Music Recommendation – Single – Meek Mill ft. Big Sean and A$AP Ferg, “B Boy”

b-boy-rappersBehold, the rule-defying song that happens to be the second Big Sean-featuring track I have written about within a week. I will try to prevent that from happening again, but to be fair, this will probably be the best effort Big Sean will put into a song. While all three of these artists go in, Sean proves why he is finally famous with his jaw-dropping verse.

Meek Mill provides a good start to the song and keeps it interesting, but Big Sean starts out average (as per usual) and words pour out like sweet lyrical honey. Being honest though, I believe that line with the commas was a bit of a run-on sentence. A$AP Ferg ends the song with a verse that will make you go “Hey, I should actually hear more from this guy.”

There is no real chorus, but that does not mess up the song’s quality much. Ferg is a bit difficult to understand, and Meek Mill doesn’t exactly speak with the clarity of a Zedd/Foxes collaboration, but I digress. The song is a sick Hip-Hop track with artists who perform quite well for their reputations.

Overall, I would rate the song at:

9/10

You can check out the song and its newly-released music video below:

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Favorites Friday – Enrique Iglesias ft. Nicole Scherzinger, “Heartbeat”

enrique-iglesiasWhile “Takin’ Back My Love” is one of my favorite duets, “Heartbeat” is a very close second. Both are songs by Enrique Iglesias, whose voice has always had an odd (and sometimes shaky) but compelling feeling to it. Nicole Scherzinger’s voice had never been massively appealing (nor her name), but these two compliment each other so well vocally that I had to forgive any faults that either singers’ voices have.

The song as a whole is everything you would expect from a meeting between these two artists. It’s signature Pop music from the man that brought you “I Like It” (Or, would sooner or later) and the girl that asked me if my imaginary girlfriend was hot like her in middle school. Tuned vocals and a high-bass beat made the song feel a bit unoriginal, but the conviction of both of these artists performing in sync together is just fascinating.

The song is an upbeat love ballad and, though it has its flaws in tuning and repetition in lyrics, it is an easy song to pick up and enjoy. There’s nothing wrong with loving a good love duet. Overall, I would rate it at:

8.25/10

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Music Recommendation – Single – Big Sean ft. Drake and Kanye West, “Blessings”

BlessingsMost reactions to this song so far have been much unlike my own. Listeners have said this song has a great beat and weak verses. Meanwhile, I was impressed by each artist, mostly because of how surprised I am with Big Sean’s development up to this track. Most people call him things like “wack” and “not dope” (I’m not very up-to-date with the lingo of the young people), but I believe he has the ability to do what he does in “Blessings” on the rest of his album.

“IDFWU” has been a big hit, but Big Sean is still treated like three-day-old potato salad leftovers. He is dumped on like crazy, and while I may not be the biggest fan of his music and do agree his lyrics feel very empty, I have heard way worse. I was going into this song expecting it to be a “Hear It First” and I would briefly cover it, but all three rappers do a solid job of carrying a low-key and difficult beat to work with and make the best of what they are given.

Big Sean starts out slow but picks up quick and goes on about a typically-empty subject with easy rhymes. Both of his verses have good flow, but just don’t seem to be conveying anything. Drake, meanwhile, connects the song well with his chorus (though it is disappointing for Drake’s vocal skills) and his own more consistent middle verse. Kanye’s outro had my favorite verse on the song (that’s a first) and I just love the idea of a pre-school run by Kanye West. I would absolutely send my child there, no regrets.

It was hard for me to pick up any meaning from “Blessings”, but all three rappers make a good Hip-Hop radio hit and a song that will most likely achieve Billboard Hot 100 status. Before judging, I would hear it out; That was the only reason this made it to “recommendation” status. Overall, I would rate the song at:

7.5/10

This song is nothing new, but I like it and see the appeal. You can hear the new single first below:

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Throwback Thursday – Earth, Wind & Fire, “Fantasy”

Fantasy-earth-wind-fireThis is a bit of a special installment of #tbt. One of my favorite classic RnB hits has always been Earth, Wind & Fire’s “Fantasy”. This song was one of those tunes I had heard for years but never bothered to look up its name until just a few months ago. The song reached some Billboard acclaim, but never made it into the Top 10. However, my favorite tidbit about this song is the fact that it was inspired from the movie Close Encounters With The Third Kind, a film that has always been after my heart like my one true love or Alfredo-dipped Raviolis.

The instrumental diversity and overall balance between vocals and beat is a staple in making this song so easy to listen to. Despite being a bit lengthy, I still wish the song went on, especially with how well the vocal-less introduction does in conveying the tone of the music without any need for lyrics. The words are strange, but that just proves how notable the inspiration is.

Overall, I would rate this song at:

10/10

Pacing, balance, solid vocals, individuality: It’s all there. The song is complex but keeps to the subject and makes the song interesting throughout the entire five minutes. So meet another song I consider a perfect 10. If “Fantasy” was a woman (This is RnB, I have to talk about women), it’s got a rockin’ bod and a booty you can grab but does not overwhelm (at least it did in 1977).

So go ahead and check out one of my all-time favorite songs below and enjoy a trip down memory lane:

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Music Recommendation – Single – Wale ft. Lloyd, “Sabotage”

waleWale was the next biggest rapper back when his debut album Ambition dropped. One of the highlights of the whole album was the smooth artists Wale chose to perform the chorus’. Lloyd’s role on “Sabotage” is a good example of how well RnB is executed and should be focused on many Hip-Hop tracks.

Not only was there a serious percentage of credit going Lloyd’s way, but Wale’s verses are focused and tell a story excellently. The various instruments showcased in the beat is a refreshing change in a Rap song. My biggest complaint is the number of times I feel the need to clear my throat when Wale’s voice cracks (Give him some m-fing cough drops). The talking over Lloyd’s final chorus is a bit annoying as well.

Overall, I would rate the song at:

8.5/10

This is definitely not a Wale track to sleep on, and if you have not already heard it then check it out below:

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Music Recommendation – Single – Issues, “Mad At Myself”

issuesI have issues (ha) with calling “Mad At Myself” a “Metal” recommendation, per se, because I usually listen to it for Tyler Carter mostly. In case you have not figured out (or typed him into the search bar), Tyler Carter is a favorite singer of mine. “Mad At Myself” is a solid song but also important because I consider the weed of Metal music: it’s a gateway drug to liking the genre.

Issues may be the only reason I started listening to Metal (and We Came As Romans a bit). While I have only just starting scraping the surface (which Metal would probably be into, it’s a weird genre full of weird people), I can still say that Issues are my favorite Metal group. They balance their sound quite well and are probably the most appealing Metal group. “Mad At Myself” combines an upbeat Rock feel with a tough, but not unnecessarily harsh, tone.

Overall, I would rate the song at:

9.25/10

While an awesome and incredibly well-paced song, “Mad At Myself” is just a bit drawn out. Any Metal fan can appreciate the song’s value and find it a perfect balance for any listener, Metal junkie or not. Tyler Carter is still the biggest reason I listen to the song, and I think I would enjoy an acoustic version more (See “Hooligans”).

Go ahead and check out the song and its music video below:

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Artist Recommendation – Years & Years

years-and-yearsElectro-Soul band Years & Years have quite an impressive list of recommendations, among them from Ellie Goulding. A tweet by the British singer was the only reason I noticed the young band, who currently have multiple EPs (Take Shelter, Real and Traps), a  and a recent single title “King”. The London-based group puts together complex but rhythmic music that conveys a sense of being separate from the earth when listening to it.

While that may be a bold claim, the sound of Years & Years is Soulful while exciting, passionate, and tailored for anywhere from an upbeat clubscene to a one-man dance party where you hope your parents don’t return home early. The vocals are presented in a high and absolutely smooth tone that sounds similar to The Weeknd. At times, the high pitch and instrumentals do not feel like a match when both try so hard to be unique, but “King” does a superb job of showing an awareness for that and finding the right match.

Speaking of “King”, that is my absolute favorite song by Years & Years and one of my favorite songs currently. Other favorites include “Memo” and “Desire”, which are some of their more popular songs (For a reason, of course). The EDM-portion of the music is more apparent in “Desire” while a sense of Soul is portrayed in “Memo”, so that gives some balance for both audiences of the genres.

Overall, I would rate Years & Years’ music at:

8.25/10

Expect a lot of sound layered upon more sound in the music by Years & Years, and the Pop-EDM vibe is always somewhat apparent. For some (like myself), this is more appealing than to those searching for a mellow EDM-Soul combo (such as MNEK).

Regardless, you can check out my favorites (and more) below. You can also purchase their music on iTunes here. Now go enjoy the entrancing and hair-flipping music of Years & Years:

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Music Recommendation – Single – G-Eazy ft. Christoph Andersson, “Tumblr Girls”

g-eazyI want to establish before I write about this song that I am currently dating a “Tumblr Girl” and she does not have those drug habits (at least last time I checked). I find this song terribly stereotypical and basically G-Eazy saying “Yeah, I was in bed with this one chick and I snuck out while she was on Tumblr, which was convenient enough to make a song about the website.” However, I will pull out the “No, it’s okay, I have a -blank- friend so I can say it and it’s not a stereotype” card and share this song.

I had never heard G-Eazy rap before clicking on “Tumblr Girls”, and only knew of his name. The title intrigued me enough to give the song a listen, so credit is due there. Christoph Andersson was a fairly new name as well, and his voice at the outro to the song is my favorite part of the tune.

The bars dropped by G-Eazy are smooth and rhythmic, against a relaxed and chilling beat. I do not think I could ask for more from production, and Andersson does his part. G-Eazy carries the song well, but his lyrical skill is a bit lacking and may be the biggest reason why I could not listen to more than one song by the rapper. “Tumblr Girls” is honestly the only song I like by G-Eazy so far, and its stereotype subject bothers me (though not enough to not play the song).

Overall, I would rate the song at:

8.75/10

This is definitely a solid Hip-Hop piece, though I would play the song out in full to get the full essence of the track (Christoph Andersson’s role bumps up the rating quite a bit, whose lyrics are more honest than conceited). You can check out the song below (Video was NFSW and I forgot I was allowed to look at that now that I am 18, so I was wondering why YouTube was not acting like my mom and shielding my eyes from the bewbies):

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Hear It First – Rihanna, Kanye West and Paul McCartney, “FourFiveSeconds”

fourfivesecondsI cannot say I expected this song to be anything else than Kanye West trying to out-sing Rihanna (to no avail). Rihanna’s vocals may be the only tolerable part of this song (which takes up about half the song). The beat is minimalistic, comprising of an acoustic guitar stringing the same chords more than often.

While I will not talk about the lack of relevance the title has to the song, the subject as a whole is hard to decipher. The song disappoints quite a bit, at least by my standards. Much of the song is just noise layered on more noise, and Paul McCartney’s presence is virtually invisible (but then again, maybe that’s what we needed after his butchered vocals in “Only One”).

You can buy the song on iTunes here, or find your chance and hear it on YouTube before it is taken down (As History will call it, “The Streaming Struggle of 2015”):

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Music Recommendation – Single – Pokemon Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire, “Wally’s Battle”

pokemonI don’t normally cover video game soundtracks, but I can swing any way. Strike that, I am open to anything. While I come up for a better way to phrase my acceptance of any position (dammit), let’s talk about the song.

I love Pokemon, and that is something you may or may not have needed to know. In case you have not played and forgot your childhood when you exited the womb, Wally is a young trainer who basically sucks up until your last battle with him after you are exhausted from battling plenty up to that point. His theme, therefore, hints at a tough battle and a serious reformation in character when it starts with some nasty (in a good way) guitar riffs.

In Pokemon, the Ruby/Sapphire games are known for their heavy brass influence. Therefore, when you approach a song with such a major change in sound it keeps it serious. While this is not my favorite track in the games’ tracklist (that belongs to the Elite Four’s theme, which I will leave below), it is definitely the coolest and easiest the listen to while not in-game.

Overall, I would rate the track at:

9.5/10

This is some excellent composing by the creators of this game, and I highly recommend it. While it does take a massive dump on the original nostalgia on the battle, it does manage to replace it correctly with an even better theme. That being said, I have seen mixed responses to the major change in a “remake” type of game.

Regardless of that, you can hear the theme below along with my favorite, which is played relatively soon after it:

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