#MusicMonday: William’s personal struggle with depression brings themes of the realities of adulthood with ‘After Laughter’

Paramore has been one of my favorite bands since high school. I would ride to school listening to “Misery Business,” and relating to everything on Riot! I also found it entirely bold and daring of Williams who was only 16 when the band got it’s start wore bright orange hair. Williams songwriting spoke to me as an angsty teenager who felt misunderstood, undermined, and never ever good enough, it helped me cope through all those feelings and become a writer myself, and later a teenage author at only 15.

Released on May 12, 2017 as follow-up to their 2013 self-titled album comes a huge change for the band both sonically and lyrically.

The album contains dark lyrics over fun and poppy melodies Williams has been very open about her struggles with depression: “It means that look on a person’s face when they laugh really hard and then there’s this moment when they come back to reality.”

Drummer Zac Farro rejoined the band in 2017. After Laughter debuted at number six on the US Billboard Hot 200.

Song by Song Review

Hard Times: A playful eighties vibe contrast hard hitting lyrics showcasing growing up and Williams’ personal struggle with depression.

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Rose-Colored Boy: A song about feeling pressure to look at the world with blind optimism when you actually feel very hopeless about the world and your part in it. There is so much social pressure to be “happy” that we can actually feel shame when we aren’t.

Told You So: With a central theme is built around the common phrase, “Hate to say I told you so” which is typically said in a condescending disapproving manner. A track about struggles faced when people watching your every move waiting for you to make a mistake.

Forgiveness: Throughout “Forgiveness” Hayley talks about forgiveness and redemption between her and the other band members and troublesome moments with her partner at the time.

Fake Happy: A song showcasing how much we as humans can hide underneath our smiles. Despite being bright and bubbly at our best, there are some moments that you can’t fake the happiness.

26: About not losing hope and staying a dreamer, the musicality is acoustic and very authentically transparent.

Pool: 80’s new wave synth pop musicality creates a cool but dark love song about the highs and lows of loving someone

Grudges: A song about Zac Farro’s return to the band in 2017 after he left in 2010.

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Caught in the Middle: Williams confronts the concept of getting older. Combined with a contrasting light and danceable beat, Paramore shares the harsh feeling of seeing the years piling up. This song can also be seen as a fight with depression. Sometimes, the simple act of moving forward in life is a tedious task.

No Friend: An outro track to “Idle Worship” containing spoken word poetry from Aaron Weiss from MeWithoutYou.

Tell Me How: The final track about being at a crossroads in life. It’s a slow moving laiden track showing optimism toward the band’s future.

Paramore shows us that whether you are looking at the world with ‘Brand New Eyes’ or allowing the ‘Riot!’ within to speak up boldly. ‘After Laughter’ showcases a brand new maturity toward the realities and struggles of being a thirty-something adult in today’s world. And I am enamored by all that the band puts out both sonically and lyrically.

 

#MusicMonday: Lauren Daigle’s second album explores who God says you are and challenges the world to silence the voices that say otherwise

Hailing from Lafayette, Louisiana and was influenced by Zydeco, blues and Cajun music in her environment from youth, Daigle was born to be a musician.

Her mother referred to her childhood home as “the music box” because she was always singing. She never considered music seriously until she contracted infectious  mononucleuosis. It kept her out of school for nearly two years.

Following finishing charter school with hopes of working in the medical field and do mission work, she took a year off from school to do mission work in Brazil before attending Louisiana State University for child and family studies.

She joined and soon led the choir at LSU.

With her family encouraging her to audition for American Idol in 2010 and 2012. She was cut before the Top 24 in 2010. In 2011, she did not make it to Hollywood. She made it to Hollywood in 2012 but was cut in the first Las Vegas round.

Her first full-length album (April 14, 2015) debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top Christian Albums chart. It broke Top 20 on the Billboard Hot 200.

Look Up, Child debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 200 with “You Say” staying at #1 for fifty three weeks on the Hot Christian songs chart and further won a 2019 Grammy for Best Contemporary Christian Music performance/song.

Look Up, Child was released on September 7,, 2018 via Centricity Music.

 

Song For Song Review

Still Rolling Stones: A song about how God’s power is both infinite and infallible. Daigle performed this song on The Ellen Show live.

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Rescue: Showcasing the aspect of God’s willingness to go to great lengths to rescue us, even when we think no one can hear us. It is performed from God’s perspective. The song was written for people that are experiencing the darkest of turmoil, and in that collision, a comfort comes.

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This Girl: A soulful song about wanting to let God know out of everything, she wants Him to know she is fully and completely offering her heart.

Your Wings: A song with multiple references to Psalm 91 about how God promises to cover those who trust in him. Daigle said the musicality and the beat are her favorite on the whole album.

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You Say: A song discussing the question and identity and how a believer’s foundational truth regarding their identity should come from who God says they are.

Everything: A song written for when you are overwhelmed in a time of deprivation and weariness.

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Love Like This: One of my favorites off the album for its musicality that, in my opinion, mimics a spiritual awakening and for its message about God’s unconditional yet unthinkable love.

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Look Up, Child: A fun Carribean style musicality makes up this upbeat track about looking to God always whatever the situation.

Losing My Religion

Losing My Religion: My favorite song on the entire album for its message about how when you truly know Christ, it becomes more about a faith relationship and less about religious ideology.

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Remember: Co-written with Chris Tomlin, this gospel-like anthem brings all miracles past and present into recollection so the believer can focus on God’s almighty power and know he works for the good of those that love him.

Rebel Heart: A declaration of faith to God saying that I’m ready to trust you completely and take this “rebel heart” and make it new.

Inevitable: A song about fighting doubts and unbelief with the truth, “God will always carry me.”

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus: Lauren finishes the album with her own rendition of this Helen Holsworth song.

Whether you are struggling to see the good, focus on the present, or are being bombarded by a heavy and black sadness, whatever you are struggling and suffering with mentally, emotionally, and/or physically, Daigle’s second album offers a song for whatever it may be and as you begin to sing along, a spirit of praise will rise up within and the clouds will start to break, and the light will peak through slowly but surely.

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.

 

 

#BookReview: After The Storm by Ava St. Pierre @wisebeautyqueen

Mental Illness carries much of a stigma even though it is 2018. Finally, people are deciding to be open about it whether they themselves struggle with it or someone they know and love.

I believe it should be openly discussed so that those who struggle with it can get the help and healing they deserve.

And so began the reason I couldn’t say no to reading Ava St. Pierre’s memoir.

She’s this prestigious beauty queen who was a pretty big deal in Texas as well as the ability to dapple in the VIP lifestyle because of her Mrs. Texas America title.

Yet, her story is definitely one for the books which is why I was glad her daughter Sheree sent it to me.

Growing up in a family of seven children, they lived a cool, calm, and collected existence. That was until the storm hit.

By storm, I am referring to her mother’s fits of rage that caused a severe accident with one of Ava’s younger brothers. These fits of rage were eventually diagnosed as amnesia, paranoia, and schizophrenia, and her father decided to raise the children as a single parent which left Ava’s birth mother to remain homeless for most of her life.

One thing I loved about the memoir is how easy it was to read despite the heaviness in topic and themes, and how Ava remained positive and used her story to showcase that no matter what anyone goes through in life, they can either sit and feel sorry for themselves or they can share their story to encourage others.

And Ava succeeds at the latter, and her story will provide hope that life gets better no matter the severity of the storm and the after effects that remain.

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