Category Archives: Music

Lorde

In a music industry with female artists who like to make a scene with their over-the-top fashion sense, inappropriate public displays, and ridiculous lyrics, Lorde’s seemingly humble persona is a breath of fresh air. The only vehicle she is using to make a scene is her music, and it is quite showing. This 17-year-old musician has burst onto the music scene with a unique music style that has proved to be irresistible to myself and the rest of the world.

She first won over our hearts with her song ‘Royals’. This song was released with her first EP called ‘The Love Club’ in November 2012. Within the first 5 seconds of hearing the song, I was on the Lorde train; and I wanted more. The simple sounds of her voice with the driving beat were so mesmerizing to me. The first chance I got, I found the rest of her EP and listened to it non-stop. I couldn’t get enough of Lorde. It amazed me that the simplicity of ‘Royals’ that I loved so much carried over to the rest of her songs. Yet they all sounded so different.

Soon after ‘Royals’ started playing on the radio, her full album (‘Pure Herione’) was released in September 2013. It was perfect timing for me because the play count on her EP was getting pretty high. ‘Pure Heroine’ gave me something else to get obsessed about. “Obsessed” is not an exaggeration. Yet again, I immediately fell in love with how she combined her lyrics with the beats and sounds that make up each song.

As I briefly touched on earlier, one of the most attractive things about Lorde’s music to me is her unique style. It doesn’t sound like anything on the radio right now. Her almost creepy voice juxtaposed with the beauty of her lyrics creates this interesting blend of emotions. She seems to know what I want out of each song, and hits it perfectly.

The danger with her style of music, however, is that there is risk of the songs bleeding together. Most of her songs have the traditional progression of verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus. That, along with the heavy drum beats, could very easily throw an artist into a rut. In spite of this, Lorde seems to have found a way to make each song sound so different and special–an amazing attribute to her album that furthers my intrigue.

Another aspect of Lorde’s music that draws me in is her lyrics. They invite listeners to join her on her journey of self-discovery, as most teenagers go through. They are so true and honest, it reminds me of what it is like to be a teenager trying to figure out what this life is about. She is showing us her true self with her lyrics, and I want to know what that looks like. They are far more intelligent than anything I could have written at her age, and far more intelligent than what most other female artists are writing about today. This is the main reason I think of her music as a breath of fresh air.

In my post about Macklemore, I addressed his album’s title and artwork. I feel the same way about Lorde’s album.

lorde-pure-heroine-410

The title is so simple and strong. Just like her music, she doesn’t try to make the album’s title and artwork fancy or complicated. She understands the beauty and creativity in keeping things simple and getting to the point.
‘Pure Heroine’ almost describes how I feel about the album. As a heroine addict would crave the drug when they are not able to use it, so I crave for this album when I am not listening to it.

Okay. That may be a dramatic comparison, but I think it gets my point across.

I would encourage each of you to listen to her whole album, not just the songs that play on the radio. With an artist like Lorde, the full album gives you more than just good music–it gives you an understanding of who she is as a person. If you like any artist that you hear on the radio, you should try to find more of their music. Don’t settle for that one song that gets overplayed. Buy music from artists you like because that is when you really learn things about music, about the artist, and about yourself.

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Thank you, Macklemore

If you are even remotely interested in music, there is a good chance you have heard of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis at some point in the past few months. If not, you may have heard their hit song “Thrift Shop” played on the radio, or on the radio in the car next to you. Nonetheless, they have become a  phenomenon among the rap culture in America and Europe. They released their album “The Heist” in October, 2012 and have been blowing up since the release.

The crazy thing is that they have been releasing singles from this album since 2010! They released their first song, “My Oh My” in December of 2010, which tells a story of a young boy growing up in Seattle, cheering for the Mariners. Then they released “Wings” in January of 2011, “Can’t Hold Us” in August of that same year, “Same Love” in July of 2012, and “Thrift Shop” in August.

The first time I found out about M&RL (I can call them that, we are pretty good friends),  my friend turned on “Thrift Shop” while we were in the car and I fell in love.

You need to know something about me: I get very excited about music. For me, there are few things more exciting than finding a new band that I can’t stop listening to. I get obsessed with music.

The first time I heard “Thrift Shop”, I could not help but bob my head to the beat and arm-dance with that amazing saxophone hook (remember, I was in the car). I could not stop thinking about that song. The whole week, all I could think about was the way the catchy beat matched up perfectly with Macklemore’s intricate, well written lyrics. I felt like I had heard it a thousand times.

Then, one glorious day, I got the album. “The Heist”. So simple. Just looking at the album artwork made me happy. The black background with gold writing seemed to say “We Mean Business”. And they do.

Most musical artists nowadays work really hard on one song. They put their best lyrics and beats into a single song, release it, and wait for the Top 40 radio station to pick it up. The sad part is that many people only want to hear those singles. I started getting tired of rap music because musicians started competing for a slot in the Top 40 chart instead of trying to make a solid album.

It is hard for me to call a lot of these musicians “artists” because art is more about the feeling of a piece than the actual content.  I know I like an art piece or poem because I have an emotional response to it. I feel something when I look at it or read it. It causes me to think, reflect, and react.

The “Top 40” songs do none of those things. I don’t need to react to any of those songs. I just listen. Sometimes they make my head bob, sometimes they don’t. Either way, it doesn’t affect my day after listening to them.

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ music makes me think about life. “The Heist” is a breath of fresh air for my musical taste. It helps me believe in rap and hip-hop again. For me, it is the definition of a complete hip-hop album. It makes me think about life, respond to the calls to action, and react to the emotional lyrics. It is more about the complete experience of the album than each individual song.

Speaking of lyrics, Macklemore knows how to write some incredible ones. That is half of the reason why I love the album so much. It speaks to more than just sex and money, like a lot of rap/hip-hop songs do. Even “Thrift Shop”, which made it on the Top 40 charts, speaks to the consumerism of the American culture. It is a fun, upbeat song that makes me want to dance, but the lyrics remind me that buying expensive clothes does not make me cool or important. Along with consumerism, the album addresses social justice issues, paints a picture of how he perceives American religion, and preaches to the joys of life. He uses his music as a platform to express his ideas and thoughts about life. That’s what art is all about right?

Oh, did I mention that they produced and released “The Heist” BY THEMSELVES? In their song “Jimmy Iovine”, Macklemore’s lyrics describes the situation that led them to produce the album with no record label. In fact, THEY CREATED THEIR OWN RECORD LABEL.  Normal people just don’t do that. Or, at least not until they become legends in the hip-hop world. Even more, they did all their own publicity and still became popular enough to move into the Top 40 charts. Wow.

I write all of this to say: Thank you, Macklemore. Thank you for creating a tasteful album that makes me feel the music and believe in the lyrics you are rapping. Thank you for giving me a reason to love hip-hop.