New Americana

I’ve been slightly obsessed with “New Americana” by Halsey.  Yes, it has a great beat and catchy chorus, but I think it’s lyrically such a clever song (the song starts at 0:29 in the video below).

My favorite part of the song has to be the two verses.  The song starts with the line “Cigarettes and tiny liquor bottles/ Just what you’d expect inside her new Balenciaga.”  I think this is a clever line because it tells so much in so little words: a Balenciaga is a rather expensive handbag but the character puts self-destructive items like cigarettes and liquor bottles in it to show that while she’s on the top of success she’s still flawed.  But she’s part of this new Americana – the next generation of people who have flaws but who work hard.  The second verse is similar, with lines “Young James Dean, some say he looks just like his father/ But he could never love somebody’s daughter/ Football team, loved more than just the game/So he vowed to be his husband at the alter.”  I honestly think this is the cleverest part of the song because it’s an ode to the legalization of gay marriage (part of the new Americana lifestyle) without outright saying it.  The character she’s singing about in this part of the song looks like James Dean, who was a young heartthrob (and, apparently, some people thought he was gay…rumors, though).  He’s the type of guy every girl wants to date, but instead of being interest in sports (like most straight men), he’s more interested in the guys playing the game.  This, along with the last line in the verse, alludes to this guy being able to marry someone of the same sex.

Production wise, I think the song is a pretty solid alternative/electronica song.  If you listen closely during the chorus when she sings the words “Americana” and “Nirvana,” she has this slight lilt in her vocal that’s perfection.  It’s very minimal, but so cool.

I just picked up a copy of Halsey’s debut album Badlands which features “New Americana,” so I’m sure I’ll be writing more about her album.  From what I’ve heard so far, I think she has a new fan (aka, me).

So Just Dance Dance Dance

So I’ve been having somewhat of a bad week.  Just a lot of stressful things going on, one after another, when I’m sitting in dreadful traffic flicking through the radio and “Can’t Stop The Feeling,” Justin Timberlake’s news song, comes on the radio.  My head starts nodding along, my foot starts tapping along (obviously the one that’s not on the peddles controlling the car…that’d be dangerous), and my day is instantly better.

The song has a great, optimistic beat coupled with a fantastic bass line that drives the song, causing one to stop what he/she is doing and start dancing.  My favorite part of the song is during the chorus when he sings “so just dance dance dance dance.”  Normally I would find the repetition of the same work a bit irritating, but here I find it catchy.  It keeps me, well, dancing.

You’ve probably already heard “Can’t Stop The Feeling,” but if not, here’s to hopefully cheering up your day!

The Girl On the Train

I was a big fan of the movie Gone Girl.  I didn’t actually read the book until after I saw the movie, and the only real reason (if I’m being honest) I saw the movie was because Rosamund Pike got nominated for an Oscar for her role as Amy Elliot-Dunne…that was the year I decided to watch all (well, most) of the Oscar nominees.  Regardless, I enjoyed the way Gillian Flynn (both the author and screenwriter) crafted the story so that in the beginning you were for one character and against the other, and then it so dramatically switched.  The ebbs and flows of the story, the twists and turns, really drew me in – and I’m not the kind of guy who likes thrillers.   So when I heard Paula Hawkins’ book The Girl On the Train  was going to be “the next Gone Girl,” I immediately picked up a copy.  Also, I heard it was becoming a movie, and I wanted to read it before seeing the film….I felt reading Gone Girl before would’ve been better than seeing the film first, it felt kind of pointless reading it once I knew how it ended.  But I got to say, after reading The Girl On the Train, I’m not really that excited for the movie.

First, let me just say whoever told me that The Girl On the Train was the next Gone Girl lied.  Gone Girl was freaky/demented, but there wasn’t anything exactly thrilling about The Girl On the Train.  She literally sits on a train, drunk, and thinks she witnesses a murder.  No one believes her because she’s an alcoholic and is unemployed (she lost her job for being drunk), so she spends the whole time trying to remember what happened a night she blacked out (the night of the alleged murder).  *SPOILER ALERT* Turns out she was right the whole time and the person she thought committed the murder did.

With Gone Girl, you have no idea where it’s going.  When you think you know, the plot changes and we go somewhere else.  But, I didn’t really get that with The Girl On the Train.  Now, I’m not hating on Paula Hawkins or her novel.  It was rather interesting and I did finish the book after all – which says something, I usually just stop reading a book if it’s terrible.  It’s just, in my opinion, I wouldn’t qualify The Girl On the Train as a thriller.  And I definitely would not compare it to Gone Girl.  I know the trailer makes it look like it, but to me it wasn’t as freaky.

Maybe it’s just how I read the book and when I see it on screen it will be demented and thrilling…also, how much do you want to bet Emily Blunt will get nominated for an Oscar for this role?  Just saying…

“I’m So Sad Right Now”

Buzzfeed always have great videos of random people doing random things.  I found these videos of where they made people try eating random things…their reactions are hilarious.

I thoroughly enjoy Buzzfeed’s gift of coming up with these random (yet slightly informative) videos.  But I do have to say, making people eat pickled pigs feet is kind of gross…and mean.

Living Life Golden

If you’re looking for some new music to dance to this summer, check out Living Life Golden, the new album by Elliphant.  While the album is rich of party-antics that is reminiscent of Kesha, Britney Spears, and Katy Perry, it does have some great electronic dance beats and synth work.

The album starts out strong with “Step Down,” a song driven by a heavy bass line and catchy chorus.  The song is cowritten and produced by Joel Little, who is perhaps best known for cowriting and producing Pure Heroine by Lorde.

Little is one of those rare producers where I’ll listen to a song and instantly know he produced it, regardless of who the artist is.  There’s something is his production that is unique – he tends to have intricate percussive sounds mixed with great synth/bass lines, which I think creates an enticing song.  This is noticeable in “Step Down” and in the other two songs he cowrote/produced – “Where is Home” (which I would argue is one of the best songs on the album) and “One More (feat. MØ).”  “Where is Home” is slightly different that Little’s usual aesthetic as he utilizes (to great effect) the electric guitar, something his other productions lack – he tends to focus on the bass and other synths to drive the song.

In a world of pop music that skews to the depressing, if you’re looking for something light and refreshing I’d certainly recommend Living Life Golden by Elliphant, especially her collaborations with Joel Little.


Just Go

Joy Williams is perhaps best know for being one of the members of the country duo The Civil Wars.  Despite the group disbanding in 2014, Williams continues to create and release music as a solo artist (I actually think she did that before and during The Civil Wars era).

I stumbled across her single “If You Wanna Go,” – which I don’t believe was released on any album, it’s a stand alone single.  Regardless, it’s a beautiful and timeless song.

The piano-driven song features Williams’ soaring vocals as she effortlessly delivers a heartfelt performance.  There’s something fragile and real in it that sinks in and grabs at the heart strings.  I find the song to be quite refreshing as it delivers a clear perspective to an end of a relationship.  It’s a rare song because while the lyrics convey a breakup message, you don’t need to listen to what she says to feel the emotion.  It’s all tied together perfectly.

Pinterest Crafts

So, I was talking to someone a while ago about how great Pinterest is in terms of finding great crafting projects (should you want them).  Like, if you follow crafting/diy boards on Pinterest, they’ll pop in your feed: supposedly-easy crafting hacks right at your finger tips.

And then I found these Buzzfeed videos that basically proved the exact opposite.

It’s hilarious.