holocene

It’s a bar in Portland, Oregon. But also the name of a geologic era; an epoch, if you will. All the songs (in the album) are meant to come together as this idea that places are time, people are places, and times are… people. Most of our lives feel like these epochs. But, once I knew I was not magnificent. Our lives feel like these epochs, but really we are dust in the wind.

(Justin Vernon of Bon Iver)

all this and heaven too

And the heart is hard to translate.
It has a language of it’s own.
It talks in tongues and quiet sighs and prayers and proclamations,
in the grand deeds of great men,
in the smallest of gestures,
in a short shallow gasps.
It talks to me in tiptoes
and it sings to me inside.
It cries out in the darkest night
and breaks in the morning light.

But with all my educations I can’t seem to command it.
The words are all escaping; coming back all damaged.
I would put them back in poetry if I only knew how.
I can’t seem to understand it.

I would give all this and heaven too.
I would give it all if only for a moment that I could just understand
the meaning of the words.
You see, ‘cause I’ve been scrawling it forever 
but it never makes sense to me at all.

No.
Words are a language. It doesn’t deserve such treatment.
All of my stumbling phrases never amounted to anything worth this feeling.
All this heaven never could describe such a feeling
as I’m hearing words were never so useful.
So I was screaming out a language that I never knew existed before!

(Florence and the Machine)

Big, Blue, and Beautiful

florence welch

After four years of waiting, Florence + The Machine’s new album is finally here! I first heard about Florence + The Machine’s third album was when Florence confirmed her ongoing work of the new album last year. The instance they released “What Kind of Man” as the lead single and made the new album, How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, available for pre-order on iTunes, I was wonderstruck and left wordless about the highly anticipated album. The first thing that came to mind when I read the album title was: Sky, for it is endlessly big, very blue, and undoubtedly beautiful. Or, it could also be about Earth. And Florence said it indeed was inspired by the Los Angeles sky.  Continue reading “Big, Blue, and Beautiful”

2014 in albums

2014 in album

BEYONCÉ by Beyoncé (2013)
This majestic album can be my favorite forever. There is nothing I hate from this album. From December last year to December this year, I can’t stop liking this album.

Hydra by Within Temptation (2014)
Finally with this album, WT is back to their original sound only fresher than ever. Honestly I don’t enjoy The Unforgiving (2011) that’s why this album is such a good relief.

If You Wait by London Grammar (2013)
I’ve got a new favorite band and they happen to be from the UK again. It’s London Grammar. I define this band sound mostly between electronic ad trip-hop. Hannah Reid’s vocal is very strong and sometimes eerie too. As a debut album If You Wait is a strong record that surely gives out a good impression. This album was a playlist to my Hong Kong trip on winter earlier this year.

Raising Sand by Robert Plant and Allison Krauss (2007)
At the 2009 Grammy Awards, people rooted for Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends” to win Album of the Year. But, the unexpected happened. Robert Plant and Allison Krauss won instead with their collaborative album “Raising Sand”. I know this duo don’t get an internationally major recognition, but listen carefully to this album. You’d understand how magic happened when Led Zeppelin’s frontman and the most Grammy-winning female artist joined forces producing music and it’s classic!

A Perfect Contradiction by Paloma Faith (2014)
Paloma Faith invited Pharrell, the last year coolest producer, to produce her 3rd album. It’s an amazing R&B/Soul album.

New Eyes by Clean Bandit (2014)
Clean Bandit is this UK amazing new act of 2014. They produce the hippest electronic music this year by combining it with cello and violin. Have you seen the “Rather Be” music video yet? It’s beautiful! It’s a number one single in UK, also one of the Billboard’s best songs in 2014. From the whole album I adore the track “Extraordinary (feat. Sharna Bass)”.

Ghost Stories by Coldplay (2014)
Coldplay like doing experimental projects. This year they decided to produce downtempo and melancholic sound and that’s Ghost Stories all about. There’s this phenomenal “Sky Full Of Stars” produced by Avicii and sounds euphorically different than anything Coldplay ever made.

x by Ed Sheeran (2014)
There’s nothing to unlike from this adorable guy! I’m not at the point where I can sing a long to all of the tracks in this album. I love this album fairly and I think he deserves a nomination in Grammy’s Album of the Year.

I Never Learn by Lykke Li (2014)
3 years since the sophomore album “Wounded Rhyme” in 2011 which is painfully perfect, overwhelming, and deeply wintery album. “I Never Learn” sounds exactly like a sequel tragedy to “Wounded Rhymes” but it sounds more autumnal than wintery. In this album Li still sounds amazing and contains an immense power. “I Never Learn” is named as one of 10 best albums in 2014 by Billboard.

1000 Forms of Fear by Sia (2014)
Sia has been actually existing since early 2000s but it’s a shame people only start recognizing her when David Guetta’s Titanium became hits. 1000 Forms of Fear marks her 5th major release. According to her it was only an experimental project
she started but it turns out to get exceptional receptions. I adore Sia’s incomparable songwriting skill. “Chandelier” has been named as the Best Song in 2014 by Billboard. I’m rooting for it to win 2015 Grammy’s Song of the Year.

Lights Out by Ingrid Michaelson (2014)
The unspeakably epic album “Human Again” still lingered when this album came out. “Human Again” is that kind of sentimental pop record that you’d like to hear in the morning, but “Lights Out” is happier, stronger, powerful record that is more suitable for autumn or nighttime.

Gypsy Heart Side A EP by Colbie Caillat (2014)
When I first heard this EP, I was so surprised that Colbie changed her genre. Still pop, but from the before beach acoustic pop music into more synthesized and R&B-ish music. But I gotta hand it to her, it works. Now she sounds fresher than ever!

Oz by Missy Higgins (2014)
“Oz” is the kind of project I adore. Missy Higgins curated songs from Australia’s notable artists and covered them in one album. Hence, the title is Oz. It’s all Australia. Besides an album, Higgins also wrote a book with the same name containing 14 stories in which the first word of every story begins with the first word from the respective track. It’s a shame, I haven’t read the book.

TRXYE EP by Troye Sivan (2014)
Since the rise of New Zealand sweetheart, Lorde, NZ talented musicians are starting to get more recognition. Troye Sivan is one  of them. Troye is originally a Youtube performer and release his first musical production, an EP called TRXYE. The EP contains 5 amazing tracks that give that feeling of a suburban kid doing somethinh amazing. Troye Sivan is a very promising new act, no kidding.

Little Machines by Lights (2014)
It’s kinda tricky saying about this album. Because her sophomore album gave a bigger impact than this one.

BLUE by iamamiwhoami (2014)
this multimedia project called iamamiwhoami never cease to amaze me. distinctly different from the previous project “kin” (2013), from january to october 2014 they release 5 singles along with the music video. and finally in november the album was released followed by 5 remaining music videos.

Prism by Katy Perry (2013)
I was one year late when I first thoroughly listen to this album. One, because I was preoccupied by Gaga’s artpop last year and two, I was so skeptical with this album. But I was wrong. Katy Perry has done a great job making this album.

1989 by Taylor Swift (2014)
One of the trendiest topics discussed this year is Princess T.S.’s shocking decision to change genre from Country to Pop. A lot of people are skeptical and sending more hate to here. But I still believe in her. And look at how 1989 is doing. The biggest first week sale since Eminem’s 2002 “The Eminem Show.” Also the biggest sale in 2014.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Pt. 1 Original Motion Picture Soundtrack by Various Artists (2014)
I must say this soundtrack album is euphoric and beyond amazing. It sounds completely different like the two previous soundtracks which contains music from alternative-rock liners and several country and pop. This album is full of alternative-electronic sounds. It only happens when the 18 y.o. (no really, she’s actually 318 y.o.) Ella Yelich-O’Connor, as the sole curator of the Mockingjay Pt. 1 Soundtrack, works her magic. Listening to this album is like having a little taste of what Lorde’s most personal-magical playlists be like. I mean, she personally picked the musicians who got to fill in the playlists of these fourteen incredible tracks! and I think London Grammar could’ve been fit perfectly in it.

SHADYXV by Various Artists (2014)
Celebrating the 15th anniversary of Eminem’s record label, Shady Records, this king of Detroit nailed his curations. Slim, you’ve come this far. I grew up along with your creations, from i first saw you on mtv til today when mtv isn’t significant anymore. I can see you’ve grown from a cynical brat to a wise man.

The London Sessions by Mary J. Blige (2014)
The so-called journey of self-healing Blige made to London was also meeting bunch of UK musicians in the process: Sam Smith, Emily Sandé, Disclosure, etc. And this album happened: a mix of ballad and electronic tracks. It sounds nice.
Listen by David Guetta (2014)
No one can produce beats the way David Guetta does. Still as powerful as “Nothing But The Beat”, only this time the album is lyrically stronger, since his divorce with Cathy inspires the production of this album. And the feature artists are amazing themselves.

Wonder Where We Land by SBTKRT (2014)
This is an electronic music project coming from UK. Most of the tracks have great beats and give out downtempo ambience. The feature artists are also amazing, such as Raury and Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend. I say it’s a cool record.

Hozier by Hozier (2014)
It is such a classy record one shouldn’t miss. His voice is undeniable. It’s such an underrated to only give this musician one nomination, Record of the Year, that is.

In A Perfect World by Kodaline (2013)
I don’t know why critics gave Kodaline’s debut album mixed reviews. I think their album is perfectly fine and sounds nice. A lot of cool tracks, my favorite is a track called “Brand New Day (Acoustic Version) (feat. Nina Nesbitt). It sounds very lovely.

The Pinkprint by Nicki Minaj (2014)
The impact upon the release of this album is almost as powerful as Beyoncé’s self title last year but still amazingly powerful! It’s probably because: 1) of the massive anticipation, 2) it’s the final installment of the “Pink” trilogy, and 3) it’s the amazing Nicki frakking Minaj obviously, duh! The trilogy generally feels like this: “Pink Friday” (2010) is a happy love story and all those butterflies, “Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded” (2012) is a party going wild, and finally “The Pinkprint” is a phase of heartbroken and maturity. This album is all fresh, original, mature, and also genius.

Year of the Robots (and the Beauty-Queen-in-Tears)

DAFT PUNK RULED! The duo won five Grammy Awards (out of five nominations) including Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, Best Dance/Electronica Album, and Best Engineered Album (Non Classical). And performing “Get Lucky/Le Freak/Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger/Another Star”, they gave the best performance in the Grammy Awards this year, alongside with Pharrell Williams, Stevie Wonders, and Nile Rodgers. France must be proud of them!

Lorde brought two awards (out of four nominations) including Song of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance for “Royals”. She was one of the two artists I was rooting for their success in Grammy this year (the other one being Sara Bareilles). Ella Yelich-O’Conor has proved that simplicity rules!

Even though Sara Bareilles did not win any award, she still looked incredibly beautiful. But being nominated in the most fabulous award in Grammy (read: Album of the Year) was fabulous in its own way. Her performance with the Musicares Award Winner, Carol King, was also sweet. I love your music, Sara. That’s enough.

What surprised me was the Nashville star and country singer, Kacey Musgraves, seemed to take a spotlight in Grammy. She even won two awards in which Taylor Swift was nominated. This year is just not Taylor’s year. In two years, she failed to win any nominations in which “Red” or any song from it was nominated in.

Over all I am so relieved by the Winners of the General categories! Why? Because Daft Punk (originally from France) and Lorde (originally from New Zealand) have proved that the US doesn’t hold the best music that currently exists.

Well, among 14 categories that I’ve made attempt to guess who’d win, I got 7 of them right.

I really need Bon Iver and Florence and the Machine to make a new album this year so Grammy next year can become an incredible madness. Continue reading “Year of the Robots (and the Beauty-Queen-in-Tears)”

Guess Who Will Win 56th Grammy Awards

Bless 56th Grammy Awards for this year it’s nominating a lot of amazing artists (most of them I adore) and they are competing on the same good categories (I’m talking about for the four General categories). I found it hard whom to root for!
coloured
shows my objective judgment for the performer(s) to win categories.
underlined shows my personal preference for the performer(s) to win categories.

General

Record of the Year

  • “Get Lucky” – Daft Punk featuring Pharrell Williams
  • “Radioactive” – Imagine Dragons
  • “Royals” – Lorde
  • Locked Out of Heaven” – Bruno Mars
  • “Blurred Lines” – Robin Thicke featuring T.I. and Pharrell Williams
Album of the Year
  • The Blessed Unrest – Sara Bareilles
  • Random Access Memories – Daft Punk
  • Good Kid, M.A.A.D City – Kendrick Lamar
  • The Heist – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
  • Red – Taylor Swift
Song of the Year
  • “Just Give Me a Reason” (Pink featuring Nate Ruess)
  • “Locked Out of Heaven” (Bruno Mars)
  • “Roar” (Katy Perry)
  • “Royals” (Lorde)
  • “Same Love” (Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Mary Lambert)
Best New Artist
  • James Blake
  • Kendrick Lamar
  • Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
  • Kacey Musgraves
  • Ed Sheeran

Pop

Best Pop Solo Performance
  • “Brave” – Sara Bareilles
  • “Royals” – Lorde
  • “When I Was Your Man” – Bruno Mars
  • “Roar” – Katy Perry
  • “Mirrors” – Justin Timberlake
Best Pop Duo/Group Performance
  • “Get Lucky” – Daft Punk featuring Pharrell Williams
  • “Just Give Me a Reason” – Pink featuring Nate Ruess
  • “Stay” – Rihanna featuring Mikky Ekko
  • “Blurred Lines” – Robin Thicke featuring T.I. and Pharrell Williams
  • “Suit & Tie” – Justin Timberlake featuring Jay-Z
Best Pop Vocal Album
  • Paradise – Lana Del Rey
  • Pure Heroine – Lorde
  • Unorthodox Jukebox – Bruno Mars
  • Blurred Lines – Robin Thicke
  • The 20/20 Experience – The Complete Experience – Justin Timberlake

Dance/Electronica

Best Dance Recording
  • “Need U (100%)” – Duke Dumont featuring A*M*E & MNEK
  • “Sweet Nothing” – Calvin Harris featuring Florence Welch
  • “Atmosphere” – Kaskade
  • “This Is What It Feels Like” – Armin Van Buuren featuring Trevor Guthrie
  • “Clarity” – Zedd featuring Foxes
Best Dance/Electronica Album
  • Random Access Memories – Daft Punk
  • Settle – Disclosure
  • 18 Months – Calvin Harris
  • Atmosphere – Kaskade
  • A Color Map of the Sun – Pretty Lights

Alternative

Best Alternative Music Album
  • The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You – Neko Case
  • Trouble Will Find Me – The National
  • Hesitation Marks – Nine Inch Nails
  • Lonerism – Tame Impala
  • Modern Vampires of the City – Vampire Weekend

Country

Best Country Solo Performance
  • “I Drive Your Truck” – Lee Brice
  • “I Want Crazy” – Hunter Hayes
  • “Mama’s Broken Heart” – Miranda Lambert
  • “Wagon Wheel” – Darius Rucker
  • “Mine Would Be You” – Blake Shelton
Best Country Duo/Group Performance
  • “From This Valley” – The Civil Wars
  • “Don’t Rush” – Kelly Clarkson featuring Vince Gill
  • “Your Side of the Bed” – Little Big Town
  • “Highway Don’t Care” – Tim McGraw, Taylor Swift & Keith Urban
  • “You Can’t Make Old Friends” – Kenny Rogers with Dolly Parton
Best Country Song
  • “Begin Again” (Taylor Swift)
  • “I Drive Your Truck” (Lee Brice)
  • “Mama’s Broken Heart” (Miranda Lambert)
  • “Merry Go ‘Round” (Kacey Musgraves)
  • “Mine Would Be You” (Blake Shelton)
Best Country Album
  • Night Train – Jason Aldean
  • Two Lanes of Freedom – Tim McGraw
  • Same Trailer Different Park – Kacey Musgraves
  • Based on a True Story… – Blake Shelton
  • Red – Taylor Swift