Paramore- Hard Times

A month back I was so psyched to hear that Paramore was writing music again; not so much now that it’s out.

Hard Times, posted late last week on Fueled by Ramen’s official YouTube account, is the first single for Paramore’s After Laughter, which comes out May 12th.

The first time I listened to the song, I had to check twice to see if I was listening to the right track. The seven second jungle boogie percussion is so out of place even with that stylized transition. The dance vibe of the single takes a bit of getting used to but gets stale after a few times on repeat. The bridge takes it down to a very off-putting mood, and I don’t even know what the hell that pseudo daft punk breakdown is doing there. I do appreciate the glum lyrics contrasted with the jumpy music. Though nothing new, it’s a nice touch and is one of the few things I like about the release.

The MV is a mess and I don’t know which audience they had in mind for this. Have I been so lost in touch with what’s “It” that the minimalistic hipster visual has been replaced with retro-psychedelic-neon-clutter without me noticing. Don’t even argue that this is vaporwave aesthetics because the visuals on this is not even on the same continent as that.

Aside from Hayley’s iconic vocals, there isn’t a trace of Paramore in this track. There are, understandably, some changes that will occur along with the not-so-tragic (sorry, not sorry) breakup, but blaming this mess on that alone is lazy and sad. I’m not going to discredit all the well-deserved support this comeback has because Paramore did influence the scene greatly, but I’m certainly hoping that this will not be the theme of the forthcoming album. Till After Laughter comes out, I’m just praying this won’t be the summer anthem of 2017.

Quest- Walang Hanggan

Jose Villanueva III, better known as Quest, released a music video for his single, Walang Hanggan, on his official YouTube channel late last month.

Walang Hanggan is a fresh step away from Quest’s signature RnB vibe. Musically, the track couldn’t be any more perfect. The heavy piano backed by the despondent heartbeats and eerie strings create a perfect stage for Quest’s soulful vocals.

Noong ika’y nilalamig, ako’y iyong init
Kapag takot sa bukas, ako’mg unang sisilip
Ginawa ko na ang lahat
Di pa din sapat kasi ika’y mawawala na
Nawalan ng gana ang tadhana
Nanlamig ‘yong dating nagbabaga

The lyrics, as with most of Quest’s music, are very inspired. The helplessness of holding onto an ending relationship couldnt be any more clearer in his metaphors.

Iindahin ko ang sakit na gumuguhit
Ngingiti sa likod ng luhang pumupunit
Baka masulyapan mo yung dulo
Kasi sabi mo walang hanggan, ba’t merong dulo?
Ibibigay ko ang lahat paulit-ulit
Bawat pagkakataon ay aking isususlit
Basta matalikuran mo yung dulo

The video is just as amazing although I think it should be watched only after hearing the song at least once. It’s an amazing concept and has a stunning twist at the end which deserves as much attention as the song. I very much appreciated the level of detail put into that MV. That one heavy sigh after he says ‘I’ll be fine’ right before the heartbeats start was too painfully familiar.

‘Wag ka munang tumalikod. Bumalik ka muna dito
Padampi kahit anino. Ayokong mag-isa dito
Wala na bang bisa aking dalangin?
Tinataboy na ba ng langit? Nakikiusap na lang sa hangin

For updates on this and future releases follow Quest on Twitter and subscribe to his YouTube channel. I am especially looking forward to a set of future MVs he’s teased on a twitter post.

New Found Glory- Happy Being Miserable

New Found Glory released the official music video for their new single, Happy Being Miserable, earlier this week.

Carried your burdens in my heart
Sidelined your shallow ways
It just tore me apart
I used to think I was your savior
I see through you now
You indulge in this behavior

New Found Glory has already built for themselves a permanent spot in the pop-punk scene and this track is nothing more than the band doing what they do. Pop-punk has taken a backseat to post-hardcore and OPM (among too-obscure-to-mention) tracks in my current playlists, and this track is an amazing reintroduction to the genre. It has this carefree vibe that just sends nostalgia through me.

I don’t want to know you
I don’t think we should talk anymore
I want the best for you
But you’re happy being miserable
I don’t want to know you
Or someone who’s so focused on themselves
I’ll save my best for someone else

The hard hitting riffs of this track just take me back. Happy Being Miserable is a gateway to the angsty world of pop-punk, if you haven’t already been introduced to it; but if you have, it’s a scary reminder that pop-punk probably isn’t a phase and you’ll never ever grow out of it (ugh). Some would say this is just another NFG track but you can’t really go wrong with power beats and power chords. And if that vocal breakdown on the final chorus doesn’t hit the last nail on your nostalgia coffin, nothing ever will.

The video is hilarious. It has a softcore fourth wall break with the intro and cutaway narration which gets me every time. The shock factor of pie vomit definitely ups the rewatchability.

Happy Being Miserable will be on New Found Glory’s upcoming album Makes Me Sick, dated to be released on the 28th of April. Check out the song on Spotify for free.

Maude- Habol

Sadyang walang saklolo sa pusong bulag

I’ve had this song on repeat for the past three days and it never failed to send chills down my spine. I’ve always been adventurous when listening to new music, even with music I don’t immediately like. I listen to a new song over and over until I grow to like it more, get tired of it, or establish my hatred for it. This song, however, had an eerie familiarity to it. The first time I listened to the song, it was as if some stranger just came into my room, picked out my favorite book off the shelf, and just read to me on the bed – it felt right.

Araw araw, pag gising, tulala
Bago matulog, umiiyak

Maude is a three-piece, pop-rock group that has been gracing the scene since 2012. Habol is an instant classic, released mid-year of 2016, that I wish I had known about sooner.

Tama bang manghabol sa tanging tao
Na kaya kang saktan?

maude

Ang nag-iisang taong may alam kung paano ka saktan
Ay siya ring nag-iisang tao
Na hindi mo makayang iwan

On the surface, Habol may seem like a simple track which isn’t a bad thing, especially in this case as it lets the poetic lyrics stand front and center. A more intimate listen would reveal the subtle intricacy of the track. I especially enjoyed the sudden crescendo towards the breakdown that comes crashing in after a short pause. True to the lyrics, just like bouts of sadness, it comes in almost without warning.

The video, as with the track, is extremely detailed as well. The way they had to walk backwards to make it look like they were moving forward when reversed throughout the filming of the video is an achievement by itself.

Bakit hindi ka parin matalino?

Follow Maude on Facebook and Twitter for updates on this and future releases. I’d also like to give a shout out to Tangled Musings. I wouldn’t have come across this awesome song if it weren’t for the OPM Artist Recommendation post for Maude.

Reese Lansangan- Grammar Nazi [Video Review]

Reese Lansangan dropped a video for Grammar Nazi late last month. Directed by Gerard Lopez, the video is an apt projection of the song. Like the track, the video is fun and has tons of replay value. The video follows cutesy grammar girl scouts, The Grammar Patrol, and their campaign against bad grammar.

The video is well made in that it has a certain flow. Though some shots, I think, are awkward, the post-prod team did well to make the video cohesive. Also, film grain on pastel strangely works out pretty well.

Grammar Nazi is one of my favorite tracks from Arigato Internet. Click through for my review of the record. You can also follow Reese Lansangan on her Facebook and other social media for more updates on this and her future work.

Kate Nash- My Little Alien

Kate Nash released a music video earlier this week for her new single, My Little Alien. It’s been too long since her last music video and though there seems to be a lot of hate going around, this is more than enough to keep me interested until the album.

My Little Alien is a fun song that is nothing unexpected considering Nash’s history of far-out tracks and playful lyrics. It has a cool bounce that dances around Kate’s distinct vocals. The piano at the chorus solidifies its blues-y feel. The lyrics have a melancholy vibe to them but are actually really sweet. If you listen closely, you could just feel the love overflow when she sing-shouts You light up the sky!

The music video is an excellent supplement to the track. It reveals how the track is really about Nash’s rescue pup, Stella. The video is a simple, almost random collage of scenes of the two of them.

My Little Alien will definitely be on my playlist for a while. Follow Kate Nash on her social media for updates on this and her ongoing UK tour. You can also go here for more information.

Blink 182- She’s Out of Her Mind

Spotify, as part of their agenda to expand their platform to video, released a music video for She’s Out of Her Mind a track from Blink 182’s latest album California.

Flash Frame, Spotify is calling it, is a series of videos that highlights various artists’ biggest moments with nostalgia-induced music videos. The video for She’s Out of Her Mind, first in the series, features Adam DeVine and social media celebrities Hannah Stocking, Vale Genta, and Lele Pons.

I still haven’t had an in-depth listen to California and I don’t really plan to. Based on the many negative reviews and the few tracks of the record that I’ve listened to, a mellowed-out Blink 182 is not worth anyone’s time.

She’s Out of Her Mind is lyrically uninspired. The song is doesn’t really say anything, and it sounds like nothing. The song is so un-punk it’s punk. I think theneedledrop puts it best when he says “…not that Blink 182 us too old for this shit, the thing is that they sound like they’re too old for this shit.”

The video, however, is another story. The attention to detail is amazing. It has tons of the original elements from What’s My Age Again. As much as I want to hate on it, I can’t because of how well it’s made. Also, naked chicks.

She’s Out of Her Mind, instead of giving me a good dose of nostalgia, just pissed me off. It made me long for the good old skate punk days instead of making me want to look more into what Blink 182 is now. There’s a crowd shot at 1:27 that pretty much sums up my whole impression of the song. Yeah I’ll stand up and maybe raise my horns but I’m doing it for 1999 Blink.

Silverstein- Ghost

Silverstein debuted a new single along with a video late last week called Ghost. This is the freshest content from them since the release of their eighth studio album, I am Alive in Everything I Touch, back in early 2015.

Silverstein is a Canadian post-hardcore five-piece that formed back in 2000. I remember getting into them around when they had just released Discovering the Waterfront. To me, what made the band stand out is their intricate melodic stylings and Shane Told’s vocal prowess.

Earlier the same day Ghost was released, Silverstein posted a short message on their Facebook page about the debut and how happy they are with the video. They also talk about how much time they’ve spent on this one song alone – this kind of makes me worried.

It’s no secret that Silverstein hasn’t been all hits with their previous material. Not to say that they’ve released really bad stuff, there are just a couple of albums that did receive a decent amount of hate and I am afraid that this forthcoming album might go down the same path.

The track lacks the stand-out melodies I associate with the Silverstein sound. It comes off as monotone and dull which might have been saved by Told’s high notes if not for the woah-ohs. This track sounds like it’s something from This is How The Wind Shifts or Rescue. Given that This is How The Wind Shifts was a concept album, and it was very inspired of them to release it, I don’t think it was a satisfying album overall.

The video is a stage set MV where the band just plays in front of the camera with a few cutaways. It’s very reminiscent to the video for Smashed Into Pieces. The running around and Shane adjusting his hair after a short round of head banging is pretty funny though.

If the band did truly put a lot of time in to the single, I hope it was to make it fit in well with album-full of better songs. I am still looking forward to the new album, no question, I just hope it would be more like Discovering the Waterfront or I Am Alive in Everything I Touch. Learn more about this song and their tour with The Devil Wears Prada and Memphis May Fire by following them on Facebook and their social media.

Tessa Violet- Dream

I was introduced to Tessa Violet back during the early days of YouTube – back when she still called herself Meekakitty and when everyone was still jump-cutting their way into internet fame.

She is one of the few early generation YouTubers who hasn’t completely sold out or fallen off the trend. Sure, she’s changed since Meekakitty and although she doesn’t post as much, her videos have improved in quality; and at least they don’t feel forced.

Dream came out mid last month and is basically a taste of Tessa Violet’s indie pop flavor. Though her vocal style is her music’s main allure, her lyrics have their own allure. As with many indie pop tracks, the song is a crescendo of multiple instrumental layers. The video is very well made. It is bizarre and fun with tons of mind-bending visual effects.

I enjoy Dream, as with Tessa Violet’s more recent music, because it is a reflection of her growth as an artist. For someone who has been following her early in her career, it is rewarding to see a vision grow into something more tangible. What I look out for in Tessa Violet’s work is how she makes each song or video show her identity as an artist.

PVRIS [First Impressions]

For about almost a year now, everyone and their mothers have been trying to get me into PVRIS. PVRIS, pronounced Paris, is a rock trio made up of Lyndsey Gunnulfsen, Alex Babinski, and Brian McDonald. I’ve been reluctant, to give them ago because I’d prejudged them as ‘another Paramore clone’ while listening halfheartedly from a friend’s crappy mobile phone speakers.

PVRIS-20

I finally got around to actually listening to them after noticing that they’ve been appearing more recently the suggested videos on my YouTube home page. Here are my thoughts on the first three videos from that section.

SMOKE

The intro feels kind of lacking, I feel like vocals jumps in too soon, which is not exactly a good or bad thing. This track has a decent enough groove to get me nodding my head unconsciously. The vocal refrain before the breakdown is a nice, refreshing touch. The lyrics are a step above the usual pop garbage, but it doesn’t really do it for me. The song ends as abruptly as it starts and I’m left here, confused.

The video is just as bland as the song. Though the effects were fairly technical, nothing really stood out. If I had the chance to do-over my PVRIS experience, I would’ve listened to My House first.

FIRE

This track is noticeably more viewed than Smoke. The musical style fits in more with the poppy rock sound of today. Fire is a power track that fails to follow through. Though it is a treat to get a taste of Gunnulfsen’s power vocals, the song just gets old by the second chorus.

The video looks like it’s trying and failing to cover up a low budget production. Which I can’t entirely for, as it is a big feat to make a video for every track of an album.

MIRRORS

This track surprised me with the glitch-rock elements at the beginning and I was totally hoping that this song would go that route. It’s a slow number, sure, but it does hold a kind of strength that makes it a decent enough track for a repeat. Of the three I first viewed, this one is my definite favorite. I enjoyed the emo-esque lyrics as well as the chant/pipe organ rhythm. The video was also an obvious step above the other two and was enjoyable to watch.

One thing that bothered me, however, was the lo-fi effects at the start of the second verse. It stuck out like a sore thumb and confused the hell out of me.

Now that I’ve had my first listen of PVRIS, I would have preferred them a Paramore clone instead, at least the All-We-Know-Is-Falling Paramore. In writing this, I realize that I may have been too rash with my critiques, after all, the largest criteria I judge bands by is how they perform live. So I looked up the first result of a live performance and came across My House performed live at the 2015 Warped Tour. Though there is no doubt that the band is musically talented, and they do know how to play a crowd, I don’t think I’m completely sold on them yet.

I’m not completely closing the case on PVRIS just yet. I look forward to something I could jam to with their future releases. They already have the huge following and I may be the only person on the fence about them, but I am still hopeful.