Hayley Williams Strikes Again With Second Solo Album

I’d like to say FLOWERS for VASES/descansos is the softer side of Hayley Williams, but these songs are the farthest thing from soft. Enmeshed in complicated emotions, every track tugs and pulls at a personal place. These are her feelings and she’s owning them.

Image via stereogum.com

Almost every song off the album opens with either a guitar or piano intro, lighting a match for some beautifully constructed musical masterpieces. Hayley wastes no time and opens with a song titled, “First Thing To Go” a unique play on a common phrase, but this time it’s referencing the death of a relationship. Williams softly sings, “the first thing to go was the sound of his voice.” As the song barrels on with dainty acoustics, we realize how raw this album is going to be. This similar sound floods the album on other tracks like “HYD”, “Wait On”, and “Good Grief”.

Songs like “Asystole”, “Over Those Hills”, and “Find Me Here” sound like they could be an old Fleetwood Mac b-side providing layered vocals, pretty picked guitar strings, and intricate lyrics. “As long as I’m lovin you, you’ll never be alone, as long as you keep wanting me around” she croons on “Find Me Here” – a delicate lullaby. Her vocals on this album remain simple and I love Hayley for choosing to go that route. After spending so much of her career pleasing other people with crazy high notes and aggressive vocal work, she’s now able to sit back and harness her naturally alto-voice that sounds so soothing and honest.

While there are a plethora of important themes laced throughout this collection of songs, there is one that reveals itself the most, which is vulnerability. This is the deepest we’ve heard from the pop/rock singer as she details intimate moments through this new singer/songwriter lens. “Inordinary” stands out for this exact reason. We hear Williams describing the day her and her mother picked up everything and moved to Franklin, TN. The song hints at the beginning of her new life including a newfound identity. As the album floats on, she exposes her vulnerability through some powerful statements like: “I got the trigger but you hold the gun”, “love has turned me into many others”, “if only I could prove that on my own, I’m worthy”, “my altar is full of our love’s delusions”, “I take my pills every night and in the morning.” Each lyric feels like it was carefully plucked from a diary and placed ever so delicately in its own spot for Hayley to explore and expand upon.

FLOWERS for VASES/descansos not only proves Hayley’s musical prowess but also that her songwriting skills are the sharpest they’ve ever been.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

(5/5)

Little Voice: Apple TV+’s Indie Wonder

When I first heard Sara Bareilles was creating a show for Apple TV+, I knew it was going to be something special. “Little Voice” is a beautiful interpretation of the modern musician and artist; dreaming of a life that often feels impossible. The show follows a young singer/songwriter named Bess King (Brittany O’Grady) who is being pulled in many different directions. With a rocky home life and unknown career path, the audience is thrust into a day in the life of an overwhelmed woman.

The best moments in this show are the ones where Bess is singing alone at the piano. It feels intimate, raw, and emotional. Brittany O’Grady was meant to play this role and makes the audience understand the pain of being an unknown musician, as well as an abandoned daughter, and hardworking caretaker/sister.

Little Voice Apple TV+
Image via nytimes.com

As far as the music goes, it has Sara Bareilles written all over it. Catchy melodies held together by delicate piano chords and alto vocals are her specialty and Bess definitely follows suit. I see a young Sara Bareilles inside of Bess which I’m sure was intentional. The soundtrack to this show weaves in endlessly with the emotions felt in every character. In a recent interview with TV Insider, O’Grady described Bareilles’ role on the set of the show saying, “She gave me so much perspective of what it’s like to be a musician…because that’s what her whole world is” she went on to explain, “She’s so sharp, she’s so gifted musically. Her brain is like this crazy machinery, and then her talent comes from something beyond us, genuinely. I really think it’s like a God-given talent, I don’t know how to describe it.

With the finale of Little Voice came a sense of closure, but also an opportunity for more. More storylines, more music, more love, and I hope Apple TV+ allows them another season to explore new opportunities.

 

YouTube Picks!

Victoria discusses “Jaguar”, and opens up about what her new music signifies:

 

Ellie Goulding’s vocal chops are often overlooked. Watch this and have your mind blown:

 

Taylor Swift is the queen of symbols and hidden metaphors. Check out this sneak peek of all the hidden gems and factoids in the “Cardigan” music video:

 

A new Miley Cyrus era calls for lots of press interviews and a….mullet?

 

I’ll never get sick of hearing Norah Jones sing while playing piano. Thank you, NPR:

Black Artists You Should Be Listening To

Leon Bridges – His latest single “Sweeter” is a grand statement. Buttery smooth vocals guide this track as Bridges narrates the racial injustices Black people face today. The chorus details his heavy heart, “Hoping for a life more sweeter/ Instead I’m just a story repeating/ Why do I fear with skin dark as night?/ Can’t feel peace with those judging eyes.”

Bridges has always been one of my favorite new artists for the past couple of years. Listen to “River”, “Beyond”, and “Coming Home” and I guarantee you’ll feel his warmth in a matter of seconds.

 

Victoria Monét – You might know her as an elite member of Ariana Grande’s cute friend squad, but Monét is making a name for herself in the pop/r&b genre. Her voice is gentle, sweet, and sultry. Recent singles “Ass Like That”, “Dive”, and “Experience” are superb in their production style and sound. Check her out:

 

Amber Mark – Mark’s voice is one of my favorites in the industry today. She first caught my attention with her 2017 album 3:33am. “Monsoon” spoke volumes to me, and the way her voice sounded so natural and strong kept me yearning for more of her music. Since then, Mark has released other incredible singles like “Generous”, “My People”, and “Love Is Stronger Than Pride”.

 

John Legend – His latest album, Bigger Love is one of his best releases to date. It keeps Legends usual crooner-esque voice but shifts to a new-age sound that feels light and happy. “Ooh Laa” is fun and sexy, while “U Move, I Move” is a sweet duet with R&B princess Jhené Aiko. Lead single, “Conversations in the Dark” is a gorgeous piano-led love song that will tug right at the soul strings.

 

H.E.R. – I can’t say enough good things about H.E.R.. I’ve been captivated by her for so long I can’t imagine not having her songs when I need them. “Hard Place” is one of the greatest songs of all time, and I’ll stand by that forever. Her artistry is so evident in every single song she releases. Not only is she an incredibly gifted singer but musician as well. “Best Part”, “Changes”, “Hopes Up”, and “I’m Not OK” are all some of my favorites but honestly I can’t skip one song when I’m listening to H.E.R..

Her latest single, “I Can’t Breathe” details the Black Lives Matter movement and what our current world state is like:

 

Chloe x Halle – These two have captivated my heart and soul with their latest album, Ungodly Hour. The voices, the beats, the lyrics, everything about this album is a VIBE. Chloe and Halle are going to be in this industry for a lifetime with the amount of talent they have. Originally known for singing flawless covers of pop songs, these sisters sprouted into two mature singing angels. Listen to “Ungodly Hour”, “Don’t Make It Harder On Me”, and “Do It”.

 

Beyoncé – Need I say more? A legend with a discography that is nothing short of iconic. Stream her latest single “BLACK PARADE” released on Juneteenth. Yoncé sings about her heritage, hometown, and returning to her African roots. One word: POWER.

 

Lizzo – It’s no secret Lizzo has been dominating the music scene for the last year. With self love & acceptance at the core of who she is, I can’t help but feel so in love with the artist she’s become. Her 2019 album Cuz I Love You is an absolute masterpiece from start to finish. Revel in her vocals on “Cuz I Love You” then shake your ass to “Soulmate” and “Tempo”. And don’t forget about 2016’s “Truth Hurts” and “Good As Hell”.

 

Kendrick Lamar – Kendrick Lamar doesn’t make music like other rappers do. His lyrics are poetic and intricate, some even feel like puzzles or brain games. Lamar’s 2015 album To Pimp A Butterfly and 2017’s DAMN feel even more relevant today than they did back then; a sad yet true reality. Listen to “Alright”, “i”, “DNA.” and “m.A.A.d city”. No one does it like Kendrick and no one ever will.

 

SZA – Her flawless 2017 album titled, Ctrl melted my brain into a pile of feelings. From the lovely “Love Galore” to the self reflective “Supermodel”, SZA spills her feelings without any inhibitions. Spoiler alert: she sounds this good live too. I’ll be playing this album till I’m 80.

To support the Black Lives Matter movement, read through this article that details where you can donate: https://nymag.com/strategist/article/where-to-donate-for-black-lives-matter.html . Whether it be bail funds, victim memorial funds, or policy reform organizations, every signature or dollar counts towards making this world a better place. Please do your part.

 

 

 

LANY Returns With Sweet Single “Good Guys”

lany-good-guys-mamas-boy_1589383563
Image via onestowatch.com

It’s been two years since the beachy boys of LANY lulled us to sleep with their epic alt-pop melodies. The band is back with a new single that surely lives up to their vibey brand. “Good Guys” is as romantic as it is comforting.

Lead singer, Paul Klein announced the new single on his Instagram saying “pls don’t spend ur whole life trying to do the right things for the wrong ones.” “Good Guys” defines romantic gestures in a world that often feels romantic-less; “I just wanna be the one you call, anything you need, anything at all, all I wanna do is let you in.” Klein revisits his southern upbringing mentioning he’s a “southern gentlemen”; a theme I’m sure we’ll hear more of on the upcoming album titled mama’s boy. “Guys” features the usual subdued guitar riffs that we love from LANY. The song fits right in on a sunset drive or a night on the couch with a glass of wine. Near the end of the track, Klein’s soft layered vocals sing, “so I’m gonna play it cool, til I know you want me too” in a sweet innocent tone.

Listen below: