FRESH: december 31 – january 5

A new year means new music! Though it’s not really the time for new music this week as the holidays are somewhat lingering around and a good chunk of people are still listening to Christmas music, I’m sure. That said, not ALL artists decided to withhold their music until the new year settles — oh no, they want to start off the new year with a BANG. Some did. Some didn’t.

“NoBody Else”

by Ncredible Gang, feat. Nick Cannon, Ty Dolla $ign & Jacquees

released: december 31, 2018

Ncredible Gang just threw back to R&B / Hip-Hop from 2007. Before trap was truly defined in music, artists like Akon, T.I., and Ne Yo trod lightly when putting out material. Similar to the Top 40 “sugar-pop™” style, 2007 hip-hop took advantage of the dense yet light sonority for easy listening. A huge emphasis on singing (whether good or not) and tight harmonies and melodic doubles in addition to the swagger and energy that stem from the days of NWA.

While Ncredible Gang and co. incorporate these elements into “NoBody Else”, they continue to maintain the overabundance of autotune and a somewhat heavy bass drop that doesn’t get in the way of the song’s mellow vibe. The lyrical content surprisingly resembles a lot of the 2000s lyrical structure and depth with some whimsical references of the decade, yet maintains a motivational message of independence and living life without barriers from anyone, including women.

The thing that bothers me is how the song is too repetitive with two somewhat different melodies and after a while, I didn’t even know if I was at the beginning or end of the song. The oversaturation of autotune is also quite worn, as it has been since 2010.

Rating: 6/10

“Get Enough”

by Paul McCartney

released: january 1, 2019

Paul McCartney isn’t a stranger to avant-garde music. The Beatles had some bizarre music, especially in the late ’60s, with the likes of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” “Yellow Submarine”, and “Abbey Road”, to name a few. Some can appreciate this song both in reality and in a skewed state of mind that truly makes you identify with Lucy and the Sky with Diamonds. Well let me tell you right now: you’d have to be traveling far lengths with Lucy before “Get Enough” starts to make sense.

The transitions of “Get Enough” are sloppy and there isn’t much coherency throughout the song. The melodic structure is never defined, though I can see it as a lament of wanting the love of someone. However, the song is lazily written and lacks any sort of true depth, making it difficult for me to defend that theory.

I am also all for autotune being utilized for the sake of art, but Paul doesn’t seem to be using it for a particular reason; it’s like he’s just trying to fit into the mold of today’s music and it just doesn’t work for him.

Rating: 3/10

“Blue Lips”

by Bear Hands, feat. Ursula Rose

released: january 3, 2019

I don’t really have much to say about this song. It keeps with the trend of a pessimistic situation that seems reflective of all the chaos and death possible in this world. Bear Hands really doesn’t hide the fact that the song isn’t one of those danceable songs with f*ed up lyrics talking about how sad they are. No. Bear Hands is the group that Twenty-One Pilots tried to become, but only with better lyrical content and a lack of self-pity. The lyrics paired with the minimal production of “Blue Lips” doesn’t reflect the inner demons within ourselves, but rather the inner demons lingering in this world. The song doesn’t address inner feelings of hopelessness and self-indulgence, but rather an observation of our planet as well as the level or good and evil within people.

Rating: 7/10

“Favourite Thing”

by Fleur East

released: january 4, 2019

Fleur East definitely caught my eye in 2014 during season 11 of The X Factor UK. Her cover of “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars captivated me solely based on the entertainment factor. Of course, Fleur has a natural talent as a vocalist, but her fluid body movement and the way she captivates an audience with her onstage presence stand out to me the most. She is able to easily take ownership of any song she sings, which she proved multiple times on stage.

Her 2015 debut single, “Sax”, was pretty much a rip-off of “Uptown Funk” and to be honest with you, I was ok with that. Her animated style and fierce drive made me groove all the same.

“Favourite Thing” is another “sugar-pop”-kinda song with a strophic form and simple lyrics. Incorporating elements of modern hip-hop, elements of “sugar-pop” and the utilization of traditional African percussion and chant fits perfectly with Fleur’s style. Though she is a powerhouse vocalist, she was smart about sticking to the overall groove of the song. Not only did she belt at any point in time, but she also approached even the higher notes with ease, helping to maintain a mellow vibe.

Rating: 8.5/10

Zach Aldana
I am a musician with a focus in voice. I studied music during my undergraduate years, receiving a degree in Music at the University of Illinois at Chicago. My musical experience stems back from when I was three years old singing in a church choir. 22 years later, I've participated in numerous choirs, some of which have toured internationally from South Korea to Wales. I am also a classically trained singer, performing solos around the world, most notably for Kelly Clarkson's Piece by Piece World Tour at the Allstate Arena in 2015. Aside from performing, I also enjoy songwriting, analyzing music, and of course, stating my opinion about all things music. Aside from that, I am a graphic designer and web developer. I began graphic and web design at the age of eight. In time, I have been commissioned to help schools and universities, businesses, and personal clients develop their presentation and online exposure. ​

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