Music Recommendation – Single – The Summer Set, Boomerang

summer-setI enjoy The Summer Set a bit, so I think Boomerang is a safe recommendation. The track is one of the more popular songs on the group’s Legendary album, with good reason. Though the group’s sound can be a bit high in pitch, this pop-y hit is incredibly catchy.

I promise that this will be my last short article day, but I will be keeping this article brief unfortunately. The song has repetitive lyrics and keeps a fun pace. The song keeps a steady flow of guitar and percussion, but ultimately focuses on the range of the vocalist. To sum it up, I find it hard not to like the song.

Overall, I would rate it at 9.5/10. Appeal is wide but lyrics are a bit empty, though they are cutesy enough. I consider the song a safe pick to show a friend and recommend some new music. You can check out the song below:

-Austin Heath

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Favorites Friday – Lil Wayne ft. John Legend, So Special

carter-4Happy Friday! Well, at least in spirit. #TreatEveryDayLikeFriday. But seriously, I happen to be with my long-distance girlfriend for a couple of days and I have been spending them away from music and my computer. Forgive me for forgetting for the second week in a row about my Friday favorite pick.

This week is Lil Wayne’s So Special off Tha Carter IV, which introduced me to modern Hip-Hop (kinda sad really). This song has always been a favorite and I believe made my Top 50 list this year. The song also influenced my love for RnB/Soul, which is apparent if you have read this blog for more than 20 minutes.

I am pressed for time, so in essence the song is good. Listen to it. Seriously, I like it. Overall, I’ll give it a 8.75/10. Lil Wayne sounds like Lil Wayne, so don’t expect much different. John Legend is basically the best part of the song. You can check it out below:

-Austin Heath

Hear It First – Frank Ocean, Memrise

frank-oceanFrank Ocean is back for the first time in like 5ever, and has brought back everything you love about Frank Ocean. The song has a bit different of sound though, and features similar features to those of Childish Gambino’s music.

New RnB song, blah blah blah, something something about how I love RnB, etc. You can visit Frank Ocean’s Tumblr account and hear it first below:

http://frankocean.tumblr.com/post/103792418516/i-memorized-the-wayward-expressions-never-look

-Austin Heath

Throwback Thursday – Eagles

Eagles_greatest_vol_2Wow, I sure did love The Eagles. Then again, who didn’t? Their music has been ageless, particularly their hit Hotel California. Of course I love that track, but I thought I would rank my top 3 by this group.

Normally I do not set up a Throwback Thursday post with more than one song, but I could not decide which of my favorite three by this Rock group to write about. I decided on posting all three in order of favorites and why, similar to an album review. So let’s break them down track-by-track:

3. I Can’t Tell You Why – This was my first Eagles song, at least that I remember. I have my mother to thank for this one, and it has always been one of those songs I love to hear sometimes for no reason. Always an excellent soft-rock hit. 9.25/10

2. Hotel California – Yes, chock me up in the unoriginal fans of Hotel California, which is an incredible song, might I add. Great lyricism, fast pace and features a healthy balance of sound. But of course you probably knew that, for it is still a classic. 9.75/10

1. New Kid In Town – I consider this the best Eagles song, but that may be due to some bias. I felt a lot of emotional connection to this song a few years back, and it has always stood out for helping me through emotional turmoil. The song is absolutely my favorite and definitely perfection of soft-rock. 10/10

I cannot really average out the sound of this group, but I can recommend a trip back down Memory Lane by hearing some of their old hits. This band is a staple in musical history and has always been one of my favorite Rock groups.

You can check out the songs I listed below:

-Austin Heath

Music Recommendation – Single – Chris Brown and Trey Songz, Dangerous (Remix)

trey-songz-chris-brownChris Brown and Trey Songz have remixed another song, but this time while sticking to the script and allowing Sam Martin on the vocals. I reviewed Dangerous before, but I am short for time and cannot write too much about it. In essence, it was a solid song but lacked anything compelling. This remix adds some flavor to the track and is a serious improvement.

Chris Brown’s part on this song is completely fitting, and Trey Songz alongside adds some RnB to it. Either my earphones are busted or the quality is not great, but I am sure we will get better quality when we get an official release. Really, the song is fitting and hardly sounds like a remix. I am very impressed by this remix, and is absolutely my favorite by these two together. This was what I wanted to hear from this duo.

Overall, I would rate the song a 9.5/10. This is a seriously awesome track and I feel worth a listen, improving upon an already popular hit. The remix just dropped today so you can also hear it first below:

-Austin Heath

P.S. Let me know below if my earphones are off or if the CDQ is just not up to par. I do know it was a radio rip so I probably should not expect too much.

Music Recommendation – Single – The Early November, Tell Me Why

the-early-novemberIf you watched the last PVRIS video in full, you probably noticed a song recommendation at the end of the video by a group under the same record label, Rise Records. I was attracted to the song, as I have been by the ending adverts before. This song definitely impressed me, and if you have not heard it yet I suggest listening below.

I had to give the song a minute, as the vocals sounded disappointing to start the song. Anywhere would have been a better place to use the editing that production did over the song. Starting it with that sound, not such a smart idea. However the song definitely impressed me afterwards, and I find it to be quite enjoyable.

I am not very good at comparisons, so I would be curious to hear what listeners think this group sounds like. Overall, I would rate the song at 8.5/10. You can check out the song below:

-Austin Heath

Music Recommendation – Single – PVRIS, Eyelids (The Empty Room Sessions)

pvrisPVRIS performed Eyelids in an Empty Room Sessions video, and it is quite stellar. I enjoy listening to it more than the original, if I am being honest. I liked PVRIS’ debut album White Noise quite a bit, in fact enough to review it here, so it should come as no surprise that I am writing about the group. However, this song is truly worth noting.

The song is chilling and ominous, containing an echo that sounds like it is performed in, you guessed it, an empty room. I saw a comment on the song that stated an apparent auto-tune. Not only did I not notice it at first, but when I did notice a bit of editing over the vocals (which is very little), it only adds to the effect of the song. Kudos to production for keeping this song tight and mostly pure.

The song is really an excellent listen, but feels a bit drawn out at five minutes. The mellow sound of this track is absolutely compelling and rather hard to stop listening to. Overall, I would rate it at 9.5/10. You can watch the video and hear the performance below:

-Austin Heath

Music Recommendation – Single – Ke$ha ft. Wiz Khalifa, Andre 3000, T.I., and Lil Wayne, Get Sleazy 2.0

get-sleazyBack in 2011, Ke$ha let us know that she did not need your brand new Benz, or your Booshy (???) friends. I have to admit, this remix has some incredible rap verses on it. Wiz Khalifa was in his prime (well, better than he is now), Andre 3000 was Andre 3000 (and still is), T.I. hadn’t fallen off yet, and Lil Wayne has one of his better quick verses on this song. It is quite lovable for any mainstream Hip-Hop/Rap fan.

The winner of each would probably be T.I. if you ask me, mostly because that was one of the first verses that I learned. Andre 3000 and Lil Wayne tie for next, though. I almost wish I could hear a version without Ke$ha, but we have to thank her for the remix. The beat is drum-y and percussion-y as well.

Overall, I would rate the remix at 9.5/10. Ke$ha messes with the song, but otherwise an enjoyable listen. You can check out the song below:

-Austin Heath

Album Review – Mystery Skulls, Forever

foreverI discovered Mystery Skulls due to their dual-collabo with Brandy and Nile Rogers, on the songs Number 1 and Magic. I happen to find both of these songs excellent listens, but I believe the album as a whole deserves reviewing for its overall quality.

The debut album was released at the end of October of this year after four singles teased Forever. Some say Mystery Skulls’ Indie-based music sounds similar to Daft Punk, but their funky-electro sound is rather unique to my ears. Anyways, I will try to be a bit brief in this review, but no promises.

So let’s break into this album and review it track-by-track:

1. Forever – The title track introduces the sound of Mystery Skulls right away. The pop/electronic sound of Mystery Skulls (Thanks Wikipedia) is evident immediately by the delay of vocals and emphasis on the song’s bassline and complex instrumental design. Strings, piano, and sounds of crowds add to the song’s sound, which is an indication for the rest of the album. The transition into EDM is a bit quick, but the song is catchy and one of the better pieces of the album. 9.25/10

2.  The Future – Unlike the previous song, this track: 1. Has vocals that begin right away. 2. Features more swear words. 3. Leans more towards the Electronic sound than funk. The hook is a mash-up of “da-da-da-da” and fluxes of high bass. Yes, that was a real sentence, and I am proud of it. In essence, if EDM appeals to you, I would hardly skip this song. However, there are plenty of listeners looking for the Funk-based sound of Mystery Skulls. It can be a bit overwhelming to a non-EDM listener, lowering the general appeal but sticking to the roots of their sound. 9/10

3. Paralyzed – Paralyzed, aka Da Funk by Daft Punk but with vocals, is similar to the previous track. The hook makes sense and is catchy due to its lyricism. The emphasis of the song tends to be more focused on the vocals than before, and this pattern will continue later in the album at times. The song feels a bit basic between the lack of pace-change and similar beat to an earlier popular Daft Punk song. Still a solid effort and worth a listen though, despite not much change in the track until it feels too late (strings play throughout the end of the song). 7.75/10

4. Hellbent ft. Snowblood – Listening to this song for the first time was just kind of mind-boggling. The beat rises and rises until it feels like a dance-club in your ears. The pace drops quickly and emphasizes the vocals, but this is while the pace changes behind the singing of Mystery Skulls and returns to the almost ghastly beat of Hellbent. The creativity and complexity of the track’s pace and beat is entertaining and quite enjoying to listen to. The beat can sound like buzzing at times, and ruining the effect for a while, which is a shame. The track is also very brief, which is odd for a song that has one of only a couple of features. 8.25/10

5. Fantasy – More of me complaining about pace, but Fantasy features an immediate pace-change and another immediate drop that just feels rushed. Otherwise, the soothing auto-tuned track features an interesting and entertaining sound and lovely vocals. The hook is enjoyable, despite a lack of vocals, and this could be close to one of my favorites on the album. 9.25/10

6. Ghost – Ghost is one of the biggest reasons Mystery Skulls has an album right now, and it hardly disappoints. If this was my first impression of Dubuc’s music, I would be impressed. The song featured some Billboard chart time on the Dance songs at #15 (Again, thanks Wikipedia) and resembles much of modern pop’s sound. The song has moments when it resembles Hellbent, but this could be one of the best songs on the album. It is catchy as ever and remains stuck in my head. 9.5/10

7. Magic ft. Nile Rogers and Brandy – I had to deliberate if I liked this song over the next track, Number 1, and while I appreciate the lyricism in the latter, I find this song to be my favorite of the two, and on the whole album. Brandy’s voice sounds excellent and the vocals of Mystery Skulls are probably the purest and most enjoyable on this song. It is almost perfect, save for the over-repetitive hook, which does not ruin the song, per say, but just takes away from its appeal. 9.75/10

8. Number 1 ft. Nile Rogers and Brandy – Already reviewed this song here a while ago. I do enjoy hearing it a lot still, and it is up there in my favorites on this album.

9. When I’m With You – I was afraid of a drop in consistency after the two best features on the album, but When I’m With You debunks that theory and proves that Mystery Skulls has a consistently solid album throughout. The EDM aspect of this song is evident and the nearly vocal-less hook is incredible in it simplicity. Another song on the album truly worth a listen. 9.5/10

10. Body High – I was slightly disappointed by this track after the previous few being the climax of the album and so excellent, but the song remains a great listen.  The vocals are more prominent in this track until the chorus, and the complex instrumental (including piano) constantly changes and stays interesting. The hook is very catchy, and resembles the previous song’s beat. Everything jumps in just a bit too quickly and the song can be a bit tedious after a couple minutes in. 8.75/10

11. Every Note – So how will Mystery Skulls cap the album? The closing out of an LP is remarkably important to me, and the verdict on this one is clear. The song ends the album well by encompassing the album’s sound and playing a safe “similar to the previous songs” ending. The variations of sounds and consistent beat make it an easy song to listen to after an a long album, and the new sounds inserted are not enough to make the listener jump out of their seat. The song is solid, but not as entertaining as some of the previous songs. 9/10

So that averages out to around 9/10, which is appropriate for this album. The sound of Mystery Skulls is ingenuitive and an impressive start, but there are a few dud tracks that weigh it down and sound un-original. However, there are some gems on this album worth listening to, including Number 1MagicGhost, Fantasy and Forever. I highly recommend at least a listen to those. Now let’s give a special thanks to Mystery Skulls for merging Funk and Neo-Soul with EDM so well.

You can buy the whole album here. You can also stream the album as a whole at MelodySpot.com:

http://www.melodyspot.com/albums/view/356/Mystery-Skulls-_Forever

-Austin Heath

Music Recommendation – Single – PARTYNEXTDOOR ft. Drake, Recognize

partynextdoorTo be honest, I am not sure how I feel about PARTYNEXTDOOR yet. I see he has a rather loyal following, and some of his music is enjoyable (see this song), but he almost sounds like a copy of Future. That seems to be the trend anymore, though, so I will just pull up my big boy pants, quit pouting and get over it.

I saw someone make a comment about Drake stating that he has helped establish modern RnB/Soul. I laughed at first, but I can now see the reasoning behind it. You can call me white, gay, whipped, or any other true adjective describing me, but I prefer hearing Drake’s singing voice over his rapping. This song only gives a preview of his singing voice, but it is a highlight of the track.

The song is appealing in the way Turn On The Lights was, in that you want to disregard it at first but have to finish the song for whatever reason, then you end up listening to it again. Then this process repeats for a few weeks. In essence, this song has a superficial appeal to it where it reminds me of a previous song that I liked and has a catchy Hip-Hop/RnB effect to it. I wanted to share this song though to introduce everyone to PARTYNEXTDOOR in case you had been in the dark before.

Overall, I would rate the song at 8.25/10. I find myself coming back to it often, so despite my lack of commitment to the song’s quality, I still do recommend giving it a listen. I find myself drawn to it and the sound of PARTYNEXTDOOR. You can hear the song below:

-Austin Heath