#FeelGoodFriday: Rina Sawayama – ‘LUCID’

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Rina Sawayama is a Japanese-British singer-songwriter and model based in London who released her first EP in 2017. After signing to Dirty Hit, she released her debut studio album, Sawayama, in 2020.

Produced by hitmaker, BloodPop, ‘LUCID’ is a synthpop anthem that just begs to be danced to and sees Sawayama take on a different, more commercial sound to the rest of her debut album.

The song is fairly mainstream with its dance-pop beat and is certain to propel her more into the limelight as a pop songstress. Comparisons have been made to the likes of Lady Gaga and her 2020 album, Chromatica (which was also produced by BloodPop).

The music video is fun too, featuring Sawayama performing in an other-worldly environment alongside a reflection of herself, with a short behind-the-scenes look at the end of it.

What are your thoughts of this singer-songwriter? Got a #FeelGoodFriday track to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or via social media.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘LUCID’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/lucid/1540687113?i=1540687503


#ThrowbackThursday: Avril Lavigne – ‘What The Hell’

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Avril Lavigne is a Canadian singer-songwriter most notable for her pop punk style and hits such as Complicated, Sk8r Boiand Girlfriend.

In January 2011 (already a decade ago!), Lavigne released her massive single, ‘What The Hell’. The single received critical acclaim with people comparing it to her monster hit, ‘Girlfriend’ for it’s pop punk catchiness.

The song features an iconic organ sound to start with before breaking out into chugging bass guitars and eventually a kick of distorted guitars and the singer’s trademark high-pitched, catchy vocals.

The song actually only ever reached Number 16 in the UK Charts but still received good rotation on radio and music channels alike.

The music video sees Lavigne in bed with her love interest before locking him in a closet and going out, stealing and destroying a taxi, playing basketball with some other men, all the while evading her love interest, who is chasing after her. Eventually she ends up performing at a venue and the video ends up with the couple back in bed. It’s a fun, quirky, typically Avril Lavigne video that’s well worth a watch (although the video is not great quality for some reason).

What are your thoughts of this track, 10 years on? Do you have a #ThrowbackThursday track to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or via social media.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘What The Hell’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/what-the-hell/532457427?i=532458095


#WildCardWednesday: Julie Bergan – ‘Kiss Somebody’ (with Seeb)

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Julie Bergan rose to recognition by releasing a series of covers on YouTube, at the age of 16, eventually signing a deal with Warner Music Norway in 2013.

This particular song (‘Kiss Somebody’) was actually released a year ago, in January 2020 and saw Bergan team up with Norwegian production duo, Seeb.

The song itself uses vocal distortions to make part of the backing beat (with the lyrics, “Make out with her, Make out with him”) alongside other traditional EDM-style components. It’s a banging anthem that begs to be danced to.

The video is fun too and features various couples kissing (including a gay couple), interspersed with shots of Bergan performing with a group of back-up dancers as well as by herself.

This synthpop meets EDM banger is the perfect track for #WildCardWednesday, as Bergan has yet to break into the UK market but I’m sure it won’t be long before she becomes more of a household name over here, if this track is anything to go by.

What are your thoughts of this synthpop banger? Do you have a #WildCardWednesday track to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or via social media.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘Kiss Somebody’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/kiss-somebody/1542355342?i=1542355349


#TunefulTuesday: Justin Bieber – ‘Anyone’

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Justin Bieber is a Canadian pop powerhouse, notable for songs such as What Do You Mean?Sorry and Where Are Ü Now.

‘Anyone’ marks the first new song since the release of his 2020 album, Changes and sees the singer take on a new, optimistic sound somewhere between 1980s and 1990s pop.

When talking about the song, Bieber said: “‘Anyone’ is such a special, hopeful, anthemic song. It sets the tone for a brighter new year full of hope and possibility.” It couldn’t have come at a better time with its release on January 1st 2021, setting the tone for a new year and new hope.

So far, the song has reached Number 4 in the UK Singles Chart.

In the music video, Bieber portrays a 1940s boxer whose love for his partner inspires him to train, fight, and eventually overcome a potential knock-out on his journey to becoming a champion boxer. He even covered up all his tattoos for the shoot. It’s well worth a watch.

What are your thoughts of this massive tune? Do you have a #TunefulTuesday track to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or via social media.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘Anyone’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/anyone/1544839500?i=1544839502


#MellowMonday: Gabrielle Aplin – ‘When The Lights Go Out’

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Gabrielle Aplin is an English singer-songwriter who amassed a following after uploading a series of acoustic music covers to YouTube, before signing to Parlophone in February 2012.

Her style falls anywhere from folk and indie rock to synthpop, with her latest single, ‘When The Lights Go Out’, being a mellow, synth-driven anthem.

This particular song was written shortly after the release of her latest album, Dear Happy. Aplin says, “I wanted to make a song that felt like a hug that you can also dance to and I’m considering it the song that closes the Dear Happy book.”

It does just that – it manages to be a somewhat upbeat record that you can have a boogie too, whilst also being something mellow, easy listening and like the closing of the Dear Happy chapter in her career. It’s a brilliant amalgamation of happiness and calmness and is mellow enough to be a great #MellowMonday start to the week.

I can’t get enough of this track right now!

What are your thoughts of this singer-songwriter’s latest single? Do you have a #MellowMonday track to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or via social media.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘When The Lights Go Out’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/when-the-lights-go-out-single/1543733734


#Review: Less Than Jake – Silver Linings

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Less Than Jake are a ska punk band from Florida, who formed back in 1992. Now with 8 studio albums behind them, the band are gearing up to release their ninth record, Silver Linings. Here’s what we have to say about it…

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2020 has been a rubbish year for everyone but that’s where Less Than Jake come in, with their uplifting collection of upbeat ska-punk anthems.

On Silver Linings, the band truly do make the best of being both ska and punk with the right amounts of brass instrumentation and chugging guitars.

The album opens with the anthemic ‘The High Cost of Low Living’ – it’s a classic Less Than Jake track with a key change at its peak and some insanely cool vocal harmonies right at the end.

‘Lie To Me’ is next up with its punk rock breakdown, whilst ‘Keep On Chasing’ has a wonderfully catchy guitar lick and key change that make for an interesting listen.

Less Than Jake are not breaking any barriers with this record but maybe that’s a good thing.

‘Dear Me’ and ‘Monkey Wrench Myself’ keep energy levels to a maximum with their frantic, mosh-pit-inducing pace, whilst ‘Lost At Home’ significantly changes the tone of the record with its highly skankable vibes.

‘Bill’ is a superb punk rock anthem with its chugging guitars whilst ‘So Much Less’ brings the album to an apt close.

Less Than Jake are not breaking any barriers with this record but maybe that’s a good thing. They’re spreading positivity with their brand of bouncy songs and show us that in times of adversity, there are Silver Linings and hope that there will be good times ahead.

Rating


‘Silver Linings’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/silver-linings/1530304255


Silver Linings on Spotify

Lie To Me (Official Music Video)

Anytime and Anywhere (Official Lyric Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of the band’s latest album? Are you as much of a fan as us? What would you rate it out of 5? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or via our social media.


Enjoyed this? Check out some of our other reviews here:

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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#Review: Neck Deep – All Distortions Are Intentional 🍊

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Muzik Speaks Loves Hopeless Records - SmallerNeck Deep are a Welsh pop punk band who initially formed in 2012. They quickly released a couple of EPs in 2012 and 2013 before signing to Hopeless Records in the August of 2013. To date, the band have released 3 studio albums and now 2020 sees the release of their fourth, full-length LP, All Distortions Are Intentional. Here’s what we have to say about it…

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From the moment this record starts, with opening track, ‘Sonderland’, it’s obvious that Neck Deep have progressed their sound and lyricism, as we’re hearing a more mature band than on previous albums. This could well be their Coming Home to New Found Glory or Lights Out to Sugarcult. The opening track is quite apt for what’s going on in the world right now too with the bridge line, “These strange times that we live in, Will slowly eat you alive if you don’t fit in.” The new Neck Deep continues with the subtle production quirks and repetitive chorus of ‘Fall’ that has one of those classic, clap-along breakdowns.

That said, there are still some obvious pop punk belters throughout the record too, but somehow there’s a more mature take on them. ‘Telling Stories’ is a great example of this (and one of my favourites on the record) and whilst it’s full of those chugging riffs and fast-paced drums, it does as the title says and tells a variety of stories throughout the track. ‘Sick Joke’ is another favourite of mine and a melancholic look at life but it’s catchy as hell – think All Time Low but with an epic guitar solo. Even single, ‘I Revolve (Around You)’ has it’s classic pop punk elements – it starts out like a ballad which compares the love of two people to the stars and planets but it quickly steps up a gear and explodes into a catchy chorus.

What you get with this record is an evolution of the band trying to create something new and exciting for the genre, and it works…really well!

There’s plenty of other great tracks on the record too; ‘Lowlife’ is an anthem for millennials with its chant-along chorus and grungy riffs, ‘When You Know’ is an infectious love song, that’s upbeat appeal demonstrates the band’s musical progression and further maturity is shown on both ‘What Took You So Long?’ and ‘Empty House’, the latter of which starts with a great melodic acoustic guitar before exploding into a gritty, pop punk riff – like something by New Found Glory.

‘Little Dove’ is a real contender for a fan favourite – it’s just begging to be belted out by a crowd at one of the band’s shows, during a quiet moment in the set. Quirky, not-quite-fitting-the-rest-of-the-record track, ‘Quarry’, is an interlude that changes pace of the record for a moment by becoming a little bit dark and emo – it’s a bit of a self-help track defining the “root of it all” being stress. Album closer, ‘Pushing Daisies’, leaves the listener with a positive outlook and a sense to keep pressing on with their life. In light of the world’s current climate (corona virus and black lives matter protests), there is a real sense of hope and strength in lines such as, “Know that I can change the world, And that’s just how it is.” It ends perfectly, with aggression and a series of “Fuck” various things, that an audience will love to scream out in angst.

Hardcore pop punk fans may struggle with this album if they’re looking for a repeat of Life’s Not Out To Get You or even The Pain And The Panic (however the latter began to see some transitions), but what you get with this record is an evolution of the band trying to create something new and exciting for the genre, and it works…really well! That’s not to say pop punk fans won’t love this record; they definitely will! This is an exciting step in their career and shows real progression in their songwriting and lyricism. A great record that will hopefully lead on to great things!

Rating
4.5


‘All Distortions Are Intentional’ is out 24/07/20 and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/all-distortions-are-intentional/1498663190


All Distortions Are Intentional on Spotify

Coming Friday 24th July 2020.

I Revolved (Around You) [Official Music Video]

Fall (Official Music Video)

Lowlife (Official Music Video)

When You Know (Official Music Video)

Sick Joke (Official Music Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of the band’s latest album? Are you as much of a fan as us? What would you rate it out of 5? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or via our social media.


Enjoyed this? Check out some of our other reviews here:

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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#Review: Oliver Tree – Ugly Is Beautiful

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Muzik Speaks Loves Atlantic Records - SmallerOliver Tree is one of those artists it’s hard to define. Whilst there are some who insist that he is nothing more than an internet meme, his artistry is undeniable and there’s something instantly captivating about him. Having released a heap of singles since signing to Atlantic Records in 2017, it’s only now, in 2020, we’re seeing the release of his debut album, Ugly Is Beautiful. Here’s what we have to say about it…

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Ugly Is Beautiful is the first full-length release from Oliver Tree, who announced his early retirement in March 2020 – only to return in May with the announcement of his debut record, after a hacker held Oliver hostage in exchange for 1 million Instagram likes (which he logged in under 24 hours).

Having already been delayed twice (once due to Covid-19 and once due to the George Floyd and anti-racism protests), this highly-anticipated debut album proves to be worth the wait. Whilst his appearance, to some, is outlandish, this internet personality, musician and filmmaker has made a genre-defying record if ever there was one. Right from the off, Oliver Tree makes his way through a wide variety of genres, from alternative indie rock to hip hop and pop punk to electronic with a great sense of conviction that is nothing short of highly infectious.

One thing that is incredibly impressive about Tree, throughout the album, is his ability to ensure the listener doesn’t take any one moment too seriously or equally to pass it off as a joke either, using lyrical whit to guide the way. One such track is ‘Joke’s On You!’ where Tree makes his feelings known in the line, “Well yes in fact, my dignity’s intact, while I listen to ‘em laugh,” – here he is obviously making light of the fact that people often see him as a joke yet he’s made something of himself and maintained his dignity in doing so.

There is definitely a sense of nostalgia about Ugly Is Beautiful.

One of my favourite tracks has to be the distortion-heavy, electronic-laiden ‘1993’ (featuring Little Ricky ZR3), which was an instant favourite for me as it sort of epitomises much of the album. He uses tasteful electronic elements alongside intentional distortion giving it a real grungy, edgy feel – like much of the record. ‘Again & Again’ is another track that uses those gritty, distorted vocal effects but it equally has a certain radio-like quality to it, due to its indie-rock vibes.

There is definitely a sense of nostalgia throughout Ugly Is Beautiful too with tracks like ‘Jerk’ reminiscing of a down-tempo Nirvana song, ‘Bury Me Alive’ with its quick-fire delivery, like that of a Beastie Boys track or the David Bowie-esque qualities of ‘Miracle Man’.

However, the only time Tree feels truly familiar is on his previously-released singles, ‘Let Me Down’‘Alien Boy’ and ‘Hurt’, whilst the rest of the record feels new, exciting and refreshingly undefinable. This is a vision that is truly unique and entirely his – this is less an act and more of a glimour into the world of Tree, through his eyes.

Although Tree insists this is his “magnum opus” and that he is to retire from music and focus on film-making and producing instead, his label (Atlantic Records) say, “Ugly Is Beautiful is only the beginning. Stay tuned for more from Oliver Tree.” So I guess we will just have to wait and see! Either way, it would be a real shame if this were to be all we hear from him again.

Rating
4


‘Ugly Is Beautiful’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/ugly-is-beautiful/1514394064


Ugly Is Beautiful on Spotify

Hurt (Official Music Video)

Let Me Down (Official Music Video)

Bury Me Alive (Official Unofficial Music Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of Oliver Tree’s debut album? Are you as much of a fan as us? What would you rate it out of 5? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or via our social media.


Enjoyed this? Check out some of our other reviews here:

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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#Review: The Chicks – Gaslighter

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Dixie Chicks are a well known country pop band comprised of singer Natalie Maines and multi-instrumentalist sisters Martie Erwin Maguire and Emily Strayer. The group initially formed in 1989 , in Dallas, Texas and have, to date, released 7 studio albums. Now, 2020 sees the band release their eighth record and their first album in 14 years, Gaslighter. It is also the first record to be released under the new name, The Chicks, following the George Floyd protests. Here’s what we have to say about it…

The Chicks - Gaslighter.jpg

The album launches with title track, ‘Gaslighter’, a no holds barred anthem about the breakdown of Maines’ relationship and ultimate divorce. In fact, this particular topic provides a lot of material for the album – it was originally slated to be a simple record of covers in order to fulfill their contract with Sony, but following her divorce, she was inspired to start songwriting again.

‘Tights On My Boat’ is another one of those tell-all tracks detailing an affair her ex-husband had, with a lover, on the couple’s boat, on which she discovered a tell-tale pair of tights. The track (along with a couple of others) is written with pop songwriter and artist, Julia Michaels. Additionally, the trio collaborated heavily with Taylor Swift‘s 1989 producer, Jack Antonoff, seeing him take production credits for the record and some songwriting credits too.

This album certainly doesn’t disappoint when it comes to personal or political songwriting. ‘March March’ takes a look at issues of gun control, climate change and underfunded education and puts them through a contemporary bluegrass lens. Whilst ‘Set Me Free’ is all about Maines looking to be released from her marriage.

It’s an exciting pop take on a country record that is likely to reignite fans’ passions for the band and pick up a whole host of new ones along the way too.

Possibly some of the best tracks on the album come in the form of ‘Sleep At Night’, a banjo-led candid look at her ex-husband’s affair; ‘Texas Man’ with its upbeat rhythm combined with rousing lyrics and the captivating vocal riffs of ‘Young Man’.

Possibly my favourite track on the record has to be ‘Julianna Calm Down’ – it builds beautifully throughout with a really catchy, contemporary pop edge to it. Whilst ‘My Best Friend’s Wedding’ has some wonderful vocal harmonies and a sense of honesty about reflecting on how Maines met her ex-husband.

The Chicks may have changed their name and their new music may well have a certain degree of poppiness that die-hard country fans could cringe at, but this is exactly the evolution you would expect from the band’s last album back in 2006, to where they are today. It’s an exciting pop take on a country record that is likely to reignite fans’ passions for the band and pick up a whole host of new ones along the way too.

Rating
4


‘Gaslighter’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/gaslighter/1499733036


Gaslighter on Spotify

Gaslighter (Official Video)

Sleep At Night (Official Video)

March March (Official Lyric Video)

Julianna Calm Down (Official Lyric Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of the band’s eighth studio album? Are you as much of a fan as us? What would you rate it out of 5? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or via our social media.


Enjoyed this? Check out some of our other reviews here:

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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#MellowMonday: Jolé – ‘Alpine Green’

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Jolè (aka Joshua Oliver) first arrived on the scene in early 2016 with his breathtaking brand of folk music. It wasn’t unil 2019 that he released his self-titled debut album, Jolé, on which, the singer-songwriter displayed his talents and abilities to use both electric and acoustic folk to tell personal tales, going on to amass over 2 million streams of the record.

Now, the London singer-songwriter is back with the lead single from his forthcoming Silver Lake EP (out 21st August 2020). ‘Alpine Green’ perfectly captures the power of memory, with this poetic folk song about heartache and longing for someone lost.

This is a track that will not only resonate with those who have lost a loved one but also with those who have experienced profound disconnection from family and friends during the coronavirus pandemic. Its composition is beautiful and sound is nostalgic – a true folk masterpiece, perfect for #MellowMonday.

Unfortunately, no music video exists for this track just yet, but we’ll be sure to keep you updated if one is released – if one were to exist though, I imagine something truly cinematic and beautiful to reflect the imagery of the lyrics. What do you invisage?

What are your thoughts of this singer-songwriter’s latest single? Do you have a #MellowMonday track to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or via social media.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘Alpine Green’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/alpine-green-single/1518095638


Jolé · Alpine Green