Tracks of the Month – June

Hi everyone,

I’m a little late with posting June’s ‘Tracks of the Month’, and that is simply because I’ve been so busy that I haven’t had time to upload it. So, I thought I’d kick off this year’s ‘Jammin’ In July’ with a look back at the previous month and some of the songs that have (and still continue to) dominate my stereo.

 

Talia Mar – The Voices Are Me

Posted in honour of ‘Mental Health Awareness Month’ back in May, ‘The Voices Are Me’ is an extremely poignant piano-led track, born out of singer-songwriter Talia Mar’s desire to speak out about mental health through her YouTube channel. However, as she says in the video, she couldn’t find the right words to say so she wrote the song instead and, in my opinion, couldn’t have said it better. As someone who suffers/has suffered from anxiety, I can really relate to this track on a personal level; I feel as though some of the phrases were written straight out of my head, making it really moving to listen to. Personally, I feel that it perfectly describes how anxiety can make you feel, and I encourage everyone to really listen to the lyrics and take it in. Mar’s vocals are impeccable as always, and the contrasting quiet/loud dynamic of the verses and the chorus are a perfect fit for the vibe of the song. It also shows off her range brilliantly, the flawless quality of both the higher and lower notes creating an undeniably beautiful effect.

This song touches me so much that I can’t help but tear up (cry like a baby!) every time I hear it, and I can only commend and profusely thank Talia Mar for releasing this online. I hope that it helps people, whether that be finding comfort in dealing with your own issues or helping a friend or relative understand what someone else in their life is going through. It’s a beautiful song.

 

Tom Cochran – Life is a highway

You can thank The Summer Set’s Brian Dales for this one. If you follow him on Instagram you’ll know that he posts a daily Instagram story of himself miming along to the chorus line of this classic rock song in various settings. After a week or so of waking up and seeing said Instagram stories first thing in the morning, it’s really hard not to have it stuck in your head all day! But, with its upbeat, feel-good, summery vibe I’m not complaining.

 

Anne-Marie ft. Ed Sheeran – Ciao adios

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, is there anything that Ed Sheeran can’t make sound infinitely better? It appears not, as he comes together with R’n’B/Pop singer-songwriter Anne-Marie for this acoustic version of her song, ‘Ciao Adios’. Filmed on tour, in the dressing room before a show, the stripped-back vibe allows both the vocals and lyrics to shine even more; highlighting the pitch-perfect harmonies and Anne-Marie’s ability to switch between her lower and higher register with ease. The little looks and laughs between the pair throughout the video present an endearing quality and works to draw listeners in – and the addition of the tongue-in-cheek ‘you mug’, never fails to make me smile. 🙂

 

Charlie Puth – Attention

The lead single from Charlie Puth’s upcoming second album ‘Voice Notes’, ‘Attention’ is an addictive R’n’B/Pop song that, I imagine, a lot of people can relate to. The elements of funk in the arrangement work to create something that you can really groove to, and the lyrics are dripping with sassy vibes. Puth’s vocals are stellar as always; contrasting his main, deeper vocal line with a higher chorus and falsetto accents throughout, giving the track more depth. Full of charisma, it’s a song that you can’t help but be charmed by – and let’s face it, I’m sure everyone’s got at least one ex-whatever that they’d like to sing this to.

 

Bruno Mars – 24k Magic

I know I’m super late to the party with this one but…better late than never right? I mean come on who can’t sing-along to that chorus? The lead single from Mars’s album of the same name, 24K Magic is drenched in a funk/disco vibe set to Mars’s smooth R’n’B vocals. It’s a feel good track that doesn’t take its self too seriously, and the infectious beat also makes it impossible to sit still while listening to it – I dare you to try. C’mon everyone…put your pinky rings up the moon! 🙂

 

As always, thank you for reading! I hope I inspired you to give these songs a listen. In case you didn’t know, I’ll be posting twice a week this month as part of my ‘Jammin’ In July’ series, so if you like what I do here and want to keep up to date with my upcoming posts, feel free to come and join me on:

Facebook & Twitter

🙂

Thank You to Rogue Re Vera

Hi everyone,

I’m not going to say too much about this because the video kind of says it all, but I just wanted to do something a little different today and say thank you to alt/acoustic three-piece Rogue Re Vera, for being kind enough to recently send me a T-shirt and copy of their official EP ‘Don’t Bet On It, Kid.’

As I say in the video, I came across their music online and decided to write about it for no other reason than because I really liked it. I write about music to share the bands and artists that I love and hopefully to get more people to hear them too, so it’s always an amazing thing for me when someone I’ve written about takes the time to let me know they appreciate it; this wasn’t something I ever expected and I’m very grateful.

Be sure to check Rogue Re Vera out on:

Facebook     Twitter     YouTube     Soundcloud

To see my previous reviews of the band, click here.

Album Cover Project

For this project, we drew inspiration from the themes presented in many of the songs from the album such as love and protection, as well as taking into account the sound of LIGHTS’ voice as it has quite a childlike quality- being quite high pitched- almost like her singing voice makes her sound younger. This is where the idea of the mobile first came from.

We decided to design our album cover as a picture mobile. The idea was derived from the fact that the album is an acoustic one and so has a soothing quality to it, as a mobile would to a child. Likewise the hue of the front cover – whereby the mobile is illuminated by the glow of the bright lights which fade up to dark on the outer edges – is quite soft and warm, which could be said to foreshadow the chilled out nature of the songs included. This in turn, would appeal to people who like music of that nature.
The back of the album cover is in keeping with the theme of the mobile, but depicts a close up of a section of the mobile, which further enforces the themes of the mobile.

Front

Back cover 1

Back cover 2

Also the pictures are very easy on the eye, in the sense that they are not laced with hidden meaning or feature obscenities. This also reflects the music as it is very mellow and the lyrics display the feelings and meaning quite clearly without the listener having to work, or pull it apart to understand it.

The pictures and style thereof were all selected considering the relevance we felt they bare to the sound of the music. They included elements of the childlike and sweet vibe of LIGHTS’ personality – such as the carousel – as well as including pictures that felt and looked like something LIGHTS could have taken herself whilst on tour. For example, we included a picture of Central Park, a tour schedule, a crowd shot and a set list, among other things. We wanted it to look very home- made; like she could have made it herself, as the music is very stripped down and pure in the sense that it is not put through auto tune or any effects and is just vocals and guitar.
The idea of the Polaroid has also become popular in recent years – particularly among bands outside of the mainstream. Paramore’s Hallelujah video featuring a Polaroid board, and You Me At Six’s sleeve for single Finders Keepers also using a Polaroid design. This could be seen to reflect the do-it-yourself nature of bands nowadays that work to be where they are, as a Polaroid is something you can do yourself as it is instant development as you can’t carry the heavy equipment around and don’t have the entourage to do it.

Final cover

We felt that our choice of theme for the album cover was suitable for the music it was accompanying, as acoustic music in today’s society is very do-it-yourself, with websites providing tabs and chords for popular tracks for people to learn and play at their leisure, as well as, the idea of the ‘YouTube star’ and users who play their own acoustic versions of songs to get themselves out there. The YouTube video’s of all LIGHTS’ acoustic tracks being stripped down with just her and her guitar, thus providing an element of inspiration and aspiration for viewers as she is not doing anything difficult – she’s just playing.
This DIY aesthetic is also why we decided to include my friend on the cover as we had the idea that she could be LIGHTS herself on the cover, yet the way she is posed – which coincidently is very un-posed – looking at the floor and placed in the bottom of the cover shows how the music is more of an importance rather than herself. Although, the way she is holding the lights on the mobile could be seen to show how she is still holding her own and how she is very much in control of her own work. The inclusion of fairy lights being a play on the name of the artist.

Acoustic music has become of a much higher demand in recent years, with the emergence of things like Radio One’s ‘Live Lounge’ and BBC’s 5.19 show, which encourage live acoustic performances in the studio. As well as this, there is the popularity of how mainstream bands such as ‘The Script’ incorporate acoustic into their music.
When considering the album’s content, I would expect the average listener to be of a young disposition, -yet mature enough to understand the themes and emotion involved in the tracks- between 14 and 21.
I would also expect a level of personal identification due to the DIY nature of both the content – acoustic – as well as the cover its self, which may give the audience something to aspire to, or they may also see ‘themselves’ on the cover.
Similarly, the pictures we used on the mobile were a reflection of what we felt everyone’s childhood dream is: being famous and going on tour, as – as aforementioned – we wanted the idea to be that these were pictures LIGHTS could have taken herself whilst on tour.
We wanted to use quite delicate and feminine text on the cover to reflect the sound and attitude of the content. As well as this, it affirms the DIY ethic of the album as it is very much a handwritten style, which looks sophisticated whilst still being readable.

Lastly, we included the typical authentication features of an album, such as a barcode and the logo of the record label, as well as a disclaimer stating who the content was written by and the company it was composed and produced for, as well as the year and details of its release.