Monthly Archives: June 2017

On My Loop: Charly Bliss – Ruby

With vocals akin to the likes of Mars Argo (which I might describe as a “baby doll” with helium?) and instrumentation that’s a mix of grunge and pop, there’s very little to not like about this band. The lead singer’s vocals aren’t usually something I’d stay around for but there’s a high-powered energy to her style of singing that I just got hooked on. It feels like she’s managed to harness the impossibly high falsetto in her voice into something that sounds deceivingly sweet (she sounds nice and innocent but would daringly flip the bird right in your face). And I do hear a tinge of Weezer in the guitar solo – what’s not to like about that? The band may not be revolutionary but definitely has something that has been missing in the indie-rock genre (cause I suggest that hipsters branch out from something other than chillwave or synthwave or something of that like).

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Caught up in the Melodrama

1200x630bb.jpgLorde | Melodrama |

I rarely write about albums because I’m usually unfamiliar with the artist’s entire discography and I always think to myself that it’s necessary for me to hear how a particular musician has developed their sound through different albums. And I think I’m familiar enough with Lorde’s musical career that while listening to her new release, Melodrama, I had a few thoughts on how the singer-songwriter has either made alterations or improvements to her sound, both of which showcases Lorde’s maturity as a musician. I found her in the beginning to be an indie darling with her debut “The Love Club EP,” (when I was young and was very into electropop). It was a decent album but was just slightly lacklustre and was missing this special something. Then came “Pure Heroine” which of course garnered critical acclaim which was rightly deserved. That album was a refreshing take on pop music that felt different, authentically youthful and goddamn catchy. So it was normal to be excited to hear that Lorde was making new music but after hearing the first single “Green Light” I was kind of dubious about the new album. But “Liability” was then released and my hope was somewhat restored. It was a great ballad track, but it wasn’t what I was looking for in Lorde. I understand that musicians can take different directions with their music but the style of music on “Pure Heroine” had such an effect on me that it was hard to not look forward to it in her new album (she did not disappoint btw).

I think it’s great that Lorde took her time with “Melodrama” and it shows, the album feels complete and carefully thought through. But me being a huge snob had some qualms with some tracks. I’ve heard time and time again that “Hommade Dynamite” is probably the best track off the album and was the single that was never meant to be, but I kind of disagree. The track played out like it was targeting for the top charts (which I’m not too fond off). I feel the same way about the closing track “Perfect Places” (which I’m sure after a few more listens I’ll come around to it but for now I just kind of see to who it’s being catered to). “Hommade Dynamite” did however have one redeeming quality in which Lorde says so gingerly “now you know it’s really gonna blow” and makes an explosion sound which definitely shows her quirky (and down-to-earth i guess?) aspect of her music.

I’ve adored Lorde for her signature sound of layering her own voice over in tracks which presents her distinct originality and even puts her above the rest of other pop singers that just fall into the category of generic. And this was what “The Louvre” delivered – the track had a simple guitar riff in the beginning that built up Lorde’s own layered vocals that echoed throughout the track, giving it some sort of insurmountable depth. The chorus of this track, “broadcast the boom boom boom and make ’em all dance to it” is again something representative of Lorde’s quirkiness – it’s simple, meaningful and pretty memorable.

“Hard Feelings/Loveless” is basically two tracks combined into one and seems to have no bearing on each other (and I’m still not sure why they’re one track instead of two, probably could be how Lorde herself has transitioned and moved on from her past relationship and becoming a whole new person or something like that). Lorde said in an interview that “we can all do whatever we want in terms of instrumentation” and I think she tested that theory in this track (Hard Feelings) because I kind of hear a beat made out of doors squeaking. At times it sounds innovative and inventive, but at other times it really just sounds like a squeaky door.

Lorde also explored new sounds with the addition of orchestral instrumentation in “Sober II (Melodrama)” elevates the outpouring of emotion from the singer-songwriter (it changed my mind on solely looking for electropop when listening to her music). This pretty much goes for “Writer in the Dark” as well, with simply just piano instrumentation, it places focus on Lorde’s Fiona Apple-esque vocals and the emotion poured into this track was palpable. Lorde came across as genuinely hurt, portraying herself as the type to leap into a relationship rather than just dipping her toes in and accepting the consequences of her openhearted nature.

“Supercut” is alike to “Green Light” nothing breathtaking but not terrible either (I probably just need to listen to it on repeat or something).

“Liability (Reprise)” kind of brings a calming close to the emotional album before “Perfect Places.” It seemed like she’s come to terms with not only her shortcomings as a partner but also how the other had their own faults as well (basically it made me feel emotions). Her vocals are particularly raw here (maybe less so than “Writer in the Dark” but felt honest nevertheless) and the beat feels reminiscent of her previous single “Tennis Court” (which felt like a throwback to me).

A significant part of the album is Lorde divulging into a past relationship that has affected her in a big way and it felt like an open letter to her listeners. An open letter about her experiences as a youth under the limelight and the consequences of fame. The album had stellar production that suited Lorde’s unmistakable musical style and the countless commendation is well-deserved.

 

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Peppy Hipsters

The other day I accidentally clicked on a Hippo Campus music video from my YouTube recommendations (i say accidentally because from the pastel-coloured thumbnail I was guessing I’ve heard this band’s sound before) and I realised how long I haven’t listened to simple, catchy and snappy indie guitar music. For some reason I always feel like I have to listen to music that’s unconventional and groundbreaking  (most probably to pander my insecurities regarding my self-worth ¯\_(ツ)_/¯). Trying to be a  music snob isn’t as easy as a melon (theneedledrop) makes it out to be. Experimental music isn’t exactly a genre you want to put on to unwind during vacation. So I decided to click on all the YouTube recommendations of indie music (after clicking that Hippo Campus music video) and I’ve compiled some of my favourite tracks into a playlist. I have no intention of offending hipsters with the title of this playlist but let’s face it, hipsters (including me) tend to gravitate towards music like this like a moth to a flame. Could you blame us? It’s like instant gratification in easily digestible tunes (which were made by people that kind of carry that hipster aesthetic as well?).

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