Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Every Time...

How fortunate it is that I decided to research Demi Lovato, just to see news about the album.

1) It's being released in 9 days, on the 14th of May, yay!
2) You can listen to it now. At Lovatics Speed Up Time. Yes. Very clever.

Again with the early release! Hey, I am not complaining. So - here's my full album review! I am literally writing my review as I listen to the songs for the first time, so this is my true first impression.

Heart Attack - Like I said in my previous review, I loved this song. Her voice, the lyrics, the statement, everything. It's catchy, it's cool.

Made in the U.S.A. - I would normally give this a giant thumbs up, but after Heart Attack's insane vocals, it sort of falls flat. After hearing Skyscraper, it's a bit hard to go back to something so typical and normal. This song could have been sung by anyone else and sound the same. The goodness is in the beat and tune. But overall, eh.

Without the Love - I thought this was Never Gonna Happen for a good 15 seconds. I really like this song. Younger people may not get the baseball joke (get me home like DiMaggio. Is she a Yankees fan?) but I really love the rest of this. I love the lyrics, and though it isn't a fun dancy song, it is perfect for a drive or to listen to whenever. It's too good for background music, but it isn't the best song on the album.

Neon Lights - This is a sure hit. Like Made in the U.S.A. it could have been sung by anybody else, but it's so good! I began to (try) to sing along the very first time I listened. It's perfect to dance to, sing to, background music, not background music...it's such a great, fun song. Super thumbs up.

Two Pieces - This song is incredible. The sound is intense - the beat, the music, and her vocals. The lyrics are sweet, and I could totally foresee this song becoming a hit and actually surviving time. This. Is. It.

Nightingale - I was sort of apprehensive hearing the title to this song. I knew it would be slower than the previous ones, but it could be great...or not. But as it goes on, it's clear that the song is a beautiful romantic one, and it's exactly what everyone expected from her. Elegant, amazing vocals, and if you are like me, you may cry. So far, it seems to be the best song.

In Case - First two second impression: perfect placement. After Nightingale you can not put any old song afterwards. Once again, her vocals put everybody else in the world to shame. Including Carly Rose Sonenclar. This song is less intense than Nightingale, but it is still amazing.

Really Don't Care ft. Cher Lloyd - Back to the jam! The fact that Cher Lloyd is on it makes it way better than it already is. Next note: the chorus is a bit stupid, but her voice power makes up for that. Definitely a dancing in your living room or bedroom song.

Fire Starter - First line: um, excuse me? What does that mean? In fact, for the first minute of this song, I could not stand it. Two minutes in, I am still not a fan. I don't think the lyrics are meaningful, the beat is energetic but not great, and...well, it doesn't sound like anything special.

Something That We're Not - Totally sounds like something that One Direction would release. The lyrics are pretty good, and her voice range, as far as tone goes, is great. But like Fire Starter, I am not a fan.

Never Been Hurt - WOW. This song is that one that you are either going to love or hate. She does some INSANE stuff with her voice here. I didn't even know that was possible. I personally love it, especially after the last two ones. The lyrics are fair, her voice is amazing, the beat is great and will be a great asset for it's chart position. I am on team love. As in Lovatics. As in I love this song. The music video is the breaker here - if she does a bad forgettable video, this song will die alone. If she makes an incredible unique one, it will be very popular.

Shouldn't Come Back - If you stop and listen to the song, it will have a shocking effect on you. I was not expecting this. Not only are the lyrics beautiful, but the emotion that Demi pours into the song is amazing. It's one of the strongest songs here, and the power of it reminds me of Skyscraper.

Warrior - The final song. Forget what I said about Shouldn't Come Back. This is Skyscraper mixed with Alicia Keys. It is the perfect ending to the album, and the best track. In gymnastics terms, this is the outstretched arms and smile after a routine with a few mess ups, a few impeccable back handsprings, and some amazing flips with no name.

My final comments: I recommend this album. There are like four tracks which I would not spend money on if they were singles, but overall, this is a very good album. Earlier, Demi said that her next album (this one) would be a tell-all, and while I definitely do not see that in some of these tracks, in the other half, the confession theme is very clear.

Note: This is a first impression review.

Becky G's new single, The New Futures, and Popularity

Finally another one! It seems like Becky is really getting into the rhythm of releasing singles, and this one is just as good, albeit different, from her other stuff. She still raps, then sings the chorus, but the beat is very different from her previous stuff. What I like best is that while the music definitely leans more to more mainstream music, but she still keeps her old rap style (meaning lyrics that aren't "typical" but not too weird either). I also love that she continues to keep her heritage in her videos, and even though this song isn't about that, the video is. The song is very catchy, and definitely fun to (try) to sing along to. I do think they autotuned it a bit weirdly - not so she sounds electronic, her voice just sounds a bit higher and...off. Still though. All I have to say is Play It Again.

If you're a fan of Alt-Rock as well as Pop, then I definitely have a new band to satisfy you. The New Futures are VERY new. As in, the only way to hear their music is to a) buy their debut single on iTunes or listen to three songs on their website. You're welcome. The only song that has been released, and therefore their debut single, is Sunshine (which is funny because they're from Seattle), and I definitely recommend it. The song has a grungy sound, but not so much that it alienates pop lovers. It just adds a lot of edge and makes it sound very cool. Ocean is less intense, and though it definitely has a nineties influence, it is more modern. Story is the third song, and from the opening it's easy to tell that it is the most mellow of the three. I'm not usually a fan of mellow songs, but this one is pretty good. Out of the three I would say Ocean is the best, but all of them are good enough to be worth checking out!

To be honest, Ariana Grande always bothered me as a singer. Not just because she was weirdly orange in one of her videos, but none of her songs really seemed genuine. They were just...wrong.

Well, I don't know how well she connects to the theme of getting back at popular kids who bullied less popular ones, but her collaboration with MIKA, called Popular Song is all about that. And I love it. J'adore. Te Amo. First of all, I love sorta dark creepy things that are reminiscent of haunted houses, but I love and own and constantly listen to the soundtrack of Wicked. So when the pair sang a verse from Glinda's song Popular, I loved it even more. Even better - the beat is catchy and the lyrics are great. Really, I  just love everything about it.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Becky G new release

Now that I'm finally back, it's just in time to announce Becky G's new single, Becky From The Block. Unlike her previous collaborations with Will.i.am and Cher Lloyd, this single is less pop and more rap. It isn't rap in a generic way, and it's nothing like Colette Carr's style either. The song is about her background, but also how she will always remember that she's "Becky from the block". The song starts out pretty well, with a catchy rapping beat, and gets progressively better as it goes on. What I also live is that when she throws out phrases like "yo" or "west side" it doesn't sound weak like it does with wannabe rappers. Becky has really talent, and hopefully she'll incorporate some more poo and release an album soon!

I guess Elle King isn't "technically" pop, but her mix of genres turns out to be very cool sounding and not at all weird. When making music that mixes R&B with rock, country and soul, it's easy to make your music sound silly or boring. But my favorite one of her songs is also her most popular one, and for a good reason. Playing for keeps doesn't sound pop, but the vibe is so easy to sing and dance to that it may as well be. Her first full album is coming out this year, and the mix should be eclectic and fun.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Carly Rose Sonenclar

Before today, I had not considered Carly Rose Sonenclar to be trained enough to present as a good recording artist to check out.

To those of you who haven't kept up with the X Factor USA, Sonenclar is 13, and second place on the second season of the show.

For her audition, Carly stunned the judges (including Simon Cowell) with her powerful rendition of Feelin' Good by Nina Simone. For her interview preparing to go on the show, Carly said
"I want to bring the soul back to pop. My record would be a mix of those two genres because I think that is something that is not really out there right now. I could fill that gap and appeal to a wide range of ages. I think I have the X factor because I have a uniquely mature sound and style for my age."
However, I have not posted about her at all until now. Despite the fact that the voters and judges loved her, like L.A. Reid, I noticed and was bothered by her penchant for oversinging. Her versions of Your Song and Imagine were prime examples of this, while Hallelujah had a perfect Jeff Buckley rendition, it was too much if she aimed for the original, Leonard Cohen version.

Recently, Carly Rose released two covers recorded in a studio - a mashup of After Tonight and I Knew You Were Trouble, naming the combo After Tonight There's Trouble. However, I considered the mashup still too oversung and "try hard" to be deemed a good song. In other words, I wouldn't download it if it were free on iTunes.


Her cover of Bruno Mars's Runaway Baby? Better than the original. What I loved is that I listened to it, and she didn't try to match a very powerful voice to fast music that fits Bruno. Rather, she made it slower and incorporated some soul instruments, and while that alone may not appeal to many, it was clear that she had worked on her skills by not trying to dominate the music. Later, the music speeds up, closer to the original sound, but once again, Sonenclar holds herself back. She's getting far better, and if this is more like the skill she'll demonstrate on her album, I will pay for it.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

News from Natalia and...

We have a Problem. Natalia Kill's new song that goes by that very name, at first listen, is very grungy, scratchy sounding, and sort of weird. But if you listened to her first single from her new upcoming album Trouble called Controversy, then you'll see that it is totally in line with her new style. I'm going to end up buying the album because it's so unique and she isn't making an effort to be unusual - she's being herself. I usually wouldn't rate this song well, but Natalia is just so...irresistible. Imagine her last album...and now add some really weird autotune effects. Oh - and a weirdly catchy chorus, despite being repetitive. The thing about her style is that she uses a beat that can be dancy, and then she adds something weird on topp of it, and somehow it ends up being really great. However does she do it?

With good looks and an angelic voice, Travis Garland shouldn't be able to fail. His song Where to Land ft. III isn't a song that I would normally buy (can't dance to it) but it's very good anyways. It's a nice one just to listen to, and not have to move. Interestingly enough, if I listened to Neighbor without being told who sang, I would thing it was somebody completely different. Not all of his songs are fantastic, but luckily they're up for free download on his site here. Would you buy it if you had to pay?

Friday, March 15, 2013

Skitszo Part 3

Why have I taken so long to review this EP? I have such mixed feelings over it. Unlike the first EP, which I loved, and the second EP, which I most certainly did not love, I can't really split these songs into distinct sections of "good" and "not good". Still - here's what I think!

When it comes to rap music in general, here's what I think - either I know it, like it, and and dance to it, or it sounds like every other rap song in the universe. I'm a pretty strict judge about it too. Colette's first song is rap - it's like she heard my complaints about the pop in Skitszo Part 2, and made a track that IS rap. Can't Touch This is a VERY classic rap track. So classic in fact, that I'm pretty sure that if one of the more well-known male rappers did it, I would consider it generic. It isn't a great song song to dance to, but it is a fun one to listen to. So I do like listening to it, but the reason I do is because it sounds more unique because she is female. It's a hard truth.

Never Gonna Happen (the music video is being released soon) isn't as good. It starts off a bit weirdly, and the chorus, as far as I'm concerned, is weird and just not good. Thank goodness for the rapped lyrics. It isn't that I don't like her voice - when she sings the bridge, I think it's pretty good, but the chorus has a weird background music and she sings in a weird octave...it's just a group of things that don't work out. I really did want to like it because it's rapping and singing, which I love, but the chorus tune and lyrics just don't work out for me.

One By One starts off with a fantastic beat, a silly and poser sounding "Yee" and then dives into the rap. And Boom - there you've got a Colette Classic. The chorus is sung, and unlike Never Gonna Happen, it isn't unpleasant or overdone. It's a very simple chorus, and very catchy. This song is fantastic. It's really fun and is definitely more like her old stuff. Definitely one of the better songs that she's released, from beginning to end.

The very beginning of this song is so typical to a rap song, and the rest of The Finest Things has a really great rap beat that isn't too generic or boring, and it is once again woven with Colette's typical lyrics and attitude. I can easily picture her performing this one in a music video or live. I have a never ending contest in my mind as to which one is the best song of the EP - this or One By One. If you don't like plain rap without a pop aspect at all, then this might not be for you. But the electronic beats and great lyrics are worth a listen.

So far, I'm a bit scared that I'm becoming the dreaded old-school fan. That is, that fan who like the artist in "the old days" with their first music, and gets grumpy whenever they go into a new direction. I do like it when Colette doesn't go to far into the rap or pop realm best, but instead sticks to what she's good at. I'm hoping she'll stay the same or go one way or another - bridging and trying to cross the worlds of pop and rap is very difficult, and she'll have to work and decide what she wants for her audience.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Demi Lovato "Heart Attack" Early Release

Despite what I said about her new single being released March 4th, Heart Attack was released about 10 hours ago - and is already in the #1 spot in 9 countries. I know I love it - how about you guys?

I'm very excited to hear Demi's new album. Her new music seems to be more passionate, wilder, and just plain amazing. Although I usually feel iffy about songs that use a lot of electronic sounds, I love that Demi doesn't allow the machines to take over her voice, but rather uses it to make it more dance friendly. I really like how she's clearly moving farther away from ballads (though I'm sure she'll still have them on her new album). It's clear that Demi has no plans on selling out to fake music, because just in this song, we can hear how much she means what she's saying.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Revamped Acts

When Allison Iraheta placed 4th on the eighth season of American Idol, it didn't stop her from making an album that kicked butt. Just Like YOu came out in 2009, and was predictably amazing, with a fantastic pop-rock vibe. Notable songs include Friday I'll Be Over YouScars, and D is for Dangerous. Whatever one may have called her then, her new direction isn't that. Now that she's formed a new band (called Halo Circus), she has a new, very intense rock sound to go with it. It isn't heavy, but it is definitely tough and loud - yet with her versatile voice and very cool hair, the songs aren't cliched and don't sound like every other rock band out there. Dazed and Confused and Out of Love are two samples of her work - but Guns In Our Hands, while lighter on the Instrumental, is no less intense. The new Allison is not for the faint eared.

In 2006, an artist with a beautifully elegant voice by the name of Holly Brook released a sweet, if somewhat boring, album. However, come 2011, she became Skylar Grey, a singer who showcased her sweet voice while making better music. From Invisible (beautiful because of the way she showcases her vocals, but not overly sweet) to Dance Without You (no words) to the satirical C'mon Let Me Ride (ft. Eminem) (funny, and full of attitude and a very clear opinion), Skylar's music is tough, hard, yet her ideas and what she has to say is very clear. Her first album as Skylar Grey is being released this year - just another thing we get to look forward to!

Friday, February 15, 2013

A new kind of K-Pop, a new single, a new album

Apparently, 'tis the season for newness. That's the theme here anyways.
K-Pop. Also known as Korean Pop. Also known as PSY. Also known as electronic, fast, and made to dance to. But it looks like 2013 is a new era for K-Pop to combine with...country?

24/7, by 2YOON, takes place in a barnyard. That's point one. But getting back to the actual music, the sound is so shockingly different. It is still quintessentially K-Pop (fun sounding and dancy) but the country influence is undeniable. The duo, Ga Yoon and Ji Yoon (Get it? They're both "Yoons", so "2Yoon"?), are actually from 4minute, but they decided to move away after being inspired by our own Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift. It may not be in English, but it's a hit with me! Their EP is called Harvest Moon, and was released a month ago. Another son of theirs, Why Not, has decidedly less of a country influence, but it is definitely not the regular K-Pop. So what do you think of the new K-Pop? Is it something for the future or just a 2Yoon thing?

So Demi Lovato? Her new single is called Heart Attack. It's also being released March 4th. After poor Demi's struggles, it's clear that she must have fantastic song writing material. 17 more days until we hear Demi's new sound. Are you ready for this?

Amelia Lily is absolutely incredible because of her attitude, her sass, and her ability to speak up and say exactly what she wants. Which she does, especially in he single Shut Up (And Give Me Whatever You Got). It's pretty much exactly the kind of person she is. Her album is being released on May 6th, and it will definitely be so Amelia Lily. Hopefully we here in the States will be able to get it - I'm sure it will be too good to miss!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Old Bands Redone for Pop Lovers - and Tich

Everyone in the good ole U.S. of A knows E! as the show that brought us the Kardashians (good? bad? sound off below!), but now it's also the network with a new show called "Chasing the Saturdays", starring a certain five lovely ladies who make kick butt music. My source to this knowledge? The most recent issue of Glamoholic magazine (what a name...) features the Saturdays on the COVER, and the interview is all about their new show and some of their new U.S. music. Their first single What About Us is incredible. It feels more powerful to me than their other songs (though maybe I'm just loving the Los Angeles-esque background and video, reminds me of the time I was at Venice Beach and on the set of Miranda Cosgrove's video Kissin' U The new EP, title Chasing the Saturdays after the show, has What About Us and four additional songs: All Fired Up which sounds more classically Saturdays than What About Us, which I love, but it was nice to have a change. Higher shocked me at first with the electronic opening. It's a very Saturdays signature to play around with electronic stuff, but I felt this song was a bit heavy on the electronic music. The music video, on the other hand, is adorable. FINALLY I can buy Notorious, because it is easily one of my favorite Saturday songs. I'm not sure why, I just love it so much (maybe the whole attitude? Probably). Ego was stronger than Higher, but less than All Fired Up, but I think it's a very good ending song (seeing as it is a bit about ending a relationship, so the tune is a bit goodbye-ish). I'm super excited about what else the Saturdays may have in store for us! Think they'll break America?

Until now, I have resisted dubstep. The electronic squealing, the weird vibe that means instrumental is more important than the voice, the whole general weirdness of it.

Luckily, I think I can count Krewella as dub-pop. Now that I've FINALLY listened to them at the insistence of an extreme dubstep fan, I have to admit myself a convert. Their song Alive is easily my favorite - its also the least dubstep-ish one that I've heard by them, interestingly enough. Krewella is actually pretty well known, so I wouldn't usually present them, but if you blew them off on the basis of their being dubstep, check again! Play Hard actually is a very dubstep song, very screechy and electronic (not a huge fan of that one, as you can tell)but Feel Me is a great song with a killer video. Killin It isn't the best as far as I'm concerned, but it is pretty good! And of course, their clothes are amazing.

Tich. When I first found out that was the name of an artist, I had absolutely no clue as to what they would sound like. Pop? Indie? Rock? Turns out, "they" are a "she", and she came to fame thanks to her covers. Breathe In, Breathe Out is a pretty sweet song of hers, and although it definitely has an instrumental feel, the lyrics and the beat has a pop attitude. And her accent is adorable. Not as great as A*M*E*'s accent (I am a sucker for accents) but it's still great. Dust is sweeter, and sounds less like pop, and more like something else - I'm not sure what. She definitely has those Alicia Keys power notes, but it isn't R&B. Let's just call her a pop beauty and keep listening!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Colette Carr - Skitszo Part 2

I was SO excited when I downloaded this. Once it was safely in my iTunes library, I took the opportunity to listen to the whole EP once through. Then again. And again. While the last E.P. was definitely more rap oriented, this is not only more pop like, it's also...gentler? Let's put it like this - F16 was Colette's first video where there was this whole story about her being happy with a guy, then they broke up. It was definitely less unusual than her other stuff, and this new EP has a style that definitely fits the whole songs-are-amessaeg-to-someone thing. Here'e my review.

Hearsay - I was very surprised when I heard this. It starts off with a bit of an electronic thing, and when she first started to sing, I could swear it sounded ever so slightly like the beginning of Ke$ha's song Blow. Not really, but enough that from now on when I listen to that I will think of the Ke$ha song. My first impression was how different it was from her other music. It is totally like other music, and I can't see any Colette signature on it at ALL. I can barely picture her singing this, and while it isn't horrible, I'm not too impressed with Colette on this one. It gets better toward the end, but I don't think her voice is powerful enough to sing another song like this very well.

Why Are You Leaving? - The first minute of this, I hated it. Not because of the tune. But because the opening lyrics are as follows:
"Why? Oh why, are you leaving, when I desperately need you? Why, oh why are you leaving? I guess I will not know."
This repeated, but sounded a bit odd with a repeated "you". There was then a soft rapped lyric, which was far more like the Colette that we all know. This sequence then repeated, with a short interruption but a mystery rapper (who turned out to be Kev Nish of Far East Movement). Anyways, despite the awful lyric that keeps getting repeated, this song has rather grown on me. I do like how she intersperses rapping with the singing, which sounds better than I would have expected.

I Love Kev Nish - Easily my favorite song on the EP. Interestingly enough, it's also the rap one. It is very Colette, and I'm glad to hear another song that has such a Colette Signature, including that part that snaps "Are you even listening? You aren't even f*cking listening!". Naturally, this song is the shortest (grrrrr) and ends way too soon.

Racking Up - I hate the chorus. Love the rest of the lyrics. I think her rapping is fabulous - it isn't scary fast so that you can't understand it (read: I can attempt to sing along) but the chorus is repetitive and irritating.

Overall, I am pretty disappointed with this EP. Colette tries to have more of the worlds of pop and rap (getting classically pop like on Why Are You Leaving and Hearsay, but trying to do the repeated chorus like Lil' Jon, Snoop Lion and 2Chainz) but her attempts just create weak music. I don't think I'll be listening to thiis one - Although I probably will have I love Kev Nish on repeat.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Year of Albums

Hello everyone! I hope you had a wonderful New Year's, and got a kiss at midnight!

In music news, everything I'm hearing blares "NEW ALBUM!" "RELEASING DEBUT ALBUM!" "SO-AND-SO RELEASING NEW ALBUM IN 2013!" So which pop darlings will have new and different material for us?

Original Sugababes (aka MKS) - Remember them? Monday night, these girls performed together for the first time in a decade. Pretty fitting that they performed on the opening of the year that is supposed to see the release of their next album. Now known as MKS, they performed Rihanna's song Diamonds here. All the girls have had to say on this new album is that it will be far better than their first one. Can't wait!

Cher - Known as the Goddess of Pop, this will be her first album released in a decade, though in Cher's case, this will also be her 26th release. The lead single is called Woman's World a femenistic anthem fraught with robotic sounds that Cher made famous in 1998. However, the most apparent thing about the song is Cher's unmatched voice. Looking forward to the album - and the rumored collaboration with Lady Gaga!

Demi Lovato - Consider yourself warned! It has been declared by Lovato herself that this will be her most intense album yet, and "this time, there will be no holding back". To get an idea of what she has in store for us, her cover of Angels Among Us should give an idea.

Miley Cyrus - Though recently she's been known more for her haircut than anything else, Cyrus's album is supposed to be released this year, and sound more adult, and with more of her personal style coming out. Ms. Cyrus has described it "Dirty South Hip-Hop" (naturally - she is working with Pharrell Williams), but the  mix of country with hip hop should be an interesting change. Soon we'll be able to compare how far from her pop beginnings she's traveled!

Janet Devlin - With her previews of Wonderful and Crown of Thorns, Janet has only confirmed that what she has in store for us will be great. In a classic Janet move, she has eschewed record labels to work with pledge music, an organization that has customers pledge to buy a version of the album. Once it reaches 100%, the album will be released.

Misha B
Misha B - Another X Factor lady! Her mixtape is free to download on her facebook page here. Her singles so far are Home RunDo You Think Of Me and Runway.

What should we expect from these artists? Hard to say. Some other people releasing albums this year (though I didn't include them in that list because their material will be fairly predictable) are Mariah Carey, Beyonce, Selena Gomez & the Scene, and Nikki Minaj.