Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Yolo (feat. Adam Levine & Kendrick Lamar) - The Lonely Island

The boys are back.

This last Saturday night, the genius of Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer, Jorma Taccone returned to SNL  with a brand new digital short. The song, titled Yolo, is a play on the popular term, "You Only Live Once", that was coined by Drake in his song "The Motto". The common use of the term is that since we only live once, we should enjoy our time by partying, drinking, smoking, and various other "pleasurable things". The boys of the Lonely Island, however, take it the opposite way; since we only live once, we should do everything to protect ourselves and ensure our safety. However, they push this to a ridiculous level, talking about building bomb shelters with titanium and removing all of your teeth to avoid biting your tongue. The chorus is done by Adam Levine, who is the lead singer of Maroon 5, and it is done quite well. He has a spectacular voice, in my opinion, and he manages to sound good while adding to the hilarity of the song. The other guest is Kendrick Lamar, who I was recently introduced to by my uncle. His part is alright, probably being the weakest link in the song. In the video, his part is better thanks to some of the costumes he wears, but that isn't something that translated as well in the song alone. Also, instrumental was catchy and upbeat, with a solid drum beat driving the enthusiasm of the song. Overall, I thought the song was a great comeback song for the new album coming out later this year. 5/5

Friday, January 25, 2013

Five Song Friday - January 25th

Here's this week's installment of "Five Song Friday"!

  1. Thé à la menthe - La Caution
    This song. I have been searching for this song ever since I saw the laser scene from Ocean's 12. After about 5 years of searching, I have discovered it.The song is so fantastically cool. It's French, I believe, and has an awesome dance/electro vibe. It's all instrumental, so I wouldn't recommend it to people who prefer to have some vocals. However, I highly suggest everyone gives it a listen, because you can't help but want to move to the beat. 5/5
  2. Now - Paramore
    I have loved Paramore and their sound for quite a few years now, and was extremely excited to see that this song was coming out. I was thoroughly impressed with the maturity and edgier sound they produced. It's an absolute blast to listen to, and very energizing. Definitely recommend for fans of the band and those who like groups such as The Maine, My Chemical Romance, and Panic! At The Disco 5/5
  3. Billie Jean (Live) - The Civil Wars
    I have slowly been getting into The Civil Wars, and was curious to hear how this cover would sound given their southern/folky/acoustic sound. I was enthralled. The chorus is so great, with John Paul White using his falsetto beautifully, and Joy Williams' voice complementing him very well. This stripped down version gets a little gritty, especially on some of the lower notes, yet is able to achieve very pure and melodic moments like in the chorus. I'd recommend it to fans of the original song, and those into John Mayer, Boyce Avenue, and The Band Perry. 5/5
  4. Jenny - Walk The Moon
    I discovered this band a few months back, from a TV commercial if I remember correctly. I had not really explored their music besides the two songs I had purchased, "Tightrope" and "Anna Sun". I decided, however, to purchase the rest of the CD and see what else they had. It is a fantastic album, and I would recommend going out and purchasing it. Now, one of the songs that stuck out and is currently my favorite would have to be "Jenny". Jenny is full of sexual tension and blunt yet amusing innuendos. The chorus line goes "Jenny's got a body just like an hour glass...I want to be the sand inside that hourglass". I thought it was clever and funny, and the song itself is upbeat and fun. Recommended for fans of Young The Giant, Of Monsters & Men, and Fun. 5/5
  5. God's Gift - J. Cole
    My roommate, Josh, introduced me to J. Cole this last semester. We happened to listen through his last CD, Cole World - The Sideline Story, and came across this song which neither of us had really listened to. J. Cole is an interesting character, with his lyrical content mainly being about girls, sex, and bringing in God and religion somehow while swearing like a sailor. That being said, the beat of this song is incredibly tight and hard. It gets in your face with grit and dirt. I could listen just for the beat. J. Cole may say some things that a bit controversial  but he has some really sweet beats, instrumentals, and rhymes to maintain his success. 4/5


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Now - Paramore

The minute I discovered this song, called "Now", would be releasing, I was pretty excited. It's been a few years since their last CD, and I very interested to see where their sound would go after losing two of their members. When I listened to the single, I was extremely impressed. It's edgy, much more like Riot! than some of the songs on Brand New Eyes, but showed a maturity. Hayley William's vocals always impress me; her range is incredible and it's always a pleasure to listen to her sing. The intro through me off a little bit, but I really love the sick drum beat for the verses. It makes me want to nod my head along. The chorus is simple, but catchy, as Hayley chants "If there's a future, we want it" and is replied to by a choir composed of her own vocals screaming "Now". It is a unique sound, and part of the appeal of the song. One of my favorite parts is when it starts building for the bridge and you can hear Hayley's voice floating over the track. It's eerie and creepy and awesome. I also very much appreciate the amount of bass guitar being used (to see my full thoughts on bass guitars in general, see the next article down), it is a satisfying alternative to just a muted guitar. It adds some depth to the song, balancing out the higher guitar line. This is a fantastic song, and I cannot wait for the new album from Paramore!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Opinion: Bass Guitar

So periodically, I'll post my opinion about an event or subject happening within the music scene. This particular post is something I've been wanting to post for a long time, and something I think is fairly prevalent today.

The bass guitar. 

A species that is slowly moving towards endangerment, the bass guitar is losing it's importance. I believe that there is not nearly enough of it in music today. It is just part of the equation of creating a rock band. You need to have one, but you give them simple lines and quiet parts. You place them in the background.

This should not be. I don't think they should be used as lead guitars or anything along those lines, but they should contribute more than simple harmonizing lines. The bass line should be memorable. Like in Michael Jackson's Billie Jean, for example. That is probably one of the most well known bass lines today. Another great example of how the bass guitar should be used is in most of Muse's songs. Hysteria, Panic Station(which is reminiscent of Michael Jackson), Uprising, and others all have fantastic bass lines. Muse is known for memorable riffs, and are not afraid to use many different instruments in creating one. Another band who utilizes their bass is There For Tomorrow, with Hunt Hunt Hunt being a prime example as well as Get It. Lastly, Blink-182 has a fair amount of songs with good bass lines too, such as Always and What's My Age Again?.

I feel that there are many bands who could learn from bands like Muse and the others I've listed. The bass guitar needs to make a comeback, and I believe it can. If I'm ever in a band, I plan on having plenty of bass in my songs. There is not nearly enough in music today, and I want to bring the bass back.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Five Song Friday - January 18th

Here's this week's installment of "Five Song Friday"! Another week has gone by and I've discovered more music, some new and some old. Check them out and enjoy!
Again, these are in no particular order.
  • You Have Me - Gungor
    I first heard this song in chapel at my college, and absolutely fell in love with it. It's so beautiful, and the build into the chorus is incredibly empowering. It is a fantastic worship song, but with some really unique instrumentation that sets it apart from most. The lyrics are so moving as well, speaking about how in all our times of brokenness and doubt, darkness and being utterly lost, God is there and because of that, he has us completely. It's so great. If you are into worship music or are maybe wondering what it's like, this is a spectacular song to listen to. 5/5
  • Kiss Me - Ed Sheeran
    I actually discovered Ed Sheeran thanks to a quirky British TV show called "Nevermind The Buzzcocks", which I recommend to anyone who likes Who's Line Is It Anyways. After watching, I decided to check out his music, and was very impressed with this song. It's very sensual, and is meant to be a very romantic love song. It is cute and sexy at the same time, and would work very well in a movie scene involving a couple falling in love with each other or the likes. Definitely recommended for those who are romantics at heart or are looking for a great song to have as "your song" with your significant other. 5/5
  • Rose Tattoo - Dropkick Murphys
    About this time last year, my girlfriend, Lauren, got me into Irish/Celtic music. It's fun and exciting music, with a large amount of culture being passed down from generation to generation. I had previously only ever bought one song by Dropkick Murphys, but decided to check more out when I saw that they had released a new album. I downloaded this song after listening to the preview because I was impressed. It had that down-to-earth vibe I've come to expect from Celtic music, but with a more sentimental message. It talks about getting someone's name tattooed with a rose, hence the title. A line that stuck out to me in particular was "This one means the most to me, it stays there for eternity". I very much liked the idea and emotion behind it. Overall, a really great song. Good for fans of Flogging Molly, The Young Dubliners, and Gaelic Storm. 5/5
  • The Sacrifice of Faramir - Howard Shore
    After seeing The Hobbit in theaters last month and falling in love with the song "Misty Mountains", (which is completely fantastic), I decided to browse music from the Lord Of The Rings trilogy and see if there was any others I wanted to purchase. When I realized that this song included Billy Boyd singing "The Edge Of Night", I had to get it. The instrumental leading up to it was stunning, don't get me wrong. However, Billy's singing is so hauntingly beautiful. In the movie, it has an even bigger impact. I could (and did) listen to it again and again. I don't usually listen to much classical music, but selections from certain soundtracks are gorgeous. Recommended for those who like the soundtracks of The Hobbit, Harry Potter, and Star Wars. 5/5
  • Suit & Tie (feat. Jay-Z) - Justin Timberlake
    I already reviewed this song this week, so I won't spend too much time on it. Regardless of how different it sounds, it's incredibly catchy and I found myself singing and playing it constantly. The breakdown and ensuing chorus have to be my favorite parts. Jay-Z's rap fits pretty well and JT sounds great as always. I was glad to see the hip-hop influence still prevalent. It leaves me with anticipation for the rest of the album. 4/5

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Suit & Tie (Feat. Jay-Z) - Justin Timberlake

He's back.

As I'm sure you all have heard, Justin Timberlake has very recently announced that he's putting out a new album. And today, he released the first single, "Suit & Tie", featuring hip-hop superstar Jay-Z. This is the first new music JT has put out since 2006 with his hugely successful album FutureSex/LoveSounds, and so the anticipation has built up immensely. I myself have been a fan for a few years, mainly from my Mom very much enjoying his music.  I purchased the song the minute I discovered it was released, and immediately gave it a listen. After the first time through, I had to play it a few more times to truly grasp it. The introduction caught me off the guard, with it's hip-hop influence and seemingly strange quality to it. When the verse kicked in, however, I was even more surprised by the direction it went. It had a big R&B-borderline-soul vibe going on, with JT employing his famous falsetto to croon an unknown girl. The addition of live band elements also helped to maintain the R&B feel. Another surprising section is the bridge, which consists of hip-hop driven breakdown and the introduction of Jay-Z to the track. This was probably my favorite part of the track, especially when JT comes back and sings the chorus over the bridge instrumental. It brought to mind the vibe of his previous CD, which had a heavy hip-hop influence. Overall, I thought it was a great song, and makes me curious/excited to hear the rest of his album. 4/5

Friday, January 11, 2013

Five Song Friday - January 11th

So I've decided to do a weekly post where I'll talk about 5 songs that I've been listening to this past week.  I'll try to do this regularly, and hopefully keep it to 5 songs (knowing me, I might go over sometimes). Hopefully you can gain an insight into my musical tastes and find new music that you can discover and enjoy! Also, this is no particular order.

  • Do or Die - 3OH!3
    This song was actually released via YouTube back in late May of 2012, but was finally released as a single a few weeks ago. I have absolutely loved it since I heard it, and was stoked to be able to download it. It feels significantly more like 3OH!3's older material than the other singles released from their new album, Omens, but shows that the group is moving in new directions. There is a dubstep/wobble influence that is highly present, and overall the sound seems more natural for them than the other singles released. Definitely one of my favorites from them. 5/5
  • Breakers - Local Natives
    I discovered this song by hearing a remix on Tumblr. It had a pretty sweet sound, so I wanted to look up the original and compare. After I gave it a listen, I headed over to iTunes to buy it because I was hooked. It had such a different sound than the music I generally buy, and I always enjoy discovering new bands and sounds. I don't know much about Local Natives, but the song has a great sound; a big chorus with chilled out verses. It has a dream-like quality, almost as if one is in a trance. I would recommend this to people who like Fleet Foxes and other bands along those lines. 4/5
  • The King Of Silence - We Came As Romans
    This song will change it up just a little bit, seeing that We Came As Romans is a heavy metal/screamo band. The band released a reissue of their last album, Understanding What We've Grown To Be, and this was one of the unreleased songs included. I was thoroughly impressed with the direction they appear to be moving in. Lyrically, their songs are becoming more inspirational in nature, although they already had been moving in this direction. Also, as I found out after reading an interview with their guitarist, they have been trying out having a more verse-chorus structure to their songs, which I personally prefer. It makes the songs easier to follow and more memorable. Lastly, I very much enjoy that they have been including and emphasising more  on their clean vocals. This also adds to the memorable factor of the newer songs. I very much enjoyed the song, and would recommend it to fans of Memphis May Fire, Of Mice & Men, and I See Stars. 5/5
  • Glósóli - Sigur Ros
    This band is another that I have recently discovered, and definitely one of the more peculiar. They are from Iceland, and so they sing in Icelandic. It means that I cannot understand a single word that they sing, or even pronounce the name of the song properly. However, I am able to understand the emotion and passion within the music, because there is something about music that transcends language barriers and cultural divides. The song is long, but the build up is beyond worth it. It unfolds into this epic and huge sound, that blew me away when I first heard it. The vocals are almost unreal, as they float in and out of the song so beautifully. If you are interested in expanding your musical tastes, then definitely check out the song and the group. 5/5
  • Beauty and a Beat (feat. Nicki Minaj) - Justin Bieber
    Yes, I know there's a lot of haters out there of Justin Bieber, but I have begun to enjoy some of his newer work. His latest album, Believe, has quite a few great songs, such as "As Long As You Love Me" and "Boyfriend". This song in particular has a really solid beat, and a pretty fantastic bass line for a pop song. Bieber's vocals have gotten immensely better since his voice dropped, and are quite enjoyable now. My only qualm with the song is Nicki Minaj, whom I don't particularly care for. That being said, her part on this song seems to fit and isn't too shabby. Overall, I think it's a really great song, and worth listening to. 4/5

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Number Four - My Chemical Romance

The latest release from the "Conventional Weapons" release series does not fail to please the ears. After the ballad heavy "Number Three", "Number Four" returns to gritty guitars, fast drums, and Gerard's screaming and shouting.

  • Kiss The Ring maintains that dark, yet fun vibe that MCR loves to use. It's upbeat and it's in your face. It makes you want to shove a fist in the air and shout along to the lyrics. The guitar line grabs your attention by leading into the song, with a defined yet distorted sound. The solo during the bridge is also spot on, with a very subtle yet effective addition of flange on the guitar.  Gerard Way's vocals are as distinct as ever, combining moments of smooth singing with rough screams. The song almost has a Brit-rock vibe to it, with the style of the vocals and the guitar line as well. The mellowing of the second verse offers a nice opposition to the rest of a very loud and driving song. All in all, a very enjoyable and well done song. 5/5
  • Make Room!!!! continues the fast paced feel of most of the songs from the "Conventional Weapons" series, with the drums keeping the rest of the instruments on the speeding train that is MCR. Both of the songs on this release begin in a similar fashion, with rockin' guitar lines leading into pounding drum rhythms, but have different sounds all over the place. The backing vocals on the chorus of Make Room, for example, give the impression of a choir standing behind Way as he belts out the vocals. The vocals throughout the song come in fast and intense bursts, giving the song a ferocious and driving sound. The bridge, however, is where the song becomes interesting. It lets off the gas a little bit, and slowly begins to build up. The most interesting part is when the vocals come in, because Gerard eventually begins to repeat the line "Everybody wants to change the world, but no one, no one wants to die", which is also found in the bridge of their song "Na Na Na". It seems that MCR really liked the bridge of Make Room, and decided to either build another song around it or add it onto the preexisting idea of "Na Na Na". I really liked hearing this, because it gave me some insight into the song writing process that MCR goes through. 5/5
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this release. The songs were great additions to my library, and I highly recommend them to any MCR fan. If you would also like to hear my thoughts on the other releases in the "Conventional Weapons" series, then check them out here on the blog! Much thanks

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


I know I'm jumping on the bandwagon a little late, but I have to write about about Macklemore. I was introduced to him about two months ago, and have been absolutely loving his work. (As a warning, he is fairly vulgar in his music, so I wouldn't recommend listening if that is not your cup of tea.) His rhymes, his flow, and his ideals set him apart from everyone else in the Hip-Hop scene right now. He set out from Seattle to make music he believes in, that makes you stop and think, and that makes you want to dance and laugh. Sometimes Macklemore makes absolutely no sense, such as in his song "Castles" where he talks about "unicorns and wizard sleeves", but sometimes he makes perfect sense, such as in his song "Wing$", where he talks about how consumerism has taken a hold of the American public and drives us to be wasteful. Even in his hit song, "Thrift Shop", Macklemore is trying to make a point about the uselessness of expensive clothes and the entire idea behind fashion. His line, "they be like oh, that Gucci that's hella tight, and I'm like 'yo, that's $50 for a t-shirt'", highlights this generation's obsession with following the latest trends and having "what's cool". Another fantastic song he does is called "Otherside", which discusses the effects rappers and their messages have on the people that listen to Hip-Hop. He pulls out personal experience with people he knew who died from drugs and alcohol  all because their idols did it and rapped about it being cool, giving the song power and provoking thought. The reason I love Macklemore is because of his passion and mission to get his thoughts about the world out there. He is driven to influence younger people in a positive way, and that is an admirable cause to push for.

Also, Macklemore has a great sense of humor. He has this odd obsession with the United Kingdom and his own junk (aka his penis), both of which he mentions often in his music. Another example of his humor is his song "And We Danced", which is filled with clever and witty lines to create an absolute blast of a song. He isn't afraid to be himself, and that is what makes him so genuine and hilarious. He also has a song about being Irish, even though he's from Seattle. It is all good and fun though, and part of Macklemore's massive appeal. And his music videos for his more humorous songs add to their hilarity with ridiculous costumes and outlandish story lines and settings.

Now, when talking about Macklemore, I must mention the spectacular and sick beats and instrumentals created by Ryan Lewis. His work helps to set the moods for all of Macklemore's songs and and gives power to the words that Macklemore spits and rhymes. I absolutely love playing his work in my car and dorm room, blasting it for everyone to hear.

Macklemore has taken off into the spotlight of the music scene, and I am excited to see what the future holds for him.