Taylor On Top

Taylor-Swift-1989

Want to know what pop domination looks like right now? Then you should be reading from Taylor Swift’s book, or maybe looking at her saturated personal Polaroids that litter every new album booklet representing her latest creative endeavor into the royal doors of the pop kingdom. The internet blew up last Sunday night/Monday morning with celebrity reactions, lists of favorite songs, and positivity towards Swift’s fourth album, titled “1989.”

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Debuting at number one on the Top Albums chart on iTunes, this album flew up every list, not to mention six out of the top ten songs on iTunes also belonged to Ms. Swift.

“1989” seems to be home for Swift. She seems to be more in her element, even though this album is something completely different from anything you’ve ever heard from her. Pop beats are sprinkled on every track, along with late 80’s esque synths, drum beats, and  trance-like vocals. “1989” is a pop dream dipped in emotions, honest lyrics, and a couple ex-boyfriends…[some things never change.]

Songs like: “Bad Blood” [supposedly about her beef with pop competition Katy Perry] “All You Had To Do Was Stay,” and “Out of the Woods” [possibly about Harry Styles] focus heavily on a constant drum beat and repetitive choruses that hook your ears from the first listen. Swift has an extreme talent for making songs what I call “radio ready,” you hear it a million times and you’re still going to sing every word while sitting in your car.

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The closing track “Clean” features dream-like vocals, twinkling pop sounds, and a slower side of Swift providing raw lyrics: “and the butterflies turned to dust that covered my whole room.” Swift’s voice always sounds better when she slows down and sings in her natural key, which is what you hear on several tracks off this album, including the poetic “This Love” and the pretty, story-like “Wildest Dreams.”

Swift has admitted in several recent interviews that this album is her best yet, and possibly the most true to herself. Swift told Good Morning America, “I think you have to stay true to who you are, at the same time challenge who you are to explore all the different aspects of what you can create.” “1989” is a grown up project for Ms. Swift, she recently moved to New York [as you hear on the title track and electronic infused “Welcome To New York”] and is now a woman. Have a seat on the throne Taylor, I have a feeling you’ll be here awhile.

-Abbey 

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All photos via bing.com

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Evergreen is everlasting

image from: bing.com
image from: bing.com

You may have never heard of the band “Broods” but you are about to. This electro pop infused alternative band are unique in their own way. Made up of brother and sister duo Georgia and Caleb Nott, hailing from New Zealand. Georgia’s voice emulates other fantastic performers like Ellie Goulding and Lorde, while Caleb plays multiple instruments and provides back up vocals.

image from: bing.com
image from: bing.com

Their debut album “Evergreen” was recently released and it is fantastic (for lack of a better word.) Broods’ sound is infused with bass, electronic synths, and some piano chords. A darker vibe haunts the album as you hear on the title track “Evergreen”. The song talks about overcoming your fears, feeling infinite, and maybe going steady with someone?

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Image from: bing.com

Their lyrics are so genius that you wish you wrote them yourself:

-“Since we decided to be infinite, there’s no ending and there’s no fear.” (“Evergreen”)

-“It’s where my heart was made, and my feet will always land.” (“Mother & Father”)

-“I wanna make you feel how I feel when I’m listening to love songs, I wanna take you to the peak of everything that you are.” (“Four Walls”)

This album was created in five weeks…FIVE. Are you freaking kidding me? I wish I had that amount of focus and talent. To compile something so raw, powerful, and beautiful in that amount of time is mind blowing. Props to these two for really showing their work ethic.

One of the stand out tracks on the album is “Four Walls”. It’s a gorgeous and incredibly human homage to true love as Georgia’s voice sweetly sings “You’re everything I need tonight.” Piano chords and airy background harmonies tell the story of falling in love in a matter of three and a half minutes.

Maybe there’s something in the water abroad that is not on our American soil. It seems that some of the greatest talent comes from somewhere else. Well, I’m not complaining.

These siblings also have a knack for making the most visually appealing music videos. Combining compelling imagery, hipster vibes, and colorful backdrops in the most artistic way. They also show their simplistic side in the video for “Mother & Father”. The video is shot in black and white as we see Georgia dancing around to the beat wearing a classic black get up complete with bad ass 90’s chokers. The emotional impact this song has is felt through the simple video.

Broods are on a truly magnetic path to success, so go check them out!

-Abbey

“In a way, I’m a thief…”

Are the first words out of Marcus Haney’s mouth in the documentary “No Cameras Allowed,” where viewers get a glimpse into a college guy’s dream of becoming a filmmaker/photographer all with the help of lies, fake wristbands, cameras, and lots of ambition.

Image from: bing.com
Image from: bing.com

Rewind to Coachella Music Festival in 2010, where it all began. Haney (and one of his good friends) being the poor college students they are and not having hundreds of dollars to spend on a ticket, dressed in all black, jumped the fence, slept under a bus, and walked through to the general admission section the next morning with a surprising “Good morning!” from security as they walked through the gates. They did it, they were finally at Coachella.

Haney began sneaking into the photo pit for certain performances, carrying several cameras and recording devices. He even made it to the side stage of Muse’s performance. Haney realized he could compile all of these crazy pictures and videos and show his friends what Coachella is really like.

A passion quickly grew in Haney, he realized how much he loved doing this; travelling, meeting musicians and capturing the rare moments that make them normal humans just like the rest of us.

Add a couple crazy car rides, an invitation to tour with Mumford and Sons, music festivals like: Ultra, Bonnaroo, Coachella, Glastonbury, and Austin City Limits, taking pictures at the running of the bulls, an RV road trip with friends, and no college degree, and you have a compelling documentary start to finish.

I don’t want to give away Marcus’ full story, because honestly he tells it better himself. His journey to follow his dreams is so heartwarming and uplifting, that it makes you want to quit everything and become a musical vagabond yourself.

Haney truly understood how lucky he was to capture the moments he did as he mentions when touring with Mumford and Sons, saying “I got to see them as real human beings.” Not only do you get fantastic live videos of the band, but some drunken nights that you can’t help but laugh at.

One of Haney's famous shots of the lead singer of Mumford and Sons. image from: bing.com
One of Haney’s famous shots of the lead singer of Mumford and Sons. image from: bing.com

Through the haze of all the insane and brilliant things Marcus was doing, he alienated his friends, family, and his love interest, which all come crashing down in one moment when he says ” For me there are two things that are massively important, the people that I love and the conquest of the unknown.”

“No Cameras Allowed” lets you peak through Marcus’ struggle between his dreams and his reality and how he made the two become one. Marcus is an artist, and being an artist leaves him with no choice but thinking and being creative constantly. That’s his life; creating art. He appreciates the little things people do and blows them up to make you think, admire, and inspire.

The thing I loved most about this documentary was the fact that Marcus knew what to capture, he knew what fans were itching to see, he understood that musicians are so insanely beautiful to watch, that he filmed all of it. He didn’t just focus on the crop tops, alcohol, and stupid dancing at music festivals, he caught the musicians in their element and how music can truly move massive amounts of people in the most beautiful way. And I admire him for that.

The entire documentary is available to watch on MTV.com: http://www.mtv.com/shows/no_cameras_allowed/

His website is: http://www.jamesmarcushaney.com/

I’ll leave you with a quote from a character that you will meet when you watch the documentary: “Life is what you make it, we only get one go, don’t waste it working, don’t get a mortgage, get an RV, get a life, get on the road.”

 

Abbey