Blondie and the Beat
WHO: Cailin Russo
TOP SONG: “September Rose”
One Google search of “Cailin Russo” and you’ll immediately realize she’s been a model for quite some time now. Featured in several fashion magazine spreads not to mention a cameo in Justin Bieber’s “All That Matters” then again in his 2014 video for “Confident.” No one knew about her singing skills until she started posting videos on her Instagram. Now with a following over 500k, she is dropping her name in the music scene.
First single, “September Rose” is a gentle track. Showcasing her unique vocals and sound. A vocal range similar to Amy Winehouse with the sultry spunk of Adele. “Give me solitude, I need something new” she sweetly croons. “Rose” is an accurate representation of what we can expect from the singer. A whole hearted sound with Sunday Morning vocals that lull you into a daze.
Her latest single, “Hierarchy” holds true to her unique sound while adding a little more pop into the mix. A groovy chorus plays as Russo’s vocals twinkle over a light beat; “In a room full of dominos, I’ma be a wild flower, coasting with wild colors.” A hippie in her own right, Cailin Russo is bound to be a music force.
1.) “Crying In the Club” – Camila Cabello
2.) “Don’t Let Me Be Yours” – Zara Larsson
3.) “Jump Out the Window” – Big Sean
4.) “Dennis Rodman” – Mansionz
5.) “Can’t Bring This Down” – Bridgit Mendler feat. Pell
Halsey sits down with radio personality Zane Lowe in a large church. As she gives insight into her new album, Hopeless Fountain Kingdom (due June 2) her voice picks up speed. The excitement of a new chapter brings her into an artistic space not many people can possess. She describes the album as a “hyperbolized smash cut fantasy Halsey cinematic universe.” (Say that ten times fast…)
The New Jersey native is back to sporting her short hair-do and remains a confident force in the process. She says to Lowe, “I think I’m done explaining things though, which I feel like I really had to do in the beginning.” Being a pop star is hard, but being a female pop star in 2017 is even harder. In a society where sex sells and Instagram buys fame, how can a woman be appreciated for her art and not her sex appeal? She sheds light on the music industry by reminding us that we live in a “single” heavy world. One hit track is all you need to be #1. It’s become harder and harder for people to consume a concept album (like what she’s created with HFK).
She cites Romeo and Juliet as a huge inspiration for the album with a nod to genius writer/director Baz Luhrmann (“The Great Gatsby”, “Australia”, “Romeo & Juliet”). Instead of feeling connected to the female protagonist, Halsey feels more connected to Romeo. “I have human relationships like songs,” she continues to say, “I think chasing a formula is authentic.” Diving further into the album, she mentions the three genres that make up the 16-song tracklist: urban, pop, and electronic.
Tapping into the feminine themes on the album, she discusses the inspiration behind “Strangers”, her song with Lauren Jauregui from Fifth Harmony, saying she wanted it to be as if Pat Benatar and Stevie Nicks wrote a love song together. A duet between two females is something lacking in the pop radio world – Halsey plans to change that. Since both women are openly bisexual, she wants to highlight that love songs aren’t just for women and men.
Her second single off the album titled, “Eyes Closed” is reminiscent of a beat you would hear on a Weeknd track. In fact, Halsey said The Weeknd was in the studio doing ad libs to this beat and she immediately felt inspired to write a poem around it. She sings, “Now if I keep my eyes closed, he looks just like you.” It was an unfinished melody with no words that she has now made her own. Often being referred to as the female version of The Weeknd, dark pop is something that seems to be growing in popularity (The Weeknd, Lana Del Rey, now Halsey). Most female musicians take on the usual pop route. Halsey seems to have a healthy balance of everything she needs to succeed, on and off the radio.
As a pioneer in music, Halsey has taken it upon herself to restore art into music while keeping a relevant sound and style. Something other female musicians can learn from.
“Now I’m as free as birds catching the wind,” is the perfect sentiment to kick off the new Miley Cyrus. Her first pop single in quite some time shows us something different, something real.
“Malibu” sets the tone for what hopefully is to come. It fits into the emotional side we heard on 2013’s Bangerz (“Adore You” “Drive”), while taking on a new hearty/Americana pop sound anyone can sing and bop their head to. A fresh-faced Miley shows off her songwriting and singing skills we knew she had there all along.
One look at the music video and everything clicks; she frolics along a beach, arms outstretched to the world, smiling at the camera. She’s happy and she’s in love. There’s a sense of rebirth in the freedom of the video. Fans are saying “Malibu” is peaceful, uplifting, and beautiful.
I can’t wait to hear what’s next. I hope this Miley is here to stay.