#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
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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.

 

 

Illuminate by @shawnmendes will light up your heart, soul, and your playlist.

Although this album was released in 2016, I finally got around to listening to it recently in anticipation of Mendes third studio album which also happens to be self-titled.

Illuminate in a nutshell has Mendes looking like the pop version of Jonny Lang with it’s musicality and rock and blues elements.

It peaked at #22 on the Billboard Hot 200 chart.

Of all three Mendes works, this is by far my fave because Mendes voice matured from his last album, and so did his songwriting style and use of musicality. All songs on this album were co-written with Teddy Geiger.

Listen to the entire album via this custom Youtube playlist.

Song by Song Review

There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back: A fun pop dance track that is played up with dancy guitar chords about being with someone who inspires you to face your fears, and feel free to be yourself. My favorite song off this album for sure, although the rest of the album compliments this first track so nicely.

Ruin: A slow jam about a love that went wrong but you can’t let go of because you still believe you were meant to be with that person.

Mercy: A piano ballad that grips the listener like a siren song that begs for mercy because this person keeps tearing you up with the distorted way they show & give love.

Treat You Better: A strong pop anthem about a guy who can see a girl is in a toxic relationship, and believes he’s the better suitor because he can see her full potential & worth.

Three Empty Words: An acoustic guitar and soft vocals create an authentic ballad about a relationship that is empty & unfulfilling.

Don’t Be A Fool:  An R&B bluesy track that bears the bad news that he’s not the right guy for this girl, and wants to prevent her from looking a fool by encouraging her to move on.

Like This: Another piano ballad where the vocalist carries pain in his voice. Musically, it reminds me of Nick Jonas’s song “Vesper’s Goodbye,” because of the similar sorrowful singing, soft acoustics, and lyrical content.

No Promises: With this track, it shares casual views on love to avoid consequences of heartache and pain.

“I’ve been living only for this moment and I don’t want to let it slip away.”

Lights On: A sultry song that has sexy undertones that describe the act of making love to someone with the lights on.

Honest: The rhythmic musicality of this track is infectious and is something that will stick in your head much like the topic of this track: the final break-up conversation.

Patience: A clever take on an on-and-off relationship that leaves you with withdrawal symptoms and distraught over all when it is all said and done.

Bad Reputation: A sultry, bluesy, I-want-her-so-bad type jam about a person with a reputation you can’t seem to stop thinking about.

Understand: Gospel-style musicality paints this track about wanting to understand who you are and where your life will take you.

Hold On: A slow jam encouraging those fighting life’s battles and that they must “hold on.”

Roses: A metaphor using a rose as a visual image of whether the love between you and this person, asking:

“Will you let it die or let it grow?”

Mercy (Acoustic): A cut-down, simple version of the crooner-tortured heart pop anthem.A definite fireworks finale for this musical masterpiece.

 

 

 

 

 

.@ShawnMendes Releases Something Big with Debut Album #Handwritten

Released on April 14, 2015 by Island Records is the Debut Album by Shawn Mendes. Ask me two weeks ago who Shawn Mendes was and I wouldn’t have been able to fully tell you other than that he was a singer who became famous from Youtube. Despite his cliché Justin Bieber road to fame, he may be able to give Justin Bieber a run for his money. From the Life of the Party, I instantly fell in love with Shawn’s voice and songwriting style. His songwriting style can be compared to that of Ed Sheeran and his vocal talent could be likened to that of Gavin Degraw. Every song on this album is worth a listen, and Shawn Mendes is definitely meant for something big.

 

#VoiceNotes by @CharliePuth is an obvious note to his creative genius

Charlie Puth’s back and stronger than ever with his new album, Voice Notes.

Inspired by recordings via the app of the same name, all songs on this album were created and produced by Charlie himself.

Listen to the entire album by clicking here to follow an exclusive playlist I made via Youtube.

Song by Song Review

The Way I Am: Starting out the album strong with pop musicality this is my favorite track because it has the musical genius of a Michael Jackson song but beside the overall unapologetic message but the rocking guitar chords in the background of the entire song.

The first time I heard it it had instant Tom Cruise in Risky Business vibes:

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Attention: Bass guitar chords carry the pop musicality of this track and the catchy lyrics of one of those attention seeking exes who can’t seem to get that you are over them.

L.A. Girls: A song about losing focus on the one girl who’s important because you fooled around with girls from Los Angeles. My favorite part of this track is the breakdown.

How Long: A song about the confrontation when a girl realizes her man was creeping but told from the guy’s perspective. Musically, it’s fun and dancy with jazz elements.

Done For Me ft. Kehlani: An R&B track about the unfair plight of one-sided love

Patient: A slow jam that Charlie is famous for, asking for his lover to be generous with their patience.

If You Leave Me Now: This album has amazing collaborations stacked up, and Boys II Men add an incredible vocal layering, and harmonies to this song which helps to give it that heart and soul r&b musiciality

Boy: An electropop musicality creates the atmosphere of a song discussing a relationship where someone older or more experienced makes you feel innocent and juvenile.

Slow It Down: A track about not wanting to take advantage of a girl because you don’t have true feelings for her.

Change ft. James Taylor: An acoustic guitar gives this a street performer feel, and a timely message:

Why can’t we just get along?

Somebody Told Me: A fun and dancy musicality contrasts the lyrics discussing the heartbreak of the one you love being in love with someone else.

Empty Cups: Sultry sythesized bass guitar chords hint at things heating up between you and someone at a party

Through It All: A gospel-like musicality with an encouraging message

God only knows I’ve been through it all

Overall, this music video accurately depicts how I look while listening to this album. It’s such a well put together piece of music, I truly hope Puth gets accolades this year for this album.