While some artists lend a hand in resculpting the soundscape into something bold and completely reshaped, which often comes with rewarding and positive results, others fall short on trying to tamper with a song that either had already reached near-perfection, or took too much creative freedom and gave birth to something muddled with electronic sounds, such as is the case with Carly Rae Jepsen’s cover of ‘Shadow’.
Author Archive: Cameron Graves
The truth is that modern pop music evolves, and has always evolved, from rising trends. It’s easy to see that today’s modern pop radio is heavily influenced from the Pop Rock and Hip Hop movements of the 90’s. You can’t listen to Top 40 radio without a dozen appearances from rappers and ‘one-liner musicians’ who jump in to announce their name, spout a few pointless lyrics, then fade into the background. It’s one of the most profitable genre’s right now because the majority of those listening to pop radio aren’t looking for virtuosity, over-complex instrumentation, or complicated lyrics written like poetry.
‘The Chain’ is a significant highlight for not only the entirety of ‘Rumours’, but of most of Fleetwood Mac’s career, as well: memorable guitar riffs synchronize with percussion while vocalists harmonize with accuracy that takes many professionals years to master. The introduction is an important fixture, as the opening guitar hook, with its notable ‘twang’, properly demonstrates not only an important effect on the sound, but also establishes the sound direction of the entire record and showcases the quality of the production, giving subtle hints and details that wouldn’t otherwise be noticeable.
The second single, Mountain at My Gates, opens itself with its primary guitar hook and central riff. As the song progresses the lyrics preach ‘I see a Mountain at my Gates; I see it more and more each day’, mirrored by the mountainous distortion and guitar at the end.. The soundscape places Philippakis’ vocals behind the instrumentation and bellowing over it, and brings the droning guitar riffs at the forefront.
Proving that their venture into a newer sound is not a loss for the same quality of music, Birch Tree is very much a track that could be placed in the middle of ‘Total Life Forever’. Full of hooks and high-toned, distortionless guitar that uses few chords and more picking, much like the aforementioned album. It also makes effective use of an echoing vocal style, plenty of groove in the bassline that is reminiscent of the band’s initial dance rock influence, and a subtle synthesizer.
METZ II simply feels right from beginning to end. It’s well executed and marks another significant notch on the belt of METZ for a hopefully long career. Certainly, it lives up to the expectations of their debut and brings the same quality and style, however not much has changed in the span of the two albums. There is little creative experimentation happening in METZ II, as there is little to find that we haven’t seen in the previous METZ album. This isn’t a bad thing, as fans of Punk will certainly enjoy another taste of what the band has to offer. “Kicking a Can Of Worms” stands out as a fresh attempt at something new, but sadly comes only at the end of the album. Hopefully, it is an indication of more experimentation in the future; using the same perfected method will certainly become dry after a few albums.
The punk music of electronic, New Wave Men Without Hats released their debut album Rhythm of Youth in 1982 to international acclaim and success. Defiant lyrics and infectious instrumentation filled the album, with singles like ‘Safety Dance’ and ‘Living in China’ crowding the billboards as top hits.
Highlight: A Tom Waits and Muse mash-up forms an unexpectedly brilliant fusion: What Is He Forcing In There?
If there was one positive outcome brought about by the advent of the internet, cat videos aside of course, it is the dramatic rise in popularity and quantity of music mash-ups.
While the replacement of solo instrumentation for ‘Bass Drops’ and Synthesizers is admittedly horrific, it does say something about the modern-day music industry and the way people listen to music. Where once, technical skill and creativity was something that people praised, now it’s left in the shadow of studio-manufactured sound that’s not created by a band with guitars and drums, but by a well-paid executive using algorithms and documented studies. This sound, created through equations and sung by people who are little more than familiar faces, dominates Pop radio. It’s something I affectionately call ‘Formula Pop’, a style of music that is neither an artistic expression nor necessity
The first four tracks are delivered with such massive force that could fairly nearly skyrocket Strange Desire to the ranks of a truly great album. One song after another is delivered with perfect accuracy, yet momentum is rapidly lost with tracks like “I’m Ready to Move On”, which is bizarre and unfitting. Still, Antonoff delivers a magnificent album that touches on real-life issues like relationships and depression. This album can’t be recommended enough, as its faults are more than made up for with qualities.
Rated 7/10—highly recommended. Beneath the Skin has impressive lyric quality that is matched only by the tense instrumentation. A darker, moodier turn for the band that represents what could be a shift away from the Pop-Folk debut album My Head is an Animal, however Crystals is a step back in the original direction, and stands as more of a Pop sounding then the rest of Beneath the Skin appears to want to do.