Music Monday Round-Up: February 29, 2016

Rather than talk about something new today, I’m linking back to a couple of music-related posts I’ve written over the past month-and-a-bit that weren’t included on this blog!

Mind the Gap

Neck Deep (you can also read my review of their Toronto show here!)

idobi

reviews

And in un-music related news, I also reviewed V.E. Schwab’s fantastic novel, A Darker Shade of Magic for both Mind the Gap and idobi!

 

My name is Blurryface and I care what you think

AND THE YEAR OF GOOD MUSIC CONTINUES!

Twenty One Pilots released their new album, “Blurryface”, a couple of weeks ago and it debuted at number one on the Billboards – which is a very big deal in this music scene. It was well deserved too: I can’t stop listening to it.

Even though I saw them two years ago opening for Fall Out Boy, I didn’t really start listening to TOP until last year, and now, I have to admit, I’m a bit addicted. Blurryface_album_cover

1) “Heavydirtysoul”

Favourite lyric: This doesn’t mean I lost my dream, it’s just right now I got a really crazy mind to clean

As far as album openers go, I think this was a good choice. TOP doesn’t really fit into one genre, and, even if you weren’t that big a fan to begin with, this first track gives you a vague idea of how experimental they are.

2) “Stressed Out”

Favourite lyric: I was told when I get older all my fears would shrink, but now I’m insecure and I care what people think

I loved this song from the time it came out. From the Eminem-esque opening (I’m impartial to Eminem), to Blurryface’s verse at the end, I love every second of it. I think it speaks to a lot of people, and, since it came out about a week after I found out I’d have to look for a new job, it became pretty relevant to my life.

3) “Ride”

Favourite lyric: …who would you ever live for? who would you die for? and would you ever kill?

This super reggae-flavoured song isn’t my favourite. It’s cute, and it grew on me, but it’s not my favourite. It does tend to get stuck in my head, though.

4) “Fairly Local”

Favourite lyric: Tomorrow I’ll switch the beat to avoid yesterday’s dance

This was the first single released for this album and I liked it right away. There’s a great dichotomy in this: the first verse is very negative, while the second verse is more positive and is about trying to be better, but the second verse is followed by Blurryface’s part, which represents insecurity. I can explain this better out loud, but the second half of the song almost seems to contradict itself.

It’s really interesting being a casual fan when a band is releasing new music because people were losing their minds over how dark this sounded, and I honestly didn’t even register that Tyler was singing in a deeper voice (i.e. the “Blurryface” voice) until I read the comments (I just figured that’s how he sang).

5) “Tear in My Heart”

Favourite lyric: The songs on the radio are okay, but my taste in music is your face

How flipping cute is that lyric? It sounds like something I would say. And I love that his wife is the one who shows up to “save” him at the end.

Another case of how interesting it is to compare the reactions of hardcore fans vs casual fans. The comment section was full of theories and explanations for basically every aspect of this video, and it was fascinating.

6) “Lane Boy”

Favourite lyric: Don’t trust a perfect person and don’t trust a song that’s flawless

That’s a great line, but again, not my favourite song. I like the vaguely EDM-esque breakdown at the end, but the song as a whole is less than impressive.

7) “The Judge”

Favourite lyric: I’m a pro at imperfections and I’m best friends with my doubt

At first, I thought this was the most radio friendly song they had (until I heard “We Don’t Believe What’s On TV” – more on that in a minute), because it has such a mellow vibe compared to “Lane Boy” or “Fairly Local” and I can imagine it being played on certain indie stations. The drums are on point, and there’s that stuttering moment about 2 minutes in that never fails to make me look up, worried that my CD is skipping (yeah, I still buy CDs).

8) “Doubt”

Favourite lyric: Shaking hands with the dark parts of my thoughts, you are all that I’ve got

This reminds me of something, but I can’t figure out what – sort of like something you’d hear in a club (I’ve been clubbing all of once, so I’m not exactly an expert…). If you can figure out what it sounds like, please let me know!

9) “Polarize”

Favourite lyric: These stairs is where I’ll be hiding all my problems

This is such a crazy blend of genres, I don’t even know what to call it. It’s like reggae meets EDM meets…I don’t know what. And yet, it works. I also really like bopping around to the “dah dah dah’s” (or are they “la la la’s”?).

10) “We Don’t Believe What’s On TV”

Favourite lyric: I need to know that when I fail you’ll still be here

This sounds like it could be a Walk the Moon or Vance Joy song or something (I only know that one Vance Joy song, so I could be completely off with that comparison). It’s super catchy and is probably the most radio friendly song on the album.

11) “Message Man”

Favourite lyric: These lyrics aren’t for everyone, only few understand

This song makes me want to break it down with the fast-paced staccato verses and the bopping synths.

12) “Hometown”

Favourite lyric: My shadow tilts its head at me

This could be a Killers song or something. It definitely has an alternative/dance vibe to it (especially the chorus), and it’s proof that TOP are something special because this album continues to flow, even though most of the tracks sound nothing alike.

13) “Not Today”

Favourite lyric: …I know this one’s a contradiction because of how happy it sounds, but the lyrics are so down

This one is cute and reminds me of fun. or even The Format. I can definitely imagine this song before a Panic! at the Disco set.

14) “Goner”

Favourite lyric: I’ve got two faces, blurry’s the one I’m not

And now for a complete shift for the previous track. While “Not Today” was boppy and fun, this one is definitely darker – both sonically and lyrically. It makes a lot of sense as a closer because it ties together the album’s themes of trying to get over your insecurities (i.e. defeating Blurryface) and how sometimes you need help from other people.

We’ve got scars on our future hearts

Much to my delight, nearly all of my favourite bands are releasing new music this year! A couple of weeks ago, All Time Low dropped their fifth (technically sixth, but since you can’t find a physical copy of 2005’s The Party Scene, I tend to ignore it) album and it’s just as good as their past efforts. I would describe this overall as a cross between 2009’s Nothing Personal and 2011’s Dirty Work and below I’ve presented my thoughts on each track.

All_Time_Low_Future_Hearts

1) “Satellite”

Favourite lyric: We were just kids singing

This is an excellent opener and has a bit of an anthemic quality to it. I love how it starts slow and builds up until you’re practically screaming the last few lines. Apparently ATL have been opening their live shows with this song, and I can only imagine how pumped the fans get.

2) “Kicking & Screaming”

Favourite lyric: I’m chasing after rock n’ roll

I personally love how aggressive Alex sounds in this song. It’s bold and brash and absurdly catching.

3) “Something’s Gotta Give”

Favourite lyric: Wake me up, say “enough is enough”, I’m dying to live, something’s gotta give

This was the first taste we received of new ATL back in February, and I think it still holds up as one of my favourite tracks. As I mentioned when it came out, people complained that they didn’t like ATL’s “new direction”, but this song, to me, is the logical and natural progression for the band.

4) “Kids in the Dark”

Favourite lyric: They left us alone, the kids in the dark, to burn out forever, or light up a spark

Another single that was released in March, this one grew on me. I liked it fine to begin with and now, after listening to it for the umpteenth time, it’s a great sing-a-long song.

5) “Runaways”

Favourite lyric: They will have to find some other hearts to break

I think I listened to this song once before the album officially dropped and most people were comparing it to The Killers’ “When You Were Young”. I can sort of see where they got that idea from, but I don’t think it’s so similar that you would get the two mixed up.

It’s probably not among my top five faves on the album, but this is still vintage All Time Low.

6) “Missing You”

Favourite lyric: Paint the walls black and scream “fuck the world”, ’cause it’s my life, I’m gonna take it back

THIS SONG is one of my favourites. I don’t know what it is about it that I love so much, but it seeps into my bones – especially when the bass kicks in – and makes me stop whatever I’m doing to sing along.

7) “Cinderblock Garden”

Favourite lyric: Let’s take the worst and make it better

If I said this on a music fan site (like absolutepunk or propertyofzack), I’d probably be stoned, but honestly, this song reminds me of a 5 Seconds of Summer song, especially the beginning. Before you lambaste me, please note that I a) have been a fan of ATL for 8 years and will lovingly support them until my dying day and b) I actually quite like 5SOS, so it’s not an insult (plus, Alex Gaskarth wrote with 5SOS, so it makes sense that they’d have a similar style, right?).

That being said, it’s not actually my favourite song. I can appreciate the musical aspect and Alex’s voice is, as always, gorgeous, but despite the pretty lyrics, it just makes me feel “meh”. It does get stuck in my head quite a bit, though, so I probably like it more than I think I do (if that makes sense).

8) “Tidal Waves”

Favourite lyric: You sharpen words to use like knives, when you lose your cover, there’ll be nothing left

This song makes me think of blink-182, but that’s literally because of Mark Hoppus’ verse. It’s the closest thing to a ballad on this album and I generally enjoy ATL’s slow songs, so of course I like this one. Again, Alex’s voice = beautiful.

9) “Don’t You Go”

Favourite lyric: Settle back now and raise a toast, to the young ones growing old

The beginning of this song reminds me of blink too (or maybe even Simple Plan?), and while that could be because of it’s proximity to “Tidal Waves”, I also think it’s because of its playful, bouncy vibe. I’ll bet this is a fun one to hear live.

10) “Bail Me Out”

Favourite lyric: Will you catch me when I fall?

To me, this is one of the filler tracks. Standard, boppy ATL (shout out to Joel Madden of Good Charlotte!), but nothing too outstanding. I can’t even remember what it sounds like when I’m not listening to it.

11) “Dancing With a Wolf”

Favourite lyric: Fool me once, it’s shame on you, fool me twice and let the wolves come crashing through

I’ve named this one “my jam” (for this album). It’s not exactly what you’d expect from ATL – it almost has an early Fall Out Boy vibe – but it’s fun and dancey and gah, I just love it so much.

12) “The Edge of Tonight”

Favourite lyric: You’re the beat playing in my heart

Similar to “Bail Me Out” where I can’t bring it to mind. It fits with the overall tone of the album, but it does feel more like a filler (which is fine – you can’t expect every song to be the BEST SONG EVER).

13) “Old Scars/Future Hearts”

Favourite lyric: We’ve got scars on our future hearts, but we never look back, no, we never look back

I love this as a closer. It brings the same energy as “Satellite”, the guitars are on point, and while it has a bit more of an aggressive vibe, I think it’s one of the strongest, most cohesive tracks on the album.

I bought the deluxe edition with the bonus tracks: “Bottle and a Beat” and “Your Bed”, neither of which I LOVE (with a capital L-O-V-E), but still appreciate and if you’re a hardcore ATL fan like me, they’re worth checking out.

American candy for the American kids

2015 is shaping up to be an incredible year for new music. Similar to what I did for Fall Out Boy’s American Beauty/American Psycho, here is my track-by-track review of The Maine’s new album, American Candy, which dropped last Tuesday. It’s basically my feelings about each song (and I have a lot of feelings when it comes to The Maine. I love them so much).

Sidenote: I don’t know why so many bands are throwing the word “American” into their album titles (as a Canadian, I’m a tiny bit offended), but whatever floats their boat, I guess.
TheMaine-AmericanCandy_AlbumArt-Itunes

1) “Miles Away”

Favourite lyric: In my mind, I’m miles away.

So far, this is my favourite song off of American Candy. I mentioned it a few weeks ago when they released the lyric video, and it really does speak to me (like I said, I’ve basically decided this will be my The Maine tattoo). It’s a cute intro to the album – maybe not in-your-face, but a nice set-up for what’s to come. Sonically, it’s the next logical progression for them to make (if you listen to the deluxe/bonus songs from 2013’s Forever Halloween).

2) “Same Suit, Different Tie”

Favourite lyric: You don’t need high-priced designs to feel dressed up to the nines

I like the message in this song: you “don’t need much of anything” to be happy, to do your thing, to feel good about yourself once in a while. It works really well back-to-back with the next track, “My Hair”, since they’re both about doing what makes you happy. Plus it’s catchy and boppy and you’ll find yourself singing along in no time.

3) “My Hair”

Favourite lyric: See I don’t care if you all care, It’s on my head and it’s not your hair

This one totally has a Nick Santino/A Rocket to the Moon vibe (I would not be surprised if I learned that Nick Santino had something to do with this song). The chorus, the guitars, the repetition at the end – it would not sound out of place on Wild & Free (ARTTM’s second – and last – album, released in 2013). And I’m okay with that.

Other than that, it’s amusing that they’re basically saying “we’re going to do whatever we want – deal with it”, because if there’s one thing The Maine excels at, it’s doing whatever the frick-frack they want (please see: the last two albums, plus an acoustic EP, plus a deluxe edition, plus numerous random acoustic tracks that they’ve self-released after getting out of a major label contract).

4) “English Girls”

Favourite lyric: Smoke whatever you’ve got left, it’s getting late and we don’t have much to lose

I already talked about this when it first came out, and my feelings haven’t changed. It was the perfect first single from this album because it really gives you an idea of the overall tone.

5) “24 Floors”

Favourite lyric: You don’t want to die tonight, Take one more breath to clear your mind

This is the track that sounds like a Forever Halloween b-side. It’s a little darker than the previous songs; in fact, I didn’t realize how serious it was until I looked at the lyrics. Like a lot of The Maine’s songs, you don’t necessarily notice the subject matter right away because you’re being swept away by the instrumentation, but it’s always worth looking at the lyrics, which tend to pack quite the punch.

6) “Diet Soda Society”

Favourite lyric: Oblivion is where I’m headed, My mind is on the brink of going supernova

This is my least favourite track – which is not to say I hate it. It just doesn’t stand out to me. Oddly, it reminds me of “Kennedy Curse” on Forever Halloween; it’s a perfectly nice song, but I’m very “meh” about it. The only reason I remember it is because I had to listen to it four times before it stuck in my head long enough for me to come up with some commentary!

7) “Am I Pretty?”

Favourite lyric: Am I pretty? Do people like me yet?

While those are my favourite lyrics, I find it hysterical when John O’Callaghan says “you think I’m ugly (don’t you) and I know you hate my body” because, I mean, have you seen the man??

john oh american candy

He’s not pretty, he’s BEAUTIFUL.

ANYWAY, back to the song…

I think this is going to be my jam. It’s so fun, I love the guitar at the beginning (and of course, that “ba ba ba” part in the chorus) and I can just imagine shouting along to it. I also can’t stop dancing to it, so I know it’s going to figure heavily in any soundtrack I make this summer. It’s a little more Black & White (2010) than Pioneer (2011), but it’s still very much The Maine.

8) “(Un)Lost”

Favourite lyric: I’m unaware where I’m going, or if I’m going anywhere at all. But I know I’ll take the leap if it is worth the fall

This song keeps getting stuck in my head and I really like it. It doesn’t immediately sound like The Maine – when I woke up singing it, I had to wrack my brain trying to figure out where I had heard it. But, like “24 Floors”, it has a fairly serious message once you listen to it.

9) “American Candy”

Favourite lyric: Try to think back to a time when you loved what you loved because you loved it

At first, Ro and I worried that this would be another Forever Halloween – where the title track is mediocre compared to the rest of the album. After a second listen, this is not the case. While “American Candy” starts off slow, it picks up with a powerful chorus, and it’s sugary sweet and infectious – just like candy.

10) “Another Night on Mars”

Favourite lyric: What’s another night on Mars? With friends like ours, anywhere is home

The first time I listened to this, I immediately likened it to “We’ll All Be” from The Maine’s first album, 2008’s Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop. I think this is very much an updated version of it; instead of reassuring that we all will “be the greatest, we all have been degraded”, it uses gang-vocals to remind us that we always have other people to support us.

She’s an American beauty, I’m an American psycho

Last week, Fall Out Boy released a new album, American Beauty/American Psycho. I decided that instead of doing a full review, I would write about my feelings on a track-by-track basis and highlight my favourite lyric from each song. If there’s one thing Fall Out Boy excels at, it’s writing lyrics.

1) “Irresistible”

Favourite lyric: You look so Seattle but you feel so LA

The majestic horns at the beginning make this the perfect intro to post-Save Rock & Roll Fall Out Boy. It was one of the singles they released leading up to the album, and I think it really sets the tone for the rest of the track list.

2) “American Beauty/American Psycho”

Favourite lyric: And I’m the best worst thing that hasn’t happened to you yet

When this song/video initially dropped, I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. It has a solo-Patrick Stump vibe, which I love (unlike a lot of people, I actually really enjoyed his solo album, 2011’s Soul Punk). By the time I listened to it a third time though, I was hooked. Sidenote: it’s also ideal if you want to do jumping jacks.

3) “Centuries”

Favourite lyric: I can’t stop till the whole world knows my name/Because I was only born inside my dreams

Our first taste of new FOB music came out in September, and I can’t even count how many times I listened to it. I initially described it as “massive“, and I still stand by that. It was still hard to determine what the rest of the album would sound like based off this first single, but it gave us an idea of what to expect.

4) “The Kids Aren’t Alright”

Favourite lyric: And in the end, I’d do it all again/I think you’re my best friend/Don’t you know that the kids aren’t alright

This was another song released before the album, and I loved it right away. One of the strongest songs (in my opinion), this almost-but-not-quite-a-ballad track is the one that I think, lyrically, sounds the most like FOB’s 2008 album, Folie a Deux (does anyone else get “What A Catch, Donnie” vibes from it?), which is a good thing.

5) “Uma Thurman”

Favourite lyric: I’ll keep you like an oath/”May nothing but death do us part”

I never knew I wanted to dance like Uma Thurman until I heard this song. It’s impossible to sit still while this is on. You wouldn’t think sampling the theme song from The Munsters would work, but FOB proved us all wrong.

6) “Jet Pack Blues”

Favourite lyric: She’s in a long black coat tonight/Waiting for me in the downpour outside

My favourite part of this song is the chorus. Just when you think Patrick Stump’s voice has reached max power, he belts out something like this.

7) “Novocaine”

Favourite lyric: If you knew what the blue birds sang at you/You would never sing along

This is my least favourite track, which is not to say I don’t like it. It just isn’t as impressive as some of the others and, unfortunately, it comes right before one of my favourite cuts, which means I have very little patience for it.

8) “Fourth of July”

Favourite lyric: You and I were fireworks that went off too soon

Like “American Beauty/American Psycho”, I was a little “meh” during my first listen. Then I listened to it a second time and that was it. I LOVE this song. I can’t get it out of my head which is fine because I don’t ever want it to leave me.

9) “Favourite Record”

Favourite lyric: You are the song stuck in my head/Every song that I’ve ever loved

This is another one where the lyrics remind me of old-school FOB. I don’t know this for a fact, but it feels like a throwback to “Dead on Arrival” (“I know I’m not your favourite record”). It doesn’t has as much pizazz as the other cuts, but it’s still pretty solid.

10) “Immortals”

Favourite lyric: I am the sand in the bottom half of the hourglass

A slightly different version of the song they did for Big Hero 6, I have two words: dance party. Listen to this and “Uma Thurman” back to back if you want an amazing workout.

11) “Twin Skeleton’s (Hotel In NYC)”

Favourite lyric: I just wanna throw my hands in the air and scream

This final track reminds me of Panic! at the Disco (and since I love P!ATD, this is a good thing). I think it’s “ohs” near the end, but it has a bit of a Vices & Virtues-vibe, doesn’t it? Either way, it’s an excellent closer, and I think it would flow really well into “Save Rock and Roll” if it was played live.