BoA – Message / Call my name

October 30, 2013 at 4:56 PM | Posted in BoA | 1 Comment

BoA – Message / Call my name

1. Message
2. Call my name
3. Message (Inst)
4. Call my name (Inst)

Message / Call my name is the thirty-fifth Japanese single by South-Korean singer BoA, released on October 23, 2013. The single debuted at #8 on the Oricon charts and sold 5,800 copies in its first week.

BoA, it’s been so long! I love the sound of Message, a bit of a kumbaya-song compared to BoA’s usual sound. The arrangement consists of acoustic guitars, handclaps and mostly drum bass, something I love in music. The song is quite simple and short but yet very effective, bound to lift your spirit with the musical ambience and positive lyrics.

After a sweet song like Message, Call my name had to have a little more spice to balance it out. True, there’s more tempo in this one and there is the addition of some synths in the background, but the song still has a very light and breezy sound. It’s very interesting that soft piano notes and synth riffs sound so well together, I never expected that. BoA’s vocals are as good as always, something that never disappoints. I expected a little more from this song though. Message is the better song on this single after all.

3½ stars

Miley Cyrus – Bangerz

October 10, 2013 at 4:16 PM | Posted in Miley Cyrus | 1 Comment

Miley Cyrus – Bangerz

1. Adore You
2. We Can’t Stop
3. SMS (Bangerz) (feat. Britney Spears)
4. 4×4 (feat. Nelly)
5. My Darlin’ (feat. Future)
6. Wrecking Ball
7. Love Money Party (feat. Big Sean)
9. Drive
10. FU (feat. French Montana)
11. Do My Thang
12. Maybe You’re Right
13. Someone Else

♦ ♦ ♦

Bangerz is the fourth studio album by American singer Miley Cyrus, released on October 8, 2013. The album received generally favorable reviews from music critics upon its release, sales counts have yet to be published.

Adore You opens with Miley adlibbing to a slow piano melody and background beat, and it instantly becomes clear this song is all about the vocals instead of the music or even the lyrics. I can’t stand Miley, but I have to admit her voice is amazing and she displays some fabulous techniques here at times. The song itsself might be a little tame to start an album with, there are no real musical highlights to remember, but it’s pretty nonetheless.

The second track is a whole different story, since here we have one of 2013’s most succesful and controversial songs: We Can’t Stop. I hated the video, seriously, but then again I love the song. It’s in the style of other singers like Rihanna, but I just can’t imagine anyone else but Miley singing this. Eventually this great midtempo track is a great departure from Miley’s sugary sweet songs from the past, but don’t get me started on the video since I just CAN’T be positive about it.

Probably one of the most anticipated tracks is SMS (Bangerz) (feat. Britney Spears). The track is the first uptempo song on the album and it’s more Britney’s style than Miley’s to be honest, but okay. Quite sassy how Miley and Britney both rap some of their lyrics in the verses, it adds even more fire to the song. The song is very short at a little under three minutes and it doesn’t excite me very much since the lyrics are pretty empty. Still, it works as a club banger.

4×4 (feat. Nelly) is….. interesting. To me, it sounds like it draws inspiration from Miley’s southern heritage and country music while still mixing it with contemporary hiphop music. The combination might sound a bit strange to some, especially in the chorus, but once I got used to it I could actually dig it. Nelly’s part isn’t useless, since I could imagine that the song would sound very dull without his input.

My Darlin’ (feat. Future) is a hiphop/R&B ballad that sounds really good to me because of the typical beat and the use of soft synths in the background. I love how it uses a sample of ‘Stand By Me’, which is clearly recognizable in the song. The track needs a little time to start up a little, but then Miley throws in some raw vocals instead of undersinging all the time. That’s not a bad thing ofcourse, since Future is the only one I have a problem with now. Actually, this could still be one of my favorite songs on the album yet.

My other favorite song on the album is the single Wrecking Ball. Again, I totally hated the video (what’s the point of sitting on a wrecking ball naked…?), but the song is very beautiful and it’s even more special to me right now since I can relate to it. It’s just a great power ballad with amazing vocals by Miley, and the perfect counterpoint to other songs on the album, like We Can’t Stop. I love how Miley shows off her more vulnerable side and emotional vocals here.

Wow, this is a real change. Love Money Party (feat. Big Sean) features a very deep hiphop sound with a grimy, haunted-house beat and actuals RAPS by Miley. I have to say she’s pretty good at it and she sounds very comfortable and fierce. Even Big Sean needs a big standing O here for adding even more fierceness to this track. Hiphop has always been a guilty pleasure of mine and I can see myself fav’ing this track.

#GETITRIGHT is obviously produced by Pharrell, it’s just so him with those whistles in the background and funky guitar riffs. After a pretty haunting and tough song, this breezy creation is sure to get people up on their feet instantly. Okay, there are some strange lyrics like ‘I feel like I’ve got no panties on‘, but still, this is one uplifting piece of work. “Do you feel me?” Oh yes Miley, I feel you alright.

Drive brings back the deep and dark hiphop atmosphere that Love Money Party also had, and this time even the lyrics are darker themed. It’s apparently about needing to leave someone, but not wanting to cut yourself off from the relationship (according to Miley, at least). I adore the style of the song, but still there is something missing so I’m not fully touched by this. A shame, because this has some potential!

I heard a sample of FU (feat. French Montana) in that documentary about Miley that recently aired, and I though it sounded pretty weird… But now that I hear the entire song, I can only give Miley some huge credits for her Adele-style vocals in the chorus. She might sound a bit aggressive at other times, but it kinda fits the feeling of the song. I don’t see why French Montana had to be here, Miley has enough power to carry this dubstep song on her own.

Do My Thang is a combination of hiphop, dubstep and dance, and usually that would become a crazy mess, but this is kind of a hot mess, really. The synths bring in the dance elements, while the snapping percussion and Miley’s raps contribute to the hiphop and dubstep feel. At first the title made me raise my eyebrows, but now I totally get it and all I have to say to Miley is ‘keep doing your thing girl!’.

I have to say the drum instrumentation in Maybe You’re Right is both unexpected and awesome, I’ve never heard anything like this before. And then Miley starts belting out her lyrics in some kind of gospel-inspired style to add to all the surprise. Vocally, this is Miley’s biggest track yet, and also her most mature effort. I’m completely stunned by how this track turned out to be, and I can recommend this to anyone who’s still not impressed by Miley’s vocals.

Someone Else is about Miley’s new public image, ofcourse, and the lyrics are accompanied by her new signature style of hiphop and synthpop. I’m still enjoying the musical style very much, even after twelve songs now, but the rest of the song isn’t very special. I think I can enjoy this song from time to time when I’m not fully paying attention to it. Not saying it’s not good, but I was hoping the album would end with a, well, ‘banger’ (har-har).

I’m quite surprised that I seem to like Miley’s new album so much, especially since I’ve totally come to dislike her personality and the way she expresses herself. I admit: THIS GIRL HAS TALENT OKAY. I’m not claiming to be a Miley fan now, this is purely a matter of taste and I just so happen to love hiphop and dubstep music. Miley put out an album with thirteen new and original tracks that are all unique, I have never heard another song sounding exactly like the ones on this album. She decided to work with some of the best people in the business, and the result is a very good album indeed. She needs to work on adding a little more vulnerability to her music in some songs and not overexpressing herself too much, but let’s see what she has in store for us in the future.

Favorite tracks: We Can’t Stop | 4×4 (feat. Nelly) | My Darlin’ (feat. Future) | Wrecking Ball | Love Money Party (feat. Big Sean) | #GETITRIGHT | FU (feat. French Montana) | Do My Thang | Maybe You’re Right

4 stars

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