Spotify Listen Link: Taylor Swift – Red
2013 Grammy Nomination Record of the Year for "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together"
I guess they didn't release this on Spotify for a little while, or else I just miss fit entirely. I've been waiting to find it online to review. Sorry, but my desire to actually buy Taylor's albums just doesn't rank high enough on my expense list. I do like her though. I met her a few years back, and she's one of the nicest artists ever. She even remembered my name as she was leaving the office. Totally cool gal.
Anywhos, this is Taylor's latest one, and the one we seem to be hearing a ton of pop break-up songs coming out of. Granted, she's not nearly as rooted in country as her original released music, but she's managed to make a heck of a career in the industry.
Alright, let's do this!! "State of Grace" kicks us off here with a looming rock beat, just waiting to launch. She comes in with… how do I put this. Okay, she legitimately sounds like she popped into the studio and just pressed go to start recording her album. I sort of get the concept, but the words used for it aren't hitting me right to understand it.
"Red" - title track! I think I've heard this. Wait, wait, no. I heard this on a Target commercial, but I haven't heard the song in full yet. You know what I do miss about her old music? The lack of odd wispy sounds in the verses, and a time when I could understand anything she went on about. (I promise there are songs I really like on this album.) Cut the "na na na" crap in the background; this concept could stand on its own. It's interesting to take on colors and make things work like this. It's musically that I can't get into this one either.
Whoa, I just heard the line "I'll do anything you say if you say it with your hands." Hm, didn't expect that. "Treacherous" is, wonderfully, about tortured, wrong love. The kind that you should up and run, quickly, from, but you like it just enough to be dumb and stay. I'm not calling her dumb, I just get it that well. I like how it also stays pretty quiet for a while, then you feel a build around 1:45 that could either be good or bad. It's either going to hit home big time or ruin the whole thing. Eh, it's the bridge. It works for a warm summer night.
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"I Knew You Were Trouble." No, seriously, there's a period at the end of the title. It's a statement. This took a while to grow on me. I mean, it's like freakin' popcorn. But once you put a face to the song, well, it's real easy to get into. Plus, those dang goat videos may have helped in the hilarity of it all. You love to love it, and you love to hate it. Okay, musically though, that "Oh" part is downright annoying. And really heard on the voice. Otherwise, this one's just plain fun. Anywhos, here's the dramatic video - for the first two minutes… yeah, hi there "Twilight."
There's a total vacuum of sound when you go from something that loud to something this calm with "All Too Well." It's a little disorienting on the ears. Ah damn, it's a song about memories from love in a small town. I'm a flippin' sucker for these. Stupid Taylor and her relatable lyrics. And it's also one of those that stays relatively quiet, then picks up to the chorus and makes you melt. She does have a way with words, gotta hand her that.
"22" is… UGH it's just obnoxiously catchy! And when you're a girl who doesn't get out much but had a fantastic time at 22, this is actually a really fucking awesome track. And just try not to role down the windows and blast in down a highway in the summer. Stupid commercial-bility. I grudgingly love this song a lot. I've got no defense whatsoever.
Wait, it that a country chord? I mean, this song actually, finally, sounds like something out of Nashville. Thanks Tay! "I Almost Do" holds up musically, mostly saying simple and playing in the same general pattern without embellishment. The vocals sort of wrap like a country song, but the words don't hit in the way I think they were intended. Maybe I'm blocking them out at the moment, but they're not up to the standard I feel like we have for her music. They're fine, don't get me wrong, they're just there.
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Okay, more confessions - I smiled as soon as "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" came on. Yes, I can relate. But beyond that, this song is so damn clever, and I admire that. Hell, I wish i would have written it! It makes for a great yelling song when out with the girls, or just along dancing around your room. It's a pop song for sure, but she hit on something awesome here. And minority hilarious.
"Stay Stay Stay" is impossible cute. I don't enjoy it, mostly because of the WalMart jingle sound in the backing, but it really is an adorable song. I think the word repetition probably contributes the most to that. You kind of want to just giggle along with them to whole time. Oh and look, she laughs at the end after singing the song that was "so fun." Good to know I was on the right track with that opinion!
Working with other artists always seems to bring our Taylor's serious side. Just look at her work with John Mayer and Tim McGraw. "The Last Time" (w/ Gary Lightbody) definitely follows that rule. Here we get strings - as in violins and cellos, not guitars. They're singing a tragic song of asking to be the top priority to each other. It's a now-or-never situation. And actually, as you delve farther into the song, it can really take a hold of your heart.
"Holy Ground" continues to prove that Taylor Swift has made a career out of fast talking, literally, in her songs. She comes up with fantastic rhythms for this, don't get me wrong, but if you really listen to her over time, there's a pattern for sure. Yes, most people laugh at her because she's the queen of breakup songs these days. But look beyond that, and you're going to see intense similarities between so many of her songs.
Ah, well, she can border on more serious with her own music too. "Sad Beautiful Tragic" is very slow, very solemn, and full of sad whispers. It's the acceptance after the breakup. There's very few instruments in the studio, though the effects on the vocals fill the room much more than expected. It really is just a sad, beautiful, tragic song.
"The Lucky One" sort of flew right by me, so sorry. But overall, it's a fairly simply moving piece. The drums drive the whole thing, and she's got a general up sound to her voice. I know there was an inherent sadness to the whole thing, but it made for decent background music.
Okay, so this is the one I've been hearing a lot about. "Everything Has Changed" (w/ Ed Sheeran) of course takes more of a simple, serious sound. Oh wait, 0:30 in there's an actual beat. Ha, I love when I speak too soon. It's a really sweet song, though I'm not sure I get it the whole time. Generally, I think it's a realization you might like a person more than you thought you did yesterday. I mean, it's when you realize the relationship will never be the same. Also, this might be the cutest video in the world right now.
"Starlight" is like "Speak Now" Taylor. It's a little bit of a party song, but more made for dancing under the stars and fireworks, not the club. It's really cute and fun and a good time, and good for her. I mean, you know it worked last time around, so it's clearly going to work again here, right? There is a Keith Urban-esq guitar in there…
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We end with a clever title, "Begin Again." Mostly clever because of the placement on the album. Give me a break, I notice things like this. Wait… wait, I've heard this, but where? (additional note after seeing the video… right, the radio. That's where I heard this before… it was a single.) I've never seen the title before. But I know that chorus. It's quiet and sweet, because you realize you're able to fall in love again, and that's really tough. I guess after an album of breakups, it's nice to have this end be the re-start of life.
Added to My Playlist:
- "I Know You Were Trouble."
- "All Too Well"
- "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together"
- "The Last Time" (w/ Gery Lightbody)
- "Begin Again"
Okay T-Swift, you've done it again. I never expect to like anything you put out, and I always find some real gems amongst it all. The girl has a knack for songwriting geared toward her primary audience, and you can't fault her there. Plus, again, nicest person ever.
NEW MUSIC TUESDAY!
Spotify Listen Link: Maroon 5 – Overexposed
2013 Grammy Nominations:
- Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, "Payphone" (fest. Wiz Khalifa)
- Best Pop Vocal Album
These guys were down the street from me the night this came out, and I'm still kicking myself for not going. They were signing copies god dammit!
I want to set the record straight on my love for Maroon 5. I am a loyalist to both TV shows and bands. If I watch the first episode and love it or listen to the first album and am entranced into love, then more than likely I'm going to try to watch the rest and listen to everything they continue with. "Songs About Jane" was one of the best albums of its time, bringing this completely unique and wonderful pop-jazz style to mainstream music that I still can't get over. Has Maroon 5 gone far more pop lately? ABSOLUTELY. But I give everything they've got a chance, and they've never let me down -- meaning there's at least a song or two to really love on every album.
"One More Night" opens up the whole album, bringing a very sexy theme right off the bat. Let's face it, that's not a huge surprise. The obsession factor in love is kind of a total bitch, and the music is completely catchy. And if Adam Levine only wanted to give me one more night, so be it - I'll take it. God I love the beat on this one. Not that the video makes a lick of sense - just an excuse for Adam Levine to get a good workout in and play with a baby. I mean, okay, from her perspective, I guess getting out goes with the song. Or maybe the thing he's staying with is boxing. Cute fish thing though.
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I adore "Payphone" (feat. Wiz Khalifa) for no real reason other than the music is awesome. And really, in the grand scheme of things, the music is not really all that awesome. But it's got something excellent that I can't let go of no matter how many times I hear it. They hit the nail on the head with this hit. "All those fairy tales are full of shit - one more fucking love song I'll be sick." Now here's a fun little video/movie set to the song.
Why do artists tend to lead albums with the singles? I never really understood that like, ever. Also, it makes my reviews lopsided with videos. Anywhos, "Daylight" is third up and third single and I can't get this one out of my head either. It's got an excellent melody to it and a sad but relevant (albeit personally) thought process. Live for the night and the dark, I say. Or think, at least. Anywhos, here's "The Daylight Project" - folks chipping in for the video, talking about what they love, hate, their passions, and singing the song. This video completely changes my perception of the song, and I really hope all y'all take 10 minutes and watch it all the way through.
"Lucky Strike" is the first one I'm almost positive I have't heard on the radio. Alright, now we get some perspective because it's not something that's been stuck in my head for days at a time or wearing on my heart as I hear the lyrics again and again. I'd also like to know that up until the proceeding period, I wrote all of these sentences before the songs were played/through. I mean, I already knew my opinion, so why not just get it out there? Anywhos, this song starts off with a very old-school guitar hard strum. Adam's immediately incoming with quick words with a slight bite to every syllable. They definitely went more dance/club with this album, and I don't hate that idea.
Even a sentiment like the one in "The Man Who Never Lied" is turned into an up-beat dance number inexplicably. I just don't know where the beat came in, and find it a little unnecessary. At least there's a slight drag to the beat that makes the intensity of the broken heart a little more understandable.
Wait, I have heard this one. "Love Somebody" is completely familiar. This is one that, at first, the beat doesn't seem warranted, but it works as the song goes on. I know there are innuendos strewn throughout, but I frankly do not give a shit. The song is gorgeous and fun and great. More please.
"Ladykiller" has me wondering if Adam stole a little titling from his Voice buddy Cee Lo. Please tell me someone out there understood what I meant by that. They ditch a bit of the dance beat for this one in favor of a steady, older-version of Maroon 5 rhythms. I don't love the melody itself through the verses, and the chorus seems a little bland compared to everything else, but mid-album it gives a slight breath of air amongst the constant dancing.
I didn't think I'd be craving speakers that could give good bass for a Maroon 5 album, but that pounding at the start of "Fortune Teller" would probably sound pretty great with them. I think the premise is a little weak for my taste though. I mean, I get it - you can't predict the future of what will happen in your relationship as it progresses. But something about the wording is just sort of bland in comparison to some other metaphors.
"Sad" is another breath in this mid-album slump. This time, we get Mr. Levine playing piano (I assume) and singing his little heart out. And it's actually very… touching. It's one of those ones where the guy realizes he screwed up and should have done better by the girl. Now, he's, well, sad about it. He also talks about being scared this was the one and only and there won't be another like this. If someone out there thinks this of you, you're really special.
I really want to like "Tickets" for some reason. It's completely an inner-body thing. I'm dancing in my seat to the precise rhythm in my seat here and not knowing why, because zoning in on the lyrics kills the song actually. It's just like… nothing. I mean, obviously it's something but… I don't really know what I'm saying. I just plain ol' don't like it.
"Doin' Dirt" isn't going to give us a break from the party. What'd Adam Levine do, become bests with LMFAO? Too much is too much sometimes buddy.
Aww, Adam listened to me! "Beautiful Goodbye" starts off with a line about being sorry for letting me down (and yes, I take these things a bit personally, so thank you sir). This ones slows it down just enough to be more enjoyable in a normal setting, but not so much that I loose the ever-important ability to foot tap. Granted, the description isn't that lovely - he basically says that the tears are beautiful, but describes it as dripping, which never makes for a lovely sweet image.
"Wipe Your Eyes" - what the F is happening at the start of this song? I mean, it's a breakup song from what I can tell, but does it have to sound so weird in the goodbye? And do you have to be so twisted to offer to also be the one to wipe away the tears that you've caused? Ugh, I've never been very okay with songs like this.
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Ooh, what you got there boys? A little bit of a funk beat going on? Well that's unexpected and welcome. "Wasted Years" kind of breaks things down a little bit musically, and it's kind of cool. There's some horns back there helping out, and the beat itself is created by some old 90's beat box that Will Smith would have been carrying around, but I don't see a "feat. DJ Jazzy Jeff" credit anywhere to explain it. The fact this was on the "13th Friday" DVD helps explain things a bit - this song's older than the rest, and a little closer to the old M5 feel.
"Let's Stay Together" rounds out the album. And yes, it's exactly the cover you were expecting. It's a stripped down version though, with just the funk keys and the slight hint fo a guitar keeping a beat. Seriously, great stuff in combination with Adam Levine's voice. He's got the ultimate great voice to take on this particular number. And the recording style remains raw and relatable, like you could be in the room right there with them.
| |Added to My Playlist:
- "One More Night"
- "Payphone" (feat. Wiz Khalifa)
- "Love Somebody"
- "Let's Stay Together"
Oh Maroon 5, I will never 100% stray from you. Sometimes, the direction you take (in this case, you strayed almost totally into the club) throws me off a bit, but we always manage to bind over a few really great ones, and that was once again the case here. Cheers to another good job done and I look forward to more and more to come.
Spotify Listen Link: Bad Jokes – ...just a Matter of Time
I'm not sure what originally compelled me to check out this band's page and album as my first review for WeLoveYourSongs.com (I'll post the condensed review on the ELAH facebook page once I have it!). It could have been the name. It could have been the pop-rock description. Heck, it could have been the bright orange background in their picture. Or maybe my Italian roots were calling me home. Whatever the reason, I'm stoked to get into this band's album ...just a matter of time.I would also like to note that finding songs for a band called Bad Jokes is exceptionally hard on YouTube. There are a lot of awful comedians captured on film out there!
The first track, "World Keep Tumblin' Down,"had me run from across the room back to my computer to start typing. Wow. This is actually really fantastic - the vocals are crisp and the melodies are gorgeous. There's a fine line in pop-rock between too gritty and too whiney in voices, and this man treads it perfectly. His voice is smooth, and the music he has to sing to is made by a band, playing steadily like pros.
"Belinda"is the follow-up track, and it slows things way down (maybe a little too quickly after such a great upbeat starting track). It's heartfelt though, with lyrics that are really incredibly sweet. The sentiment of not fearing love is one that I don't think there are enough songs out there portraying. The breakdown in the chorus, where everything hits just a little harder, is interesting given the more dragging verses. It maybe crosses the line of a little boy-band-esq in some spots (see the glittering chimes), but that's okay. We're only two tracks in - there's room for error here.
A really interesting R&B turn is taken in "So Lonely." I have no idea if that was the intention, but the chorus just plays out with so much funk and soul that the vibe is there. The funk guitar might be the reasoning for that one. The chimes are still there though - at this point, I have to say boys, they're a little overused. The songs could stand without the glissando. What's impressive here are the harmonies and overlapping vocals, especially in the last 30 seconds or so. From the get-go, this isn't what I would have expected, but I think we're learning that this is a totally different kind of band we're dealing with.
Oh man... this is a boy band song. It just is. If you want to classify it as something else, please, help me out. "One More Chance" is one of the closest things I've heard to those old BSB songs in a long time. I'm not saying that is a bad thing - I'm a child of the 90's, and more importantly a girl child of the 90's - BSB 4 lyfe. I think the original rock sound of the first track was just so interesting and cool that I was expecting more of it throughout. That's all right though - for what this is, it does sound very good.
All right! "Stay Tonight"is back to more of a rock sound, and a harder one at that. The harmonies are still there (a good thing), showing off the group as a whole. There's intensity here though, giving the sound something so much more. Please, let us know you mean what you're singing. Something of note here - this is the first song on the album that I really can hear any sort of foreign accent going on. Really gives the whole thing a new image.
"Deep In Your Soul" comes at us with a slight sultry beat, with a piano to emphasize the sweetness of the track. The song is a simple one that could easily take its place in a movie's romantic dinner scene. Our singer sounds like a younger Michael Buble, though that could be the piano talking. Either way, the best way to describe this one is somewhere between lovely and romantic.
It's songs like this one, "The End,"that remind me, even just a little while later, that these guys really do have something to offer. They've got lyrics about that special someone, but do it in a way that's fun to dance to, with enough rock to be legitimate. This is, as far as I can tell, the best summation of everything they have to offer.
"Beautiful Girl"brings back the harmonies in full-force, with that pop group offering that seems to be up and down here. I can't call it's one of my favorites on the album, but due to the whole being-a-girl factor, I can't say it's my least favorite either. It's a pleasant listen, but nothing I'm putting too much effort or stock into. All-in-all, it's one of those you could throw on in the background and not be bothered by anything that's coming from the speakers.
The blues sound that enters in for "Call Your Name" is intriguing. Even after everything we've heard, this is surprising. I have to say though, on this one, the music and the vocals do not work out together at all. The vocals are still very harmonic with a simple melody, where as the music itself rings out with passion and depth. Separately, I could see this working. Together? Eh, we really need one fantastic strong voice singing out.
"Belinda - Reprise" is the last song. While this wasn't great the first time around, it seems that the pacing has picked up this time around, and that gorgeous voice is back in full force. I love albums where it really feels like everyone's giving it their all for the final number. It's like going to a concert where things end at their absolute best - and what more could you really want? The sweet idea of being true to yourself and loving someone for that is so right, and made even better by this more rock-based reprise version. This is what I'm talking about guys - keep it up!
There's also a hidden bit after the track that... hm. I'm not totally sure what to make of, because it's about a minute of symphonic strings going. While it's beautiful, this final moment has left me more confused than ever.
Added to My Playlist:
- "World Keep Tumblin' Down"
- "Deep In Your Soul"
- "The End"
- "Belinda - Reprise"
It's beyond difficult for a band to really break-out, so any chance to be heard is a good one. These guys present a variety of listening options throughout this album, and while it's not all for some people, they do sort of touch on what everyone would want to hear at one point or another. Sure, it'd be nice to be able to niche them in somewhere in particular, but for one go-around, this is not necessarily a bad thing. Overall, I'm thankful for the chance to hear this whole thing, and could really see some incredible shining moments that could prove to give this band a really bright future.
This one came to me by request from the artist himself, via the comment section on the site, and I'm excited to see what this guy is serving up.
"So Far" is Dean's 2003 release, available to hear at http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=586663. His description there say that the music we'll here is a mix of Tom Petty and The Wallflowers, each of which can certainly lay a claim to fame in music. Dean's been all over the entertainment industry, but this work is what brings him back to his love of music, especially his 70's and 80's pop rock influences. His main goals lie in connection, be it in getting feedback from his listeners or just writing a song with an idea to convey to those who will listen.
The first two songs on this page are newer tracks, so we'll actually start with the third track listed, "Freedom Ain't Free." Now, what may be my favorite part here is that each song has a quick little artist-written description. For this one, it's "a rollicking rock sing-a-long." The downside is that we only get 30-second clips here, without buying the CD. I know, sad, right? But hopefully an impression is made. As for this first one, it's a rocking start to the album for sure, gearing us right up for more.
"Crazy Love" is of course about a troubled relationship. It's straight out of the 90's if you ask me, fully based on the guitar and letting everything else take a pretty typical beat in the background. The vocals are gritty enough to feel some pain, but good enough to sing along to. I can't say I love the song itself, but the sound? Yes, more please.
"A classic rock song about redemption" just screams Bruce to me, as we go in to "Too Much To Deny." Wait - Mellencamp is a more accurate assessment, I think. It's steady and misty, chugging right along in the same vein as the rest of the album thus far. I like it. I could see where hearing some of these a few times over would eventually gain you a new favorite song. Also, it seems like the clips are getting longer, which is sort of awesome.
"I'll Be There" is not the Jackson 5 cover I always hope for when I see this title. Instead, it's taking us into an even grittier sounding number from Dean. I have to say, for this one, it's a little tough to enjoy. There's a threshold for grit that can definitely be passed, and here it is. While there's even a slight Willie Nelson sound going on, I just can't get into this one, sorry.
No pre-description on this on, "One More Chance," but there's something familiar about the strums on the way into the song that build up anticipation. And the message really winds up being straight forward: dude is asking for one more chance after having screwed up. Something a song just needs to be simply understandable like this, with a good guitar and back beat on a regular drum set. This hits the mark on all areas.
"Truth In Love" has the note "nice layered guitar work in this one." I don't necessarily find it great to read a bit of boasting by an artist about their own music - if this was a fan's comment, that's different and acceptable. Anywhos, listening on in, it is nice guitar layering. I remember hearing instrumental work like this live my first week of college - dude just kept recording layers from his guitar to loop over one another. It was awesome. Let me pull back from my memories, though, that's really what this sound's liable to do to anyone.
Truth in this "song about a universal theme," "Going Home." There's always something incredible classic and heartwarming about any song like this, even if you're not entirely sure where home may be. In this case, it's where the memories lie, and Dean's got it on the button right here. Just sit and think on this one, please. It could definitely be a lot of things to a lot of people.
"Reinforcements" is said to incorporate a Celtic feel. Now, personally, off the bat, yes, I can hear it as an Irish field song, with the wind controlling so much of the simple sound. This Leonard Cohen up just an octave or two, then taken over by Bryan Adams. Yeah, I know, lots of references on this particular review.
Apparently the ending of "Change For Good" is very much like a rock anthem, which is tough to hear when you're not going to get the whole song. Oh well, have to go with what you've got! The song is a bit depressing, but sort of a kick in the ass. You're in charge of your destiny, so get off your butt and make the changes you want to create a better life.
"Living Love" is second from the end, with this very sweet violin part involvement. This intro and instrumental parts of this are simply lovely. While the lyrics stand on their own and are very sweet, I found myself just excited to get to the next instrumental bridge between verses. That was where this song shown the brightest.
Final song time - "Innocense Lost" (exact spelling from the site… 'innocence' next time…). This one's got a beat like an old Irish folk song for the bars, but obviously isn't trying to be that. All that said, a nice ending, though a different tone than I would have expected on the whole.
Sounds I Would Add to My Playlist:
- "Freedom Ain't Free"
- "One More Chance"
- "Going Home"
- "Living Love"
Yah know, I like Dean Taylor's music. It's very reminiscent of bands and singers that are just modern classic performers, whose songs you can't get out of your head, or at least invoke an immediate smile. They cover a lot of ground, and rely solely on their relate-ability to maintain an audience's attention. This is an earlier release, and I wish you the best of luck on continuing your musical journey, Mr. Taylor!
Spotify Listen Link: Train – California 37
New Music Tuesday!!
I have an odd personal history with Train. At first, I really liked them, when I was about 12. Then, some girls in eight grade used "Drops of Jupiter" to try to convince my boyfriend to get back together with one of them instead of me. Then, "When I Look to the Sky" came out and was overplayed and only served to remind me of my Grandfather, who had recently passed, and put me in a dark place for a 14 year old (which was dumb - that's a great and touching song).
I was anti-Train for a while. I just couldn't get passed the sour feelings from bad situations. Then, "Hey Soul Sister" came out, and my best friend in Nashville and I danced around our cars ("soul dancing!") and I finally had something good to associate. The other singles from that album, "Save Me, San Francisco" and "Marry Me" changed my world view - er, band view, and I appreciated them so much more now.
So now we get their latest, California 37. Their music, and my experiences with it, just has gotten better over the years, so I'm excited to see what's up next, especially given the first mega-pop song, "Drive By" that was released.
This album was basically written over the course of touring and three years. This is one that the members of the band actually say they enjoy hearing over and over again, which says something when you have to play them all so many times over.
"This'll Be My Year" takes a little trip through history first, almost al-ah "We Didn't Start the Fire," working through year by year, including the major events of them all. I don't think it necessarily goes year-by-year, but I haven't been paying the best attention. The chorus seems to have almost nothing to do with the verses - they could actually be parts of two totally different songs. I guess he's sort of counting down to the moment he's finally gotten the girl, because he does mention wishing she had been with him during each thing. Journey, not the destination, kind of thing... but a little reversed?
The primary single hits us next, "Drive By." I find this to be an awesome song because it's based on devotion. I like the grounded nature of the whole thing. I actually just saw this on the VH1 countdown this morning for the first time, and it's cute. I determined two things from viewing it there though: (1) the lead singer is really not terribly attractive, and (2) this is the first song since the Beastie Boys to reference a Hefty Bag. RIP Adam York. Regardless, this is a great groovy song, perfect for driving to, especially in the sunshine with someone awesome. Not that I'd know.
"Feels Good at First" is the upcoming single, but we haven't heard it really yet. It's very simple, utilizing only two guitar chords as he sings, bringing in a flute and harmonies about a minute or so in. The whole theme is about things changing, especially in love, but hell - is all feels good at first. But yeah, don't forget that first part.
Ashley Monroe comes on for "Bruises," which is a very light sounding song. Love the first line: "haven't seen you since high school. Good to see you're still beautiful." Basically, it's a reunion of two people who've seen each other from the beginning. Small town story, for sure, and completely relatable. Pretty simple lyrical work in the chorus: "everybody loses - we all got bruises." They reminisce about their past and the people they've lost touch with. The most interesting part to me is probably the interaction of the voices - it really does sound conversational.
"50 Ways To Say Goodbye" starts off with this mariachi theme, and I have to say, it is really weird. They sort of return to the sound of "Drive By" a little, but now have this little Spanish-western sound accompanying. I don't know if it's be better or worse without these sounds involved, but the song just doesn't sit well with the normal ear.
I do have to say, the title "You Can Finally Meet My Mom" makes this sound more like a Lonely Island album than a Train album. Of course, that's not what this is. It's a song on what things will be life after death. He lists off people he could hang out with in heaven (including Chris Farley?), but how he won't, because he'll be with the girl he loves - who I'm guessing died? And how she can finally meet his mother. Interesting line: "even Bieber ain't forever." Again, a little inappropriate to giggle here, but so goes the writing. I think the end message is to value life while you have it. That, and name a hell of a lot of celebrities.
"Sing Together" is very cute, musically. It has that ukelele strum of the islands. This is what I'd consider Train to be now - cute songs that couples think of each other during. Some are a little too sickeningly sweet for the single crowd to appreciate. I guess the sentiment is nice enough though - as a final gift, after death (dear god, could this band be more twisted?) he says they can enjoy memories and singing together of the old times and good times.
I'm still, at two minutes in, trying to figure out the point of "Mermaid." I might be taking it too literally, but it sounds like a Spanish-music influenced song about meeting a mermaid and falling in love. Er, maybe just a beach-obsessed girl. This is one of those ones you tuck in the album and probably never release as any sort of single. It just doesn't have the selling power they probably need to make this actually work.
"California 37" sees Train go a little more electronic at the beginning, so kind of comes out of it as the song goes on, those his voice never does quite sound the same throughout the rest. Odd choice for an effect, but whatever. It's really a strange kind of sound throughout and completely doesn't fit with the rest of the album really. I want to say it would at least make for a good driving song, as that's what the song's title/album name is based on, but nope, not hearing that either.
"We Were Meant For This" kind of takes on the nicer youth perspective. I guess Train's always been pretty good at handling this viewpoint, even as the years go on. They have always been able to give something to the graduation playlists out there. The musical breakdown around two and half minutes in is probably the best part - love rock instrumentals like this. The bagpipes toward the end are a little odd, but hey, I guess when you're looking off into the future horizon, that's what you hear.
Final song time. This is "When the Fog Rolls In," aptly titled. It's a slower song, lots of lines about the past and moving on and whatnot. There's actually almost a gospel feel to the whole thing, giving a different sort of ending sound compared to the rest of the album. This has been an album with a lot of goodbyes, which is a little hard to take in a full-length album, but at least this one does feel right in place.
Added to My Playlist:
I got too excited here. I thought that the band was getting better and better, so a new album had to be great, but maybe the peak had been reached. I really don't get what the whole death theme was about throughout the tracks. Maybe there's research I haven't done and something happened to trigger the writing. Or maybe this is Train's last hurrah.
Oh, you think THAT's a provacative picture? Try this one. Mhmmm.
So, a lot of people I know really do not like Maroon 5 at all. I have to admit, I actually really enjoy a lot of what they put out. Songs About Jane is one of the few CDs that stays in semi-regular rotation for me. I love the jazz feel to a lot of their music, even if they claim to be a rock band. While everything since then has not necessarily lived up, it's never been a bother to me in any way.
This band's making its tenth anniversary this year as "Maroon 5" (they were "Kara's Flowers" for 8 years prior), and this is only their third studio album. While high numbers of albums says a lot of about a group's ability to write, I think there's something just a noble to having this few number. The band has managed to do this, all along producing pretty damn good tunes, and maintain a great fan base (minus many of my friends, apparently). To me, it seems like they take the time needed to put a lot out in one fell-swoop (oddly, the exact opposite of Robyn's approach, as we learned yesterday). They tour and promote and just are a generally good example of industry survivors.
Mutt Lang is the producer on this, and I note this mainly because of the name - and the fact that HE approached THEM to do the work - when tons of people are knocking down his door trying to get him on their projects. Apparently, he really pushed them. He had them record and finish a whole song, then re-strip the entire thing and do it in different ways, just to get the absolute right sounds.
No exact track listing I can find matched up with what Spotify gives us, but this grouping does include what we came here for - the Grammy nominated "Moves Like Jagger" (only included in the re-release). On top of that, there are some bonus tracks included that only seem to be on foreign and a few iTunes releases. That said, follow along in the fun with my on Spotify, and let's get this party going!
Ahhh sweet memories of Dalton in Glee to start with for "Misery." Admittedly, not my favorite song lyrically. I mean, come on, buck up dude. Nah, I just can't get into the songs of self-pity, especially those set to such funky music. That's the thing - the music is fantastic! The melodies are even just perfect for the arrangement. As long as I don't get too lost in the lyrics, and just give over to the instrumentation itself, this is a wonderful song. So much fun with the perfect groove.
Can I be her for like... a minute? Or 3:30? Talk about letting your wild side out. Hush boys - that's his girlfriend. And that's kind of an abusive relationship... But hell, if Adam would let a girl do all that and still have his hands all over her... sigh. This is so twisted, and kind of hilarious as it goes on.
"Give A Little More" is like this perfect disco song for this age. It's got all the vocal effects on it you could want, and the melodies scream Saturday night fever. I don't know where the influences came from for this album, but thus far, it's a far cry from their first. Sure, Adam's falsetto is still there - and might I add, he can work that better than anyone else I've reviewed here. But something still works as the group branches out.
Hm. relatively simple performance video. I feel like it's been a long time since we've seen one of these from them.
"Stutter" has a little more of the sound we were used to, but sinks into this other funk sound that shows a different side of the group. While the vocal trail from Adam in the bridge are maybe a little too feminine, the melodies work. Okay, the more I get into it, I think this would be better sung by a female, but the song is still something to listen to. The beat's a very steady swing-your-hips-to type of rhythm. Here's a live performance of it, and actually... I kind of wouldn't mind seeing them in concert.
The "oohs" of "Don't Know Nothing" have lost me. I like the disco influence, but it's too much here. This is where every song is starting to sound too similar, and if I don't get a break soon, it'll be awful. The best part of this is the slight rock edge in the bridge that reminds you this is a band, not something manufactured in a studio.
"Never Gonna Leave This Bed" is so damn catchy. I know a lot of people this this is a dumb song, but it's kind of twisted-ly romantic. And come ON - that chorus?? I get it stuck in my head every time. This was the relief from the disco sound we needed so badly a few minutes ago, at least. The guitar gets a chance to sound like itself for a change! Anywhos, the song's about staying. He, of course, needs to say it in the middle of the night, but at least he says it. At least he wants to be there. Damn it.
I love a band with a sense of humor. Way to take the concept as literally as possible boys. :)
Some damn good light funk gets to playing "I Can't Lie" with this great sound and rhythm throughout. You can't help but closing your eyes and giving in. Okay, maybe YOU can, but I can't. This is a great one for the band as a whole, as their sound fits it in every way, shape, and form.
"Hands All Over." Time for the rockin' title track. There has always been something insanely sexy about Maroon 5, even with the scrawny-ness that is Adam Levine. They just sweat it in their music from time to time, and this is no exception. Sure, I could go into how this is about love and relationships and blah blah blah, but with that guitar coming in, there's far more here. Remember once I said there's always a bedroom song? This is it, and things are hot. And on that note, here's an animated video.
"Take my hand. I'm going through hell; afraid nothing can save me but the sound of your voice." The end of the chorus isn't wonderful, and the best is just to staccato, but there is something to "How" that is keeping me hooked to every word of this song. It's heartbreaking, and that's putting it simply. This one's tough, and probably a good crying song if it weren't for the upbeat nature.
"Get Back In My Life" starts off with just a bit too much falsetto and continues on just a little too mundane in its treatment of dancing. I understand they have other songs like this, so maybe it's just boring at this point. Or perhaps it just blends a little too well into the background.
Slowing things down, we get "Just A Feeling." I despise repetitive choruses - make your point with more works, especially when three are not doing it for you at all. It's a nice break in the album, to slow down just a little bit to enjoy a smoothness that their music can provide, Unfortunately, it's another one that can fade into the background thanks to lack of impact.
"Runaway" has a great beat, and I mean that in the way that it hits emphases from time to time. I actually had to listen to this a few times because some things came up while I wanted to be typing, but I loved it more and more each time. Actually, I got abandoned in a Facebook chat at an intense moment, so this song had incredible timing. The drama is just a perfect touch as a whole to make the song intense without adding dark tones to the entire thing. It's really just well done, and that's all.
These guys certainly know how to film in outstanding places. And how to time waves on beat with a symbol smash. Well played, sirs. It's kind of cool - to take something that he's trying to use as an escape as his form of running away. That's the only way i can think of this - because I think we all have something like this to escape into when needed.
Well shucks Maroon 5, how did you know Lady Antebellum would be an instant win of my heart? The song is "Out of Goodbyes." It's nice to hear Hillary's voice again, even if I didn't love their last album. God, this is a sad song. It's beautiful though, even with the sadness factor. I promise I didn't cry too much, if you're concerned.
Dwight Yoakam. -_- Only one other person will know what I mean by that.
Otherwise... whew. Intense and un-expected video.
It's odd, but "Moves Like Jagger" with Christina Aguilera sounds different on the album. I think it's just how the approach is for the song in an album setting, rather than with a radio lead-in. The beats are clearer, and the song in entirely more enjoyable. I always have wanted to hear this one in the middle of a club, and it has, unfortunately, not managed to happen yet. This is a total let-go song. It's also an incredibly good flirt song in the midst of dance-floor madness. I just think everything abou this is fun - exactly as it's meant to be. And Josh, Christina is the female vocal that comes in around 2:00. And now, for the absolutely hilarious, wonderful video to accompany it. Seriously, this is out of this world!!
"Last Chance" is one of those bonus tracks we were talking about. It's got this kind of classic song to is throughout the beginning, almost in the vein of a loung singer. And I have no idea if I spelled loung right. E or no e? Spell check isn't picking it up. Anywhos. There's the sweet guitar line throughout this the gives it a sensual, seductive tone, despite it being about holding on. Oh the music just works somehow in that magical way.Oh my, some intense drums and piano hitting for "No Curtain Call." Maybe it's the title, but this does sound like a very climactic moment in a stage show. Damn, there's nearly a symphony playing behind them as the chorus hits. This is unlike anything I've personally ever heard from Maroon 5, and it's about the same thing - giving it all for someone. There's no ending to whatever's going on - this is a forever kind of love, even if the music claims a fight. But maybe that's just it - a fight for love."Never Gonna Leave This Bed - Acoustic" comes at us next, and it's simply beautiful. There's a simple bass drumming behind it, with, maybe, some wooden blocks, and a simple piano and slight guitar involved. The vocals are light and gorgeous in a way that make you want to just drift away on the wind form the ocean breezes in the video. However, this is completely its own track. This is wonderful.Same thing goes for "Misery - Acoustic." This is a totally different song. The emotion is there in a way that was completely missing before. It's simply a great song in this very, and one I think could have been an excellent release to the public at the right moment."If I Ain't Got You - Live" is the final song. It's a cover of the Alicia Key's hit song, and it's astounding. Adam found a niche here at the right moments. This is a brilliant, heart-full song in its original form, and hearing a male voice makes it something different, yet still holds all that passion Alicia brought on a few years ago. This song can bring a person to their knees in tears with the emotion it pours out. So freakin' amazing. Whew. Sing it...Added to My Playlist:
I think it's safe to say I really enjoyed this album. Granted, those disco tracks had me a bit concerned for a while, and I thought the whole thing was going downhill. But they, I don't know, there were just just so many gems that worked so well. They were worked perfectly, filled with emotion, yet the fun element you need when listening to Maroon 5. My only disappointment is that I didn't hear this sooner.
- ""Give A Little More"
- "Never Gonna Leave This Bed"
- "I Can't Lie"
- "Hands All Over"
- "Moves Like Jagger"
- "No Curtain Call"
- "Never Gonna Leave This Bed - Acoustic"
- "Misery - Acoustic"
- "If I Ain't Got You - Live"
"1, 2, 3, 4..." Sorry, this is the only song I knew off the top of my head from Feist. Actually, I'm looking forward to hearing more, because this is an artist I always wanted to know about and hear more from, but somehow never got to it. I hear from some guys i know that this album is awesome, and I'm still in amazement that this is her fourth (like I said - clearly have not been paying attention). This one's part of our Bonnaroo series, so hopefully I can add her to my list of shows to see.
What makes a little more sense as to the absence of hearing the music is that, after the last album and tour, Feist felt "emotionally deaf" and took two years off. I mean, yeah, music is emotion and it takes a lot out of you. I know I've gone through some of these albums and just needed to listen to something completely different to feel better. I know it's not the same thing, but in my head, it makes this situation relatable. Anywhos, this time around, we're expecting more noise and use of "new and old instruments." There are apparently jazz and blues influences throughout, and music that she has worked on for years, even longer than things on her previous albums.
To follow along, check out the link to Spotify and stream the whole album.
We start things off with "The Bad In Each Other," and this almost modern country/folk feel once the guitar comes in. There is definitely some play with rhythms abound here, even before the vocals begin. I'm almost lost in the backing, so I haven't heard the lyrics yet. There's a male background though, which compliments the story throughout of bringing this side of each other out. Even Feist's voice has a cool twang to it (un-annoying). It's a bit dragging, but I don't know - maybe it all works. Interesting start for an album, but maybe order wasn't a big consideration.
I don't think we're in for a very uplifting album here, if titles are any indication. "Graveyard" definitely gives a haunting voice as it moves like the shadows and mist along the yard. Interesting use of range with the higher-pitched 'ahs' in the chorus and lower tones through the verses. It's tough to understand a lot of the lyrics due to the treatment on the voice and drop-offs of the words. The horns are playing what I can only hear as a funeral song.
"Caught A Long Wind" has sealed it for me - there's no fun to be had on this album. Guest she really was drained after that tour. Every part of this is down and I feel like there's just a drowning going on, or struggle to get back out. I guess it's the mood the title sets as well, just making it hard to breathe. These songs exist, and sometimes work so very right, but this one hurts, even with the gorgeous string job that almost redeems it. The lyric that helps is the end, where there's hope in risk - "took a deep breath; caught a long wind."
Okay, well, maybe there's some jazz beat going on after all for "How Come You Never Go There." Granted though, the subject is less than happy. It's a questioning of him because she's alone. "How come you never go there? How come I'm so alone there?" Bah, stupid close-to-home songs. He doesn't read this anyway. This definitely has the jazz influence we were promised at the start, but it's still dragging a little. I love the beat of the chorus, but the rest is tough.
"A Commotion" kicks off with a well-paced... string beat? I think that's what's up here. It's even making an attempt at a build a bit. There's some mystery built around the song with the vocal parts and how they attack the notes. This would be an awesome choral number actually. There are different parts involved and the song stays interesting because of it. This is definitely a cool experiment in sound that hit the right mark.
Cute is a striking adjective as we move into "The Circle Married The Line." There's little bells involved here and there, and you almost sense that there's happiness embedded somewhere within it all. If you were looking for more classic-Feist sounds, I think this is probably it, but I'm speaking from a commercial standpoint of having only heard the big singles. This isn't as good as my memory serves, but it gets better as the song goes on. There's something there, for sure.
"Bittersweet Melodies" is completely true to its name. There's an incredible sadness that I don't think I've ever heard in a song that uses such major chords. Not to mention a tambourine. It's a perfectly interesting song lyrically as you progress through the lines and music. It's one I need you to hear for yourself in hopes of understanding.
"Anti-Pioneer" is one of those songs I mentioned that she's been working on for years - 10 years to be exact in this case. It's very flightly and low, and hard to deal with honestly. I get the appeal to some, but this is just not up my ally. Now, if I needed something to dull me to sleep, this would be a perfect track. The words are nearly completely non-understandable. The notes the instruments hold fade after being drawn out so long. It's quiet.
It doesn't pick up much at all with "Undiscovered First." In fact, you can barely tell a song has started until she's gotten into singing. It picks up slightly in effort to grab your attention a little more. The chorus that comes in gives the song a slight bit more power and keeps things a little more interesting as we progress. It's a nice tribal chant of sorts, but maybe that's just those drums that are speaking to me.
"Cicadas And Gulls" is one that passed me by. I don't think my volume is up high enough to deal with this album. The voices and instruments blended extremely well together, and it's a track that requires no effort at all to hear, because it just exists in the air.
Feist and a guitar has a very airy feel, as we hear in "Comfort Me." Again, no effort to hear this. It's the kind of music you put on while you're busy in another room or really just need something for the background. I've heard things like this played in the back at parties, but they were definitely more mellow experiences. There is a chorus and drums that come in a little later, so maybe I spoke a little too soon. Although, it still ends on a low note emotionally, despite the high note send off."Get It Wrong, Get It Right" is the final song on the album, and brings in a cool sounding array of musical instruments together at the start. It's still a very relaxing track. The sleigh bells, I think, are being used just slightly and definitely give a winter feel to the whole thing in parts. Actually, that's a great way to describe the album - very cold and dry, just as a winter day.Added to my Playlist:
It was a very regular album for me, nothing to brag home about. I think it's a slow start to come back after a couple of years, and it's either trying too hard to be something weird or not living up to it quite enough. In all, I'm not terribly impressed, but the name is still there, and that's something I suppose.
- "The Bad In Each Other"
- "A Commotion"
2012 Grammy Note Addition: Nominated for:
It's funny. The videos and song selections were done for this review yesterday night before I even went to bed. Thought I was going to get this done much earlier, but, well, you know how that plan always goes!
- Record of the Year - "Grenade"
- Album of the Year
- Song of the Year - "Grenade"
- Best Pop Solo Performance - "Grenade"
- Best Pop Vocal Album
- Producer of the Year, Non-Classical: The Smeezingtons
I love Bruno Mars. I think he's adorable and has a voice like no one else that's out currently. Yes, he's been compared to Michael Jackson, but there is something more modern about his style, as well as R&B as opposed to pop in his voice. This CD is full of songs that are fun and relatable. It covers just about every area you'd want it to - there's something for everyone and every situation. The title was actually decided on to show a mix of simplicity in music and youth in spirit - something for the girls and the boys, as he puts it.
Doo-Wops & Hooligans was released in 2010 and reached #3 on the Billboard charts. He has received two Grammy nominations for 2012 (no, I don't understand why it's being nominated 2 years after it's release, but then again, the Grammy's haven't made much sense in quite a few years), including Album of the Year, for which he'll be competing against Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Foo Fighters, and the favorite to sweep, Adele.
A lot of people, including myself, consider this Bruno's debut album, but he actually had an EP released earlier in the year called It's Better If You Don't Understand, of which all four tracks made it to the primary album as well. It really served as a preview for what was to come when he broke out as a star with this album instead.
The first song, "Grenade" kicks things off in possibly the darkest way the album ever reaches, and even then it's got an upbeat musical sound that keeps us dancing. It's about absolute devotion and that person just not getting it. There's anger in that sweet voice of his, which I think is a very odd way to start off an otherwise extremely happy toned album. This was the second official single, reaching #1 on the Hot 100. Here's the video that was released, which is just an intense story that depicts Mars as almost a modern hero of sorts, making it through despite the anger.
Now, as good as that video and the song are, I need to show the same song in a different style - acoustically. This guy really does have a wonderful and soulful voice that makes you melt in the sweetest way possible. He's not someone you'd swoon for, but that voice just makes you feel great. Anywhos, here's a song from the Billboard.com studio session I just had to include. If you go to the page, it'll actually give you more of his music to see in the same manner. I highly recommend it!
"Just the Way You Are" was the first official single and the second song on the album. Now we are getting into that happy Bruno mood. And gentlemen, you all need to take note - this will easily land you any girl. We're all just that insecure, no matter what's going well, to need to hear this.
Ahh. That was just absolutely lovely. It's, in a lot of ways, one of the most perfect love songs. It's upbeat and you don't get dragged down by the weight of music that some love songs provide. The message is just right and perfect for anything. I remember the first time I heard it on the radio, the DJ opened things saying "this guy has written every girl's favorite song ever," and yeah, he was pretty on there.
I have hit my first dis-liked song on the album, "Our First Time." The subject matter is very clear - first time making love. It's hot, sure, but I feel like there's too much of a reach for Boyz II Men / Michael Jackson here. I really thought this was an old R&B song from the 80s, and I think we've actually passed our quota and time for these ones. Let the classics live.
"Runaway Baby" comes up next, and I'm going to take this opportunity to show you a live (albeit televised) performance:
Woo, he can move too! This was an awesome throwback concept for a performance, and I think this brings him into the realm of being an entertainer, and really into his own as an artist. Never before has a man broken my heart and made me want to dance all at once like that. He's shoving her off because he's that damn good. This is the doo-wop part of the album, by the way. It's just so much fun!
Oh but wait, there's "The Lazy Song" which I'm pretty sure no one can help but enjoy. I don't even mind the Jersey Shore references. It's still such a well-written song that you can't help but smile at. There are even two videos that were released for it, both of which I need to share, as they are equally hilarious:
SNL skit anyone? And come on, at least your toes are tapping - your head may even be bopping. It's just that great of a song. You've had this day. And now there's a soundtrack to it!
Not gonna lie, the Glee performance of "Marry You" is what got me into this song. I actually have this whole scenario in my head of being a wedding performer and leading out the wedding party while singing this.. and I can't believe I just admitted that to the Internet. Yes, it's a morally horrible song, but it's adorable! Young, stupid love? Wee! Let's go!! Oh and nice use of wedding bells in the background.
"Talking To The Moon" is another one I just can't seem to go into. I get the sadness in the concept, and I love that there's a piano taking control of the music. It's very pretty, but it bores me (as does his most recent new single by the way). I'm a believer in that idea of looking to the moon and knowing that someone else is looking at the same on, and thus feeling together, but musically I don't feel this conveys it.
This next song has become one of my favorites though: "Liquor Store Blues (feat. Damien Marley)." Yes, I'm aware of how that makes me sound. This is brilliantly put together though. It's reggae without brinking on overly-annoying. There's that rock feel that I loved about Michael Franti, and freaking Damien Marley is featured on it.
Even the video is fitting without being typical. Just a great number all around.
"Count On Me" will now and forever be my song for my "little sister" Colleen. It's the perfect friendship song! Everything about it is so simple and endearing. The instrumentation is kept to instruments you could could probably make from things around the house, and the melody is light and airy. The lyrics are meaningful without delving too deep into metaphors. "You can count on me like 1, 2, 3, and I'll be there... and I can count on you like 4, 3, 2... 'cause that's how friends are 'sposed to be."
"The Other Side (feat. B.o.B. & Cee Lo Green)" is the final song on this album, and, quite frankly, I wish it wasn't. I don't mean that in a good way - I actually do not like this song. I love all three artists we have here, but the number as a whole feels over-produced and under-appreciated in the writing process.
Stuff I Wouldn't Mind Hearing Again:
Here's something that I just read that is going to bug me about this album: Mars is only credited as a writer on TWO of the tracks ("Marry You" and "Count On Me"). I really wanted him to write more of his own tracks, as I've noticed the best and most lasting artists tend to do. To balance though, he does have writing credits for the hooks he sings in "Nothin' On You" and "Billionaire." Sadly though, he had been signed to Motown at one point, but it was unsuccessful. Ugh, that's heartbreaking. Write more, stick to this style, regardless of the semi-obvious fit to that other label, and keep releasing things NOT like "It Will Rain" or whatever that crap was.
I really did love this album, and wish it had come out in 2011 so that I could have it on my year's best list (coming out tomorrow!!), but sadly, despite the weird Grammy nod a year late, it didn't. It's still an impressive CD and I could listen to these tracks over and over again. He's fun and new and something completely innovative while still creating the nostalgia I think we crave.