Jake Miller Is A Man

Jake Miller admits to radio host Elvis Duran that he made this entire album himself. He wrote most of 2:00am In LA two steps away from his bed at his microphone and keyboard. A friend helped him drag a bed out to the middle of a street in downtown LA where they took pictures for the album cover. “I wanted to make sure the album didn’t have any pretty boy pictures of me on the cover. I wanted it to be more about the music” he told Duran. “It’s my favorite album cover we’ve ever done.”

jake miller
Image via postfontaine.com

2:00am In LA dropped and then climbed the charts immediately. Miller took to Snapchat thanking fans for making it happen. He spent his release day celebrating with family and friends. It’s easy to see; he’s happy. Although this is a breakup album, Miller fills it with every element of the good and the bad. “Sleeping with Strangers” is a reality check about moving on while “Parties” reflects on a new lifestyle after heartbreak.

Curated pop is an easy way to describe this collection. Each track feels carefully thought out and put together; call it a passion project if you will. “Can’t Help Myself”, “Answers”, and “Halfway” are infused with EDM beats; something Miller has been strikingly good at over the years (listen to his 2013 hit “Collide”). “No Return” brings out the R&B Jake that the ladies love. He daintily details a sexual encounter; “you naked in my bed right now, it’s getting so hard to breathe.” Breakup albums seem to be all the rage (Halsey’s recent Hopeless Fountain Kingdom, and Lorde’s, Melodrama), and for some reason, they resonate with the fans.

What makes LA so cool is that we see Jake as a grown man, who’s been broken down and is now built back up and ready for something new/better. Dropping his label, he has now taken complete control over his music and image. Even teaching himself how to produce his own music and piece together what he wanted this album to be. Don’t judge him on his early pop days, instead just soak up and absorb the artist he is today.


 

SZA Takes Over CTRL

Picture yourself walking through a field of roses. You’re young and in love and the passion is overwhelming. Your fingertips graze the tall flowers as a pulsing beat echoes from the castle behind you. This is how SZA makes you feel; like you’re walking through your own kingdom. All 14 songs provide an overwhelming urge to feel serene and comfortable.

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Image via community.allhiphop.com

 

If Kehlani and Jhené Aiko had a baby, it would come out SZA. A beautiful fusion of good music and good vibes that you can’t help but listen to over and over, like a soundtrack to your life.

CTRL is honest, raw, and real. If there’s not one song on this album that you don’t relate to, then you’re not listening hard enough. SZA opened up to being more herself on this album than ever before, including snippets of wisdom from her grandmother scattered throughout. On “Garden (Say It Like Dat)” her knowledgeable elder says, “You don’t have to talk about me or treat me mean, I don’t have to treat you mean, I just stay out of your way, that’s the way you work that one.”

A lot of the tracks deal with inner issues; lack of confidence, insecurities, etc. The Missouri native sings on “Normal Girl” with a punch. “How do I be a lady? Normal girl oh, I wish I was a normal girl.” A similar theme is revisited on “Drew Barrymore”. But, for every insecurity on this album comes a stroke of confidence, or a slick rhyme showing off how confident SZA really is. “Prom” is a promise to be better, older, more yourself, while “Barrymore” is a question of being good enough. Lead single, “Love Galore” is the perfect example of “love conquers all.” The video is hot and heavy yet keeps it’s symbolic allure with a pack of monarch butterflies floating throughout (monarchs represent good luck.)

The sound? It’s a cold coke with a drop of rum to loosen you up. The R&B beats keep a swift rhythm as SZA’s vocals soar to the clouds and back. CTRL is its own animal. Compiled of lightly vintage melodies with some enigmatic verses. SZA (pronounced Sizza) admitted to Rolling Stone that she switched out her mic for a rapper’s mic (the same one that Kendrick Lamar and Travis Scott use.) “It made me feel safe to explore the really conversational tone of my sound and my mind.”


 

The Band Camino’s “Heaven”

band camino
Image via facebook.com/Thebandcamino

The Band Camino’s 5-track EP feels so good. Waves of nostalgic love and summer happiness wash over every song as one spills flawlessly into the next. Themes of California sunshine transcend throughout, but these Memphis natives know how to keep rock alive.

Opening track, “California” feels like a love letter. “I’ve been home, I’m waitin on ya, drove all the way from California,” repeat over and over making love a sense of urgency. The buildup then breakdown at 4:15 make you wish you were lacing up your Converse for a Warped Tour set.

The band spoke out about their new music on Instagram saying, “Taking feelings and thoughts and turning them into something tangible is a careful task. But we have done our very very best to give you the most honest expression of the band that we are. We hope that these songs are there when you need them forever and always.”

“What I Want” starts off with the words, “Second chances, they don’t bother me.” Lyrics build and build to a chant-heavy chorus reminiscent of one of the band’s main influences, pop/alt band Walk the Moon. While the message is about failing and never getting what you want, the overarching element of “moving on” is prominent. A similar message is shared on the bands lead single, “My Thoughts On You.” Another love letter begging for an ending to turn into another beginning; “and I know this, I fell for your eyes, I just realized, I still need you.” The band has mastered their own sound with glistening guitar melodies and triumphant choruses.

Learn more about The Band Camino, here.