Friday, January 31, 2014

Five Song Friday - January 31st

It's Friday and that means it's time for a new installment of the Five Song Friday series. It's been a busy week for me, but I hope everyone has had good and productive weeks. As with every week, I have found more music to bring to you, the readers, that I want to tell you about since I've been listening it all week long. Check the songs out, and see what you enjoy!

  1. Own It - Drake
    I've been on a bit of a Drake kick the past few weeks (if you've been reading, you probably noticed), and this song is continuing that trend. I discovered it after finally listening to all of Nothing Was The Same, Drake's latest release, and instantly was hooked. The atmospheric nature inspires smoke filled rooms and cruising downtown late at night. It has some great contrasting moments, with the movement from the synth driven and percussion-less sections to the beat-heavy and rap driven drops creating variations of intensity and emotion. The more I listen to Drake's latest record, the more I regret not listening to it all sooner. The instrumental on this song is one of my favorite from a rap track, and Drake employs a balanced mix of rapping and singing that is a common theme throughout the album. It might just be one of those songs I listen to intensely for a few weeks and then forget about, but I highly doubt that right now. 5/5
  2. Say It Ain't So - Weezer
    I had heard this song before, but just recently got it and the rest of the album a couple weeks ago from a friend. This song is easily one of my favorites, with the smooth and subtle verses shifting into the guitar driven and more intense choruses. It's insane to think about the fact that this song is 20 years old, but a testament to how good it is that people are still listening to it after all this time. This song comes from a time where autotune and the likes hadn't quite seeped into the music industry, and it's refreshing to listen to something not quite so polished and clean. It's got a gritty quality that feels authentic and natural, and that's one of the many reasons it's still being played today. 5/5 
  3. In No Time - Mutemath
    I also got this album curtesy of a friend, and was overall pleased with it. Personally, I didn't think it was up to the standard of their self-titled album, but it had a few stand outs, like this song. It's a soft song that starts with some synth and vocals, and slowly expands into something bigger. The build is not intense, and the climax doesn't inspire anything epic, but it's a satisfying build nonetheless. It's something you can fall asleep to, but not something that puts you to sleep. Mellow would be a good description, but without the negative connotations that come along with that word. It is otherworldly, but not like Angels & Airwaves. If you enjoy Mutemath, then this song is a hidden gem waiting to burst forth. 5/5
  4. We Follow (Stereotypes Remix) - From Indian Lakes
    When I discovered that From Indian Lakes had a remix EP, I was fairly surprised to be honest. If you've ever heard their music, then you'll know that it isn't the kind of music you listen to and think, "Hey, this would be good with electronic dance beats and distorted synths." However, I was quick to reverse my judgement thanks to this song. The original (click here for a link) and this are dramatically different, but this remix brings out an intensity that was present in the song but not in the forefront. Their overall sound is bare, with minimal instrumentals and a more folky and indie influence. I enjoy this remix because it brings out sounds and ideas that you wouldn't have originally connected with From Indian Lakes, but it works. 5/5
  5. Elevated - State Champs
    I got this song in a free compilation download, and I'm in love with it. It's Pop-Punk to the core, giving the listener 3 and a half minutes of energy, fun, and vulnerability. I've said it before, but one of my favorite traits of Pop-Punk is its ability to be raw and honest, not covering things up with eloquence but instead saying it like it is. It's refreshing, and makes it incredibly easy to connect with the music. This song in particular is catchy and upbeat, but not in an obnoxious way. The lyrics aren't completely happy, but they're not depressing either; they paint the situation like it is. I really enjoy the vocals, which have found a great balance between melodic and gritty. Overall, it's a great song from a band who I'm definitely going to be giving more attention in the future. 5/5

Friday, January 24, 2014

Five Song Friday - January 24th

Hey everyone, happy Friday! It's time for another installment of Five Song Friday. I've been slowing down on the holiday music buying spree, but have still found plenty of songs to fall in love with. I've included video links again this week, so check out this week's tunes and see what you like. As always, thanks for reading!

  1. Anything Could Happen - Ellie Goulding
    I had heard Ellie Goulding's works before, but was never incredibly impressed. That was, however, until I heard this song. Something about it's ethereal sound grabbed me, for it wasn't what I was expecting from what I had heard of her songs. It doesn't sound like anything I've heard, bringing in dance and pop to create an upbeat and echoing ride. It's not set at a fast tempo, and that works in it's favor, setting it apart by taking things a bit slowly. The build up to each chorus gets me every time, with Ellie chanting "Anything Could Happen" over and over until the song erupts in electronic drum beats and huge synths. I also really enjoy the bridge, which is another build consisting of one single line and a more acoustic sounding drum beat that offers some contrast to the heavy electronic influence. It's an underrated song from Ellie, and definitely worth checking out. 
  2. We Are In Love - Cider Sky
    This song was a discovery I made thanks to iTunes Radio, which is slowly becoming my new favorite online streaming/radio service. It is very pop-oriented, with electronic beats, low-key synths, and clean guitar lines that come together to make a very easy listening experience for the ears. It also has an ethereal sound to it, but in a way that makes you think of the vastness of a remote forest or mountains. The song has a definite cute factor to it, thanks to the cheesiness of the romance the lyrics contain. The title is a dead giveaway to the nature of the song, but it doesn't come off as overrated or boring. It is a refreshing take on a love song that doesn't sound like mainstream pop and doesn't follow the same lyrical vein of pop music. 5/5
  3. The Language - Drake
    I'm starting to regret not paying as much attention to Drake's latest release, Nothing Was The Same, when it first released. "The Language" is a more harder hitting song than some of the others I've really grown to like, but that's exactly why I like it. It's definitely got a swagger to it, with the way that the beat isn't so straightforward, almost feeling like it's going to be late. Drake does his singing/rapping thing a bit here, but he sticks more to normal rapping that adds to the song's swagger. Now, if you're not one for foul language, then this song is probably not for you, but I think that it's part of what adds to the more harsh atmosphere. This song also has a really good baseline, with low and deep bass beats that resound on the speakers that it's played on. If you like Drake, J. Cole, or Childish Gambino, then this song is a fit for you. 5/5 
  4. Hurricane - The Fray
    The Fray has been a very consistent band, in terms of staying true to themselves and the tone and ideas they put across. Their sound has changed a bit over the years, but the core of who they are has remained. "Hurricane", for instance, is a respectable song about a girl, which is something that The Fray has done before, but this song contains an electronic element that they haven't tried before. It definitely has a radio-friendly sound, but again, that is consistent to what they have done before. The presence of a more prominent bass guitar and the electronic synth line catches your ear and draws you in. A perfect combination of The Fray's more innocent sound with a modern-pop influence creates this flashy and catchy song, and makes me more excited to hear the rest of the record. 5/5
  5. Crystallized - Young The Giant
    I've been waiting for Young The Giant's latest release, and when it did drop, this was one of the songs that stuck out to me upon first listen. It somewhat has a more relaxed vibe, but also contains elements that kick things into high gear. From the first howl that Sameer lets out in the opening moments of the song, you can just tell that the song is going to be a fast-paced ride from start to end. The verses quiet things down a bit, but the chorus manages to be intense in the instrumental but very smooth and flowing in the vocals. Young The Giant has shifted their sound a bit since their last release, and this shift includes a more pronounced use of synths and electronic elements. I think this was a great stylistic move, for it complements their organic sound very well. The energy of this song can't be resisted, and it'll be playing in your head after just one listen. 5/5

Friday, January 17, 2014

Five Song Friday - January 17th

Welcome to the latest Five Song Friday! This week was my first back to college after winter break and was some of your first weeks back as well, so I hope things have been going well with new classes and schedules. I've been needing some music to fuel me throughout the week and these songs are some of the tracks I've been listening to nonstop. Check them out and see which ones you like!

  1. Dark Horse (feat. Juicy J) - Katy Perry
    I know I've had a lot of Katy Perry lately, but that's because I really love some of her new stuff. This song is one of the more known tracks from her latest album, Prism, and after a listen I think you'll see why. It's got hip-hop elements, it's darker (and from the title, that's not a surprise), and it's sexy. Katy Perry's vocals on this song are some of her strongest, with seduction and a hint of danger dripping from her voice that draws you in. She gets fairly high up, but also stays in her lower register a fair amount, which really adds to the romantic nature of the song. Now, while I love Katy Perry, I am not a big fan of Juicy J and I personally think his rap holds this song back from being truly fantastic. It's just too simplistic and lacks an element of creativity that would make it pop and shine. Overall, however, this song is one of my favorites from her album, and I would highly recommend it. 5/5
  2. A Part Of Me (feat. Laura Whiteside) - Neck Deep
    I found this song thanks to some good friends of mine in Dear Misguided who did a cover of this song (check it out here), and I've been hooked since. It's soft in terms of instrumentation, but the vocals bring the raw vulnerability that I've grown to expect and love from pop-punk songs. The vocals aren't polished and perfect, but the gritty and screamy nature is part of the appeal. It's honest, unlike some pop stars who use autotune and editing to come out with the perfect sound and I think that's what resonates most with the listeners, even if they don't know that. Another aspect I love are the guest vocals from Laura Whiteside, who provides that pretty and soft side that balances out the more raw vocals. All in all, this is definitely a great song to pick up if you like acoustic pop-punk from groups like The Story So Far, The Wonder Years, and Man Overboard. 5/5
  3. Live For The Night - Krewella
    I've been delving more into Krewella's material, and this song is definitely becoming one of my favorites as of late. The slow build in the beginning acts as a great contrast to the huge nature it takes on as the song kicks into gear. This song is not terribly gritty, but sticks to a more club/rave type of vibe, which definitely works. There is one part that is a short breakdown section that has some more dirty synths that also add some contrast to the more upbeat nature of the rest of the song. Krewella's vocals are one of my favorite aspects of the group, and what I think sets them apart from some of the other artists in their genre. All in all, I'm becoming more impressed with their work as I listen to it, so expect more to pop up in the coming weeks. 
  4. Sparks Will Fly (feat. Jhene Akio) - J. Cole
    My sister actually showed me this song and I was hooked from the first time that I heard it. It has J. Cole's signature rapping and instrumental, but adds in the soft nature of the up and coming Jhene Akio. J. Cole has distanced himself from most rappers today with his realistic lyrics and meaningful nature. Some of his songs can sound like the typical banter, but he gets into the real world issues of relationships in his own life. This song is about a fading relationship that both sides are struggling to work through. He admits many times that he isn't perfect and that he won't achieve that any time soon, but that relationships that are meant to last will have ups and downs due to our imperfections. It hasn't been widely noticed, but it's definitely worth checking out if you like J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar, or Drake. 5/5
  5. If We Only - Red
    I've liked Red for a while now, but I have to admit that I wasn't impressed with their lead single for their latest album, Release The Panic. Now, a mediocre single is no reason to dismiss an album completely, and while I didn't listen to most of the songs, I recently found this song and had to listen again and again to check that it really was that good. It embodies the heavy nature that Red does so well, with screams woven between clean vocals over hard hitting drums and roaring guitars. This is them at their best, and the chorus for this song might be one of their best to date. It expands beyond where the verses let you think the song can go, and becomes this huge and epic anthem. I was very surprised to find it, and it gives me hope for the rest of the songs on the album. 5/5

Friday, January 10, 2014

Five Song Friday - January 10th

Hey all, it's another Friday and that means a new installment of Five Song Friday. Another week has gone by, and I've found more music! Which is not surprising at all! This week had a bit of a dance/EDM vibe going on, so check out the songs I've been listening to and see if any are your cup of tea. 

  1. Killin' It - Krewella
    When it comes to dance/EDM music, I tend to like the heavier sounding stuff, and this song definitely fits that description. It's on the darker side and has some great wobbles in the chorus that are full of gritty distortion. The beginning verse sets the tone for the song with just vocals, but the chorus really kicks things into high gear with a drop that you can't help but grin and bob your head. This is probably Krewella's heaviest song and, in my opinion, one of their best songs. 5/5
  2. A Thousand Miles - Dream On Dreamer
    Yes, I know that this is a cover of THAT song, but this is actually a really good version. The piano intro is deceiving, because it soon drops into a fast paced rock song that mixes clean and unclean vocals perfectly. These back and forth vocals add a level of depth, both in sound and emotionally. The idea of screaming in a song like this might seem unorthodox, but it creates a level of desperation that makes the song even better. I laughed the first time I heard this song, but I've learned to love it, in all of it's ridiculousness. 5/5
  3. Thunder - W&W
    I discovered this song a while ago, but finally got it recently after listening to it a few times again. It is a little slow in the beginning, but eventually picks up into a fantastic dance tune, with a drop that makes you want to dance (even if you can't). It is very similar to "LRAD" by Knife Party, which is part of the reason why it appeals to me a lot. It's simple in instrumentation, but that's what creates the draw for the song. 5/5
  4. Furthest Thing - Drake
    I've always thought Drake had some talent, and his latest release is a clear indication that I was right in this assumption. He really shines on the slower, more thoughtful songs, and this song is definitely one of those. It also is one of the few songs that he sings most of the time, which helps create a softer tone that is welcome amongst the hardness that seems to be necessary to thrive in the world of hip-hop. Drake seems to be more willing to talk about things other than sleeping with girls and butts and all that crap. The song overall is a welcome break from the clamor of rap on the radio. 5/5
  5. Stay The Night (feat. Hayley Williams) - Zedd
    This song took a little while to grow on me, but it definitely is catchy. The beginning is actually pretty beautiful, before the beat and synths really kick in, with just the vocals and piano. Hayley Williams' voice makes this song as good as it is, although Zedd has a knack for creating great instrumentals. Hayley soars pretty high on some of the parts, but also has a really full sounding low end that is hard to find in the music business. Zedd's music is a bit more upbeat than I usually go for, but I can't help but smile and enjoy his songs. 5/5

Friday, January 3, 2014

Five Song Friday - January 3rd

Happy New Year all! I hope you all celebrated safely, and are hard at work on those resolutions you made. A New Year means new music, and here's some of the tunes I've found this week.

  1. Dead & Buried - A Day To Remember
    One of the hardest hitting songs of Common Curtesy, "Dead & Buried" is one of my favorite songs by the group to date. It's intense, but the chorus is simultaneous catchy and melancholy. It's everything that ADTR has come to mean; their instrumentals are full of crunching guitars and pounding drums, while Jeremy McKinnon lets out growls and screams that are full of angst and sorrow. The opening riff is my favorite part, and it's thankfully repeated throughout the song. Even though the riff is one chord repeated again an again, it works in this case. I also like when it comes back in the bridge and is accompanied by backing gang vocals that makes it even better. Definitely a great song to check out from ADTR's latest album. 5/5
  2. Silhouettes - Of Monsters And Men
    I really enjoy the sound that Of Monsters And Men has going on. Their debut CD was stellar, and this song for the soundtrack of Catching Fire continues that fine musicianship. It's easily one of my favorite songs off the album, and one of my favorite songs by the group. The back and forth nature of their vocals are mesmerizing, both of them playing off of each other. It's one of the most drawing aspects of their sound. I also enjoy the instrumentation they use, with the pace of the song picking up and slowing down in an instant. It's a solid track, and one I recommend getting. 5/5 
  3. Trees - Twenty One Pilots
    I finally got the rest of this album, and this song was a stand out from the rest by far. With a synth leading and the addition of some 8-bit effects, this track slowly builds into a huge fist-pumping anthem. It begins slower, but when it unfolds, it has the signature quirkiness that I've come to see from Twenty One Pilots. This song is especially fantastic at the end, when Tyler Joseph begins to yell and scream over the gritty synths and the drums that have almost a tribal sound to them. This is definitely an underrated track from these talented guys. 5/5
  4. From Time (feat. Jhene Akio) - Drake
    I discovered this song yesterday, and can't get enough of it. Drake does some good songs, and this is one of his best (at least I think). The laid-back feel of the instrumental and the guest vocals provided by Jhene Akio create a though-provoking and cool atmosphere. Drake muses about love and relationships in this current age over a killer beat, resulting in a memorable track. The outro is a bit odd, with the sampled speech feeling a little out of place, but it does not take away from the overall greatness of the song. If you like Drake, then you'll definitely like this song off his latest album. 5/5
  5. Arabella - Arctic Monkeys
    The Arctic Monkeys have a peculiar sound, which I think mainly comes from lead singer Alex Turner's vocals, which are unique and entrancing. This song is much more intense than "Do I Want To Know?", and had much more of an edge to it. It doesn't seem that way from the start, but the moment that the first chorus hits is electrifying. I really enjoy the instrumental after each chorus, which is got a old-fashioned rock 'n roll vibe that you have to just tap your foot along with. It's a song that you'll want to play in your car as you drive down the road and have a blast. At it's core, it's a fun song, and a great buy. 5/5