“New Chapter, New Demi”

demi lovato

“I’m no longer serious…I’m done with the sob stories. New chapter, new life, new album, new single, this is a completely new Demi.” A cool Demi Lovato said to Ryan Seacrest recently on his radio show On Air with Ryan Seacrest .

Her new single, “Cool for the Summer” came out this past week just in time for the Fourth of July celebrations. A sultry Demi is heard on the verses and the gritty-rock Demi is heard on the chorus. “Don’t tell your mother, kiss one another, die for each other, we’re cool for the summer” are the lyrics Lovato spits out on her new rebellious track.

Seacrest quizzed Demi on her new music, including her motivation behind her new sound; “I’ve spent so long focusing on just kind of people pleasing, making everybody happy with being the best role model I can be. At the end of the day, yes I am outspoken about the things I believe in…I have all these things that make me a role model, but at the same time none of these things are really representing the bad ass that I am.” Get it girl!

Lovato and Ryan Seacrest
Lovato and Ryan Seacrest

Lovato had help from producer mastermind Max Martin in the studio. Martin is responsible for early pop hits from Britney Spears and the Backstreet Boys and newer tunes from Taylor Swift and of course…Lovato herself. “I did this song (“Cool for the Summer”) with Max Martin…the trickiest part about this song was trying to not make the song too rock so that it could still go mainstream and not make it too pop to where its not rock anymore,” said Lovato.

She also told Seacrest that her album will feature a lot more provocative lyrics and ‘new’ elements. “I have a lot of rhythmic flares in there as well…There’s nobody in the pop industry that says ‘Don’t f*** with me’. I am totally that but in pop music,” she says.

Demi has already proved her singing chops with emotional songs like “Skyscraper” and her pop chops with songs like, “Really Don’t Care”, so now is her time to take risks and get a little saltier. She tells Seacrest, “There’s a side of me that people don’t get to see with my past music, but it’s been there. Just because I’m sober doesn’t mean that I’m judging anybody else for their stuff and it also doesn’t mean that I didn’t have a damn good time back then either.”

Although there’s no name for the album yet Lovato says, “I do love naming my albums after songs. It’ll (the title) come to me when it’s ready, just like the music.”

Could Demi’s next album be titled Cool for the Summer??

-Abbey 🙂

Miguel’s Wildheart

photo via http://okp-cdn.okayplayer.com
Miguel’s third studio album, Wildheart. Released 6/29.

Miguel’s Wildheart is just that; unapologetic, spontaneous, and sensual. His third studio album will be released Monday (6/29) and it has easily perched Miguel on top of the R&B ladder. Miguel’s ear for electronics, vibe-y choruses, and overly sexualized lyrics keep him relevant and always on point. R&B is revitalized through the artistic eyes of Miguel, the visionary. Wildheart is a concept album focusing on West Coast influences as you hear sprinkled on every flawless track.

Several 70’s vibes are filtered throughout this album on several songs; the sultry/dance tune “deal”,  the clap-happy “wave”, and the easy-going “nwa”. There’s no denying, electric guitar and a heavy drum beat guide almost every song into an endless good vibe. Miguel’s voice echoes every guitar strum as smooth as melted butter in cookie batter.

You say Miguel, I say…sexual. The amount of sexual innuendos are pretty much spilling through every song. Wildheart is definitely not an album to play in the van when you pick the kids up from school. “valley” is definitely one of the most explicit songs off the album; “I wanna f*** like we’re filming in the valley” just gives you an idea of what Miguel’s talking about here… A clear homage to the saucy side of California with racy lyrics to fit the cliché bill. Harmonies overlap near the end as Miguel leaves you in a trance-like state of mind. “Flesh” is another sexually charged anthem. Miguel’s falsetto takes shotgun as you ride through heavily sedated verses and low rumbling guitar. “I’m a slave to your flesh, woman put me right where I belong,” he sweetly sings in the 4 and a half minute tune.

Yowza….

The lyrics may be super racy but songs like “what’s normal anyway”, “leaves”, and “face the sun” carry more weight lyrically. “what’s normal anyway” challenges the racial boundaries that we see and hear about everyday. “I look around and I feel alone, I never feel like I belong.” A more emotional side of Miguel. A bit of 80’s synth pops into the song near the end adding more of a melancholy feel. “What’s normal anyway” quickly turns into a proclamation of self love; “don’t let them change you, just be who you are.” Miguel proves he can still write a powerful love song with the gorgeous “face the sun” featuring Lenny Kravitz on the electric guitar. “leaves” serves as another ode to California just like he promised; “sweet California, I should’ve known better, cause the leaves don’t change.” Impeccable vocals and simple lyrics flood this song with strong symbolic meaning. One of Miguel’s finest off the album.

For me, Wildheart is Miguel in his prime. He blows through everyone’s idea of R&B and creates a new age style that you can’t resist. A little bit of rock, funk, R&B, and pop thrown into a blender and you have the masterpiece that is Wildheart.

Cheers, Miguel!

Here’s his latest music video for single, “Coffee”:

-Abbey 🙂

Music Monday’s: No One’s Gonna Love You

No One's Gonna Love You

Key Item: Wolf cut off

Shoe Situation: Grey Mauve Birkenstock

300x300

Lead singer Ben Bridwell’s vocals glisten alongside a steady guitar as “No One’s Gonna Love You” begins. A romantic song, that could sing you to sleep (and maybe shed a couple tears?) This is the song you want to hear at your wedding. It stands as a promise of love; “But no one is ever gonna love you more than I do, no one’s gonna love you more than I do.” The most beautiful aspect of this song is the layering effects that are heard throughout it. Guitars have never sounded as magical as they do in this song, almost melancholy. Drums keep a steady backbeat as alt-synths plague the background. Bridwell gracefully leads the listener through a love story. Band of Horses have a way of making songs feel endless, there’s not much to them, but they all hold their own weight and remain relevant in music for years to come. “No One’s Gonna Love You” is one of those songs.

-Abbey 🙂

Enlightened by The 1975

I always end up finding a 1975 song that I’ve never heard and I immediately fall in love. It happens every couple months or so. I become obsessed with it. I look up the lyrics. I listen to it on repeat as I do my homework. I find the meaning behind it. I let it consume me. “HNSCC” is different. Coming off the deluxe version of their debut album The 1975, this song is maddeningly beautiful. There are no lyrics, only whaling guitars and electro synths making you feel every emotion possible in the most glorious way.

image via http://blog.tiqiq.com
image via http://blog.tiqiq.com

HNSCC actually stands for head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. Patients were identified with it in 1975 (hmmmm…) The root of this increasing trend is unclear, although marijuana use and HPV infections are possible explanations. It is commonly found in young males.

In an interview back in early 2013, lead singer Matt Healey told Bang Tidy Music that HNSCC is the chemical title for head nose and throat cancer. He then explained how it was created saying, “My Nana who I was close to died of cancer this year and it was around about that time that the guitarist’s mum got diagnosed with cancer and it felt like it was a big impact, the fact that something you have no control over can really mess with the dynamics of people’s lives. It’s actually a live guitar take. I was playing the guitar plugged in the computer and George was putting it through every plugin you can imagine. He recorded it without telling me so I was in the zone. This was 2 am on a Saturday night so we were under the influence. I recorded the guitar take and we listened to it back hammered and we were like ‘this is really pretty man, nah let’s get some sleep’. We woke up the next day and we just spent like half an hour putting little moments of vocals and synth and that was that. I think ‘Music for Cars’ is the most honest record in regards to things like that.”

Healey then explained that “HNSCC” can stand for whatever you want it to stand for; “That’s what art is, I want people to make up their own things. People have said to me that they have taken something from the music and asked ‘does this mean that?’ and I said ‘no but it does to you’…If it makes you think about something, that’s the reason I [make music]. I want people to feel about our records the same way that I’ve done about other people’s music, whether it’s negative or positive, I just don’t want people to not give a fuck. Six months ago I wouldn’t have minded, but now we’ve started I really want to know what people think.”

As I read through the comments, I noticed people were doing just what Healey said. Finding their own feelings for this song and what it means to them:

-“This makes me feel like I’m in that state between consciousness and sub-consciousness; when I’m slightly aware of what is happening around me, yet I’m kind of drifting apart; like the kinda state where I’m just about to die and I’m counting my last breaths and I can feel my soul is just about to depart and I couldn’t be happier about it because that means this is an end to all my sufferings. And just before I’m about to slip off, I catch that last glance of that person who meant everything to me and that is all to what I’ve ever wanted and I couldn’t be happier.”

-“Every time I listen to this song I cry. Its something about it that’s so beautiful and deep. I feel this type of peace and serenity in this song. I think what makes it so beautiful is the simplicity, the calming sounds. It feels like you’re slowly dying, but you’re dying a peaceful death. It really makes you think about how wonderful death really is. Life is hell, but its a test. And this song makes me feel like the test is finally over. I’m far too young to think about death but honestly I like the sound of the word death. For some these thoughts I’m feeling are quite morbid or scary, but honestly death is beautiful. All your worries and fears are finally over. This is what I think this songs about. It might be different to everyone else though.”

-“it reminds me of when you’re in a coma and you have the choice to live or die. like all the memories and all your different stories are playing back in a fast motion and it stops on certain ones, and those are the memories that help you decide to stay or let go. i feel like I’m somewhere between conscious and unconscious, relaxed and stress free. Happy.”

-“when you’re in the back seat of a car, driving late at night. Very little cars around on the highway. And no one is making noise.  just the road, the car engine and you breathing.”

-“When I listen to this song. I feel like I am standing in the edge of a cliff and the wind is howling around me. Whipping my hair about and I feel terribly alone because there is no one around me and I can’t even hear my own breathing. This song sets me on an edge. An edge I quite like. This is the kind of music that brings you to a terminal closure. I know it sounds bad but in a way I feel like this is the kind of song which makes you feel okay about giving up. Like it’s okay to jump and be peaceful. I feel like this is something one might hear when he or she is ready to give up. The freedom of being able to give up completely is what I feel through this song. It’s a the soundtrack of closure and feeling renewed with the idea of not existing for mundane things. Whenever I have such thoughts, this song is the only thing I listen to. It makes me feel light. Free of burden and one with myself even though I can’t fucking hear the voices in my head.”

-“colors. that’s all i see when i hear this, memories of past friends and things i wouldn’t remember just listening to the birds. like the flashback of your life when your dying, people you loved and stories you heard. sounds, like the laughter of a friend who died before she actually lived, a train speeding past you. tastes like bitter chocolate, green tea with too much sugar, salty tears. this song has a vibe to it i can’t even explain.”

I think this is so amazing that people are feeling so many crazy things for this song. It really shows the immense power that music has over people, emotionally and mentally. I can only imagine how proud The 1975 are that they created such a gorgeous song that can touch so many people.

-Abbey

Alabama Shakes: “Gimme All Your Love”

photo courtesy of http://www.themusicpimp.com
photo courtesy of http://www.themusicpimp.com

I completely forgot Alabama Shakes existed until I saw their show stopping performance on SNL back in March. I mean, the pipes on lead singer Brittany Howard are just unlike anything. Talk about SOUL. Their sophomore album Sound & Color just came out this past week and I’ve been listening ever since. This album takes you on a trip through time using the most nostalgic muffled vocals, soulful rips, R&B croons, and a little electric guitar to cure the soul.

Here’s the SNL live performance. Don’t forget to pick your jaw up off the floor after…

“Gimme All Your Love” is an absolute stand out track off the album. Starting out slow and steady showcasing Howard’s impeccable power and vocal strength as she half screeches, “Gimme all your love!”. At the two and a half minute mark “Love” swiftly turns into something else; a fantastic musical breakdown. Blues-y guitars barge in followed by a racing drum beat then a snazzy call & response between guitars which leads to the climactic edge of the song as the rock elements truly come center stage. This group comes together musically in such a traditional and magical way. “Gimme All Your Love” will race around your head for hours after, leaving you enlightened, slightly melancholy, and begging for a voice like Howard’s.

photo courtesy of http://9rm52pnjcvdzcxx3.zippykid.netdna-cdn.com
Lead singer Brittany Howard belting every lyric. photo courtesy of http://9rm52pnjcvdzcxx3.zippykid.netdna-cdn.com

The lyrics are so simple yet so rich. “So tell me what you wanna do, you say the world, it doesn’t fit with you, why don’t you talk to me for just a little while?”. Begging for love seems to be the main idea here, but there’s more. It’s actually the power of love as you hear through the music. The up and down pattern of the music resembles the ups and downs of love and a relationship. The musical shift near the end is the center point; the overall scream, the last effort, “gimme all your love”. This song makes you want to dance on a porch in a sundress and also grab a tambourine.

The truth is…I can’t say one bad thing about this song, band, or album. I can’t wait to grab Sound & Color off the shelves and attempt to sing with Howard in my car. (My commute to work is about to be so rock n roll, baby).

-Abbey 🙂