Category Archives: Music

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.

 

A Swift Hiatus

For the past ten years, Taylor Swift has released an album like clockwork, every two years.  So, we were sure October 2016 we would see her sixth studio album.

And then we didn’t.

Then she performed on some Super Bowl pre-show thing (I don’t really follow such events), where she performed “Better Man,” a song she wrote for Little Big Town, for the first time.  When I heard Little Big Town’s performance, while Swift wasn’t singing in the recording, I could hear her because of her strong songwriting style.  So, needless to say, I was super excited to see that performance.

It was also at this show where she apparently stated that this show was probably her only one for 2017, and that the people in the audience was at 100% of her tour.

Before we get sad, I have a theory.

Whenever Swift releases an album, it’s usually towards the end of the year and she doesn’t tour or perform in the year the album was released – the tour tends to be the year after.  So, for instance, 1989 was released October 2014, and her associated performances all occurred in 2015.  So, if she releases an album October 2017 – which I sincerely hope she does, and it sounds like she’s making one – then her tour wouldn’t occur until 2018.

An absence of a tour does not mean an absence of an album.

Swifties, there’s still hope!

Most Listened Song

So I was updating my phone there other day, and I noticed you can sort the songs on your phone on iTunes by how many listens, thereby showing which song you listened to the most.  Interestingly enough, the song I listened to the most was “Hold Me Down” by Halsey.

I was rather surprised by this because I wouldn’t say this is my “favorite” song – I mean, it would be on a list of songs I really like, but it wouldn’t be my all time favorite.  I will say, though, the song has one of my favorite lyrics: “throw me in the deep end and watch me drown.”  There’s something about that line that I find rather powerful.

I encourage you to sort your music on iTunes and see your listening patterns/habits.  It’s rather interesting, it kind of tells you what mood you’re in.  When I first started #PhillipsSongOfTheDay – something that has sort of died out (I’ve gotten busier) – I would choose one song a day, and keep a record of it on my phone (then on this blog).  Looking through the list was interesting because I could see my emotional journey or, less cringe-worthy, how my emotions fluctuated over the months.

Song of the Year Prediction

Song of the Year is perhaps one of my favorite categories at the Grammys because they honor the songwriter.  Far too often, songwriters are not credited fairly for their work, which doesn’t make sense as there would be no song if it weren’t for the songwriter.

This year, the nominees are:

  • Khalif Brown, Asheton Hogan, Beyoncé Knowles, and Michael L. Williams II for “Formation” by Beyoncé.
  • Adele Adkins and Greg Kurstin for “Hello” by Adele
  • Mike Posner for “I Took a Pill in Ibiza” by Mike Posner
  • Justin Bieber, Benjamin Levin, and Ed Sheeran for “Love Yourself” by Justin Bieber
  • Lukas Forchhammer, Stefan Forrest, Morten Pilegaard, and Morten Ristorp for “7 Years” by Lukas Graham

Who Should Win: Mike Posner for “I Took a Pill in Ibiza” by Mike Posner

The original version of “I Took a Pill in Ibiza” is incredibly beautiful.  It has the timeless sound to it, grabs at your heart, and you truly feel Posner’s pain.  Out of all the nominees, Posner crafted a world that his listeners travel into, and leave feeling feeling his emptiness and loneliness.  Yes, it’s not a fun experience, but it’s one that leaves me with goosebumps every time.

Who Will Win: Adele Adkins and Greg Kurstin for “Hello” by Adele

It’s not that I think Adele doesn’t deserve to win the Grammy – “Hello” is indeed a gorgeous song – I simply think “I Took a Pill in Ibiza” captured Posner’s pain a bit better.  However, out of these songs nominated, I believe “Hello” was the biggest of 2016.  Adele dominated the charts, and she is indeed incredibly talented.  She has a Grammy-winning streak – she’s won every Grammy she has won since she released 21 in 2011.  So, it seems inevitable that she will win again.

I Don’t Wanna Live Forever

Recently, Taylor Swift released “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever” with Zayn (originally from One Direction) for the new Fifty Shades movie, and while I’m excited for the prospect of new T. Swift music, I find Zayn’s feature…intriguing (to put it nicely).  This is because I dislike when male singers go into their falsetto voice.  It’s not necessary and it’s rather irritating.  Right from the beginning, Zayn sings in a high register – if it was going to be that high, why wouldn’t Swift just sing it.  To me, singing in a lower register and hitting lower notes can be more authentic and natural – using falsetto sounds almost fake (which, depending on who you talk to, is).

Now, I’m not suggesting Zayn’s performance is bad or anything – he does have a nice voice, singing that high for a guy is a gift – I would have just arranged the song different if I were the producer. I would have probably had Zayn sing in a lower register and have Swift sing the major part of the chorus.

If you don’t listen too closely to the song, it’s not bad, but I think overall it could’ve been a bit better.