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

🙂

Jammin’ In July: The VMAs Nominations Are Up (+ Who I’d Vote For!)

Hi everyone,

If you’ve been keeping an eye on the entertainment news, or the highly publicised Twitter spat between Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift, then chances are you’ve seen that the nominations for the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs) were unveiled early last week.

Leading the nominations is pop music’s darling Taylor Swift – who is up for nine awards including Video of The Year and Best Female – and hot on her heels is Brit singer/songwriter Ed Sheeran, who is up for six awards including Best Male and Best Cinematography for Thinking Out Loud.

Other notable nominations include Beyoncé with five – going head to head with Swift and Sheeran for Video of the Year – as well as Best Female Video for her track 7/11. Dynamic duo Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars are also nominated for five awards, for their much-loved number one hit Uptown Funk.

Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth are up for Best Hip Hop video with See you again – the poignant tribute to Fast and Furious actor Paul Walker – and VMA newbies Walk The Moon are up for Best Rock Video, alongside rock royalty Fall Out Boy.

It has also been announced that Miley Cyrus will be hosting this year’s awards, which many may think a controversial choice after THAT performance with Robin Thicke in 2013, so I’m excited to see what kooky antics will ensue.

So, seeing as I think the nominations are an alright bunch this year, I thought it’d be fun to tell you who I’d vote for and why. I’ve listed the nominations in full so you can see the competition, and maybe tell me in a comment who you’d vote for.

 

VIDEO OF THE YEAR

Beyoncé – “7/11″

Ed Sheeran – “Thinking Out Loud”

Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Bad Blood”

Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars – “Uptown Funk”

Kendrick Lamar – “Alright”

My winner:

Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars – “Uptown Funk”

Uptown Funk wins this category for me, hands down, because it’s so full of life. It has a zesty old-school quality – the choreography is reminiscent of something The Jackson Five would’ve done back in the day – but it’s been brought forward and somewhat modernised without losing it’s retro coolness. Likewise, the ending (in the New York night club kind of setting) with the neon lights and the smoke has a very 80’s feel that’s just cool. It’s quirky, it’s fun and it doesn’t take its self too seriously (Mars’ and Ronsons’ hair salon moment, I’m looking at you here.)

 

BEST MALE VIDEO

Ed Sheeran – “Thinking Out Loud”

Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars – “Uptown Funk”

Kendrick Lamar – “Alright”

The Weeknd – “Earned It”

Nick Jonas – “Chains”

My winner:

Ed Sheeran – “Thinking Out Loud”

I chose Thinking Out Loud because, when you watch it, you can see how much work Sheeran must’ve put in to perfect that dance; he didn’t just stand with a microphone and lip-sync while someone danced around him, he learned the routine and danced with her. I think it’s an incredible, beautiful, romantic video and personally I just prefer it.

 

BEST FEMALE VIDEO

Beyoncé – “7/11″

Taylor Swift – “Blank Space”

Nicki Minaj – “Anaconda”

Sia – “Elastic Heart”

Ellie Goulding – “Love Me Like You Do”

My winner:

Taylor Swift – “Blank Space”

I know that Taylor Swift is up for a lot of awards this year, but you can’t deny that this video is extremely polished and well put together. It’s picturesque from the get-go, from the locations to the costumes, there’s a sense of old-school glamour and lavishness to the whole thing. It has a dream-like, fantasy quality throughout whilst still having a clear narrative and sense of story; demonstrating the lighter and darker sides to a relationship. It’s for this reason that I chose it as my winner for Best Female Video.

 

BEST HIP HOP VIDEO

Fetty Wap – “Trap Queen”

Nicki Minaj – “Anaconda”

Kendrick Lamar – “Alright”

Wiz Khalifa ft. Charlie Puth – “See You Again”

Big Sean ft. E-40 – “I Don’t F–k With You”

My winner:

Wiz Khalifa ft. Charlie Puth – “See You Again”

Again, a very beautiful and picturesque video with some gorgeous view shots and sunset backdrops. There’s a good mix of performance and film footage, with a lot of shots of the late Paul Walker, making it very poignant and moving to watch.

 

BEST POP VIDEO

Beyoncé – “7/11″

Ed Sheeran – “Thinking Out Loud”

Taylor Swift – “Blank Space”

Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars – “Uptown Funk”

Maroon 5 – “Sugar”

My winner:

Maroon 5 – “Sugar”

I love the whole ‘wedding crashers’ element to this, I think it’s a really original idea for a music video and they seem to have pulled it off very well. The surprise on people’s faces is brilliant to watch; from the chef in the kitchen as the band walk through, to one stunned bride who drops an F-bomb.  The feel good vibe is infectious – you can’t help but smile when you watch it.

 

BEST ROCK VIDEO

Hozier – “Take Me To Church”

Fall Out Boy – “Uma Thurman”

Florence + the Machine – “Ship To Wreck”

Walk the Moon – “Shut Up and Dance”

Arctic Monkeys – “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?”

My winner:

Fall Out Boy – “Uma Thurman”

The concept for this video is unlike anything else I’ve ever seen. It centres on a fan winning a contest to be the band’s assistant for the day, but with no ‘ordinary’ tasks. Between walking a zebra, flying in a wind tunnel, playing paintball with Pete Wentz against Brendon Urie (P!ATD) and Brian Dales (The Summer Set), and covering Patrick in chicks and bunnies, it’s original, wildly inventive and a little bit bizarre. Looks like it was a lot of fun to be a part of!

 

ARTIST TO WATCH

Fetty Wap – “Trap Queen”

Vance Joy – “Riptide”

George Ezra – “Budapest”

James Bay – “Hold Back The River”

FKA Twigs – “Pendulum”

My winner(s):

George Ezra – “Budapest” 

Or, James Bay – “Hold Back The River”

Quite honestly I couldn’t choose between these two artists, I love both these tracks. Visually I think Ezra’s has more going on in the video, but I’d be happy for either of them to win.

 

BEST COLLABORATION

Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Bad Blood”

Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars – “Uptown Funk”

Wiz Khalifa ft. Charlie Puth – “See You Again”

Ariana Grande & The Weeknd – “Love Me Harder”

Jessie J + Ariana Grande + Nicki Minaj – “Bang Bang”

My winner:

Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars – “Uptown Funk”

Again, this one was a no-brainer for me. Click here to see my previous review of the track.

 

VIDEO WITH A SOCIAL MESSAGE

Jennifer Hudson – “I Still Love You”

Colbie Caillat – “Try”

Big Sean ft. Kanye West and John Legend – “One Man Can Change the World”

Rihanna – “American Oxygen”

Wale – “The White Shoes”

My winner: ?!

To be honest, I’m really undecided on this category – which would you vote for?

 

BEST ART DIRECTION

Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Bad Blood” (Charles Infante)

Snoop Dogg – “So Many Pros” (Jason Fijal)

Jack White – “Would You Fight For My Love” (Jeff Peterson)

The Chemical Brothers – “Go” (Michel Gondry)

Skrillex & Diplo – “Where Are U Now” with Justin Bieber (Brewer)

My winner:

Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Bad Blood” (Charles Infante)

Another no-brainer in my opinion; the art direction in this video is fantastic. The concept really ties in with the superhero/villain genre, which is hugely popular at the moment, and it’s executed flawlessly. It’s high-end, glossy and has a very cinematic ‘movie-trailer’ feel to it.

 

BEST CHOREOGRAPHY

Beyoncé – “7/11″ (Beyoncé, Chris Grant, Additional choreography: Gabriel Valenciano)

OK Go – “I Won’t Let You Down” (OK Go, air:man and Mori Harano)

Chet Faker – “Gold” (Ryan Heffington)

Ed Sheeran – “Don’t” (Nappy Tabs)

Flying Lotus ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Never Catch Me” (Keone and Mari Madrid)

My winner:

Ed Sheeran – “Don’t” (Nappy Tabs)

I love this style of choreography and it doesn’t look an easy thing to master. The whole routine is very slick and really well stylised; some of things the dancer does with his body completely baffles me at times.

 

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Flying Lotus ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Never Catch Me” (Larkin Sieple)

Ed Sheeran – “Thinking Out Loud” (Daniel Pearl)

Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Bad Blood” (Christopher Probst)

FKA Twigs – “Two Weeks” (Justin Brown)

Alt-J – “Left Hand Free” (Mike Simpson)

My winner:

Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Bad Blood” (Christopher Probst)

As I mentioned previously, Bad Blood has a very cinematic feel to it. It’s so slick and high-quality that it’s almost as if you’re watching a mini-movie trailer – so a bit of a given that I’d choose it as my winner for ‘Best Cinematography.’

 

BEST DIRECTION

Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Bad Blood” (Joseph Kahn)

Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars – “Uptown Funk” (Bruno Mars and Cameron Duddy)

Kendrick Lamar – “Alright” (Colin Tilley & The Little Homies)

Hozier – “Take Me To Church” (Brendan Canty and Conal Thomson of Feel Good Lost)

Childish Gambino – “Sober” (Hiro Murai)

My winner(s):

Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Bad Blood” (Joseph Kahn)

Or, Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars – “Uptown Funk” (Bruno Mars and Cameron Duddy)

Again, I couldn’t choose between these two, pretty much for the same reason that I picked them for Best Art Direction and Video of The Year, respectively.

 

BEST EDITING

Beyoncé – “7/11″ (Beyoncé, Ed Burke, Jonathan Wing)

Ed Sheeran – “Don’t” (Jacquelyn London)

Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Bad Blood” (Chancler Haynes at Cosmo Street)

A$AP Rocky – “L$D” (Dexter Navy)

Skrillex & Diplo “Where Are U Now” with Justin Bieber (Brewer)

My winner:  

Ed Sheeran – “Don’t” (Jacquelyn London)

 

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Bad Blood” (Ingenuity Studios)

FKA Twigs – “Two Weeks” (Gloria FX, Tomash Kuzmytskyi, and Max Chyzhevskyy)

Childish Gambino – “Telegraph Ave.” (Gloria FX)

Skrillex & Diplo “Where Are U Now” with Justin Bieber (Brewer)

Tyler, The Creator – “F****** Young/Death Camp” (Gloria FX)

My winner:

Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Bad Blood” (Ingenuity Studios)

 

And there you have it. What do you think of my choices? Would you vote differently? I always find it interesting to compare opinions as everybody is different so, as I said, feel free to leave a comment and tell me who you’d vote for.

Tracks I was Loving (March – April)

Justin Timberlake – Mirrors

 

Justin Timberlake is back. And this song is a tremendous example of his undeniable talent; proof that he is more than just another shiny pop star. After a four year break from the music scene JT is back with his new album The 2020 Experience, and Mirrors, the second single from the album is a reminder of what he does best. It’s a smooth and poignant love song brimming with emotion. It’s a track that has depth and soul and shows the reason for the longevity of Timberlake’s career. The vocals are a flawless, gliding effortlessly through the lower and higher notes, sounding fluid and utterly mesmerizing. It feels as though this is what we’ve been missing for so long, without perhaps even realising it, but once you listen to this song it definitely feels as though a thirst has been well and truly quenched.

 

The Lumineers – Ho Hey

 

Jumping on the recently popular folk-rock band wagon that has proved very successful for acts like Mumford and Sons and Of Monsters and Men, Colorado based five-some The Lumineers  are also proving to be a big hit with the mainstream. The first single from their debut album shows why. Their first top 5 hit in the US and top 10 in the UK, is a sweet and melodic track. Simple in style, there isn’t much going on; but that needn’t be a bad thing. The lack of complexity doesn’t over complicate the song and let’s it breathe, the result being that it can really shine as opposed to being a thumping assault on the senses. The Ho hey chant is sharp but catchy, with the drums accenting it, and will have audiences shouting along in unison.  The chorus is mellow and soothing and will no doubt lend to it being a massive summer hit on the festival circuit.       

 

Bastille – Pompeii

 

The fourth single from their number one debut album Bad Blood, London-based indie-synth pop quartet Bastille’s track Pompeii is funky, cheery and somewhat haunting. The opening ‘Eh eh oh’ tribal-esque chant is catchy and gives the song an arena-worthy anthemic feel. The lyrics and vocal style are simple, no-frills affairs that give the track more of a punch; it doesn’t need to decorate itself in octave jumping licks and warbling, it’s powerful as it is. The chorus is infectiously bright, and despite the contrasting lyrics like, “how am I going to be an optimist about this?” It’s a hopeful and uplifting track that will never fail to put a smile on your face. And after debuting on Radio One and gaining many airplays since, it doesn’t seem that the band have much to be pessimistic about either.

 

Bruno Mars – When I was your man

 

This sombre track shows that you don’t need a fancy production or countless computerised layers and effects to make great music. Sometimes there is power in simplicity. The second single from Mars’ newest album Unorthodox Jukebox, this melancholic ballad is stripped back and smooth. The accompaniment, comprising of just a piano, feels like a step back in time and lets Mars’ effortless and, as always, impeccable vocals, and the tender lyrics take centre stage. It doesn’t need anything else. There is an enchanting quality in its simplicity; a delicateness that makes you sit-up and pay attention from the moment you hit play. The lack of smoke and mirrors adds to the song’s beauty and showcases the absolute purity of Bruno Mars’ talent. The gentle piano and the pure emotion of the vocals flow together in harmony, and whilst ratcheting up the power at points, the latter never sounds forced. Romanticising the regret after a separation the track is an improbable love song, full of heart and soul and is, as we have come to expect from Bruno Mars: absolutely flawless.

 

The 1975 – Chocolate

 

The 1975 are an emerging alt rock band hailing from Manchester UK.  The band have released three EPs and have gained national airplay after landing the support of both Radio One’s Huw Stevens and Zane Lowe. Their 2013 offering Music For Cars see’s the completion of their EP trilogy, and lead single Chocolate is animated and bouncy with jaunty guitars and a great melody that will no doubt induce head bobbing and a mass clap-along from its listeners in no time. The playful energy and sparkle of this track adds to its catchiness and lends to it being a fun, upbeat ride of indie-pop music despite the lyrics painting a somewhat contrasting picture of outlaws who have “guns hidden under our petticoats.” Nonetheless, it’s a great song that will surely be a massive summer hit, and if this is a sign of things to come 2013 could be a very big year for The 1975.

 

Gabrielle Aplin – Panic Chord

 

Twenty year old Gabrielle Aplin became a chart smash after she sound-tracked last year’s John Lewis Christmas ad with her cover of The Power of Love. Aplin had built up an online following after posting cover videos of popular chart tracks on YouTube. Since her mainstream exposure, she has toured with the likes of Ed Sheeran and played her own sold out shows at London venues like Koko. Panic Chord is the third single from her debut album English Rain, and it’s a little bit more folky than her previous singles but it definitely works, though it does take a few listens to get used to. It’s a bittersweet track about doubts and unrequited love, ‘this meant more to you than it did to me’, which makes it relatable. Aplin’s vocals are melodic and dainty, but she also proves that she can amp up the power; never losing control of her voice. The vocals are just shy of haunting against the sunny sounding chords of the verses, and the chorus is really catchy despite the apologetic vibe to the lyrics. An all round bittersweet but great song, we’d definitely recommend it.

 

Taylor Swift – 22

 

After selling over a million copies in its first week of release, Taylor Swift’s fourth album Red became the fastest selling album in over a decade. The fourth single from the album, 22 see’s Swift well and truly cross over into pop territory. It’s a fun-filled pop smash that is about nothing else but having a good time. This playful track shows hints of conflicting emotions ‘we’re happy, free, confused, and lonely in the best way’ but is ultimately carefree; an anthem for the joys of youth. It’s refreshing amongst all the songs about love and heartbreak, and it’s brilliant. Judging by the success of her previous singles Swift shows no signs of stopping anytime soon, and she can now add another great song to her catalogue of hits.

Tracks I’m loving: Catch up

Ok so this post has been a long time coming, I just haven’t really found the time to do it, but here it is for you. Tracks I was/am loving (over the last few months.)

Kelly Clarkson – Catch my breath

I love this song. Kelly Clarkson’s voice is as great as ever; showcasing her blinding range, and the lyrics are uplifting, motivational and inspirational.
“No one can hold me back I ain’t got time for that…no one can get me down, it’s all so simple now.” Amazing.

Of Monsters and Men – Little Talks

This is a great song, it’s upbeat, catchy and its big fairground-esque sound always puts a smile on my face and makes me want to get up and dance.

Grace and The Nocturnals – Paris ooh lala

I really like the old-school hard rock feel to this song, it gives the song a great edge. The vocals suit the style really well, they’re loud and almost shouty but pull it off really well, keeping in tune and hitting the notes dead on. I particularly like the contrast between the rest of the song and the smooth ‘ooh la la’ part of the chorus, it turns sultry and sexy whilst still keeping that edge. I love it.

Bruno Mars – Locked out of Heaven

I like The Police-esque sound to this track, it has a very classic, old rock vibe. It’s different to Mars’s usual R’n’B feel; it has a bit more of a bad boy edge, but it doesn’t sound out of place. His vocals suit the song really well and are flawless as always. A great track.

Elissa Franceschi ft Josh Franceschi – Salt

I’ve recently rediscovered my love for this lady’s music, she is an amazingly talented emerging artist and I suggest everyone go and give her a listen if you like chilled out, powerful, meaningful and hopeful songs. I heard this song again recently when the video was released and I just automatically fell in love with it. It’s delicate and dreamy and the higher register of Elissa’s voice adds to that feeling, hitting each note perfectly. Brother, Josh Franceschi (You Me At Six) also features on the song, and if you’ve heard You Me At Six’s Always Attract, then you know how great their voices are together. They compliment each other brilliantly, and the two vocal tones emphasize the lyrics and just add another layer of beauty and strength to the song. AMAZING.

There will be another ‘Tracks…’ post coming soon with my more updated musical favourites and I’ve got some ideas for other posts I want to do to so look out for that. Thanks for reading 🙂

Tracks I was Loving. (Over the last two and a half months!)

I started writing this blog a while back but never got round to finishing it with all the other work I had to do. So here are some of the songs I’ve been playing non-stop over the last few months. (From oldest to newest.)

The Summer Set – Fuck U Over

http://www.altpress.com/aptv/video/video_premiere_the_summer_set_fk_u_over1

After seeing this song performed live I bought it as soon as it came out on ITunes. It’s from their, as yet untitled, upcoming album, and in true TSS style it’s upbeat, fun as hell, and wickedly catchy. The video premiered on Altpress.com and it’s like a slice of a TSS tour, it’s cheeky and laugh-out-loud-funny in places. As you can guess by the title, the song is rather explicit but it’s done in such a tasteful, playful way that it doesn’t make it sound undignified. And the la la la refrain won’t leave your head for days. I can’t wait for the new album to drop because if this song is any indication, it’s going to be great.

Demi Lovato – Skyscraper

I couldn’t stop listening to this song for a while. It’s absolutely beautiful. It showcases how talented an artist Demi Lovato actually is and that she’s more than just ‘another Disney girl’; she can really sing. I’ve caught a few live performances of her singing this online, and she sounds exactly the same live as she does on record; there are no gimmicks or effects there, she really has genuine talent. From the low notes to hitting the higher ones her voice doesn’t falter, and I think the song its self is so moving and heartfelt, it’s really inspirational. And I think that to be able to deliver a, sometimes deeply personal, message in such a way that can touch so many people and when a song can move an audience so strongly, that is a mark of great artistry. Which is exactly what Demi Lovato is, an extremely talented artist, and I think for all her problems and everything she’s been though she’s inspirational not just as an artist but as a person too. I’m also really loving her track ‘Catch Me’ so I’d recommend checking that one out too, it’s a very gentle and soft , almost, lovesong, and I just think it’s really sweet.

Natives – This Island

When I saw Natives (Ex Not Advised) supporting Mayday Parade a few months ago, this song really stood out to me, and I’ve been listening to it a lot since. This track  definitely has a summery, upbeat, fun feel despite the lyrics contradicting that. And the song’s insanely catchy chorus will undoubtedly have you singing and dancing along in no time. It translates amazingly well live too, the chorus whipping the crowd into a frenzy; jumping along to the beat. I’ll definitely be keeping my eye on these guys to see what more their upcoming debut album has to offer.

Mayday Parade – Miserable at Best

Another song I’ve been listening to since seeing Mayday Parade in Camden a few months ago. This song is ridiculously beautiful, and incredibly moving. It’s a very slowed down track with a haunting piano accompaniment, that I think creates more room for the lyrics to be heard and be the main focus, without the distraction of drums and guitars. And frankly, this song doesn’t need any of that. When I saw it played live, I was immediately struck by how passionately the audience were singing along; it was to the point where the crowd took over and were screaming along with the words so clearly, and without sounding cheesy, you could feel the love in the room and how the audience had taken that song to their hearts so strongly and really believed in it, as well as in the band. It was really moving to see/hear how someone can write a song that they can personally be so wrapped up in, and how the audience are just as wrapped up in it as you are as an artist. How music has that ability to effect people on that level and create a sense of community, even if it’s just for however long that show is, is amazing to me. I think the song is worth a listen whether you’re a fan of the band or not, as it may just change your mind. Another track I would recommend by them is Oh Well, Oh Well which has a very haunting opening before the guitars and drums come crashing through. There’s still a slight melancholy to this it but the rock set-up and beat make it a track that will still get audiences bouncing – as I have witnessed.

The Cab – Crown

Do I even need to explain this?!?! haha. It’s been a long time coming, Alex DeLeon posted little snippets of this track, and its lyrics, on his blog a while back in the run up to Symphony Soldier and then it went quiet. Then after the song was cut from the album I started seeing things on Twitter about the track being produced, and I’m just sitting here thinking “when is this going to be released?” So every now and then I’d go on YouTube and see if there was anything, and then one day I came across this video. So naturally I gave it a listen and I instantly fell in love with it. The song is really different from The Cab’s pop/rock style, and you can hear that immediately. It’s slowed down and almost has an R’n’B-ish vibe to it, which kind of put me in mind of Timberland, particularly the chorus.
I really love the  production of the song, and the lyrics are really well written and, as par for the course with The Cab, absolutely beautiful. DeLeon’s vocals are nothing less than his usual voice-of-an-angel, and as in most songs, effortless as he switches between ranges and doesn’t falter. I can understand why the song didn’t make it to Symphony Soldier because it’s so different from all of the songs currently on there, but let’s hope that it’ll make its way to the new album, it’s too good to waste.

Bruno Mars – Talking to the Moon

Another slow one, but I really love this song despite the melancholia to it. Mainly just a guitar and Mars’s vocals, the track is simple but undoubtedly effective. I love the story of the song and I think the instrumental works to accentuate that. Mars’ vocals are flawless, showcasing his range with both lower and higher notes, which he hits effortlessly, and adds a healthy dose of emotion and honesty to the track, making it anything but flat. It’s a relatable, heartfelt song that could really be someone’s life.

Alex Goot – Pretty Eyes

I recently discovered Alex Goot’s music and I’m really glad I did. This is a really nice song, with a lovely vibe to it. It’s really well crafted and the tone of the piano, the vocals and the lyrics fit together like pieces of a puzzle. Goot has a great voice and range, which he uses very well in the track; there’s nothing scratchy or forced here, and the switching between low and high notes adds depth and works fantastically well. There is no denying that this guy is very talented and I’ll be keeping my eyes/ears open to hear more from him.

Taylor Swift – We are never getting back together.

I’ve always been a fan of Taylor Swift’s music, and I don’t think there’s a song of hers that I can really vehemently say I don’t like, so this is kind of a given.
But what surprises me is, unlike a lot of her songs which go down the heartbreak route, this song doesn’t dwell on the negative and actually turns it into a positive and has quite a happy vibe to it. It’s a really good pop song. It’s catchy, upbeat, and is a really good song to dance to on a night out with your girl friends.

Lady antebellum – need you now

This is a bit of a throwback because it is quite an old song, and honestly I don’t know what made me start listening to it. I wasn’t really a massive fan of it when it was released, I only ever heard it in passing on the radio in the car. But for some reason I had it in my head one morning and just really wanted to listen to it. I really like the country/pop crossover thing the song has going on, and the contrast of the two vocal styles and tones is great. I just think it’s a really good song.

Tracks I’m Loving

Black Veil Brides – Coffin

I really cannot get enough of this song right now, with its haunting piano opening that smashes into a whirlwind of guitar riffs and drums in true BVB style. Andy Biersack’s vocals are as husky and seductive as ever, and I really like that you get to see glimpses of him without his stage makeup in this video – like seeing two sides of his personality. I love the lyrics of the chorus and the bridge, and I can imagine crowds jumping along to the chorus and screaming back the words “I’ll never let you steal my coffin.” The only downside I will say about the track is in the middle 8 whereby Andy treats us to some scream vocals, but rather than them being guttural and anchored deep down like most other scream vocalists do, Andy’s is almost reminiscent of a Banshee scream, it’s light and almost airy and it’s just a bit odd. I guess it’s because it’s different to what most scream vocalists do and I’ve never heard Andy scream before. Nevertheless, that isn’t to say that the track’s bad or it ruins it in any way, it’s still a great song and good on Andy for trying something a little different, but I think he’s regular vocals are great enough to hold an audience. It’s catchy and the chorus has a great hook that stays in your head long after the song is over, I love it.

Hot Chelle Rae – Tonight, Tonight

This is a full on party song, with a sound reminiscent of The All American Rejects and All Time Low if they merged. The song just wants to have fun and that’s reflected in every aspect of the song, from the beat to the infectious ‘Woah oh’ refrain, and the lyrics. So c’mon guys, “Tonight, tonight, there’s a party on the rooftop top of the world.”

Barcelona – Come Back When You Can

This song has a very melancholic vibe to it with also has a sense of hope intertwined with the belief that, the person may ‘come back’. It also has a very cinematic quality in the sense that it could accompany a break up/reunion scene perfectly, which is what it always makes me think of. It’s just a great, chilled song and I really like listening to it. If you’re a fan of The Vampire Diaries TV Series, you may recognise it.

Bruno Mars – Runaway Baby

This is quite simply a great, upbeat track. With an infectious beat that will spread to your limbs and have you moving in no time, its mischievous lyrics and Bruno Mars’s always stellar vocals, I could imagine this being a big summer hit. Roll down those windows and get blasting.

Train – Hey Soul Sister

This is my summer song. If you don’t know, Train are responsible for my favourite song of all time ‘Drops Of Jupiter’ and this is another track of theirs love. It’s so uplifting, upbeat, and catchy, it always puts a smile on my face, puts me in a good mood and has me singing and dancing along, whether it be in a shop or in my desk chair at home. A song, and a band, I’d recommend to anyone.

Edwin McCain – I’ll Be

This song is absolutely without a doubt heart-meltingly beautiful, I really can’t get enough of it at the moment. McCain’s vocals are husky, raw and full of emotion – a striking contrast to the soft, delicate melody, but one that really works. It really doesn’t surprise me that people choose this as a wedding song because it really is the perfect track to fall in love to, hell, I’ve been listening to it over and over and I’ve already fallen in love with the song. It’s emotional and heartfelt, without being cheesy. It’s a piece of music to fall in love to, and with.

Taylor Swift – Enchanted


This is beautiful song and it reminded me how talented Taylor Swift really is. The track has a dream-like fairytale quality, and showcases Taylor’s vocals and use of range really well, as well as her song writing talent and beautiful use of language. This girl is exceptionally talented and knows how to write honest, heart-felt and relatable songs. She is an artist you can go back to time and time again and feel every emotion and get swept up in the magic of her voice. Well done Taylor.

My favourite tracks of the last few months.

(Less recent – Most recent.)

Maroon 5 – Moves like Jagger

I love Maroon 5 and have done since their 2002 debut album ‘Songs About Jane’. When I first heard this song I thought it was a little different to the stuff I’ve heard previously and at first I thought the collaboration with Christina was an unlikely one as I wouldn’t have put the two together previously,
but it’s super catchy, super feel good and danceable and Adam’s vocals are as great as ever. It made me re-realise how talented a vocalist he is. A well crafted piece of pop music that will have you dancing and singing along in no time and will always put a smile on your face.

Gym Class Heroes – Stereo Hearts

Another track that Adam Levine graces. The two vocal styles (Adam’s and travie mcCoy’s) fit together so well in the song so you get that balance of singing and rap. It has a great upbeat vibe that makes me think It’d be a great summer song to roll down your windows and blast out.

LMFAO – Sexy and I know it

A completely feel good, doesn’t-take-its-self- too-seriously, danceable track. Love it.

Kelly Clarkson – Mr.Know-it-all

Kelly Clarkson is back! This song definitely re-awakened my love for this lady’s music. Her vocals are still as strong ever and really showcase the emotion of the track. Absolutely brilliant.

Dave Barnes – God Gave Me You.

Beautiful. Just…beautiful.

Tim Hughes – When The Tears Fall

Now, this isn’t usually the type of music I would listen to; I was introduced to it by a friend and I actually really like it. It’s very Christianity oriented but in my opinion you could apply the lyrics to whatever you believe in; whatever gives you hope. Beyond that, the music and the way that Hughes sings fit together amazingly well and the conviction and emotion that Hughes sings with is undoubtably real. It’s a song that may just also be a helping hand.  

Bruno Mars – When It Rains

I really like Bruno Mars and this track from Twilight’s Breaking Dawn part 1 is no exception. Beautiful lyrics and Mars’s emotion enthused vocals are as smooth and flawless as usual. I also really like his track ‘Marry You’ which is a little more fun and upbeat and shows that Bruno Mars isn’t just all about the ballads. Always puts a smile on my face.

The Cab – Falling Up

What can I say?…This song was leaked from the band’s newest album Symphony Soldier and was cut from the final recording of the album. It’s an amazing song with such inspiring lyrics and a concept that does make you think, ‘Who says when you fall, you have to fall down?’. Singer’s voice is amazing and heartfelt as always and the music matches the tone of the song perfectly. A song that always manages to give me a little bit of hope and make me smile. 

Black Veil Brides – Fallen Angels

A well crafted rock song that needs to be played loud to fully appreciate it. Andy’s vocals are very husky and almost seductive, it’s near impossible not to get caught up in the ‘We scream, we shout’ refrain. I could imagine this song being epic in a live environment, as well as a massive crowd pleaser, with the crowd collectively screaming along to the gang vocal-y bits, punching the air with their fists.

Jana Kramer – Whiskey

So I’ll be honest, I discovered this song watching the most recent series of One Tree Hill and I really liked it. Country singer Jana Kramer has a great voice and shows it well in this song; taking a softer approach on the verses and bringing up the power and emotion in the chorus’ with the drums coming in. After only being signed in February last year Kramer is definitely one to watch.

Ed Sheeran – Lego House

I really like what I’ve heard of Sheeran, there is no denying he has talent and this is a really pretty song.

Austin Nivarel – Capable Love

I became aware of this guy’s music after he followed me on twitter, and his music is right up my street.
At just 19 Nivarel is really talented; he can sing and play guitar really well and his songs are very deep, full of emotion and easy to relate to.
I’d fully recommend checking out his stuff on http://www.purevolume.com/new/austinnivarel for the non acoustic version of this song as well as others like the catchy ‘Everywhere I Go’ and ‘Stuck Around’ – that will have you bobbing your head along, if not dancing – and mellower tracks like ‘January’ and ‘Pretend’ as well as a load of others. I’m definitely a fan. 

Christina Perri – A Thousand Years

Great vocals, poignant and relatable lyrics, and music that really fits that melancholic vibe of the song. I really like Perri’s voice and loved her last single ‘Jar Of Hearts’. There is no denying this woman is hugely talented.

Rachel Tucker – Defying Gravity

I said quite a bit about this in my ‘Defy Gravity’ blog, but I have been listening to Rachel Tucker’s renditions of the songs from Wicked quite a bit recently, particularly this song and ‘The Wizard and I’.
The reason being that I love the music in the show, from the accompanying music to the moving, passionate, heartfelt lyrics, but I also think that Rachel Tucker is exceptionally talented and I think her vocal ability is absolutely astounding. I’d really love them to record a soundtrack with the west end cast with Rachel’s vocals. Amazing, absolutely amazing.

M83 – Midnight City

A great party song with a chorus that’s great to blast on a night out.