single of the week

Kelly Clarkson - Love So Soft

 

album picks

Niall Horan Shows Us A Different Side Of Him In 'Flicker'
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Album Review: Our Top 3 Tracks From BTS' EP 'Love Yourself: Her'
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Album Review: 5 Must-Hear Tracks From Paramore’s Latest Record, ‘After Laughter’
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more album picks

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World Bloggers And Social Media Awards
SBA 2014
SBA 2013
SBA 2012

 

 

 

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“We Go Hard or We Go Home” – the line repeats itself in the hyped-party themed Bitch I’m Madonna music video. Madonna has a thing for taking her lyrics literally when she really did go hard in the video, proving that despite her age (which is certainly not an issue) she can still kill it on the dance floor.

Aside from the neon colored lights and Madonna’s grills that got everyone’s attention, the video featured A-listers such as Beyonce, Katy Perry, Rita Ora, Kanye and Miley Cyrus. The whole star-studded concept and the promo poster (shown below) attracted a fair bit of criticism and comparisons to Taylor Swift’s Bad Blood music video.

But let’s all remember that pop culture wouldn’t be what it is today without Madonna.

However, it would have been more exciting to have Nicki Minaj twerking on set with The Queen of Pop rather than “having her on skype,” as critics put it.

 

Watch Madonna’s new music video here:

Photo Credit: @Madonna via twitter, tumblr

It’s not everyday that we get to hear a speech from the famous English crooner who melted our hearts with his melodious love songs.

A few days ago, Ed Sheeran enlightened us with his speech at the American Stuttering Institute Gala 2015.

He reminded us of 3 things that he learned while growing up with a stutter:

 

1.     Music helps

Did you know Eminem helped Ed overcome his stutter? Yes! He used to memorize rap lyrics when he was ten and that’s when he developed his love for music. Let’s all thank Eminem for his existence because without him, there probably won’t be an Ed Sheeran.

 

2.     No amount of struggle can stop you from excelling

Despite his problems with speech due to stuttering, it didn’t hinder Ed from pursuing his love for music. It even became his outlet for self-expression. Don’t stop yourself from getting the help you need. From Ed himself, “Carry on pushing forward.”

 

3.     It’s okay to be the weird kid in school

It might sound cliché but Ed reminded us to just be ourselves and to embrace our quirkiness. There’s a reason why it’s a cliché, because most kids are still trying to desperately follow the status quo in order to be perceived as “cool.” But guess what? The guy who used to be one of the cool kids in Ed’s School now does his plumping. Well, how the tables have turned.

 

Watch Ed's speech here:

Photo Credit: Billboard, Ed Sheeran

Have a tough week coming up? We’ve all had them, and we all got through them.

We've compiled 10 songs that helped us get through the toughest days of our lives, whether it is a major exam, getting splashed by a speeding truck driving through the puddle on the side of the road (this literally happened) or when things just don’t go well. These songs will calm your nerves and help you breathe in times of anxiety, trust me, breathing can be difficult sometimes.

Just remember...

I used to make “mix CDs” for my friends – an indirect way of forcing them to listen to the songs I’m listening to. I’d design the front of the CD using colorful sharpies based on the playlist’s theme. Now let me share with you a virtual version of the old school mixtape that you will still enjoy nonetheless.

I put Vampire Weekend’s Step as the first track for a reason; it never fails to lift up my mood whatever the situation is.

Note To Self by Jake Bugg is a personal favorite. I’d listen to it whenever my self-esteem goes downhill. It gets my mind off irrelevant thoughts.

I’ve also added a Bob Dylan classic, Blowin’ In The Wind. Play it in the middle of the night, preferably with good headphones on. Thank me later.

If you’re studying for exams or just dreading the week ahead because of a boring part-time job, then this playlist is for you!

 

Photo Credit: Pinterest, keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk

Remember the time when all our music tastes were the same because the Internet has yet to take over our lives? I spent a huge portion of my childhood (late 90s-early 2000s) listening to pop hits on the radio after school - it was amazing! I would dance to an S Club 7's hit or sing along to Backstreet Boys, which my Mom played over and over on my 2nd birthday.

Let nostalgia take over from here and bring you back to the good old days where there were no responsibilities whatsoever. If you're a young reader, these were the songs your older siblings listened to on their portable CD players!

 

Britney Spears - Lucky

Don't deny it, Britney was ONCE the real Queen B!

 
N' Sync - This Promise You
 
Cheesy love songs and boybands defined this era.
 
 
 
Aaron Carter - Do You Remember
 
Known as the "Justin Bieber" of the 90s, Aaron was everyone's first crush.
 
 
 
S Club 7- Bring It All Back
 
What's a 90s hit without synchronized dance movements?
 
 
 
Spice Girls - Wanna Be
 
Before Fifth Harmony and Little Mix, Spice Girls made us danced along to their hits.
 
 
 
Westlife - My Love
 
I just don't know how to explain this. Let the feels do it.
 
 
 
Backstreet Boys - I Want It That Way
 
Let's save the best for last.
 
 

******

Do you feel old yet? Share some of your old jams with us!

 

Photo Credits: fanart.tv, Promo, BIG PICTURES

 

Little Mix – Black Magic

Little Mix consists of four gorgeous ladies blessed with Beyoncé’s talents. I mean, it takes proper skill to pull off amazing vocal harmonies while dancing killer routines! The girl group had everything on point in their first live performance of their new single, Black Magic.

 
 

Kelly Clarkson – Stronger

Perhaps the secret to Kelly’s powerful vocals is to just be as comfortable as ever when performing. Kelly took the stage barefooted when she performed her greatest hits, which everyone sang along to.

 
 

Ariana Grande – Bang Bang

Ariana seems to be stepping up her game when she performed on an elevated platform WHILE wearing skinny healed boots – the total opposite of what Kelly did.

 

*****

What other performances did you enjoy? Share them with us!

 

Photo Credit: capitalfm

If you’re not familiar with Unplugged, it is a 60 minute show on MTV where musicians perform their hit singles and sometimes covers using mainly acoustic instruments. Since it only airs once in a blue moon, music fans treasure every episode especially with its rather intimate vibe which displays the artist’s versatility. Exceptional performances are even released as live albums/singles.

Unplugged performances have definitely evolved as the years passed, so we’ve handpicked six of the best to satisfy your varied musical cravings.

 

Nirvana – All Apologies

I have a weird admiration for this song. I am never stable whenever I watch this version. You’d catch me internally wailing over those eargasmic guitar interludes.

 

Eric Clapton – Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out

This majestic live session from one of the world’s guitar legends will surely be a permanent track on your iPods.

 

Oasis – Don’t Look Back In Anger

Surprise, surprise. It’s not Wonderwall. Accompanied by an orchestra, Oasis made everyone sentimental with this unplugged performance in the 90s.

 

Mariah Carey – I’ll Be There

Mariah lives up to her diva reputation in this beautiful rendition of The Jackson 5 hit.

 

Miley Cyrus – Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High

To all you hipsters out there, don’t deny it, this Arctic Monkeys cover is actually pretty good (minus the intimidating dancing).

 
 

Katy Perry – Thinking of You

Expressive and heart-wrenching – this performance just needs to be included in the list.

 

Do you know any other artists who deserve to be on this list? Share them with us!

Photo Credit: MTV

After a 3 year wait, The Vaccines are back with their latest album, English Graffiti.  The English quartet had set the bar quite high with their first two rollicking records which left us with higher expectations from their 3rd one.

The band seemed to have lost their identity with their goal of wanting to make this album a representation of the 2015 sound. Despite their efforts, it came off more futuristic (oh, the irony) with the extra-terrestrial riffs in their single, Dream Lover.

Handsome is probably the only track that gives us the solid indie rock vibe of The Vaccines. With its concoction of upbeat drumming and trippy chord progressions, this seems to be the “hook” of the whole record.

It takes proper skill and luck to pull off certain inconsistencies when it comes to track arrangements. Sad to say, it didn’t work for this record as the rushed tempo of Radio Bikini is immediately followed by the mellow Maybe I Could Hold You. There could have been a smoother transition.

Minimal Affection wouldn’t be a disappointment if you’re looking for an electronic feel similar to Daft Punk’s. It was a good attempt, I must say.

Despite the lack of spark in English Graffiti, it still grows on me after a few listens. But I don't certainly see myself in my 50s going, "Ah yes, these tunes bring me back to good ol' 2015."

Check out the first track of the album, Handsome:

Photo Credit: Columbia Records

What everyone thought was the end of the British band The 1975 turned out to be a brilliant publicity stunt.

After deleting their social media accounts and banishing from the virtual world, The 1975 ‘reappeared’ with a comic strip (shown below) and pink aesthetics. But what really is the band’s motive? It seems like there is a deeper meaning behind all those acts according to fan interpretations.

After rummaging through the depths of tumblr, I’ve discovered some theories. Let me correct myself, their disappearance was not a mere marketing move. It was a reinvention, a change of identity.

Several theories suggest that the drawing on the comic strip was inspired by the Pink Rebellion in France that was started by art students who felt like they were not being taken seriously. Was something holding the band back from being themselves? Perhaps the band encountered an identity crisis and somehow lost their artistic selves in the world of pop culture.

“We said ‘we’re not desperate to be famous, we’re not desperate to be in a massive band, let’s do it our way, on our terms, and make sure that our projection of ourselves is controlled by us.” Matty Healy tries to remind their fans that there is more to their music than “teenage pop dance songs" and black aesthetics.

They want to be identified as artists and not as celebrities. After all, music is a form of expression based on one’s beliefs and emotions. Matty wants fans to connect to their music on a more personal level. The 1975 is redefining themselves.

Besides a tour announcement mentioned in the picture below, it seems like speculations are true and The 1975 are planning to have more intimate shows for dedicated fans. Take note of the word, artists, below.

My guess is that they are trying to erase the pretentiousness, that is, people who go to their shows for the sole purpose of showing it off on social media. It's, MUSIC, people! It's art! Not a pair of jeans to add value to your "cool status."

 

Photo Credit: The 1975

What gives Stillsunrise an edge over other local bands is their unique incorporation of the majestic violin into their music. With their successful show at the Esplanade Theatre Studio last March, the quartet released their latest EP entitled Colours in Black which seems to redefine folk music.

It’s City and Colour meets Iron and Wine, the 7-track EP yields a studio jam feel with what I think is a well thought out intro – sounds of door opening and instruments being held, ready to be played. With its fantasylike theme, I like to think it’s their version of the opening line, "Once Upon A Time."

“Sh*t, it’s gonna be good,” I tell myself

Boy, was I not disappointed. Permission to Dream brings us to a magical wonderland with its soft synths and velvety blendings. This has the potential to be included in the Midnight in Paris soundtrack.

Another personal favorite would be For Now which has a nostalgic feel to it. It’s well-shaped melody which is later complemented by eargasmic classical accompaniment in the interlude leaves us with a calming feeling.

The fairytale-like EP ends with a smooth guitar outro which beautifully concludes the adventure, that is Colours in Black.

Stillsunrise is able to creatively transform the mundanity of life into sweet melodies and thought-provoking lyrics. Let Colours in Black bring you to a dreamland, listen and get the full EP here!

Track Gems: Permission to Dream, For Now, Shalom

Photo Credit: Stillsunrise

We’ve all had a Country Music phase at some point in our lives. Mine happened back in 2009 at the peak of Taylor Swift’s career. Songs about pickup trucks and tears dropping on one’s guitar were topping the charts.

However, if you’ve strayed from the sound of banjo strings since Taylor’s pop transition, don’t fret; here are 3 Country artists that will surely end up on your playlist.

 

Sam Hunt

Sam Hunt has a lot more to offer besides his charm and good looks. Blending two different genres – Country + R&B – and making them sound perfect seems to be his forte. Check out his song, House Party, and tell me it doesn’t bring you back to the Hoedown Throwdown days.

 

Zac Brown Band

What’s a country song without violins and the vibrant ringing of tambourines? (Hey, that rhymed!) With the likes of Rascal Flatts and a more laid back sound, Zac Brown Band is giving country music a fresh twist especially with their latest album, Jekyll + Hyde. Aside from their hit song, Chicken Fried, I personally enjoy Loving You Easy.

 
 

Kelsea Ballerini

Despite being only 21, Kelsea is already capturing everyone’s hearts with her sweet voice and songwriting skills. Her popular hit, Love Me Like You Mean It, is such a feel-good song that you would fall in love with in just the first listen.

 

*******

Do you listen to any other Country artists that you want us to review? Share them with us!

Photo Credit: Samhuntmusic, Jessie Ditmar/Getty