Archive for the ‘New Music’ Category

Review: Madonna’s “Rebel Heart” Album Part 1

by: Taj | December 21st, 2014

It’s time for my full review of the first batch of songs released from Madonna’s new album Rebel Heart.

First let’s discuss the marketing package behind the new endeavor… Just last week the Queen of Pop sprung a major leak and very early versions of some of the new material (as well as a few demos that won’t make the final cut) spread across the Internet like a wild fire! There are always the conspiracy theorists out there that believe Madonna leaked half her album in very low quality/barely produced form (because that would be how I would want to introduce my music for the first time *eye roll*) but I can guarantee you that this was not a planned marketing ploy! The leak and the drama behind the scenes are very real! So in response to her music being put out there in mediocre form for the world to hear, Madonna decided to “pull a Beyonce” so to speak but also one up her! She bundled together 6 songs that were in the can & ready for world-wide exposure (all of which had leaked except one) and released them to the world so that we can hear how she intended for us to hear them! The result so far has been an overwhelmingly positive response in which many online media outlets are hailing the tracks as some of her best in decades… And for the record, I concur! Although M intended to release a single in Feb and the entire album in March, she will now release the album in three parts! We got the first batch of songs, we’ll get the next batch on Feb 9th and then the rest in March! It’s a new age in the way music is released and Madonna has just trailblazed a new trend for others to follow as usual!

Onto the music…

“Living For Love”


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Living For Love” is the lead single from “Rebel Heart” and while I don’t think it’s the strongest choice for a first single, it is definitely a nice introduction to the new three part era! After all, she does have two more opportunities to release a “first single” thanks to the genius multi-release structure. Don’t get me wrong… I LOVE this song!! Especially the finished version that we can compare to the earlier incarnation which was a little on the boring side. “Living for Love” is a lush, uplifting, deep-house meets gospel meets EDM. A lot like all the material on this release, ‘LFL‘ is a throwback with a new-school edge! Vocally and lyrically Madonna is on-point with her inspirational message of pushing through the tough times with love on your side. What a nice way to kick off your new release, right? I give this one 8 1/2 out of 10 stars. (With room to grow of course)

“Unapologetic Bitch”


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I’m reviewing this one next because I think as much as Madonna #hashtagged this title, her fans have been in a frenzy to hear the actual music for such an ambitious, attention catching title! Did it live up to the hype?? I say HELL YES!! This is one of my favorites from the album and would have been my choice for first single. No it’s not the typical gay dance-party type of single that most people would have expected from M, but I think her venture into the Diplo produced reggae/dancehall territory is the unexpected curveball that Madonna has been know to throw at us to keeps us on our toes and keep her on her thrown! I give this one 8 out of 10.

Devil Pray


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I LOVE THIS SONG! Lyrically Madonna delves head-on into the world of drugs, self-reflection and religious guilt! This is another example where we can hear how the leaks were definitely pre-mature version of what Madonna intended for us to hear. While the leaked version was  a pretty straight-forward folk-pop song with the trademark Avicii imprint, the new version (which still retains a little of the folk feel) has been reworked to takes us on more of an electronic house journey. This isn’t the first time we’ve heard an Avicii production mesh these two genres together, but the delivery this time around sounds nothing like some of his more well known folk-dance fusions such as “Wake Me Up” or “Hey Brother“. (Thank God!) This has to be one of the strongest tracks out of this release, so I give it a 10 out of 10.

Ghosttown


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Ghosttown” is the only ‘new’ track in the sense that it’s the only one that didn’t leak ahead of time from this first round of releases. This Ryan Tedder produced mid-tempo ballad is beautiful and really highlights Madonna’s vocals, but I have to admit that I find this track to be a bit on the bland side and is probably my least favorite track from round one. For a filler track, the melody does have some standout moments and it’s still better than a lot of the tracks from M’s previous album MDNA! With that said, I’m gonna give this one a 7 out of 10.

“Illuminate”


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I think most people cringe when they think of Madonna rapping  on a track (“American Life” anyone?!) but a lot of us where pleasently surprised when we heard M spitting rhymes that actually didn’t bother us at all… As a matter of fact, she pulls it off quite nicely on this one! Lyrically “Illuminate” is probably the most interesting track that we’ve heard on the album so far, delivering a clever tongue-in-cheek play on all of the Satan worshiping secret society rumors that have followed the pop icon for years! Lady Gaga will be happy to know that Madonna makes a neutral reference to her in this track that doesn’t involve the world “reductive”. Production-wise, this Kanye West produced track (Yes, Mr. Kardashian produced this one) is a bit more on the dark and edgy side which is a beautiful contrast to all of the upbeat pop numbers! I give this one an 8 1/2 out of 10.

“Bitch, I’m Madonna”


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When it comes to Madonna, you either love her or you hate her and I think that’s going to be the case with this song as well. Personally, Diplo x’s Madonna = A perfect blend of pop and edginess. Add Madonna’s collaboration bestie Nicki Minaj to the mix and you have the formula for a massive club hit! Although this song doesn’t have anything really important to say other than ‘she’s Madonna bitches,‘ it’s hard to deny the catchy melody and Diplo’s heavy-hitting sythns and beats! I’m going to give this one an 8 out of 10.

Madonna is back! She’s living for love, she’s unapologetic, she’s a rebel and she’s back on top of her game! The Queen is back!! I already can’t wait to review part 2 of the album!!

Remix Treatment: Azealia Banks – Chasing Time (Barry Harris Remix)

by: Taj | December 6th, 2014

DJ/producer Barry Harris is absolutely dominating the dance remix scene with his signature epic anthem builds meshed with pounding tribal house beats. His latest remix of Azealia Banks’Chasing Time” is the perfect example of the type of floor-fillers that he’s been churning out lately. I must say that this one in particular is definitely one of my favorites that he has put out in recent times. Please keep these bangers  coming Mr. Harris!

Remix Treatment: Selena Gomez – The Heart Wants What It Wants (Cosmic Dawn Remix)

by: Taj | December 6th, 2014

Selena Gomez‘ brooding ode to her tumultuous relationship with Justin Bieber ”The Heart Wants What It Wants” has just been made even more moody thanks to this new Cosmic Dawn remix. A little mellow for the types of productions we have come to expect from CS but it is absolutely perfect and fits the tone of the song impeccably! I must say that this is one of my favorite Cosmic Dawn productions of his career! Check the remix video which was produced by video remixer JNX!

Video Premiere: Gwen Stefani – Spark The Fire

by: Taj | December 1st, 2014

Gwen Stefani is moving on pretty fast from her first dud of a single “Baby Don’t Lie” and has just released the music video her much more radio friendly follow up, “Spark The Fire“. Fun song, fun video… But will this do the trick?! The Pharrell produced track is definitely taylor made for the clubs so I’m hoping people give it more of a chance than her first  go. Check it out..


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New Music: Major Lazer Ft. Ariana Grande – All My Love

by: Taj | November 13th, 2014

Major Lazer and Ariana Grande might sound like an odd coupling for a new track to be featured on the Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 soundtrack, but “All My Love” is actually a solid pop-ditty that very well suits Ariana’s pop princess catalog but still brings a bit of unexpected edge that we would want to hear from Major Lazer. Take a listen…


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Listen To David Guetta’s New Album “Listen”…

by: Taj | November 13th, 2014

If there’s one think David Guetta is good at, it’s producing a hot EDM-pop record!! Take a listen to this sampler of her forthcoming album titled “Listen” and features guest vocals from the likes of Sam Smith, Sia, John Legend, Nico & Vinz, Ryan Tedder as well as many others! I predict a string of major cross-over hits for Mr. Guetta! Take a listen for yourself…

Video Premiere: Gwen Stefani – Baby Don’t Lie

by: Taj | October 21st, 2014

Gwen Stefani is wasting no time promoting her new single “Baby Don’t Lie“. Check out the just released music video for her solo comeback single…

New Music: The Chemical Brothers Ft. Miguel & Lorde – This Is Not A Game

by: Taj | October 21st, 2014

The Chemical Brothers have reemerged to deliver the first offering for the The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 soundtrack titled “This Is Not a Game“. The new electro-urban cut (is that even a genre or did I just make that up?) features a little help from Miguel & Lorde… Actually what I should say is this: The new electro-urban cut features a lot of help from Miguel & very little from Lorde. I mean, why even list her as a featured artist when she says no more than 3 words in the entire song! If you can get past that part, the song is actually really worth a listen or two! I actually love it! Take a listen and decide for yourself…


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New Music: Calvin Harris Ft. Ellie Goulding – Outside

by: Taj | October 20th, 2014

They’re at it again! EDM royalty, Calvin Harris & Ellie Goulding has teamed up again on a new single titled “Outside” which is lifted off of Calvin’s forthcoming album, Motion. I already instantly like this one right off the bat more so than “I Need You Love” which took a few listens to even warm up to. Check it out….


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New Music: Gwen Stefani – Baby Don’t Lie

by: Taj | October 20th, 2014

What a great way to start off your monday! Platinum blonde shell Gwen Stefani has decided to end her 8 year hiatus from her solo music career and has just gifted us with a brand new single titled “Baby Don’t Lie“. At first listen, the mid-tempo offering sounds like it could have been written and produced by Sia and Avicii. (What an awesome combination that would be!) But in fact, the song was the handy work of Ryan Tedder (OneRepublic), Benny Blanco & Gwen herself. Does Gwen have a new hit on her hands?! Take a listen and let me know…


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Video Premiere: Jessie J Ft. 2 Chains – Burnin’ Up

by: Taj | October 9th, 2014

This is the pop music I’ve been missing!!! Thank you Jessie J for bringing the FIRE, EDGE and DIVA VOCALS back into pop! Check out the music video for Jessie hot new single “Burnin’ Up“! I cannot wait to get some club mixes for this one to drop in my sets!


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Mary J Blige Collaborates With Sam Smith & MJ Cole On New Tracks…

by: Taj | October 2nd, 2014

Mary J Blige’s forthcoming London Session album is shaping up to be one of my most anticipated releases of the year! After spending a good chunk of the year recording this concept album in the UK, Mary has been dropping some pretty amazing teaser tracks to get fans like myself thirsty for this album!! The latest two were both co-written by this year’s breakout crooner Sam Smith and one in particular titled “Nobody But You” was produced by the legendary UK garage producer, MJ Cole.

While “Nobody But You” features MJ’s signature upbeat garage house sound (as well as backing vocals by Mr. Smith himself) the second Sam Smith co-write titled “Therapy” finds Mary in a Doo-Wop kinda mood very reminiscent of Amy Winehouse’s musical legacy!

“Nobody But You”

“Therapy”

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Mary J really should hang out in London more often… Or just move there all together!

And just in case you missed my first post about it, check out the HOT Disclosure produced single “Right Now“…


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New Music: Avicii Ft. Robbie Williams – The Days

by: Taj | September 30th, 2014

Avicii has just unleashed a brand new collaboration with the one and only Robbie Williams!! Being that I am a humungous fan of the “Angels” singer, I was ecstatic to see his name alongside Avicii’s… But after first listen, I’m left feeling a little bit underwhelmed. I mean, it’s a good song… No, a GREAT song.. It’s just that it sounds more like a typical Robbie Williams song than it does an Avicii collaboration. I guess I was really hoping to hear Robbie in more of an EDM style record but I think once I get over that fact, I will grow to really love this song! Take a listen…

New Music: Fergie – L.A. Love (La La)

by: Taj | September 29th, 2014

Fergie is back after taking a very loooooong hiatus to make babies with her hubby Josh Duhamel. I mean, can we really blame her?

Exactly…

Anyhow, Mrs. Fergalicious is ready to trade in the moo-moos and baby bottles for her ‘glamorous’ ensables and a microphone to make her big comeback in the pop music scene! As a matter of fact, she has just dropped her first single titled “L.A. Love (La La)” from her forth-coming sophomore solo album… Her first in almost a decade!

She’s going the urban-pop route with this one so I’m confident that fans of her Black Eyed Peas years will enjoy this single. Check it out..

 

Kylie Minogue Drops 4 FREE New Songs!!

by: Taj | September 24th, 2014

Aussie pop goddess Kylie Minogue has just treated fans to not one… but FOUR new songs that she’s offering as free downloads! The tracks where all produced by Fernando Garibay and are featured in her Kiss Me Once world tour which just opened today! While there are no major ‘hits’ in the bunch, these songs weren’t really intended for any kind of radio play and serve more as experimental musical gifts for hardcore stans! Well don’t just sit there, hit the ‘download’ buttons!!