Hace rato en el @vacafest viajamos todos. Acá seguimos, buena música y buenas vibras. Un festival extravagante y diferente, porque quisimos reinventar nuestro rock: hicimos una vaca. 🐄 #band#girlband#cool#art#yeah#folk#rock
I think my one Facebook friend got hacked or something because I got a friend request from a separate account that seemed like it was her, but I started getting weird texts with weird grammar from that account? So I just unfriended it, but now I’m worried I’m going to get hacked lol.
Florence + the Machine's fourth album cements what was already evident from her debut 10 years ago, the singer-songwriter is an undeniable talent. High as Hope arrives with her most personal and revealing set of songs accompanied by a sound that has become her own, and is impossible to mistake.
An exhaustive breath is drawn as the record opens with "the show is ending, and I had started to crack," on "June." The song paints an image of an artist expelling her truth through song. High as Hope plays as a diary pulling listeners in, and becoming a journey through vast musical terrains, tonal shifts, dizzying orchestrations, immense multi-layered vocals, and enough confessional moments for a Judy Bloom novel.
High as Hope was produced by Welch with Emile Haynie with subtle contributions from indie virtuosos such as Sampha and Jamie xx. The record creates an atmosphere sounding quite contemporary whilst avoiding the trendy manipulations of mainstream pop.
Songs unfold swaying from exposed to commanding, from hushed to epic and back again, corresponding to the emotional chords of Welch's probing lyrics.
Lead single "Hunger" finds the singer musing about the search for love, and wrong turns she's taken. It doesn't offer any answers, but in sharing she addresses a universal truth we all experience. Welch sings of a large, all encompassing love on "Big God," which she admitted to Billboard was "about someone not replying to my text." "The End of Love" speaks to love that comes from a place of lacking, as opposed to the romantic type.
"I gathered you here/ To hide from some vast unnameable fear," she confesses on the closing song, "No Choir." Her subject matter throughout is the relationship between life and art, and specifically how she has used music to fill empty spaces in herself.
High as Hope is a release from insecurity. Long gone are the days when Welch hid behind clever song devices. She opts to instead uses metaphors to explore issues of loneliness, allowing others to feel through her art.
[Post 2 of 2] continued from previous post.
“It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do / To try and keep from calling you,” she pines echoing the confusion of moving on without your love. The hardest part of losing someone you’ve shared immeasurable amounts of time with, is no longer being able to lean on them. It’s strange how another person can be so important to you that not being able to talk to him can become a constant source of anguish.
On the refrain for “Third Eye,” Welch mulls over holding onto previous hardships, “’Cause your pain is a tribute / The only thing you let hold you / Wear it now like a mantle / Always there to remind you.” I’ve interpreted the lyrics, as what you allow to become internalized soon is the only thing you’re left. The outro of the song finds Welch repeatedly pleading “I’m the same, I’m the same / I’m trying to change,” acknowledging that any heartfelt transformation takes time.
The album’s most poignant juncture is “Various Storms & Saints,” which was written as a letter to the singer about weathering heartbreak. Welch comforts her own pain softly assuring, “I know you’re bleeding, but you’ll be okay / Hold on to your heart, you’ll keep it safe / Hold on to your heart.”
Despite the harrowing agony, Florence offers a constructive mantra as she sings “And even though I’m grieving / I’m trying to find the meaning / Let loss reveal it,” on the intimate “St. Jude.” The song reflects a hopefulness of something coming out of the loss. If you can take away a lesson or implement a change and grow from the hurt, then it would make for a worthy experience.
With How Big How Blue How Beautiful, the songwriter has carefully constructed a work that captures every beat of a broken heart. The phases we all encounter as our hearts move from shattered to mended, but still showing signs of past scars. Welch is no longer hiding behind her clever literary references, and explosive chops. She is instead allowing her life to influence and mold her art, and we are lucky to reap the rewards.
Favorites: all 19 tracks!
What are your songs? Is there an album you use in difficult times? Was this too long? Remember you were warned. thanks for reading
[Post 1 of 2] Warning this is a long one. Sometimes an album/song connects with you in a deep, impactful way. @florenceandthemachine last studio effort is a personal favorite, and this review digs a bit into that connection.
How Big How Blue How Beautiful signaled a change as the larger than myth metaphors, the enormous wall-of-sound, and vocal devices that have come to define Florence + the Machine were stripped away. The record became a therapy session as the singer candidly wrote about her dissipating relationship. We’ve all experienced the pain, longing, and agonizing slow healing that comes with heartbreak, and Welch delves into all of it.
I’ve been listening to the album consistently over the past few weeks reflecting on particular moments. I let it comfort me when I didn’t have the words to express the hurt. Welch’s understated and emotive performance on “Various Storms & Saints,” “Long & Lost,” and “St. Jude,” brought me to tears which begged to be released.
Opening track, “Ship to Wreck” sees the songstress admitting to her own self-destructive behavior, and the role it played in the demise. “Did I drink too much? Am I losing touch? Did I build this ship to wreck?,” is belted with an immediate and powerful delivery. Whereas Welch’s vices led to damaging acts, “Ship to Wreck,” spoke to my own detrimental traits mainly the inability to be emotionally vulnerable. It still hits as hard as when I first heard the song in 2015.
The singer laments, “Without your love I’ll be / So long and lost, are you missing me / Is it too late to come on home,” on “Long & Lost.” Once all is said and done, has the damaged endured, the hurtful words, or wasted moments made it impossible to return. How much can be withstood in a relationship before all is squandered? Is there anything that can be said to ease the hurt or rebuild what has been decimated?
The previous track, "Delilah" finds Welch exclaiming "Now the sun is up and I'm going blind (Holding on for your call) / Another drink just to pass the time / 'Cause I'm gonna be free and I'm gonna be fine," forcefully wanting to believe it.
...Continued on next post.
When it comes to releasing music, anything goes in today's market. Lauv gave fans a constant steady stream of fragments. These fragments succeed on their own, but as part of a whole consistent narrative they excell at giving us an glimpse into the 23-year old singer.
I Met You When I Was 18 is an impressive feat as 13 of the songs have been released over the past two years, but hearing them in intended chronological order paints a poignant story of first love, youth, regrets, and growth.
Lauv spent the last few years building a following, and now with the successs of "I Like Me Better" has become a buzz worthy artist. He's crafted an melding of rnb, electro, and pop, which fits his falsetto like a pair of skinny jeans. "Comfortable" keeps things short and sweet, amplifying the urban contemporary vibes. Lauv delivers one of his strongest vocal performances, flaunting his upper register on the chorus. The production is sleek, embracing the electro-, modern-pop/urban palette of sounds. Speaking of a production highlight, "Paranoid" embraces the electro- script even more, with pitch-shifted vocals, synths, and unique drum programming arriving post-chorus. His falsetto remains ripe, regardless of paranoia experienced regarding love.
The tempo, energy, and fun pick up on "Enemies," another number surrounding the relationship between exes. Lauv states on the earworm chorus, “I know it hurts ‘cause I feel it too / But after all, all that we been through / Ooh why do we / We have to be enemies, enemies?”
"Never Not" closes out the playlist reminiscently, yet also closes the chapter. “For as long I live and as long as I love,” he sings on the chorus, “I will never not think about you.”
Lauv slowly and carefully put together an album which is unafraid of exploring feelings seldom seen in male driven pop music. As an added credit there's not a single song that wouldn't fit nicely on any radio stations playlist, a collection of could-be smashes.
Favorites: "Enemies," "Paris in the Rain," "Chasing Fire," and "Never Not."
How are you liking the album aka playlist? What are your standouts?
"If I gave two fucks - two fucks about streaming numbers / Would have put Lemonade up on Spotify," Beyonce defiantly proclaims on a track off her third surprise effort, but this time the hubby is along for the ride.
The inevitable has happened. Everything is Love is the first joint album from Beyonce and Jay-Z. The power couple have been generating hits together for 15 years ('03 Bonnie & Clyde," "Crazy in Love," "Upgrade U," etc.) so a collaborative record has always been a question when.
Everything is Love is a closing chapter in a trilogy in which the Carter's aired out their marital problems. Lemonade gave us Beyonce's journey dealing with infidelity, and eventual forgiveness. Jay-Z followed suit with the confessional 4:44, which further exposed the issues. Everything is Love is a declaration of reconciliation, and love that has overcome rather than faltered.
The record also has moments of the couple addressing Hova's Grammy snub, turning down a Superbowl offer, and a biting commentary on race. The main event remains the duo's marriage, and boasting their success.
Everything is Love is a love letter to one another. The Carters invited the whole world into their marriage, and showed that love is something worth fighting for even when it seems impossible.
Beyonce closes the record by offering a touching insight into their union, “The ups and downs are worth it / Long way to go but we’re working / We’re flawed but we’re still perfect for each other, yeah yeah / Sometimes I thought we’d never see the light / We went through hell with heaven on our side / This beach ain’t always been no paradise.”
Favorites: "Summer," "Apeshit," "Nice" and "Lovehappy."
What are your faves? How are you enjoying the album? Where were you when Bey and Hova dropped this album?
Pop music's best kept secret, Betty Who gives us more to love on Betty, Pt. 1. The 5-track extended play is her first release since parting ways with RCA, and showcases an artist reveling in her freedom.
EPs usually work by giving the audience a peek at what's cooking and drum up excitement for the album. Who does more than simply whet the appetite, she gives a smorgasbord of styles which differentiates itself from her previous output. Not to worry, she's still giving us infectious hooks, danceable tracks, and lots of feels just highlighted by consciously subtle changes.
Confident banger "Look Back" is for anyone looking for a "Feelin' Myself"-moment, as she struts knowing the object of her affections won't be able to resist.
On "Just Thought You Should Know," Who finds herself awake at 3am wanting to express her feeling to a former flame. "Friend Like Me" changes the tempo with this touching acoustic ode to friendship.
Betty, Pt. 1 is an absolute feast for purveyors of fun, well-crafted pop music.
Favorites: come on it's only five songs, just listen to them all 😂.
What are your thoughts on the sudden EP? How are you loving label-free Betty? What track is on repeat?
In honor of High as Hope dropping at the end of this month, I'm going to offer my two cents on each of @florenceandthemachine studio offerings.
Grandiose is the only fitting word to describe the band's sophomore album, Ceremonials. The record takes the immensely intimidating soundscape of Lungs, and impossibly lifts it to new heights.
As opposed to the mystical, Ceremonials place its focus on the elemental. @florence songwriting is laden with numerous spiritual, mortality, and water references.
On "Never Let Me Go" Florence makes drowning sound like a romantic departure. "And it's peaceful in the deep / 'Cause either way you cannot breathe / No need to pray, no need to speak," she coos as the track swells. Of course, the act of drowning she sings of is purely metaphorical.
"No Light, No Light" finds the singer pleading for her lover to stay, but to no avail. While jubilant "Shake It Out" implores listeners to leave their regret, pain, and hurt behind as means to move on. "I don't want your future / I don't need your past," Florence belts as she ask for "one grand moment" on album highlight, "Leave My Body."
Ceremonials is an ambitious leap for the singer as the colossal production would surely overpower most others. Building upon the promise of her debut, Florence adds a successful second chapter in what is an already robust discography. .
Favorites: "No Light, No Light," "Leave My Body," "Remain Nameless," and "Spectrum."
What are your thoughts on Florence's sophomore album? What's your favorite track? Is there a song you don't care for?
Natalie Prass returns with a bold, modern-retro style that's equal measures heartbreak, social commentary, and added grooove.
The Future and the Past is so self assured for a sophomore effort. A big part of that may have to do with the fact that Prass scrapped two albums in the process. As a vocalist she sound so deliciously confident on the material, and her superb songwriting which won her over a following remains intact.
Prass imbues The Future and the Past with elements of soul, funk, R&B, and jazz, all the while allowing the material to sound fresh. Despite the change up of style, she remains loyal to lovelorn subjects with dash of subtle political commentary.
Prass takes on her comparisons to Karen Carpenter on one of the album closing songs, “Tell me why do birds / Do they suddenly disappear / Instead of singing here,” she sings, aiming directly at The Carpenters’ biggest hit. Words intended for an ex become a way of playing with this role she’s been assigned; it feels like a kind of manifesto.
"Lost" beautifully addresses a tempestuous relationship, "Oh, we can't go back the way we came / On that same old track, but broken train / Can't keep loving you / I can't keep loving you." On anthemic closing track "Ain't Nobody," Prass defiantly sings " ain't nobody can take this from our hands."
The singer has embraced and infused several styles of music, but the key elements are undoubtedly all Prass. The Future and the Past gives us an insightful, articulate indie album masquerading as an accessible pop album, and we are here for it.
Favorites: "Lost," "Short Court Style," "This Fire," and "Never Too Late."
What are your thoughts on Prass' new record? What are your standouts?
Lost & Found is a bold statement of confidence which finds its strength in her raw vulnerability. @jorjasmith_ carefully nagivates the listeners through tales of hearbreak, resilience, and regrets.
Jorja Smith wears her influences on her sleeve. Smith's adoration of Amy Winehouse comes through on her vocal deliveries, which exude elements of Sade, and Jill Scott.
The highlights on Lost & Found are abundant: "Tomorrow" showcases her masterful use of her upper register. "February 3rd" she muses over "constantly finding myself." "Teenage Fantasy" is one of the few songs to make the leap from her EP to studio album. The song merited inclusion as its smokey instrumentation and catchy chorus make it an instant favorite. Smith brings the record to a close with "Don't Watch Me Cry" as she mourns not for the end, but what could've been.
Smith's assured storytelling, talent for melodic invention, and classically tained vocals, Lost & Found serves a bold introduction. The album is a promising foundation for an artist who will surely continue to engages us for years to come.
Favorite songs: "February 3rd," "Don't Watch Me Cry," "Tomorrow," and "Blue Lights"
Have you heard of Jorja Smith? Do you have any quips? How did the album hit you?
Lily Allen has long maintained a reputation for her sarcasm. She's used her keen wit, and sharp tongue to craft three albums of cutting observations of the world around us. On No Shame, Allen turns that gaze inward for a collection of revealing songs.
The album finds the singer in a confessional moment. Allen bares her soul on meaningless sex, drug addiction, isolation, damaged relationships, distrust, and a generous helping of self doubt.
On "Everything to Feel Something," she gives in to a sexual rendezvous which will knowingly leave her feeling empty. "Family Man" and "What You Waiting For" heartbreakingly address the demise of her marriage, and Allen accepting her part in its failure. An acoustic ballad "Apples" strikes a cord with the singer comparing her broken marriage to her parent's divorce. She devastatingly sings, "I guess the album doesn't fall far from the tree."
No Shame hits a snag as a few tracks falter from the upbeat, celebratory feel, which undermine the stark, emotional lyrics. Allen's pain can get lost in the breeziness of her delivery.
The end result is a saddening portrait of a pop star living with regrets that parades as a light hearted affair.
In honor of High as Hope dropping at the end of this month, I'm going to offer my two cents on each of @florenceandthemachine studio offerings.
With the debut albums, Lungs, Florence introduced a world filled with pounding drums where werewolves and other mystical entities roamed, tales of bittersweet romance, and enhanced the allure with gothic sensibilities.
At the heart of the record was a voice that straddles the line between grace and utter abandonment. Her voice is the physical embodiment of controlled choas. In a moment it's nuturing and tender recalling the exchange of breathes ("Between Two Lungs"), and in an instant it becomes a visceral force striking the listener harder than an interstate pileup.
Lungs is not a small record. The songs are drenched in percussions, reverb, infectious claps, and of course harps. The large productions infuse with her gifted songwriting to make a record that is more of an experience than a simple pop album.
She paints beautiful snapshots of loss ("Cosmic Love"), intense infatuation ("Drumming Song"), and of love bringing out our inner beast ("Howl").
An album of this stature is no small feat for any artist. Like the myths, magic, and otherworldly things that permeate Lungs, it heralded a new siren for the modern age.
Favorite songs: "Drumming Song," "Blinding," "Cosmic Love," "Howl," and "Falling."
What are your favorite songs off Lungs? How did the album hit you upon first or subsequent listens?
@tonibraxton inculcates her latest offering with songs addressing matters of the heart. SEX AND CIGARETTES is a welcomed return to form for Ms. Braxton, but falters due to a brisk trek.
The guitar and strings laden first single, "Deadwood" finds Braxton singing about heartbreak with a soulful conviction that had been missing from previous efforts. Doubling as the opening track it's a declaration of new found boldness. The album finds Braxton gifting listeners with her career best vocals over smartly-crafted beats that accentuate the smooth, buttery tone of her voice.
The record sports a skimp 8 song tracklist, but it's definitely all killer, no filler here. The title track finds her confronting a cheating partner. She handles the verses with delicate intimacy, and the final stretch morphs into an anthem for scorned lovers.
"If you can't be with the one you really, truly love," becomes the central statement of "Long As I Live," as the songstress is faced with a love that has moved on. Braxton is a vocal powerhouse, but her strength doesn't come from high notes or vocal runs. What has always made the diva standout is how the low tones of her voice lend to bittersweet heartbreak. The album is well aware of where her power lies as the lamenting "Coping," the defiant "Sorry," and "Missing" give us classic Braxton-branded heart ache.
"My Heart" is a massive sing-along hit waiting to happen. "I can be right there when you want me to / If we’re a million miles apart / I’d give you every part of me that I could / But the one thing I can’t give you…is my heart," Braxton coos over an acoustic accompaniment about self preservation.
SEX AND CIGARETTES has a downside, and it's the meager runtime clocking in at just under 31-minutes. When you finally get fully immersed in her story, it's already time for the credits. The record has some of the best work of her career, but leaves the listener wanting, nay craving more.
Share your thoughts? Do you agree?
Also, swipe for the music video for "Long As I Live"!!
It's hard not to feel a little disappointed with @tinashenow JOYRIDE. The album has been teased/promoted since 2015, and the final product is slightly uneven.
Tinashe bursted onto the scene with "2 On," and its parent album, AQUARIUS displayed an artist not afraid of taking risks, and blending various genre tropes into a bold statement.
The story of JOYRIDE is a common one of artist vs label. Various lead singles sprouted out ("Player," "Superlove," "Flame") in 2015-2017 with limited success as the label pushed for more mainstream appeal.
The problem of JOYRIDE is that it bounces from more unconventional R&B to songs clearly meant to cater to radio (and label bosses) making for some jarring shifts in tone.
Tracks such as the percussion-heavy title track is the sound we've come to expect from Tinashe: an intoxicating mixture of RnB, pop, electronic, and hip-hop vibes. The vocal limitation pushing "He Don't Want It" showcases the singer taking her voice to its peak. "Ooh La La" takes a beautifully placed sample of Nelly/Kelly Rowland's hit "Dilemma" and makes it an instant album highlight.
The record is a solid sophomore effort, but fails to fully realize the promise of her debut album. The major label system isn't for everyone, and an artist of Tinashe's caliber might benefit more going the indie route.
Favorite tracks: "Joyride," "Faded Love," "No Contest," "Salt," and "He Don't Want It"
Feel free to share thoughts. What tracks are you feeling? Is Joyride hitting you differently?