2014 September

Take me to Church by Sinead O’ Connor

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Sinead O’ Connor released her highly anticipated new album “I’m not bossy, I’m the boss,” pulling attention away from her more recent online feud with Miley Cyrus and online attempts at love. Her first single entitled: “Take Me To Church,” she desires to be taken to church, “but not the ones that hurt,” as she states “I’ve done so many bad things.” Ultimately, she sings with affirmation “I am the only one I should adore,” this being her overall motif throughout the album.
She takes control through story telling throughout “Bossy,” engulfing lyrically many different personas of women and their relationships—their opinions about life (lovers, religion, sex, passion etc) ultimately exposing their inner truths. They are either the one doing the enchanting like in “Kisses Like Mine,” where she raves about being the desirable, layup shot men use after the divorce to get their confidence back, or the one being entranced, seduced and taken advantage of by love, as on “The Voice of My Doctor.”
O’Connor has always experimented within her edgy, refining it into a piercing melody that becomes a mantra almost becoming an addiction to your ears. “Bossy” is nothing short of this artisans craftsmanship. She declares her kisses make grown men weak, even though she’s not the keeping kind; her lyrics remain stuck on our minds. The sacred seduction of sound on “The Vishnu Room” leaves you in a state of trance, cerebral with the resonance of her voice leaving you almost thirsty for more.
Her voice is still just as abject promoting track “Where Have You Been,” one of the album’s most blood-wrenched tracks, showing through lyrics the dark places that one’s soul-mate can push the psyche and heart to. In contrast to more catchy and EDM inspired “James Brown,” a fetching, toe-tapping track featuring legendary Nigerian artist Fela Kuti’s son, Seun Kuti, on saxophone.
The fulcrum of emotion for this album is “Harbour,” a vunerable ballad about a woman who has been let down by every man she’s ever met—beginning with her father. About half way in, the song turns to a drum-filled, electronic guitar that builds like a panic attack of the heart; memorable disparity.
She closes the album with “Streetcars,” where she declares she will be the love she wants to see in the world as she realizes it will never be found above her or under her. Raising a question of death asking whom would she want to embrace in her last moments. Unabashedly yearning for the safety of her husbands’ shelter, and if by this point her honesty hasn’t captivated your heart, mind and ears your mind will be pierced with “Body.” The last songs will remain like a bell.

High Road by Mastodon

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“High Road” – Is the first single off the new album. At first, I was a little ho hum about this track. But after hearing it repeated times and seeing them perform it live, I grew to like it more and more. Also, the lead intro riff played over and over during an album preview I was listening to a number of times before the album came out. So even though it’s the 3rd track on the album, in my mind I always associate it as the lead-off track when I hear that riff kick in. The band members were big fans of Thin Lizzy, and this song is a definite nod to them in how it’s crafted – the twin lead guitar sound and the anthemic chorus. And it’s those twin lead guitars that really nail this song into your head and the harmonies on the chorus that make this song work. It’s over 4 minutes long but seems much shorter.

Pretty Hurts by Beyoncé

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Beyoncé – If you haven’t heard of this woman, then you must have been living under a rock for the past 17yrs. She’s become one of the most successful R&B/Pop female artists of all time. She’s also expanded her resume to not only include music, but she also acts, is a fashion designer (House of Deréon), an avid philanthropist and most recently a mother. Beyoncé has been signed to a major record label since she was 16yrs old.  Her first record deal was with the multi-platinum recording group Destiny’s Child. During her time with Destiny’s Child, they released 4 studio albums (all of which have gone platinum multiple times in the US), they released 23 singles, 20 music videos and won 3 Grammys. The group did have internal drama over the course of their 8yrs together, primarily due to the multiple changes in the members (outside of 2 original members: Beyoncé & Kelly Rowland).  In 2005, Destiny’s Child officially dis-banded so each artist could explore other options.

Beyoncé, by far, has been the most successful member of the former group.  Her solo career started in 2003 when she released her first debut album, Dangerously In Love. To date that album is her most successful in her solo career and it also won her 5 Grammy’s.  As a solo artist, Beyoncé has released 5 albums, 47 singles, and won 14 solo Grammys. Her most recent album (Beyoncé) was released in December 2013, without any media attention or public announcement. In just 3 days it became iTunes fastest selling album ever in the US and worldwide.  This album was unique, not only because it was released without any media attention, but because for every track on the album there was a music video to accompany it. I will admit it’s not my favorite Beyoncé album, but it’s extremely well put together.  There are a number of really great tracks on the album, some of which have yet to be released as singles on the airwaves.  This album is a little bit more edgier than her previous albums, but I think it’s in large part due to the life changes Beyoncé has experienced recently. There were a number of different tracks that I wanted to share with all of you, but some of them would not be appropriate to share at work (lyrical content and/or accompany videos). So keeping that in mind, I was strategically PC in my song selections below.  Now, on to the music!

 

“Pretty Hurts” – This track starts off the album with a message that is universal across the world. I love this song because of the message it is sending to the listener. The song is calling out the depiction of what the media considers pretty  and how many people, not just women, have an issue with how they look based on the media’s perception; therefore, ‘pretty hurts’. There’s a line in the chorus that says “You’re tryna fix something but you can’t fix what you can’t see, it’s the soul that needs a surgery”; this to me speaks to any person who believes that the images of models and/or actors that are shown in the media define what pretty is. I felt the need to provide a video that shows the lyrics of the song because I think they are so compelling.  I also enjoy how Beyoncé delivers the song with her voice because she isn’t trying to express the lyrics forcefully (which she can do from time to time), and through the first 2 minutes of the song she’s singing in a moderate tone so you can clearly hear the strength in her voice.  At about the 3-minute mark, the tempo of the song increases and Beyoncé raises her octave a few levels to drive the message of the bridge before heading into the final version of the chorus. Honestly, my favorite portion of the song would be the chorus; I love it because the harmony that she carries with her background singers is fantastic. I highly recommend that you listen to the song while reading the lyrics.  Enjoy!