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Camila Cabello - Never Be The Same


album picks

Album Review: Don Diablo Changes The Game For DJs With 'FUTURE'
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7 Realest Lyrics About Life From Camila Cabello
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Album Review: Red Velvet's 'Perfect Velvet' Is The Best K-Pop Album of 2017
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Dutch DJ and producer Don Diablo has yet again captivated us with his new album, FUTURE.

In 2017, Diablo took the reigns of the EDM-world by impressing electronic music fans through his unique sound, releasing new music almost every week. With tracks that are suitable both for a small dance party with your friends as well as at a music festival, it is no surprise that there were high expectations for his third studio album. Through a more personal experience, these sixteen tracks will take old and new listeners alike on a new journey through his impressionable music.

The chill tune of opening track Back To Us, featuring the sweet vocals of Miles Waters, already enchants listeners into the Diablo magic, easing them into what's to come. It spreads positivity into fixing a relationship after a heartbreak, which blends into the second track, Everybody's Somebody featuring BullySongs. From start to finish, the switch in pace from mellow to exhilirating, accompanied by powerful lyrics, will certainly make an anthem for self acceptance.

What’s a Don Diablo track without some diversity? The magical tune of Don’t Let Go, featuring Holly Winter; Diablo’s emotional cover of Killer featuring Dave Thomas Junior’s amazing vocals, and People Say, featuring Paije that includes a heavy bass drop, further emphasises Diablo’s versatility that caters to different types of listeners.

To keep hearts thumping and adrenaline flowing, fan favourite Reflection shows off Diablo’s trademark spirited synths, evoking crowd reactions on his live performances. Not to mention, it is one of three songs that features his own vocals in, definitely a reason why we are so in love with it.

Closing the album is Echoes, undoubtedly one of Diablo’s most beautiful masterpiece. Its tranquil sound creates a pure, dream-like atmosphere that takes listeners on another emotional adventure to tie the entire album together nicely.

A mixture of future pop to future house, every song features its own intense rhythm wrapped around soulful vocals that leaves an entranced feeling. Admittedly, Don Diablo has done it again and met all high expectations. Who could top that off?


Photo credit: Don Diablo/ Facebook

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“It started with somebody else's story, it ended with me finding my way back to myself.”

Camila Cabello’s self-titled solo debut album (previously titled The Hurting. The Healing. The Loving) is finally upon us and Camilizers from all around the world cannot get enough of it. Naturally, they took to Twitter to express their love and reaction to the 11-track record.



In her Instagram post, Cabello described the highly anticipated album as the soundtrack to her 2016 and that all the tracks on the album stood for special memories in her life. As fans, we might not have fully understood what she went through but this album aims to give us a sneak peek into her struggles and victories.

Through her lyrics, we gained an insight into what she’s been through in the past few years. We couldn’t help but realise how relatable some of the lines and how they also depicted a little bit of our own lives.


1.     “Just one hit of you, I knew I'll never be the same”

From Camila’s opening track, Never Be The Same, this line embodies the times we meet someone so significant that our lives change. Whether it was a friend that you’ll hold dearly for life, or a mentor that you’ll always turn to for advice, they created such an impact on you that you will never be the same.


2.     “Yeah, suddenly, it all came back, it all came back”

We found this line in All These Years and thought it depicted all those times memories (good, bad and downright embarrassing) flooded back to us.


3.     “She loves control, she wants it her way”

As the chorus of She Loves Control goes, everyone is sometimes a control freak or at least we know people in our lives that love to be in control. In school, there’s always that one person that loves to take charge and make decisions for group projects. At work, there’s always that one person that insists on doing things their way.


4.     “Got me feelin' like, ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh”

This is of course from the album’s lead single, Havana, an ode to her hometown. This line pretty much sums up how we feel when we meet our crushes and idols, doesn’t it?


5.     “But loving you had consequences”

Known as the most personal and tear-jerking track on the album, Consequences shed a light into Cabello’s struggle. It’s true everything in life has consequences, it is then up to us whether to embrace them or to let them bring us down.


6.     “Every time I let somebody in. Then I find out what they're all about”

As the chorus of her promotional single Real Friends goes, this line talks about the times we put our trust in people but later realise that they aren’t who they seem to be. Maybe they had motives?


7.     “Something's gotta change, but I know that it won't”

From Something’s Gotta Give, we couldn’t help but relate this to all the times we get stuck in situations and can’t seem to find a way out. Then, the only resolution to is wait things our or to start the change ourselves.

This album marks the beginning of a new chapter for Cabello and we can’t wait to see what the future has in stored for her!

Picture credits: Camila Cabello on Twitter, Billboard, Giphy, Pinterest

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Red Velvet have cemented themselves as one of K-pop’s more conceptually unique groups in recent memory, exploring soundscapes that range from colorful, schizophrenic pop (known as their ‘Red’ side) to sultry, moody R&B (their ‘Velvet’ side). Their debut album in 2015, The Red, is one of the genre’s greatest, with its amalgamation of adventurous musical ideas that meddled with pop conventions.

Admittedly, I had a lukewarm reception to Red Velvet’s first 2 singles this year, Rookie and Red Flavor - while those songs have seen tremendous chart success, they felt musically safe compared to their predecessors. Thankfully, just when it seemed like the group was losing their edge, their newest single off their sophomore album Perfect Velvet dispelled all doubts once again. Peek-A-Boo is delightfully spooky, riding on tension derived from the modal interchange in its chord progression and a chorus that evolves into a ritualistic chant. The song superbly marries the contrasting sides of the group- its relatively subdued nature is a nod to their ‘Velvet’ concept, but those playful harmonies and production flourishes are clearly ‘Red’ in essence.

The rest of Perfect Velvet similarly heads in a more mature direction while retaining the group's signature sonic vibrancy. Nu-disco jam Look radiates with its lush synths and lively basswork; My Second Date appears to settle into a finger-snapping R&B groove- until it takes a wild but rewarding turn into EDM territory. Album highlight I Just is an intriguing future bass track, corroded into brain-melting synths and off-kilter vocal rhythms, with a chorus that’s both massive and desolate- its loneliness palpable in the spaces between each syllable. It’s brilliant for how it twists the trappings of an increasingly derivative genre, into fresh sounds that astutely captures the feeling of emotional exhaustion.

One of the group’s greatest strengths is their gorgeous harmonization, which take center stage in the alt-R&B Kingdom Come- the best track of the record. The vocal arrangement is intricate like embroidery, as various timbres and rhythms are layered and melded together seamlessly. Harmonically complex, the details in its contrapuntal texture require multiple re-listens to uncover. The palpitating old school hip-hop beat also adds another dimension to the song, imbuing a restless fervor into the warm atmosphere. It’s hard to imagine another group pulling off this song half as well.

Perfect Velvet’s second half is not as strong as its first half, with Attaboy being the weakest track overall. Its experimentation backfires on itself- it merges sing-song raps, dissonant harmonies and (shoddy) hip-hop beats, but the maximalist approach fails to juxtapose its elements meaningfully and ultimately feels directionless. The album picks itself back up with Perfect 10, another harmonically rich R&B song that drips with sensuality. The final trio of songs may not reach the album’s previous highs, but they are neverthelessly well-written and executed. Swing ballad Moonlight Melody is a bittersweet closer, as the elegant arrangement adorns the record’s final moments beautifully like the ending credits to a classic romance film.  

Red Velvet’s sophomore effort is a refreshingly well-curated collection of diverse sounds that stands out among the sea of filler-heavy releases in K-pop. It presents a more refined image of the group while showcasing their versatility and experimental capabilities- even its lesser tracks still contain ideas worthy of appreciation. Is it better than their debut album? Not sure, but it definitely comes close. Perfect Velvet is the best K-pop album of 2017 and a must-listen, even especially for those who shun the genre. 




Track Gems: Look, I Just, Kingdom Come

Photo Credit: SM Entertainment

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As part of the build-up towards the inevitable event that was Taylor Swift releasing her sixth studio album, Rolling Stones’ Robert Sheffield ranked all 115 of her songs, (correctly) crowning All Too Well as the crème de la crème. Vulture followed suit with an updated list, taking into account the recent reputation and #124 Will Shock No One!  

But seriously though, is anyone surprised that the LP that sold 1.05 million copies within four days is unfortunately the songstress’ most commercial i.e. generic output to date. Sure, the record is Swift at her most sonically cohesive in recent years but it also sees her striking the same contemporarily homogenous chords that tend to blunt her Midas Touch of crafting emotionally resonant pop songs. Rather than pander to the sounds of the moment (808 snares, everywhere!) shouldn't she be comfortable at this point in her career to rise above the din and craft a record that is truly signature Swift?

reputation is unnecessarily awkward in its predestined ascent to the top of the charts. Despite the fake news it perpetuates, the clickbait-y Consequence of Sound does bring up a valid point – are we supposed to immediately be cool with Swift rapping? It might be a nit-pick but should anyone ask me about my favourite TSwift hip-hop moment, the answer will forever be her iconic (and ironic) collaboration with T-Pain. Discomfort at some level should be a natural reaction to the verses she drawls unrecognisably and begs the question, "Why?" No offense, Ed Sheeran. 

If 1989 was the quasi-nostalgic, metropolitan embrace of her independence, reputation is a muddled and dated acknowledgement of her celebrity and/or infamy. By dedicating a majority of the record to her maligned public persona, Swift unwittingly distances herself at times and the dubious fashion she chooses to clothe her tracks doesn’t help either. Instead of the bulletproof comeback that could have been, reputation’s over-the-top gaudiness at the cost of relatability and immersion betrays an insecurity that’s quite misplaced. In the very era of oversharing it would be a pity that the mixed bag presented is merely a reaction and nothing much else.

Thankfully, we’ve sifted through the debris and neatly arranged all 15 tracks from worst to best for your perusal.


15. This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things

Clearly Swift has a thing or two to say to her perceived opponents and on any other day, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It does become inescapably tiresome when a full-fledged 3-minute song or more accurately, a tedious bulk of reputation is devoted to silly barbs which more often than not, fall flat. Would it not be a more fulfilling endeavour to prove her mettle by writing good songs first and foremost? Asking as a fan. Worst of all, "I can't even keep a straight face" doesn't even make a good meme and her insistence on juvenile cattiness represents everything wrong with this record.

14. End Game (ft. Ed Sheeran & Future)

How exactly did we as a society get here? Were we enablers of some sort when we innocently embraced her celebratory Backseat Freestyle and lauded the subsequent Kendrick Lamar feature in spite of its grossly underwhelming music video? If so, sorry. The lines Swift spit aren't terrible but next to nothing could ever redeem the very existence of this transactionary conception.            

13. Look What You Made Me Do

Believe it or not, I’m all for salty, extra, petty Swift, snake symbolism and all. I enjoy that glint of malice when she scowls, “Maybe I got mine, but you'll all get yours,” whatever she’s going off about and the Mean Girls deep cut is, in all honesty, genius. Still doesn’t qualify as anything more than a guilty pleasure, though.       

12. So It Goes...

Genius user taylorrolyat would have us believe that the refrain is used as a Vonnegut-inspired narrative tool of transition marking Swift’s metamorphosis from Old to New. That hypothesis is a stretch which could never accommodate the arid, uninspired soundscapes and flimsy rethreads of her dating dynamics. 

11. Dancing With Our Hands Tied

Imagine you were Joe Alwyn. While there has never been a Taylor Swift album more centred around a single, secretive relationship, the longevity of those songs (this throwaway one included) is, to put it generously, up in the air. Quality over quantity I say.     

10. …Ready For It?

reputation’s opening anthem functions as a spoiler warning and it’s ultimately a grower but just to give you an idea of how much I was not ready for it, I texted anyone who would listen this: “Taylor's a rapper now :(”

9. I Did Something Bad

It is highly unlikely that 2017 will be remembered as the year in which Swift finally came out openly relishing the purported singer-songwriter crime of penning diatribes against exes but you know what? She shouldn’t and doesn’t give a shit so that’s refreshing and hopefully, cathartic. 

8. Gorgeous

This isn’t a song that takes itself too seriously and neither should you. Only someone so smitten could let such an objectively weak chorus slide but the sentiment expressed is… not wrong.  

7. Don’t Blame Me

“Yeah but can she really sing though,” is by far the laziest excuse I’ve heard from casuals who somehow always happen to be vocal connoisseurs. Track 4’s blaring synths are drowned out by Swift’s fiery delivery of a bridge so lit it burns bright to high heaven.

6. Call It What You Want

Admit it, the whole “My baby's fly like a jet stream / High above the whole scene” is pretty darn catchy right up to the point where Swift frets about – you guessed it, her reputation.

5. Delicate

As one of those songs that could be described as (and contains the actual word) “chill”, reputation’s rare moment of frailty and self-doubt is interspersed with hip Tinder lexicon alluding to the anxieties of meeting someone new the only way Taylor Swift could.

4. King of My Heart

The auto tune works well here – Swift seems to be consumed quite thoroughly by the coronation of her new king who enchants her “heart, body, and soul” so much so that there is a shift in the very core of her being. Flitting around a series of dizzying beats, it’s thrilling to imagine a live drum circle HAIM-style hammering it out.

3. Getaway Car

Swift shines the most when she sounds like she could be on the edge of screaming her lyrics from the rooftops or in this case, while riding off into the sunset, possibly in a convertible. With Jack Antonoff’s imprint practically imbued in its DNA, that sweet 1989 aesthetic is ramped up to 13 for good measure.  

2. New Year’s Day

There she is. Vintage Swift – warmest when stripped down and your favourite story teller who kills it with lines like “Please don’t ever become a stranger whose laugh I could recognise anywhere." Isn’t it nice to actually feel things? Just ask Jimmy Fallon.

1. Dress

Sex, sex, sex in the form of a ballad no less. This is peak New Taylor. Alcohol reference? Check. Flow without interference from unnatural cadences? Check. An accessible narrative with enough juicy details and the utility of silence as the embodiment of tense restraint? Very good. 


Photo credit: Big Machine Records

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“It’s time!”

One Direction’s Irish crooner Niall Horan has always been known as the happy-go-lucky-smiley one, but his debut album, Flicker, shows us a whole different side. Talks about his debut album started a year ago, when he became the first member of One Direction to release solo material (apart from Zayn). Now, it is finally here!


Niall wrote on Twitter that it was the first time he properly poured out his emotions onto a record. The theme of love is prevalent throughout the album, which he has never really addressed in the past. As we know, Niall has been rather private about his personal life and relationships over the years. However, he sings about chasing the one that got away in songs like Flicker and Too Much To Ask. Also, just like any other young adult learning about love, Niall sings about the experiential process in tracks like Paper Houses and You and Me. Another interesting track would be On My Own – a singlehood anthem – where he sings about not needing anyone and just having fun on his own.

On the topic of romance, we looked through all 13 songs and picked out the top 5 most romantic lines. Man, he is good with his words…


1. Seeing Blind

"Oh, no I, you're too good to be all mine
Now I'm looking in your eyes
Oh, I must be seeing blind"


2. Since We’re Alone

"Since we're alone
Yeah, you can show me your heart
If you put it all in my hand
No, I swear
No, I won't break it apart"


3. Fire Away

"Darling, you don't have to hold it
You don't have to be afraid
You can go ahead and unload it
'Cause you know it'll be okay"


4. You And Me

When I look down the line
At the man I wanna be
I've always known from the start
That it ends with you and me


5. This Town

Because if the whole world was watching I’d still dance with you
Drive highways and byways to be there with you
Over and over the only truth
Everything comes back to you


Along with the album, Apple Music released a behind-the-scenes documentary following Niall on his album-making journey. Revisiting this short Q&A, he finally revealed that Flicker was the song that made a room full of grown men cry. The album title track really showed his vulnerable side and it gave us goosebumps.  

Overall, Niall stayed true to himself and his musical influences – pop, folk and a little rock. We’re looking forward to an Asian tour, maybe?

Picture Credits: DailyNiall on Tumblr, Niall Horan on Twitter, Niall Horan’s website

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