5 Songs I Can’t Get Enough Of

1. Sweater Weather by The Neighbourhood

This song has been on repeat since I discovered it. I literally cannot play this enough. At home, in the car, at work, in the shower. I love all versions of this song. It’s a slow, seductive beat with just a slight bounce in its step. It’s soft enough to jam to if you’re feeling mellow, but there’s enough to the song that you can sing it at the top of your lungs if you’re feeling it (which I usually am). I love the whole album (I Love You), but this track has stuck out to me since day one.

2. Chocolate by the 1975

Upbeat and poppy, this song brings some beautiful English blokes to the forefront. I’m going to be honest – most of the time I have no idea what the lyrics actually are (even after Googling them),  but you better believe I still sing along in a slurred, lisp-ish kind of way. This jam reminds me of what Oasis would be if they were thrown into a blender with some obnoxious bubble gum pop and what resulted was the best smoothie you’ve ever tasted. I’m anxiously awaiting their newest album.

3. Explode by Patrick Stump

When FOB went on their hiatus, I was angry and resentful, so I mostly ignored all of the members for a good time. That included the time period when Patrick Stump went solo. Spotify recommended the album to me a few days ago after I’d been listening to some questionable tunes and some Fall Out Boy and I gave the album a listen and this song nearly made me fall out of my chair I was dancing so much. The rest of the album is all right (Patrick, you’re better with the band) but dude, this song blows the roof off of the building.

4. The Mother We Share by CHVRCHES

I know this is total hipster stuff, but really, this jam is hard to shy away from. There are some sick beats happening and then this slightly Ellie Goulding-ish vocal comes in and all hope is lost for you resisting this jam. I usually don’t like music like this, but something about this song is too catchy for its own good.

5. Electric Feel by MGMT

I always freak out when this song comes on Pandora when I’m in the shower and I never actually listened to MGMT in excess until a few days ago. This is the one song I keep coming back to, though. When I’m not listening to it, I’m thinking about it. When I’m not thinking about it, I’m listening to it. This is a perfect song to turn on at 4:56 when you need that little extra boost to get through your work day. You’ll be lost in the solar beats and and soothed by the gentle rocking motion until you’re ready to walk out that door in peace after a long day. Seriously, I love this band.

I have these songs on a playlist to themselves on Spotify and I just listen to them over and over again at work. You’d think I would get sick of em, but they’re just that good.

What song(s) can you not get enough of right now?

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New Politics: A Bad Girl in Harlem

Beyond hearing about them because I’m seeing Fall Out Boy on Saturday, I didn’t know New Politics existed. I know. I know! I often feel so behind on the music times these days it’s ridiculous. I listen to such random things and I go off on tangents with different musical genres, I miss fantastic bands like this one. Luckily, I know this band exists and I know they’re awesome. To make matters even better, they just released a new CD – A Bad Girl In Harlem. Thanks, guys – just in time for me to see you live! Let’s have a listen.badgirlinharlem

The album starts off with Tonight You’re Perfect, a real upbeat song with some great group vocals. This song is a fast paced electrical storm, winding you up, slowing you down, and throwing you for a loop once more. Tonight you’re perfect. I wanna fall in love with the stars in your eyes.

Swiftly following that is Harlem, a song that almost feels dated until you realize you’ve been thrown into the sound equivalent of a gravity defying dance machine. I can’t stop listening. I listened to this one on repeat, and literally, you can’t not dance when you hear this song. I really hope they play this on Saturday. This song has so much energy, it almost feels like the notes are bursting at the seams, begging to twirl into the universe.

Stuck On You slows the roll down a little with some quaint piano and interesting vocals. Keeping things at a crawl, a few more instruments jump in when it’s time for the chorus. This song reminds me of early Marianas Trench, and if you don’t know, that is a band that I adore with every fiber of my being.

Give Me Hope echoes my feelings of Harlem. I feel like this is a pop punk group that grew like crystals out of the 80s. There’s something in the background that I can’t quite put my finger on that reminds me of the delicious tunes from the 80s that I can never get enough of. Just when you’re confused enough, they pull a very Beastie Boys move with some rock-n-roll-rap vibes. I like what they’re putting down with this style.

Just Like Me starts out with some rad guitar work and dives right into some post apocalyptic punk jives. This song is by far the hardest on the album. It reminds me of some garage punk – lots of screaming, thrashing guitars, delirious drums. I like a band that can switch it up and take things on a different level.

The album rounds out with Fall Into These Arms and the band takes it back down to their normal pace. The keyboards particularly jump out at me on this track – I love when rock bands utilize the keyboards – really more should try it. Keyboards add depth to the music and New Politics really know how to work on them – integrating them with the drums to amplify what’s already there or as a separate entity all together.

I had a listen to their self titled CD from 2010 when I first read that they were opening for my FOB date, but this CD blows any of my previous impressions out of the water. This CD is a definite lift to my spirits and I’m even more stoked for the show on Saturday. If you guys are reading, promise me you’ll play Harlem in Charlotte?

 

Key Tracks
Harlem (track 2)
Tonight You’re Perfect (track 1)
Just Like Me (track 9)

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Fall Out Boy: Save Rock and Roll

So many artists reemerging into the music scene lately!

Fall Out Boy holds a special place in my heart and my life. I listened to them during some interesting periods of life and no matter what you do, you can’t let go of those bands that went through so much with you. One night, I listened to FOB literally the entire night. It was the strangest experience – I kept waking up feeling like I was falling or spinning fobor just in a different world all together. The scene got weird – a lot of these tiny rock bands from meager beginnings were suddenly the super famous ones on the cover of teeny magazines. It was best that a lot of those collapsed. It was also best for Fall Out Boy to take a break, breathe, and reconsider what music meant to them. Seems like Save Rock And Roll is their answer.

The album opens with a strong song, yelling at you to put on your war paint! with the most intense of purposes. The Phoenix rocks like Fall Out Boy hasn’t done in ages. This song is the absolute best to scream at the top of your lungs. Whatever happened during the hiatus needs a big high five. This song kicks the boat and doesn’t quit.

If you haven’t heard My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light Em Up) yet, then stop this madness and fix it. I listened to this song on repeat for longer than I’d like to admit when it dropped. I also have to give kudos to their team behind this whole back-to-the-music-scene business. There were rumors for such a long time – it felt like it was monthly – that FOB was back together. And every single time these stirrings were so adamantly denied. Without that, the dropping of this single wouldn’t have had the impact it did. They shocked people. The ones that said “oh, I knew it” didn’t know it – everyone heard the rumors, dufus, shut up. Dropping this with no prior talk – no video (looking at you JT), no nothing – was absolutely genius. Then they went and played a show that evening. Genius, I tell you. That’s how you go about marketing, kids.

Just One Yesterday delievers one of the things I love the most about Fall Out Boy. If you’ve heard a few FOB songs, I guarantee you can recall some sleazy-yet-hilariously-catchy lyrics. Thank god this album does not let you down. Anything you say can and will be held against you, so only say my name it will be held against you. Behind the lyrics, this song is one of my favorites on the album. It keeps it upbeat and funky. I want to teach you a lesson in the worst kind of way. This song also introduces the first of many guest vocals on the album in the form of Foxes.

The guest vocals come up again in The Mighty Fall – a song that strangely sounds like it could’ve been mixed by the like of Skrillex Lite with the dropping of the bass that happens repeatedly. I can really jam to this song. I also tip my proverbial hat off to the band for having Big Sean come and drop a rap verse in this song. I love hearing genres combined like this.

My favorite song on the record, hands down, is Miss Missing You. This song has the old gleam of sweet FOB with the revamped fire under their collective asses. It makes me nostalgic and excited for their future as a band. Sometimes before it gets better the darkness gets bigger, the person that you’d take the bullet for is behind the trigger. Oh, we’re fading fast. I miss missing you now and then. Listen closely and note the relationship the guitar and drums have during this song – kind of like they’re on a see-saw. I really can’t get enough of this jam.

Two more songs with guest vocals wrap up this power-trip of an album. Courtney Love joins the band on Rat A Tat. I’ve never been a huge fan of grunge and the like. I can respect the bands for what they do – but it’s just not my thing. I like a few Hole songs and have a couple albums on my iTunes, but Courtney Love isn’t my favorite musician. She adds an interesting element to this song, I’m just not sure it’s the right fit. During her vocals, the music speeds up like you’re on a bad acid trip and then levels back out when Patrick takes over again. It’s a bit unsettling. This is probably my least favorite song on the album. Whoops.

The album wraps up in the most spectacular of ways – with pianos and mister Can You Feel The Love Tonight himself. Elton John joins the band on the closing number and title track, Save Rock and Roll. This song has the feeling of an 80’s rock anthem – where you’d see some tight animal print pants, lots of big hair, pyro, and a ton of coordinating lights flashing all around. This song rules. When Elton John hits the highest point of this song with you are what you love, not who loves you. In a world full of the word yes, I’m here to scream NO I’d dare you not to stop whatever you were doing. I can rarely resist a fist punch to the air with the “no” at the end of that phrase – but maybe those are just my over-dramatics coming out again. Who knows.

All I know is this album is fantastic. It’s been so long since a new Fall Out Boy song haunted my mind, and now these 11 songs won’t leave. And I know the band has gotten a lot of commentary from the title of the album – but really, where would you be in your life without some delusions of grandeur?

Is rock and roll in trouble? Yeah, a lot of trouble. Is Fall Out Boy going to single handedly save a genre? No, but it’s still fun to have them back. Can’t wait to see these guys live for the first time ever in June. Well done, boys.

 

Key Tracks
Miss Missing You (track 7)
Save Rock and Roll (track 11)
The Phoenix (track 1)

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Don’t forget to support the bands you love and believe in!

Recently, I had some exposure to Kickstarter as my place of employment launched and successfully funded an amazing project. It’s a great place for people to come together and support a goal – and how fun it is to see the project through after it’s funded!

I don’t usually do this here – in fact, this is a first. I rarely make posts that aren’t album reviews unless they’re little messages or updates, but this is something that just struck me.

I was jamming out to The Dear Hunter today while I was doing some graphic design at work and I happened to tweet about it. A couple of hours ago, I got a reply from a band who will be heading into the studio with Casey Crescenzo in May to record their first full length record.

The Elephant Room could use our help in funding this album through their Kickstarter campaign. It’s so important to support up and coming bands that you believe in. I can never stress that enough. That’s why here at Back to the Music, I really try to write about a mix of people you know and bands you may have never heard of.

With programs like Kickstarter, we’re able even more than ever to show these smaller bands that we believe in them. This band has until Sunday, April 7 to reach their goal. Believe me – go listen to their songs on Facebook and you’ll see why I didn’t hesitate to donate to this Kickstarter.

Click here to see their campaign page, watch a video from the band, and read a little bit about their goals.

 

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Blake Shelton: Based on a True Story

If you asked me to pinpoint five men in Hollywood that I’d willingly marry tomorrow, somewhere on that list of five would be Blake Shelton. The man is handsome, plays guitar, sings, writes adorable lyrics, has a great sense of humor, and seems like a real Southern gentleman. Let me tell you – they don’t actually make them like this in the South – at least not in great numbers. I love Blake’s music, and I’m sure his new album Based on a True Story is not going to be any different.blake-shelton-based-on-a-true-story

The album launches off the ground with Boys Round Here, a carefree song about beer drinking, ladies, trucks, and rednecks. What else do you expect from Blake Shelton? This song feels like summer evenings in the south. The laid-back vibe and fun lyrics reflect many evenings I’ve had in Southwest Virginia quite accurately.

Do You Remember is a beautiful ballad that slows Blake’s tunes down and lets you take a ride down the river with him. Not only are the vocals delightful, but the lyrics are beautiful in a bittersweet way. I still feel the hope in your kisses, I still feel the sun on your skin. I swear I was holding forever back then. Do you remember? We ran, we kissed, we learned to love, to live.

My Eyes is truly adorable – and I’m talking in real Honey Bee fashion. My eyes are the only thing I don’t wanna take off of you. These songs are the reason that I will always envy Miranda Lambert.

This album goes back and forth like a see-saw. One song seems to be less serious, more light hearted, chock full of jokes and funny quips that relate to beer and middle fingers (see I Still Got a Finger), and the next song is a love song of sorts – either of the sad variety or one like Mine Would Be You where the lyrics are actually sweeter than the product we all know as sugar.

Wrapping up the album is Grandaddy’s Gun, a sentimentally slow song that I can definitely relate to. People get pretty sentimental in the southern states and occasionally that sentimentality will involve something like a gun. I know that rings true in my family. This song is beautiful, maybe more so because it hits so close to home for me. Something like this is a nice wrap up to the album. The song isn’t necessarily sad – maybe a bit around the edges – but it’s mostly a celebratory song interlaced with memories.

Blake always delivers, no matter what he’s doing. If he’s on a corny singing competition show, it’s going to be great. If he’s writing adorable songs about his lucky and equally adorable wife, they’re going to be fantastic. This man never fails to amaze me – and he’s a hit with all ages. My elderly neighbor adores him and seems to lose her train of thought every time he comes on CMT. This is an album you’ll want to pick up as warmer temperatures approach us and nights of driving with your windows down come back around.

 

Key Tracks
My Eyes (track 6)
Sure Be Cool if You Did (track 2)
Grandaddy’s Gun (track 12)

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Justin Timberlake: The 20/20 Experience

Ladies and gentlemen, Justin Timberlake is back – and so am I.

It’s no secret that I’m an absolute sucker for some good pop music. I loved the boy bands and bubblegum pop of the 90s – and I still do, if we’re being really honest. Even though I was first and foremost a Backstreet fan, I enjoyed me some *NSYNC. When Justin Timberlake broke out and started doing solo records, I didn’t know whether I should be offended or excited (Lance Bass was always my favorite). Eventually, I gave in to the sweet chords of Cry Me a River. You know when the last JT record was out? I was a junior in high school. Now I’m nearly two years out of college. Thanks, JT. Thanks a lot.jt

The album starts out with the smooth crooning of Pusher Love Girl – a song I was initially very skeptical of when I saw it performed live in Jimmy Fallon (anyone else watch Timberweek?). Now that I’ve listened to the album, I am absolutely hooked on this song. Nothing is better than Justin’s sweet vocals slipping like caramel over a slow jazz-oriented beat. This song is liquid gold and you won’t be able to resist it.

I can’t seem to resist the sweet talking Strawberry Bubblegum. I know, I know. The song is titled Strawberry Bubblegum and there’s mention of blueberry lollipops and flavors and all. But Justin Timberlake is singing so beautifully and this song rocks almost like something you’d hear in the ballroom of a sea-themed party in the mid 70s. Something about it reminds me of waves and I would love if Justin wrote a song like this about me.

My favorite song off the album has to be Tunnel Vision. This song has more of a classic JT style to it. The music is pop tinted with some R&B/urban style courtesy of Timbaland. This song really just makes me want to dance.

A close second in the my favorite song on the album race has to be Let the Groove Get In. This song just doesn’t stop from the very first second all the way until the end, coming in at an impressive 7 minutes and 11 seconds. This one almost sounds like something to the likes of Senorita from JT’s first album – just updated to 2013 with an extra splash or two of funk.

When Justin first announced he was about to put out new music, I was ecstatic. When Suit & Tie came out, I was skeptical – it took forever for the song to grow on me. But when I heard Mirrors, I knew it was okay to be excited for the album again. If I had to pinpoint one song on this entire album that was quintessential Justin Timberlake, I would seat you right next to this song and bring you a candle for the table. This song has enough of a funky beat to keep your head nodding, but is slow enough to allow JT to do his thang. Most of the songs on this album are either really slow or really fast – this is such a happy medium that I want to give it a standing ovation.

The album wraps up in the slow variety with Blue Ocean Floor, a ballad with barely any instrumentation behind JT showing off his exceptional vocal chords. Make fun of him for the Ramen noodle hair all you want – this man can sing (and he can produce it live). This is a beautiful song, but if I hadn’t read that there was a Part 2 of this album coming, I wouldn’t like it for a wrap-up of the album.

Welcome back to the music scene, Mr. Timberlake! This is a great album – well worth the wait of seven years – and I can’t wait until he throws out Volume 2. Though the songs are on the incredibly long side (the shortest song clocks in at 4 minutes and 49 seconds), they keep my attention with the differentiation of tempos and beats. This is going to be on repeat for a long time.

 

Key Tracks
Mirrors (track 9)
Tunnel Vision (track 5)
Pusher Love Girl (track 1)

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Penny and Sparrow: Tenboom

When I’m at work, my coworker and I listen to a lot of Spotify. Obviously, eight hours a day in the office makes way for a lot of musical intake, especially when a lot of my time is spent staring at the InDesign interface. I got a text from one of my good friends a couple of days ago recommending a band. I know for a fact she has good musical taste, so I didn’t waste any time turning this album on in the office. And let me tell you – it was the most beautiful music I’ve heard from a band I didn’t even know existed. I didn’t have a listen to the whole album at that time – I wanted to wait until I was able to write about it here because believe me, you need to hear this. Here goes Tenboom by Penny and Sparrow.ten

This album, released January 8, begins with the quiet Just and Just As. The song fades in with soft strums of an acoustic guitar, a great way to enter into an album and a world previously untouched. Vocals come in just as softly, and the story telling begins. The vocals are so gorgeous, so full of emotion, that the response is mirrored in my being. When the chorus hits, I almost cried from how gorgeous it is. So come back to my house and I’ll give what they can’t offer. Let’s just lie on the couch and we’ll clean it up together. A mirage of stringed instruments come in, melding together to echo the powerful vocals.

One reason I was initially so struck by the band is the innate storytelling that’s hidden within the songs. I get so lost in music of any genre that can tell me a story while wooing my ear drums and Penny and Sparrow do all of the above. Bones is one of my favorite tracks on the album. It’s beautiful in such a striking way as a story is told over haunting and stark stringed instruments. Right now, everything is coated in ice outside, and this song could be played into the cold night air and would feel right at home. It’s still and quiet, almost fleeting.

The vocals have a robust, deep sense to them while still remaining elegant enough to fit perfectly with the acoustic nature of the music. During A Woman Caught in particular, I found myself turning up the volume time and time again to get all of the sounds in at once. Closing your eyes, you could lose your whole self in this song.

The album winds up in an interesting way with Patience, First and Patience, Please. Patience, First feels a little more emotional and desperate. Patience, Please is a little more subdued and quieter. Both songs are asking (or maybe begging) in different lights to Please come home. They’re handled so differently, one beginning desperate and one beginning delicate and escalating with each passing plea. Having two songs together that are each clocking in with just a minute and a few seconds is an interesting take to wrapping up the album and it leaves me wanting more with the slow fade out.

This album absolutely blew me out of the water. I had never even heard of the band, so I really had no preconceived notions and no idea what I was walking into when I received the text message recommending them. Wow, what a gem, though. You absolutely have to have a listen to this – I don’t care what genre of music you prefer. This is absolutely incredible. Check the band out on Facebook or Twitter – and find this album on Spotify!

 

Key Tracks
La Reyna (track 8)
Just and Just As (track 1)
Bones (track 6)

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