#MusicMonday: Kelly Clarkson gets back to her soulful sound with ‘Meaning of Life’

Kelly Clarkson is only 36 years young and she’s already had a Greatest Hits Album. The original American Idol winner is back to her signature soulful sound with her eighth studio album Meaning of Life.  It was released on October 27, 2017 and debuted on the US Billboard Hot 200 at #2.

Song by Song Review

A Minute (Intro): 

A broken down minute long r&b track about needing a minute to be yourself. Written and produced by The Monarch with writing input from Jim McCormick and Katie Pearlman, was primarily made for Clarkson, whose hectic family and work life have made it hard for her to take a minute break for herself.

Love So Soft: 

A soul-trap anthem, very different from Clarkson’s usual stuff, picks up where Duffy’s “Mercy” left off. With Clarkson’s usual attitude, it tells a love story about something palpable between two people, “if you break it, you buy it” type love. Written by hitmaker Priscilla Renea.

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Heat: A catchy soul-trap pop sound paints a track where you are begging someone for a hot as coals type of love, one that has you warm all over, smiling from ear to ear.

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Meaning of Life: the title track and the song that started the entire project. The vibe, soul and message of this song showcases Clarkson’s new direction musically. It is a track that has an r&b signature sound but about a love that brightens the colors around you & catches you completely brand new.

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Move You: A ballad with a drum-string combination about wanting to make such a lasting impact on someone you end up moving them.

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Whole Lotta Woman: A body positive and female empowerment song about being loud & proud of your shape, your curves, and confidence in your femininity.

My favorite song on the album because it has the signature sound of a Clarkson anthem but with a powerful progressive measure. March on, ladies. Own who you are.

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Medicine: Schultz and Harlœ co-wrote and produced the seventh track “Medicine” as a tribute to the ’90s and was inspired by Carey’s song “Emotions” (1991). It has an up-tempo pop musicality which sets the stage  for this track about a past lover who she has moved on from who did nothing for her.

Cruel: An r&b jazz pop fusion about a hard to love lover that you are commanding respect from.

Didn’t I: A pop soul track about a lover you gave the moon, sun, and stars to and her or she took you for granted.

Would You Call That Love: A track about how someone loves you but they love you with a complete dichotomy of what love is supposed to be.

I Don’t Think About You: The soul-infused power-ballad chronicles losing a prominent love in your life only to realize you’re better off without them.

Slow Dance: A slow tempo ballad about taking things slow in order to let the fire or heat between two people simmer.

Don’t You Pretend: A slow tempo song that begs a man to be honest about his true feelings, and quit pretending he doesn’t feel the same.

Go High: A song about staying kind in a world that tries to turn you wicked, sour, and miserable.

Overall, Meaning of Life doesn’t have one bad song. It is short but sweet, and shows depth, growth, and wisdom of Clarkson’s person and artistry.

 

 

#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: From Rags to ‘Hell’s Kitchen Angel’ with @Maxgschneider’s new album

Max Schneider has already made me cry. Now I know what you’re thinking but let me clarify. He made me cry because he followed me on my personal account via Twitter. As a Schneider Monkey (fans of Max Schneider; hinting to Max’s love for monkeys) since June 2012, I never thought the day would come when I would be noticed by such a talented and handsome singer-songwriter but enough fangirling, let’s get to chatting about who Max is for those who don’t yet know.

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Max Schneider is an actor/singer from Woodstock, New York who started performing at the early age of three. He started out dancing on his coffee table and ended up dancing on a broadway stage where he starred in the musical 13. After this, he was signed to a talent agent at the age of fourteen, and went on to appear on many different television appearances, including being featured in a Dolce & Gabbana ad campaign alongside Madonna.

He’s best known (and I became a fan of his) after watching him alongside Keke Palmer in the Nickelodeon musical movie, Rags.

#FunFact: In Rags, @Maxgschneider sings in “Someday” a line in which his character sings, “Someday I’ll be the next big thing” How true that is today. #HellsKitchenAngel

He also was a star of the musical Nickelodeon show “How To Rock.” He’s been writing music and released two EPs, First Encounters in 2010, and Say Max EP in 2014. His music career took off when he started doing covers and posting them on Youtube. This and his acting career with Nickelodeon helped him catch the attention of Victoria Justice, who invited him to open for her on her “Making It In America” national tour.

His rise to fame came this year when he was simultaneously signed to DCD2 records, alongside labelmates Fall Out Boy, Panic at the Disco, and many notable others in the music world. He also released his first single from the label, “Gibberish” ft. Hoodie Allen. His music video for this track was used to promote the Youtube Music Awards.

This past summer, Max went on the Boys of Zummer tour with Wiz Khalifa and Fall Out Boy. He just finished up touring with R5 on the Sometime Last Night Tour. After releasing EP’s since 2010, Hell’s Kitchen Angel is Max’s debut studio album.

Song by Song Review

“Hell’s Kitchen Angel”: The title track off the album, referencing to where Max grew up, the section of New York known as Hell’s Kitchen, this track’s musicality is soulful with sound of a music baby made by James Brown and Bruno Mars.

“Gibberish”: Max’s first single with the DCD2 record label, this track will have you dancing no matter who’s done you wrong. Featuring a rap verse by Hoodie Allen, this song never gets old is still one of my favorites off the album.

“Wrong”: If you’ve ever wanted to know what Max’s killer vocals sounded across an EDM-style backtrack, this song will grant your wish. It’s all types of wrong but as the song says, “it’s better when it feels wrong,” this song is a head-banger for sure, in every way.

“Holla”: Like the soulful Max Schneider signature version of Fetty Wap’s “My Way,” this song will have you singing along and it will definitely make you holla, holla, holla. As soon as I heard this song, I knew it was destined to be played on every radio station around the country. Top 40 radio, ya hear me?!

“Lights Down Low”: This will be played at my wedding, that’s a fangirl promise. As soon as I heard this song, I was blown away by how good the writing was (it reminds me of an Ed Sheeran song meets One Less Lonely Girl by Justin Bieber) and of course, Max’s soft vocals across an acoustic guitar track are like a Schneider Monkey’s dream come true. Now if Max could just sing this to me, one one one, all my fangirl dreams will have come true. Hey Max, holla at your girl. I’ve got Lights Down Low #OnRepeat for sure.

“10 Victoria’s Secret Models”: I’d love to see Max perform this during an upcoming Victoria Secret Fashion show but I love the vibes, the musicality, and the lyrics of this track. Dang, I’d love to find out who he wrote this song about. She must have been some broad.

“Home”: EDM musicality while Max’s vocals slay the entire track like some rock god ninja. Be careful, this is definitely an earworm in the making.

“Mug Shot” Say Max, OHH! A Schneider monkey throwback meets rap powerhouse Sirah. I was not prepared for her rap verse and it’s greatness on this track. Totally brought the musicality of this song up to a whole new Schneider level.

“Basement Party:” Since I’m writing this on a Friday night, this track is a head nod to the party lifestyle of New Yorkers, but it’s musicality will make you want to have a dance party anywhere you are: the car, the shower, in your bedroom all by yourself. Get it on.

“Lost My Way”: Concluding the album in a perfect finale of dance party meets Max Schneider vocal slaying ballad, it’s an honest song about remembering where Max came from and never forgetting that.

As a Schneider Monkey that has been with Max while he was still hoping for a record deal while jamming out on his ukelele even after the greatness of “Rags,” I couldn’t be more proud of Max’s success and this album. One listen, and he’ll have you saying “MAX!”.

@PanicAtTheDisco’s Fifth Album #DeathofABachelor Knocks One Out of the Park

I’ve been listening to #DeathofABachelor since it was released a week ago on January 15, 2016. I’m talking, I’ve only been listening to that album for a week straight. When I workout, when I shower, when I’m feeling like giving up on this thing called life. I already know all the words, and I’m totally stoked that Panic At The Disco is back, and badder than ever!

In case you don’t remember who Panic At The Disco is they are an American Rock band from Las Vegas, NV. The only member of the band that hasn’t changed is lead vocalist and multi-instumentalist Brendan Urie. The rest of the founding band members have been replaced since the band first started in 2004. They are most known for their single off their first studio album, A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out, “I Write Sins Not Tragedies,” which was a Top Ten hit single despite being the band’s first single ever released. It was later certified double platinum.

In 2006, the band lost its original bassist and found that with their second album, Pretty Odd, their sound had changed. This lead to principal writer Ryan Ross and bassist Jon Walker, leaving only Brendan and Spencer Smith as the bands only remaining members. This didn’t leave the band in disarray for long because they picked up and released their third album, Vices &Virtues in 2011.

In 2011, the now three member band (Dalton Weekes, Spencer Smith, and Brenden Urie) released their fourth studio album, Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die!. In 2015, Spencer Smith left the band and Dalton Weekes became just a touring member, leaving Brendan as the only member left.

                Death of the Bachelor was solely written and recorded by Brendan Urie. The album is written based on his current lifestyle with wife, Sarah Urie.

Song by Song Review

“Victorious”: The first single off the fifth album is like a musical cue similar to that of a champagne bottle popping to celebrate big and small victories in life. Writer and vocalist Urie said that when he recorded the song, he almost passed out from that note he holds during the beginning of the song.

“Don’t Threaten Me With A Good Time”: This track is definitely a continuation of the party theme from victorious but has very blunt lyrics talking about all the ingredients to a good time including: “champagne, cocaine, gasoline, and most things in between…” Urie claims that that specific line was considered problematic by industry executives but he kept it because it reflected the lifestyle of being young, how they chase that feeling and it’s never enough. This song reminds me of the movies The Hangover and 21 and Over.

“Hallelujah”: Urie claims this song was written while drinking scotch in the studio, and it’s just a bunch of drunken ramblings. It definitely has a “Take Me To Church” feel and utilizes a trumpet in the beginning of the track which again gives it and old-timey gospel feel.

“Emperor’s New Clothes”:  This song has a royal theme to it; my favorite part of the track because it’s one of my favorites is the “finders keepers, losers weepers” throughout. The track is one of my favorites because it’s the most rock-and-roll track on the album.

“Death of A Bachelor”: Has a Sinatra, jazzy feel to it. It features a melotran track playing in the background. Urie explains the track as quote, “Death Of A Bachelor” is very important to me. It expresses the bittersweet (but mostly sweet) end of an era. A look back at a part of my life now deceased. An “It’s A Wonderful Life”-esque look into a possibly different future. But mostly an appreciation for the present.” For me, the track reminds me of the movie Scott Pilgrim vs. The World because it has a breakdown that sounds like music you’d hear in Mario Kart or a video game in general.

“Crazy=Genius”: Most definitely, my favorite track on this album because people call me crazy all the time but musically I love that the drum beat from this track is the same from “Sing Sing Sing” by Benny Goodman, which was featured in a Chips Ahoy! Commercial back in 1990’s.

“L.A. Devotee”: A track that’s musically in three different keys, E-minor, E-major, and F-major, it talks about the people of Los Angeles; How they always have a new fix to make them ageless and beautiful.

“Golden Days” A track written to emulate Weezer’s “My Name is Jonas” with use of a cymbal during the chorus of the track. Lyrically, it holds a lot of descriptive imagery and is a good example show, don’t tell.

“The Good, The Bad, The Dirty” A track that talks about the judgements of other people and how you have to fight past that in order to know who you truly are. Musically, it has a pop-rock sound. My favorite line: “If you want to start a fight, you better throw the first punch, make it a good one.”

“House of Memories”: A track that was originally written on piano, it has an evil composer sound to it. Lyrically, it’s about his life with his wife Sarah.

“Impossible Year”: The only track I can’t bear to listen to on the entire album because it just has a weighty, woe is me feel to it. As an optimist, I shy away from songs like that because if you aren’t careful they can put you in the wrong mindset. Musically, the track has EDM style swirls throughout.

Death of A Bachelor may be Panic At The Disco’s fifth album but it stands apart from the rest because not only does it have hip-hop, pop, and rock musical stylings but it proves that rock and roll is still very much alive. Panic At the Disco just announced that in 2016, they are heading out on tour to co-headline with fellow rock band, Weezer.

References:

www.twitter.com/panicatthedisco