Spotify Listen Link: Deadmau5 – > album title goes here <
2013 Grammy Nomination:
Ah, another year, another Deadmau5 review. This guy gets a lot of traction on this blog around this time of year, jeese.
- Best Dance/Electronica Album
This one's album number six, and came out this past September on Ultra. Apparently, it's partially made up of songs that were previously recorded but not released as singles (not uncommon). And there's a bunch of guest artists. Guys, I'm out of interesting things to say here. Let's do this.
"Superliminal" is the first of the made-up-word titles we'll encounter here. It hits hard and heavy right away, and in any setting other than my computer I'd probably be getting an immediate headache. Luckily, the pacing picks up and, despite this dull thud in my head, it's… okay. No… not oaky… damn you spellcheck. I think my dog just started barking at this. And there's still a whole three minutes to go!
Wolfgang Gartner (aka Joey Youngman) joins in for the next one, "Channel 42." It's like a weird creepy organ playing a few octaves too high, with a whole bunch of commercial beats thrown in. I like the darker element to it, but the sound is just a bit tough to digest.
"The Veldt - 8 Minute Edit" includes Chris James, and has one of the better dance feels I've heard in a while. It's up there with the Usher standard I sometimes have in my head. The tone is fun and just enough effect is on the voice to avoid the annoying line crossed by far too many. Even at eight minutes, which is pretty intense for any song, it maintains a fun time and I think we finally have something enjoyable on our hands. This time it only took three songs in!
All right, what's the deal with "Fn Pig"? I'm writing that before the song comes on. Nice slow sort of buildup. At least it's not smacking you in the face as things intensify. There's almost a strings element in there (I doubt any strings were involved at all) that's almost cool until about two minutes in, as it gets to be so much you can't entirely think. And by you, I mean me. This one may be too much for my puny little ears and brain to handle.
"Professional Griefers - Vocal Mix" is what I've sort of been waiting for. Gerald Way from My Chemical Romance is what makes it a vocal mix. While beat-wise it lacks much enjoyability in the verses, the chorus is sort of fantastic. It's just enough yelling and rock combined with dance to make it work - not an easy balance to achieve.
I'm now trying to work on my big Best of 2012 list as this album goes on, so hopefully the music is good enough to provide distraction! "Maths - Original Mix" is there, and while I can't say that there's anything necessarily special about this - I'm okay with it. I like that it's a very… eh… classic? Electronic song. I may et arguments that there is no such thing, but the sounds are generalized and familiar.
"There might be coffee" (ew). I've heard you before. I don't know when and I don't know how, but I've heard you and loved you, and still don't hate you now. This is all good news for you, because I'm at lack of how to properly describe this otherwise.
In what seems to take a little darker twist, we're on to "Take care of the proper paperwork." Lots of tribal sound in here, joined in my heavy guitar. Something insane is happening. I hate and love it all at once, and this is a part of my major reasoning on not being a deadmau5 fan. It's too aggravating to try to justify enjoying a song.
"Closer" would work as a live light show. And I say that as someone who would probably never pay for a ticket to see this performance live. It's more on the edge of pop than I think anything I've heard from him, and I want laser lights to dance with so bad right now it's not even funny.
I suppose "October" sounds sort of like a rainy fall day if you really put your mind to it. Basically, the whole first two minutes I've hear is full of little drops of sound and beats throughout, feeling to me like they hit a puddle. Again, cool light display is in order here, but the dancing doesn't feel so much on the docket as before. I like consistency most of the time, but the off sounds here are too much to really handle. At least about four minutes in a back track comes on and relieves the pain.
"Sleepless" is going to put me right to sleep if this dragging down of a decent beat continues on for the entire scheduled four minutes. Also, I hate skipping drum beats. It just comes out sounding like a CD is skipping instead of anything remotely good musically. Why, oh why, does anyone use this in music when it hurts so bad?
Oh, *this* is the Cypress Hill appearance I've been waiting for. "Failbait - Original Mix" is really great for a rap song mixed with a DJ's mix, don't get me wrong. I just could give a crap about what is going on along the way here. At least the beat is decent - many have not been. I think I'm just jaded on harder rap songs and tune them out far too easily. Look back and old rap reviews for reasoning.
"Telemiscommunications" features Imogen Heap and is the final song here, AND songs completely different than anything else on the entire album. There is a whole other world of music invaded here, and it's gorgeous. It's simple and mixed so very well, with just enough effect on the vocals to be cool without going overboard. Balance is the main word that comes to mind, and it's the perfect sweet closing for the album it totally doesn't fit in to.
Added to My Playlist:
- "The Veldt - 8 Minute Edit"
- "Professional Griefers - Vocal Mix"
- "There might be coffee"
Made it through another deadmau5 album! Okay, okay, so I don't hate it all and never really have. But I fell out of my brief house love phase sometime in the past year, so I was a little worried about taking this one on. Overall, not awful.
NEW MUSIC TUESDAY!!
Spotify Listen Link: Swedish House Mafia – Until Now
2013 Grammy Nomination for Best Dance Recording for "Don't You Worry Child" (feat. John Martin)
I remember always liking Swedish House Mafia. They seem like genuinely cool guys for some reason and not douchy-club guys like some other awful dance music makers. It's sort of refreshing. I mean, someone can correct me if I'm wrong, because I'm only going off of pictures. But anywhos, this is the album. I think we've done a single of two of SHM's before, but never a full album.
This is their second compilation album. Remember, sadly, that we live in an age where artists release singles, not albums. But lucky for me, they at least have the sense to group things and humor me by releasing them all in one package. Joy!
And someone correct Wiki immediately, please, because it says this was it before the breakup of the group to do individual projects. WHAT?? Why?? Sad. Yup, this intro is a roller coaster of emotions. Let's get down to the music.
"Greyhound" is first up. Right away, they set the mood with a thumping bass line and a digital melody that's going to get your heart racing. (Side note: why am I not writing press kits anymore? I used to and sort of still do kick ass at that.) Things only pick up from there with a very familiar sound, that is, familiar if you've ever stepped foot into a club like, ever. They do add a little extra something to get your hips moving, and don't allow the beat to take full control. It's really a nice way to go about this - almost like they're treating it like a real song!
The next one up includes Swanky Tunes (name selections sometimes make me giggle). It's "Here We Go" and it certainly rev up for pretty much the whole first minute or so, stay pretty dog-on true to its title. When it phases out though, you're left holding your breath, wondering what's next. This could easily be playing on a backlight roller coaster and set the perfect mood for the rise and huge drop. Hmmm… Six Flags, we should talk sometime.
"Calling (Lose My Mind)" has sent me over to YouTube because Spotify has that one track blocked. One of these days I'll suck it up and get Premium, but that'll be when I have steady income for a change. Sebastian Ingrosso & Alesso are on board for this one, and it features Ryan Tedder. It's always nice to hear real lyrics to these kind of songs. I don't know why it comes as such a relief, but to hear words and not be lost in a void or wall of sound is just nice. Now, granted, this one comes across just about as obsessive as The Calling's "Wherever You Will Go," but the band was good now, and this combo is good now.
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Switching back over the Spotify, we move on to "Antidote," a hard-hitting little thing fit for a psycho scene in a hospital. Knife Party is also involved in this one, and luckily the pitchy-beats let up eventually, but man were those close to hurting quite a bit. It's still got that beat that infiltrates your soul a little bit. I adore that breakdown about 3 minutes in though, where the lyrics start, bringing in the next half of what's sure to be high-pressure dance music. Whew.
"Miami 2 Ibiza - Extended Vocal Mix" shoots out of the speakers next. We have Tinie Tempah joining us this time. Now, unfortunately, this sounds like every other damn irritable pop dance song that's out there right now. Come on guys, you're better than this.
Well we'll just keep moving on. "Lights" includes Third Party. It actually comes in sort of crazy dis-jointed, thought something's starting to flare up in the background just a little bit. Ah, there goes the relief. This one has sort of an odd cosmic feel to it, which is strange, but I guess sort of welcome. It fits the genre at least - this seems to be the sound that house music is all about.
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"Don't You Worry Child (feat. John Martin)" Is by far one of the biggest songs to come from this collection - and with good reason. The vocals are catchy, and somewhat deep if you really get into them, but the dance rhythms are impeccable. They keep things going at a great pace, both revving up and cooling down at the right moments while you're on the floor. On all ends, it's a really well put-together song. Also, anyone else get a 90's dance song feel off of this at all?
Despite reading it as I scanned the track listing at the start, I was still pleasantly surprised as "Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall" came on. This is apparently a battle song, pitting Coldplay vs. Swedish House Mafia. Believe me, I'm probably as surprised as mot of you are. I mean, one, isn't that basically considered a remix? And two, well, Coldplay? Hey, at least it's a good song. And SHM does a really nice and pretty natural-sounding rendition of the song.
"One (Your Name) [feat. Pharrell]" comes at us with a motorcycle engine revving sound. Like, literally, I would have thought a bike was going right into the speaker. It was a little unnerving. Far too much of the beginning of the song just hoops on, until we finally get some vocals going on. From there one, it's really not bad. It's not my favorite thing I've heard on the album thus far, but I can be okay with it as long as words are going over this particular beat.
And for the final song, a really familiar track, "Save the World." I personally think I've said everything good I could possibly say about this track already (click on the link to the side to find it and check it out), so I'm just going to kick back and enjoy this one as we close out this review.
| | Added to My Playlist:
- "Antidote" (w/ Knife Party)
- "Don't You Worry Child" (feat. John Martin)
- "Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall" (vs. Coldplay)
- "Save the World"
That was an absolute whirlwind. I very rarely these days get to sit down and listen to an entire album, front to back, without interruptions. I am always doing something else in the meantime, but I can't remember the last album I listened to without having to pause for work for the day or to get some sleep or go run some errand. This was mind-boggling in so many way, and it was a fantastic time. These guys make some freaking fantastic mixes.
Spotify Listen Link: Steve Aoki – Wonderland
2013 Grammy Nomination for Best Dance/Electronica Album
Does the word 'electronica' make anyone else giggle a little? Hehe.
Anywhos, checking over the wiki notes on this album - were there seriously 11 singles to come off of here? There are only 13 tracks! There was also an entire remix album released, but we'll maybe get to that when we don't have a huge list of Grammy nominations to still work through.
Did you know this was his debut album? Gotta love when new artists get recognized by the academy right out of the gate. Did you also know that this was released digitally 5 days before the CD release? Wild. Never thought I'd see that when I was growing up and loving my CD collection building.
"Earthquakey People" (w/Rivers Cuomo) kicks it off in definite party mode. Man, there's no escaping this beat, and who gives a damn if calling dancers by this title is totally word and silly? It's about time we had some fun going on in here.
Tehe, the next one is "Ladi Dadi" (w/ Wynter Gordon). Well that's a new way to spell Wynter. Anywhos, not a bad number. Definite classic dancey feel to it and not even bad harmonies through the bridges. The breakdowns are even kind of great. The lyrics remain sort of odd-ballish if you listen in for a few moments. I guess we're just in for an album of general fun, which I'm down for. Let's keep it up.
"Dangerous" (w/ Zuper Blahq) is more computerized than the rest have been, which takes a little more patience on my part to be all right with. At least the main differences have been in the vocals, which at least gives you something to be pro or con about. The music itself is really well done and cleanly mixed.
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Alrighty, moving on here. See, my issue is that I just got the first book in the Sookie Stackhouse series, and am also behind on a ton of TV and… I know, music is FAR more important. Anywhos, "Come With Me [Deadmeat] - feat. Polina Goudieva" pumps is up next. Kind of an E.T. (as in Katy Perry's version) thing going on, at least thematically. Digging the outer space feel, just not adoring the hard bass in the backing.
"Emergency - feat. Lil Jon & Chiddy Bang" starts with typical Lil Jon sound - you know exactly what I mean, that gnarling growl of a melody coming at you. The rap proves to be something a little different compared to the rest of the album so far, so it's nice to hear a little variety. Of course this one leads us back into the club because, well, where else are you going to get down with this kind of music, really?
Oh lord. They're back. "Livin' My Love - feat. LMFAO & NERVO." And we not only get something pumping from a computer, we get downright gaming sounds. Like, old school Nintendo sounds. Oh and look at them - even mentioning Party Rocking, like every dang song on their own album.
"Control Freak - fet. Blaqstarr & Kay" is, well, okay. Man, dance music is not my strong suit first thing in the morning. I mean, there's this kind of great beat in it with a funk guitar/bass playing that gives the whole thing a little something extra and cool. Is that enough info for this time of day? Man I need to get my ass going earlier.
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You know, these Daft Punk ads that keep popping up on Spotify are probably skewing my opinions of Steve. "Steve Jobs - feat. Angger Dimas" … wait, really, that's the name of the song? Oh, there's the old computer beeps carrying the melody. Great, there it goes revving up and loosing all sense of complete sound. For the record, not as much against that as I am the buzzing that happens afterwords that just sounds like a drill boring into my skull. Ah, computer beep again, yay!
"Heartbreaker - feat. Lovefoxx" has this immediate beat to get you moving. Seriously, dancing in the seat to this opening. Maybe it's the outlook of only a four minute song (the last one was 6+) that has me happy about this, or maybe it's the feeling I get every just so often of wanting to party, but this one is hitting just right.
Alright, this has possibilities if we're judging on guest artists alone. "Cudi the Kid - feat. Kid Cudi & Travis Barker." Blink foreva. Anywhos, pretty loud and deep as far as dance songs go. You have to focus in a minute or so to hear Travis' part in this, but you can find that kick ass drummer in there for sure. Lyrically, meh. The rest of it, I mean, it's okay. But I'll always admire than man's ability on the drums.
"Ooh - feat. Rob Roy" is great till the vocals come in (15 seconds in). I mean, strip those away and it's pretty damn classic as far as a mixed song. It's incredibly in your face with every beat, and is full of obvious influences. Then this guy that sounds like Slim Shady Eminem is rapping over it not nearly as well. Man, I never usually enjoy non-lyriced song over worded ones, but this just doesn't feel right.
| |Alrighty, closing in on the end here. Now, let's see if Spotify will let me see this full title… "The Kids Will Have Their Say - feat. Sick Boy with former members of The Exploited and Di…" dammit beach ball of doom, back off… here we go "The Kids Will Have Their Say - feat. Sick Boy with former members of The Exploited and Die Kreuzen." See, was that so difficult computer? And in the time it took me to get the machine to allow me to see that, the song has ended. To sum it up simply, lots of screaming against a generally awesome rock beat.
"Earthquakey People" (w/ Rivers Cuomo) rounds things out for the ending. Yup, bookended album. Anywhos, I assume this is a different mix. Just as enjoyable, though second time around and at the end of the album, I'm just a little worn down. Oh well, sit back and enjoy this double-lengthed version of the song as it goes on and on and on…
Added to My Playlist:
- "Earthquakey People" (w/Rivers Cuomo)
- "Heartbreaker - feat. Lovefoxx"
Well, let's see. Time for the final paragraph. I can't deny that this album is a pretty damn good time. It's got elements from all areas of music, tied together by a guy who knows how to control a beat. He does is all in one of the weirdest ways possibly and I gotta say, I don't hate it.
Spotify Listen Link: Skrillex – Bangarang EP
UPDATE: 2013 Grammy WINS:
- Best Dance Recording
- Best Dance/Electronica Album
Whoa, wait, I can't take this. We're actually going to hear something different from Skrillex? I feel like every album was just the same thing remixed a lot... oh WAIT, it WAS.
Come on, give me a break. Go read my other Skrillex reviews (there's two) and you'll see I'm just barely tolerant. It's not that the work is bad, it's just incredibly annoying sometimes. And yes, I like some electronic music, so don't assume it's that either. Eh, sorry, I'll get off my self-defensive box.
I do not, however, have much more to say, so let's get to this.
"Right In" takes us, well, right in. The beat's hot right away, and we're probably up and dancing if we cared enough to. But there's still these twist sounds throughout that turn me off of the song. It's just like too much loud electronic to handle all at once. That, and the small amount of vocal work that is there is at this horribly high pitch that can't really be that appealing to everyone. I can, however, imagine this being a hell of a lot of fun to mix on a board.
Second track is the title track - "Bangarang," and it features Sirah. First off, don't steal one of the best movie lines ever. Not for this. Second, if you're going to do it, having a group of seemingly very, very young kids in the background is creepy when you have a very mature sounding woman over it. Okay, in all honesty, it's not an awful track. The first minute or so was the part I'd deem a little creepy. The rest maintains this sort of cool beat that's worth hearing at least once. The first minute parts get mixed in later too, almost like a chorus, but hell, at least there's some form of structure.
"Breakin' A Sweat" includes ... The Doors? Right, he teamed up with a guy from them. Okay. I'm still not a huge fan of the twist sounds that this genre is so known for, but as long as they don't overpower things, I'll live. Aww, there's a "light my fire" reference in this song. I mean, even I have to say, it's a pretty cool mixup of everything. In a club atmosphere, those high pitched blasts would kill me, but the rest of the song is actually not bad. There's even a spoken section that almost threw me off, but at least we can realize this guy has some actual appreciation for music.
We get all mixed up in what feels like a 90's flashback for "The Devil's Den" with Wolfgang Gartner. This is crazy. There's this electric machine gun sound throughout it that makes the song sort of scary. I don't know.. there's just something that totally doesn't sit right. If he's trying for something darker, then this is probably spot-on to what he wanted. It's a mix, but nothing that strikes any kind of appealing chord.
"Right On Time" with 12th Planet and Kill The Noise is basically this phrases repeated at various paces, accompanied by some beats that slow and quicken along with it. I would take just about anything else on the EP over this, as this is probably, to me, the worst kind of electronic music to hear. There's nothing that changes the entire time, and I just find myself waiting for it to be over, and not thinking much else. This is like a bad headache with no Advil in sight.
Sirah's back for "Kyoto." This is a little more tolerable, and it's almost nice to not be able to totally understand what's being said for a while. There's a cool breakdown part - "Yo, Skrill, drop is hard" that sort of makes the whole song worthwhile. Yeah, I'm a sucker for those drop moments. The turn off is the parts in-between those drops that just bores a hole through my damn head. Why are pitches so high up necessary to make a mix? The rest of the song, including the rap break, is so much better when that nonsense is gone. Sadly, it's damn impossible to tune out in the mean time. :(
"Summit" featuring Ellie Goulding has my mind just slightly more at ease. Things are still all sorts of distorted, but at least it's not at such a crazy high note that I can't even think straight. Even the beat feels better on this one. Of course, I'm saying that at about two minutes in on a six minute song, so there's still time. This is the most oddly calming electronic song I think I've ever heard. While I may not be a fan of quite a lot of his work, I have to give props where they're due - this one's really quite beautiful and enjoyable the entire way through.
Time to, with any luck, have our minds blown for the final track: "Skillex Orchestral Suite By Varien" is the bonus track for the EP, and it's just... gorgeous. It's epic and entirely frightening at times, as a choir comes in and sings in what I think is probably Latin, but I could be wrong. Meanwhile though, this piano and strings section are incredible. I would NEVER have associated this with Skrillex had I not been staring at it on the track listing in front of me.
Added to My Playlist:
- "Breakin' A Sweat"
- "Skrillex Orchestral Suite By Varien"
I was definitely trying to give a lot of space to like these tracks, keeping as open of a mind as possible. Still, this is not my favorite artist ever, but at least it made things just a little more tolerable. The tracks were hit or miss, and the ones that missed were way off the mark. But it's done now, and we can officially move on.
So, loved Tron? Love the soundtrack more? For me, yes to both of those questions. So, remixes from the original soundtrack by some artists that are right up there with Daft Punk as my favorite personally new discoveries in the past year or so is extra exciting!
We will get to the actual Tron: Legacy soundtrack in the next couple of days, as that, too has been nominated for a Grammy. For now, we're going to enjoy this album, from which one song was nominated for Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical. The song was Photek's remix of "End of Line."
If you're really curious, here's a little sampler Disney released for the album:
While I love the idea of remix albums (okay, it's a new-found love, but a love nonetheless), I can't help but comparing so much to the original every single time. Immediately, "Derezzed (Remixed by The Glitch Mob)" is not as good to me as the original Daft Punk version. For some reason, it's hitting my ears as a little muffled, and so much of the appeal for the original was the clarity in every move made.
Now, if you for some reason have not seen the movie, the videos here will help give you a peak. Here's the first I've got for "Fall (Remixed by M83)."
Can't say I'm in love with this version either, but I think it's the voice on the "na's." It's just a little difficult to hear. Awesome to see some film footage again though.
No matter who does it, "The Grid (Remixed by The Crystal Method)" is one of my favorite tracks to come out of this movie. My roommate throws it on a lot in the car, and it's one that I never get sick of - this, or the original version. Maybe it's Jeff Bridges' voice? Not sure, but it's a great mix either way. It's more in line with the movie itself, I feel, than many of the other tracks are, probably because it's pulling directly from and into the film.
It took a while into the track for me, but "Adagio for TRON (Remixed by Teddybears)" fell into being one of the more likable tracks for me. For once, the pitch of the tones doesn't bother me in the slightest, and I think it's the overlay of the synth-ish strings that help (if that makes sense to anyone outside of my head). It's more of a composition than a mix.
"The Son of Flynn (Remixed by Ki:Theory)" is kind of really interesting in parts, but the backing drives me nuts. I know, it's the same sort of backing beats that have been happening the entire album - sort of the main musical theme for Tron, but I don't like it with the upper pitches throughout too.
Classic club beat comes in for "C.L.U. (Remixed by Paul Oakenfold)." Love the motor sounds they're making in the beginning too though. And there's this Asian influence in some of the notes hitting a little more into it. While this isn't a track I'd probably listen to much, if at all, outside of this full album, it's just... interesting. We loose the club beat farther in, but elements are still overlapping in a way that trick the ears a bit. Constantly wondering what's going on here exactly.
"The Son of Flynn (Remixed by Moby)" is maybe the actual theme for the film - maybe I spoke too soon before. Yes, okay, I get it - this is the one that makes you think of this movie before anything else... okay, maybe other than Daft Punk themselves. Anywhos, this track as a very Moby-like quality to it. It's softer than most of the other experiences we've been having, and more trance-inducing than before. There's this odd spring sound that is driving my brain slightly crazy. Otherwise, I like his take on the track as a whole.
The first one of this, "End of Line (Remixed by Boys Noize)" is all right. It's somewhat overwhelming and doesn't bring much to love to the table for a new version of a song. I think there's too much going on too quickly and over-top of each element to really enjoy it. Every time you try to find the base of the song, you're distracted by something else, and then again by another thing.
"Rinzler (Remixed by Kaskade)" scares me at first by doing the same thing as the last song. But, I don't know, the chords here are a little more on the major side, and signify hope and upturn in the battle. Seriously, see the movie. Oh, and yay, club beat. However, if you kind of try to concentrate on the stuff that happened on screen, it's much easier to take. Actually, it's the best club-like music I've heard ever when I give it that kind of thought.
In perhaps the lightest and easiest listening son on the album, we get "Encom Part 2 (Remixed by Com Truise)." The the artist name by the way. Really though, and maybe it's because this has to do with reality, this is the least harsh on the ears, even with the electronic sounds throughout.
And now we're at the Grammy nomiated track, "End of Line (Remixed by Photek)." It's clearly a well done track to begin with, and, while so many of these tracks are done just as well, there is a little something extra to this song. I think it's the almost verse-chorus like quality that I didn't expect to hear. It feels more like a classically written song format than a remixed or scratched DJ work.
"Arena (Remixed by The Japanese Popstars)" irks me from the artist's name. I'll get over it. It's kind of got a cool face-off sound throughout though, like there's something definitely going down. The epic build up into a pause then resurgence of music helps things though. I was beginning to only hear it as background music for a little while.
Once again, we get the first track, done a little differently, in "Derezzed (Remixed by Avicii)." Something that does actually bug me about remix albums is that there's not really logical progression from track to track. Concept albums are easier for me because they essentially follow a story. Nonetheless, this treatment of the song is really fantastic, though not altogether fitting, given how upbeat and positive it seems.
"Solar Sailer (Remixed by Pretty Lights)" is really a pretty song, but there's something about the drop-off feel of beats that I can't stand, really, in any performance. However, the track remains fitting of the overall soundtrack, as well as the title.
Finally, we get the "Tron (End Titles) (Remixed by Sander Kleinerberg)." Sort of just a good general wrap up of about everything we've heard throughout the album. A good feeling mix with a beat that keeps it going right to the last second.
Added To My Playlist:
FULL ALBUM SPOTIFY LISTEN LINK
This was a good time, exactly as expected. The tracks were all done with really great treatments by each artist that took them on. It was great to see Disney do something like this, and, not going to lie, pretty unexpected. Can't wait to do a listen-through of the original soundtrack too!