#Review: Tom Walker – What A Time To Be Alive

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Tom Walker is a Scottish-born, singer-songwriter that has continued to grow and rise to fame over the past 12 months or so. Aside from relentless touring, he started gathering mainstream attention with the BBC putting him in the running for their Sound of 2018 accolade. Then came the release of his massive single, ‘Leave A Light On’, which received heavy radio airplay, leading to a performance on X Factor. Now 2019 has kicked off with in style, with him winning the Brit Award for 2019’s British Breakthrough Act…and all of this has happened before the release of his debut album! Well, it’s finally here, What A Time To Be Alive and here’s what we have to say about it…

Tom Walker - What A Time To Be Alive.jpg

Passion. Power. Personal. Three words that can’t help but swim through my mind as I listen to Tom Walker‘s debut album, What A Time To Be Alive. All three qualities are beautifully and intricately interwoven too – there is passion and power behind his vocals – both in what he sings and the way he sings it – and the personal songwriting leads to their prominence…and this wouldn’t be such a remarkable record without even one of those elements.

We’re catapulted into the album with ‘Angels’; a track starting out raw and edgy but endlessly continuing to build to a huge crescendo, complete with bells and strings, becoming an intricately layered behemoth of a track by the end, topped off with Tom’s intensely passionate and gritty vocals.

This is soon followed by the hit single, ‘Leave A Light On’, which despite being such a massive single, is interestingly, probably one of my least favourite tracks on the album. It’s a great song lyrically and thematically and I can see exactly why it was such a hit but I honestly preferred the original version, before the off-key synth sounds became so prominent. Also, there’s so much more to love about the album!

He has successfully crafted an outstanding debut album that takes elements from many different genres and styles, mashing them up into the perfect concoction of contemporary pop.

The biggest tracks on the record have to be: ‘Not Giving In’ – haunting wind chimes trickle delicately into the intense track, where echoing vocals and programmed drums lead the verses into the passionate chorus that seems to swirl around you, engulfing with its honest emotion; ‘How Can You Sleep At Night?’ is vocally one of the most diverse songs on the album – quiet, low tones in the verses are pushed by thunderous drums to a chorus of what could be described as vocal hoots and a downward zigzagging of his voice. Melodically, it’s a rather playful track, even though it’s about an intimate subject.

‘My Way’ is a real genre-bender; hip-hop-style drum beats, oriental-tinted synths, a repetitive hook and wonderful production trills, such as subtle, underlying female vocals, make this one of the best songs on the record. An effortless breakdown calms the mood right before bursting back into the repetitive, yet highly addictive chorus. Think EDM elements meet rock with a slightly Asian-flavoured edge.

And of course there’s ‘Fade Away’ which has a very Tom Odell-sounding melody, in places. It’s an emotionally devastating, piano and string-led track, that honestly brings tears to the eyes. Naturally, in its more heightened moments, Tom’s signature, raspy vocals shine through but during the quieter parts, his interesting annunciation and poetic lyricism make this track truly bewitching.

This is a stunning, diverse album that is sure to make massive waves throughout the industry and I’m certain will be a benchmark album for years to come.

‘Now You’re Gone’ featuring Zara Larsson is very electronic in tone with laser-like bass notes and a broken-up rhythm, ‘Blessings’ has an Ed Sheeran vibe and takes a candid look at the modern lifestyle, whilst ‘Dominoes’ is a very political track and another honest take on the state of the world right now, becoming wonderfully chaotic and grungy by the end.

Intrigue doesn’t stop there either, ‘Cry Out’ is like a dark western soundtrack (somewhat reminding me of the Peaky Blinders theme) with chain-clinking sounds giving it a laborious edge and ‘Just You And I’ is an old fan favourite – a big, positive love song. Possibly the most captivating track on the record has to be ‘The Show’ – a story-like track about London that really gives the sense of physically moving through the city streets, just listening to it. It has a real jazzy feel which sound effects weaving throughout the storytelling.

One thing’s for certain, Tom Walker has a very unique blend of styles throughout his music; reggae and urban vibes, with subtle hip-hop undertones are met by electronic synth elements and drum pads, combined with real instruments and rock-tinted vocals all underpinned by sincere, heartfelt (and even occasionally political) lyrical themes. I think I can even detect Bob Marley influences in places – reggae sounds and political themes…or is that just me? Sure, at times his voice is quirky and high-pitched but that is met in equal measure by the grittier, growlier and more powerful moments.

You can’t help but want to compartmentalise him as a singer-songwriter or a pop star but he truly breaks every mould you try to apply him to. He has successfully crafted an outstanding debut album that takes elements from many different genres and styles, mashing them up into the perfect concoction of contemporary pop. Despite being an eclectic collection, it still manages to be entirely cohesive. This is a stunning, diverse album that is sure to make massive waves throughout the industry and I’m certain will be a benchmark album for years to come.

It can only get bigger for him from here and I can’t wait to see what new heights Tom Walker soars to next…I’m just pleased I got to see him at The Green Door Store in Brighton (review here) before it all took off.

Rating
5


‘What A Time To Be Alive’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/what-a-time-to-be-alive/1435094194


What A Time To Be Alive on Spotify

Leave A Light On (Official Video)

Just You and I (Official Video)

Angels (Official Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of Tom Walker’s stunning debut, What A Time To Be Alive? Are you as much of a fan as us? What would you rate it? 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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#MellowMonday: Zara Larsson – ‘Ruin My Life (Piano Version)’


   

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Zara Larsson is an incredible pop singer-songwriter from Sweden, who has collaborated with the likes of Clean Bandit (Symphony) and MNEK (‘Never Forget You‘), and released a whole heap of monster solo hits too.

Since the release of her debut album, So Good, back in 2017, she has been busy touring and undoubtedly working on new music with her latest single, ‘Ruin My Life’ being her first new music since then.

The song itself is a very up-beat pop track that has some rather wonderful production but since the release of the piano version, I haven’t been able to get enough of it. It’s amazing how such a catchy pop track can be made into such a beautiful ballad just by stripping it back to a piano!

Sit back, relax, turn it up loud and get lost in all of its beauty!

What are your thoughts on the piano version of this pop song? 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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‘Ruin My Life (Piano Version)’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/ruin-my-life-piano-version-single/1443604009


#Playlist: Brighton Pride Weekender 2018


   

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Brighton Pride is fast approaching and to celebrate, we have created our first ever, Brighton Pride Weekender playlist dedicated to one of the city’s biggest annual events to promote equality and diversity with the aim to eliminate discrimination against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

This playlist has been lovingly crafted to include a variety of tracks, by the artists performing at Brighton Pride 2018, as well as some other great anthems!

If you already own the songs and want the custom artwork, please feel free to copy/download it below:

Brighton Pride Weekender 2018.jpg


We hope you enjoy this playlist as much as we’ve enjoyed creating it! Please share the link to this post, or the playlist itself and give it a cheeky follow on Spotify too – https://open.spotify.com/user/muzik5peaks/playlist/5nXqTcFL05VwLPppVaNIE6?si=fV9Vk8vDQgCVQUgAUzI9ng. If you’ve got any songs to suggest for us to add, please let us know 🙂

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#Two4Tunesday: Clean Bandit – ‘Symphony’ featuring Zara Larsson & Linkin Park – ‘Battle Symphony’


   

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Clean Bandit – ‘Symphony’ featuring Zara Larsson

I’ve loved Clean Bandit ever since their monster single, ‘Rather Be’, which dominated the charts all over the world. Since then, they’ve had a string of other successful hits, including ‘Extraordinary’‘Tears’ and the equally successful, ‘Rockabye’. I genuinely feel that this latest single could well parallel the success of ‘Rather Be’ and ‘Rockabye’ with it’s beautiful orchestral sounds, outstanding vocals from the superbly talented Zara Larsson and the coupling of an emotionally-charged music video.

Clean Bandit are sure to release a follow-up to their debut album soon, judging by their releasing of new music recently.

The video has just been released and is tragically beautiful – it follows the love of a young, black, gay couple – I won’t say any more about the tragedy of it, but it’s definitely worth a watch below!


‘Symphony’ is on iTunes for downloading now! – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/symphony-feat-zara-larsson/id1210094024?i=1210094302



Linkin Park – ‘Battle Symphony’

Linkin Park are finally back but sadly it would seem that some people are not feeling the new sound! If you ask me, I think the band are showing an impressive diversity and ability to adapt themselves, not just regurgitate the same thing!

They recently released the stunning single, ‘Heavy’, featuring pop singer Kiiara, which is the first time the band have featured a female vocalist on an original song, for a studio album. Now they’re back with another contemporary track from their upcoming album One More Light‘Battle Symphony’. If these newest songs are anything to go by, I am incredibly excited about the new album – it should be set to be hugely different but utterly captivating. Bring it on!

No official video has been released yet but we’ll keep you updated on this.


‘Battle Symphony’ can also be downloaded from iTunes now! – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/battle-symphony/id1204427627?i=1204427655


Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#Playlist: Cassettemix + Chill

We felt it was time to create the ultimate chillout playlist, combining as many different genres as possible into one, super-relaxing, easy-listening place. This playlist has been lovingly crafted to include a variety of chilled songs we love as well as suggestions from you guys!

If you already own the songs and want the custom artwork, please feel free to copy/download the artwork below:

Cassettemix + Chill

Cassettemix + Chill Playlist

This genre-spanning playlist includes the following chilled-out tracks:

  1. Justin Bieber – I’ll Show You
  2. Chris Malinchak – So Good To Me
  3. DJ Snake – Let Me Love You featuring Justin Bieber (Andrew Watt Acoustic Remix)
  4. Aquilo – Sorry
  5. Years & Years – Eyes Shut
  6. The 1975 – Paris
  7. The Japanese House – Swim Against The Tide
  8. MUNA – So Special
  9. Zara Larsson – Lush Life (Acoustic Version)
  10. The Beach – Geronimo (Acoustic Version)
  11. Years & Years – Without
  12. George Ezra – Budapest
  13. Amy Winehouse – Tears Dry (Original Version)
  14. Simply Red – Holding Back The Years
  15. Timeflies – Stuck With Me
  16. John Mayer – Who You Love featuring Katy Perry
  17. One Direction – Perfect (Matoma Remix)
  18. X Ambassadors – Renegades
  19. Sons Of Maria – You & I
  20. Ella Eyre – We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off
  21. Alex Parks – Out Of Touch
  22. You+Me – Break The Cycle
  23. Freshlyground – I’d Like
  24. George Michael – Jesus To A Child
  25. Chicane – Poppiholla (5am Mix)
  26. Sia – Elastic Heart (Piano Version)
  27. Miley Cyrus – Adore You
  28. TIEKS – Sunshine featuring Dan Harkna (Acoustic Version)
  29. Echosmith – Cool Kids (Acoustic)
  30. Ben Haenow – Second Hand Heart featuring Kelly Clarkson (Acoustic)
  31. Ella Henderson – Missed
  32. Kelly Clarkson – Piece By Piece (Idol Version)

I hope you enjoy this playlist as much as I’ve enjoyed creating it! Please share the link to this post, or the playlist itself and give it a follow on Spotify too – https://open.spotify.com/user/muzik5peaks/playlist/3V0deIVNCsaBTc6haHRFrk

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#Two4Tunesday: Zara Larsson – ‘I Would Like’ & Starley – ‘Call On Me (Ryan Riback Remix)’


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Zara Larsson – ‘I Would Like’

Swedish singer, Zara Larsson, has been making waves across UK radio since last year and her recent single, ‘I Would Like’, is no exception.

The song is a huge pop anthem and sees Larsson put her trademark voice to good use and samples ‘Dat Sexy Body’ by the Jamaican singer Sasha.

It is the second single to be taken from Zara’s upcoming, second studio album and has already spent quite a while in the Top 10 of the UK charts, peaking at Number 2!

No official video has been released as of yet, so check out the lyric video below.


‘I Would Like’ is on iTunes for downloading now! – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/i-would-like/id1174091029?i=1174091103



Starley – ‘Call On Me (Ryan Riback Remix)’

‘Call On Me’ was the debut single from Australian singer Starley back in July 2016 but it was the remix, by Ryan Riback, that has recently found success across Europe.

It takes on that pop/tropical house style that is currently so popular but somehow still remains unique due to Starley‘s fantastic, catchy chorus. I’m definitely excited to see what else she releases in the future!

No video has been released for the remix single release but you can check it out in a YouTube video below.


‘Call On Me (Ryan Riback Remix)’ can also be downloaded from iTunes now! – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/call-on-me-ryan-riback-remix/id1163190877?i=1163191089


Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#Two4Tunesday: Muzik Speaks’ 1st Birthday Playlist

Here’s a playlist of all the #Two4Tunesday songs we’ve featured during our first year…enjoy!


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Muzik Speaks is 1 year old this week and to celebrate this milestone, we’re giving you a themed playlist, for each day this week. The playlist will contain all of the songs we’ve featured on our blog during the past year, all themed around the corresponding day.

Today, it’s #Two4Tunesday and our playlist includes:

  1. Dappy  – Beautiful Me
  2. Frankmusik – Stabilizher
  3. Ellie Goulding – Love Me Like You Do
  4. Taylor Swift – Blank Space
  5. Conor Maynard – Talking About
  6. Marlon Roudette – When The Beat Drops Out
  7. Years & Years  – King
  8. Angels & Airwaves – Bullets In The Wind
  9. Jason Derulo – Want To Want Me
  10. Lucy Spraggan – Unsinkable
  11. Nick Jonas – Jealous
  12. Luke Friend – Hole In The Heart
  13. TEAM* – I Like It
  14. New City Kings – Change
  15. Omi – Cheerleader
  16. Deorro – Five More Hours featuring Chris Brown
  17. Taio Cruz – Do What You Like
  18. Life Of Dillon – Overload
  19. Britney Spears – Pretty Girls featuring Iggy Azalea
  20. Prides – Higher Love
  21. Maroon 5 – This Summer
  22. Walk The Moon – Shut Up And Dance
  23. Ryn Weaver – The Fool
  24. Ella Eyre – Together
  25. Aston Merrygold – Get Stupid
  26. Little Mix – Black Magic
  27. Passion Pit – Lifted Up (1985)
  28. Owl City – Verge featuring Aloe Blacc
  29. LunchMoney Lewis – Bills
  30. Dappy – 100 (Built For This)
  31. Frankmusik – This
  32. Years & Years – Shine
  33. Blonde – All Cried Out featuring Alex Newell
  34. Sigma – Glitterball featuring Ella Henderson
  35. Conrad Sewell – Hold Me Up
  36. Tinie Tempah – Not Letting Go featuring Jess Glynne
  37. Trevor Guthrie – Summertime
  38. Jerry Orbach & Angela Lansbury – Be Our Guest (Beauty & The Beast)
  39. Robin Williams – Friend Like Me (Aladdin)
  40. Adriana Castelotti – With A Smile And A Song (Snow White)
  41. Tommy Luske & Bobby Driscoll – You Can Fly! You Can Fly! You Can Fly! (Peter Pan)
  42. John Newman – Come And Get It
  43. Stefano Pain & Maury Lobina – Take Me Back
  44. Flo Rida – I Don’t Like It, I Love It featuring Robin Thicke & Verdine White
  45. Cash Cash – Take Me Home featuring Bebe Rexha
  46. Prince Royce – Back It Up featuring Jennifer Lopez & Pitbull
  47. The Score – Oh My Love
  48. Prides – Little Danger
  49. Digital Farm Animals – True
  50. Robin Thicke – Back Together featuring Nicki Minaj
  51. Pia Mia – Do It Again featuring Chris Brown
  52. MOKS – Otherwise featuring James Arthur
  53. Dappy – Money Can’t Buy
  54. Ellie Goulding – On My Mind
  55. Pentatonix – Can’t Sleep Love
  56. Major Lazer – Lean On featuring MØ & DJ Snake
  57. Philip George – Alone No More
  58. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – Downtown featuring Melle Mel, Grandmaster Caz, Kool Moe Dee & Eric Nally
  59. KStewart – Ain’t Nobody
  60. Melissa Steel – You Love Me? featuring Wretch 32
  61. Aquilo – Good Girl
  62. Olly Murs – Kiss Me
  63. Sia – Alive
  64. Justin Bieber – Sorry
  65. Ben Haenow – Second Hand Heart featuring Kelly Clarkson
  66. David Guetta – Bang My Head featuring Sia & Fetty Wap
  67. LÉON – Treasure
  68. Good Charlotte – Makeshift Love
  69. Tinashe – Player featuring Chris Brown
  70. Fleur East – Sax
  71. St Lucia – Dancing On Glass
  72. Hailee Steinfield – Love Myself
  73. Craig David x Big Narstie – When The Bassline Drops
  74. Coldplay – Adventure Of A Lifetime
  75. The Vamps – Wake Up
  76. The 1975 – UGH!
  77. Coasts – You
  78. Matoma – Running Out featuring Astrid S
  79. Zara Larsson – Lush Life
  80. MKTO – Classic
  81. Walking On Cars – Two Stones
  82. Elle King – Ex’s & Oh’s
  83. Izzy Bizu – White Tiger
  84. ZAYN – PILLOWTALK
  85. NAO – Bad Blood
  86. Greyson Chance – Afterlife
  87. Fleur East – More And More
  88. KStewart – Be Without You
  89. Sigala – Say You Do featuring Imani & DJ Fresh
  90. Beyoncé – Formation
  91. Rihanna – Work featuring Drake
  92. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – Kevin featuring Leon Bridges
  93. Halsey – Colors

If you want to download the songs and use a custom cover for them, here’s one we’ve made for you 🙂

Two4Tunesday Cover

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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