#Review: ONE OK ROCK – Eye Of The Storm 🌪

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ONE OK ROCK are a Japanese rock band who formed in Tokyo, in 2005. The band currently consists of Takahiro Moriuchi (vocals), Toru Yamashita (guitar), Ryota Kohama (bass), and Tomoya Kanki (drums). Since forming, the band have played many different styles of music, from alternative rock to emo and even post-hardcore to their most recent, pop rock style. In 2016, the band signed to Fueled By Ramen, releasing their eighth studio album, Ambitions, featuring collaborations with Avril Lavigne5 Seconds Of Summer and Alex Gaskarth (All Time Low). This year, (2019) sees the release of their ninth studio album (although only their third US release), Eye Of The Storm. Here’s what we have to say about it…

one ok rock - eye of the storm

From the very start of Eye Of The Storm, it’s clear that ONE OK ROCK have made a conscious departure from the previous, emo, alternative rock and post-hardcore incarnations, favouring a much more pop-led sound. That’s not a bad thing though, as this is a brilliantly-crafted pop powerhouse of a record, that is sure to further cement their position as one of big players in the pop rock genre (alongside label mates like Panic! At The Disco and Against The Current. In fact ‘Eye Of The Storm’ and ‘Worst In Me’ are almost an obvious transitioning from their old sound to their new, blending their alternative rock roots with their new, more synth-driven pop elements.

There’s a real passion and raw talent to singer Takahiro “Taka” Moriuchi‘s vocals throughout the record too, as he explores the full extent of his vocal range, pulling off some stunning falsetto notes, intertwined with soaring choruses and exquisitely long-held notes.

‘Stand Out Fit In’ is testament to this – it’s very much an anthem about embracing people’s differences, with the goosebump-inducing, falsetto lines, “They yell, they preach, I’ve heard it all before. Be this, be that, I’ve heard it before.” It’s definitely a track that’s going to capture the hearts of many!

It’s actually very hard to pin-point just a few favourite tracks but ‘Push Back’ is wonderful for its gang vocal harmonies, like a modern-day Queen track. The descending melody echoing throughout the song is truly captivating too. ‘Wasted Nights’ is all about making the most of your life and enjoying each other’s company and the line, “Let’s live like we’re immortal, Maybe just for tonight, We’ll think about tomorrow (yeah), When the sun comes up,” is poetic, conjuring up nostalgic imagery and the underlying gospel vocals are stunning. The video only makes the track even more epic too (see below)! Even ‘Change’ – there’s definitely something a little boyband about the song (like 5 Seconds Of Summer meets One Direction), with the synth-sounding guitar lines, but the melodies are passionate and the message is poignant, positive and uplifting, “Hey, You know it’s not too late for us to make a change, You gotta listen to your heart what does it say? No matter how much we might bend, we will not break.”

It’s great to see that after nine albums in thirteen years, a band can still find ways to push themselves to adapt and grow, and be completely unafraid to try new directions.

That’s not to say there aren’t other special moments throughout the album; ‘Head High’ is definitely a pop track and whilst there isn’t much depth behind the lyrics or songwriting on it, it’s certainly catchy! ‘Letting Go’ really stands out for being so unique to the rest of the record – a calm little, acoustic-led track that is so beautifully understated, dealing with getting over a relationship and coming to terms with it. ‘Unforgettable’ has some definite dance music vibes to it, with the intense drum beats and whistling in the chorus, but with guitars thrown in. It’s quite a unique blend of genres.

‘Giants’ leads from delicate verses into a big chorus and has a strong Take That vibe to it, whilst ‘In The Stars’ adds a little vocal diversity with Kiiara featuring on the track, accompanied by a military-style beat.

‘Grow Old Die Young’ is a perplexing track though; it has a strong melody in the chorus but certain elements of it are very mediocre – a synth sound which doesn’t really fit the song and then there’s the lyrics, “I want the cause of my death, to be amazing sex,” which is honestly pretty cringe!

The album actually draws to a powerful close with ‘The Last Time’, led by a really strong chorus melody, topped off with a raspy, scream-like vocal that just knocks the record out of the park, right at the last second.

Eye Of The Storm is an interesting release for the band, as it’s their most commercial-sounding release to date, meaning it’s very palatable, for a broad range of listeners and is certainly bound to pick up a lot of new fans along the way. However, it could be argued that elements of depth and sincerity about their songwriting have been somewhat lost, rendering some of the tracks a little forgettable.

The drastic change in sound is definitely going to be felt by fans of their previous release, Ambitions, as some of the more emotive lyricism and raw instrumentation, has been exchanged for top-rate production values but at its heart, it is clearly still a ONE OK ROCK album.

That said, it’s equally great to see that after nine albums in thirteen years, a band can still find ways to push themselves to adapt and grow, and be completely unafraid to try new directions, and for that, this album should be admired. It’s a great record, with some banging tunes on and I can’t wait to hear what the band do next!

Rating
4


‘Eye Of The Storm’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/eye-of-the-storm/1441817576


Eye Of The Storm on Spotify

Stand Out Fit In (Official Video)

Wasted Nights (Official Video)

Change (Official Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of the band’s ninth studio album, Eye Of The Storm? 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 join the conversation 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: Avril Lavigne – Head Above Water 🌊

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It’s hard to believe that Avril Lavigne dropped her first single, ‘Complicated’, back in 2002 but since then, the songstress has had 5 studio albums, 23 singles, 27 music videos (including ‘Girlfriend’, which became the “first music video to reach 100 million views on YouTube”) and has even appeared on several television shows and films. Now, six years since her last, self-titled album, 2019 sees the singer-songwriter putting out her sixth studio album, Head Above Water; a personal account of the trials and tribulations she been through over the past few years. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Avril Lavigne - Head Above Water.jpg

Head Above Water is probably Avril Lavigne‘s most mature album to date, seeing a real evolution in her songwriting. Throughout the record, she paints a candid, honest and deeply introspective portrait of a truly tumultuous period in her life.

It all begins with the album’s title track, ‘Head Above Water’, which is in fact the song that kick-started the writing of the whole album. She stated, “One night, I thought I was dying, and I had accepted that I was going to die. My mom laid with me in bed and held me. I felt like I was drowning. Under my breath, I prayed, ‘God, please help to keep my head above the water.’ In that moment, the song writing of this album began. It was like I tapped into something. It was a very spiritual experience. Lyrics flooded through me from that point on.” In this truly stunning track alone, Avril Lavigne documents her fight with Lyme Disease (as a result of which, she set up The Avril Lavigne Foundation, to raise awareness of the condition – visit http://www.TheAvrilLavigneFoundation.org for more information), showing her strength of character to fight and overcome it.

As if that song wasn’t different enough, ‘Birdie’ demonstrates a diverse instrumental with intricate production where stripped-back moments show off her voice beautifully and a distorted vocal break adds another dimension to the track in which compares herself to a caged bird.

Equally, ‘I Fell In Love With The Devil’ and ‘Tell Me It’s Over’ are both tinted with Lana Del Rey-esque vibes. The first blends both high and low-pitched vocal harmonies to create an ominous tone to the track, perfectly mirroring the theme of a toxic relationship, whilst the latter’s sultry vocals and brass elements in the verses lead into a massive, soulful chorus, making it possibly the most unique song Avril has ever released.

There is a bit of a lull in the uptempo vibes towards the middle-end of the record (but still great tracks!) ‘Souvenir’ is a cute little love song that although a touch juvenile, is actually very endearing, whilst ‘Crush’ is a sparkly-sounding, soulful number.

It might not be her most obviously banging release, but it certainly packs a punch on the emotive side, with such wonderfully poetic lyricism.

‘Bigger Wow’ isn’t the most memorable song though it’s incredibly catchy and unequivocally pop, however I can’t help but feel it’s virtually a carbon copy of Hailee Steinfeld‘s single, ‘Starving’ with Zedd.

That said, although on the whole Head Above Water is quite the far cry from any of her previous releases, there are definite nods to her former sounds. ‘Dumb Blonde’ (featuring none other than Nicki Minaj – which was clearly a last-minute addition to the track, as the review version of the album did not feature her at all) takes a massive leaf out of her 2007 smash hit, ‘Girlfriend’. Additionally, ‘It Was In Me’ has a massive throwback vibes to her 2002 hit, ‘I’m With You’, but nevertheless, it’s amazing and the build up at the end is truly goosebump-inducing!

The album draws to a close with ‘Warrior’, thematically bringing us back full circle to where we began. The lyrics possibly aren’t the most imaginative on the record but they certainly show the strength she has found within herself, to get through some of the toughest years of her life and with that comes an audible gratitude and renewed lease of life.

Whatever you think of Avril Lavigne‘s previous incarnations, you can’t hear this album and deny that it’s a passionate and very personal offering from the star and although there isn’t a completely cohesive style throughout, it’s refreshing to hear her trying something new. The break has done her voice good too – there’s a renewed power and technique behind it and she’s using it in ways she hasn’t much before.

Of course, there are bound to be people that will slate her for moving away from her old sound and those who will criticise her for trying something new, but personally I love and commend this record for being evolutionary and so clearly therapeutic. It might not be her most obviously banging release, but it certainly packs a punch on the emotive side, with such wonderfully poetic lyricism. Now it’s time to return to the top Avril Lavigne – welcome back!

Rating
4-5


‘Head Above Water’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/head-above-water/1442724476


Head Above Water on Spotify

Head Above Water (Official Video)

Tell Me It’s Over (Official Video)

Dumb Blonde featuring Nicki Minaj (Lyric Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of Avril’s sixth studio album, Head Above Water? 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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#ThrowbackThursday / #ThrowbackThreesday: Avril Lavigne – ‘Complicated’, ‘Sk8er Boi’ & ‘I’m With You’


   

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Avril Lavigne – ‘Complicated’

Avril Lavigne first burst onto the scene with her infectious, mellow pop rock single, ‘Complicated’ back in May 2002 (15 years ago!!!) and it skyrocketed to the Top 3 spots all around the globe!

The music video was fun and saw Lavigne crashing a mall and getting up to mischief but also performing scenes in a skate park – such an iconic look for the singer.

The song was also nominated for two Grammy Awards and featured on her debut album, Let Go.


Avril Lavigne – ‘Sk8er Boi’

Then, later in 2002, Avril Lavigne released her follow-up single, and one of my favourite songs of hers, ‘Sk8er Boi’. This song was also a huge commercial success for her around the globe and also scored her a Grammy nomination in 2003.

A much more upbeat track to her debut, and far more punky, the video is equally as mischievous, if not more so; the singer sets up a guerilla performance which people flock to, causing chaos and anarchy in the streets. The police try to track her down as she smashes her guitar through a windscreen, before a police copter hovers over her. It’s such an epic video for an awesome, catchy yet punchy song. That green t-shirt and red tie combo had fan girls emulating her across the globe.


Avril Lavigne – ‘I’m With You’

Lastly, ‘I’m With You’ was the third single from her debut album and another favourite of mine. It was the first ballad Avril Lavigne released as a single and scored her yet another Grammy nomination in 2004. It’s a song that’s brimming with passion and even has hints of country to it; an epic song.

The music video sees Lavigne spend a lot of time alone, wandering the streets in search of someone. It is interspersed with party footage but all shot in slow-motion, making it look all the more spectacular.

This song just went on to cement the diversity Avril Lavigne has in her songwriting – she is just awesome. End of.


Matt – Muzik Speaks

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#ThrowbackThursday: Avril Lavigne – ‘Girlfriend’


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There’s no doubt about it, Avril Lavigne‘s single, ‘Girlfriend’, was (and still is) a monster of a tune! It’s shocking to think that this song was released 10 years ago, this year, but it genuinely feels timeless.

The punchy guitar riffs, in-your-face vocals and sassy lyrics are the recipe for the perfect pop rock track which is probably one of the reasons it was such a massive global success. This song was so huge upon its release that the music video held the record for the most views on YouTube, worldwide, at one point. (If for any reason you’ve lived under a rock for the past decade and haven’t seen it, check out the music video below.)

What’s more, Avril Lavigne has announced that she is hoping to release some new music this year, after some time away due to ill health; it’ll certainly be a pleasure to have her back!

What are your thoughts of this epic tune? Does it bring back memories? Have you got a different, favourite Avril Lavigne song? Please share your thoughts or own #ThrowbackThursday song in a comment below or via our social media, using the hashtag.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘Girlfriend’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/girlfriend/id250724207?i=250724208


#ThrowbackThursday: Nickelback – ‘Photograph’


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Nickelback; you either love them or hate them, there doesn’t appear to be a middle ground for people. Personally, I love them!

‘Photograph’ was released back September 2005, and it reached inside the Top 20 of the UK charts and Number 1 in the UK Rock chart.

The song itself is filled with sentiment and is sentimental to me personally, as it was not long after the song’s release, that I left school.

Nickelback have become synonymous with either producing heavy, metal-influenced power songs, or the complete opposite; easy-listening, emotive ballads; this song is the latter, but it’s just perfect!

What do you guys think of Nickelback? Do you like/remember this song? What would be your choice for this #ThrowbackThursday? Please share this post on your social media and tell us your song choice in a comment below.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘Photograph’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/photograph/id214403406?i=214403497


*SPECIAL* #FeelGoodFriday: Avril Lavigne – ‘Fly’

Avril Lavigne Banner

I realise that this is the second #FeelGoodFriday post of today, but I felt that this one is ‘feel-good’ for a different reason and wanted to post about it as it’s just been released on iTunes and YouTube. Instead of the song itself being a catchy, feel-good anthem, the reason behind the track and watching the video, is what makes me feel elated.

Having spent some time out of the public eye, whilst battling Lyme Disease, Avril Lavigne has released her first track since 2013, ‘Fly’. It is dedicated to the Special Olympics, taking place in Los Angeles (2015).

Proceeds from the single’s sales will go towards supporting the Special Olympics, so please head over to the link below and get your copy from iTunes; we have 🙂

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/fly/id984500324?i=984500342&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

What do you think of the song? What about the video? Please share this link with others.

Matt – Muzik Speaks