Closing up 2014!

December 31, 2014 at 12:12 PM | Posted in !Random! | 4 Comments

Dear Music Addicts ❤

It’s December 31, so that means another year has come to an end! What a year has this been; I remember how much 2013 gave me in terms of satisfaction, discovery and happiness and 2014 was ehm.. interesting. For a long time I thought I was happy, but when I look back at everything I realize I wasn’t in a good place at all and I’m actually glad that’s all behind me. I’ve been tested a lot, more than ever before, and I feel very lucky to have learned from everything and I feel very strongly that I know better now. Lately, probably for the last two weeks or so, everything started to fall back together and there are definitely some new experiences coming up that I’m about to enjoy. I’m totally ready for 2015!

As for MA, this is the fifth time already that I can thank you guys for all your love and support. I never thought I would make some friends here and over the years some of you have been a very good source of support and feedback. Please keep it up, I love it! Also, a lot more people started to follow MA this year, thank you for wanting to keep up with everything! Special thanks this year go out to all of you who are new followers, those who keep coming back after all this time, those who were still involved when I was on a short break and my new friends SHINee_Girl and Cybuster_God_of_Wind, you guys are great!

2015: are you ready for MA’s BIG FIFTH BIRTHDAY BASH? 😀

This blog is like my baby and I will continue to cherish it and work on it whenever I can, let’s kick it in the new year!! Happy 2015, enjoy the festivities and fireworks and take care of yourselves and your loved ones!

Much love ❤
Jade

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Best of 2014: ~Albums~

December 27, 2014 at 3:57 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

I hope you guys had a great Christmas!

Here it is finally, probably the most important ‘best of’ post of all: the albums! Fun fact: I’ve had a lot of difficulties putting this together because I realized 2014 wasn’t that good a year for music (at least that’s my opinion). I thought I couldn’t even find 10 albums to make the cut since there were so little to choose from! So there are some surprises, like Ayu and SNSD, but I had to pick something, you know. As for the rest of the albums, the other eight were very close together but I finally made up my mind and made the list as it is now. Let’s hope 2015 has more good stuff in store, I don’t want it to be as difficult as it was now!

~Top 10: Best albums 2014~

1. Michael Jackson – Xscape
2. Taylor Swift – 1989
3. Ariana Grande – My Everything
4. Ed Sheeran – x
5. Koda Kumi – Bon Voyage
6. SHINee – I’m Your Boy
7. BoA – WHO’S BACK?
8. Maroon 5 – V
9. Ayumi Hamasaki – Colours
10. Girls’ Generation – Mr. Mr.

~Top 5: Best album-only tracks~

1. Koda Kumi – LOADED (feat. Sean Paul)
2. Ed Sheeran – One
3. Maroon 5 – Leaving California
4. Taylor Swift – Bad Blood
5. Girls’ Generation – Soul

Ed Sheeran – x

December 27, 2014 at 3:33 PM | Posted in Ed Sheeran | Leave a comment

ALBUM REVIEW
Ed Sheeran – x

1. One
2. I’m A Mess
3. Sing
4. Don’t
5. Nina
6. Photograph
7. Bloodstream
8. Tenerife Sea
9. Runaway
10. The Man
11. Thinking Out Loud
12. Afire Love

♦ ♦ ♦

x is the second studio album by English singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran, released on June 20, 2014. The album peaked at #1 in twelve countries and it was the most-streamed album in the world in 2014 according to Spotify.

So the thing I like about this album so much is that it’s so personal and Ed is stepping far out of his comfort zone in some tracks. On the other hand, this album is very true to who he is, whenever I listen to it I get a feeling that this is almost too genuine to be true. There are a lot of songs on this album that are centered around Ed and his guitar, one of the best of those songs is One. That has been a true favorite of mine, a quiet minimal guitar pop song and Ed singing the chorus in his head voice, sustaining a note of 17 seconds (!) near the end.

I kind of split this album in two and make a difference between the old faithful Ed Sheeran sound and the ‘out of the box’ type of tracks. Now, the ones that are typical of Ed are songs like I’m A Mess, Bloodstream (about an experience with MDMA he once has), Tenerife Sea (a lovely guitar song in triple time), Photograph and the amazing Thinking Out Loud, which is in my opinion the best song that has been released this year. Also, have a look at that wonderful MV, that’s some good dancing for you.
Of these other songs, I think I like Tenerife Sea best since it has a lovely melody and amazing vocals. I just used to overlook it a couple of times but now I have come to love it a lot.

The surprise on this album is that Ed joined forces with some people that encouraged him to step out of his comfort zone, and the best example is the collaboration with Pharrell Williams on Sing, a real bullseye if you ask me. It’s an amazing Justin Timberlake inspired song that makes it impossible for anyone to sit still. Myself, I loved that hip-hop ambience and Jason Mraz-y rapping in Don’t, a song that is actually about Ellie Goulding! He’s not afraid to be explicit, and he shouldn’t be if you ask me. It makes it all the more honest.
Nina has a lovely bounce to it and I instantly liked this song when I first heard it, and just like Runaway it’s Ed Sheeran 2.0 with just a little more edge to his usual songs. The real surprise is the rap song The Man with just a slight influence of R&B/hip-hop, this is Ed exploring new grounds and he actually has a hidden talent! Not the best track or anything, but it’s fun to listen to and I almost fell off my chair when I first heard it.

Last but not least, special credit goes to the closing song Afire Love, a song about Alzheimer’s disease. Now there aren’t many songs about this disease and I really hope some people who know someone who has it have found strength in this wonderful song. It’s as beautiful as an Ed Sheeran song can get and although I think Thinking Out Loud would’ve worked better as the last song, this one has a better message.

All in all, one of the best albums of 2014 and definitely one of my personal favorites that has been on repeat for months now. Recommended!

Favorite tracks: One | Sing | Don’t | Nina | Photograph | Tenerife Sea | Thinking Out Loud | Afire Love

OVERALL RATING

4½ stars

Ariana Grande – My Everything

December 26, 2014 at 5:50 PM | Posted in Ariana Grande | Leave a comment

ALBUM REVIEW
Ariana Grande – My Everything

1. Intro
2. Problem (feat. Iggy Azalea)
3. One Last Time
4. Why Try
5. Break Free (feat. Zedd)
6. Best Mistake (feat. Big Sean)
7. Be My Baby (feat. Cashmere Cat)
8. Break Your Heart Right Back (feat. Childish Gambino)
9. Love Me Harder (feat. The Weeknd)
10. Just A Little Bit Of Your Heart
11. Hands On Me (feat. A$AP Ferg)
12. My Everything

♦ ♦ ♦

My Everything is the second studio album by American singer Ariana Grande, released on August 22, 2014. The album peaked at #1 in six countries and has sold 169,000 copies in the US in its first week.

Intro is just as it sounds: a lovely opening track with soft music and Ariana’s light and angelic vocals in harmony. I don’t really know why it’s here, but oh well. Its light sound makes that Problem (feat. Iggy Azalea) has even more impact, like BOOM there it is. Ari’s huge voice and that inescapable horn riff make this song, and it’s undoutedly one of the best and catchiest songs of 2014. Iggy Azalea contributed wonderfully to it, gurl power.

The synth line and looming percussion opening One Last Time instantly shows the new road Ariana has taken with this album: more EDM and electropop. Still this song is more on the lighter side of that genre, not too in your face but pleasant to the ears. I really like Ari’s breathy vocals here, especially in the verses. I had to get used to this, but now I love it.

It’s clear from the sound of Why Try that Ryan Tedder contributed to it, and it’s one of the songs of the album I remember best. It’s like Ari’s own ‘Halo’ song, a midtempo percussion and strings driven song that makes her voice shine like never before. As the song progresses it gets stronger and stronger and you can almost feel Ariana’s anxiety, such an amazing performance!

Another great single (and one that was released on my birthday!) is Break Free (feat. Zedd). Over the summer this has been one of everyone’s absolute favorites, and I was one of those people who couldn’t help themselves and had to sing along to it everywhere they went. Zedd is the king of EDM and this laser themed club banger is probably among his best work.

Just like on her previous album, Ariana worked with her boyfriend Big Sean. Best Mistake is the first song to bring a different sound to the album since it’s a minimal hip-hop piano ballad and ofcourse it’s a genre Ariana handles very well. I just don’t know about Big Sean, but apparently I’m not the only one who thinks he may not fit the overall minimal sound of the track (critics also feel that way). Other than that, a welcome variation.

Ariana never fails to bring on that 90s Mariah Carey vibe and Be My Baby (feat. Cashmere Cat) is another perfect example of that. It’s a nice song that adds a touch of R&B to the album as a whole, but just like some of Mariah’s songs it sounds a little too empty and generic for me to fully enjoy it, although it has its moments.

A lot of featured artists here. Still the little misstep of the previous track makes Break Your Heart Right Back (feat. Childish Gambino) shine even more, and that suprised feeling becomes even stronger when I hear Diana Ross’ ‘I’m Coming Out’ sampled in the chorus! I love the funky sound and even Childish Gambino is not superfluous.

The third single off the album is the catchy hit Love Me Harder (feat. The Weeknd) with great vocals by both Ari and Abel Tesfaye. I love how this is a darker 80s synthpop track that you wouldn’t necessarily expect from someone like Ariana and she still can make it work so well. It’s not too complicated a song, but definitely one of late 2014’s gems.

For all the Directioners out there: yay, a song co-written by Harry Styles (not too exited about that myself but oh well). Just A Little Bit Of Your Heart is actually the first real ballad on the album without any beats or interruption from a featured artist, so there is plenty enough room for Ariana to take the stage. It’s just a lovely track that can have the tendency to emotionally grab you, but it got me only 99% of the way.

Hands On Me (feat. A$AP Ferg) brings out Ariana’s inner Rihanna and it totally makes clear her Nickelodeon days are over for good. This track had me surprised like never before and I am completely struck by how much I love the mature and sexy hip-hop sound. I don’t know who A$AP is but this song would’ve been less kickass without him. I love it!

Closing the album, there is the title track My Everything, a short and sweet piano ballad carried by Ariana’s powerful yet light vocals. By the times she reaches the chorus there are goosebumps all over my body and I can’t shake how gorgeous this track is in all its minimalism. Sometimes I think this would’ve been better as the opening track instead of that intro, but at least it gives the album a close with dignity.

When I first heard the album I thought it was lacking so much and I was like “WHY didn’t she stick to the sound of ‘Yours Truly’??” But then I remembered I didn’t take the time then to really listen to the album, so I sat down again and this time I really gave in to everything. My final conclusion? This album is actually better than ‘Yours Truly’ in its own way and it’s also one of the most enjoyable albums of 2014! Ariana has joined forces with some major names here and it couldn’t have worked out better for her. Girl, you’re gonna be a huge star, if you aren’t one already.

Favorite tracks: Problem (feat. Iggy Azalea) | One Last Time | Why Try | Break Free (feat. Zedd) | Break Your Heart Right Back (feat. Childish Gambino) | Love Me Harder (feat. The Weeknd) | Hands On Me (feat. A$AP Ferg) | My Everything

OVERALL RATING
starstarstarstarhalfstar
4½ stars

Super Junior – MAMACITA

December 24, 2014 at 1:36 PM | Posted in Super Junior | 1 Comment

ALBUM REVIEW
Super Junior – MAMACITA

1. MAMACITA (AYAYA)
2. Chumeul Chunda (Midnight Blues)
3. Baegilmong (Evanesce)
4. Saranghi Meotji Anghe (Raining Spell for Love)
5. Shirt
6. THIS IS LOVE
7. Let’s Dance
8. Too Many Beautiful Girls
9. Hwanjeolgi (Mid-season)
10. Islands

♦ ♦ ♦

MAMACITA is the seventh Korean album by South-Korean group Super Junior, released on September 1, 2014. The album was later repackaged as THIS IS LOVE.

This album was requested by one of my friends, let’s see if I will like it as much as you do!

My friend has already shown me the MV for MAMACITA (AYAYA), I thought it was the craziest! Luckily the song itsself is amazing and it’s so catchy it got stuck in my head for weeks after only one listen! I was instantly blown away by Siwon and Kyuhyun opening the song, and Eunhyuk’s rap is an amazing addition to it. This was so catchy I think I’ll put it on repeat O:)

Now I’m using the color coded videos on YouTube to get more familiar with who is who in Super Junior, little fun fact. Chumeul Chunda (Midnight Blues) is a more laid back song after the catchy opening track and the guys sound wonderful together in the chorus. There are some really good singers in the group and here Donghae really stood out for me. I love the midtempo approach with the synths as major instrument here while there’s still a soft and relaxed ambience.

Baegilmong (Evanesce) takes a more pop/R&B approach while also a midtempo track. It’s more on the sad side when it comes to the lyrics and the guys captured it perfectly. Guys like Donghae and Kyuhyun have the perfect sound for songs like this, while Kangin was just too loud and in your face. Other than that, everyone together in the chorus made it close to perfection.

I was longing for something a bit more uptempo now, and Saranghi Meotji Anhge (Raining Spell For Love) is a quite lovely and bouncy track to fulfill my wish. It’s not really uptempo, but it has a bit more sass than the previous two tracks. I love the piano tune playing throughout the song and the little rap section opening the second verse, different than expected. I quite enjoyed this!

Sounds like Suju is getting quirky with Shirt, talking about different! This track is filled with horns and good beats while the guys hit it with some fierce vocals, it all fits very well together and I don’t even mind the ‘shirt sh-shirt shirt‘ chanting, which almost makes it a little too weird. Still, I can’t imagine myself sitting still to this one.

I was almost scared THIS IS LOVE was gonna be another ballad or other type of slow song, judging from the opening, but in the end it turns out this is more a midtempo song with a twist. It reminded me a bit of BoA’s song (with almost the same name) ‘This Is Love’, it has about the same funky influence in the music.

Let’s Dance is as infectuous as the title sounds, continuing the funky influences the previous song had by the inclusion of the guitars leading the arrangement. As the song develops it does seem to take on a more electropop sound too, I love the diversion here.

OMG is Suju going all One Direction on us? At least, that’s just what Too Many Beautiful Girls reminds me of, especially the chorus sounds so much like that famous 1D song in all its summer-ish splendor. Not that it’s a bad thing, I know some of you may not like the comparison but I mean it in a good way. This song is catchy and just pure fluffy, fun!

Hwanjeolgi (Mid-season) is the next summer track that seems almost 80s inspired with the use of the synths and keyboards in the background. The paradox to this song is the uplifting and breezy music in contrast with the depressing lyrics, but oh well… Nice rap too, overall not badly done.

Closing the album, Islands was written by Donghae to express the group’s friendship, I believe. It’s that kind of pensive ballad you would expect near the end of the album, especially with a title like that. There is some really good vocal work here and they picked exactly the right guys to take centre stage here, lighter vocals fit this song best. The soft percussion and strings joining the piano later really let the song take off, lots of love for this one.

This was my first Super Junior album and the title track hauled me over. I must say I was scared the rest of the album was going to be full of filler tracks, but that didn’t happen at all. There are definitely some gems here and I’m sure many Suju fans love this album. I won’t call myself an instant fan, but I guess I will have a lot at some of their other albums as well. Good stuff!

Favorite tracks: MAMACITA (AYAYA) | Saranghi Meotji Anghe (Raining Spell For Love) | Too Many Beautiful Girls | Hwanjeolgi (Mid-season) | Islands

OVERALL RATING
starstarstarstarblankstar
4 stars

Michael Jackson – Xscape

December 24, 2014 at 12:24 PM | Posted in Michael Jackson | 1 Comment

ALBUM REVIEW
Michael Jackson – Xscape

1. Love Never Felt So Good
2. Chicago
3. Loving You
4. A Place With No Name
5. Slave To The Rhythm
6. Do You Know Where Your Children Are
7. Blue Gangsta
8. Xscape

♦ ♦ ♦

Xscape is the second posthumous album of previously unreleased tracks by American singer Michael Jackson, released on May 13, 2014. The album peaked at #1 in five countries all over the world and as of September 2013, the album has sold over 1,400,000 copies.

No MA without the Michael Jackson category, I know the whole blogging world concentrates more on K-Pop and J-Pop but I BREATHE Michael Jackson music, so that’s why he’s here. Thought a little explanation might help 😉

So, Love Never Felt So Good is the first track and it was also released as a single that features the amazing Justin Timberlake. I love both versions, the version on the album features just Michael and it really lets him shine the way he intended too. This song revives the disco/soul genre 2014 style with catchy music, maybe a little tame when you know MJ’s discography very well but it’s a good opener.

Chicago really brings out the grittier side of MJ’s music with its mysterious and foreboding ambience. It starts out a little quiet, but then Michael lets everything go and he sings out his anxiety about this woman who he thought loved him, but lied to him. The deep bass and slight R&B/hiphop influence makes this timeless and very enjoyable.

After that darker track, Loving You is on the lighter and cuter side. While everyone else goes out, MJ would rather enjoy time at home with his woman, that’s what he’s singing about. His light vocals sound great with the uplifting piano tune that plays throughout the song. Maybe not a song you would notice immediately the first time, but it’s definitely worth it.

A Place With No Name tells the story of a man stranded in the desert, who is then lured to ‘a place with no name’ by a mysterious woman. This compelling story has very good music to accompany it, with catchy synth loops to make the thing a bit bouncier than other tracks on the album. It’s not as ‘in your face’ as Chicago is, but it’s one of the best songs on the album for sure.

One of my other favorites must be Slave To The Rhythm, another track that is pure MJ, very similar to the work he released when he was still among us. Everything about this track is strong: the lyrics, the beats, and Michael’s vocals are best. Everything builds into this big explosion of music near the end of the song, loved it so much.

Do You Know Where Your Children Are continues that strong typical MJ sound with aggressive use of beats, synths and the first time an electric guitar takes more centre stage. This is another track that shows how important it is to actually listen to lyrics, the message grabs me and although the chorus is quite simple, it’s delivered in the most memorable and catchy way.

Timbaland gave Blue Gangsta the perfect futuristic twist. This track was probably dark themed already since Michael’s vocals are a lot edgier again, but this song was reworked in such a way that it fits right in the category with ‘Beat It’ and even ‘Thriller’. Deep R&B filled with low-end strings, horns and snap-back snares, it’s as fierce as it gets and I love it ❤

MJ was very enthousiastic about Xscape, ‘Wait til the world hears it’, he used to say to one of his producers. Michael sings about escaping and getting away from the system and ‘electric eyes’, something like ‘Leave Me Alone’ in the late 80s. This track beats the latter any time and I love how there are samples of ‘You Rock My World’ here, one of my all-time favorite MJ songs.

I actually bought my copy of this album when I was in the States this summer and I don’t regret a single dime I spent on it. I must have played it in the car more times than I can even remember so I know all the songs by heart now. It reminds me time and time again how much love I have for this amazing legend, something that will never go away. Actually, I think MJ is the only artist I feel such a connection to and I have always said that, if I ever have a son, I will name him Michael in honor of him. Crazy? Maybe, but that’s how big my passion for his music and everything he had to say is. This is more perfection than his previous posthumous album was ❤

Favorite tracks: Love Never Felt So Good | Chicago | A Place With No Name | Slave To The Rhythm | Do You Know Where Your Children Are | Blue Gangsta

OVERALL RATING
starstarstarstarstar
5 stars

Maroon 5 – V

December 23, 2014 at 7:09 PM | Posted in Maroon 5 | Leave a comment

ALBUM REVIEW
Maroon 5 – V

1. Maps
2. Animals
3. It Was Always You
4. Unkiss Me
5. Sugar
6. Leaving California
7. In Your Pocket
8. New Love
9. Coming Back For You
10. Feelings
11. My Heart Is Open (feat. Gwen Stefani)

♦ ♦ ♦

V is the fifth album by American band Maroon 5, released on August 29, 2014. After four weeks the album had sold 305,000 copies, making it the band’s first number-one album since 2007’s ‘It Won’t Be Soon Before Long’.

So, I’ll be reviewing this album in a different way since this band is not a big category on MA but more of a personal favorite. Since it will be featured in the ‘best albums of 2014’ post (spoiler!) I just had to cover it, you know. Well, first a little overall message about V: I’m glad I really like this album since I bought the tickets for their next concert tour before I even heard the album, that’s how big of a fan I am. The thing Maroon 5 always does really well is the creation of catchy tunes and memorable hooks. Almost every song on the album has something to remember it by, even the non-single tracks that are on it.

There are a lot of nice uptempo tracks on the album covering both their newfound electropop style in songs like It Was Always You, which is also filled with synths in the background, but there are also some classic Maroon 5 pop/rock tracks like the famous songs Maps and Animals. Experience tells me every Maroon 5 album has at least one fun song on it (for those of you who know: remember ‘Kiwi’ and ‘Lucky Strike’?). Sugar is a very addictive track in that category, just pure fun with those signature high pitched vocals from lead singer Adam. Feelings further along on the album is the other fun track to really dance and let loose on, but beware, this one could get stuck in your head all day.
But it’s not all fun and games, since In Your Pocket is the gritter anxiety-filled track to balance the emotions on the album. But then right after that New Love is one of my absolute favorites with its cuteness and uplifting quality, very catchy indeed.

Ofcourse every Maroon 5 has some heartfelt ballads or midtempo songs to balance everything out, and among my absolute favorites are the electro-R&B piece Unkiss Me and signature Maroon song Leaving California with the most enchanting hooks in the chorus. From the very first listen those two songs just stayed with me and I loved them to bits. The nicest surprise on this album is the beautiful My Heart Is Open with the amazing Gwen Stefani. She really adds something special to the song and her vocals are perfect for it, blending nicely with Adam’s later in the song.

The only song on the entire album I didn’t really care for was Coming Back For You, that was just a little too generic for me to really like it and it didn’t stick with me at all. Other than that, all I can say is that Maroon 5 delivered another album that is close to perfection. If this is your cup of tea, what are you waiting for?? Recommended!

Favorite tracks: Animals | Unkiss Me| Sugar | Leaving California | New Love | My Heart Is Open

OVERALL RATING
starstarstarstarhalfstar
4½ stars

Taylor Swift – 1989

December 23, 2014 at 5:54 PM | Posted in Taylor Swift | Leave a comment

ALBUM REVIEW
Taylor Swift – 1989

1. Welcome To New York
2. Blank Space
3. Style
4. Out Of The Woods
5. All You Had To Do Was Stay
6. Shake It Off
7. I Wish You Would
8. Bad Blood
9. Wildest Dreams
10. How You Get The Girl
11. This Love
12. I Know Places
13. Clean

♦ ♦ ♦

1989 is the fifth studio album by American singer Taylor Swift, released on October 27, 2014. The album reached #1 in 11 countries all over the world and has been named one of the best albums of the year by music critics.

The fact that this is Taylor’s first real departure from country music is instantly made clear with Welcome To New York, an ode to the city (and one of my favorite cities in the world). It’s not Sinatra’s ‘New York, New York’ but still it’s a very nice synthpop track to celebrate the city and come to think of it, it’s like Taylor has gone Katy Perry on us with this one. The critics may not like it all that much, but I do 😉

Blank Space is definitely one of my absolute favorites on this album from the very first moment I heard it. It has a slight electropop/minimal pop sound which I really liked, with deep bass and good percussion. I love how Taylor kind of mocks herself and her public image here, ‘Got a long list of ex lovers […] But I’ve got a blank space baby, and I’ll write your name‘, GET IT GURL!

Style is one of the songs that was inspired by the 80s I suppose, and that’s exactly what I love about it. The guitar riffs are heard all throughout the song and it gives it a nice and bouncy quality. The lyrics are uplifting and both Taylor’s vocals and her singing melodies are very enjoyable. Probably one of the best non-single songs on the album.

Some other songs on the album have a slight nod to 80s music too, and interestingly enough Out Of The Woods combines both 80s and modern elements into an indietronic kind of song, unlike anything Taylor has released before. This was used as a promo song for the album and I think that was an excellent choice. The lyrics are quite simple but the music is filled with synths and percussion, love it.

Apparently All You Had To Do Was Stay was written after a dream Taylor had instead of a real life relationship. It’s a little bit more in style with Taylor’s previous work if you listen closely, and at first you might not even remember this song was even there. What makes it memorable for me is the word ‘stay’ in the chorus, the way it was sung higher pitched. Gives it a more interesting touch you know.

Let’s add some sass! Shake It Off is another song in which Taylor is not too afraid to mock herself and give us her side of the story, something that adds some bonus points to the overall rating haha. This song is just pure fun and exactly what the album needed at this point, something you can just really enjoy yourself with and let loose for once. Favorite!

Good thing we reached a point on the album with nice uptempo songs, something Tay knows how to do really well. I Wish You Would is kinda 90s to be honest, not my favorite era (even though I’m 90s myself) but Taylor’s spin on it makes it more accessible even for me. Maybe this is a little too fast paced even for Tay, but well, at least it’s still enjoyable.

Bad Blood sounds like something I really need in my life: deep and good beats, synths, bitter lyrics and metaphors like backstabbing and Taylor’s bitchy and sassy vocals supported by everything. I don’t think I can even begin to describe how much I love this catchy dark tune, it’s ‘amazeballs’ ❤

Wildest Dreams sounds a little too familiar to me when it comes to the lyrics, but I’ll just pretend I didn’t notice. One thing that comes to mind: Lana Del Rey anyone? Somehow I can easily imagine her singing this song but it becomes Taylor too. I loved the melodies in the chorus, cute little track.

Finally, a manual for men: How You Get The Girl. Yup, getting someone back isn’t that simple and it takes more than a ‘Sup? Miss you’ text, something Taylor understands very well. It’s an enjoyable track with some nice acoustic guitars in a more prominent role this time, it’s catchy and maybe it will grow on me because of that, other than that this is more the generic type of T. S. song.

Taylor’s voice sounds lovely in This Love, a slow ballad with doubled vocals, a technique that makes her stand out so well. This song is kept very minimal so it focuses on her voice and the beautiful lyrics. Somehow the thought comes to mind that this song has a more mature approach than some of the other songs here, which is a good thing. I’m dreaming away to this one.

I Know Places just screams ‘Ryan Tedder’, and although he already is known to me a s a good music producer, there are more elements that make this song interesting. Taylor does a good job on the higher notes in this song, something she doesn’t do all that often if I remember correctly. Somehow this also seems two songs in one, but the overall picture tells me this is a song you musn’t overlook.

Wow, Clean was co-written by Imogen Heap. Closing the album Taylor decided to take it down a notch and end the album on a peaceful and easy-listening kind of note. It’s not the most memorable song on the album, but I do enjoy listening to it and I can imagine playing this song while just sitting back to relax.

I knew I would like this album from the moment it was announced since I’ve had a soft spot for Taylor for the past few years, and it has everything to do with her lyrical content and catchy music. The subject of relationships and love is still central, but in a more mature and adult way, killing her image of a ‘young bare-foot girl with a guitar’. This major departure from country music works so well for Tay and she’s on her way to becoming a legend in the music industry, making more and more clear who she really is with every new album released. Magnum opus? Probably, yes!

Favorite tracks: Blank Space | Style | Out Of The Woods | Shake It Off | Bad Blood | Wildest Dreams | I Know Places

OVERALL RATING
starstarstarstarstar
5 stars

Taemin – ACE

December 22, 2014 at 7:50 PM | Posted in Taemin | 2 Comments


MINI-ALBUM REVIEW
Taemin – ACE

1. Ace
2. Goedo (Danger)
3. Experience
4. Pretty Boy (feat. Kai of EXO)
5. Geojeolhalge (Wicked)
6. Sonata (Play Me)

♦ ♦ ♦

ACE is the debut solo mini-album by South Korean singer and SHINee member Taemin, released on August 18, 2014. The mini-album peaked at #13 on the charts and has sold 5,105 copies.

Taemin’s debut has been requested by a lot of people, so here you go guys!

I didn’t expect the opening and title track Ace to be this sultry slow song, but hey, Taemin surprised me more often lately. I enjoy the parts in the chorus when Taemin sings ‘I want to be your only ace‘, his vocals have improved so much and he puts the right amount of temptation in them here. That’s exactly the way to describe this first track: temptation, seduction, to lure you into the album, and Taemin has succeeded very well with that.

Goedo (Danger) serves as the lead track for the album and it sounds very, very good! Am I the only one who thinks some of the hooks are slightly comparable to Michael Jackson vibes? Either way, this song is catchy all the way and again Taemin shows a whole other side of his vocals, much deeper and more energetic. Fun track!

An introduction that is very western movie worthy opens Experience, it gives the track a mysterious and unique quality that is very memorable. To me, it sometimes seems as if Taemin’s vocals are lacking a bit, but that could very well be his own breathy sound (since I’ve heard it before). The only word to describe this song in one word is: catchy. Not the best, but certainly unique.

I really liked the opening for Pretty Boy (feat. Kai of EXO), and the overall sound is exactly what this album needed: something close to hiphop music. Kai spices everything up while Taemin sounds more like Jonghyun here, confusing right? Anyway, even though Taemin sounds like he’s trying to imitate his fellow SHINee member, this must be the best song I’ve heard on this mini-album yet!

Let’s get quirky with some swing and doo-wob! Geojeolhalge (Wicked) is the next surprise on this amazing mini-album with a completely new sound and the perfect vocals to match this style. I do think this song missed a big explosion of sass and attitude, but somehow the part near the end is close enough to what I actually wanted. Very unexpected, but very welcome.

I’ve heard Sonata (Play Me) before, maybe because one of my friends played it for me once. It features Taemin’s higher pitched vocals and his vocals are actually the highlight of the entire song. The music is very minimal and almost non-existing, so in some way this song is not that special. Maybe it needs to grow on me, but for now the rest of the album is much better than this last track.

I must say that when it comes to reviewing this mini-album, I wasn’t that exited in advance. Taemin was always my least favorite SHINee member since he was originally the group’s dancer and Jonghyun and Onew were always the better singers. Somehow Taemin erased some of my doubts and he showed me he can actually sing and release a nice and catchy album! Most of the songs were very memorable and unique in their own way, there was much variation and that’s why I just throw my hands up now and give some of my live to this young singer. Well done!

OVERALL RATING
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4 stars

Best of 2014: ~Singles~

December 22, 2014 at 5:59 PM | Posted in !Features! | 2 Comments

It’s that time of the year again, the time to look back at some of the best releases of this year. Usually I always have the ‘New Discoveries’ post first, but there weren’t any new real discoveries this year  since I haven’t had the time to listen to much music (something that will also be visible in the ‘Last FM plays’ post). Ofcourse I also haven’t reviewed everything so you know how this works, this is purely a reflection of my own taste. So here they are, the best singles of 2014 in my opinion!

~Top 10: Best singles 2014~
1. Ed Sheeran – Thinking Out Loud
2. BoA – Shout It Out
3. SHINee – LUCKY STAR
4. Kalafina – believe
5. BoA – MASAYUME CHASING
6. ayaka – Nijiiro
7. Namie Amuro – BRIGHTER DAY
8. Maroon 5 – Animals
9. Ayumi Hamasaki – Zutto… / Last minute / Walk
10. Koda Kumi – HOTEL

~Top 5: Best B-sides~
1. BoA – close to me
2. Kalafina – in every nothing
3. Namie Amuro – Still Lovin’ You
4. SHINee – Bounce
5. AFTERSCHOOL – rock it!

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