Hiatus Over; Paramore Is Back

Last Wednesday marked the official return of the pop/punk band Paramore. For fans everywhere, this day has been a long time in the making. It’s been four years since their self-titled album, Paramore (“Still Into You”, “Ain’t It Fun”) was crushing the radio waves. As a diehard fan since my high school days, I sat at my desk at my big girl adult job and teared up knowing that my favorite band was back with new music.

new pmore
Image via nytimes.com

They dropped their first single, “Hard Times”, the accompanying music video, an album tracklist AND release date (May 12). Not to mention, the first leg of their TOUR. Paramore went from behind the scenes to front and center stage in a matter of hours. You could almost hear the twenty-something old school Paramore fans grabbing their hi-top Converse and rifling through dresser drawers to find the perfect Hot Topic tee.

“Hard Times” is as fresh as it gets. It feels like the right transition coming after the electronically driven Paramore. The rock sound is still there deep down, but the surface is lighter, more eclectic. One thing that always remains the same is the music. It’s always honest and it’s always good. Although the band has had their fair share of complicated drama, they continue to remain driven to make only the best for their fans. “Times” is actually a dark song, but it’s one you can dance to in your kitchen for hours on end.

The music video explodes and becomes an epic retro pop collage. Think Saved by the Bell meets Mario Kart; inventive yet right on trend. Williams is her usual expressive self (minus the new bleached hair). The Mississippi native trades in her headbangs for head bops as she twirls around arms wide open to a new tropical pop beat. A tri-theme remains prevalent throughout the video as we also saw in the 2013 video treatment for “Still Into You.” Welcoming back OG member, Zac Farro, the three seem to finally all be on the same artistic page.

The four-year hiatus was a pivotal moment for the band. In a recent interview with The New York Times, lead singer Hayley Williams said, “I didn’t even know if we were going to make another record. There was a moment when I didn’t even want it to happen. Then it was like, I want it to happen, but I don’t know how we’re going to do it.” Williams often feels inspired by adulthood as we heard several times on Paramore (“Grow Up”, “Last Hope”). “Times” follows suit. The chorus rings, “hard times, gonna make you wonder why you even try, hard times, gonna take you down and laugh when you cry.” A call & response element adds to the never ending appeal of Paramore’s sound. One we can’t wait to hear more of.

 

Paramore’s new album, After Laughter will be released May 12.


 

Mt. Wolf’s “Heavenbound”

mt-wolf-1024x681.jpg
Image via barrygruff.com

“Heavenbound” is that song at the end of the movie that finally makes the last tear roll down your glistening cheek. You think about it for days after and then add it to your “cry” playlist on Spotify. Some night, you’ll go back, listen to it, and feel those same feelings all over again.

Much like M83, Jónsi, and others, Mt. Wolf takes music and makes it bigger. It becomes more than music, it becomes a moment. “Heavenbound” walks us through this moment. The sounds mirror landscapes while the vocals remind you of hymns. Lead singer, Sebastian “Bassi” Fox’s deep voice tells a story of life, specifically the end. Backup vocals echo brilliantly throughout while a pounding beat drives the song home to heaven’s gates.

Fox told Yahoo! News, he listens to a lot of soundtracks and instrumental music, such as, Hans Zimmer, Nils Frahm, Ólafur Arnalds and Joep Beving. Other favorite artists are The National (who they mirror quite well), Bon Iver and Joy Division.

The band has a big year ahead and can’t wait to play more music for their fans; “It’s pretty amazing now that we get to play to a crowd of people we don’t know – it means a lot to know that they’re there solely for the music.” 

 

Mt.Wolf’s debut album, Aetherlight comes out May 26. 


 

Spring Playlist

The sun is out, flowers are bloomed, and music is blasting out car windows. Some of these artists are featured on my spring playlist. Check them out!

 

njomza
Image via hiphopstoners.com

Njomza has somehow captivated me. Her sound is so beyond unique. It’s the future of pop. Top track, “sad for you” is hauntingly beautiful highlighting a broken heart. Her vocals are breath-y perfection like a warm breeze in June. Pulling various musical genres out on “baggage” this Chicago native marries R&B, pop, and jazz in such a cohesive way that you crave more. She’s one to watch.

 

 

 

the maine
Image via phoenixnewtimes.com

The Maine have somehow managed to continue to pump out dope rock/alt you can’t get out of your head. Their latest album, Lovely Little Lonely is a true homage to that sound. Tracks like “I Only Wanna Talk To You” and “Black Butterflies and Deja Vu” show the emotion behind rock that we often forget about. Lead singer, John O’Callaghan continues to tell romantic stories in his classic sultry fashion.

 

 

sam g
Image via bbc.co.uk

 

Sam Gellaitry makes you feel like you’re in a movie. Looking out a rainy car window, walking down a crowded street, watching a couple dance in a dark club. Gellaitry’s latest EP titled, Escapism ||| takes over your mind. “Acres” feels fresh, while “Jungle Waters” feels enchanting.

 

 

 

the chain
Image via globaldanceelectronic.com

The Chainsmokers have finally released the full length album their fans have been waiting for. Although, Memories…Do Not Open is a little bit of a slower sound than the boys started out with, it still serves some serious heat. Singer, Emily Warren takes the lead on a couple tracks showing off her unique voice. “My Type” is a huge standout on the album with an elegant piano accompaniment and an incredible EDM drop we all needed to hear. R&B vet, Jhene Aiko also steals the show on “Wake Up Alone” keeping her sound while infusing a little bit of Chainsmoker serum…

 

frnk ocean
Image via hiphop-n-more.com

Frank Ocean knows how to keep fans guessing. After the surprise release of his album, Blonde last August, people are wondering, will Ocean release another album this year? His latest single, “Biking” is an upbeat jam following in the footsteps of the trendy “Chanel” released in early March. “Biking” features a rap verse from Jay-Z and some jabs from Tyler the Creator. Only time will tell what’s next.

 

 


Who You Need: Amber Mark

 

amber mark
image: junodownload.com

WHO: Amber Mark

WHERE: Manhattan, NY

GENRE: R&B/Soul/Alternative

TOP TRACK: “Way Back”

New single, “Lose My Cool” takes on a couple different shapes. Mark’s deep voice slides above some jazzy piano chords as a slick intro makes you think “hmmm, this is cool” (pun intended) A tropical beat takes over, showing off the span of genres this track covers. Mark has a captivating voice that takes you to a somewhat higher place. Something we felt similarly on her 2016 single, “Monsoon (feat. Mia Mark)” as she honored her late mother, Mia. If you close your eyes you can feel an ocean breeze brush your hair past your face.

She describes her sound as, “a mix of alternative R&B mixed with a little tribal and topped off with a little soul.” Being a tri-artist herself (singer, songwriter, and producer), Mark is quickly making a loud presence in the music world. I can’t wait to hear what’s next.


signature

 

 

 

 

 

NMF Picks!

“Still Got Time” – Zayn feat. PARTYNEXTDOOR

Zayn follows in the footsteps of Drake and many others by catching onto the tropical vibe plaguing most pop/r&b lately. “Stop looking for love, girl you’re young you still got time,” creeps out of Zayn’s mouth as the beat pounds on in the background. Worthy of a beach party at sunset. Summer? Is that you?

 

“Wicked” – Mansionz feat. G-Eazy

Mike Posner and Blackbear team up for their new album MANSIONZ with a pop hit ready for the airwaves. A retro beat guides this song into a synth dream about a dangerous woman. “Wicked” opens with Posner’s infamous falsetto crooning, “Keep your distance from her.” Bear’s voice wavers effortlessly throughout each verse.

“Are You Happy” – Bipolar Sunshine

“Tell me, are you happy?” is a question we all need to hear. Sunshine provides an anthemic tune you can’t help but bop your head to. “Happy” makes you feel strong and powerful. A gospel choir adds to the emotional effect of the song. He said on Twitter, “It’s all about elevation and facing fears together…to show people your weaknesses is what makes us human.”

 

“Still Not Over You” – Klyne

Tweaked falsetto takes the lead in this one, making “Over You” a magical electronic force to be reckoned with. Repeating synths line the chorus making you wish you had a disco ball to dance under. Trickles of a keyboard touch the ending undertones of “You” as impressive vocal harmonies infiltrate the ending. Klyne leaves a major impression with this one.

 

“Ascension” – Gorillaz feat. Vince Staples

Just when you thought you had the perfect gym playlist. Gorillaz drop a pure heater with rapper Vince Staples. Accompanied by a rapid fire dance beat and a backup gospel choir, this song is a volcanic eruption of chaos. If you don’t feel like running a marathon while listening, then you’re doing it wrong.


signature

 

 

 

 

 

Queen Lorde

 

lorde
Image via theconcordian.com

“I’m waiting for it, that green light, I want it” marks Lorde’s return to pop radio. Spreading her anthemic breakup tune, “Green Light” accompanied by a joyous music video starring herself swirling through a city at night in a tight pink dress feeling a multitude of emotions.

Piano is the biggest element in this song. Starting as a ballad, the message quickly spreads into something more uplifting. The pre-chorus holds a silver lining element; “But I hear sounds in my mind, brand new sounds in my mind.” Clearly about a breakup, Lorde says, “The song is really about those moments kind of immediately after your life changes and about all the silly little things that you gravitate towards.” The singer manages to keep a low profile concerning her personal life but made “Green Light” something that millions will understand. She imagines a drunk girl embodying this song, saying, “This is that drunk girl at the party dancing around crying about her ex-boyfriend who everyone thinks is a mess. That’s her tonight and tomorrow she starts to rebuild.”

Her most recent single takes on a more somber tone. “Liability” is an ode to self-love as the inevitability of life can sometimes be overwhelming. In her case, being a superstar can scare people away; “The truth is I am a toy, that people enjoy, til all of the tricks don’t work anymore, and then they are bored of me.” She explains the love she has for herself and how she tries to please herself as best she can, referring to herself as a “forest fire.” Only backed by a subtle piano, Lorde’s voice wavers on an array of notes making you feel like you’re going up and down a never ending staircase. Piggy-backing off the breakup essence of “Green Light,” rebirth, will be an obvious theme on the upcoming album.

Watch a live performance of “Liability” on Saturday Night Live this past weekend, here.

Lorde’s album, Melodrama will be available June 16


signature

 

 

 

Coldplay’s “Hypnotised”

coldplay-hypnotised
Image via nme.com

After their Chainsmokers collab hit the web, Coldplay has been a hot topic on everyone’s minds. The band just announced their new EP coming June 2, titled Kaleidoscope EP. With just five songs (including the EDM-assisted “Something Just Like This”) the band never ceases to stop creating.

Tracklist:

1. All I Can Think About Is You
2. Something Just Like This
3. Miracles 2
4. A L I E N S
5. Hypnotised

Leader of the pack, Chris Martin, gave fans a tease into what we can expect from this short collection. “Hypnotised” is the first track we hear. Piano notes twinkle throughout the over five minute track bringing that special je ne said quo to life. Martin’s voice is low-key, reminiscient of their early days with songs like, “Sparks” and “In My Place.”

“Hypnotised” is a rebirth of some sort. Finding refuge in someone who resembles love; “Now I’m hyp, hypnotised, yeah I trip, when I look in your eyes, oh I’m hyp, hypnotized, yeah I slip and I’m mesmerized.” The lyrics could serve as a life bible, showing the inevitability of disorder in our society. Martin softly sings, “It’s easy to be lethalI’m learning from the news, it’s a guidebook for the blues.” 

The lyric video is major eye candy. Watch it here.


signature

 

 

Fresh EDM Picks

9031399.jpg
Image via beatport.com

“Something Just Like This” – The Chainsmokers & Coldplay

Just when you thought they couldn’t get any better. Party boys turned world-wide sensation release a stellar collab with one of music’s greatest bands alive. The formula is simple; transparent lyrics, soaring vocals, and a drop you can bop to. That’s it. “Like This” will easily climb the charts making the Chainsmokers one of the best EDM duo’s of all time.

 

“Stay (with Alessia Cara)” – Zedd

Cara’s vocals are easily some of the most unique in pop music today. Add in Zedd’s gift for mixing and the result is epic. Just as catchy as any Zedd song is, a female lead always tugs you in (“Clarity”, “Stay the Night”). Cara strongly sings, “All you have to do is stay, a minute, just take your time.” 

 

“In The Arms Of A Stranger (Grey Remix)” – Mike Posner

His child-like voice follows a guitar strumming repeated chords as a subtle drop highlights the “woo”-filled chorus. The song is a beautiful sentiment bringing to light the memories of past love and the attempts to move on; “In the arms of a stranger, pretending its love, holding her closely, remember your touch.”

 

“It Ain’t Me (with Selena Gomez)” – Kygo

Kygo can do no wrong. It’s a fact. He has the tropical beats we all want playing on our spring breaks and summer vacations. “It Ain’t Me” is no different. Gomez sings the verses up and down in classic pop fashion. Choppy lyrics pluck through the chorus, something Kygo does best (listen to “Stay” off his debut album, Cloud Nine.)

 

“Slide” – Calvin Harris, Frank Ocean, and Migos

70’s dance party meets summer pop; Harris is back in full force. Merging some R&B licks from Frank Ocean with light rap verses from Migos, the two blend together seamlessly. A steady vintage beat keeps the song flowing, making you wish for a dance floor under your feet and a glass of champagne in your hands.

 


signature

Who You Need: Bridgit Mendler

mendler

Image via pcwallart.com

WHO: Bridgit Mendler

WHERE: Washington, D.C.

GENRE: Pop/R&B

SONGS: “Atlantis”, “Ready or Not”

 

 

Demi Lovato, Nick Jonas, Miley Cyrus. All Disney-bred pop stars. There’s no denying that each one is talented in their own right. Could Disney be the best talent agency ever?

Enter Bridgit Mendler, former actress on the hit Disney show “Good Luck Charlie,” where she also sang the title song. 2012 sparked her debut album Hello My Name Is… , flooded with the usual pop noise. But 2016 brought something different from Ms. Mendler. A little more musical production, a slight genre change, and more vocal focus has proven this Disney bopper is more than just another laughable pop toy…

Her popular single, “Atlantis” off her 2016 EP titled, Nemesis comes to mind when I think of expanded musical production. Muffled/distorted vocals and R&B back beats spice things up. A rap cameo chimes in on the tail end of the track racking in more of a hip-hop sound that fits her like a glove.

On “Temperamental Love” we hear a similar sound from the pop singer. Rapper, Devontee kicks this one off spitting out the struggles of modern-day dating,”Girl, you ain’t the only one that’s all alone, Hell, I’m only seeing you on the phone, what’s a FaceTime? I need face-to-face time.” The high-pitched chorus praises that love anyways as Mendler sings, “Temperamental love taking over me, all the lows shake my bones every time you leave, but I can’t escape the thought of you, boy.” The naivety in her voice contrasts with the mature beat and lyrics making the song a pleasant pop surprise.

Mendler wrote the lyrics for Love and also produced the song. Showing off her various skills, fans can expect more heat from the singer coming soon.


signature

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday Feelz: “Don’t Kill My Vibe” – Sigrid

2017_sigrid_press_100217
Image via nme.com

Snuggled right in the #2 slot on the New Music Friday Spotify playlist is new artist Sigrid. Who’s above her? Pop princess Katy Perry. Not a bad spot to be this Friday. The single artwork has a vibrant red background that contrasts with the crisp white tee the songstress is wearing that reads, “Don’t Kill My Vibe.” Of course, the title of her debut single. With her head cocked to one side as her dark hair falls close to each side of her face, she looks straight into the camera begging you to question how bad ass she really is.

“You think you’re so important to me, don’t you? Well I wanted you to know, that you don’t belong here,” she spits out in an high energy belt. “Vibe” will soon become your favorite break up song preaching about how strong and independent one can be on their own. While this easily pokes at the simple notes of pop music, the beat somehow makes it feel more new age/ alternative. The Norwegian born singer has a robust vocal range and an aura around her sound that feels happy, light, and cool. You wait for what feels like a beat drop (as we often hear infused in every pop song these days), but instead we hear a glorious chorus that dazzles every hair on your skin.

After about 30 seconds into this song, I knew it was pure magic. A good voice is a good voice. You know it when you hear it. This is just Chapter one for Sigrid.


signature