Review: Weezer (Black Album)

California kings Weezer return this week with their thirteenth and eagerly awaited new release Weezer (Black Album).

This is the sixth self titled/coloured album released by Rivers and the gang. Blue, Green, Red, White and most recently Teal have all come before. Teal in particular had the music world talking: dropped from out of nowhere with zero hype back in January, an album of retro covers to keep fans content whilst they wait for new music, and a friendly reminder that Weezer have always been good to their fans.

 It can’t be helped but to compare all of these colours, and in doing so the listener can really hear the evolution of a band 23 years into their career. 2019’s Black is worlds apart from 1995’s Blue, as even the idea of drum samples and trumpets would make a mid 90s Weezer fan shudder. This latest album features all of the above, a comfortable next step on the Weezer journey, but also another step toward the mainstream that the band were once so shunned from.

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(Credit: Atlantic Records)

 Songs like Can’t Knock the Hustle and Byzantine wouldn’t sound out of place on a mainstream radio show, but certainly wouldn’t belong on a classic Weezer playlist. However, it has to be said that the Rivers Cuomo of old shines through in tunes like High as a Kite, and particularly The Prince who Wanted Everything. It’s songs like these that remind fans why they’ve remained with the band through the good times (Pinkerton) and bad times (Raditude)

 It seems that more and more with each release, Weezer divide their fans: the purists who claim they lost it years ago, and the die-hards who stick with them through every track (Saturday Night Live even referenced this in a sketch featuring Matt Damon). But Weezer (Black Album) is a comfortable reminder that the LA band have still got it, and there is enough material here to keep both sides of the argument happy.

 

 

‘The sun will come up’: words of wisdom from Nina Nesbitt.

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Singer-songwriter Nina Nesbitt. (Credit: Justin Higuchi)

Scottish singer-songwriter Nina Nesbitt is back with her new album The sun will come up, the seasons will change. And it’s exactly what some of us need to hear right now. 

As well as being talented in the love and heartbreak department, Nina Nesbitt’s new album has a few other golden threads running through it. Post-adolescent confusion, disappointments and a mighty dose of girl power also lie within the lyrics of many of her songs. At her acoustic set in Edinburgh this week, the 24-year-old met with fans and spoke of the personal struggles that influenced her album.

the tricky business

Track number four on the album Chloe is about the hard realisation that childhood friendships inevitably begin to change. Many of us have the felt the pang of sadness when we realise our closest friends will not be five minutes down the road forever. At age 22 one of her friends fell pregnant, a moment she still remembers today. Nina told the audience:

“And I realised that we were moving on from being kids and becoming adults, which was terrifying. It’s a song about that sort of transition and as women all going down different paths and that being okay.”

These are the moments I’m missing is another poignant one, highlighting the bittersweet feeling of nostalgia. Knowing that childhood is something that passes us by like the flick of a switch, and that we should have spent more time relishing the freedoms childhood brings. Instead many of us spend this time in our lives wishing we could grow up.

“These are the moments I never took in when, I was just standing there wishing, that I could grow up and my life would be different.”

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The best you had, perhaps one of the most moving tracks on the album, tells the story of a love that has moved on quickly and the hurt that follows. It’s about hanging onto the memories of a love that once was and that it’s ok that someone has moved on, because you both know that what you both once had was special.

Loyal to me – May the meetings of a female’s pack of FBI agents commence. Independent woman is written all over this track. When a man’s reluctance to let the rest of the world know you exist begins to show, there is only one thing to do.

“If you start to question is he loyal to me? Well then he’s probably not and you should probably leave.”

tomorrow is another day

“The sun will come up, the seasons will change.”

When uncertainty comes our way, or tempestuous emotions get the better of us know that “The sun will come up, the seasons will change.” It can be a lesson we are not even aware that we are learning, the title track talks about a subtle realisation that at the end of any dark day, the sun will rise the next. No matter the disappointments, the changes we’re not ready for or the heartbreak we endure, the world spins continuously on. It’s the last song on the album, tying all the other lyrics we have heard into a perfect bow.

You can buy tickets for Nina’s upcoming tour here.

“I Can’t Quit” – Review

The Vaccines are back with their fairly anticipated single ‘I Can’t Quit’.

I was slightly nervous about this considering the experimentation of their last album, ‘English Graffiti’ was slightly disappointing. However they have went back to basics with this new single – hopefully a good sign of what’s to come from upcoming album, ‘Combat Sports’.

‘I Can’t Quit’ begins with a simple, but effective,  Brit rock style riff. It seems they’re taking a leaf out of bands like The Kinks and The Undertone’s books. The simple guitar emphasises the edgier vocals. This simplicity creates a decent impact when the chorus kicks in, introducing the bass.

Upcoming album, ‘Combat Sports’ is out 30th March 2018. Credit: iTunes

The chorus is catchy but sounds very familiar to a couple of other songs. The two breaks are efficient as they don’t slow down or break the flow of the song.  The solo is catchy and short to keep the listener anticipating the final chorus.

Overall I’m happy with The Vaccine’s rudimentary return to simple, indie, Brit rock. This single wouldn’t feel out of place on their first album, ‘What Did You Expect from the Vaccines?, their most successful album and my personal favourite.

Hopefully, they’ll become a better competitor to the majority of Britain’s current derivative and imitative smorgasbord of indie trash.

Reputation: A Review

Once again: Taylor Swift is back.

 

The highly anticipated 6th studio album, Reputation, was released on Friday (Nov. 10th) and it is expected to smash records all around. The album has sold over 700,000 copies in the United States alone on it’s first day, making it the biggest selling album of 2017 – with an expectation of 1.5 million copies to be sold worldwide in the first week.

 

Critics are calling it her best album yet. They say it is cohesive, strong and controlled. And to that, I agree.

 

The songs found on Reputation are proud and fierce. This album takes on the 21st century music scene as she delves into electronic pop.

 

The use of vocal effects add to the sultry ‘Delicate’ and the ode to modern fairy tales ‘King of My Heart,’ give the album extra layers and concepts that are usually unheard of from Swift.

 

But what really makes this album unique to her previous five, is that she truly has found her sound.

Reputation is Swift’s most successful album. Source: Kendal Dick

 

Lead single, ‘Look What You Made Me Do’ informed us that the “old Taylor is dead.” Though met with a mix of admiration and secondhand embarrassment – it is very true.

 

This album is introducing a Taylor we have never met. Though she is still singing about love, betrayal and break-ups, she is exposing more than ever before.

 

Reputation is intimate and passionate, and it is clear she has matured since the release of 1989. ‘Dress’ is her most explicit song yet – full of innuendos and a chorus that reads “I only bought this dress so you could take it off.”

 

And though I admire that Taylor has grown up and is taking control of her own narrative,  I can’t help but despise just how petty she can be. ‘This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things’ almost sounds like she and her friends are chanting at a boy who was mean to her. She also regularly mentions “shade” and “receipts” at points throughout the album, and honestly, it’s time to get over it.

 

The album as a whole starts off strong with fast paced lyrics, strong beats and a collaboration with Future and Ed Sheeran thrown in at the start on ‘End Game.’ The second half of the album is calmer as it draws to an end with ‘New Year’s Day’ – the simplest song on the record.

 

On a first listen, I felt this song did not belong on this particular album. It is stripped back to vocals, piano and strings – there is no sign of computers. It initially sounds like it should belong on her 4th album Red, but the more I listen, the more I understand how it fits on Reputation.

 

The song is a reflection on a magical NYE party. There is a huge sense of nostalgia as Swift tells us to hold on to the memories. And though the old Taylor may be gone, she is still remembered and she played a very big role in the creation of this electric record.

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