Thursday, July 3, 2014

Album Review: 'A Town Called Paradise' by Tiesto

You may or may not be a fan of EDM (Electronic Dance Music), but due to the recent surge of popularity of the music spawned from the Freestyle of the 1980s in past 30 years, you have heard this music. For some reason, this genre has become one of my favorites over the years. Connecting with the beats to dance freely, enjoying the great vocals, and the atmosphere created by like minded individuals.

Many different collaborations of DJs, producers, musicians, and artists have made sweet, sweet music. Could be a reason why many "hardcore" fans of this genre has been mad recently as it has become more "Pop".  Yes, it is popular music. Just remember all of those years the EDM community fought hard to be taken seriously, and now that is has, there is that fear of losing authenticity. Think that debate comes down to the point of being able to enjoy the beats at your own leisure.

Tiesto has become one of the most prolific DJ's in EDM today. He along with Avicii, Calvin Harris, Benny Benassi, Paul Oakenfold, Armin Van Buuren, Afrojack, and more! Despite the many DJs/producers fighting for your attention, they all appreciate their genre and marvel at the fact of collaborating or using their skills to remix a popular song for the masses.

Knowing this Las Vegas has seen a shift to this type of music throughout their many high profile nightclubs and lounges in the past 8-10 years. Miami and of course Ibiza are home to many hosting venues as well. Most of the above mentioned DJs have had or currently have a residency at a nightclub in Las Vegas.  The draw of night clubs these days have gravitated towards the EDM community. Perhaps the adoption of EDC (Electric Daisy Carnival), East & West Coast Groove Cruises, and the demise of Berlin, Germany's Love Parade in 2010, there needed to be a shift of geography.

'A Town Called Paradise' is Tiesto's first studio album release in 5 years. Makes sense considering his success of residencies, EPs, and collaborations. The music landscape has been adapting over time. Tiesto describes this album as,

                "This album has two sides to it. Part of me is always trying to innovate, and that's half of the                          album. The other half of me is always a crowd pleaser. I love giving the audience what it                              wants.I put all of the experiences I've had over that past twenty years into this. This is my                             sound. Of course, it's dance, but it's melodic. There are strains of indie rock, yet it's very                               happy.These songs will make you smile. They'll make you dance. They'll make you want to go                       out. It's everything a Tiesto song should be."

Haven't listened to the album multiple times, the only thing to do is agree with Tiesto. The point is to smile, dance, and marvel at the emotion of this album. That's just what anybody with a sense of soul should do when listening. Highly recommend adding this album to your fitness, party, road trip, or any other playlist readily available to you.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Album Review: 'Paula' by Robin Thicke

If you have any shred of awareness, it shouldn't be new news that Robin Thicke has released an album titled "Paula" after his heavily publicized separation from wife Paula Patton. Despite the couple being together since they were 14 years old, have a son, and what had been known as an open relationship; this separation seemed to be shocking to many.

Despite what fans, the media, and well what you believe to be the truth, remember you aren't Robin nor Paula. The details of their relationship is their business. Well, until you heavily start plugging your album with her name, launch social media campaigns, and take over the ABC network. Not to mention the performances on Billboard and BET Awards.

Let's keep in mind that the wildly successful album and song titled "Blurred Lines" seemed to be controversial despite what the Thicke camp claims as to be innocent. Many accusations of misogyny, weird performances (Miley Cyrus and the twerking at the VMAs), and overall huge departure of the sound established from previous albums ruffled the feathers of fans and newly sought out fans.

Keep in mind, most musicians grab from their life situations and circumstances for inspiration. The best music  appeals to emotions or how you can easily relate to the lyrics not to mention the backing soundtrack. No matter the genre, music is unique to people. Robin Thicke has been able to keep the R&B feel while collaborating with other artists and producers to appeal the masses.

The titles of the songs of the album tend to be self explanatory, and when you listen to the album all through, 'Paula' tells the story of the recent demise of their relationship. "You're My Fantasy", "Get Her Back", "Still Madly Crazy", "Lock the Door", "Whatever I Want", "Living in New York City", "Love Can Grow Back", "Black Tar Cloud", "Too Little Too Late", "Tippy Toes", "Something Bad", "The Opposite of Me", "Time Of Your Life", and "Forever Life". Isn't storytelling the backbone of music?

Let's set the lyrics/storytelling aside for now. Robin's voice still has the soultry R&B quality, and in a surprising fashion the back up vocals from women add to the sound. Each song has feel of innocence, which in his position could be a selling point for "getting her back".  The lighthearted beats, additions of strings, and other instruments add to the sound quality. Perhaps because 'Blurred Lines' was so popular with fans and critics alike, the announcement of 'Paula' seemed to pop up quickly. Nonetheless, Thicke used his personal life as a muse. Whether or not you agree with taking this route shouldn't be your decision.

The over publicizing of his plea to get Paula back has been received differently. Many claiming Thicke is taking this too far. Many are probably wondering if Paula is okay with this, and if this will work. The results of 'Paula' remain to be seen, but coming from listening "cover to cover", this album is worth listening to, and isn't that what an album is designed to do?