An album review by Emma Poor
Remember Us to Life by Regina Spektor is her seventh studio album and one of her best ones yet. For most of her songs she recorded with a full orchestra that increased the intensity of her music. Her lyrics are powerful and well-written, digging to the heart and begging you to listen. Her songs are more lyrics driven than anything where the full orchestra adds to the lyrics by swelling up behind her words. In Tornadoland when her lyrics turn more jazz inspired, the orchestra remains eerie and increasingly grows louder. In most of her songs, she sings in a minor key that is balanced out by her light vocals. The minor key is common in most of her music spanning across all of her albums. The song Obsolete is over six minutes long and entirely worth listening to with the dark lyrics, questioning life and its meaning while directly after, Sellers of Flowers is reminiscent and carefree. The first two songs have hints of pop music and are more upbeat than the rest of the album. I thoroughly enjoyed the album and would definitely listen to the album over and over again.
Review by Becca Malott
The electro rock group Phantogram led by Sarah Barthel and Josh Carter is getting closer to the popular alternative genre with their album “Three” released October 7th 2016. This band contains elaborate guitar riffs with electronic twists and gritty yet airy vocals that defiantly steal the attention of the audience. The band originated back in 2007 in their hometown Greenwich, New York. They have released a total of three studio albums. Interestingly enough the group records all of their music in a remote barn near Upstate New York. The album’s number one hit “You Don’t Make Me High Anymore” is definitely pulling Phantogram closer and closer to mainstream alternative. Songs like “Same Old Blues” have an alluring mixture of almost blues and pop creating a paradox of interesting vocalizing and rhythmic beats. Other songs like “Answers” and “Funeral Pyre” which contain a slower melody focusing the attention to the more emotional lyrical aspect of their music. This album is a must when it comes to unwinding with friends, or just jamming out in the car.
By Evan Cole
XXYYXX is the self-titled debut album of Orlando producer Marcel Everett, stage name XXYYXX. Released in 2012, this is currently Everett’s only album. XXYYXX is currently 20 years old, and was 16 when he released this album — something to keep in mind when listening. While XXYYXX isn’t necessarily a mainstream artist, his work, and this album in particular, has received a well-deserved cult following. The best way I can describe XXYYXX is psychedelic electronic, though I am not the best person to talk to when having to define and categorize music. What I can say, though, is that this album is entirely production, and it does it incredibly well.
The album opens with About You, a song that immediately puts you into a semi-trance that carries you throughout the rest of the album. This album is chock full of samples in each song, going anywhere from Jon Brion to Beyoncé; the first one you hear is a part of a Jillian Aversa verse, with the phrase “forever in time” played in reverse with a much higher pitch. This sample is changed throughout the song, changing its speed and its pitch, creating the basis that the beat blends with to create excellent production. When I first listened to this album, this song particularly captured me, and is one of the strongest.
The most glaring problem with this album is the overuse of repetition. When listening to an individual song on this record, it is easy to be two minutes in and think “will it just keep going on like this?” the most obvious example being Fields, one of this album’s singles. Every song on this album has repetition, sometimes minor, such as with Love Isn’t Made, but often it is apparent that XXYYXX is taking a single well-made 30-second clip, and repeating it while making small changes throughout. This can often make the songs feel a lot longer than the 3-4 minutes that they are. This issue is somewhat mitigated when listening to the record as an entire album, as I believe it enhances the feeling of a trance you are in when listening, purposefully causing you to lose track of time or even where exactly in the album you are.
Overall, even with its flaws, I think this album is an incredibly strong record, especially for a debut album. I highly recommend trying XXYYXX out, it has become one of my favorites.
Favorite songs: About You, Fields, DMT, TIED2U
Least favorite song: Witching Hour (If I have to choose one)
Find this album alongside his other releases at https://xxyyxx.bandcamp.com