NEW MUSIC TUESDAY!!
I was incredibly excited about the fact that Lady Gaga was coming out with new music... right up until I heard "Applause." Now, let me be clear about this - I've never liked a single one of her songs right off the bat, but they've always grown on my eventually. I didn't even remotely like "Applause" until I heard they perform it on "Glee" (hint - it's better with male voices for some reason), and I still can't listen to it all that often. Catchy? Hell yes. Loving it? No.
That said, I want to know what she's bringing us this time around. Gaga is one of the most versatile artists I've ever heard, able to do every kind of genre of music on one album. Hold your breath though - the goal here was an album full of hit pop songs. Yikes.
And the Spanish guitar plays us in… unexpectedly. “Aura” gets going, and Gaga takes on her total creep voice. Just when you think there’s something entirely familiar going on, it’s really thrown for a loop as that same guitar bounces off the wall. What exactly did I get myself involved with here? Gaga has always had a flair for the odd, but this is a little out there even for me. And she makes it damn clear that this is the beginning of “Artpop” just but that last insert at the end of the song.
“Venus” is the second song, and third single if I’m not mistaken. I’ve heard it on the Billboard playlist on Fridays. Wiki says otherwise, but you never know there. Anywhos, it’s a weird mix of a lot of odd phrases thrown together. There’s a method to this madness, clearly, because that’s how she rolls. And I think this is a track that could very well grow on me over time. It’s at this point that I’m glad I found the description of this album of “a celebration and poetic musical journey” because I think the whole sound just became much easier to swallow. It’s not just a mish-mosh of various and tough songs to pump in the dance club. There’s almost sense here.
What’s a little weird in this experience is that the songs do sound remarkably similar. Maybe I’m just getting used to Gaga’s style, but“G.U.Y.” doesn’t seem to stray much from the sound of the previous two. I know what’s bugging me – there’s lots of weird little higher-pitched laser sounds and electronic noises that are searing through my head. It gets to hurt a little.
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“Sexxx Dreams” is not one I could ever listen to with my mother, but it’s actually kind of a really cool song musically. There’s a nice melodic element, somehow. The music hits the beats hard, but is a little softer on the ears so you can loose yourself a little more without gaining an incredible headache.
T.I., Too Short, and Twista join in the games with “Jewels n’ Drugs.” Okay, now here’s a different sounding track. I don’t just mean on the album, though it is, but I mean it’s a different Gaga sound entirely. This is much more mainstream hip hop sounding, and while Gaga still takes on the majority of the verses, it feels like she’s the extra artist against the rappers. And the concept is even a little more sweet than expected. It’s really love-focused – yeah, you’re surprised too, aren’t you?
“Manicure” might be the first one I kind of enjoy fully. Though, the concept feels a little strange. Yes, yes, there’s got to be some deeper meaning behind it all. But listen to the way she says it. I mean, It’s sort of weird, right? I’m not the only person who can be hearing it this way. I do appreciate the rock guitar riff over the electronic bass toward the end. And it’s done.
R. Kelly and Gaga teamed up for the second single, “Do What You Want.” This one has grown on me over the weeks on the chart. Still incredibly sexual, but we have to keep reminding ourselves that Gaga is all about the sexual freedom of, well, everyone. And R. Kelly, as insane as he may be, always has had a smooth voice and sounds fantastic. While I’m not sure I want to see a video with the two of them to this song, it sounds pretty good. I’m not sure though if I want to like this approach to lyrics. She’s giving over and he’s going to take it. It’s a little demeaning, but again, freedom and whatnot.
“ARTPOP” is the title track (duh). So I guess this is how we figure out what the heck that means. It’s the lightest song so far. And I love the juxtaposed harmony approach in the bridge – the low and the high all at once. It’s catchy too. But, I don’t know, there’s something lacking here. It’s not a touching song the way I want it to be. It’s just kind of a lull there in the middle of the album.
Whoa, okay, “Swine” might be the angry ex-girlfriend song. I mean, you’re calling the guy a pig. Or, yourself when you’re not with him. Wait, okay, now I’m just confused. Sigh. I’m confused once again. I thought I liked this for about a minute.
“Donatella” belongs on a runway, and I’m not just saying that because of the title. The beat would be such an incredibly great walking rhythm. The lyrics are all about fashion and getting ready for the new trends. Yeah, there’s an underlying message about a girl who’s so deeply invested, but you can’t tell me that this wouldn’t make a fantastic runway walk.
And then it moves on to “Fashion,” which brings back a more prominent piano. Thaannnkkk you for that. It’s almost a downright pretty song in a lot of ways. It’s also a song that I feel like oozes self-confidence both for the artist and the listener. This is the first one on the album that I’d want to blast while getting ready because it’s make me feel that good. Damn girl, it’s about time. Only took you about 11 tracks. Anyone else want to yell “WORK IT” to or after this? “Looking good and feeling fine.”
“Mary Jane Holland” is probably something really interesting, and will eventually make for an outstanding character piece a la “You and I.” I look forward to seeing who Mary Jane Holland winds up being. In the meantime though, this is just kind of a meh track for me. It’s not great, but it’s not bad. It hangs there as a filler track until I can see what she makes out of it all.
I had a feeling “Dope” was going to be the slow song. Gaga has a beautiful voice, though she goes into that lower register here that’s kind of hit or miss for her. Some moments are absolutely perfect and beautiful. More often though, they sound strained. Then the like, well, “I need you more than dope” might be an intense declaration of love for some, but for most I think it’s just maybe a little sad. If you look at it from the point of any addiction, okay, cool. Big sweeping love moment. It’s just that the song seems to be meant to sound lovely, and it’s just not really.
“Gypsy” might just hit it right. I really love the lyrics, music, and general letting go dance beat. It’s a song of living life in a crazy way, but knowing that as much as you can do alone, you don’t want to stay that way forever. I can dig that. I could sing this loud, and I bet you could too.
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And for the final song we get the lead single, “Applause.” I have a love-hate relationship with this track. I loved the male voices on “Glee” performing it, and can’t stand Gaga singing it. I also am a little frightened of the video and subsequent performances. And I don’t entirely get the point. It’s loud and kind of fun, and that’s about all this particular song does for me.
Added to My Playlist:
Eh. Ugh. That was not as enjoyable as I had hoped. I miss the Gaga of yester-year.
NEW MUSIC TUESDAY!!!
I remember really loving Eminem when I was younger and he was new. I think part of it came from my older cousin, Anthony, being so into his music. But another big part of it came from that inner desire to rebel and like something my mom would've been upset that I liked.
Yet I still figured out how to defend his art when she figured out I knew who he was.
That said, here's his 7th studio album, making the big come back in a very different rap scene than the one he was last prominent in.
And off we go into Eminem’s newest album. Phew. “Bad Guy” is a lot quieter than I would have expected. It’s an intro track with Eminem going off about his life in the past few years and his recovery from suffering. We also start right off with a hook by a female singer (Sarah Jaffe, uncredited), which I feel like Eminem has figured out how to master in the past few years. While it’s not sticking too much in this instance, I still feel good hearing a familiar voice, both hers and his.
“Parking Lot (Skit)” is kind of just a lot of yelling and sirens. Clearly he’s running from something. And there’s a gunshot. Let’s move on.
In a cool sampling move, “Rhyme or Reason” starts with the questions from “Time of the Season” and Eminem answers them. THEN he samples the melody and gives his own spin to the words. Holy cow, this is creative and kind of amazing. You might not agree with the lyrics all the way, but this is a really cool spin and he makes it all his own. Not badly done at all.
“So Much Better” sounds like pretty damn classic Eminem. The chorus is bitter and loud and I could feel this blasting in my cousin’s SUV in my head. There’s an interesting bridge in there as far as timing and rhythm goes. Listen to it – you’ll hear what I’m talking about. While I’m listening to the anger, this feels like a good time to point out some cool promotional tactics for this album. Did you watch the VMAs this year? Because Dre gave the album title away in two Beats commercials (man, I can’t wait till Christmas). Also, Em went blonde again. Please tell me others out there are as happy as I am.
Well, now that those superficial comments are out of the way… heh, sorry. I like sharing oddball info about the albums I hear. Liz Rodrigues is the uncredited female vocalist on this chorus for “Survival.” It came out in April when it premiered in a trailer for “Call of Duty: Ghosts.” It was then later released in October as a single. If you’re curious, it’s #67 on the charts this week, and has only been there 3 weeks. Weird timing, but whatever. I love the fight feel of this. It’s strong and hard. If this doesn’t show up as an MMA fighter’s entrance theme in the next few months, I’ll be very disappointed.
“Legacy” would make a great WWE promo. See, this is why I need to work in Music Supervision. Sigh. Anywhos, this song features an uncredited Polina, and it’s a lot slower and more lovely. It’s a great anthem without being overpowering. It’s also incredibly well timed in the album, giving a little breath from the hard-hitting tracks surrounding it.
That said, “Asshole” comes fast and hurts like a punch. Skylar Grey is back in our world taking on the hook, which is amazingly light compared to the quick raps around it. I can’t say I love it as an overall song, but damn if this boy doesn’t rap faster and faster every time I hear him. But he’s so clear. I haven’t heard something like this outside of the realm of Jay-Z, and if you know the amount of respect I have for that guy, you know that’s really saying something from me. Whew.
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“Berzerk” was the official first single back in August. You’ve heard it if you listen to radio. It’s charting right now at #25 and has been there for 9 weeks. It got as high as #3 – not bad for such an intense song. Ready for the list of sample credits in this? “The Stroke” – Billy Squier, “Fight For Your Right” – Beastie Boys (which I can’t pick out in the track, but okay), and “Feel me Flow” – Naughty By Nature. I think the sampling licenses probably cost what my apartment’s rent is… for half a year. Ouch. But it’s a good compilation all told, and something about it flows very well. I don’t know that I could ever make all of that work, plus add a rap on top, but hey, this is Eminem.
I’ve heard “Rap God” as well. There are ‘interpolations’ of “The Show” (by Douglas David and Richard Walters) and “Supersonic” (Dania Birks, Juana Burns, Jaunita Lee, Fatima Shaheed, and Kim Nazel) in there. The video premiered on Em’s YouTube channel and was released the next day, making it the third single. It’s his highest charted single this week, at #21, but peaked at 7 (I have the charts at my desk at work, if you’re wondering how I have all this info on hand and love reporting it so much). Eminem raps 97 words in 15 seconds, which he described as “supersonic speed” – 6.5 words per second on average. I’ve never seen a rapper break down their words into numbers, but I both appreciate that and am properly amazed.
“Brainless” has me feeling how a lot of Eminem tracks have in my life – like I’m being yelled at during the verses and just trying to catch a breath during the choruses. I mean, he kind of growls in some of his rapping, doesn’t he? Don’t get me wrong – tone-wise, this guy has an amazing amount of control. He whispers and creates an intensity unparalleled, and he growls and shakes you up.
And now we get another moment to breath. “Stronger Than I Was” is almost border-line ballad. There’s no sampling, and very little rapping. It’s also all Eminem. No singers added. I never would have pinned this as one of his songs. Is this… a love song? Anyone else flabbergasted? I mean, okay, I guess it’s open to interpretation. As he builds up, you kind of realize it’s a self love song, in that it’s the one after the breakup. It’s the anthem about being okay after the fall. And there’s the rapping. Ha, we’ve come full circle on this track.
“The Monster” marks Rihanna & Eminem’s 4th collaboration. It’s super twisted, and not in that cool dark Tim Burton way. It’s sounds a lot like every other song until you hit the chorus. It’s a great duet, but I gotta say, these two have done much better together before.
Now this one’s different and interesting. There’s almost a Southern Rock feel to “So Far…” and I’m digging it. It contains samples of “Life’s Been Good” by Joe Walsh and “P.S.K. What Does It Mean?” by Schoolly D. Granted, it’s all about Detroit, which I wouldn’t have expected given the sound, but who cares? It’s well done, and ever city needs a bragging song, right?
“Love Game” totally almost passed me by. It flowed in so seamlessly from “So Far…” that I never heard the transition. I only noticed that the hook was a little different and looked over. Keira Marie is on here with vocals, Kendrick Lamar is featured in additional rapping, there are samples of “Game of Love” by Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders, and there are interpolations of “The Object of My Affection” by Jimmie Grier, Coy Poe, and Pinky Tomlin. Whew, that was a lot of info to include. The song itself? Well, it kind of bops along. It’s fun, but not hilarious, and that’s just fine.
And we’re back to growling. I promise I’m not complaining. “Headlights” is tough, if for no other reason that is drags and is just tough on the heart. It’s a track that you feel somehow, just a little deeper than the others. I think that feeling has something to do with the backing music. And… it’s a tribute to hit mom? I was not expecting that one at all. OH! Also, Nate Ruess is featured in this, which you’ll recognize right from the start. Is fun. Recording more music, or is Nate just recording with every big artist on the planet? Nonetheless, his voice does add to the slightly haunting quality of this song, including the moments that he hits you with harmonies.
“Evil Twin” launches back out of that nice warm place that you thought you were in. Out comes Eminem’s anger towards, well, everyone. He definitely is taking this opportunity to get it all out. And it’s all against an electronic background – I know you hear that in the background, don’t deny it. The falling ‘notes’ in the back are just as hypnotizing as the rapping over top.
Did you know that was supposed to be the end of the album? We’re now into the Deluxe part. Thanks Wiki. And thanks Spotify – love that you always bring on more. “Baby” keeps things high-octane, not missing a single beat. And you’ve gotta love the “nobody buts Baby in a corner” line. It’s a warning to not ignore because that person you shove off will flip later on. I mean, that’s my little summary of the chorus. Someone correct me if I’m wrong, and then I’d be sorry. But for not, I won’t be. These are the things that Eminem teaches me.
“Desperation” came on completely unexpected. It may be my favorite song of the album Jamie N. Commons is featured, and the whole things is hard-hitting and amazing. It’s a rock song as much as it is a rap song. And that chorus is just incredible and impressive. You could lose yourself in this completely – and I promise I’m not trying to make a cute pun there. AND he calls out Carrie Underwood. Amazing.
Okay, for every good there’s bound to be one that’s less than good. That’s some sort of physics rule, right? “Groundhog Day” is just kind of meh. It is cool that he’s keeping his tone so high, considering you normally here Marshall Mathers reach down a little deeper. The beat is steady and there and just a little annoying, if I’m being entirely honest. It’s those little bells up top. Just, get them out of my head. It’s like a nail being shoved into your brain, at least in my care. I just cannot take it.
“Beautiful Pain” is another one of those hauntingly beautiful songs. Sia comes in to share some vocals (also was a co-writer). Yeah, musically, it’s really pretty. The arrangement’s downright perfect. The words are a little lost on me mostly because I’m trying like hell to stay out of the realm of depression. But maybe it’s a saving song for some. I mean, I’ve always believed that if you can connect to music instead, that can be a saving grace.
All right y’all, last song. “Wicked Ways.” Anyone else less than surprised? This one features X Ambassadors. I’m trying real hard to be into the words, because this dude has some awesome things to say. It’s also been an exhausting experience trying to keep up with every moment throughout this album. This is a good general rap song to end on though, I think. The beat’s classic and the count’s easy to keep up with. The chorus vocals are Imagine-Dragons-esq and keep it moving. Overall, not a bad way to wrap things up.
Added to My Playlist:
I don't think I've sat through an entire Eminem album before, to be honest. Just batches of his songs in Ant's car, nice and loud, through the streets of Parsippany. I'm kind of half loving it, half meh about it. It's a good album as a whole, and the guy is talented as hell. Glad to have him back.
- “Rhyme or Reason”
- “Stronger Than I Was”
- “So Far…”
- “Beautiful Pain”
Spotify Listen Link: Annalise Emerick – Starry-Eyed
This is a friend of mine from back at Belmont. She was always ridiculously talented, and it's been exciting to see her put her music really out there, and even book herself a tour up and down the coast. Let's get her music out there and listened to, shall we?
This is a shorter collection of songs, and we start things off with "You Win." I forgot how light her voice could be. The lyrics are just put out there as real words from a girl. The music itself plays behind her with a folk/country sound that is perfect for a warm September day like today. And the background vocals come in support in just the slightest way to give the right amount of support. Interesting end like to the choir - "Dear old Music City, you win." I couldn't tell you if this is a metaphor to a guy, but having been a college kid in Nashville, if this is a legit love song to that city, it absolutely makes sense.
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"Time of Day" comes in even more solemnly, so I invite you to take a serious listen to the words throughout this. She's a deeper writer for sure, who puts more words into her songs than we're all probably used to hearing. This is the real meaning of poetry through music.
Interesting rocking little number up next with "I Came Around." "Everyone changes with a chance." My guess it's about a lost love (btw, reviewing friend's music is tough - you don't want to mess up the interpretation of what they're trying to do). But it's also about learning and growing because of it, though reflecting on what could've been. I don't know, it's just a really well-crafted idea here, and her voice lends so much credence to that. The music picks up for this one, bordering more on rock than the gentle first two tracks did.
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"Round and Round" slows things back down. There's a breakup in there. There's the attempt to rekindle, but it's not happening, because as she says "it's just too much to begin again." Admit it, you've all been there. I love when the chorus comes in with this awesome power of emotion. That's something awesome and fulfilling in a song. The music throughout actually is pretty interesting. In the second verse, for instance, the beat is just a little off compared to the melody, but it almost sounds like a march. It's really different.
You know why we love folk songs, even though we probably would forget it if asked what our favorite genres are? The stories that they tell. "A Runner and a Singer" does just that, and even asks "what if?" It's a great listen to get that mini-movie playing in your head while you figure out why it's effecting you quite so much.
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"This Love Won't Break Your Heart" is the song I kept seeing across her Facebook page, so we'll qualify it as a single. It takes an old song with an interesting twist. Annalise remains light in her vocal approach, and it's lovely. There's just as much love and warmth wrapped in that voice and the light use of strings throughout the song as any singer belong out something loud and emotional.
We end this collection with Annalise's take on a classic, "Stand By Me." Again, her voice remains light and on the air in an easy, good way. It's the perfect mellow way to end out this album, showing off both her gentler nature and power as a singer.
| | Added to My Playlist:
- "You Win"
- "Round and Round"
- "This Love Won't Break Your Heart"
- "Stand By Me"
Annalise is something special in music. She has a very different voice and approach to music than almost anything you'll hear on mainstream radio. This is really music you need to concentrate on and delve into whole-heartedly - and trust me, you won't be disappointed when you do.
Listening Site: http://www.allmusic.com/album/bach-das-wohltemperierte-clavier-mw0002407591
2013 Grammy Nomination for Best Classical Instrumental Solo.
What do I know here? Well, next to nothing. Thank god for other reviews, who give some background to the matter.
Andreas Schiff recorded his first set of Bach music in the mid-1980's, but this second recording was undertaken with the advances we've had in recording. There are two books of preludes and fugues here, without the use of piano pedals, and we're going to hear pristine control here in his playing. Actually, this could wind up being downright fascinating.
The track listing on this is a bit confusing, so forgive me if I make some mistakes along the way in identification. "Book 1. Praeludium und Fuge C-Dur. Praeludium" sounds like something out of my old piano warm ups, with fingers lightly playing pieces of scales up and up throughout the octaves. "Book 1. Praeludium ind Fuge C-Dur. Fuge" takes it to another place, with more to the layer, and a clear difference between what the hands are doing. The left is keeping a steady set of notes which the right is playing this brilliant counter melody along against.
"Book 1. Praeludium und Fuge C-Moll. Praeludium" takes it all much faster. It's almost hard to keep up, and my finders want to fly along this keyboard just as quickly as his are flying along those keys. The rhythm is very precise through, with every note being hit absolutely separately. "Book 1. Praeludium und Fuge C-Moll. Fuge" in a similar way, though I wouldn't go so far as to say that they seem to fit together. The two have very clear difference in their melodies, providing this writer with a confusing but delightful set of pieces as we continue to move on.
I think I'm only getting to hear clips of these, though the times on the sides could either mean the timing of the clips or the duration of the pieces themselves. Most piano pieces unto their own devices have never been very long. And in the time I wrote those two sentences, the cute and quick bit of "Book 1. Praeludium und Fuge Cis-Dur. Praeludium" has gone by. Now we're heading into "Book 1. Praeludium und Fuge Cis-Dur. Fuge" and I'm becoming increasingly aware that I don't need to keep typing about the first 3-4 words in each of these song titles. But, we've started a trend, and on it shall go! This one is playful as well, but definitely has a slightly more classical tone to the playing. The notes are just slightly more connected, though you could still pick each moment out individually.
"Book 1. Praeludium und Fuge Cis-Moll. Praeludium" takes things much more surprisingly slow. I love a slow sweet piano, especially one that can play ever-so-slightly here and there, giving that bit of playfulness that a song can use as a difference-maker. yes, I'm aware that this is all Bach originally, but let me be impressed on the whole. "Book 1. Praeludium und Fuge Cis-Moll. Fuge" goes even farther in making it a darker tone, utilizing more of those black keys in a minor kind of way that was unexpected, given the rest of the collection so far.
If you're keeping track, we're up to the quick-moving track nine, "Book 1. Praeludium und Fuge D-Dur. Praeludium." Things move fast and precisely. Speaking of which, while I know these are all old composed songs, I should really be commenting more on the person and the stylings of how they're undertaken. "Book 1. Praeludium und Fuge D-Dur. Fuge" is just as fast, and the first that I hear something similar linking it back to the preceding track. It's played with this interesting amount of feeling, almost as if you can feel the player letting his hands come down just and only as needed.
"Book 1. Praeludium und Fuge D-Moll. Praeludium" is so sweetly approached. The upper notes are so gently playing, and the lower are just barely there, then they seem to gradually switch. My ears may be playing tricks on me, but the control of dynamics on that ones what gets me most. As for "Book 1. Praeludium und Fuge D-Moll. Fuge," I am struck by the solemn tone that he can manage to get across. Mostly, this is out of how different the tone can manage to be from one song to another.
If I were smarter about this, and had a bit more time, I'd love to compare the various track by their final title words. There has to be a similarity found there. hummingbird sings on those keys in "Book 1. Praeludium und Fuge Es-Dur. Praeludium." Moving into "Book 1. Praeludium und Fuge Es-Dur.Fuge," as lively as the playing is, one question for y'all, because this is a blog and can say what I want - did you ever thing the music of Bach would evoke someone asking you to "turn it down"? Because my roommate's mother just walked in asking me to. Odd, right? Good, glad to know I'm not alone here amongst the crazy.
Anywhos, moving forward. "Book 1. Praeludium und Fuge Es-Dis-Moll. Praeludium" seems to be battling for that control we heard before. Things are falling so slightly, and just seem out of reach. This one doesn't seem to read as well. "Book 1. Praeludium und Fuge Es-Dis-Moll. Fuge" seems to be the picking up of all that debris. And also, maybe it's been watching "Agents of the S.H.I.E.L.D." too much and am associating.
"Book 1. Praeludium und Fuge E-Dur. Praeludium" brings me back down to earth with a very chamber-like feel. The precise is back and the trailing along the keys well done. It seems to go into "Book 1. Praeludium und Fuge E-Dur. Fuge" without a hitch, just ramping up the speed a slight bit.
In a more dramatic flare, we get "Book 1. Praeludium und Fuge E-Moll. Praeludium," and I say that because of, again, the tone. It seems like this holds more to it in the happenings that may have inspired it. I may be making things up, but isn't that the fun of this situation? It doesn't seem to slow down either as we ramp into "Book 1. Praeludium und Fuge E-Moll. Fuge," which is something I have never been able to play in my life, I'm sure. It's just so fast, and the notes are note all in one spot, creating and even more impressive challenge amongst it all.
"Book 1. Praeludium und Fuge F-Dur. Praeludium" seems to not want to quit either. This is for sure the climax of the book, as my heart beat is racing to catch up. It doesn't end there, as "Book 1. Praeludium und Fuge F-Dur. Fuge" keeps it up. We're edging to the end of this book.
It almost seems like there's work towards a resolution with "Book 1. Praeludium und Fuge F-Moll. Praeludium." The fingers are a little shaky, but they seem to be finding more solid ground as it goes on. Then finally, in "Book 1. Praeludium und Fuge F-Moll. Fuge," things are calmer, more serene. Something's not entirely settled, as though there will be a sequel (or a second disc) but there's just a better sense of calm.
We pick things up in the Spring, it seems, still in Book 1. Praeludium und Fuge "Fis-Dur. Praeludium" (I got tired of continually correcting my computer and typing that over and over). Things are light and airy. "Fis-Dur. Fuge" is still on the positive side of things, but with more of a dance to it, as the fingers are back to hitting the keys just so here and there.
"Fis-Moll. Praeludium" moves faster. Now we're back into those obnoxiously impressive finger movements from before, just wondering how someone manages to keep it that crisp and clear. Then "Fis-Moll. Fuge" slows it back down, like we're more in love and taking it slowly and sweetly. There's a darkness there, don't get me wrong, since the best love stories have it.
But never to let us slip into too much quiet comfort, we move into the fast paced chase of "G-Dur. Praeludium." Traipsing up and down and round and round just never seems to get old somehow. Even as we get more of a calculated dance with "G-Dur. Fuge" and things ramp up a bit, there's a theme going. And yes, I am seeing the pattern amongst the song titles.
"G-Moll. Praeludium" is most definitely darker. It was always a fascinating thing for me to let the lower notes take more of the power, though here it's done so quietly. "G-Moll. Fuge" almost seems to have each hand working together for a chance. Usually they've been counter-acting each other, but now they're moving together so nicely.
We're up and moving about again with the quick and lively "As-Dur. Praeludium" which almost sounds like two pianos playing. The fun gets slowed down just slightly (and I do mean just - the tempo is barely calmer) with "As-Dur. Fuge." I know, I'm running out of things to say here, but you try writing about a several disc set of music with no full tracks and everything just being done on piano!
"Gis-Moll. Praeludium" is a bit more calming, though that lower register keeps up some sort of beat. I think I may be in need of something slow sometime soon. We're not going to get it though. Not with the likes of "Gis-Moll. Fuge" playing. The pin points are still prickling away as the fingers continue moving across the keys like it's nothing.
What's nice though, I have to admit, is that nothing sounds exactly the same. We're up to track 13 on the second disc, and there have been clear and definite differences between songs. "A-Dur. Praeludium" takes on a more upper range, and is downright familiar with those higher notes. "A-Dur. Fuge" brings it back down just slightly, but the flittering bird-like sweetness is brought down and down just as it goes.
"A-Moll. Praludium" is throwing me for a total loop. I can't even type fast enough to keep up with it! It's intense and fun in a lower way that I wasn't expecting, and boy oh boy is it faster. It's follower, "A-Moll. Fuge" continues to take it lower, with those lowest notes almost even sounding like mistakes. I realize that there's no way, but it sure does come across as such.
We're working our way through, folks. "B-Dur. Praeludium" seems to feel my anticipation of the end, and desire to get there. Not that this isn't lovely, but I can't comment on writing really (Bach, way to go, there you go). Commenting on playing alone leaves with with saying things like "B-Dur. Fuge" is very nicely done, of course, but that comes as no surprise, right? How much can I say this guy is a great piano player?
"B-Moll. Praeludium" is helping me re-focus a little. We're looking for excellent pieces amongst excellent music. This takes it slow, almost to the exercise feel I was mentioning in the very first track on the very first disc. "B-Moll. Fuge" keeps that going, just hitting the notes so precisely that you feel like you're hearing a student nervously trying to get every note right for their teacher.
I love to hear call and answers in interesting ways, and this is where a track like "H-Dur. Praeludium" doesn't disappoint. One bit answers another and another and another. It's just delightful. The follow up of "H-Dur. Fuge" is so quiet, and while I had to turn down my volume to accommodate the time, I also may have just settled into a nice grove of relaxing with these pieces.
"H-Moll. Praeludium" is very calculated. You hear how the player almost seems to pluck at the keys, which is funny when you think about the fact that a piano is pulled by strings. Heh, anyone? Okay, well, we end this disc with "H-Moll. Fuge," which feels to me like more of a cliff hanger than a final song. Before, if felt like the end of a story, but here I feel like we're just hitting what could be the best part.
Funny thing about that statement is that, in starting Disc 3, we're starting a whole other Book! Book 2. Praeludium und Fuge begins with "C-Dur. Praeludium" and it sounds as if we're going to get more depth in this book somehow. "C-Dur. Fuge" maybe have me speaking too soon. Things are back to light and airy, but I can wish, somehow, this is only to keep something else covered up. Flash over substance hiding a secret.
"C-Moll. Praeludium" kills my desire to try to make this into a story, if for nothing else than the length of time it would take me at the moment. However, there is a bit of a darker tone that makes me smile. "C-Moll. Fuge" does seem to say that there is something sinister underneath. Eh, sorry, can't stop myself. I love seeing the story behind the music.
At this point, so far in, I do wonder if there is meant to be a connection amongst all of these. I mean, musically, "Cis-Dur. Praeludium" sounds nothing like any of the previous numbers. Hell, "Cis-Dur. Fuge" barely sounds connected to the last one. And some don't even sound period-appropriate, but perhaps that's really a nod to the composer himself.
"Cis-Moll. Praeludium" is a fake ball under pretenses unknown to the other attendees. Sounds like something right out of "Vampire Diaries" history. Hehe. I mean, really, if you've gotten this far, I've got to make you laugh a little. Sort of the way that the rhythms in "Cis-Moll. Fuge" make me laugh. Eh? Eh? See what I did there?
"D-Dur. Praeludium" has got to be hard to play. I hear the falling up and down the keys, which eases a little off of the finger stretching, but to keep such precision throughout is a whole under ball of impressive. Its follower, "D-Dur. Fuge" seems to give the hands a bit of relief, as it moves slowly and steadily instead.
I always wanted to dance ballet. It's agile and beautiful, but it's so hard. It hurts. Can you imagine dancing to "D-Moll. Praeludium?" The footwork alone seems unfathomable. "D-Moll. Fuge" seems to be a more reasonable piece, though the hints of ups and downs don't calm my nerves too much. Luckily, I learned how to write a lot faster than ballet grasped my heart.
"Es-Dur. Praeludium" is quiet, comparatively. It's just gentler on the heart somehow. Understated perhaps? I don't know that I have the right word here. "Es-Dur. Fuge" makes up for that though, being just as loud as that was soft. In the back and forth of these track titles, you start to wonder if some are intentionally opposite in just slight, minute ways.
Ah but then you start to think, maybe the real point here is just to move those fingers quickly. "Dis-Moll. Praeludium" continues the trend of downright fast, where I'm almost hurrying my fingers along typing, just to keep up. Okay, well, thanks for listening, "Dis-Moll. Fuge," any giving me a little slower of a pace to keep up with.
"E-Dur. Praeludium" picks it back up a bit though. I guess for this time around, we'll go back to admiring the precision. It is a really impressive thing. Andras maintains it both in the quick songs and the slower paced and falling tracks like "E-Dur. Fuge." It all remains impressive, especially when I'm 100% sure I could not sit and play these items myself.
Maybe comparing to myself isn't fair, since I haven't been classically trained in a few years, but when you hear something like "E-Moll. Praeludium," you do wonder if there's any chance you could ever master that. Maybe if I worked real hard on just one song like the more-playful "E-Moll. Fuge?" Maybe I could get something as great sounding?
"F-Dur. Praeludium" holds more hope in it. The notes up top even seem to sing of little bright gleams of happiness just beyond our reach. "F-Dur. Fuge" playfully skips along, as though we're children going to play. Really it's probably the happiest little diddy in three discs so far!
Of course that can't last long. We're on a thinking man's journey here, and "F-Moll. Praeludium" doesn't let us forget it. Or, me at least. I like to be inclusive of all y'all as well. And just like that, we're at the abrasive, loud, spectacular end of disc three with "F-Moll. Fuge."
Onto Disc Four! Same book, so you get the beginnings of these track titles already. "Fis-Dur. Praeludium" begins things much the same as before, with impressive piano skills, though this time with little trills added in along the way. "Fis-Dur. Fuge" keeps it going up and down and up and down and in a lovely manner.
"Fis-Moll. Praeludium" comes back down, both in pace and tone. And in an interesting turn, "Fis-Moll. Fuge" does very much the same. I guess we're delving into our darkest senses before the ending?
Even the faster songs seem to have some underlying darkness to them. "G-Dur. Praeludium" has those lower-register notes that sing of a more dire situation underneath a fast-moving world. Its counterpart, "G-Dur. Fuge" doesn't seem to give much leeway either, though try as it might above the rest with those higher notes.
"G-Moll. Praeludium" strips away the cute little top notes, in favor of a tripping-along lower-register grouping of music. It's a touch disjointed and spooky. It is followed by a quicker version, and more clean, in "G-Moll. Fuge."
If my paragraphs are getting shorter, I mean, you can understand, right? The songs are brilliant, and especially brilliantly performed! But even "As-Dur. Praeludium" starts to sound so much like everything else that you run out of things to say. The comments become the same. "As-Dur. Fuge" plays along merrily and seems like we're closing in on some happy ending, until we're not.
"Gis-Moll. Praeludium" sounds like a pressing on to the end type song here. It's quick, it's fluttering, and it's a tad confusing. It's also followed by "Gis-Moll. Fuge," which is much slower and much more subdued. Color me surprised, was definitely not expecting that change at all.
Up next is "A-Dur. Praeludium." This is up there in the sweeter songs, almost coming across as a love song, though don't think romantic. Airy, flirty, that sort of number. "A-Dur. Fuge" picks up the pace again into something just short of a frenzy. You know what, no, it falls pretty short of that, because we've heard other songs that are far more chaotic.
"A-Moll. Praeludium" seems like an exercise where we just keep falling and falling down the keys on the piano. It's a practice in falling down the rabbit hole. "A-Moll. Fuge" works its way back up though. Or, maybe through the gardens where we meet the Cherisher Cat. I can't be 100% sure at this point. Either way, a flit of a piece.
I am ready to wind this journey down, how about y'all? "B-Dur. Praeludium" certainly feels like it. It just feels like something about the playing is on the bring of being done, and I don't blame him one little bit. Even when I was all ready for "B-Dur. Fuge" to pick up and prove me wrong, it too feels like there's less effort put in. That's not to say that the playing doesn't remain perfect, but it just feels more tired.
"B-Moll. Praeludlium" seems to be a last-ditch effort to prove otherwise though. It's up there and seems to be reaching out, asking us for one more dance, one more enjoyment of the merriment, before we call it quits. For the first time, I hear the seamless transition into the next, "B-Moll. Fuge," which remarkably sounds the same. This if the first song pairing I think I've been able to completely say that about! Trippy.
Oh but wait folks, there's more! "H-Dur. Praeludium" is going to keep going strong, with those repetitious trills that bring you in and in and in some more. Please, for the love of goodness let someone out there know what I mean by that. "H-Dur. Fuge" doesn't really do the same, as it subdues itself back down to the bottom of the piano, only rising for air on the higher notes every so often to seemingly make a point. Everything seems to stay more closely knit on this one.
And we're on the last set, folks! "H-Moll. Praeludium" is giving you one last taste of a skip around the piano and man is it an impressing beginning to the end. That end, by the way, is mass insanity in "H-Moll. Fuge." Either Andras is really over this and is rushing through to be done, or at the very least he's throwing all he has left in our faces as he finishes up in a flurry!
What I Would Add to My Playlist if this Album were Available on Spotify:
- "Book 1. Praeludium und Fuge C-Moll. Praeludium"
- "Book 1. Praeludium und Fuge Cis-Moll. Praeludium"
- "Book 1. Praeludium und Fuge H-Dur. Praeludium"
- "Book 2. Praeludium und Fuge Cis-Moll. Fuge"
I bet anyone out there would agree with me that a four-disc piano set is rather difficult to get through. Perhaps as background music, yeah, it's really wonderful and interesting, and may even catch your attention away from what your doing. But writing about over 80 tracks is difficult. All that said, there are not enough great things to say about this artist's approach to these books. The precision is unparalleled, and the tone is amazing. Kudos!
Spotify Listen Link: Rosin Coven – Sing Me Malaise
This one comes to us via Friend of the Hawke site, EveryoneQuestion.com (where you can see the original post of this review). The band and Jason had been in contact, and he brought me into the conversation, being the, eh, 'music' arm of the web projects we seem to find ourselves in. They graciously sent me a copy of the CD (along with an awesome bumper sticker that says "Make Martinis Not War!") and I'm thrilled to be asked - so let's see what we've got here!
Today we’re going to take a listen to the band’s third album, which apparently was in the works for about five years. The one page I got from their PR contact uses a lot of whimsical words – including whimsical – to draw you in. “Elegant,” “lush landscape,” and “cinematic chamber orchestra” are just three that stick out to me off of this page. It looks like, if nothing else, we’re in for a variety of sounds, all of them interesting.
“I Found the Gold” starts things off in a darker mode for sure. The vocals take us straight down this twisting path that leaves me thinking this will be nothing less than a fascinating listen. Then… okay, this jazz-like drum beat comes in and definitely brings about the lounge sound, but in such a different way than I think any of us could have expected. I mean it’s a bass drum – not a piano – that’s creating this mood. What??
And then… well then, we get “Magpies,” which you have to admit that, in title alone, will make you giggle a little bit. The song itself really does take in so many elements and somehow makes it all work. You’ve got a trumpet and xylophone-family instrument playing call-and-answer for a bit, and a group of singers who are clearly reminiscent of the Andrews Sisters of yester-year, doing it in a modern, beautiful, and unexpected way. THEN there’s a western-showdown-style guitar bringing you in to the final two minutes. Whatever notion I had of music that made sense is now probably gone.
Who is does this enchanting voice belong to? I haven’t heard skating this good since “The Fresh Prince” when the Phil and Viv are heading to the Jazz festival. “Notes and Dames” is a faster-paced, more mystery-based sounding song. It’s funny to me that I can classify some of these in terms of literary genres, instead of musical.
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“Stay” takes us back down that darker sounding path, with everything just a bit more deep and insane than the previous songs. It’s got a possessive tone to it, with the sound almost seemingly rooted in some kind of dark magic that, while frightening, is something you just can’t manage to stay away from.
I’m getting into “House of Roses” as I’m getting ready for bed, and the spoken words at the beginning, complete with old-victrola-quality-sounding recording, are probably going to keep me up for a little while. This one, if you couldn’t tell by the mood of the album and the song title itself, is like a ride through a haunted carnival. There’s something inherently beautiful in the sound though. Though the “I love you – do what I say” line strikes me as a little off-putting.
“Lo Que No Sera” comes in menacingly… well, a softer term for that, but you know what I mean, maybe. It actually sounds like the build up for a big Broadway number. Those background vocals are still blowing me away with their precision and pitch accuracy. I’m just unbelievable impressed. Then there’s the strings in this one, which are really what throw the most tension into the whole number, making your spine tingle just a little bit.
They ended the last song singing about opening the window, then “Water, Don’t Talk to Me” starts with the same theme. Interesting transition. This one builds with many voices, creating a whole story through the sound. The lead is the girl in the story, but there are clearly voices around her that influence the decisions and outcomes. Vocally, this sounds like it could be a real challenge, especially with the builds and drops, not to mention extreme breath control in some spots. Just lots of ‘wows’ once again.
“Arrow” is sinister in its approach. The strings are going just quickly enough to build the anticipation, with the voice going up and down, taking you on the journey around and around. This is about it until the familiar lounge sound comes back in around the two minute mark. Voices begin to layer again and the beat picks up just enough to be entertaining and sweet. Granted, some of those chords they’re hitting are still a little crazy (I mean that in a good way), but this is a cooler sound.
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And we’re brought deeply into “Peacock Aria.” It really does have that slightly more classical sound to it, at least of something from another world that we, sadly, don’t know of here anymore. Of course, a lot of this album has that sort of way about it. It’s just something your ear isn’t accustomed to. This has a more minor sound throughout, like you can feel the singer swaying with her eyes closed during the instrumental moments.
“Sing Me Malaise” takes us to title track time. It comes in so low I can almost barely hear it. It’s almost entirely the lead vocalist, but I hear a hint of something backing her… somewhere. Wow, this song is over six minutes long. As hauntingly beautiful as this voice is, I’m hoping something picks up, because this is going to be hard to endure for that long. Oh, ask and you shall receive – there’s the strings and drums and beat picking up to a slow, steady lounge song. If you listen in to the song later on, you’d almost be surprised it’s the same number. But there we go again, slowing down, then picking it back up to the chorus. Really an impressively put-together song.
Are they singing “radiator, pour a drink?” Man, I need better speakers. Anywhos, “Salacious Claque” comes in like something right out of “Boardwalk Empire.” It’s slinky and swanky. The horns take on much more of a definite role on this one. And the male voices that drone in… well, they sound like they would be so cool and interesting on their own, but I have to say that mixed, the sound gets a little messy. The instrumental part is really interesting, and completely deserving of a dance number. I don’t know about this one as a whole though. It’s just not doing it for me and I’m a little ready to move on from the sideshow.
Added to My Playlist:
- "Water, Don't Talk to Me"
- "Peacock Aria"
Wow, what an album. I really would love to go back and re-listen to this, because it's some of the most interesting and intriguing music I've ever heard. The sound is different and elusive and such a cool way. The use of this variety of instruments is amazing, but even more noteworthy is the use and mix of voices. There are things happening here that… well, I can't even place my finger on where you'd hear them in another circumstance, that's how different they are. This is a band that is worth taken a listen to, because you are going to be blown away by how different and fascinating their music really is.
Buy the CD -
Download the songs -
More Britt Nicole -
Spotify Listen Link: Britt Nicole – Gold
2013 Grammy Nomination for Best Contemporary Christian Music Album.
Just scrolling through the Wiki page on this girl, and the first thing I notice is that she turned down a scholarship to my beloved Belmont to pursue music. Clearly she wasn't aware of what an amazing music program they had to prepare for her for a professional music life. Her loss, in my opinion.
But, I'm not here to judge. I'm here to listen to music. And actually, without realizing it, I have heard of this girl before! "When She Cries" used to come on my Pandora all the time, and I really loved it. That was from her first album, so I'm a bit excited to see where she's gone from there, 2 albums later.
An interesting note about this one though: there was a "mainstream re-release." I'm not sure why or what prompted that, but this has technically been released twice. Huh. Welp, we're listening to it one way or another, on yet another glorious adventure into the world of CCM!
The title track, "Gold" kicks things off. Now, I have to warn you ahead of time - the version that Spotify has up has the mainstream version's cover up. Annndddd I've totally heard this song. In all honesty though, I couldn't tell you if it was on a Christian station or on a Top 40. Either way, it fits in to both, and actually is a great feel-good track!
"All This Time" starts much more solemnly, kind of creating this vacuum of sound after that last track of crazy fun. The chorus helps make up for it, though I think the pulse of the verses vs. choruses doesn't really match well. But the subject of the song is really very nice. It's about the redemption you get when you give yourself over to God. In reality, He was there the whole time, you just didn't get it.
Okay, a Trojan commercial just played between. tracks. Cue giggling. Seriously, it's a CCM album, you are not doing this right Spotify. Anywhos, "Look Like Love" continues to take us down the worship track, asking to be transformed and shine with God's light. Have I mentioned I went through a pretty heavy CCM phase a few years back? And in high school? My roommate even prayed over me. The heart needs these things sometimes. Anywhos, I get the phraseology happening here.
"Who You Say You Are" went right past me - ugh, I hate when I get caught up in something else. In this case, it was a job application for a Music Licensing Assistant job in LA for CBS - prayers please! Though Lord knows I've applied for plenty of things like this with no luck. But maybe this feel good, up beat song will help infuse a little hope into my life?
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I really want "Ready or Not" (feat. Lecrae) to be an old song that I knew from Creations long ago. I'm guessing it's a different song though - yup, this chorus is not the same thing. Don't get me wrong, it's got a great beat and keeps going along. It's steady, I suppose you could say, and has very little give to slow down throughout.
"Breakthrough" has one inherent problem, and that's in the airy sound in the vocals. Something with this strong of a message should have equally strong and fierce vocals. These hang on their air a little too much for my taste. There's also this strong dance element to it, which helps and hurts. You can feel the dance breakdown on the cusp of the song, so it'd be interesting to see in a video or even live.
In a really nice mid-album move, we get the self-power song "Stand." I mean, it's about God's ability to give strength in the hardest times, but you get what I mean. It's that one that finds you in the crowd with closed eyes, arms out-stretched, and singing it out loud as if you were the superstar on stage shouting up praise. I was always a sucker for these, because they also make grey highway songs when you're coming home from a rough time.
| | "The Sun Is Rising" is the song sung after you've found your own strength and want to tell someone else that the same can happen for them. Or you can take it personally and rest assured that Britt Nicole is your friend and understands. OR you can take it as God's word of assurance. No matter how you cut it, this is a feel-good song of strength. The issue I take with it is the auto-tune at the end of the chorus sections that seriously screws with your listening experience. Maybe it's just me. Maybe I'm being nit-picky. Sigh.
Oh, happy time? "Amazing Life" is super happy to the extreme. Like, in every way possible. She talks about drinking… sunshine. Seriously, whoa super happy times. This could probably be found in a Christian dance club… do those exist? I never did figure that one out.
"Still That Girl" came in so quietly that I thought the album was over for a minute. It revs up though, which was a bit surprising. I don't think we've gotten one straight-forward ballad yet. That's not a bad thing, but it's all a little discombobulating when you're expecting an album to ebb and flow up and down in some sort of logical manner. This one just comes at you full force or sneaks in from the side - neither of which makes sense given whatever the last song was.
This one almost proves me wrong - almost. "Seeing for the First Time" at least builds a little more naturally. Honestly, it's a very beautiful song that takes on a great amount of power throughout. It's actually a shame it ends so early, which is saying a lot for a song that's only about four minutes long. But in that short amount of time together, we really do get a sense of something beautiful there.
"Gold (Jason Nevins Rhythmic Radio) Remix" takes us into the final, I'm guessing 'bonus' tracks of the album - the remixes! This particular one is probably the club version of the track, if it gets played in clubs. It's definitely the party version, that's for sure. There's even beat breakdown sections in it, which I can't say necessarily enhance the song that is otherwise incredibly poppy. But at least her auto-tune seems oddly at home in this version. The beat's infectious to move to, so you have to admit that the track really does do its job. And the chorus is just as ridiculously infectious and cute.
One more remix and we'll be done here. "Gold - Wideboys Remix" takes us to the end of the album. The vocals are just as sped up as the last one, but this time there's lasers! No, seriously, have you heard songs with that sound that seems to be straight out of a laser canon? That's all I keep thinking. This one repeatedly revs up with beats and music and the payoff is just loud and insane. Not that that's a bad thing, of course! Oh shit… there's a rap too. Hot damn. Can I say that in a CCM review? Yeeahhhh, sure, why not?
Added to My Playlist:
- "All This Time"
- "Seeing for the First Time"
Whew, this is a new route for Christian Contemporary Music. I mean, the pop-ness is not necessarily new, but the dance remixes were alway strictly TobyMac's thing, and even then it wasn't something you expected in a club. Britt's definitely treading the line of CCM/Mainstream, which was always really cool for me to see personally. I seriously hope she gets some airplay with some of this music, because she's infectious and a lot of fun.
Spotify Listen Link: Al Walser – I Can't Live Without You
2013 Grammy Nomination for Best Dance Recording for "I Can't Live Without You"
Okay, look at this track listing. 11 tracks. One song. Different mixes. Yikes. My question is, though - which was nominated to begin with?? *sigh* Here we go.
"I Can't Live Without You - Jerry Ropero & Dee Marcus Radio Edit" is the kick-off song to this single release. I'm going to go ahead and assume this is the version that garnered the nomination. It's okay. I mean, the vocals seem a little pedestrian and the build in the middle is just sort of thrown in your face. I can see it making for a good dance floor song though. The balance between sung words and insane music is pretty precise. And they transition between each other really well.
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The next one sort of takes a little rock beat, with a drum set getting involved… and please tell me that "moo" came from somewhere else. "I Can't Live Without You - Malibu Mix" sounds different to me. I'm not loosing it already, am I? Or are those different words and even possibly different singers? If not, wow production - way to twist it into a whole different song!
"I Can't Live Without You - Rico Bernasconi Radio Edit" feels sort of the same. We trade out the drum set for a synth this time, giving it a just slight 80's-ish sound with a slight increased BPM amount too. (Here's where it gets tough to review this stuff: telling differences between, essentially, the same song.)
Alrighty, moving on: "I Can't Live Without You - Rico Bernasconi Extended Mix" is next, which means… it's a two-minute longer version of the last one? Ah, no, wait, it's been a while since I listened to remixes, and what that actually means is there are additional beats added to build up to different sections of the song and more repetitive verses and choruses. Loop loop loop loop.
"I Can't Live Without You - DJerix Mix" brings on something a little different, so awesome. The beat takes on a more stellar, space-like mix, almost what you'd expect dance music to be like at one point in time. Spaceship traveling - I mean, come on, you've got to just make up your own world to enjoy these things at some point.
I deem this on the Flo Rida remix. Seriously, I have probably heard the beat for "I Can't Live Without You - Maui&Chris Mix" at least a dozen times throughout the guy's own tracks. The remixer(s) on this one take the instrumental sections up pitch-wise enough to mess a little bit with your head. The beat's dance-worthy for sure though.
"I Can't Live Without You - Turnyboy Mix" is the one that'll blast your speakers a little harder than the other mixes. The bass is up to high that it's distorted through my computer speakers. Hey, at least we're getting a slight difference between each mix, right? That's something to be happy about.
Woo! Overdrive! "I Can't Live Without You - Dave Dee! Hands Up Radio Edit" moves super fast. Even if the lyrics aren't necessarily sped up as much, the whole thing basically (if not definitely) at least doubles in BPM in the backing. The first minute just has your heart completely racing. Then there's this slight, small break to breathe, but not for long. Holy moly, this one doesn't really truly stop until the tail end of things.
"I Can't Live Without You - Dave Dee! Hands Up Extende Mix" (not a typo - that's how Spotify presents the title) is just as fast, but instead we get 5+ minutes of the beat. There's just more and more of it between verses. Not surprising of course, just more to wait through to get to the next track.
And now for something shockingly different, "I Can't Live Without You - Alternative Rock Wildcafe." There are rare instances when a new mix of a song takes on an absolutely beautiful song, and that's what I was hit with when we started this song. Annddd at about a minute in it's sort of crushed because they get into that rev-up mode that is unnecessary, yet in ever dang dance song you hear. Sigh, I was so excited at the sweet beginnings of this one.
"I Can't Live Without You - Jerry Ropero & Dee Marcus Extended Mix" rounds things out as the final song. It does come in with a little bit of a different sound in the beats, more precise and probably not played by original hands. Oh, and there's a beeping coming in… hm. Okay, well, not how I would have loved to complete this journey, but you might as well give it everything and push every button for the final number, right? Have fun and experiment.
Added to My Playlist:
- "I Can't Live Without You - Malibu Mix"
Yah know, it's always a little surprising to make it through multiple iterations of a song and not actually get bored. This, at the very least, kept things interesting throughout the entire collection, with just enough change each time to allow for commentary. Not a bad thing at all to spend the day immersed in.
2013 Grammy WIN for Best Pop Solo Performance
So, a little different approach to this one. There is a CD available with the tracks form this live performance, which was recorded and released as a DVD. However, it's not available to listen to on Spotify, and all of the buy links are for the DVD, so I can't preview things.
Okay, really, I'm just excited because the whole thing is on YouTube (or, at least, I'll be tracking all of the parts down somehow) and I can just have fun watching a concert. You know, here, at home, alone, on a Saturday night.
And we fade in, coming up on the hall itself and the music starting up. We get a hand playing chords not he piano, and the crowd anxiously awaiting Adele herself. And up comes a giant silhouette against a white curtain as she leads us in to "Hometown Glory." She breaks after the gentle opening verse and waves excitedly to her adoring crowd, flashes going off everywhere. And now she's home singing it simply to them all. Nothing flashy here (other than the camera) - just an awesome voice going about her business.
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"Royal Albert Fucking Hall!" I love that she's excited!! Also, I'm a sucker for balcony call outs. And she left a note in the audience for a girl! "I'll Be Waiting" is up next, and she considers this a fast one, hehe. It's really just slightly more upbeat and not quite as serious. I honestly don't remember this one quite as well as the others, but it's kind of cool.
"I'm pretty miserable on record, really." I adore this lady. "Don't You Remember" takes us 'swimming' into the sad songs. Ugh, and here we go - Janelle's sad Sunday afternoon. She's brilliant, this Adele. She takes these heartbreaking lyrics and weaves a story that will make you feel heartbreak like never before, even if you've never experienced it. And if you have? You're screwed for trying to hold back tears. Thank goodness this lady's smiling while she sings.
"Turning Tables" is next, and you'll have to excise me for not commenting on whatever inevitable banter she included in-between the songs - part 2 of 7 was impossible to find on YouTube, so I found someone who uploaded some CD tracks. Anywhos, this song still lives up to its twisting loveliness. It hurts so fantastically. It's an assertion of independence after the torture of someone who can't make up their mind. Oh the irony of personal issues.
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And now for one of the most mentally powerful imagery songs I've heard in a while, "Set Fire to the Rain." I just want to see glowing orange rain fall down in the background here. This is the first one I hear a difference from the album in the live version. It's actually even better, if that's possible. She's putting even more behind it as she sings. More intensity, more anger, more power. I really hated this song when it first came out. I resisted, but man, when you give over to it, there's not much better.
Well before we get to "If It Hadn't Been For Love" (a cover of Nashville-based band Steeldrivers), we get to hear about her love for Dolly Parton! And they re-set the stage in a way you actually do see quite a lot in Nashville. It's a more intimate setting with everyone closer in playing together. Also, she does this funny little disgust thing at the end of the first chorus. It's a different sound for Adele, for sure, but she brings her own soul/jazz sound to the whole country scene. Very different, but very cool.
Yay, part three is up and running! If I missed something, I'm very, very sorry. Anywhos, I'm jumping back into the show with Adele introducing her best friend, Laura. (at this moment I'd like to say HI JESS!) They've been friends for a very long time. In the meantime, the hi hat is just keeping beat with Adele as she talks about her friends and how amazing they are. How she fell out of touch with them and they reunited. (annddd Hi Panda. and Erin. and so many others.) Finally we launch into a song about Laura, which Adele wrote at 16, called… come on Shazam, help me out here. It's called "My Same." A cute little jazz number, I have to say. It's really interesting melodically (of course) and just feels like a nice little chill moment for Adele, her friends, and this sold-out audience.
"Take It All" is the next one up, and she gives us the story of how it was accidentally written when she came back to work with an old songwriter friend. She didn't want to write this, didn't want to be this angry, and hid it from her boyfriend for a few days. When she did play is for him, well, I won't blame the song itself, but they did break up a few weeks later. And a line in, she hates how she hits a note, stops, and starts again. Very few people can get away with that, but she's that conscious. Plus, she's recording this on the come back from that infection that took our girl away from us for so damn long.
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Her saying they're upbeat and rare is sort of lost on me when she just did that a couple of songs ago. Though she did manage a "Sex In The City" reference, so that's fun. And that leads us into "Rumor Has It," one of my favorite and most clever Adele songs. This is, for sure, a song with a beat and a message and a damn good clever one at that. I love this because it just sticks it to the guy who can get his damn head on straight. And the way she trails down with those end-of-verse lines is just freaking hot. And holy shit, she just flipped the double bird at the end. I want to be Adele.
More, more, more! She gets this little groovy, almost reggae beat, going on with "Right As Rain." Yes, this is an upbeat one for sure. I'm also loving the audience members that are dancing in the crowd. How much friction' fun is this really simple concert? So simple, no wonder they recognized it for music's night.
Cool shout out to her background singers, since their "dancing professionals," and acknowledgment of the chair being out of laziness. Adorable. This is apparently the only song on the record that's not about her ex (whom she owes her fame to). This one is about the last guy that pissed her off, and she isn't over it. "Anyone who's come to the show tonight with a friend that you're in love with, just fucking tell them." This is "One and Only," a sweet ballad that has that wonderful smokey jazz sound to it. I adore this song in a way that a longing in-love girl only can.
"Lovesong,' a cover of one of the best songs The Cure has ever done, is next up and incredible. This is a cover she's done on her album, and it was always one the intrigued me to no end. Females singing traditionally male songs are always interesting, and it's usually either hit-or-miss. Hearing her take this on live is very cool, because it takes the incredible sound from the studio and just smacks you in the face with the realization that this lady is the real deal.
Her first proper single anywhere was "Chasing Pavements," and yes, I love this one too. It's such a tough one. You want to leave, but you want to stay and continue this possibly pointless walk. But at the end of the day, the heart wants what the heart wants. Anywhos, I suppose I should comment on instrumentation at some point in this thing, right? In this case, it's the strings that subtly make it for me. You barely notice them until the build where they take over and make the music happen.
Bonnie Raitt's "I Can't Make You Love Me" is about to come out of Adele's mouth. I should just faint now. If you've never heard this, get out from under your rock and cry a little bit. This is one of those songs that you remember when you hear Adele, so to hear her sing it is really something awesome. It's a soulful song of sadness and realization.
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She's singing this one as a devotion, and calls for everyone to get those phones out to wave them, or else she won't sing. She loves the star look in the audience, and starts in on "Make You Feel My Love." Seriously, all sadness, but you can't help getting caught up in the beauty of it all. Between the phones and the disco ball shining little lights all over the place, it really is a beautiful venue even more so than normal. This will have the stress melting off your shoulders and your heart hurting, all at once. And then you giggle when you see the one lady waving her phone that the screen has gone off and black on a while ago. And then she sits there and admires the steel guitar, which is just a really cool music moment.
And off she goes for a breather. I only know this because she just promised us that wasn't the last song. And I believe Adele wouldn't lie. Gotta love the artists that acknowledge how silly encores are when you don't have 20 years of music to back you up. She gets boxed into it though, so she's back out to tell a story about how she's remained friends with the guy the album is about. They laugh about it, apparently. And 10 MILLION copes of "21" have been sold. Anywhos, this is that 'one song' that she's fully confident in and feels moved by, "Someone Like You." I wrote this entire paragraph before the song even came on because all I want to do is feel it. Sigh. Adele is in tears after that, so I really don't feel that bad about the effect at all. The crowd sang it back to her and got her going, and it's incredible watching such an inspiring lady get so affected by the words she wrote and legitimately feels.
"Rolling in the Deep" finishes out the evening with the audience dancing and screaming it out at the top of their lungs. It's really an incredible moment, watching an artist love it as much as they do. The whole thing is an awesome example of how damn good a live performance can really be.
Added to My Playlist:
- "Hometown Glory"
- "Don't You Remember"
- "Turning Tables"
- "Set Fire To The Rain"
- "Chasing Pavements"
- "Rumor Has It"
- "Right As Rain"
- "One and Only"
- "I Can't Make You Love Me"
- "Make You Feel My Love"
- "Someone Like You"
- "Rolling In The Deep"
I almost left this one without a final thought! Silly me. I just enjoyed it so much that I figured the work would speak for itself. Really though, let's face it - she never fails to impress. I've heard all of the recordings, but this live album was just perfectly different and reassuring that the lady has it beyond what folks can even consider. I look up to her and that voice so much.
2013 Grammy Nomination for Best Dance/Electronica Album
Live album time! This one was also made into a DVD, like a recent Adele review I did, but at the Fuji Rock Festival in 2011.
I'll admit, despite knowing the name pretty well, I don't know a dang thing about these two. I do know that they didn't release this one to Spotify, so I'm off to find other means to listen. And thank you in advance, Wiki, for letting me know what album each track is from. I'll sound so much more educated that way!
So, as far as a little background, even for just my own benefit, you and I may also know them as The Dust Brothers (and yay, I sort of knew that before!), The 237 Turbo Nutters, or Chemical Ed & Chemical Tom. They came out of Manchester (like Fatboy Slim, The Prodigy, and The Crystal Method) around 1991 and brought "big beat" to the masses. They've also won two Grammys before.
Unfortunately, I'm going to have to do this one off of samples on iTunes, so bear with me. The first mixed track is "Another Word" (from "Further") / "Do It Again" (from "We Are The Night") / "Get Yourself High" (from "Singles 93-03") This is the first of 11, though there were 20 songs recorded and performed for the DVD recording. Whatevs. At least there's a taste to be had. Sorry folks - if I weren't unemployed right now, I'd go ahead and buy it, but I'm sure you know how it is. Anywhos, between the blinding crowd and sound, you can't get too much, but damn, this sounds like an exciting live show.
"Horse Power" (from "Further") / "Chemical Beats" (from "Exit Planet Dust") are up next… oh, I get it… we do actually get almost all of the 20 tracks, save like, 2-3. Hey, did you know I was blonde? Mhmm, sometimes I let it show. Anywhos, talk about ridiculously wrapped in electronic noise. The beat's incredible, even if I only get 30 seconds of it.
It sort of makes me laugh that (Live) is after every track name. I'm leaving that part out. Already filling up enough space with track titles and album titles here. "Swoon" (from "Further") / "Star Guitar" (from "Come with Us") actually has a really awesome bit of electric rock in it… even if I did make that genre up just now. It kind of glides on this separate plain while you are probably swaying in the crowd listening.
"Three Little Birdies Down Beats" (from "Exit Planet Dust") / "Hey Boy Hey Girl" (from "Surrender) seems so far away… I think I caught the tracks right in the midst of transition though (way to go iTunes). The crowd goes nuts as they amp up into what I assume is the second song in that set.
Alright, next up is "Don't Think" (from "Further") / "Out of Control" (from "Surrender") / "Setting Sun" (from "Dig Your Own Hole"). "Don't Think is from "Black Swan," right? Sorry, just going off of info I've heard in passing. The part that I got a glimpse of here (not sure which song, sorry) is just up and down and getting the crowd going along with it. It's kind of awesome to hear them give over to the beat vocally too, since I'm sure the physical movements from it are at a high.
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"Saturate" (from "We Are The Night") has them going to. There's clapping of a steady beat as this electronic one comes in and out, up and down, just sort of screwing with your head as it goes. I may be the only one who gets that feeling, but of well. I'd love to hear more of it jut to determine if the sound ever changes. The 0:30 I get is just this repetitive boop-boop-boo-boop sound over and over again.
Now "Believe" (from "Push The Button") is one I'm pretty sure I've heard before. Again, it's loud and in your face, with these high-pitched moments that would be enough to drive you mad all on their own. However, the full mix is pretty well done and balances out the highs and lows nicely.
"Escape Velocity" / "The Golden Path" (from "Further" / "Singles 93-03") is legitimately done together in the show to. Interesting how these tracks were compiled over all for the CD version. I had to go back and hear it again just to figure this out (and I know that once i find videos for this all, I can probably string together more complete thoughts), but the little bit you get is like a rocket getting ready to launch.
In a little more of a subdued mode, and even a word or two mixed in, we get "Superflash," which was an unreleased track. It's got something beating in the backing, but that's not the point of the song. Or at least it's not the point that I'm getting. The transient nature is really very cool, and seems to create the moment in the concert that you can sort of forget and zone out for.
| | "Leave Home" / "Galvanize" (from "Exit Planet Dust" / "Push The Button") is another actual combo track. I guess they smushed the first half of the concert together, then let the rest shin on their own. Oh well, whatever floats your boat. This bit had a slight rap to it, against super charged music, which is how I always remembered The Chemical Brothers sounding.
The final song, "Block Rockin' Beats" (from "Dig Your Own Hole") isn't the last song listed on the DVD tracking (that would be "Das Spiegel," but it does give an interesting rock twist to the end fo an otherwise very electric album. The drum's take on lead here, and it's awesome.
Added to My Playlist - or rather, what would be is Spotify would GET THE STINKING ALBUM!!:
- "Horse Power"
Well, this may go down as the worst review I've ever written, and that's my own damn fault for now sucking it up and searching the web harder for a way to hear the full thing. But, if it helps, what I heard was really great.
Spotify Listen Link: Larry Carlton – Four Hands & A Heart Vol. 1
2013 Grammy Nomination for Best Pop Instrumental Album
Hmm, okay, let's see here. An intro. Help me, oh wise wiki. There's no page I can readily find on the album itself. But Larry is a 65-year-old jazz musician with a long record of albums out. Though this one was not a winner, he has won four Grammy awards in the past for work both as a solo artist, as well as a session recorder for many other bands. He also worked not he theme song for "Magnum, P.I."
Also, side note from the end of this, as I look for videos - I'm the idiot who's still learning all she can about music, and didn't realize some of these songs have been around longer than me. Lifelong learner here, promise.
I didn't expect such a gentle kick-off with "Room 335." There is a light strumming keeping the beat, and a guitar taking somewhat of a melody with no real destination. He comes in as he sees fit, and it works really well. The song's just plain pleasant and sweet.
"Nite Crawler" obviously, probably, has nothing to do with X-Men, but I did get a little excited by the prospect when I saw the title. Anywhos, it's got a little Latin beat happening in the background, with a smooth guitar overtop, telling the story of a hot night (hey, instrumental albums demand stories from the listeners). I appreciate the positioning of a steady beat against a more light-hearted guitar, and look forward to hearing how this all works in the coming tracks as well.
It kind of seems appropriate that each piece of this moves upward, given the title "Point It Up." I may just be making that up, but whatever. This song's got a very precise structure to it, breaking into pieces with continual phrases on and on. We lose some of the loose feeling of freedom on this one though.
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"Rio Samba" starts with this electronic sort of sound, and the other instruments come in in a way I can only describe as a bit messy sounding. I don't know about this one. It seems un-clean to me, but every instrument seems to be trying so very hard to keep their own rhythms throughout. Okay, about halfway through they finally seem to find some common ground that sort of works out a little better. Sort of.
Now this one, "Don't Give It Up," is still really simple, but I think the beat, at least, gives you something to snap along to. It's got that smokey, back-room jazz feel that just feels good in your heart to grove to. Not much else is added into the track, but the guitar, bass, and drums do a fine job on their own.
"(It Was) Only Yesterday" has a longing, sad sound to it. Even as the pitch rises, it sounds like tears. I mean, look at the title of the song, and you can just imagine what the meaning is behind it. Lost love or a lost life, I'm not sure which, but no matter, the track is just a really down one in the middle of a lonely night.
I would've thought that "Last Night" was a blues song, given the early sounds, but just the slight addition of a block beat takes it away from being that. It doesn't really take on a full theme or persona of its own, but it does move steadily for close to four minutes while we listen to an electric guitar just play on for its own story.
"Song for Katie" has a somewhat familiar sound to it, I have to say. Can't place it exactly of course, but there's some influential thing over the main guitar. Again, things are kept very, very simple, with that guitar taking on its own tune. While I don't have much more to say on each and every song, I promise that, unlike a lot of the albums in this category that tended to get repetitive, this does maintain its own sound between tracks. That's something to be admired there, at the very least.
Oh yeah, we've totally heard "Sleepwalk" before. It's even got this romantic, dreamy feel to the production, with everything just being beyond reach through a cloud of mist. Ah poetic writing, all because I just need to keep talking. Seriously though, this is lovely, just lovely.
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"10 PM"comes at us in a deeper, nighttime tone. It plays out just all sorts of full of these undertones that even I can just barely make out. The guitar on top is hitting a few punctuated top notes, but nothing to major as to command much presence. It's a great background piece though, sitting just beyond understanding for just over five minutes.
A slow pretty one. "For Love Alone" has an interesting echo-ish sound to it. If I didn't know better, I would almost compare this to a sitar. It's still a guitar though, no question really there. Anywhos, as I said - a slow, pretty song plays here, just kind of soft and gently in the background. It's not entirely thought provoking, which is nice and relaxing. Ooh, the shaker was unexpected, and does add just a bit of an extra layer. That's sort of interesting.
"Strikes Twice" strikes me as a funny little song, since there was a Samba song earlier. This has sort of the same little sound to it. You could certainly get a salsa-esq dance going to it, if you knew how to. I don't, but in my head it works out perfectly! Ah, imagination.
Then you get this kind of odd recording that sounds like backwoods playing from back in the south. "Springville" takes it out of blues and salsa and into this, albeit still gentle, picking along the stream. I mean, it's really, really cool. This kind of stuff you just don't hear often enough. It's not quite jam session, but it's not quite a concise composition of any kind.
| |"Mulberry Street" is the final go-around on this one. It's much more rock-n-roll than I would have expected, given the title. Blame Rascal Flatts for giving me a pre-conceived notion of what anything remotely sounding like "Mayberry" should sound like. Country, country is how it should all sound, duh. This is not. It's not bad, but it's not grasping either. It's just a nice little final get-together of the musicians completing all this lovely work.
Added to My Playlist:
So this one was basically just a nice easy listening experience. I mean, every single track was pretty ridiculously simple, but maintained their individuality. The artist created something just on that nice, even-level field that was cool to hear.