It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s Lucy Spraggan back with her debut single Lighthouse! Oh Lucy, how we’ve missed you and your quirky brand of pop and folk mishmash.
Lighthouse is an sweet, laid-back and foot-tapping song that just seems to brighten up the world ever so slightly. It doesn’t mention nightclubs, or hangovers or sexual activities of any kind; it’s just Lucy with her guitar singing about small things in life.
The song’s summery feel reminds me of Put Your Records On by Corinne Bailey Rae, with this really relaxing vibe and simple melody that worms its way into your brain. And you can’t help but smile when it comes on the radio or your iPod.
Why Lighthouse, you ask? Well, apparently lighthouses are Ms. Spraggan’s lucky charms.
“When I was in the US and stuff went wrong, when I’d miss the last bus or I’d run out of money, I’d always see a lighthouse on a piece of paper, beer bottle or in real life then things would start getting better,” she said.
How I wish there were lighthouses all around her during her X Factor UK run. Unfortunately, the former X Factor UK contestant had to vacate her spot in the show after falling ill last year. But things seem to have come full circle with Lighthouse, which is sure to be a huge hit. You go, Glen Coco!
Good music? Check. Endearing sense of humor? Check. A million singles sold? Check, check and check.
That was all what Australian indie rock band The Temper Trap needed to ensnare their fans, as they dropped by our shores again on Thursday to perform for the sixth installment and live recording of MTV Sessions.
The quintet’s return to Singapore after Laneway Festival in 2011 is once revisited with a 200-strong audience in Resorts World Sentosa’s Waterfront Studio, which gives us more than proof they have made a lasting impression here.
After a friendly welcome from MTV’s VJs Alan and Hanli, The Temper Trap took the stage in modest fashion, all except for leading man Dougy Mandagi, who already made a statement in his leopard print shirt.
To kick the long-anticipated night off, the band let loose the first tinkers of one of the singles from their second album, Need Your Love. What complemented the intimate and snug setting of the studio further was the band’s acoustic set and backdrop with soft yellow lights.
With Dougy gently crooning into the microphone together with the band’s harmony, it almost felt as if their music took the form of a person and was slow dancing with me in the sea of the same people who shared my love for them. It was incredible on a personal level.
The band kept the atmosphere going next with Everybody Leaves In The End, the bonus track from their self-titled record. Guess what – it was also the first time they were playing it live! And of course The Temper Trap followed it up with Love Lost, a decent tune off Conditions. But that still wasn’t enough to feed the ravenous audience until Dougy’s lips spoke of Sweet Disposition.
My mind instantly went “Holy crap. This is it. This is The Temper Trap.” At that exact moment, I was sure the same message got into everyone’s heads and hearty clapping ensued. Dougy smiled, then paused to enjoy that moment. Toby, Joseph, Jonathan and Lorenzo did the same too. They know!
Succeeding their one hit song, Dougy picked up a pair of macaras and impressed us as he shimmied a little while belting out Science of Fear. Just teach me how to Dougy already, master! Right after that song, the VJs stepped out again for a Q&A session, where we learned that Joseph’s answer to everything in life was ‘David Bowie’ and Dougy’s favourite Indonesian dish was his mother’s oxtail soup.
Last but not least, The Temper Trap topped their short but sweet set list off with their single Trembling Hands. The studio was brimming with emotion thanks to the sounds of the band; I even caught a girl in the crowd closing her eyes to lose herself in that spell.
However, as much as the acoustic session was nothing short of amazing, it felt like there was something missing – the element of rock which underlined their music. When the band huddled to discuss and requested to play two more songs, I bet there was a collective ‘Thank You’ from each fan.
And so despite not being able to hear the original version of Sweet Disposition and Trembling Hands, it was still a damn good affair with The Temper Trap. And to every supporter out there – I made that point across to Lorenzo when he offered a handshake to me at the end of the show.
1. Need Your Love
2. Everybody Leaves In The End
3. Love Lost
4. Sweet Disposition
5. Science Of Fear
6. Trembling Hands
7. Sweet Disposition (Encore)
8. Trembling Hands (Encore)
MTV Sessions: The Temper Trap premieres on MTV SEA, Saturday, 1 June at 11.30am (WIB), 12.30pm (SG/HK/PH) and 1.30pm (MAL).
Photo credits: MTV Asia/Aloysius Lim
Seriously, girls (and guys), if you think Adam Levine looks hot enough shirtless, just wait till you see him covered in paint in Maroon 5's latest music video for Love Somebody. Seen with actress-model, Emily Ratajkowski, both of them look hawt hawt HAWT dripping with paint.
Just as I found the track, I thought the concept of the video was brilliantly executed. It was also very eye-catching despite it being only in grey and white. An added visual bonus is how the paint could define the toned and fit bodies of Adam and Emily. The fact that their bodies are never shown fully in the video is kind of a tease... in a good way, of course.
With 2 years in its making, Never Shout Never have finally released the official audio of Good Times as part of their forthcoming album, Sunflower.
The feel-good song with its chorus ringing "The good times make the bad times worth our time" is extremely infectious and had me hooked after just one listen. But after comparing it with the unofficial version that was first released in 2010, how did it fair?
For one, there were some minor differences in the lyrics between both versions, where a line In the first verse of the unofficial version, "Smoke cigarettes to keep me sane", is replaced by "Sleep my friend, Jane, to keep me sane". Perhaps while frontman Chistopher Drew used to keep himself sane then, he now does it by sleeping with women? Hm.
Another difference is the style of each version. While the official version sounded a tad more cheerful with its harmonica and poppy drum beats, I prefer the sentimental acoustic guitar strumming in the unofficial version a lot more. Even when it comes to the singing, Christopher's soft, heartfelt cooing in the unofficial version felt a lot more pleasant to listen to, compared to his half-shouting-half-singing in the official one, which fell flat after a while.
But having said that, since the melodies are still kept the same, I thought that both versions are equally catchy and infectious. I guess I just prefer the track sounding sad to it sounding happy. Ha ha. What about you?
Love them or hate them, there is no point debating over the fact that One Direction is the biggest boy band of today. So when the biggest boyband of today covered one of the biggest songs, I Want It That Way, by one of the biggest boybands of the 1990's, Backstreet Boys, you know it's something to be interested about.
So since this is 1D that we are talking about, naturally there will be antis hating on them and thinking that their cover of IWITW sucks. But seriously, how relevant can their opinions be when Backstreet Boys member, Howie Dorough, gave their cover his stamp of approval?
“It’s nice to see groups like that pay homage to us. We definitely paid homage to groups in the earlier days that we admired like Boyz II Men, Color Me Badd, Shai, New Edition,” Howie said. “So it’s cool. I think they did a great job. It seemed like it went over really well.”
That's pretty cool of Howie, don't you think? Well as for me, I thought the cover was decent. I definitely would not call it outstanding or anything near that, but it isn't terrible either. I just found it a little weird how the boys were just standing in a circle, looking at each other while singing it... They look almost confused.
Watch it below:
Third time’s the charm and indeed it was.
British independent singer-songwriter Joe Brooks seemed to have tripled his charm when he performed here for the third time on Wednesday at Timbre@Gillman.
And just when you think Joe is becoming accustomed to our sunny island, he quips, “I never played at such humidity before. It’s balls.” But even with so many Singapore fans raving over him, I was pretty sure only the ceiling fans stood out the most.
While Joe definitely made to the “dapper” category in a white shirt with a loose black tie, I couldn’t help but hope that he would change into something more comfortable like tank top and shorts. And he would look as great as well as his voice sounds. I imagine Joe as a versatile dude; if you stick him in a punk rock band he’ll rough it out well.
Kicking the gig off was The Island, a brand new song from Joe’s upcoming album The Boy and The Broken Machine. Already, the new record feels like it would sound amazing. Coming up next was Six String Soldier, then Someday (OK) from his EP, A Reason To Swim. The thing about Joe’s performance is how emotionally invested he is and how he wants to make every song count – not just to himself but his fans too. His repertoire of music speaks for more than itself, as each one is beautifully written added with a little personal touch and a buoyant tune.
Such examples he played were I Find The Light In You and Hello Mr. Sun. Lined up next was his previous single Holes Inside, which everyone couldn’t wait to leap into. Joe’s vocals were nicely silhouetted by the crowd’s silky voices, and he took advantage by getting everyone to wave their phones to form a sea of swaying lights. That’s the literal beauty of concerts.
And I’m glad it doesn’t end there. Joe and his backing band continued with many of my favourites: Five Days of Summer, Marching Band and Rules Of Attraction. Also, there are no prizes for guessing who had the craziest weekend in Toronto that he had to write an incredibly catchy song about it. Yep, the popster himself confessed. But we LOVE the mad piano tinkers and harmonica solo – we had as much fun as you did writing about it Joe! Psst, that’s one more reason to get The Boy And The Broken Machine.
But before Joe caused panic when he made his exit off stage with his band, they sneaked in Green Eyes. I could really hear him crooning la da da da da da die all day long! Of course, Joe returned to play his first and latest singles, Superman and Till My Heart Stops Beating after a huge birthday song and cake (the lad turned 26 last week!).
To sum the concert up from a lyric in The Island, “Time to go big or go home”, I’d say Joe Brooks went big.
Six String Soldier
I Find The Light In You
Hello Mr. Sun
Five Days Of Summer
Rules Of Attraction
Till My Heart Stops Beating
I hate Demi Lovato. There, I said it. Now, before you go all bat-shit crazy for saying so, let me tell you why. Her latest, self-titled album Demi, is a collection of songs that are heavily personal, shedding light on her past few tumultuous years, which saw her entering rehab for substance abuse, bulimia and being diagnosed with bipolar disorder. All these impacted the release of her third album Unbroken, which gave us songs like Skyscraper and Give Your Heart a Break. On her fourth studio effort this time round, she focusses on a positive message with the upliftingly vulnerable Warrior, talks about love in Neon Lights and Nightingale and basically stays as true to herself as possible, and it shows in her excellent craftsmanship. It's precisely her talent at utilising her imperfections to her advantage that leave me in awe of Lovato as a person. Knowing that she's a year younger than me with an abundance of life experience already behind her.... well it stinks. But she says, suck it up, move on, focus on the positives in life, and that's some advice coming from a 20-year-old. Am I sounding like a fan to you yet? Good.
This album is chockfull of understated gems, and possibly radio hits if promoted right. Possessing a brilliant vocal range, Lovato knows how to work each song to her advantage, and her licks on Warrior, coupled with that tinge of affectivity and vulnerability in her voice, pulls at the heartstrings of any listener. You can almost imagine her pain and torment she went through... but nobody knows it better than Lovato.
Fans of her previous hits like Don't Forget, Give Your Heart A Break and Skyscraper will be hooked on tracks like the semi-explosive Fire Starter, the full-bodied swells in Nightingale or the piano-driven In Case. She also channels her inner girly spunk and sass with UK X Factor star Cher Lloyd on Really Don't Care, the latter artiste just an offhand guest vocalist if you think about it. Honestly, Cher Lloyd deserves better than that.
Not really liking Made In The USA, despite some grand statements of love like "Our love runs deep like a Chevy/ If you fall I'll fall with you baby", or "No matter what the people say, I know that we'll never break / cos our love was made/ made in the USA". I'm sorry, but it's 1) cheesy as hell, and 2) reminding me too much of Miley Cyrus' Party in the USA. Did they get a session in with the same songwriter? Haha...
Otherwise, I'm liking the risks Lovato managed to take, especially with the break from all the glitz and glam pop rock we heard in the front end of the tracklisting. Shouldn't Come Back is excellent in bringing out the huskiness of Lovato's vocals, which can be overpowering at times. It definitely paid off to tone down the backing tracks and let the purity of her vocals shine through as she laments a love that would be better off lost. The ditzy/dizzy/deliriousness of Something That We're Not puts Lovato in contention for the summer hit of 2013. Yep, its clever melody and just fun take on wanting to be "more than just friends" captures the essence of young love quite aptly. Definitely upping the aww-factor with this one.
So, yes, to reiterate, I hate Demi Lovato, that one-heck of a talented singer who's an inspiration to many, in possession of a set of vocals that she knows how to work. Y U SO PERFECT?! #totallyobjectivereview
Track Cuts: Shouldn't Come Back, Heart Attack, Something That We're Not, Nightingale, Warrior
Former Hey Monday frontwoman Cassadee Pope set the bar really high for herself after her amazing run on The Voice and being the show’s first female winner, but luckily her new single Wasting All These Tears does not disappoint.
Wasting All These Tears, in the vein of her more popular Voice covers Over You and Stupid Boy, is a pop-rock ballad with a slight country twang to it. The lyrics sound very Taylor Swift You're Not Sorry but with the attitude of Picture to Burn, and vocally Cassadee avoids her kryptonite – low notes – by sticking with her belty upper-but-at-times-shrill range.
Cassadee could have fallen flat on her face with a generic country ballad, but her ability to paint this wonderful picture with her voice, telling this gut-wrenching story of love lost just gets to you. And Cassadee seems to have stopped overusing her vibrato, so six months away from the spotlight has done her good.
The production, however, leaves much to be desired. When she performs it live, it’s a pop-rock song through and through, but the studio version has this annoying fiddle/metal guitar instrument that kind of forces the country onto the song.
American Idol had Kelly Clarkson, X Factor had Leona Lewis and now The Voice hopes Cassadee Pope will be catapulted to superstardom. The single, scheduled to be released on the 4th of June, might just be the one to break the string of failed The Voice winners. Till then, let’s just listen to the live version of Wasting All These Tears and fall in love with this girl.
Whenever I meet an artiste or a musician I truly admire, it is only natural that my heart rate goes off the roof and my tongue gets twisted faster than earphones in my pocket. But upon greeting Lorenzo, Jonathon and Joseph, the guitarist, bassist and keyboardist of Australian indie rock band The Temper Trap, it felt comfortable (maybe because they smelled gorgeous.) Needless to say, my interview with the trio resembled more like a chat than a formal meeting.
For a band that has been chosen to support The Rolling Stones on their 2013 tour, they seemed well-adjusted and earnest to answer our burning questions. Well, it’s also maybe because they’ve sold a million singles in the US. It’s a success well deserved, and it would be a ridiculous lie to say that we’re not stoked to have them on our ground again.
The Temper Trap played at Laneway Festival in 2011 and they even expressed their interest to play it again at some point (take note, Laneway chasers!). In their previous trip here for 4 days, the band had some fun in clubs and even caught up with some school friends. Now don’t tell us for not ever informing you where to stalk your favourite bands!
Plus, if you are curious about what The Temper Trap’s fragrance would ever smell like and what object of great masculinity Jonathon was made to wear during their tours – I’m not letting the cat out of the bag.
You just have to watch the full interview below!
Beyonce did it again.
She lays a punchy funky beat right at the start of Grown Woman. She is the definition of fresh music. Pulling tribal elements into the percussion, it keeps a steady beat with a dance-y bass drum going on and on in the background. The groovy bass line that takes on a vocal sound, so to speak, puts the sick in slick.
The Queen Bey is all about attitude and we can hear it through the lyrics and her fierce occasional scream-squeals. No amount of superlatives can describe the perfection of Beyonce’s voice. Midway the track, she unleashes vocal harmonies that send chills up our spines.
“You know the way I walk/Cause I walk with a vengeance” Heck yeah! One does not simply listen to Grown Woman and not break into dance. With each single, Beyonce just gets better and better. Take note, other songstresses. This is how you do it. This is how you become legendary.
Enough talking. We’ll shut up now and let you listen to the full glory of Beyonce’s new single.