The Past few Days: Linkin Park, Ed Sheeran, Sampha, Maroon 5, Katy Perry and more.

The Grammys are done and there were some really bright moments the brightest of them all probably (apart from Cee Lo Green’s clothing) was Adele’s walk of triumph after triumph. Many would argue a better scenario would have been Bey taking home the coveted Album of the year but I wouldn’t go that far and say Adele didn’t deserve it, after all she had a good album and the biggest album of the last few years. But now the world of music moves forward and we have had new releases in the meanwhile.

So, let’s get started with Sampha. I happened to stumble upon his album actually. I was tuning into Beats 1 Radio stream expecting to hear Big Sean’s “I Decided” but was too late and by the time I tuned in they were finished with Sean and had Sampha on, the song “Under” was playing and I loved it straight away. I gave the album “Process” a listen and man oh man it was brilliant. In fact it is right now my favorite album released in 2017. The British singer’s efforts on this Alternative R&B, electronic record are very commendable and this being his debut album gives me a lot of hope for the what the future holds. And now as I used the word future it reminds me of another song I heard today, Maroon 5 feat. Future “Cold“. I must say that I wasn’t as disappointed by the as I was by the music video. It was a pain in the ass. The song however was again nothing special heck even Adam didn’t look excited for it in the beginning.

Then there’s also the Linkin Park track “Heavy” that got released today. The song is something very different than what one may expect from the band specially after how their last album sounded like. The song features vocals from Chester Bennington and guest vocals from Kiiara. Chester might seem unrecognizable at first when the song starts “I don’t like my mind right now” and goes on to talk about how he is handling the problems andhow the weight of the stuff he has to handle might be getting too much to handle for him and so does Kiiara. The vocals here are done well and the production on “Heavy” is light but enjoyable and fits the theme well the problem here is that this song sounds just like many other songs one may hear on the radio and even though it’s a comparatively new territory for the seasoned band I personally think it’s playing safe as I expected bands like LP to push the barriers a little more and go past the defined boundaries but maybe that’s just me. Anyhow, it is a good track to bump from time to time and I am excited to listen what they do with “One More Light” which comes out in May.

There’s also Ed Sheeran who released a new song (not a single he says) “How would you feel (Paean)”. I enjoyed his previous songs both “Castle on the hill” and “Shape of you“. This one here is song that is very reminiscent of “Thinking out loud” as he sings soulfully while playing his guitar in the background. He sings mostly in the mid and higher vocal range. It’s a very enjoyable song for those who have enjoyed his previous stuff. It’s very well written and increases my expectations with the upcoming album of his (Divide).

I’ll also like to shout out Jens Lekman for his album “Life will see you now“. The project is multi-colored in structure and has references to disco, funk, and soul among other genres. It has the potential to be one of the highlights among the Indie Pop genre music released this year. Oh and now the word highlight reminds of another album that’s Lupe Fiasco‘s “DROGAS light“. Well to be fair to Lupe I didn’t like this record. It was just too safe and almost none of the tracks here stand out to me and promise to be the one’s that I’ll keep on bumping in the future. I was very disappointed in the album. Disappointment reminds of another artist, Katy Perry. Well the new song “Chained to the rhythm” which features Skip Marley is just kind of trashy to me. I don’t really like calling people’s music trashy but that gave me a headache on the first listen itself (I have heard it more than once though). I hope it grows on me but right now I could have better done without it. 

There was a lot of stuff released recently and difficult to talk about it all but yeah NAV has released a song featuring The Weeknd it’s called “Some way” wasn’t exactly head over heels for it but yeah it’s a cool track to listen to and it grows on you. Probably The Weeknd takes shots at Justin Bieber in this one and believe me those lines are burn inducing. Which reminds me of Selena Gomez. She also released new music with Kygo. The song is titled “It Aint me” and has all the ingredients to be a hit but it’s largely a track that will be forgotten as soon as a new hit hits the market. 

So yeah, that’s pretty much it from me. Keep listening and do tell me what and who you are looking out for and what you feel about the above tracks and albums.
 

Grammy 2017 – Predictions and Expectations

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The Grammys are here (Again). We all have favorite songs, albums and artists and them getting or not getting awards doesn’t really affect the extent to which we like but it’s feels good to see some of favorite take home prized trophies back home and get the deserved recognition. So today, I am going to list down my predictions and expectations for this year. Well, this year the award will be awarded in a whooping 84 categories so I’ll be predicting only some of the major ones here. Let’s go.

Album of the Year

Already, I have talked about it in detail in the previous post so I’ll be just listing it down.

  • Should win – Lemonade (Beyonce)
  • Would win – Lemonade (Beyonce)

Record of the Year

What we have here is one great song, one huge song, one good but too cheesy song, one average song and one somehow a song (You all figure out which one is which). On a serious note the deserving candidates are Formation and Hello.

  • Hello – Adele
  • Formation – Beyonce (Would and Should Win)
  • 7 Years – Lukas Graham
  • Work – Rihanna feat. Drake
  • Stressed Out – Twenty One Pilots

Song of the Year

This can be an interesting category but I think it will down to the two heavy weights (Adele and Beyonce it is).

  • Hello – Adele (Would and Should Win)
  • Formation – Beyonce
  • I Took a Pill in Ibiza – Mike Posner
  • Love Yourself – Justin Bieber
  • 7 Years – Lukas Graham

Best New Artist

Interesting category this one mostly because an artist (or two) may be bereft-ed  for a very deserved acknowledgement of their talent and astounding potential their work has had this past year and the years before.

  • Kelsea Ballerini
  • The Chainsmokers (Would win)
  • Chance the Rapper (Should win)
  • Maren Morris
  • Anderson .Paak

Pop

Best Pop Solo Performance

This year has the possibility of being a very big one for either Beyonce or Adele. They come head to head on this one again alongside some other good nominees.

  • Hello – Adele (Would and Should win)
  • Hold Up – Beyonce
  • Love Yourself – Justin Bieber
  • Piece by Piece (Idol Version) – Kelly Clarkson
  • Dangerous Woman – Ariana Grande

Best Pop Vocal Album

A very underwhelming category full of sort of underwhelming albums. This one seems to be a clear cut victory for the British songstress Adele (until and unless the Academy have a surprise set for the night).

  • 25 – Adele (Would and Should win)
  • Purpose – Justin Bieber
  • Dangerous Woman – Ariana Grande
  • Confident – Demi Lovato
  • This is Acting – Sia

Alternative

Best Alternative Music Album

This is the tightest category, a really tight one and I believe the Academy voters will be having a really torrid time voting the winner purely based on quality of the product. My favorite album among the nominees is Radiohead’s A Moon Shaped Pool but all the artists have an awesome album here. But, David Bowie (RIP) might be the one bagging it home not just because of his death but as a tribute for his contribution to the genre and music in general and it’ll be very deserved.

  • 22, A Million – Bon Iver
  • Blackstar – David Bowie (Would and Should win)
  • The Hope Six Demolition Project – PJ Harvey
  • Post Pop Depression – Iggy Pop
  • A Moon Shaped Pool – Radiohead

Rock

Best Rock Performance

  • Joe (Live from Austin City Limits) – Alabama Shakes
  • Don’t Hurt Yourself – Beyonce Feat. Jack White
  • Blackstar – David Bowie (Would and Should win)
  • The Sound of Silence – Disturbed
  • Heathens – Twenty One Pilots

R&B

Best R&B Performance

  • Turnin’ Me Up – BJ The Chicago Kid
  • Permission – Ro James
  • I Do – Musiq Soulchild
  • Needed Me – Rihanna (Would win)
  • Cranes in the Sky – Solange (Should win)

Best Urban Contemporary Album

Personally, I would love if Anderson .Paak gets to walk away with this as Beyonce might very well scoop the bigger ones but yeah she deserves this. Gallant had a good album too was very disappointed with Rihanna’s album.

  • Lemonade – Beyonce (Would and Should win)
  • Ology – Gallant
  • We are King – KING
  • Malibu – Anderson .Paak
  • Anti – Rihanna

Rap

Best Rap Performance

Will like to express my opinion on the songs nominated here. I really love No Problem so I’ll be very happy to see it win this. Panda on the other is the biggest rap song among the nominees so it has a chance of its own and it isn’t a bad track just not good enough to me. I can’t see the merit in Pop Style that academy does. All The Way Up is just meh and That Part is a fine track not too great. Academy can give it to Panda but hoping Chance is rewarded

  • No Problem – Chance The Rapper Feat. Lil Wayne & 2 Chainz (Should Win)
  • Panda – Desiigner (Would Win)
  • Pop Style – Drake feat. The Throne
  • All the way up – Fat Joe &Remyy Ma feat. French Montana & Infrared
  • That Part – Schoolboy Q feat. Kanye West

Best Rap/Sung Performance

Here, in this category we have some really tight competition and great songs. Beyonce comes up with a great song and Kendrick has a very notable feature on it. “Hotline Bling” is a really good song to chill out to and is the most popular song in this category. “Broccoli” even though it isn’t exactly my type of song is still an interesting one and I really loved “Ultralight Beam”, can’t say the same about “Famous” though.

  • Freedom – Beyonce feat. Kendrick Lamar
  • Hotline Bling – Drake (Would win)
  • Broccoli – D.R.A.M feat Lil Yatchy
  • Ultralight Beam – Kanye West feat. Chance the Rapper, Kelly Price, Kirk Franklin & The-Dream (Should Win)
  • Famous – Kanye West feat. Rihanna

Best Rap Album

God, Grammys please don’t give it to Drake, not that Views is a very terrible album it’s just it isn’t that much of a Rap record. I think there’s a chance that they may award it to Drake as it’s also nominated for the Best Album category but please Grammy let it be a more sensible night and give it to Chance the Rapper or Schoolboy Q. I think this category is meant to be Chance’s.

  • Coloring Book – Chance The Rapper (Would and Should win)
  • And The Anonymous Nobody – De La Soul
  • Major Key – DJ Khaled
  • Views – Drake
  • Blank Face LP – Schoolboy Q
  • The Life of Pablo – Knaye West

Well, that’s pretty much it. These are all the categories that I am going to express my views upon and let’s gear up and see what the award envelopes hold for the artists and the fans.

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What’s my Stance as a citizen? (Poem)

I tune into the news

A five year old got raped they said

Oh poor little girl I thought

It happened to a boy they said

Who am I to pity him?

It has happened today and it’ll happen tomorrow again

What can I do? What’s my stance as a citizen?

Saw two parents crying

For a daughter they can’t find

Police say they have been trying

Neighbors have fingers to point

It was in her character, that’s what they are implying

Who am I to pity them?

What’s my stance as a citizen?

I see a 100 may be even more

Youth turning up on the streets

Protesting for their safety and rights to be assured

Their voices when they meet

Feel strong yet premature

No lack of motive but lack of direction

Less are the answers, more are the questions

They’ll scream but not get for what they stand

Sweating in the sun they stay there, tanned

But who am I to pity them?

What’s my stance as a citizen?

Kill for honor, kill for money, kill for power and kill for hate

Abduct, rape, blackmail and humiliate through a video tape

We have no money, no power, nor strength to trade

So we take what you give and be left ashamed

Everyone once has to face their fate

We need to be a Nation not a bunch of States.

Tell me who am I to pity then?

It’s my turn find a stance as a citizen

Big Sean – I Decided Review

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Detroit rapper Big Sean aka Sean Don or whatever you may like to him is back again with his 4th studio album and he calls it “I Decided”. To be fair to Big Sean I think he receives too much backlash (more than he deserves). At least to me he has been improving with each and every album and to sum it up the trend very much continues with this one. Until now all of his albums have had hit or miss tracks for my taste (more miss than hit). I used to like a few tracks here and there on them but this one had me all optimistic largely because of the singles that dropped before its release. So I decided (No pun intended) to give this album a listen the day it dropped.

The album starts off just fine with the “Intro” then it reaches a three track run that I liked here and made me feel even more hopeful for what’s in store. I like the Jeremih featuring tracks “Light” and “Bounce Back” might be one of my favorite Big Sean tracks to date, Metro Boomin does a great job on this one with the production. “No Favors” was fine although the verses by both Eminem and Sean are good on their own they just don’t fit together that well on this particular song and I believe Eminem could have done much better with his verse and contributed more to the song and album substance wise. There are tracks on this album that I would have cropped out and will probably skip on further listens like “Jump out of Window” (probably made Lady Gaga jump during her performance too (just joking) ) but there are other tracks that I really love, like the song “Sacrifices” featuring Migos. Other tracks like “Sunday Morning Jetpack, “Voices in my head” and “Moves” are some notable tracks over here.

The album receives executive production from Kanye West and production wise is a well put together album though at times the production may sound a bit tiring. It has trap elements throughout the album and a very modern sound. It’s true the album gains in production and content but still lacks long term replay-ability and Big Sean still needs to improve his delivery. One of his major problem is his voice which might sound very boring to a lot of listens and takes away the overall a affect a song might have had if it had been delivered by a more potent vocalist. Other problem is the lack of originality and inventiveness that Sean’s project have always had to actually portray him as the biggest superstar that he aims to be.

Overall, I will say this is my favorite Big Sean album to date but still it leaves a lot to be desired from a top tier artist who hails from a top tier music label with Kanye in it. It will be interesting to see where Big Sean goes after this in his career.

I give this album a 6.5/10. If you already heard do tell me what do you feel about it and if not then tell me what keeps you from listening to Big Sean or artists like him.

Grammy 2017- Album of the Year (Analysis, Prediction and Expectation)

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The Grammy’s , music’s biggest night is here to celebrate music and musicians and Album of the year is probably its most coveted award. Last year we saw Taylor Swift bag this one even though I still feel Kendrick was a more deserving candidate for “To Pimp a Butterfly” but past is past and this year we have a new mix of artist nominated for it. Let’s take a look at them one by one.

1.) Beyonce – Lemonade

Well this album was in the list of my favorite albums of 2016 and those who have read that already know that I truly love this album. It is a very solid record and Beyonce is a big favorite to take home the award and moreover the Academy voters seem to like her a lot given she has won 20 grammys in her career already and I believe she is the strongest candidate for this category as well as others. The album  was huge received well universally both by fans and critics so expect her to walk away with this.

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2.) Justin Bieber – Purpose

Purpose wasn’t an album I was going to listen to. Not hating on Justin but it’s just that I don’t really see him as an artist I would like to listen a complete album from. Prior to the announcement of the nods I had heard the singles and wasn’t really disappointed with them. “Sorry” was cool, “What do you mean?” was fine, “Love Yourself” written by Ed Sheeran sounds like a Sheeran song which Justin got his hands on because he even seems emulate Ed on this but is a good song, so is “Where are U now?”. So, I did hear the complete album after seeing this nomination and I did see growth not that much of an artistic growth but more of a personal growth by that I mean in age. He couldn’t have made the music he made 5 years ago and he didn’t. This is a very modern sounding album with nice moods and good production almost all over it but the vocals do leave a lot to be desired, even more from an album which up for this award. Overall this is a mediocre album and I don’t expect the Academy to award mediocrity so not expecting Justin to win this.

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3.) Adele – 25

Queen Adele has been up on that famous Grammy stage to receive this award and many more and this year she is in the race again with an album that went on to break probably all the sales records and sold more copies in the first week than what 99.99% of the albums manage to sell in their lifetime. I liked the album and  given that it is a quality project and has more universal appeal than any of its competitors, it is a very strong candidate to win the award. The vocal performance from Adele is astounding on the whole record, lyrics are good but the production does feels a bit lacking at places throughout the album. Personally, I would prefer “Lemonade” over “25” but if Adele wins it I’ll be very okay with it.

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4.) Drake – Views

Drake is one of biggest active male music artist and Views further helped him cement his position. It’s his biggest album commercially and also has some of the biggest songs of his career in “Hotline Bling” and “One Dance”.I liked the album a lot upon first listen but with passage of time the album started to feel a bit too long most probably due to the monotonous tones, vocals that continue throughout the album. There are a lot of catchy beats in the record and songs like “Hotline Bling” are a really good example of a chill song. I also like what Rihanna does on “Too Good”. “Fire and Desire”, “Views” and “Weston road flows” are some really good tracks. But I feel the album would have been much better if it was about 75% of its length. I don’t expect or back Drake to win the award Views.

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5.) Sturgill Simpson – A Sailor’s Guide to Earth

This is another album I might not have heard if it wasn’t nominated for The Grammys. It might be among the compulsory Country/Folk nomination that we have every year but just like every album we have had from this genre or category in recent year this is very solid album. It’s not your regular major label country record, it comes with its own individuality, we even see the cover of a Nirvana song (In Bloom) on this which is handled really well. The album doesn’t stretch at all and is very compact with just 9 songs in it. Each and every song here contributes to the flow of the album. It is a good record but if it wins it’ll only be a surprise victory. I don’t expect it to win the accolade though a victory won’t be completely undeserving.

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So, these are the nominees. Well I wouldn’t say that these 5 are the best album from the eligibility period for this year’s award certainly there were better albums released during that period but the academy has chosen them and I hope the best among them i.e. Lemonade wins it.

The xx – I See You Review


I recently got into listening them and it wasn’t until the last quarter of 2016 that I heard their first two albums (xx and coexist). To begin with I would say that even though I liked these albums I wasn’t a very big fan, they just didn’t do enough for me musically and lyrically. The first two records were very spacey and moody and the thing with moody records is that sometimes the mood can feel forced if not placed and executed naturally.

Talking about I See You, the band does what a The xx fan might have expected them to do. The props and cons of both the previous albums retain on this one but still I give the band major props for trying more on this record. I find this album to be much more engaging than both “xx” and “coexist”. Even though the product, instrumentally is still minimal, but we do find some funky rhythms and pop tunes in songs like “On hold” and “I dare you”. The instrumentation used here do elevate the feel though especially the string sections. I love the vibrant use of instruments on songs like “Lips” and also “Replica”. Vocally, I would say that Romy makes a much more positive impact than Oliver ever does on this whole record. Lyrically, the band explores love, desire, pain of heartbreaks, anxiety among some other topics.

Overall, I would say this is an improvement over “coexist”. This album is much more diverse, detailed and engaging. At the same time I would also like to say that probably they could have structured the songs and the album in a better way as some of these songs do have an abrupt ending. If you have been a fan of them you’ll probably love this album and may even rate it as their best and if you’re new the xx then I would say this is a good album to start listening them if you are looking out for some moody, spacey and breathy music.

I would say this is a 7/10 album to me.

If you have given this one a  listen do tell me how you feel about it and have a great day everyone.

Run the Jewels : Run the Jewels 3 Review

We were in the last days of 2016. I had already decided and published the list of my favorite albums of the year. That’s when Run the Jewels i.e. duo of Killer Mike and El-P decided to drop the bomb on us on December 24, 2016. I saw the buzz through my twitter, people where asking their friends and family to find time out of their festive routines to give this a listen and listen I did. For anyone who’s been a fan or heard their last project knows that they didn’t have much to prove, nothing except showing the ability to follow RTJ2 with a comparable and possibly better record. If you ask me they deliver on every nook and cranny of the record.

No offense to El-P (I like his rapping too) but now I truly believe that Killer Mike was born to do this. He is an activist both by his actions and by his music. El-P on the other hand gives these verses the platform they need, fills the record with energy that never seems lacking once it begins after the first track “Down”. In the end  the result is banger after banger accompanied by a motive to bring in revolution, all packed in this record which seems unfairly effortless.

Talking about features we have Danny Brown here on a beat that makes me wonder that why doesn’t he ask El-P to produce for him more. Zach de la rocha and Boots return to give the duo a company worth noticing in the album. We also have Trina and Kamasi Washington among others. The production here is so what one may expect from a RTJ album yet so different from their previous endeavors.

The album is a must listen for everyone and I highly recommend it. Give it try and tell me how you feel about it. What you like, what you don’t and if you haven’t tried them yet do tell what makes you not give the duo a listen. The album is on par with their previous album to me. I won’t mention a favourite track because I like each and every track almost equally except the opening track “Down” which might be the only down moment of the album.

The album is a brilliant 9/10 project for me and very well might be among the highlights of this year. Happy listening.