single of the week

 

album picks

Album Review: Pharrell Williams - G I R L
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Album Review: 5 Seconds of Summer - She Looks So Perfect EP
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Album Review: Various Artists - Vampire Academy OST
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What if One Direction were secretly Chinese opera face-changers? Or what if... One Direction were actually One Guy With Many Faces?

That's basically what went down in their latest music video, You & I. Slated as the next single, this ballad is nothing exceptional - I daresay Story of My Life is way better.

Niall kicks off the simple MV and he slowly morphs into Liam. To me, that's actually kind of scary.

But more importantly, the big question I have for you 1D fans is: Who wore it better?

Come on girls and guys, I know you already have the answer in mind. The same grey sweater, the black jeans and boots. So was it Zayn Malik, Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne or Harry Styles?

I personally think Zayn looks the best - Liam and Louis look really scruffy here. And it's not a compliment.

Let us know what you think in the comments below! wink

 

Photo credit: One Direction Facebook

While we remain aware of the fact that music per se is the most important part of a musician’s career, we figured it’s high time we shifted the spotlight for a moment from the sonic arts to the lesser-regarded visual arts of making music, especially when it takes the form of an album. I’m speaking of none other than album covers.

Doubling as the visual representation of an artiste’s music, the cover art is the first thing you see upon contact with a record, and often plays a large part in attracting or repelling potential listeners. It’s practically an indispensible part of the music, thus being just as important as anything else.

Here are our top five album covers that tend towards more artistic realms. Additionally, in the spirit of supporting local, we pick ones from Singaporean bands/singers. You might be surprised by what we find.

 

5. wyd:syd — Yesterlove

Illustrated by Michelle Maxine, this cover art is for not a full-length album, but a single track entitled Yesterlove. Like this colourful, unorthodox cover art, indie rock outfit wyd:syd is not what you’d expect when you think about Singapore-based bands. In other words, if you heard their songs on the radio, you’d think they were some talented bunch of foreign blokes.

 

4. Inch Chua — Bumfuzzle

Coming in at number four is Inch Chua’s latest album Bumfuzzle. If you know what a Merlion is, surely, hers is a name you’d be more than familiar with. An indie sweetheart who’s left Singapore for the United States (the supposed land of opportunity), Inch’s musical artistry shows in her album cover, featuring an illustrated self-portrait that couldn’t hold a candle to the mundane headshot photographs that almost every single artiste has once used as “cover art”. Also, note the subtle letters that spell out the record name.

 

3. Sapporo Safaris — Figures of Eight

Now, this is something different. A queer cover art to match a queer, almost unpronounceable, band name. Formed in 2012, this eight-man indie pop band has already released their debut four-track EP, Figures of Eight. It’s unbelievable the amount of effort they’ve put into the album, especially in terms of design, from the CD booklet to the disc itself.

You’d think from one look at their simplistic watercolour cover art that they were mere amateurs, but further scrutiny would reveal their utter originality and musical prowess.

 

2. 7nightsatsea — Drift Easy, Heavy Hands

The second best album cover we’ve seen is one that’s a bit more conceptual. It’s Drift Easy, Heavy Hands, a six-track EP by local band 7nightsatsea that specialises in experimental/post-rock music. As if getting an artist (Allison M. Low) to create the album art wasn’t enough, they had to employ the help of SSYSTM to design the typography as well. Then again, two is better than one, right? The result: An album cover that blows the previous ones out of the water (pun intended).

 

1. The Caulfield Cult, Godard Split

An upcoming record done in collaboration with UK band Godard, what’s special about Godard Split is that it’s made specifically as a 7-inch vinyl record. The Caulfield Cult is a hardcore band from Singapore, currently based in UK (a vital piece of information that’ll explain a lot about the band). You see, they’re under two record labels; one from Germany and the other from UK. The album cover art for Godard Split too is done by an artist who goes by the moniker, WOLF MASK, and is based in (you guessed it) UK.

I’m sure it’s clear how this cover art found its way to the top of this list, but if I had to spell out a reason, just look at the detail of the illustration—the broken cabinet door, the fire outside the window, the individually named cereal boxes, the fuzzy TV screen, the skeleton with a cigarette in his mouth, etc. Even the colour scheme is perfect. (And coincidentally, purple is my favourite colour.)

Photo credit: wyd:syd, Inch Chua, The Caulfield Cult, Sapporo Safaris, 7nightsatsea

As Chicago’s Fall Out Boy prepares for the upcoming mammoth of a tour that is the MOMENTOUR, bassist Pete Wentz and lead vocalist Patrick Stump look back at the whole year that has passed since the band crystallised their comeback on April 12 with the release of Save Rock And Roll.

“One year later. How do we assess where we are? How do we determine our thread level?” Wentz muses. FOB returned all guns blazing, snagging collaborations with huge names, both old and new (Elton John, Courtney Love, Foxes). Never mind the plaques on the walls or the slew of sold-out arena shows, music, to me, has always been about how tonight the headphones will deliver you the words I can’t say. Fall Out Boy is just a manifestation that cuts deeper than most. Ultimately, Wentz concurs, “There is simply no unitive measurement for lost voices.

This record felt like a monster. But you gave that monster life.”

Stump’s description of a “bestial-like passion”, one that’s “almost violent” is thoroughly accurate. I could be sandwiched a body away from the barrier yet somehow it wouldn’t have been right to not be breathlessly bellowing out the lyrics to This Ain’t A Scene, It’s An Arms Race at Fort Canning last year.

But it doesn’t stop when we go home.”

Even months after a show, the urge to let loose of one’s earnest vocal chords every time Alone Together comes on is very real. Because, as Stump rightly points out, “The whole point is catharsis, the whole point is feeling better, is expressing that anger in a constructive manner.

I’m on stage doing my stupid thing, I’m watching you guys enjoy it so much that you’re doing your stupid thing – we’re all doing our stupid thing.”

In addition to their music’s therapeutic qualities, FOB preaches pragmatism rather than prescriptiveness, a triumph against narrow-mindedness that could have hindered one’s musical journey. Michael Jackson, Tupac Shakur and Madonna were amongst the likes of Kurt Cobain and The Beatles the group pays tribute to during performances of Save Rock and Roll. Unfazed by criticisms due to the lack of traditional guitars on their latest record, the band’s more cohesive songwriting stayed sharply poignant while toying with an outwardly pop sound.

Taking away that elitism of this is what rock ‘n’ roll is, this is what cool is and this is what music is. Nope, that’s all what bullshit is. When you have these rules that you’re supposed to play by to be cool? F*ck that. What’s honest and what’s real and what’s you? That’s what’s rock ‘n’ roll. That’s what’s cool.

One year later. This is our love letter back to you. Thank you.”

 

Photo credit: Ashley Osborn

Most headlines regarding the recent MTV Movie Awards will no doubt pay tribute to Humanity’s Gift that is, a shirtless Zac Efron.

But aside from the usual glitz of melodramatic Hollywood that accompanies such events, the musical acts present were all nothing short of stellar. Next to the electric pairing of Ellie Goulding and Zedd, Ohio’s Twenty One Pilots were the unanimous rockstars of the night – no mean feat considering the fact that they were sharing the stage with The Monster powerhouses, Eminem and Rihanna.

Performing Car Radio off their debut album Vessel, the duo who're known for their music’s diverse influences and killer versatility appears to have risen through the ranks quite remarkably ever since being signed by Fueled By Ramen. Donning their trademark ski masks, the band managed to get a sizeable number of those present at Los Angeles’ Staples Center on their feet in addition to wearing strikingly similar headgears.

What’s more awe-inspiring is how the audience managed to uniformly hold their silence in captivated attention while vocalist Tyler Joseph murmured frantically the lyrics of the piano-backed build-up. With drummer Josh Dun’s stomping presence, the frenzied synths which were initiated by a manic Joseph saw a sudden explosion of crowd energy, a deliberate parallel to the single’s music video.

Fully utilising the wide-reaching platform of an award show, Twenty One Pilots’ vivid and very successful re-creation of their schizophrenic anthem is definitely one for the books if not for the impressive presence of a half-naked High School Musical alum.

Watch Twenty One Pilots perform Car Radio below!

 

Photo credit: MTV

It's been an incredibly long time since we've heard from Jennifer Hudson since her EP in 2011. 

However, the singer recently revealed that she's been hard at work in the studios with music royalties such as Pharrell (these days, everyone seems to be working with him) and R Kelly. 

The singer also unveiled that she's been working with super producer, Timbaland and the pair have come up with the lead single for her upcoming album. 

Titled Walk It Off, the single features Jennifer's strong and versatile vocals amidst Timbaland's signature over-produced beats in the background. Though the song is pretty sexy, it was kind of annoying to hear this constant line being repeated through out the song, "You must have the right producer,  with the know-how of putting tracks together on a good recording." Yes, I kid you not, this line is fitted in the song several times just behind Jennifer's vocals. 

Clearly this was Timbaland's working and I'm honestly horrified that Jennifer agreed to it. Luckily for her, Jennifer's vocals are strong and seductive enough to draw listeners back to listen to her. 

Check the track out below: 

Photo credit: RCA Recordings