#MusicMonday: Mandisa’s ‘Out of the Dark’ calls you from depressed to blessed

Although this album came out in 2017, Mandisa’s fifth studio album has a strong and timely message for a dark and divided world. After suffering from a deep depression following the death of friend and background singer Lakisha Mitchell who lost a long battle with breast cancer who decided to carry her unborn child instead of treat her cancer with aggressive chemo therapy. This album was born from all that pain and heartache.  Out of The Dark is filled with songs of hope, resilience, & reminders that God is still working, no matter the circumstance.

Song by Song Review

Voicemail Intro: A track showing backstory to the album that a dark trial or tribulation had just occurred and Mandisa’s friends were calling to encourage her and check on her.

I’m Still Here: My favorite song on the entire album for the message of still having unfinished work to do in and through me by God. This track was co-written with Matthew West.

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Out of The Dark: A song about how God’s grace brings light seeping into the broken messes in our lives and begins to heal us.

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Unfinished: The message of Unfinished is that even with all my mistakes, God is not done making me into a masterpiece; that he’s still working on me.

Bleed The Same (Intro): This track features pastor and renowned singer in his own right Kirk. He speaks about the injustices and the inequalities facing the world today followed by the song of the same name.

Bleed The Same: (ft. Toby Mac)

My second favorite song on this album because it is a beautiful way to shine God’s love and light into our divisive and hurting world, so we should come together and be peaceable with one another.

Comeback Kid:

A song about having the propensity to come back no matter the difficulty or hardship we faced.

What You’re Worth: (ft. Britt Nicole)

A song written in honor of survivors of human trafficking. It is ultimately an anthem for women to not let your worth be tied to your body.

Dear John Praise Report:

A quick into to the next track (Good News) sharing that Mandisa’s brother became a born-again Christian.

Good News:

Co-written with Matthew West, a pop and dancy praise song about the good news of Christ’s ultimate sacrifice and personal moments of glory in our every day life.

Prove Me Wrong:

A song about the moments when something happens that devastates us & makes us question God’s love and faithfulness. This song was written in memory of Mandisa’s friend and back-up singer Lakisha Mitchell.

Mothdisa:

A spoken story about Mandisa’s revelation about Jesus.

The One He Speaks Through:

A song about being God’s hands & feet.

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Shine:

A catchy reminder that we weren’t called to be small or dim the light within us but we were called to be a bright light burning bright shining for Jesus.

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My First Love (ft. Jeremy Camp):

A song based on Jeremiah 31:3

“I have loved you with an everlasting love;
    I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.”

Jesus is and always longs to be our first love.

 

Overall, this album has been on repeat for a while and every time one of these songs comes on shuffle, I smile because I am reminded that because of God’s grace, I will always have good news.

 

#MusicMonday: Pink’s Beautiful Trauma is raw and vulnerable in all her signature colorful ways

P!nk is hands down one of my favorite pop artists and it isn’t because she has the most amazing voice or has songs with popping beats but because she’s 100% herself with everything she puts out musically, and usually it always has connotations of female empowerment and encouraging young women to break glass ceilings and if they happen to not fit inside the box society tries to put them in…oh fucking well.

Beautiful Trauma was released in October of 2017 which meant it was her first album in five years time. The album debuted at #1 during it’s release week before ranking at #30 on the Billboard Hot 200.

When I first listened to it, I wasn’t sure I was a fan of it. Yet, it took a good ten listens for me to realize the amazing artistry hidden within each song and I do hope my review highlights the greatness of Pink’s Beautiful Trauma.

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Song by Song Review

Beautiful Trauma: The title track opens the album with a track about how life’s trauma can turn to beauty over time, and musically describes a love relationship that bubbles and fizzes at just the right temperature to keep one sane.

Whatever You Want: This uplifting power ballad finds the singer fighting for a relationship that seems doomed.pablo (27)

What About Us: Anthem-like musicality made this a great first single off the album with lyrics speaking to the heart of love and trust whether that be between two people or within society as a whole.

But We Lost It: A piano ballad that discusses a relationship that charged with so much positivity (joy, happiness, and peace) but time wasn’t on their side. Almost like a spark between two people that flickers, dims, and dies.

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Barbies: My favorite song on the entire album because of it’s soft musicality mixed with lullaby-like elements. It perfectly expresses that adult moment when nostalgia seems to take over and all you want to do is go back to being a kid with naivete and innocence “playing barbies in your room.” Co-written by Julia Michaels.

Where We Go: Catchy pop rock musicality make this worth a few listens, with a lyrical tale about letting go of a relationship that is doomed for disaster.

For Now: A song about reminiscing an old flame and getting stuck on the highs without realizing the lows.pablo (29).png

Secrets: A song about a truth about life and all of us have secrets or private parts we don’t express to just anyone.

Better Life: A track discussing the highlight reel effect social media has on all of us.

I Am Here: A brand new ballad version of Just Like Fire, expressing realizing you are enough as is ,and you are here in this moment.

Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken:

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A political yet poetic ballad about 19th century women and incorporates the #MeToo movement.

You Get My Love: The final track on the album emotionally pleading and raw about the gift of her love.

 

#MusicReview: What kind of ‘Views’ does Drake offer us?

I’m sure you clicked this but were a bit confused seeing as Drake’s album Views came out on April 29, 2016. You probably wonder what rock I’ve been under that I just now am sharing my review of this album.

Truth is, being that Drake just released Scorpion it was time to share my views on Views.

 

Views is the fourth studio album by Canadian rapper Drake. It was released on April 29, 2016,by Cash Money Records, Republic Records and Young Money Entertainment. Recording sessions took place from 2015 to 2016, with both Drake and his longtime collaborator and record producer 40 serving as the record’s executive producers. 40 also primarily handled the production on the album alongside each of these several other record producers such as Nineteen85, Maneesh Bidaye, Kanye West, and Jordan Ullman, among others. The album contains the elements of genres such as R&B, dancehall, hip hop and pop, among others.

The album was supported by five singles: “Hotline Bling”, “One Dance”, “Pop Style”,”Controlla”, and “Too Good”. Views was met with lukewarm reviews from critics, many of whom found it to be an overlong retread of Drake’s previous work. Despite this, it spent 13 non-consecutive weeks at number one on the US Billboard 200. Views became the first album to accumulate one-billion streams on Apple Music.The album was certified quadruple Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Views was nominated for Album of the Year and Best Rap Album at the 59th Grammy Awards. As of April 2018, Views sold 1.73 million copies and a total of 5.41 million album-equivalent units in the United States.

      Notable tracks

“Feel No Ways”:  Drake talks about a girl who no longer lives with his ambitious, career-driven lifestyle. She’s “gassed up,” tarnishing Drake’s name, even though their relationship was doomed to fail. Together they were unproductive, and often sleeping in and smoking weed. As he tries to move on and focus on himself, she continues to try and manipulate him when he returns to Toronto. This makes him feel guilty and sad.

“Hype”: Drake uses a similar flow and subject matter to previous songs “Summer Sixteen” and “Back to Back.” Drizzy takes aim at the likes of Meek Mill while comparing himself to Michael Jackson,bragging about dancing with Rihanna, and claiming Views is already a classic. Ironic, considering he’s supposedly “doning the hype.”

“One Dance”:  an R&B song with dancehall and Afrobeats inflections, featuring a slowed down sample of the vocals and chord stabs from a 2008 UK Funky house anthem, Kyla’s “Do You Mind,”produced by Crazy Cousinz. This is also this reviewer’s favorite off this album.

“Grammys”: looks into Drake and Future’s music careers. While Drake’s won one Grammy for Take Care and has been nominated several times, Future has yet to win a Grammy, despite mainstream and critical success.

Drake switches flows multiple times throughout his verse, making reference to Jay Z and Canadian rapper Top5. Future, on the other hand, blasts the Grammys and takes a subtle dig at rapper Desiigner, whose hit song “Panda” has been labeled as a Future rip-off.

“Pop Style”:  a Jamaican term meaning “ballin’” or “showing off.” The term was famously used on Althea and Donna’s “Uptown Top Ranking”, a Reggae one hit wonder which reached number 1 on the UK charts in 1978.

The new verse takes aim at Drake’s critics. He fires subliminals at Meek Mill and Mo-G while continuing to include braggadocious lyrics about his OVO crew.

“Too Good”: is about a couple who go out of their way to treat each other well, while they feel like their love is taken for granted.

Carrying the same Caribbean and dancehall beat as that of “Work,” their most recent duet prior to this song, and “One Dance,” this is the fourth collaboration between Rihanna and Drake (after “What’s My Name?” and “Take Care”). All four songs focus on relationships.

Rihanna and Drake used to be in a relationship—while their recent return collaborations have started rumors that they’re together, Rihanna clarified that she’s still single and their reunion is only professional.

Drake’s third verse interpolates Jamaican dancehall artist Popcaan’s “Love Yuh Bad”—and the track includes a direct sample of Popcaan’s verse on the outro.

“Hotline Bling”: “Hotline Bling” is most likely about Drake’s old flame from Toronto, Nebby. She’s had an on and off relationship with the 6 God a few times, and her Instagram account is a constant reminder that she’s never home – always traveling to exotic places, and out wearing almost nothing. Based on the lyrics, it’s as if Drake wrote this song while scrolling through her Instagram page.

Overall, Views is a dancehall Carribean musical compilation of relationship drama and being taken for granted.

See why I prefered Scorpion better

#MusicMonday: Let The Trap Say Amen by @lecrae

Lecrae is no stranger to a mixtape. He’s already released three in his christian hip-hop career. That’s why when I found out he was releasing another mixtape, I was totally stoked.

Let The Trap Say Amen released June 22, with Grammy-award winning producer Zaytoven,  is a 13 song project born out of a mutual respect for each other’s work and joined by common faith, the two Atlanta legends came together for a release aimed at bridging understanding and building community, especially in underserved neighborhoods across America often dubbed “The Trap.” The 13-track project touts features from the likes of 24hrs, nobigdyl., and Verse Simmonds, as well as one of Atlanta’s best-loved sons, Waka Flocka Flame.

Song by Song Review

To hear the song, click the hyperlinked title.

Get Back Right: Lecrae talks about his recent success, his journey to becoming a believer in Christ, and his confidence in God with Him on his side. It will definitely have you bouncing whether you are riding in the car or working out to this song.

Preach: A song about once you know who you are in Christ, nothing else matters in the game.

2 Sides of The Game: Lecrae and Waka Flocka Flame share their personal experiences with selling drugs while K-So shares the 2 sides of selling drugs in the street.

Plugged In:  God’s his “plug” instead of drugs. This track discusses about providing for one’s family and making money in the streets.

Holy Water: A song about walking by faith not by sight.

Blue Strips:  Lecrae talks about the addiction to money and how many do anything to gain more. References dead end jobs such as stripping and dealing drugs and how the world glorifies these paths, despite that people are made for “greater.”

Only God Can Judge Me: A song with a bounce and a strong message when people of faith are facing persecution or condemnation from external circumstances, or internal feelings.

Yet: Lecrae shares his ambitions moving forward in his career and boosts his success and longevity in the game.

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I Can’t Lose ft. 24hrs: My favorite song on the album because it has the “righteous meets ratchet” feel as Come and Get Me from Lecrae’s album All Things Work Together.

Lecrae and 24 Hours talk about numerous blessings, their work ethic and haters.

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 Switch:  A song about being gangster for Jesus.

Can’t Block It: A song for the haters and about the haters.

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Fly Away ft. Nobigdyl: Lecrae’s first collaboration with nobigdyl discusses giving up the vanity of this world.

By Chance: Piano driven beat & meaningful lyrics discussing Lecrae’s journey as an artist, living by God’s plan, and the history of 116.

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#MusicMonday: Speak Your Mind by @AnneMarie Album Review

Even before she had an album, her voice was playing on your radio. Anne Marie’s first entry into the Billboard Hot 100 was her collaboration with Clean Bandit, Rock-A-Bye.

That came out in 2016, and has since peaked at #9 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Speak Your Mind is the debut studio album by singer-songwriter Anne-Marie, released via Major Tom’s and Atlantic Records on April 27, 2018.

It has been certified gold in the UK since it’s release and debuted at #31 in the US on the Billboard 200 chart.

Song by Song Review

To listen to each track, click the title name to be linked to a Youtube video containing the song.

Cry: “Cry” is the opening song from Anne-Marie’s debut album Speak Your Mind. The song is a post-breakup song that shows Anne-Marie’s singing about her love interest crying and probably regretting leaving her for another relationship that didn’t end up working out. Throughout the song she fires at her ex, chiding that he should have realized she’s a ‘piece of luxury’, and that he can never find another person like her.

Ciao Adios:

a pop dancy track about finding your lover with someone new. It has Latin musicality and rhythm

Alarm: an EDM track about having intuition that once a cheat, always a cheater. The breakdown has a Jamaican sound.

Trigger:  “Trigger” describes a relationship between people with opposite temperaments. Anne-Marie implies she is a pacifist, at the mercy of her partner. The song is a plea for them to sort out their issues and make the relationship work.

The metaphor of a gun’s trigger is key in the song. Shooting a gun and ending a relationship are similar in their destructive capabilities, and both can be avoided via other, less violent means.

Then: the singer sings her heart out this mid-tempo ballad. She describes how she truly felt about an ex-lover, and how meaningful the relationship had been–then.

Perfect: “Perfect” talks about the beauty of imperfection and rejects the idea that perfection exists. It encourages people to be comfortable with their flaws and insecurities, and to just be themselves.

F.R.I.E.N.D.S: A pop anthem about being in the friendzone

Bad Girlfriend: The song speaks of Anne-Marie being a bad counterpart to his lover.  it’s clear to see that the man that inspired this song is still sticking around with Anne-Marie cause he is in love and all the flaws she had is nothing to him. And she is accepting the fact she is an idiot in relationship.

Heavy: A relationship that feels more like a burden than a blessing. It has a melodic musicality. It’s my favorite song on the regular version of the album.

2002: Co-written by Ed Sheeran,

In “2002,” Anne-Marie reminisces about falling in love and all the songs that soundtracked that romance.

During the song’s chorus, she references six songs released in the late 1990s and early 2000s, like Jay-Z’s “99 Problems,” Nelly’s “Ride wit Me,” NSYNC’s “Bye Bye Bye” and Britney Spears’ “…Baby One More Time.”

The “99 Problems” reference is actually a misnomer, however, as Jay-Z didn’t write that song until 2003.

Can I Get Your Number?: It’s a woman/girl empowerment dancehall song about taking risk and going beyond the norm as Anne-Marie is the one getting the guy’s phone number instead of him approaching her first. Thinking that she should do the first move chanting “…what if this shit is love?” rather regretting for the rest of her life.

Machine: 

A track relating how idiosyncrasies that make us human wouldn’t bother if we were machine.

Other notable tracks on the deluxe version of the album include Breathing Fire and RockABye.

 

#NewMusicAlert: American Girl & Only Fools Fall In Love by @lifeofdillon

U.K based pop duo made up of David Keiffer and Joe Femi have known each other since high school and have self-declared their music as “acoustic house,” and formed in 2014. They would play gigs at the local pubs after class and their band gets it’s name from a Nepalese surfer named Dillon they met during a trip to Brazil.

Mixing together sounds from an array of genres from around the world—Femi’s Brazilian-Nigerian background heavily influences their newest material—the band has taken their infectious music on tour with the likes of Meghan Trainor and Charlie Puth.

Song by Song Review

images (3) As soon as I heard this song, I honestly had it on repeat for days. It relevantly talks about topics of immigration and dreamers but still has that feel good Latin Flavor to it’s pop musicality.

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https_images.genius.com6750065cb3e471cca746e51bfd5edb8e.268x268x1 “Only Fools Fall In Love” finds the duo further honing in on their sharp and slick take on modern pop music. Mixing acoustic guitars with a tight, rhythmic beat work and electronic flourishes, the song centers around an infectious, catchy earworm of a melody and a sentimental lyric that all can relate to.

Watch the music video HERE and be sure to follow Life of Dillon below so you don’t miss all their other new music:

Follow Life Of Dillon:
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#NewMusicAlert: Younger by A Great Big World

Back with their third album to date, I guess you could say that A Great Big World has something to new to say.

Their self-titled album is recorded with a live band and is self-titled because it sounds “most like them.” The duo, made up of two dudes that met at NYU, Chad King and Ian Axel, have released two other albums, their first which included the Top 5 Billboard Collaboration with Christina Augilera, “Say Something.”

Song Review

Younger:    The first single off the album, “Younger”, encapsulates the innocence and naivete of childhood youth, unfolding like a colorful love letter to an adolescence of playing wiffle ball and Super Mario Bros, listening to Maroon 5, and dreaming about the future. It has a fun up-tempo and contains video game sound effects hidden throughout the musicality. Total #TBT.

 

Watch the nostalgic video game-inspired throwback lyric video here.

Connect with A Great Big World in the world of social media:

Facebook
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Instagram: 
Official Website

 

#NewMusicAlert: Strangers On An Island by @BrotherLeo

Brother Leo only cared about football as a child but that didn’t stop his mom to force her son, whose birth name is Ola, to join boys’ choir and take piano lessons. Fast forward to age 17 where he was playing professional soccer for the Trelleborgs FF, he sang during a school function and friends were adamant about him auditioning for Pop Idol.

He signed a deal reluctantly in his native Sweden. Before his Swedish debut, he had a plethora of number one hit credits as an in-demand songwriter for Gnash, Hailee Steinfield, Akon, and more under his given name.

His artist name Brother Leo was assumed in 2018 which is based off Svennson’s more confident and free imaginary twin as a child.

Song by Song Review

Everything On Red: Based on a gamble on a roulette wheel on either red or black, this song is about betting all your chips on the love at first sight you feel when you meet someone new for the first time. Produced by Fatboy Slim, the musicality and feel to the track is reminiscent to island or Carribean music. The breakdown gives the impression that time has slowed and all you hear is your heartbeat in your ears.

Stranger On An Island: Sunny verses of beachside vignettes combined with tropical drums and wild turntable scratches make this track a summer splash, and give you that getaway feel no matter the season. You may hear Brother Leo sing about being stuck on an island but this beachy track will be stuck in your head after just one listen.

Check out the music video directed by Mary Clerete here and connect with Brother Leo below:
Website
Twitter
Instagram
Facebook

 

Auguilera makes pop music comeback by speaking her truth with eighth studio album Liberation #MusicReview

After a five and a half year hiatus since her last music album, Christina Aguilera is back with a strong message of self-truth after taking five years to focus on family and other projects. Aguliera is quoted as saying regarding the feel of Liberation comes from a place of pure freedom:

“I’m at the place, even musically, where it’s a liberating feeling to be able to strip it all back and appreciate who you are and your raw beauty.”

Liberation was released on June 15, 2018 and debuted on the Billboard Hot 200 at #6. Notable tracks include:

“Dreamers” featuring voices of little girls talking about what they hope to grow up to become or dream of being

“Fall In Line” Aguilera’s duet  with Demi Lovato, painting a strong lyrical picture relevant to the #MeToo movement that women and young girls should know their worth is more than their sex appeal or sexuality.

Other noteable tracks include Twice, Accelerate, Masochist, and Unless It’s With You.

Fall In Line Music Video

Shawn Mendes gets vulnerable on third album that bares his name and his heart #MusicReview

On May 25, 2018, Mendes let us in on his most personal album to date. The 19 year old released self-titled album, “Shawn Mendes,” with the first promotional single off the album being a song depicting feelings of panic, anxiety, and depression with “In My Blood.”

It debuted at #1 on the Billboard Hot 200 the first week it was released.

To listen to the entire album for free, please use this custom Youtube playlist.

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Song by Song Review

In My Blood: A very vulnerable and authentically written song about suffering from anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.

Though the speaker, no matter how hard it gets, knows it isn’t in their blood to give up.

Sometimes I feel like giving up but I just can’t. It isn’t in my blood.

Nervous: A kick drum keeps rhythm with this catchy pop track about how your heart rate picks up around the person you are crushing on.

Lost in Japan: Jazz piano and bass guitar chords give this a sultry musicality about surprising the person you are catching feelings for.

Where Were You in the Morning: Bluesy musicality sets the stage for a track about waking up to see your one-night stand left without leaving their number.

Like To Be You (ft. Julia Michaels): Guitar strums keep time while Mendes duets with Julia Michaels (“Issues”) about wanting to know everything about someone.

Fallin’ All In You: An acoustic guitar carries the heart of the track about fallin’ in love with someone after a one night stand.

Particular Taste: Co-written by Ryan Tedder, the fun and dancy musicality tell a story about a woman who knows what she wants, likes or dislikes. It has a Prince-like feel.

Why: Two people who won’t admit their true feelings which makes things weird and awkward between them, especially if they are friends.

Because I Had You: Short minor chords strummed pain the musicality of this song about giving yourself permission to love someone new.

Queen: A relatable track about a girl who is shallow, one-dimensional, and all about what’s currently cool. It’s my favorite track on the album because the lyrics are so well-written.

Youth (ft. Khalid): A song featuring Khalid (Young, Dumb & Broke) about all the current school shootings to raise awareness about gun violence.

Mutual: The musicality creates a push and pull sound which creates a soundtrack of someone who plays with your emotions to feel better about themselves.

Perfectly Wrong: Minor chords create an awkward cradle to realizing someone is wrong for you but you still hold a candle for them.

When You’re Ready: A soft acoustic sweet song about being willing to wait for a chance to be with that one person.

A soft heartfelt finale to a music album that showcases a singer-songwriter who is learning who he is as a young man, and isn’t afraid to share his beautiful soul.