Jammin’ In July: My Musical Alphabet

Greetings readers,

Today I’m taking inspiration from fellow music-blogger Daria, from The Music Wonderland, who created her own musical alphabet. I thought it was a great way to share your favourite artists, so I asked if I could upload my own version and she said yes. So, I’ve combed my ITunes, album collection, and previous blogs to bring you my favourite artists for each letter of the alphabet – complete with some throwbacks in there too.

(There are a few gaps towards the end though, sorry!)

 

A – Against The Current

One of my favourite bands at the moment, New Yorkers Against The Current also dropped one of my favourite albums of 2016 with their debut release, ‘In Our Bones’. They have a lot of different elements to their sound, from danceable pop-driven tracks to dark, brooding rock vibes, which all combine to make something undeniably addictive.

To see my review of ATC’s debut album ‘In Our Bones’, click here.

 

B – Bring Me The Horizon

BMTH have been around since my early teens but, admittedly, I have only really gotten into their music recently. Whilst I liked the rough and raw screamo sound of previous releases, I couldn’t listen to it for too long; I couldn’t understand the lyrics, I couldn’t sing along, it just didn’t hit me in the same way that bands like Bullet For My Valentine did at the time, with their darkly twisted debut album ‘The Poison’. However, with their newest release ‘That’s The Spirit’ came a new sound that I’m totally into. Gone are the undecipherable lyrics and discordant arrangements, to be replaced by a melodic stadium-rock vibe. Their trademark ferocity is still there, but has evolved into something different – a change for the better in my opinion.

To see my review of Bring Me The Horizon’s newest release ‘That’s The Spirit’, click here.

 

C – Cassadee Pope

If you were into the pop-punk scene in early 2007 when the female fronted era exploded, then you may recognise ex Hey Monday front woman Cassadee Pope. Having been a fan of the band since their formation in 2008, I was crushed when they decided to go on hiatus with only one album to their name – 2008’s ‘Hold On Tight’. Following their short-lived time as a band, I was beyond intrigued when I found that Pope went on to become a contestant on The Voice USA; following her journey through the competition, which ultimately saw her crowned the winner. She has since released her debut album ‘Frame By Frame’, which reached #1 in the US Country music chart.

To see my article on Cassadee Pope following her win on The Voice USA, click here.

 

D – Demi Lovato

Quite simply, I absolutely adore Demi Lovato. From her musical ability and captivating power-house vocals, to her confidence to speak candidly about her personal struggles, I think that she is someone to be admired.

For more about why I like Demi Lovato, and why she is #1 on my ‘Top 10 Interview Wish-List, click here.

 

E – Ed Sheeran

Simply put? Ed Sheeran is amazing. I truly believe that he is one of the biggest icons of my generation. He has gone from strength to strength within the industry over the years, not just with his own albums but working behind the scenes on hits for other artists, including Justin Bieber, Major Lazer and One Direction. Everything he has done, to this day, has been absolute fire; with one chart hit after another. And, since the release of his newest album ‘Divide’, 2017 has so far been another massive year for our favourite red-head – already having made history by occupying both the #1 and #2 spot in the charts with ‘comeback’ singles ‘Shape Of You’ and ‘Castle On The Hill’ respectively. He gets better and better with each album.

To see my review of ‘Shape Of You’ and ‘Castle On The Hill’, click here.

 

F – Francheschi (Elissa)

I’ve been a fan of Elissa Franceschi’s music since my late teens. Introduced to her after she did guest vocals on You Me At Six track ‘Always Attract’, I then went on to check out her solo music – and fell in love. The soulful songstress has a beautifully delicate, yet powerful, quality to her vocals and her music is always mesmerising; full of honesty and overflowing with poignancy. She is currently on a musical hiatus, as she has been for the last few years, but there have been some little signs online that could hint at a possible return to music soon – here’s hoping! It’s been far too long.

To see my review of Elissa Franceschi’s EP ‘Devoid of Rue’, click here.

 

G – Green Day

One of my first favourite bands back when I first discovered rock music, Green Day were a huge part of the soundtrack to my early teens. Admittedly, I don’t listen to them nowadays, but there will always be a special place in my heart for them.

 

H – Hobbie Stuart

Honey-voiced heart-throb Hobbie Stuart, is a pop singer-songwriter and vlogger. Having built an online following via YouTube over the last six years, Stuart uploads both cover videos and original material to his channel. His smooth, r’n’b-tinged vocals seem to be able to wrap themselves around any song; leaving their own stamp on existing tracks and giving life to his own songs. Having seen him play a short set in Brighton, where he also turned on the town’s Christmas lights, it’s fair to say that he’s just as good live as he is on record – a rare quality nowadays. As well as his hypnotising vocals, Stewart’s hilariously candid personality also comes across in his vlogs, making them even more entertaining. You just can’t help but love him, really.

To check out my initial ‘One to Watch’ on Hobbie Stuart, click here.

For my live review of Stuart’s short set at Brighton’s Christmas light’s switch on, click here.

 

I – Issues

I discovered this metalcore six-piece after recommendation from a friend of mine, and I’m so glad I gave them a listen. Their thrashing yet melodic sound draws on a multitude of different genres, from heavy rock to electronic, and even some R&B. There is a brutal heaviness running through every track, which is lifted by honey-voiced vocalist Tyler Carter’s melodic tone as it drizzles over the gravelly sounds of Michael Bohn’s aggressive screams. This provides a great contrast and incorporating elements of other genres also brings something different to the table, keeping things interesting.

To see my introductory ‘One To Watch’ on Issues, click here.

 

J – Justin Timberlake

Sorry, I’m not sorry. Justin Timberlake is up there with some of the best male vocalists in the pop scene. From the curly-haired kid in boyband Nsync to the suave pin-up that girls fantasize over, JT and his music continue to stand the test of time – his smooth brand of r’n’b drenched pop still winning hearts, and awards, worldwide.

 

K – Kelly Clarkson

Again, another artist whose vocals continue to always cause a stir in the pop charts, fifteen years after she became the first ever winner of American Idol. Kelly Clarkson has an amazing voice; strong, bold and powerful, both on and off record. The majority of her music centres on themes such as heart-break, self-empowerment and independence, much of which really speaks to me. Her second studio album ‘Breakaway’ was a big part of the soundtrack to my early teens, with its pop-rock sound and dark undertones.

 

L – Luke Pickett

Luke Pickett is an artist that, I don’t think, gets as much recognition as he should. I discovered Pickett’s music 10 years ago, thanks to my friend using his track ‘Empty Corridors’ as her profile song on Myspace – remember those days?! I fell in love with it and soon became addicted to other songs such as ‘Going Down With This Ship’, ‘Dream Love Cure’ and ‘Cruel Love’. I even came close to interviewing him for this blog at the very beginning, after emailing his management, but somehow it fell through. I still go back and listen to those old songs from time to time, and I’m always keeping an eye on his new stuff. With his level of talent, impeccable, addictive vocals and ability to craft a captivating, poignant song, I can’t understand how he’s not a mainstream artist!

 

M – My Chemical Romance

The mouth-piece for an entire musical movement, and responsible for starting a conversation about the misunderstanding of subcultures, My Chemical Romance became the voice of a generation of misfit teens and in the process became revered; seen almost like heroes. Their music spoke to so many people (including myself) and created a community. Over the years, and the many colours/styles of Gerard Way’s hair, they created so many iconic moments that will always be remembered. I’m so glad I got to see them live before they split; it still hurts my heart a little that they’re not together anymore.

 

N – Nirvana

Another band that I, admittedly, don’t listen to anymore, but who influenced my music tastes back in the day. When I started listening to rock music in my mid-teens, Nirvana were a band that I inevitably came across; I say inevitably because you can’t have not heard of them if you’re into rock, I mean everybody knows who Kurt Cobain is, right? I loved the overall vibe of their music, (I used to be into the heavier stuff!) Kurt’s gruff and gravelly vocals, and I’ve always been interested in their/his compelling story. It’s not at all surprising to me that their music continues to influence musicians and have an effect on people, to this day.

 

O – Out Of Sight

Having disbanded quite a few years ago, you might think it’s weird that I chose to include pop-punk band Out Of Sight. However, after seeing them supporting You Me At Six live back in 2009, they were a band that left a lasting impression and I loved their music. Luckily, when I did work experience for Kerrang! that same year, I was given a copy of their demo CD by Katie P after I told her how much I liked them. To this day, I’m still so thankful to her for that because, if she hadn’t, their music would be 100% lost to me – and I’m so glad that it isn’t. I still listen to it from time to time and it never fails to put a smile on my face.

 

P – Panic! At The Disco

Another band that were a big part of the 2007 explosion of ‘emo’/pop-punk artists in the rock scene, you couldn’t not like Panic! At The Disco. Their single ‘I Write Sins Not Tragedies’ is now a cult favourite among people of that era – there was a time when everyone was singing along to that chorus!. Over the years they’ve headlined the likes of Reading Festival and gained national airplay on Radio One, and continue to sell out arenas to this day.

 

Q – Queen

Not a band that I listen to regularly, but Queen is an absolute classic – there’s no doubt about it. ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’, ‘I Want To Break Free’… everyone knows at least one of their songs, and they’re great to dance to!

 

R – Room 94

I discovered Room 94 thanks to Twitter back in 2012, and they quickly went on to become one of my favourite bands at the time. If you’ve been following my blog for a while, then you may know that I tried for an entire year to get an interview with the boys and, after meeting them at multiple shows, luckily got that chance at the Brighton date of their 2013 ‘Three Brothers and One Kit’ summer tour. It’s still one of the most fun interviews I’ve ever done and they’re really lovely and funny guys – I’d interview them again in a heartbeat!

To see my interview with Room 94, click here.

 

S – Set It Off

This Floridian foursome have been one of my favourite bands for a few years, after discovering them when I was invited to interview them at a show. I’d never listened to them, or seen them live, but their stage presence and show changed that irrevocably. So taken was I that I went straight to their merch desk after their set and bought their debut – and at the time, only – album ‘Cinematics’, which I listened to in its entirety for months. I’ve kept up to date with their releases ever since, and seen their sound evolve from dark and twisted orchestral pop-rock, to something lighter and increasingly pop-based, all whilst retaining that certain Set It Off something.

To see my review of Set It Off’s second album ‘Duality’ click here.
I’ve also done short reviews of a handful of their songs from newest album ‘Upside Down’. To see those, click here (Uncontainable), here (Something New) and here (Crutch).

 

T – The Summer Set

If you’ve followed my blog for a while, then you’ll know that The Summer Set are one of my Top 5 favourite bands ever! I try to see them live every time they come to the UK and each time is always more fun than the last; they never fail to put on an amazing show, it’s like a party that nobody wants to end. I love their unique brand of inspirational, poignant, summery, feel good pop-rock, made even more distinctive by Brian Dales’ original vocal tone. I’ve bought every album they’ve ever released and their music just gets better and better over the years. Their newest release ‘Stories For Monday’ was one of my top albums of last year and I can’t wait to see what they have in store for us next!

I’ve actually been lucky enough to chat to John Gomez, Jess Bowen and Brian Dales on separate occasions and they’re all lovely (the latter I even managed to interview before a show at Kingston Peel, despite him being a little worse for wear!)

To see my review of the band’s newest album ‘Stories For Monday’, click here.
And, to see my review of the last time I saw them live, at Portsmouth’s Wedgewood Rooms, click here.

U – —–

 

V – Versaemerge

Another great band that, sadly, aren’t together in this format currently, Versaemerge were part of the second wave of the pop-punk/emo scene. When the likes of Fall Out Boy and Panic! At The Disco were established they paved the way for similar bands to breakout, one of them being Versaemerge. After being signed by the front-running label of the era, Fuelled By Ramen, Versaemerge released their debut – and sadly only – album ‘Fixed At Zero’. Over the years they battled a lot of obstacles, including significant line-up changes, as well as the long wait between releases. By the time a second album looked to be forming it came with a change of sound, gone was the dark melodic rock, in favour of an electronic vibe; times and the scene had changed. Shortly after, remaining members, Sierra Kusterbeck and Blake Harnage decided to reinvent themselves as Versa, an entirely new entity. However, the status of the band is unclear as no new material has been released, and vocalist Sierra now fronts new musical project ‘Neaux’. One thing’s for sure, I hope they revive Versa at some point because I’d be so sad if they just faded away.

As a female, Sierra was one of my main inspirations of that time, and while I was at university I was actually lucky enough to interview Blake Harnage for an article I was working on about fan-funding. To see that article, click here.

 

W – Waltzz

A young aspiring rapper that reached out to me for a review back in 2015, Waltzz is now a name that you’ll definitely be familiar with if you follow my blog regularly. Full of passion and unrivalled drive, Waltzz – real name Liam Stewart – is an artist that I really admire. From his music (and his passion for it) to the overall message he tries to convey, he is definitely worth checking out. I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting him and he’s a really great, down to earth guy too – which is always a plus!

To see my review of Waltzz’s most recent single ‘I’m Alright’, click here.

 

X – —-

 

Y – You Me At Six

You Me At Six have been one of my favourite bands since I was seventeen and, now in my mid-twenties, they still are. Over the years I’ve seen them grow with their music and, in turn, I have grown up with it. So many of their songs serve as a reminder of many different events and happenings, and I have nothing but fond memories of seeing them live – all 10+ times! They have yet to make an album that I dislike, and my only hope is that they continue making music for a long time yet!

To read my review of You Me At Six’s latest album ‘Night People’, click here.

 

Z – —-

 

And there you have it – if you got this far, to you I give the biggest of high-fives. I hope that I inspired you to give some of these artists a try, if you’ve not heard of them. What did you think of my choices? If you’ve got any recommendations for the letters I missed feel free to let me know in a comment.

As always, thank you for reading! I’m uploading twice a week throughout July so, If you like what I do here and you want to keep up to date with my upcoming posts, feel free to come and join me on:

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Blake Shelton – Based on a True Story Album Review (Music Is Love Throwback)

Hola readers,

I hope you’re all doing well. As we’re right in the throes of summer; indulging in the warmer, longer days and ice-creams (well I am anyway!) I thought I’d share this #throwback of a review with you. This artist has been a big chunk of my summer soundtrack since I discovered him a few years ago, and his music just makes me think of sunny days and holidays.

I first discovered award-winning country singer/songwriter Blake Shelton’s music back in 2012 thanks to the US version of The Voice. I watched the show for two seasons, the first of which featured Juliet Simms (ex Automatic Loveletter) as a contestant – who went on to be one of the final two – and the second saw ex-Hey Monday front woman Cassadee Pope win the hearts of the nation and be crowned winner, under Shelton’s tutorage.

Being that Shelton was the only artist on the judging panel that I hadn’t heard of – the line up at the time being completed by Maroon 5 vocalist Adam Levine, R’n’B singer/songwriter Cee Lo Green and pop powerhouse Christina Aguilera – I was instantly curious to check out his music. And I wasn’t disappointed with what I found.

From the summer sunshine vibe of ‘Honey Bee’, and the somber, sultry feel of ‘Drink On It’, to injecting his alluring country drawl into Dave Barnes’ ‘God Gave Me You’, it’s clear that Shelton’s distinctive vocals are strong, bold and somewhat seductive. It’s no surprise that his work is revered within the country music industry – I instantly fell in love.

Another thing that immediately struck me about Shelton, is his ability to connect with the music and tell a story in an amazingly moving way. You can see this in multiple tracks of his including, romantic love stories ‘Over’ and ‘Austin’, as well as ‘Over You’; a track Shelton co-wrote with his ex-wife Miranda Lambert about the death of his brother – which she lends her vocals to. The song was also covered by ex-Hey Monday frontwoman Cassadee Pope during her time on NBC’s The Voice, which I’ve featured in a previous blog post.

I was going to include them in a ‘Tracks I’m Loving’ at the time, but the more songs I discovered I thought it could come across a bit artist-heavy. So, I decided to save them for a ‘One to Watch’, However, I didn’t think that was quite fitting as Shelton is an established artist in his own right as opposed to up-and-coming.

With his album ‘Based On A True Story’ on the horizon at the time, I jumped straight on ITunes and downloaded it. I then went on to review the album for a university project. At the time I didn’t see the point in duplicating posts across both sites, especially since I was trying to promote them both separately. However, I’ve since had to make the decision to close my other site (you can read about the reason for that here) so I thought uploading it here was way overdue.

 

 

Blake Shelton: Based On A True Story (Album Review)

bs-album-cover

American country artist Blake Shelton released his new album ‘Based on a True Story’ in March this year. Lead single ‘Sure Be Cool If You Did’ reached number one on the country airplay chart after being premiered on New Year’s Day, and was released on ITunes in January.

His eighth studio album is an authentic country album, complete with that trademark drawl that sounds like drizzling honey; smooth and effortless. With the playful chant ‘red red red red red red redneck’, album opener ‘Boys Round Here’ has a beat that you can’t help but bob your head to, and tracks like ‘Small Town Big Time’ are a full on ride of infectious fun; vibrant, jaunty and carefree, though the effects on Shelton’s vocals are unnecessary.

Throughout there are also moments of sentimentality, with slower romantic tracks like ‘Doin’ What She Likes’, ‘Mine Would Be You’, and the nostalgic trip down memory lane, ‘Granddaddy’s Gun’.

Shelton’s bold twang sounds like emotion oozing out of every pore and the intimacy and warmth that comes off of these songs is almost palpable. It’s a great mix of lively, dynamic songs and heartfelt stories, and is an excellent country album. If you’re not someone who’s usually a fan of country music, give it a try, you may surprise yourself.

 

As always, thanks for reading. Do you like Blake Shelton or are you Country music fan in general? Feel free to let me know in a comment. If you’d like to keep up to date with my upcoming posts come and join me on:

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Happy ‘Single Awareness Day’: Empowerment Anthems for Anyone Who’s Not In a Relationship This Valentine’s Day

Bonjour readers,

In case you couldn’t tell by the title, or if you’ve not been past any shops recently, Valentine’s Day is tomorrow. Everywhere you go there seems to be an explosion of hearts and some kind of promotion for the most romantic day of the year. So, whether you’re sickeningly loved up, or you’re a person who points and rolls your eyes at those who are sickeningly loved up, I hope you have a great day.

However, Valentine’s Day does have a habit of making us singletons even more aware of the fact that we’re single – hence the nickname ‘Single Awareness Day.’ Although, that needn’t be a bad thing. We may be single, but we’re also strong, independent and we don’t have to answer to anyone. With that in mind, I thought I’d share with you my Top 5 most empowering anthems for those of you who are slaying the single life this year, or if you just need a little pick me up, these songs are sure to do the trick. But, don’t take my word for it, have a listen for yourself…

 

#1. Hailee Steinfeld – Love Myself

The first single from the 18 year old actress’ debut EP ‘Haiz’, is an empowering dance/pop track. Being honest, when I first heard this I wasn’t too sure about it – I thought the lyrics were a bit questionable in places – but there’s no denying that it has a great sound, it’s fun and it makes you want to get up and dance. The chorus is an absolute banger overflowing with positive vibes, and Seinfeld’s R’n’B-tinged vocals are strong and bold throughout. Overall it’s a song about self-love (whichever way you interpret that) and empowerment – love yourself, you don’t need anybody else.

Taken from my ‘Tracks of the Month: November 2015’ click here to see the full post.

 

 

#2. Demi Lovato – Confident

If you’re a regular reader of my blog then you’ll know that I love Demi Lovato. ‘Confident’ is the second single from her fifth studio album of the same name, and it really sees her come into her own. Gone are the days of self-doubt and struggle, this is sassy and sexy, with bucket loads of attitude. As always Lovato’s vocals are stunningly bold, full of defiance and, well, confidence. It’s without doubt an empowering track, after all, “What’s wrong with being, what’s wrong with being, what’s wrong with being confident?”

Taken from my ‘Tracks of the Month: November 2015’ click here to see the full post.

 

 

#3. Little Mix – Shout Out To My Ex


Formidable pop foursome Little Mix premiered their new single ‘Shout Out To My Ex’ on week two of the X Factor 2016’s live shows – and they certainly aren’t pulling any punches. The lead track from their newest album ‘Glory Days’, is a bold break-up anthem full of attitude. ‘Shout Out To My Ex’ is ridiculously catchy, with a powerful driving beat and an explosive, anthemic chorus that you can’t help but sing along to.

The lyrics, although scathing, do have an edge of humour to them – almost as if the girls are poking fun at everyone who did them wrong now that they’re ‘over it,’ giving it a very uplifting quality. Each member shines in their respective part of the song, and the harmonies interspersed throughout show that their vocals complement each other brilliantly. It’s fun, sassy, sexy and a massive middle finger to that ex – I’m sure we’ve all got one :).

 Taken from my ‘Tracks of the Month: October 2016’ click here to see the full post.

 

 

#4. Orchard Hill (formerly Disclosure) – What a Waste of Time

Following some issues with their original name – which lead to confusion with a popular electronic dance act – this Oxfordshire based quintet came back with a new moniker but, rest assured, they’re still a pop-rock powerhouse. From the outset this track is a playful burst of colour, with a hook that promises to have audiences bouncing along like crazed jack-in-a-boxes. Singer, Tiff’s deep and throaty vocals are great also, sounding strong and hitting the notes on every trill with ease. It’s assertive and definitely appropriate for when you’re ready to acknowledge ‘what a waste of time that boy can be’, because let’s face it, we’ve all felt like that right?

Taken from my ‘Tracks I’m Loving: April/May 2013’ click here to see the full post.

 

 

#5. Cassadee Pope – Wasting All These Tears

This was Cassadee Pope’s first solo single after winning The Voice USA in 2013, during which time audiences saw her transition from singing, mostly, pop/rock to country. This track sees her successfully mix the two, incorporating elements of country with her signature pop/rock vocals. Pope’s vocals carry the ability to inject bags of emotion into the song, giving it the right amount of bite to tell the story in a way that you can really believe. The lyrics have a really cathartic quality and, personally, I can really relate to them – and I’m sure a lot of other people can too.

Taken from my ‘Tracks I’m Loving: October 2013’ click here to see the full post.

 

 

Now, get out there and show them whose boss. 🙂

If you liked these and want to check out my ‘Top 10 Anti-Love Songs’ from last Valentine’s Day, click here. Or, if you’re in a romantic mood and want to check out my ‘Top 8 Love Songs’, click here.

 

As always, thank you for reading! If you like what I do here and you want to keep up to date with my upcoming posts, be sure to come and join me on:

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🙂

 

This Ain’t A Love Song: My Top 10 Anti-Love Songs

Hey everyone,

Now, if you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you may already know this, but I’d like to address why this post seems to have come out nowhere. Originally I planned to post this on February 15th – the day after Valentine’s Day – to follow my ‘Top 8 Love Songs’, as an antidote of sorts to all the lovey-dovey stuff everywhere.

I hadn’t pre-written the post and – as became a regular occurrence when I was doing ‘Journaling In January’ – I stayed up quite late in a bid to finish it and have it posted on the 15th. However, in my sleepy state I thought I’d pressed ‘publish’ when in actual fact I’d pressed ‘save’ – so the post hadn’t actually gone out. I realised a few weeks later when, when posting my ‘Track of The Month’, I saw that it was still sat in my reader as a draft. *Facepalm.

I’d hoped to have it posted sooner but I’ve been pretty busy the last few weeks and simply haven’t had the time, but it seems a shame to discard the post, so I thought I’d post it now seeing as I’ve been struck down with a cold.

A lot of these songs are fun, upbeat, empowering and just generally a massive middle finger up to THAT ex.

 

#10 Contagious Chemistry – You Me At Six

‘Dearest enemy, you should have never trusted me, you bitch.’ – Enough said.

 

#9 F**k You Over – The Summer Set

This track has such a fun, playful tone (with a sing-along ‘la la’ refrain to boot!) It couldn’t get further away from a love-song if it tried. “I didn’t mean to fuck you over, I just want to have some fun, we can rock the world tonight but no it doesn’t have to be love.”

 

#8 Forget You – Cee Lo Green

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pc0mxOXbWIU

Another one that has such a great vibe – it’s impossible not to smile, sing, and maybe even dance, when you hear it. (If you’re anything like me, you’ll agree that singing along to the explicit version at the top of your lungs is quite fun too.)

 

#7 Wasting All These Tears – Cassadee Pope

The first single from The Voice USA winner Cassadee Pope (ex-Hey Monday) is a powerful ballad full of emotion that hits you like a punch in the gut. It opens with a poignant – almost somber – feel to it, allowing the pent-up emotion to crash through and add a sense of bite to the chorus. ‘Oh, finally I’m through, wasting all these tears on you.’

 

#6 Another Me – The Cab

Whether we want to admit it, we’ve all got at least one ex who was a bit of (or a lot of) a tool. We constantly made excuses for them because we loved them, even though deep down we knew something wasn’t quite right. This scathing track from The Cab is the musical embodiment of that realisation. Opening with dark, gritty guitars, followed by an explosive chorus proclaiming ‘I gave you everything you ever wanted, and you gave me nothing but grief.’ Good luck finding another me? Too right.

 

#5 Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You) – Kelly Clarkson

‘Doesn’t mean I’m over, because you’re gone.’ (And it never should.)

 

#4 Really Don’t Care – Demi Lovato

This is a song that puts a positive spin on a bad situation – instead of pining over the end of a relationship it’s almost a relief. The rose coloured glasses have come off and you realise that things weren’t as perfect as you thought. It’s infectious from beginning to end, with a ballsy, carefree vibe running though it – “you can take your words and all your lies, I really don’t care.”

 

#3 Wrong Song – Nashville OST

Taken from the popular US TV show Nashville, this country/pop-rock crossover track – sang by Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere – is, in no uncertain terms, two fingers up to that ex who wronged you and then begged you to take them back. ‘If you’re looking for one more chance, a little Stand by Your Man, you’ve got the Wrong Song coming through your speakers.’

 

#2 What A Waste of Time (That Boy Can Be) – Orchard Hill


This song is an empowering whirlwind of colour with a healthy dose of sassiness. It’s assertive and doesn’t pull any punches – like you’ve finally realised you weren’t the one to blame, he was just…a waste of time.

 

#1 Fuck It (I Don’t Want You Back) – Eamonn

Anyone who grew up during the early 2000’s may remember this gem of a break-up song. This profanity-laced throwback reached number one in over 10 countries including the UK and Australia, and prompted the short-lived ‘answer-back’ craze. It is the perfect antithesis to the love song, and seeing as it was the first song that popped into my head when I thought about compiling this list, I couldn’t not include it.

 

Thanks for reading my Top 10 Anti-Love Songs, had you heard any of these songs before? Are there any songs you think I should’ve included? Feel free to let me know in a comment.

Journaling In January: My Top 6 Favourite Covers

Good evening readers,

I wrote a Journaling In January post at the start of the month about cover versions of songs and my thoughts on them in general (if you haven’t seen that post click here.) I’m a total sucker for a really good cover; I love it when an artist can breathe new life into a song and transform it, whether that be by modifying the arrangement, switching up the vocal style, or completely changing the genre of the song.

It is a hard job to take a track people already know and turn it on its head, to attempt to re-write people’s perceptions of it and make it good. It’s easy to make a bad cover, it’s harder to make one that’s so good it rivals the original.

When I started compiling this list I slightly took for granted how difficult it was going to be, given that there are a lot of covers out there that I like. For that reason I decided not to include covers from TV talent shows – I.E The Voice and The X Factor – as well as the fact that if I did, this list would just go on forever. Instead, I have simply opted for the ones that have stuck in my mind, because they must have made a lasting impression for a reason right?

 

#6 Harder to Breathe  – Anavae and Tides (originally by Maroon 5)

While not a million miles away from the original version, the arrangement of this cover makes the track sound fuller and gives it more dimension. The guitar has also been amped up which gives more of a straight rock feel. This version turns the track into a duet consisting of both male and female vocals, the strength of the two voices complimenting each other brilliantly and working with the instrumental to add light and shade throughout.

 

#5 The Liar and the Lighter – Gabrielle Aplin
(originally by You Me At Six)

This takes the guitar-lead, raw-sounding original and completely transforms it into an understated yet powerful, almost haunting, track. The addition of the piano and high female vocals add a certain poignancy, and the arrangement works to give a whole new emotionality to the lyrics.

 

#4 Wrecking Ball – James Arthur (originally by Miley Cyrus)

This stripped back piano-led version of Cyrus’s hit Wrecking Ball, sees the X Factor winner put his soulful stamp on the UK number 1 single… and what a powerful stamp it is. If you’re not a fan of Miley Cyrus, or the song, I recommend listening to this cover because it may just change your mind.

 

#3 Empty Space – Rogue Re Vera (originally by The Story So Far)

If you follow me on any social media, or if you’re a regular visitor to my blog, then you may know that I’ve been really into this band lately. I actually included this in a previous Tracks I’m Loving post so rather than repeat myself – because what I have to say would be much the same – simply click HERE if you’d like to know why this cover made it into my Top 6.

 

#2 Give Me Love – Demi Lovato (originally by Ed Sheeran)

Simply put, this is a beautiful cover of a great song. The whole thing has a compelling sense of emotional honesty to it. The delicate sounding verses add a sense of vulnerability, while the middle-eight adds a whole new dynamic, beautifully showing off the power-house vocals that Lovato possesses.

 

#1 Uptown Funk – Against the Current ft. Set It Off (originally by Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars)

This is my most recent discovery; orchestral pop-rockers Set It Off and fellow pop-rock three piece Against the Current, teamed up for this cover of Uptown Funk – and it’s pretty great. I was dubious at first, I didn’t think I’d ever hear a cover of this song that even came close to the original, but I love the rock edge that these two bands have given it. Chrissy Costanza’s strong and powerful vocals add a whole new vibe to the track, and Set It Off’s Cody Carson is as sassy as ever, his smooth, unique vocals harboring a slight R’n’B twinge. The two complement each other brilliantly and I can’t get enough of it at the moment.

 

Ok so, I’m kind of breaking my own rule here but I couldn’t end this post without mentioning this song somewhere. If you’re a fan of The Voice USA then you may know that ex-Hey Monday frontwoman Cassadee Pope captured the nation’s heart when she won the competition back in 2012. Pope delivered an unrivalled vocal performance on the show each week and sang some amazing covers, but there was one that has always stood out to me more so than most.

Pope’s cover of Country singer-songwriter Miranda Lambert’s emotional ballad Over You completely turned the tides. Praised by all four celebrity coaches for her ability to connect with the lyrics and convey the poignancy of the song, as well as her astounding range, the cover also went on to top the ITunes all-genre chart – and it’s easy to hear why.

This cover gives me chills every time I hear it and I can’t help but get a little teary-eyed. I think that if a track has the ability to have such a strong effect no matter how many times you’ve heard it, it’s definitely a mark of something great.

 

Thank you for reading my Top 6 Covers, and I hope that it maybe inspired you to give some of the songs a try. What do you think of the covers? Are there any covers that you think  I should know about? Do you have a favourite cover that has always stuck in your mind? Let me know in a comment, I’d love to hear what you think.

Cass Is Badass. One To Watch: Cassadee Pope.

I wrote this a while ago as part of a university project, but as I said in my last ‘Tracks I’m Loving’ post, I’ve always been a fan of Cassadee Pope and her music. Seeing as her debut album ‘Frame By Frame’ was released on October 8th, I thought I’d share this with you. To read my thoughts on the debut single from the album, ‘Wasting All These Tears’ click HERE.

Winner of The Voice USA, the former Hey Monday frontwoman captured the hearts of a nation. Can the country pop rocker capture yours too?

“I took these country songs and made them a little more pop/rock with like more of a contemporary twist to it, and that’s what my music is… it’s just me. And the lyrics tell stories, it’s the kind of thing where you listen to a song and you feel it, because everybody goes through these things so, I just love writing songs that tell a story and I think that belongs in country so I’m going that route,” Cassadee Pope tells Pop Sugar’s Lindsay Miller of her experience on The Voice USA, and of her [then] upcoming album.

23 year old Pope was the first female to win the US show after she wowed the judges – country Star Blake Shelton, Maroon Five’s Adam Levine, pop diva Christina Aguilera and Cee Lo Green – with her rendition of Natalie Imbruglia’s ‘Torn’ in her blind audition.

 

But, if you were into the pop-punk scene (Fall Out Boy, Paramore) when it exploded, then you may also recognise her from the band Hey Monday. A far cry from the country material she performed on the show, Hey Monday showed similarities to acts such as We Are the in Crowd and All Time Low.

 

The band formed in 2008 and quickly caught the interest of Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz who wanted to sign them to his label Decaydance records, vying with major label Columbia for the band’s attentions, resulting in a joint deal. Though Cassadee – when speaking to TV line.com – has admitted, “when Hey Monday first started, there was this very cool hype around us and a label behind us that was excited. But then the momentum started going away.” She also told music website Alter the Press that towards the end “the label was losing hope, and we were getting overshadowed by the pop acts.” The band went on an indefinite hiatus in 2011.

After releasing a solo EP in the summer of 2012, Cassadee went on to audition for The Voice USA, and it became clear that there was no chance of her being overshadowed again.

All four judges competed for Cassadee but she ultimately chose to be coached by Blake Shelton. Under Shelton’s tutorage, Pope shed her pop/punk image and delved into country music. It was her cover of country singer, Miranda Lambert’s ‘Over You’ in Top 10 Week that turned the tides. Earning Pope praise for her amazing range and ability to connect with lyrics. The cover went to number one on the ITunes all genre chart and Pope’s other covers had her at number one on ITunes on multiple occasions.

 

After racking up the highest number of votes in the show’s history Pope was crowned the winner, and has since signed a deal with Republic Nashville who also represent Taylor Swift and The Band Perry. With the help of her coach Blake Shelton she hopes to incorporate country into her music, telling 92.3 Now, “I think he’s the best person to help me tastefully.” And you can definitely hear the country influence in her new single ‘Wasting All These Tears’.

 

Pope has described her appearance on The Voice as phenomenal, and is quick to dispel any feeling that she may have had an unfair advantage after being in a touring band. As she told Rolling Stone, “I thought it was kind of crazy to think that someone like me – who’s been working towards this my whole life…toured in bands and did all that, and really has been working hard– doesn’t deserve it as much as someone else next to me who’s never done it before. I feel like if you have the heart and the passion for it, you deserve it.” We couldn’t agree more.

Cassadee’s new album ‘Frame By Frame’ is now available for download through ITunes.

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Tracks I’m Loving

Hey everyone.

If you’re a regular visitor to my blog, then by now you know how this works. Basically, I’m going to list the songs that I’ve been addicted to over – in this case – the last few months and tell you why I like them so much.

I say ‘addicted’ because if I really like something, I’m the type of person that can listen to it constantly for weeks and weeks.

You’ll also be happy to know that once this blog goes live I’m officially up-to-date with my ‘Tracks I’m Loving’ posts, after getting backed up with so many during, and after, uni.

Phew! We got there in the end 🙂 So without further ado…

Jessie J – Wild

 

First off let me just say that I absolutely love Jessie J, I think she’s an amazingly talented and extremely hard-working artist.

The lead single from her newest album Alive, Wild, has a great dance-y beat and is one you wouldn’t mind strutting your stuff to on a night out with friends. The rap sections from Big Sean and Dizzee Rascal give the track more of a gritty R’n’B feel, and the lyrics are really motivational and give the message that if you really want something, and work your ass off for it, amazing things can- and will – happen.

As always Jessie J’s powerhouse vocals are on top form. Consistently strong throughout, she glides between the lower and higher notes effortlessly, showcasing her range and injecting a healthy dose of attitude into the song.

“When it gets rough and the rain starts pourin’, I turn up the heat ‘coz the drama ain’t important.” – enough said.

 

Lawson ft Bob – broken Hearted

 

I don’t really have much to say about this song, other than it’s a pretty good pop song that’s too damn catchy for it’s own good, complete with a “la la la” refrain and all.

Andy Brown’s vocals are, without doubt, impressive (just listen to the trill on “now, you wanna be with me” and you’ll see what I mean) and the guest vocals from rapper BOB give the track a cheeky, playful feel, “that’s just how we do it, if I had a remote then you would be muted.”

*shrugs* It’s just one of those songs that’s so catchy, before you know where you are you can’t get it out of your head.

 

Gavin Degraw – I Don’t Wanna Be

 

I came to hear of this song back in 2003, because it served as the title theme for US TV drama One Tree Hill, and ever since then I have loved the song. Every time I hear the lilting guitar opening, it instantly makes me smile and gives me that feeling you get when you see an old friend you haven’t seen in a while.

The lyrics are ones of personal growth and self acceptance, “I’m tired of looking around rooms wondering what I’ve gotta do, or who I’m supposed to be/I don’t wanna be anything other than me.” The instrumental works to accentuate the lyrics, and the strength in Degraw’s vocals mean that it drips with conviction and passion.

I recently caught up with the final season of One Tree Hill, hence why this song is in this post. I grew up watching the show and this track really does encompass its ethos. It always takes me back to my teenage years, the time when you’re really figuring out who you are and who you want to be, so it means a lot to me.

 

Cassadee Pope – Wasting All These Tears

 

This is Cassadee Pope’s first solo single since winning The Voice USA. I have been a fan of Cassadee Pope since the days of Hey Monday, and followed her progress on The Voice.

Her time on the show saw her transition from singing, mostly, pop/rock to country. This track see’s her successfully mix the two, incorporating elements of country with her signature pop/rock vocals, and it really works.

Pope’s vocals carry the ability to inject bags of emotion into the song, giving  it the right amount of bite to tell the story in a way that you can really believe. The lyrics are empowering and, personally, I can really relate to them, and I’m sure a lot of other people can too.

 

You Me At Six – Lived A Lie

 

I’ll be honest, even though I’ve loved You Me At Six since before their debut album Take Off Your Colours was released, this track took me a while to get into.

If you listen to their albums over the years, it’s clear that the boys have toned down their pop-punk-party and grown up a lot, and along with that so has their sound.  This track carries the same mature vibe that we heard on Sinners Never Sleep, but injects some of the old pop/rock sound that we know and love the boys for. In true YMAS style, the chorus is full of explosive energy that will no doubt get crowds pumping their fists and bouncing along.

The part I wasn’t, initially, sure on is the ‘we are believers’ chant during the middle-eight. I thought the accompanying drum-rolls made it sound very reminiscent of The Black Parade by My Chemical Romance. However, after listening to the track a few times I realised that it is a very powerful part of the song, and I imagine – in a live setting – would see the audience united, raising their fists in the air and screaming along. This song is definitely a ‘grower’, but it has well and truly grown on me and I really like it. Can’t wait to hear new album Cavalier Youth.

 

Ed Sheeran – You Need Me, I Don’t Need You

 

This is a song that I’ve liked for a while and have re-discovered recently. I’ll be honest, I hadn’t heard it until I saw Sam Callahan (now participating in The X Factor UK) cover it at his gig at Islington Academy supporting Room 94, but hearing the cover made me curious to check it out, as my immediate thought when I think of Ed Sheeran is acoustic-pop ballads like A-Team and Lego House.

This track has more of a hip-hop vibe to it, opening with a beat-box motif and comprising of rap-style vocals. It has a riff that is so infectious you can’t help but nod along to it, and Sheeran sing-speaks with conviction, making little quips like, “I came fast with the way I act, right/I can’t last if I’m smoking on a crack pipe”, and “they say I’m up and coming like I’m fucking in an elevator.”

I really like this song and the fact that it’s just trying to say it like it is; this is me, take it or leave it. “I’m still the same as a year ago but more people hear me though/according to the MySpace and YouTube videos.” Although a little different from Ed’s more commercial tracks, it’s still a great song with smart, and at times, witty, lyrics. WIN.

 

Landon Austin – Once in A lifetime.

 

There is one word that immediately comes to mind when I think of this song: Beautiful. The delicate guitar work and Austin’s melodic voice are nothing short of wonderful, and the track has a real sense of elegance to it. Its extremely heart-felt lyrics such as, “don’t you know you stop the room?/and all that I can see is you/I’m standing where the lightning strikes, I know this doesn’t happen twice/you must be my once in a lifetime.” make the song moving and poignant. I can imagine this being the perfect wedding song.

 

A few other tracks worth mentioning are:

Ed Sheeran ft Passenger – No Diggity.
(I wasn’t expecting to like this cover as much, but I do. I love Passenger and Ed’s vocals together, and I think the acoustic vibe gives it a great feel.)

Demi Lovato – lightweight.
(Great vocals, as always, and I love the lyrics.)

A few months back I also really got into Anavae and Issues, both of which I’m going to do separate reviews on, hence why they’re not included.

And more recently, like in the last few days, I’ve been addicted to Set It Off.

 

I recently did a, slightly impromptu, interview with their vocalist Cody Carson (if you want to check that out click HERE) and since then I’ve been listening to their album Cinematics everyday, at least once a day, sometimes I even wake up with the songs in my head. So I’ll be doing a review of that in the next few weeks.