#Review: Avril Lavigne – Head Above Water ūüĆä

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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 ‚Äúfirst music video to reach 100 million views on YouTube‚ÄĚ) 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, ‚ÄúOne 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, ‚ÄėGod, please help to keep my head above the water.‚Äô 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.‚ÄĚ 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‚Äôs a renewed power and technique behind it and she‚Äôs using it in ways she hasn‚Äôt 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:

Muzik Speaks Album Reviews


Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#WildCardWednesday: Mark Ronson – ‚ÄėNothing Breaks Like A Heart‚Äô featuring Miley Cyrus


   

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Mark Ronson is certainly a household name already and having¬†released several collaborative hit tracks this year, the five-time Grammy¬†Award-winning artist and producer¬†now returns with a brand new single of his own, ‘Nothing Breaks¬†Like A Heart’ featuring the incredible Miley Cyrus.

The track was co-written by both Ronson and Cyrus, alongside Ilsey Juber, Thomas Brenneck, The Picard Brothers and Conor Rayne Syzmanski, and produced by Ronson, The Picard Brothers and Jamie XX.

The track serves as the first single to be taken from Mark Ronson‚Äôs forthcoming studio album, coming in 2019. It’s also his first pop single as a recording artist since the musical phenomenon that was¬†Uptown Funk! However he’s been busy since then, co-writing the Number 1 song, ‘Shallow’ performed by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, featured in Cooper‚Äôs directorial debut, A Star Is Born, as well as being¬†a member of supergroup, Silk City¬†(with Diplo), releasing the Top 5 UK Chart hit, ‘Electricity’ featuring Dua Lipa.

The track is already making waves around the world, with video trending highly on YouTube. The high-energy video was filmed in Kiev, Ukraine, directed by WAFLA (We Are From LA) and executive-produced by Romain Gravas (M.I.A, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Jamie XX). It features Miley Cyrus being pursued by police with a tongue-in-cheek approach to the reasons behind it. It’s clearly a big-budget affair and really well shot – definitely worth a watch!

ūüﳬ†Benoit Debie

What are your thoughts of this duo’s collaboration? Does it top ‘Uptown Funk’? Do you have¬†a #WildCardWednesday track to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or hit us up via social media, using the hashtag.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘Nothing Breaks Like A Heart’¬†can be downloaded off¬†iTunes now – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/nothing-breaks-like-a-heart-feat-miley-cyrus-single/1444462437


#Two4Tunesday: Troye Sivan – ‘Bloom’ & Jess Glynne – ‘I’ll Be There’


   

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Troye Sivan – ‘Bloom’

Troye Sivan is South African-born, Australian singer, songwriter, actor and YouTuber who has been gathering a huge online following over the past few years.

Openly gay, Sivan describes ‘Bloom’ as a, ‘subversively queer song,’ that sees him take on the role of a passive guy losing his virginity. Although it’s full of innuendo, it is a really fun, subtle track that has an incredibly catchy chorus (but not in an obvious sense). It’s summery and deserves to be played loud…I expect his pride appearances this year will be huge!

No music video (as such) has been released, however a 3D animated lyric video, created by Jason Ebeyer, was released, featuring an animated version of Sivan floating through a fantasy land.


‘Bloom’¬†is¬†on¬†iTunes for downloading now! –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/bloom-single/1375827482



Jess Glynne – ‘I’ll Be There’

Jess Glynne is finally back with the first single since her 2015 debut, I Cry When I Laugh, indicating that her second album is on its way!

‘I’ll Be There’ is an uplifting track with very soulful and gospel-like qualities to it whilst maintaining a contemporary pop sound. It is a track that transcends as it progresses; this song makes it easy to see why she’s won a Grammy! I hope this is another Number 1 hit for her, like 2015’s debut, ‘Hold My Hand’.

The video itself doesn’t appear to have much of a narrative however the locations she performs in are pretty interesting and vibrant colours certainly play an important part throughout. Well worth a watch.


‘I’ll Be There’¬†can also be downloaded from iTunes now! –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/ill-be-there/1376766204?i=1376767301


Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#Two4Tunesday: Ariana Grande – ‘No Tears Left To Cry’ & Emma Blackery – ‘Dirt’


   

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Ariana Grande – ‘No Tears Left To Cry’

Ariana Grande¬†is back with the first single to be taken from her upcoming fourth album, ‘No Tears Left to Cry’. Written by Grande herself, alongside¬†Savan Kotecha¬†and its producers¬†Max Martin¬†and¬†Ilya, it is a rather different pop track to her normal style.

Don’t be mistaken, it’s still dance-pop at the core with a powerful vocal chorus, but it’s got some quite 90s pop and R&B influences to it and it’s certainly not an instant and obvious standout hit; this track is much more of a grower.

The video features Grande performing amongst a lot of disorientated scenery (which corresponds with the upside-down text of the single cover and leaks of Grande in a corresponding sweatshirt). It’s an interesting concept for the video, which was directed by Dave Meyers.


‘No Tears Left To Cry’¬†is¬†on¬†iTunes for downloading now! –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/no-tears-left-to-cry/1374085537?i=1374087460



Emma Blackery – ‘Dirt’

Emma Blackery is a singer-songwriter, YouTuber and author from Basildon in Essex, UK. To date she has 1.5 million subscribers on YouTube, with 148 million views and in 2016, she supported Busted on their Pigs Can Fly Tour.

Now, in 2018,¬†Emma Blackery is releasing her new single,¬†‘Dirt’. With a decidedly electro-pop foundation, this track is topped off with Blackery’s rather British-sounding voice (which is quite refreshing!) and some explicit vocals; making it edgier than your normal dance-pop songs.

The video is a bit of fun with it’s quirky dances and neon pink and blue colours throughout; it’s not breaking any boundaries but it’s light-hearted and funky.

This is a great track by a great up-and-coming artist on the pop scene!


‘Dirt’¬†can also be downloaded from iTunes now! –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/dirt-single/1353482430


Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#EventSpeaks: Will Joseph Cook @ The Haunt, Brighton – 17/10/17


   

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On Tuesday 17th October 2017, Will Joseph Cook, came to Brighton to perform a set in support of his debut album, Sweet Dreamer, as well as play a couple of new songs from his upcoming EP. He was supported by Indigo Husk at the popular Brighton venue, The Haunt.


Indigo Husk

The band took to the stage with their grungy, give-a-damn appearance and although the crowd seemed a bit reticent to begin with, after a couple of songs, they had been worked up a treat, with the band’s funky brand of grunge-pop. The lead singer’s occasional ‘whoops’ and sarcastic quips were amusing, whilst the drummer was possibly one of the most engaging band members I’ve ever seen – he was witty, enthusiastic, provided great backing vocals and oozed personality through his crowd interaction. Sadly the same can’t quite be said for the bassist, who barely cracked a smile throughout and the concentration on Flynn’s face looked almost uncomfortable for him, at times. That’s not to say it was a bad performance or that they’re not a good band; it makes them who they are and they were certainly fun to watch.

Highlight:

The drummer – he was captivating and I particularly enjoyed the moments he stood up whilst drumming, taking every opportunity to interact with the audience.


Will Joseph Cook

Will Joseph Cook is a fantastic performer and his unique blend of indie vibes, electronic synths and pop hooks make for one heck of a funky, dance-infused performance.

The moment he appeared on stage, the audience burst into rapturous applause – one thing’s for sure,¬†Will Joseph Cook has worked incredibly hard to build up a dedicated and loyal following, evidenced by the fact that the show had sold out.

His vocals were on point and his working of the stage was controlled and at times even mesmerising. I like that he is able to switch between playing the guitar and singing (which can be quite static) on some songs, whilst on others, he ditches the guitar and works the crowd – it’s great to see this diversity in his performance.

The songs he played sounded just as good as his recordings and at times, Will and the band added a nice leading intro into a song, adding something unique that you could only see and hear if you watch him live.

Not only has¬†Will Joseph Cook produced an incredibly strong debut album (Sweet Dreamer) but his performances are remarkably captivating too. He is definitely worth watching live – make sure you catch his¬†show next time he’s near you.

Highlights:

  • Usually I like it when there’s a lot of between-song banter from the band or artist, but Will kept this to a minimum, playing song after song, keeping the audience dancing and singing along.
  • Getting to hear a couple of his new tracks, live, was great!
  • His performances of¬†‘Plastic’,¬†‘Girls Like Me’ and new song,¬†‘If You Want To Make Money’, all really stood out to me.
  • Will and the band’s abilities to make the live renditions sound just as good as the recordings.

¬†ūüď∑¬†All of the fantastic photos in this post are credited to Elliot McRae.¬†ūüď∑
Go on and give him a follow ‚Äst@EMcraePhoto


 Setlist

Biggest Fan
Alive
Sweet Dreamer
Treat Me Like A Lover*
Plastic*
Habit
Take Me Dancing
If You Want To Make Money*
Fish*
Daisy Chains
Beach

Encore
Message
Girls Like Me*

*These songs can be viewed in the YouTube playlist, below.


Finally, I want to say a MASSIVE thanks to Isobel Williams from Whiteboard PR for setting up this review and to Will Joseph Cook and Indigo Husk for putting on a great evening.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#FeelGoodFriday: Superfruit – ‘Bad 4 Us’


   

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SUP3RFRUIT (Superfruit) started out as a web show, hosted on YouTube by Scott Hoying and Mitch Grassi (originally known for their work in Pentatonix) but recently, the pair debuted their first track as a duo, ‘Bad 4 Us’, and it. Is. AWESOME!

The song is catchy and fun and it truly is the perfect debut track for the duo’s side project. After years of yearning from fans, it looks like the pair might finally be releasing a side project of music as the comment on the video states, ‘official music coming in 2017!’ Hopefully it won’t be long until more emerges from them, as this song is just awesome.

The music video is just incredible; it’s fun, interesting, funny and nostalgic of 90s video games…and openly makes reference to the pair’s sexuality. The duo’s heads work amazingly on the cartoon bodies and it’s been superbly animated.

Unfortunately, the song is currently not available to listen to on Spotify or for purchase via iTunes, so for now, you’ll just have to watch/listen to the music video below.

What are your thoughts of this incredibly catchy pop tune? Got your own #FeelGoodFriday track to recommend to us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or via our social media accounts.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#Review: Everywhere – Fiction Act (EP)

Everywhere have released one heck of an EP! Check out our review…


   

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Everywhere are a London-based four-piece band who have already received a lot of attention for their lead single, Some Other Dude, which has received over 1 millions plays on Spotify and a feature on BBC Introducing London.

Everywhere - Fiction Act.jpg

The opening track,¬†‘Shades At Night’, has all the makings of a massive anthem and sure kicks off the EP with a bang. It’s a song that is begging to be chanted along to, by any audience and would sit perfectly inside a massive stadium. It’s a monster of a song and very reminiscent of something that The Killers,¬†The 1975¬†or maybe even¬†Take That¬†would produce, but it definitely still has their own unique mark on it!

‘Heroine’ is a twisted tale of love that has beautiful vocal harmonies and gang vocals that can’t help but draw you in.¬†‘Some Other Dude’ has some seriously cool effects on the guitars and this song is itching to be danced to; it’s got some major¬†funk to it! The EP closes with¬†‘Let It Go’, which although a much mellower offering, is just as captivating as the other songs. The synth sounds throughout the EP are so on point and current and here they just add to the epic, euphoria that builds throughout the track.

The production of this EP is superb too – it’s got a cool, edgy, funky pop sound that enhances the songs perfectly. This is thanks, in part, to American producer,¬†Mark Needham, who’s worked with the likes of¬†The Killers,¬†Walk The Moon,¬†The 1975,¬†Imagine Dragons and¬†P!nk.

This whole EP has been crammed full of top-notch production, quality song-writing and fantastic, catchy melodies – it’d be quite easy to get caught out busting a move or two or belting along to it in your car or just about anywhere it’s played. I honestly love this EP and the band too! One heck of an EP!

I’m sure these guys are going to be huge and if you haven’t heard of them already, be sure to check out this incredible EP…I’m just sad there aren’t more tracks! Bring on the album!

Rating
4-5


‘Fiction Act – EP’¬†is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/fiction-act-ep/id1177030591


 Fiction Act (EP) on Spotify

Fiction Act (EP) on YouTube

Shades At Night (Official Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our first EP review…something new for 2017! What do you think of this band’s Fiction Act EP? Are you as much of a fan as us? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment below or via our social media.


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

Muzik Speaks Album Reviews


Matt – Muzik Speaks
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