Tag Archives: #PhillipsSongOfTheDay

Got Ellie Goulding “On My Mind”

Ellie Goulding’s new single “On My Mind” has grabbed my attention and doesn’t seem to be letting it go.  I first heard the song on the radio a couple weeks ago and I really liked the beat and synth work (I wish I could describe the instrumentation a bit better, but I’m not quite as familiar with synths as I am with stringed instruments – I can play the violin, cello, guitar, ukulele, piano, etc.)  But I really like how she sings the verses (or, I suppose, raps?) because it’s perfectly in time to drive the song.  I especially like how she harmonizes the lyric “Saying that I hurt you but I still don’t get it/ You didn’t love me, no, not really” in the second verse.  In any event, it’s a good song to bop to.

My favorite part of the song (and the reason why I’m sharing) is the lyric during the bridge: “You got yourself in a dangerous zone/ ‘Cause we both have the fear of being alone.”  I found this lyric quite powerful; one of the great things about music in my opinion is that you can take a song and interpret it in your own way or understand it any way you want.  For instance, I read online that that lyric was referring to an ex-boyfriend who had a problem with gambling (I don’t know if it was true, but I’m using it as an example), but it made me think of someone getting married (or getting into a serious relationship). I’m not saying this is what she meant or how you should take the song, I just thought the line could be used to describe a situation where one person is engaged and the narrator (in this case, the singer who is not engaged) is telling the person who is engaged that they both want to end up married, but one should not marry the wrong person (i.e. get in a “dangerous zone”) to avoid the fear of dying alone (which they both have in common).  If we try to make the lyric fit the internet’s suggested topic of gambling, I don’t think it would fit as well.  The first part of the lyric certainly would fit – gambling can be a bit dangerous if you don’t know when to stop – but how would that be related to having “the fear of being alone?”  I just saw the line referring to someone so desperate to be in a relationship that they get in a relationship with the wrong person just to say they have a partner.

Regardless of the fact whether my interpretation of a lyric is true, we still end up with having Ellie Goulding on our minds.

Stand By Rachel Platten

Rachel Platten has finally released “Stand By You,” her follow up single to her smash hit “Fight Song,” and I got to say it’s pretty darn catchy.  The song itself deals with the nature of loving someone unconditionally and standing by them through thick and thin, which has caused some critics to deem it “Fight Song – Part Two.”  It’s really nothing like “Fight Song” other than it’s positive messaging.  Take a listen:

From the first second of the song, I was hooked.  When I bought it, I hadn’t heard the song in it’s entirety, which is a very rare thing for me.  I’m very frugal when it comes to spending my money on iTunes and I don’t usually make purchases without being absolutely sure I’ll like the song (i.e. I hear it on the radio a couple times, etc.).  In fact, I thought I’d regret the $1.29 on this purchase, feeling Platten was a one hit wonder with “Fight Song,” but I was in love with “Stand By You” from the first note and willing to eat my words about her being a one hit wonder.  The soft piano and fading into the first verse is perfect and ingenious.  And when she reaches that full chorus – which makes you want to dance around and sing along – I was sold.  Add in snappy lyrics like “If your wings are broken, borrow mine so yours can open too,” and “Even if we can’t find Heaven, I’ll walk through Hell with you,” and you got a hit.  It’s such a positive, upbeat song that will brighten your day…we need more songs like that.

I saw a criticism of the song on iTunes where the person said they loved the song, but thought it should be entitled “Can’t Find Heaven.”  In fact, I found a clip where Platten performed the song during the pre-“Fight Song” era and it was referred to as “Can’t Find Heaven.”  Initially, I thought that song title was catchier than “Stand By You.”  And given the fact the first lyric that appears in the song is “Even if we can’t find Heaven” and it’s part of the major hook of the song, it’s a pretty prominent string of words.  I was especially on board for a name change particularly because “Stand By You” made me think of Stand By Me, which I really only know of from The Big Bang Theory, whereas a title of “Can’t Find Heaven” seems unique to me and doesn’t remind me of Wil Wheaton (which I’m not saying is a bad thing, it’s just when you hear a Rachel Platten song you should probably think of Rachel Platten).

But then I started thinking about why they probably chose “Stand By You” over “Can’t Find Heaven,” and realized that “Stand By You” is probably the better choice.  At first thought, “Stand By You” seems the better title in regards to the message of the song: she’s going to stand by her love no matter what happens.  But the same could be argued for a title of “Can’t Find Heaven:” their relationship has imperfections and they are not in a bliss that is Heaven.  Overall, though, “Can’t Find Heaven” has a negative connotation of not being able to do something whereas “Stand By You” has the positive message of never giving up on someone.  And, really, “Stand By You” expresses the sentiment of not giving up a little bit better than “Can’t Find Heaven.”

But, really, if the only argument/complaint I’m going to have about a song is it’s title, then I think you know it’s pretty good.

Alessia Cara is Here

The other day I was scrolling through iTunes, as I occasionally do to see what music is out there, and I stumbled onto the New Artist section and found Alessia Cara.  I previewed her song “Seventeen” (it was the featured song), and I liked her unique style and sound.  She kind of reminded me of Xenia from the first season of The Voice in that her voice had this rasp and warmth to it.  Then I was driving home from work hours later and the radio DJ said something along the lines of “We’ve got this new artist Alessia Cara, whose song  ‘Here’ everybody’s talking about,” and then they proceeded to play it.  And I was hooked.

One of the many things I find intriguing about the song is that it seems like one of the few pop songs (if any other of them exist) that actually speaks against heavy partying.  Instead, she’s spreading the message to just be yourself and define the way you have fun and hang with your friends your own way, which I like.  Another great thing about the song is the beat, especially how she sings the lyrics in triplets: it makes it pretty catchy.

When I got home after hearing “Here” on the radio, I immediately purchased her EP, Four Pink Wallswhich says a lot.  I tend not to buy EPs because I fear that I’ll spend the money on it, then a couple months later the full length album will drop that will include all the songs from the EP plus like five additional songs; I would have paid for the same music twice, which I prefer not to do.  I will, however, break this rule if I’m a big fan of the artist’s work and simply cannot wait for the forthcoming album.  In any event, you should definitely check out Alessia Cara, and let’s hope her album comes out soon (especially with more than just “five additional songs”).

Ed Sheeran’s Photograph

One of the things that continually impresses me about Ed Sheeran is his phenomenal vocal range.  I remember when I first saw him live, he was crooning some song and his voice started going up to a high pitch.  And it kept going.  And going.  I sat there kind of stunned that a grown man could emit such a sound that high with such ease and not sound ridiculous.

Which brings me to his latest single, “Photograph.”  In the song, he starts off in his soothing, raspy lower register.  Then he reaches the chorus and his voice just shoots up there, and it immediately gives me shivers.  Sometimes, I hear songs where guys will sing up in a high falsetto and I just sit thinking, “really?”  because they either can’t sing that high or it isn’t necessary for the song.  I remember reading a review of an album where a person wrote that just because a singer (a male one, in particular) could sing in a high register does not mean they should.  I agree with this because I think music should be performed to tell a story and transcend an emotion, not to show off.  Like, if you can sing in a high register, that’s incredible and impressive, but use it when it’s necessary.  In the case of “Photograph,” Sheeran singing that high adds to the delicateness of the song and emits a rawness.  It pulls at your heartstrings and makes you feel what he is feeling.

If, for example, Sheeran sang the chorus in a lower register, it would probably sound good (I mean, it’s Ed Sheeran), but it would not have that fragile air to it.  Let’s consider Sheeran’s other song from x, “Don’t.”  In this chorus, Sheeran sings it in his lower register and it adds to the aggressive anger of the song.  Imagine him singing that chorus in his falsetto, it would be…well…bizarre.  Just because he can sing that high, does not mean he does it all the time…he knows how to effectively use his falsetto.

This is My Fight Song

Fight Song” by Rachel Platten has to be one of the best songs this summer (and year).  I heard the song on the radio a couple months back and was instantly intrigued because the song had a Kelly Clarkson vibe about it.  So I quickly asked Siri what the song was, and discovered Rachel Platten.  What I love the most about the song is the defiant, war cry of someone who is not giving up on their dream.  Indeed, Platten said in an interview that she wrote the song at a point in her life where she questioned if she should give up on her music career because things weren’t panning out.  Instead, she told herself to just believe in herself.

I also think this song holds some of the best lyrics we’ve seen so far this year.  With lines like, “Like a small boat/ On the ocean/ Sending big waves/ Into motion,” “I might only have one match/ But I can make an explosion,” “And all those things I didn’t say/ Wrecking balls inside my brain/ I will scream them loud tonight,” and “And I don’t really care if nobody else believes/ ‘Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me” are incredibly powerful and inspiring to me and really emulate this warrior cry of independence.

The song itself is beautiful outside the lyrical content, starting with the shimmering piano and Platten’s perfect vocals sends shivers down the spine.  Then to the chorus with pounding drums and grunts (you can hear them more in the third chorus).  I especially liked how at the bridge, they pulled back to just the piano again to remind us of Platten’s vulnerability.

Platten recently performed “Fight Song” with Taylor Swift on Swift’s 1989 World Tour, and I got to say watching them is great.  Not only did this cause “Fight Song” to rocket into the number one spot on iTunes and jump to number thirteen on Billboard’s Hot 100 (we really need to get it to number one!), but to see Platten’s look of happiness and joy just to be able to sing “Fight Song” to a stadium full of people was intoxicating.  I am a bit sad that Swift didn’t have her as a guest for the date I’m going to the 1989 Tour…

I do believe that we could quite possibly see Platten at next year’s Grammys for Best Pop Solo Performance, Song of the Year, and Record of the Year.  You never know how the Grammys will work (and she would be a huge upset if she did get a Grammy nod), but I feel like how Platten perfectly captured the emotion and delivers a great performance warrants a Grammy.

I also read that Platten is working on her debut album, which will be out later this year, so keep your ears peeled!

You’d Be a Fool Not to Listen to Ryn Weaver’s “The Fool”

I actually heard about Ryn Weaver from a Facebook ad.  You know how you’ll be perusing Facebook and notice that they’ll have “recommended” articles in your feed/timeline that are basically just ads?  I remember multiple times scrolling through and seeing a picture/ad for Weaver’s Promises – EP.

The first couple times I saw it, I ignored it.  Then, I finally clicked on it because the picture somewhat intrigued me, and also because the ad said something about her song “OctaHate,” which I thought was a weird yet interesting title.  I mean, what does the word “OctaHate” (if it’s a word) even mean?  I thought it was something like Pitch Perfect where that one singer kept saying “aca-scuse me.”

I finally found an interview where Weaver explained that the song was originally titled “OctaLoser” because they were using an Octatrack. From what I could gather from the interview, they were creating the production of the song so they just named it “OctaLoser” as a place holder, and then she went back home and wrote the words and finished the song.  She then changed it to “OctaHate” because she said the song is about “hate times eight.”  She then went on to mention something about an octopus and people be tangled together….if you want to read that interview, click here.

So, I finally listened to “OctaHate,” and then I immediately bought it from iTunes.  It’s a great little tune.  What I like the most about the song is how her vocals are aggressive, but in a pretty way (if that make sense).  I just mean that she has this way of attacking the song that emits the hate and angry, but it’s rather elegant.  If you listen to the second verse especially (1:05) below, you’ll get what I mean.

Weaver finally has released her debut album The Fooland I’ve been thinking about getting it.  But then I decided to preview some of her songs before I invest the money in the album.  There’s nothing more annoying than buying an album because you really liked one of the songs on it and thought you’d like the rest of them, and then the whole album is just awful and you’re out like $20 (just an FYI, The Fool is only about $7 on iTunes…I’m still in the mindset that albums are $20 like they were when I was a kid in the ’90s).  The Fool  is definitely not one of those albums. It’s a  great vocal work; she absolutely shines in songs “Pierre,” “Sail On,” and “Traveling Song” (and “OctaHate,” which I already mentioned).

However, I think there are spots throughout the album where she and her producers took some risks that didn’t really work.  When I started listening to her song “The Fool,”  I really liked it.  Her swirling vocals and intriguing lyrics reminded me of “OctaHate.”  But then when I got to the end of the song (3:11-end), I couldn’t help wonder – and I don’t mean to sound rude/harsh/mean – what exactly the producer was thinking.  Pulsating sound?  It just hurts to have sound being pulsed in and then out, and it’s way too choppy.

Now, I’m not putting down Weaver or her producers, these are just stylistic options that wouldn’t have been my first choice.  However, I’m sure the more I listen to it (and I will continue to listen to the album), the more it will grow on me.  Ryn Weaver is a new, talented artist, and we need to support upcoming acts like her. The Fool  featuring “OctaHate” is a great start and certainly features unusual sounds.

Elle King’s Ex’s & Oh’s

Elle King's debut album Love Stuff features the epic song "Ex's & Oh's."

Elle King’s debut album Love Stuff features the epic song “Ex’s & Oh’s.”

So, I’m in the car on my way home, fumbling through the different radio stations, trying to find something good to listen to.  For some reason, each station has been playing the same song today on repeat.  I wish I was exaggerating.  Then, I end up on a station that is playing “Ex’s & Oh’s” by Elle King and I’m obsessed.  Of course, I had no idea what the song was, but I loved her voice within the first seconds.  I quickly got my phone and asked Siri to listen in and tell me the name of the song (I wasn’t driving, so this was totally legal).  And almost immediately I downloaded the song from iTunes.

I love the rock vibe of the song and King’s husky vocals.  The song has just a badass attitude to it, with catchy lyrics and a great beat.  After the song finished, the radio DJs (there were like three), were like “that song is cooler than all of us combined.”  I especially appreciated the title…”Ex’s & Oh’s”…sounds like XOs, get it?

As far as I can tell, Elle King is an upcoming artist and from what I’ve just begun to hear, she’s incredible.  I can’t wait to listen to her album, Love Stuff.  The album was released in February, so if you want to check her out on iTunes, you totally can.  Listen to “Ex’s & Oh’s” below:

Biscuits, #MisheardLyric

I was listening to Kelsea Ballerini song “Love Me Like You Mean It,” and I thought the line in the middle of the chorus was “baby if you’re not into biscuits, then leave it.”  All day I’ve been listening to this song, and I kept hearing the word “biscuit.”  Finally, I got home and remembered to google it, and the lyric is actually “baby if you’re not your best, get leaving.”  So, I was close…

Overall, the song is a sweet little ditty, perfect for these forthcoming sunshine summer days [insert sunglasses emoji].  It has a great, catchy chorus, making you want to sing along to “if you’re gonna love me, boy, you got to love me like you mean it.”  She’s a new artist, so you should totally check her out.  Her debut album, The First Time, came out this past Monday.

In “Wonderland”

Taylor Swift’s 1989 is by far one of the best and most successful albums of this year, and quite possibly the decade.  After six months on sale, the album still sits within the top ten of the Billboard 200 and iTunes Top Albums, and it has sold over four million copies just within the U.S. (I think it sold like eight million world wide so far).  In fact, Swift’s 1989 has outsold both her previous two albums, Red and Speak Now.  But what makes this album so great is that it takes listeners on a journey in one cohesive, fluid motion.  It’s relatable, timeless, and inspiring.  It has even gone on to grow Swift’s already huge fan empire.

I bring this up for two reasons. One, I saw this on Twitter a while ago and have always thought it was hysterical because of it’s great caption, and I wanted to share:

god

The other reason I bring up 1989 is because if you haven’t picked up the deluxe edition or the bonus tracks on iTunes, I highly recommend it, especially the song “Wonderland.”  This particular song has been stuck in my head, but it really captures the exciting feelings I have around this time of year, the time when Spring blooms and it’s almost summer.  It starts off simple and soft, and then explodes into a huge, upbeat chorus that has epic drums and fantastic dub step.  Then it draws back to the simple synths, and then explodes again. It’s such a great dance number.

Swift makes references to, obviously, Alice in Wonderland, especially with lines referring to falling “down a rabbit hole,” and her love interest calming her fears with a “Cheshire cat smile.”  Lyrically, I think the song is very tight and amazing; the lyric that’s most powerful to me has to be “I should have slept with one eye open at night.”  This line is the epitome of the song: she was swept up into a toxic relationship that felt magical, but was really rather damaging and not healthy, which she regrets letting herself get there.

While I usually post clips of songs I write about, I’m again not going to do so to honor Taylor Swift’s determination to revive the music industry and not allow music to be free.  Also, let’s be real, any Youtube clip I’d find would most certainly be deleted within an hour or so…but, if you’re looking for a new song to bop to in the sun, and you have a $1.29 to burn on iTunes, “Wonderland” really is a “wonder” to listen to…

Talking Body

I have to admit, I thought Tove Lo was going to be a one hit wonder.  Her hit “Habits (Stay High)” burned up radio here in America last summer/fall, reaching number three on the Billboard Hot 100, an incredible feat for a debut single.  I actually thought it deserved a Grammy nomination for at least Song of the Year because it is such a cleverly written song.  Technically, she wouldn’t be considered a one hit wonder because she was featured on Alesso’s song “Heroes (We Could Be),” which charted to number thirty-one on the Hot 100, but she only had one huge major hit.  Then I finally heard “Talking Body,” her next single from her debut album Queen of the Clouds, and I think she’s got another hit.

“Talking Body” has such a great beat to dance to (yes, I did give a little shimmy while writing this/listening to the song), especially around the chorus. I like the sound during the chorus that sounds, this is the only way I can think about describing it, like a faint beep of a grocery store checkout scanner.  Such a weird description to give, but I think it gives the song a nice punch of air.  You should definitely check out “Talking Body” (you can listen to it above), it could be a great hit for the summer…the snow’s melting, it’s time we get out and dance around on the dewy grass.

Incidently, Tove Lo is the mastermind behind Ellie Goulding’s massively successful hit “Love Me Like You Do;” she co-wrote it with Max Martin, a music god/producer, as well as Savan Kotecha, Ilya, and Ali Payami.  Why Tove Lo didn’t record the song instead of selling it, I’m not sure.  I do know that Tove Lo started out as a songwriter before trying to start a solo career, so it is possible “Love Me Like You Do” was a song she sold before her recent success.  Regardless, when you hear “Love Me Like You Do,” I think it sounds like Tove Lo singing it.