Category Archives: Reviews

Tinashe’s Debut Album Exceeds Expectations (Track-by-track review)

Prepare for the R&B world to change because 21 year-old singer and songwriter Tinashe Kachingwe, better known as simply Tinashe, proved she is here to stay on her stellar debut album Aquarius. Her Rihanna-esque vocals combined with big-name producers like DJ Mustard and Mike WiLL Made It allow her talent to truly shine. The music world was expecting a polished project, especially since Tinashe’s older mixtapes sounded promising, but Tinashe exceeds all expectations. The infectious lead single, “2 On” wowed critics and fans and the rest of her album certainly does not disappoint. The meticulous fusion of alternative R&B and hip-hop creates for a hypnotizing sound and an intense listening experience. She experiments with alternative sounds without losing consistency. It’s different, but current and it feels so right. Read on for a track-by-track review of Aquarius.

“Aquarius”: Tinashe introduces her breathy falsetto and seductive sound in the lead track. It’s easy to get lost in the many layers of the song, but it’s not the best representation of her vocal ability. “Welcome to my world,” she coos as she prepares listeners for what’s to come.

“Bet” ft. Devonte Hynes: It’s almost impossible to ignore her vocal similarity to Rihanna in this hauntingly beautiful track. Her alluring aesthetic and electronic base is most definitely Drake-inspired, but the most notable part of this song are the lyrics. “Imma be around forever, always. You can bet on it.” This may be her debut album, but Tinashe is anything but a rookie and she plans to be around for a long time. Devonte Hynes provides a striking guitar outro, wrapping up the song with an addicting sound. The production is top-notch, and this is certainly a standout track.

“Cold Sweat”: Switching between airy vocals and casual rapping, Tinashe showcases her vocal versatility in this track. “This pressure ain’t for everybody,” she sings, expressing the downsides of fame. She goes into her beautiful upper register in order to provide a memorable outro sprinkled with ambient noise.

“2 On” ft. ScHoolboy Q: Played on dance floors across the nation, this catchy dance club anthem launched Tinashe’s name into the R&B world. However, the song isn’t consistent with the rest of the album’s smooth, mystical sound. “2 On” is definitely for the general public, but the best songs on the album have a lot more depth than this club banger.

“How Many Times” ft. Future: Tinashe slows down her pace in this sensual track, which sounds like it was made specifically for lovemaking. French whispers and minimalist beats play behind her smooth vocals. The song takes a strange turn when Future comes in with a choppy rap verse, but Tinashe is able to pick it back up and finish with a strong ending.

“What Is There to Lose (Interlude)”: “What is reality? What is the truth if truth is subjective? In a world so overcome with hatred and greed, what is there to lose? In love.” This short interlude poses some big questions and its mystical production creates an intense trance-like aesthetic.

“Pretend” ft. A$AP Rocky: Aquarius’ second single does not disappoint as Tinashe laments about a broken relationship. Her deep vocals combined with Detail’s flawless production give this track a leg up over most recent emotional ballads. Everybody can relate to the lyrics and the catchy chorus borders on addicting. A$AP Rocky makes a strong appearance, rapping about his sexual abilities.

“All Hands on Deck”: The heavy bassline and breezy flute on this track are unique, but the song’s lack of growth and over-repetition are hard to get past. It’s worth a listen, but there’s something missing from Cashmere Cat’s instrumental.

“Indigo Child (Interlude)”: Beyonce’s “Ghost” meets Britney Spears’ “Toxic”. This haunting interlude’s abstract sounds create a gripping experience. Tinashe presents herself as a beacon of light and serves the best interlude of the album.

“Far Side of the Moon”: A hopeless Tinashe contemplates what it would be like to fix her relationship before ultimately deciding to walk away. The verses overshadow the chorus, in which her voice sounds a little too whiney and mopey.

“Feels Like Vegas”: Just when the album almost reaches a dangerous lull, this addictive club banger saves the day. This track has extreme potential to be a massive club hit and its alluring bass proves why Stargate is a successful production duo.

“Thug Cry”: The songstress showcases her impressive rap-singing in this fleshy bop. Ashanti’s influence is undeniable and while “Thug Cry” is catchy, it’s one of the more forgettable tunes on the album.

“Deep in the Night (Interlude)” : This mysterious interlude features an innocent young girl singing with a live piano. Sounding like an old recital, the brief clip provides a good introduction for “Bated Breath.”

“Bated Breath”: In arguably one of her best vocals on the album, Tinashe laments about a tumultuous love. The gradual build up of the edgy piano is reminiscent of Coldplay’s Mylo Xyloto. The tension between the instrumental and her vocals mirror her problems with love.

“Wildfire”: Concluding her lethal romance, the singer supplies a crisp final record. The hint of grainy bass combines surprisingly well with her airy falsetto.

“The Storm (Outro)”: Alluding to the album title, Tinashe supplies one last interlude, featuring storm sounds rumbling over a quiet piano. A mysterious and solid ending to a fantastic debut album.


You can find Aquarius on iTunes or stream it on Spotify.

Mariah Carey Releases New Song!

Mariah Carey has been hinting at a comeback for a while now, even quoting herself as her own inspiration for her new album. Her new song “Thirsty” features rapper Rich Homie Quan and is the newest release from her new album, Me. I am Mariah…The Elusive Chanteuse, which is set to release on May 27.

mariah-carey-thirsty

If I’m being honest, I’m not a huge fan of the song. It’s extremely catchy, but it gets old after the second listen. I miss the old Mariah; the Mariah that belted “Through the Rain”, the Mariah that astonished us all with her rare vocal skills. The song lacks lyrical and vocal depth, however its catchiness gives it top-20 potential.

Listen to the song here:

http://revolt.tv/video/first-listen-mariah-carey-ft-rich-homie-quan-thirsty/66859648-E559-4CD9-A79C-EC40E1434DD6

What do you guys think? Is Mariah headed in the right direction or do you prefer her old style of music?

New Ariana Grande Song ft. Iggy Azeala Breaks Records

Ariana Grande released her new single, “Problem” earlier this week. It broke records for the fastest single to get to number 1 on iTunes. The smash rocketed to the top of the charts in just 37 minutes. Ariana tweeted:

loves u broke a record! Problem is now the fastest song to ever climb to no 1 on@iTunesmusic only 37 minutes u are the most amazing” -@ArianaGrande

The song is definitely catchy, but it almost gets worse with every listen because it loses its excitement. I would still recommend listening to it because it’s bound to be a summer hit!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hXb4QCQs-zs

Song of the Day: Super Rich Kids

You can listen to “Super Rich Kids” by Frank Ocean (ft. Earl Sweatshirt)  below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GS_K2eg7Gx8

This is my favorite Frank Ocean song because of its sincere, raw emotion. You don’t typically hear about the troubles that come with being wealthy because most popular music discusses how being rich and famous is amazing. On top of that, Ocean samples Mary J. Blige’s “Real Love,” which is interesting in itself.

Listen to this song in its entirety, and then listen again. Once you soak it in and understand it, you can use it as a background song because of its smooth composition. It’s a dynamic song because its lyrics require your full attention, but its composition encourages relaxation.

Song of the Day: Chocolate

The 1975, an English alternative rock band, deliver in their catchy song “Chocolate”.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FfBKqaVk2Co

Although the song was released last March, it is just starting to gain popularity in the US. The 1975 are a band to keep on your radar because I am expecting great things from them in the future. “Chocolate” is about the vicious cycle of addiction, which is quite fitting considering that the song itself is dangerously addicting.

THE-1975-NEW

Miguel ft. Wale: Bennie and the Jets

Miguel and Wale released a fantastic remake of Elton John’s “Bennie and the Jets.”

miguel

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SPjq5H3AHGY

You might be rolling your eyes because a lot of hip-hop remakes fail to capture the essence of the original song. Give this one chance, though. You’ll thank me later.

Miguel’s soulful voice and vocal runs add a new aspect to the song. He changes the composition and production enough that it doesn’t feel like he is copying the original. The addition of the electric guitar and the alterations to the piano line create a new, vibrant feeling to the tune. I love the new take on this song, and even Elton John applauded it by saying, “Miguel’s done a fantastic job. It’s important not to copy, and that’s what Miguel did.”

I could have done without Wale’s rap verse and would have been more satisfied with Frank Ocean, but all in all, it’s a fresh remake of a fantastic song.

Kanye West: Top 10 Songs

It’s hard to narrow down Kanye’s songs because frankly, he’s a musical genius. His giant ego aside, it’s impossible to argue that Kanye has an unbelievable talent for song production, lyricism, and staying relevant in the media. From his debut album, The College Dropout in 2004 to his most recent album, Yeezus, Kanye has not only profoundly developed as an artist, but he has also continually set the standards for the industry. Here are 10 Kanye songs that you absolutely cannot miss out on:

1. Jesus Walks (The College Dropout, 2004)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MYF7H_fpc-g

“Jesus Walks” is one of Kanye’s most performed songs, and it’s for a very good reason. The vulnerable lyrics and heavy beat create a breathtaking tension.

2. New Slaves (Yeezus, 2013)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dT3swdCJrrg

Don’t be deceived by the simple beat; this hauntingly gritty song deals with slavery, racism, and materialism in the music industry. This song is ahead of its time and I guarantee that it will be coined a masterpiece within the next 5 years.

3. Flashing Lights (Graduation, 2007)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ila-hAUXR5U

This song has the capability of capturing its listeners in an absolute trance. Get lost in this old-school jam that gets more intriguing with every listen.

4. Monster (My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, 2010)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kWuOUijAbc

“Monster,” featuring Jay Z, Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj, and Bon Iver, is a monster in itself. The disturbing, creepy, and ominous song is a lot to take it, but the journey is 100% worth it. Plus, this is one of Nicki Minaj’s best verses.

5. Diamonds from Sierra Leone (Late Registration, 2005)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=92FCRmggNqQ

If you haven’t heard this song, listen to it right now. “Throw your diamonds in the sky.”

6. Runaway (My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, 2010)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bm5iA4Zupek

Kanye made a 30 minute film about this haunting song, which deals with relationship failures and the media’s daunting influence on him. The complex composition of the song mirrors West’s inner turmoil.

7. Blood on the Leaves (Yeezus, 2013)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D0QcxWPB59o

Kanye presents an intriguing contrast between sacred and profane, which is presented through his lyrics and through the song’s unique composition. The tension is overwhelmingly beautiful.

8. Ni**as in Paris (Watch the Throne, 2011)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gG_dA32oH44

Jay Z and Kanye create an irresistible club anthem, embodying strong beats, art, and excitement. This hit will go down in history.

9. Bound 2 (Yeezus, 2013)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BBAtAM7vtgc

This song is the most controversial on my list because many people think that the music video is laughable due to its inclusion of Kim Kardashian and its overly-cheesy graphics. Many rap fans also hate the messy composition of the song, but I think that the unique messiness of the production is a perfect representation of a relationship. This song is broken, but I think it’s beautiful and poignant. This, like many other songs on Yeezus, is ahead of its time.

10. Stronger (Graduation, 2007)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PsO6ZnUZI0g

This hip-hop song, infused with electronica, was an immediate hit. It’s almost impossible not to sing along, especially when you’re dancing at a club.

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