Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Review Wednesday: Joanna Newsom - "Anecdotes"

Joanna Newsom
Drag City

"Anecdotes" opens the much-acclaimed Newsom's latest album, Divers, and this is the right choice. "Anecdotes" is something that you can imagine from a Disney princess will sing. Its song structure, its harp pluck, and Newsom's haunting voice are exactly what Snow White will do to please her dwarves. You even wonder whether this song will be able to resurrect dead body or not. 

But, "Anecdotes" is so mellifluous that you can't help but ponder if it possesses such magic. It fits as the opening track of Divers as she sings, "Sending the first scout over", like a cartographer or a sailor who wants to start her new adventures in an unknown realm before. In fact, "Anecdotes" is filled with references from your childhood tale. "Camp", "kid with Rufous Nightjar", most of "Anecdotes" tell us about Newsom's nice chat with a bird. It's like what Snow White does, doesn't it? "Anecdotes" feels so fantasy and surreal, it begins a new journey, it's just so pure and wonderful and beautiful and enchanting. The fact that I'm lost at words when I describe this song proves how amazing this song is. 

Divers is just released on October 23rd by Drag City.


Sunday, October 25, 2015

Review Sunday: Adele - "Hello"

XL Recordings

It's hard for me as a Swifties guy who happens to love Taylor Swift's works to review Adele's latest effort, "Hello", as people compare these two amazing women and their distinctive works; which will sell more. As of now, "Hello"'s music video has broken most viewed videos in 24-hour on VEVO, a record which was held by no other than Swift before. The battle of the fan has just begun, and I am not surprised that it can start the third world war. 

A question of who is more successful doesn't seem so essential right now, especially since Adele and Swift's target market is quite different. While Swift targets younger female audiences, and sometimes a pathetic guy like me, Adele has broader audience and it gives Adele a kind of advantage. But, when it comes to breaking record, sorry Swift, you may have collected three 5-times Platinum certified albums in USA, and most viewed videos in 24-hour on VEVO, but Adele effortlessly snatches all of your records away. 

But, let's stop talking about these two amazing women. "Hello" is Adele's new song after three years of anticipation, Her previous work, "Skyfall", a James Bond film soundtrack, earned her a Grammy Award and Academy Award--something that Swift hasn't yet achieved (okay, enough of your shady commentaries, Dude). So, when she announced her album, 25, all over the world go batshit crazy. 

It's with a reason, of course. "Hello" is unique as a first single. Many artists don't have courage to release a ballad as the lead single, but Adele is the exception. It's like a breath of fresh air after radio has been bombarded by R&B songs: The Weeknd and that annoying "Uptown Funk" have ruled the charts this year. 

However, for Adele, "Hello" is not breath of fresh air. Adele plays it safe this time. Compared to "Rolling In The Deep", "Hello" is kinda forgettable. It indeed has a grandiose concept, and the operatic atmosphere this song has feels really classy and grand, but this isn't something groundbreaking. I really adore Adele's vocal here, though. It's stronger than anything she's ever released before if that's ever possible. 

Adele stated that 25 will be a make-up album and it's proven by "Hello". She whispered "Hello, it's me" at the beginning of the song. It's not only a start of apology for her lover, but also a greeting for her fans all over the world. "Hello" reflects what relationship in the past is supposed to turn out as she sings, "I'm in California dreaming about who we used to be" When the chorus starts, the "I must've called a thousand times to tell you. I'm sorry, for everything that I've done" part reminds me of Back To December (okay, enough). 

If people all over the internet make meme about Adele and classic hits "Hello" by Lionel Richie, I'm sure that Adele's "Hello" will be also an instant classic. And, yes indeed. "Hello" is a really nice comeback from Adele even though it's kinda forgettable. 

However, "Hello" is superior than "Shake It Off". So, let's add another tally to Adele's scoreboard. 

Friday, October 9, 2015

Review Friday: Glass Animals - "Lose Control (feat. Joey Bada$$)"

Glass Animals
Lose Control (feat. Joey Bada$$)
Caroline Records

Last year's Zaba by Glass Animals catches my attention. This British band provides something different than what I've usually heard. They are imbuing various ethnic sounds on their music; they sound so eclectic. So, when Glass Animals teams up with Brooklyn rapper, Joey Bada$$, only one word can describe this collaboration: dope. 

Glass Animals still keeps their ethnic percussion at the start of the song, but once Joey Bada$$ starts rapping, you begin to question whether this is the Glass Animals you usually hear or not. In fact, "Lose Control" is so badass that Joey Bada$$ starts singing, "Nobody move, nobody get hurt." It's like a threat: Glass Animals and Joey Bada$$'s collaboration is "'bout to go insane" and is "'bout to make people lose their brain". 

But, when Dave Bayley's laid-back vocal begins to fill your ear, you suddenly feel some kind of familiarity. That is Glass Animals you usually hear. Glass Animals you usually hear is still there. They don't go anywhere. They lose control, but they still maintain their roots. And that's what makes this song so special.