Archive | 8:39 AM

Selena Gomez: Rare Album Review

25 Nov

Does it feel personal to anyone else that Bieber got 4 Grammy nominations for an unpopular album, full of derivative lyrics, and Selena was snubbed?  Like, she calls him out in this album, this solid, good album.  But he gets the noms and she doesn’t?  It doesn’t make sense to me.  Unless politics and or money were involved…

Boyfriend:  I like the sentiment and the slight distortion is the song.  

Lose You to Love Me:  About the unfortunate codependency with that toxic-douche, Justin Bieber.  He intentionally did shitty things just because he didn’t give a fuck, and she kept giving and giving, despite the signs.  And getting sucked back in.  It’s good to hear her gaining her independence.

Rare:  All the vocals are very mid-range, but there is enough electricity in the background to keep it spicy.  And I like that Gomez found some self-confidence, and along with it, boundaries.  The third catchy song on the album.

Souvenir:  It’s OK.  Forgettable though.

Look at her Now:  The “mm mm mm” is an ear-worm.  I like that this song tells a detailed story.  And I also like that the girl is triumphant, despite struggles.  Does that, “Wow” and “yeah” sound like Taylor Swift?

She:  Selena telling us what she would have told her younger self.  It’s a nice twist.  And it tells a story, and the “why” of where Gomaz is at today.  The song is a bit echoey and it nicely conveys a different plane of reality where this conversation would be possible.

Crowded Room:  Very sultry, and shows some vocal range with some higher notes.

Vulnerable:  Too repetitive.  Not interesting enough.  Also, not deep enough lyrically to counter for those weaknesses.  The highest note she has sung so far though, so I like that.

Dance Again:  One of the catchiest songs on the album.  The cadence gets a little faster and makes the listener pay attention, and the repetition of “feels so” is very effective to make it an ear worm and lend to a more electronic feel.

Ring:  It’s a nice song.  It’s a catchy song.  The “ring, ring, ring” works.  The guitar has a nice Spanish flair.  But it reminds me of Megan Trainor–who I found to be very phony on Songland.  It’s got that retro song that “All About that Bass” has.

A Sweeter Place:  SelenaThe chorus and “do do dooo” are the most effective thing about this track.  Dislike on the interlude, but it’s relatively short.  And the moag at the end is superb.

People You Know:  She’s right “what hurts the most is when people can go from people you know to people you don’t.”  It’s very relatable and it’s a catchy song.

Cut You Off;  Comparing a toxic relationship to substance abuse.  They’re the same, and she dealt with both.

Let Me Get Me:  I like how it reminds me of her other single, 

With the “ ahh-o-woo” sound.  When the song came on, it immediately made me excited.  I like the speed, and I like everything happening between the catchy chorus, and the slower bridge.  Claps are used sparingly, for an attention-getting effect.  One of the catchiest!

Kinda Crazy:  Just Ok, too much repetition.

Fun:  I like the pausing effect in this song.  There is a lot of space, and it sounds good. I don’t wanna sound all Taylor Swift conspiracy theorist (I do, and I am), but I can hear a couple of the call outs in her voice.  I know it is her saying,   “Fun” and “mmm” and “yeah” in this song.  Credited or not, it’s her.  And they’re friends, so it isn’t that much of a stretch.  

Feel Me:  The common break-up wish that the other party misses you, thinks of you, and realizes you were the best.

Katy Perry: Smile Review

25 Nov

Do I think this album has some catchy (old term) radio-worthy songs? Indeed. Does it deserve Grammy nominations? MMm, I don’t know if anything here was substantial enough to warrant that. Do I think Taylor Swift was featured on one of these songs? Yes I do. I don’t care what anyone says, I can hear it. Maybe someday the truth will be revealed.

Never Really Over:  Perry really knows what she’s doing when she picks (does she write her own stuff?) her songs.  This first track immediately grabs the listener by the ear and pulls them into the album.  It’s got that hook.  Masterfully catchy.

Cry About It Later:  That gallop beat!  It makes it exciting, it makes the song good for dancing and running alike.  And it’s a cool thought to have fun now and feel pain later.  The guitar interlude in the latter part of the song took it into retro territory, which I think was unintended.  

Daisies:  Did Taylor Swift write this, did she sing at all, and is she credited?  It has her stamp all over it.  I am pretty sure that’s Taylor’s voice, like you can especially hear it come in on 0.26 sec. And blended with Perry’s voice on 0.44.  And on 0.52.  Also 1.20 and 1.34.  After 2.16, it’s an obvious duet, so I don’t understand why she’s not credited…  Other than Kaylor reasons…  You can hear it well at these time stamps:  2.32, 2.37, 2.42.  Or if it’s words that are easier for you to hear: “nowhere” “ cover me in daisies” too.  Daisy is a decidedly Kaylor symbol.  Lyrics like, “put our hopes in a box in the attic” and “take those sticks and stones, I could build a house” and “tell me that I’m crazy”

Resilient: The optimism in this song rings genuine, which I like.  Perry can easily veer into the superficial, and that didn’t happen here.  The imagery of a flower growing through the cracks of concrete is both nice, and holds up.  And she sticks with the metaphor throughout the song (other than one gold reference), so that’s good.

Not the End of the World:  Gosh, how many ways can I say that Perry knows how to pick material that is a catchy, ear-worm?  This is too.  Nice fast speed, some neat background tricks (ghost laughter) with the production.  A sample phrase, but blended within the song beautifully, so it’s meshed, not separated.  Gets stuck in my head every, damn, time.

There were several bland love songs in between.

Harleys In Hawaii:  I am not a fan of the lyrics.  It’s cheesy drivel.  But the song got points for production value and that sustained note Perry sings toward the end.

Only Love:  Has some nice choral backing, and a pretty acapella outro.

What Makes a Woman:  I think it’s good to ask what makes a woman.  So that society at large, can realize a lot of it is performative, and not the characteristics that actually define the female.  Women can be anything.  And Perry ( clumsily) points this out.  Hair length, softness of skin, and makeup really don’t matter.  I’m not a fan of bringing up bitch to describe women, nor do I like the over-the-top compliments to women, for biological things beyond control.  Perry gets halfway to a feminist perspective, in challenging factors that define the traditional feminine.  But she also misses the point that women are also no better than men.  That’s not what feminism is going for.  We just want to be treated as people, no worse, but also no better.  So C+ for broaching a stigmatized subject, but points off for not entirely understanding the goal.  Also, that last line is a rhyme cheat, “turnin” and “woman” do not rhyme..  But good overall effort.  And thanks for the bravery for putting this out there when our patriarchal society makes feminist a bad word.

Dua Lipa: Future Nostalgia Review

25 Nov

Let’s get right to it:

Don’t Start Now and Cool are ones that’ll get stuck in your head, though the latter has some decidedly Bieber-inspired vocal similarities.  

Pretty Please:  It’s a stand-out on the album, taking more of a risk than the other songs.  The unapologetic sexuality, especially from a female perspective, is a nice addition.  And lends some validity to the artist.

Hallucinate:  Sounds like a rip-off of Lady Gaga.  WHICH I think is fair since Gaga’s entire fashion, sound, progression as an artist, and career are a direct rip-off of Madonna.

Love Again:  The best thing about this song is the use of the sample, and the occasional strings in the backing.  The signing and the vibe are disco-esque.

Break My Heart:  The syncopation, elevates this one from just another disco-Gaga tune to a little original.

Good In Bed:  This is the best song on the album, because of the playfulness of tempo.  There are the scales which shows any vocal talent.  The repetition of words and syllables make the song a catchy, ear-worm.  And it’s cheeky and sexual.  It’s reminiscent of Lilly Allen, without being a copycat.  This is the song that shows musical influences without just straight up plagiarism.  

Boys Will Be Boys:  A feminist anthem!  I love this song with it’s content about social issues such as patriarchy, gender roles, and sexism.  

The album reminds me a little of the ‘Bring It On’ Soundtrack.  Nothing ground-breaking here, but a fun listen all the same.  There are glimmers of potential on this album.  And when Dua Lipa embraces her own voice, that’s where things go right.  This artist reminds me of a hybrid between Katy Perry’s California-girl lite pop and 1980’s vanilla, Debbie Gibson. And too often she veers into the easy, superficial sound rather that challenging the status quo of pop.