the song is catchy and i loved the vocals... the music is really good too

Support Older Girl Groups Pt. 4: 9Muses

This week on Support Older Girl Groups we are supporting 9Muses. If you want to know why you should participate even if this week isn’t about a group you stan, check out this post. If you are new to this project, it is a series of weekly masterposts of videos to watch to support older girl groups.

This is not everything from 9Muses, this is some videos that need the view counts to go up with the intention of boosting 9Muses’s popularity, and helping out older girl groups!

About the Group

9Muses, sometimes called Nine Muses, is a Star Empire Entertainment girl group. Their current members are Kyungri, Hyemi, Sojin, Keumjo, and Sungah, although Sungah is currently on hiatus. They debuted in 2010 with nine members, and have unfortunately gone through a lot of member changes. But they haven’t let that effect they ability to make great music! 

9Muses makes really catchy songs, often with a very beautiful and sexy concept. They also have amazing dancing skills and visuals. And I love their vocals. I actually have a lot of trouble describing 9muses. They are truly indescribable, but in a good way. I’m very new to 9muses but I already want to watch all of their music videos, buy all their albums, and go to their concerts. I strongly recommend checking them out!

Although 9Muses have really great songs, music videos, and dances, they have never really hit it big. That’s why this week of Support Older Girl Groups is so important. It would be really great for both 9muses, and all older girl groups if we could help them finally hit it big. So let’s put a lot of effort into helping them thrive this era. 

Title Tracks

(The view count will be recorded from the video linked. Some are the 9Muses channel, some the 1theK channel, and some from the Genie channel.  Just go by the link)

Remember is 9muses comeback that came out today! (June 19th). It’s so beautiful and catchy, I don’t even know how to describe it. It has a very angelic yet dark vibe that I love. I’ve noticed they are really good at that vibe. Honestly, my description will not do it any justice, you have to just watch it. You will not regret it! This comeback deserves the world! It It currently only has 126,294 views. This will not do! We must give them our full support! This is a call to action, watch Remember by 9Muses! Share Remember by 9Muses! Vote for it, buy it, whatever you can with the resources you have, do it! You’d thank me and them you are welcome in advance. 

Hurt Locker was 9muses’ comeback from 2015. I remember hearing a lot about it when it came out, so I was shocked to see it only got 5,090,530 views. I thought it would have at least 10mil! Hurt Lock really deserved so much more. But it’s not too late to give Hurt Locker a boost! It’s one of my favorites from them. The song itself is one I can’t stop listening to, and the dance is really great to. The choreography is also just so good! These girls are very talented and clearly work very hard. Let’s get Hurt Locket to 10mil!

Sleepless Night was another comeback from 2015. It has a similar aesthetic to Remember, but a different sound. It’s beautiful, dark, and somehow relatable in a way I can’t quite put my finger on. It currently only has 2,326,665 views. Let’s get it to 5mil!

Wild was 9Muses’ comeback from 2013. In a perfect world, or in a world that actually made sense, 9Muses would have truly taken off by this point. This song is so good. Everything about this song is good. Everything I’ve said about the other songs is true in this one as well. And, like I said about Remember, no description from me could do this song any justice. You just have to watch it. SO do yourself that favor, and watch it. It currently only has 9,484,368 views, which is the best out of all of their videos, but still not good enough. It’s really close to 10mil! let’s get it there, and then much farther! 

Other Stuff to Check Out

This is stuff I wont be recording the view counts for, just stuff to check out if you are interested.

This is Hurt Locker’s dance practice. I recommend checking out all of their dance practices, because they are all such great dancers!

This is the music video for Dolls. I included it because I wanted to add it into the title tracks I’m recording views for, but only wanted to have 4 music videos, so we could put more attention on their comeback. If you liked all of the other songs on my list, check this one out too!

Ending Notes

Please reblog this and share this as much as possible! This project will do no real good unless it is a group effort. And please watch the videos as much as possible! It would do the most good if you guys watched each one  multiple times a day this week. If you want people to put the effort to help out your favorite older girl groups, help out other people’s faves too! Remember, next week’s post could be your favorite group!

Also this week is especially important because this is a group that has never really made it, and this could be one of their last chances. The popularity of 9Muses’ is literally in the hands of us, the fans of these girl groups. It’s not just fate that decides how well a comeback does, it’s us. Think of it like this, every time you watch Remember, 9Muses does a little better. 

Also remember!

Listen to all of these songs on Spotify

Buy them and or the albums if you can

Follow them of social media

Spread the love for older girl groups!

Please Take This Survey!

It would be a huge help to me if you also took this quick survey about this post. It’s only one question, and it’s anonymous. Thanks!

(If there is anything that needs to be fixed about this post feel free to message me)

Other Posts

Part One: f(x) Part Two: Crayon Pop Part Three: Girl’s Day

Harry Styles - Harry Styles - A lil review

Meet Me in the Hallway: 2, 3, 4… Love the soft, strumming guitar and Harry’s longing and haunting vocals. Just the way his voice breaks on the word “hallway”… So helpless-sounding and heartfelt. Ugh. Love that as the song nears its end, the instruments are stripped away one by one, and in the end there’s just one guitar and Harry’s voice, and then there’s just Harry’s voice holding that last note. Damn good, and a very clever choice. This song could last an hour long and I still would have to press “replay” over and over again.

Stand-out lyrics: “We don’t talk about it, it’s something we don’t do. ‘Cause once you do without it, nothing else will do.”

“Hoping you’ll come around, just let me know, I’ll be on the floor.”

Sign of the Times: Full-on-flush. I’ve talked about my love for this song many a time since it came out, so I’m moving on. (But I think it’s absolutely gorgeous and one of my faves.) 

Carolina: This song feels so old-school and cool. I was immediately struck by that thick bass throughout this song, LOVE it. Love the falsetto parts. Love the oh-yeah parts. Mayyyybe my least fave song on the album, but it’s still SOLID.

Stand-out lyric: “There’s not a drink that could sink her, how would I tell her that she’s all I think about? Well I guess she just found out”

Two Ghosts: Right away, the melody and harmonies… so lush. The acoustic guitar is so lovely, and I love the tone of the electric guitar on top - it almost sounds like it’s crying. This song gives me CNSY and Ryan Adams vibes, which I love, like it just breathes and moves in a really similar and nice way. Cool lil detail: The way he enunciates the ‘t’ in heartbeat at the end.

Stand-out lyric: “We’re just two ghosts swimming in a glass half empty. Trying to remember how it feels to have a heartbeat.”

Sweet Creature: A little Beatles-esque gem of a tune. This is such a soothing and flowy song, and his vocals match the tone perfectly. It’s warm-sounding and simple, and I love that he’s left a little air in this one. It feels organic and just sweeeet. And I love sweet.

Stand-out lyrics: “I always think about you and how we don’t speak enough. “
“Running through the garden, where nothing bothered us.”

Only Angel: Love the calming opening, which drags you into this really eerie and calming musical landscape. You’re ready to set up camp and hang out for a bit, and then Harry’s scream just rips you the fuck out of it. WAY to start a song, haha. Heavy guitar, the screams, the clapping, the background vocals, love it all. Such a colorful song. It’s red and blue at the same time. Tall and short at the same time. It’s pulsing, the beat is sick and his deep timbre gives me shivers..

Stand-out lyrics: “Couldn’t take you home to mother in a skirt that short, but I think that’s what I like about it.” 

“Broke a finger knocking on your bedroom door.”

“I must admit I thought about making you mine.”

Kiwi: I’m so here for these drums, and heavy guitars!! GOD. The attitude he has on this song?? It’s like he’s grabbing you by the collar, bringing you close and going “Nope, it’s just you and me”… *fans self* It’s edgy and very 70′s Brit rock, he’s belting out those notes with fierceness.
Love the “ding” after he sings “I’m gonna pay for it”, those little details are so cool and add so much to the complexity imo. And the gritty guitar solo is tasty as hell. You know when the shower is almost too hot to take? That sweet-spot, that’s what this song feels like.

Stand-out lyrics: “And now she’s all over me, it’s like I paid for it, I’m gonna pay for this.”
“I think she said ‘I’m having your baby, it’s none of your business.’”

Ever Since New York: So magical and soft. A big contrast after Kiwi, but fitting as the album cools down again. Love the drumming, there’s so much going on in this song. It’s intricate and subtle. Love that he matches his vocals to the tone and the sentiment of each track. With this song, he never tries too hard. He’s just singing like it’s the most effortless thing for him. And the stacked vocals on the chorus is a beautiful touch. Loved when he changed up the notes on this on SNL, and I wish he’d done that on the recorded version as well, but that’s a small complaint. 

Stand-out lyrics: “Choose your words, ‘cause there’s no antidote.”
“I understand I’m talking to the walls.”

Woman: Love this. His vocals are just stunning, (AGAIN) just the way he drags out the word “know” in that first line -AH! This song is so funky, so dope. It’s simple, but hella catchy. With this song, I feel like everything comes together. Like the lyrical idea feels good and goes perfectly with the sonic recording which goes great with the melody and groove. And the background vocals that start around 3:03 adds a really alluring element to the song.

Stand-out lyric: “I hope you can see the shape that I am in. While he’s touching your skin, he’s right where I should be”.

From the Dining Table: From the second you hear his lips part in this, you’re drawn in. He’s singing in a conversational way, which makes it sound really earnest and vulnerable. And that moment when the strings entered floored me the first time I heard it, it was so unexpected. A beautiful explosion of sounds. To me, this song feels like this scenario: It’s raining. You’re in bed, half asleep, there’s a candle about to smoke out, and it’s making the dozens of shadows in the room dance around..

Stand-out lyrics: “Comfortable silence is so overrated. Why won’t you ever say what you want to say.”
“Maybe one day you’ll call me and tell me that you’re sorry too,”

That last one just hit you right in the gut, because it feels so damn authentic and sincere, and that’s something that runs through the whole album imo. It feels exactly like what he should be doing. It’s so him. It never feels contrived or fake. There’s so much heart in it and you can tell that there’s a lot of hard work behind it. There’s not one stand-out weak song, I start playing the first song and I just let it run until it’s done, and that’s rare for me. So THANK YOU more than I could ever explain, Harry. I’m obsessed with this record and I needed it. ❤️ 

PSA TO FANS WHO STAN ‘unpopular’/’underrated’ GROUPS : please reblog

So I’m writing this to other fans that know the struggle of being constantly scared for the disbandment of one of your fave groups. I know Nu'est fans, Topp Dogg fans, After School, Stellar, B.I.G, Madtown, 24k, Boys Republic, MYNAME, Berry Good, Rainbow, Sonamoo, f(x), History and so many other fandoms can relate. You all know who you are, and I’m praying, hoping, that we can all help each other out again, like we’ve done before and band together to help support a group that I really don’t want to disappear like so many others have.

If you’re interested in helping out that would mean the world to me but if not, maybe you could check out some of the links I’ve attached below, or REBLOG, or even just check out one video: BIGSTAR’s most recent comeback Full Moon Shine. If you’d like to just skip to the links, I’ll have everything under the cut, but if you’d like to read a little about the group and hear my thoughts that would be awesome. (There is quite a bit, I will warn you.)

Keep reading

5

“We’re living in a time of real change,” says Depeche Mode singer Dave Gahan, a vision of intensity dressed head-to-toe in black. “As I get older, the things going on in the world affect me more. I think about my kids and what they’re growing up into. My daughter, Rosie, was deeply affected by the election last year. … She just sobbed, and I was like, ‘Wow.’”

RELATED

Depeche Mode Look Back on 'Violator’ 25 Years Later

The album was “the pinnacle of us having fun,” says Martin Gore

It’s an overcast mid-January day, and the singer, 54, is picking at some tagliatelle in a corner hotel restaurant located in downtown Manhattan, where he’s lived for about a decade. Despite sharing his alarm about the state of the world, he’s in bright spirits and can look at himself objectively. “Martin [Gore] and I both live in America, so we’re both very affected by what goes on,” he says. “Martin said to me, 'I know to some people, this will come off as rich rock stars living in their big houses in Santa Barbara with not a care in the world, and it’s true that we’re very fortunate. But that doesn’t mean you stop caring about what’s going on in the world. It’s really affecting me.’ And I said, 'I understand. I feel the same.’”

That sense of worry informed Gahan and his Depeche Mode bandmates while writing their upcoming album, Spirit, which is due out March 17th, as many of the LP’s 12 songs deal directly with the general Weltschmerz circulating the planet lately. Although Depeche Mode became megastars to a legion of black-clad, disaffected malcontents with serious songs about universal compassion (“People Are People”) and more personal revelations (“Enjoy the Silence,” “I Feel You”), the new tracks seem like a different chapter for the group. “I wouldn’t call this a political album,” Gahan says, “because I don’t listen to music in a political way. But it’s definitely about humanity, and our place in that.”

He sings of bigots “turning back our history” on “Backwards,” cheekily calls for change in “Where’s the Revolution?” (“Who’s making your decisions,” he sings, “you or your religion?”) and looks inward on the brooding “Poison Heart.” Musically, these songs are dark-hued with complex textures that are both icy and warm sounding, harkening back to the group’s Violator era while still sounding musically like an extension of their last album, 2013’s Delta Machine.

The realization that Gahan and Gore were on the same page with regard to world events came early when they regrouped last year with bandmate Andy Fletcher to begin work on the album. When they looked at everything they’d brought to the table, they saw a through-line. “We called the album Spirit, because it’s like, 'Where’s the spirit gone?’ or 'Where’s the spirit in humanity?’” Gahan says. “We considered calling it Maelstrom – that was a bit too heavy metal.”

They brought in producer James Ford, whose work with Florence and the Machine, Arctic Monkeys and Simian Mobile Disco had impressed the group, and he helped get the musicians get back on the same page. Other than a few disagreements between Gahan and Gore that Ford settled (“We really had it out,” Gahan says with a laugh, “It got pretty emotional”), the recording process went relatively quickly and easily, with sessions in Gore’s Santa Barbara studio and in New York.

Now the group is releasing the record’s first single, the Gore-penned “Where’s the Revolution?” The slow-building number, which features fuzzy synths, serves as a call-to-arms, on which Gahan sings, “The train is coming/Get on board,” along with the title question. “Martin wrote it in a very sarcastic, English way,” Gahan says.

It’s a mood that continues in another Spirit song “Backwards.” It opens with Gahan singing, “We are the bigots/We have not allowed/We have no respect/We have lost control.” It goes on to lambaste some people’s “caveman mentality” and how others “feel nothing inside,” amid jabbing keyboards and pounding rhythms and complete with Gore’s backing vocals. “If we want things to change, a revolution, we need to talk about it and about caring about what goes on in the world,” Gahan says. “It doesn’t seem the way things are in London. We seem to be going in another direction, and I think Martin felt like he needed to express that.”

That theme also resounds in another song written by Gore, “So Much Love,” a more upbeat, electronics-driven number about realizing that everyone has love inside. “It’s like we have so much love here, we really do, but we’re afraid to use it and access it,” Gahan says. “It’s the old John Lennon thing, like, 'love and peace, man.’”

But while Gahan sees a connection to the Beatles, the tune sounds nothing like the Fab Four with its dense, noisy pastiche of keyboards, drum machine and an eerie guitar line. Gahan says that the song, musically, has more in common with Depeche Mode in their earliest days.

“Back in '79 or 1980, we would play these 25-minute sets where I would write the little dots on the drum machine and shift it up and down to make it go faster or slower,” Gahan recalls. “It was a wall of sound. We’d plug these three keyboards into the drum machine, and three microphones – Vince [Clarke], Martin and myself – so it was three-part harmonies and a very distorted drum machine. … ['So Much Love’] also reminds me of early electronic stuff, like Tuxedomoon and Cabaret Voltaire, who did kind of punky, distorted songs.”

It’s the exact opposite sound of the ballad “Poison Heart,” a particularly catchy and euphonious number Gahan concocted with the group’s drummer, Christian Eigner, and keyboardist, Peter Gordeno. “They sent me this guitar line, and it had a bit of a Muscle Shoals vibe,” Gahan says. “It was a very different feel and I got this melody in my head.” It opens with a slow, funeral march in the vein of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ “I Put a Spell on You” and builds to an almost Beatles-like bridge with only a smidgen of noisy guitar. Gore, whom Gahan says is “not a man of many words when it comes to others’ songs,” called “Poison Heart” the best song Gahan had ever written.

“You have poison in your heart,” he croons outright at the beginning of the song. And later, he sings, “You know it’s time to break up/You’ll always be alone,” but Gahan says it’s not intended to be a breakup song.

“I was watching the news on TV and I was writing through my own inability to really relate to another human being,” he says. “There must be something wrong with me, poison in my heart or whatever. So it was fun to play with that imagery, and it became more worldly – greed and lust and wanting what you want when you want it and nothing else matters. So I was breaking up with myself – trying to evolve, trying to break up with old ideas that I think are working for me but are not in actuality. Fortunately, that’s not my relationship with my wife.”

He laughs, picking at his pasta, and says that “Poison Heart” complements another song on the album, which wasn’t played for Rolling Stone, called “Worst Crime.” “The lyrics to 'Poison Heart’ are more of an internal dialogue, but 'Worst Crime’ is looking outward,” he says. “It’s bringing about the change. You’ve got to do something different or act differently. We can all talk about whatever is going on until we’re blue in the face but you have to take real action, and sometimes we don’t know what that looks like. Individually, I believe people are inherently good, but we’re really distorted by the information we get and we act out on that information out of fear.”

Another way he expressed that opinion on the album is in a song called “Cover Me,” which he describes as a story song. “It’s about a person who travels to another planet only to find that, much to his dismay, it’s exactly the same as earth,” Gahan says. “It’s a different planet but the same. He really can’t get away from himself. If he wants things to change, he’s going to have to implement it.”

If that premise sounds like pure Bowie, it’s only because the Starman loomed large as an influence on Gahan and Gore throughout their career. “When Bowie died, we both didn’t know what to do with it,” Gahan says. “There was a personal connection there. It was a huge loss.”

Gahan recalls sobbing last January when he heard that Bowie had died. He had gotten used to seeing Bowie in surprisingly normal social settings – Gahan and Bowie’s daughters are about the same age and attend the same school – and Gahan would sometimes chat with Bowie at school functions. “It was very different to the Bowie that I grew up adoring and living vicariously through,” he says. He’d become a fan as a young teen watching Top of the Pops and latched onto Bowie’s androgyny because his mother didn’t like it. When he turned 16, he scrounged together some money (“I’m sure I stole something and sold it,” he says) to see Bowie perform at London’s Earl’s Court in 1978, and he calls the double live album, Stage, which was recorded on that tour, “some kind of pacifier” for him, his go-to Bowie.

“I had seen the news but it wasn’t until my wife told me he had died that I just broke down in tears,” Gahan says. “My daughter came out and they were both hugging me. It really affected me. I felt a huge gap. One of the things I was most regrettable about was that I had never really gone up to him at any time I’d seen him in passing and said, 'You know, David, I bump into you every once in a while, but I’ve never told you how much your music has meant to me and continues to mean to me.’”

To right this, Depeche Mode paid tribute to Bowie at a special concert they recently recorded at New York City’s High Line public park. They filmed the performance – which they did without an audience and which included several songs from Spirit – with just a drum machine and Gore on guitar, and they capped it with a cover of Bowie’s “Heroes.” “I was so moved, I barely held it together, to be honest,” Gahan says. “Martin listened to 'Heroes’ once it was mixed and randomly told me, 'Wow, that was really fucking good.’ And I said, 'Yeah, it was, wasn’t it?’”

Although Depeche Mode have not yet decided how they will release this film, Gahan is eager for people to see the whole thing and especially “Heroes.” In the meantime, he’s getting back into the headspace of performing live, and spreading the band’s new message of world awareness to audiences. By his estimation, the band has already sold over a million tickets to a few dozen stadium European stadium shows later this year, and the group is still finalizing plans for a U.S. tour; rehearsals begin in mid-February.

But it’s the early interest in the upcoming European leg that Gahan is most excited about, since many venues were nearly sold out before the release of the new single. “We spent a lot of years just fighting to be heard and to be respected,” he says. “One or two reviews of our past albums over the years have been pretty harsh. And you go, 'Oh, those people really don’t get us, they don’t get it.’”

But over the last nearly four decades, Depeche Mode have amassed a dedicated fan base, something that resonated with Gahan recently when he was working on a side project with the cinematic production team Soulsavers. One of the members of that group, Rich Machin, told him that Depeche Mode records like Violator and Songs of Faith and Devotion were among his favorites when he was 13.

“They were like what Diamond Dogs and Ziggy Stardust were to me, those albums where you sit in your bedroom wondering why you don’t fit in with the rest of the world,” Gahan says. “That’s what I was doing with David Bowie at that age. I had found somebody in him that I could understand, where I felt I was part of his world, when I felt alienated. And I think that’s why Depeche Mode appeals to a lot of people. Somehow it’s comforting, like, 'You’re not alone.’ You’re not, of course. None of us are. But music is the thing that crosses all boundaries and brings odd people together.”

It’s a sentiment that also echoed last year when it was announced that Depeche Mode were nominated for the first time to enter the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame but ultimately didn’t make it. “We’re not just part of the fabric, and I’m proud of that,” he says. “We stick out as being something that’s a little bit odd. We knew we weren’t going to get up there with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but someone wrote something like, 'They’re a band wearing eyeliner, writing pervy songs about twisted, weird, depressing subjects.’

"I took that as a massive compliment,” he continues. “Because we are a little odd, and we’ve always appealed to the odd out there, the odd in the world. Our fans and the people like ourselves are a squad that maybe didn’t quite feel right hanging out with others. We’re a little awkward, a little nerdy, a little different. We found each other and it became a gang.” He laughs, looking proud. “And it’s a pretty big gang now.”

(via Depeche Mode’s Dave Gahan on Urgent New LP, Bowie Influence - Rolling Stone)

BTS ‘Love Yourself: HER’ | Review (pt. 1)

So after listening to BTS’ latest album, I’m left with a lot to say. Here are my first impressions, if you’re interested at all, on Love Yourself: Her.

disclaimer: if you’re easily butthurt about people criticising your faves, and immediately go to attack those people - then DON’T READ THIS. also if you do read this, then don’t take it too seriously. these are my first impressions after all. i might change my views later. and extra reminder that these ARE MY OPINIONS not facts. don’t attack me please. :) peace xx

PART 2 COMING SOON

Originally posted by herthealbum

Intro: Serendipity

words to describe: warm, romantic, soft, simple

favourite lyrics: we bloom till it gets cold, maybe it’s the way of the universe // the universe has moved for us without missing a single thing 

positives: the mix of sounds in the background gives the song a nostalgic vibe. the change of beat/pace throughout the song gives me a vision of a memory reel, as if i’m being transported through the happy memories of a relationship. it’s short, it’s sweet, and overall the production is beautiful and memorable. jimin’s vocals compliment the production especially well and you honestly cannot pick a better member to sing this song. his voice is serene and melodic, and it is also very honest. definitely going to be one of my favourites from the album.

my critiques: honestly, i can’t pick apart at this song at all. its simplicity makes it memorable and i absolutely adore.

DNA

words to describe: chill, fun, alittlebasicimsorry

favourite lyrics: our meeting is like a mathematical formula, commandments of religion, providence of the universe; the evidence of destiny given to me

positives: J-HOOOOOPE!!! his rap honestly gives this song life if i’m being completely honest. also the bridge of the song with V’s voice is a perfect blend of all these futuristic sound effects and his deep tone. suga’s rap is fun and energetic too and gives the song a little edge. ALSO the beginning of the song is amazing. AND ALSO the ending with j-hope’s LALALALALA is CATCHY AF.

my critiques: everything else. now don’t get me wrong, the choreo and the mv (visually) are great, but the song is sorta… lacking. BEFORE YOU ATTACK ME, HEAR ME OUT. you see, from the teasers, i expected more from the song. i mean, it’s the title track. the whistling from the teasers had me so hyped that this was going to be a total bop. i wanted MORE of it (the whistling). the chorus (as in, the beat drop)… well, if i had heard the song itself (without watching the mv), i would of flat out said i disliked this song. don’t get me wrong, i love edm, but this sort of beat was flat and basic imo. the buildup to the beat is also a little lacking and repetitive (in a way that it’s a buildup similar to a lot of other songs). tbh the choreo saved the song for me (but i can’t exactly watch the mv every time i happen to listen to the song).

even though i expected bts to sound different with this comeback (i mean, they always do every time - e.g. going from fire, to save me, to bs&t), this is the first time i’m left a little disappointed with the way their title song sounded. overall, j-hope (along with the choreo) is the saviour of this song because his verse and his section at the end gave it more edge and tbh it sounded more like BTS. but HEY this is only my first impression. it might grow on me later on. hopefully.

Best of Me

words to describe: bright, a little funky, catchy

favourite lyrics: we shared something and you can’t make it nothing // i haven’t seen the end to myself either, but if there’s such a thing, wouldn’t it be you?

positives: not many if i’m honest. the vocals were nice but they weren’t amazing or mind blowing like on some other tracks. the rapping was also on par with the vocals imo.

my critiques: immediately i can tell this is the collab with the chainsmokers. production-wise, not as enjoyable as i would have liked. it’s not terrible but it’s pretty bland. i feel like i’ve heard this beat everywhere, and that’s because i have. you see, a problem i have with the chainsmokers is that, even though the first few songs you hear are great, after a while they all sound the same. it’s sort of like K.A.R.D. the songs they’ve put out so far all have the same vibe, but at least their mix of vocals make up for it. but… there aren’t many vocals over the beat in the chorus. so there isn’t much you can do. if you don’t like the main beat, then you don’t like the main part of the song, which basically equates to you not liking the song overall. (am i still making sense?) look, it’s not a bad track. maybe it’s just not my style. but personally, i could’ve done without a chainsmokers collab. it seems a little forced and unlike bts. good for you if you enjoy the song, but i’m disappointed that i can’t :(

dimple/Illegal

words to describe: satisfying, effortless, cute

favourite lyrics: you hide but only appear when you smile // so i call you illegirl 

positives: right off the bat, my attention is well within their grasp. the vocal line did so so well with this song, and the line distribution is pretty well done (i think). the chorus is catchy, however each verse keeps you on your toes. what i mean is, there isn’t a single bland moment. the soft tone V uses in the bridge, complimented by jimin and jin afterwards is honestly a seamless blend. then with jungkook’s (?) strong belt at the end to lead into the finishing chorus, it’s just effortless. background vocals and the “hey” near the end, just! so! great! 

my critiques: very little. although i feel i can only listen to this song after not listening to it for a long time, only because i want to keep that warm and excited feeling in my chest each time i do listen to it. also a little disappointed that the song wasn’t about namjoon (jks im only kidding, although i feel like half the fandom expected it to have some relation to namjoon - or a least hoped it would)

Pied Piper

words to describe: savage, slightly kinky, slightly creepy, woke af (about the fandom), chill, groovy

favourite lyrics: now stop watching and study for your test, your parents and director hate me // stop, interpret the music video later, you have so many pictures of me in your room anyway (yes, i do, fck you bts oml :’)) // I’m takin’ over you (the way it sounds in the song is catchy af) // the moment you hear that sound, maybe I’m a bit dangerous, like the pied piper //  I’m your guilty pleasure, you can’t escape

positives: welp this song basically describes everyone who has ever listened to their entire discography and has without fail analysed everything and obsessed over every new release, whether it be an album or a new selca on twitter. basically, this is bts calling out every army out there. but besides the absolute genius correlation between them/their music and the pied piper, let’s talk about the actual musical production aspect of the song. 

i love love LOVE the chorus. it’s so groovy and sexy (don’t ask me how i just think the oo Ooo ah- oo- ah ah ah is sexy). my favourite verses are by suga and hoseok, but can we tALK ABOUT THE VOCAL LINE??? holy shit they’ve improved so much??? especially jimin and jin!! and the break down in the second verse by V and that weird autotune thing is so cool and unpredictable. and then the whispered “yeah suga” is also hot af.

my critiques: i don’t think i can listen to this on repeat. much like dimple, although not really, it just lacks umph. it can get repetitive easily if you listen to it too much at once. it’s a chill and laid back song, and i think that makes it weak in the case when you’re listening to the album in order (which i was the first time) as the variation in tone and rhythm is a little lacking (idk if that makes sense sorry) - i think because the previous songs (although i do like and enjoy) all lack umph. serendipity is slow and relaxing, and while DNA is fun and catchy, but in imo, is also repetitive and bland. best of me was meh and dimple (while i LOVE) is still a really chill song. so i think pied piper should’ve been placed after Go Go, to help transition to the outro.

but please let me know your thoughts on the album!! maybe you guys might help change my mind on a few things? :)

PART 2 COMING SOON (with the rest of the tracks)

I’M SCREAMING

We’re 3 months away from this glitter-bomb and they gave us some stuff to scream about. I think I’ll do just that. I took my sweet time putting this together, I know, but there’s a fair bit to unpack and a lot to be excited about so, let’s go through it all!

Animation

Okay, so first things first: people are calling this a 2D movie and that’s not really that accurate.

It certainly has some 2D elements, like the backgrounds, but the style of animation only makes the characters look 2D, when in fact they’re 3D models.

You can tell in how they move. If I were to give you a still screen shot, you might guess that it was from a 2D animation, but in motion, you can tell what it actually is: cel-shading.

I had a hunch that’s what it was so I asked a storyboarder who worked on the MLP movie (and the show) if I was right and she said: 

The program they’re using is ToonBoom, which does rigs with 2D toon shaders, among other things!

You know, I don’t often call things, but I fucking called it. Let me have this. Just to give you a quick definition from Wikipedia:

“Cel shading or toon shading is a type of non-photorealistic rendering designed to make 3-D computer graphics appear to be flat by using less shading color instead of a shade gradient or tints and shades.”

3-dimensional figure with cel shading, has the effect of making it  look 2D. Typically seen with thick outlines on the outside and little to no outlines on the inside:

(Team Fortress 2 itself isn’t normally cel shaded, but that’s a great example a fan made of what cel shading usually looked like when I was growing up)

Cel shading without outlines, as seen in Wind Waker. 

  • Like I said, just seeing this still image, it looks 2D, but watching it move, you can tell there’s a 3rd dimension to the character with the features and lineart mapped out onto the models to make it look 2D
  • Which by the way, is really unique for a major release! I don’t know about anyone else, but I was excited that MLP: The Movie seemed to be 2-D since there hasn’t been a domestic 2-D animated movie since Winnie the Pooh in 2011. 6 damn years! While I maybe would’ve ideally liked a completely 2-D animated movie, the backgrounds and the cel shading works in really neat ways, and it will definitely make the movie stand out 
  • The purely 3-D objects seem unfinished at the moment (but that’s not out of the ordinary, CGI seems to be one of the last processes). It needs texture or shading or something, and I can tell because most of the ship looks too soft (too much like a model) to be metal. I really think this will be fixed for the final product, but that’s probably the most jarring part of the style at the moment
  • Not all of the 3-D looks unfinished, but the best looking parts are still the painterly, 2-D stuff (look at those towers; they’re really stylized, but you can tell they’re 3D in a more 2D environment)
  • THAT DIGITALLY PAINTED VERSION OF CANTERLOT THOUGH:
  • The light effects are definitely 3-D in the fireworks and rainboom
  • Oh, and speaking lighting, so much of it looks so pretty! There are one or two times when the colours are slightly off, but the majority of the time it looks freaking gorgeous
  • You can kinda see by looking at Rarity that the shading is juuust slightly off here (kinda like they were for the teaser trailer), but then you look in the background and see this BEAUTIFUL background and Twilight all upset and worried about this invasion, and it feels like such a nitpick to worry about what will probably still be cleaned up before it hits theaters
  • We also get some really great expressions, so they’re not really limited by the 3D models underneath (if I’m right about that)
  • Also, just as one last little note here, the style is detailed enough to see little things about the characters we didn’t know up until now, like the fact that the spines on the side of Spike’s head are translucent, or that the colours of RD’s mane aren’t 100% perfectly separated
  • Overall with the animation, I’m so impressed not only by how gorgeous it is,but by how willing they were to take a risk and incorporate a 3D element in the form of  (I think) cel-shading. This only really matches the creative spirit of the MLP team, though. Whether or not you agree on how well they always execute everything, they always try to step up their game with every new season and push themselves to be and do better.
  • And while I will say that if some of the more 3D parts (yeah, I’m talking about the zeppelin/airships mostly) aren’t fixed for the final release, I would have a bone to pick with them, but I have faith that we’ll be seeing a much smoother integration of that 3D on the big screen.

Story and Character Details

I really appreciate that they didn’t outright spoil anything too big. It’s definitely a well-cut trailer! We basically only know about the same information we did before, with just a hint or two as to things like who the true villain is.

  • Just based on the focus given to these characters in the trailer (and what I know of the Storm King’s characterization in the first Movie Prequel comic that was just released), seems like he’s not as big of a threat as the commander of his fleet, Tempest. 
  • It’s a kind of villain we haven’t seen on the show or even in EQG, and not only that, but 
  • She’s got a fantastic voice actress behind her, so she can pull off the deliciously evil vibe well without, say, reminding us too much of Chrysalis or other powerful animated villains from Disney classics
  • Plus her design with the broken horn and her magic sparking up out of it is instantly intriguing to me: for such a powerful presence, it’s awesome to see her weakness (and most likely shady past) is always on display—especially for a commander character, that’s just really cool
  • Grubber seems to be pretty standard so far, nothing he’s done has really impressed me quite yet, but I’m hoping his best stuff is saved for the movie itself
  • The sky pirates (or skyrates) look like a lot of fun, and in context I can see how well the bipedal birb pirate blends with the universe (the bipedal designs were the ones I had the most trouble with)
  • On top of that, we have sea ponies at last! And they’re far more adorable than I ever could’ve hoped
  • The original sea pony designs from G1 looked a lot more like sea horses, with curling tails and fins on either side, but I think the meraid-ish look is both more marketable for Hasbro and more appealing to look at (the original sea ponies always seemed like a joke in the fandom to me, I admittedly never understood why people would actually want it in G4)
  • And a-ha! Good queens do exist! Poor Celestia and Luna. Always a princess, never a queen.
  • Oh, and Seaquestria? It’s freakin’ beautiful. I LOVE the rich blues and purples here. If you haven’t had a chance to check out the 360 image of the underwater palace complete with an excellent piece of background music, treat yourself.
  • The Mane 6′s sea pony designs are pretty dang adorable. I don’t have anything interesting to say, I just like the cute water horses, okay?

Minor Details and Incidentals

I’ll start out by saying Twilight’s narration in the trailer is pretty standard, but still heartwarming (mostly because I already know and love these characters though). It sort of reminds me of the bits of narration from the How to Train Your Dragon movies, although those had a bit more character to them. 

The what could possible go wrong? line, though. It just makes me laugh thinking of all the flashbacks we could have to the series. 

Originally posted by fisherpon

I guess she’s talking about that festival specifically that she’s organizing, and in that way it’s a show of character development (in a similar way to the character development on display in A Flurry of Emotions, where Twilight is told she’s late and doesn’t have a panic attack or worry about what could go wrong… too much), but it’s still hilarious to contrast the idea that nothing could go wrong in Equestria to… literally all of the show. 

  • AJ and RD protecting their friends even before the others have gotten over the shock of whatever they’re seeing tho
  • Starlight and Trixie get a bit of screen-time together and it’s adorable. Starlight might be stuck in Canterlot for the duration of the adventure, but I’m glad to see her included. Characters like Discord who might be too hard to explain to new audiences are understandable losses, but even if Starlight’s cameo is brief, it’s good to see her role acknowledged
  • In terms of music, Sia’s looking adorable so far, and Lukas Graham’s as of yet unreleased Off to See the World sounds pretty catchy (it’s the song at the end of the trailer), so they’ve got talent behind the vocals!
  • Jumping back to little details, it’s neat how sea pony magic has a very distinct look from unicorn/alicorn magic. Also, the bubbles are really cute
  • And, okay, I just wanted to take a minute to appreciate how serious this ponk is. Can we all just stop and take a look, because in this scene Twilight’s saying how she’s the one Tempest is after, and she should probably face this alone, which seems to be our Princess of Friendship’s big dilemma in this movie, and Pinkie’s clearly trying to tell her she’s crazy
  • Gotta love that they didn’t just go for hyperactive comic relief Pinkie Pie; they don’t seem to be boiling down these characters to just one trait (which is partially why I loved the moment where RD and AJ defend the girls; RD’s ego will no doubt be on display throughout the movie, but you’ll also see she’s ready to lay down her life for her friends)
  • And hey, lookie here! Canterlot got a make-over… and a contractor. There’s more pink than there typically is and it doesn’t necessarily match what we’ve seen of it in the show. Especially places like the throne room:
  • And you know, I’m a little torn on this detail? It’s beautiful, and I’m digging the starry night mosiac they’ve got going on back there, but it would’ve been nice to see the throne room we know and love rendered in this new style, you know? I’m gonna miss the deep magentas and the stain glass windows of the Mane 6′s accomplishments. I know that’s mostly the fangirl in me, but I like seeing continuity nods back to the show (like hey look: Cadence gets a cameo!)
  • Unless Canterlot gets destroyed and subsequently rebuilt in the season 7 finale, in which case I’ll shut my mouth
  • Speaking of which, I still have to wonder exactly when this will take place in the series, or if it exists slightly to the left of canon like the Equestria Girls movies (which, I mean, I consider canon, but still). I know there’s ties into the comics, but I wonder if/when the show will acknowledge the events of the movie… I guess only time will tell

And for now, I think that about wraps it up! All in all, I’m beyond excited to see this thing, as anyone could’ve guessed. 

It should also be noted that a lot of kids movie trailers focus on the fun, comedic portions of the movie, so while I do think it’s mostly going to feel like this, I’m also looking forward to the more character-driven feelsy parts. As we well know, you can never get the full scope of a movie from just the trailer, but it’s usually especially true for kids movies.

Even just from what we have seen, it looks like we’re in for a ride. Can’t wait to get on.


Hey, if you’d like more MLP stuff, you can click right here to see my editorials or here for episode reviews. And if those links don’t look pretty enough, have the last three things I’ve done right here:

Parental Glideance Review, Celestia/Daybreaker Editorial, and LGBT+ Editorial

Year of the Pony

Annotated Album-A-Day List:

Annotated Album-A-Day List:

Alphabetical Order: January - June 2017

So this is every album I listened to from January to the end of June. Every one has a quick opinion of mine. Let me know what you think of my thoughts if you know the albums or decide to check them out!! Happy listening!!

A:

Actress - AZD: A solid electronic album that messes with sound in some very interesting ways. Worth a listen but it hasn’t been pulling me back as much as I would have hoped.

America - America: Really enjoyable classic folk rock that most definitely was influential. They do a great job layering their tracks with percussion and a fleet of guitars. Donkey Jaw is probably my favorite track due to how hard it rocks out (for folk) at a few points. If you like folk, you’ll enjoy this album quite a bit.

Anderson .Paak - Malibu: Sweet Kraken!! This album is fantastic! It’s groovy, smooth, sexy and has some nice hip hop flavor to it. It gets a little long with some more fatty songs, but I can’t stop going back to it.

Angel Olsen - Half Way Home: Honestly, this isn’t my cup of tea. It’s just a bit too twangy for my taste. If you like country a lot, check it out.

Animal Collective - Marriweather Post Pavilion: This album is a wall of sound. There are no empty spaces in any song. If there was empty space at any point they popped in another synth layer, or another vocal track to fill the gap. This is what makes this album unique. It sounds like nothing else from that time where rock bands were going for more stripped down sounds with kitschy melodies played on xylophones while their acoustics shit out the same chords over and over. This showed that Animal Collective wasn’t like the rest of the “indie” rock bands of the day.

The Avalanches - Since I Left You: What an incredible album! This is what electronic albums should use as a baseline and it’s influence has been seen since it released in 2000. This is a sample album, so every sound used on it is taken from something else. While that sounds like it may be a bit derivative or outright copying, it isn’t. They are able to create utterly new and unique sounds and songs that will no doubt blow you away. Also, this album has a near impeccable flow from track to track. A must listen.

B:

BADBADNOTGOOD - BBNG: This is a great jazz album with some hip hop influence. It’s even better if you’re into video games because of their covers of songs off of the Zelda soundtrack. Even if you are not familiar with those though, this album is worth your time. And I’m sick of Giant Steps too.

Beach House - Depression Cherry: If you like dream pop, this is the album for you. It’s spacey, catchy and clean. If you’re looking for variety though, go somewhere else. This is very much an album from a band who has found their sound and is sticking with it.

Blank Banshee - Mega: This is a weird album. It’s some good electronic music, but the songs started to blend together in my mind, and when it was over, I was surprised I had listened to an entire album.

Big L - Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous: You can’t go wrong with Big L! His rhymes were incredible and his lyrics were nasty. It’s not often that you find more accessible horror core.

Big L - The Big Picture: Another solid album, but it has a little weirdness to it considering that it is a posthumous album. Big L will spit a verse then Jay Z will come on and finish up with a respectful rest in peace to the man of the hour. It feels incredibly odd, but weirdly special.

Bob Dylan - Empire Burlesque: Ooffa dooffa! This is a bad album. There is such a palpable lack of effort on this album that kills me when I listen to it. Dylan was just going track by track hitting the highs and lows that he knew would sell. It just feels like a lazy album that doesn’t even remotely stand out as a good one in his career. If you love Bob Dylan I’d say check it out to have more of an appreciation for his good stuff, but otherwise maybe skip this one.

Boogie Down Productions - Criminal Minded: Fucking classic masterpiece. Required listening. ’Nuff said.

C:

Capital STEEZ - AmeriKKKan Korruption: Man, this is such a solid record, it sucks so bad that STEEZ took his own life. His topics and flows feel good and his beats are that nice and comfortable Pro • Era style.

Carly Rae Jepsen - E•MO•TION: This album has no right to be as awesome as it is. I was expecting some pop drivel that I’ve heard since birth just regurgitated for the billionth time because producers know that it will make money, but Jepsen actually knocks it out of the park with an original pop album. My only gripe is the lack of lyrical variety, but it doesn’t drag the album down too much.

Chance the Rapper - 10 Day: Man, it’s crazy to think that a 17 year old Chance was able to put this together. It’s tight, it’s mean and god damn is it solid. With the ethos surrounding it I wasn’t expecting such a great mixtape, but man, does he deliver with it.

Chance the Rapper - Acid Rap: This is the best Chance mixtape in my opinion. With the exception of the extended period of silence in the first half, the album has a great pace peaking with Cocoa Butter Kisses. Chance finds his style here and never has it been as strong!

Chance the Rapper - Coloring Book: Coloring Book is great, don’t get me wrong, especially with songs like No Problem but this album drags. It hits about the halfway point and runs head first into a brick wall with some of the most skippable tracks that Chance has ever made.

Charles Mingus - Mingus Ah Um: I mean… It’s Mingus, obviously it’s amazing.

Childish Gambino - Because the Internet: I wanted to like this album so badly. I love Donald Glover in almost every other avenue, but as a rapper his style isn’t distinct enough, his lyrics can be half baked, and his sense of pacing is sorely lacking. This is another album that’s first half is stacked well, so when the second half comes in all you want to do is take a nap.

Childish Gambino - Awaken, My Love: Now this, this is where I think Glover should be going. This album is better than Because the Internet in every way. From song writing to the production, not to mention the more obvious fit of the new genre he decided to tackle. With the exception of California, every song is pretty solid.

Clarence Clarity - No Now: I literally can’t get enough of this album. It’s so weird and perfect. Clarence Clarity creates pop songs with somewhat familiar sounds and distorts them beyond a sane level. They sound like they were made in space and that’s what makes the album so compelling. Each time I listen I hear a new song in the track listing. Also, Cancer in the Water is such an incredibly powerful track!

Crosby, Stills & Nash - Crosby, Stills & Nash: Coming out in 1969 Crosby, Stills & Nash began their journey to become on of the best folk bands of all time. They basically created modern folk as we know it, so if you enjoy Fleet Foxes or Mumford and Sons then do yourself a favor and check out their stuff. It has an older style but it still has acoustic guitars and beautiful vocals.

Crywank - Tomorrow is Nearly Yesterday and Everyday is Stupid: I found this album incredibly randomly and wasn’t shocked or disappointed with it. It’s fine. It has some catchy tunes and deals with some heavier emotions like existential dread and depression, but unfortunately sometimes it just comes off as a little whiny.

D:

(Quick Danny Brown Note: I’m a huge Danny Brown fan, but he isn’t for everyone because of his unique sound, don’t be discouraged if you don’t like him)

Danny Brown - The Hybrid: If there has ever been an album that has shown potential, it’s The Hybrid. Danny Comes through with a great tape with his signature two styles of songs, the more party based ones, and the serious ones.

Danny Brown - XXX: Man. This album is good. Every song is good. Every. Fucking. One. Danny does this cool thing too where he changes hist style on the fly. The first half of the album is crazy. Danny raps about drugs women and partying while using his unique higher pitched vocals. Then the second half is a much more toned down serious sounding bunch of tracks that deal with more difficult topics. Instant classic.

Danny Brown - Old: Old is another strong album from Danny, but can get a little patchy at the very end. But man, I can’t stop listening to it. Dip stands out as one of the coolest sounding tracks that Danny’s put out.

Danny Brown - Atrocity Exhibition: Jeezers peezers, what a goddamn album!! This is one of Danny’s (I’m assuming there will be more) magnum opuses. This album gets weird. The production on the first track gives us the perfect tone for this record, that coincide with the lyrics that just tell us that something is off. And every other track works towards this idea. Ain’t it Funny feels like this massive cry for help and Really Doe is a perfect track talking about the problems in the rap game. This is another must listen.

Death Cab for Cutie - Transatlanticism: This album is fantastic. I’m not a huge Death Cab fan, partially due to a lack of knowledge of them and partially due to the singers voice, but this album is undeniably good. It his some raw emotions with perfectly crafted music to back it up. I will be coming back to this album again and again.

Death Cab for Cutie - Narrow Stairs: I Will Possess Your Heart is an awesome 8-minute track that feels anxious and perfectly repetitive, but this album drags. The pacing here is an issue. By the end of the album I was ready to bail and finally be done with it. There are some good tracks, but there are too many duds.

(Quick Death Grips Note: I’m also a huge Death Grips fan, they are incredibly aggressive and experimental hip hop, not for everyone but give them a shot, good to use as a gaming soundtrack for the first time you listen to them so your brain can get used to their sound)

Death Grips - Exmilitary: Death Grips sounds so incredibly different from any of their other albums on this mixtape, but that’s what makes it so compelling. Their unique use of sampling mixed with MC Ride’s classic shouting delivery packs a massive punch to your ears and gut. It’s abrasive, but you can’t help but jam along with it.

Death Grips - The Money Store: This album is probably perfect. I wouldn’t cut a single song from its 40-minute runtime that ends much much too short. This album is mandatory listening. It’s abrasive, catchy, disgusting and aggressive. It makes you want to scream out into the night with a big “fuck you!”

Death Grips - No Love Deep Web: Where could Death Grips go after the money store? Darker. This album looses any sense of light which makes it feel like Ride is forcing rocks into your ear canals, but these emotions feel right at home in Death Grips unique sound.

Death Grips - Government Plates: This album starts off incredibly strong, hitting a great stride with Birds. As it goes on it slowly looses its footing, and Ride’s vocals which makes for a slightly lackluster album. Yet, it still keeps me coming back for the first half and the last two tracks.

Death Grips - Fashion Week: There are some great instrumentals here, but I had two problems with it. First, it is hard to call it Death Grips without MC Ride screaming murderous lines into my head, and second the album has very little focus musically. It ends up being a bit long for it’s own good and misses a few great places to end in favor of an incredibly abrupt ending.

Death Grips - The Powers That B: This two parter is interesting. Most critics prefer the second half like I do, but I still enjoyed the first part quite a bit. But man, Jenny Death (disc 2) ends up blasting Ni**as on the Moon out of the water with it’s punk rock influences, something that they would later touch more on in Bottomless Pit.

Death Grips - Interview 2016 EP: This is a strong instrumental album that is a perfect length. It feels less criminal in its exclusion of MC Ride than Fashion Week does, but I could always use more Ride.

Death Grips - Bottomless Pit: Shit, this album is nasty! Like really nasty and makes for such a strong Death Grips album. The beats are disgusting, the samples are depraved and the lyrics shouldn’t even be allowed they’re so gross, and that’s why I love it.

Denzel Curry - Nostalgic 64: It’s amazing that this was Curry’s first mixtape because it sounds like he’s been in the game a long time. He has style and his flow is tight. He knows when to get emotion and delivers a powerful song discussing the  difficult topic of police violence.

Denzel Curry - Imperial: Another solid record with great pacing. Slowly Curry is growing into one of the greats of this generation of rap and I’m happy to be on board now while he’s still on his way up. He’s got some great anger and intensity that I haven’t heard since like Young Pappy.

E:

Earl Sweatshirt - Earl: Earl comes out swinging for the fences, or for peoples faces. This mixtape is short, sweet and vicious. His lyrics range from poetic to downright disgusting. He shows off his skills and a little influence from the Odd Future crowd.

Earl Sweatshirt - Doris: Doris is incredibly solid. Every track is great instrumentally and lyrically. Features from Frank and Tyler propel this album into being a good album, but it’s Earl’s wordplay and unique flow that make it great.

Earl Sweatshirt - I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside: This is such an unpopular opinion, but this is my favorite Earl record (even Siri likes Doris more). Earl is introvert, anxious, anti-social and distrusting, which speaks to me very clearly. Each song is brimming with emotions that hide just beneath this tough guy facade, briefly showing their faces from time to time. Grief and DNA are the two best tracks as they paint such gnarly pictures.

Elucid - Valley of Grace: Wowzers bowzers, this is awesome. This is so awesome. It’s short as hell, but it comes in throws some great tracks and socially conscious lyrics at you then gets out. There is no fat on this, if anything I want more, but this is already the most experimental hip hop album I’ve heard in a while. He messes with industrial sounds, messes with mixing so that he is sometimes overshadowed by the music, messes with samples and messes with you. Listen to this, it’s half an hour so if you somehow don’t like it, it’ll be over soon.

Eric Clapton - Eric Clapton: This is a great album by Clapton that feels very much like a debut record. It’s not as catchy as Slowhand but still manages to entertain you. Worth a listen but I’m not going to be returning to this particular record month after month.

Everything Everything - Get to Heaven: It’s fine. The first few tracks are great, the last track is great. The middle is long and tough to get through, and the extended version just throws on songs that were rightfully cut from the regular studio version.

F:

Father John Misty - Fear Fun: Father John Misty makes a great first album apart from Fleet Foxes that immediately sets him apart from their sound. His humorous and cynical lyrics help to make the album standout as musically it isn’t anything you haven’t heard before.

Father John Misty - I Love You, Honeybear: Man, Father John Misty makes a solid album from front to back here. It’s funny, it’s awkward, its pretty and it’s a little nasty. Father John Misty found a style that mixes modern lyrics that are cynical and jaded with this happy sounding almost 50’s-esque rock that just inherently happy. The music and lyrics kind of oppose each other which makes this amazing disconnect that shows Father John Misty’s discontent with the current state of things. This is a must listen.

Father John Misty - Pure Comedy: This album is black comedy. Make no mistake, it is funny, but it is also depressing. The best way I can describe this album is that it’s like getting punched in the balls then riding a ferris wheel. You know it’s magical and beautiful, but it fucking hurts.

Feist - Let It Die: Mushaboom is so god damn catchy and sweet. There are some amazing songs on here, and then some that are… less amazing. Some can be a bit boring or just kinda iffy. Worth a listen though, it has a nice unique pop sound to it that is nice and soothing.

Fleet Foxes - Sun Giant EP: This EP feels very much in the same universe as Fleet Foxes first studio album which makes sense that they often package them together. It feels like a continuation of a fantastic album.

Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes: Talk about a strong album, this is pretty much perfect from the first second to the last. White Winter Hymnal is a great indie rock track that most people should know, but that may be the most underwhelming song on the album, which is saying a ton!

Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues: This sophomore record does not suffer from a slump, in fact it’s right on par with their first album. It hits hard and beautifully with some of their most beautiful and odd tracks to date.

(UPDATE) The more I listen to this album the more I love it. And dare I say that it may be a perfect album. Its just so beautiful, so romantic, and just so goddamn perfect.

Fleet Foxes - Crack-Up: Crack-Up is weirdly dark for Fleet Foxes. There are some emotions that they are dealing with here that they haven’t had to deal with before. Isolation and alienation are common themes on this due to Robin Pecknold’s isolation from the band prior to the recording of this record. They also get more experimental. Their quiet moments are dead silent while their crescendos are blaring. I will be coming back to this album throughout life.

Flying Lotus - 1984: I wanted to like this album, but I found it to be a little repetitive and I couldn’t quite tell each song apart. It’s just a bit too focused for me and I was hoping for more of an array.

Flying Lotus - Cosmogramma: This is the one though, the sounds are weird and fresh and feel full of energy. FlyLo pops out a record that will be remembered in the electronic community for years to come.

Frank Ocean - Nostalgia, Ultra: Man, I wanted to like this mixtape a lot. It had great reviews, Frank’s voice and songwriting are usually top notch, but this one just didn’t do it for me. What bothered me was a lack of catchy tunes, too many filler tracks, and some pretty lazy sampling that actually resulted in a (probably unwarranted) lawsuit from the Eagles. This mixtape showed potential, but that was about it.

Frank Ocean - channel Orange: I really like this album. The first time I head it, it blew me away. Frank’s songs are catchy and his emotions run high through his lyrics. It’s a must listen, but what I will say is that after hearing Blonde, I think it has aged weirdly. This album has a loose concept that doesn’t always work and not every song is perfect. His big focus of the album, Pyramids is basically two songs just jammed together with one being honestly kind of obnoxious while the other is incredible. It’s a great album but his next is better.

Frank Ocean - Blonde: Some prefer channel Orange to Blonde, but I’m not sure why, or how for that matter. It is less catchy, there are some weird flaws to the album, but it’s a much better album because of it’s emotional impact and the way in which it all comes together at the end of the album to make one of the strongest R&B albums out there. There are catchy songs like Solo and Nikes, if you don’t mind the pitched vocals, then there are more subtle tracks that have palpable energy like Skyline To, a song about the every accelerating passage of time. You can literally feel the song, the day, week, months slipping away from Frank on this track. It’s amazing. And the ending track gets me so good every time.

Freddie Gibbs - Shadow of a Doubt: This is a great hip hop album that makes you feel cool. It’s drug dealing talk isn’t always glamorous, but Gibbs’ always lets it slide off his back. Also, any track with Dana Williams is bound to be incredible.

Freddie Gibbs - You Only Live 2wice: Short, bitter, redemption. YOL2 is nothing new, but it was a necessary album before we get anything new sounding from Gibbs. He’s been through a lot, and he lets us know in full detail. He’s happy to be home, but he is definietely a changed person.

Freddie Gibbs & Madlib - Piñata: This is probably as close as we are going to get to a followup to Madvillainy, and that is okay because this album is fiyah! The two complement each others styles nicely and are able to push out fantastic beats and rhymes together that outshine most acts out there today. Not even remotely as good as Madvillainy, but it’s a worthy successor.

G:

Ghost Ship Octavius - Ghost Ship Octavius: If you like metal, especially classic metal, you’ll love it. These guys blast out songs with blaring guitars that shoot up scales faster than I knew hands could move. The singer holds these notes that force your index and pinky fingers up while sending your middle and ring fingers up. It’s nothing too new, but it’s great classical metal.

Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Life Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven: I don’t want to say much about this album because of what it means to me, but it is a must listen. It’s simply remarkable that humans made something this beautiful. I’m not too proud to say that this one made me cry.

Grizzly Bear - Horn of Plenty: Man, this album is lonely, but beautiful and ends on one of the most emotionally resonant songs you can listen. Check out the comments for the song ‘This Song’ on Youtube, people can’t help but get nostalgic with the track.

Grizzly Bear - Yellow House: Every song is a 3-D space. It sounds almost like the whole thing was recorded in a vast valley where sound was able to travel on its own time to the microphones. Each guitar, trumpet, violin and bass sounds perfectly orchestrated, yet utterly spontaneous. It’s beautiful and near perfect.

Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest: Grizzly Bear went a slightly different route here and made their songs a little less 3-D. Instead they feel tighter. The band feels like they know each note upcoming note from whoever is placed next to them. The songs are a bit catchier too, Two Weeks being a beautiful indie pop rock darling used in plenty of soundtracks over the years.

H:

Harry Styles - Harry Styles: I wasn’t expecting much from this album which made for a nice surprise, it’s not half bad. Problem is that it sounds incredibly dated and it came out a few weeks ago. The songs feel recycled from either some band in the sixties and seventies or Wolfmother, who would do it much better. His vocals are fantastic and clean, but that almost doesn’t work with the nature of the music. It almost sounds like it needs some more grit to it to be able to stand a chance.

I:

Ice Cube - AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted: A classic. Ice Cube is a wordsmith, his rhymes are deadly and so is his attitude. It’s worth every second it takes to listen to the whole thing.

Ice Cube - Death Certificate: Another strong album that ends on the most brutal diss track I’ve ever heard. No Vaseline was so brutal that Ice Cube and Dre still haven’t talked about it to this day! That’s pretty fucking awesome!

Isaiah Rashad - Cilvia Demo EP: It’s weird, this album starts similar to how Rashad’s next album feels, with much more laid-back tracks you can vibe to. Right towards the end though, Rashad picks up the intensity and drives it a bit. It works for him and the album has a really cool ending to it.

Isaiah Rashad - The Sun’s Tirade: Great if you like music that vibes a bit. It’s not gonna blow your socks off with energy, but it’s a great record that tackles tough emotions and drug abuse. Rashad is someone to watch in the future, if he can pop albums out in time.

J:

J Dilla - Donuts: Beats baby, beats!! Holy god, this is an amazing instrumental album that you can just feel the influence on. J. Dilla was on another playing field and this album shows just that.

(Quick J.Cole Note: I’m not a big J.Cole fan, nor have I ever been at any point, keep that in mind, if you like him keep liking him)

J. Cole - 2014 Forest Hills Drive: J. Cole is sort of an enigma to me, people love him and swear that he is rap royalty on the same level with Kendrick and Kanye, but he clearly isn’t. His production is good, yet lacks a certain dimension that others are able to attain. His lyrics, while slightly conscious, lack focus and self-awareness. And his albums in total feel jumbled and messy. This album is worth a listen, and sure has some catchy tunes, but will not go down in rap history as a classic. Also, Wet Dreamz is the most predictable song I have ever heard.

J. Cole - 4 Your Eyes Only: I enjoyed this album a bit more than 2014 Forest Hills Drive, which seems to be the opposite of most people. It has a more nineties sound, it’s a bit darker, but overall much more focused. With the exception of Neighbors, which comes out of absolutely nowhere, the album feels like a cohesive idea. Again though, this album just isn’t as good as it should be for the sales and praise that it gets.

Joey Bada$$ - 1999: How the hell was Joey 17 when this came out? This album is a solid 90’s throwback album with some great flows and rhymes. It’s not particularly conscious or aware, but as a debut mixtape, there are few that compare to it’s quality.

Joey Bada$$ - B4.Da.$$: I enjoyed this album a lot, but it feels almost like a continuation of 1999 and maybe comes off a bit better if it is listened to directly after 1999. It has a really similar 90’s hip hop sound, similar lyrical style and delivering. Great tracks, but not too different.

Joey Bada$$ - All-AmeriKKKan Badass: This is where Joey really changed things up a bit. Joey put out a fantastic record that will be on year ending lists. With this one he took a slightly more modern sound to his beats. His lyrics, if you can’t tell by the albums title, are much more politically charged. People have complained about the album being a bit jumbled and unfocused, but too me it felt right due to the amount of problems that we face today.

John Coltrane - A Love Supreme: Sweet Jesus!! This is that shit. This is a must listen album for every person alive.

Joni Mitchell - Ladies of the Canyon: Joni Mitchell writes poetry, then songs. This usually works incredibly well, but every once in a while it can make her songs feel like they have too little structure. This happens a few times on this record and it makes it a little hard to follow. When it does work though, which is most of the time, it’s beautiful music.

Joni Mitchell - Blue: Dimbo wimbo, this album is probably perfect. There are few records that are as beautiful as this one. Joni Mitchell takes poetry and turns it into music to incredible, INCREDIBLE results. A Case of You may be the most beautiful breakup song ever written, and the palpable sadness in The Last Time I Saw Richard is sure to get you to choke up a bit. Perfect on nearly all fronts. If you like folk, look no further.

Joni Mitchell - Court and Spark: Another nearly perfect album. More beautiful lyrics, more beautiful singing from Joni. My only problem with the album is it’s final track. The album feels very focused with a particular sound, and right at the very end she throws it out the window for a jazzy cover of Twisted that isn’t necessarily bad, it just doesn’t fit. Other than that, it’s pretty fan-fucking-tastic!!

K:

Ka - The Knight’s Gambit: Listen to this more than once. The first time you listen to it, it will feel kind of one track minded and slow. The production on each song feels a little similar, and so does Ka’s delivery. It’s his lyrics though that make his albums so astounding. Take some time to listen to his poetry in the music.

Ka - Honor Killed the Samurai: This album is similar to The Knight’s Gambit in the fact that it’s dense and requires more than one listen. If you like Ka you will like this album, if you don’t like Ka, it’s pretty similar sonically to his previous record.

Kamasi Washington - The Epic: Wow. This album brings something new to jazz, an genre that basically lives on retreading the past. This album feels fresh and like it could bring about a jazz revolution. It’s a bit of a beast though clocking it at around three hours, so take it slow when listening to it.

Karriem Riggins - Alone Together: Want fucking great beats that you can jam to? Check this one out, it’s easy to miss but should not be.

Kendrick Lamar - Section.80: These songs are all amazing, but have really meh hooks. Every hook just feels like it could have been thought out more and leave me a little disappointed every time. Yet, after every verse I’m thinking, or gasping, or wanting to listen again. This was telegraphing what would soon be some incredible albums.

Kendrick Lamar - Good Kid, m.A.A.d City: This is Kendrick’s first masterpiece. There are no bad songs. Every song is catchy, every song is thought provoking, and every song is rock solid. The track order is thought out and the tone of each song is perfectly crafted. With Kendrick’s focus comes conscious lyrics, or stories that paint pictures, or the hubris of a 16 year old growing up in one of the toughest towns in the world. This album is endlessly replayable.

Kendrick Lamar - To Pimp a Butterfly: This is Kendrick’s magnum opus. Kendrick mixes jazz, hip hop, politically charged anger, the frustrations of fame, and the fear of mortality into a living album that seems to show a new side to it on each listen. It’s depth almost can’t be understood on the first listen through. It’s dense, long and a little obtuse at times. But once the full picture comes together, you’ll notice the album’s perfection. Each song feels like it serves a purpose, each feature is utilized perfectly, and each word was picked with thought and precision. This is a must listen.

Kendrick Lamar - untitled unmastered.: Leave it to Kendrick to have golden b-sides. How is he so good? These incredible tracks were the throw aways from the same recording sessions as To Pimp A Butterfly. They share the same jazzy funky style, but showcase new ideas. Sometimes it makes sense that a song or two wasn’t on TPAB, but never are the songs bad. This collection could’ve been a studio album, but at least he decided to release them in some form rather than cast them out to deluxe editions of albums down the line.

Kendrick Lamar - DAMN.: How do you follow up one of the best albums of maybe the past twenty years? It seems like a weird task, and even Kendrick knew it. This album is a departure from his previous styles. It sounds more modern, more catchy, much darker. From the album cover to the grime laced track Lust, this album reeks of depression. Each song sends us further down this pit that Kendrick was finding himself in. That even goes for the songs that seemingly attempt to throw us off from that. Love, a summer jammy type song, feels off, a trait that I’ve never heard on a Kendrick album. While this isn’t Kendrick’s best album, it has some of his most aggressive and brutal tracks to date.

Killer Mike - R.A.P. Music: This is basically an RTJ album before RTJ. Killer Mike does a majority of the rapping while el-p does the production, and pops in on a few songs. There’s raw anger that the two bring to RTJ albums here and Killer Mike comes through with some astounding bars. This album is a great listen and a great precursor to the stuff they would later do together as RTJ.

L:

Local Natives - Gorilla Manor: The first half of the album sounds like your ex-girlfriend’s “indie rock” playlist that features only recycled sounds from all the other bands that were out there around 2010. The second half feels like it was thought about a bit more thoroughly. The songs flow a bit better, the sounds are at least a little more unique, but for the most part this album feels like a mediocre “indie pop rock” album.

The Long Winters - Putting the Days to Bed: This album I listened to because I had heard of it from one of the many podcasts I listen to (MBMBAM). I am kind of on the fence with this record. When it hits a high, like the track (It’s A) Departure, it nails it, but there is a lot of downtime where songs either leave you wanting more or something different. It’s worth a listen or two but that’s about it.

Lorde - Pure Heroine: This is pop music with some surprising depth. Lorde doesn’t go the same route that most pop artists go talking about their money and fame, or other topics that no one can relate to. In fact, she goes the opposite direction and tells us how bored of that she is. On Team she sings one of the most accurate examinations of pop music, “I’m kinda over getting told to throw my hands up in the air.” Lorde makes an anti-pop pop album that is pretty great.

Lorde - Melodrama: Golly gee, this one’s a gooden!! Lorde makes an angsty album that isn’t obnoxious or really that trite. She feels alienated, she doesn’t like being famous, and she feels like people use her, and she is able to share those ideas with us in 11 awesome songs that are all catchy and serve their purpose well on the album. She even gets a little experimental from time to time, which is where I hope she goes next, in between her radio hit type tracks. Definitely surprised me with how good it really is.

M:

Madvillain - Madvillainy: This is an absolute must listen. Madlib basically defines what good production is on this album. His beats are incredible backdrops for MF Doom to drop some of the smoothest rhymes and bars you’ll hear. I keep coming back to this album over and over again because of Madlib’s production. He absolutely destroys it with weird samples and risks that should never work. Who puts an accordion on a hip hop track? Fucking Madlib does.

Marvin Gaye - What’s Going On?: Smooth, sexy and ahead of its time both sonically and in its subject matter. It’s a classic and required listening simply for how influential it has been the R&B as a genre. We would be nowhere without Marvin Gaye, absolutely nowhere!!

MF Doom - Mm.. Food: This album is so weird. It’s a concept album about food. MF Doom makes a whole album about food, and it is somehow legendary. He’s able to spin this concept about a billion different ways with his weird sample heavy production. Just listen to it, I really don’t know what to say about it other than it’s incredible.

Mick Jenkins - The Water[s]: It’s kinda weird thinking that a concept album about water could be as good as it is. Mick Jenkins has an awesome flow, mixed with beats that literally feel like they’ve been drowned. They have this weird spacey underwater feel that just makes the album come together as a whole. If you like vibes hip hop that is weirdly aggressive (yeah I know that’s a contradiction but that’s kind of an accurate explanation), then you will like The Water[s].

(Quick The Microphones Note: The Microphones and Mount Eerie are both projects from Phil Elverum, he just changed his name after four albums to Mount Eerie)

The Microphones - Don’t Wake Me Up: How was this his first album? How was he 21 when he made it? He, ladies and gentleman, is Phil Elverum. He writes folk with weird noise rock stuff in there and this album is awesome and shows incredible potential. I can’t get enough of him. Listen to his entire discography. You will not be disappointed.

The Microphones - It Was Hot, We Stayed in the Water: This is probably Phil’s first masterpiece. I don’t know anyone who uses sound in the same way. It’s lo-fi and grainy, he messes with the stereo mix, he throws in sounds that are literally unrecognizable. But under that are these incredibly rich folk songs that come straight from the heart. Phil’s lyrics are unique and beautiful. This can even be seen in the beautiful simplicity of the album title. This is another incredible album by Phil.

The Microphones - The Glow Pt. 2: This is probably one of my top five albums of all time. It’s weird experimental folk that has some elements of noise rock and metal et cetera. This album literally has me on the verge of tears a few times each time I listen to it because of Phil’s lyrics, his still fresh, even 16 years after it’s release, use of sound and beautifully flawed vocals.

The Microphones - Mount Eerie: This album picks up exactly where The Glow Pt. 2 leaves off. This album though is a much, much slower burn than The Glow Pt. 2, and can give you a bit more existential anxiety. This album feels massive in ambition and almost otherworldly. There is this odd feeling to all of the tracks that make it feel incredibly important and like you are just for listening to it. It’s just as experimental as The Glow Pt. 2, but in very different ways. This was, if you couldn’t tell by the name of the album, the beginning of Phil’s Mount Eerie style.

Miles Davis - Kind of Blue: This is the gold standard for jazz standards. These are some of the most famous jazz songs that are nowadays repeated at nauseam. On the record though they have some great life to them and are recorded beautifully. If you enjoy jazz this record is a must listen not only because it’s beautiful, but due to it’s historical significance.

Miles Davis - Bitches Brew: Oh baby, yes please!! Experimental jazz has never sounded so goddamn good!! This is such a weird and awesome album that just leaves you wanting more and more, despite it’s long length. This is where a lot of bands took their experimental influences from. Radiohead for example cited this as a major inspiration when they wrote OK Computer. This is such a good one.

(Quick Mount Eerie Note: The Microphones and Mount Eerie are both projects from Phil Elverum, he just changed his name after four albums to Mount Eerie)

Mount Eerie - “No Flashlight” Songs of the Fulfilled Night: Weirdly enough this album has a similarity to The Microphones first album. When listening to this album you can kind of feel that Phil has changed. His sound is much more subdued here than it is on The Microphones Mount Eerie album. it feels less grand in scope, but more personal to Phil. It sounds like he wrote these songs in the woods, by himself, with no flashlight. It’s beautiful and heartbreaking. The perfect start to the Mount Eerie name.

Mount Eerie - Lost Wisdom: This is probably tied with Ocean Roar as my least favorite Mount Eerie album. It isn’t bad so much as it is a little boring for Phil’s discography. It’s incredibly short and doesn’t really explore anything too new for him other than having a female vocalist on every track. I just wanted more and not really in a good way. This album only clocks in at 24 minutes so it feels too short for its own good.

Mount Eerie - Dawn: Aside from his most recent album, this is Phil’s quietest record. It’s easy to miss, but really shouldn’t be. It’s soft and thoughtful, but comes in and out of your life quickly and quietly. You won’y be itching to hear that one catchy track again, but you may come back to it to feel some quiet tracks on a sad night. Absolutely beautiful and understated record from Phil.

Mount Eerie - Wind’s Poem: Wow. This is a killer album, potentially his best, but it’s another one that is a little more difficult to listen to. This album mixes his normal folk style with these screeching metal guitars that thoroughly shake your head when you’re listening. This album feels like a sonic manifestation of anxiety and depression. That’s all I’ll say. Go listen to it.

Mount Eerie - Clear Moon: This album honestly feels like beauty and anxiety or tension at least are just having the most intense showdown. This album has some of Phil’s most beautiful songs that he has ever written on  it, like Through the Trees Pt. 2. You can’t listen to that song without falling under it’s perfect, spacey spell. On the other side though are some of the most chillingly anxious tracks that envelop your body with their dissonance. This is another near perfect album by Phil.

Mount Eerie - Ocean Roar: In theory this album is a sequel to Clear Moon, but its predecessor is a thousand times better. Ocean Roar is just kind of… well boring honestly. It’s very slow, very droney, and very meh. If you love Phil, you’ll at least enjoy it a little bit for what it is, but it just doesn’t stick out like his other immaculate albums do.

Mount Eerie - Sauna: Phil was in a good place in his life here, which makes his next album so goddamn sad. This album is pretty lighthearted, to the point where Phil has a song about books. It’s not his regular death contemplation or the exploration of depression. It feels like he was happy, I wish he could’ve stayed happy…

Mount Eerie - A Crow Looked At Me: This album is a little weird to talk about due to its subject matter. This is one of Phil’s most stripped back albums because the music almost doesn’t matter, even though it is very good. This album is basically Phil venting to us about the recent death of his wife. It isn’t a fun time. There are times during this record where Phil is talking directly to his deceased wife, saying the exact amount of time since he saw her last. It’s incredibly raw emotion and rare truth that Phil spills on this record. Each song is soft and sets the tone for Phil to come in and just break your heart with each song, each idea and each word that comes through on this record. If you can, please support Phil and buy this record, or at least check it out.

M83. - Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts: Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming is big and catchy, each bubblegum, neon dripping hook easily able to fill stadiums. Dead Cities is smaller, more intimate, weirder, more tortured and slept on. It takes more than one listen to hear it’s intricacies and emotions. Sometimes it’s beautiful, like on Unrecorded. Synths fill the air as soft piano-like notes flutter on top of it. Other times it’s nasty and harrowing, the last part of Beauties can die feels utterly hopeless and covered in grime. This is a great electronic album.

N:

NAO - So Good EP: So Good is so good. This EP is pretty awesome, mostly due to the catchy titular track with A.K. Paul. Their chemistry is awesome and this song is sexy as all hell. Definitely worth a listen, and I’ll bet that you’ll come back to So Good when you need an extra dose of sexy in your day.

NAO - For All We Know: Not every track is a winner, but when NAO hits, she has a killer song on her hands. For example, In the Morning is incredible, absolutely incredible. But this album is long, and there is a lot of filler in between the great songs. NAO’s voice though is what pulls this record together into a project that is satisfying despite it’s misses, and she is going to stay on my radar in the future.

Nas - Illmatic: Looking back at it, it’s absolutely insane that I somehow missed this album. This is one of those albums that is pretty goddamn perfect from start to finish. It’s production defined the nineties and it’s lyricism was smart, cynical and sometimes heart breaking. And to top it all off, Nas was only 19 when this album came out. That always makes me feel bad about being 20 and not having one of the most genre defining albums out. Check this one out.

The National - The National: I went into this album with lower expectation due to it’s mixed reviews and I wasn’t really surprised either way. There isn’t anything super new or really too impressive here. It’s some decent rock with a slight country or Americana twang to it. If anything this album showed that they were a band to keep an eye on in the future. Potential, potential, potential.

The National - Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers: This one is a step in the right direction. This album has some great tracks on it. But the best parts of the record come when the band decides to really take a step out of their comfort zone. There are a few tracks where they decided to go slightly punk with it and begin to ramp up the intensity in the instrumentation and Matt really lets loose with some passionate yelling. This album is the direction I wanted the band to go in, more intense, more raw, more brutal.

The National - Alligator: This album is where the band really starts to get some buzz and good reviews, but honestly, I’m not sure why. This is the opposite direction in which I was expecting, and hoping the band would go in. Rather than lean into the more raw and intense, semi-punk driven style, they go back to their softer “indie” rock (I hate that moniker but I’m not sure what else to use) sound with Matt’s regular delivery. Speaking of his delivery, good lord can he please change it up? Literally every song he uses the same exact inflection and tone of voice, which makes them all blend together into this album sized amalgamation that just makes me lose interest around the midway point. He has this weird deep, throatier sounding drawl that gets old fast. Not quite my style.

The National - Boxer: More of the same… I mean, I’ll keep trying, because people say they’re amazing, but they just aren’t doing it for me. And Matt, please, stop with the weird throaty drawl. Please stop.

Neon Indian - Psychic Chasms: How is Neon Indian so cool without even trying? This album has this almost Strokes level of swagger in a drastically different genre. This electronic album is funky, danceable without being fast, and spacey. This is the type of music you listen to by yourself while staring at the ceiling, mesmerized by all the weird sounds and smirking knowing that you are cool for knowing who Neon Indian is. It feels like a album that was slapped together pretty easily from the heart and just nailed everything perfectly, even finding one of the most unique sounds in the electronic genre. This is feel good music that is original.

Neon Indian - VEGA INTL. Night School: Neon Indian’s second album Era Extraña lost the magic that Psychic Chasms brought to the table. It felt self conscious and much too aware of what it was going for. This album feels like a slightly fed up Neon Indian deciding to just make something that they enjoy rather than cater to every audience at once. All I want to do when listening to this album is dance. It’s catchy, it’s sexy and it makes you feel awesome just for listening to it. This album isn’t quite like his previous ones because of it’s more catchy melodies and danceable beats, and I don’t think it’s quite as good as his debut album, but it packs a gnarly punch from its first track to its last.

Neutral Milk Hotel - On Avery Island: Their first record is this amazing mix of folk and noise rock that they would later perfect on their next record, but this record is nothing to sneeze at. It feels much different from their next partially due to the amount in which they utilize noise rock here. There are a few songs where the instrumental would be called, “not music” by those who can’t appreciate the experimentation. Not only did this album show potential, it also takes you on an awesome journey that you will come back to, no doubt.

Neutral Milk Hotel - In the Aeroplane Over the Sea: This album is plagued by memes and obnoxious 4chan users who think they are funny just writing lyrics on repeat at nauseam on threads, but there is actually a reason for it. This is one of those albums that from the moment it starts, you can feel something special about it. It has weird, often surreal or fantastical lyrics mixed with a sort of folk rock with these noise rock accents. There are beautiful melodies and dissonant ones too that each work together to make an utter masterpiece. You’re doing yourself a disservice if you miss this album, it is spectacular.

Nick Murphy (fka Chet Faker) - Missing Link EP: I wanted this to be good, I wanted it so badly, but it’s just not great. Nick is in a weird place right now, he has no idea where to go right now. What do you do after an album that blasts you out of obscurity, that’s style is no longer appealing to you? I have no idea… and Nick doesn’t either. This EP feels so uncomfortable, and not in a good way. Each song feels like a different album, hell, even a different artist. None of them are particularly shocking or catchy, they just kind of roll off your back once they finish. It’s just… disappointing.

Noname - Telefone: Noname is like the quiet girl in high school who, when she does speak up, is by far the most interesting and entertaining person in the room. Her style is similar to the likes of other Chicago artists (or you could call it the Chance style). She uses some hints of gospel as a backdrop for her subtle and soft lyrical style that make you take a minute and think about. She doesn’t show off her beats and vocals though, she opens up and really gives us some incredibly touching stories and emotions. She’ll be around a long time, and she can only go up from here.

Notorious B.I.G. - Life After Death: Biggie is one of those rappers that is just on the boarder of being overrated, then when you listen to his stuff you don’t think he’s popular enough. He just had a way with rhymes and beats. He was able to rap about slinging crack, then immediately after share some deeper emotions and have it all fit into these crazy visions he had for his two records. Just incredible stuff, truly incredible. We lost Biggie much too soon.

O:

Oddisee - The Iceberg: This just barely missed being on my best of 2017 list. This is a great, conscious hip hop album. Oddisee has some interesting insights and is a great storyteller. My favorite song on the project, or at least the one that sticks with me the most is You Grew Up. It takes an interesting look at racism and how that can grow in children if it is fostered, definitely a powerful portrayal.

P:

The Pablo Collective - The Death of Pablo: I usually do not enjoy remix albums. Their lack of creativity usual defines the style, slapping on today’s most obnoxious trends onto previously released songs. But this… this is different. This doesn’t even remotely feel like The Life of Pablo. Following their mission statement, this album is darker, grittier and so much more disgusting. It will drain the life out of you and make you feel utterly hopeless, especially in the middle where there is about a ten minute industrial sounding interlude attempting to simulate the sounds of death. Right as you want to shut it off from just being too much, it comes back around and hits you with this incredible speech from Kanye set to music. This is an incredible project.

Perfume Genius - Put Your Back N 2 It: You ready to cry a little bit with me? Goddamn, Hadreas delivers an incredible album that is stripped back to basically just his own soft shaky vocals and piano chords that are reverbed the fuck out of. He throws in a few background sounds here and there, like heavily distorted vocals or strings, but the take away hear are the lyrics. This is an emotional ride that will break you. He sings about the struggles of being a gay man, domestic abuse, just being sad, and be able to power through that.

Perfume Genius - Too Bright: Hadreas brings the feels again with this soft, at times nasty, sludgy record that mixes his previous style with something a bit more layered. The song Queen is a good example of what this album is. Hadreas uses vocals that could be found on his last record, but with an instrumental that would’ve felt outlandishly out of place due to its thickness and staggering dimensions. With that being said, it’s still able to remain subtle, soft and slow. But if there weren’t emotions flowing through each lyrics veins, it wouldn’t be a Perfume Genius album.

Perfume Genius - No Shape: Man, this album immediately shows that it’s different from Hadreas’ previous records. On the first track, it starts like his other albums, soft and subtle, then it just explodes with a wall of sound and textures. This is Hadreas’ most difficult album to listen to if you are not acquainted with more experimental sounds, but in my opinion, it’s his best record.

Phoenix - Ti Amo: I love Phoenix. Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix is such an awesome album that just hits high after high until you’re left mashing the repeat button on every track. I listened to Ti Amo on its release date, and I genuinely don’t recall a single lyric or melody. It’s just really boring and uninspired. It feels like they were contractually obligated to pop out another album so they put something together in three months that at least sort of sounds like Phoenix and called it good. I hope they take some time to find themselves and a good direction forward before making another album.

The Postal Service - Give Up: I almost guarantee that you’ve heard a majority if not all of this record before just on radio stations or your friends barbecue mix tape. It’s influential no doubt, it’s sounds are familiar at this point due to how often people have borrowed their sound, but that doesn’t alway mean it’s good. Some songs are fantastic and each catchy note or melody gets burned into your skull, yet other songs can get a little boring. It’s just a bit inconsistent. I wish that they had made more albums together because if they had let their sounds grow a bit I bet they would’ve put out a killer record.

Q:

Quelle Chris - Being You is Great, I Wish I Could Be You More Often: This is an awesome hip hop album that skates through humor and existential fear at the same time. Quelle Chris’ delivery stays at a lower, almost monotonous, level that works with his dry humor and battered emotional state. His production also has some Madlib-esque spice to it that is entertaining and experimental. Please check out this record, it is worth your time.

Quasimoto - The Unseen: This is one of those classic hip hop albums that only intense hip hop heads know. I wouldn’t have found it had my good friend not told me to check it out. Quasiomoto is one of Madlib’s alter egos. He works in some great production and lyrics into this must listen album.

R:

Radiohead - Pablo Honey: This album gets a lot of hate from Radiohead fans for being too generic and of the nineties. It’s not terrible, but it’s definitively not Radiohead. Creep is by far the best song on the album but should not be Radiohead’s most popular song. The bad songs on the album though could have been popped out by any band from that time period.

Radiohead - The Bends: This is the first “real” Radiohead album. They really began to find their footing here. This album is filled with two types of songs, way more of the latter than though. The first are songs that feel slightly dated with that nineties alternative rock sound. These are songs like The Bends. The second type are songs that feel right at home in Radiohead’s discography. The songs that feel dated though aren’t bad, they just have a little nineties stank on them. But when this album hits a high, similar to Radiohead’s other albums, it hit’s so hard that you are amazed for the next five minutes because of that one note. High and Dry comes to mind as a song that will blow you away.

Radiohead - Kid A: They say that OK Computer was what solidified Radiohead in history, then Kid A solidified them in the future. This album showed us that Radiohead had legs past the nineties. They came out with this album that is part rock, part electronic and all weird. It was polarizing when it came out, but an undeniable classic now that has influenced the rest of their discography and so many other bands all over the place. Listen to this record. Period.

Radiohead - Amnesiac: Packaged as a sort of sequel to Kid A, Amnesiac is a collection of Kid A b-sides that are surprisingly good. These tracks were so good in fact that they warranted another studio album rather than being scattered and released at weird times throughout the years. The rock tracks here are Radiohead’s classic style that is always able to amaze me, and their electronic tracks give you new sounds to wrap your head around. All in all, a great record.

Radiohead - Hail to the Thief: People have thought of some weird analogies for this record. Pitchfork even went as far as to say that it’s an anti-masterpiece (in a good way somehow?). All you need to know is that this is a great record. It won’t alter your life like some of their previous projects, but it’s got some fantastic stuff on it.

Radiohead - In Rainbows: This is the album that they needed after Hail to the Thief, a great but not spectacular album. They took some extra time with this one and popped out one of their best records. This thing is filled with amazing songs from the almost dancey 15 Steps, to the soft and thoughtful track Nude. This was Radiohead telling us that not only did they still have it, they were better than most even after 15 years since OK Computer.

Radiohead - The King of Limbs: People hate this record. It’s fine. It’s not amazing, but it’s not terrible. It’s just kinda middle of the road. Listen to it if you love Radiohead, if you don’t know Radiohead don’t start with it. That’s it. It’s fine.

Radiohead - A Moon Shaped Pool: Oh man… where to begin. This shows Radiohead’s brilliance. After over 20 years they are somehow still able to pop out one of the best records of the year!! It’s slow and soft, yet it drags you into it’s atmosphere immediately and holds you under what feels like sonic water. The highs are spectacular and the emotional lows can be felt throughout your whole body. This is just another one of Radiohead’s immaculate albums.

Ratt - Out of the Cellar: It’s Ratt. Their fun, they put out some good hair metal, they’re fun live. I don’t think that their music will really go down in history as incredible stuff. It also kinda says something when I was the youngest person at the show. It’s just kind of a dated sound that doesn’t really need to come back because we’ve just moved past it. Again, it will occupy you for about thirty minutes but it’s not something that will change your outlook on life.

Red House Painters - Down Colorful Hill: Eh… Not for me. It’s too slow and dramatically emotional. I’ll try again with them in the future, but I was more waiting for the album to be over than listening for subtle details.

Run the Jewels - RTJ3: This is not my favorite RTJ album, but by no means do I think it’s bad, it’s spectacular. These two have some of the best chemistry in hip hop today. Their political opinions blast through and give this album the most anxious feeling. Even when they step away from political ideology it works well. Their song to their deceased friend is heartbreaking and perfectly accented by Kamasi Washington on the tenor sax.

S:

Sampha - Process: My god. This album is incredible. Sample fuses R&B with electronic music, just sings over the piano, and get’s slightly experimental here. It’s pretty amazing that this is a debut album because it feels like he’s been doing this a while. This album will have you moving, will make you try and hit the notes that Sample belts out, and will tug at your heart a bit. He really blew it out of the park with this album.

(Sandy) Alex G - Rocket: Damn. Incredible fusion of folk, punk, experimental, industrial and everything else. It’s so goddamn good. Poison Root kicks off the album softly and as it progresses it gets intense, then it eases back out. One of the best albums of the year in my opinion and may make it into my year end list. Go listen to this sucka!! (Also, he was opening for Fleet Foxes when I saw them, but I got to the show late and missed him, I’m beyond crushed!!)

Shabazz Palaces - Black Up: I had heard these guys compared to Death Grips a couple of times so I had to check them out. After listening, they are only similar in their use of experimental beats. But man, if they aren’t experimental. These guys do some crazy things from polyrhythms, to throwing out song structure completely. That may sound interesting, or be a deal breaker to you, but either way, you should check these guys out if not to only see what is possible under the hip hop umbrella.

Shapes & Colors - Love / Sex / War EP: Okay, so these guys talked to me on twitter and seemed really nice, so I will try to be gentle. It’s… not great. It feels very generic and done a million times before. It’s just indie rock that maybe would’ve sounded new in 2008, but it feels a little dated upon release. Check it out if you want to support these guys, but I found it difficult to get through it’s short length.

The Shouting Matches - Grownass Man: I wanted this album to be amazing, but it just isn’t. There are some amazing tracks, like the great Gallup, NM, but there are also some boring tracks. It feels like the boys weren’t quite sure what they wanted to do with this album, they just knew they wanted to make a bluesy record. With the few exceptions, most of the album feels a little stale.

Snakadaktal - Sleep in the Water: That reverb be heavy doe!! I wasn’t expecting much from this due to the band’s silly name, but this is a pretty great dream pop album. It feels spacey, yet emotionally potent. Plus the band’s dual vocalists adds another dimension to songs like Too Soon. These guys reminded me of Beach House a bit, but not so much that it felt like either band was stealing from each other.

Soft Cell - Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret: Look, this album is incredibly 80’s. It feels like they were using synths for the first time in the studio they sound so simple. But this album has some killer tracks. First off, the classic Tainted Love is undeniably catchy despite being so 80’s you can basically feel the neon dripping off of each beat. The final track Say Hello, Wave Goodbye also stands out because of its emotional impact coming late in the record. If you can get behind the 80’s clichés and rock with this britpop, you will find something to enjoy here.

Spoon - Hot Thoughts: It’s weird how Spoon is incapable of making bad albums. They just seem to pop out good albums one after another. While this isn’t my favorite of theirs, it still has some great material, including the title track that bounces in your head and gets stuck their for weeks. Britt’s vocal delivery fits so perfectly with their sound it seems like these musicians were born to play together. Another great one from the boys in Spoon!!

Squarepusher - Feed Me Weird Things: I don’t know if there are any other artists that have a similar sound. Squarepusher has made a career out of the most unique mix of jazz and… I don’t even know it’s just incredible. His first album must’ve seemed so weird when it came out. I can’t imagine what people who knew him must’ve said about it. I know this is vague, but I’m not sure what to say about his stuff, just go listen to it.

Squarepusher - Music is Rotted One Note: I feel like I will be listening to this album when I finally go insane. This is like jazz if jazz had schizophrenia. It’s so weird and experimental and anxiety ridden, yet beautiful at the same time. It makes you feel like you’re crazy when you listen to it, but it also takes your breath away at least once every song. It’s not for everyone, but goddamn it’s at least for me.

Squarepusher - Go Plastic: This is Squarepusher going plastic, or at least synthetic. These songs are all electronically produced, which is different from his normal style of physical instrumentation. This is another great album by the always weird always awesome Squarepusher.

Substantial - The Past is Always Present in The Future: This album really surprised me. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much. I hadn’t heard of Substantial, and his album cover for this thing is… just really bad, like really bad. But good goddamn if it’s not fantastic!! It’e emotional, socially conscious, utilizes Tonedeff very well, and is thoroughly enjoyable. It sounds weird, but I do think that the tracklist should be shuffled around a little bit in order to really make certain songs have more of a payoff, but this is a great hip hop album even without that.

Syd - Fin: I knew Syd a little bit from her days in Odd Future, providing backing vocals for Tyler, Earl and Frank. I hadn’t listened to her stuff from The Internet, so I went into this pretty unaware of how she would sound. Goddamn does she have a voice. This album is enjoyable because of her voice.

SZA - Ctrl: Man, SZA is fun to listen to. She’s got a great voice, can write lyrics well and has some great beats backing her. The one problem I had with the album is just the lack of focus in terms of emotions. I didn’t feel a central idea coursing through it, which isn’t necessary, but I feel would be greatly impacting and powerful for her style. Kung Fu Kenny also has a good feature on this thing.

T:

Temple of the Dog - Temple of the Dog: This album is another one, similar to Mount Eerie’s A Crow Looked at Me, that sends a past loved one off. Rather than being as detailed and soft, this one goes for a different approach. It’s music as opposed to lyrics are what do the trick here. This super group of nineties rockers came together to pop out this one beautiful record. Chris Cornell (RIP), Mother Lovebone and Eddie Vedder all bring their styles together for an incredible and heartbreaking project that will go down as a fantastic nineties moment.

Thundercat - The Golden Age of Apocalypse: This is Thundercat at his absolute best musically. Every song is incredible with some of the most impressive bass playing that I have ever heard. If you like jazz, hip hop, funk, or anything in between, you would be doing yourself a disservice if you missed this incredible record.

Thundercat - Drunk: Thundercat’s lyrics get funnier, his songs get catchier, but his focus gets wider. This album is fantastic, but is a little on the long side and could probably use a few edits here and there of songs that don’t quite stand out among the others. And let’s just get Wiz Khalifa off of this, he just doesn’t do the album any good. Kendrick can stay though, Kendrick can always stay.

Todd Terje - It’s Album Time: This album is so weird and funny and cool and stupid and amazing. It feels like Todd wrote and performs this album with a giant smirk on his face the whole time. I mean for god sake, it’s called It’s Album Time. His tongue is in his cheek and it works so well for this electronic joyride. It’s just fun and weird. I have no idea what else would fit into the same category.

Tonedeff - Polymer: Tonedeff is interesting to me. On paper I should love him. He is a fantastic producer, an artist who tries to go deeper than most, and a great storyteller on top of that. But for some reason I have a hard time getting into his stuff. There always seems to be some aspects of his songs lyrically that I just can’t get over. Sometimes they just feel like he’s trying a little too hard, sometimes he’s just trying to go for the quick emotions. He’s okay, but just not my cup of tea. However, he is great to see live and if you get the chance please do, because he makes his shows incredibly entertaining and interactive.

A Tribe Called Quest - The Low End Theory: Tribe is legendary. If you don’t know them you are depriving yourself of some of the best jazz hip hop ever to be produce. ‘Nuff said!!

A Tribe Called Quest - Midnight Marauders: Another stellar projects from Tribe. Their chemistry is always amazing, their beats are perfectly stylish and practical, and their lyrics always surpass expectations. Legendary group that will go down in history!! Perfection!!

Tycho - Past Is Prologue: This album showed me that Tycho had a little growth throughout his career, but it’s honestly pretty subtle. There are just certain droney sounds he likes using more now than he did then. Still sounds like Tycho.

Tycho - Dive: Don’t get me wrong, I like Tycho, but his music isn’t anything I haven’t heard before. It’s something that you would find on one of those YouTube playlists called, “Chill Music,” or “Chill Wave.” It would have some picture of a sunset or beach and this would be perfect to zone out to with friends while talking about the universe. It’s slow and meant to be in the back of your head.

Tycho - Awake: Tycho’s albums kind of all feel like a continuation of the last one. This is vibe music through and through. If you are looking for something challenging or incredibly interesting, look somewhere else. This one is basically filler music, or entertaining elevator music.

Tycho - Epoch: More of the same. It just sounds like Tycho, which can sometimes just be aggressively average.

Tyler, The Creator - Bastard: When you go back and look at all the old Odd Future stuff, if you’re like me, you’ll get a little nostalgic and watch Oldie with a huge grin. So much of their stuff at the time was great but has aged pretty poorly, or I can just see that it was never very good. But Tyler, Earl and Frank did always have something special. Of the mixtapes that came out in the early Odd Future days, this and Earl are the two best. Bastard is one of those albums that provoked and prodded, but above all, it showed potential. The beats are nasty, the lyrics are nastier and Tyler’s attitude is above all the nastiest. If you can stomach his shit, this is a great one to check out.

Tyler, The Creator - Goblin: This is an awesome concept album that starts so strong then kinda peters out under its own weight. This album is chalk full similar to his next album, and not every song is great. But Tyler brings a certain anger that just makes me want to throw shit out the window in defiance. His nasty lyrics itch that fucked up part of your brain that is often discouraged, but Tyler forces it out of you on songs like Yonkers and Tron Cat. If you enjoy hip hop and can handle song goddamn disgusting lyrics mixed with a cool concept, check this one out.

Tyler, The Creator - Wolf: Wolf is Tyler’s strongest album, despite the fact that it lacks a lot of focus. (UPDATE: Flower Boy is now his strongest with Wolf as his second most) I’ve listened to Wolf probably ten times now and I can recall songs from it, but when I try to think about the overarching themes or ideas, I kind of tend to draw a blank. Yet, the high moments are high, raw and fucked up. Rusty is a great ensemble track that tries to piss you off in classic Tyler style, Awkward is a heartfelt song from Tyler to his dad, and IFHY is an amazing song to an ex who he had a bit of a rough breakup with. Tyler also used his features incredibly well making them important and necessary parts to each song. This is a great album that you should really check out.

Tyler, The Creator - Cherry Bomb: Oh boy… Cherry Bomb is Cherry Bomb. It’s weird, it has some good stuff, but it’s also got Tyler’s worst stuff. It’s such a mixed bag that just doesn’t always work, in fact it doesn’t most of the time. This is one of those ones for die hard Tyler fans, but if you don’t love him it’s not really for you…… I’m sorry, I’m trying to be positive here, but it’s just bad.

U:

V:

Vagabon - Infinite Worlds: Look, I like the genre, but Jesus Christ, can someone please, PLEASE just think of something new?! This album is literally every single idea that I’ve been hearing for years just jammed up in the same album. There are like two songs of note and I don’t remember which ones because I didn’t want to listen to it a second time. This album was just disappointing to me.

Van Morrison - Astral Weeks: This is one of those albums that you would find in your parents or aunt and uncles collection that upon first glance would skip, then when listening to it cry like a fucking baby. I’ve always been a fan of Van Morrison, and Moondance was what I’ve always thought of as his best album, but this one… this one is different no doubt. This one is less catchy, a bit more long winded, but maybe more powerful. Morrison’s almost strained Irish vocals are carried along by the soft guitar and meandering flute player on the title track, setting a perfect tone for the album. If you want a great album that is soft, but will blow your socks off, check this one out.

(Quick Vince Staples Note: I have seen Vince Staples live and that may have caused me to be a little biased, I don’t think it did but just keep that in mind)

Vince Staples - Hell Can Wait EP: This is a great EP. This is what put Vince on the map. This album shows his talent and incredible struggle to get to where he is now. The beats slap and his vocals cut through the mix like knives. Some may find his voice to be whiney or too high pitched, but it works for his style in my opinion. This is a can’t miss, especially if you are interested in seeing where he came from and where he will go.

Vince Staples - Summertime ’06: Badabing!! Wowzers bowzers, radio hits, spacey beach sounds and Kilo Kish. This is Staples at his best. This album’s structure is incredible, starting off strong with Lift Me Up and Norf Norf, then Lemme Know all on the same side?! Unreal shit. This album is awesome!!

Vince Staples - Prima Donna EP: This one gets a little darker. Vince sounds like he’s been trapped in his own head for a little too long and is pleading to get out. His lyrics are anxious and his delivery varies from emotionally distant on War Ready to a little more urgent on Pimp Hand. His beats are ugly, in a good way, they’re lo-fi and glitchy, almost as if he rubbed sand into the soundboard in the studio. Great EP.

Vince Staples - Big Fish Theory: This is where Vince Staples needs to go. This album is a bit more experimental and uses his style in a way that is different from his previous releases. He seems to be experimenting more with beats than lyrics, which makes a few songs have eh lyrics, but overall it works. This album to me, seems like it will be a stepping stone to another album that just pushes everything further and he’ll pop out his magnum opus next, mark my words!!

W:

Warren G - Regulate… G Funk Era: Makes you want to go to the East Side Motel. (It’s a classic that is required listening, so go listen to it… like now.)

Wavves - You’re Welcome: It’s just so aggressively mediocre that I began to resent it after the first ten seconds. There is nothing that sets this album apart from others, there is nothing that makes it very good or very bad. The road they drive down is very much in the middle. Yucko.

X:

X - Los Angeles: Never thought I would hear Ray Manzarek playing punk music, but man, he fits in perfectly. This album is one of those ones that is the perfect amount of time. There is no fat on this album and every song fits in like it should. And again, Manzarek on keys was such a smart choice.

The xx - I See You: It’s pretty good, probably my favorite album of theirs. But it left me just wanting more of Jamie’s solo stuff. On Hold is just a Jamie xx song that the other two members of The xx jump on and deliver their usual meh style on. I liked it for what it was but I’m just sick of The xx sounding the same on every song… and I want more Jamie xx.

Y:

YG - Still Brazy: YG gets pretty brazy on this album. His production uses that classic G Funk style with a few updates to keep it fresh. The beats perfectly complement his vocal delivery that changes on tracks on in tracks too like on Don’t Come to L.A. YG also get’s pretty political on this one with tracks like FDT (Fuck Donald Trump), Blacks & Browns and Police Get Away Wit Murder. This is a surprisingly good album that I wasn’t expecting much on.

Young Pappy - 2 Cups Part 2 of Everything: This kid had some talent. Sadly, he is no longer with us, but, man, he knew how to write songs. His style is aggressive, Killa sounds like he’s gonna jump through your headphones and bite your head off. His production is sample heavy and bass heavier. We lost this guy too soon, I would’ve loved to see what he would’ve been able to put out in his later years.

Your Old Droog - Packs: The Jeselnik skits are pretty useless, forgettable and low energy from Jeselnik, but if you skip those this album is pretty amazing. Droog is a great storyteller, his beats are bonkers and utilize sound effects to help push his stories along and he knows how to write some real hot hooks. One of the best hip hop albums of 2017. Also, Danny Brown has a killer, KILLER feature on Grandma Hips that you can not miss!!

Z:


You guys are the best!! Thanks for everything!!

–Andrew

BANGTAN, 'LOVE YOURSELF 承 HER' critic

As you may know, Bangtan’s new mini-album ‘Love Yourself 承 Her’ was out today at 6:00 p.m. KTS. As soon as it got out, I couldn’t help but listen to it completely. I can assure you that I was one of the first plays on Spotify. As it is, honestly, the first time I witness a Bangtan comeback, I wish to write a full critic of this new concept that they are developing.

Let’s talk about the album in general. It is, as how they said before releasing it, a very different style from their previous works. This, disagreeing on how many people think, is not a bad thing. In fact, to reinvent one’s own art is the best way of an artist to improve and portrait a different view of their selves to the audience. The mini-album has an alternative vibe even inside what we could call a “pop/electronic” scene. The first time I listened to it I found it a little bit generic, but as I kept listening and repeating the tracks, I could then hear details and arrengements that I did not noticed the first time, and I became, by the second time listening to it, more familiarized with this new beat.

Why do I still qualify it as “alternative”? it is very simple: ‘Love Yourself 承 Her’  is an album that still detaches a significant opposition to what we could normaly hear as “pop/electronic”. First of all, it doesn’t lack Bangtan’s special touch and sense of artisticity that was set implicit in their previous works. You listen to it, you still know it is Bangtan. In sum, it doesn’t get lost in the vast ocean of popular electronic music that is sounding everywhere at the moment. Second of all, ‘Best Of Me’ is a song that reveals the so characterized flavor of its co-producers, The Chainsmokers. This album is a full sample of Bangtan’s achieved evolution during their career, how they’ve changed, and the new material that they are offering to their country’s musical industry. An artist that never changes their style, is a dead artist. Bangtan are more alive than ever.

  • Intro: Serendipity

The intro is exactly 2:20 minutes long, and, to be honest, it leaves us all wanting a one hour orchestra of this. Am I right? It is sang by Park Jimin, it was composed and produced by the group’s lider Kim Namjoon. It is absolutely not a surprise knowing this, since we have a full history of the members’ participation in writing, composing and producin their own work. However, the song is impressing. Jimin’s high notes and sharp voice get along pretty well with Namjoon’s literary lyrics. The use of metaphors and rethoric in the song’s lyrics is a special addition. The fans already love penicillium and calico cats, and we all have learned something new about the word “serendipity” itself and its history. Isn’t that interesting? How they manage to bring all these symbolisms in the simplest way.

  • DNA

It is the title track of the album. The song has a super catchy whistle on it that I bet represents exactly what the Pied Piper used to do in the legends. It hauntes us, and we can’t escape it. The guitar dropped at the beginning catched my attention at first; it sounds awesome, and the way it goes blurring and it gets lost along the song to open space to a more electronic beat in the chorus makes it an attaching song. The beat drop is just delicious, Hoseok’s infallible wave of la la la la la in the ending of the song just makes it more appealing to a listener that is a die-hard dancer. May I add that Yoongi’s rap results me… super cute? I always love his raps, this one specially sounds kind of different from him. And I love how it sticks up to the song. Also, please, let’s say something about Taehyung’s voice in this, because literally I can assure you I heard angels crying from how soulfull it sounds.

  • Best Of Me

As I previously said, this song portraits the special sound of The Chainsmokers, I think we all notice that. The thing is, that the song is the perfect combination of West’s classic electropop sounds and East’s new wave’s pop music. In the lyrics we also have present some images that evoqued me Blood Sweat And Tear’s kind of concept about a corrupted love, a damaging infatuation. One of the verses can be translated as “hug me harder and more painfully”, other one says “tell me of eternity just one more time”, Namjoon’s verse says:

Even though I haven’t seen my limits
But if it exists, it’s probably you
I wanted it to be tender waves
But why didn’t I know that you were the sea
What do I do, I speak with your language
And I breathe your air
I’ll be you, you have me in your grasp
I kiss your sword

I personally think that’s just beautiful. Namjoon did participated in the lyric process of this song, so we can trust that, as always, this verse has his potential literary effort.

  • Dimples (Illegal)

This song is pretty… as heaven. The lyrics are very soft and simple, in which Namjoon participated too in their creation. What I like about it is how we get to hear only the vocal line, as in WINGS’ Lost. As the rest of the songs in the album, it also has a very well developed pop style. Personally I thought it sounded like a later 90′s pop boyband song.

  • Pied Piper

This song must be pointed out infront of all of the other songs because it is specifically about the fans: A.R.M.Y. The lyrics talk about how we, as fans, should not over-obsess with them to the point of not paying attention to anything else (yes, i’ve sin of this). It uses the metaphor of the character from the German legend, the Pied Piper, who used to play his flaute and enchant everyone with it, making them follow him and do stuff. The lyrics sing I’m taking over you. And, well, that’s exactly what they’ve done. I found it very funny, to be honest. The song sounds good in a more objective point of view.

  • Mic Drop

Now, it’s time for my favorite track in the whole album: Mic Drop. I got to say that I don’t know if the information I read in Lyric Genius is correct, but it really surprises me that there is no credit for Yoongi in the composition of this track… or any other, actually. It kind of disappoints me, I hope the information is incomplete. I just got to say that this song is awesome. From the first two seconds I was totally into it, the electric guitar broken sounds just trapped me in. The following beat really got me too, it has such an influence from Hoseok, you can instantly know he wrote his lyrics and helped make the beat. As always, Yoongi’s rap is fluid and cool, but, again, I am confused about his participation in the composing process of this. The song talks about Bangtan’s process of achieving their goals, in which they show off their billboard award and their international recognition with pride. The chorus is mostly sang by Taehyung, and, well, his deep voice really helps create the mood. I got to say that this track sounds a little bit like an underground rap from a dirty group of the 70′s Bronx. Of course, Supreme Boi was there to put part of his flavor in the rap as he has done with previous BTS’ tracks. This is a dissing masterpiece and it should be more appreciated. It also kind of digresses from the rest of the album’s songs, I mean, it has its own emotion and vibe glued to it.

  • Go Go 

Wow. The traditional feeling of this song reminds me of popular Latino modern beats, to be sincere. Jimin’s voice at the begining is just sensual, and the rest of the song flows along giving the listener a really intense feeling of wanting to dance. It makes me think “this is my favorite song before Mic Drop”, and then, “no, but, I mean, the whole album is awesome”. It is the penultimate song of the version that is available in Spotify, so it really leaves me wanting to listen to it again and again and again.

  • Outro: Her

After the amazing journey of Bangtan’s new portrayed style, we found ourselves lastly listening to this precious piece that bring us back to their previous style, specially during the 화양연화 (hwa-yang-yeon-hwa or The Most Beautiful Moment In Life Trilogy) era. Now, I got news; Suga did participated in the creation of this last track, and we can totally sense it here. It is totally his style, the lyrics, the rap; its got a big influence. Let’s just take a few seconds to think about how Min Yoongi’s presence in the studio can change the whole thing. This song trully brings us back to the old days, and it makes me tear up.


What I didn’t like:

Those are the tracks, but as a critic, this can’t be just good things. So I’m gonna do my best to think about things that I didn’t like about the album. I’m not lying when I say that it’s been like five whole minutes since I wrote that sentence and I still can’t get into one thing that I didn’t like. Is it because I really am BTS Trash? Dang.

Well… I guess the fact that Yoongi lacked participation in the production process of many songs did got me a little bit disappointed. I mean, he sounds good, but, to be honest I am a really big fan of his composition style. I tend to like the most songs that he has composed. His mixtape is my favorite, I really love the work he did with Suran, how he expresses himself about music and rap… and, well, not seeing his name in the composition credits got me off. It’s still awesome, tho; the other producers, including Namjoon (of course), did great. I mean, specially Namjoon. This guy always surpases my expectations.

However, maybe another thing that I didn’t really liked completely is the fact that, indeed, it do sounds a lot different from their previous work. But, hey, as I said before, this is necessary for them, and the change is always good! We still have their other songs. I also just got into kind of a discussion with someone that was saying that this album sucked. To be honest, I think this is one of the bests releases of k-pop in a while. But, yeah, I gotta admit, it may sound a little bit generic to the occidental scene… and, well, Bangtan were anteriorily categorized as one of the groups that ‘gets against the stablished’.

This is it, what do you think? Please reblog, and also tell me your opinions about the album!

NIGHT & DAY REACTION/REVIEW

i know i said saturday but i couldn’t wait (and my iTunes download came early 🙃). plus, i’m actually writing this as a first full listen, instead of a couple listens later, so welcome to how my mind plays out during the first full listen of this album!!!

TRACK 1: MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT (FEAT. MARTIN JENSEN)
FIRST LISTEN SNIPPET:
i remember switching iTunes stores when this single first came out just to listen to the snippet and i was sHOOK by the lyrics
FIRST LISTEN FULL:
lyrics: YES, melody: YES, vocals: YES 
FAVE LYRIC:
“so when i call you in the middle of the night and i’m choking on the words cause i miss you, baby don’t tell me i’m out of time i got so much of my lovin to give you”

TRACK 2: ALL NIGHT (FEAT. MATOMA)
FIRST LISTEN SNIPPET: 
this song came out so long ago that i don’t even remember how i felt with the snippet
FIRST LISTEN FULL:
it was the first introduction to EDM VAMPS, and i was into it. i remember when it came out, i was on my way to a full study day, and it was all i listened to. the live versions with the puffs of smoke at the beat drops?? YES
FAVE LYRIC:
“you showed me how to find myself when i needed it the most”

TRACK 3: HANDS (FEAT. MIKE PERRY & SABRINA CARPENTER)
FIRST LISTEN SNIPPET:
i think the first listen i got was a live video, and i was like um yes???? sing this at big ticket for me in front of all the underage children????
FIRST LISTEN FULL:
honestly such a bop, i had it on replay for days. this collab is one of the ones i completely approve of because, even though sabrina was a “disney girl”, her music is a totally different vibe from what you would expect, and this is one of the songs that prove that lyrically. 
FAVE LYRIC:
“can you just drop that dress to the floor? we can talk until sunrise”

TRACK 4: SAME TO YOU
FIRST LISTEN SNIPPET:
when they said the album was “moody” this is the song i think of because of the snippet from the album sampler. i understand why they all want this to be the next single.
FIRST LISTEN FULL:
this song definitely shows their growth musically and lyrically. no wonder they’re so proud of this song, i’m so proud of them.
FAVE LYRIC:
“i’m checking in to see if you’re ready to love again”

TRACK 5: PAPER HEARTS
FIRST LISTEN SNIPPET:
my heart was full of warmth when they asked fans to help out with the tour lyric video, and seeing the end result was beautiful. the chorus? help me
FIRST LISTEN FULL:
THE GUITAR INTRO, INTO IT!! this song is really hitting me in the feelz. fuck it’s beautiful.
FAVE LYRIC:
“there’s a lot of things that i may not know, but missing you baby is the only thing i know”

TRACK 6: SHADES ON
FIRST LISTEN SNIPPET:
i actually never bothered watching tour vids of this but THE SAMPLER: A FULL ON BOP GET THIS ON MAINSTREAM RADIO WORLDWIDE
FIRST LISTEN FULL:
A TOTAL OUT OF THIS WORLD BOP!!!!!!!!!! this after paper hearts tho, total uplift. how can the day version of the album get even more upbeat than this???? BRAD’S RAPPING???!??!?!?!?!?!??! WHAT?!??!?!?!??!???!??!!??!? GET THIS ON THE RADIO ASAP!!!!!!!!!!!!! i need a moment after this song; this should’ve gone before paper hearts tbh
FAVE LYRIC:
“starting up a party on the pavement like i just got paid” (#relatable)

TRACK 7: IT’S A LIE (FEAT. TINI)
FIRST LISTEN SNIPPET:
super fun song in a super bitchy way. i appreciate them trying to reach multicultural audiences by using a multicultural artist.
FIRST LISTEN FULL:
the guitar kinda reminds me of bibia be ye ye. this song is so damn sassy i’M INTO IT!!
FAVE LYRIC:
“could we live ever after? seems like a good idea to me”

TRACK 8: STAY
FIRST LISTEN SNIPPET: 
i was kinda disappointed that they over-produced the song and changed some of the lyrics because i got so used to the acoustic version they sang at the shows BUT THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THEY DEPRIVE US WITH NEW MUSIC FOR TOO LONG
FIRST LISTEN FULL:
ok intro givin me the feelz, but then it just picks up and I JUST WANTED THIS SONG TO BE FULL ACOUSTIC, also not used to the lyric changes :( the keyboard’s a nice touch. it’s like a song to play while you’re at the beach during sunset. IMAGINE BEING WITH THE BOYS AT THE BEACH DURING SUNSET AND THEY’RE SINGING THIS SONG. i like the bridge. i feel it just kinda ends abruptly??? but still one of my all time faves.
FAVE LYRIC:
“you can wear my favourite t-shirt, and we can waste away the days, but only if you stay”

TRACK 9: MY PLACE
FIRST LISTEN SNIPPET: 
i think this is my fave on the whole album???
FIRST LISTEN FULL:
the chorus!!!!!!! the guitar riff reminds me of a song, but i can’t seem to think of it??? a good end of summer song tbh! can u believe they just had to add the “bluesman” STAY THE SAME BOYS, NEVER CHANGE
FAVE LYRIC:
“look at that face, i don’t ever wanna let you down”

TRACK 10: SAD SONG
FIRST LISTEN SNIPPET:
I DIDN’T KNOW THAT I WAS STARVING TIL I TASTED YOU DONT NEED NO BUTTERFLIES WHEN YOU GIVE ME THE WHOLE DAMN ZOO anyways, this song got stuck in my head at work after listening to the album sampler, so that’s a good sign
FIRST LISTEN FULL:
I DIDN’T KNOW THAT I WAS STARVING TIL I TASTED YOU!!!! honestly same chords as starving, collab with hailee steinfeld pls! (someone also mashup staving with this asap) it’s a mature breakup song??? they ended with a really catchy bop. INTO IT. 
FAVE LYRIC:
“and i know, you know, i know i can’t let it end this way”

~BONUS TRACKS~

JAMES EDITION: I LOVE LOVING YOU
this song very much screams JAMES MCVEY: pop/rock but still a hint of country. it’s a cutesie love song, i love it. 
FAVE LYRIC: i’m certain there’s a sunrise and the night falls just like they do

JAMES EDITION: HIGHER
i’m not gonna lie to you, i’m not a complete fan of james’ vocals as a solo artist,  BUT, nevertheless, i can respect his abilities, along with his strong song writing. this is one of those songs that showcase those abilities really well. these songs are for kirstie right??? ;))))
FAVE LYRIC: if everything’s changing, i need you to know, the hardest decision was letting you go

CONNOR EDITION: ON MY OWN
i really enjoy connor’s type of music; lyrically and musically. this is so catchy, and would be a great song for a road trip. can’t wait to blast it in my car.
FAVE LYRIC: the footprints that i left yesterday are the ones that should be kept as memories

CONNOR EDITION: MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT
I WILL ALWAYS LOVE THE ROCK VERSIONS OF THEIR SONGS!!!! (I.E., TRISTAN’S ANIMAL REMIX OF WILDHEART????) THIS GETS ME SO AMPED TO HEAR THIS LIVE I CAN’T WAIT! the collab, i approve. idk who u are, but u got a great voice.

TRISTAN EDITION: ALL AROUND THE WORLD
FIRST OF ALL, WHY DOESN’T TRIS SING MORE?? HE HAS SUCH A NICE VOICE????? LIKE REMEMBER HIS VERSION OF CAN WE DANCE? MY FAVE. this song is for ana right??? ;))))))
FAVE LYRIC: i only met her once, and straight away i knew that i loved her

TRISTAN EDITION: COME GRIND WITH ME
THIS SONG IS STRAIGHT FIRE!!!!! sayin tris isn’t doing anymore mash-ups for tour and this is all he’s gonna perform, I’M ALL FOR IT!! THIS IS SUCH A TUNE LIKE I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS IS WHAT TRIS WANTED FOR HIS ALBUM VERSION
FAVE LYRIC: this love’s a game, come on & let’s play, you don’t have to remember my name

VERDICT:
tbh, i had kinda low expectations for this album bc i didn’t really know how to feel about the boys going a more EDM direction, BUT all the songs are total bops??? they’re all different; no songs sound alike in any way (other than sad song and starving, i’m never getting over that), and they all just kinda flow well with one another. i’m glad they took their time with this album, and released something that they’re truly proud of, instead of releasing an album that was half-assed. i appreciate the different editions based on each member; the songs included are very much an accurate representation of them, and something they are individually proud of. i hope somehow, someway they get this album to break into the north american market, bc SHADES ON DESERVES RADIO PLAY!!! this album exceeded my expectations, and did not disappoint at all. 5 STARS!!!!!

6. NU’EST

What’s this? Numero 6? But trust me this needs to be talked about. I’m a newer fan to K-Pop but NU’EST just snatched me up and went, “You’re our fan now”. And that really is the magic of k-pop and music in general; in one spontaneous swoop I’m instantly a fan–and NU’EST did exactly just that. Kind of like VIXX, I was sure at first that I wasn’t going to be a fan, but never say never. All it takes is that one song to hook you in, and boy did I become hooked. 

NU’EST is really special as an under-appreciated/underrated group that really fell out of radar. Short story: they debuted with a bang and somehow never picked up momentum like other groups that were debuting around the same time (like BTOB, VIXX, EXO, etc). Long story: check out this video. Understanding their story and struggle, makes me believe in them harder. They deserve better and their maximum potential needs to be reached so the world can fall back in love with these 5 talented dorks. I whole-heartedly wish for them to return to their original glory because they deserve it. They’ve shown versatility, perseverance, hard work, and most importantly talent. Bless them.

Bias: Baekho

First of all…just gonna leave this here…

Okay, now that I’ve revealed my thirsty ass, Baekho is a huge part of why I fell in love with Nu’est. The recipe for me to stan a group is as follows: (1) give me that one song that hooks me in and makes me start to listen to other songs, (2) find a song that immediately strikes me as the best thing ever, (3) find my bias. My first exposure to NU’EST was Face (rightfully so) but I wasn’t hooked. It wasn’t until I heard Overcome much later and I was just entranced. Let’s just say Baekho is hot af and is my kind of man. His smile and his laugh are to die for. Oh yeah, and his hair…gurl…one of the big factors of me liking a dude is their hair and his hair is not only the most distinguishing features of his look but also fucking awesome. But then his voice…dear lord…his voice is absolutely glorious…slays me every damn time. A tough guy exterior who’s ultimately seems like a teddy bear underneath, I’m sold. I hope he gets to sing as long as he can ‘cause I love his voice. Baekho is a lot of the man I wish I had in my life lol…

Bias Wrecker: Aron

Here comes to boyfriend type…

Out of the five, he seems like the one who gets the least attention, but hey, that means more Aron to myself ;) . He’s originally from LA and you gotta respect his choice to move to Korea to become the artist he now is and I love hearing him speak english especially when he helps introduces the group. He can rap, although JR is usually the one rapping, and he’s great. He can sing, I love his voice and I squeal and get a little excited whenever I get to hear him sing. He can dance, even though JR steals the spotlight when it comes to his crazy dancing and Ren slays when he does his girl group dancing. Finally, his visual is no joke even against the others how are also handsome af. What his visual appeal to me? Well he’s equal parts cute and sexy (I mean did you see his abs in the Good Bye Bye era…I died). He’s an all-around talented guy and his charm just comes for me and I can’t resist it… It’s a really fine line between my love for both of them because they’re both very much aligned with my kind of guy lol.

TOP 5 Songs:

1. Overcome

2016 was a fucking good year man. I have: Promise (I’ll Be) from 2PM, 1 of 1 and Tell Me What to Do from SHINee, The Eye from INFINITE, Dynamite and Fantasy from VIXX, Ribbon from B2ST/HIGHLIGHT, and now add to that list for me Overcome (and later on Love Paint and Look) from NU’EST. This is everything dammit. This is the song that made me fall in love with NU’EST and made me believe in them hard.

Each member’s voice is highlighted well and the variety among the voices works extremely well together: Baekho covering a strong and powerful lower sound, JR’s rapping covering a gruff lower sound as well, Aron and Ren offer two distinct voices that serve as bridge to Minhyun’s smooth and higher vocals. And let me tell you, I love both Baekho and Aron’s vocals in particular. The music it self switches between three tones: the intense sexy synth of the chorus, the light jazzy beats for the verse, and the softer mellow piano for the ending. This song flew under my radar, but I’m glad I found it because it is some guuud shit right here.

Now for the video/choreography/visuals: sexy af. Knights? Bitch yes. I have Princes for 2PM and now Knights for Nu’est, I’m freaking set. And boy does a knight fit Baekho well (I mean he can wield a sword too lol); I picture Aron more as a prince charming type (considering his outfit in the video), but hell a knight works too. But this hair on Baekho is everything and the subtle blue pushes it beyond perfection. Oh, and that coat on Baekho just….ugh he looks so fucking good. Ren looks fabulous as af with that hair; I personally don’t like androgynous looks, but after getting to know Ren, he pulls it off so well and whether or not he wants that hair (or whether or not you like it) he werks it and deserves major props because his visual is no joke. Minhyun is seducing you with that open shirt and blonde hair and then to top it all of his voice is angelic. JR looks handsome af especially with that greyish-silver hair. The body rolls in the choreography though, talk about icing on the cake. 

NU’EST gave us: sexy choreography, powerful vocals, smooth sound, perfect visuals. The only thing I can criticize is that the video could of been amped up a whole lot further. BUT, Overcome checks off everything I could want from a group. This is a strong comeback that didn’t get the recognition it deserved.

2. Hello?

A ballad? What? Yeah, I don’t really prefer ballad-y types of songs, but this is something special. A complete 180 from what they debuted with, but the composition and performance is just so memorable. What sold me is that move with the tie (what can I say, I like a well dressed man).

The song is very mellow but there’s something about it that just mesmerizing to me. While the style of NU’EST changed for this release, the formula was still there. The song itself is just composed beautifully, everything is smooth and there is enough variety to help keep us entranced and intrigued. Where Minhyun’s sweet voice is the foundation for the typical ballad sound, Baekho provides a contrast that helps add a layer to the vocals of the song. While I find Aron’s raps for the song cheesy, his singing parts make me smile. Ren’s voice especially in that bridge at the end is refreshing to listen too. JR’s rap provides an enormous contrast to the song but at the same time blends so well and I find it extremely pleasant to listen too. This song shows the versatility of NU’EST more than anything and while I prefer their more poppy and upbeat songs, this is a surprise favorite of mine.

3. Love Paint/Look (A Starlight Night)

2016 slayed. Year of Masterpieces. And what do you, NU’EST releases art with Love Paint. The song itself didn’t appeal to me instantly, however it won me over very quickly. Lemme just say that Baekho’s voice in Love Paint is heavenly and I couldn’t resist. The video is extremely aesthetic and nice, but I wish it showed off more of the choreography instead. Everything about this comeback seemed more relaxed especially with the visuals (Baekho’s hair is simply down but that purple though ;) ). Also JR’s rap is really nice with essentially two parts: first mellow and then becomes more fun and active.

Look (A Starlight Night) on the other hand instantly won me over. It feels very jazzy and there a subtle retro vibe going on that’s really nice. While the video is just a simple choreography video, you get to see some nice footwork from the boys. Imagine if they had some kind of starlight backdrop behind them…oh my god it would so beautiful. The only thing I will say, is that I don’t like Baekho’s hairstyle (because I don’t care for that look in particular on any guy). However, yet again, Baekho’s vocals just slay me. 

Canvas and even Q is are both cleverly done albums by NU’EST and deserve a lot of love. NU’EST worked really hard and released some really good music that needs some love.

4. Sleep Talking

Poppy. Colorful. Fun. Sexy. NU’EST returned to their original sound but gave up the angsty look from something more typical pop (and my kind of pop lol). I mean, this is classic k-pop no? Baekho looks mighty fine in fabulous pink hair and looking sexy in his tank top or sleeveless tiger jacket. Minhyun is wearing that green shirt with a stupid cut out in the back giving his fans some skin. Ren is still slaying you with his blond hair. Aron and JR look like the stylists vomited all the patterns over them lol. The dancing is catchy, fun, and has a hint of sexy (see gif). The mood of the song is upbeat and fun and is infectiously happy. And I’m always for music that naturally puts a smile on your face.

5. Face/Action

The song that started it all. Now don’t hurt me, but I actually don’t like this song. BUT I don’t have to love this song to appreciate how good it actually is. There is a reason this debut was so successful and legendary. Let’s check off the list: solid choreography, obligatory dub-step dance break, powerful vocals from Baekho (his vocals strong from debut like gurl…) and Minhyun, catchy beat and sound, strong visuals, and add to that a relatable and appealing concept. If this is what we had to begin with, imagine how much more they still have to offer. STAN TALENT. STAN NU’EST.

These boys comeback not too long afterwards to give you another does of legendary. It’s the same formula as before, but it’s more of my taste (minus the dubstep dance break which feels random but you know, it was a thing). While, NU’EST didn’t keep their initial gritty concept, they showed off many sides to them that I think deserves some merit. Finally,  One thing I’d like to point out is this

bless you Baekho…bless you…

Honorable Mention:

Good Bye Bye

This is the culmination of everything they’ve done before. Let’s mash together the softer side of Hello with the formula of Action/Face (with a dub-step breakdown that I don’t care much for–the vocals during that part though are everything) and add a touch of sexy like Sleep Talking. NU’EST’s visual game stepped up really hard with this song: Aron really came for me this time (have you seen his abs I mean…c’mon…it’s just deadly), Minhyun looks handsome af, Ren is serving you masculine and abs (Ren fans must of been slayed so hard lol), JR in blonde…dear god, and Baekho’s relaxed orange hair is refreshing. The vocals from each member are much stronger (and in just about two years). Minhyun’s vocals really got to shine here. In general they showed off an extremely strong comeback. So please…let’s love NU’EST! ;)

Ok, I’m a babby-n00b fan (it’s been what, two weeks, three?), but I really frickin’ love the band The Dear Hunter and I want to gush about their music and I enjoy ranking things so…yeah, here’s me talking about my favorite songs from the Acts. (no major story spoilers)

Please feel free to completely ignore if you aren’t interested in my semi-coherent and less-than-sophisticated ramblings. X’D

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Top 10 kpop songs released in August 2017

 It’s still busy on kpopland and I know there were other popular artist like Hyuna, NCT dream and Samuel releasing music but for me, this songs were the standouts in August.

H.M. Henry-That One. This song is technically not a kpop song because the lyrics are in english so even if Henry is part of the kpop music industry I’m leaving this one out of the list. Having said that, lately I like everything that Henry is putting out. I hope people pay more attention to him so we can listen a full album soon. He works so much, he deserves it. 

10. Jeong Sewoon ft Sik K- Just u. Another Produce 101 alumni. I wasn’t expecting to like this and even if the tone is recognizable I think it’s a chill nice song with a bit of edge provided by Sik-K and Groovy Room. 

9. Babylon ft Chungha - La, la, la. Babylon (aka that guy with nice vocals from Zico’s Boys and Girls) realesed a new song today. When I paid attention to the lyrics it threw me off because of all the tacky cliches like La vida loca. olé or talking about La Bamba which points to me they have no clue what La Bamba is (it gets on my mexican nerves). Plus I’m personally not crazy about the chorus because it’s the tropical house that has been overdone this summer in kpop, however the vocals and the beat save the song for me.

8. WANNA ONE-Energetic. Even though I still believe this song is not unique enough to make me excited I have to acknowledge that it’s really catchy and despite of my better judgement I’ve fallen into its charms.

7. Heize- In the time spent with you. A dramatic break up ballad with Heize’s special colours in them. Love the small rap in the middle.

 6. 10 cm - HELP. I don’t follow many korean indie bands but 10 cm came to my attention last year and for me there’s so many interesting songs by them. This one is no different. A beautiful slice of life song. As usual the lead vocalist voice shines.

5. VIXX LR-Whisper. This song was not what I was expecting from this comeback and believe me I’ve been fantasizing about this comeback for over a year. I just loved VIXX LR’s first mini album that much. I do like the song but the chorus was a bit like something I’ve already heard somewhere before so not my favorite of the album. For me, Beautiful Night, Chocolatier and Today were the best in the album. I wish it had donde better on the charts though.

4. 행주 - Red Sun (Feat. ZICO, Swings). Hangzoo was not on my radar of contenders to win season 6 of Show Me the Money -even if he did really well in the first couple of rounds- until this performance. The first part is so electrifying and when the beat hits it’s such a highlight. Swings gives it a nice change of pace. The track is produced by Zico and Dean. 

3. 행주, 양홍원(Young B), Hash Swan, 킬라그램(Killagramz) - 요즘것들 (Feat. ZICO, DEAN). For me this is the best song of season 6 of Show Me the Money. I get why Nucksal’s songs have done better but I personally liked this one more. Maybe I’m just biased to the chorus sang by Dean.

2. Taeyang-Darling. A straight forward break up song by Teddy with Taeyang’s beautiful vocals. I went back and forth between  this title and Wake me up because they’re both so good in different ways. Amazing and Tonight (ft, Zico) are my favorites of the album.

1. WINNER- LOVE ME, LOVE ME. So these days I might as well be an Inner Circle because I’ve been so obsessed with WINNER. Actually the only thing that’s preventing me from joinning their fan club is that being an EXO-L takes too much of my time. Joking aside, everything they’ve released this year has been amazing and this song is no different. A great catchy summery song that along side their other title Island, sticks with the tropical trend and makes you happy. Surprisingly, the japanese version also sounds really good.

It feels YG is doing what they did with BIGBANG’s MADE, instead of releasing a whole album they are giving us two songs at a time and since they’ve hinted they will be coming back in winter I’ll be impatiently waiting to hear more from them.

Thoughts on the Spongebob Musical cast recording

Soo having seen the musical live twice, I’ve been dying for the recording for a long, long time. I’ve had to rely on a very low-quality audio recording for about a year but now that I finally have the original in my possession I can happily say that again, the Spongebob Musical remains one of my favorites and that’s from someone who is a big fan of Broadway. 

I know next to nothing about the mechanics of music but here are my two cents anyway, comparing the soundtrack to what I saw live. 

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Hakumyu Saitō-hen - The Experiment

Here in lies my rather extensive thoughts on the first of the Hakumyu shows. I’m warning beforehand that this post IS NOT spoiler free! If you haven’t seen any of the shows yet and don’t want to be spoiled, keep on scrolling. Don’t worry, I won’t be offended. 😉  I’m sorry that this post is going to take up your dash. I attempted to add a cut, but it doesn’t work at all. I’ve tried every trick I found. Every time I clicked keep reading, it would send the reader to my blog but not open the post. I apologize!

Full Disclosure: I haven’t completed an entire playthrough of any route of any of the Hakuōki games (I’m working in it, I swear!). I have seen the entire anime several times as well as both movies, which means that most of my Hakuōki knowledge is really of Hijikata’s route. With that said, I’m not an expert on the individual routes, so I won’t be commentating on the accuracy of the story itself as it compares to the games.

Okay, my method while I was viewing was pretty straight forward. I realized that not all of the musicals have been translated (and I’m nowhere close to being a fluent speaker/understander of Japanese), and obviously, my ability to understand the dialogue would sway my opinion of the show, so I decided to watch all of the musicals without subtitles. That way, all of the musicals are on equal footing when it comes to my ability to comprehend what is going on. I had to rely on my severely limited knowledge of Japanese and the acting. I also did not watch any behind the scenes footage or extras, so everything is based off of what I saw on stage. I’ll also use screenshots and an occasional gif to illustrate my point and to break up the walls of text I’m certain are going to happen.

Okay, so let’s get this show on the road!

I’ll start by explaining my subtitle. As of this writing, there are 10 Hakumyu productions! I think it’s incredible that years after the initial release of Hakuōki, there is still so much interest to warrant stage shows, and they’ve been successful enough to produce more. In any case, Saitō was the first to get a musical that centered around his route, and I call it the experiment because I’m sure no one knew how successful this would be. The whole flavor of the show is sort of young - like they were trying things out and seeing what would work in terms of casting, choreography, music, etc.. I’d say it was by no means a failure, but there were some definite kinks to work out, that as time went on and everyone gained experience, they did (for the most part).

The Set

Just…just look at it! A set like this is an actor’s dream. It’s aesthetically pleasing, and look at all those different levels to play on! The doors, the different entrances, the movable walls and floors to make seamless transitions between different scenes - it’s probably hands down my favorite set from the entire series thus far (and we’re only one show in). The set is the audience’s first impression of the show, our first peak into the world, and I’d say the set designers knocked this one out of the park.

Up close, it looks like the wood patterns are painted on, and I’d have to say kudos to the tech crew for that because painted wood is a pain to get right! It looks good up close and far away.

While we’re on the subject of the technical stuff, I love the lighting in this show. The whole stage is so well-lit, and there are few dark spots on stage, which means the audience can see all the action (and there’s plenty!)

A great example of the lighting. After Heisuke takes the Ochimizu, a battle begins between him and the rest of the Shinsengumi officers. It’s a dark moment, and the lighting reflects that while also being bright enough for us to see all of the battle. There’s even some use of some fun gobos to add a streak of brighter light in order to further illuminate what’s going on without dispelling the mood of the moment. The technical crew nailed it for this production!

The Choreography

One of the things that I appreciate the most across the board in Hakumyu is the fight choreography. I think most people would be aware that the actors aren’t really going all out fighting because…well, that’s dangerous. It’s up to the actors to sell to the audience the reality of what is going on without hurting each other or themselves. The core of stage combat is to practice, make sure everyone is safe, and play up the movements to make it all look real. Up close, it looks a little ridiculous and over-the-top, but from far away, it looks amazing!

(I wish I could post the original gif I made from this scene, but it’s too big!) Anyway, this tiny gif, I think, is a perfect illustration of the actors selling the stage fighting.

But the stage combat isn’t the only choreography going on here. Compared to the rest of the Hakumyus I’ve seen thus far, I think Saitō-hen takes the cake for having the most “dance” (choreography that doesn’t involve swordplay) numbers like “Yaisa! Yaisa! Yaisa!” “Samurai Future,” and “Kinniku Love.” The dancing is fun, but especially in “Samurai Future,” it becomes clear that the company has lost the energy that is required later in the song. When they finally arrive at Ikedaya, it’s supposed to be this moment of high intensity, and the singing really suffers because they have put their all into the dance at the beginning of the number. Dancing is fun in a musical, but it shouldn’t take away from the actor’s ability to perform the rest of the number.

The Music

I’m going to use this section to discuss my favorite songs from the show. I really don’t have many favorites from this show. As I said before, this was the first and an experiment, and the music, I think, reflects the youth of the show. The music isn’t bad, but a good amount of it just comes off as clunky almost as if they felt they had to put a song somewhere because this is supposed to be a musical. Also, as stated before, I felt some of the performances of the songs suffered due to the dancing. The vocals are very young (and nervous) for a few of the actors, and there were times when I winced because the singers went sharp or were a little flat. Despite that, my favorites are:

Ryūgi/Don’t Forget my Style - Our introduction to Saitō and Okita. Besides the fact that I LOVE the fight choreography for this number, I felt that this song really gives us a window into the relationship that develops between the two. I love how sophisticated the harmony is in this number because the notes that they sing fit and at the same time are discordant - I think it highlights how well they get along because their beliefs are very similar; however, there is that undercurrent of jealousy and competitiveness (from Okita) that makes their relationship complex in terms of friendship and camaraderie.

Yoiyami Aketara Asobimasho - What can I say other than I’m a sucker for lullabies, especially in minor key. This is my favorite rendition of this song because Yoshida Hitomi sings it so beautifully. It’s in the sweet spot of her vocal range, and the emotion in it is perfect.

Oni no Matsuei - (Above screenshot is for all my Shiranui fans out there 😉 ). This is a song in which I love all of the different melodies. The main melody is also just so catchy. Like many of the songs in this show, it is the later renditions that I love because all of the singers have more mature voices. For me, the rendition of this song I love best is from LIVE! in terms of vocals. In this show, I love having the chance to hear our favorite Oni sing.

Kawaranaimono - Hands down, this is my favorite song of Hakumyu. Out of all of them. It is just so. damn. gorgeous! The melody is beautiful, the lyrics are sad yet hopeful, and this just…invokes a deep ache in my chest. I sing along every damn time it comes across on my iPod (up an octave), and it’s probably the most played Hakumyu song I have. I love the incorporation of traditional Japanese instruments amid the western ones to further the idea that Saitō believes in the unchanging things. My favorite rendition of this song comes from Hijikata-hen (but more on that when I review that show).

The Actors

In this section, I’m really going to focus on the leads and anyone else I think stands out, minus those characters that get shows focusing on them. Be prepared…there is going to be lots of pictures and gushing at times. I have no shame. 😆

Matsuda Ryō - Um…where do I even start?! He is, without a doubt, an extremely talented actor. Like I said towards the beginning of all this, I didn’t do research or behind-the-scenes stuff beyond looking at who played who and the names of songs. My assumption is, based on his acting in this show compared to the other Hakumyus he’s been in, that this must be one of his first big shows.

There is a seriousness to Saitō that permeates everything he does, and Matsuda does do a great job of conveying this. I see it in his impassive gaze, the formality of his movements, and the control in which he moves. Seriously, there isn’t any limpness in any of Matsuda’s actions.

Can we also talk about the fact that Matsuda Ryō is extremely good at fighting with his left hand as the dominate one?! Like, how many actors can say that they can do something as involved as swordplay with their non-dominate hand? Color me super impressed! During this entire show, I never once believed for a second that Matsuda isn’t actually left-handed. The fact that he was willing to learn and complete his swordplay left-handed just blows my mind in terms of dedication to his craft. EDIT: I’ve just learned that Matsuda is actually left-handed, so never mind on that account. Still! His swordplay is amazing!

He is young in this show. In this case, it really works because Saitō is so woefully inexperienced when it comes to matters of the heart! Below is the “Oh, shit…I don’t know what to do now!” look:

It’s adorable, right?! I can’t even with him. Anyway, there are so many things I love that Matsuda does, such as the deep-throated growl as he crawling towards the Ochimizu that Kazama left for him to drink, the awkwardness that permeates him every time he’s around Chizuru, and his swordplay is just phenomenal. I wish that he had the chance to do this show when he was a little older because his singing would be out of this world.

Yoshida Hitomi - Our first Chizuru, and a very capable one at that! Her vocals are great as long as she stays in the mid-range of her voice. The higher notes written for Chizuru are a little high for her, and for the few times she pushed to reach those high notes, they weren’t as pure. Still, her voice is lovely.

Her acting is great. I loved seeing this side of Chizuru. For this scene in particular, I loved seeing the surprise she conveyed at having drawn her sword, and then the determination of “Well, I have to follow through now!” I feel like this is perfectly in line with Chizuru. And the fear:

On point. My only beef is that there were times when she over-emoted (like when Chizuru was sad about Saitō leaving the Shinsengumi), and her voice would get pitchy almost to the point of annoyance. Other than that, she ranks as one of my favorite Chizurus.

The chemistry between Yoshida and Matsuda is sufficient for this show and the nature of the relationship as a whole. Yoshida definitely makes it clear that Chizuru loves Saitō, and Matsuda brings that awkwardness to it that creates the right amount of sweetness and distance between the characters. But when that moment comes that Saitō finally allows himself to drink Chizuru’s blood:

DAMN! LOOK AT THAT CHEMISTRY!!!!! I mean, it’s such a complex moment in terms of emotion that is just done beautifully. It’s painful, it’s sweet, it’s sensual. Executed to perfection!

Suzuki Shogō - *sigh* I won’t spend too much time on him since Kazama has his own show, but he does deserve a mention for being a major character in this show. He’s another one I really don’t know where to begin. I mean…just look at him:

Nothing quite says “evil bastard” like that look right there. And he does a very good job of being the “no redeeming qualities” baddie in this show. He’s proud, arrogant, and doesn’t give a shit about those nasty humans - and I buy every choice that Suzuki makes during the show. I love his little chuckles, the crooked smile, the way Suzuki walks - so controlled and upright like Saitō - and his swordplay is fantastic. He’s another actor who has vocals that are rather youthful compared to later shows, but they’re not bad. He definitely has the basic character of Kazama down here, and it’s enough to draw me in. He’s great.

The chemistry between Suzuki and Matsuda is very evident as well. I mean, just look at the disdain from Saitō:

and the “I’m going to enjoy fucking with you” from Kazama:

It’s so good! The intensity of their sword battles is where I definitely saw the most of their great chemistry as rivals. Throughout, Suzuki continues his attitude of hunter messing with his prey, and Matsuda brings that righteous fury to their interactions.

Other Thoughts

This section is for those thoughts on other parts in the show that didn’t quite fit anywhere else.

I’m going to start off with the humor. I…just…couldn’t with a good majority of the humor in this show. My favorite humorous scene? The one where Okita is telling Saitō he’s changed, and Saitō refutes him by talking about how much he’s grown:

My least favorite? The scene where Gen-san is teaching the members of the Shinsengumi to fight the Oni:

To me, this was just not worth the time. It was painfully obvious it was meant to be funny for the sake of being funny, and it really served no purpose to further the plot along. I hated Yamazaki’s impression of Chizuru, and I hated that Gen-san was treated as the Shinsengumi’s clown the entire show.

There were times that I felt humor should not have been used. The worst moment was the first time we see Saitō suffer from the blood lust:

For real?! This is a serious moment! He’s suffering for want of blood and you’re going to bring up the buttons on his jacket?! Saitō’s expression sums up my reaction perfectly. Unfortunately, this is something that carries through the show, and it really prevents me from becoming emotionally invested in moments that are supposed to be emotionally charged. It’s a let-down. I want that catharsis!

I liked the flow of the story. I liked seeing Saitō joining the Shinsengumi from their days at the Shieikan because we get to see the establishment of his close relationships with Okita and Hijikata that remain throughout the show. Plus, the linear storyline makes it easier to fit everything in that I feel is important. We got so many moments where characters and relationships were developed that made the show very enjoyable.

All-in-all, Saitō-hen was a valiant effort for Hakymyu’s first show. It definitely kept me interested in seeing the other Hakumyus, as this was actually my first foray into watching Japanese theatre. I hope this post was enjoyable (I had fun writing it and spending hours grabbing screenshots, lol!) Please remember that these are all my opinions, and respectful discussion is welcomed!

Next up: Okita-hen!

Sing more covers he said. So I did.

“Oh look, Jeongguk posted a new cover. He’s really good, huh?” Bogum told Tae as they deplaned from Jeju. Taehyung looked at him, confused, as Jeongguk has not mentioned anything about a cover before he left.

“What cover?”

Bogum showed him a video posted in the BTS YouTube Channel, the usual black screen with just Jeongguk’s vocals. A melodic ballad tune played and after a few bars, that signature voice came in.

Why can’t you hold me in the street
Why can’t I kiss you on the dance floor
I wish that we could be like that
‘cause I’ m yours

Taehyung scrolled the video to look at the title just to be sure but the first lines are a dead giveaway anyway.

Damn.

Secret Love Song by the Little Mix was a song they both chanced upon by accident. They heard a Korean cover of the song uploaded a few months back and Taehyung swore it was stuck in his head for quite a while. The song is bittersweet and catchy but most of all, it’s a sort of anthem for Taehyung and Jeongguk’s current life.

A secret love affair of stolen kisses, hidden intertwined hands, smitten glances, all mostly done in borrowed time.

Fans are quick to realize, fast on the uptake in every fancam video of them whispering, holding hands, getting lost in the small intimate world that they created that the management reminded them to be careful. They even resorted to directing them to stay away in videos, sit far apart in fan signs so as not taint their good bulletproof boys images. As if loving someone regardless of gender is a sin or smear that should be wiped away clean.

“Oh Kookie…”

Taehyung remembered that Jeongguk asked him if he can come home with him to Busan for a few days during their break.

“Sorry Kookie, I promised Bogum I’ll meet him when I get back to give him the items he asked me to buy. I need to come home to Daegu soon after to visit Grandma and the kids are waiting for me. How about after the last leg of the tour, yes? We’ll have another break then. ”

Jeongguk cannot win at poker with his lack of facial filter to hide his emotions. His face is too expressive. He tried to hold back this time, but his jaw clenching and his usual tongue-in-cheek quirk is showing.

“It’s okay Tae, I’m pretty sure you’re fed up with my face by now. Have fun in Jeju.” His phone started ringing and he nodded to excuse himself out curtly. It’s probably Yugyeom calling him out again to play.

“Gummy, I think I need to go.” Bogum nodded and clapped Taehyung in the back. He knows Taehyung’s relationship with Jeongguk and the song clearly says it all.

“I know. Let’s meet again sometime, ok? Have fun in the next leg!”

Taehyung walked fast and half ran as he saw Sejin-hyung waiting for him in the arrivals area.

“Hyung, is Jeongguk still at the dorm?” He asked as Sejin took his bag. They were walking towards the exit when sasaeng fans started screaming for Taehyung.

So they ran, fast, towards the van.

“Kookie was with Yoongi in his studio this morning. I know he asked for the 2nd to the last train sched to Busan for today. Brave kid, taking the train. I hope there are no sasaengs there.”

“Sejin-hyung! Let’s go to the studio! Hurry!”

Nodding, Sejin instructed the driver to go to the HQ and all Taehyung can think about is how much he hurt Jeongguk unintentionally.

“Kid’s not here anymore Taehyung. He left for Busan an hour ago.”

As expected, Yoongi is the only one left in the studio and no trace Jeongguk anywhere.

“I messed up hyung! I really hurt Kookie right?”

Yoongi’s head bounced up and down like he’s playing a tune in his head.

“Yep kid, big time. Jeon was crying when we finished and of course I kicked him.” Taehyung eyes grew wide in disbelief. “Kidding, i told him to suck it up and go home. Thing is, Taehyung, he’s enamored with you and I cannot blame you for being the social butterfly that you are but you do tend to leave him out. I know it’s a secret love affair and the world need not know what the truth is but be mindful of his feelings too. No one wants to be in a secret alone.”

Taehyung buried his face into his hands. Ah Taehyung how can you be so insensitive, he said to himself. Jeongukk deserves an apology and no phone call can cut it.

“Hyung can you..?”

Before he can even finish, Yoongi slid a piece of paper to him without even peeling his eyes off the screen of his computer.

Taehyung smiled and prepared to haul himself to Yoongi when the older male shot him an icy death stare, daring him to continue his plan of glomping him.

“Bring me Daegu food when you come back. I’m not going home. Now shoo, go away. Leave me be.”

“Thank you Hyung! I love youuu!”

“Urgh, c'mon, save that for Jeongguk. It’s just a train ticket, no need to profess your love me. Urgh, the shivers.”

Taehyung bowed at Yoongi and charged for the exit.

“Go get him tiger!”

It’s around 2am when Jeongguk arrived in his neighborhood in Busan. It’s late but somehow going straight to the park nearby his house sounded better to him that going home. He perched himself on a patch of grass, placed his bags and guitar beside him. Going home to Busan reminds Jeongguk that he’s just a kid with humble beginnings, with a simple house and cute dogs. Busan is childhood, his adolescent dream while Seoul is work, adulthood, music, fans and of course…

Seoul is connected to Taehyung.

Sigh.

Jeongguk shook his head at the idea of him crying in front of Yoongi after finishing the cover a while ago. He was just so jealous of Bogum and frustrated with Taehyung and their relationship. Why can the two of them go out while Jeongguk waits at home? How can they look so fucking perfect together that the management allows them to post it in Twitter while he can’t even post selcas with Taehyung without causing an uproar?

Why can’t they express love same way other people in love do?

Sighing again, he took out his guitar and looked around if here are anyone around. When the coast was clear, he strummed the chords of the song away.

We keep behind closed doors
Every time I see you, I die a little more
Stolen moments that we steal as the curtain falls
It’ll never be enough

He laughed at how this song fits him so much right now, it literally hurts. He was taken a back though when he heard a familiar baritone singing the next few bars.


Why can’t you hold me in the street?
Why can’t I kiss you on the dance floor?
I wish that it could be like that
Why can’t we be like that?
'Cause I’m yours

Taehyung sat beside him on the grass, their knees touching. They both look the same, hoodie, cap, black mask but underneathe faint night light, Jeongguk can see Taehyung’s eyes.

Pleading. Apologetic. Sincere.

“I’m so sorry Kookie… I shouldn’t have chosen Bogum over you. I’m really sorry.”

Jeongukk placed his guitar down and looked at Tae directly. He cannot get angry with those eyes on that face. He just can’t. Just like LANY said in ILYSB, I’m hella obsessed with your face and yeah, Taehyung’s face gives him that feeling. Somehow, the all that jealousy and frustration dissipated when Taehyung started peeling the mask off Jeongguk’s face. He cupped his hand on his cheek and Jeongguk sighed into it. Taehyung is Taehyung. Nothing else feels right when Taehyung is right there, smiling at him.

Everthing else, poof! Gone.
Out of the window.

“Kiss me then, if you’re so sorry.” Jeongguk haughtily said as he pulled the strings of Taehyung’s mask off his eyes, revealing his boxy grin. Oh lord, he is such a delight. Why was he angry again?

Taehyung kissed him slowly at first then fervently soon after. Kissing him felt the same as snuggling against him every night, holding his palm against his with their fingers intertwined.

Busan is Jeongguk’s childhood, Seoul is his work.

Taehyung is home.

“We’ll work this out, babe. We’ll get through this one day. Let’s keep this secret safe for now, okay? Don’t let go Kookie, I never will.”

With their foreheads touching, Jeongguk smiled and kissed Taehyung lightly once more.

“You have all my cards, Tae. I’m not going anywhere.”


Why can’t I say that I’m in love?
I wanna shout it from the rooftop
I wish that it could be like that
Why can’t we be like that?
'Cause I’m yours

They both know it will take a long time for them to be able to tell the whole world of their secret. They also know that some secrets are better kept unsaid. But they’ve built their own little world around each other, no secrets, no lies.

That, for now, should be enough.

—-

Timecheck:
3:15am PST.
Fuck i have a 9am meeting.
Idgaf I’ve been hurting for Taekook for the past few days, fite me. I need to let this shit out.

Not beta read, done in 2 hours.
Oh sleep cmon. Let’s go!

kpop recs based on broduce concept eval. songs

i’ve heard a lot of people react positively to the concept evaluation songs with words like “this is so my style!!! this is such a good song!!” and it’s really cool and makes me excited every time i see things like this, like oh man there’s so much good music i can send u similar to this funky track and the concept that it was formed for… but we’re not friends and i’m shy or intimidated?

anyways i’m a musical production enthusiast too and kpop makes it really colorful and exciting so i hope this goes well! here are my recommendations!

warning: LONG POST


I Know You Know

WJSN - 비밀이야(secret) 

i think the charm of the melodies are similar! wjsn’s secret has such a dreamlike atmosphere it’s hard not to love. please listen to it fondly. this is such a good dark horse song.

VICTON -  아무렇지 않은 척(I’m fine) 

i find this song and its uniqueness really charming. it’s cool and chill but warm and cute at the same time. similar to the impression that i know you know leaves on you after listening to it. it’s a really nice thing


Oh Little Girl

SHINee - 투명 우산(don’t let me go) 

oh mannnn the tones and timbre of their voices are enchanting and good for daydreaming - similar to how good oh little girl’s vocals are. in don’t let me go, the melancholic yet groovy piano starts the atmosphere. get lost in this song too.

EXO - heaven 

if you enjoyed oh little girl, you’ll definitely love this song too. i almost squealed when i remembered it and its fluffy yet chill greatness when trying to think of recs. the chorus hits as sweetly as your fav concept song so you definitely won’t regret listening until the end.


열어줘

VIXX - the closer 

the production here and the vividness this song delivers is so cool. the instrumental is light but makes everything super impactful. it transitions to an explosive chorus. the atmosphere is similar to what 열어줘 was honoring and is elegantly refined. you’ll LOVE IT

NU’EST -  여왕의 기사(overcome) 

the woke people expected this!! if it’s your first time hearing about this song, please enlighten yourself. i fell in love with it when it was released. the aesthetically pleasing theme that is created is something you’d want to come back to over and over again. goosebumps.

NU’EST - love paint (every afternoon) 

this song is a work of art. now it’s just up to you to appreciate it.


Showtime

SEVENTEEN -  아낀다(adore u) 

like the refreshing vibes that showtime intended to deliver, this song is great and timeless. a perfect debut song and mv that catches attention and hearts and smiles. powerful vocals, at that!

EXO-CBX  - hey mama! 

this song is reallyyy good, with very similar funkiness to showtime. cbx are legends, and i don’t think i need to say anything more!!

GFriend - 오늘부터 우리는(me gustas tu) 

90% of meninists will ignore this (kidding). it’s time to wake up and appreciate the catchy yet elegant iconic release by the princesses. the guitar solo, their voices


Never

PENTAGON - pentagon 

they’ve debuted just late last year but their discography is so gold. i was conflicted on what song to attach because their entire debut EP was mindblowing, but i ultimately decided on this song because, it’s that song. let’s give lots of love and respect to the minds behind never

Dalshabet -  금토일(fri.sat.sun) 

this song is sooo good, i wish more people discovered it. i thought the ethereal-like feeling showed by the synths is similar to that of never. please enjoy this song as well. the uniqueness in dalshabet’s discography is a gem 

I succeeded in converting someone into a kpop fan for the first time ever. Plus my top 10 favorite kpop groups.

Last week a co-worker heard me singing (or attempting to sing) I’m good by Henry and when she listened to the song she really liked it. Since her concept of korean music was limited to PSY’s Gangnam Style (no surprise there) I told her a bit about kpop groups . She mostly found funny that boybands were still a thing in Korea. So I showed her solo artists first (Heize, Zion T) and since I told her about BTS winning a Billboard award I ended up showing her Blood, Sweat and Tears. She immediatly professed her love for Jimin and asked me if that was my favorite kpop group,and told her even though I like some of their songs, they’re not. Then she told me to tell her five groups I was crazy about. That brought me all sorts of existencial problems. For example it made me realize that even though I listen to a lot of kpop groups I don’t really get too much into them except for a handful. It also made me feel guilty about all the groups that were left out of my list. Today I saw her again and I was surprised to learn she has fallen into the dark hole that is kpop. She just became the first person I have actually converted into kpop!

Top 10 kpop groups

Since I already made a list for my favorite kpop groups I thought I should share them.

Honorable Mention: CNBLUE. Choosing the tenth place is always the hardest part when I’m doing Top 10 lists. I changed the list a few times and in the end I couldn’t fit CNBLUE. I started listening to them because of We Got Married. Yonghwa is a gifted hit maker with a distinct voice and my kpop playlist has so many of their songs. As actors they’ve all had their chance to shine and if you like kdramas you should know You’re beautiful with Park Shin Hye,

10. Infinite.  If I’m being honest I was first atracted to Infinite because I had a crush on L, when I found out he was a part of Infinite I checked them out and saw every variety show available. I specially like Woohyun’s voice and Dongwoo’s rapping. Sungjong’s tone is always a treat as well. I also like they have a distinct sound that doesn’t really let itself be too influenced by the trend. My favorite song of theirs is Bad. You can watch Myungsoo (L) in several dramas like Shut up flower boy band.

 9. Super Junior. I love most of their hit songs specially Mamacita, Devil, Mr. Simple and Sorry Sorry. However their ballads are such a hidden gem (Evanescence, Reset, Islands) if you don’t know them much. Not gonna lie the first time I listened to them it was kind of a shock (not in a good way) but since then I’ve learned to appreciate them plus I’ve watched so much of them in variety shows that it’s hard not to love them. Then there’s my obsession with Kyuhyun. Most of them have tried acting. Check out Yesung in Voice with Jang Hyuk or Siwon in She was pretty.

8. Mamamoo. This is one of the two girl groups in my list. I definitely have an issue with cutesy girl groups in kpop, that’s a cultural barrier that I haven’t been able to pass. However Mamamoo’s concept is something I can relate and their voices are no joke! Moonbyul for me is -after CL of course- the best rapper in girl groups. Their jazzy pop sound is fun and Solar’s vocals are a stand out. Um, Oh Ah Yeah is my favorite song of them.

7.VIXX. Except for Hyde, I really enjoy all of their hits. Leo’s voice was what really got me into VIXX then I found out he’s a cutie watching him in variety shows which just made me love him more. I also really enjoy listening to Ravi. I think he’s so talented and has a cool rapping tone. VIXX LR’s Beautiful Liar would totally make my top 5 favorite kpop songs of all time. Check out N in Hotel King or Tunnel.

6. Winner. This group is kind of a new obsession of mine. I vaguely remember listening to Empty but I never really paid attention to them. It wasn’t until I got into New Journey to the West 3 that I got curious about Winner. I really like Don’t flirt, I’m Young and Sentimental but I have to confess it’s their new stuff (Really, really; Love me, love me; Fool and Island) that forced me to put them in the sixth place of my list even if I’ve only been listening to them for the past four months. What I’m most excited about is what they’ll come up with next. Even though I got into Winner because of Minho and I love his solo stuff, my bias is by far Seungyoon. That voice of his is so amazing and refreshing to hear in a kpop group. Check out Seungyoon in High Kick: Revenge of the short legged or in the upcoming drama Wise Prison Life.

5. BTOB. The thing about BTOB apart from their awesome funny personalities is those voices. The joke about even the rappers can sing in BTOB is because of Minhyuk and he shows it in his single Purple Rain ft Cheeze that was released recently. Hyungsik has my favorite voice in BTOB. He also writes songs. To be honest. I prefer their ballads to their upbeat songs but I’ll be your man and Movie are really fun. Check out Sungjae in School 2015 and Goblin.

4.  Shinee. They have changed their concept in every comeback, tried out a lot of sounds but they always are so effortlessly good. I never really had a bias on Shinee until last year that I got a bit too much into Jonghyun’s music solo stuff. My favorite songs are View, Excuse me miss, Everybody, Sherlock, Ring ding dong and Tell me what to do. You can check out Onew in Descendants of the Sun and Key in Drinking Solo.

3. Red Velvet. I’ve said this before in this blog but the thing about me and Red Velvet is that they always have such catchy songs that I can’t run away from them and end up loving every song. This was ever since their debut with Happiness. I remember I was like this song is too hyper and weird. Me, an hour after: La,la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la HAPPINESS!! That hasn’t changed at all as Red Flavor proved it. Wendy’s voice is a stand out.

2. Big Bang. I think MADE might be if not my favorite album then my second favorite album in kpop. I think it’s flawless. Lies, Stupid Liar and Blue are also songs that I cannot live without. I admire G-dragon but I love Taeyang’s voice and I’m obsessed with TOP’s personality. My favorite song is Loser. If you haven’t watched Secret Message with TOP and Juri Ueno, then you must! 

1. EXO. They are the reason why I got into kpop. Mama was such a weird song that I felt I needed to know more about it and the MV didn’t help to make things clear for me, thank you very much SM. However the vocals specially Kyungsoo’s (D.O.) were amazing. I started to learn about them and I was hooked! I loved every member in EXO of course but thanks to Showtime Chanyeol became my bias and there was no escaping after that. I love the upbeat EDM trap songs, their r&b songs and the ballads. EXODUS is my favorite album and Promise is my favorite song for all kinds of reasons: the actual song is amazing and the moment in time when it was released. I do believe EXO’s sound has developed and grown with each album but it’s always EXO. It’s never enough though. I never get bored of listening to their songs.

Unless you count EXO Next Door, except for Chen everyone has tried acting with mixed results. However you need to check out  Kyungsoo in I remember you with Seo In Guk or his movie Hyung with Jo Jung Suk and Park Shin Hye.