single of the week

Taylor Swift - Out of the Woods

 

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Album Review: Jessie J - Sweet Talker
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Album Review: Tokio Hotel - Kings of Suburbia
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For better or worse, the Grammy Award-winning Taylor Swift is a perpetual newsmaker – be it stealing headlines after accidentally topping the Canadian iTunes charts with 8 seconds worth of static or receiving largely unwarranted flak for “screwing with” a Rhode Island coastline.

Over six years have passed since the singer-songwriter was first approached by Scott Borchetta at Music City’s illustrious Bluebird Café and as the First Lady once put it, Swift “has rocketed to the top of the music industry but still keeps her feet on the ground.” However in the face of her inherent girl-next-door approachability, naysayers have been devoutly aplenty; nit-picking her songs’ subject matter, choice of rumoured paramours and chastising her faux earnestness.            

Such is the inescapable fate of a multi-platinum, globally-recognised musician who only now is beginning to spread “straight-up pop star” wings with her upcoming album, 1989. If 2011’s exceptional hater-bashing anthem or more recently, the syrupy-sweet Shake It Off won’t convince you to cut her some slack, perhaps the following might. 

 

1. The evolution of the Taylor Swift sound

Growth is integral to any artist and Swift’s soundscapes have aged gracefully since we were first attuned to the raw delicacy of Teardrops On My Guitar. From what we’ve heard, 1989 is living up to be a defining record for the Fearless songstress. It’s even more exciting when she ropes in Bleachers’ Jack Antonoff (whose Strange Desire is a retro synth-pop wonderland) with “baked goods and needlepoints.” The result is the sprawling Out of the Woods, with its clear nods to thumping ‘80s pop influences. Sorry country music – it’s not you, it’s Taylor Swift.

 

2. She is a feminist

In an age where gender equality has been increasingly thrust into the spotlight, there isn’t a better time like the present for Swift to optimise her fame and flex her feminist muscle. Aided by her BFF status with Girls star and creator Lena Dunham, the 24 year-old has been on a warpath recently – hitting back at cynics who insist that she only writes songs about her ex-boyfriends. “No one says that about Ed Sheeran. No one says that about Bruno Mars. They're all writing songs about their exes, their current girlfriends, their love life and no one raises a red flag there.” Moreover, she only has praise for Emma Watson’s timely He for She address, supporting the necessity of understanding feminism through role models (a role she now embodies) and dissociating it with negativity like her younger self once evasively implied.  

"She runs her own company, she's creating music that connects to other women instead of creating a sexual persona for the male gaze, and no one is in control of her. If that's not feminism, what is?" - Lena Dunham 

 

3. Her fan treatment game is on point

What is a diva without a fervent base of support? Only with Taylor Swift, the feeling is reciprocated to the best of her abilities. Remember that one time she crashed a fan’s bridal shower? Or when she casually treated a particularly lucky one to chipotle on her seventeenth birthday? When Swift isn’t embracing her alter ego of Becky (a running gag that dates back to 2012) she’s learning their language of Tumblr-speak or lurking the wide corners of Instagram to comment on an enchanting pastry that managed to catch her eye. Not only has the “public relations genius” stepped up her social media game, she has played a gracious (albeit slightly creeper-esque) host of the #1989secretsessions listening parties. Held in the singer’s various living rooms across the globe, such an endeavour is a testament to Swift’s willingness in opening her life up to her listeners whom she (aptly) treats as friends.

 

4. Exquisite taste in music and (many) cool friends

Official pop album or not, Ms. Swift has exhibited an eclectic taste in music throughout the years alongside ever-expanding circles of pals. Aside from her recent sublime Vance Joy cover, she claims to have listened to Fall Out Boy in her freshman year of high school when she and O.G. bestie Abigail Anderson used to drive around (presumably terrorising the neighbourhood). This respect for the Chicago band (amongst other pop punk acts) has translated into catwalk collaborations and a guest spot on the Red Tour. Similarly, Swift’s network of friendships is so extensive that multiple infographics have popped up, detailing the intricacies of Young Hollywood with her as the epicentre. One only has to pay a visit to her Instagram to catch a glimpse of the wondrous adventures she gets into.

 

5. Cats

Like their mistress, Meredith Grey and Olivia Benson are (grouchily) propelled into the world of fame excess, with each compromising stance ruthlessly captured on camera by a ubiquitous paparazzo – their caretaker. But Swift’s passion for felines does not halt there. Here are several exhibits that depict such symptoms. How dare anyone pick on such an unassuming cat lady?!

"I taught Olivia how to take selfies with her tiny paw and she’s getting super good at it." (taylorswift.tumblr.com)

 

 

Making erratic and impulsive decisions as a result of missing my roommate.

A photo posted by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift) on

 

This is a good example of what I typically wear on planes, in front of lots of other people who all have eyes.

A photo posted by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift) on

 

 

Trying to sign lithographs. Dealing with critters. #shehasnorespect #olivia #1989

A video posted by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift) on

 

Photo credit: Sammy Roenfeldt, Big Machine Records, MTV, Michael Rozman

The world first heard American rock outfit Hoobastank’s best-known single, The Reason, 10 years ago. To celebrate the decade-long existence of that track, the one that skyrocketed their careers, here are 10 reasons why The Reason is, was, and will always be a classic!

 

#1. The Reason starts off with the words, “I’m not a perfect person.” The ability to admit one’s flaws is the true mark of wisdom and humility.

 

#2.It’s the perfect love song. Guy meets girl and becomes a better person because of her. Just melts your soul, doesn’t it?

#3. But it’s not overtly cheesy. It knows how to moderate.

 

 

#4. There are life lessons hidden in the song, highlighting the importance of knowledge (But I continue learning), and self-improvement (To change who I used to be).

#5. Tom Jones, the legendary vocalist responsible for Carlton’s jam, It’s Not Unusual, covered The Reason. And any song he covers is an automatic classic.

 

#6. It’s unpredictable. For such a romantic message, it went with the most unrelated plot for its music video – a ridiculously well planned robbery.

#7. And they ended up with Best Rock Video at the 2004 MTV Video Music Awards.

 

#8. Did we mention the video also got more YouTube hits than Martin Luther King’s I Have A Dream speech and Barack Obama’s inauguration? (Hoobastank > Historical moments)

 

#9: It was featured in a special finale episode (The Ones With All The Other Ones) of the Friends saga. After all, it’s only the greatest sitcom ever made. It was played over a montage of wedding scenes, which basically boosted its “wedding song” potential.

 

#10: And of course, it is the single that placed Hoobastank on the musical map. Even after releasing a gazillion other songs, nothing came close to being as widespread as The Reason.

Rock out to The Reason live with Hoobastank this November!

Concert Details

Venue  : The Coliseum, Hard Rock Hotel Singapore
Date     : November 30, 2014
Tickets : $98 (Standard), $118 (At the door), $188 (VIP includes meet-and-greet)

Tickets available at Peatix and SISTIC.

 

Spin or Bin Music is proud to be the Official Music Blog for Hoobastank Tour in Singapore!

Photo credit: Hoobastank, Quickmeme, Buzzfeed, Tumblr, Thinkpinay

Singer. Icon. Super Diva.

Mariah Carey has commanded the Billboard Hot 100 history like no other solo artist; making her one of the biggest pop stars of all time. Whether you have been mesmerised by her jaw-dropping vocal range (back in the day), or simply for her set of golden globes, you have to tip your hat off to this songbird for staying relevant in today’s pop culture.

As of late, she prefers if you call her…The Elusive Chanteuse.

As we get ready to welcome The Elusive Chanteuse to our shores in conjunction with her Me. I Am Mariah tour, let us take a look at 10 facts you probably didn’t know about Mariah. Oops, I meant to say… The Elusive Chanteuse.

#1. Mariah Carey got her name from the Paint Your Wagon musical; after the song They Call the Wind Mariah. Who cared about having a middle name when you had a mother who knew her baby girl was set for stardom.

#2. Music is in the blood. Her mother, Patricia, was a mezzo-soprano New York City opera singer and a vocal coach. The mother-daughter duo even collaborated on a track from her Merry Christmas II You album.

 

#3. In school, Carey was nickname “Mirage” because she often cut classes. Naughty, naughty!  

#4. In true Cinderella fashion, Carey got her big break in 1988 when she handed her demo tape to a music label executive, Tommy Mottola, during an event. Impressed with her voice, Mottola pursued her for weeks until he eventually found her and signed her to his record label.

#5. Mariah Carey and Tommy Mottola got married on June 5, 1993 but later divorced in 1998. Sources say she became a vegetarian while being married to Mottola.

#6. Her song One Sweet Day, which featured R&B group Boyz II Men holds the record of being longest-running No. 1 song in history – that’s a whopping 16 weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100!

#7. Mariah has a lambily (lambs + family). That is the term she uses to call her loved ones, friends, and fans.

#8. She was awarded Worst Actress from the Razzie Award for her role in 2001’s semi-autobiographical movie Glitter. She later redeemed herself with a 'Breakthrough Performance Award' at Palm Springs Film Festival for her role in Precious.

 

#9. Her daughter’s name, Monroe Cannon, was inspired by her favourite actress – the late Marilyn Monroe, while her son, Moroccan Scott, was named after the location in which Nick Cannon proposed to her. Scott is Nick Cannon’s middle name.

#10. Mariah and her now-separated husband would have sex to her music. He even masturbates to it. “Why not? Sometimes you gotta be reminded of what’s at home… When you hear Mariah playing it’s going down,” said Cannon during an interview with Howard Stern. Er... TMI?

Bonus fun fact:

Nick Cannon once admitted that whenever a disagreement occurred, Carey would remind him that she is the biggest-selling female recording artist of all time in order to win an argument. Oh snap!

 

Mariah Carey is slated to perform at Stadium Merdeka, Kuala Lumpur, on Oct 22, and at Singapore Indoor Stadium on Oct 24. Tickets are available via TicketCharge (Malaysia), Sports Hub Tix, Singapore Indoor Stadium Box Office and all SingPost outlets (Singapore).

 

Photo credit: Piano Sheet Music, Mommyish, ffffound, Tumblr, Love BScott, Boomsbeat

We’re all familiar with The Reason – that’s no surprise. But what about the truckload of other tracks?

Fronted by Doug Robb, this four-piece Californian rock outfit seemed to have disappeared from the face of the Earth after hitting the height of their fame. They, on the other hand, never left.

In fact, Hoobastank’s 10-year career spawned five albums. Although, most of which are severely underrated. Allow me to list the top five songs that should be played on loop, other than The Reason

 

#1: So Close, So Far

If this is your first time listening to So Close, So Far, then I don’t know what you’ve been doing for the past decade of your life. Released two albums after The Reason, it demonstrates how the band has maintained their flair for composing addictive tunes.

 

#2: Lucky

Going back to the album that did it for Hoobastank, The Reason, let’s look at another track from that golden era. Lucky transitions from delicate acoustic verses to heavy amped-out choruses. This means we’re offered the best of both ends of the alternative rock spectrum.

 

#3: Let It Out

From the same album came this number, enveloped in distortion. It epitomises the musical essence of teenage angst – the kind that’s rooted in aggression, more than poignancy that is.

 

#4: Born To Lead

From their third record, Every Man for Himself, this single sports grungy, army-centric influences. Surprisingly, a hint of falsetto from Doug still manages to crawl its way in. Kudos to them for getting a former US marine sergeant to voice the drill commands.

 

#5: This Is Gonna Hurt

Fast forward a few years and we’re here with the first single from album number five, Fight or Flight. It warns it’s going to hurt, but all we’re getting is full-on ear candy. After all these years, they still sound like the band we first fell in love with.

Witness these songs live this November during Hoobastank’s concert in Singapore.

Concert Details

Venue  : The Coliseum, Hard Rock Hotel Singapore
Date     : November 30, 2014
Tickets: $78 (Early bird), $98 (Standard), $118 (At the door), $188 (VIP includes meet-and-greet)

Tickets available at Peatix and SISTIC.

 

Spin or Bin Music is proud to be the Official Music Blog for Hoobastank Tour in Singapore!

Photo credit: Hoobastank

With 2 months left on the calendar and the deadline for next year’s Grammy awards closing, we round up the albums we are looking forward to before 2014 comes to an end.

 

5) Charli XCX Sucker (December 12, 2014)

2014 has been a very good year for Charlotte, better known by her stage name Charli XCX. From singing the catchy, unforgettable hook of Iggy Azalea’s Fancy to having her first solo single peak in the top 10 of Billboard, she’s been a household name for anyone who isn’t living in a cave. Collaborating with Stargate (frequent Rihanna producer) & Rivers Cuomo of Weezer, we cannot be any less excited for her sophomore album.

 

4) Kendrick LamarTBA (TBA)

Kendrick Lamar’s debut major label album was hailed by many as a hip-hop classic for years to come. With such a good album, there is too much pressure and hype for a follow-up. While many of his peers has featured on new songs (e.g. Nicki), he has remained on the low, only recently dropping the fantastic i. We know what Kendrick is capable of, but the questions remains. Will he be able to top good kid, m.A.A.d city?

 

3) Kanye WestTBA (TBA)

The follow-up to 2013’s critically-acclaimed Yeezus is apparently “like a pair of Timberlands”. “Like how Timberlands are not quite leather and not quite suede. It's not the smooth, slick Chicago music sound we have right now and it's not the ruggedness of just ‘Hip Hop Hip Hop Hip Hop.'” according to longtime collaborator Malik Yusef. That’s all we know for now, oh and Kanye West also held a listening party for his album so it’s wrapped up. We can only wait and see…

 

2) Nicki MinajThe Pinkprint (November 24, 2014)

It has been two years since Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded – The Re-Up dropped and ever since, Nicki Minaj has been popping up with guest verses everywhere. It was only on the latter half of this year when she finally released new original music, from the mellow Pills n Potions to the (VEVO) record-breaking, massive hit Anaconda. With two very polarizing singles, we wonder what we can expect from The Pinkprint.

 

1) Taylor Swift 1989 (October 27, 2014)

Hailed as Becky Taylor’s first true pop album, she’s straying away from her country roots for catchy radio-friendly songs she’s best remembered for. Apart from her disastrous love life of course. With Shake It Off being similar to the pop songs we’ve heard on Red, it’s a strong sign of what is to come and we are gonna love it. When has Taylor put out a bad album anyway?

 

Photo Credits: Idolator, thedailyloud, GQ, Confront, josepvinaixa, AVDEN, Ian Tomasen