Friday, February 23, 2024

Music Review // Laura Reznek "Time in the World"

What I love right away about this song by Laura Reznek is that it has this feeling of pop to it within the sound, but the way it is structured it might not be radio friendly.  At the start, this is a desolate pop song with pianos and it just feels like it's in a big room.  Acoustic strings come in and the line which is the title, "All of the time in the world" is repeated as almost a mantra.   Beats and claps come in and this maintains the same course.

About halfway through the song more lyrics enter.  This is intense and at one point it asks "Wouldn't you like to sleep?"   Big distortion with that crunch comes in as this journeys to its end.  Especially with pop songs you tend to think of them as being verse/chorus/verse, but Laura Reznek has this build where it starts at a one and takes us up to a ten, such as you would on an incline.  It just grows louder and stronger as it goes on.

The idea of having all of the time in the world is quite an interesting one.  In recent years more than ever it has felt like the life expectancy of the world is going down and so it doesn't feel that infinite any more.  At the same time, it seems like we're going to have shorter life spans perhaps because of everything else going on in the world.

I like to listen to this song and think of it in the opposite terms of what it says in the title.  I like to use it as motivation to do something because we don't have all the time in the world and if there is something you're planning on doing but you keep putting it off you might never get that chance to do it.  "Time in the World" is really an anthem for me to seize the day and hopefully it can be the same for you.  

Music Review // Mitchell Makoons "Courage"

Mitchell Makoons has created a song here that is an electric feeling folk number.  It has those elements where it can seem acoustic, but it really sounds more electric.  It's an electric John Denver sound that just flows quickly and direct to get the message across.  When you listen to this song though, I hope it does bring you "Courage".

There are a lot of things out there in the world which happen and make us feel like we need courage, even if we don't know it.  A lot of my social awkwardness and social anxiety can be placed to just thinking about how much I need courage.  Going somewhere I've never been before, for example, is one of those things and I always have that lingering idea of "What if my car gets towed?"  So I feel like I need someone there to tell me that my car won't get towed and if it does that's why I have AAA so I'll be okay.

This song takes us on a ride in that sense but much broader as well, as the world is currently a fairly scary place.  Mitchell Makoons sings in the chorus:" Creator give me courage / cause I'm scared as hell / everything keeps changing / I'm unsure of myself" and that's just needing positive reinforcement so we feel more certain of ourselves.  We need to focus on the good that could happen instead of the bad.

The chorus continues: "Don't know where I'm going / but I know just what to find / looking for a little peace of mind" and that's the conclusion of how we can find something in this world to help guide us through it.  I get it because everything is going up in price right now except for how much we get paid and so it seems like the future is just so unclear.  I hope this song can help provide us some of that courage to either spark that change or at least embrace it when it comes.  

Music Review // Acid Tongue "Acid On The Dancefloor"

If you're going to name your band Acid Tongue, people should expect you to have a song about taking the drug acid.  In some ways, Acid Tongue brings back those ideas of when rock n roll was dangerous and it kind of came through with the drugs but after the hippies.  It just feels like since the year 2000 rock n roll has generally been safer, so it's a nice change to have this song come on and be about drugs.

In a distorted rock n roll manner, there isn't a whole lot to say about the sound of Acid Tongue because by this point in time you should have an idea in your head of what a rock n roll song about drugs would sound like.   There is this nice sort of stomping beat in here though, which makes this feel catchy as well.  Musically, this is just upbeat and it feels like a lot of fun and, realistically, it makes me want to take acid and see Acid Tongue perform live.

Now, knowing what we know about drugs and how many of the pioneers of rock n roll who made music while on drugs, it might seem like a bad idea to have a song that seems like it's promoting drug use.  And it's not just that the band is saying it but it's like they're encouraging their fans to do it as well.   My feelings on that are simply that this doesn't feel like an endorsement in the sense of trying to get people to try acid for the first time, but rather a recognition of what is already happening.

Taking it one step further, the chorus even says: "I'm tripping on acid on the dancefloor / And I took too much", which could feel like a warning to make sure you don't take too much.  But to pretend like drug culture doesn't exist in rock n roll feels naïve, so to have a spotlight on it again just seems inevitable.   At the end of the day though, the message through this song, which feels like an important universal message is: "Let's be weird / Just let us be"

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Music Review // ROKI "Foolish Heart"

As soon as this song begins you know that you're in for a treat.  With elements of pop and big bass, ROKI has this sound which is unlike that of anyone else out there making music right now.  Between the music video and song itself, the closest artist I can come up with for comparison is Janet Jackson and that just speaks volumes on how grand this really is.  

This music video has elements which feel sexual but not overtly so.  You might even call this "sensual", which is something music videos had more of back in the heyday of MTV.  These days it feels like artists can just do whatever they want with music videos but you had to be somewhat toned down back then for cable television and in that way, with this video, ROKI does feel restrained which make it's that much more suggestive.

Within the movements and outfits in this video also comes a spiderweb in the background.  The message in this song is "Foolish heart, want what's not mine", as the chorus states, but then it gets into that indecision between going after something which you shouldn't.   On one hand, there are lines like "I'm doing good, I'm doing just fine without you" and at the same time ROKI professes "I crave what I can't get".

In my experience with music I've always felt like it's been one sided, it either is or it isn't.  The way that the lyrics on "Foolish Heart" are almost like ROKI debating with herself out loud whether or not she should go for this is really something which you don't hear a lot of in music in general.  So if you've got that indecision and need some help but might not reach a conclusion then this song is for you. 

Music Review // JEEN "Pour Your Heart"

The music of JEEN brings me somewhere between the alternative rock of the 1990's and the current sound of shoegaze.  I really enjoy how well this sound can combine the two so at times you can feel like this is a radio song from a band such as Letters To Cleo, but then at the same time you can hear artists like Lava Divers within here, in that more modern -gaze sense of music.

"Pour Your Heart" has this sound which just hits like a wave, but then there are these guitar parts which can be both intricate and huge at the same time.  In an oddly specific way this reminds me of a cross between The Verve and Sheryl Crow, which are both more nostalgic acts, but JEEN still finds a way to bring this all into the present tense and future.

Throughout this song, JEEN sings about pouring your heart out and this is just such a strong message to send.  A lot of times it feels as if music is talking in the lyrics, the person singing is the main character and they are telling you a story.  But in this case, "Pour Your Heart" just feels like JEEN is there to listen to you and as important as it is to have your voice be heard we all need to take time to just listen more.

JEEN has a sound which, as someone who really had their musical tastes perfected in the late 1990's, just makes me very happy.  It is everything I could hope for from a rock song in that sense of sounding something you'd have overlooked in 1996 but yet still feels present day enough to know that it's not.  And with a song about just knowing you have someone there to listen makes it even more special.  

Cassette Review // The Year We Discovered the Candy Drop "The Year We Discovered the Candy Drop"

High pitched string plucks come through to start this off.  Sounds like traffic or a train passing by outside come in with it.   Whistling and then a feeling of hammering as well.  In a lot of ways, this makes me think of that old story about John Henry and how he built train tracks faster than a machine.  It feels like it has that mechanics of train tracks and machines, but then there is also this other sound which feels like a human clanking and banging to create a similar sound.  It really just feels like John Henry.

As we can begin to hear voices speaking, even higher pitched tones come in to join them.   Singing is in here now as well, replacing the high pitched tones, and then someone comes through saying you can win a hundred bucks but it feels a little distorted.   A loop now which feels like it's just pumping in a circle comes in and grows faster, feeling like we're going forward at large speeds.   Numbers are being read and the lucky winner is being found.  

Hearing this really makes me want to do more recording in random places, such as places where people might be but music might not.   This just really feels like it puts you right into the room, and if I was there in person I wouldn't have the winning number anyway.   I would not get to see Nancy to claim my door prize.   Motors are going by now and the voices are becoming more distant.   I believe the person on the speaker said they're getting the plane ready right now.   AC/DC can be heard over the house speakers now, as we are "Back In Black".

The plane is coming!   Everyone is cheering and you can hear the motor as a plane does a flyover.   After a laugh, this begins to swirl around to sound like a psychedelic swarm of bees.   Loud screaming and banging turns into a lot of applause.   Someone says something about a basketball game now and this field recording just has it all.  One day I hope to see drones playing basketball.  That'd be exciting.   Now a story about how someone got a potato but was told it was an apple.

There is the sound now like a turning of a jack-in-the-box, that type of melody, but also a lot of banging behind it.   Someone is speaking now through the rumbling of the train.   I'm not sure why these words are being yelled back and forth but I'm going to guess it has to do with trains.   They both just keep repeating "experts" now and I really want to be a train expert.   A quieter sound now, like blowing air into a soda bottle.  

The sound of running water is coming through now, such as a small stream coming from a faucet into a puddle.   Singing between two different people comes through now, as the water continues to drop.   The two voices are harmonizing together and also spelling out p-i-s-s, which is interesting with that sound of running water.   It feels like there could even be three voices singing at the same time now and applause can also be heard.  

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Music Review // Nicky MacKenzie "Comfortable"

There is a lot to be said for this song "Comfortable" just in the sense that the message within it isn't about being comfortable so much as being not comfortable.  This raises one of those interesting points where you could wonder why the song wouldn't just be titled "Uncomfortable" and how that could change the whole basis of the song.   But it is just fun to take it as it is as well, without thinking about grammar.

The chorus has the lines "Don't wanna be comfortable / I can't be waiting too long", which makes sense, but I kept getting thrown off when they would say "I always wanna leave", but it's because it comes at the end of "I believe I can't get comfortable / If I always wanna leave".  That's your first sign that this song is about the opposite of the title and I feel like we all have places in our lives where we feel comfortable but they are less than they should be.

One of the lines I also really like says: "Close enough to find my truth but something's missing".   The thing about comfort and being comfortable is that there are times in life when you shouldn't be comfortable.   Sometimes you might find yourself getting too comfortable, and that's when you become complacent and just feeling stagnant and stale can really take its toll on your mental health.  Sometimes you need to keep moving.

With a big voice and overall sound like Alessia Cara, Nicky MacKenzie has created a song that wants to find comfort in living but also knows the importance of not settling at the same time.   Sometimes it's just a simple matter of knowing that the easiest way isn't always the right way, but if you've ever felt like your life was boring maybe it's time for you to put this song on and stop feeling so comfortable.