy that pissed her off, and she isn't over it. "Anyone who's come to the show tonight with a friend that you're in love with, just fucking tell them." This is "One and Only," a sweet ballad that has that wonderful smokey jazz sound to it. I adore this song in a way that a longing in-love girl only can.
"Lovesong,' a cover of one of the best songs The Cure has ever done, is next up and incredible. This is a cover she's done on her album, and it was always one the intrigued me to no end. Females singing traditionally male songs are always interesting, and it's usually either hit-or-miss. Hearing her take this on live is very cool, because it takes the incredible sound from the studio and just smacks you in the face with the realization that this lady is the real deal.
Her first proper single anywhere was "Chasing Pavements," and yes, I love this one too. It's such a tough one. You want to leave, but you want to stay and continue this possibly pointless walk. But at the end of the day, the heart wants what the heart wants. Anywhos, I suppose I should comment on instrumentation at some point in this thing, right? In this case, it's the strings that subtly make it for me. You barely notice them until the build where they take over and make the music happen.
Bonnie Raitt's "I Can't Make You Love Me" is about to come out of Adele's mouth. I should just faint now. If you've never heard this, get out from under your rock and cry a little bit. This is one of those songs that you remember when you hear Adele, so to hear her sing it is really something awesome. It's a soulful song of sadness and realization.
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She's singing this one as a devotion, and calls for everyone to get those phones out to wave them, or else she won't sing. She loves the star look in the audience, and starts in on "Make You Feel My Love." Seriously, all sadness, but you can't help getting caught up in the beauty of it all. Between the phones and the disco ball shining little lights all over the place, it really is a beautiful venue even more so than normal. This will have the stress melting off your shoulders and your heart hurting, all at once. And then you giggle when you see the one lady waving her phone that the screen has gone off and black on a while ago. And then she sits there and admires the steel guitar, which is just a really cool music moment.
And off she goes for a breather. I only know this because she just promised us that wasn't the last song. And I believe Adele wouldn't lie. Gotta love the artists that acknowledge how silly encores are when you don't have 20 years of music to back you up. She gets boxed into it though, so she's back out to tell a story about how she's remained friends with the guy the album is about. They laugh about it, apparently. And 10 MILLION copes of "21" have been sold. Anywhos, this is that 'one song' that she's fully confident in and feels moved by, "Someone Like You." I wrote this entire paragraph before the song even came on because all I want to do is feel it. Sigh. Adele is in tears after that, so I really don't feel that bad about the effect at all. The crowd sang it back to her and got her going, and it's incredible watching such an inspiring lady get so affected by the words she wrote and legitimately feels.
"Rolling in the Deep" finishes out the evening with the audience dancing and screaming it out at the top of their lungs. It's really an incredible moment, watching an artist love it as much as they do. The whole thing is an awesome example of how damn good a live performance can really be.
Added to My Playlist:
- "Hometown Glory"
- "Don't You Remember"
- "Turning Tables"
- "Set Fire To The Rain"
- "Chasing Pavements"
- "Rumor Has It"
- "Right As Rain"
- "One and Only"
- "I Can't Make You Love Me"
- "Make You Feel My Love"
- "Someone Like You"
- "Rolling In The Deep"
I almost left this one without a final thought! Silly me. I just enjoyed it so much that I figured the work would speak for itself. Really though, let's face it - she never fails to impress. I've heard all of the recordings, but this live album was just perfectly different and reassuring that the lady has it beyond what folks can even consider. I look up to her and that voice so much.
Spotify Listen Link: Ed Sheeran – +
- Nomination: Song of the Year, "A Team"
Did you see this guy perform with Elton John this year?
This is an artist that seems to have alluded me thus far. He's got something I like, but can't quite put my finger on. Maybe it's his slight throw-back style to my old soft spoken favorites with twisted lyrics that get inside your head and make for excellent quotes. Maybe it's that mop top of red hair. Either way, I'm interested, if not excited, to hear what's about to happen.
"The A Team," the hit single, starts off the album. It's such a light, sweet song, and something we haven't seen much of in mainstream music, save Jason Mraz. I still haven't wrapped my hand around the lyrics entirely, which is both fascinating and frustrating for me. He has a way with words, that's for sure, and I think a lot of the song is actually pretty heartbreaking. Yet you can't help but melt in his sweet, quiet natured voice.
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All right, here we go! On to the never-heard-before music! "Drunk" most definitely has a little more to it instrumentally. In fact, I may or may not be dancing a little salsa dance around my room to this one. There's also a very on-the-air sound in the recording style, which is only a little weird, but we'll say it's in a good way. But how sad is this lyrics? "I'll get drunk again to feel love."
"U.N.I." brings us this little Jason Mraz-like rap at the start. I'm trying to stay away from the comparison, but so far I'm thinking Ed's a Jason Mraz / James Blunt combo. The style on the guitar here as a steady backing is really cool. "U.N.I" is "you and I" in the song, by the way. Heh, lovely. It's a relationship that's over, and he's "okay with it" - though she obviously knows otherwise. Oh joys.
The next one is coming on for me a few days later (I fell a bit behind), but I'm finally starting to understand where this soul thing comes in genre-wise. "Grade 8" has a soul/R&B feel throughout the song, and it's funky and different. This one's about love and feeling like a kid because of it. Good times. Better than that is the use of beats, both instrumentally and vocally.
"Wake Me Up" is unbearably quite as it comes in, especially in an entirely quiet apartment at night. It makes all of the words hit a little harder and mean a little more. It's also the first time you can tell there's an accent in this voice. He's British or something align those lines for sure (I'm not doing my research until after the music). This is sort of a weird mode for the middle of an album. It sounds more like an ending that an interlude. I'm a little thrown off on this one.
I heard this one earlier by mistake when I left random on, but hearing a song all about a baby not yet born is really different. "Small Bump" is something I have yet to experience (and won't for a while, sorry mom) but it's very sweet. I've seen it in parents eyes when they hold the baby for the first time, or even just during the pregnancy, and I think Ed hits the sentiment right on the nose with this one.
"This" is actually not a title I've ever seen before that I can think of off the top of my head. It seems like a fairly simple song on new love. Really intense love, but love and that's what matters. Lyrically, it really does sound like a poem just put to some simple strumming of the guitar. Oop, sounds like there's a little trouble in paradise towards the end of the song, and ask the relationship complicated, so does the music.
Next up is a funky little song called "The City." There's some effects on the beat that break it down just a bit throughout. Instead of the hectic-ness of the city, this one seems to capture some real heart and feeling of this insane city. And yes, I assume he's talking about New York, because where else would he be thinking about? Mhmm, I'm a bit selfish. The piano, by the way, is an unexpected and really cool touch.
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"Lego House" is one I put on while I was walking around the room cleaning. It's got a heart-full feeling somehow. It's super sweet not only in lyrics but in feel. There's a sway with a gentle rhythm, and the bass notes used on the piano add this depth and loveliness. As he gets into it, his voice even intensifies, giving even more life to the song as it goes on. Simply beautiful, really. I may be missing the point, but I really just don't care right now. Just give me more of this feeling and warmth and tenderness out of a little bit of music.
A bit tougher drums and that accent comes back on for "You Need Me, I Don't Need You." Obviously, a telling title. Not sure if it's about love or a fallen friendship, though maybe it works both ways. The movement in the melody is rougher around the edges yet doesn't miss a single beat. This is one that is amazing, though could even go a step father in being stripped down to acoustic instruments and highlighted with some great bongos. Feel that reggae nature too, wow. There are also a few remix versions of this floating around on Ed's YouTube page you should totally check out.
"Kiss Me" is a little awkward to listen to first thing in the morning in the office (don't you love when I give you stupid little glimpses into my life?). I've got to give credit where it's due though. The echo and recording work in general works here, and I don't normally agree with a lot of reverb and production work on music. This song maintains its raw emotion even with a guitar sweeping off into the background on the musical bridge and the whispers of a voice into the melody of the song. It's definitely not an up-and-at-em song, and that's tough, but this works. This album's getting better and better.
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This one may have gotten sort of lost on me. It's "Give Me Love." I don't enjoy the chorus as he trills through the same line over and over. I get the lovely sounds in the background, but the strumming is odd against sweet violins, and the melody isn't entirely meshing in my ears. Now, I could see this, with a slightly different chorus melody, being really great, but it's not hitting me here.
And now we move into the tracks on the Deluxe Edition of the album. Yay for Spotify getting more music. "Autumn Leaves" comes across as very simple with an electric guitar holding it together and a whispered,s west voice. This is probably one that is worth another listen, or two, or five. There's depth there unmatched by a lot of other music, while the music alone is completely relaxing. Okay, maybe I'm not 100% sure of how to really describe this one correctly, but I like it.
Funny story: before "Little Bird" came on, a commercial played on Spotify for "+." This has probably the most rock-like beat going for it throughout. This is one that'd probably have you bopping down the street with headphones on. It's cute without having a kid-like nature. I guess you could just say that it moves really well It sounds like a song of the frustration of love and being thankful for it.
"Gold Rush" is nice and bouncy again. These bonus tracks have very little production on them apart from the simply cleanly recorded sound. There's mostly just simple strings against each other, building a good general piece. There's a slight island sound that just keeps this sounding good and fun. The main realization I get at this point, which I'm sure I'll throw into that final wrap-up paragraph, is that Ed is a storyteller. His lyrics aren't necessarily meant to be so catchy they get stuck in your head, but they can make you either think or relate (or, okay, both), while you tap your foot along.
Final track time: "Sunburn." Now, I may be listening to this pretty low at work this morning, but I'm only getting actual sound every few seconds. It's like listening to something from across a room on someone else's computer. But the lines I am catching a interesting, and deeper than expected for some reason. The idea is simple: you scar like a sunburn. But I think there's some element of sadness when it's gone, probably some idea about it being cold and depressing at that point of the year. Anywhos, a solemn end to an up and down album.
Added to My Playlist:
- "The A Team"
- "Grade 8"
- "Lego House"
- "You Need Me, I Don't Need You"
- "Kiss Me"
- "Autume Leaves"
- "Little Bird"
First follow-up reaction is still a comparison one that places James Blunt / Jason Mraz / a little Steve Kazee a la "Once" in my head. None of this is bad, I promise, it just makes me a little nervous for his future career. But what is originality anymore anyway? So maybe this'll work. It certainly works for me. The lyrics are complicated enough to warrant me wanting to come back for more, if for no other reason than to grasp a better understanding. The good songs are lovely, and the bad songs just need another chance.
Spotify Listen Link: Beyoncé – 4
2013 Grammy Nominations:
- Best Traditional R&B Performance for "Love On Top"
Anyone else feel like Beyonce must be on album 10+ by now? You'd be a wrong as I was - this is legit solo album #4, as the title states.
So, as far as interesting stories behind the album, what we've got here is Beyonce's first release since severing professional ties with her former manager and, more importantly, father, Matthew. She went on a career hiatus for about a year, and came back to us with this more natural tone she was striving to portray.
Also, interesting note: Ryan Tedder is one of her background vocalists on this album. Not sure at all what made me check out the credits list, let alone why I noticed this in particular, but you may more commonly know his as the lead singer of One Republic. Cool, right? He also produced "I Was Here," but isn't credited on any particular track as a featured artist or writer. He's really a legit BGV. Wow.
"1+1" kicks the album off with this very simple guitar pick and Beyonce's soulful voice coming in. I remember her performing this for an awards show, sitting in the room with my mom, and at first, as she was hitting these awkward high notes, we were annoyed. Then, as the song went on, and she just sang her damn heart out, we were mesmerized.
The next one is all right. "I Care." I mean, I get it, and the sentiment of it, but the sound's just too broad and not entirely enjoyable. I know she was going for a rawer sound on this album, and she's by far achieved it here with such a simple layering of beats, but it's just not hitting right with me personally.
"I Miss You" just plays to me like a slightly more echo-y version of the last song. It's sad and simple, but nothing that hits hard. At least it's honest. I respect the song for sure - I mean, any self-respecting girl with heartstrings is having them tug in the listening process here.
Ah, my favorite song from the album out of what I've heard, "Best Thing I Never Had." And yes, there was a boy this totally got directed at. Jerk. Anywhos, what a freaking brilliant way to put it. The music there songs so classy, and her voice has so much heart. It's a great feeling to realize you really ARE better than his crap, and that he'll regret it… and you just won't care anymore. Seriously, ahhhh. So good!
So, here's the video. Don't love the garden scenes, or that Jay-Z's not the husband, but watch her expressions while singing - priceless and amazing!
"Party" features Andre 3000 and a very confused Janelle. On one hand, I like her throw back harmonies and beats here. On the other hand, I feel like I'm a kid in the 90's again listening to my cousin's R&B albums. Personally, the song doesn't thrill me in the least, but there's that damn respect again for the musical side of things. So props for that, but I don't think this one'll be on repeat for me anytime soon. Here's the video, though it's J. Cole, not Andre?
Speaking of throwbacks, "Rather Die Young" is a Whitney influence if I've ever heard one. It's gentle, sexy, and sung fantastically with a good back beat. Same deal here - mad respect, much like Whitney, even if ever song isn't going to be a perfect hit to my ears. She keeps at it with that voice in a way not many, if any, could.
"Start Over" has be baffled. Maybe it's my own personal situation right now, but I can't tell if they're a struggling couple or two people who broke up and are considering it again. Either way, this song grew on me more and more with each passing lyric. The music's nothing one of this world, but it's okay when you can carry it with these kind of words.
I read that Beyonce pulled influence from some old sounds, including the Jackson 5, but I had no idea until "Love On Top." It's the cutest beat for a love song I've heard since anything they ever put out. It's just so happy and sweet! Man, when I'm finally with someone again, this is going to be a playlist song about them for sure. For now, it'll go on as a hopeful little addition. Nice to know it comes from a place a real love as well - I mean, have you seen her and Jay-Z? Anywhos, here's a video from her Roseland concert:
If you haven't heard "Countdown," you've probably been living under a rock, and that's coming from a girl who only drives with the radio once in a very blue moon (I <3 my CDs!). This is a really cool creative song, literally utilizing a countdown to rock it down through the chorus. The beat could quite possibly get super annoying, but I don't know - somehow B makes this work really well. The shifts could be jaunting, but somehow the transitions work without killing your ears. Everything so of works for a young person.
All right, let me get this out - I went in to "End of Time" with the thought (for no real good reason) that this could just be really, really bad. It's pretty much all backed by a drum line - oh wait, there's some trumpets. Okay, I like the simple use of the marching band - very cool. But it gets old on a casual listening basis. The whole thing just screams the need of a real stage show, which I'm sure is amazing.
I thought, on my first ever listen of "I Was Here," that I'd be prone to hate the cliche sentiment of leaving a mark, but I got over that pretty quickly. The song's quite powerful and does express an inner desire that I think we all possess without necessarily saying it out loud. We all want to be remembered. We all want it to be for something great.
"Run The World (Girls)" could have been placed first on the album and set a really interesting and independent tone. Instead, it's at the end, and I can properly regard it on its own. The song's freaking fantastic, don't get me wrong! Any girl in the world will probably stand by me on that opinion. I don't love the twists and turns, but Beyonce makes it all work enough to keep me feeling confident and powerful throughout every beat.
Can Beyonce please put out a workout video?
Added to My Playlist:
- "Best Thing I Never Had"
- "Start Over"
- "Love On Top"
- "I Was Here"
- "Run The World (Girls)"
Yeah, Beyonce. I mean, sheer greatness, right?
- WIN: Best Gospel Song, "Hello Fear"
- WIN: Best Gospel Album "Hello Fear"
Spotify Link: Kirk Franklin – Hello Fear
I have a great deal of respect for Kirk Franklin, and I think a big part of that solely comes from having one of his tapes when I was younger. I only owned a few, and I listened to them endlessly. One was "Kirk Franklin and the Family," and the main song I rewound and replayed was "Why We Sing." Something was entrancing, and this was way before my CCM phase.
Kirk's still clearly making a huge impact in the gospel world, remaining one of the first names anyone ever thinks of when asked about the genre. For me, for a long time, he was actually the only Christian artist I could have named! And now, years and years later, I get to hear his latest and greatest.
I think it's a ballsy move to put a title track up as the first one on an album, but that's what we get here. "Hello Fear" starts with the family lightly singing an intro speaking to Fear itself. It gives a background and context to the song, and then moving on to better things. It's a break-up song in some ways, and an introduction to the new love of grace. Simply, it's a standing up against fear and for yourself. For a lighter sounding song lacking musical intensity, it's a strong song. The tone is a great beginning to the album, and could even well stand on its own. Very impressive from all angles considered.
"The Story of Fear" is simply that! It's a spoken verse with a slight rhythm, saying what it is. Yup, that's it. A cool interlude before we really launch in.
We do pick it up more with "Before I Die." There's a cool slight dance beat along with this one, but Kirk always has had this voice that makes you sit ups and listen a little closer. He's so serious when he leads the family in praise. It's almost a little intimidating, but he does have the sweet lyrics backing him up and making it easier to handle. Plus, he's got that crowd going out there.
"I Am" is a conversation I believe we've had before on this blog. I Am is also another name for God. So, songs that tend to use it have always been a little more intriguing because of the duel meaning. This one's sort of cool. It starts with the shush choir singing a story of coming to what they actually are, what "I Am." They could also be singing of coming to God though. See how that works? Aside from the lyrical interesting aspects, the song's really very beautiful.
The next one is slow and sweet. It's "But The Blood," a story of healing and cleansing through faith. There's an if/but statement throughout. The accompaniment is just a slow piano and slight beat with ad libbing guitar in the background for a while. Here's a moment in the gospel concert I've talked about: slow, swaying, and everyone getting in to every moment. There's a testimony in the middle, set to a sad violin, about the sadness in the world. Seems to flow right into the next track…
"Everyone Hurts," which is not, in fact, an REM song. Kidding, I know the difference. This has an R&B backing with very little church-like atmosphere to it. And of course, there's an assurance that God'll heal the hurt. It's not till the very end you hear a little organ, reminding me there's a church element. Not a bad thing, just not a hard-hitting song at the moment.
This next one starts off just like a show tune for some reason in my head. "I Smile" is upbeat and cute as it goes, and sickeningly sweet in melody. We've now gone from such incredibly sad and down songs to one that doesn't have a care in the world. I never thought I'd describe a song from a Kirk Franklin CD as downright cute, but that's about all I've got left for this one when it all boils. down. Awww. And then he goes on to give shout outs to various cities and states - and includes Jersey. Just too sweet for more words.
"Give Me" transitions us into a live song from the sound of it, and features Mali Music (?). This one's sort of weird. There's rhythm to his words, almost like a slow rap, and not much singing. It actually all sounds like a testimony to the crowd, but there's most definitely music going on their too. And I'm pretty sure Mali Music is actually CCM/Gospel music's answer to Lil Wayne with an almost tolerable voice. In other words, listenable just for the comparisons alone, so why not?
Quick one: "Never Alone Interlude." Having just come from a choir concert at my old high school it's got a really pretty sound, possibly with some younger voices if I'm not mistaken. Really pretty transition into the last section of this album.
"The Altar" features Marvin Sapp and Beverly Crawford. Very classing group gospel at the start with every word being sled into as it builds up. It's like the title - going back to the basic roots of everything at the center of gospel.
Rance Allen, Marvin Winans, John P. Kee, & Isaac Carree are all on board for "Something About The Name Jesus Pt. 2." If it weren't pushing one in the morning right now, I'd be less lazy and figure out if there's a part one. Instead, I'll assume there is. Lots of ad libbing, lots of feeling the power. No idea who's who, but oh well. This is what we miss out on when you get a recorded version instead of seeing the live excitement.
"Today" is live and a little more exciting even through the recording itself. The song takes on a much most pop-based beat. If you were to put other lyrics to it, there's a good chance this could be any female/male duet song you hear on the radio. It's fun though, not raunchy, and I feel the crowd and choir all up on their feet partying throughout the whole thing.
I guess the titling for the next two is for what they create in the show: "The Moment #1." I mean, that really strips down any possible alternate meanings, and lets it exist as just that. A woman who takes lead lets go with her voice in a very extreme, real way. Even the quiet testimony moments of trading sentences is solemn and honest. It flows so seamlessly into "The Moment #2" that, since I didn't realize the change, I don't even feel the need to create a new paragraph. Just listen.
"A God Like You" brings us to a hip-hop number in final song time! Okay, there's some child-like bounce to it, but I doubt that's totally what they were going for. On the more intense song, the words are quick and poignant. It's an interesting way to end things out. I like that he's not closing on a quiet note, because my image of Kirk Franklin has always been loud and out there, not soft and pretty. It's a generally good song beat-wise and a good closer overall.
Added to My Playlist:
I lost this dang review twice while trying to publish because of the 'swipe-to-go-back" feature Macs have. But as far as the music goes, well done as always, Family and Kirk. They put on a great show even through a recording (the only way I've heard them) and never fail to display true love through speakers.
- "Hello Fear"
- "I Am"
Spotify Listen Link: Gotye – Making Mirrors
2013 Grammy Nominations:
This came in originally as a request by one of my best friends, Jess. We listened to a lot of the album last year while looking at bridesmaid dresses at her place for about two hours. Update to that: I have one, and it's a different color and length completely than original discussions entailed. =)
- Record of the Year for "Somebody That I Used To Know" (feat. Kimbra)
- Best Pop/Duo Group Performance for "Somebody That I Used To Know" (feat. Kimbra)
- Best Alternative Music Album
Wally de Backer is from Australia and… wait, yes - that is in fact his name. I KNOW. He got into what Jason Ankeny calls "cut-and-paste electronic music" after his band, Downstairs, resolved. He's had a few albums under his belt, but obviously the song "Somebody That I Used To Know" is what really launched the world's obsession.
There's a lot of art involved throughout these videos, and plenty of music to hear, so let's get right into this thing and learn more than one song.
"Making Mirrors" opens up the album in such a timid way for the first minute that I am almost sure I'm listening to the wrong album. Nonetheless, here we go with a smokey soft sound.
He picks up the pace though with "Easy Way Out." While the voice is one like Beck's (man it's hard for me to be okay with that), the music has a Cee Lo funk sound I wasn't expected, and harmonies in the chorus like the Beatles. Basically, I'm pretty much into what's happening, even if I have to strain to hear any of the verse lyrics.
"Somebody That I Used To Know" comes in with just a little more force than I remember it ever having, especially coming off the funk beats of that fist song. It's been long enough since I've heard it for the millionth time on the radio that I remember why I enjoy the bitter kiss of this song. I also have only heard the Glee version in recent months, so this is refreshing. It really is a fascinating, creative, and wonderfully biting song. I bet everyone's got someone for this to be spitted out at.
Weird, I feel like the songs on here are mega-short. They're not, but they move so well (so far) that nothing drags. "Eyes Wide Open" has a fantastic running beat to it, and finally I am loving the vocals through and through. If this is electronic, please let Skrillex catch on.
"Smoke And Mirrors" is sounding more and more like Darren Criss as the song goes on, for some reason. Maybe I just have that beautiful man's voice stuck in head. The music is steady and just a little on the side of triply with this little carnival aspect to the keys. There are lyrics about putting on a show, so, yay connection. The song's a bit more on the intense side, both lyrically and musically.
WHOA wait, when did Gotye discover a voice and rhythm? "I Feel Better" is possibly the best thing I've heard so far in this session just due to how much fun and rock steady it is. The song's a pick-me-up for just about any down time I can think of, and completely necessary for that 'dance-around-the-room' soundtrack.
"In Your Light" seriously starts off like a good ol' church revival song, until that keyboard comes in with all its glistening goodness. Basically, think Coldplay, sans the vocals, at least for this first bit. Oh shit son, there's horns too? Please, don't let vocals come into this one - it's… oh, there they are. And they're… good! This is the most ridiculously happy sounding song done almost entirely with a computer I have ever heard. So much fun!
In a slight slow down, though just enough for a rockin' little sway reggae beat, we get "State Of The Art." Annddd I liked it till effect on the voice (namely dropping it way down low - and not in a sexy way) comes in and kills the vibe for me. I understand experimenting, and even understand other folks really enjoying this, but sorry - just not for me. So much so not for me that I won't even waste my time trying to fill up my paragraph space with justifications.
"Don't Worry, We'll Be Watching You." The way I see it, this could go one of two ways: (1) a comforting song of someone there for someone else, essentially watching their back, or (2) an incredibly creeptastic song from a stalker. Now, as the voice is very soft and there's a fair amount of echo, I can't totally figure out which direction was taken. I think it's the first, though the tone is just off enough to be borderline on the second.
Next up, now that I've finished another bit of work I didn't want to break for, is "Giving Me A Chance." It's on a more mellow wavelength with just a little play electronically with some strings. Overall, sort of just an interesting sound. I'm pretty sure that lyrically I'd love this, or at least over-relate, if I could grasp it more intensely. The cute play over the air is nice, and the only flaw I can really grasp on to is a very high-pitched, ear-piercing sound like a car breaking. Okay, that sort of bores right through the brain, and makes the song slightly unbearable… damn it, the little things are usually what makes it all worth it, not ruins it all.
Didn't type during "Save Me" but simply loved it. It's like a song from the wild, reigned into a computer and played just so well. Had my foot tapping enjoying it even without the concentration factor. Very nice.
"Bronte" is the final song. It's okay. Sort of a weak ending, but sort of works because it's more solemn and a good close-out for the night. Overall, pretty appropriate and comforting I suppose. Not something I'd necessarily want to hear randomly, but with the collection I guess it all sort of winds up working.
Added to My Playlist:
- "Somebody That I Used To Know"
- "Eyes Wide Open"
- "I Feel Better"
- "In Your Light"
- "Save Me"
I discussed this with two friends today, including Jess, before I finalized the review. We're all in agreement - the songs are completely and totally different from each other, and are each other completely hits or completely misses. This is sort of an awful way to lay out a full album, but when it works, it works well, and I'd say here it's like a well-oiled machine.
Spotify Listen Link: Andrae Crouch – The Journey
Andrae is no stranger to the Grammy field. He won his first one in 1975, and has taken how seven coveted prizes every since. This album was his first in about six years, and includes several notable collaborations throughout. Though Spotify doesn't credit them, noted on the Grammy site is Chaka Khan, Kim Burrell (who was also nominated in this category), Take 6, and Sheila E. (my fave female drummer, personally).
- 2012 Grammy Nominee: Best Gospel Album
"The Journey" was nominated for Best Gospel Album. Let's see what the deal is.
Andrae's welcome to us is saying "Somebody Told Me About Jesus." Slight funky sound going on alongside the gospel electric organs playing. It's only when I hear gospel that I realize R&B's true roots, and this song is a prime example. The song's pretty simple when it all boils down, but it's a great upbeat kick-off to the album. Though, funny how you don't really head all that much from Andrae himself - mostly the ladies of the background choir.
"Good Time" isn't just an Alan Jackson song a bunch of folks I went to college with appeared in the video for with the world's longest line dance - it's also the next track! I also don't know why I needed to lead with that particular sentence but… my blog, my ramblings. Anywhos, this totally funk-based guitar leads in, and the choir is just slightly lower and more intense as they build into things. Man, I love gospel choirs - one group takes on such amazing personality united!
It's super late after a long day of work, so I was trying to keep my head bopping to the music, but "Where Jesus Is" is one of those sweet slower soulful gospel songs, and this may just comfortably lull me to sleep. The call out for Jesus is what strikes me the most here. I was always taught that Jesus is always with you, regardless of location, time, etc. This is a call out for help and guidance to find him, and shows a humbleness and confusion necessary at the bottom of the fall.
"He Has A Plan For Me" is taking things in a whole other direction at the start. We get this old sounding 20's theme and recording scratch opening. The song comes in full force as the choir takes on the words full-force, but still maintaining this really good old piano and horn sound. I certainly have never heard this kind of sound from any church choir I've ever heard or been a part of!
Keeping with a bit of a jazz sound in a smokey room, we get "Faith." This is headed by a soloist taking things to a low level of heartfelt song spinning. The lyrics are simple in their repetition, basically admiring the strength and necessity of having faith. This one sits at a little over seven minutes (most songs on the album are on the 4/5 minute + side), and maintains about the same tone and meaning throughout, no matter how far she gets in. Wait, no, I spoke too soon - the choir comes in to back up her feelings, creating another level of harmonic accompaniment.
"When I Think About You" picks things back up with the electric organ playing a cute pop-y melody to start things off. This one's downright groovy. Interesting - there seem to be a pretty wide spectrum of styles being covered all on this one album and from, seemingly, one choir of voices. Versatile? Yes, for sure. Normal? Nah, but who cares?
A slower jam comes on for "Jesus Came Into My Life." I think we're finally going to get a song fully fronted by Andrae Crouch, and if not, I want credit to his version of The Family (a la Kirk Franklin). This one winds up having a pretty nifty (yup, nifty) 60's groove sound and includes a touch of Sonny and Cher bop to it. I can appreciate the life-changing story in this literal 'come to Jesus' moment Andrae seems to be explaining to us. Cute little spoken word portion in there as well, almost seemingly keeping to a rhythm.
"All Around The World" funks it up a bit. It's seven minutes long, which I'm sure doesn't feel all that long live, but recorded it's a bit much. Acceptable though - and I say this from experience. I sang in a Gospel choir for about a year in college, and when you guys are getting lost in a song, it can go on for quite some time without anyone actually realizing it. Repeat, repeat, repeat, praise. What is a little new to me is hearing the band in the background getting just as in to things as the choir - now that is a very cool show of emotions. By the way, found out this one was the track that include Chaka Khan and Sheila E. - thank you random YouTube picture videos!
Yah know, I didn't realize until he opens "I Can" so honestly and humbly, that Andrae Crouch has a really interesting voice. Think Randy Newman and you might be about there. This particular track has a symphonic background instrumentally, but his voice is simple and alone and the words just seem to come to him naturally. In fact, I think if it were just him and the piano, you'd probably have a hard time keeping your eyes dry during this track. No violins necessary - just sing from the heart.
"Heaven Bound" brings the pacing back up for sure. This is a call-and-response type gospel number, with a leader for sure dancing in the front, getting the grows really into it. Gospel, unlike anything else I've ever been a part of, really can move a crowd with energy in the vocals alone.
I almost wrote a note about "There's Nobody Like Jesus - Live" sounding like it was recorded live, and then I clicked back to Spotify to get the title, and well… duh, I think you get it. It's slow and feeling - always an interesting moment in a concert like this. Lots of hands up in the air, if memory serves.
"Let The Church Say Amen" is a phrase I remember hearing quite a bit in the handful of Baptist Sunday services I attended down south. It's not just a way to finish a prayer, but a phrase of thanks. It's sacred, for sure, but that confirmation of faith is real a root of the church, even if they don't emphasize it. Sort of nice to hear it in a song of its very own. Of course, that's just my take on it.
For just two brief, solemn moments, the choir sings out "God Is On Our Side." It's slow and sweet and has a very classical sound. It's a great setup to the ending of this experience.
"The Promise" is full of words from God as we are brought up to believe in them. This is one of two ways a gospel show ends. The other is in a joyous uplifting of song at a fast pace and rocking out with the crowd. In this manner, however, you get a lot of closed eyes, raised arms, and strong voices lifting up. It's an intense, but cathartic moment to let go into music.
The final track on this version is "The Promise (Marvin's Testimony) - Bonus Track." Something like this is very, very typical in the genre, and I'm almost surprised we didn't hear something along these lines earlier. Insert story, continue feeling song.
Added to My Playlist:
- "He Has A Plan For Me"
- "Let The Church Say Amen"
Interesting listening to a gospel album again. I haven't really sat through a whole session of one in a while, let alone been to church and into the message. I really did enjoy this a lot. Regardless of belief or stake you put into the words, someone can make you feel if they're really that good. Andrae and his choir are.
Spotify Listen Link: Matt Redman – 10,000 Reasons
2013 Grammy WINS for:
- Best Gospel/Contemporary Music Performance for "10,000 Reasons (Bless The Lord)"
- Best Contemporary Christian Music Song for "10,000 Reasons (Bless The Lord)"
When I'm driving, especially when I'm away from home and my regular stations, I tend to let the radio scan and, more often than not, I land on a Christian station. Usually I stop just because the music sounds so good, and about a minute in a realize what I'm hearing is really worship.
I don't know where I stand religion-wise right now. I know I'm a Christian, but I have had some really awful experiences in church, which keeps me from getting too involved with a new group. I pray on my own and think God and I have a decent understanding. Regardless of my position though, CCM music is still some of the best I ever get to hear.
Matt Redman's a new artist to me personally. He's a 39-year-old performer hailing from England, and has apparently been at this for 20 years. Heh, I'm a little behind.
"We Are the Free" gives this thing an incredibly strong launching point, with a chorus of voices propelling us in and clapping along. If there's any doubt about the energy in his concerts, I bet this would quell that. The energy is just pouring out here, speaking not only to the Christians, but becoming a Christian Youth anthem that is just always completely welcome.
This has got to be a live album. If not, it's ridiculously well mixed to get that live crowd effect. It's not marketed as a live album though, which is a little weird. I say that because there it most definitely a crowd singing along to "Here For You." This is one of those steadier ones that starts so solely and then launches into a powerful praise number.
"Holy" again starts gently. You can feel the people in the crowd with arms outstretched in worship. And actually, I have to admit, that is a pretty remarkable sight. When folks give themselves over to music and praise, it's a beautiful moment, regardless as to your personal beliefs. It's sort of a moment of peace amongst the chaos of everything else. The repetitive nature of these songs makes it easy for everyone to give over and let go and immerse themselves into every word and verse as it comes and goes throughout the entire piece. This particular one breaks about five minutes in, giving what I can only describe as a sung testimonial. It's a bridge, kind of, but it's separate from the rest.
Title track time! And the Grammy award winning number. "10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)" is one of those ones I'm sure I have heard on one of those random car tunings. It's simply words and the piano for so long. ANd you know what, it really does stay pretty simple and sweet throughout? It's one to close your eyes and take in.
"Fires" picks up the pace right away. I love this feel in the guitar. It gets you clapping right away into something that just feels great. This is a song about trust and knowing that there's something greater there to keep you going. It's kind of a fascinating and beautiful concept that I don't think I could've ever thought of writing of song revolving around. Kudos for creativity here.
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In a world where it may seem that everything is working against you, it's sort of heartbreaking and very sobering to realize that you weren't alone. "Never Once" is this, and encouraging in a surprising way. Also, I will never get over the oddness of hearing the line "you were always faithful" be sung ABOUT God's faithfulness unto us. So strange to consider. This song stays so simple in the verses, but the choruses are where the power is let loose and strikes your heart much deeper.
"Where Would We Be" comes in steadily and with just a slight intensity. Here's the thing that I guess irks me a little - the chorus doesn't mesh appropriately with the way the verses play. I understand having a contract, but somehow from verse 1 into the first chorus, something just doesn't sit entirely right. I don't know. The song is just fine, but I just didn't get the sensation of loving it.
It's somewhat unsettling inwardly to say negative things about a praise song, so I'm itching to move on to the next one. Now "We Could Change the World" picks the pace up and gets you dancing in the crowd - don't deny it! It's just a fun song, and if you partied at Creation like I used to, this is one of the ones the glow sticks come out for. The words may come off as complicated from here to there, but the feeling is what's important.
"Magnificent" is the first song that doesn't sound completely live… right until I start hearing the gentle echoing of the crowd singing this bower song behind Matt. Yeah, he's singing a ballad for God. It happens. This is a powerful yet gentle song (seriously, ballad) with the crowd's arms out-stretched once again. These loose-yourself songs are really so much better live.
Hearing a Kanye ad was not exactly welcome between these tracks. I just don't get it. But alas, back in comes Matt Redman with "O This God," a song to clap along to in the sunlight and get yourself singing. The music is really powerful and great, with words that just reassure that God's faithfulness. I think the crowd singing with every single word is starting to get to me. Granted, I'm one of them at every show, but there's something just too polished and perfect about their words!
"Endless Hallelujah" ends the album in what I guess is an appropriate way. Of course a majorly epic worship song is appropriate! But it being a live album, bringing the energy that solemnly down (albeit, keeping just enough intensity to evoke tears in the crowd) is kind of a love/hate situation for me. I get the fitting nature of the show, I just hate leaving a concert in that sad state that can accompany the slower endings.
Added to My Playlist:
- "We Are the Free"
- "We Could Change the World"
This was simply lovely. While not every song would stick with me forever and ever, it is an experience. That's what, I believe, counts in these situations. Matt creates an environment of worship that seems like it would be perfect in concert.
Spotify Listen Link: Shemekia Copeland – 33 1/3
2013 Grammy Nomination for Best Blues Album.
My first impression of Shemekia on seeing her Wiki picture is just that she has got to be a heck of a woman; probably a powerhouse. She does "electric blues" which sounds confusing and fascinating all at once.
This lady hails from Harlem, just a few miles from where I sit writing this. Her dad is Johnny Copeland (Texas blues guitarist and singer) and she got going at the age of 16 as his opening act, creating a name for herself. But ooh - she graduated from Teanack High School in Jersey! Ha, that's awesome.
Since then, she's released a handful of albums, winning awards and working with the likes of Dr. John along the way. I may not have ever heard of her before today, but am excited to dive in and hear what she has to offer.
Right away, I'm digging the beat for "Lemon Pie." She gets a groove going well and right away. It's an old school, hard working song that you could dig just about anywhere any time. She definitely has the blues sound imbedded in her voice, but may is that guitar and beat giving her a damn good rock sound too.
"Can't Let Go" is a little on the obsessive side, or maybe it's just a woman's scorn. She borderlines here with the tone. I don't hate it, especially the way the sway goes throughout. She's probably got every dang right in the world to be pissed at him too. Man, I won't mess with her heart.
I know we're only three songs in, but I was waiting to hear something slow and painful like "Ain't Gonna Be Your Tattoo." This is what I think when I think of female blues. She's got that deep, hearty voice, and is backed by a great B.B. King inspired guitar playing a complimenting melody. She's got a strength though, amongst the seemingly tough pain. It's something she's pulling out of and ready to move on out of there.
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"Somebody Else's Jesus" is interesting. It's a gospel song, or at least more on the side of it, and you don't always expect that in a blues/rock album. It's cool though, to see her take this route. And take a listen to some of the lyrics, and they'll downright make you laugh a little bit.
"Sultry" is not the word I'd use to describe this lady. She's powerful, and doesn't need that side to will you in. "A Woman" (a JJ Grey original) lets her lay out some downright instructions to men of how to love his woman. No mess, no fuss about it, she just lays it all out there. She's preaching respect for ladies, and I sure as hell can respect that.
"I Sing The Blues" seems to pay homage to her family a little bit in the chorus, but basically is an agreement between her and her man about a give and take relationship, and what she's bringing to the table. Though, I don't know how singing the blues, other than musically it being damn sexy, is attractive to a man as a promise for the future. I'm sure I'm missing something awesome and crucial here for sure.
All right, a better up beat. If your toes aren't tapping for "Mississippi Mud" I'm very disappointed in you. Here, I'd like to point out her background singers in particular. Or maybe the one that I'm hearing the clearest. There's just the perfect angle of harmony in there. Then in the second verse comes in with a man singing (Buddy Guy). They start all singing together and it sounds like just sweet southern river singing.
"One More Time" really brings home that smokey blues sound from the back of the bar. It's deep and soulful and just great. The echo, which isn't my favorite part, still works enough to maintain the song's integrity without crossing the line of over-produced work.
We pick up the pace a little to a rock-a-billy sort of beat with "Ain't That Good News" (originally done by Sam Cooke). For a girl from Harlem, you can sure hear those southern family roots. You can almost feel her snapping along and enjoying singing this number as it goes out. The guitar takes up its normal spot of second in command of good sound too, never letting up even once.
"Hangin' Up" is kind of the kick ass girl-takes-charge song I've been waiting for. With this kind of voice, it had to be coming eventually. She's done with this crap and is hangin' up on him. Musically, I don't adore it, and I think that comes out of the chorus, which I'd venture to deem unnecessary here overall. The verses are what makes this song, and that's a rarity in any piece of music.
All right, kudos for ending on a sweet note. "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight" (a cover of a Bob Dylan song) is slow and sweet, and a nice way to end the album - much like the end of a night. She wraps it all up in a nice bow and leaves us feeling that a whole album has been delivered and there's a definite sense of closure.
| | Added to My Playlist:
- "Lemon Pie"
- "A Woman"
- "Ain't That Good News"
I guess I don't listen music to blues, because Shemekia has never come across my radar at any festival or random talk or reading - just never before. But she is really something great and familiar, and has certainly found her place in this genre, sounding like she's really at home using that amazing voice.
iTunes Purchase Link (it's not on Spotify… grr): https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/worship-music/id455371710
2013 Grammy Nomination for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance for "I'm Alive"
I don't know a ton about Anthrax, other than being familiar with their name. But from what my memory bank holds, I feel like an album titled "Worship Music" has got to be on the side of ironic.
So we turn to Wiki because I love my easy-to-access app. I love that people make album pages.
Three years to record, runs about an hour, released in 2011 on Megaforce and Nuclear Blast, and the latest album they've released. Yadda yadda yadda. It's their tenth album and their first of original material since 2003 (whoa.). Joey Belladonna is featured for the first time since the 90's. San Nelson departed from the band, which was a major reason for the delay of release, as well as John Bush joining, but then not committing to the record. Oh legal issues.
They released is as a free download on the site to thank fans for being so patient with them for the release. It's also said, by the band, that this is their most emotional album ever. Critics say it's also their best since 1990.
But all that said, NO EXPLANATION OF THE TITLE. Sigh. Add that to the list of questions to ask bands if I ever meet them. I should really start that list.
"Worship (Intro)" is first up. Of course, I mean, the title kind of signifies that. I go into this with my least favorite warning ever: I am only getting 30 second clips of songs here. And for this? Just a tone building up. Damn it all. Hopefully more comes out when I look for videos in a bit.
So we launch into the real meat of the album, starting with "Earth on Hell" (ooh, clever). Of course it's moving super fast, probably where you can barely see the drummer's hands moving. But I think one thing I always liked about Anthrax, if memory serves, is that I could always actually hear the words. Joey was a great choice to take up lead vocals, and starts this things off crisply and in a great way. Sorry for the volume on this video - but it's definitely better than nothing.
"The Devil You Know" keeps up the hard-hitting nature, but actually does take on enough of a different sound to enjoy. I mean, on some metal albums you get the same damn screaming, let alone the same beat and riffs - this isn't the case. There's a rhythm change here, that's most prevalent, that makes me incredibly hopeful for this album.
Ooh, a lead guitar on its own for a second - that's always fun. It's also amazing to be what pauses in singing can do for these songs. "Fight 'Em Til You Can't" does go into some bridge/chorus where the voice is moving fast and faster and I'm sure gets more non-understandable, but that's the beautify of quick clips - I don't have to deal with that part!
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"I'm Alive" is the big single and the Grammy-nominated number from the album. Again, just a short clip here on my end, but I get it, totally. I didn't even hear the 'catchy' chorus (I unfortunately got whiff of another review before this) but the instrumentation has something really awesome going on by itself. That clip did at the very least leave me wanting more. And now we get it! Yay videos.
We're basically hearing all of "Hymn 1" since it's only :38 long. Lots of low strings that steadily pick up and build this awesome anticipation launching into the next section of the album.
"In The End" is not a Linkin Park cover (and no one even snickered at that other than me), but it does have these great bells tolling, even if it's just once in the bit that I heard. No vocals come in for me until it fades out, but the song somehow has a more solemn tone overall.
Moving right along here, we come up on "The Giant." The difference between verse and chorus and the call-and-response method is different for this genre at least for me, and it works in its own odd way. It's almost got a show-like quality to it, which is super odd. But again, I certainly don't hate it.
"Hymn 2" sits at 0:44. I guess we're heading into the last bit here already. This hymn relies on drums instead of strings, but they seem to have about the same progression, from slow to fast and ready to take off.
Can I get someone to somewhat laugh that the next song title is "Judas Priest"? The beat of the drums from the Hymn seems to absolutely be the base of this song, which is cool to imagine a transition into. The highs are heard in this bit, which I think I was sort of waiting for. Gotta have your highs and lows in metal. Gotta have them.
"Crawl" does have a crawling pace in this bit, but it's one of those that you know something more is coming for sure. Also, it makes for a far-more intense song. The little bit of chorus I start to hear is where the magic really happens anyway. It's a song that would catch on.
I'm surprised by the steady rock beat for "The Constant." I'm not rushing to keep up with the band as the song goes along. It's a solid song with a great tone in the vocal quality. Do people use these kind of descriptions for metal usually? Do I need to remind anyone and everyone that this is my blog?
Final song time, sort of. "Revolution Screams" is the last title track on here, but my research shows that there's a hidden track, "New Noise" (originally done by Refused). I'll be 100% honest y'all - I don't know which song I actually heard. All I do know is that the track seems hard hitting and solid and a good way to end this seemingly great album.
Added to My Playlist (if Spotify ever added this album):
I hate not actually hearing the entire album when I review. I feel like I'm cheating the few of you that actually take the time to read those out of a good and true review. But trust me, if I could buy everything and hear every note, know that I would. And someday I will. And I just don't like doing these off of YouTube uploads of music. Not sure why on that one, but it's never been my thing.
Regardless - for the 15 minutes I spent listening and re-listening to these clips, Anthrax is a stand up band that can still produce quality. You don't see bands with this kind of longevity often enough, and this band should be really proud of the work they've done and continue to do.