Tag Archives: review

The [Dixie] Chicks: Gaslighter Album Review

16 Dec

Grammy nominations proved that The Chicks still aren’t off the blacklist. Which is ridiculous considering the political polarization, and mainstreaming of talking $hit about the top politicians. And the Shit-Show that is Trump. The music industry should be groveling at their feet. And fans should be telling them they suffered from being ahead of their time. But here we are, back in hypocrisy-land.

Sure, the Chicks have taken MORE then their fair share of heat for getting political.  Still, I wanted this album to be more outspoken politically.

Instead we got a divorce album.  Which is normally one of my favorites, because I like a bitter song.  But it’s just a bit of a disappointment.  I wish  they would comment on this current political situation.  That said, I’m glad they are back at all.

I ALSO WISH THAT WOMEN WOULDN’T BLAME THE OTHER WOMAN.  If your loser-husband cheats on you, don’t be mad at other women, be angry at that piece of shit.

I would have like at least one cheeky song on the album.  It’s one of their specialties, and I enjoy the fun-loving stuff.  I also wanted to hear more strings on the album.  They were really only strong on one song.  And I would have liked some faster-paced songs.  Sin Wagon, for example is kind of a breakup song, but it’s very fast and fun to listen to despite the lyrics.

Indigo Girls: Look Long Album Review

16 Dec

Shit Kickin’: Awesome!  It’s really catchy, and the background sounds choral, which is nice.  Amy tells a detailed story of growing up.  I like her grit–she conquers horses and carburetors alike.  And it is really cool, and I think rare in the South, that her family saw she was a bit different but let her be.

Look Long:  OK.  It’s a slow, lyrically centered around current political anxieties.  

Howl At the Moon:  Awesome!  It has a sort of African tribal chant, it’s upbeat and features banjo–all things I like!  Later, the penny-whistle(?) gives it an Australian vibe.  There are many elements that make this song interesting.  

When We Were Writers:  OK.  I like the song structure, the harmonizing echo (especially!), the instrumentation.  I don’t really care for the lyrics, I guess.  It’s not that relatable to me.

Change My Heart:  Good.  I’m not sure about all this erection talk Emily is writing about lately–even as a metaphor for the patriarchy and toxic masculinity, it is just YUCK.  But the guitar, and orchestral backing is amazing, and really the star of the song for me.

K.C. Girl:  Good.  Jazzed up baseline is exciting.  And a real too cool for school vibe–very alternative.

Country Radio:  OK.  A song that reminds us that the gays are in rural areas also.  And about that feeling of not belonging as a gay kid even though mostly you’re like everyone else, enjoying country songs.  The orchestral touches really shine in this one.

Muster:  Good.  The bridge when the tone becomes more insistent is the best part of this song.  

Feel This Way Again:  Good.  This one is about how you feel as a kid *and how you feel as a parent watching your child grow up.  Some great lines:  “I know you wanna, hurry through your homework, Youth is a hungry beast, I know you wanna, rise in the West and set in the East.”  The importance of going through all the stages, and how that’s valid.  And about how people miss their childhoods.

Favorite Flavor:  Awesome.  This one reminds me of Green Day, musically.  Just a touch of pop-punk.  And that is perfect, because lyrically it’s about a fiercely independent child.  A bit strong-minded and rebellious just like Amy, herself.  And about how “to let [her] light shine” rather than trying to reign that in.  I love letting little gals be their spunky selves!  

Sorrow And Joy:  Awesome.  I love that the Indigo Girls remind the listener that without sorrow, there would be no joy.  People have to have down times to appreciate good things.  And that opposition is the most natural thing–we shouldn’t try to avoid pain.  And we should appreciate all the good.  This features the harmonies the Girls are most famous for, and of course it’s to good effect.

Black Eyed Peas: Translation Album Review

15 Dec

RITMO:  Takes a sample of an old favorite and twists it.  Spanish. “Do it like whomp there it is” it’s  such a good reference.  Takes a lyric from the same early ‘90s time period of the sample.

FEEL THE BEAT:  I’m not familiar with the sample song on this one, but it’s also got some Spanish language as part of a modern twist.  Socially, I like the addition of Spanish even though I can’t understand any of it (bad Arizonan) because ‘Hispanic’ is the fastest growing demographic in the U.S.. I like the rap breakdown.  I like all the references, like J-Lo and grande that just take you back to the 1990s.

MAMCITA:  Good beat on this one.  The Spanish portion is fun to listen to, and dancy and sexy even with the language barrier.  The female parts are empowered and fun, not to mention an ear-worm.  More interesting word play, which is really smart.  “Sweat like wasabi” and “wet like tsunami” are two examples of smart writing.

GIRL LIKE ME:  Possibly the catchiest bit on the album is Sharkira’s wail on the “eye-e-eye”.  I like how the lyrics are very complimentary toward Shakira.  I like the check-ins of different types of Hispanics (what’s the correct term now, I read nobody really likes “LatinX” except Latin-trans).  With Selena’s name called out.

VIDA LOCA:  Everyone who lived in the 1990s knows this beat, and it’s sentimental and catchy simultaneously.  Also, taking some Ricky Martin lyrics for this cements the throw-back.  I do NOT, however like the, “it’s my life Bitch” peppered frequently throughout.  Whether it regards a female or not, “bitch” is a derogatory term for women, historically (or used to emasculate a man) and it drops the whole album a level for me.  It could have been anything different and still conveyed the point they’re trying to make.

NO MANANA:  I don’t really know the difference musically between all the different Latin groups.  This one reminds me of a Miami club though, very dancy.  The rap interludes strengthen the song.  And the distortion and slow downs are interesting.  The driving beat lends to the club feel.

TONTA LOVE:  There is not enough female rapping in music, so i like this.  It’s still soft-clubbing, but with a dreamy element that sets it apart.  The “la la la” “fa la la” and “cha cha cha” are effective attention-getting devices used to emphasize, and complete phrases.

CELEBRATE:  I’m pretty sure the sample song is a Gloria Estafan song, but there might be a 2nd sampled instrumental piece.  And here is some Spanish I can understand.  That vamenos andale` andale` is something Speedy Gonzonlaz would routinely say on Looney Tunes, so I can gather what the lyrics mean.  Not that it has precluded enjoyment of the album to not get the Spanish translations.

TODO BUENO:  If there is a weak song on the album, it’s this one so far.  I don’t know if listening-fatigue set in or if it says the same thing too many times, but I tuned out a little on this track.  I do like the extended rap portion.

DURO HARD:  An explicit song.  Too incessant.  Needs more lyrics.

MABUTI:  The sample is insanely catchy.  I like the car speeding noises and auto-tune for a millennial audience.  This is one of the songs that works best when updated and given a Spanish-language flair.  

I WOKE UP:  I like the name checks for the NBA players.  There’s the weed verse.  There’s the wealthy celeb verse. But it’s way too many repetitions of one phrase–to the point of annoyance.

GET LOOSE NOW:  The repetition is used to effect.  Hand claps and snaps give this song a street feel.  When they get faster, it increases the tension in the song.  It’s a simple word play (vs. singing, or even rapping) which goes with the sample “ooo yay”.

ACTION:  The trills and vocal snare ( tah tah tah tah tah) aren’t overdone as they usually are in songs.  The rap section is riveting, because there are references sprinkled throughout.  There are a lot of vocal (onnawannapias?) in this one that remind the listener of other songs that had that sound.  I think it’s another interesting way to reference other material, aside from sampling the song, saying those lyrics, mentioning pop culture from that time period.  This album features all of that, so it’s very inventive they can take it a step further.

NEWS TODAY:  A Covid-19 song was tacked on to the end of a finished album.  It doesn’t go with the rest, which is very homogeneous.  Though, I can tell the song was stuck in, it’s a nice ballad, with relevant lyrics, and it’s timely.  It would have been nice to seperate it in some manner, like making it a secret song–which WOULD have gone with the theme of this album.  The 1990s were full of secret tracks.  There also could have been a voice memo telling the listener, this wasn’t really part of the album, but the band felt it was imperative to include it, because–2020.  I’ll just imagine that was there…

Every song could just blend together on this album.  The theme is perfectly executed, where the individual songs can hold up on their own, but the album could be played and the listener might never know when one song ended and the next began.

Brothers Osborne: Skeleton Album Review

15 Dec

Lighten Up:  The epitome of bro-country.  A party song.  Repetitve.  But a light-opener.

All Night:  I like the, “I got the ___ if you ____” section.  The base and guitar are the real standouts of this song.  The interlude is interesting.

All the Good Ones Are:  Hand claps, and more rock-driven then I remember from their last album.  A little more superficial and light.  Good beat.

I’m Not for Everyone:  Features accordion?  It’s a more introspective song than the rest.

Skeletons:  Their low vocals are easily my favorite thing about the band.  And this intro is the very 1st song to include that.  The beat is nice, and the hum of the resonant voice makes this my very favorite song of the album (so far, I’m writing as I listen for the 1st time).  Also, good word play, “…skeletons in your closet and I’ve got bones to pick with them.”  The faster beat on the bridge/interlude is cool.  I also like toward the end when the music steps up and increases the tension.  Good!

Back on the Bottle:  I really like this retro sound.  The beat reminds me of Virginia City.  And the vocals are the best when they are LOW.  It gives them a difference from every other bro-country artist.  It’s a hybrid of outlaw country, bro/party country, and a drinking song.  And there is the waltz dance melody/beat.  

High Note:  It’s a break up song and ballad.  At the risk of sounding like a hater, I’m going to say it’s largely forgettable.  Too much repetition, not enough variation.

Muskrat Greene:  This song made me immediately excited.  And the long instrumental is very strong at telling a story without the vocals.  I really love it.  Just the fast piano and scales then pounding is unique (for these times) and a throw-back to “Pipeline”.  Brothers Osborne need to stick to this updated old-school, as it is their niche!  This is the kind of sound that makes them special.

Dead Man’s Curve:  That transition!  Muskrat seamlessly goes to this song.  It had been good by itself, but it’s also great as just a long intro.  And the hand-claps here, really belong, unlike “All the Good Ones” where it took it to a superficial place.  This song does what country is supposed to do–tell a story.  And I’m entertained throughout.  The instrumentation takes center stage as it should, but the lyrics go with it well.

Make it a Good One:  a life is short song.  Even though it’s cliche’ I really got the feels and appreciated the reminder.  The rising guitar fits the message.  A nice little song.

Hatin’ Somebody:  The placement on the album is good, following the life is short song.  And I didn’t like the song at first.  It’s too preachy with the other.  And it was plain.  But the guitar pieces and also, “tell me something good” (same sound) chorus make it interesting and familiar all at once.  The ch ch ha ha are mmm–I guess I’m neutral on it.  But the guitar fly-rolling (reminds me of “flute-loop” a little)  sound is really fun.

Old Man’s Boots:  Good descriptive language a lot of metaphors and similes.  Active use of symbolism, and attempts to convey emotion.  All good.  But I don’t really care for this current day sentimental type song.  It just rings a little disingenuous to me–that may be more my cynicism than anything coming through in this song.

The album takes a sharp turn on song 5.  It goes from trite, bro-party country to something better.  I wish they would cut out the first 4 songs, actually–it’s that much of a change.  

Fiona Apple: Fetch the Bolt Cutters Album Review

14 Dec

I Want You to Love Me:  Beautiful, swirling piano.  The notes are held so long they become discordant.  Singing slowly transitions from sweet to rough.  The song breaks down at the end with piano fluttering and dolphin vocalizations.  It feels weird, but must be symbolic?

Shameika:  Unlike the last song, this song sounds good right away.  The piano playing elevates all of the songs, and you can tell the vocals are very intellectual.  There is so much going on in the song (production-wise, instrumentally, and lyrically), you have to listen several times to pick up what Apple is putting down.

Fetch the Bolt Cutters:  More spoken word, which reminds me of when Jewel used to strip down to poetry.  And the singing remains “off” and intentionally displeasing to the ear.  “I grew up in the shoes I was told I could fill.”  There are many gems of lines in the song.  It’s about filling expectations, then later, realizing what you want to do, and who you want to be.  She is fetching the bolt cutters to remove these chains society has placed upon her. There’s barking and heavy breathing at the end.  Maybe a symbolic, being chased and pursued, for going your own way.  Fear, but defiance in spite of it.

Under the Table:  Apple, won’t be silenced.  Not for society.  Not for her partner.  “Kick me under the table all you want, I won’t shut up.”  The piano steps up, and Apple goes into more of a singing shout to show her passion about the subject.  There is more off-key shout-barely singing, and the piano does a lot of the work.

Relay:  The beat is consistent with the last songs, moving effortlessly through the album’s theme.  A lot of production.  Many repetitions of the phrase.  Fiona presents herself strong here, not a victim, or soft or helpless.  “Evil is a relay sport when the one who’s burned turns to pass the torch.”  And “Presenting your life like a fucking proaganda brochure” is such a great line.  “. . .  If I hate you for hating me I will have entered the endless race” is the key to the meaning of this song.  Pitting women against each other is our patriarchy’s way to hold us all back.  There are some wailing sounds that I don’t understand.  Is there a cello in here?  

Rack of His:  The initial notes and background sound like that popular Matt & Kim song.  More rough singing to tell a story, which was cerebral to the extent I had to listen several times before I picked it up.  She loved this person so much, and they were only with her to avoid boredom.

Newspaper:  More barking.  An incest song?  It’s difficult to listen to details of grooming and manipulation of an incestuous father.  But it’s a good, and an important song, to put out in the world.  The singing is rough again.  Seeing this sister(?) being abused in the same manner makes Apple feel close to her.  Though the father is manipulating them to dislike and distrust each other.  She does vibrato at the end.  Closes with random thumping.

Ladies:  Repeats, “ladies ladies ladies” four times in harsh, displeasing tones before starting to really sing.  “Yet another woman to whom I won’t get through”  The ex wife of another ex of mine, but the dress at many degrees of separation.  Apple is part of the social puzzle that has women policing other female behavior to reinforce patriarchy.  She emphasizes, whether we play along, enforce, or rebel, we’re all still part of that system.

Heavy balloon:  A lot more repetition–Apple really wants to stress her message to the listener.  There are many thoughtful lines.  “I spread like strawberries” “I’ve been sucking it in so long, I’m bustin’ at the seams.”  “The bottom feels like the only safe place that you know.”

Cosmonauts:  Apple is startlingly smart.  She has lines like, “Your face ignites a fuse to my patience…  Be good to me before you’re gone.”  And “Way more gravity than when we started off” to tell us this relationship has gotten burdensome and heavy.  It’s good imagery.  There are chaotic rounds near the middle of the song.  “Started off” is repeated, then shouted.  It emphasizes the difference from where the relationship began to where it has ended up. Ending with Apple whispering.

For Her:  A group of female voices.  “Treating his wife like less than a guest”  “Trying to act like the other girl acts”  The lyrics get fast.  It nearly sounds like a sports chant.  Beat.  A fun sounding verse.  “Like you know you should know when I came to bed, like you don’t know what you did.”  A pretty big musical break– to show a different day?  It almost sounds like the next song.  “You raped me in the same bed your daughter was born in.”  A chorus, but it gets increasingly sharp(?) and displeasing which ends the song.  I think it imitates how things went sour in her life?

Drumset:  She doesn’t understand why the subject of the song, didn’t want to try, and took it all away.  The drumset is gone.  This person won’t take calls, won’t talk at all.  The song ends on “aaannnd” maybe the next song will continue the story.

Oh I Go:  Sung in lower tones, like stage whispering at some parts.  Many levels of voice.  Choppy phrases of woodwind(?) end the song.


I initially was happy to see Fiona Apple releasing music again, because it’s been a long drought, and she’s historically an artist I like.  And on first listen to the album, I could see there was a lot going on and it should be good.  But Apple doesn’t just hand it to you.  You have to work to understand and appreciate Fetch the Bolt Cutters.  And it’s also intentionally not that sweet and pretty and pleasing to the ear.  Apple has made known she can sing beautifully, and play piano with virtuosity, but here she chooses not to.  So it’s a little work to listen.  But also a cerebral masterpiece.  Smartest work of 2020–and that’s saying a lot with folklore on the scene.

Kesha: High Road album Review

13 Dec

Tonight:  Lots of auto-tune, syncopation, and distortion.  Group singing.

My Own Dance:  Female empowerment song, it’s ok for females to have sex.  The song has a lot of production with “hey yeah” in the background throughout.  I’m glad she addresses the “shut up and sing” stuff.  Every artist has a platform and absolutely should engage (intelligently if possible) politically or with social causes.

Raising Hell:  Catchy as hell!  Voice notes.  “Get it.”  Some gospel background flair.  Some danciness.  Kesha is SINGING!  Prayer-sound into a rap interlude. A lot is going on in the song, and despite the busy-ness, I love it.

High Road:  The verse sounds like a Karmin rap, which is a good thing.  The chorus is striking, and I like the sentiment of the lyrics.  Break down:  “Now put your hands up, now put your hands down”  in a distorted voice to close it out.

Shadow:  It’s funny she says “spaceships” because this is a companion to the closer off the last album.  I really like the lyrics, it is a perfect follow up for all the struggles Kesha indicates in the Rainbow album.  My favorite line, maybe ever is, “If you’re here to throw shade then you’re in the wrong place, yeah you’re blocking my sun.”  She addresses the haters, from a place of maturity– while still giving the cheekiness I love Kesha for displaying.  Also, she sings her ass off in this song, hitting a very high note.

Honey:  The sample is used masterfully.  The listener can tell what it is, then it is blended into this track in a unique way.  I like a bitter song, and there are many great one-liners sprinkled throughout.  Love, love, love.  The background sassy singers and “bye byes” and shouting lend to a slumber party feel where your besties have your back.  I mean, if we have to mean girl somebody, instead of blaming the piece of shit man who did the cheating–this is the way to do it.  

Cowboy Blues:  This might be the exact same tune as she had in a prior album.  In a song about aliens?  I’m preeety sure it is just the same.  And I don’t care for the talking in this one.  The harmony in the last third of the song, and the echo are a really nice touch.  A song about missed connections.

Resentment:  I absolutely love the mature sound Kesha has evolved toward.  This duet is a lovely country song.  And she seamlessly transitions into the genre with a catchy chorus.  The male voices are prominent, but don’t over-power her.  

Little Bit of Love:  This song has some talky parts, and tells a story–which Kesha is good at doing.  It’s another remarkable song.  Vocal chops are shown.  The “litta bit a little bit a” reminds me of Mika–in a good way.

Birthday Suit:  Starting with a retro video game sound.  The talking verse is about how great she is.  The chorus is catchy.  The next part has video game in the background to show, not tell,  the chase is a game.

Kinky:  Funny phone call intro.  Having listened to many of those in the 90s, I know they’re funny the first two times you hear them, then it gets annoying and they’re a skip.  It’s too bad she didn’t make that it’s own track for that reason.  The song has some serious 1980s beat.  I think it’s a good thing Kesha embraces her sexuality and does not subscribe to the shame put onto women.

Potato Song (Cuz I Want To):  It’s a silly song with that tuba tune.  And she talks about how she’s stressed out and she’ll take a break.  She sings about how adulthood is all boring responsibility, and she is wanting to reject that.  Kesha sings, “I’m throwin’ all my big girl panties–in the garbage can!”  The ending is rounds, which always sound cool.  And like an end of party tuba theme.

BFF:  Another good duet about best friends.  You don’t hear enough songs about friends (that don’t turn into sex or love) so this is a refreshing topic.  The voices blend together just as well as the friendship they talk about.  It’s nice to hear about an emotionally healthy, supportive relationship.

Father Daughter Dance:  A reflective piece, with mellow production as compared to the rest of the album.  She is introspective about what has made her who she is today.  She belts it out at the end, and it sounds good.

Chasing Thunder:  Another country-vibe song, but with gospel backing.  The hand claps belong here (you know I can be critical of extraneous clapping).  It’s a blend of genres done seamlessly.  It all just “works” and I enjoy seeing Kesha experiment, while also keeping the things I always liked.

Summer:  A nice closer to the album, ending on a note of hope.  At the end, musically it shows the climax and hopefulness.  It’s a triumphant sound.  

Taylor Swift: folklore Album Review

13 Dec

This is the review.

For the cross-referenced songs/lyrics:

https://kit10phish.wordpress.com/2020/08/02/taylor-swifts-folklore-album-cross-referenced-with-lyrics-songs-albums-events/

For the Analysis:

https://kit10phish.wordpress.com/2020/07/24/folklore-plausible-deniability/

The 1:  This song is like you’re sitting on the couch with Taylor and she’s telling you the story of all her past loves via song.  It’s soft, but an earworm none-the-less.  I like the thought experiment that is that song.  Taylor is going through her mind, wondering what her life would be like if she had gotten everything (and everyone) she wished for at that time in her life.

Cardigan:  This barely sounds like Taylor singing at all.  It’s very dream-pop.  The chorus is still that Taylor-Swift brand catchy though.  She does a good job of conveying emotion and longing here, and using imagery to show a safe, comfortable relationship.  

The Last Great American Dynasty:  A jaunty little pop song–and history lesson.  We learn America has always been misogynist, demanding women remain quiet and demure, and blaming females for all problems.  And at the end it’s a nice surprise to find out this is a profile of the person who had Taylor’s house prior to her.  And there are parallels between the two women and the societal conventions broken by both.

Exile:  Who knew Bon Iver has such a deep voice?  Have we ever heard that before?  This is in the top 5 of Taylor Swift duets.  They sound great together and nobody is overpowered.  The overlapping lyrics do a wonderful job, showing (vs telling) that nobody was listening to the other and that’s a reason for the discord in the relationship.  It also adds a lot of layers for the listener to enjoy.  

My Tears Ricochet:  A funeral start with the choral backing.  The softly sung lyrics lend to that feeling.  The title is a play on “Tears on my Guitar” an early single in her catalogue.  The symbolism is packed in this song!  It’s about Swift’s original label, her leaving on bad terms, and the battle for her masters.  

Mirrorball:  This is an album that calls for repeat listens and lyrical analysis.  It is packed full of information!  I dare to say Mirrorball is perhaps the catchiest tune in folklore, just because it was the song that attracted me most on the first listen.  It’s immediately palatable–where appreciation grows over listens on many others.  That it’s about Taylor being a people-pleaser, to the detriment of herself.  She wants her audience to be on her side and like her, and she’ll try till the bitter end.  Mirrorball is an image of how Taylor shows her audience what they want to see.

Seven:  Right in the beginning of the song, Taylor establishes she is about to tell about her childhood.  She brings up a friend and neighbor (we know she’s female because “braids like a pattern”) who has problems in the home.  Taylor wishes they could go to a fantasy world together.

August:  With this song, it’s back to more of a dreamy feel.  There’s an echo on some lyrics and some humming that puts in surreal, or memory territory.  It’s about a summer fling, but after Taylor is old enough to drink, “August slipped away like a bottle of wine.”  For whatever reason, this song always leaves me unsatisfied.  It’s short.  I want more detail.  Where is this. Who is this summer fling?  Taylor leaves me with more questions than answers.

This is Me Trying:  Another song about how Taylor tries to please.  It’s gentle and also lyrically echo.  There are so many great lines in this one!  It’s full of it.  “I got wasted like all my potential” “I was so ahead of the curve, the curve became a sphere, fell behind all my classmates, and ended up here.”  It really makes you think.

Illicit Affairs:  A song about an affair.  And it leaves the listener to wonder:  Who’s perspective is this song written from, and who are the two subjects of the song?  For my ideas on these matters, see my analysis posts:

Taylor starts singing in a stronger, more defiant tone in the last third of the song.  She makes clear that she’s ruin herself a million little times.

Invisible String:  What instrument is this, doing the plucking?  It sounds like something non-conventional.  And it makes the background music is an earworm, and the lyrics are a really sweet love song.  I like the idea that love is destiny, and all our smaller choices, and life events move us toward our soulmate.

Mad Woman:  Maybe my favorite song on the album (don’t ask me to choose which child I like best, type of thing).  Taylor is angry and I’m here for it!  “Everytime you call me crazy, I get more crazy…  And then you say I seem angry, I get more angry…  No one likes a mad woman–you made her like that.”  Yes!  Taylor gets it.  I’m pretty confident this is Taylor’s fuck you to the dude who stole her masters, who shall remain nameless here.  It’s a good bitter song.

Epiphany:  The slow organ(?) shows this will be another song about a depressing topic, maybe death.  It’s good foreshadowing.  And that’s where the positives end for this song, in my opinion.  My least favorite song on the album.  Is there a rule of 3s in writing?  If not, there should be.  Had Taylor tackled 3 topics, I would like this song better.  As it, she talks of war, and compares it (sort of, but not directly enough) to our current battle with covid.  It either needs to be a more explicit comparison, or talk about a third thing.   Because she didn’t, the song seems disjointed.I hate to criticize Taylor’s writing, because it’s one of the things she’s best at (second to embedding clues and utilizing symbols), but this song is just not the best writing.

Betty:  Harmonica!  What a welcome surprise.  This song is about a high school relationship, and Taylor is tricky about who exactly is narrating it.  See my other post on the matter:

One of the more catchy songs on the album, and for me, a nice reprieve from the slow, dream pop and funereal songs.  The guitar on the “I was walkin’ home” part, is upbeat and I like that a lot after the sort of mopey tone preceding this.  After two slow refrains, I love the triumphant, bum bum bum bum bum (that’s an onnawannapia of the notes) of the guitar to the end.

Peace:  Immediate dislike of the pulse sound.  These lyrics leave a lot of questions for the listener to deliberate:  Whos perspective is this song from?  Is it a happy song or a sad song?  Is the second party satisfied with this relationship?  I like the easy singing style, but it bothers me when things are left hanging and unresolved.  Maybe that’s the point with this one–Taylor is emphasizing exactly how she feels that ambiguity she just laid on us, her audience.  She put us right in her shoes.

Hoax:  I’m glad Taylor released an additional song, because I think this one is too negative and depressing to end an album.  It is melancholy and Taylor sounds a little defeated in it.  She basically says she’s sad, but nothing else will work, she is going to live with the sadness because her heart is taken with this person.  It’s a little bit, ‘victim of domestic abuse’ a mentality.  “This has frozen my ground”–pay attention, this becomes important later.  The piano and strings are beautiful, but the lyrics are just so dreary.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good song–I just wish Taylor was happy, and the subject was not hurting her.

The Lakes:  The first sounds remind me of when a movie shows a record player.  A litter antiquated and slightly degraded.  I think this song is chock full of poetry references, but let me be honest–that is not where my interests lie, so I didn’t take the time to do a true analysis.  The musical backing sounds much more optimistic than the prior couple of songs on the album.  And Taylor makes sure to indicate she wants to leave her life for this dreamscape–but not without her muse.  “A red rose grew up out of ice frozen grounds…” is a good symbol for the barren loneliness and horribleness that Taylor’s relationship with her lover grew out of.  Things were bad and cold and icy, but from the stemmed (pun!) a beautiful red flower.  Since it follows the depression of hoax, it shows Taylor has come through all of that negativity, that’s not where the story ends (a break up and toxicity) afterall.  It’s a more optimistic closer–thank goodness.  Also, Taylor is known to start the next album from the last song of the previous so this gives the listener a hint maybe the next album will be from some English chateaux where Taylor is holed up with her lover, doing what she does best–writing.

What a good album–it’s an understatement.  Taylor Swift again shows her dexterity as a writer and performer.  She really can do anything!  This album’s strongest feature was the layered writing, which embedded so much information, that it drove multiple listens–genius.  Like Apple’s work, Taylor shows she has a keen knack for saying, showing, and musically burying meanings everywhere.  Just don’t call folklore “Alternative” IT IS NOT IN THE ALTERNATIVE GENRE.  This is most definitely an attempt at dream pop like Lorde and an inspiration to Taylor, Lana del Ray.  But more hooks and catchiness.  Taylor can’t help but to write earworms.  It’s a good departure and makes me excited for whatever is going to follow.

Aloe Blacc: All Love Everything Album Review

12 Dec

Family:  It’s a warm start to the album, speaking of love and support.  I think it’s an accurate harbinger of where the album will go.  The music itself has a string pluck I like, and the bridge is almost variable enough to do something extra for the song.  But alas, it repeats too much.

All Love Everything:  The soulful singing is the strong point.  Also the faster cadence is engaging.  And the lyrics are all love.  It’s genuine, not saccharine.

My Way:  I love this song.  The vocal range, the positivity are infatuating.  It’s got a rock-gospel feeling.  I enjoy how uplifting this song is, in both words and musically.

Wherever You Go:  Not that John Legend has a copyright on all emotive, rangy songs performed by a POC, but this one reminds me of his catalogue (in a good way).  And the acapella “oh ohs” is the perfect end.  Unique.

Nothing Left but You:  I like that all the songs are tied together.  He is still singing about a person that tries to hide their emotions and feelings.  And he wants more than that.  He wants it even if the result is a little messy.  He wants this love stripped down.  Original topic for a love song.

Glory Days:  Nice rhyme scheme.  Playing with the tempo makes the song fun to listen to–I’m waiting to see where else it will go.  It could benefit from more lyrics, as it says the same lines over and over.

I Do:  When Blacc changes his register it’s the best!  It lends a soulful element to the song.  I also like how the lyrics indicate that he was just fine on his own.  There was nothing wrong or missing.  And he didn’t understand what all the love cliche’s meant.  Then he says how his perspective changed when he met his soulmate.  Beautifully done, on stripped down piano.

Corner:  This song is also very warm.  The tinkling on the piano is pleasant.

Hold On Tight:  The beginning of the song has very little instrumentation as a way to point to the words and make them central.  It’s another love song, saying he’ll be there no matter what.  The bass beat shows a line of strength and consistency, which matches up with what Blacc is singing about in his lyrics. 

Harvard:  Descriptive and complex language.  All the SAT words are used.  It tells the story of living a regular life, and having common problems.  But also the perspective of the song is positive and speaks of dreams.  The base and sparse guitar sound nice with this relatively flat (I’m talking octaves, not falling flat, or one note).  I guess it’s a nice close to the album.  Lyrically, it ties a bow on the story being told.  I might have liked some bigger instrumentals to finish the album a little more solid.

Overall, a very strong album.. Each song builds on the last, and it fits a cohesive theme.  I’ve heard Blacc use his voice more and would have liked to see more low and super-high notes, but it still left me with a lot of feeling.

Lauren Alaina: Getting Over Him EP Review

12 Dec

Arrrg–seriously, put your Spotify page together with the latest album release at the top!  I started listening to the album until I got to “Road Less Traveled” which I was certain I had judged before.  

If I Was a Beer:  The bass drum is on point!  And I like the comparison.

Bar Back:  When she speeds up, it makes the song great.  I also like how relatable it is to have to split all the favorite and routine places a couple went to together, after the break up.

Getting Over Him:  About the rebound after a relationship ends.  I never like the idea of rebounding.

What Do You Think Of:  Lukas Graham’s voice sounds perfect with Lauren Alaina’s voice.  Seriously, they should consider joining up as a band forever.  This song was the standout of the entire–I’m going to call it EP since there are only 6 songs.  The high notes are nice, with Graham doing most of the heavy lifting hitting that one note.  Alaina shows her vocal skill though, which I had been wanting all along.

Oh. Now I see what happened with the Spotify order–this is not a true album, but an EP.

Overall, I was disappointed.  If your EP is made of a few really great songs, put it out.  But if the songs are not perfect, either edit til they are better, or add some stunners and make a full album.  Also, the two things I liked best about her past album, was Alaina’s positivity and good messaging, and her vocal strength.  This EP showcased neither.

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First Impressions of Taylor Swift’s Evermore

11 Dec

My first listen of Evermore was during a work day. I wanted to note my genuine and untainted (by Tumblr ideas or Twitter takes or magazine blurbs) thoughts, but also I had to work. So I wrote my impressions on a post-it, then had to really struggle to get the type OFF of my work network. So here is a more readable version.

Willow:  I am immediately relieved to hear the instruments.  It’s automatically more alive than folklore.  I also like when she sings at a higher octave, and the faster cadence in the chorus.

Champagne Problems:  Nice piano.  Very quiet, stripped down song. The little interlude is a bit faster, and the backing is quite Enya. I like the one for the money two for the show lines.

Gold Rush:  Faster singing.  Hair fallin’ into place like dominoes is a very cleaver line, packed with meaning. Very sudden ending.

Tis the Damn Season:  Sounds like a bitter song, and you know how I like that!  The emotions are very strong through her singing here.

Tolerate It:  An introspective song, that tells a detailed story, but I’m unable (so far) to figure out who it’s about?  $cott B? Her father? “Reading head low.  Older and wiser.  Wait by the door like I’m just a kid.  I greet you like a battle hero’s welcome.  You were out building other worlds.  I made you my temple…  Now I’m beggin for footnotes.  Always takin’ up too much space or time.”  The production is minimal, which lets the listener focus on the lyrics.

No Body No Crime:  I love the instruments a lot!  Is that more harmonica?!  I also like the faster singing and cadence of the song.  I also like the “I think he did it” part.   It’s a murder mystery song.  Estes?  And I’m listening for hints that it’s based on someone real.  Husband’s acting different and it smells like infidelity.  I’m gonna call him out.  I think he did it [cheated on her?  Or killed her?] but I just can’t prove it.  He reports his missing wife, and his truck has some brand new tires.  Esty’s sister?  Took out a big life insurance policy.  The pronouns and subject of the song switch several times.  I think this crime song morphs maybe more into the love triangle situation.  She thinks I did it but she just can’t prove it.  It’s the campainion song to Goodbye Earl song

Happiness:  This has some similarities to folklore.  This song has a quiet rage.  “I can’t see facts through all my fury.”  This song shows how Taylor has matured, and she says “I can’t make it go away by making you a villian.”  Taylor is not going to write one of her favorite fuck you broken up songs.  She can sit with the sadness, heartbreak, and anger, without lashing out.  I like when the instruments pick up toward the middle.  No one teaches you what to do when a good man hurts you and you know you hurt him too.  It’s the difinitive ‘Kaylor is over’ song.

Dorothea:  Another song that tells a detailed story.  Someone in Tupelo?  An old friend?  “Skippin’ the prom just to piss off your mom and her pageant schemes.”

Coney Island:  The National’s voice sounds terrible–the song would be a lot better without it.  His voice reminds me of that last Jonny Cash album after he was old and his voice was shot.  But he was a legend, which salvaged it.  The production is sparse.  I like the story this song tells, but The National really ruins the song.  I think parts of this song might reference her dad?  ” If I can’t relate to you who am I related to?”

Ivy:  I like the warmer instruments on this track–on the others that don’t have it I miss it.  “Grieving for a livin'” is a neat line that shows Taylor writes songs about her heartaches.  Another story of Karlie cheating on Jo$h.

Cowboy Like Me:  The guitar is nice.  The story is bleak, but detailed.  The syncopation of the “I had tricks up my sleeve, takes one to know one” is both interesting and calls attention to the lines.

Long Story Short:  The beat is already fast and good.  Taylor is rising above drama here.  She’s a more mature version of herself.  The faster, more pressing ending is good.   I think this song is mostly about Taylor’s label dispute and masters battle.  I tried to pick my battle til the battle picked me.  “War of words.”  I was in an ally surrounded on all sides.  Fell from the pedistal.  Right down the rabbit hole.  Wrong guy [label?]. No more keepin’ score, I just keep you warm.  Long story short it was a bad time.  I looked better in the rearview.  Past me (she’s giving $cott advise for his future business partnerships with artists) I wanna tell you not to with these petty things.  I’m not sure what the song is about, but my first impression is that it’s not a romatic relationship.  I think the you in “I’m all about you now” is her new label–who is beniffiting wildly right now, P.S. Long story short–I survived.

Marjorie:  There’s a sadness to Taylor’s voice.  “Never be so polite you forget your power.  Never weild such power you forget to be polite”  It’s good advice.  I take it this was her grandmother’s advice.  She’s not dead to Taylor, because her advice can still be heard.  But she does wish she had asked more, and written down more things, before her Grandmother died.   “I still feel you all around.”  This song means a lot to me personally, because I had/have a very close relationship with my grandma.  And I believe the sentiment someone can live in your heart.

Closure:  The intro sounds like construction.  But like small scale.  Taylor is reeling from this break-up, and Karlie’s concern is just to get closure.  Taylor isn’t having it.  The song itself doesn’t offer much after the lyrics, which are complete and good.

Evermore:  Sweet singing over beautiful piano.  Writing letters addressed to the fire.  It’s good imagry of letters I never sent.  Bon Iver sings falestto here.  It’s not as intrusive as The National.  And the layered effect is still complex and impressive.  “This pain wouldn’t be forevermore at the end of the song.”  So a little of a brighter ending than folklore, despite this being a break-up, broken heart album.

Right Where You Left Me

It’s Time to Go: