One single instrument, one single voice, and yet written so well that it empowers you in a way that a whole orchestra would sweat it’s brow to succeed at. The simple and soothing melody just glides through your ears and gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling in your gut: take a deep breath and enjoy the simplicity and emotion of Eddie Vedder’s Guaranteed, written for “Into The Wild”.
To begin with, I just couldn’t go without mentioning that fabulous pick: a bass line and melody tuned in with Vedder’s voice. The lyrics are so powerful, uplifting and universal but yet still abstract in their own way “Circles they grow and they swallow people whole […] A mind full of questions and a teacher in my soul”. The words weave together so many different themes like love, the simplicity of life, time passing “Wind in my hair I feel part of everywhere” (beautiful line by the way) and especially, hiding behind the simple melody, a strong critique of society. My favorite bit of this social satire is “I know the rules but the rules do not know me”. So personal but so brilliantly valid for any person out there. I love the way it describes the immensity of life.
Another important aspect of this song for me is Eddie Vedder’s voice. At first, I couldn’t stand it, but I grew to like the crackle and rumple in it: imperfections like that make music so much more touching and approachable. It makes it real.
This song was written for the movie “Into The Wild” which is definitely one of my favorite films ever. It’s the story of a young man who is fed up with society and decides to go out into the wild and face great big Alaska armed with nothing but a rusty old broken caravan. It is so terribly thought provoking, a beautiful, brilliant, marvelous portrait of existence that widens your perspective on life a whole lot. For me, Guaranteed is the song that represents that trait of the film the most throughout all of the soundtrack.
Just makes you want to grasp life: go make lemonade out of those lemons.
A few days I came across a video of one of Katy Perry’s live performances for MTV Unplugged, and I was totally in awe. Taught me that you shouldn’t judge an artist on their reputation.
After having done some research, I found out that Thinking of You is one of the first songs she ever wrote, which is pretty impressive considering how emotional it is (plus, I didn’t even know that Katy Perry wrote her own songs – “you’re hot then you’re cold, you’re yes then you’re no, you’re in when you’re out, you’re up and you’re down” doesn’t seem very… elaborate). This version is even more passionate with the subtle mingle of strings and guitar woven together with the soft drums.
Katy Perry’s voice is astonishing, and I feel like it’s such a shame that she is not really recognized for her voice. She has so much control which allows her to focus all her emotions into her tones and levels of volume (along with all the fancy vibratos and so on).
Another reason why I adore her performance is the fact that she doesn’t seem to be doing too much. It’s just her guitar and herself with all of her vulnerability. It’s not boring, not in the least, I find it’s even more captivating to observe an artist beeing completely transported into their music and the emotion they want to convey. It’s beautiful, really.
I’ve always been a great lover of The Kooks. Their fresh view on everything, a young twist on Brit-Pop, all their tunes so catchy and lyrics telling the tales of boyhood.
Their new album Listen (new-ish, I guess it took me some time to come to terms with my favorite band making an album I strongly dislike) is utterly dissappointing.
It’s just a load of electro-pop-indie vomit which kind of makes me nauseous, and I doubt half the sounds on it are produced by actual instruments. Gahhhh, where has good music gone? And more importantly, why are good musicians making bad music?
Seriously. Take the third track Westside. Basically, there’s one teeny weeny guitar riff at the beginning, which is looped for what seems like eternity before this painful keyboardy sound is thrown onto a totally flat beat. The lyrics are so unlike The Kooks, especially as they’re repeated like a gazillion times and that’s what fills up the song to be honest. To me it just sounds like one of those annoying songs you skip on the radio in the summer when you’re looking for a song to spice up your road trips.
Okay, on a more positive note, there is one song I really love: See Me Now. Still, it doesn’t really sound Kookey but I am addicted to the simpleness of it. Just Luke singing, his pure voice bursting out onto quite a repetitive piano progression. Then comes in some bass, drums and backing vocals. Oh and there’s a nice bit of strings around the end of it that makes it feel extra 80’s.
Anyway, I sincerely hope this is only a test or something, because I can’t have all this talent beeing wasted on some commercial piece of crap.
A steady rythm, a simple melody, some subtle humming in the background: that’s all Hozier needs to orchestrate an utterly powerful anthem of passion.
I strongly believe that love is the only thing that death cannot break, something higher than human understanding that cannot be explained with any form of science or rational thinking. This upcoming irish singer-songwriter apparently thinks the same. In “Work Song”, he explores the links between the two extremes of life: love and death, which are empowered by his brilliant art of suggesting things without naming them.
“No grave can hold my body down, I’ll crawl home to her”
Another important aspect of this song to me, is the connection between the title “Work Song” and actual work songs, sung to get through the terribly hard days of work in the era of Afro-American slavery. He sounds like he is laboring for his love, as it is the only thing he looks forward to, thanks to the very simple rythm, which adds depth to the whole thing.
In a nutshell, Hozier describes the power of love with such a transcending edge: deeply moving and sincere.
These 34 year old besties are a crazy fusion between rock and folk, critics comparing them to “Dylan covering The White Stripes”; and after The Throes (2004), What The Toll Tells (2006), The Scenery Of Farewell (2007), The Bloom And The Blight (2012), here comes their fabulous, dazzling new album We Are Undone.
Sounds burst out from all over the place, this anthology of incohesion is a roar into the boundless void of Rock and Roll. The Two Galants, Tyson Vogel and Adam Stephenson, who sound anything but gentleman-like, seem to be screaming farewell to their punk/blues past.
One of my personal favorites here, which plunges you straight into a boiling hot tub of a mesmerizing confusion, The Age Nocturne. It starts with some reverb/ overdrive lead, but that slight softness is slowly driven away by a heavy and crunchy strum, which is the perfect background to Adam Stephenson’s powerful choleric voice. A subtle crescendo that leaves you totally bewildered.
I’m actually getting high on these guys, on their art of fusing different genres and making it sound completely natural.
It is like a steaming cup of tea with a piece of lemon meringue pie on a table top, like the wind gently twirling a pile of red autumn leaves around, like fresh sheets and hot chicken soup. Lucy Rose’s “Like I Used To” gives us an insight on her spontaneous thoughts and emotions, a poignant portrait of her bruised heart; a comfortable and accessible vision of feelings we’ve all been through.
Shiver, my favorite, is an incredibly emotion-filled yet simple track, Lucy’s voice sounding so natural, clean and straightforward. It’s a song about wanting to go back in time, and missing a person so very deeply, missing their touch “And I’ll shiver like I used to”. The simple and oh-so-delicate strumming adds to the effect of rawness and pure remorse.
It actually makes me shiver.
Another track, on a completely different wavelength: Bikes, leaves you feeling utterly joyful, savouring the hope in her voice, relishing the ubiquitous anticipation. It has a really exciting ring to it, mainly thanks to the jumpy tempo, giving it an even more increasingly lively tone.
I wish there was more purely and simply talented artists like Lucy Rose, songs filled with emotion and empathy and fervor and grief and hope and warmth.
Can you be considered as an equal contributor to a track if you’re only strumming a couple verses in the background? I suppose if you’re Paul McCartney, you can..
The first time my little sister showed me this song, I thought,”sigh, another cringey pop song… I really need to teach this kid what good music is about.. “ Then, I noticed the vulnerability that Rihanna seemed to be expressing. It sounds like a rough track, so stripped down compared to all her other overdone commercial jingles.
Usually, I think that Rap/Vocals tracks are so easy, and RiRi has already shown some interest in this kind of bluff, but it seems that it all just merges together here. It’s like McCartney, West and Rihanna just sat down one evening with a cup of tea and recorded a really authentic and fresh song.
Lyrically speaking, it seems as if the song is all about realising the mistakes you made the night before, but I feel like there’s a second feel to it with “Cause all of my kindness, is taken for weakness“, which I really like by the way. That, for me, shows the susceptibility of the song even more. It’s kind of heartbreaking, in a way. When you see someone that seems as provocative and sensuous as Rihanna, and she opens herself to the world, her feelings and concerns and thoughts and remorses. The myth of that girl that makes heads turn falls to the ground, and for that I respect her.
Overall, a sensitive song about drinking and heartbreak, weaving in quite a few different genres and establishing an intense mingle of emotion.
I used to think of Fall Out Boy as some emo excuse for Punk/Rock, some really hyper band that tasteless kids waste their walks to school listening to.
And then I heard Centuries.
You immediately hear a burst of light, a blast of colour, an outbreak of joy with a backfire of revenge. The tension builds up and hits the roof at the end of the song.
You know when sometimes you hear a song, one song, and it changes your perception of a band: well that’s what Centuries did for me. It made me realise that maybe FOB weren’t that bad after all, and I shouldn’t judge a band without really trying my best to understand their music. Seriously, I was missing so much. This song is just right for the days where you hate everyone.
The vocals are so empowering and are very wisely backed up by that compelling main riff, and let’s not forget the impressing rythm noticeable all the way through this masterpiece. I also absolutely love that delighteful “duh duh duh duh duh duh duh duh […]” which has a great pop resonance, so catchy.
Gabrielle Aplin, my favorite 23 year old British singer-songwriter (wait unless Ed Sheeran is 23…), proves us once again that real musicians can get somewhere without all that commercial crap. She is so authentic and true, even when she covers a song she does it in such a heartfelt way.
Gabby started out on Youtube, posting her covers (where I first discovered her about six years ago) regularly, including stuff like Bon Iver, Kodaline, Katy Perry, Wheatus, Dylan… A real variety of really good covers. She started to gather quite a following, getting thousands and sometimes even millions of views on her videos: this is when she started to write her own songs. After three EP’s, she released her first full length called “English Rain” which is ABSOLUTELY AMAZING. It just reminds you what music is all about.
And I know how people look is not supposed to change how you like them, and that music is listened to and not seen, but seriously, she is just so cute. You just have to like her.
Another thing I really like about her is her guitar style and choice, since she always plays with a gorgeous Mahogany Martin or mini Martin, which obviously gives her tracks such a deep resonance, and is a feast to the eyes. She plays in quite a simple way, nothing too fancy, some picking going on and if not, just a light strum. She also plays piano and mixes those two up really nicely.
One last thing:
Sit back, and just listen to this. How beautiful/amazing/fascinating/delightful/elegant/exquisite/graceful/magnificent/marvelous/splendid/stunning/superb/wonderful is this?
Rousing, buzzing, sweltering reinvention of one of the world’s hottest Indie/Rock bands, AM is without doubt the best ArcticMonkeys album from all five of them.
The four Sheffield boys seem to be constantly rethinking the musical genre they fit into, as this prodigious piece is slightly too tangy to be an Indie album and definitely too delicate to be completely Rock. Alex Turner’s words are swiftly woven into the witty melodies and sharp rythms, creating some vaguely Beatlesque lyrics that bounce off Turner’s toungue with exuberance. The final product is a deep but somewhat cheeky formulation of the band’s brilliant art of telling you things you’ve already heard but making them feel brand new.