All posts by Phillip

Song of the Year 2018

It’s that time of year – Grammy prediction season!  The entry period ended in September, and the nominations will be announced November 28th.

Here are my predictions for Song of the Year (subject to edit as I spontaneously contemplate this).

Better Man” – Taylor Swift, songwriter (Little Big Town, artist)

Green Light” – Jack Antonoff, Joel Little, Ella Yelich-O’Connor, songwriters (Lorde, artist)

Location” – Khalid Robinson, Joshua Scruggs, Chris McClenney, Samuel Jimenez, Olatunji Ige, Alfredo Gonzalez, Barjam Kurti, songwriters (Khalid, artist)

Look What You Made Me Do” – Taylor Swift, Jack Antonoff, Fred Fairbrass, Richard Fairbrass, Rob Manzoli, songwriters (Taylor Swift, artist)

Shape of You” – Ed Sheeran, Steve Mac, Johnny McDaid, Kandi Burruss, Tameka Cottle, Kevin Briggs, songwriters (Ed Sheeran, artist)

1-800-273-8255” – Sir Robert Hall II, Arjun Ivatury, Alessia Caracciolo, Khalid Robinson, songwriters (Logic featuring Alessia Cara & Khalid, artists)

Now or Never

I meant to write this a while ago, but I got busy…

Anyway, Halsey finally announced her new single “Now or Never” from her upcoming album hopeless fountain kingdom, and it’s a great song.  The R&B-infused track tells the story of a love ultimatum – Halsey’s love interest is either going to love her now or never.  The swirling chorus draws you in and is reminiscent of Rihanna’s “Needed Me.”

After traveling through the Badlands in 2015,  I’m excited to explore the kingdom on June 2nd.

Realize

Every time I listen to Colbie Caillat’s music, I feel as though I’m transported to the beaches of Malibu with the warmth of the sun and the salty smell of the ocean.  Of course I’ve never actually been to Malibu, but her music is full of warmth and sunshine, and it’s a real pleasure to listen to her music, particularly when pop music gets so depressing lately.

I’m currently reveling in her debut album Coco – while her other albums hold beauty, there is something so fresh, authentic, and extra special about Coco.  However, when I get to her song “Realize,” I’m always amazed how depressing her song “Realize” actually is.  Her vocal performance and the acoustic nature of the song leaves you smiling, wanting to lay out in the sun.  But, upon closer examination of the lyrics, it’s rather a heartbreaking story about unrequited love, especially emphasized with lyrics like “If you just realize what I just realized/ Then we’d be perfect for each other/ And we’ll never find another,” and “It’s not the same/ No, it’s never the same/ If you don’t feel it too.”  So she’s fallen in love with someone who has yet to make the same realization.  I mean, it’s not like Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” or “Someone Like You,” but it’s not like “Realize” is “Walking on Sunshine” either.  It’s just interesting to me how there is always more to music than what’s on the surface.

Peroxide

I have no idea how I found this song.

Somehow, “Peroxide” by Nina Nesbitt showed up on Youtube and I listened to it…now it’s got me trying to find her album (which is turning harder than I expected, apparently Peroxide, her debut album, got a limited release in Europe).

The song holds folk and rock influences – she almost reminds me of Ed Sheeran (which is rather ironic as she’s apparently the inspiration of Sheeran’s song “Nina” from x).  But I started listening to other songs from her album Peroxide, and from what I’ve heard so far is great – she’s has a lot of soul within her lyrics and performs them well.   So, I’m off now to get my hands on that album…

Shape of You vs. Cheap Thrills

Ed Sheeran released his new album ÷, and I can’t tell you how difficult it was for me to actually get.  I prefer physical CDs – there’s just something about holding the actual CD in my hands, and looking through the booklet and case that I prefer.  If it’s digital, you don’t have that same experience.

Anywho, when I finally got the album, I started listening to some of the songs and I was struck by the similarities of “Shape of You” with Sia’s “Cheap Thrills.”  Now, they’re not identical – I’m not going to sit here an claim Sheeran stole from Sia (because he didn’t) – but they employ a similar bouncy effect.  But it got me thinking: someone should create a mashup…and someone did:

Personally, I would’ve done the mashup up a little differently – I think they put a weird effect on the chorus.  I will say that I liked they kept Sean Paul in the intro.  But then I found this mashup that added in Sia’s “The Greatest” to the “Cheap Thrills” and “Shape of You” mash up.  Again, I would’ve done it slightly differently, but I think it’s a fun listen.

Green Light

Lorde is finally back!  This past Thursday, Lorde released her new single, “Green Light” from her upcoming second studio album, Melodrama.  And I got to say, it was worth the wait.  In the four years since Pure Heroine, Lorde has certainly matured – her lyrics are as sharp as ever and even her voice seems wiser.  When I first heard “Green Light,” it almost felt like a Robyn song, which makes sense since Lorde has said that Robyn has been one of her influences in creating the new album.

I recently wrote about how many artists require fans to do rather extensive research to find when new albums will be released, when in fact it should be the artist reaching them.  I did unfollow Lorde on social media as part of my experiment – I wanted to see if I would hear about Lorde’s album outside of social media.

My plan somewhat failed because one of the people I follow retweeted her tweet announcing “Green Light.”  I guess this really just shows the power of social media and how interconnected we are: I thought I could avoid any news from Lorde by simply unfollowing her, forgetting her millions of followers still have the ability to retweet (in actuality, I didn’t forget this was a function, I just assumed people wouldn’t retweet…but as they say, never assume).

Once I heard the news, I threw my experiment away and re followed Lorde on all platforms – I mean, based on this song alone, I can’t wait to hear the rest of the record.

I’ve heard that Melodrama is coming out June 15th, but it wasn’t officially from Lorde, but I think Lorde said it’s coming this summer!

I. CAN’T. FREAKIN. WAIT.

Reach Me.

It’s been almost four years since Lorde has released Pure Heroine, and I’ve been dying for new music.  After months and months of silence, I had an idea: I was going to stop googling for information on Lorde’s new album, I was going to unfollow her on social media, and see how I discovered she had new music coming out (if that ever happened).

This is not about me giving up on Lorde – I am still a faithful fan – but I wanted to see which strategies would work best when marketing her new album.  I’ve observed that a lot of artists rely heavily on social media to update fans on new albums (not a surprise).  But some artists will simply send out a tweet, they don’t follow it on any other platform or stream.  Some artists with massive followings can get away with this because the news will be everywhere in two seconds.  Some artists are so successful (Beyoncé) they don’t even have to alert fans of new albums – they just release them.

But, it’s not enough to send out just one tweet and expect fans to know new music is coming – it takes a cross-promotional campaign.  Or, at least, it should.

I’ve become interested in how artists alert fans of new music. Indeed, I originally only joined Twitter because some of my favorite artists would only update fans via the platform – I was always a step behind if I wasn’t constantly checking their tweets.  But then I started thinking: artists should not make their fans work this hard.  I mean, they want me to buy their album, why should I do extensive research to find out if they even have a new album?

So I’ve selected a handful of artists (Lorde is the first) that I know are probably working on new music.  And I’m not doing my usual extensive research to find out any information.  Instead, I’m sitting back and just observing and seeing how they reach out to me.