10. “Coldblooded” – Who hurt you, Khalid? “Coldblooded” is about the heartbreak that left him sad and longing for love. This slow jam also isn’t a standout for me. It lacks the beat driven production and doesn’t flaunt Khalid’s true vocal talent. The only part of this song I could get into was the very end, and that feeling was fleeting.
After listening to Mothership, I am now a converted DGD fan with a new found appreciation for Tillian Pearson.
Tillian’s vocals were great in Acceptance Speech. They were even better in Instant Gratification, but Mothership displays his true talent as a clean vocalist. He belts out killer vocal runs on tracks such as “Deception” and “Inspire the Liars”. His smooth transitions from quiet falsettos to intense, high strung yelling makes him a dynamic vocalist to listen to and an exciting one to watch live. Even his connection with Jon Mess is electric. Their vocals blend well together with Will Swan’s catchy riffs which make each song even more enjoyable. This formula of excellent clean and unclean vocals, experimental guitar riffs, hard hitting drums by Matt Mingus, and funky bass work by Tim Feerick is the perfect storm.
“Chocolate Jackalope” is an example of this perfect formula. In my opinion, the intro has the best riff on the album, showing off Will Swan’s instrumental chops. This track even gives listeners a little autotune, drake referenced rap portion by him. It sounds a little cringey, a little obnoxious, but when is a DGD album not cringey. Jon Mess’s lyrics are the epitome of this with lines like “he’s my widdle baby meow meow boo” (Chocolate Jackalope). “Petting Zoo Justice” features another golden line – “clip clop, clip clip clop Horse comes out and beats your parents up.” The lyricism is pure poetry.
Mothership definitely hits hard on tracks like “Philosopher King” and “Petting Zoo Justice.” Swan delivers magical guitar riffs from start to finish; no breaks, no chill. Matt Mingus’s double pedal accompaniment is a nice touch as well. The power metal elements contrast Tillian’s crooning vocals. This refreshing element exemplifies the experimental styling of DGD.
Unfortunately, “Exposed” and “Flossie Dickey Bounce” fell short for me. They seemed incomplete, something was missing. “Exposed” demonstrates Tillian’s vocal range but it would’ve been even better with Jon screaming along. On the other hand, “Flossie Dickey Bounce” lacked patience. It felt rushed, put together at the last minute, but not going to lie, the intro makes me laugh.
Overall, I give this album a 8.5 out of 10. I believe Dance Gavin Dance has found their perfect formula and I hope it will stay like that.
Favorite tracks: Young Robot, Frozen One, Deception, Inspire the Liars, Chocolate Jackalope, Philosopher King
Least favorite tracks: Exposed, Flossie Dickey Bounce
Hey everybody! It’s been a few weeks, but I’m back in action and ready to rant about some new music. This week it’s all about The Struts and their fantastic new album.
The Struts debut studio album, Everybody Wants, came out last month. Although I could do with a different album cover than the one up on Spotify (I feel like the half naked girl thing’s been done enough), there’s nothing I’d change about the music. It’s a fantastic debut for a fantastic band.
The English rock band has a Queen-esque vibe thanks to lead singer Luke Speller’s glam rock flair. His powerful vocals ring through the album.
The front-man has been compared to the likes of Freddie Mercury, David Bowie and Mick Jagger. His black eyeliner, shaggy hair, and extreme showmanship feels both refreshing and reminiscent.
Chocked full of big rock ballads, there really are no slow songs on the album. It’s 13 tracks of high energy rock and roll.
Some of the highlights include Roll Up, Put Your Money on Me and Young Stars. The album also features Could Have Been Me, the single that originally rocketed the band to fame.
The album feels like the grungy side of Hollywood. The songs reflect the album title. They are full of passion, longing and triumph. Speller seems to bare his soul.
The Struts stopped by San Diego last week if you were lucky enough to catch them. They’re now making their way through the Midwest promoting their album. Here’s to hoping they make their way back to San Diego soon and bring more great music with them.
I give Everybody Wants 4.5/5. I can’t wait to hear what the Struts come up with next.
After three long years, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis finally released a new album together on February 26. Entitled This Unruly Mess I’ve Made, the album features Macklemore’s signature blend of raw honesty, self-reflection, and goofy humor.
The 13-track album is chocked full of guest artists singing and rapping alongside Macklemore and Lewis. 12 of the 13 songs feature guests such as Chance the Rapper, Ed Sheeran and even actor Idris Elba.
The song Dance Off sees Idris Elba challenging Macklemore to a dance off. The song, reminiscent of And We Danced, is not quite as catchy, but pretty entertaining. Another of the ‘less deep’ songs on the album, Brad Pitt’s Cousin, is sure to bring a smile to listeners’ faces with its lyrics about his famous cat and penchant for herbal tea.
Kevin, a darker one on the track list, is an album highlight. It laments a friend lost to drug addiction and criticizes our society of prescription drugs and pill popping. St. Ides, the only solo track of the album, is another highlight. It is a reflection back on Macklemore’s early years struggling with alcoholism.
These dark songs are contrasted by the more hopeful tone of songs like Growing Up. Written for his yet unborn child, Macklemore raps out his fears and dreams about fatherhood. He gives his baby his own version of fatherly advice. His advice includes words of wisdom such as fall in love, cheat in calculus, wear a helmet, look before jaywalking and be selfless. Featuring Ed Sheeran for the chorus, the song is a soft and sweet love song dedicated to his baby.
One of the most notable and most sobering tracks on the album is White Privilege. The song follows up where the original left off. It reveals Macklemore’s inner conflict about where he belongs in the hip hop world and how to show his support for a cause that is not technically his. He recognizes his appropriation of another culture’s music and struggles with the fact that his race has contributed to his success.
In verse one of the song he raps,
“I want to take a stance cause we are not free.
And then I thought about it, we are not ‘we.’
Am I in the outside looking in, or am I in the inside looking out?
Is it my place to give my two cents?
Or should I stand on the side and shut my mouth?”
The nearly nine minute song is a battle of conscious about who and what he and his music are and what his part in the Black Lives Matter movement should be. He raps about how he wants his music to be authentic and to support the culture that gave him “a voice to begin with.”
After more than three years of waiting, the new music does not disappoint. It serves as a worthy follow-up to the duo’s Grammy-winning first album.
This Unruly Mess I’ve Made is a reflection of the ups and downs, the struggles and the successes, that Macklemore has experienced since his rise to fame. It may be a bit chaotic, but the “unruly mess” is what makes Macklemore, Lewis and their music feel sincere and authentic.