Olivia Rodrigo’s album “Sour” is a perfect pop debut

It’s hard to believe last year not many people even knew the name Olivia Rodrigo but after January of this year she became a household name overnight. “drivers license” was the key to her new life in this crazy musical spotlight and she’s taking full advantage of it. A debut album opening with a song like “brutal” is incredibly impressive. Sounding like a straight-up Bikini Kill b-side, this rebel anthem is girl punk at its finest. Rodrigo sing-speaks “I’m so sick of seventeen, where’s my f****ng teenage dream”. While this song differs from most of the tracks on the album, it fits in with the angsty feelings we hear echoed throughout.

Image via billboard.com

Sour has expertly crafted production on every track. It’s easy to create a pop album, but you can tell Olivia wanted to make this one different, and boy did it pay off. Each song is unique with a variety of production elements and intricate vocal changes. Listen to how Olivia sings the chorus in “jealousy, jealousy” versus in “good 4 u” – the artistry speaks for itself. Not to mention, her alto voice has such a wide range that feels more romantic and lush everytime she holds a note.

While some songs feel more mature than others, the teenage themes cannot be avoided; lost friendships, jealousy, young love, betrayal. She could’ve made a simple cookie-cutter breakup album about hating her ex and wanting to key his car, but Sour is much more layered than that. “hope ur ok” is a touching tribute to lost friendships. Rodrigo sings, “but, God I hope that you’re happier today, cause I love you, and I hope that you’re okay”. While next single “enough for you” focuses on insecurities in a relationship, ones that can consume your mind. The piano-led “1 step forward, 3 steps back” details a toxic relationship and the ups and downs that come with it; “Do you love me, want me, hate me? Boy, I don’t understand”.

Rodrigo stated in a recent interview that she loves writing ballads more than any other type of song but knew her album needed to have more variety to it which is exactly what she did. Even the upbeat songs still evoke the exact emotion she’s feeling, whether it be anger or sadness without sounding forced or ingenuine. Hit single “deja vu” is a soft song until it builds to a powerful loud chorus playing on the idea of deja vu from an outside perspective – another mature metaphor that you can’t help but relate to.

With a debut album this authentic and flawless, it’s hard to believe Olivia is only 18 years old. She’s zooming on the fast track to a Grammy, a world tour, and a career full of success.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

(5/5)

Broods Release “Don’t Feed The Pop Monster”

The brother-sister duo Broods have been on my radar for years… They had me hooked with 2014’s “Bridges” and then again on 2016’s “We Had Everything”. But once “Peach” was released in 2018, I knew this era of Broods would be different from what I’ve heard in the past. After being dropped by Capitol Records, the release of Don’t Feed The Pop Monster feels a bit like an FU to anyone who tore Broods down over the past couple of years.

Lead singer, Georgia Nott shed some light on this new chapter, “Our goal was to make songs that are true to us, without hiding behind any kind of façade…we worked really hard and went through a thousand different emotions in the process. The fact that we can feel so many different emotions and still make something that’s so true to us—to me that’s the most important part of this whole experience and we’re so excited to finally share this album with the world.”

Monster kicks off with the electric “Sucker”. Georgia’s wispy voice lulls you into a gorgeous alt-pop dream. Similar to an anthem we’d hear from singer Robyn , the lyrics repeat, “I’m such a sucker for everything.” Georgia references not being able to keep up with trends and what’s cool, singing, “I’ll always go back to the same old things, my Stevie and Sting.” “Sucker” is the perfect introduction to the changes about to come on the rest of this album.

“Falling Apart” sticks out with a captivating electronic sound paired with muffled vocals in all the right places. A slower back beat carries “Apart” as one of the slowest on the album while still able to keep you hooked into Broods’ ultimate musical trance. “Dust” feels like it could’ve been a Fleetwood Mac B-Side in 2019 with subtle repetitive guitars, a steady drum beat, and floating vocals (a la Stevie Nicks).

One of the most powerful tracks on the album is “Too Proud”. Caleb takes his spot as lead on this one, proving his singing ability is just as impressive as sister Georgia. “Proud” discusses depression and being too proud to express your true emotions. He sings with a punch, “Too many times that I’ve been too proud to let it out, when I feel it’s too much to handle.” Caleb said he wrote the song while experiencing depression between albums; “Last year, there was a period of time where there wasn’t anything going on, and I was just like, ‘F**k – what am I doing, why am I here? I just got really deep in my own hole. I didn’t even notice until I came out of it. That’s when I wrote it, when I was actually happier. Once you sit back and go, ‘oh, shit’, that was when I was able to reflect on how I was feeling.” Broods released the music video for “Too Proud” featuring a harrowing look into life with depression; “‘Too Proud’ is for everyone who has ever felt that stigma that mental health struggles are shameful. It’s NOT shameful… If you can relate to the feelings conveyed in this video & song please take care of yourself and don’t hesitate to reach out to someone who can help.”

This review is already way longer than I wanted it to be but I can’t help it…there are so many beautiful things to say about this album. Don’t Feed The Pop Monster ends on a euphoric note with the lullaby-esque “Life After”.

(Image via coupdemainmagazine.com)

 


 

Down the Rabbit Hole with Ashe

(Image via b-sides.tv)

Ashe’s big solo introduction to the world comes out strong on her EP, The Rabbit Hole. After becoming increasingly successful on several feature tracks with Louis the Child, Whethan, and more, the California native is finally stepping out with her own sound.

Opening song, “After Life” immediately takes you on a journey influenced by the 1865 Lewis Carroll story about Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. She gently sings, “Don’t need saving, I’m waking my mind, I’m not waiting until after life.” Ashe’s ability to make any song feel magical is so evident on this EP. We’ve heard similar magic on her single with Louis the Child, titled “World On Fire”.

The Rabbit Hole features trippy, fun, and romantic elements. Each song becomes a stem from the tree of Ashe’s mind but manages tackles a new concept. Her impressive roots are at Berklee College where she focused on swing music, composing for big bands/orchestras, etc. Listen to the enchanting Gatsby-esque “We Get High” and everything will make sense. Vintage trumpets and roller coaster vocals make this one a modern day novelty anthem.

“Real Love” and “Someone To Lose” prove to be the most romantic off the EP. “Lose” features powerful imagery and a bountiful chorus I can’t stop listening to on repeat. While the empowering “Real Love” is catchy as ever – something Ashe has mastered in her writing and melody abilities.

For an EP, I’m blown away and can’t wait to hear a full Ashe production in the near future.

 


 

 

Best Gaga Songs You Forgot About


In honor of Lady Gaga’s return to stardom as the sultry and mysterious vampire Countess on American Horror Story: Hotel, I thought it would be fun to revisit her music career and some of the best Gaga songs you might have forgot existed.

gif: giphy.com
gif: giphy.com

“Beautiful, Dirty, Rich” – One of my favorites off her electric ultra pop debut, The Fame.

“Monster” – From, The Fame Monster. The lyrics are hilarious and the dance beat gets trapped in your head for days.

“So Happy I Could Die” – This chorus is crazy addicting and the hip-hop infused snaps give off the coolest vibes. Also on, The Fame Monster.

“Black Jesus + Amen Fashion” – I’ve always loved this one and thought it should’ve got more recognition. The lyrics are insanely unique. From her provocative and experimental album, Born This Way.

“Government Hooker” – One of the raciest songs off, Born This Way. For some reason this beat is crazy infectious. Gaga punchily shouts, “Yeah you’re my hooker, government hooker.” My mom never liked when I played this one…

“Swine” – Definitely one of the hardest Gaga songs to date, with help from EDM master, Zedd, how could this not be fire? The build up to the drop is as hard as a dance beat can get. This song has been on my workout playlist ever since I first heard it and that’s where it’ll stay. People underestimate how dope Gaga can get. Featured on her last album, ArtPop.

“G.U.Y” – This is just a fun song to sing along to. It’s a generous mix of electro pop/EDM with sexy lyrics and sultry vocals. One of the best off of ArtPop.

“Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye” – Just in case you’re a die-hard fan, I’m sure you were jamming to Cheek to Cheek, because I was. Gaga’s voice was absolutely angelic on this one. Such a classic jazz song that we can appreciate even now in 2015.

Although Gaga is on a break from her singing career, I’m sure she’ll be back in no time to shock us once again with her unpredictable musicality and artistic vision.


Abbey

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