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Kings of Leon – ‘When You See Yourself’ Album Review

Tennessee-bred quartet draw up eighth studio album that replaces swagger for subtlety that strengthens over time.

Reprising their roles as emphatic titans in the rock music industry, they have returned from their 2016 album, WALLS with their eighth release, When You See Yourself in early March of 2021. With less temper and angst to it than most other records compared to Find Me and Waste a Moment on their previous, it is ultimately fashioned with progressive playing, delicate sentiment and glossy productive finish.

Unfortunately – while this record is a blissful listen – it carries itself with not a lot of substance. Whilst dirty guitar hooks are present in pre-single, The Bandit and halfway-down-the-list Stormy Weather, the album soon becomes lost in itself and an intermingling of songs folding into one another seems to happen. For a while, while listening to this album, I did seem to forget where I was, who I was listening to and would often take a step back and play the record again. Nevertheless, it is still a confident and mature direction from the rock quartet that no doubt stamps their mark on their triumphs they have had throughout the years they’ve been active.

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For Kings of Leon, their legacy drives a hard bargain and majorly wins over your opinion for such a delicate studio album.

While it does seem to lose itself on rare occasions, it is a blissful listen with its glossy textures, playful guitar song-writing and exact ambiguity that was present on some of their first records like Because of the Times and Come Around Sundown.

Favourites from the 11-track selection include When You See Yourself, Are You Far Away, A Wave and Golden Restless Age.

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Aloe Blacc – ‘All Love Everything’ Album Review

Aloe Blacc resides in us with his album about familial love – ‘All Love Everything.’

Of course, Aloe Blacc is not a name we are unacquainted with in the world of music. We are all far too familiar with his beloved classics of I Need A Dollar, The Man and Wake Me Up, when he became an artist on the lips of music lovers with his album, Good Things back in 2010. But of course, the name of Aloe Blacc has not been seemingly present in the music spotlight for over a decade since.

With temporal shifts in consumer trends, industry chart-topping rules and an artist becoming less relevant from one day to the next, it seemed that Aloe Blacc has become a forgotten figure in an industry that forgets easily.

But of course, as with the case with familiar favourites, we fall back into their music. I myself, first fell back into Aloe Blacc’s music when he released, fun-happy bop, Brooklyn in the Summer back in 2018. With continual single records and candid attempts in film soundtracks, he has returned to album form with his 2021 work of All Love Everything.

Adding to his already heartfelt artistic palette, Blacc’s warm and generous offering feels like he never left.

Inspired with the prospect of fatherhood, this album embarks on a new journey for the Californian singer-songwriter as he delves into the challenging of turning such a journey into lyrics and melody.

While not advising to be pigeonholed into one set genre and being uncomfortable discussing himself as a pop or a folk artist, he tells us his songwriting genre is solely “thematic.” While his music draws anticipation on all genres from soul, folk and contemporary pop, Aloe feels that his music follows rather a theme, instead.

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“Rather than a genre, my music follows [a theme] I call A.I.M: affirmation, inspiration and motivation.”Aloe Blacc

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All Love Everything is the next installation within the A.I.M catalogue and fulfils Aloe’s ambition to express his gratitude for family on such songs, “Glory Days” and you guessed it … “Family” – as well as fitting in the time to showcase the importance of support with, “My Way” and “Corner.”

Soulful, powerful and trying to be exactly what it wants to be, Aloe Blacc’s return to the music industry is as fulfilling and triumphant as his voice is.

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I made a playlist: Trainwreck Rock

You lovely lot wanted it, so here it is. In a new series I’m calling – I made a playlist – we go through each playlist drawn up, and best of all, make it a collaborative work space, so you can add your own personal vibes to it, too!

For the pissed-off playlist that will channel your rage, your inner rock demon – this playlist is for you.

A concoction of pent-up guitar trashing and manic drum-bashing, the playlist of Trainwreck is simply dressed here to impress. Some of my favourites in the rock, alternative rock, classical rock and metal world all blended in a cacophony of sheer panic and noise. What’s not to love, eh? Give it a listen below on one of your angry walks, a family dispute or when you simply don’t give a f*ck anymore.

As ever, get a feel for the playlist and do with it as you wish – add, chop or change? It’s all yours.

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GRAMMYs 2021: Do the Grammys Matter?

As they snub favourite artists such as The Weeknd and Kendrick Lamar from their acclaimed prizes, sift through the mud of allegations from racism, sexism and a lack in diversity to artist picks – it shows just how unfit they are as judges to music.

With the Grammys receiving such a subjective onslaught each year and as interest rates fall on their overall importance as awards, do the Grammys even matter anymore?

Short answer simply is: no.

Unlike the Oscars, the prestigious academy award for music has seemingly lost its original tact, and is out of touch with the rest of the world. Unlike the Oscars that actually awards films based on glowing prospects, reputations and sheer camera-rolling etiquette, The Grammys is a congruent cess-pit of odd nominations, shameless bigotry and is showing a side to the music industry that is rather ugly.

With so many prestigious and culturally-defining artists in the industry that have been snubbed of such an award (Queen, Bjork, ABBA and Jimi Hendrix to name a few) it is easy to understand why The Grammys has been scrutinised for their lack of desire to produce a decent academy award show to celebrate the best of music – as they choose to instead award their “white friends and counterparts” in the industry – and receive backlash of racism and bigotry because of it – and not the distinctive artists that have made a impact against the status quo of the industry.

Because if they start awarding acts who go against the “system” of upending gender stereotypes (Queen) and make albums that go against their specified genre (The Weeknd) what does that say about the system of the industry itself? Something that cannot be controlled it seems …

But its important to note that something like the Grammys is not so definitely clean-cut like other competitions like the Olympics. When it comes to who sang the most impressive or made a defining moment to the world of music, well then, that becomes a bit more objective. With it, comes the usual backlash and sparks of fury as such an award because it is such an opinionated sport.

But to me, I think this is what makes Grammys not matter most, because at the end of it all, while it is fun to see who will win a Grammy, it ultimately doesn’t affect how we (me included) view an artists’ work. When we listen to a piece of work, do we define how “good” it is if it won a Grammy? No, we think it’s good because it’s simply good music. For me, they are not one and the same.

So with that being said, I think that the sheer novelty of awarding music based on something so objective certainly makes it an easier target than most other award shows. But, let’s be honest, they haven’t helped themselves in the past, have they?

Let me know what you think to this topic of conversation – and more importantly, will you be watching tonight?

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Former suspended CEO stating on how ‘rigged’ the ceremony is …

Grammy’s controversial moments show just how implausible it is as an awards ceremony …

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Quote of the Day: What is Music to you?

“If anything at all, music is the soundtrack of your life. Music are those memories that stay with you within the verses. Simply put, the only truth in it all is the music. You can’t lie with music – it’s all there, laid out for all to see. Music is a unity for us all to embrace.

A hundred people can relate to a song a million different ways – and we can all still sing it and relate to one another. Whether that be one’s living room or in a summers’ field, music joins us together and makes us whole.

Down for a cry? Down for a laugh? Stick some of your faves and go either way with it.”