Friday, August 26, 2016

Review Friday: Danny L. Harle - "Super Natural (feat. Carly Rae Jepsen)"

Danny L. Harle
"Super Natural (feat. Carly Rae Jepsen)" 
PC Music

The hipster's general consensus for Carly Rae Jepsen may be confusing and polarizing: "Is it cool to like Carly Rae Jepsen now that she's criminally underrated? Should we just bandwagon?" They may make fair point: the transformation of Carly Rae Jepsen from the soft-pedaled bubblegum pop princess of "Call Me Maybe" to queen of Pitchfork Music Festival is truly an interesting case study. In just one masterpiece album, Emotion, a true homage of 80's pop songs, Jepsen can turn the table. Before she releases the side B of Emotion, Jepsen teases her collaboration with British music producer, Danny L. Harle. "Super Natural."

The true star of "Super Natural" is of course Harle, one of PC Music's producers, the member of Dux Alliance with A. G. Cook. It's already a recipe of amazingness. Long fan of Jepsen, when Harle asks Jepsen to fill the vocal for "Super Natural", it's a dream comes true, and "Super Natural" lengthens the streak of Jepsen's superb songs. 

It's no surprise when you listen to Harle's sick beat, it reminds you of A. G. Cook's work, with its twinkling beat and multilayered 80's synth. Jepsen is the perfect choice to fill the vocal, as her voice twirls between Harle's irresistible beat (and quirky charming smile). "Super Natural" describes an effortlessly matching couple, that's perfectly meant for each other, and in some other ways, it's exactly what's this collaboration is. 

Hidden Track: CEO - "Harakiri"

Sincerely Yours

Grotesque is the exact word that's able to capture the quiddity of CEO's Eric Burgland's sophomore album, wonderland. The obscure, yet stunning cover album, showing Berglund in kaleidoscopic color palettes doesn't veneer the fact wonderland is indeed grotesque, distorted, yet harmonious and amazing, proving that Burgland doesn't produce his sophomore album half-assedly. It's opened by such a strong first track--that's also used as the first single--"Whorehouse"--a perfect pop-dance song that sounds salacious, but actually describes the sense of Burgland's entrapment and confusion that he feels like "lost in the whorehouse". The track is so damn good, that every time you ask other people about CEO, the first response that pops up in their head is either "Who is CEO?" or "Oh, that dude who sings 'Whorehouse'? Yeah, he's good". But, Burgland doesn't become CEO of Sincerely Yours because of nothing. He still has so much to offer. Hidden after "Whorehouse", the second track of the album, "Harakiri". is actually the true gem of wonderland

At first, "Harakiri" sounds dreamy and tranquilizing. The soothing violin that begins the song may lull you, along with the soft synthed cadence and Burgland's brittle voice, "Your glitter rains on my face." "Harakiri" is so picturesque that you probably don't realize you've been deceived by the song. When Burgland continues, "Forming patterns of horror" and you realize that harakiri isn't something you'd consider as something picturesque--unless you are those kind of guys who enjoys profuse gory stuffs--you will have a moment of clarity. No one knows what's  actually hidden beneath the glittery lyrics, mesmerizing rhythm and composition. It may be Burgland's ode for seppuku, or it's probably a representation of his shame and sacrifice. That's the mystery that's better left unsolved because that's the beauty and grotesqueness of wonderland.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Review Tuesday: Bon Iver - "22 (OVER S∞∞N) [Bob Moose Extended Cab Version]"

Bon Iver
"22 (OVER S∞∞N) [Bob Moose Extended Cab Version]"
22, A Million

When Bon Iver revealed the track list for their third album, 22, A Million, on last Friday, long gone our wish to hear Bon Iver's "normal" and "usual" stuff that we all love from their 2011's Bon Iver, Bon Iver. The track list is a meme material, something that seems likely to come from rtf file that's opened in Microsoft Word, as Justin Vernon et al. fall into the sea of obscurity. Or so we thought until we heard some tastes from the new album: "22 (OVER S∞∞N) [Bob Moose Extended Cab Version]" and "10 d E A T h b R E a s T ⊠ ⊠ [Extended Version]". While ""10 d E A T h b R E a s T ⊠ ⊠ [Extended Version]" may not be Bon Iver's casual stuff and need few listens before enjoying it (Spoiler: it's still amazing), "22 (OVER S∞∞N) [Bob Moose Extended Cab Version]", on the other hand, is Bon Iver's instant classic. 

Ignoring the wacky song title, "22 (OVER S∞∞N) [Bob Moose Extended Cab Version]" is the same beauty and frailness that we all love from Bon Iver, even if it's more experimental and not all acoustic guitar. But, the feeling is there, and Bon Iver's versatility must be applauded here. A clip of noise opens the track, like a sirene as you can faintly hear "It might be over soon, 2, 2", which also opens the albums, marking the entrance of Bon Iver that may be different, yet familiar at the same time."Where you gonna look for cofirmation," Vernon's fragile voice kicks in amidst the noise, reflecting his musical journey and his anxiety of the future. After a minute, the acoustic guitar comes in and all hell breaks loose. The poignancy of Bon Iver's songs creep in, inducing your tear glands and as you can feel Vernon's insecurity and what he feels for these past two decades, suddenly you feel tears streaming down from your eyes. And that's what Bon Iver's capable of doing for you. 

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Review Saturday: Florence + The Machine - "Stand By Me"

Florence + The Machine
"Stand By Me"
Songs From Final Fantasy XV

The road to Final Fantasy XV is a long and winding one. Initially developed as a spin-off of universally hated-but-loved Final Fantasy XIII in 2006, the latest addition of the Square Enix's most lucrative series finally sees the light in 2012 when it's rebranded as Final Fantasy XV that we all know. Square Enix has been all out in building fortification of anticipation for the game, by releasing several demos, animeanimated movie that looks gorgeous. and of course a mellifluous music from Florence + The Machine

"Stand By Me" is actually first used as the music for the trailer of the game back in March which flaunts the picturesque view of Final Fantasy XV's world. Now that the game is less than two months away, Island decides to release the song officially, with the addition of two more songs: "I Will Be" and "Too Much Is Never Enough". All songs bring the best in Welch, but it's still "Stand By Me" that gives me chill. Welch transforms Ben E. King's 1961's hits into a haunting and hallowing ballad, matching the overall theme of the Final Fantasy XV. With an orchestral composition, "Stand By Me" feels grand and extravagant, once again matching Noctis' life as a royal family, yet sorrowful. But amidst the cacophonous violin, Welch wails, "Darling, stand by me!" in the most heartbreaking way, like a drowning person who gasps for air, over and over until the end the song. Again, it's matching Noctis' life, even if he must escape and fight, he knows that his comrades are always there for him, and that's all what he needs to know.