The other side

Oh the life is a puzzle

I see you in it screaming

Screaming​ for a better future

Screaming​ from the pain of past

Pain of being hurt,

By the promises that didn’t last

If you could hear my pain

You’d hear a cry for help

It’s bleak at the surface

It’s understanding shines

The moon’s hiding it’s face

But the sun never lies

Maybe it’s just my perception

I’ll let you decide

I’ll let you decide

We won’t be seeing all our Colors

If the night was all bright

From where you stand

You say you see me lie

It’s all in perception

There’s truth on the other side

Your hug could be a smother

Your​ love could be a lie

It’s always what we believe in

We’re the ones who decide

The ones who decide.

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Kendrick Lamar – DAMN. (Review)

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Image from twitter.com/kendricklamar

I got, I got, I got, I got stumped during the first listen itself and I was traveling in a crowded Delhi metro. The stories Kendrick tells on this one captivates you, captures your imagination to the extent that the crowd of a metro doesn’t really exist for you. Take a note, this isn’t a “Butterfly” or a “GKMC”, this is Kendrick Lamar Duckworth’s own piece of work about himself and his perception. Perception is a very important concept of the album. A lot of it is open to perception for the listener. Kendrick doesn’t really force all the issues on you but gives a personal opinion on them.

Another concept or should I have said feature of this album is the inconsistency. Not only we see it in the tracklist, we see it in the placing of beats, his choice of flows and topics throughout the album. The first take away after the first listen I had (like many would have had) was how he completes the circle with the end of the song “DUCKWORTH” and his first lines on “BLOOD”. Definitely a goosebump inducing moment. The album shines in many such subtleties, nooks and corners that keep one hooked till a really good number of listens.

There are points that reminisce me of his previous work like his “need for water” on “LUST” takes me back to “Sing about me, Dying of thirst” from “GKMC” even though his thirst atleast on the face value is for something very different. Other than such simple points its a very different album with a very different sound. The beats here are served to us by a very interesting range of producers that give the album it’s Sonic appeal and structure. We have Kendrick’s frequent producer Sounwave on a number of tracks, Mike Will Made It on “DNA”, “HUMBLE” and “XXX”, DJ dahi, The Alchemist, Bekon among others. The Sonic structure of this one not at all clearly defined and consistent which is very unlike his previous works. But it’s in these inconsistencies that this one revels as a experience. The energy in beats like the ones in “DNA” make for a really lovely experience. The features are less but all leave their Mark on the album. Rihanna for me was the better part of the song on “LOYALTY” which to me is one of the weaker tracks on this one. Bono plays a very interesting part on the ever changing, aggressive and brooding “XXX” on which Kendrick goes into various cadences to express his emotions which range from a threat “Let somebody touch my mama, touch my sister, touch my woman, touch my daddy, touch my niece, touch my nephew, touch my niece” or “I’ll chip a nigga little bitbof nothing” to concerned and reflective “The great American flag, is wrapped and dragged with explosives”.

He is also insecure on this one, accepting his shortcomings. On “FEAR” he takes us through his mind and how he was afraid of various things and also of his perception in the society. This track comes out as a stand out moment in an already outstanding project. This opens us to Kendrick’s world like some of his best tracks have. Storytelling is the strong point of this album. Storytelling is the aspect that makes this album a memorable project.

Yes, this album has some moments which might not be as outstanding or a bit of lull. I am talking about “LUST”, “LOVE” and “LOYALTY”. The 3 Ls this album takes. Well the tracks aren’t bad. I just felt Kendrick could have added more on the topic Menton the tracks. Other thing that takes a little back from the album is his singing on some places for example on “GOD”. At other points this album shocks you, gives you chill out tracks, bangers, stories you never expected to hear and all this by creating a commendable listening experience.

It’s tracks like “DNA” that we will remember this for where he points out everything from his strengths to shortcomings as part of his “DNA” for tracks like “FEAR” and most importantly for “DUCKWORTH”, the closing track that ends up defining the album and makes us familiar with a new chapter of Kendrick’s life. After all it’s his experiences that gave him the fire to come out as probably the greatest rapper of this generation. He has nothing left to prove. Not at all. After the projects he has released till now he has a firm grip on the throne. He even sold 600k first week.

Overall this is a very strong album, an experience to behold. It might end up being the best album of the year and is surely going to be a highlight of the year when we come to the end of this year.

“I was taking a walk the other day”

The Chainsmokers: Memories…Do Not Open Review

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Image from Wikimedia.org

At first I wanted to start with a joke on the album title. Why would you put “Do not open” in your album title? Do you not want people to listen to it? Oh wait, no, no, no. I get you. This is your way to play with psyche of your listeners to propel them to open the album, your way of attracting listeners. Oh shit! I decided not to talk about the title I still did. Goddamn! these guys are good at getting people to talk about their stuff.

Moving on to the album, I heard their singles “Paris” and “Something Just Like This” at that time I wasn’t very happy with what I heard even though I totally adore Coldplay I thought that the song was too dumbed down lyrically and recently The Chainsmokers did say that Chris Martin free-styled his lyrics for the song so that explains a few things. The drop for me was the worst part of the song particularly because I was disappointed in the choice of sounds chosen for the drop. Paris felt like an attempt to milk the cash cow that the sounds of their previous hits have been for them. Now an album is what generally defines the career of an artist. An album is the complete body of work and the defining moment of someones artistic style and approach. The success pushed them to make an album and they do talk about the success and its effect on their lives during the course of the album, they talk about the problems in their life but the “problems” wouldn’t really and shouldn’t really bother a grown up. The other topics are break-ups (because when you’re famous you do get to have a lot of them) and betrayals. Not saying that these topics aren’t supposed to be on an album the problem is that the lyrics that describe the aforementioned subjects have the same panache and enigma that the last text message sent by any person anywhere on the might have.

The album holds up its style i.e. commercial EDM inspired by the sounds of The Chainsmokers songs that one has already heard in last few months or so. I am not really going to point out the originality of the album because I don’t think anyone expects it to be a ground breaking piece of art. I didn’t expect it to be an experimental project too because The Chainsmokers and moreover, not everything needs to be experimental. You can make an album full of generic sounds that turns out to be enjoyable. A good commercial album. But is this good commercial music? Well it fails to do so. Yes, it would sell, it would lead the streaming charts worldwide but its all too forgettable. I didn’t really enjoy the singles but upon their release but after listening the album those were the songs that stood out. Well not everything here is bad. I do enjoy the song “It won’t kill ya” it has an enjoyable beat, a nice drop that entertains and actually feels like serving a purpose. The drops aren’t the major part of this album or should I say the drops aren’t meant to be the stand out points (according to their use and placements) but the choice of sounds for these album only makes them irritating.

The sound choice throughout the album is bland and drab. I mean, this is probably as uninteresting an album can get. There isn’t much to decipher or look out for in further listens and most of the songs feel really long in the second listen itself. The opens with a fine song but even song that reaches a bad climax, the album closing track, “Last Day Alive” feels like an awkward end. Its like the album wasn’t meant to end with it and the Florida Georgia Line feature offers nothing notable too. Jhene Aiko is wasted on a bland and tasteless beat that the song isn’t able ooze out any emotion at all. Some of the songs over here do start well but become tiring at the half way point.

Overall, I would say with better lyrics, sharper topics and better vocal performance this could have been a much better album. Its not pointless, the album has a point, the problem is that the lyrics don’t help it execute any of those points. Even adding better vocal effects to Taggart’s voice would have helped the cause. The album fails to generate any experience and I personally wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. If I gotta give a rating it would be 4/10.

That’s it guys and have you given this one a listen? What do you feel about it? And what else have you been bumping the past few days?

Bling and Sling 2: Drake, Oddisee, Frank Ocean, Kendrick Lamar, Gorillaz.

Hello Everyone, it has been quite a while now since the last time I talked about any thing over here. Well life happens and there are somethings that one wishes to avoid but those things still do happen. Moving on, over this period we have had a lot of released during this period and as always some of it pulls me towards it everyday since its release the rest I try to avoid or have been indifferent towards it.

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Starting with Drake. Drake o Drake, this guy comes out with album calls it a playlist a fucking 22 track playlist and still has bigger first week numbers than any other artist who released an album (and called it an album too). Well, him calling “More Life” a playlist was one of the reasons that kept me away from the whole thing, I saw the track-list and felt like well that’s a huge number of tracks, is he not confident enough to call it an album? Or is this just another marketing strategy from him? But then finally I stopped being a sceptic and put this on. He starts is well and beats are enjoyable overall. “Passion fruit” is good, “Free Smoke” is good, “Skepta Interlude”, “4422”, “Ice Melts” are among some of the good tracks over here. The biggest thing that I took away or should I say enjoyed the most are the features. This has a nice array of features woven together throughout the album be it Young Thug, Travi$ Scott, Quavo, Sampha, Giggs or Black Coffee none of them sound wasted. But one must say how much this album needed these features to be actually listenable given how long this was because personally I don’t feel Drake does that good of a job over here. He doesn’t really hold the album together. I have heard that this is called as “Better than Views” by many but what I felt that this is Drake just skimming whatever he can from this particular sound. Not the most interesting piece of music to get your head and ears into. I do believe that had this been released as a proper album the ratings would have fallen down. I initially wanted to write a complete review for this but it being a playlist kept me from doing that.

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Next up is Oddisee. Well, actually I heard this album, The Iceberg, before I heard Drake’s and let this be told that both are very different in their approach towards Hip Hop. This was first album I heard from Oddisee and I am very happy that I gave this album a spin. I heard this for the first time when I was travelling and I think it is good to explore the unknowns when you travel and also that I would preferred the window seat instead of the aisle for listening this. I liked it as an introduction to this guy. I love the instrumentals here, the sounds are recorded by a live band for this album and it gives a very rich feel to it.  The features are very limited but to the point. The album is short, concise and to the point as it is just 12 tracks long and has interesting topics. The important take away is how smoothly this guy raps. This is his 11th studio album and for sure I am gonna hear his earlier work and look out for whatever he comes up with in the future.

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Kendrick Lamar!!! Well guess what now this guy who considered as being underground a few years ago now has a Billboard top 5 hit single. The only reason one must step in the game is to be the greatest and Kendrick is hopping no running towards the crown of being the Greatest of All Time (The GOAT). Will he run out of breathe? No one knows. But he made a point with the release of “The Heart Part IV” that he is not gonna hold back. He is going to reach for it. Kendrick is important because he keeps the things interesting, he tries new things, now that he is famous he can give a platform to others like him, he can be a platform himself and most importantly he never fails to astonish us. Just as he says that there are astonishment and accomplishment. The one I started this post with, Drake, has accomplished a lot, probably more than any active rapper has but how many times has he astonished you, probably never and maybe he isn’t even aiming for that he knows the guns in his arsenal and he knows how to use them to full capacity but he ain’t got no tanks or bombs to drop on us. But this guy Kendrick, he does. With “Humble” he did it again. The first single from his album that drops in a couple of days he seems to be going for a different direction than before, a weird kind of pop rap it sounds like but I am sure that this won’t be the signature sound of the whole album. “Humble” is as pop as Kendrick gets and he has everything in the right place over there. So sit down and be ready for April 14th.

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I still play Blonde regularly, when its night, I am on a ride to some place and a cool breeze is swaying past me, this is my go to album. I didn’t expect Frank Ocean to drop much stuff this year but he has already dropped two tracks. First was “Chanel” which is among my favourite singles from this year. “Chanel” is a track that will hold its own when put up against the best tracks on “Blonde”. On this Frank again showcases his ability to connect emotionally to the listener on a level that the song feels tailor-made for one’s soul. He knows how to peel layers of his soul to reach ours as he sings over the slow piano on this track. It’s always good to hear an artist try something new and still sound very comfortable on it and Frank achieves exactly that on this track that grows a lot on further listens. A similar feat is achieved by him on the track “Biking” which features Jay-Z and Tyler, the Creator. The song features a very unorthodox verse from Jay-Z, in-fact everything about this song is unorthodox. The structure is so different from what makes a everyday song that it surprises the listener. It’s very easy to make a mess out of such a song but they use the chaos over here as a ladder and come out with a very enjoyable product that puts one’s mind to comfort. Simple pianos, guitars and percussion are very reminiscent of Blonde and the verses over here are an extension to his emotions on Blonde. I didn’t enjoy the song that much on first listen but now its a good one to vibe too. “When’s the last time I asked for some help that I couldn’t get from nobody else” this is true for everyone who lives.

Gorillaz!!. Yeah this has been an enjoyable period of music. March and April gave me a lot to enjoy to musically. “Andromeda” was the first track I heard. The song is minimalist but also very colourful. The song feels exactly like a galaxy, a galaxy with vibrant textures. The moment it starts it puts it puts you in the centre of a club, where everyone is dancing but there is strange vibe to the club that you feel the need to explore and D.R.A.M with his vocals adds a lot of emotion and feel to the theme of the song. The second track I heard was “Let me out” featuring Pusha T and Mavis Staples. The strange collab feels like a puzzle piece fixed to perfection on this track with hard drums and minor pianos. The vibe is anxious, dramatic and yet puts you in the club yet again. In the meantime, I am also enjoying the Lorde singles a lot, on “Liability” Lorde has come out with a very definitive and creative piece of songwriting that puts me in my excited shoes when it comes to her next album.

There was a lot of music released in the last few weeks but there’s only so much one can write about. So tell me how you felt about these tracks and what are your favourite tracks from the recent past.

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Faith and more

Seven is for the high heavens

Seven is where lie the deepest hells

Where do I be tonight?

Me and my thoughts they been lost

Robbed and sold my all and ever

Had brains but was never clever

So I lay down eyes closed, lights off

That’s when I really see real far

I like it when it’s quiet

I love to live the dark

Handling my love off an depression

The pain it offers is now an obsession

It glitters, it shines in light

When it’s this dark it leaves no impression

Glory be to God!

If it weren’t for hope I wouldn’t have made it this far

Life’s a fucking toast

A toast to faith which drives this heart.

Ed Sheeran ÷ (Divide) : Review

Ed Sheeran burst onto the scene with “A-Team” accompanied by “Lego House”. The two singles set the stage for the singer-songwriter to enter the very much stagnant mainstream world of music and offer something of his own. He is not the same artist anymore. Over the years he has won over enough fans and collected numerous accolades that he can now do whatever he wants and stay relevant. 
So what does “Divide” has in store for us. Well for anyone who has heard the songs released before the album i.e. Shape of You, Castle on the Hill, How would you feel, Eraser has got almost the complete essence of the album. 

The album starts with “Eraser” one of the songs I was let down by. His rapping is awkward through out the album and constitutes the lowest points of the album. Though on this one he fares better as a rapper than he did on “x” (Take it back). But then comes the song “Castle on the hill” the song keeps growing on me. These are the kind of I personally prefer from Ed Sheeran, way more than his fiddle filled rap tracks or bouncy tracks like “Shape of you”. Actually the album has something for everyone. It covers almost all the listening demographics. This may help the album win a lot of listeners but won’t really help the overall listening experience. “Shape of you” is not a bad track at all and the choice of sounds and instruments also reflects upon his travels to various places but it feels a little out of place between “Castle”, “Dive” and “Perfect”. This track is a commendable attempt solely for Sheeran going so far away from his comfort zone. Before it we have “Dive” which shows Sheeran at the top of his vocal abilities. His vocal performance remain the strongest point of this album. The songs, all of them feel written with a particular delivery in mind and Sheeran pulls them all off really well, so well that even very cringey and cheesy lines also seem enjoyable. Sometimes they do feel just tolerable and the overuse of word Baby at times feels a bit too much too handle but that’s what Sheeran does and his vocal delivery saves it. 

I would like everyone to keep one thing in mind before listening to the album that Sheeran is not the greatest lyricist you’ll ever see so don’t expect that, he is a songwriter and this albums gives you the experience of a songwriter explaining various phases of life and his travels. Travels are not explained much in lyrics but more in the instrument choices. The last four tracks over here are the ones that I really enjoyed a lot more on the later listens than I did during the first and second listening sessions. These are the songs where Sheeran seems like having fun and having it very naturally. Save Myself is different from the three tracks before it but I enjoy it’s introspect and emotion. All these tracks  also add more color and texture to the album which otherwise would have been pretty much what his previous works were. 

To sum it all up Ed Sheeran gives us a record with everything for everyone. You want the Pop Sheeran take Shape of you or New Man, like ballads there are lots “What do I know?”, “How would you feel?”, “Dive” etc. Want a fun track to tune in to you have “Bibia Be Ye Ye”, “Barcelona” etc. His voice is again his strongest instrument and he shows his range in this. Album could have done without “Galway Girl” and maybe also “Supermarket Flowers” but is a nice experience to sit through. He again gives us songs that’ll be part and parcel of recent proposals and stuff just like “Thinking out loud” did.

It’s best to say that this is the biggest release yet this year and will be among the biggest when we reach the end of the year. It’s not a perfect record but is a more matured one. Might not be among the best album released this year but surely will be a highlight among the more mainstream releases.

So, have you given this one a listen? Tell me how you feel about it and if it is all you expected it to be

Bling and Sling : The Chainsmokers, Calvin Harris, La La Land, Future Lana Del Ray

Oscars 2017 have come to an end and they ended with a fiasco. Anyhow, I haven’t seen a lot of movies nominated this year so my excitement was a tad low. Anyhow, even though I haven’t seen the movie I gave the soundtrack of La la land a couple of spins and my god what a record it is. This is the kind of music I would love to paint my walls with. The record gives me a good idea of what the movie holds and Justin Hurwitz has done a brilliant job with it. I totally get all the love it’s been getting now.
Next up is Future. The Atlanta rapper came out with two albums FUTURE and HNDRXX. I haven’t given the latter a listen yet but the first one, the first one sounds almost like everything else Future has done till now. I felt like he isn’t moving anywhere artistically. Although there are songs here that good beats and some nice flows and some songs that I might listen for a while but nothing here stands out as amazing and timeless. Moreover after listening this I felt like I have had enough of FUTURE for a month and that’s what kept me from listening HNDRXX.

Now it’s time to address the elephant in the room, the track that got the internet buzzing and one of my friends worried about one of his favorite artists choosing a path not meant for them. It’s time to address the new Chainsmokers song “Something Just Like This” for which they do a collaboration with Coldplay. People who know Coldplay would suggest that it was more a collaboration with Chris Martin than Coldplay because I absolutely didn’t see any musical influence of Coldplay barring the end and then again just when Martin says “I want something just like this” comes the abomination of the song which makes me feel I would never something like this. I was skeptical of this collab but I wasn’t against it. Now after hearing this all I wanna say is if both the groups wanted to collab they should have done it much better. They can. I mean anyone can make music less bland than Chainsmokers but they can at least try to make something different than what they already have over and over and over again. Because what they are doing right now makes them feel more like a product of great market research than a product of inspired music. Not everyone makes great technical music but at least those artist try to do something different Everytime but groups like these run a formula to the ground. Just stop it. I expected lyrics to be good this time but even they felt a bit dumbed down compared to what Coldplay generally come up with. This song is the perfect example of the least essential kind of music. 

Well right after that track came a Calvin Harris track and it featured Frank fucking Ocean and Migos. Well if the above track was an example of taking a step back this one is an example of taking a step ahead. The beat here is good it’s the kind of beat that popular dance music should have. It instantly makes you feel the groove and dance to it. Frank does what one expects him to do and delivers his vocals very efficiently. The Migos are good here too. They seem to have found a place for themselves a groove to fit in and are doing well in what they are good at. They are “bad and boujee” (pun intended). See the thing is I am not always in the mood for the lyrical content of this song but the beat drives me in. The “Slide” is a ride that I enjoy.

Next is Lana Del Ray, who is back with “Love”. I would say that the song is surely enough to “make her fans go crazy”. Subject wise we see the same topics being covered as we have seen her address in her previous work. Her delivery is moody, and her slightly sexualy charged voice helps sets the mood. The track isn’t something out of ordinary but has enough quality to get one excited for new material. She knows her forte and is ready to use it on us. 

Well this was my week when it comes to listening new music. If you have heard the above tracks tell me how you feel about them.