New Music Monday: The Kooks – Kids

One of my favorites, The Kooks are back with another album! I might need to do an entire in-depth article about their discography but for now here’s the title track from their album released this past Friday. While this isn’t their best album, there’s some really fun songs that sound like they belong on the Kooks’ first album Inside In/Inside Out. This album reminds me a lot of Junk of The Heart in that only about half the album is solid, which unlike Inside In/Inside Out, Konk and Listen, had an entire album full of great songs with very few “ehh” songs.

If you don’t have time to sit through the entire album. here’s the list of Good Songs on the Album:

I love this band so much all of those songs might make my end of the year Top 100 List…

But this article is here to talk about the song Kids – which is a ton of fun. I could definitely see them opening their sets with it. Very energetic, uplifting, it rocks and it gets the crowd involved right away. The references to The Who (“The Kids Are Not Alright”) and the lyric “I’m not trying to be what you want me to be” sounds like it was written right after listening to Quadrophenia. Wait for the drum breakdown with the background vocals singing – best part of the song.  It’s so much fun. It rocksLove love love.

Live Music: Anderson East @ The Sierra Nevada Brewery

Saw Anderson East last night at The Big Room at the Sierra Nevada Brewery in Chico, CA. Really cool experience to see a show at a brewery. Been a HUGE fan of Anderson East for a while and he’s been a bucket list guy for me. He has this folky, bluesy sound that I can only describe as modern oldies. It’s church music for me. It’s good old fashion hand-clappin, foot-stompin, heavy prevalence on the horn, modern blues.

The start of the show was really interesting. He didn’t come out high-energy like I expected. First song was a down-tempo version of Devil With Me, followed by If You Keep Leaving Me. Two great songs, but slow. If You Keep Leaving Me has some Beatle vibes to it for sure (definitely listen to the whole song, it builds up to an amazing outro). Then he picked it up with my Sorry You’re Sick and Surrender.

Highlight of the show might have been his cover of Sam & Dave’s Hold On I’m Comin‘. All time favorite song. He also covered Stay With Me by The Faces (Another all-time favorite) and Prince’s I Would Die For U

Check out some pictures from the show, and the studio versions of the songs mentioned above.

New Music Monday: Logic – The Return

If I were ever to introduce Logic to somebody, I’d show them this song. Sure 1-800 is his big mainstream hit, but you don’t hear how good his flow can be or what influences him. It’s too much of a pop song to respect him as a rapper.

It wasn’t until I saw his episode of Netflix’s Rapture that I really grew to like and respect the guy. He’s the ONLY guy out here who cares more about preaching positive vibes instead of rap-beefs (a literal lyric in this song). Logic is doing something nobody else has done before: he’s built a career rapping about Peace, Love and Positivity.

For every song about his messed up childhood, there’s a song about some sort of social change. To see where he’s come from and what he’s doing now is amazing. Got a lot of love for him.

His flow is insane in The Return, reminds me of Childish Gambino or Big Sean. The best part might be the Nina Simone Sample…or maybe it’s the La-Di-Da-Di Slick Rick mention in the first verse (which isn’t new as Mark Ronson points out)…Or maybe it’s the reference to Eminem’s Stan (Also not new)Or maybe it’s because he makes a pun out of Robert Dinero, (Also not new…)…Or maybe it’s when he calls out Mumble Rappers in the 3rd verse (he’s joins Eminem in the battle)…Or maybe it’s his mention of Outkast’s So Fresh and So Clean and Wu-Tang’s C.R.E.A.M. and Kanye West’s Heartless in Verse 3…Or maybe it’s the uplifting Chorus backed by more lyrics of peace, love and positivity

 

For the record I point out that maybe none of the things I love about about this song are “new” or “original” ideas, but that doesn’t matter. A song doesn’t need to be 100% original to be good. I’m a big fan of an artist looking back on history and making these references, showing what their exact influences are. Logic – you will always have my respect.

Shout out to my boy Justin who told me to watch Rapture…great show

Dance Break: Chainsmokers ft. Emily Warren – Side Effects

A few years ago I went to a Radio convention (yes those exist) and they had a speakers from different labels discussing what it takes to market a song and make it a hit. When the speaker from Columbia Records spoke it was all about how easy it was to sign The Chainsmokers.

Nobody wanted to add them because they were thought of as a commodity after #Selfie (which the band very much wants you to forget). It was nothing like they’re other songs and no other label cared to listen past #Selfie. Or even Kanye, their next single which with some more serious lyrics – like not about Kanye West – could have been a hit. You see the seeds in what makes them great with the piano intro and big chorus sound.

Columbia saw their potential and they became the biggest EDM act. When we look back on 2016/2017 we’ll think about the rise of Chainsmokers. Every song was a hit for them.

Then they sort of went away…After Roses/Don’t Let Me Down/Closer/Paris/Something Just Like This, they released a new album that didn’t have any hits (Paris and Something Just Like This was released months prior to the album coming out) and felt like a body of work only their fans enjoyed.

It featured Andrew taking more of the lead singer role as opposed to finding singers to feature on their songs. Maybe these songs would have done better with a featured singer instead of Andrew – his voice isn’t the best – it’s passes but doesn’t make you go WOW (a la Emily Warren or Daya or Halsey).

So they kept releasing singles but none of it successful. Maybe because everyone was just tired of them. That happens – Some Examples: After the 5th Taylor Swift single from 1989, New Romantics (a great song), it was like, “ok enough” and didn’t do as well as it could have. There’s the same feeling after Ed Sheeran’s 4th single Photograph off of X. Although a great ballad, it just felt too much like Thinking Out Loud and in the moment it was just boring. Heavydirtysoul, the 5th single from Twenty One Pilot’s Blurryface is an amazing song but also felt like overkill. I think Zedd is the next to get there after Starving/Stay/The Middle and now Happy Now is gaining traction…he’s getting there. Maybe, if they took a year off without releasing any new music, Honest would have been a hit. Honest follows the same formula as Paris and Closer. Everybody Hates Me has some very interesting old-school Mid-00’s emo vibes mixed with an EDM Hook and that could have worked on radio, if it was the first single back from a year long hiatus that shows they’ve grown as musicians.

So although they’ve released 7 singles since Something Just like This they haven’t had another radio hit until…Side Effects. It growing pretty fast and I expect (and hope!) it’s another big hit for them.

For starters – it has a bit of an 80’s vibe and Andrew’s part in the song right after the chorus is super catchy.

Bonus: Camila Mendes from Riverdale (not a band started by Camila Cabello and Shawn Mendes…but please?) carelessly dances in a weird yet fun way that doesn’t really go with the song. But now every time I hear the song I can’t stop thinking about her moves.

Cover It Up: James Bay “If I Ain’t Got You” (Alicia Keys)

I’m a sucker for a good cover. And this is probably better than the original…

By far my favorite Alicia Keys song. It’s been covered many times (Maroon 5 – has a great version), but this is by far the best. James channels Alicia’s soul in this version.